State news

Lawsuit over fatal crash involving Berman's wife settled

TORRINGTON, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut restaurant accused of serving alcohol to the wife of ESPN broadcaster Chris Berman before she was killed in a car crash has settled a lawsuit filed by the family of an 87-year-old man who also died in the wreck.

The settlement involving The Market Place Kitchen and Bar in Woodbury and the family of Edward Bertulis was disclosed Wednesday in a filing in Torrington Superior Court. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Police said Katherine Berman's blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit to drive when she rear-ended Bertulis' car in Woodbury in May 2017. Bertulis was on his way home after visiting his wife's grave.

A lawyer for the restaurant's owner said there is a confidentiality agreement and declined to comment Thursday.

Lawsuit: Teacher shamed student over Pledge protest

WATERBURY, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut teenager has filed a federal lawsuit against her teacher and school board saying the teacher mocked and shamed her for not standing up during the Pledge of Allegiance.

The unnamed 14-year-old student says in her lawsuit filed Monday that the Waterbury Arts Magnet School teacher's actions violated her First Amendment rights.

The black student says she and other students remained seated as part of a "peaceful and nondisruptive" protest over racial discrimination against African-Americans.

The student's attorney, John Williams, says his client has been "frightened and intimidated" as the result of the teacher's actions.

Williams says they're seeking an injunction to stop the teacher's behavior and undisclosed damages.

Postal Service offers $40,000 reward for robbery information

CROMWELL, Conn. (AP) - The U.S. Postal Inspection Service has announced a $40,000 reward for information about the robbery of a postal worker at a post office.

The robbery was reported around 6:15 p.m. Sept. 7 at the Cromwell Post Office.

Authorities say a U.S. Postal Service Highway Contract Route driver was getting out of a vehicle when the suspect pulled a firearm and demanded postal property.

The worker was not injured.

Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the U.S. Postal Inspection Service or the Cromwell Police Department.

Officer who told group he was 'trigger happy' is fired

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) A Connecticut police officer caught on video warning young people he was ``trigger happy'' is out of a job.

Hartford Police Chief David Rosado announced Wednesday that Officer Stephen Barone was fired. Rosado said there was no way Barone could return as a productive member of the department.

Barone and a police union official declined to comment.

Police and bystander video shows Barone talking to several young people during a trespassing call and warning them if they wanted to fight or run that he was ``trigger happy.'' Barone also was recorded saying he made the comments because he was outnumbered and needed to keep control.

Barone was assigned to desk duty and demoted from sergeant to officer after an internal investigation found he violated the department's code of conduct.

Hartford man gets prison time for selling drugs

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) A Hartford man has been sentenced to more than three years in prison on heroin trafficking charges.

Federal prosecutors say 28-year-old Rafael Garcia was sentenced Wednesday to three years and one month behind bars to be followed by three years of probation.

He pleaded guilty in May to conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute heroin.

Garcia was arrested in 2017 after he drove away from a city home that authorities say was a ``stash house'' for drugs and was found to be in possession of narcotics.

The arrest was the result of an investigation into a drug trafficking ring that operated in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and the Dominican Republic.

Singer convicted in scheme to fleece thousands from estate

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) A Connecticut gospel singer has been convicted of conspiring with a former minister to fleece hundreds of thousands of dollars from a Trumbull man's estate.

The Bridgeport Superior Court jury of four women and two men deliberated for about four and a half hours before finding the 60-year-old Doraine Reed guilty of multiple counts of larceny. The Connecticut Post reports Reed vowed ``this is not over,'' as she was led away in handcuffs Wednesday.

The jury found that Reed acted as the principal in a scheme with former pastor Robert Genevicz to take over the home and property of 88-year-old Arthur Devack of Trumbull. The 67-year-old Genevicz has pleaded guilty to larceny charges.

Reed faces up to 70 years in prison at her December sentencing.

Yale doctor put on probation for excessive alcohol use

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) The Connecticut Medical Examining Board has placed a Yale Cancer Center doctor's license on probation for five years, saying his excessive use of alcohol affects his ability to practice.

