State news

Connecticut man found dead after standoff with police

BRANFORD, Conn. (AP) - Police say a man who fired numerous gunshots from a Connecticut building as officers surrounded the property has been found dead inside. Police say the man holed up Tuesday afternoon in a building on Main Street in Branford. Officials say one gunshot victim was taken to a hospital and is expected to survive. Officers from surrounding towns joined Branford and state police in responding to the scene. SWAT teams also were called in. One witness told The Hartford Courant it seemed like the person had fired hundreds of shots, including at police officers.


NTSB: Pilot error likely caused vintage bomber's fatal crash

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - The National Transportation Safety Board says pilot error probably caused the 2019 crash of a World War II-era bomber in Connecticut that killed seven people and wounded six others. The board released a report Tuesday that also blames inadequate maintenance. Pilot Ernest McCauley reported engine trouble shortly after takeoff. The plane crashed into a maintenance building and burst into flames during a landing attempt. The NTSB says the plane's landing gear was put down too early and the plane was not traveling fast enough. Plane owner the Collings Foundation did not directly address the findings in a statement.


Court rejects appeal of killer of 3 in home invasion

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - The Connecticut Supreme Court has rejected the appeal of a man convicted of murder, sexual assault and other crimes in the killings of a woman and her daughters, ages 11 and 17, in a 2007 home invasion. Justices issued a 7-0 decision Monday upholding the convictions against Joshua Komisarjevsky. He appealed on several arguments including that the state's failure to move his trial out of New Haven to counter pretrial publicity denied him a fair trial. Komisarjevsky and Steven Hayes are serving life prison sentences for the killings of Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her daughters, 11-year-old Michaela and 17-year-old Hayley, in their Cheshire home.


Connecticut echoes feds, recommends pause on J&J vaccine

The Connecticut Department of Public Health announced Tuesday it is recommending that COVID-19 vaccine providers take a pause on administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as federal health authorities investigate reports of blood clots.

None of the cases, which occurred in six women and are considered rare, occurred in Connecticut, the agency said in a statement. Roughly 100,000 Connecticut residents have received the J&J vaccine with no reported serious problems, DPH said.

Connecticut’s decision came shortly after the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration issued a joint statement that also recommended a “pause” in administering the single-dose vaccine.

The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will meet Wednesday to discuss the cases, and the FDA has also launched an investigation into the cause of the clots and low platelet counts.

“The CDC, FDA and Connecticut DPH all take vaccine safety extremely seriously,” the Connecticut public health agency said in a statement. “Although the reported complications are extremely rare, we will await the results of the investigation before proceeding with further use of the J&J vaccine.”

Leaders of the Connecticut department said they have informed vaccine providers planning to hold clinics using J&J on Tuesday and in the coming days to delay those clinics or offer an alternative vaccine if they have a supply.

Agency officials said they would work with vaccine providers “to minimize the disruptions from this announcement in the near-term to the extent possible, but we anticipate that some cancellations will occur.”

Vaccine providers are being urged to reach out to people who were scheduled to receive a Johnson & Johnson dose and let them know them know their appointment will need to be rescheduled.

Connecticut had hoped to use a lot of its Johnson & Johnson vaccine at various mobile clinics as part of an effort to reach underserved populations. The FEMA mobile unit, which is currently in New Britain, was changing its schedule and would be offering the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. It was unclear when that change would happen.

Vaccine vans operated by Griffin Health suspended their operations for Tuesday.

Mayor Joe Ganin, of Bridgeport, the state’s largest city, announced his public health department would halt administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, while continuing to administer the Moderna vaccine.

“Safety and confidence in the vaccine is paramount,” the Democrat said in a statement. “Unless, or until we are 100% confident in the J & J vaccine, we will pause its use.”


Waterbury police investigate shooting that left 4 injured

WATERBURY, Conn. (AP) - Police are investigating a shooting in Waterbury over the weekend that left four men injured. A Waterbury police spokesperson says officers responding to a weapons complaint near Gasparri Lane early Saturday found blood trails and evidence of gunfire. The officers found two shooting victims, one man with a wound to the upper thigh and one who had been shot in the buttocks. Two additional victims were located at a nearby hospital. One had been shot in the hand and the other in the abdomen. Police say none of the victims' injuries are considered life-threatening. Police have made no arrests.


Police: Fatal shootings of toddler, teen appear related

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Police in Connecticut's capital city believe separate shootings over the weekend that killed a 3-year-old boy and a 16-year-old boy were related. Hartford Police Chief Jason Thody said Monday that investigators have found connections between the shootings, which happened about two hours apart on Saturday afternoon in the city's North End. He did not provide details on the connections. No arrests have been announced, but Thody said city police "will continue to devote every resource to bring the perpetrators to justice." The shootings killed 3-year-old Randell Jones and 16-year-old Jamari Preston.


