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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Rowland Sentenced to 30 Months Image
John Rowland has earned a second term — a second term behind bars. Rowland, a 57-year-old former Connecticut governor, received a 30-month sentence today in U.S. District Court in New Haven for conspiring to hide work he did for a failed 2012 Republican candidate for U.S. Congress, Lisa Wilson-Foley. Click here for more of story. — (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Paul Bass/New Haven Independent photo

Posted 01:09 PM
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Sunday, March 15, 2015

Democrats Honor David Noonan & Ted Diamond Image
The Westport Democratic Town Committee today honored two Westport Democrats with inaugural awards at a brunch at Rive Bistro. David Noonan (l) received the 2015 Dora Stuttman Campaign Leadership Award awarded to the “volunteer from the most recent campaign whose energy, enthusiasm, and commitment was an inspiration to others,” and Ted Diamond received the 2015 Martha Aasen Yellow Dog Democrat Award presented “in recognition of service ‘above and beyond’ to the principles of the Democratic Party and its success.” Diamond, who served as second selectman under First Selectman Jackie Heneage, is a World War II bomber navigator and learned Friday that the French government has awarded him the Insignia of Chevalier of the Legion of Honor for his efforts in liberating France. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for

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Friday, March 13, 2015

Himes Announces Flooding Study

U.S. Rep. Jim Himes (CT-4) today announced that he has secured $300,000 in federal funds for the Army Corps of Engineers to conduct a feasibility study aimed at curbing flooding in Fairfield County. Image
U.S. Rep. Jim Himes at the Stamford roundtable today with participants including Westport Fire Chief Andrew Kingsbury and Deputy Chief Robert Kepchar. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

The study will include coastal areas that were devastated by Hurricanes Sandy and Irene, as well as communities that have been plagued by frequent flooding for decades, an announcement said.

“This Army Corps of Engineers study is a critical first step toward a long-term action plan to address the dangerous and costly flooding that has plagued Fairfield County for generations,” said Himes.

He announced the study at a roundtable discussion in Stamford with local officials, town engineers, public works directors and emergency management personnel, including Westport Fire Chief Andrew Kingsbury and Deputy Chief Robert Kepchar.

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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Political Theater Image
State legislators representing Westport held a Town Hall meeting tonight in the Community Theatre in the basement of Westport Town Hall. The meeting covered a wide range of topics. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Posted 07:45 PM
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Quinnipiac Poll: Pot Does Better Than Malloy, Casinos

By Mark Pazniokas

A Quinnipiac University poll released today shows that Connecticut has grown comfortable with the existing casino industry, but that proponents of expansion face a significant sales job in the months ahead.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s first post-election job rating was his worst in two years, but his lenient policies toward the possession of marijuana were overwhelmingly favored by voters.

Click here for more of story

Posted 05:42 PM
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Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Westport Legislators to Host Another Community Forum

Metro-North’s ailing commuter rail system, highway infrastructure needs, the talk of bringing back tolls and the specter of the state’s affordable housing statute 8-30g will be among myriad topics Westport legislators will discuss at a public forum set for Thursday, March 12. Image
Taking part: (l-r) State Sens. Toni Boucher, Tony Hwang, state Reps. Gail Lavielle, and Jonathan Steinberg. Contributed photos

It will take place from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in the Town Hall auditorium, according to an announcement today.

State Sen. Tony Hwang (R-28), Toni Boucher (R-26), state Rep. Gail Lavielle (R-143) and Rep. Jonathan Steinberg (D-136) will be on hand to explain their positions and answer the public’s questions at the town hall style meeting.

State officials urged those who are unable to attend to connect with their legislators by calling or visiting their websites.

Posted 11:45 AM
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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Registrars of Voters Jobs on Way Out?

By Mark Pazniokas

A countdown began today toward a debate over scrapping Connecticut’s unique system of relying on locally elected registrars of voters, one for each major party, to carry out elections in all 169 cities and towns.

Secretary of the State Denise Merrill outlined legislation that would replace the Republican and Democratic registrars with a single, non-partisan official appointed by the local governing authority.

Click here for more of story

Posted 07:52 PM
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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Malloy Budget Cuts Social Services, Higher Ed; Raises Tax Revenue

By Keith M. Phaneuf

UPDATE Gov. Dannel P. Malloy today unveiled a nearly $40 billion, two-year budget that boosts tax receipts $830 million despite a sales tax cut, preserves municipal aid and cuts deeply into social services and higher education. Image
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy outlines his budget proposal today. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Alvin Chang/ photo

The governor’s plan also outlines a major transportation initiative, but does not recommend how to pay for it. But the administration’s projections show it would require $112 million in new transportation revenues by 2018 and $400 million above current revenues by 2020.

And while the transportation initiative is billed as a $100 billion investment over 30 years, only about $5.1 billion extra would be spent on projects over the governor’s four-year term.

Malloy also would close one unnamed state prison and redirect a portion of the savings to his “Second Chance Society” plan, an initiative to reduce criminal recidivism and assist youth at risk of becoming offenders.

Click here for more of story. See full text of address here.

