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State News Stories

Man claims self defense in fatal shooting of basketball star

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - A man charged with murder in the shooting of a college basketball star in Hartford is claiming self defense. Jason Stone turned himself in to police after 24-year-old Jaqhawn Walters was shot Saturday afternoon. The 33-year-old Stone was arraigned Monday in Hartford Superior Court. His lawyer, David Warner, said Stone was claiming self defense. Stone is being held on $1 million bond and is due back in court October 5. Walters was a 2018 graduate of Albertus Magnus College in New Haven. He earned all-conference honors three times and had signed a contract to play professionally in Argentina.
 


Governor forms vaccine advisory group

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Connecticut is forming an advisory group to validate the safety of any coronavirus vaccines and how to distribute them to the public, Gov. Ned Lamont said Monday.

Lamont said the goals are to make sure the vaccines are not harmful, the public can have confidence in them and they are distributed with priority going to certain populations such as nursing homes, first responders, schools and colleges while supplies are limited at first.

The co-chairs of the committee are acting Public Health Commissioner Deidre Gifford and Dr. Reginald Eadie, president and chief executive of Trinity Health of New England, who both joined Lamont at a news conference Monday. Members will include vaccine experts, state officials, labor representatives and advocates for communities highly affected by the virus.

“I’m trying to build people’s confidence to take the COVID-19 vaccine,” the Democratic governor said. “That’s why I’ve got these two people sitting here right now to make sure you know we’re not going to let anything get out into our greater population until the smartest of the health care community in this state, not to mention in Washington D.C., says it’s the right thing to do.”

Lamont cited comments by Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that a vaccine is expected to be widely available by April.

Lamont also said Monday that the positive test rate for the virus in the state has dipped back down to about 1.1%, down from 1.6% last week. The rate has been above 1% for nearly two weeks, after weeks of having been below 1%.

Officials reported 68 people were hospitalized in Connecticut with COVID-19 on Monday, down seven from Friday. Three more people died, bringing the total to 4,495. More than 56,000 state residents have tested positive for the virus since the pandemic began.


Connecticut officials join nation in mourning Ginsburg

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Connecticut officials are joining the nation in mourning the death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Gov. Ned Lamont has ordered all U.S. and state flags in Connecticut to be flown at half-staff and called Ginsburg a "fierce and fiery champion for fairness and equity for all." Connecticut two Democratic U.S. senators, Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal, urged Senate Republicans to wait to vote on Ginsburg's successor until after the next searing-in of the president in January. U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro and Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz called Ginsburg an iconic champion of women's rights and a role model.


Woman killed when gunfire erupts in Connecticut parking lot

STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) - Stamford police say a woman was killed and several other people were wounded when gunfire erupted in a crowded parking lot. Police Capt. Richard Conklin says shots were fired around 12:15 a.m. Sunday into a crowd of 30 to 40 people in a parking lot near the intersection of Ursula Place and Dale Street on the city's East Side. Conklin says a woman in her early 30s was rushed to Stamford Hospital but could not be saved. Her name was withheld pending notification of relatives. Police say three other people showed up at area hospitals with gunshot wounds. Investigators asked witnesses to come forward as they piece together what happened.


Lamont concerned about increasing coronavirus cases in state

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont is expressing concern about an increasing number of people testing positive for the coronavirus around the state. The state reported Thursday that 220 more people tested positive since Wednesday, out of nearly 13,900 people who were tested. That's a positive rate of about 1.6%. The state's rate has been above 1% for more than a week, but Lamont says it's still very low. There are also 75 people in the hospital, the highest number in two months. In other news, a middle school in Trumbull has closed because someone tested positive and 70 people were asked to quarantine.


Federal funding threatened over transgender athlete policy

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - The U.S. Department of Education is threatening to withhold magnet school funding for Connecticut school districts if they follow a state policy that allows transgender girls to compete as girls in high school sports. Districts including New Haven have been asked to sign a document to receive Federal Magnet Schools Assistance Program Grants that states they will "not participate in any interscholastic sporting events" unless the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference changes its policy. Connecticut's attorney general says he is working to secure the funding for the districts, which are refusing to sign the document.


Updates to restaurant bar service, walk-up bars for private events

The Connecticut Restaurant Association has been working closely with the CT DECD over the last few weeks to work on updates to the guidelines for restaurant bar service, as well as walk-up bars for private events. New language has been approved for both areas and it goes into effect immediately.

For restaurant bar service, a plexiglass barrier is no longer needed when performing limited service duties including pouring or serving beverages, taking and processing orders, serving food, and delivering or picking up the bill.

6 foot spacing or plexiglass barriers will be needed is for mixing drinks or performing any other work station duties behind the bar. Bartenders/Servers will still need to continue to follow personal protection requirements.  The Plexiglass barrier must be at least 30 inches high and a gap/opening at the bottom of the barrier is allowed for food and drink service as long as the gap/opening is no more than 8 inches high.

