Police and Firefighter Partnership in New London Clears Cases at Triple the National Average

NEW LONDON – The idea was sparked during the summer of 2020 by the need to respond to a significant number of cars that were deliberately set on fire and left to burn on the city streets. Given the challenges to making arrests and securing convictions for arson cases, Fire Marshal Vern Skau decided he needed to find a more efficient way to handle the investigations. Instead of calling in whichever police officer was available at the time of a suspicious fire — the department’s routine response — Skau formed a dedicated team of fire inspectors and police officers to

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Port Authority Offers Upbeat Message on Costs and Delays for State Pier Development

NEW LONDON — A nine month wait for a federal dredging permit hasn’t raised the cost of filling seven acres at State Pier, and the redevelopment is still slated to fit within a $235 million price tag, according to officials at the Connecticut Port Authority. The delay means that the bulk of the dredging work for the offshore wind hub – a partnership of Eversource and Ørsted – will be pushed off until next winter. But Port Authority Board Chair David Kooris said the permit did arrive in time to start work before a Feb. 1 deadline to cease dredging

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Connecticut Port Authority Secures Key Army Corps Permit for State Pier

NEW LONDON – The Connecticut Port Authority received a permit to fill about 7 acres of water between the two piers in New London on Thursday – a key, long-awaited piece of the $235 million redevelopment of the State Pier into an offshore wind hub. The Connecticut Port Authority had been expecting the Army Corps of Engineers permit to be issued for months. The authority had agreed to a provision in its contract with the Eversource/Ørsted offshore wind partnership that would have allowed the companies to withdraw their funding for the project if the permit wasn’t in hand by Aug.

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Phone App Debuts Free Door-to-Door Transit For Stops in New London

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NEW LONDON — The new NL SmartRide app worked well on Friday afternoon when CT Examiner booked a ride from Bank St. to the Shain Library at Connecticut College. It took about 5 minutes for the minibus to show up after the ride was confirmed and about 10 minutes to reach the destination.   As an experiment, Mayor Mike Passero booked a ride from City Hall to the Shain Library at the same time as CT Examiner. The idea was to see who would get to the library first and whether the app’s algorithm would instruct a driver to pick up parties

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State Pier Complaint Dismissed by Superior Court

A local road salt distributor’s attempt to reverse a state permit for the redevelopment of the New London State Pier was dismissed by a Superior Court judge on Wednesday. New Britain Superior Court Judge John Cordani ruled that DRVN did not have standing to bring its appeal against the Connecticut Port Authority’s permit to fill about 7 acres of water between the two New London piers as part of its development into an offshore wind hub. DRVN argued that DEEP issuing the permit to the port authority led to State Pier being closed, which erased the company’s ability to import

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Salt Business Challenges Port Authority and DEEP in Court Over State Pier Permit

Deciding who is entitled to use the New London State Pier emerged as a key question in a local salt distributor’s ongoing appeal of a state permit needed for the pier’s redevelopment. Attorneys for the Connecticut Port Authority and Department of Energy and Environmental Protection argued during a virtual hearing on Monday that Superior Court Judge John Cordani should dismiss road salt distributor DRVN’s appeal – which seeks to overturn a permit DEEP approved in August that would allow the port authority to fill about seven acres between the two existing piers as part of its redevelopment into an offshore

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New London Police Chief Moves on From Allegations

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NEW LONDON – Back on the job after being cleared of misconduct allegations by one of his own men, police Chief Brian Wright says his only focus is moving the department, and himself, past the turbulence that marked his roller-coaster initial weeks as the city’s first Black chief.  Saying he was “ecstatic” to be back on duty, Wright spoke to CT Examiner on Monday while still settling back into his office after a six-week absence.  “It was difficult, and there was a lot of emotion involved in it,” Wright said of being the subject of a sexual-harassment and retaliation complaint

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Chief Brian Wright Returns to Head the New London Police Department

