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

Cautious Steps to Re-Opening the Arts with Advice From Yale School of Public Health

How do you practice social distancing in a dance studio? Look at the way birds fly, always in tandem, but never colliding.  It’s one of many suggestions that Dr. Sten Vermund of the Yale School of Public Health has been giving to theaters, museums and other arts venues that want to find a balance between keeping visitors safe and getting back to business.  The Yale School of Public Health partnered with Shoreline Arts Alliance in March 2020 to advise businesses on the best ways to navigate the myriad and ever-changing public health regulations over the course of the pandemic. The

More

Legislature Delays Decision on Education Funding, Millions for Norwich and New London

HARTFORD — A proposal that would have sent millions of dollars to some public schools beginning next year through a change in state funding meant to further equity between Connecticut school districts has been postponed for further study.  It’s a proposal that would have given $6.2 million to Middletown, $9.4 million to New London and $9.7 million to Norwich next year alone according to the nonprofit School and State Finance Project. Proponents argued in a public hearing in March that this would bring needed dollars to the districts sooner rather than later.  “More than ever, communities require greater resources to

More

Madison Debates Four-part $85 Million School Project

/

MADISON — School Superintendent Craig Cooke presented plans for an $85 million building project for the school district that will go to the town in a referendum in late 2021 or early 2022.  The project includes four parts: constructing a new pre-kindergarten to fifth grade elementary school, closing Jeffrey and Ryerson Elementary Schools and the Town Campus Learning Center, converting Brown Intermediate School into a kindergarten to fifth grade school and renovating Polson Middle School. Completion of the project is aimed for 2025.  Cooke said in a presentation to the Board of Education on Tuesday night that the disctrict expected

More

Seniority Prioritized in New Hiring Rules Approved by the State Senate

Businesses that laid off workers during the pandemic may soon be required to prioritize senior employees when they begin hiring again, according to a bill approved by the State Senate on Tuesday. The bill was approved 19-15 on party lines, with the exception of State Sen. Christine Cohen, D-Guilford, who opposed the bill.  Under the bill, workers who are laid off from a job between March 10, 2020 and December 31, 2024 for reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic have to be given priority when a business is rehiring. These workers must have worked for the business for at least

More

Police Commission Votes to Take No Action On Turnover Allegations

The Old Saybrook Police Commission voted on Monday 5-2 to take no action on Chief Michael Spera’s report on employee turnover.  The report is a 144-page document that includes exit interviews and responses from two exercises in which Spera asked current officers and dispatchers how the department could attract and retain employees.  In January, the Board of Selectmen asked Spera to provide this information in an effort to better understand why officers were leaving the department at a relatively high rate.  Commissioner Alfred “Chub” Wilcox and Commissioner Renee Shippee, the two dissenting votes, said that they wanted to speak further

More

Old Saybrook Police Commission to Meet Tonight on Staffing, Benefits

OLD SAYBROOK — Chief of Police Michael Spera is expected to ask the town’s Police Commission to increase pay and benefits for tenured police officers after a recent report on employee turnover indicated that benefits may be a reason that the department is losing officers.  Spera compiled the report at the request of the Board of Selectmen in an effort to better understand why officers were leaving the department at a relatively high rate. In January, the board counted 32 police officers who have left the department since 2009, the year Spera became chief of police. An additional two left

More

More Joy — Less Catch-up — Experts Counsel Local Schools

Invest in joy — that’s the message experts in education want local school districts to embrace as they debate how to use millions of dollars in additional federal funding over the next three years.  Sandra Chafouleas, a professor at UConn’s Neag School of Education and co-director of the UConn Collaboratory on School and Child Health (CSCH), said that all schools need to make learning joyful and emphasize relationships, flexibility and a focus on the whole child.  Most importantly, Chafouleas said, schools needed to invest in building teacher-student relationships. She said that just one teacher could make an enormous difference in

