Yale New Haven and Saint Barnabas Doctors Explain “Long COVID”

Concerns about the new Delta variant and its rapid spread have sparked new discussions over mask requirements and vaccine mandates, particularly in Connecticut’s schools. But medical professionals are also weighing a relatively new concern — physical and psychological symptoms that may affect an undetermined number of patients, including a small number of children, for months after an initial infection.  In early June, Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital launched a post-COVID comprehensive care program for children who may be experiencing long-term effects from COVID. Dr. Carlos Oliveira, a pediatric infectious diseases physician-scientist who chairs the multidisciplinary pediatric COVID-19 and MIS-C treatment

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Local Schools Finalize COVID Rules, Wait for State Guidance on Masks

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As local school officials wait for critical guidance from Gov. Ned Lamont about whether masks will be required for students and staff, district by district school officials are finalizing plans for what other health and safety measures — like cohorting, distancing and cleaning — will stay in place when the schools open in the fall.  One significant change is that the state will not count remote learning days toward the minimum required instructional days, which means that districts will no longer offer remote learning as an instructional option. Last year, the Governor’s emergency orders allowed the use of remote learning

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Parents Rally in Support of Guilford Board for Diversity Efforts

GUILFORD — A group of local parents presented a petition in support of the current Board of Education and spoke in favor of the district’s efforts to increase diversity in the school curriculum.   According to Rachel Daniels, a Guilford parent who read the petition at a Board of Education meeting on Monday night, the document received 1,178 signatures.  “We teach our kids to be honest, courageous, and kind. We expect our schools to impart lessons consistent with those values: honesty about who we are, integrity in how we treat others, and the courage to do what’s right,” the petition reads.

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As Talks Break Down, Lawmakers Debate Juvenile Crime, Practical Solutions

After a series of bipartisan talks on juvenile justice reform broke down last week, on Tuesday, Republican lawmakers released a series of proposals that would increase penalties for juvenile offenders, give police officers and judges greater access to information and require monitoring and state interventions for young people in certain cases.  The joint talks began last month and involved legislators, police chiefs, and representatives from the state’s Department of Children and Families, the Public Defender’s office, the Judicial Branch and the State’s Attorney’s office. Both State Rep. Vincent Candelora, R-North Branford, and State Sen. Gary Winfield, D-New Haven, said that

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Independent Party Steps in to Oppose Truth in Education Candidates in Guilford

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GUILFORD — The Independent Party of Connecticut has endorsed five candidates, including two Democrats, for the Board of Education, in an effort to sidestep rules that would guarantee at least some members of a slate of Republican candidates affiliated with Truth in Education would be seated after the November elections.  The group, which says it is opposed to the teaching of Critical Race Theory, ousted incumbent Republican board members in local party caucuses held last month. Bill Bloss, a lawyer who has represented Connecticut’s Independent Party and a 20-year Democratic member of the Board of Education, told CT Examiner that

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The Candidates: Haddam-Killingworth Board of Education

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Mask mandates, alternative pathways to college and curriculum diversity are all up for debate as candidates for the Haddam-Killingworth Region 17 Board of Education make their cases for election in the fall.  The regional Board of Education has eleven seats — five from Killingworth and six from Haddam. In November, three of the six Haddam representatives are running for re-election: Democrat Brenda Buzzi and unaffiliated members Prem Aithal and Joanne Nesti. Two board members from Killingworth, Republican Eileen Blewett and Democrat Kathleen Zandi, are also running for another term.  The elections come at a critical time for local schools, with

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With Growing Enrollments, Lyme-Old Lyme Schools to Hire an Additional 5th Grade Teacher, Add English Sections

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Lyme-Old Lyme schools are adding additional class sections to keep up with a growing population of students in the district.  At a Board of Education meeting Tuesday, Superintendent Ian Neviaser said that the district needed to add an additional section of 5th grade at Mile Creek Elementary School, increasing the number of sections from two to three.  The school currently has 50 students registered for 5th grade. Neviaser said the maximum class size for the district is 22. Having three sections of 5th grade will keep the class sizes at around 17 students each.   The district also needs to add

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$2.3 Million Offer Wins Endorsement of Madison Selectmen

MADISON — The Board of Selectmen voted unanimously to recommend the sale of the former Island Avenue School to Our Lady of Mercy Preparatory Academy in a meeting Tuesday night. The academy, which has been leasing the building since 2019, offered the town $2.3 million for the purchase of the 9.3 acre property, with plans to use the property as the permanent home for the kindergarten through eighth-grade Catholic school.  The academy was one of three organizations making offers on the former school. The other two, Newport Realty Group and Beacon Communities, planned to develop the property into rental apartments. 