Posted 01:10 PM
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UConn Think Tank Predicts State’s Economy Will Flourish in 2015

By Keith M. Phaneuf

After growing modestly over the past three years, the state’s economy is ready to shift into high gear in 2015, according to a quarterly report today from the University of Connecticut’s economic think tank.

And while the director of the Connecticut Center for Economic Analysis says the 8.1 percent growth projected for 2015 probably is too good to be true, achieving even most of that would allow the state to far outstrip the national economy.

Click here for more of story

Posted 09:30 AM
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Friday, February 13, 2015

Malloy Budget to Propose Cheaper Booze

By Mark Pazniokas

Unable to lower taxes and certain to cut services, it looks like Gov. Dannel P. Malloy will try to lighten next week’s austerity budget message with at least the possibility of cheaper booze.

Malloy chose an appearance on WPLR-FM’s irreverent Chaz and AJ radio show today to say he is going to take another crack at loosening Connecticut’s controls on alcoholic beverage pricing, plus the hours and ownership of package stores.

Click here for more of story

Posted 05:28 PM
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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Himes, Blumenthal Press for ‘Darwin Day’

By Ann Radalet

Washington – Americans observe Feb. 12 as President Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, but Rep. Jim Himes and Sen. Richard Blumenthal want that date also celebrated as the birthday of Charles Darwin.

The Connecticut lawmakers have introduced resolutions in the House of Representatives and Senate that would “recognize Charles Darwin as a worthy symbol on which to celebrate the achievements of reason, science, and the advancement of human knowledge.”

Click here for more of story

Posted 08:18 PM
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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Finance Board’s Second Round with Town Budget

In its second round at the 2015-16 town budget, Westport’s Board of Finance tonight heard from the Department of Human Services, Information Technology (IT) , Parks and Recreation, Westport Library and Earthplace, all with low percentage increases over the current year. Image
Eileen Zhang (c), director of Information Technology, was one of the department heads whose budget was examined by the Board of Finance tonight. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) James Lomuscio for

Human Services Director Barbara Butler noted that her department’s proposed $1,111,386 is up only 1 percent over the current year. IT Director Eileen Zhang’s department’s $872,957 is up 3 percent, much of it do to network and data operating costs.

The Westport Library’s $170,840 budget is up 2.4 percent, and Earthplace’s $95,000 operating budget request shows no increase.

The Parks and Recreation Department’s more than $4.96 million budget shows a 4.4 percent increase, but it is actually “under .2 percent” since it is offset by revenues, according to Parks & Recreation Director Stuart McCarthy.

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Posted 11:06 PM
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Monday, February 09, 2015

Westport Makes Its Case on Revising 8-30G Statute

By James Lomuscio

First Selectman Jim Marpe said today that he and local legislators let the state Housing Committee know last week that Westport’s affordable housing efforts over the years are consistent with the spirit, if not the letter, of the state’s controversial affordable housing statute 8-30g. Image
First Selectman Jim Marpe testifies before the legislature’s Housing Committee in New Haven. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

“Following my testimony, Co-chairman ( Rep. Larry B.) Butler of the Housing Committee complimented Westport for the work it has done,” Marpe said

Marpe was one of about 100 persons from cities and towns who met with the Housing Committee Thursday in the New Haven City Council Chambers to discuss the merits and problems posed by 8-30g.

Local legislators present were state Rep. Jonathan Steinberg, Rep. Gail Lavielle, Sen. Toni Boucher and Sen. Tony Hwang, ranking member of the Housing Committee.

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Posted 05:49 PM
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Malloy’s ‘Blue Plan’ for Long Island Sound

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy today announced that, as part of the package of legislative proposals he will introduce later this month, he will sponsor the Long Island Sound Blue Plan in order to ensure that Connecticut has a coordinated strategy in regards to any potential future use of the Sound.

The Blue Plan directs the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and UConn to convene relevant state agencies, academic institutions, and stakeholders to compile an inventory of the natural resources and the human resources of the Long Island Sound, and to use that information to develop a plan to guide future uses of the Sound’s waters and submerged lands, an announcement said.

“The Long Island Sound is critical for Connecticut’s economy and the millions of people who rely on its resources, and yet our state does not have any existing authority to plan for its future use and protection on an overall basis,” Malloy said.

“We need to act now in order to protect our vital coastline, allow comprehensive and regional planning for use of the Sound. The Sound has been the scene of several protracted battles over the past decade, which highlights the pressing need for us to take action now.”

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Friday, February 06, 2015

Steinberg Named Chair of Influential State Panel Image
State Rep. Jonathan Steinberg at his swearing in last month to a third term. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

State Rep. Jonathan P. Steinberg of Westport (D-136) will lead an influential state panel looking to reduce costs and improve efficiencies in municipal and regional government.

House Speaker Brendan Sharkey announced Steinberg’s appointment as incoming chair of the Speaker’s Commission on Municipal Opportunities and Regional Efficiencies (MORE).

The group, of which Steinberg has been a member, studies government operations and recommends ways to reduce costs and ultimately save taxpayer dollars. Its recommendations were the basis for legislation that led to the recent consolidation of regional planning agencies around the state.

“I thank Speaker Sharkey for choosing me to lead this important bi-partisan commission,” said Steinberg.

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Posted 11:14 PM
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