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Reports: Connecticut faces 3 years of deficits

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Budget offices for Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and the General Assembly are predicting Connecticut could face budget deficits over the next three fiscal years.

State legislators were briefed Friday on the state's projected fiscal health.

Karen Buffkin, deputy secretary of the Office of Policy and Management, said Medicaid, debt service and state employee and retiree health care among some of the biggest costs driving the budget shortfalls. OPM predicts approximately $1 billion deficits in each of the next three fiscal years. The typical budget is about $20 billion.

Buffkin contends the state will balance this year's budget, which is $99.5 million in debt so far.

While Malloy has made spending cuts and imposed hiring slowdowns, legislative Republicans contend the problem is worse and a special session is needed next month.

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Norwalk schools chief heads to New London schools

NORWALK, Conn. (AP) Norwalk's schools superintendent has been appointed head of New London's school district.

Manuel J. Rivera will resign his Norwalk job on Jan. 31.

Rivera, a native of New London, said he made the decision to ``come back home'' and make a difference in New London.

Rivera took over as superintendent for Norwalk Public Schools in July 2013. He was previously superintendent in Rochester Public Schools, where he began his career in education.

With an enrollment of about 11,000 students in 19 schools and an annual budget of about $168 million, the Norwalk district is about four times the size of New London.

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More extensive drills follow USS Miami fire

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) Firefighters at Maine's Portsmouth Naval Shipyard train regularly for industrial blazes, but mandates after a huge submarine fire call for an annual drill that's more extensive than anything done before.

The investigation that followed the USS Miami blaze in May 2012 found that federal firefighters didn't train for complex and lengthy fires requiring assistance from community firefighters.

That's no longer the case at Navy shipyards.

The Navy says Portsmouth Naval Shipyard firefighters proved their capabilities during a January drill that tested the ability of sailors, federal firefighters and neighboring responders. There now will be one of those drills each year, in addition to other training.

Navy spokesman Lt. Tim Hawkins said the outcome of the January drill wasn't a huge surprise, since same firefighters dealt with the real thing on the USS Miami.

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Murphy calls for overhaul of Connecticut elections

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy is calling on Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and the Connecticut General Assembly to overhaul the state's elections system, saying recent problems at the polls highlight the need for professionalization and accountability.

The Democrat called it ``inexcusable'' to have breakdowns, such as polling places in Hartford not opening on time. He said they ``provide a rationalization'' for those who choose not to vote.

A former state senator, Murphy said Connecticut is past the point of incremental reform and needs comprehensive changes. He said the ``balkanized'' election system where autonomous local registrars run elections with little state oversight has ``resulted in major problem after major problem.''

Av Harris, a spokesman for Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, said her office welcomes Murphy's comments and agrees reforms are needed.

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State: Jobs growth continued for 8th month in Oct.

WETHERSFIELD, Conn. (AP) The Connecticut Labor Department says employers added 3,600 jobs last month, the eighth monthly gain this year as the state continues its jobs recovery from the worst recession in decades.

The state said Thursday that the unemployment rate of 6.4 percent was unchanged from September.

Employment in the state has grown by 23,000 jobs over the year. Connecticut has recovered 87,900 jobs, or nearly 74 percent of jobs lost during the March 2008 to February 2010 downturn.

The state says Connecticut's jobs recovery has extended 56 months and has averaged about 1,570 jobs a month since February 2010.

Education and health services led the jobs gains, followed by trade, transportation and utilities.

A loss of 1,300 government jobs was the largest number among sectors where jobs disappeared.

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New Britain seeks help for winter homeless shelter

NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (AP) Gov. Dannel Malloy has told New Britain officials he'll do what he can to help the city find money for an emergency winter shelter for the homeless.

But soon after the meeting Thursday, he said the city would likely have to rely on a ``cobbled together'' plan for funding. The New Britain Herald reports that the governor cited charities and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

He says the state makes some money available but that it would have to be ``cobbled together.''

Mayor Erin Stewart said Malloy made no promises about getting $137,000 in annual funding that was cut by HUD.

New Britain used the money to open an overflow shelter for people living on the streets who didn't have access to two year-round homeless shelters.

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Tribal police make arrest in casino chips theft

UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP) Tribal police in Connecticut have charged one of two suspects linked to the theft of $7,000 of gambling chips from a casino customer before punching the patron during his escape.

Mohegan police arrested Niren J. Davis of Norwich at an appearance Tuesday in Danielson Superior Court. The 33-year-old Davis was in court on unrelated weapon and narcotics possession charges.

Police charged Davis with accessory to third-degree robbery and accessory to third-degree larceny. He was held on a $25,000 bond, and it wasn't known Thursday if he's represented by a lawyer.

