State news

Connecticut's COVID-19 data report will transition to weekly release

Connecticut’s COVID-19 data report will transition to a weekly release every Thursday beginning next week.

The Connecticut Department of Public Health’s decision to switch to weekly reporting is being made as health officials are focused on monitoring long-term trends for understanding the impact of COVID-19 in Connecticut and making recommendations for protecting the health of the state’s residents. This change will accommodate plans for long-term reporting of COVID-19 data going forward.

The final formal daily report will be released on Friday. The first weekly report will be released on June 30th. Data on cases, tests, hospitalizations, and deaths will continue to be available on a daily basis at data.ct.gov/coronavirus and will be updated to reflect changes over the last seven days at the state, county, and town levels.

Residents can also subscribe to text message alerts from the state by texting the keyword COVIDCT to 888-777.

Individuals who have general questions that are not answered on the website can call 2-1-1 for assistance. The hotline is available 24 hours a day and has multilingual assistance.  This is intended to be used by individuals who are not experiencing symptoms but may have general questions related to COVID-19. Anyone who is experiencing symptoms is strongly urged to contact their medical provider.


2 officers put on leave after man injured in police van

Officials in Connecticut say two New Haven officers have been placed on paid leave and three others were reassigned after a man was seriously injured in the back of a police van. Mayor Justin Elicker and police officials said Tuesday evening that Richard Cox is being treated at a hospital and could be permanently paralyzed. State police have been called in to investigate. Officials say an officer driving the van Sunday braked hard to avoid an accident, and Cox flew head-first into a wall. The president of the Connecticut chapter of the NAACP is calling for a federal investigation.


Conn. awarded FEMA funding for pandemic response

The Federal Emergency Management Agency will be sending almost $3.7 million to the State of Connecticut to reimburse the state for setting up and operating a series of neighborhood testing sites during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The FEMA Public Assistance grant to the Connecticut Department of Corrections will reimburse it for setting up and operating three testing centers around the state between March and November 2020.

Using both state workers and contractors, the DOC procured pop up tents, weights, heating, cables, moveable furniture, 360,000 nasal test kits, 140,000 oral test kits, swab kits, and collection tubes for testing.

The DOC also leased 3 testing sites and provided boxed meals for field staff at a test site during a limited period in late April 2020 when restaurants in the area were closed during the pandemic.

So far, FEMA has provided almost 416 million dollars in Public Assistance grants to Connecticut to reimburse the state for pandemic-related expenses.


Police say CT man may be paralyzed after in-custody injury

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) - Officials say a Connecticut man may be paralyzed after he was injured when the officer driving him in a police van braked to avoid a crash. New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker said Monday that 36-year-old Richard Cox suffered a spinal injury after he was arrested on a gun charge Sunday night. Acting police Chief Regina Rush-Kittle said at a news conference that Cox was in the back of a police van when the officer driving the vehicle made an abrupt stop to avoid a crash. She said Cox suffered a serious injury and may be paralyzed. Rush-Kittle ordered an internal affairs investigation into Cox's arrest and injury.
 


1st Native American US treasurer nominated, oversees Mint

WASHINGTON (AP) - A Native American has been nominated to be U.S. treasurer, a historic first. President Joe Biden's nomination of Marilynn Malerba comes as his administration establishes an Office of Tribal and Native Affairs at the Treasury Department. The treasurer's duties include oversight of the U.S. Mint. The treasurer's signature appears on U.S. currency. Malerba is the lifetime chief of the Mohegan Indian Tribe, located in Uncasville, Connecticut. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says Malerba will help further efforts to "support the development of Tribal economies." Yellen is set to visit the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota on Tuesday, the first time a Treasury secretary has visited a tribal nation.


Police: 2 shot and killed following argument over dog

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - An argument between neighbors over a dog led to a shooting that killed two people in Hartford, police said Monday. A third person was shot and critically injured. Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said the two people who were killed were a couple and they leave behind a 6-month-old child. The shooting happened around 9 p.m. Sunday. The slain victims were identified as Christina Dang, 27, and Chase Garrett, 39. The injured woman who was hospitalized has not been identified. No arrests have been made. Police say they have identified a person of interest in the shooting.


