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,

More

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.

More

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

More

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

More

Nothing Radical About Curriculum or Reforms, Says Guilford Superintendent

What does it mean to teach Moby Dick with cultural sensitivity?  Guilford Public Schools Superintendent Paul Freeman says it’s a matter of perspectives. “In Moby Dick, Queequeg is the only character of color, and Queequeg is presented as a noble savage,” Freeman said.  One way to broaden the lesson, he explained, would be to have students look at whaling in different cultures. Another would be to introduce students to stories of New Englanders of color who also engaged in whaling.  “That doesn’t mean that we’re going to stop teaching Moby Dick or look to pull down statues of Melville,” Freeman

More

Staff and Faculty Immunizations Unresolved as State Schools Finalize Student Mandate

/

Students at the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities, by and large, will be required to be vaccinated this fall — but the requirements for unionized faculty and staff remain unresolved. The policy, which the Board of Regents adopted in a meeting on Thursday, requires all students on campus to be vaccinated when they return to campus for the fall of 2021. Students can apply for a medical or non-medical exemption. Those who are approved for an exemption may have to follow other protocols, including a modified quarantine, masking and periodic COVID testing.  “An unknown mixture of vaccinated and unvaccinated persons

More

Talks on Teaching, Race and Racism Attract Several Hundred in Guilford

GUILFORD — A crowd of several hundred people gathered at the Guilford Community Center on Thursday evening to listen to a talk warning against the dangers of Critical Race Theory and urging parents to push back against the teaching of systemic racism in the local schools.  The talk was organized by Truth in Education, a self-described grassroots movement founded by a group of Guilford parents and community members. In a pamphlet that accompanied the talk, the group listed its goals. They include: “end critical race theory indoctrination,” “embrace capitalism,” “explain explicitly that systemic racism is a lie and does not

More

11-2 Vote Supports Student Resource Officers in Middletown Schools

MIDDLETOWN — An exploratory committee tasked with evaluating the Student Resource Officer Program in Middletown Public Schools voted 11-2 to keep the current program, but to update the memorandum of understanding between the police department and the district. The current document would be revised to include specific policies related to hiring, removal, training and chain of command structure. The committee was created in March to solicit perspectives from parents, officers, educators and students and to return recommendations to the town’s board of education. The committee includes two members of the board of education, three school principals, two teachers, a social

More

Connecticut Plans Statewide Online School For K-12

Virtual classrooms may become a permanent fixture in the state of Connecticut.  New legislation tasks the state’s Department of Education to develop plans for a K-12 statewide remote learning school that would use the same curriculum and have the same school year length as a traditional school, but would be under the jurisdiction of the State Board of Education. Peter Yazbak, director of communications for the Department of Education, said that state officials still need to work out the specifics of how the school would be funded and which students would be eligible.  A proposal should be sent to legislators

More

A Minor Tweak that Doubles Funding for Some Regional Schools

/

A minor tweak in Connecticut’s funding formula for school districts will more than double the amount that Lyme-Old Lyme schools receive from the state over the next two years.  In 2021, Lyme received $60,216 and Old Lyme received $238,583. According to projections from the School and State Finance Project, Old Lyme’s state funding will increase to $370,531 in 2022 and $502,478 in 2023. Lyme’s will increase to $89,603 in 2022 and $118,989 in 2023.  The increase is a result of a “regional bonus” that gives regional school districts $100 for every student enrolled in a regional school. A previous bonus

More

Hack, Corrigan Head to a Tokyo Olympics ‘More Focused on the Competition’

/

By the end of the summer, Louis Zubek, the former rowing coach for Lyme-Old Lyme High School, will be able to say that he has coached not one, but two Olympic athletes.  That’s because Lyme-Old Lyme alumni Austin Hack, 29, and Liam Corrigan, 23, will be part of the U.S. men’s eight boat that races on the Sea Forest Waterway in Tokyo at this summer’s Olympic Games.  Although Hack and Corrigan are competing in the same boat, Zubek said it was a shame that he didn’t have the opportunity to coach both athletes together at Lyme-Old Lyme — Hack graduated

More

Lamont: ‘I Think They Took a Lot of the Guts Out of That Bill’

Legislative efforts to further regulate broadband internet as a utility fell flat out of fear that the new rules could make Connecticut the target of a lawsuit. But a less ambitious bill passed earlier this month will allow the state to create detailed maps of broadband infrastructure and establish a grant program for companies willing to expand into underserved areas. State Rep. David Arconti, D-Danbury, co-chair of the Energy and Technology Committee, said that federal rules prevented state lawmakers from creating stronger oversight on the state level.  “Companies were going to take it to court,” said Arconti.  The original bill