More

School Officials Draw Line Between School Curriculum and Local Activist Preacher

LYME-OLD LYME — After parent complaints and comments by school Superintendent Ian Neviaser were the subject of news coverage on Wednesday, Board of Education Chair Diane Linderman sent an email to local elected school officials on Friday warning board members against speaking with the press. “As per Board policy 1112.2, the Board Chair is the official spokesperson for the Board and the Superintendent is the official spokesperson for the district. If there is an issue that you feel needs to be addressed in the media, you need to contact me or Ian and an official statement/press release will be drafted

More

Claims Spark Complaints from Parents, Sharp Denials from Lyme-Old Lyme Superintendent

LYME-OLD LYME — Claims by Rev. Steve Jungkeit in a number of recent press stories have sparked complaints from local parents, and sharp denials by school Superintendent Ian Neviaser.  In a profile, Jungkeit told The Day that he was collaborating with the district on an “educational initiative” to “teach the history of racism and slavery in the area.” Weeks earlier in a news story published by the Middletown Press, he made similar claims.  In response to a query, Neviaser replied, “No. It is not correct. We have no association with Mr. Jungkeit.” One member of the Lyme-Old Lyme Board of

More

Clinton School Plans Expansion of Special Education and Mental Health Services

/

CLINTON — The town is making plans to strengthen its mental health and special education services at the Morgan School in response to an increase in student need for support.  At a Board of Education meeting on Monday, Superintendent Maryann O’Donnell said that the partnership with the Wheeler Clinic, a community health center that also runs a program for school districts, would allow the district to strengthen the special services program they already offer at the high school rather than having to place students in programs outside the district.  “If we don’t take this step, there’s a likelihood that we’re

More

Trustees Name Agwunobi Interim UConn President

Current CEO of UConn Health Dr. Andrew Agwunobi has been chosen as the interim president of the University of Connecticut.  Agwunobi, who has been in his position at UConn Health since 2014, will replace former president Thomas Katsouleas, whose resignation was announced last week.  The Board of Trustees approved Agwunobi’s selection unanimously on Wednesday, making him the first president of color in the University’s history. He will begin his new role on July 1.  At a meeting on Wednesday, Board Chair Dan Toscano called Agwunobi “an absolute masterclass in leadership,” adding that he had increased revenues at UConn Health by

More

Arts Alliance, Yale School of Public Health to Host Thursday Webinar for Arts Venues

The Shoreline Arts Alliance is partnering with the Yale School of Public Health to offer a webinar for arts venues that are preparing to reopen post-COVID.  The webinar, which will take place on Thursday, May 20 at 1 p.m., will focus on the public health safety measures that venues can take to make staff and patrons feel comfortable about returning.  Recent changes in regulations have made questions about public health even more relevant. Gov. Ned Lamont is relaxing all restrictions on businesses beginning on Wednesday, with the exception of mask-wearing for non-vaccinated individuals. Last week, the CDC said that vaccinated

More

Appropriations Offers Spending Plan for $2.8 Billion of Federal Aid

The state legislature’s Appropriations Committee presented its plan to divvy up more than $2.8 billion in federal relief funding, the third in a series of proposals for bolstering Connecticut’s economy and supporting people who are continuing to struggle with the consequences of the pandemic.  Gov. Ned Lamont laid out his spending priorities for the funds at the end of last month, and last week, Republican lawmakers presented their own ideas about where to invest these funds. The money has been directed to the state through the federal American Rescue Plan Act signed into law in March.  While the committee’s proposal

More

Lamont Proposal Would Raise the Bar for Broadband — and Customer Rates?