New US Lego factory raises concerns about North American HQ

ENFIELD, Conn. (AP) - Officials in Connecticut say the decision of Lego Group to build a new factory in Virginia won't affect the company's North American headquarters in Enfield, but industry watchers say there could be cause for concern. The Denmark-based global toymaker announced last week it plans to invest more than $1 billion to build a factory in suburban Richmond. Gov. Ned Lamont's office tells Hearst Connecticut Media that the company has reaffirmed its commitment to maintaining its presence in the state. But some experts say it's not necessarily a good sign that the state wasn't chosen.


3 people, 2 dogs jump overboard as yacht burns and sinks

NEW CASTLE, N.H. (AP) - Three people have been treated at and released from a hospital after a 70-foot yacht burned and sank in New Hampshire. The New Hampshire Department of Safety says the vessel named the Elusive was on the Piscataqua River heading toward a marina in New Castle around 4 p.m. Saturday when a passenger noticed black smoke below deck. Three passengers and two dogs jumped overboard as the boat became engulfed. They were rescued by other boats. Photos showed flames and thick black smoke pouring from the yacht. The passengers were from Connecticut and Florida. The cause of the fire is being investigated.


Connecticut paid leave authority says claims backlog cleared

The Connecticut Paid Leave Authority and insurer Aflac says a backlog of claims sparked in part by the COVID-19 omicron variant has been cleared and that steps have been taken to reduce wait times in the future. Officials made the announcement Thursday. The fledgling program began providing income replacement benefits to eligible workers in January and is administered by Aflac. The new staff quickly became inundated with requests for benefits when omicron hit Connecticut. Some applicants had to wait up to six weeks or more for a decision on whether they could receive the financial assistance. That led Aflac to bring in more staff, technology and other investments.


Police: 2 men killed by resident during home invasion

EAST HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Two people have been killed in what East Hartford police say may have been a targeted home invasion. Neighbors reported hearing several gunshots just before midnight Wednesday at the home. Police said they found two victims inside. Both were transported to a local hospital, where they were pronounced dead. Police said the sole resident of the home said he shot the men with his registered gun after they forced their way into the duplex. Police said all of those involved knew each other and they don't believe the public is in any danger.


Police shooting of Hartford man in 2020 ruled justified

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Connecticut's inspector general has ruled that a police officer was justified in shooting to death an armed Hartford man despite a plea from the man's girlfriend not to kill him. Shamar Ogman was shot to death on Dec. 26, 2020, in a parking lot after ignoring commands to drop a rifle that he pointed at officers, according to the report released Wednesday. In a phone call with police, Ogman's girlfriend had reported that he was at her home in a rage and was armed, but pleaded with the dispatcher to tell police not to kill him.


Bus driver says he didn't know his gummy snacks included THC

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) - A commercial bus driver has been charged with 38 counts of reckless endangerment after blacking out behind the steering wheel while snacking on gummies infused with THC. Jinhuan Chen appeared Tuesday in Bridgeport Superior Court after being arrested at his home in Boston. Chen was driving 38 passengers from the Mohegan Sun Casino on March 13 when he stopped the bus on the side of Interstate 95 in Stratford. Police say they found Chen unconscious next to an open package of Smokies Edibles Cannabis Infused Fruit Chews. Chen told a judge he had no idea he had been snacking on anything but regular candy.


Connecticut diesel tax to rise 9 cents per gallon on July 1

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Connecticut's diesel tax will increase by 9 cents per gallon on July 1 after a scheduled rate adjustment. The tax is currently 40.1 cents per gallon and will increase to 49.2 cents per gallon. That's according to a letter released Wednesday from the Department of Revenue Services to top Democrats and Republicans on the General Assembly's tax-writing committee and to his budget director. State law requires that it be updated annually and be based on a complex formula that takes into account daily fuel prices at two terminals over the prior 365 days. Gov. Ned Lamont's GOP rival in the election has called for the tax to be suspended.
 