Ex-police chief gets 1 year in prison for hiring scandal

The former police chief of Connecticut's largest city has been sentenced to one year in prison for rigging the hiring process that led to his appointment in 2018. A federal judge in Bridgeport handed down the punishment Monday to Armando "A.J." Perez, who rose through the ranks of Bridgeport police over a nearly four-decade career to become the department's first Hispanic chief. He and the city's former acting personnel director, David Dunn, resigned in September and pleaded guilty the following month in connection with the hiring scheme. Prosecutors say Perez received confidential information about the police chief's examination stolen by Dunn. Dunn is scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday.


Connecticut issues guidelines for proms, graduation events

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - High school proms and graduation ceremonies can take place in Connecticut this spring but should observe precautions to avoid becoming super-spreader events. The Department of Public Health has released recommendations that include mask-wearing and social distancing even for those who have been vaccinated. Events also should be held outdoors with a scheduled rain date, rather than moving indoors. Schools holding indoor events should consider reducing capacity, health officials say. Also, delaying events until later in the school year or after the end of the school year will give more students the opportunity to be vaccinated.


Officials: Missing kayaker's body found in Middlebury pond

MIDDLEBURY, Conn. (AP) - Rescue workers have recovered the body of a missing kayaker in Middlebury. Middlebury Fire Chief Brett Kales tells the Connecticut Post that the body of the kayaker who was reported missing in Long Meadow Pond on Saturday was found Sunday morning. The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and several fire departments began searching Saturday afternoon after a report that a kayak had overturned. Initial reports indicated two people were in the kayak. But officials subsequently determined the kayak was operated by a 27-year-old man with no one else in it. The kayaker's name was not immediately released.


Teen, 3-year-old boy killed in Hartford shootings

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - A drive-by shooting has claimed the life of a 3-year-old boy in Hartford. Police say Rondell Jones was riding in a car with his mother, two young siblings and another man when a car pulled alongside and began firing Saturday afternoon. Police believe the man in Rondell's car was the intended target. Both the shooter and the intended target have not been located. In a separate shooting two hours later and less than a mile away, 16-year-old Jamari Preston suffered multiple gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead at a hospital. Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin says the city will pursue the assailants with every resource available.


Drop in J&J vaccine leads to changes in college rollout

Connecticut is revamping some of its vaccine distribution plans for college students, due to a major decline in the amount of Johnson & Johnson vaccine coming into the state. The state recently learned that its expected shipment of 20,000 J&J doses next week will drop to 6,000 and then down to 2,000 the following week. Josh Geballe, chief operating officer for Gov. Ned Lamont, said Thursday that Connecticut had originally planned on giving college students the opportunity to get the one dose before they left for the summer break. Now the state plans to give them one dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.


Connecticut looking for sites to house migrant children

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Gov. Ned Lamont says Connecticut officials are looking at places in the state to house unaccompanied migrant children who have been arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border in record numbers. He said Thursday that the potential sites include the now-shuttered Connecticut Juvenile Training School in Middletown, which drew criticism over its prison-like conditions. Immigrant and civil rights advocates are expressing concern about using the training school. Lamont says Vice President Kamala Harris asked him during a recent visit to Connecticut if the state could take some of the children from the border, and he said he would look into it.


Interpol warrant issued for suspect in Yale student's death

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) - The U.S. Marshals have secured an international warrant for the man suspected of fatally shooting a Yale graduate student. The Interpol "red notice" asks member countries to arrest Qinxuan Pan on charges of murder and larceny related to the killing of Kevin Jiang. Pan is accused of shooting the 26-year-old multiple times on Feb. 6 in New Haven, Connecticut. Pan is also accused of stealing a car in Massachusetts that he drove to Connecticut. He was last seen in a suburb of Atlanta in February. Authorities did not confirm if they thought Pan had traveled abroad.


Conn. creates discount card for certain forms of Novo Nordisk insulin

A new State of Connecticut Drug Discount Program has been launched to improve insulin access to anyone living with diabetes in Connecticut – regardless of their insurance status or health care provider.

Through the program, all Connecticut residents will be able to create a personalized discount card online to obtain certain forms of Novo Nordisk insulin at 50 percent less than the retail cost. Those discount cards will be accepted at all participating Connecticut network pharmacies. To receive discounted prices, residents must simply present their card when purchasing medications.

