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State News Stories

$50K reward offered in unsolved 2018 Connecticut slaying

BURLINGTON, Conn. (AP) - A $50,000 reward was posted Monday by the state of Connecticut for information leading to an arrest in the death of a 26-year-old woman who was found strangled in 2018. Prosecutor Brian Preleski announced the reward at a news conference alongside Kelsey Mazzamaro's father, who asked anybody with information about the case to come forward. Preleski declined to say whether there is a suspect or person of interest in the case. He said authorities are certain there are witnesses who could help advance the investigation.

Officer charged in fatal crash awaits release on monitoring

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) - Nevada jail officials say a Connecticut police officer charged with driving under the influence in a Las Vegas crash that killed a fellow officer remains detained while awaiting approval for house arrest and electronic monitoring. New Haven Officer Robert Ferraro was arrested Friday on charges of DUI resulting in death and reckless driving in the crash that killed fellow New Haven Officer Joshua Castellano. Officials said Monday that Ferraro posted $100,000 bail, but needs approval for house arrest and electronic monitoring - a seven- to 10-day process. It's not clear if Ferraro has a lawyer. He has been placed on administrative leave pending an internal affairs investigation.

Police say Farmington officer struck, pinned by stolen car

FARMINGTON, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut police officer was seriously injured early Monday when he was pinned between his police cruiser and a stolen car. Farmington police officers responded to a report of a catalyctic converter theft in progress just before 1 a.m. Authorities say that as the first officer who arrived at the scene approached the car that the suspected thief was in, the suspect rammed the officer and pinned him against his police car. Police say the suspect then drove off, crashed in a wooded area and fled on foot. The injured officer was taken to a hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries.

Restaurant's answer to staff shortages: Robot servers

NEW LONDON, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut restaurant is taking an unorthodox approach to addressing staff shortages: robot servers to serve meals. The operator of the New London location of the Shaking Crab tells The Day that the ocean-themed restaurant will use regular waiters and waitresses to explain the menu and take orders but that the robots will deliver the meals to the tables. Gulshan Soni tells the newspaper it's partly for showmanship and partly to address staffing shortages being experienced across the industry. The restaurant is scheduled to open to the public in early October. The Shaking Crab has more than two dozen locations in the northeastern U.S. and China, according to its website.

Friends, colleagues mourn New Haven officer killed in crash

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) - A New Haven police officer killed in a crash involving other officers in Las Vegas is being remembered for his positive impact on colleagues and the community he served. Seven-year veteran Joshua Castellano died early Friday after a Rolls Royce driven by fellow New Haven Officer Robert Ferraro overturned. Ferraro faces criminal charges and has been placed on leave. He and four others riding in the car suffered minor injuries. One colleague tells the New Haven Register that Castellano loved his job and was "able to connect with anybody ... he was the whole package."

Use of OxyContin profits to fight opioids formally approved

A judge formally approved a plan Friday to turn OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma into a new company no longer owned by members of the Sackler family and with its profits going to fight the opioid epidemic. A U.S. bankruptcy court judge signed the plan Friday, more than two weeks after giving it preliminary approval. The plan settles some 3,000 lawsuits the company faced over the opioid epidemic that has killed a half-million Americans. Some states and the U.S. Bankruptcy Trustee have already filed appeals because the plan would grant protections to members of the Sackler family from lawsuits over opioids.

Sports betting to begin in Connecticut Oct. 7

Sports betting is set to begin in Connecticut on October 7th.

The Governor's office was informed last week that the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs has signed off on revisions to the gaming compacts between the state, the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe and the Mohegan Tribe, paving the way for the state Department of Consumer Protection to move forward with licensing and the certification process.

A key legislative committee approved emergency regulations last month. Permanent regulations are expected to be debated during next year’s legislative session.

The Mashantucket Pequot Tribe is building a permanent retail sportsbook at Foxwoods that will open in October, and they have plans for a temporary retail facility. They have been working with Draft Kings to make offerings available.  The Mohegan Tribal Nation chose FanDuel to operate its sports betting and the Connecticut Lottery awarded Sportstech a contract to operate 10 of their 15 retail locations in the state.