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Supply Delays, Tight Workforce Shape Hot Housing Market in Connecticut

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Tony Brodeur, owner of North Cove Construction in Old Saybrook, said that recently he’s had to wait as long as 23 weeks to get windows for a construction job. Usually, he said, windows would arrive in about 14 days. “Appliances are just as bad,” Brodeur said. The appliances he ordered in March aren’t expected to arrive until October.  His experience isn’t uncommon, according to national industry data and reports from Connecticut and across the country about supply chain issues that have generated delays and price hikes for construction materials. These conditions are contributing to a jump in the cost of

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Unions Say State Vaccine Mandates for Workers Must Be Negotiated

In the wake of the federal government’s new requirements around COVID-19 vaccination and health and safety protocols in the workplace, Connecticut’s unions are saying that any potential state mandates should be worked out at the bargaining table.  On Monday, the federal Department of Veterans Affairs announced that it would mandate COVID-19 vaccination for its 115,000 health care workers. Yesterday, President Joe Biden issued regulations that will require federal workers either to show proof of vaccination or to follow regulations that include required masking, distancing and weekly testing. The Defense Department is also considering adding the COVID-19 shot to the list

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Fortuna to Run Unopposed in Fall Election as Parties Announce Slates

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OLD SAYBROOK — First Selectman Carl Fortuna will be running for re-election unopposed in November, according to the candidate rosters that Old Saybrook Democrats and Republicans released earlier this week. John O’Brien, chair of the Old Saybrook Democratic Town Committee, said it was difficult to find someone to challenge Fortuna because of the current first selectman’s record for keeping taxes low in the town.  “It’s a very difficult preposition … running against someone who has maintained taxes at a pretty level base,” said O’Brien.  Mark Caldarella, chair of the Republican Town Committee, said Fortuna had brought the town into “strong

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Youthful Repeat Offenders Defy Downward Trends, Easy Solutions

Although fewer juveniles have ended up in the courts for committing a crime, the percentage tried for multiple offenses has increased. State’s attorneys and community liaisons say that the problem lies with a system that fails to provide serious offenders with the services they need.  “Our response has just been really kind of anemic when you look at the serious offenders,” said Brian Casinghino, the supervisory assistant state’s attorney.  Members of the state legislature have been holding closed-door meetings throughout the month of July to address juvenile crime, and, in particular, a spate of recent motor vehicle thefts that led

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Conn College Organizes Interviews with Young and Old on Race, Housing and New London

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When Spencer Lancaster, a World War II Army veteran, bought a house in New London in 1972, the neighbors circulated a petition to keep him out. Lonnie Braxton II, a Navy veteran who tried to buy a house in New London around the same time, watched his friends at Electric Boat get approved for mortgages while his application languished. And the summer after Donetta Hodge bought her home in Waterford in 1976, she woke up one morning to find white plastic cutlery planted all over her front yard.  These are some of the stories that older residents of color are

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‘Truth in Education’ Candidates Sweep Guilford GOP Board of Ed Endorsements

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GUILFORD — Republicans voted Thursday evening to place five candidates on the ballot for Board of Education who were endorsed by the organization Truth in Education, a local group that has focused its opposition on Critical Race Theory. Several candidates endorsed by the group said they felt there was a lack of transparency from the current board and that their concerns were not being heard.  The five candidates were chosen out of eight nominees and beat out the three incumbent members on the Board of Education who were up for re-election: Joseph Golino, Ted Sands and Amy Sullivan. Truth in

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Board of Finance Gives Preliminary Approvals for Tax Incentives, Debates Limits

MADISON — The Board of Finance gave preliminary approval on Wednesday to two developers who would become the first beneficiaries of the town’s Tax Incentive Program.  The program was developed in 2018 as a way to encourage new businesses to come to the town, according to First Selectwoman Peggy Lyons. Lyons said at the Board of Finance meeting that the Board of Selectman had received these applications before COVID, but had not been able to move forward because they could not hold a Town Meeting.  Developers who are approved will receive a temporary deferral on taxes accrued from the increase