Connecticut Comptroller Kevin Lembo says tens of thousands of Connecticut residents depend on insulin to manage their diabetes and improve their health, yet many struggle to afford it today.  He says this prescription affordability program will be available statewide to every Connecticut resident – delivering immediate financial relief, particularly to those who remain uninsured or have prohibitively expensive health care coverage.

As state comptroller, Lembo administers the state health plan, which serves more than 200,000 state and municipal employees, retirees and their dependents. The state health plan, in partnership with CVS Caremark, has developed nationally recognized programs to reduce out-of-pocket costs to manage and treat diabetes and other chronic conditions.

To retrieve an ID card, find a participating pharmacy or learn more about the program, visit connecticut.reducedrx.com.

Discounted medications available through this program include:
Novolin R 10ml vial (Discounted cost: $25)
Novolin N 10ml vial ($25)
Novolin 70/30 10ml vial ($25)
NovoLog® 10ml vial ($120)
NovoLog® PenFill Cartridge - 5x3ml ($180) 


2 arrested in death of 75-year-old man in Connecticut home

ROCKY HILL, Conn. (AP) - Police say a man and woman have been arrested in the killing of a 75-year-old man who was found tied up inside his Connecticut home. State police say 42-year-old Franklyn Cruz and 35-year-old Madeline Dickey have been charged with murder and robbery in the death of Robert Iacobucci. Each is in custody on $1 million bail. Officers found Iacobucci's body in his home in Rocky Hill on Monday. The house had been burglarized, and Iacobucci had been assaulted and bound. The arrests of Cruz and Dickey were announced Tuesday. It's not clear if they have attorneys who can comment on the charges.


Top colleges see record application numbers amid pandemic

Highly competitive colleges including Yale, Brown and Penn are sending out acceptance notices this week to a much smaller percentage of admission seekers than usual after sorting through record numbers of applications. The surge in interest in Ivy League colleges and other well known schools this year has been attributed in part to the coronavirus pandemic that led many institutions to eliminate requirements for standardized admissions tests. In some cases, applicants also were competing for fewer spots than usual because students who were accepted a year ago deferred admission. Harvard accepted 1,968 students for admission, just 3.4% of those who applied.


State urges homeowners to test wells for arsenic, uranium

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Connecticut health officials are urging homeowners who rely on well water to have their systems checked for arsenic and uranium contamination. The advice comes as the result of a study by the U.S. Geological Survey released Tuesday that found almost 4% of private wells have elevated levels of arsenic and nearly 5% have higher concentrations of uranium than acceptable under federal guidelines. Arsenic exposure has been lined to an increased cancer risk, low birth weight, decreased child intellectual development, immune system suppression and other health issues. Ingestion of uranium has been associated with kidney disease.


Lawmakers advance legal pot bill, but more changes promised

Connecticut lawmakers have advanced Gov. Ned Lamont's proposal to legalize recreational marijuana. But legislative leaders caution that additional changes will likely be made to the legislation in the coming weeks. The bill passed the Judiciary Committee on Tuesday by a vote of 22-16. It now awaits further action in the Senate. The Democratic governor's bill creates a framework for a new legal system. There are also provisions to ensure Black and other communities of color adversely affected by the war on drugs benefit from a legal marketplace. But proponents acknowledged more work is needed on equity and other issues.
 


Lamont order will allow absentee voting in spring elections

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Gov. Ned Lamont has signed an executive order that will allow people to use the continuing COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse to vote by absentee in any election, primary or referendum held before May 20. The Democrat's order, which he signed Tuesday, is similar to the order that allowed voters to use absentee ballots during the elections in 2020. Lamont's order also provides municipalities and regional school boards with additional flexibility in scheduling budget hearings, meetings, and votes to account for logistical challenges posed by the pandemic. Meanwhile, the state reported 1,074 confirmed or probable new cases of COVID-19 since Monday.


Increase in phishing, other cybersecurity threats during early days of pandemic

The shift over the past year to remote work prompted a large increase in phishing and other cybersecurity threats during the initial months of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new report released Monday by Connecticut’s Public Utilities Regulatory Authority.

The annual Public Utilities Critical Infrastructure Report assessed last year’s cybersecurity vulnerabilities and policies of regulated electric, gas and water utilities. It found that utility company cybersecurity programs had to quickly scale up in order to enable employees to connect remotely and safely to company networks.

“In general, this massive societal shift to remote work prompted malicious actors as a whole to change priorities,” according to the report. It noted that while the frequency of ransomware attacks generally declined because schools, businesses, and other organizations stopped or scaled-back operations, more phishing attempts were made against personal accounts and systems, as well as virtual meeting platforms.

The report also found third party vendors that provide external services to utility companies remained vulnerable.


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