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WEDNESDAY EVENING UPDATE

DERBYGATE CAUCUS A resolution may appear on Monday night’s Norwich City Council agenda that would have the chairman and vice-chairman of the city’s Board of Public Utilities Commissioners step down

WEDNESDAY MORNING UPDATE

DRUNK COUPLE ON AISLE 2 Two people were arrested at the Big Y in Danielson on Monday and charged with breach of peace after Troop D state police responded to reports

TUESDAY EVENING UPDATE

BUDGET TALKS COLLAPSE HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – The legislature’s budget-writing committee has suddenly halted plans to vote on an alternative to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s budget proposal. Democratic leaders of

TUESDAY MORNING UPDATE

RECORD ATTENDANCE More than 750 people attended the annual Spring Job Fair yesterday at the Mystic Marriott, a record for the event, according to organizers.  Nearly 60 booths from some

WEDNESDAY EVENING UPDATE

DERBYGATE CAUCUS

A resolution may appear on Monday night’s Norwich City Council agenda that would have the chairman and vice-chairman of the city’s Board of Public Utilities Commissioners step down from the panel.  Norwich alderman Stacey Gould says she’ll be meeting with her Republican colleagues on the city council Saturday to discuss the situation regarding Utilities panel chairman Dee Boisclair and vice-chairman Robert Groner.  Both were recently re-appointed to their positions by the utilities board, despite the recommendation from the city’s ethics commission that they be removed from their leadership positions, because they went on a May 2016 all-expense paid trip to the Kentucky Derby.  Gould says a long, costly investigation into the matter by a city council sub-committee could prove fruitless.  She  hopes finding a quick, “honorable” way to have Groner and Boisclair leave the utilities commission can mean the city can move forward from the Derbygate controversy, and tackle other big issues, such as the budget.

ONE BID BUILDING

Only one developer has submitted a bid to renovate the vacant Reid and Hughes building in Downtown Norwich. City Purchasing agent William Hathaway says the Women’s Institute for Housing and Economic Development submitted a proposal by the Wednesday deadline.  The organization has been talking with city officials since last Fall about a plan that would convert the decaying structure into new retail and living space. The city has also received bids to tear down the structure. Aldermen approved demolition last October, but state historic preservationists have since blocked that move.  The Women’s Institute proposal will now be reviewed by the city planning office and the city manager.

GOVERNOR REACHING OUT ON BUDGET

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is asking battling legislative leaders to meet with him next week to “chart a course together” for reaching an agreement on a new, balanced state budget. Malloy extended the invitation Wednesday, a day after the General Assembly’s Appropriations Committee abruptly adjourned without taking a vote on a proposed $40.3 billion, two-year spending plan. The move prompted Democratic and Republican legislative leaders to blame each other for the breakdown. Democrats said a vote wasn’t taken because there wasn’t enough bipartisan support, claiming they expected GOP votes for the bill. Republicans said they always intended to present an alternative budget, something that could happen as soon as Thursday. Meanwhile, the Finance Revenue and Bonding Committee is scheduled to meet Thursday to vote on a tax plan.

RI POLICE OFFICER ALLEGEDLY HITS FOXWOODS ATTENDANT

PAWTUCKET, R.I. (AP) – A Rhode Island police officer charged with punching a 73-year-old casino bathroom attendant because “the water was too cold” is seeking to avoid prison. The Providence Journal reports that 36-year-old Pawtucket officer Michael Tousignant was charged with assaulting an elderly person. Authorities say Tousignant was off-duty at the Foxwoods Resort Casino  on April 1 when he complained to the attendant and then “smacked him.” He was charged by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Police Department. Tousignant said during booking that he served in the military and had been with Pawtucket police for 10 years. He applied for a court program that would let him avoid a criminal conviction and prison. It’s unclear if he has an attorney. Pawtucket police say Tousignant is on administrative duty and under investigation.

CROWBAR BEATING AT MITCHELL BEING INVESTIGATED

An April 7th incident that had numerous people attack a Mitchell College student on-campus with a crowbar continues to be investigated by campus officials and New London police. Authorities say they were called to the campus around 1 AM to find 10 people involved in a fight, not all of them students.  The student was treated at Lawrence and Memorial Hospital for facial injuries, and continues to recuperate.  Police say it appears the fight began off-campus.  Police say they’re interviewing witnesses, and are reviewing college surveillance video.  Campus officials increased security in the days following the incident, which they say is extremely rare at Mitchell.

SPEEDBOWL OPENER PPD.

