State news

Beer garden seeking expansion challenged by neighbors

DERBY, Conn. (AP) Residents of a Connecticut neighborhood say they oppose a proposed regulation that would allow a popular beer garden to expand.

Derby resident Neil Dorso says The Hops Company beer garden has increased illegal parking and speeding throughout his neighborhood. The Connecticut Post reports The Hops Co. is now seeking to expand through local board approval of a company-written proposed zoning regulation.

Lawyer Dominick Thomas says the regulation would allow it to add new parking places and a new building for receptions. He says the proposal would promote development and increase the local tax base.

Residents oppose the plan, and Board of Aldermen President Charles Sampson agrees saying he doesn't believe the beer garden's current location is the right place to expand.

Clean energy-run boat to keep sewage from Long Island Sound

BRANFORD, Conn. (AP) A new boat dedicated to keeping sewage out of Long Island Sound will be running on clean energy itself.

State environmental officials on Monday are helping to launch what is billed as the world's first full-sized, solar-powered pump-out boat at a marina in Branford.

The sound is a ``no discharge zone'' where boaters are forbidden to dump sewage, and pump-out facilities and boats with support from the state remove more than 1 million gallons of sewage from recreational boats in the area.

The new boat was designed and built in Connecticut. Much of the funding for the boat has come from a federal grant, administered through the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

Guards, inmates ally against state in radon-exposure cases

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Guards and inmates at a Connecticut prison are on the same side of a legal fight against the state over radon.

A ruling by federal judge last month will allow 13 inmates to move forward with a lawsuit that alleges the state confined them in inhumane conditions because of high levels of the radioactive gas. It has been linked to lung cancer and other respiratory problems.

A group of 16 former guards and staff member sued in August, saying their health was compromised because they also were not informed of the radon problem.

The Connecticut Correction Department says the state now routinely tests for radon in the prison and recently completed the installation of a radon mitigation system there.

It says the department is reviewing a Sept. 27 judicial decision that rejected the state's attempt to have the lawsuit dismissed.


Report shows annual domestic violence deaths holding steady

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - A new report shows the annual intimate partner homicide rate in Connecticut has been holding steady at roughly 14 since 2000.

Released on Thursday, the report compiled by the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence found that women remain the vast majority of the homicide victims and firearms remain the single most commonly used weapon, utilized in 40 percent of the 246 intimate partner homicides committed in the state between 2000 and 2017.

CCADV Chief Executive Officer Karen Jarmoc says the review shows that victims and offenders continue to struggle with mental illness and addiction, and that some co-workers of several victims were aware of the abuse.

Jarmoc says she hopes the report will raise awareness and spur action. CCADV is recommending a "toolkit" of best practices to help law enforcement.

Connecticut survey finds increase in teen vaping use

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Connecticut public health officials say a survey shows the number of high school students who are vaping doubled from 2015 to 2017.

The survey taken from March 2017 through June 2017 found nearly 15 percent of high school students used e-cigarettes, compared to 7.2 percent in 2015. It found 10 percent of ninth graders and 20 percent of 12th graders used the devices.

Health and education officials across the country have been raising alarms over widespread underage use of e-cigarettes and other vaping products. They are notoriously difficult to detect, often leaving behind only a quick puff of vapor.

Public health Commissioner Raul Pino said Thursday the survey results are troubling because youth are generally unaware of the presence of nicotine in the devices and can quickly become addicted.

More schools allowing applicants to self-report test scores

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Yale and Quinnipiac universities in Connecticut have joined a growing list of schools that allow applicants to self-report SAT and ACT test scores, rather than getting those results from the organizations that administer the entrance exams.

The policy is designed to allow students to apply to multiple schools without worrying about having to pay fees to have those scores sent out.

Quinnipiac announced the change Thursday. Gregory Eichhorn, the school's vice president for admissions, says once a student is admitted, the university will verify the scores with the College Board or ACT and can rescind admission if it finds the scores were falsely self-reported.

The National Association for College Admission Counseling says the idea has exploded over the last two years, with more than 110 schools now allowing self-reported scores.

Police: Woman killed in hit-and-run

NORTH STONINGTON, Conn. (AP) Police in Connecticut say a 25-year-old woman who was injured in a hit-and-run has died.

The Day reports that Krystal Riske succumbed to her injuries Wednesday morning. Police say the woman from the Pawcatuck section of Stonington was walking along state Route 2 in North Stonington on Tuesday evening when she was struck by an SUV. The driver fled the scene.

