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Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal voted in favor of the nomination of General Lloyd Austin to the role of Secretary of Defense today/Thursday. Blumenthal initially voted against exempting Austin from a required 7 year cooling off period for recently retired military officials seeking the position. Blumenthal said he believes there should be civilian control of the military and voted against a similar waiver in 2017. However, he said after much consideration, he is pleased to vote in favor of Austin’s confirmation.

A restaurant and bar near Central Connecticut State University is the latest to receive financial help from Barstool Sports, a sports and pop culture digital media company.  Elmer’s Place , which has been operating for 40 years, was promised $20,000 a month for the next three months by the company’s owner. The Barstool Sports’ fund was created before Christmas to help struggling bars and restaurants amid COVID restrictions, according to the Hartford Courant. The fund has almost 28 million dollars and has also helped Piggy’s Cafe and Red Rock Cafe in Hartford. 

 

Conn. Reports No Serious Reactions To COVID Vaccines

17 hours ago

A Department of Public Health spokeswoman reports Connecticut has seen no known serious reactions to COVID vaccines so far. The announcement comes after California health care providers were forced to suspend a batch of Moderna vaccines due to reported allergic reactions. According to Hearst Connecticut, fewer than 10 individuals required medical attention due to the reactions, but the lot was suspended out of an abundance of caution.

Bridgeport High Schools' Basketball Season Canceled

17 hours ago

Bridgeport public high schools will be opting out of the winter basketball season due to COVID concerns. On Wednesday, Central, Harding and Bassick high schools announced they would not be participating in interscholastic competition according to Hearst Connecticut. The news comes one days after youth sports across the state were given the greenlight to start practices by the Department of Public Health.

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont says the state will take a "tiered" approach to distributing COVID-19 vaccines to people in Phase 1B in the coming weeks. 

Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Lamont says people between the age of 65 and 74 will likely be able to schedule an appointment to get the shot in early February. 

"Right now it looks like we’re going to be able to open the lens and allow people 65 and above probably in a couple of weeks," Lamont said. "We’ll give you a clearer indication on that in the next 10 days."

Connecticut's largest COVID-19 vaccination site in East Hartford is up and running. Pratt & Whitney's old runway has been converted into a 10-lane drive-thru clinic. The Community Health Center is hoping to administer between 7,000 and 10,000 vaccinations a week. Officials say the Pfizer vaccine will be available by appointment only to qualified residents, which currently include frontline health care workers, first responders and people 75 and over.

A handful of people showed up to protest the re-opening of public schools in New Haven Tuesday. According to the New Haven Independent, some parents are concerned about the health of their medically-compromised children. In-person classes for New Haven students have been mostly closed since March when the pandemic began.

A Connecticut prison guard has been placed on administrative leave after a Muslim civil rights group called for his termination.

At issue is an anti-Muslim meme that Officer Anthony Marlak allegedly posted on his Facebook page in 2019. The Connecticut chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, called for the officer to be fired on Monday. CAIR independently found that the Department of Corrections had looked into Marlak's social media but kept him on the job.The DOC said Wednesday that Marlak will remain on leave pending the outcome of its investigation.

Governor Lamont is recovering from hip replacement surgery. The previously-scheduled procedure was carried out at the Stamford affiliate of the Hospital for Special Surgery. The Connecticut Mirror reports that governor has been considering the surgery since before taking office in January 2019. Lamont, who turned 67 this month, was recovering at his home in Greenwich Wednesday evening.

A Connecticut prison guard accused of anti-Muslim bias has been placed on administrative leave. In a letter written Wednesday to the chairman of the Connecticut Chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations, acting Department of Correction commissioner Angel Quiros said Officer Anthony Marlak will remain on leave pending the outcome of a high-level investigation. The move came after the organization called for the firing of Marlak, citing posts on Facebook.

Connecticut Attorney General William Tong is urging the public to report any information regarding the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 to the FBI. Joined by a coalition of attorneys generals, Tong sent a letter to Acting U.S. Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen on Wednesday denouncing the events and demanding the actions cannot go unpunished. The FBI has established a web portal specifically for sharing information about the riot. Anyone with information can visit tips.fbi.gov.

 

The federal government has approved Connecticut’s request for a major disaster declaration in response to the damage caused by Tropical Storm Isaias last year. The declaration approves reimbursement for 75 percent of all eligible costs of damage caused by the storm. In addition a Hazard Mitigation Grant Program was also approved. The program helps fund any protective measures that can reduce the damages to life or property in the event of other natural disasters.

Hartford Athletic has a new coach.

The United Soccer League squad has hired Harry Watling, 31, of England.

Bruce Mandell, the chairman of Hartford Athletic said in a news release that Watling “is among the most highly regarded young coaches” in that country.

“He has learned from some of the best soccer minds in the world and has shown a strong ability to develop and maximize talent,” Mandell said.

Prior to the Hartford hiring, Watling was an academy coach for several English soccer clubs including Chelsea FC and West Ham United.

More than 100 members of the Connecticut National Guard are being deployed to Washington D.C.. Gov. Ned Lamont said in a statement their mission will be to "aid and facilitate the peaceful transition of presidential power."

The deployment includes members of the Connecticut National Guard Military Police, along with two explosive-detection dog teams.

In addition, the state's Air National Guard has its C-130 aircraft and crews on alert, if they're needed to move personnel around the country.

