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3 workers injured in fall from aerial lift in Hamden


HAMDEN, Conn. (AP) Hamden authorities say three workers who were injured after falling off an aerial lift at a construction site are expected to be OK.

Police say the three men were working at a site off State Street on Thursday afternoon when they fell off the lift. Officials say the workers were brought to Yale-New Haven Hospital to be treated for non-life threatening injuries.

The lift appeared to be about 20 feet off the ground.

Amtrak officials shut down a nearby track because of the accident, but said train service wasn't affected.

Officials with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are looking into the accident.

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Gun maker ex-manager pleads guilty to records falsification


BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) The former manager of a firearms manufacturer has pleaded guilty to falsifying records indicating that missing firearms had been scrapped.

Richard Cummings, former manager of Tri-Town Plastics in Deep River, entered his plea Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Bridgeport.

The 43-year-old Cummings of East Haddam pleaded guilty to making a false entry in a firearms manufacturer's acquisition and disposition records, failing to file a theft-loss report and failing to maintain a firearms manufacturer's acquisition and disposition records.

Plainfield police seized a handgun from a convicted felon in February 2012. It had no record of being manufactured, and according to Tri-Town's records, the gun's frame was scrapped in March 2011.

Cummings is scheduled to be sentenced April 15. The maximum penalty on each misdemeanor charge is one year in prison and a $100,000 fine.

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Malloy, legislative leaders rule out suggested pay raises


HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) A spokesman says Governor Dannel Malloy is rejecting a recommendation to raise the governor's pay by 10 percent, to $165,000 a year.

The Republican-American reports that an independent group, the Commission on the Compensation for Elected State Officers and General Assembly Members, is proposing raises of 10 percent.

The state Constitution prohibits increasing salaries of elected officials during their terms, which for Malloy ends in January 2019 and for legislators in 2017.

Devon Puglia, a spokesman for Malloy, said the governor's office will not propose legislation for a raise.

For legislators, the proposed 10 percent increase would raise their base salary from $28,000 to $30,800.

House Speaker Brendan Sharkey ruled out pay raises and a spokesman says Senate President Pro Tem Martin Looney does not anticipate plans to increase pay.

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Maine police bust prison drug ring led by Conn. man


WARREN, Maine (AP) -- Police say seven people are facing charges for allegedly smuggling drugs into the Maine State Prison inside greetings cards.

 

The Maine Drug Enforcement Agency said Wednesday the suboxone strips originated in Connecticut and were sent to various Maine addresses.

 

The Portland Press Herald reports that the strips were then smuggled into the Warren prison inside cards during prisoner visits.

 

An inmate sold them to other inmates. Police say customers paid by having outside people transfer money orders to personal accounts or prisoner accounts.

 

The alleged ringleader was 71-year-old Douglas Mazzotta of Middletown, Connecticut. He awaits extradition to Maine. It's not clear if he has a lawyer.

 

Two inmates and four other Maine residents also face charges.

 

Suboxone is prescription medication used to treat opiate addiction and is often abused.

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Regional power operator to present briefing on state of grid


HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) New England's electricity grid operator says natural gas pipeline bottlenecks and retirement of aging power plants could put pressure on the price of energy.

But Gordon van Welie, president and chief executive officer of ISO-New England, said Wednesday that the region has benefited from transmission system upgrades since 2002.

He said at the grid operator's annual briefing to the media that a mild winter and falling oil prices have so far helped push down energy prices. But winter has eight weeks to go and energy use and prices could spike.

Power plants are increasingly relying on natural gas, boosting demand that has led to pipeline bottlenecks, which have led to price increases.

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Mohegan Sun joins Boston casino suit, criticizes Wynn award


BOSTON (AP) Mohegan Sun is suing Massachusetts gambling regulators over their decision to award the Boston-area casino license to a rival.

The Connecticut-based casino company is joining a Superior Court lawsuit filed late last year by the city of Revere and a labor union representing workers at the Suffolk Downs horse racing track.

Mitchell Etess, CEO of the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, said Wednesday the company has never filed suit to challenge a casino license decision, but felt compelled to in this case because of the many issues around what he called a ``gravely flawed'' decision.

The lawsuit seeks to vacate the Massachusetts Gaming Commission's decision to award the license to Wynn Resorts, which plans a casino in Everett.

Mohegan Sun had proposed a resort at Suffolk Downs in Revere.

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Ex-pro wrestlers sue WWE over concussions that caused injury


PHILADELPHIA (AP) Two former professional wrestlers accuse the WWE of ignoring concussions they say left them with serious brain injuries.

The men have filed a lawsuit in federal court in Philadelphia, where a judge is weighing a similar NFL case that could yield a $1 billion settlement.

The WWE plaintiffs are Evan Singleton, of Lancaster, and Vito LoGrasso, of Coatesville.

