Friday, April 19, 2024

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Lamont Signs Police Reforms, But Tells Cops, ‘You’re My Heroes’

Lamont and Rep. Steve Stafstrom, D-Bridgeport, co-chair of the Judiciary Committee, name-checked the ranking Republican members of the committee, Rep. Rosa Rebimbas of Naugatuck and Sen. John Kissel of Enfield, as partners in every step of producing the new law — save the final one.

The Republicans voted against the final product.

Bysiewicz, Stafstrom, Sen. Gary Winfield, D-New Haven, the other Judiciary co-chair, and Rep. Robyn Porter, D-New Haven, joined Lamont at the State Capitol. Others participated via video conferencing, including Waterbury Mayor Neil O’Leary, a former police chief, and Rep. Anthony Nolan of New London, a police officer and member of the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus.

“I love the way you started with a big table, and I thought that was really important,” Lamont said. “I want to thank Rep. Rebimbas, as well, and Sen. Kissel, who were at that table. I think at the end of the day, we all understand how important it was and what a big step this is.”

To the police, the governor said, “You’re my heroes.”

Lamont noted that the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the catalyst for the reform legislation adopted in Connecticut, generated both an outpouring of support across the U.S. for Black Lives Matter — and violent clashes between police and protesters.

“That didn’t happen in Connecticut. That didn’t happen, because the protesters were there representing the very best in our values, and the police were there with respect. That’s what makes for a great police force and community policing,” Lamont said. “I think we led by example as a state, and for that I am eternally grateful.”

Lamont’s chief of staff, general counsel and policy director met Thursday with unions representing the State Police and officers in Hartford, New Haven and Waterbury in an effort to assuage concerns and listen to the case for changes that could come before key provisions of the new law take effect next year.

“Look, it’s important to continue to build bridges. There is a lot of misinformation about this bill and virtually everything that happens in this state,” Lamont said. The governor said his staff meant to show both confidence in the legislation and to give police confidence that “we’ve got their back.”

No police union leadership was represented at the bill signing. Andrew Matthews, the executive director of the Connecticut State Police Union, called the meeting productive.

O’Leary, the former leader of the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, said the final version of the legislation largely addressed municipal concerns about increased liability for police misconduct.

Joe DeLong, the CCM’s executive director, said the first version was “incredibly problematic” in that it seemed to end government immunity against claims of willful misconduct by individual officers — something that liability insurance does not cover.
He called the final version “workable.”

“It doesn’t eliminate immunity if an officer was acting objectively in good faith, and quite frankly an officer should be acting objectively in good faith,” DeLong said.

Municipalities remain concerned about a section that establishes factors to consider when evaluating whether a law enforcement officer’s use of deadly physical force was objectively reasonable.

“We have some real concerns of unintended consequences about that, which I hope can be further studied and modified,” DeLong said. “Our biggest concern is there are some gray areas. That section encourages hesitation in a life or death situation. We believe training should kick in, not legislative hesitation.”

The bill creates the office of an inspector general to investigate complaints of police misconduct, requires police and correctional officers to intervene when witnessing brutality, mandates body and dash cameras, bans chokeholds in most circumstances and clarifies that deadly force can be used only when police exhaust all reasonable alternatives.

It also revamps and empowers the Police Officers Training and Standards Council, giving it the authority to decertify a police officer — revoking a necessary credential for employment. POST also would play a large role in shaping training for every police agency in Connecticut, including the State Police, and help set policies on crowd control and the use of force.

A police accountability task force will review the bill, and the POST Council will work on implementation.

One change suggested by CCM didn’t make the cut: barring police supervisors and officers from being in the same bargaining unit, which can complicate the disciplining of officers.

Winfield said the bill was made possible by the demand for action throughout Connecticut, not just in Black neighborhoods.

“Connecticut has heard the cry for change,” Stafstrom said.

Westport Property Transfers July 13-17, 2020

Constance Cooper to Grant M. & Mary L. Groher, 58 High Point Road, $1,100,000

Patricia Ann & Vernon J. Lewis & Leslie Fairbaugh to Renata & Chandar Natarajan, 8 Cunningham Place, $485,000

Dennis C. Fleischmann to Alexander Robert & Erin Klein, 28 Meadow View Drive, $1,160,000

Veronica Ann Green to Ilan & Iris Cohen, 15 Yankee Hill Road, $4,900,000

28 Darbrook LLC to Markus J. & Tania Pressdee, 28 Darbrook Road, $3,750,000

47 Westfair Drive LLC to Todd & Caitlin Manning, 47 Westfair Drive, $1,545,000

Barbara Odell Stephens Est. to Joseph Rissberger, 20 Lone Pine Lane, $862,500

24 Drumlin LLC to Pable di Pietro & Maripaz Munoz, 24 Drumlin Road, $1,299,000

Bogdan C. & Alina M. Damian to Vanessa MacArthur, 109 Valley Road, $470,000

Steven & Amy Borys to Claire Irene Erickson & Barry Goodman Lytton, 27 Newtown Turnpike, $555,000

