After $3 Million Sweep, a Five-year-old Body Camera Bill With Limited Success for Police Reform

Five years after the Connecticut General Assembly approved a $10 million program to reimburse municipal police departments for purchasing body cameras, less than $6.5 million of that funding has been distributed, and what been distributed was not all designated for body cameras. Small municipalities that haven’t purchased the technology say that the ongoing cost of storing videos and handling freedom of information requests has kept them from using the grant. Now, as nation-wide protests call for increased police transparency in response to police killings of Breonna Taylor in Louisville and George Floyd in Minneapolis, some towns are reconsidering the cost.

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Beach Access Activists Protest Private Fence Abutting the Old Saybrook Town Beach

OLD SAYBROOK — An illegal fence, the town line, the mean high water mark and the broader issue of public access to beaches and Long Island Sound were the focus of a second “sit-in” protest next to the town beach Thursday. “This has been a long-time problem for years — that fence comes and goes but it’s here every year. This year it seems to have gotten bigger and it’s farther out,” said Vicki Taccardi, who grew up in Old Saybrook.  Taccardi was one of a dozen protesters gathered inside a fence erected by the homeowner of 99 Plum Bank

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Veteran Restaurateur Launches Hangry Goose in Old Lyme, Draws Old and New Regulars

OLD LYME — The Hangry Goose has only been open a few weeks, but most of the customers seated on the back patio as lunch wound down on Thursday afternoon had been there before. They stopped owner Teddy Kanaras to remind him of their previous visits and let him know how good the chicken and clam chowder was. “It’s from a Greek chef who won best chowder at the Big E,” Kanaras said. “That’s why it’s so good.” Teddy and his wife Genna opened the Hangry Goose in early June. The breakfast and lunch restaurant stands on the bank of

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Unions Press Local Districts Across Connecticut to Renegotiate Policies for Reopening Schools

Local teachers’ unions across the state, encouraged by the Connecticut Education Association, are asking school districts to negotiate policies for reopening schools in the fall, given the changes that will be required of staff. They are requesting that superintendents and boards of education sit down and negotiate under the Teacher Negotiations Act, which gives unions the right to negotiate whenever working conditions are altered.   “Successfully reopening schools depends largely on local districts ensuring a real voice for all stakeholders — educators, parents and other school community members — in establishing a safe and healthy school environment,” said the Association’s President

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Bob Guzzo Talks Quotas, Offshore Wind and Fishing out of Stonington

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STONINGTON — Bob Guzzo lost the steering in his conch boat on Monday, but somehow navigated back to the town dock.  “The steering stiffened right up and I thought something was in the rudder. We tried it this morning, we thought it was a pump, but it doesn’t seem to be, it seems to be working fine,” he said Tuesday morning, seated on the edge of the vessel. “I’m going to try to get a diver down there to make sure that something isn’t loose and got stuck.”  Guzzo, 63, has two boats — this one, named Hostile Waters that

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High School Sports to Resume in Fall even as Students Remain Cohorted in the Classroom

The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference plans to begin the school year with students allowed to compete in every fall sport if COVID-19 cases in the state remain low. “For the fall we are cautiously optimistic to return as scheduled, but not as normal,” said Glenn Lungarini, the executive director of the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference. “Based on the numbers in Connecticut and the Governor’s reopening plans we will be able to start football on August 17 and all other sports August 27.” The conference released rules based on guidance provided by the National Federation of State High School Associations and

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A Closer Look at as much as $7.8 Billion in Subsidies to Connecticut Businesses

Businesses in a range of industries across Connecticut say the federal Paycheck Protection Program helped them keep staff employed as they weathered declining revenues in the early months of the response to COVID-19. Congress authorized the Paycheck Protection Program in March as part of a relief package known as the CARES Act. It’s a loan for small businesses, employing fewer than 500 workers, to cover up to eight weeks of payroll costs, which can be forgiven if the company retains its staff and payroll. As part of the program, the U.S. Small Business Administration has approved 4.88 million loans totaling

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Legislature Opts for Deliberation — Not Haste — in Tackling Nursing Home Reforms After Wave of COVID Deaths

With about 60 percent of 4,338 COVID-19-related deaths in Connecticut occurring in nursing homes, the need for reform in the industry and the potential for increasing penalties for health code violations have become commonplace talking points among state legislators. That said, the issues are not expected to be addressed by legislators in summer or fall special sessions. “Changing penalties is not at the level or urgency for the special sessions,” said State Sen. Jonathan Steinberg, D-Westport, co-chair of the Public Health Committee. “My job is to make sure we take our time and look at all the possibilities.” Steinberg said