Gov. Ned Lamont is proposing to give the state regulators greater control over broadband internet providers to further his administration’s goal of ensuring universal access to high-speed internet by 2027. Under this proposal the state’s Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, or PURA, would have oversight over the handling of consumer complaints, could order expansions of infrastructure, and regulate the general operation of the providers, which in Connecticut include Xfinity and Frontier. Unlike with other utilities regulated by PURA, however, like electricity or water, federal law does not allow states to regulate the cost of broadband — meaning that any additional investments

More

Schools Across the Region Outline Varying Ideas for Spending Federal Dollars

//////////

School districts across southeastern Connecticut are in the process of drawing up plans for how they intend to spend millions of dollars of federal funding that will be available over the next two years. The money comes in the form of two anticipated grants, known as ESSER II and the American Rescue Plan.  The proposals include a variety of projects, from outdoor classrooms to bilingual therapists, summer enrichment and chromebooks.  Here is a rundown, district by district:  Lyme-Old Lyme Ian Neviaser, superintendent at Lyme-Old Lyme schools, said the district won’t be using the combined $1.48 million in federal aid for

More

State Republicans Pitch Infrastructure and One-Time Investments in Plan for Federal Dollars

In a press conference in Hartford on Tuesday morning, Republican lawmakers announced an alternative to the Governor’s proposal to spend the nearly $2.8 billion that Connecticut will receive from the federal government.  State Rep. Michael France, R-Ledyard, said the Republicans want to focus on one-time investments rather than programs that will require continued funding after the federal money runs out.  “We saw too much of paying for recurring expenses, which creates too much of a cliff,” France said of the Governor’s plan.  The Republicans proposed infrastructure investments, including $15 million for domestic violence shelters and homeless centers, $5 million for

More

Link Between Oversight and Patient Safety Lacking in Yale Report, as Lamont Negotiates to Avoid Strike

The ten nursing homes in Connecticut reporting the highest number of deaths from COVID-19 received no fines or citations from the Department of Public Health, according to a report issued today by Yale Law School’s Worker and Immigrant Rights Advocacy Clinic and the SEIU District 1199 NE union.  The report found that the 34 fines the department did issue for COVID-19 violations between March 2020 and February 2021 bore no relation to the number of deaths in any particular nursing home.  The authors of the report also found no evidence that any citations or fines were levied against an additional

More

Shoreline Schools Plan Language Learning Partnership

Several school districts along the shoreline are discussing a potential partnership to offer world languages courses in a remote learning form to students across the region.  Ian Neviaser, superintendent of Lyme-Old Lyme Schools, said at a board of education meeting yesterday that the districts wanted to take advantage of the remote learning capabilities they had acquired through the pandemic and use it to offer remote classes to students throughout the region. “Obviously from everything you try to take a little bit away from it and learn from those experiences,” Neviaser said. “One of the things we think we can benefit

More

Senate Votes to Change Count of Prisoners for Legislative Redistricting

The State Senate approved a bill on Wednesday 35 to 1 that will change the way that incarcerated individuals are counted when determining state legislative districts.  Using the current formula, Connecticut counts prisoners in the district where they are incarcerated. The bill will change this practice so that prisoners are instead counted in their last place of residence before being incarcerated.  This bill is particularly timely as the state prepares to redraw its legislative districts this year. The next time the districts will be redrawn is in 2031.  Individuals who are serving a life sentence in the prisons will be

More

Democrats Announce Intention to Extend Executive Orders — For How Long, is the Question

House Democrats announced on Tuesday that they expected to vote to extend Gov. Ned Lamont’s executive orders beyond the current expiration date of May 20.  “The Governor, relating to COVID, whether it’s around testing, vaccination, things like that — even beyond May 20, will need some flexibility,” said State Rep. Matt Ritter, D-Hartford, in a press conference on Tuesday.  On Monday, Lamont said that Paul Mounds, his chief of staff, and Nora Dannehy, his general counsel, had reviewed executive orders still in effect to determine which would need to be extended after May 20 for public health reasons.  “There is