Singleton performed as Adam Mercer from 2012 to 2013. The suit says he is now disabled because of brain trauma.

LoGrasso wrestled under various stage names, including Skull Von Krush. The lawsuit says he suffers from migraines, memory loss and depression.

Lawyer Jerry McDevitt says the Stamford, Connecticut-based WWE never concealed medical information about concussions and was ahead of other sports in treating them.

The WWE is led by Chairman Vince McMahon.

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Former Plymouth finance director charged with embezzlement


HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) A former finance director for the town of Plymouth has been charged with embezzling more than $800,000.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Connecticut says 41-year-old David Bertnagel was arrested Tuesday morning and presented in U.S. District Court in Hartford on a charge of theft from a local government receiving federal funds. That carries a possible 10-year prison sentence.

Prosecutors say Bertnagel issued 207 checks to himself between October 2011 and October 2014 totaling $808,030.

He is accused of using more than $100,000 of that money to buy coins, stamps and other collectibles. They say he also used stolen money for expenses including mortgage payments and credit card bills.

He was removed from his job in November.

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Madison officials settling lawsuit with sex assault victim


HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Lawyers for the Madison Board of Education have agreed to settle a lawsuit by a former student who accused officials of allowing several boys to remain at her middle school and traumatize her after they sexually assaulted her.

Attorneys in the case confirmed Tuesday that a settlement was reached in federal court in Hartford last week and awaits approval by the school board. Terms weren't disclosed.

Five boys were convicted in juvenile court of molesting the girl when she was intoxicated at a New Year's Eve party in 2009.

The lawsuit said school officials took no action against the boys after learning of the allegations. The lawsuit said the boys remained at Polson Middle School for weeks after the assault and harassed the girl before being arrested.

School officials denied wrongdoing.

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Federal lawsuit accuses Bridgeport police of excessive force


BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) A passenger in a car that hit a police cruiser two years ago is suing officers on accusations they used excessive force.

Antonio Lostaunau has filed a federal lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Bridgeport. He claims he was kicked, hit and stomped by officers and bitten by a police dog following the crash with the cruiser on Dec. 25, 2012. He says he has permanent leg disability.

The 22-year-old Lostaunau says he was not resisting and pleaded with the officers to stop assaulting him.

The Connecticut Post reports that city officials did not immediately return emails seeking comment.

Police were pursuing the driver, Josue Jimenez, who was accused of driving through stop signs.

Jimenez's car collided with the police car, injuring two officers.

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Milford man arrested on 3 warrants involving companions


MILFORD, Conn. (AP) A Milford man has been arrested on accusation he was involved in three incidents with companions in the last month.

The New Haven Register reports that police say Christopher Millhouse was arrested Friday on three warrants.

Police say he violated a protective order Dec. 19 and was accused five days later of assaulting another companion, restraining her by her neck, throwing her into a bathroom fixture and damaging her cell phone.

And a week after that, police say the 37-year-old Millhouse was involved in another fight with a companion that resulted in charges of burglary, home invasion and unlawful restraint.

Millhouse is accused of failing to appear in court Jan. 9.

He's being held on $1.2 million bail and it wasn't known Tuesday if he's represented by a lawyer.

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Yale freshman survives 4-story fall from dormitory window


NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) A Yale University freshman has survived a four-story fall from a dormitory window.

School spokesman Tom Conroy said in an email Tuesday that the student fell from a window in Bingham Hall at about 2 p.m. Monday. Yale didn't have classes Monday because of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday.

The student was taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital. His condition hasn't been released.

Yale College Dean Jonathan Holloway tells the Yale Daily News that the male freshman is expected to make a full recovery.

Conroy didn't indicate whether the fall was an accident but says there will be no police investigation.

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Roofer shocked, critically injured in Newington


NEWINGTON, Conn. (AP) A roofer was seriously injured in Newington when he came into contact with an electrical wire while climbing a ladder.

Police say the man fell about 20 feet off the ladder after being shocked shortly before 10:30 a.m. Friday. Officials say he is in critical condition at the Connecticut Burn Center at Bridgeport Hospital.

The worker's name hasn't been released.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has sent a representative to the job site to investigate.

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Connecticut art dealer sentenced to 4 years for fraud


NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) A Connecticut art dealer convicted in the sale of fraudulent artwork has been sentenced to four years and nine months in prison.

David Crespo, of Guilford, was sentenced Friday in federal court in New Haven.

The former owner of the Brandon Gallery in Madison pleaded guilty to mail fraud in September 2013. Federal prosecutors described him as a serial fraudster who forged documents to falsely represent that the pieces he sold were real.

The New Haven Register reports that Crespo was accused of victimizing more than 10 people, with losses totaling between $400,000 and $1 million.

Despite entering the guilty plea in September 2013, Crespo denied many of the government's allegations. He said if the art he sold was fake he did not know it.