Police said they also have obtained an arrest warrant for 28-year-old Jorge Morales in connection with the Friday robbery.

Police said they identified the two men as suspects within 48 hours of the alleged theft after reviewing surveillance video and distributing photos.

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Stamford principals get probation in sex case

STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) A state Superior Court judge has approved a probation program for two Stamford High School principals on charges they failed to report a sexual relationship between a teacher and student.

The Advocate of Stamford reports principal Donna Valentine and assistant principal Roth Nordin said in court Wednesday they should have called the state Department of Children and Families and apologized for failing to do so.

Stamford State's Attorney David Cohen said school officials are part of a ``bureaucratic culture'' he said puts the district's reputation ahead of children's safety.

Cohen said the district called its lawyer instead of calling state child welfare officials as required by state law.

Lawyers said the two school administrators are expected to soon return to work. They have been suspended with pay.

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Records: Amistad debt totals more than $2 million

NEW LONDON, Conn. (AP) Court papers say Connecticut's official flagship, the Amistad schooner, has outstanding debt totaling more than $2 million.

The Day of New London reports that the organization's former executive director, Greg Belanger, says he is owed $139,000 in back pay and repayments of loans to three members of its Board of Trustees.

Mystic Seaport says it is owed more than $45,000 for work and services it provided for the schooner Amistad over six years, former captains and crew members and several small businesses and organizations.

The replica of a 19th century slave ship captured by African captives is a symbol of America's early anti-slavery movement.

The organization that operates the ship has lost its nonprofit status for failing to file federal tax returns and is now in the hands of a state receiver.

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2 ex-mayors trade accusations of Rock Cats' loss

NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (AP) Two former mayors of New Britain are exchanging accusations over who's at fault for the New Britain Rock Cats' move to Hartford.

The New Britain Herald reports ex-Mayor Timothy O'Brien said the baseball team said former Mayor Timothy T. Stewart ``made them very unhappy.''

O'Brien reacted to a letter Rock Cats General Manager Tim Restall recently wrote to Mayor Erin Stewart saying that the past administrations have ``brought us to where we are today.''

Restall later told Stewart in an email that he made reference to more than one city administration.

Tim Stewart said O'Brien has been unable to accomplish much. He said his relationship with the team during his eight years in office was always good.

The minor league team announced in June it will move to Hartford in 2016.


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Housing chief charged with sex assault on guest

NORTH HAVEN, Conn. (AP) The chairman of the North Haven Housing Authority board has been arrested on charges he sexually assaulted a male guest at a party at his home.

The New Haven Register reports that Ralph W. Cook IV was arrested Tuesday and charged with first-degree sexual assault and unlawful restraint.

The 49-year-old Cook is held in lieu of $250,000 bail. He has served as chairman, a voluntary job, at the Housing Authority for four years.

Police said Cook forced the guest to have sex with him at his home in October 2013. Police investigated for a year.

Cook is due to be arraigned Wednesday at state Superior Court in Meriden.

A number listed in Cook's name was not working Wednesday morning and it was not immediately known if he's represented by a lawyer.

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Police say home invasion faked to hide robbery

PLAINFIELD, Conn. (AP) A Chaplin woman has been arrested on accusations she fabricated a home invasion to cover up her alleged theft of money.

Angela J. Pearl is charged with falsely reporting an incident, larceny and criminal mischief.

Police said officers responded to a report of a home invasion Sept. 30 in Plainfield. Police found a bedroom window smashed, the house ransacked and a woman and child unharmed.

Police say the home invasion was staged and that the 40-year-old Pearl planted items of evidence and smashed the window.

Authorities said Tuesday a subsequent investigation found that Pearl set up the scene to steal cash from the home.

She's being held on a $25,000 bond pending arraignment in Danielson Superior Court Wednesday. It's not known if she's represented by a lawyer.

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Connecticut OKs higher electric generating rates

NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (AP) Connecticut regulators have approved higher rates to generate electricity for residential and business customers of two utilities.

The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority announced Monday its approval of higher standard service rates proposed by Connecticut Light and Power and United Illuminating. The cost of natural gas has been rising due to limited pipeline access.

The six-month rate takes effect Jan. 1.

For customers of CL&P a subsidiary of Northeast Utilities, the residential generation rate increases to 12.6 cents per kilowatt hour from about 10 cents. A customer who uses an average 700 kilowatt hours would pay $88.40 a month, up about $18.

UI's residential generation rate will increase to 13.3 cents per kilowatt hour, from 8.7 cents.

The natural gas price increases underlying the request already have been posted in contracts purchased under state oversight.

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Ex-treasurer of gun club begins prison sentence

NEW LONDON, Conn. (AP) The former treasurer of a gun club who was convicted of embezzling more than $32,000 has begun serving a six-month prison sentence.