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Guilford’s Human Rights Commission Proposes Speaker on Critical Race Theory

GUILFORD — The town’s Human Rights Commission is proposing to host an educational session for members of the community interested in learning about Critical Race Theory.   The commission voted unanimously on Tuesday to present the proposal to the Board of Selectmen at their August meeting. The speaker would be Angela Robinson, a professor of Critical Race Theory at Quinnipiac Law School who presented an overview of Critical Race Theory to the commission at the Tuesday meeting. Jo Keogh, chair of the commission, said she hoped the event would “give people information so they can make an informed decision, one way

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Connecticut Lawmakers Debate Response to Repeat Juvenile Offenders

Spurred by a recent series of car thefts and break-ins, Republican and Democratic legislators are trying to identify and close the cracks in the system that have, according to police, allowed a handful of juvenile offenders to commit multiple serious crimes without facing significant consequences.  Lawmakers have zeroed in on two major issues — better communication and information sharing between state and local agencies and improving juveniles’ access to services — in talks with police officers, Department of Children and Families, Judicial Branch, public defenders and representatives of the Connecticut Youth Services Assocation. One idea under discussion among legislators is

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Previewing the Black and Latino Studies Elective in Connecticut Public Schools

An ancient African king who made a religious pilgrimage accompanied by caravans of gold. An FBI operation spying on members of a movement for Puerto Rican Independence. A Black female cowboy from the 19th century who “broke more noses than any other person in central Montana.” These are a few of the histories and stories included in the state’s new Black and Latino Studies curriculum. In 2019, Connecticut became the first state in the nation to require every public high school to offer an elective in Black and Latino history. The new curriculum, which was completed on July 1, will

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After 60 Claims of Abuse, the Diocese of Norwich Files for Bankruptcy

The Diocese of Norwich has filed for bankruptcy, saying it was unable to pay damages for over 60 claims of abuse alleged to have taken place at the Mount Saint John School, a former residential school in Deep River. The Diocese announced Thursday that it would be filing under Chapter 11, a provision under the U.S. bankruptcy code that allows businesses to “restructure” their debts in order to pay their creditors. Bishop Michael R. Cote, the head of the diocese, said that filing a Chapter 11 was “the most equitable way” to address the lawsuits.  Cote said that the decision

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Economists Debate Connecticut’s Steep Drop in Workforce Numbers

From May 2020 to May 2021, Connecticut’s workforce — the number of people in the state working or actively looking for work — dropped by 135,000, or 7.2 percent. That’s the second-largest decrease among any of the 50 states during that time period, according to numbers from the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Of the 18 states reporting declines, the largest was in Ohio (283,000) followed by Connecticut (135,000) and Pennsylvania (97,000). Numbers just released from the Connecticut Department of Labor estimate that the state recouped about 19,000 people to the workforce in June. Patrick Flaherty, director of research at

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Madison Plans Referendum on Several Long-Term Projects

The Town of Madison is preparing to hold a referendum on several long-term projects, including the development of the former Academy School into a community center, the sale of the former Island Avenue School and a building project that will overhaul the schools in the local district.  First Selectwoman Peggy Lyons said that she wanted to move the projects forward as soon as possible. She said she wanted to get all of these issues on a single ballot.  “I think it would be the right thing to aspire to that. We need to make decisions and move on and allow

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Clinton Schools Invest in Vocational Classes For Middle and High School Students

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CLINTON — Jessica Flanagan is looking forward to her senior year at The Morgan School where she’ll be working on a catapult that can shoot melons across the river behind the school.  Flanagan said the catapult was inherited from former engineering classes, but still needs design modifications before it’s ready to launch the fleshy projectiles.  And that’s not the only project in the works by engineering students at Clinton’s public high school. In the lab on the bottom floor of the school, students are programming robots, engraving blocks of wood with lasers, and welding together the metal frame of a

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School Officials React to New CDC Guidelines

The Connecticut State Department of Education is considering new guidelines by the U.S. Center for Disease Control as it prepares to make recommendations for what public health guidelines schools will have to follow in the fall.  The new guidelines say that vaccinated individuals do not need to wear masks indoors. They recommend that unvaccinated students and staff continue to wear masks inside school buildings, and that schools should continue with the 3-foot distancing rule between students. The guidelines further say that when the distancing is not possible, or in schools that serve children under the age of 12 who are