Riske was airlifted to Hartford Hospital.

Police say the driver's vehicle has damage to its passenger side headlight and is missing the passenger side mirror.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Connecticut State Police.


Lawyer charged with stealing $10,000 from client

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) Police say a Connecticut lawyer fled to New Jersey after stealing nearly $10,000 from a client.

Bridgeport police say the 61-year-old lawyer was arraigned on Wednesday and charged with second-degree larceny. The Connecticut Post reports the case has been continued to Oct. 31, and the suspect was ordered held.

According to court documents, a local man hired the lawyer to handle bankruptcy proceedings in 2016. The lawyer then asked the man to write him a check for $9,614 to pay off bankruptcy debts. Documents say the lawyer then used the money for his own purposes.

Investigators later learned the suspect left the area and was living in New Jersey, where he was found.

Man sentenced in attempt to dispose of body with bomb

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) A 29-year-old Connecticut man has been sentenced to 11 .5 years in federal prison for crimes that include trying to get rid of the body of a shooting victim by blowing it up with a pipe bomb.

Maurice Wearing had pleaded guilty in August, 2017 to conspiracy to distribute crack and possession of an explosive by a convicted felon. He was sentenced Wednesday in U.S. District Court.

Prosecutors say Wearing helped a West Haven man, Christopher Miller, try to dispose of the body of 39-year-old Edward Brooks in July, 2015 after Brooks was shot to death inside Miller's home.

Authorities say the two men brought the body to some nearby woods and then put a pipe bomb under it.

Miller is serving a 30-year federal sentence on similar charges.

Firefighter placed on leave after being found unresponsive

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) A New Haven firefighter has been placed on paid administrative leave after colleagues found him unresponsive in a station last weekend.

Fire Chief John Alston says firefighters were dispatched to a medical call at about 1:30 p.m. Saturday and a firefighter who was at the Woodward Avenue Station was nonresponsive. Colleagues assessed the firefighter at the scene while an ambulance crew went to the scene of the call.

Alston told WTNH-TV that the firefighter ``took ill'' but did not say what happened or how he was treated.

The firefighter was treated on scene and sent to Yale New Haven Hospital and released later that day.

The firefighter's name was not released.

Hartford fixes blighted properties in revitalization push

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Hartford officials have fixed more than 140 blighted properties as part of an effort to clean up the city and increase tax revenue.

The Hartford Courant reports that Mayor Luke Bronin said the city's on pace to address at least 100 cases of blight annually during a town hall meeting Sunday. Officials say there are at least 200 other properties on the list that include vacant buildings, trashed lots and residential areas.

Hartford has worked with community nonprofits to help fix homes. Out-of-state developers have invested millions to transform dilapidated structures into new businesses as well.

Blight director Laura Settlemyer has updated property ordinances in order to help cooperative homeowners. Settlemyer says the ultimate goal is to fix vacant buildings so they can return to the tax roll.


Historic church demolished due to expensive structure issues

WATERBURY, Conn. (AP) Crews began demolition work on a century old historic Connecticut church this week, despite a recent attempt to save it.

The former Trinity Episcopal Church on Prospect Street is more than a century old, but the Waterbury building's owners decided on demolition due to expensive structural problems with the building. Waterbury historian Raechel Guest tells WVIT-TV that she hoped there might be a way to save the building.

She says ``it's an important part of our history and it's an important asset for Waterbury that now is lost and being replaced with a parking lot.'' Guest says she hopes residents can direct their energies toward saving other historic buildings in the area that are at risk of demolition.

Funeral services announced for high school teacher

CHESHIRE, Conn. (AP) Funeral arrangements have been announced for a Connecticut high school teacher found dead near her home.

The Alderson Ford Funeral Home in Cheshire says visitation for 48-year-old Megumi Yamamoto is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon. Funeral services are scheduled for Wednesday morning, followed by burial at Cheshire Hillside Cemetery.

The Cheshire High School English teacher was reported missing Oct. 3. Her body was recovered in a wooded area the next day.

The state medical examiner is still working to determine the cause of death. Police say there is no threat to the public.

Yamamoto had worked for the district since 1997 and was named the school's teacher of the year in 2012.

Court records show her husband filed for divorce last month. She is also survived by two children.

