State news

2 teenagers arrested after SUV stolen with children inside

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) Two teenagers accused of stealing an SUV with two children inside in Connecticut have been arrested.

New Haven police say a 14-year-old and an 18-year-old have been taken into custody after an SUV was stolen Wednesday night.

WVIT reports the children's mother got out of the SUV and left it running as she walked toward Roberto Clemente Elementary School to pick up another child.

Police say that was when the 14-year-old jumped into the car and took off without realizing the children were inside.

Officials say the teenager eventually took the children out of the vehicle and left them near a baseball field where they were later found by a woman.

The 18-year-old has been arrested related to items stolen from the vehicle.

The case remains under investigation.

Remains dug up, stolen from Connecticut cemetery

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Connecticut police are investigating a grave that was dug up and remains were taken from a Jewish cemetery in Hartford.

Authorities say a 70-year-old grave was dug up at Agudas Achim Cemetery.

Officers say the incident possibly occurred on Halloween and the person or persons dug the grave with a shovel and their hands.

Authorities say they are at the beginning of their investigation and plan to view surveillance footage to see if a vehicle left the area.

WTNH-TV reports that since the family has not yet been notified, the identity of the remains in the grave will not be released.

Woman gave birth the day she was elected to local office

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut woman running for local office has given birth to her first child - on Election Day.

The New Haven Register reports that Ellen Cupo both gave birth to her son and won an uncontested seat on the New Haven Board of Alders on Tuesday.

Cupo's son Hunter Ian Cupo Dunn weighed 7 pounds and 2 ounces and was 20.25 inches long.

Cupo says she was especially grateful for the "incredibly caring and professional group of providers" at Yale New Haven Hospital, where she gave birth.

Cupo is the first candidate to be elected in Ward 8 in a regular election since former alder Aaron Greenberg left the board in April.

Veterans in Connecticut prison getting help from horses

ENFIELD, Conn. (AP) - A group of Connecticut prisoners is learning to cope with issues such as post-traumatic stress by interacting with horses.

The equine-assisted psychotherapy program is offered in a special Department of Correction unit for military veterans at the Willard-Cybulski Correctional Institution in Enfield.

Daniel Elliot, who suffered a brain injury while in the Navy, is serving time for an arson he committed while trying to kill himself inside his Norwich apartment.

Elliot says the program, run at no charge to the state by the group Healing Hoofbeats, calms him, has helped him open up about his problems and gives him something to look forward to each week.

Elliot is one of six inmates participating in the pilot program, which Correction Commissioner Rollin Cook says he hopes to expand to other prisons.

Lyft partners with city of Hartford to help former inmates

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Ride-hailing company Lyft is offering much-needed free transportation in Hartford to former prison inmates through a new partnership with the city and a nonprofit criminal justice reform group.

Louis Reed, national organizer for the bipartisan criminal justice reform group cut50, announced Wednesday that an initial installment of 60 to 80 codes for free Lyft rides are now available for distribution at the city's Welcome Center.

Mayor Luke Bronin says transit bus routes are limited and the new partnership will help get people to job interviews or health care appointments.

Hartford is the first city to take part in the program, but other cities and organizations around the country are expected to follow including in Chicago, Los Angeles, Oakland, New York City and in rural areas as well.

Lamont new transportation plan focuses tolls on 14 projects

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Gov. Ned Lamont’s latest transportation improvement proposal limits new tolling to 14 specific bridge, interchange and highway projects, and sets in motion a possible fully functioning airport in south-central Connecticut. It also invests millions in new commuter rail cars and public busses.

The 10-year, $21.1 billion plan, known as CT2030, will be unveiled publicly on Thursday. The Associated Press on Wednesday obtained a copy of the proposed executive summary of the initiative, which promises “swift and safe” roads, “fast and functional” trains and faster, safer, more convenient and reliable travel across the state. Unlike previous transportation plans, this one targets new spending to a limited number of specific projects while increasing the state’s investment in preserving the current system.

“CT2030 doesn’t promise the kitchen sink,” the summary reads. “It prioritizes and pays for the most vital improvements for Connecticut residents.”