As for Private Events, the rules committee has now approved Walk-Up Bar Service for both indoor and outdoor private events.  Patrons must follow proper social distancing guidelines.  Walk-up bar service is still not permitted at restaurant bars. This update is for Private Events Only


Pandemic spells opportunity for marooned Coast Guard cadets

NEW LONDON, Conn. (AP) - Cadets at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy are being credited with saving a mission that had been endangered by the coronavirus pandemic this summer. The Coast Guard cutter Munro lost more than a dozen crew members to quarantine in June after a COVID-19 diagnosis on board. Capt. Blake Novak says that left his ship unable to sail. So he contacted the academy, where cadets were stuck on campus in New London because their normal summer internships had been canceled. A group was sent to California to replace the quarantined crew and spent 52 days at sea, helping the Munro patrol the maritime border with Russia.


State to close nursing home after deadly COVID-19 outbreak

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Connecticut's Department of Public Health has decided to close a Norwich nursing home where officials allege violations of COVID-19 protocols have led to several deaths. The investigation of the Three Rivers Nursing Home followed a late July outbreak in which least 21 residents and six staff became infected. Four of those patients have since died. Meanwhile, state prison officials have moved a coronavirus isolation unit for inmates from the the state's maximum-security Northern Correctional Institution to another prison after discovering that prisoners were hiding symptoms to avoid being transferred to Northern.


Raytheon doubles job cuts to 15,000, citing airline downturn

WALTHAM, Mass. (AP) - Raytheon Technologies plans to eliminate more than 15,000 jobs this year at its corporate offices, jet engine-maker Pratt & Whitney and aviation and military equipment manufacturer Collins Aerospace. Chief Executive Officer Greg Hayes announced the revised job cut numbers Wednesday during a Morgan Stanley analysts conference. The cuts are nearly double what the company disclosed in July amid a downtown in the airline industry during the coronavirus pandemic. Jobs will be eliminated at Raytheon's headquarters in Waltham, Massachusetts, Pratt & Whitney in East Hartford, Connecticut, and Collins Aerospace in Charlotte, North Carolina.
 


Police arrest man accused of striking trooper with car

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - A man accused of striking a Connecticut state trooper with a car while fleeing a traffic stop has been arrested on nine charges including assaulting a public safety officer. State police say 22-year-old Jayquan Richardson, of Windsor, was taken into custody Tuesday at his job in Willington. He later posted $25,000 bail after a court arraignment in Hartford. Authorities say Richardson struck state police Sgt. Timothy Begley on July 19 while fleeing a traffic stop on Interstate 94 in Hartford. Begley was treated for minor injuries. It's not clear if Richardson has a lawyer who could respond to the allegations.


Woman's skeletal remains found in Black Rock State Park

WATERTOWN, Conn. (AP) - State police detectives are investigating the discovery of a woman's skeletal remains over the weekend in Black Rock State Park. The remains were discovered Saturday near the Watertown-Thomaston town line. Police have not said who discovered the bones or how they were found. The remains were sent to the Office of the Chief State's Medical Examiner in Farmington in an attempt to establish the woman's identity and determine how long the body has been in the woods.


Police search for person who fled after officer opens fire

NAUGATUCK, Conn. (AP) - Connecticut authorities say they are searching for a man who drove at a police officer while fleeing a traffic stop, prompting the officer to open fire on the car. Naugatuck police say the officer stopped the car at about 8 p.m. Monday. Officials said on Tuesday that they were still trying to find 24-year-old Roznovsky Machado, of Waterbury, and they aren't sure whether he was wounded in the shooting. The car was found in Waterbury on Tuesday morning. Police say the officer was treated for minor injuries at a hospital and discharged.


Former community development leader gets prison for theft

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - The former executive director of a Connecticut community development agency will serve five months in prison for stealing nearly $98,000 from the organization. Darrin LaMore, of Enfield, was sentenced Tuesday in federal court in Hartford. He also was ordered to pay restitution to the town of Enfield and the state. Prosecutors say LaMore stole the money between 2012 and 2015 when he was executive director of the Enfield Community Development Corp. Prosecutors say he improperly paid his salary with federal grants and falsified vendor invoices. LaMore pleaded guilty. His lawyer says the agency did not set aide enough money to pay LaMore's salary.


Start of school in Hartford delayed by ransomware attack

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Schools in Hartford, Connecticut, will open on Wednesday, a day later than planned because of a ransomware attack on city computer systems. School officials said Tuesday that critical systems have been repaired, including a school bus transportation system that was affected and forced officials to postpone the start of school. Tuesday was to have been the first day of school for the district of about 18,000 students. Both in-person and remote learning were postponed to Wednesday. Mayor Luke Bronin says the hacker or hackers made no specific ransom demand. He called it one of the worst cyberattacks on the city.


Conn. official raps Bridgeport mayor's post-Isaias alerts

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut emergency-communications official says Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim shouldn't have used an emergency alert system to lambaste a power company over its response to Tropical Storm Isaias, and his messages prompted hundreds of people to refuse future notifications. That's according to the Connecticut Post, which said Sunday that it used the Freedom of Information Act to obtain a recent letter from statewide emergency telecommunications director William Youell to Ganim's administration. The newspaper says state officials urged the city to review its emergency notification procedures but didn't impose any penalties. Ganim told The Post that city officials "greatly appreciate" the state officials' input.