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NEW LONDON – Police Chief Brian Wright returned to his job today after an investigation cleared him of a sexual harassment and “retaliation” complaint filed the day he was suspended on Oct. 6, Mayor Michael Passero said in a brief press release. According to the release, the complaint against Wright, the city’s first Black police chief who was suspended after only three months on the job, stemmed from when he was still a captain, and was involved in performing internal investigations that led to discipline against officers. “The independent investigation into the complaint and allegations made against the Chief of

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Public Asks for Details on Community Center, 2nd Forum Tonight in New London

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NEW LONDON — Residents raised a variety of questions and concerns about conceptual plans for a 62,000-square-foot, $30 million community recreation center slated for the Fort Trumbull neighborhood, at the first of two public forums Tuesday night.  The forum was held at the Multi-Magnet Secondary School lecture hall at New London High School. A second public forum will be held tonight at 6 p.m. in the same location.  The conversation about building a rec center is decades long, but in February the City Council moved forward on a plan that includes $22 million in construction costs and $8 million in

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New Union President Talks New Direction, Move Forward for New London Police

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NEW LONDON – Coming amid a notably rancorous time for the city’s police department, Sgt. Josh Bergeson and others who spoke to CT Examiner on Monday said his election as president of the officers’ union signals a desire in the force for a change of direction and approach from previous union leadership. The 37-year-old Bergeson said one of his immediate goals is to move the department past the fallout over a recent flurry of lawsuits and internal accusations alleging gender and racial discrimination by a small group of supervisors, as well as the still-cloudy suspension last month of the city’s

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Law Enforcement Veteran Steps into Leadership Role for New London

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NEW LONDON – He’s been in the city barely a month, temporarily overseeing a police department in recent turmoil, but law enforcement veteran Neville Brooks is already familiar enough to the morning regulars at a downtown café to draw some friendly ribbing when he stops in for coffee.  “Hey, where’d you get that hat?” teases one man sitting next to the front door of Muddy Waters Café on Tuesday, seconds after the impeccably-dressed Brooks walks in wearing his signature stylish brim.  “You ain’t from around here are ya’?” wryly chimes in another man at a nearby table as Brooks chuckles

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New London Longshoremen Say State Pier Labor Agreement Shuts Union Out of Work

NEW LONDON — When materials for the redevelopment of State Pier came into port from overseas, the longshoremen from the International Longshoremen’s Association Local 1411 who have worked the harbor since the 1930s weren’t included in a labor agreement to unload the cargo. On Saturday, a group of local longshoremen — many out of work for more than a year — gathered to protest being passed over for work.  Peter Olsen, the financial secretary and former president of Local 1411, said the longshoremen feel pushed out since the pier closed for redevelopment in spring 2020.  But according to Teresa Shada,

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Harassment Case Leads to Demotion in New London Police Department

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NEW LONDON – A police lieutenant accused of harassing and discriminating against a female detective who sued him has been demoted to sergeant for a year and warned that any further discipline will cost him his rank permanently.  Lt. Jeffrey Kalolo was demoted late last week after an investigation determined that “discipline is warranted for your misconduct and to effectuate future change in your professional conduct and performance going forward,” city Chief Administrative Officer and former state police Trooper Steven Fields wrote in an Oct. 28 disciplinary letter to Kalolo obtained by CT Examiner under a Freedom of Information Act

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State Pier Wind Project Seeks Second Deadline Extension

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NEW LONDON — On Friday, the Connecticut Port Authority missed its extended contractual deadline to have federal permits in hand for the redevelopment of State Pier in New London. A clause in the agreement between the port authority and the offshore wind  partnership of Eversource and Ørsted allows the companies to pull back a portion of their $75 million contribution to the $235 million redevelopment project, if permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are delayed. Justin May, spokesman for the partnership, said there are no ongoing negotiations between Ørsted – Eversource and the state that would be affected

