Did Journalist Report Crimes?

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This reporter claims she was given information about illegal activity on behalf of cops in Old Saybrook. Did she report these crimes to the state’s attorney as she should? Did either of the ex-cops sign an affidavit or contact the state’s attorney as they would legally be required to? Does this report realize she published confessions from those 2 cops where they admitted they did something illegal? Crazy that all this was published without any fact-checking Jim BartellOld Saybrook

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Data Suggest Little Difference in COVID Rates Between Remote, In-Person and Hybrid Instruction

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According to Department of Education data, public school students in Connecticut are nearly as likely to test positive for COVID-19 if they study remotely, as students learning in person or in a hybrid model. In-person students made up for 29 percent of total students across the state as well as 29 percent of reported student cases, meaning they did not make up for a disproportionate number of confirmed COVID-19 infections. The state has reported just over 7,000 positive cases among students since the start of the school year.  Students in hybrid learning models were slightly more likely to report COVID-19

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With FEMA Aid Lagging Lamont to Divide $45.5 Million Between Town Governments

HARTFORD – The Office of Policy and Management plans to distribute $45.5 million in CARES funding to Connecticut municipalities within the week. In a press conference on Thursday, Gov. Ned Lamont explained that the state decided to allocate these funds directly to municipalities because the Federal Emergency Management Agency has yet to reimburse claims for aid.  “FEMA’s a little slow about making their payments, to be blunt about it,” said Lamont. “They haven’t made a payment, I’m told, in this fiscal year.”  The $45.5 million will reimburse COVID-related expenses incurred between July 1 and Dec. 30 of 2020, according to

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With Federal Funding Uncertain, Aid to Small Business Falls Short in Connecticut

Since the start of the pandemic, Connecticut has used $50 million in federal relief funds to give $5,000 grants to 10,000 small businesses – no one thinks that’s enough. “I applaud the DECD for that $5,000 small business grant program, but $5,000 is not going to help you survive,” State Rep. Holly Cheeseman, R-East Lyme said. “$5,000 may just pick up one month’s rent.”  Gov. Ned Lamont announced Wednesday that another $25 million in small business grants would be made available from those federal funds. Republicans called for $50 million just for restaurants. Appropriations co-chair Sen.Cathy Osten, D-Sprague, said she

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St. Vincent de Paul Place Seeks Donations to Meet Demand; Charter Oak Matches total $400,000

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NORWICH — At St. Vincent de Paul Place in Norwich, 916 families found help at the food pantry this November. Last year, the pantry served 701 families in November, typically the busiest month, according to Tim Hathaway, marketing coordinator for St. Vincent de Paul Place.  The nonprofit, which is a ministry of the Catholic Diocese of Norwich, also distributed an average of 390 meals a day in November through their Community Meals program, which offers breakfast and lunch six days a week. And people made about 172 visits to the food pantry each day in November, up almost 40 percent

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Advocates on Domestic Violence Plan for Life after COVID

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The Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence is proposing legislation that would allow victims of domestic violence to apply for a restraining order online even after the current state of emergency to limit the spread of COVID-19 is lifted. Liza Andrews, director of public policy and communications at the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence, said that the organization plans to present the legislation to the Judiciary Committee in January. Advocates for victims of domestic violence say that the ability to file restraining orders online during the pandemic has been a great help to their clients.  Karen Foley O’Connor, executive director at

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Housing Plans Revived for Halls Road Redevelopment

OLD LYME — According to a real estate consultant hired to work on a masterplan for Halls Road, strong market demand for apartment rentals suggests that multi-family residential construction would be the most desirable option for redeveloping Halls Road. “There’s only one apartment for rent in all of Old Lyme. To get this, I went to realtor.com, Zillow, rent.com, apartments.com, and I interviewed, I think, eight different brokers. There’s one apartment, I mean, talk about a demand,” Maura Cochran, of Bartram & Cochran, told the Halls Road Improvements Committee during a presentation via zoom Monday night.  “There’s only one apartment

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Tourism Grants Announced for Eastern Connecticut

The Eastern Regional Tourism District announced last week that it would distribute a total of $152,267 in grant money to nine partnerships that are developing marketing campaigns to promote local tourism.  The selected campaigns include the Airline Trail, the Thames River Heritage Park, the Greater Mystic Chamber of Commerce, and efforts to promote tourism through partnerships in Voluntown, Windham, New London, Norwich and Old Lyme.  Two other organizations, Olde Mistick Village and the Last Green Valley, each received $25,000 in October, increasing the total amount of grant money distributed to $202,267. To fund the grants, the district set aside $180,000

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Faculty, Board of Regents Stake Out Vast Differences on Collective Bargaining Agreement

The Board of Regents has proposed changes that, according union officials representing the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities faculty, would increase course loads, curtail academic freedom and limit faculty participation in the operations of the colleges.  “I was pretty disappointed that the Board of Regents is taking such a harsh approach, given that we’re in the middle of a pandemic,” said Patricia O’Neill, president of the Connecticut State University chapter of the American Association of University Professors.  O’Neill said that many union members were angry about the board’s proposals.  “We felt it was important to stand up and make a

