Texas Killings Renew Debate About Gun Laws, School Safety in Connecticut

HARTFORD – Amid the chorus of renewed anger and exasperation and calls for national action sparked by the mass shooting murder of schoolchildren in Texas, Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont was asked Wednesday why his own ambitious gun-violence bill failed to even be brought to a vote last month by a General Assembly dominated by his own party. “I was very disappointed that there was no mention of guns,” Lamont said at a State Capitol press conference held with lawmakers, advocates and relatives of victims of the 2012 killing of 20 students and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in

More

Green Party Candidate for Governor Not Intimidated by Big-Money Opponents

Michelle Bicking says she’s running for Governor under the Green Party of Connecticut not to gain power, but to spread it around.  A 45-year-old licensed clinical social worker who lives in Newington, Bicking was nominated last weekend at the party’s annual meeting in Hartford.  She is a native of the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood in Brooklyn, N.Y., has lived in Connecticut for about 13 years, and holds several undergraduate and master’s degrees, including in Public Administration, Social Work, and Spanish/Latin American studies. In an interview Thursday, Bicking said her focus both professionally and politically is helping people who are marginalized or excluded

More

Could Black Hall River Boat Launch Become ‘Central Park?’

OLD LYME – Concerns that reopening a kayak launch along the Black Hall River could turn the 3-acre site into “Central Park” were aired at a Monday meeting of the Open Space Commission that continued the spirited debate between several town boards over the fate of the property. “I don’t think it needs to be a park,” Commission co-chair Evan Griswold said after the board voted to pay for an environmental assessment of the site off Buttonball Road before any final decision is made on its future use. “It should be as natural as possible. There is some habitat there

More

Lamont Loss on Gun Bill Fuels Election Debate on Crime

HARTFORD – Gov. Ned Lamont came out swinging early in this election year when the state’s response to crime is expected to be a marquee campaign issue. “You’re not tough on crime if you’re weak on guns,” a steely-eyed Lamont repeated twice for emphasis at a State Capitol press conference in February, where he unveiled an extensive and highly-promoted $64 million package of what he called “gun safety” proposals. But in a matter of weeks, after an onslaught of criticism from a surprising coalition of opponents, it was clear that Lamont had picked the wrong fight at the wrong moment. 

More

Police Union Urges City to Cancel Sailfest, Mayor Says It Will Go On  

NEW LONDON – Saying it would be “a total disregard for public safety” to hold Sailfest in the face of short-staffing on the city’s police force, the officers’ union is calling for the event to be canceled. The 3-day July event typically attracts up to 300,000 people to the city, according to the union, and the force is not equipped to handle the associated traffic, crowd-control and rowdy or criminal behavior that occurs every year.  “The police department does not have the staffing to support an event of this size to ensure the safety of the public and its officers,”

More

Board Declares Black Hall River Launch Open to the Public Amid Debate Over Use, Control 

OLD LYME – Despite posted “No Trespassing” signs and a heated debate about the complex history and jurisdiction over town-owned open space that was formerly used as a boat launch along the Black Hall River, the head of the Harbor Management Commission said Tuesday that residents should feel free to use the property as of this moment. “To be clear, right now that is town property that is open to the public,” commission Chairman Chris Staab said of the Buttonball Road site during a Town Hall meeting. “If I went down there and sat on a stump, that’s the same

More

Rematch for Governor Begins as Lamont Nominated, Blasting Stefanowski 

HARTFORD – Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont admits he couldn’t resist tuning in to the Republicans’ nominating convention Friday night to see what his reelection rival Bob Stefanowski had to say about him. “He said what’s happened in the last four years?” Lamont told a crowd of nearly 2,000 delegates who nominated him by acclamation to run for a second term at Saturday’s Democratic Party convention, held at the Xfinity Theatre concert venue. “Let me tell you, Bob, what’s happened in the last four years.” Saying “this state was in trouble” when he was elected in 2018, the wealthy Greenwich businessman

More

Senate Approval Sends Juvenile Crime Bill to Lamont’s Desk 

/

HARTFORD – After airing what one lawmaker called “a crazy mix of opinions,” a near-unanimous State Senate vote Wednesday gave final legislative approval to a menu of stricter laws and expanded diversionary programs designed to address juvenile crime. But the contentious debate that preceded the 35-1 vote showed how deep divisions run when it comes to public safety and crime depending on one’s experience, political leanings, and street address.  “The perspective you have of crime generally as an individual is about what you see in your area,” said State Sen. Gary Winfield, D-New Haven, who recalled growing up with a