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Lawsuit By Officer Alleges Pattern of Harassment in New London’s Police Department

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NEW LONDON – Threatening sticky notes left on the car of officer and State Rep. Anthony Nolan in the department’s parking lot started appearing in mid-September, soon after Nolan wrote a letter to the mayor and the newly-appointed police chief urging them to act on a gender-discrimination and sexual-harassment complaint by a female detective against two senior male officers. “Who’s gonna watch your back?” warned one of several notes left on his windshield or side-view mirror, Nolan recalled. “Be a cop not a politician,” Nolan said another read.  Nolan said the female detective’s frustration at the lack of action on

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Amidst Criticism and Funding Cuts, State Board Continues Investigation of Port Authority

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The State Contracting Standards Board has struggled under budget constraints to adjust to its newly-defined authority over the Connecticut Port Authority – but members of the board are pushing back against criticism that they don’t need to exist, and are defending the importance of their role in reviewing how state contracts are awarded. At a Sept. 21 Connecticut Port Authority Finance Committee meeting, Jeff Beckham, a member of the port authority board, said that the contracting standards board was “looking for a reason to exist” by renewing its investigation into the port authority, and said that members of that board

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Police Chief’s Suspension Reignites Issues of Racial Fairness in New London

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NEW LONDON – The abrupt suspension this week of the city’s recently-appointed first Black police chief has inflamed long-simmering tension and debate within the ranks and the city over racial fairness and the overall morale of the department.  Less than three months after his July appointment, Chief Brian Wright on Wednesday was placed on paid administrative leave following a complaint made against him that day that originated from within the department, which has about 70 officers.   Mayor Michael Passero, who issued the suspension, would not comment Friday on the nature of the complaint, but said in a statement that he

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Port Authority Chair Throws Cold Water on Speculation Regarding Quick Departure

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Connecticut Port Authority Board Chair David Kooris told CT Examiner he is not resigning from the board any time soon, despite comments he made at a recent meeting that drove speculation he was setting the table for his departure. “On the one hand, yeah I’ve been planning since I took the position as a volunteer two years ago that at some point I would leave, sure,” Kooris told CT Examiner by phone on Wednesday. “But the more important point is, I’m not resigning. There’s nothing imminent. I haven’t announced or selected a date. This is all a bizarre extrapolation from

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COVID Cases Spike at Conn College, But Without Hospitalizations

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NEW LONDON — Connecticut College reported that 169 of its students tested positive for COVID-19 last week, after several gatherings in crowded spaces that led to a “chain reaction” of viral spread, according to epidemiologists from the Department of Public Health.   The number represents the highest cases reported in a single week at Connecticut College since the college began regularly testing students for COVID-19 in August of 2020. The students are tested twice weekly.  Victor Arcelus, dean of students at the college, said in a message to the community on Saturday that the college was starting to show a downward

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Hamstrung Contract Standards Board Turns Spotlight on Suspected Port Authority Wrongdoing

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Using new powers granted by Connecticut lawmakers, the State Contract Standards Board will ask the Connecticut Port Authority for unredacted copies of contracts related to its controversial redevelopment of the New London State Pier into a hub for offshore wind energy. Contract Standards Board Executive Director David Guay said at a meeting on Friday that his agency intends to request contracts, memoranda of understanding, and requests for proposals relating to the redevelopment, including an unredacted copy of the agreement with Gateway New London to operate the pier.  Board member Lauren Gauthier said the Standards Board intends to request communications related

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State Pier Wins DEEP Approval for Wind Energy Hub in New London

Over objections from a road salt distributor pushed off the New London State Pier, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection approved a permit for the Connecticut Port Authority to fill the area around the pier as part of its redevelopment into a hub for offshore wind construction. DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes issued a final decision on Tuesday approving the port authority’s permit to fill about seven cubic acres between the two existing piers to facilitate the pier’s redevelopment. Dykes ruled the port authority’s application was complete, despite claims from the salt distributor DRVN that it was not. DRVN,

