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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Lamont, Courtney Highlight Economic Development in New London

NEW LONDON — Gov. Ned Lamont and Rep. Joe Courtney shared their economic optimism for southeastern Connecticut at a press conference in New London on Wednesday morning. Courtney offered details of President Joe Biden’s newly announced plan to aid the offshore wind industry with low interest loans and expedited federal approval. The Connecticut Port Authority, in cooperation with Eversource and Ørsted, has begun redeveloping State Pier in New London to support the installation offshore wind turbines. “What we’re talking about here is a multigenerational change in terms of how America is going to power its economy and New London is

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New London Keeps Positive, Draws Closer, Through Pandemic

NEW LONDON — Although restrictions are lifting and the vaccine rollout is underway, New London’s small business owners say their revenues remain far below what they saw before the pandemic began.  Rod Cornish, owner of Hot Rod Cafe on Bank Street, said he’s taken advantage of any opportunity to bring funding into the restaurant. He was able to obtain PPP grants, an SBA loan and a grant of about $1,300 from the City of New London.  “If I’m eligible, I will absolutely apply for anything,” he said. “We’re literally down 50 percent.”  Jake Johnson, owner of Jake’s Diner on State

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New London Wins 10-Year Commitment For Northeast Offshore Deal on State Pier

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HARTFORD — State officials announced today the signing of a Host City Agreement between New London and a joint venture of Ørsted and Eversource that includes a 10-year commitment paying the city an average of at least $1 million each year during offshore wind operations at State Pier. “Today’s agreement makes Connecticut’s role as a leader in the offshore wind industry official, with New London now poised to become the premier commercial east coast hub for this sector and our state set to become a leader in the transition to renewable energy and the fight against climate change,” Gov. Ned Lamont

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Amtrak Settles ADA Claims For Stations in Connecticut and Rhode Island

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Amtrak riders with disabilities may qualify in certain cases for monetary damages after the passenger rail service settled claims that dozens of stations across the country, including stations in Connecticut and Rhode Island, failed to meet legal standards for accessibility. Three stations in Connecticut — Windsor, Windsor Locks and Old Saybrook — and one in Westerly, Rhode Island were part of the settlement that included 78 stations across the country.  As part of the settlement, Amtrak agreed to fix problems of accessibility, and pay $2.25 million into a fund paying out claims to people with disabilities who were harmed by

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Trade Zone Expanded to Include New London County

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NEW LONDON — The City of New London has received approval to expand its Foreign-Trade Zone to include all of New London County. Foreign-Trade Zone #208, established in 1981 and comprising 138 acres around State Pier in New London, will expand as an Alternative Site Framework, which allows entire counties to be part of the service area under the jurisdiction of the foreign-trade zone.  The new framework will allow the 21 towns and two tribal nations — the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe and the Mohegan Tribe — to join the zone. The city submitted its application in July and the Foreign-Trade

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New London Teams Up with Local Nonprofits to Host Impromptu Classrooms

NEW LONDON — Impromptu classrooms are springing up around town as measures to control the COVID pandemic force district schools to close or reduce in-person learning. Non-profit educational organizations like Drop-In Learning, New England Science and Sailing and the B.P. Learned Mission have partnered with the City of New London and other churches and nonprofits to offer spaces where elementary and middle school students can study on days they are not physically in school.   The organizations have been running these centers — there are currently five — since September, when the New London School District opened in a hybrid model.

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By Building Community, Natusch Guides New London Preservation

NEW LONDON — For Laura Natusch, historic preservation and building community go hand-in-hand.  “It’s very important to me that the history that we are preserving reflects our community – that people who grew up here feel like their lives mattered,” said Natusch. Natusch is the executive director of New London Landmarks, a non-profit in New London that teaches people about the area’s history through walking tours, narrative projects and the renovation of historic buildings.  Natusch said that preservation creates a kind of “community genealogy.”  Her goal is to highlight a history that reflects the entire community, not just a single

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An Investor and Self-Described “Do-er” Takes a Crack at New London

NEW LONDON — “One thing about New London is there are quite a few investors — and they’re called investors for a reason — but it doesn’t mean they’re doers,” said contractor David Preka. “Buying a piece of property and letting it stay as is just because you’re an investor and you’re waiting for an opportunity — that really hurts the city,” he complained. “It hurts the people around it, not just in New London, anywhere around. Unfortunately New London seems to be held a little bit hostage with a few of those.” Preka, 38, owns Advanced Group, a residential

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Conn College Launches Website of Urban Renewal History in New London

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NEW LONDON — Connecticut College launched a visually rich new web site Tuesday that pulls together extensive research about urban renewal in New London from 1941 to 1975. “We applied [for a grant] with this project to study the history of urban renewal in New London because it hasn’t really been done before. This is really the first history written about it and it takes the form of this public history digital publication,” said Anna Vallye, assistant professor of Art History and Architectural Studies, who led the project that included three faculty, four staff and 43 students from 2019 to

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Tracy Espy Talks Joining Mitchell College as New President