More

Connecticut General Assembly Approves Pay Raises for Itself, Other Top State Officials

HARTFORD – All 187 state legislators need a $12,000 pay raise to attract a more diverse membership than what one member called the “lawyers, independently rich people, retired people and adults living in their parent’s basement” that now dominate its ranks. “That’s what we’ve got here,” State Rep. Doug Dubitsky, R-Chaplin, said at the State Capitol before the full General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to approve a hike in legislators’ base pay from $28,000 to $40,000. “And that’s not truly representative of the people in our state.” Other legislators said they just flat out deserve their first raise in 21 years

More

House Easily Passes Juvenile Crime Bill But Divisions Apparent After Debate

/

HARTFORD – After hours of emotional debate over whether a get-tough policy or social intervention is the way to combat juvenile crime, an overwhelming 129-17 House of Representatives bipartisan majority on Thursday approved a bill that attempts to take both approaches to address crime by young people – especially car thefts. The bill now moves on to the Senate for a final vote before the legislative session ends next week.  It provides an array of measures such as stiffer penalties for repeat car thieves, creation of a car-theft task force and greater discretion for judges to order suspects to wear

More

At the Capitol, Juvenile Crime is in the Eye of the Party-holder 

//

HARTFORD – The State Capitol press conferences were held back-to-back, but the views of Democrats and Republicans on the level of juvenile crime in Connecticut and how to deal with it were worlds apart.  “I think this is a systemic problem,” Republican State Rep. Vincent Candelora of North Branford told reporters. “All you have to do is go on Facebook or walk out your front door and talk to your neighbors.” Minutes later, East Hartford Democrat State Rep. Jason Rojas gave the same group a completely different take.  “It doesn’t happen to the vast majority of people in our state,”

More

Ben Proto Sees Shifting Attitudes Paving the Way for GOP Success in November

As Connecticut Republican Party Chairman Ben Proto sees it, the recipe for success in this fall’s statewide elections is sitting right in front of the party’s candidates and voters looking for an alternative to the political menu long dominated by Democrats. Start with a heavy helping of buyer’s remorse over a historically unpopular Democratic President, Joe Biden, toss in economic inflation and pandemic fatigue and top it off with layers of frustration about parental choice, taxes and crime, Proto says, and voters just may have an appetite for a whole new plate of office holders.  “The act of voting is

More

Supreme Court Nomination Moves Forward After Misconduct Allegations Aired 

HARTFORD – A former state prosecutor nominated by Gov. Ned Lamont to fill an upcoming vacancy on the Connecticut Supreme Court was unanimously approved Monday by the legislature’s Judiciary Committee, after hearing allegations against her of impropriety during a murder trial. The nomination of Joan K. Alexander, a veteran Superior Court judge who has served on the state Appellate Court for the past two years, will now be put to a vote of the full General Assembly before the current legislative session ends May 6.  Lamont selected Alexander, 59, of Cromwell, to replace his first nominee, Justice Christine Keller, who

More

Sugar Kelp on the Menu as Underwater Harvest Underway 

OLD SAYBROOK – After finishing off a scallop dish with cucumber-kelp salad and a white chocolate custard dessert topped with candied kelp at Liv’s Oyster Bar Thursday evening, Jessica Hampton was ready to try the Shark Bait cocktail – also infused with the sea-cultivated vegetable. “Smells so refreshing,” she said before taking her first sip on the outdoor patio. “Like you’re at the shore.” It was the popular restaurant’s first night of serving kelp-inspired recipes during a New England Kelp Harvest Week promotion that runs through May 1, and coincides with the annual harvest.  Nearly 50 venues in Connecticut and

More

Mystery of the Disappearing Alewife Explored at Black Hall Pond 

/

OLD LYME – The deep water of Black Hall Pond this spring has become a laboratory where environmental officials are trying to revive a once-prolific species of bait fish that has suffered a mysterious and precipitous decline across the state in recent decades.  Known as the Alewife, the silvery, foot-long herring is a major draw for fisherman and predators such as striped bass and osprey, and once were so prolific that they choked adjoining streams with their numbers during migrations. One contributor to their decline here was a series of beaver dams that blocked their spawning route between Long Island