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Falling gas prices affect Connecticut budget


HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's budget director contends Connecticut is ``holding our own'' on state revenue collections, even though new figures show plummeting gasoline prices have increased this year's projected budget deficit.

Office of Policy and Management Secretary Ben Barnes told The Associated Press Friday how the state is meeting or slightly exceeding its targets for most taxes. However, revenues from the petroleum gross receipts tax a percentage of the wholesale price of gasoline dropped by $44 million since November.

It now appears the current $20 billion fiscal year budget could end June 30 with an approximate $70 million deficit.

But Barnes, who is crafting a new two-year budget proposal to be released Feb. 18, said he expects lower gas prices will ultimately provide a jolt to Connecticut's economy.

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Former youth coach draws 5 years in prison for bank robbery


NEW LONDON, Conn. (AP) A former volunteer youth football coach has been sentenced to five years in prison for robbing a bank in Mystic.

The Day of New London reports that following the July 18, 2014, robbery, police distributed surveillance photos that drew responses from people who recognized Jason Piontkowski Sr.

The 39-year-old Piontkowski confessed, saying his bills were mounting after a lengthy unemployment.

He wrote to Superior Court Judge Hillary B. Strackbein from the Corrigan Radgowski Correctional Center, apologizing for his ``foolish and reckless act.''

Prosecutor offered to resolve the case with five years in prison followed by five years of special parole because Piontkowski came forward and has been active in the community.

Piontkowski said he robbed the bank of about $6,000. An audit put it at $10,400, which the judge ordered him to repay.

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State allows sex harassment case against mayor to advance


EAST HAVEN, Conn. (AP) A lawyer says the state Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities has found reasonable cause to investigate a sexual harassment complaint by a former secretary against East Haven Mayor Joseph Maturo.

The New Haven Register reports that John R. Williams, the attorney representing the former Town Hall secretary, said the human rights agency found that the complaint merits further investigation. The commission has ordered everyone involved to gather at a confidential, mediated meeting Jan. 22.

Frank Gentilesco Jr., a spokesman for the mayor, declined to comment to the newspaper. He referred questions to Maturo's lawyer who also would not comment.

The former secretary filed the complaint last July, accusing Maturo of exposing himself as part of a pattern of sexual harassment.

Maturo has called the accusations ``patently false.''

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Bridgeport Democrats endorse candidate under cloud of probe


BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) Bridgeport Democrats have endorsed a city councilman under investigation for residency issues as their candidate to fill a vacant state Senate seat.

The Connecticut Post reports the Democratic Town Committee on Thursday selected Councilman Richard DeJesus, who is being investigated by elections officials on accusations he did not live in his district as a Council candidate in 2013.

State Rep. Christina Ayala was arrested in September for allegedly voting and seeking public campaign money with a phony address. Bridgeport voters ousted her in November and her case is pending.

DeJesus won by one vote, defeating former Sen. Edwin Gomes.

The seat was vacated by Sen. Andres Ayala, who was appointed by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy as motor vehicles commissioner.

The special election for the Senate seat is set for Feb. 24.

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Corrections officer arrested in fatal hit-and-run crash


BRDIGEPORT, Conn. (AP) A corrections officer has been arrested in connection with a hit-and-run crash that killed a woman in Bridgeport last month.

The Connecticut Post reports that Patricia Daniels was arrested Wednesday by Bridgeport police. It was not immediately known whether she has an attorney.

Fifty-one-year-old Evelyn Agyei of Bridgeport was killed when the vehicle she was driving went off the road and hit a tree after being struck several times by a white BMW sport utility vehicle. Her 11-year-old son survived the Dec. 4 accident.

The corrections officer was previously questioned in the accident. The Post reports that paint particles taken from Daniels' front bumper and sent to the state police crime lab matched evidence found on the Subaru's rear bumper.

Police say several witness tips that led them to their suspect.

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Yet again, another earthquake rattles eastern Connecticut


PLAINFIELD, Conn. (AP) A 2.2-magnitude earthquake has rattled eastern Connecticut again.

In what's becoming a daily seismic event, the Weston Observatory of Boston College said the earthquake occurred at about 4:40 a.m. Thursday near Plainfield, where previous earthquakes were recorded.

It says two minor earthquakes were recorded on Wednesday and another on Tuesday.

Several were recorded on Monday and last week, too.

The observatory says that while the greatest earthquake activity in the United States is in the west, earthquakes are ``quite common'' in many areas of the eastern United States, including New England.

Plainfield officials have invited Alan Kafka, director of the observatory, to an informational meeting at 6:30 p.m. Friday at the town's high school.

 

Hong Kong rang in 2015 with a massive fireworks show.

 

Almost here..."Fifty Shades of Grey"

In theaters 2/14/15

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