State news

Sacred Heart sponsors discussion series on hate

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (AP) - Sacred Heart University is planning a discussion series to explore the prevalence of hate and violence in the United States.

Associate dean Michelle Loris of the school's College of Arts and Sciences says the goal is to gather for informed discussion in what she calls "this dark time of hatred, bigotry and violence."

The "Heart Challenges Hate" begins Jan. 30 with an event in which Loris and psychology professor Christina Taylor will discuss the psychology of hate. Other events will address "rhetoric of hate in the media" and the question of whether religion is part of the problem or a remedy for hate.

The events are open to the public and will take place at a theater on the university's campus in Fairfield.

2 teens stabbed in Hartford

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Hartford police say two teens were stabbed in the city's Blue Hills neighborhood.

Police say the 16-year-old and a 17-year-old were both seriously injured Sunday, but are stable and being treated at Saint Francis Hospital.

Police say there are two separate crime scenes, but they are investigating the case as a single incident.

They say the 17-year-old suffered one stab wound to the torso, while the 16-year-old was stabbed multiple times in the abdomen.

No arrests have been made. The State Police Major Crime Squad has been called in to assist in the investigation.


Driver critically injured after chase, shooting and crash

LEDYARD, Conn. (AP) - A driver, who police say fled when they tried to pull him over, was critically injured when he was shot by officers and crashed into a tree.

State police say they tried to stop the driver in Ledyard just before 11:30 p.m. on Sunday after he almost struck a cruiser.

Troopers and local police gave chase and deployed stop sticks to try and stop the driver. They say the vehicle then pulled into a residential driveway, turned around and sped at an officer who had left his cruiser.

Police say two Ledyard officers fired shots at the driver, who was struck and then drove into a tree.

The driver, whose name has not been released, was taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital in critical condition.

Authorities have not identified the officers involved in the shooting.

Connecticut hit hard by icing; thousands without power

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont says his office is in close contact with utilities as they work to restore power to thousands of customers.

Connecticut is being hit hard by icy conditions caused by freezing rain and sleet. The National Weather Service says a layer of one-half inch of ice could accumulate in parts of the state as temperatures plummet.

Eversource and United Illuminating were combined reporting more than 25,000 customers without power late Sunday afternoon.

Lamont says hundreds of trucks are trying to clear and treat major roadways to prevent dangerous black ice conditions.

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin extended the city's parking ban to give public works crews more time to clear streets before the ice hardens.

Bronin said the city experienced more freezing rain and sleet than initially expected.

Eversource worker killed by falling tree

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (AP) - Police say an Eversource subcontractor was killed by a falling tree in Connecticut.

Authorities say the worker was repairing a line in Middletown around 3:20 p.m. Sunday when a tree fell on top of the lineman.

The person's name has not been released.

Eversource and United Illuminating both reported more than 25,000 customers without power late Sunday after the state was hit by freezing rain and sleet.

Mayor Dan Drew issued a statement Sunday saying the lineman "was in harm's way today for the benefit of others."

Connecticut Supreme Court issues fewer rulings in 2018

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Connecticut officials say state Supreme Court rulings declined sharply in 2018, possibly a result of a major shakeup of the court over the past two years that included the appointments of a new chief justice and four new associate justices.

The Connecticut Law Tribune reports the seven-member high court decided 86 cases in 2018, a 17 percent decrease from the 104 cases decided in 2017.

Paul Hartan is the chief administrative officer for state appeals courts. He says the learning curve of new justices likely contributed to the decline in rulings.

New justices appointed to fill vacancies since March 2017 include Gregory D'Auria, Raheem Mullins, Maria Araujo Kahn and Steven Ecker. Justice Richard Robinson became chief justice last May, succeeded Chase Rogers, who retired.

Yale pulls plan for contraception vending machines

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) - Yale University has dropped plans to install a vending machine that dispenses birth control products at its largest residential college because it turns out it would violate Connecticut state law.

The "wellness-to-go" vending machine for Silliman College was proposed in the fall by a member of the Reproductive Justice Action League at Yale.

The proposal was made because other colleges had installed the machines.

It would have dispensed Plan B emergency contraception and other over-the-counter items.

Lora Rae Anderson, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Consumer Protection, tells the New Haven Register that under state law, over-the-counter medications cannot be sold in a vending machine.

In response, university health services will now allow students to obtain Plan B for free without having to first talk to a clinician.

Conn. lawmakers continue considerations of sports betting

As neighboring states have added sports betting to lure gamblers, some Connecticut lawmakers want to stem potential losses through the revenue sharing agreements with the Mohegans and Mashantucket Pequots.  The tribes have exclusive rights to certain forms of gambling.  House Minority Leader Themis Klaredis says Connecticut is in a unique position because of Indian gaming.  She says that's another group in the mix trying to figure out what a Connecticut program would look like. 

