Friday, July 12, 2024

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CT Gets $2B Windfall, But Can’t Spend Most Without Breaking Cap

By Keith M. Phaneuf

www.ctmirror.org

Connecticut legislators are expected to have nearly $2 billion in additional revenue available to balance the next state budget, a bonanza not seen since before the last recession, according to a new report today from state analysts.

But to get at most of that windfall, about $1.5 billion tied to surging income tax receipts from investment earnings, lawmakers must suspend or otherwise get around the new “volatility cap” they created to force better savings habits.

The consensus report from the legislature’s nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis and from Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s budget staff concluded General Fund revenues this fiscal year will top $19.34 billion. But that number includes almost $1.3 billion in unanticipated income tax receipts tied chiefly to capital gains and other investment earnings — a bonus that must be deposited into the emergency reserve, commonly known as the Rainy Day Fund.

“Today’s consensus revenue report is unquestionably good news — it is a milestone we should all recognize and appreciate,” Malloy said, adding Connecticut has overcome a depleted reserve and a major operating debt left over from the last recession.

House Unanimously Confirms Robinson as Chief Justice

By Keith M. Phaneuf and Mark Pazniokas

www.ctmirror.org

The House of Representatives today acted quickly and unanimously to confirm Richard A. Robinson as chief justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court, but Republicans pledged to oppose every new trial judge recently nominated by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy as unnecessary and unaffordable.

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Richard Robinson: House vote was 146-0. Mark Pazniokas for CTMirror.org

The confirmation of the 60-year-old Robinson on a 146-0 vote came after barely five minutes of discussion. Robinson, an associate justice who was Malloy’s choice after the rejection of Associate Justice Andrew J. McDonald as chief, will be the first black chief justice of the state’s highest court.

The House also voted unanimously to confirm Judge Steve D. Ecker, 57, as an associate justice. Interim Associate Justice Maria Araujo Kahn of Cheshire, was confirmed for a full eight-year term on the high court. The nominations of Robinson, Ecker and Kahn now go to the Senate.

Earlier today, the House began a series of party-line votes to confirm 31 new Superior Court judges, the last class of judicial nominees from a governor leaving office in January.

Library’s Riverwalk Level to Open June 4

The Westport Library today announced the opening of its new Riverwalk Level and Interim Library is scheduled for Monday, June 4.

“After nearly a decade in the making, we could not be prouder to finally bring the dream of a new Westport Library to life for the community,” said Westport Library Executive Director Bill Harmer.

“This Interim Library space will give us all an exciting preview of what’s to come when the entire building is completed in 2019, including stunning panoramic views of the Saugatuck River, the latest technology, a new program room, various quiet spaces, materials representing all elements of the Library’s collection, a MakerSpace and so much more.”

Due to the move, the library will be closed from Wednesday, May 23 through Sunday, June 3.

Granger at the Movies: ‘Avengers: Infinity War,’ ‘Super Troopers 2’

By Susan Granger

Special to WestportNow

Have you ever bought one of those giant tubs of hot, buttered popcorn? You know how you feel after you’ve gorged yourself? That’s how bloated I felt after nearly three hours of “Avengers: Infinity War,” a massive comic-book spectacle.

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The new villain is Titan’s gigantic, galactic warlord Thanos (James Brolin). In the opening scene, Thanos decimates Asgard on his path to cosmic genocide, a task he can only accomplish by stealing six Infinity Stones. When they’re combined in a Gauntlet, Thanos will be able to control time, space and energy, along with altering the laws of physics and reality.

But Loki (Tom Hiddleston) has the blue Space stone. Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) has the green Time stone. The Collector (Benicio Del Toro) has the red Reality stone. Vision (Paul Bettany) has the yellow Mind stone embedded in his forehead. Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) and his space-faring Guardians of the Galaxy (including scene-stealing Groot) have the purple Power stone. And then there’s the elusive, sacrifice-demanding Soul Stone.

So it’s up to 20+ Marvel superheroes to maintain order in the universe, under the leadership of Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), who has to postpone festivities with Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow), and Thor (Chris Hemsworth), who is still minus an eye and his hammer.

13-Year-Old Westporter is National Scrabble Champion

A 13-year-old Westport boy is a national Scrabble champion and is sharing a $10,000 top prize with his teammate.