More

Wave of Teaching Hires Challenges Connecticut’s Job Market

Madison is hiring two new teachers for the fall. East Lyme needs two kindergarten teachers, two second grade teachers, a social worker and six paraeducators. Stonington plans to hire at least 20 teachers, tutors and interventionists. Region 4 and Guilford are hiring permanent substitutes. Old Saybrook is hiring temporary therapists, social workers and psychologists through outside agencies. Norwich schools are hiring 15 specialists, 35 summer school teachers and 14 paraeducators. But there’s a catch — many of these positions may last just one or two years.  The federal government has sent a wave of funding to local schools across the

More

Baby Bonds Bill Passed to Aid Savings for Low-income Families

Connecticut children born into low-income families are poised to receive a government-funded savings account that could provide them with as much as $10,600 by the time they turn 18.  The legislature approved the proposal on Wednesday as part of the general bonding bill, which still needs to be signed by the governor. Under the bill, $50 million will be directed toward providing accounts of $3,200 for about 15,600 children whose mothers are receiving insurance through HUSKY A, the state’s Medicaid program.  State Treasurer Shawn Wooden, who originally proposed the program, called its passage “historic.” “While Connecticut has the highest annual

More

Westbrook Schools Field Ideas for Federal Funding, Electives, ‘Wellness Rooms’

/

WESTBROOK — How should local schools spend $700,000 of federal grant money? Local residents have plenty of ideas, starting with air conditioning. According to school Superintendent Kristina Martineau, many of the 100 people responding to her request for feedback on spending the federal aid asked whether the money could be spent on air conditioning installation and HVAC improvements in the three school buildings. Martineau spoke to the Board of Education on Tuesday. While that was the most common request, Martineau said it certainly wasn’t the only one. Outdoor classrooms were also a popular suggestion. Others wanted to fund specific activities,

More

Westbrook Selectmen Form Committee to Study Building a New Community Center

WESTBROOK — On Tuesday, the Board of Selectmen discussed a survey commissioned by the town demonstrating support for building a new community center, still unresolved are questions regarding the cost of the project and the source of funding. In February, the Board of Selectman commissioned the consulting firm GreatBlue to survey residents for their views on a new community center. Out of a pool of 712 residents, 57 percent of surveyed expressed interest in the center, compared with 38 percent who said they weren’t interested. Residents over the age of 65 expressed the greatest support.  Courtney Burks, the director of

More

5 New Laws on Labor and the Workplace

The Connecticut General Assembly passed several laws during the 2021 regular session regulating labor and the workplace. Here are five: Wage disclosure and compensation Under An Act Concerning the Disclosure of Salary Range for a Vacant Position, employers are required to pay male and female workers equal pay for comparable rather than equal work. For the purposes of establishing a comparison for a case of wage discrimination, the standard is no longer performing the same duties, but instead two employees exercising a comparable level of “skill, effort, and responsibility” under “similar work conditions”  By law, effective Oct. 1, any difference

More

Clinton Schools Await State Guidance on Masks, Request Local Feedback on Spending

//

Clinton schools are looking for public feedback on its reopening plan for the fall and how to use $1.7 million of federal dollars the town is expected to receive under the American Rescue Plan Act. Every school district in Connecticut must create a “safe return to in-person instruction” plan to access federal funding. The town’s current plan is to drop the remote learning option, but continue with masks and social distancing, in accordance with current state guidelines.  At a Board of Education meeting on Monday, superintendent of schools Maryann O’Donnell said that the plan is still dependent on state guidance.

More

Bill to Phase Out PFAS Heads for Approval by Unanimous Vote

/

A type of man-made chemicals found in consumer packaging and firefighting foam will likely be phased out in the state of Connecticut because of their suspected negative effects on the environment and public health.  A bill that aims to end the use of firefighting foam and food packaging passed 146-0 in the State House of Representatives on Monday. The Senate is expected to approve the legislation before the end of session. PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a group of 4,700 chemicals that are found in cookware, firefighting foam and food packaging. The US Center for Disease Control has

More

Heat, Humidity, Masks Spur School Closures Across Connecticut

High temperatures and humidity led multiple Connecticut school districts, including Madison and Guilford, to call an early dismissal today. Superintendent Craig Cooke of Madison Public Schools said the decision to dismiss early in Madison probably would not have happened if the students did not have to wear masks.  “I think it’s more difficult certainly with the heat for students and staff in schools,” said Cooke. Currently, Madison has air conditioning at Daniel Hand High School, Brown Intermediate School and part of Polson Middle School. Neither of the two elementary school buildings are air conditioned. Cooke said they decided to dismiss

More

Pandemic Launches a Wave of Black-Owned Businesses

/

A team of economists in a recent analysis of eight states is reporting a surge in business registrations in the weeks after the public received federal stimulus payments. The increase was particularly dramatic in majority Black neighborhoods.  But Black business owners and people familiar with the Black business community in Connecticut say that furloughs and available funds weren’t the only factors that drove people to become entrepreneurs — in many cases, the new businesses were born out of a need to escape from the stress of the pandemic. Stephanie Aris, an ICU nurse at The Hospital of Central Connecticut, said

More

UConn to Require Vaccinations for Returning Students, Faculty and Staff an ‘Ongoing Discussion’