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Fearing Health Insurance Rate Hikes in the Wake of COVID, Senate Democrats Propose Caps, Subsidies

The number of people seeking medical care for COVID-19-related reasons has sparked fears that Connecticut insurance companies, set to file their rates by the end of July, may raise 2021 premiums to astronomical levels. In response, members of the Connecticut State Senate are proposing measures that may offset or prevent some of these potential costs. In the “Juneteenth Agenda,” unveiled on June 19 of this year, the Senate Democrats offered a list of reforms in policing, education, housing, and healthcare, among other things. One of the proposals involves setting limits on premium hikes by insurers and provides state-level subsidies to

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From his Grocery, Robert Lee Talks Business, Surveys Changes in New London

NEW LONDON — Robert Lee watched a steady stream of traffic travel down Williams Street into Hodges Square on Thursday morning.  “We live here, upstairs, it’s very noisy with all the trucks,” said Lee, who owns Lee’s Oriental Market at 432 Williams Street. “It’s a very short commute.”        Lee, 56, inherited the business from his parents, who started it in 1980. He’s been around the neighborhood, Hodges Square, for most of his life and is hoping for some changes and improvements. Across the street, the Citgo gas station, which includes a convenience store, was recently rebuilt, he said.  “I think that’s encouraging

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Shortened Semesters on Campus and Full Fees for Room and Board as Connecticut’s Colleges and Universities Face a Steep Fiscal Challenge

UPDATE: Due to the need for consistency across the Connecticut State College and University System, Southern Connecticut State University will not be offering pro-rated fees for the fall semester, according to Patrick Dilger, the director of integrated communications and marketing at Southern. Students will be returning to campus in the fall at Connecticut’s four state universities, but in place of the usual crowds on move-in day, the packed classrooms and extracurriculars, students can expect instead a more gradula move-in, limited group activities, a mix of online and classroom learning and regular COVID-19 testing. The biggest change, according to Mark Ojakian,

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When Life Gives You Red Currants

Good white bread, tart red fruit, a few tablespoons of sugar, a splash of water — in less than a half hour, with no particular skill and a little patience, you can make a splendid English summer pudding. I guarantee you, no sweet better conveys the pure fresh flavors of raspberries or red currants, is more refreshing after a light evening meal or luncheon. All the things you think you want — the butteriness of shortbread, the creaminess of ice cream, the rich, thickened fruitiness of cobbler and pie — summer pudding proves the addition of subtraction. Tempted to improve

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Wesleyan Professor Tackles Human Hierarchies with the Aid of Animals

After Dr. Kari Weil earned tenure at Wake Forest University, she decided it was time to get herself a horse. Weil thought she might never get married, and saw this as another way of falling in love. She had fond memories of family trips to Michigan as a child, where she would ride, without a helmet, through the surrounding woods. She named her horse Cacahuète, the French word for “peanut,” because the horse was the color of peanut butter.  Weil eventually did marry, and she moved to California to be with her husband, bringing Cacahuète with her. She taught at

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Positive Pressure Technology Should be Considered to Improve Safety in Reopened Classrooms

At schools, we need to better control indoor contamination. Wearing masks is NOT going to provide adequate protection. Recent Japan research indicates micro droplets of COVID remain suspended in stagnant room air for hours, but there is also some good news. The research indicates that droplets can be effectively disbursed with just a slight breeze – which is something we can create in classrooms. This is how “clean rooms” work that are used to manufacture items such as pharmaceuticals and medical equipment. We need to apply a similar concept to schools and create “clean classrooms” by applying positive air pressure

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Cameron: Where’s the Legislature?

Where the heck has the Connecticut legislature been for the past few months?  With so many pressing issues, why haven’t they met? Oh, they’ll tell you it’s because of safety that they couldn’t convene. But we know better.  Plenty of state legislatures… even the US House of Representatives… have carried on the people’s business virtually or well-masked while our pols went AWOL. No, Connecticut’s lawmakers finished the budget and just scurried home, leaving the running of the state to Governor Lamont by executive order.  Now they’re jealous of his success. Ned Lamont is no Andrew Cuomo, but most Nutmeggers think

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