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State News Stories

Connecticut adds 31st condition to medical marijuana program

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) A new condition can now be treated with medical marijuana in Connecticut.

The General Assembly's Regulations Review Committee has agreed that chronic neuropathic pain associated with degenerative spinal disorders is eligible for treatment with the drug.

With this change, there are now 31 conditions that have been approved for adults and eight for patients under 18 that can be treated with medical marijuana.

The committee also has agreed to update state regulations to accommodate the federal Food and Drug Administration's recent approval of a cannabis-based medication. The oral solution, known as Epidiolex, is used for some rare, severe seizure disorders.

There are currently 29,543 patients in Connecticut's medical marijuana program and 1,000 certifying physicians.

Man who flew gun-firing drone faces unrelated assault trial

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (AP) A Connecticut man whose online videos of drones firing guns and shooting flames have been viewed millions of times is set to go on trial on allegations he assaulted police officers.

Testimony is scheduled to begin in Middletown on Tuesday in the trial of Austin Haughwout (HOW'-it), of Clinton. He denies allegations he assaulted two Clinton officers in 2015 and accuses police of harassing him because of his videos.

Haughwout made headlines in 2014 when he posted a video of himself being assaulted by a woman upset he was flying a drone at a state beach.

He posted the weaponized drone videos a year later. Federal authorities investigated but never filed charges.

Haughwout also is facing another trial on charges of enticing minors and child pornography possession, which he also denies.

Police: School note left in stolen car led to arrest

SHELTON, Conn. (AP) Police in Connecticut say a school note left in a stolen car led to the arrest of a 15-year-old on larceny charges.

Shelton Police Detective Richard Bango says a car dealership was burglarized and had two vehicles stolen on Oct. 26. The Connecticut Post reports police say another vehicle was stolen on Sunday from a different dealership.

Bango says one of the stolen vehicles from the first dealership and the one from the second were recovered, and police found a school note in one of the cars. The note led police to a 15-year-old juvenile student in Bridgeport.

The student, who was not identified, has been charged with two counts of burglary and larceny each.

Bango says more arrests are expected in the case.

Transportation lockbox constitutional ballot question passes overwhelmingly

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut voters have agreed to amend the state’s constitution to ensure transportation revenues are spent on transportation projects.

A diverse coalition of more than 30 organizations, including labor unions, business associations, major state employers, environmental groups and transportation organizations, has been pushing for the so-called transportation lockbox. The constitutional change now requires all state taxes and fees imposed for transportation needs, including public transportation and improvements and maintenance of roads and bridges, is spent on those purposes.

While some Republican state legislators have complained the language isn’t strict enough to prevent future raids by the General Assembly, Senate Republican leader Len Fasano supported the measure, saying it’s a good start.

It comes as Connecticut faces hundreds of millions of dollars in needed transportation infrastructure fixes.

Amendment limiting state land transfers passes

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Voters have agreed to change Connecticut’s constitution and place limits on the General Assembly when it attempts to transfer and sell state-owned property to a non-state entity.

Environmental and conservation groups have pushed for the amendment. They say 270,000 acres of state-owned forests and parks are at risk under the current system, which allows the General Assembly to hand over ownership.

Eric Hammerling, executive director of the Connecticut Forest and Park Association, says “any measure short of a constitutional amendment could be circumvented or ignored” by lawmakers.

The amendment will require a public hearing before the property is transferred. If that property is under the custody or control of the Departments of Agriculture or Energy and Environmental Protection, the legislature must approve it by a two-third majority in both chambers.

Police: Man trying to buy smartphones claims to be informant

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (AP) - Police in Connecticut say a man charged over the weekend with trying to fraudulently buy more than $23,000 worth of cellphones and other electronics falsely claimed to be an informant for the New York City police.

The Hartford Courant reports that Middletown police responded to a Verizon store at about 6 p.m. Saturday after being told a man was trying to buy the items with Florida identification.

The suspect said he was working with New York police. Middletown officers checked with New York City police, who said the man was not an informant.

Police charged 49-year-old charged Lasyah Palmer with larceny, identity theft and other offenses.

Palmer's case wasn't listed in online judicial records and it was not clear of he has a lawyer.


Tribal Council re-elects chairman for fourth term

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. (AP) - The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council has voted to re-elect Rodney Butler to serve as its chairman for a fourth consecutive three-year term.

Daniel Menihan was re-elected for a second term on the council, and former Vice Chairman Richard Sebastian also won a council seat Sunday.

The council manages the tribe and tribal-owned business enterprises including the Foxwoods Resort Casino.

Butler worked in the finance department at Foxwoods before leaving to serve on the Tribal Council in 2004.