A 2018 U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturned federal law prohibiting states from legalizing sports betting. 

Last session, lawmakers were looking at measures that would allow for Connecticut sports betting through casinos,  horse racing tracks and off-track betting facilities.  Proposals for mobile  and internet wagering were also included.  This session, the southeastern Connecticut legislative delegation submitted bipartisan legislation to amend state law and allow online and in-person sports betting at Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods. 

Rhode Island lawmakers have introduced a bill to allow mobile wagering for sports betting.  Twin River Casino became the first in New England to accept bets on professional sports in November.  The new proposal would enable the creation of an app that people could use to access the sports betting offerings at Twin River from anywhere in Rhode Island.  Rhode Island receives 51 percent of sports betting revenue.   Accounts would have to be created in person so staff could verify a person's age.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker wants legalized betting on professional sports.  He is proposing that the Massachusetts Gaming Commission license the state's three casino operators to offer sports betting. The proposal would also allow other entities, such as daily fantasy sports operators, to offer online betting.  The Massachusetts proposal would tax sports wagering in casinos at 10 percent, and online bets at 12.5 percent.  

Maryland lawmakers are exploring a quick way to approve sports betting this year, but it's unclear if they will be able to do it without voter approval in 2020.  That state is looking at whether it can regulate sports betting through the state lottery instead of private entities.

UConn reports more than $40 million athletic deficit

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - The University of Connecticut is reporting that spending in its athletic division outpaced revenue by more than $40 million in 2018.

The school, in an NCAA financial statement released Thursday, says total generated revenue from sports last year totaled $40.4 million, while expenses came in at $80.9 million.

UConn spokeswoman Stephanie Reitz says the gap is a result of declining conference and media licensing revenue and rising costs.

She says such deficits are not sustainable and the school is looking to find savings that will help close the gap.

The department received $30 million in institutional support and $8.5 million from student fees last year.

The statement shows the football program had an $8.7 million deficit; men's basketball lost about $5 million; and women's basketball lost just over $3 million.

TV journalist Chris Hansen accused of bouncing checks

STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) - A TV journalist known for confronting would-be child predators has been snared himself in a police investigation alleging he wrote bad checks for $13,000 worth of marketing materials.

Former "To Catch a Predator" host Chris Hansen was arrested Monday in his hometown of Stamford, Connecticut. He was charged with issuing a bad check and released on a promise to appear in court.

Police say the 59-year-old Hansen wrote two bad checks to a local vendor for 355 mugs, 288 T-shirts and 650 vinyl decals he bought in the summer of 2017.

Phone and email messages were left Wednesday for Hansen. It wasn't clear if he has a lawyer who could respond to the allegations.

NBC's "To Catch a Predator" ran from 2004 to 2007 and included sting operations for online child predators.

Report: Incarcerated kids improperly held in isolation

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Connecticut's Office of the Child Advocate has released a report critical of how the state's criminal justice system confines and incarcerates children.

The report made public Wednesday found the state has a disproportionate number of children of color behind bars.

It also found that children in the system are not getting proper access to education, rehabilitative programs, family therapy or mental health treatment, including suicide prevention.

It found some children deemed security risks were illegally being kept in segregation for months.

The report recommends numerous changes, including standardizing procedures for the use of force or isolation of minors and also recommends that all staff and contractors in the system be mandated to report suspected abuse and neglect.

The agencies involved said they will work with the Child Advocate to address the issues raised in the report.

Teach kids about climate change? This state might require it

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - A legislative proposal in Connecticut would mandate instruction in climate change in public schools statewide, beginning in elementary school.

Connecticut already has adopted science standards that call for teaching of climate change, but if the bill passes it is believed that it would be the first state to write such a requirement into law.

The bill was proposed by state Rep. Christine Palm. The Chester Democrat says said it should be taught from a young age so "there's no excuse for kids to grow up ignorant of what's at stake."

Some educators have questioned whether it's necessary in light of Connecticut's adoption in 2015 of the Next Generation Science Standards, which include climate change as a core aspect of science education beginning in middle school.


Man who flew weaponized drones sentenced to prison

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut man who created popular online videos of drones firing guns and shooting flames has been sentenced to prison on unrelated charges of assaulting and interfering with police.

The Hartford Courant reports a judge sentenced 22-year-old Austin Haughwout Tuesday to seven years in prison, suspended after he serves one year.

Haughwout was convicted in November after the altercation with officers outside a Clinton library in July 2015 and a fight at police headquarters.

The judge denied Haughwout's request for bail while he appeals, and he was taken into custody to begin his sentence.

His attorney John Schoenhorn says he will appeal the judge's decision and the conviction.

Haughwout's videos of the weaponized drones have been viewed millions of times online. Federal authorities investigated but never filed charges.

