Courtney Announces Federal Aid for Shellfish and Other Offshore Growers

NOANK — Under rainy skies turning sunny, Jim Markow, president of Mystic Oysters in Noank, joined by Rep. Joe Courtney, Gov. Ned Lamont and various state officials, spoke at a press conference on the dock outside of his business Tuesday to announce that after months of political pressure by Courtney and state’s congressional delegation, hard-hit shellfish, clam, kelp and seaweed growers are now eligible to receive aid from a USDA program, a change that could open the door to including aquaculture in the 2022 federal Farm Bill. “It’s a very, very small percentage but it’s something. Some is better than

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Lengthy Process, Little to Show for Connecticut Fisheries

Nearly seven months after the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law, eligible fisheries and related businesses can apply for $1.8 million in economic aid through the CARES Assistance to Fishery Participants (CAAFP) program. On March 27, the CARES Act authorized U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross to allocate $300 million in financial assistance to states, tribes and territories with coastal and marine fisheries that were negatively impacted by COVID-19. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) then made awards to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission, the Gulf

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Mohegan Gaming Set to Operate First Tribal Casino in Las Vegas History

There is path a clear for the Mohegan Tribe’s gaming operation to enter the largest gaming market in the United States. Nevada regulators on Wednesday gave initial approval for Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment to operate the 60,000 square-foot casino at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, the former site of the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, a few blocks from the Las Vegas Strip. If the Nevada Gaming Commission approves a recommendation by the Nevada Gaming Control Board made — after a virtual meeting with Mohegan Gaming representatives on Wednesday — it will become the first tribal organization to operate a casino

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Mortgage Balances Rise, Borrowers Defer Payments, and Officials Target Abusive Collections

Although complaints of abusive collections remain relatively flat across Connecticut, state and federal officials see a growing debt problem that is ripe for abuse. According to Quarterly Reports from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the amount of debt that the public has accrued nationwide has gone up since the start of the pandemic.  Total household debt balances increased by $155 billion in the first quarter of 2020, an increase that was mainly driven by mortgage balances, which grew to $9.71 trillion. Household debt dropped in the second quarter by $35 billion, but mortgage balances increased by and additional

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Sun Communities Acquires 18 Marinas Across Connecticut and Rhode Island in $2.1 Billion Deal with Safe Harbor

Sun Communities, a real estate investment trust based in Southfield, Michigan, announced the purchase of 104 marinas in 22 states — including 18 marinas across Connecticut and Rhode Island — in a deal valued at $2.1 billion in cash and stock. The marinas, currently owned and operated by Dallas-based Safe Harbor Marinas, include locations in Branford, Deep River, Essex, Mystic, Old Saybrook, Stamford, Stratford and Westbrook, and locations in Rhode Island including Barrington, Newport, Jamestown and Wickford, Warwick, and Portsmouth. With 40,000 members in its network, Safe Harbor is the largest marina enterprise in the United States.  In a conference

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Regal Cinemas Announces Shuttering of Theaters

Regal Cinemas announced today in a press release that it will be temporarily closing all 536 of its U.S. theaters, beginning this Thursday, October 8. There are currently four Regal Cinemas locations in Connecticut — in Waterford, Stonington, Waterbury and Branford.  Cineworld, Regal’s parent company, attributes the closing to the fact that certain key areas — particularly New York — have not allowed movie theaters to reopen.  The statement said that the reluctance of certain areas to reopen theaters have caused film studios to postpone releasing new films. Last Friday, producers of the James Bond film “No Time to Die”

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Survey Suggests Lack of Confidence in Connecticut’s Business Climate

The sharp economic downturn as a result of coronavirus has exposed a lack of confidence among business owners in state policies, according to a recent survey from the Connecticut Business and Industry Association.   The survey of 962 business owners in a variety of sectors found that 61 percent said that the business climate in Connecticut is “declining,” and 59 percent are predicting the state economy to contract in the next year.  57 percent of the companies surveyed had cut hours, laid off employees or furloughed workers during the pandemic.  While part of this decline is the direct result of the pandemic,

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Mystic Knotwork Recognized for Tradition and Innovation

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Matt Beaudoin started tying rope bracelets when he was 7 years old to earn his allowance.  Now, his Mystic Knotworks is a staple of the Mystic riverfront, and the small business administration named Beaudoin Connecticut Small Business Person of the Year, presenting the award to Matt and his wife Jill at their Cottrell Street workshop on Tuesday. Connecticut Small Business Development Center business advisor Matt Nemeth nominated Beaudoin for the award back in December because of the cultural importance of knotwork in southeastern Connecticut, and also for the workshop’s unique work practices. Beaudoin took over what was then “Beaudoin’s Rope

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New Guidelines For Connecticut Ease Bartending Restrictions at Restaurants and Events

The Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development has revised reopening guidelines to allow more flexibility for bar service at restaurants and events.  According to revised guidelines announced Thursday, workers at restaurant bars are no longer required to be behind a plastic shield when taking orders, serving food and drinks or collecting bills. They do, however, have to remain behind a shield while at “work stations” — areas where they are mixing drinks. Earlier regulations allowed patrons to sit at bars, but only as long as the entire bar was covered with plexiglass. Scott Dolch, executive director of the Connecticut

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As Events Remain Sharply Limited by COVID, a Coalition Tries for Middle Ground with Lamont

As winter approaches without any indication of when restrictions to contain the spread of COVID-19 will be loosened for Connecticut, the events industry  — catering businesses, event venues, designers, florists, party rental companies, musicians and DJs — are banding together to ask state and federal officials for economic assistance and for the chance to reopen. The guidelines, put in place in the spring in a series of executive orders by Gov. Ned Lamont, currently limit gatherings to 25 people indoors and 100 people outside, including staff.  Shiran Nicholson, owner of the Knowlton, a venue in Bridgeport, said that those restrictions

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Openings for Insurance, 64,000 Jobs and $3 Billion Business Staked on China-U.S. Trade Tension for Connecticut

The so-called trade wars between the U.S. and China have affected businesses not only in Connecticut, but across the country. From 2018 to 2019, exports to China declined 11.5 percent and imports declined 16.2 percent, according to U.S. Census data. In the first half of 2020, imports from China declined an additional 17 percent. In part this is a result of the high tariffs both countries have levied —  tariffs which remain on $370 billion worth of Chinese goods imported into the United States and $110 billion worth of American goods exported to China. Paul Hebert, founder of the Manchester,

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