The state would set an 18% tax rate for the first five years on new online gambling offered by the casinos, followed by a 20% rate for at least the following five years. There would be a 13.75% state tax on sports wagering. Currently, the state receives 25% of the slot machine revenues generated at Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun, in return for granting the tribes exclusive rights to offer casino games.

Connecticut town's residents warned to stay away from minks

STONINGTON, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut town's police force is warning residents to stay away from aggressive minks. The Day of New London reports that Capt. Todd Olson of the Stonington Police Department urged people to stay away from minks in a recorded message. Olson said that even though they resemble a pet ferret, minks are territorial and are not friendly. He said one of them chased a person Wednesday. Olson said the department's animal control officer notified the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection about the minks. A mink farm once operated in the town.

White catfish catch shatters state, and maybe, world record

A white catfish caught in Connecticut last month has smashed a state record and could also be a world record for the species. Ben Tomkunas caught the 21.3-pound fish late at night in Coventry on Aug. 21. Connecticut Fish and Wildlife confirmed that it was a white catfish and that it easily broke the previous state record for the species of 12.7 pounds. The International Game Fish Association has recorded the world record for a white catfish catch to be 19.3 pounds. Tomkunas says he intends to submit a claim to the association to secure the new world record.

Connecticut woman, daughter charged in Jan. 6 Capitol breach

CANTERBURY, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut woman and her adult daughter have been charged with trespassing and other crimes for entering the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 riot by supporters of then-President Donald Trump. Federal authorities say 56-year-old Jean Lavin and 19-year-old Carla Krzywicki, of Canterbury, were arrested Tuesday. The FBI says Krzywicki posted photos on Facebook of her and her mother outside the Capitol and of the scene inside the building. Both were released without bail after a hearing in federal court in Hartford. Messages were left for Lavin's public defender and for Krzywicki. The FBI says Lavin told agents she and her daughter entered the Capitol out of curiosity.

Stamford, Hamden mayors lose Democratic primaries

STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) - Mayors David Martin of Stamford and Curt Leng of Hamden both lost to fellow Democrats in Tuesday's primary elections. State Rep. Caroline Simmons topped Martin and will face independent candidate Bobby Valentine, a former Major League Baseball player and manager, in the November election. Lauren Garrett defeated Leng and petitioning candidate Peter Cyr. Garrett in Hamden. She will face Republican Ron Gambardella and independent candidate Albert Lotto in November. In Guilford, a group of Republicans who say they oppose the teaching of critical race theory in local schools defeated incumbent GOP board of education members. School officials say the theory is not taught in town.

300 Afghan refugees expected in Connecticut in coming months

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal says about 300 refugees from Afghanistan are expected to arrive in Connecticut in the coming weeks and months as immigrant advocacy groups work to find permanent homes for them in the state. The Connecticut Democrat also said at a news conference with advocates on Monday that he is pushing Congress to approve aid for housing, jobs and other services for the refugees. He expects refugees to begin arriving soon in communities across the country, after clearing security checks. Resettlement agencies, including two in Connecticut, will be in charge of finding permanent homes for refugees.

Connecticut governor to seek extension of emergency powers

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Gov. Ned Lamont said Tuesday that he wants to extend Connecticut's mask mandate for public schools beyond the end of this month when his pandemic-related emergency powers are set to expire. Lamont, a Democrat, said another 90-day extension of his powers is warranted. State lawmakers have extended his emergency declarations in the past, although Republicans and some Democrats have argued it's time to get back to normal. Lamont said his general counsel has a list of 10 executive orders, including the mask mandate, that he believes should continue beyond the end of this month.

Ad falsely claims Connecticut politician has criminal record

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) - An online political ad falsely claimed that a Bridgeport city councilwoman had a criminal record after the organization that placed the ad confused her with another person with the same name. Hearst Connecticut Media reports that the ad that ran Sunday claimed that Councilwoman Maria Pereira was found "guilty of threatening in the second degree and disorderly conduct." The group that paid for the ad, Bridgeport Generation Now Votes, admitted Monday that it was inaccurate. The group said court records turned up a Maria H. Pereira with the same birth year and month as the councilwoman, June 1967, but it was a different person.