5 Otter Trail LLC to Lynn Beth Bayard, 5 Otter Trail, $2,100,000

Virginia Kelly to Jeremy Scott & Melissa A. Franklin, 16 Turkey Hill Road South, $1,650,000

Amy Ruda Est. to Janis & Thomas Chunovic, 217 North Ave., $780,000

David Herling to Robert Schwaeber & Elizabeth Jaykus, 25 Oak Street, $690,000

Jerrold Owen Est. to Virginia Kelly, 325 Lansdowne, $512,000

Blake & Victoria Considine to Nina & Jordan Scott Fisher, 2 Elmwood Road $1,600,000

Jeffrey G. & Leisha C. Mamera to Michael & Stacy Rabinowitz, 6 Burnham Hill, $5,200,000

Jeffrey & Kara Green to Amanda L. & Bryan C. Meltzer, 2 Brooklawn Drive $1,750,000

Seth & Lindsay Kerschner to Robert C. & Veronica Ann Green, 42 Burnham Hill, $2,999,999

Kitts Island LLC to Angela Yeung & Dylan Tyson, 125 Harbor Road, $2,250,000

Manuel & Fernanda Pires to Thomas J. & Wendy C. Reno, 147 North Ave., $1,165,000

Steven M. & Lisa M. Alter to KLR Holdings LLC, 18 Bradley Street, $2,050,000

Comings & Goings: Hudson Malone Kitchen and Bar to Main Street


Hudson Malone Kitchen and Bar, 323 Main St., will open by September, according to owner Doug Quinn.  A former bartender at New York’s iconic P.J.Clarke and owner of Hudson Malone, East 53rd Street, Quinn said the Westport location features “a full lunch and dinner menu that changes almost daily, a large bar and an outdoor all-seasons dining patio.” He added,  “Our place will have that New York City feel that blends seamlessly with Westport’s charm.” The site is the former home of the 323 Restaurant and before that Bogey’s Grill and Taproom, which closed its doors in August 2011 after a 17-year run. Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Utility Regulators Temporarily Pull Plug on Eversource Rate Hike

“I think that our customers are really, really struggling,” said Penni Conner, chief customer officer for Eversource. “Many of them are struggling just to pay their rent, put food on the table. And these energy bills – the timing is just difficult.”

Just a few hours later, the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, which had initially approved the rate hike, suspended Eversource’s rate increase and said it would investigate.

“The intent of this reexamination is to ensure that Eversource is not over-collecting revenues in the short term at the expense of ratepayers during this period of financial hardship,” PURA officials wrote in a July 31 letter to Eversource.
“As an interim step, the Authority temporarily suspends its … approval and orders [Eversource] to immediately restore rates to those in effect as of June 30, 2020.”

A public hearing on the matter will be scheduled in August.

Eversource officials said they would go along with the decision.

“We will work quickly to enact PURA’s temporary suspension of the rate adjustment and look forward to participating in the process to ensure transparency for customers and policy makers,” wrote Eversource spokesperson Tricia Taskey Modifica in a statement.

Right now, about 1 in 10 Eversource customers is behind on their bill, according to Conner.

She said the utility will work individually with customers who are struggling to pay for electricity. Conner said Eversource is offering payment plans or overdue balance forgiveness programs, which can gradually wipe away owed balances if customers make consecutive timely payments.

“We are really encouraging our customers to reach out,” Conner said.

The company is also suspending shutoffs, but she would not say how long that’s expected to last.

Initially, Eversource said the rate hike hinged on a state-mandated power purchase agreement with a major New England energy generator: the Millstone Power Station in Waterford.
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But Millstone officials quickly pushed back against that assertion noting the 10-year contract with the nuclear plant was locked in at a rate that’s lower than Eversource’s standard offer.

On Thursday, James Daly, vice president of energy supply at Eversource, told Connecticut Public Radio subsidies to Millstone have helped drive up consumer costs. But he acknowledged that’s happened at a rate that was “relatively small in comparison” to overall spikes in residential demand due to a series of hot July days in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The power we were delivered from Millstone was worth less than our fixed price contract with Millstone. So that really sparked people’s interest,” Daly said. “But, I think, in fairness, what got missed in that, is that underlying consumption was really the biggest driver.”

ISO New England, which manages the regional power grid, said Thursday electricity usage has gone up in recent weeks due to hot weather. But overall, the agency said power consumption is down during the pandemic, noting any increases in residential use have, on the whole, been offset by larger decreases in commercial and industrial use.

Politicians were quick to praise PURA’s decision to suspend the rate increase.

