RESIDENT TROOPER PROGRAM STAYS PUT
A committee studying alternatives to the Preston resident state trooper program for almost a year has recommended that the town maintain the two resident troopers. Co-chairman of the study group David Paige outlined six options to officials during a special meeting. He concluded that reducing the number of troopers or eliminating the program would be a regression. Preston heard pitches from Norwich and Ledyard to have their forces police the town.
NEW INFO ON LITTLE LEAGUE PREZ
According to newly released court documents, the former president of Putnam Little League was arrested last month for allegedly molesting a 5 year old girl in September. Kyle Aldrich was confronted by the child’s mother and denied the accusations. A Putnam police officer attempted to interview him in October. Aldrich retained a lawyer and was arrested on multiple charges on March 31st. He was released on bond and is next due in court on May 5th.
POLLUTING THE THAMES
The Coast Guard Academy recently discovered that they have unknowingly been polluting the Thames River for the past 20 years. Apparently faulty construction work to the field house has allowed for thousands of gallons of wastewater to empty into the river. Academy spokesman David Santos says that “as soon as the problem was found, steps were taken to correct it.” The local health agency, Ledge Light Health District learned of the issue on Monday and is working to schedule a site inspection.
Preston’s paid fire chief is seeking to add a fourth paid position, as the volunteer emergency response system is in decline. Chief Thomas Casey oversees the department that combines volunteers and three paid firefighters. He recently outlined the frequency of missed calls and the availability of certified volunteer personnel to town officials. Casey plans to meet with the Board of Finance on Wednesday to present the reasons for the need to hire a part time, paid per diem firefighter.
COUNCIL SUB COMMITTEE TO INVESTIGATE UTILITY COMMISSIONERS
Norwich aldermen Monday night name three of its own to investigate whether the top two officials on the city’s Public Utilities Commission should be removed from the panel. City Councilors say they’re upset that Utilities Chairman Dee Boisclair and Vice-Chairman Robert Groner were re-appointed by the agency, despite a recommendation from the Norwich Ethics Commission that they not be, due to their participation in an all-expense paid trip last May to the Kentucky Derby. The ethics panel determined the two violated city ethics rules. Alderman Stacey Gould will serve on the investigatory committee, along with fellow Republican Gerry Martin. The only Democratic alderman eligible to serve on the committee, Tucker Braddock, was also named, but said he would immediately resign, because he first learned of the appointment from the media, not any of his fellow aldermen. The City Council voted 6-0 in favor of the committee, with Mayor Deb Hinchey recusing herself. The committee has until June 19th to report its findings to the full City Council.
NO VIOLATION AT GREENBRIER
The Norwich Ethics Commission has determined that three Norwich Public Utilities officials did not violate the city’s ethics code by attending a lavish trip to the Greenbrier golf resort in West Virginia. The October 2015 retreat was hosted by the Connecticut Municipal Electric Energy Cooperative. Ethics Commission member Robert Ballard says that trip was completely different from last year’s CMEEC-sponsored foray to the Kentucky Derby. All three NPU officials brought their spouses along for the trip to the Greenbrier. Nevertheless, Ethics Commission Chairman Carol Menard says the panel can’t recommend reimbursement for the full cost of their attendance because the city doesn’t have a specific policy on the matter. The Commission is recommending that City Manager John Salamone create a policy mandating that spouses and guests of NPU officials must pay full price to attend off-site retreats. Ballard says he’d also like to see the city require the participants of any retreat to inform their respective boards and agencies about specific work that’s conducted during the getaways.
FIVE PERCENT REDUCTION REQUESTED
Norwich City Manager John Salamone has been asked by the city council to find 5-percent worth of spending reductions for the new 2017-2018 municipal budget. His proposed budget does cut the mill rate by 4-percent in the town district, and 1-percent in the city. But that’s contingent on having almost all of the increased state aid recommended by Governor Malloy stay intact. The tax rate could go up by more than 3-and-a-half mills if the state funding doesn’t come through. Norwich City Council President Pro-Tem, and Mayoral Candidate Peter Nystrom says the budget situation is very unpredictable. Aldermen are vowing deep spending cuts, saying taxpayers have told them that’s what they want. The Council warns, though, the reductions will be painful. Mayor Deb Hinchey was the only one last night to vote against the 5-percent reduction request.
NORWICH NATIVE SON ANNOUNCED
The 2017 Norwich Native Son Award recipient has been announced. Doctor Michael Morosky is the chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Johnson Memorial Hospital in Stafford Springs, and is also the head of the hospital’s surgery department. He’s an Air Force veteran, and has previously worked at Hartford Hospital as the director of inpatient obstetrics, and still serves on the staff there. The 67-year old Glastonbury resident is a 1968 Norwich Free Academy graduate. Morosky will be honored at a May 24th banquet at the Norwich Holiday Inn. The Norwich Native Son/Daughter award is presented annually to a city native who achieves success outside of the local area. Morosky will be the 50th recipient.
TRIBES WARN STATE COULD LOSE MONEY
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Connecticut’s two federally recognized tribes say the state will lose $85.6 million annually if it creates a competitive process for developing a third casino in the state. The sum includes the loss in existing tribal gambling payments to the state. But MGM Resorts International says such predictions are “pure fantasy,” arguing Monday it’s a better deal for the state to allow a commercial casino in southwestern Connecticut. The legislature’s Finance Revenue and Bonding Committee heard testimony on legislation requiring state agencies to develop a request for proposals for the development, management, operation and maintenance of a possible casino. The legislation clashes with another bill allowing only the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes to build a jointly run satellite casino in East Windsor to compete with MGM’s project in Springfield, Massachusetts.
EX-EPA CHIEF NOW WORKING IN CT
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Gina McCarthy, the former administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, is reuniting with her old colleagues in Connecticut to work on clean energy issues. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced Monday that he is appointing McCarthy to serve as a member of the Connecticut Green Bank’s board of directors. The quasi-public entity is charged with developing programs to finance and support investment in green energy for residential, municipal, small business and large commercial projects. McCarthy previously served as commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection under former Gov. M. Jodi Rell. The agency is now called the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. A Boston native, McCarthy held numerous positions in Massachusetts state government, culminating as deputy secretary at the Massachusetts Office of Commonwealth Development until 2004.
CONSUMER COMMISSIONER STEPPING DOWN, MAYBE GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE?
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Jonathan Harris, considered a possible 2018 Democratic gubernatorial candidate, is stepping down from his job as Connecticut’s Department of Consumer Protection commissioner. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced Monday that Harris will depart “to pursue other professional opportunities.” Harris, a former mayor of West Hartford and a state senator, was appointed to Malloy to oversee the agency in December 2014. The agency’s deputy commissioner, Michelle H. Seagull, will serve as the acting commissioner until a permanent replacement is announced. Harris’ departure comes days after Malloy said he will not seek a third term. He told reporters after Malloy’s announcement last Thursday that he was “not declaring anything” and he had “not made any final decisions at this point” about running for governor.