The New London-Waterford Speedbowl has postponed its season-opener.  An announcement on the racetrack’s website says the May 6th and 7th event is being pushed back due to unforeseen additional work needed on the grandstands, and weather conditions. No new date has been announced. The next scheduled event is the Saturday night regular-season opener on May 13th. The announcement makes no mention of last month’s arrest of track owner Bruce Bemer on charges of patronizing mentally-challenged males for sex.  Several senior track employees have since resigned, and NASCAR has withdrawn its sanction.

RI TOWNS SUING OVER VISITORS CENTER

  RICHMOND, R.I. (AP) – Two Rhode Island towns are suing the state over an environmental agency’s proposal to build an office and visitor center in a protected forest area. The Providence Journal reports Richmond and Exeter oppose the $7.2 million project on a hill overlooking the Browning Mill Pond. The state Department of Environmental Management wants an office for its workers that will also greet visitors to the Arcadia Management Area, the state’s largest recreational area. The president of the Exeter Town Council says town planning officials found the proposed building was too close to the water. Both lawsuits ask the Providence County Superior Court to stop the project until the environmental agency gets all necessary permits from the developer. A DEM spokeswoman says the department doesn’t comment on current legal matters.

 

WEDNESDAY MORNING UPDATE

DRUNK COUPLE ON AISLE 2

Two people were arrested at the Big Y in Danielson on Monday and charged with breach of peace after Troop D state police responded to reports of a disturbance. Officers say the man and woman were extremely intoxicated. At the scene, police discovered that the man, Ethan Kaphammer of Moosup, was wanted for multiple counts of larceny by Plainfield police. He was turned over to them after being processed at Troop D Barracks. The woman was processed and taken to Day Kimball Hospital for medical attention due to her level of intoxication.

HYGENIC PLANS APPROVED

New London’s Planning and Zoning Commission approved plans last week for the amphitheater project proposed by Hygenic Art Galleries and Art Park downtown.  The non-profit will build a 60 by 60 foot roof to cover the park’s outdoor seating area. The installation of the artistically designed roof is expected to begin in September. It will not disrupt the Hygenic’s summer line-up.

KILL WYLIE

New London Mayor Michael Pasero says that the city will try to obtain the special permit needed to take care of a nuisance coyote in the city’s south end IF it becomes aggressive toward humans. According to a DEEP spokesman, if the animal is deemed aggressive it will be trapped and killed. Under state regulations, the coyote cannot be relocated. The mayor encouraged residents to not feed wild animals and take other precautions.  A wildlife ecologist suggests “hazing”, yelling, waving arms, using noisemakers,spraying water and throwing sticks and rocks to scare them off.

MURPHY IS DONE

Shawn P. Murphy

North Stonington’s First Selectman Shawn Murphy has decided not to run for a second term this November. In 2015, Murphy succeeded Nicholas Mullane, who held the position for nearly three decades. Republican Town Committee members will reach out to potential replacement candidates ahead of the July caucus.

LETTERS OUT TO PV FAMILIES

Letters went out yesterday to 300 parents of students currently attending Pleasant Valley School in Groton, informing them of the school closure.  Superintendent Michael Graner also offered early retirement incentives to teachers in the hopes of avoiding some layoffs.  These actions are part of a plan to cut nearly $3 million from the education budget.  More layoffs and changes are planned district wide.

MINOR PROBLEMS AT MILLSTONE

The Millstone Power Station in Waterford  was recently cited by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission with five findings after an inspection of the plant’s security system last month.  The findings were of “very low” security significance. The exact nature was not disclosed, as security systems information is not shared with the public.

 

 

 

 

TUESDAY EVENING UPDATE

BUDGET TALKS COLLAPSE

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – The legislature’s budget-writing committee has suddenly halted plans to vote on an alternative to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s budget proposal. Democratic leaders of the Appropriations Committee made a surprise announcement Tuesday that they were adjourning without taking the scheduled vote, expressing disappointment there wasn’t bipartisan support for the two-year, $40.3 billion proposal.  It’s unclear whether a spending bill can be passed before the committee’s Thursday deadline, or whether a separate tax bill will be voted on as well.  Democrats say they didn’t know until recently that Republicans weren’t supporting the spending bill and instead planned to release their own budget. But the GOP leaders say they’ve been upfront for weeks about their budget proposal, expressing concerns with proposed Democratic tax increases. Democrats hold a slim majority on the committee. 