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Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center Secures Zoning Approval for Lyme Street Site

OLD LYME — The Zoning Commission has approved a special permit application for the Roger Tory Peterson Estuary Center to relocate to 100 Lyme Street, the current location of the Bee and Thistle Inn.  At its virtual meeting Monday night, the commission approved a special permit application and municipal coastal site plan review application to permit the use of the property for nonprofit and educational activities.  Claudia Weicker, the center’s board chair, said a condition of the purchase agreement of the inn was approval of the special permit application before the end of the year, which Weicker said was the

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Griswolds Add Solar Array for Tesla Trucks to Deliver Plants Across New England

OLD LYME — Matt and Martin Griswold, two brothers growing outdoor perennials, herbs and vegetables to sell wholesale across southern New England, are installing solar panels capable of generating 100 kilowatts of electricity that they will use to power Tesla electric trucks to carry their shipments. Soon the sun that helps grow the flowers and vegetables on Judge’s Farm will also power the trucks carrying them to buyers from Westchester County to Cape Cod. The farm currently uses a fleet of five diesel-powered trucks to carry shipments, Matt Griswold said, but they run through a lot of expensive fuel, frequently

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Clinton Chamber Raises Money for Small Businesses

CLINTON — The Clinton Chamber of Commerce is offering $200 grants to local small businesses that are struggling to pay their monthly bills.  Paul Orsini, executive director of the Chamber, said that the board decided to start fundraising for a grant program back in October, when they realized they were going to have to cancel all of their major events due to the COVID. He said that while $200 doesn’t seem like much, he knows from experience that it can mean a lot to a small business owner who is just starting out.   Through the support of some anonymous donors,

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Scientists Explain Bunker Found Washed up on the Connecticut Shoreline

Masses of the ubiquitous menhaden, or bunker, have been washing up all along Connecticut’s shore – and from New Jersey to Cape Cod – over the past month, but biologists say the dead fish aren’t a cause for alarm. The number of bunker washing up on the shore is a small percentage of the bunker still swimming in the Long Island Sound, explained Bill Lucey, of Save the Sound. Lucey said that the first week of November, he heard reports of solid schools of bunker from Watch Hill, Rhode Island to Bridgeport. When an earthquake struck southeastern Massachusetts on Nov.

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Advocates Plan Strategy for Ranked Choice in Legislative Session

In the upcoming legislative session, lawmakers in Hartford will need to tackle COVID relief head-on, deal with a looming budget crisis, and they may work to legalize recreational marijuana. Still, some activists are pushing to put another issue on the agenda: ranked-choice voting.   The voting change has been long supported by third parties as a way to eliminate the “spoiler effect,” where votes for a third-party candidate draw votes from a similar major-party candidate, causing the other candidate to win. Maine and Alaska already use ranked-choice voting, and Massachusetts held a ballot referendum to consider the change, though the measure

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Officers Say Toxic Environment Drives Departures from Old Saybrook Police

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OLD SAYBROOK — Since 2009, staff and officer turnover at the Old Saybrook Police Department has far outstripped other departments in the region — a fact that former officers attribute to a toxic work environment within the department.  Although the Old Saybrook Police Department has not provided CT Examiner with employment data requested in a Nov. 12 Freedom of Information request, a number of former officers, as well as past and present members of the town’s police commission, provided documents and spoke on the record to explain and confirm the unusual employment data. A document compiled by a former officer

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Courtney Sponsors Bill to Aid Districts with Tribal Lands and Military Bases

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A federal bill introduced by Congressman Joe Courtney to protect education funding for districts like Groton and Ledyard with children living on tribal lands and military bases was signed into law by President Donald Trump on Dec. 4. “This is a big deal for us,” said Michael Graner, superintendent of Groton school district. “Groton has about 1000 military-dependent children who live in military housing, and because their parents don’t pay property taxes on their military housing, the town misses out on that revenue.” The bipartisan “Impact Aid Coronavirus Relief Act” will allow school districts to receive the same federal Impact

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Union Leaders Question Safety and Equity of Schooling as COVID Surges in Connecticut

HARTFORD — As COVID-19 infections surge across Connecticut, union leaders went to Hartford to present a petition calling on the governor to shift all schools to remote learning absent stronger safety precautions.  The petition, signed by nearly 14,000 educators, school employees, and community members, is an “unfortunate last resort,” said Mary Yordon, president of the Norwalk Federation of Teachers, AFT Local 1727 and Vice President of the American Federation of Teachers Connecticut.  In a press conference at the State Capitol on Thursday morning, leaders of the Board of Education Union Coalition urged the state to establish statewide safety protocols and

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New Britain Announces Loan Program for First-time Homebuyers

NEW BRITAIN — The City of New Britain is accepting applications for a program that grants loans to individuals and families who earn under a threshold income and want to purchase a home. The funding, which comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, acts as a second mortgage for people who already have taken out loans under Fannie Mae, the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority, the Federal Housing Authority and other programs.  New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart said that in light of the housing boom in Connecticut, she felt it was time to revive the program, which had