Connecticut sues over trash bags marketed for recycling

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Connecticut has filed a lawsuit accusing Reynolds Consumer Products of illegally marketing trash bags as recycling bags, even though the bags themselves cannot be recycled. The Hefty brand bags are advertised by the company as "perfect for all your recycling needs" and "designed to handle all types of recyclables." But Attorney General William Tong says the bags themselves cannot go into the state's single-stream recycling system and accuses the company of false and deceptive marketing practices. Phone calls and emails to Reynolds Consumer Products seeking comment were not returned Tuesday afternoon.The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.


Guilty plea entered in theft of COVID-19 relief funds

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - A former West Haven City Hall employee has pleaded guilty to a federal wire fraud charge for his part in the theft of more than $600,000 in federal money that was supposed to be spent for pandemic relief. John Bernardo pleaded guilty Tuesday in U.S. District Court. According to state business records, Bernardo and former state Rep. Michael DiMassa, a West Haven Democrat, formed Compass Investment Group, which received federal COVID-19 relief funds for services that were never provided. Bernardo was accused of collecting about $50,000 and said in court that he did not realize the full extent of the fraud. Dimassa and two others await trial on fraud and conspiracy charges.


Nebraska governor nixes Connecticut appearance amid protests

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, co-chairperson of the Republican Governors Association and a pro-gun rights and anti-abortion conservative, has canceled his planned appearance in Connecticut on Tuesday at a fundraising event for Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Stefanowski. Liz Kurantowicz, Stefanowski's senior advisor, said Monday that Ricketts "had a scheduling conflict" and cannot attend. The event, however, will still take place at a residence in Canton without Ricketts, she said. Ricketts' planned attendance has drawn criticism from Democrats who've questioned why Stefanowski would host a governor who has said he wants his state to outlaw abortion. Local Democrats had planned a protest, which they say they will still hold.


Melody Currey, former official, mayor, lawmaker dies at 71

EAST HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Melody Currey, a former state commissioner, member of the Connecticut House of Representatives and the mayor of East Hartford who "touched the lives of so many," has died. She was 71. The Democrat's death was confirmed Monday by East Hartford Mayor Mike Walsh in a Facebook post. He called Currey a wonderful boss, a great mentor and dear friend. Currey served in the Connecticut House of Representatives from 1993 to 2006, rising to deputy majority leader and deputy speaker during her tenure. She served as mayor of East Hartford from 2006 to 2010 before being tapped as commissioner of several state agencies, including the Departments of Motor Vehicles, Agriculture and Administrative Services.


Reward offered after vandals deface veterans memorial

WALLINGFORD, Conn. (AP) - A monument in Wallingford honoring local Vietnam veterans has been the target of two acts of vandalism, police said. A swastika was recently found spray painted across the names of veterans on the monument in Dutton Park. That incident followed another in which vandals painted the word "die" on one side of the and a depiction of male genitalia on the other. Authorities have offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to the vandals.


Hartford near end of 10-year battle over proposed McDonald's

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - A 10-year legal battle over a proposed McDonald's on a vacant lot in Hartford is nearing a conclusion. The Hartford Courant reports the city has reached a tentative agreement with a developer who had sought to build a fast-food restaurant on a small lot in the West End. Residents had opposed the plan, and the city has eyed the former gas station spot for a retail and apartment development. Under the tentative agreement, the city will pay developer Eliot Gersten $1.8 million. The settlement has to be approved by the city's Court of Common Council, which is expected to take it up this month.


Police: Man's body found more than 1 year after death

EAST HAVEN, Conn. (AP) - East Haven police say an elderly man's body has been found inside a home more than a year after his death. Tuesday's discovery was prompted by a call to a funeral home asking about arranging services for a person who died in April 2021. Officers say they received a call from the East Haven Memorial Funeral Home reporting the odd conversation. The caller did not mention a name or location, but police later found the body after the dead man's son called them asking about a coroner. The dead man's name and how he died have not been disclosed. Police are determining whether criminal charges should be filed.


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