More

Talk of Conservative ‘Red Wave’ Not Rattling State Dem’s Party Head 

If there is a “red wave” rolling out across the nation as some suggest, the head of Connecticut’s Democratic Party says she doesn’t see it landing here during this fall’s statewide elections.   Instead, State Democratic Chairwoman Nancy DiNardo said she believes Connecticut voters will continue the state’s established track record of backing what she calls the moderate-to-progressive views of the party’s candidates. “I think Democrats have shown that they align themselves with the voters and that’s why we continue to elect Democrats in this state,” DiNardo said in an interview just three weeks before both parties hold their nominating conventions.

More

State Police Mum on Reported Trooper-Involved Shooting 

HEBRON – An investigation by CT Examiner supports allegations that a Connecticut State Police trooper fired several shots into the wheel of her cruiser to prevent it from being stolen by a suspect in a chaotic incident on Monday – an action that some troopers say endangered other officers and may have violated agency use-of-force policy. No mention of the shooting was made in the police report and a press release on the incident, and top agency officials did not respond to requests for comment on Thursday regarding the incident. Through other channels, CT Examiner has obtained police photographs from

More

Aid-in-Dying Bill Fails Again at State Capitol 

HARTFORD — More than a decade of frustration by supporters of aid-in-dying legislation in Connecticut will continue for at least another year after a Monday vote at the State Capitol that again rejected the proposal first floated 13 years ago.  By a mostly party-line vote of 5 to 4 by Senate members of the legislature’s Judiciary Committee, the latest version of the bill failed to advance to a debate of the full General Assembly, effectively defeating it.  The vote came despite public polling that shows nearly two-thirds of Connecticut residents would support allowing terminally-ill patients to end their life with

More

Access Rights, Littering and Low Tide Dominate Meeting on Boat Launch Proposal 

OLD LYME – Whether kayak and canoe access should be reopened at a dormant town-owned boat launch along the Black Hall River was debated Thursday at a joint meeting of three town boards with jurisdiction over the site.  No decisions were made at the hour-long meeting of the Board of Selectmen, the Harbor Management Commission and the Open Space Commission that was called after members of the harbor management board proposed reopening the launch off Buttonball Road. The proposal would involve installing a narrow wooden platform across a section of relatively high and dry salt marsh in order to reach

More

Proposal Would Open Paddlers’ Access to Dormant Launch on Black Hall River

OLD LYME – Returning public kayak and canoe access to a prime and long-dormant boat launch along the Black Hall River is being explored by the town Harbor Management Commission – a proposal the First Selectman says needs wider scrutiny.  The 3-acre property off Buttonball Road, abutting the Black Hall Club and a private home, was deeded by the state to the town in 2002 under a provision that it be used for recreational access to the river. It was sold to the state in 1958 by the McGowan family, which owned extensive property in the area including gravel pits,

More

‘We Need You Now More than Ever’: Short-Staffed State Police Graduate 53 New Troopers 

HARTFORD – Punishment for failing one of the countless uniform inspections at the state police training academy was for the recruit to run into the surf fully-clothed and then roll around on the beach until being completely covered with sand.  “The effect was known as a sugar cookie,” Trooper Trainee Cameron DeFeo told the crowd attending Thursday’s graduation at the State Armory of the most-recent class of 53, which selected him as their commencement speaker. “You stayed in that uniform the rest of the day – cold, wet and sandy.” The lesson of the discipline from their instructors, he said,

More

20 Firefighters Respond to Brush Fire in Lyme Threatening Nearby Horse Barn

LYME — A large brush fire on Tuesday afternoon near Hamburg Cove burned about six acres and stopped just short of a paddock and barn with two horses. Gusts approaching 40 mph whipped the blaze which may have been started by a sparking utility pole. No people or animals were injured, or structures damaged. The fire was reported on private property off Tinker Lane just after 12:30 p.m. A high fire-danger warning had been announced by the State earlier today. Lyme Second Asst. Fire Chief Sam Adams said the fire appeared to have been caused by a spark from a

More

New Tools to Address ‘Different Landscape’ of Child Sexual Abuse Debated at Capitol