HIGH COURT SAYS TRIBE MAY NOT BE IMMUNE

Justice Sonia Sotomayor

WASHINGTON (AP) – A unanimous Supreme Court says that Indian tribes’ immunity from lawsuits does not always extend to their employees in incidents that occur far from Indian reservations. The justices ruled Tuesday in a case that involved a Mohegan Sun limo driver from Norwich who rear-ended a car on Interstate 95 in Norwalk in 2011.  The court revived a state court civil lawsuit filed by the injured occupants of the car. The case had been dismissed because the limo driver works for an Indian tribe with a casino in the state. Indian tribes are like foreign governments in that they generally can’t be sued in American courts. But Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote for the court that in cases like the one from Connecticut, “the tribe’s sovereign immunity is not implicated.” New Justice Neil Gorsuch did not take part.

WATER FOR SPRAGUE

Sprague Seal

Officials in both Norwich and Sprague are looking to have an emergency water main installed between the two towns, to ensure Sprague has a reliable backup system.  Norwich’s Board of Public Utilities Commissioners Tuesday night agree to have NPU General Manager John Bilda submit a letter of intent to the State Department of Public Health, with the hopes that state bonding funds for the project could be approved by next month.  NPU assistant General Manager Chris LaRose says an existing water main near Harry’s Market in Occum would be extended 10-thousand feet along Route 97 to Baltic. LaRose says the project is eligible for state grants to cover half the cost, and 30-percent of the cost of improvements to the city’s water system.  Low-interest state loans would cover the remaining expenditures. He says NPU can easily handle the increased water demand, even if the pipeline is eventually used on a more frequent  basis.  Construction could begin by next April.

MONTVILLE MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO SELLING HEROIN

A Montville man admits to distributing tainted heroin that led to a fatal overdose.   Connecticut’s U-S Attorney’s office says 24-year old James Butler pleaded guilty Tuesday in New Haven Federal Court to one count of giving heroin laced with fentanyl to a 34-year old woman who died in a Route 32 apartment in Montville in May of last year. Butler has been detained since his arrest on January 31st.  He faces up to 20 years in prison when he’s sentenced July 12th.

BEAR CUB PUT DOWN

MERIDEN, Conn. (AP) – The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection says it put down a black bear cub after it was hit by a car In Meriden.  The Meriden Record-Journal  reports the cub was struck Friday near Chamberlain Highway. Agency spokeswoman Cyndy Chanaca says the cub was put down by environmental conservation police due to its injuries. While it is unusual for bears to get hit by cars, Chanaca says this time of the year is when mother bears come out with their cubs. She warns drivers to be on the lookout for animals crossing the road. About 6,700 bear sightings were reported in the state last year. State DEEP Deputy Commissioner Susan Whalen says bears spend more time in neighborhoods after being attracted to homes with easy food sources.

 

 

TUESDAY MORNING UPDATE

RECORD ATTENDANCE

(The Day)

More than 750 people attended the annual Spring Job Fair yesterday at the Mystic Marriott, a record for the event, according to organizers.  Nearly 60 booths from some of the area’s biggest employers were featured.  Three-hundred-fifty people registered for the event and there were 400 walk-ins.

ASSETS SEIZED

A teenager from New London, who is seeking damages from a former landlord who allegedly raped her and recorded it, was granted a motion to attach $250,000 worth of assets by a federal Judge.  The landlord, Richard Bruno of Waterford, is currently incarcerated on federal and state charges that he produced pornography involving a minor.  The young woman, now 18, is the first person in Connecticut to bring a lawsuit under “Marsha’s Law,” which allows victims of sexual crimes to sue abusers for damages.

LIBRARY HOURS SAVED

The East Lyme Board of Finance voted last night to restore $8,000 in funds to the town library budget.  The original cuts proposed by the board and selectmen would have meant probable Sunday closure of the facility.  Several residents spoke in support of reinstating the money during a public hearing.

CONN COLLEGE DEATH CLOSED

A Waterford man will be sentenced on July 20th to 4 1/2 years in prison followed by five years probation for misconduct with a motor vehicle and tampering with a witness.  James Sposito pleaded guilty to those charges yesterday in New London Superior Court.  The reduced charges were in connection with the fatal hit and run of Connecticut College student Ahmad Ashraf of Pakistan in 2015.

LOBBYING FOR TOURISM

The Connecticut Tourism Coalition rallied in Hartford yesterday, calling for legislators to dedicate a portion of the state’s hotel occupancy tax revenues to tourism promotion. Statewide tourist funding could see an increase from the $6.4 million it received in the current fiscal year, but will still receive much less than the $15 million it had back in 2012.  Tony Sheridan, president of the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut, says they need to get back to that number and that “we need a dedicated fund.”

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