A task force reviewing jury selection practices in the state has given its recommendations to Chief Justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court Richard Robinson. Robinson says he anticipates implementing many of the measures, and says they will have a profound effect on the ability of the judicial branch to ensure fair and impartial justice. Proposed legislation based on the report would increase the pool of people eligible to serve as jurors, including legal permanent residents who are not citizens and people with previous felony convictions.

The FBI is warning of the possibility of armed protests in all state capitols across the country leading up to the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden. Planned protests are expected at state capitols beginning Saturday. However, there are no specific warnings for Connecticut.

There's a major outbreak of COVID-19 at the Southbury Training School. The Hartford Courant reports 25 percent of the more-than 150 residents have been infected in the past month. The facility serves mostly people who are elderly and have intellectual disabilities. Since the start of the pandemic, two residents and four employees have died from COVID-19.

Lieutenant governors in Connecticut and Rhode Island are quarantining after potential COVID-19 exposures. Connecticut Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz is self-isolating after a member of her staff tested positive for the virus. Bysiewicz, who was in close contact with the person, tested negative Thursday.

DOC COVID-Related Inmate Death Toll Reaches 15

Jan 8, 2021

The Department of Correction has reported its 15th COVID-related inmate death. The latest inmate passed away Friday after being transferred to an outside hospital on Dec. 26. The man was 65 years old and his maximum release date was in August of 2075. 

 

Man Shot In Fatal Hartford FBI Shooting Identified

Jan 8, 2021

The New Haven State’s Attorney’s office has released a preliminary status report on the investigation of a Hartford shooting on Wednesday involving an FBI task force. According to the report, the FBI’s Northern Connecticut Gangs and Violent Crimes task forces arrived at Enfield Street with an arrest warrant for a suspect in violation of his prison release. During the apprehension, an associate of the suspect, Benecio Vasquez, fired at officers. Two officers then fired their weapons at Vasquez. Those shots were fatal. Vasquez, 34, was a Hispanic male from Hartford.

COVID Update: Positivity Rate Spikes Over 8 Percent

Jan 8, 2021

Connecticut’s COVID positivity rate increases over 8 percent once again after decreasing to about 6 percent on Thursday. Over 38,000 were conducted since Thursday with a positivity rate of 8.46 percent and an additional 22 patients are hospitalized with the virus. COVID-related deaths increase by 37

The Vernon Police Department is asking Somers residents to review their outside security camera footage to help identify a suspect involved in an apartment complex shooting. Shots were fired into an apartment, but no one was injured. The suspect then led the police in a car chase into Somers before crashing the vehicle and fleeing the scene on foot. Residents are urged to check their cameras between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. on Friday morning.

The University of Connecticut’s Men’s Basketball team's big game coming up against Villanova University has been postponed.

The Huskies game with the Wildcats was supposed to highlight its return to the Big East conference. But that game scheduled for next Friday in Storrs has been put on ice for COVID-19 related reasons. A UConn spokesperson says it’s on the Villanova side.

Connecticut police officers from several agencies are using dogs and drones in a search for at least one suspect in a shooting at an apartment complex. Officers responded to the shooting in Vernon shortly before 1 a.m. Friday. Police said an apartment building was struck by gunfire, but no one was injured. The suspect or suspects led police on a car chase into Somers, where the vehicle became disabled. The suspect or suspects fled on foot. Police have lifted a shelter in place advisory for residents in Somers but are urging them to remain cautious.

Federal lawmakers from Connecticut are demanding answers from the warden of the federal prison in Danbury after they say they learned first responders were denied access to the facility during one of two recent natural gas leaks. Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy and Rep. Jahana Hayes said Friday that they are urging Warden Diane Easter to order an "immediate assessment" of gas piping and other prison infrastructure protect the safety of inmates and staff. They say gas company workers responded to gas leak Dec. 26, but weren't allowed in until the next day.

New Haven Mayor Announces Interim Police Chief

Jan 7, 2021

New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker has named assistant police chief Renee Dominguez as interim chief to lead the city’s department after the departure of Chief Otoniel Reyes. Dominguez has been with the Police Department since 2002 and has held several titles including the head of the Family Services Division. Dominguez is expected to serve a year, through the end of the chief's term.

 

Two people who listed their homes as being in Connecticut were among those arrested at the U.S. Capitol yesterday. Mauricio Mendez and Victoria Bergeson were both charged with unlawful entry and violating a curfew. They were arrested in the same area at the Capitol.

Meanwhile, U.S. Attorney for Connecticut John Durham today issued a statement urging people with information related to the incident at the capitol to use an FBI tips web site.

New Haven-area Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro today announced that part of the House Appropriations Committee will review the law enforcement response to what she called a coup attempt at the capitol yesterday. In a statement, DeLauro says there was a severe failure in securing the building. DeLauro is the chair of the Appropriations Committee. A subcommittee oversees funding for the capitol police.

Thousands of pro-Trump supporters flooded the Capitol protesting President-elect Joe Biden’s certification on Wednesday. Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise Merrill called the efforts an attempted coup.

"It will fail. The peopel of America spoke clearly in November and elected a new administration in a free and fair eleciton that was hailed as the most secure in our nation's history," Merrill said in a press release.

One Dead in Hartford After Shooting Involving FBI

Jan 6, 2021

A shooting in Hartford involving a federal law enforcement agent has resulted in one death. The Hartford Courant reports an FBI task force working with Hartford Police Department arrived on Enfield Street in the North End early Wednesday morning with an arrest warrant for Brandon Spence -- a man allegedly in violation of his prison release. According to unnamed sources, the person shot was an accomplice of Spence.

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