HARTFORD – In Connecticut, it’s not necessarily a crime to be creepy. But when it comes to adults using the internet to entice children into sexualized behavior, a group of lawmakers thinks it should be.  Online sexual predators have become very adept at working around current abuse laws on the books, the lawmakers say, and two proposals to address the issue were aired Monday at a public hearing of the legislature’s Judiciary Committee.  “Having supervised sex-offender units for almost 20 years, many of these people know exactly what lines not to cross and we’ve left that line a little bit

More

State Police Misconduct Cases Spotlight Divergent Discipline, Staffing Issues

A rookie state police trooper caught stealing from a gun shop gets to keep his job, while eight recruits at the police academy who admitted trying to cheat on a test are fired just days before they were to graduate later this week, possibly ending their careers before they started. Details of these two highly-charged situations came to light late last week when state police released internal investigation reports on them, but whether the punishment handed down is equitable remains an open question.  And hanging over both incidents and the police response to them is a severe and growing understaffing

More

Fired State Police Recruit Admits Cheating, Says Many Others Escaped Punishment

One of eight state police recruits fired this week after an investigation concluded they cheated on a written exam says the group was unfairly singled out and that police Commissioner James Rovella’s statement that they did not immediately own up to the incident is not true.  The recruit told CT Examiner on Thursday that “about half” of the class of 61 recruits had improperly opened a digital link to the January test on motor-vehicle accident investigations, which the eight admitted they had also begun to work on before being authorized to do so.  “That was where I made my mistake

More

Armored Emergency Vehicle Gets Closer to West Haven 

A potential political minefield popped up Tuesday in West Haven’s two-year bid to secure an armor-plated military vehicle to use in disaster and shooting rescues, but some quick legislative steering put the vehicle back on track for its target destination at the town’s police department.  The planned free transfer to West Haven of a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle, or MRAP, now owned by Farmington police could have been derailed by a surprise amendment to related legislation that was introduced at a State Capitol meeting of the legislature’s Public Safety and Security Committee. Proposed by Stonington Republican committee member and

More

State Police Recruits Fired After Cheating Probe, Worsening Chronic Understaffing 

MERIDEN – Nine days before they were scheduled to graduate after six months of instruction at the State Police Training Academy, eight state police recruits have been fired for cheating on a written exam.  “This was a very unfortunate set of circumstances and allegations such as these are not taken lightly,” Colonel Stavros Mellekas, the agency’s top sworn officer, said in a statement. “From start to finish, we demand that our recruits maintain the integrity of the Connecticut State Police.” Part of a class of 62 scheduled to graduate March 24, the recruits were accused of cheating on a written

More

Lamont Gun-Law Proposal Sparks Opposition at Capitol Hearing

HARTFORD – Gov. Ned Lamont’s wide-ranging proposal to tighten Connecticut’s gun laws came under fire from an array of speakers at a legislative hearing Monday – led by Republicans opposed to the state’s 170,000 gun-permit holders being required to show the document to police even if they are not suspects in a crime.  State Police Commissioner James Rovella, who presented the package on Lamont’s behalf, was questioned for more than two hours by members of the Judiciary Committee.  The permit issue produced several contentious exchanges with Rovella, as did a proposed ban on carrying firearms in voting locations, state and

More

Wanted in West Haven: Free Bulletproof Rescue Vehicle

It’s an intimidating, armor-plated military vehicle called an MRAP, which stands for Mine Resistant Ambush Protected. And if the General Assembly approves, one could be coming to the streets of West Haven and other area towns.  “Whether it is for a natural disaster or an active shooter, the main role this vehicle will play is the saving of human life,” West Haven Republican State Rep. Charlie Ferraro testified Thursday before the legislature’s Public Safety and Security Committee. “Having this vehicle in the police department’s fleet will be an enormous asset to provide for the safety and security of the residents

More

Broken Headlights, Racial Disparities Focus of Hearing on Police Accountability Law

HARTFORD – A debate over whether a part of the police-accountability law passed in 2020 is an effective tool in reducing racial disparities in law enforcement or is stifling the ability of police to do their job dominated a State Capitol public hearing Wednesday.  Much of the discussion before the legislature’s Judiciary Committee focused on newly-proposed changes to the law that would prohibit police from stopping drivers for “low-level” equipment violations such as broken headlights, improperly displayed license plates and having window tinting darker than state regulations allow. The changes were included in a recently published report by the Police

More
1 2 3 4