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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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Salt Business Makes its Case Wednesday for Blocking State Pier Dredging

The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection held a hearing on objections by DRVN, a road salt business being forced off State Pier, regarding a proposed dredging permit for the Connecticut Port Authority – one of the last approvals needed for the proposed $235 million wind project to move forward. Attorney Keith Anthony presented the case for DRVN, based largely on a notice of insufficiency by the department outlining what elements were still missing from the port authority permit application.  In that notice, the port authority was asked to provide information on “water-dependent” users of the port, asking whether they

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New Clause in State Pier Agreement Offers Out for Eversource and Ørsted

If permit approvals or the final $50 million of bonding for State Pier development are delayed much longer, the partnership of Eversource and Ørsted could take back millions of dollars pledged for the project based on a recent change to the development agreement with the Connecticut Port Authority. An amendment added to the harbor development agreement between Eversource-Ørsted and the Connecticut Port Authority on June 29 allows the partnership to take back whatever portion of $55 million that it contributed to the project, but has not yet been spent, if a series of conditions aren’t met by Aug. 31.  Those

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The Docks Is Open to Renters, More Buildings to Come

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NEW LONDON — Officials and well-wishers enjoyed the harbor view from the sunny fourth floor deck of The Docks, a new 137-unit building at 500 Bank St., before stepping indoors for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of construction on Thursday.  On the deck, pre-ceremony, Jason Kambitsis, senior vice president of acquisitions and development for AR Building Co. of Pittsburgh, which developed the building, said there had been many concepts for the 2.5-acre site formerly known as Perkins Green.  “Since we’ve been working on this, there were myriad ideas that happened on this property before, but we’ve always looked

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Salt Business Files Objection to State Pier Permitting

The owner of a road salt distributor forced off of the New London State Pier to make way for offshore wind developers filed an objection with the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, to permit approvals failing to accommodate his business. Steve Farrelly, owner of the road salt distributor DRVN, which has rented about 3.5 acres on the pier since 2014, said in a formal objection filed with the department that he had been given to understand that existing tenants on the pier would be able to stay through the redevelopment and beyond. Instead, DRVN was told to leave or

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Cultured Studios Opens Shades of Melanin in New London

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NEW LONDON — Artist Kern Bruce began painting a mural at the pop-up show, “Shades of Melanin,” at Cultured Studios Friday night.  “Over time the mural is going to grow and I’m going to be incorporating people that are in the gallery tonight writing different messages about what they’re grateful for and people that they’ve lost,” he said. “So, it’s a living, breathing testimony of life, purpose and perseverance despite the odds.  Bruce, 38, who was born in Trinidad and Tobago, said he wanted to make a piece in honor of Black history month and Women’s history month, which were

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As State Pier Costs Come in High of Estimates, Lawmakers ask ‘How High?’

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The Connecticut State Bond Commission approved an additional $55 million for the New London State Pier redevelopment project on Friday – which officials said is now estimated to cost a total of $235.5 million. The costs for controversial plans to redevelop the State Pier into a staging ground for planned offshore wind projects – touted by state officials but facing local opposition, particularly from businesses that use the pier – were originally pegged at $93 million.  The price was later estimated to be about $157 million, before Gov. Ned Lamont told The Day editorial board in January that the costs

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Painter Richard McDonough in New London

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NEW LONDON — Grids, patterns and the color pink are a few of the themes that artist Richard McDonough explores in his solo show, “Two Turloughs,” at the Catherine Fosnot Gallery.  McDonough, who is 25 and lives in Brooklyn, N.Y., is a painter who likes to construct objects, whether as sculpture or as surfaces to paint on — and to him, they are on a continuum.   Near the window of the first gallery is his tall, skinny, house-like sculpture, “Choir House and Choir Singers,” with a prominent wooden grid visible on the back surface. Around a corner, “Boys Toys,” a

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