The board accepted a consent order Tuesday that says Harris Foster Jr. used alcohol to excess at various times between 2012 and May of this year. The New Haven Register reports Foster was previously listed as a professor of urology at the Yale School of Medicine and as the director of female urology and neuro-urology at the cancer center in New Haven.

A spokesman for Yale New Haven Hospital says Foster is still affiliated with the cancer center, but he cannot comment further on personnel matters.

Foster has admitted no wrongdoing, but did not contest the matter in the order.

Inmate who escaped for 10 days sentenced to 4 more years

ENFIELD, Conn. (AP) A Connecticut inmate who spent 10 days on the lam will be spending an extra four years behind bars.

The Hartford Courant reported Tuesday that a Superior Court judge has sentenced Jerry Mercado of Hartford to the additional time for escaping from a correctional institution. It will run consecutive to the sentence he's now serving for burglary.

Police say 25-year-old Mercado had a one year to finish on his three-year sentence when he grabbed onto a vehicle and escaped from Carl Robinson Correctional Institution in Enfield on Jan. 7. Police found him 10 days later outside a gas station in Canton, Georgia.

Connecticut's Department of Correction says it conducted security audits after the escape and ``where needed, appropriate changes were made to bolster the safety and security of the facilities.''

Republicans find replacement candidate in state House race

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Republicans have found a new candidate for Connecticut's General Assembly after the original one withdrew following criticism over comments he made online about victims of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

Secretary of the State Denise Merrill's office said Tuesday it received the name of a replacement candidate in the 30th state House district, which is currently held by Democratic Speaker of the House Joe Aresimowicz (ehr-eh-SIM'-oh-wits), who is seeking re-election.

The document shows Berlin resident Michael Gagliardi is the new candidate. Tuesday is the final day to endorse a replacement.

Steven Baleshiski, a 22-year-old college student from Southington, withdrew from the race last week. In a social media post in March, he said a survivor of the Parkland shooting who turned to gun-control advocacy ``can burn in hell.''

Police: Counterfeiter tried to escape officers using parkour

TRUMBULL, Conn. (AP) - Police in Connecticut say a man questioned for counterfeiting attempted to evade officers by performing parkour.

Trumbull police say the 25-year-old New York City man used a fake $100 bill to buy a video game at the local mall, which prompted the store clerk to contact police. The Connecticut Post reports the suspect was briefly detained and questioned by a police sergeant while exiting the mall Saturday.

The suspect initially denied any wrongdoing initially, but then took off running into a parking garage. Police officials then say the suspect jumped off the upper level of the garage to a lower level, before running to another jumping point where he was caught by police.

The man faces multiple charges, and police are investigating similar instances of counterfeiting in the area.

Horse collapses, died on Connecticut beach

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (AP) - Police say a horse that collapsed and died on a Connecticut beach over the weekend suffered some sort of medical emergency.

Fairfield police tell the Connecticut Post the 17-year-old horse, named Boston, was wading in shallow water on the private beach on Sunday when collapsed in the water.

Officials said the owner, a Norwalk resident, tried to keep the horse's head out of the water, but by the time first responders arrived, the horse was dead.

Police said there is no indication of abuse, and it would the up to the owner whether to have a necropsy performed.

Department of Public Works employees used a bucket loader to load the horse into the owner's trailer.

Hartford student gets sick after eating 'edible narcotic'

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - A student at a Connecticut high school has been taken to the hospital after eating what police described as an "edible narcotic."

Hartford police responded to Bulkeley High School just before 10 a.m. Monday and met with a school security official who said a boy had brought the edible to school and shared it with a girl.

The girl began to feel sick and was brought to the hospital by her mother. She suffered what police called a minor reaction.

None of the substance was left and the boy would only say he got it "at a corner store somewhere" and the only person he shared with was the girl.

The boy was suspended from school.

No names were released because both students are juveniles.

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.

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