/

Students at the University of Connecticut will be required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine before returning to study in the fall. The university Board of Trustees voted unanimously on Friday to adopt a policy that Dr. Andrew Agwunobi, the interim president of the University of Connecticut and CEO of UConn Health, presented during the meeting.  Agwunobi said that students should get vaccinated before coming back to campus. If they cannot get vaccinated prior to the return, he said, the university will make vaccines available for them when they arrive on campus. He explained that changes in weather, variants and the

More

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Plan a Busy Summer of Upgrades, Future Sportsfield Lighting

LYME-OLD LYME — The local schools are planning a busy summer of upgrades to school buildings, with around a dozen projects slated for construction through the summer and early fall.  The projects include upgrades to sound systems, the construction of two outdoor classrooms, renovations to the playgrounds, a bonded study for future building upgrades and beginning construction on the new synthetic turf field, which is scheduled to be finished in September.   “These are a lot of great improvements for the district,” said Lyme-Old Lyme district Superintendent Ian Neviaser at a board of education meeting on Wednesday.  Lights on the turf

More

Short Notice Leaves Laid-Off Contact Tracers Scrambling, Up in Arms

At least 45 employees hired through a private firm to work as part of the state’s coronavirus response efforts were let go with less than 48 hours notice after the state determined that the employees’ positions were no longer necessary.  The workers were contracted by the San Diego-based healthcare corporation AMN, which the state paid over $23.7 million to provide Connecticut with a local workforce trained in contract tracing.  Maura Fitzgerald, a spokesperson for the Department of Public Health, said that 45 individuals were informed yesterday that they would be terminated effective Friday, and that they anticipate additional lay off

More

East Lyme Swears in Four New Police Officers

/

EAST LYME –The town’s Police Department swore in four new officers at a ceremony at Town Hall on Thursday morning. Two of the officers, Justin Hanna and John Baldino, transferred to the department after nearly three years in Old Saybrook. Hanna began working in East Lyme at the end of March, and Baldino started in early May.  Both said they were enjoying their work in East Lyme. Hanna praised the community and the department, and Chief of Police Mike Finkelstein said Baldino hadn’t stopped smiling since he joined. “It’s a breath of fresh air,” said Baldino.  The other two, Ryan

More

As Public Option Dies, No Clear Direction on Healthcare Costs

The death of the Democrats’ public option bill has left a large question mark around what the state legislature will do to address healthcare costs before the legislative session closes in a week.  The session started out with three distinct plans: a public option, which would have allowed small businesses to purchase insurance through the state, Gov. Ned Lamont’s $50 million tax on private insurers that would have gone toward subsidies for people who buy insurance on the state exchange, Access Health, and the Republicans’ proposal of reinsurance and benchmarking, which they say would drive down costs.  In March, State

More

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Drop Masks for the Fall

//

LYME-OLD LYME –The Lyme-Old Lyme School District has decided that it will not be requiring students to wear masks in the fall.  Superintendent Ian Neviaser said at a Board of Education meeting on Wednesday that this was part of a plan for in-person re-opening that the district would submit to the state by the end of the month. The plan is a requirement for districts in order to receive funds from the American Rescue Plan, the most recent — and largest —  grant allocations from the federal government.  Neviaser said that the district’s intention was to create a school year

More

Students Urge Committee to End Resource Officer Program in Middletown Schools

//

MIDDLETOWN — On Tuesday night, current students and recent graduates of Middletown High School voiced support for ending a program that places police officers in district schools. The public comment was part of a meeting of the Middletown School Resource Officer Exploratory Committee, which was formed in March to evaluate the role of officers in Middletown schools. The committee will advise the Board of Education on how to address the issue moving forward. The committee includes two board of education members, three school principals, two teachers, a social and emotional learning coordinator, four community members, three students, the youth service coordinator,

More

Lamont and Legislators Negotiate over Millions of Dollars of Educational Funding

Connecticut’s poorest school districts are anticipating millions of dollars of additional state funding directed toward creating a more equitable school system. It’s unclear how long they will have to wait. But the answer in part depends on the outcome of budget negotiations between the governor and the legislature over the next ten days. Gov. Ned Lamont has said that he would like to freeze funding increases to distressed school districts for two years — funding that was already negotiated — and use the money to balance the state budget. But legislative leaders say they want to continue to fund the

More

Pilot Program Pairs Willimantic Police with ECSU Interns

WILLIMANTIC — Ryan Kelly was on a ride-along with the Willimantic Police Department when he noticed a man on the sidewalk who appeared to be nodding off.  “I told the officer I was with… we doubled back,” he said. After discovering that the man had overdosed, they called an ambulance and he was revived with narcan. Kelly said it was one of the prouder moments of his internship.  Kelly is one of two recent graduates from Eastern Connecticut State University who participated in a pilot program that places undergraduate social work students in internships with the local police department. The

More
1 3 4 5 6 7 12