Some Democratic legislative leaders gave the proposal early, positive reviews on Wednesday, after receiving a closed-door briefing from the Democratic governor’s staff.

“I think this a plan, in its original form, as it is now, that might need a little work,” said House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz, D-Berlin. “But it’s something I can entirely embrace.”

Unlike earlier transportation proposals, this plan focuses heavily on addressing the state’s worst traffic chokepoints, an idea welcomed by both Democrats and Republicans. According to the summary, Connecticut has six of the nation’s 100 worst traffic bottlenecks.

“I think no question, commuters in the state of Connecticut complain the most about driving down the highway and all of a sudden you’re slamming on your brakes,” said Rep. Vincent Candelora, R-North Branford, who credited Lamont with “focusing on the right issues.” But Candelora said the GOP questions whether tolls are still needed to accomplish that goal. According to the summary, Lamont’s plan would rely on a combination of borrowing and limited tolls, referred to as “user fees,” ranging from 50 cents to $1 for passenger vehicles and $3.50 to $7 for heavy trucks. There would be 20% discounts for drivers with EZ-Pass transponders.

The proposed tolling, which the summary calls “modest,” would begin in 2023. The administration estimates about 40% of the revenue generated would come from out-of-state drivers. A previous transportation plan that was ultimately disregarded earlier this year would have imposed about 50 overhead tolling gantries on Interstates 84, 91, 95 and parts of Route 15.

“Now that we’re looking at a more realistic, scaled-back plan, we think that there could be ways to fund this program without adding a new revenue stream,” Candelora said.

According to the proposed executive summary, Lamont’s plan relies partly on a special low-cost borrowing program from the federal government, which needs to be repaid with a dedicated funding stream. Candelora said that doesn’t necessarily have to be highway tolls.

Tolling opponents agree.

Cherie Juhnke of Plainville, who stood outside Wednesday’s meeting holding a “no tolls” sign, was unimpressed that this latest transportation proposal would limit the tolls to 14 bridges, interchanges and highway projects — a figure that could change.

“We pay enough,” Juhnke said. “No tolls. They’ll never go away if they go up.”

Besides highway improvements, Lamont’s new plan includes financial investments in rail, buses, ports and airports. It calls for the state to begin working with the federal government on a plan to transform either Tweed Airport in New Haven or Sikorsky in the Bridgeport/Stratford area, into an airport with 25 daily flights. There’s also funding in the plan for new commuter rail cars and other improvements with a goal of reducing round-trip commuter travel times by 20 minutes a day between New Haven and Penn Station in New York City.

It’s uncertain when there might be a vote on the proposal, which could change in future negotiations. Aresimowicz said he’d like to see a vote in a special session. However, he didn’t rule out the issue coming up in the next regular legislative session, which convenes in February.

Republican leader struck, killed by car

MANCHESTER, Conn. (AP) A political leader in Connecticut has died after being struck by a car on Election Night.

John Deeb was the chairman of the Manchester Republican Town Committee. Police say he was struck by the car near the party's headquarters at about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Authorities say the driver stropped and cooperated with police.

Witnesses say the 75-year-old Deeb was hit when he went to pick up some papers that had fallen onto the street. They say it appeared Deeb was taking clipboards to the Republican headquarters for people to mark down results at the polls.

Deeb had been a Republican leader in Manchester for nearly two decades. He was not a candidate for any office.

Police: Fire marshal stole more than $13K from association

EAST LYME, Conn. (AP) - A former Connecticut fire marshal accused of stealing more than $13,000 from his association has been charged.

The Day reports 45-year-old Christopher Taylor, of New London, was charged last week with second-degree larceny after resigning from his position as the town's fire marshal in October.

Joseph Lombardi, president of the New London County Fire Marshal's Association, brought the accusations against Taylor to state police on Oct. 1.

Lombardi said Taylor, who was the association's treasurer, had made unauthorized transactions that totaled to $13,339 from the association's account between January 2016 and July 2019.

Taylor told police he took the money because he had been financially struggling after making his alimony and child support payments.

He was released on a $25,000 bond and is due back in court on Nov. 13.