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Lawmakers Debate Repeat Juvenile Offenders as Crime Rattles Local Communities

House Minority Leader Vincent Candelora, R-North Branford, asked Democratic lawmakers to join him in signing a petition to bring the legislature back into special session sometime this summer to address a recent rise in juvenile crime. On Wednesday afternoon, Republican and Democratic lawmakers met at the Capitol to discuss the proposal. But while some community members, police officers and Republican legislators spoke of fears of a spike in teenage crime, calling for stricter punishments for repeat youth offenders and the restoration of juvenile services and facilities sacrificed to funding cuts, Democrats questioned the need for broad punitive measures, saying that

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Facing Steep Enrollment Declines, Fiscal Cliff, Community Colleges Accelerate Advisor Hiring

Enrollment at Connecticut’s community colleges suffered a “dramatic drop off” during the pandemic, falling to 19,000 students this year from a peak of 35,000 over the last decade — posing a significant financial risk to the Connecticut State Colleges and University system unless the decline is reversed before federal aid runs out in 2025. In response, the Board of Regents has announced plans to accelerate the hiring of 174 academic advisors, part of a nationwide “Guided Pathways” program currently being piloted at 3 of the state’s colleges to help improve enrollment, retention and graduation rates. The accelerated program comes at

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States Lay Groundwork for 250-year Anniversary of 1776

With five years to go before the celebration of 250 years of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, more and more states are making preparations for what promises to be a nationwide celebration of Herculean proportions.  Terry Brown, Director of Federal Partnerships with the U.S. National Semiquincentennial Commission, said on Thursday that the 250th anniversary was going to be “the biggest event in history.” He said they planned to produce 100,000 programs and attract more than 350 million visitors across the state. All of this, he said, would mean billions of dollars infused into national, state and local economies. 

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UConn Awarded $40 Million Grant to Develop Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Data Network

It can probe the inner workings of a Lithium ion battery, it can shed light on genetic diseases, and it’s even been used to develop cancer treatments — it’s a technique called Nuclear Magnetic Resonance.  Nuclear Magnetic Resonance is similar to magnetic resonance, most commonly known for its use in MRI machines, and both techniques use magnetic fields to gather information on a molecular level. Nuclear Magnetic Resonance causes the electric charges in the atoms of a given molecule to emit frequencies, which give scientists information about the size, structure and movement of molecules.   “They act as little atomic spies,

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UConn and UConn Health Use Multiple Strategies to Balance 2022 Budgets

The Board of Trustees was able to approve balanced budgets for the University of Connecticut and UConn Health for the 2022 fiscal year because of a generous amount of federal and state aid and an anticipated return to near-pre-pandemic levels of student residential life.  “It’s actually kind of a low-drama result from a high-drama year,” Scott Jordan, the university’s Executive Vice President for Administration & Chief Financial Officer, said at a Board of Trustees meeting on Wednesday.  In 2021, the university faced a $75.5 million deficit mainly from a loss in revenue from housing and dining during the coronavirus pandemic.

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New Region 4 Assistant Superintendent Believes in Teaching Kids to be Critical Thinkers and Collaborators

“When am I going to use this in real life?” Dr. Sarah Brzozowy, Region 4’s new assistant superintendent who is starting today, loves it when her students ask this question. In an interview with CT Examiner in March, Brzozowy explained that the question has been the foundation of her philosophy as a teacher and an educator. Her goal, she said, is to equip her students with practical skills that they can put to use in the real world.  Brzozowy began her career as a middle school science teacher in the Plainville Public Schools, where she spent seven years in the

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Lamont Vetoes Prison Bill Limiting Solitary Confinement

Gov. Ned Lamont vetoed a bill on Wednesday that would have limited the use of solitary confinement in state prisons, saying that the bill would “put the safety of incarcerated persons and corrections employees at substantial risk.”  The veto overrode bi-partisan support for the bill in the state legislature earlier this month. The bill was approved in the Senate 26-10 and in the House 87-55 with some modifications.  The approved version of the bill, also called the PROTECT Act, stipulated that individuals receive at least 6.5 hours per day outside of their cells, barring a serious incident, and required mental

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