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UI and Eversource Report Long-term Improvements in Service Reliability

Connecticut’s for-profit energy providers improved their day-to-day reliability in 2019, according to an annual report on the reliability of the state’s electric system compiled by its utility regulator, PURA. With the exception of major storms, United Illuminating and Eversource reported shorter and less frequent average outages compared to the previous four years, according to a report approved on Wednesday morning.  PURA is required by state statute to submit the annual reliability report to the General Assembly. The report includes two metrics: one for frequency and one for duration of service interruptions. The System Average Interruption Frequency Index (SAIFI) measures how

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Food Assistance to Expand Next Week, Aiding More than 100,000 Connecticut Families

More than 100,000 households in Connecticut will receive additional Emergency Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP) benefits next Wednesday, according to an announcement from the Connecticut Department of Social Services.  The department will provide $16.9 million in SNAP benefits as authorized by the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act of 2020, legislation signed in March that allowed states more flexibility in providing SNAP benefits. For Connecticut, this means that all households enrolled in SNAP will receive the maximum benefit allowable for their household size, even if they are not normally eligible.   The $16.9 million comes on top of $157.2 million in additional emergency

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Redevelopment in Groton Picks up Speed

GROTON — For years, plans to redevelop five vacant school buildings in Groton have inched ahead, but with the first project — a 280-unit apartment complex — set to break ground as soon as next year, town officials say they hope that new developments will attract many of the thousands of people who work in Groton, but live elsewhere. The Town of Groton owns five vacant school properties it would like to sell to developers. To date, developers have proposed converting two schools into apartments, one into office space and to demolish another to make way for a new mixed-use

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Private Medical Practices Shutter as COVID Compounds Business Pressure in Connecticut

Running a private medical practice in Connecticut has likely never been easy, but now there are signs that pandemic pressures may have hastened some practices to shutter.  Mark Thompson, the executive director of Fairfield and Hartford County Medical Associations, said that since the pandemic began, his association has fielded a higher number of calls from physicians asking for names of consultants to evaluate and negotiate the sales of their practices. According to Thompson, most cited the pandemic as the last straw. The doctors were unable to sustain themselves financially, and, in some cases, weren’t even able to obtain the necessary

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A Decades-Old Homeless Encampment, Health Concerns and a ‘Housing Carousel’

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WATERFORD — On Thursday morning, a man named Adam and Waterford Police Lt. Marc Balestracci stood talking in the woods as a decades-old homeless encampment just off the Post Road was cleaned out. “I just wish you would consider some of the opportunities that are being offered. Even if you disagree with the whole idea of moving temporarily,” Balestracci advised Adam, who wore a stethoscope draped around his neck and is known as “Doc” in the homeless community.  “‘Temporarily,’ ah, see, the problem is that this whole process is temporary,” Adam replied to Balestracci, who stood near a tree with

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Business Has Been Good Says Mago Point Canvas in Waterford

WATERFORD — Tom Daily, owner of Mago Point Canvas in Waterford, said business has been booming — so good that he’s looking for a new, bigger space to lease.  And Daily said he’s not alone – any business that has a connection to recreational activities, he said, whether it be boating, motorcycling or installing outdoor pools, has been doing well.  “Everybody I know in the boat business did great this year,” he said. Because of the pandemic, Daily said, people who would normally spend two weeks in the summer going on vacation decided to find ways to enjoy themselves at

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Old Saybrook’s Police Commission Opts Out of Active Oversight

OLD SAYBROOK — Last month, the Old Saybrook Police Commission codified the town’s approach to handling civilian complaints, which gives the chief of police direct oversight and effective control of letters addressed to the commission and commission members regarding personnel matters. That approach was called into question earlier this year, after a letter of complaint postmarked March 2nd  was not circulated to commission members until September, according to commission member Renee Shippee. The complaint was from a man who was pulled over in Old Saybrook in February along with his 13-year-old daughter. The man asked that his name not be

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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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In Interview, DeLauro Sketches Priorities as Appropriations Chair

House Democrats elected Rep. Rosa DeLauro, who represents the greater New Haven area, to chair the House Appropriations Committee for the 117th Congress. The veteran congresswoman will take over the committee in January following the retirement of Rep. Nita Lowey of New York. The vote from the full caucus ratified the Steering and Policy Committee’s vote on Tuesday to recommend DeLauro for the position.  On Friday, DeLauro told Connecticut Examiner that she is thrilled and humbled by the new role.  “To be chosen by my peers as chair of the Appropriations Committee is an honor,” DeLauro said. “The committee holds

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$13.3 Million for Twelve Small Cities Across Connecticut

Twelve municipalities across the state received federal grant funding totaling $13.3 million through the Community Development Block Grant Small Cities program, Gov. Ned Lamont and Connecticut Housing Commissioner Seila Mosquera-Bruno announced on Friday.  Administered by the Connecticut Department of Housing with funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the program funds projects that develop housing and infrastructure in smaller communities to primarily benefit lower-income residents.    “These grants go a long way toward improving neighborhoods so that we can make our communities more attractive and encourage continued growth for the benefit of all of our residents,” Gov. Ned

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