More

Budget Outlook Brightens for UConn as Plans for $70 Million Hockey Arena Advance

The University of Connecticut is directing $5.5 million of its operating funds toward paying for the construction of a new hockey arena. The decision comes in the context of cuts to the university’s athletic programs and an operating budget that remains $12.6 million in the red, but with a significantly brighter funding outlook for the university in the legislature. The total cost of the ice hockey arena is expected to reach $70 million — with the university contributing $17 million of that amount. Last June, the university cut the annual budget for athletics by $10 million — a 15 percent

More

Woodson Weighs in on Gun Violence, Supporting Solutions Within the Community

Robert Woodson, a civil rights activist, MacArthur “genius” grant recipient and founder of national nonprofit the Woodson Center, says that the problems a community faces — violence, need for housing, financial illiteracy — have to be solved by members of the same community.  “The solutions are in the same zip code as the problem, but we’re not investing there,” he said.  The Woodson Center provides funding to community leaders who have already spent time making themselves available to the community, but don’t have the resources to do their work on a larger scale.  Woodson’s idea of investing in grassroots organizations

More

Mobile Clinics Organized to Vaccinate Farm Workers for COVID-19

/

Connecticut farms will have the opportunity to host mobile clinics for farm workers who want to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, according to a press release by the Department of Agriculture.   The program is being run through a partnership between the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Public Health and the Department of Labor. Joan Nichols, executive director of the Connecticut Farm Bureau Association, said she had received phone calls from farms asking if there was a way they could get their workers vaccinated on-site.  Nichols said that some of the associations’ member farms will host between 200 and 400 seasonal

More

Staffing a Hurdle as Lamont Proposes Expanded Childcare and Early Education

Expanding access to early education and childcare is a linchpin of Gov. Ned Lamont’s plan to shore up the state economy using federal aid dollars, but advocates on the issue say that a longer-term approach will be needed to address statewide shortages of workers and affordable childcare — problems that predate the pandemic.  Merrill Gay, executive director of the Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance, says he supports a legislative proposal that would provide student loan forgiveness for individuals who have spent four years working in childcare and a tax credit of between $500 and $1,500 for individuals who work in childcare

More

Old Saybrook Police Commission Discusses Private Donations, Off-budget Accounts

OLD SAYBROOK — The town’s police commissioners raised concerns at a meeting on Monday about the Old Saybrook Police Department’s policies governing private donations and off-budget accounts.  Police Commissioner Alfred “Chubb” Wilcox asked that the commission form a subcommittee to speak with the finance director, First Selectman Carl Fortuna, Chief Michael Spera, the union and other communities, to better understand the donations to the department.  Wilcox questioned whether the police department should accept cash donations, and said that donations that came with requirements or “strings attached” should need commission approval.  Spera said that prohibiting cash donations to the department would

More

As Vaccination Rates Sag, Connecticut Opens No-Appointment Walk-in Clinics

Vaccination clinics across the state are allowing people to receive vaccinations without having an appointment, according to an announcement from Gov. Ned Lamont on Monday.  In Middlesex and New London Counties, vaccine clinics offering walk-in appointments include  The Yale New Haven Health Clinic at Mitchell College in New London Greenville Drug Store in Norwich The Yale New Haven Health Clinic at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville The Middlesex Health Shoreline Medical Center in Westbrook The Community Health Center Clinic at Wesleyan University in Middletown Cross Street AME Zion Church in Middletown  Middletown Housing Authority locations at Maplewood Terrace and Traverse Square

More

Lamont Lays Out Spending Priorities for $900 Million of Federal Aid

/

Gov. Ned Lamont presented a plan today to direct federal American Rescue Plan Act dollars to increase spending on early childcare, provide premium pay for “frontline” public-sector workers and funding for economic recovery grants.  The state has received $2.6 billion in direct funds through the American Rescue Plan Act. In February, Lamont announced a state budget using $1.75 billion of those funds. Today, Office of Policy and Management Secretary Melissa McCaw outlined the governor’s priorities for the remaining $900 million, which she said would not be used to add to the budget, but would instead be spent on programs spanning

More
1 6 7 8 9 10 14