“PURA’s pause today on delivery rate hikes reassures our residents that the reconsideration of requests by utilities can happen, and – most importantly of all – that customers won’t be overpaying in the meantime,” Gov. Ned Lamont said in a statement.

“This suspension of an absolutely abhorrent and unacceptable rate increase is a very welcome temporary fix,” said U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal.

And state Attorney General William Tong said he’s gotten over 100 complaints so far.

“Consumers have a right to be angry,” Tong said in a statement. “We pay far too much for our energy as it is here in Connecticut. I thank PURA for reconsidering and scrutinizing these increases.”
62,000 customers get bogus scare.

Making matters worse this week, Eversource said it mistakenly sent thousands of customers letters that were topped with an eye-catching message: “Reminder: We have not received your payment.”
That turned out to be wrong.

“There were 62,000 customers that were impacted by that,” said Conner, later noting the utility serves about 1.2 million customers in Connecticut. “We’ve been trying to be responsive and transparent with customers and gently reminding them of past due balance and all of the programs we have.”

“However, human error. We ended up with some customers in that file that shouldn’t have gotten in there,” Conner said. “I know that was hurtful to customers who received that. And I’m very sorry for the error.”

Conner, who spoke to Connecticut Public Radio before PURA announced the temporary suspension, said Eversource was willing to work with state regulators if they put a pause on the rate hike.

“We are looking forward to the conversation,” Conners said. “This is complex and there are many interested parties.”

WestportNow Teardown of the Day: 119 Hillandale Road

WestportNow.com Image
An application for a permit to demolish the house at Westport’s 119 Hillandale Road is in process. Built in 1947, the one-story ranch has 2,166-square feet and is situated on a .69-acre property. Because the house was built more than 50 years ago, the application will be reviewed by the Westport Historic District Commission. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

Robert McCurdy, 68

Bob was then drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks, but an Achilles tendon injury caused him to give up his basketball dreams in favor of a career in radio.

Bob would go on to have a profound impact on the world of radio during his 44 years in the industry.

Displaying the same trademark tenacity and work ethic that had served him well on the basketball court, Bob pioneered a data-driven approach to radio sales. He quickly rose through the ranks of his profession, eventually becoming the president of the Katz Radio Group in 1990.

In recent years, Bob returned to his roots in local radio taking on a leadership position with Beasley Broadcasting. He loved to teach and impact others, and the role with Beasley gave him a great platform from which to do so. 

Bob recently completed a book about leadership, culture, and sales. In it he writes, “It has often been said that one can never tell where a teacher’s influence ends. The same is true with leaders. As leaders, we are teachers and as with teachers you can never tell where an effective leader’s influence ends. That makes for an amazing legacy.”

And for all the great legacies Bob left behind in basketball and radio, those who knew him best knew him as a family man. A born conversationalist, Bob was never more comfortable than in the role of Pop Pop, playfully bantering with his young grandchildren.

In addition to his wife, Bob is survived by his four children, Meagan, Michael, Ashley (Jerry), and Sean (Toni); grandchildren, Cami, Taylor, Tristan, Olivia, Scarlett, Andrew and Dylan; his three stepchildren, Margaret, Charles, and Will Emerson; his two brothers, Steven McCurdy and James (Lorraine) McCurdy; and many friends. He was predeceased by his sister, Maureen McCurdy.

The legendary Vin Scully once quoted Shakespeare in describing the passing of Bob’s mentor Coach John Wooden. And the same might be said of Bob McCurdy:

His life was gentle
And the elements so mixed in him
That Nature might stand up and say to all the world:
“This was a man.”

A walk through visitation will take place on Monday, Aug. 3 from 3-7 p.m. at the Shaughnessey Banks Funeral Home, 50 Reef Road, Fairfield. Visitors are required to wear a mask and practice social distancing. A maximum of 25 people will be allowed in the building at a time.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held privately for the immediate family on Tuesday, Aug. 4 at 11 a.m. at Assumption Church. Friends may Livestream the service by going to https://www.assumptionwestport.org.

Donations may be made in Bob’s memory to Full Court Peace, 83 Washington St. Unit 2K, Norwalk, CT 06854 or https://www.fullcourtpeace.org. To send an online condolence to the family, please visit http://www.shaughnesseybanks.com

Frances Hennessey, 99

She is survived by her daughter Patti Bonadies Davis, son Anthony Bonadies, three grandsons, Sean Davis, Anthony Bonadies, Allen Bonadies and a great-granddaughter Isabella Rose Bonadies.

A Celebration of Life will be set for a later date, when it is safe for all to gather. To extend a personal message to her family and learn more about the Celebration of Life, please visit http://www.nutmegcremation.com
In lieu of flowers, donate to Alzheimer’s Foundation of America.