The Bulletin reports that Roxanne Henderson of Groton faced up to a year in prison after agreeing in September to a deal in which she pleaded guilty to larceny.

The plea was made under the Alford Doctrine in which she disagrees with the prosecution's version but admits evidence could convict her at trial.

New London Superior Court Judge Hillary Strackbein said she could not give Henderson a suspended sentence because she had not made any restitution to the Quaker Hill Gun Club.

Authorities say that between February and September 2012 Henderson wrote 48 checks to herself totaling $31,745 payable to her as well as a $600 check payable to cash.

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Warrant: Ex-Boy Scout leader cited suicide

THOMPSON, Conn. (AP) Police say a former Boy Scout leader threatened to kill himself after being told by police of molestation allegations made by several boys under his supervision.

The Bulletin reports that the arrest warrant says David Kress, who was arrested last month on three charges of employing a minor in an obscene performance, told a state trooper in March he could help himself ``by putting a bullet in his head.''

The 52-year-old Kress is accused of sexually assaulting several boys in his troop from 1989 to 1999 while serving as a Scout leader for Troop 66 in Thompson. Police said Kress provided the victims with alcohol and pornography before molesting them,

The boys ranged in age from 10 to 16 at the time of the alleged abuse.

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Suspects still at large after boy is shot in face

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Hartford police are asking for the public's help in finding suspects after a 13-year-old boy was shot in the face.

Police say the boy's injuries aren't life-threatening. Authorities say he's being treated at a local hospital for injuries to his left cheek and the back of his neck.

The victim told officers that someone in a car opened fire at him shortly after 9 a.m. Saturday as he was walking on Blue Hills Avenue near Harold Street in the North End. The teen was conscious and alert after the shooting.

Anyone with information about the shooting is urged to call Hartford police.

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Woman's body found on Metro-North right-of-way

SOUTH NORWALK, Conn. (AP) Metro-North Railroad says a woman was apparently struck by a New York-to-Connecticut train and her body was found on the rail line's right-of-way in South Norwalk.

Sal Arena, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, said Monday morning that an engineer on the train headed to New Haven from Grand Central Terminal reported that it struck debris at about 12:35 a.m. Workers inspected the tracks and did not find anything.

The woman's body was found during another check by track workers about an hour later.

Arena said she appears to have been in her late 20s or early 30s. She was not identified.

The morning commute into and out of New York City was not affected.

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Police seek driver in hit-and-run that killed 2

STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) Police have identified the motorist suspected of fleeing the scene as two people lay dying.

Police are offering a $500 reward for help finding 32-year-old Felicia Burl who is suspected of being at the wheel of a 2002 Nissan Altima that ran a red light on the Greenwich-Stamford line and slammed into a station wagon.

Judith Andriulli, a passenger in the station wagon driven by her husband, Anthony, died hours after being cut from the car by firefighters. She was 70.

Anthony Andriulli sustained numerous broken bones and was treated at Stamford Hospital.

Nixon Henry of Stamford also was killed. The 50-year-old Henry was in the passenger seat of his car and was ejected through the windshield.

Police believe Burl freed herself from the wreckage and fled on foot.

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Man charged in Connecticut Navy base confrontation

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Investigators say a man involved in a shooting at a gate outside the Navy's submarine base in Connecticut lunged at one police officer with a knife and then stabbed another in the thigh before an officer opened fire.

The defendant, Gary Ray Brunache, appeared Friday in U.S. District Court in Hartford on the charge of assaulting a federal officer. He did not enter a plea and his attorney declined to speak with reporters.

Federal authorities say an officer fired approximately three shots at Brunache but he was not hit by any of the rounds.

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service says Brunache told them that he walked from his home in Norwich to see his brother on the base in Groton and became agitated when police denied him entry.

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'Choose Your Own Adventure' author, Conn. native Montgomery dies

WARREN, Vt. (AP) An author of the popular children's book series ``Choose Your Own Adventure'' has died in Vermont. Raymond Almiran Montgomery was 78.

Montgomery's wife says he died Nov. 9 at home in Warren.

Montgomery grew up in Connecticut and graduated from Williams College. He also attended Yale.  He was passionate about education and believed interactive fiction was critical to reluctant readers.

The ``Choose Your Own Adventure'' series features interactive game books set in places around the world, in outer space and under the sea. It was published by Bantam Books and later by a company Montgomery and his wife co-founded. His last title was ``Gus vs. The Robot King,'' released in September.

The series sold more than 250 million copies around the world between 1979 and 1999.


Check out this 7 year old making the most of his camera time! Dancing, one liners, shout outs, and he nails the forecast!



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