NEW LONDON — “I see Mitchell really going back to its roots,” said Dr. Tracy Espy, since July 1 the new president of Mitchell College. Espy is the first African American woman to lead the college. Mitchell College has a history of providing exceptional service to students, she explained, including those of different learning abilities. “They’ve had this learning model for years, including when they were a community college. They started as a junior college in 1938 and had their first graduates in 1941.”  In its early publications, the college defined its purpose as providing a well-rounded education for the creation

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John Henshaw Appointed Connecticut Port Authority Executive Director, Brings Years of Experience from Portland, ME

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NEW LONDON — The Connecticut Port Authority has approved the appointment of John Henshaw III as its new executive director, effective Sept. 8.  Henshaw, who served from 2007 to 2017 as executive director of the Maine Port Authority and the Director of Ports and Marine Transportation for the Maine Department of Transportation, received unanimous approval from the port authority board on Tuesday in a meeting conducted by telephone.  From 2017 to 2019 Henshaw was chief operating officer for Maine Center Ventures at the University of Maine Graduate and Professional Center, a program that includes a consortium of programs at the

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Break Bulk Cargo to Stay a Part of State Pier Wind Project

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The transformation of State Pier into an offshore wind facility exclusive of other uses has been part of conversations at Connecticut Port Authority meetings for months, but a permit application made public yesterday from the Army Corps of Engineers specifies the continuing support of break bulk cargo operations.  “The purpose of this project is to create infrastructure in Connecticut that will serve as a long-term, regional wind turbine generator (WTG) port facility while at the same time continuing to support other existing long term break bulk operations for steel, coil steel, lumber, copper billets, as well as other cargo,” stated

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10 Days Before a Deadline to Vacate State Pier, No Easy Solutions for the Connecticut Port Authority

NEW LONDON — With only 10 days before a deadline to vacate State Pier, the Connecticut Port Authority offered a limited extension on Tuesday to a salt distributor and two commercial fishermen who had been told to leave no later than July 31.  The deadline was extended at the request of the users, which at the time could be granted by the terminal operator Gateway, according to Andrew Lavigne, manager of business development and special projects at the Connecticut Port Authority. In February, Danish wind giant Ørsted and partner energy provider Eversource reached a final agreement with Gateway Terminal and

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From his Grocery, Robert Lee Talks Business, Surveys Changes in New London

NEW LONDON — Robert Lee watched a steady stream of traffic travel down Williams Street into Hodges Square on Thursday morning.  “We live here, upstairs, it’s very noisy with all the trucks,” said Lee, who owns Lee’s Oriental Market at 432 Williams Street. “It’s a very short commute.”        Lee, 56, inherited the business from his parents, who started it in 1980. He’s been around the neighborhood, Hodges Square, for most of his life and is hoping for some changes and improvements. Across the street, the Citgo gas station, which includes a convenience store, was recently rebuilt, he said.  “I think that’s encouraging

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Connecticut Port Authority Wind-down of State Pier Approves $800,000 Deal for Road Salt

NEW LONDON — The Connecticut Port Authority and Northeast Offshore LLC, a joint venture of Ørsted and Eversource Energy, paid Gateway New London LLC $800,000 as part of the “wind-down costs” for existing businesses at State Pier. David Kooris, acting chair of the port authority, explained the agreement in an email to CT Examiner on Tuesday. The payment reimbursed Gateway for the purchase earlier this year of 20,000 tons of salt from DRVN Enterprises, Inc., a road salt distributor located at State Pier. The sale was authorized in a Memo of Understanding between the companies, requiring Gateway to purchase as

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Micro-Lofts Planned for Mixed-Use Preservation Project in Historic Green Street Locale

NEW LONDON — The owner of a building on Green Street that briefly housed a Black-owned lending institution and civic group in the 1920s will use tax credits to renovate the structure into “micro-loft” apartments and a restaurant space. The State Historic Preservation Office last week approved developer Brian Lyman’s application for Historic Preservation tax credits that offset 30 percent of the projected $1,050,000 project cost. He has also applied to the National Park Service for a federal credit to offset an additional 20 percent of costs. Lyman said that the second and third stories of the building at 38

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Fate of $3 Million Commitment Raises Tensions Between New London and the Connecticut Port Authority

NEW LONDON — A $3 million promise from an offshore wind company to the City of New London to support the city’s maritime infrastructure for commercial fishermen could become a source of tension between the mayor’s office and the Connecticut Port Authority.  Originally promised by Deepwater Wind, which was purchased by the Danish wind giant Ørsted in October 2018, the $3 million grant was designated for the Port of New London to improve marine facilities used by the commercial fishing industry. Ørsted has promised to honor Deepwater Wind commitments.  At Tuesday’s port authority meeting, Acting Chair David Kooris, said he

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New London Seeks to Ease Reopening for Restaurants Beginning May 20

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NEW LONDON — On May 20, for the first time in more than two months, restaurants in Connecticut will – most likely – be allowed to begin extend service to customers beyond takeout and delivery According to Governor Ned Lamont, the first phase of the reopening efforts will allow restaurants to serve patrons  in outdoor, socially-distanced seating.  How many restaurants have the space — or be able to turn a profit — has yet to be seen. “We want to work with the individual restaurants depending on your needs. Some of you already have areas for outdoor dining, but if

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