Feds investigate practices at youth correctional facility

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut advocacy group is applauding a federal investigation into housing practices at a high-security youth correctional facility.

Abby Anderson, head of the Juvenile Justice Alliance, said Tuesday she's not surprised the U.S. Department of Justice is investigating use of segregation, confinement, isolation, restraints and other conditions at the Manson Youth Institute.

The facility, operated by the state Department of Correction, houses inmates ages 14 to 21.

Anderson says it's hard for an adult facility to meet the therapeutic or rehabilitative needs of youths.

The Hartford Courant reports U.S. Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband, wrote a letter to Gov. Ned Lamont and corrections officials stating the investigation will examine whether the facility's restrictive housing practices violates the constitutional rights of Manson juveniles.


Judge rules Nathan Carman contributed to boat's sinking

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) A federal judge has ruled a Vermont man contributed to the sinking of his boat off Long Island in an incident that led to his mother being lost at sea.

U.S. District Judge John McConnell ruled Monday in favor of an insurance company that refused to pay an $85,000 claim to Nathan Carman for the loss of his boat, The Chicken Pox.

The Rhode Island judge found, among other things, that Carman made improper repairs before the boat sank during a fishing trip in September 2016.

Linda Carman, of Middletown, Connecticut, is presumed dead.

Relatives have accused Nathan Carman of killing his mother and his grandfather, who was shot in 2013, in a scheme to inherit $7 million.

No criminal charges have been filed and both deaths remain under investigation.

State's top prosecutor to remain in post another month

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Connecticut's top prosecutor says he'll stay on another month to review use-of-force investigations rather before retiring.

Chief State Attorney Kevin Kane tells The Hartford Courant he's deferred his planned Nov. 1 retirement in order to review unresolved fatal police shooting investigations by Hartford State Attorney Gail Hardy's office.

Among the reviews pending is one dealing with the 2012 fatal police shooting of Ernesto Morales.

Morales' family settled an excessive use-of-force lawsuit in federal court in June.

The case is one of five dating back to March 2008 in which Hardy has not issued a full report.

The state attorney's report is required under state law to determine if the actions of the police officers involved were lawful.


Appeals court overturns conviction in teen sex assault case

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - A federal appeals court has overturned the 2017 conviction of a Rhode Island man who pleaded guilty to traveling to Connecticut to have sex with a girl he met online who turned out to be 14 years old.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York ruled Monday that 29-year-old Nicholas Murphy of Exeter, Rhode Island, should not have been convicted because he believed the girl he met in Plainfield, Connecticut, was 16, the minimum age of consent.

Murphy is still serving a five-year prison sentence on the federal charge.

The former Air Force member also pleaded guilty to a state charge of second-degree sexual assault in connection with the same girl and was sentenced to nine months in jail. He has not appealed that conviction.

Connecticut leaders say there's a crisis of diseased trees

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - The leader of a coalition of Connecticut cities and towns says municipal officials are facing an "environmental crisis" of diseased trees, warning the first significant snowfall this year could bring down hundreds across the state, as well as thousands of tree limbs.

Connecticut Conference of Municipalities Executive Director Joe DeLong sent a letter Thursday to Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont, seeking additional resources and help dealing with the fallout of trees infested and subsequently weakened by emerald ash border beetles and gypsy moth caterpillars.

On Saturday, utility crews were still restoring power to communities impacted by a strong Halloween night storm that left behind numerous downed wires. In Marlborough, local officials say many of the limbs fell on power lines because the trees were too brittle to withstand the high winds.

Judge to hear arguments in challenge to immigrant detentions

BOSTON (AP) - A federal judge in Boston is expected to hear arguments in a class action lawsuit challenging the detention of immigrants facing deportation.

U.S. District Court Chief Judge Patti Saris is considering Tuesday a motion for a summary judgment in the case.

The American Civil Liberties Union's Massachusetts and New Hampshire chapters argue that multiple federal courts have ruled the government must provide clear evidence justifying a detention.

They complain federal officials are detaining immigrants in New England and forcing them to prove they're not a danger or flight risk if released.

The groups say that violates constitutionally protected due process rights.