The new council-elects will be sworn into office in January.

Police: Man tried robbing aspiring wrestler, got taken down

STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) - Police in Connecticut say an attempted robbery was foiled by the intended victim, who disarmed and took down his assailant with a move inspired by his training in lucha libre, a form of professional wrestling popularized in Mexico.

Stamford Police Sgt. Robert Shawinsky says the 57-year-old man told officers he was walking on a city street early Saturday when 43-year-old Israel Torres confronted him armed with a knife and demanded money. The Stamford Advocate reports the victim says he took a step back then decided to take down Torres with a wrestling move he had practiced.

Shawinsky says the wrestler punched Torres and pinned him to the ground until police arrived.

Shawinsky says Torres denied owning the knife and contends he was randomly attacked by the wrestler. He faces a robbery charge.

High court to hear appeal in lawsuit over train death

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) A case involving the death of a man who was struck by a Metro-North train in Darien is going before the Connecticut Supreme Court.

Justices are scheduled to hear arguments Monday on whether federal law prevents Kevin Murphy's widow from filing a wrongful death lawsuit against Metro-North in state court.

The lawsuit says Murphy slipped on ice at the Noroton Heights train station, fell onto the tracks and was struck and killed by a Metro-North train in March 2013.

Murphy's widow, Jamey Murphy, says the through train was wrongly traveling on the tracks closest to the platform, instead of other tracks away from the platform.

Jamey Murphy appealed to the state Supreme Court after a lower court judge dismissed her lawsuit, citing federal laws including the Federal Railroad Safety Act.

State police searching for driver that struck, killed man

BETHANY, Conn. (AP) Connecticut state police are searching for a driver that struck and killed a pedestrian on a state highway.

Police say 25-year-old Tony Pires Goncalves, of Derby, succumbed to undisclosed injuries after being struck Sunday on Route 63 by a vehicle that fled the scene.

The collision happened near the Bethany-Naugatuck town line sometime before 7:30 a.m.

State police say they're seeking a dark green Jeep Cherokee built between 1997 and 2001. The vehicle would likely have front end damage, including a broken or missing right headlight.

The crash shut down a portion of the state highway for several hours Sunday as authorities investigated.

Police: Suspected burglar stole chain saw, leaf blower

EAST WINDSOR, Conn. (AP) Police in Connecticut say they've arrested a man who is accused of stealing landscaping tools like a leaf blower and a chain saw.

East Windsor police officers responded to a local landscaping company for a burglary alarm early Sunday, finding a 29-year-old man wearing a black mask. WVIT-TV reports the man ran off when he spotted the officers and failed to stop despite numerous warnings.

Police say the suspect fell down during the chase and an officer used a stun gun on him when he attempted to get back up.

Investigators say they found a chain saw inside his vehicle that had been reported stolen out of Newington.

The suspect faces multiple charges, including burglary. He is scheduled to be in court Monday.

3 stabbed during large Halloween party in Connecticut

FARMINGTON, Conn. (AP) Police in Connecticut say three people were stabbed during a large Halloween party attended by more than 100 people.

Officers in Farmington were called to a home shortly after 12:30 a.m. Thursday on reports of a large fight outside. Police said 100 to 300 people were inside and outside the home.

Authorities say two of the stabbing victims were dropped off at the University of Connecticut John Dempsey Hospital in Farmington and the third checked himself into St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford.

All three of the victims are expected to survive. They ranged from 19 to 27 years old and their names haven't been released.

No arrests have been announced.

Police say the party was large because it had been advertised on social media.

Parents face charges after death of young son in hot car

WEST HAVEN, Conn. (AP) Charges have been filed against the parents of a 4-year-old boy in Connecticut who died in July after being found locked in hot car.

Police in West Haven say Dusan Jenkins and Latoya Walters, both 34, are charged with reckless endangerment and risk of injury to a minor. Jenkins was also charged with criminally negligent homicide and Walters with making a false statement.

Police say Dusan Jenkins, Jr., and his 2-year-old brother, Davion, locked themselves in the hot car on July 19 after leaving their house on their own. The younger boy survived and is now in foster care.

In an interview last month with WTNH-TV , Jenkins said the couple had planned on bringing the children to a museum and that the boys had apparently gone out to the car in anticipation.

Police warn of scam masquerading as award money

WOLCOTT, Conn. (AP) Police in Connecticut are warning residents of Wolcott of a scam masquerading itself under the Publishers Clearing House name.

Wolcott police say a resident told them they received a letter and check for $5,825. WVIT-TV reports the letter claimed the recipient had won $2.5 million and that the enclosed check would cover insurance and attorney fees.