Food pantry opens for employees at Coast Guard Academy

NEW LONDON, Conn. (AP) - A coalition of Coast Guard-related nonprofit groups has opened a pop-up food pantry at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy to help Coast Guard and academy workers affected by the partial government shutdown.

About 160 of the 260 government-funded nonessential employees at the New London, Connecticut-based academy are furloughed. Most others, including faculty and active-duty Coast Guard personnel, are working without pay.

The Coast Guard, part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, is not funded during the shutdown.

The southeastern Connecticut chapter of the Coast Guard Chief Petty Officers Association, the Coast Guard Enlisted Association of Southeastern Connecticut and the Coast Guard Spouses' Association of Southeastern Connecticut, set up the pantry in the academy's Leamy Hall.

Affected workers can pick up donated food, pet supplies and household items.


Connecticut official propose allowing early voting

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Connecticut officials have announced a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would allow early voting in elections.

Democratic Secretary of the State Denise Merrill said Tuesday that the amendment would require at least three days of in-person early voting and remove restrictions on casting absentee ballots. Details of the plan, including exactly when the in-person early voting would occur, aren't yet finalized.

Merrill says 38 other states and the District of Columbia now use some form of early voting.

The state constitution requires voters to "appear on Election Day" unless they meet absentee ballot requirements including sickness or religious restrictions.

Officials say the measure is aimed at increasing voter participation.

The proposal now goes to the legislature and must be ultimately be approved by voters.

Tip leads police to military-style weapon in Hartford woods

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Police in Connecticut have recovered what they described as a military-style weapon hidden in a wooded area of Hartford.

Officers responding to a tip found the James Madison Tactical .223-caliber rifle with a scope and stabilizing bipod near Ledyard Street on Saturday night.

Police also recovered a 30-round magazine and 10 live rounds.

Officers are continuing to investigate how the weapon ended up in the woods and who put it there.

The gun is considered a high-capacity weapon, which are illegal in Connecticut.

Police have retained custody of the gun.

Connecticut bill is latest calling for time zone change

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut lawmaker wants to keep alive the idea of ending the practice of moving the clocks forward and back every year.

Stafford Rep. Kurt Vail has again proposed legislation seeking federal approval to change Connecticut's time zone from Eastern to Atlantic standard time. This year, the Republican's bill requires such a move so long as Massachusetts and Rhode Island are on board.

It's the latest in a series of recent proposals across New England to effectively switch to year-round daylight saving time. EST is one hour behind AST.

A Massachusetts panel in 2017 found that changing from EST to AST could be beneficial, so long as other Northeast states followed suit.

Vail says the "conversation keeps going a little further every year" he proposes the time zone change.

State park reopens after damaging storms

WALLINGFORD, Conn. (AP) - One state park in Connecticut has reopened to the public months after a severe storm knocked down several trees.

The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection announced Monday Wharton Brook State Park in Wallingford is now open.

The department says hundreds of trees were damaged in the park as a result of the May storms. They say they have done tree cleanup, stump removal and re-grading ever since.

Sleeping Giant State Park in Hamden, which suffered even more damage in the storms, is expected to reopen in the spring.

Department spokesman Chris Collibee says they have spent about $800,000 so far to clean up the parks.

He says the Federal Emergency Management Agency is expected to reimburse the state for 75 percent of cleanup costs.

Jury deliberating case of man charged with killing teen

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut jury is weighing the case of a Hartford man charged with using a shotgun to kill his teenage girlfriend.

The jury in the murder trial of 24-year-old Torrick Maragh started deliberating on Friday and is expected to continue this week.

Maragh is charged in the January 2016 killing of 18-year-old girlfriend Nasashalie Hoy in the basement of a Hartford home. She was a senior at A.I. Prince Technical High School.

The Hartford Court reports that during closing statements Friday the prosecutor said Maragh was driven by "jealousy and rage" during an argument over Hoy's cellphone and her interest in another man.

A defense attorney said Hoy shot herself and Maragh was genuinely distraught when police arrived. He said the prosecution hadn't proved their case beyond a reasonable doubt.

Benedict Arnold's hometown to mark his 278th birthday

NORWICH, Conn. (AP) - The Connecticut hometown of the man whose name has become synonymous with treason is marking his 278th birthday.

The Norwich Historical Society on Monday plans to commemorate Benedict Arnold's birthday by turning off the Christmas lights at City Hall for the season.

Society consultant Regan Miner tells the Norwich Bulletin "turning out the lights" is a somber acknowledgment of Arnold's Jan. 14, 1741 birthday.

Guest speakers will comment on Arnold's ties to Norwich and his significance to history.

Arnold, a major general in the Continental Army, is most infamous for his failed 1780 plot to deliver West Point into British hands and his subsequent defection.

The historical society says Arnold's history is much more complex, and he was a "fierce patriot" as an American officer.

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