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Jeffrey Pogue, 13, (2nd r) of Westport and teammate Noah Slatkoff, 11, (2nd l) of Ottawa, were winners in the team they called Rackmasters. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

Jeffrey Pogue, a seventh grader at Bedford Middle School, and teammate Noah Slatkoff, 11, a sixth grader from Ottawa, Canada, won the Hasbro National School Scrabble Competition in Philadelphia over the weekend.

Over two days, the two, under the team name Rackmasters, beat 40 other teams to win first place, undefeated in nine matches.

According to Jeffrey’s dad, David Pogue, the technology guru, the two were paired up by Cornelia Guest, who runs a free, weekly Scrabble club at the Ridgefield Library.

Groundbreaking for Expansion of Senior Center

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There was an official groundbreaking today (held inside because of the weather) for expansion of the Westport Center for Senior Activities. “Today is a big day for all of us—a bricks and mortar milestone for Westport that is the result of a collaborative planning effort for over three years,” said Lynn Goldberg, co-chair of the Enhancement Committee (5th l), pictured with fellow members. She said improvements include adding 4,500 square feet, doubling the size of the fitness center, and creating an additional 27 “senior friendly” parking spaces. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

Thanks From the Executive Director

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Sue Pfister, executive director of the Westport Center for Senior Activities, thanks supporters today at the official groundbreaking for the 15-year-old center’s expansion. Pfister led efforts to secure $3.95 million in financing for the project, which center officials extimate will take 10 months to complete. She said when the original groundbreaking was held in 2003, it was impossible to imagine expansion some day would be needed. She thanked Westporters for being supportive of seniors as well as the town’s school population.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) WestportNow.com photo

Police: Stop Leads to DUI, Failure to Appear Charges

Officers arrested a Bridgeport man for operating under the influence and on failure to appear charges following a motor vehicle stop for traveling in the wrong lane, police said today.

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Gilbert Jones: free on $16,000 bond. Westport Police photo

Gilbert Jones, 48, was arrested Friday around 7:45 p.m. after an officer stopped his vehicle traveling eastbound along Post Road East. According to the police report, Jones went straight through the Wilton Road intersection while he was in the left-turn-only lane.

“While speaking with the operator, the officer detected an odor of alcoholic beverage on his breath and observed a can of beer in the cup holder of the center console,” Lt. Jillian Cabana said.

She added that Jones, who had a suspended driver’s license, failed a field sobriety test. Officers also learned there were two outstanding arrest warrants for Jones, one out of Norwalk, the other by the state police.

Police: Arrest Follows Passing Bad Checks, Resisting Arrest

Officers arrested a Brooklyn, New York man for attempted larceny and interfering with an officer charges after they responded to reports of fraudulent checks passed at two Bank of American locations in town, police said today.

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Wandy Cruz: held on $10,000 bond. Westport Police photo

According to the police report, officers were dispatched at 3:15 p.m. on Friday to the first bank location “on a report of a two fraudulent checks that had just been passed.”

“While en route to that location, officers were advised the suspect was now at a second Bank of America location in town,” Lt. Jillian Cabana said.

She said that upon the officers’ arrival, they located the suspect Wandy Cruz, 18, exiting the lobby, and that they attempted to detain him. 

High Speed Chase Nabs Four Wanted in Westport Car Break-Ins

UPDATE State police early today arrested four Waterbury youths wanted in connection with car break-ins in Westport following a 44-mile pursuit on I-95.

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Jordan Butler: held on $25,000 bond. State Police photo

State police said Jordan Butler, 18, and three juveniles ranging in age from 14 to 17 were captured in a chase that pursuing troopers said at times hit 130 mph, involved a car switch, and finally came to an end in Guilford with “stop sticks,” a tire-deflation device, in the roadway.

Westport Police Lt. Jillian Cabana said the chase was touched off by a motor vehicle burglary attempt and a stolen vehicle from Whitney Street.  “We called off the pursuit shortly after it began,” she said.

A woman who lives on Whitney Street, said in a Facebook post that “last night 3 losers went into my unlocked car trying to steal items and/or my car. Lock your doors! We always lock our doors but late last night we needed something from the car and forgot to lock it. Feel so violated ... They had stolen a neighbor’s car before they came to ours.”