Man charged with killing dog at Connecticut condo complex

CROMWELL, Conn. (AP) - A 31-year-old man faces charges of animal cruelty and other offenses after police say he fatally shot a dog at a Connecticut condominium complex as its owners tried to catch it. Jessica Aurilio of Cromwell tells WTNH that her boyfriend's 1-year-old German shorthaired pointer Ally jumped a gate to chase a bird Sunday morning. As she and her boyfriend ran after the dog, Aurilio says a man pulled out a gun and shot the dog with two children present. Police say Bardsley Monfilston was charged Sunday with unlawful discharge of a firearm, animal cruelty and two counts of child endangerment. He was released on $10,000 bond. It was unclear if he has a lawyer to comment.


Annual Connecticut River cleanup a month-long event in '20

GREENFIELD, Mass. (AP) - The annual four-state effort to remove trash from the 410-mile Connecticut River is still going on this year, but with some changes because of the coronavirus pandemic. Rather that the usual two-day event, the 24th annual Connecticut River Conservancy's Source to Sea Cleanup is a month-long event that will last all September so volunteers can practice safe social distancing. The event involves thousands of volunteers cleaning the river and its tributaries on foot or by boat in New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut. Last year, more than 3,600 volunteers hauled in nearly 67 tons of trash, from recyclable bottles and cans, fishing equipment and food waste to tires, televisions, and even refrigerators.


Capitol cops patrol senator's home after intimidation claim

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — State Capitol Police said Thursday that they have been sending patrols to state Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff’s home in response to reports that Norwalk police officers upset about a police accountability bill tried to intimidate him.

Duff said he was at Norwalk police headquarters on July 24 when a city officer spat at him and about 30 officers gathered in the parking lot as he left. He said he was at the department to attend a meeting of the police union’s executive board and answer questions about the bill. Duff’s account of the events was first reported by Hearst Connecticut Media on Wednesday.

Duff, a Democrat, said some officers uttered expletives, and afterward someone started driving by his Norwalk house and yelling expletives twice a day for two weeks. He believes it was an effort to intimidate him days before the Senate voted on the police accountability bill that had been approved by the House the day before. The Senate approved the bill on July 29, and Gov. Ned Lamont signed it two days later.

“What keeps me up at night is that if they would do this to someone like me who’s white, privileged and the Senate majority leader and has a public platform, what are they doing to others who don’t have that platform, can’t speak up and don’t have the position that I have?” Duff said Thursday.

Police across the state opposed portions of the accountability bill. The law creates a new inspector general to investigate police use-of-force cases, limits when deadly use of force including chokeholds can be justified and allows civil lawsuits in state courts against officers for violating people’s civil rights, in certain situations.

State Capitol Police said in a statement Thursday that they have been sending patrols to Duff’s home as a precaution in response to media reports of what happened in Norwalk.

Norwalk Police Chief Thomas Kulhawik said he planned to meet with Duff on Friday to discuss what happened. He said officers provided a somewhat different account of the events at police headquarters, including that an officer several feet away from Duff turned his head and spat at the ground, not at Duff.

“However, it is clear that the behavior was not acceptable,” Kulhawik said in a statement Thursday. “I can appreciate that Sen. Duff felt disrespected by some members of the department.”

The police chief called the entire situation disappointing. He declined to say whether any of the officers’ conduct is under investigation.

A phone message seeking comment was left for the local police union president, David O’Connor.


Workers at 3 Conn. McDonald's awarded $870,541 in back wages

DARIEN, Conn. (AP) — More than 260 workers at three McDonald’s restaurants located at I-95 service plazas in Connecticut have begun receiving $870,541 in back wages following a wage rate investigation by the state Department of Labor.

But some of the employees, who held a rally on Thursday at the service plaza in Darien, contend it’s only partial vindication.

“I believe the store managers used the pandemic as an excuse to get rid of my entire night shift, which had some of the most experienced workers in the store, just because we demanded fair treatment,” former employee Rosa Franco said in a statement. Franco worked at the Darien northbound McDonald’s for 13 years until she was laid off in March.

Franco and other service plaza workers have complained about a lack of paid sick time, proper training and protective equipment during the coronavirus pandemic.

Connecticut Labor Commissioner Kurt Westby announced Wednesday that his agency’s Division of Wage and Workplace Standards recovered and paid $870,541 in owed wages to 264 employees of restaurants in Fairfield and Darien. All three restaurants are owned by Michell Enterprises LLC of New Canaan, which also paid $35,800 in civil penalties.

A message seeking comment was left with a Michell Enterprises executive.

The labor department conducted a nearly year-long investigation which determined the owner violated state law requiring standard wage rates for certain service workers. Checks ranging from $13.73 to $12,496.28 have been distributed to the workers.


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