Largest colleges push student vaccines with mandates, prizes

STORRS, Conn. (AP) - At most of the largest U.S. public universities, students aren't obligated to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Some schools do require vaccines, but with leniency for those who opt out. Still others have expelled students who don't comply. An analysis by The Associated Press shows 26 of the nation's 50 largest public universities aren't requiring the vaccination. That represents roughly 55% of students enrolled at those campuses. Universities with vaccine mandates are concentrated in the Northeast and California. Almost all of those without mandates are in states that have restricted the ability to implement COVID-19 vaccine requirements, including Florida, Texas and Arizona.

UConn Students are required to be vaccinated, but the school has granted over 800 exemptions without denying a single request, no matter the reason.  Officials are working with students who have not complied with the mandate to understand their concerns about the vaccines, according to the university’s interim president, Dr. Andrew Agwunobi, a pediatrician.  The campus set up clinics for unvaccinated students to get shots as they arrive. At the school in Storrs where 25% of classes were online last year, students are hoping for a better experience this fall. About 90% of classes were expected to be in person this semester at the university where about 11,000 of the 19,000 undergraduates live on campus. All students must wear masks indoors, and those who are unvaccinated face weekly testing.

Ten COVID-19 infections have been recorded among UConn students since the semester began, according to UConn, where officials say 97% of students are vaccinated.

Push for Native American curriculum in schools makes gains

Connecticut and a handful of other states have recently decided to mandate students be taught about Native American culture and history. In North Dakota, a bill became law this year that requires all elementary and secondary school, public and private, to include Native American tribal history in their curriculum, with an emphasis on tribes within the state. Some advocates say the nation's reckoning on race has given momentum to these new laws, albeit gradual. The push comes as some states have passed or are considering passing new laws that prohibit schools from teaching certain concepts of race and racism.

Police appeal order to turn over documents in 2010 cold case

MADISON, Conn. (AP) - Police in a wealthy Connecticut town where the 2010 killing of Barbara Hamburg remains unsolved are fighting a judge's order to turn over investigative files to two documentary filmmakers, including Hamburg's son. The Hartford Courant reports Madison police earlier this month appealed the order to the state Appellate Court, in a case that could have wide implications for access to police cold case files in the state. Hamburg's son, Madison Hamburg, and producer Anike Niemeyer requested the files while filming a documentary series on Barbara Hamburg's killing that ran on HBO last year. The police department rejected the request, saying the investigation is ongoing.

300 Afghan refugees expected in Connecticut in coming months

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal says about 300 refugees from Afghanistan are expected to arrive in Connecticut in the coming weeks and months as immigrant advocacy groups work to find permanent homes for them in the state. The Connecticut Democrat also said at a news conference with advocates on Monday that he is pushing Congress to approve aid for housing, jobs and other services for the refugees. He expects refugees to begin arriving soon in communities across the country, after clearing security checks. Resettlement agencies, including two in Connecticut, will be in charge of finding permanent homes for refugees.

Man sentenced to 10 years for fire that destroyed theater

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut man was sentenced Friday to 10 years in prison for setting fires including the 2019 blaze that destroyed a well-known Shakespearean theater in a shoreline town. Twenty-year-old Christopher Sakowicz told the judge at his sentencing that wants to work as a welder following his release from prison, Hearst Connecticut Media reported. Sakowicz of Stratford, pleaded guilty in June to setting the fire that burned the American Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford to the ground on Jan. 13, 2019. Defense lawyer Joseph Bruckmann told the judge that Sakowicz has a long history of mental illness.

Man found shot to death in car parked in Waterbury driveway

WATERBURY, Conn (AP) - A man was found shot to death inside a car in Waterbury. Police say the victim was found in a car parked in a driveway on South View Street at about 11:30 p.m. Friday. The 39-year-old man had suffered multiple gunshot wounds. He was taken to an area hospital, where he was pronounced dead. His name was not immediately released. Police have made no arrests.





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