Officer suffers minor injury trying to stop fleeing vehicle

LEDYARD, Conn. (AP) A Connecticut police officer has been injured by a driver fleeing a traffic stop.

The officer was hurt when the driver of a BMW who had fled a traffic stop for speeding deliberately rammed the back of his cruiser in Ledyard on Sunday afternoon.

The officer's injuries are said to be minor. His name was not released. The cruiser was totaled.

The BMW was last seen in a private driveway, but the driver fled when the homeowner confronted him.

Police say the BMW has a decal on the back window and the driver was wearing what police described as a sports team jersey.

Police: 2-year-old boy dies after falling in swimming pool

SHELTON, Conn. (AP) Police say a toddler has died after being pulled from a Connecticut swimming pool.

Officers responding to a 911 call regarding an unresponsive 2-year-old boy found the child at a home in Shelton at about 11 a.m. Monday.

The boy was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Police say the initial investigation indicates the boy was being cared for by a relative when he apparently wandered from the house and fell in the pool.

The boy lived in Shelton with his parents. His name was not made public.

The death remains under investigation.

Ceremony to honor WWII submarine ace

GROTON, Conn. (AP) A ceremony is planned at Connecticut's Navy base this week to commemorate the loss of a renowned World War II submarine skipper.

Cmdr. Dudley Morton and his submarine USS Wahoo led the undersea fleet in the sinking of enemy cargo and transport ships during his time as commander.

The submarine and all sailors on board were lost on Oct. 11, 1943, when it was attacked by Japanese air and naval forces.

A private ceremony is planned for Thursday at the Navy base in Groton. Guests are expected to include Morton's daughter, Edwina Thirsher, among other relatives.

Morton was born in Owensboro, Kentucky in 1907 and graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1930.

Police: Teenager injured by homemade explosive

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Police in Connecticut say a teenager lost two fingers while handling an explosive device made from household objects.

Hartford police did not identify the 16-year-old boy and say the device was no larger than a golf ball. Hartford Police Lt. Paul Cicero says that investigators believe the teenager was not involved in making the device and it appears that he didn't know what he was handling.

The Hartford police bomb squad is assisting with the investigation. No other information was immediately available.

Court to take up appeal in lake drowning case

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Connecticut's Appellate Court is taking up a case involving the 2011 drowning of a 23-year-old Hartford man at a Barkhamsted lake.

A three-judge panel is scheduled to hear arguments Tuesday in a lawsuit over the death of Andres Burgos at Lake McDonough, which is owned by the Metropolitan District Commission.

Burgos' mother, Vivian Perez, sued the MDC in 2013, saying the water and sewer agency was negligent in several ways including not preventing Burgos and his friends from swimming in an undesignated swimming area and being slow to respond to the drowning.

The MDC denies wrongdoing. It also says it has government immunity from the lawsuit and Burgos was trespassing.

A trial court judge agreed with the MDC and dismissed the lawsuit. Perez is appealing.


CVS pledges Aetna will remain in Hartford for least 10 years

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Connecticut officials have received official assurances that CVS Health Corp. will keep Aetna Inc. in Hartford for at least the next decade.

The pledge is included in a commitment letter CVS delivered Wednesday to the Connecticut Insurance Department.

CVS had said in January that it had no plans to move Aetna, reversing last year's announcement by the insurance giant that it would move its headquarters to another state. Hartford has been Aetna's home since 1853.

CVS announced last December it was buying Aetna.

Wednesday's commitment letter also promises employee levels at Aetna will remain at approximately 5,291 for at least the next four years. CVS also will continue to honor civic contributions of the Aetna Foundation and a promised $50 million payment to the city of Hartford over five years.

Judge dismisses most claims in school choice lawsuit

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) A federal judge has dismissed most claims in a lawsuit challenging Connecticut's restrictions on magnet schools, charter schools and school choice programs.

A group of parents and students sued state officials in 2016, saying a moratorium on new magnet schools and other restrictions are unconstitutional and have forced thousands of low-income and minority students to attend low-performing public schools.

U.S. District Judge Alvin Thompson in Hartford dismissed six of seven claims in the lawsuit last week. Thompson wrote there is no fundamental right to equal educational opportunity under the U.S. Constitution, as the plaintiffs argued.

Attorneys for the parents and students did not immediately return messages seeking comment Wednesday.

The lone remaining claim in the lawsuit alleges state officials have abdicated their constitutional duty to safeguard citizens' civil rights.

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