U.S. Attorney General William Barr's office counters that federal law grants the government "broad discretion" to decide whether foreign nationals will be held until their immigration case is decided.

Congress members seek $4 million to study iron sulfide

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Members of Connecticut's congressional delegation and Massachusetts Rep. Richard Neal want $4 million set aside so an iron sulfide that has caused homeowners' foundations in both states to crumble can be researched.

The Democrats last week sent a letter to House Appropriations Committee leaders, urging them to support a year-end spending package that retains the full level of $4 million for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to conduct the research on pyrrhotite. The Senate has passed a package with $1.5 million.

Connecticut Rep. Joe Courtney in June offered an amendment seeking the $4 million, noting that much money is needed to develop a cost-effective and standard testing method. NIST would also be required to create a risk-rating scale to determine how much pyrrhotite poses a danger.

Governor thanks firefighters for plane crash response

WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. (AP) - Connecticut's governor has met with firefighters to offer thanks for their role in the response to the crash of a B-17 at Bradley International Airport that killed seven people.

Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont also thanked Chief Master Sgt. James Traficante, a Connecticut Air National Guard member who went on the flight on a day off and helped others escape the burning plane by opening an escape hatch.

Lamont said during the visit to the airport Wednesday that Traficante "happened to know what to do when it really counted."

The World War II-era bomber was carrying 13 people when it crashed and burned after experiencing mechanical trouble on takeoff the morning of Oct. 2.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.

Police investigate after school bus shot with BB gun

WATERBURY, Conn. (AP) - Police say pellets fired from a BB gun cracked three windows on a school bus carrying high school students in Connecticut.

Authorities tell the Republican American no one was injured when the pellets struck the bus transporting students from W.F. Kaynor Technical High School in Waterbury at about 2:45 p.m. Wednesday.

The bus driver told police that students started screaming. The driver told a bus dispatcher who called the police.

One pellet was found inside the bus.

No arrests have been announced but a witness told police they saw two teenagers standing nearby and one pulled a black pistol from his waistband and shot at the bus.

Judge upholds Ganim win in Bridgeport primary election

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) - A judge in Bridgeport has ruled against a challenge of the primary election that gave incumbent Joe Ganim the Democratic nomination for mayor.

Several voters filed a lawsuit last month seeking a new primary election over problems reported with absentee ballots. Nearly a dozen voters had testified in court they cast absentee ballots even though they were not qualified to do so.

Ganim narrowly defeated state Sen. Marilyn Moore in the Sept. 10 contest. He won by a 270-vote margin. The State Elections Enforcement Commission also has been investigating possible absentee ballot irregularities.

Moore is putting herself forward as a write-in candidate for Tuesday's citywide election.

Superior Court Judge Barry Stevens rejected the request for a new primary in the ruling announced Thursday.

Connecticut court rules frozen embryos can be destroyed

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Connecticut's highest court has ruled that frozen embryos at the center of a divorce case amount to marital property and can be destroyed.

Wednesday's unanimous opinion, which reversed a lower court decision, found the couple had an enforceable contract with a fertility clinic in which they agreed to have the embryos discarded should they divorce.

A lower court had ruled the contract was unenforceable and had granted custody of the embryos to the woman, Jessica Bilbao.

Her now ex-husband, Timothy Goodwin, had sought to preserve the embryos in case of reconciliation or to have them donated for eventual adoption.

The Supreme Court declined to rule on Goodwin's argument that embryos are human lives.


Man sentenced to 3 years in jail for fatal car accident

STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut man convicted of killing his girlfriend in a drunk driving accident has been sentenced to three years in jail.

Ever Orlando-Reyes, of Stamford, was convicted of second-degree manslaughter in the death of his girlfriend 44-year-old Maria Abarca-Banos.

The Hour of Norwalk reports he has been sentenced to three years in jail and three years' probation.

State police say they found Orlando's car on its roof on the shoulder of Interstate 95 in August 2017. Orlando-Reyes was still strapped into the driver's seat and a trooper found Abarca-Banos on the side of the highway.

Abarca-Banos succumbed to her injuries at Stamford Hospital.

His defense attorney says the sentence is "fair in light of all the circumstances."


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