The resident had not sent anything to Publishers Clearing House and suspected a scam. The resident told police about the letter and when police contacted the number on the letter, the people who answered hung up.

Police caution residents to be on the alert for scams and never send money or share personal information with unknown persons.

Ex-police officer charged in alleged overtime scam

WEST HAVEN, Conn. (AP) A former Connecticut police officer who served as his department's spokesman has been charged with 87 counts of forgery in what authorities are calling an alleged overtime pay scam.

State police say former West Haven Sgt. David Tammaro turned himself in Wednesday. He posted $10,000 bail and was ordered to appear in state court Nov. 13.

An arrest warrant says another former West Haven officer accused Tammaro of falsifying hours on overtime slips and forging the signatures of supervisors needed to approve the overtime over several years.

Other officers told investigators the allegations against Tammaro were not true and blamed other officers who had issues with Tammaro.

Tammaro didn't immediately return a message Wednesday. He retired from the department in August after having been placed on paid administrative leave.

UConn board approves $45 million plan for hockey rink

STORRS, Conn. (AP) The University of Connecticut's Board of Trustees has approved a $45 million plan to build a hockey rink on campus.

The rink, to be built adjacent to the current one, would seat 2,500 people, with the ability to expand to 3,500 seats. It is scheduled to open in 2021.

The school's conference, Hockey East, had earlier agreed to waive its requirement that the school build a 4,000-seat rink. UConn plans to keep its current 2,000-seat rink for general student and community use.

The rink is to be funded through a combination of reserve money, profit from recent property sales and $22.5 million in tax-exempt bonding from the developer, with UConn paying an annual fee in repayment.

UConn says most of its hockey games will still be played at the XL Center in Hartford.

Audio of teacher discussing noose-making prompts inquiry

NEW LONDON, Conn. (AP) Connecticut school officials say they are investigating recorded audio of what is purported to be a New London High School teacher discussing the details of making a noose.

The teacher is heard on the audio recording going into detail about how a noose could kill someone. The Day reports the teacher's identity has not been confirmed.

School Superintendent Cynthia Ritchie said Tuesday that school administrators were made aware of the discussion when a student shared the recording. Ritchie declined to discuss further details.

Board of Education member Jason Catala says he listened to the audio and cannot imagine how it could be appropriate to discuss such a matter in the classroom. Catala says his first reaction was to call for the teacher to be fired.


Imagery in Republican's campaign mailer called anti-Semitic

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (AP) A state Senate candidate in Connecticut is facing criticism after sending out a campaign mailer that includes a drawing depicting his Jewish opponent with cash in his hands and a maniacal look on his face.

Steve Ginsburg, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League of Connecticut, says the mailer from Republican Ed Charamut ``suggests an age-old anti-Semitic trope.'' Middletown state Rep. Matthew Lesser, the Democrat, says he finds it deeply upsetting.

Charamut says the mailer is not hateful and is meant to draw a contrast between his own fiscal conservatism and Lesser.

The two are vying for the state Senate seat being vacated by Democrat Paul Doyle.

The ADL says the mailing comes amid a rise in reported anti-Semitic incidents, including Saturday's shooting that left 11 people dead and six others wounded inside a Pittsburgh synagogue.

Officials: Man defrauded state out of millions in taxes

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (AP) Federal officials say a Connecticut man has pleaded guilty to his role in defrauding the state out of millions in taxes.

The Department of Justice says 46-year-old Rishi Malik, of Fairfield, pleaded guilty to charges of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud and to violate the Contraband Cigarette Trafficking Act. The Connecticut Post reports Malik faces a maximum of 25 years in prison.

Court documents indicate Malik operated and assisted a tobacco wholesale business for several years, and failed to report over $5 million in taxes owed to the state.

Malik is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 23, 2019. His business partner has pleaded guilty to the same charges and is awaiting sentencing.

Both have agreed to pay full restitution.

Prison, public safety leaders to leave before Malloy's exit

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Connecticut's prison and public safety commissioners have told Gov. Dannel P. Malloy that they will be stepping down before the governor's final term ends in January.

Department of Correction Commissioner Scott Semple and Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection Commissioner Dora Schriro are among numerous Malloy appointees expected to leave their jobs, as traditionally is the case when a new administration takes over.

Malloy did not seek a third term and his last day is Jan. 9.

Semple told prison staff he will retire Jan. 1 after more than 30 years with the Correction Department, including nearly four years as commissioner.

Schriro became public safety commissioner in 2014. She said she is going to stop and ``take stock'' before deciding her next move during a 25-year public safety career.





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