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State News Stories

Body found as man named a suspect in woman's disappearance

WATERBURY, Conn. (AP) - Police investigating the disappearance of a Connecticut mother of two say they have found human remains and her ex-fiance is a suspect.

Authorities found the remains Wednesday in Waterbury. The person has not been identified.

Thirty-one-year-old Perrie Mason, of Meriden, went missing Saturday.

Police said Mason's ex-fiance, Jason Watson, was arrested at the couple's apartment Tuesday on assault, strangulation and unlawful restraint charges related to a domestic violence incident involving Mason last week. Prosecutors say Watson is a suspect in Mason's disappearance.

A judge ordered Watson held on $650,000 bond when he was arraigned Wednesday.

An arrest warrant says Watson denied the domestic violence charges and told police he would never harm Mason.

The state Department of Children and Families has taken custody of the two children.

Officials say respiratory illnesses may be tied to vaping

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - State health officials say two Connecticut residents have been hospitalized with severe respiratory symptoms they believe are linked to vaping and e-cigarette use.

The Connecticut Department of Public Health is investigating and says both patients admitted to vaping and using e-cigarettes with marijuana and nicotine.

Their symptoms include shortness of breath, fever, coughing, vomiting and diarrhea.

Health officials said in a release that the symptoms are similar to a common infection, but can lead to severe complications requiring extended hospital stays.

The number of breathing illnesses reported among people who vape is growing. Federal health officials are now looking into more than 150 possible cases in 16 states, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is asking clinicians to report such cases to local and state health authorities.

Veteran Connecticut officer facing drunken driving charge

NORWALK, Conn. (AP) - State police say a veteran Connecticut police officer has been charged with driving under the influence after allegedly sideswiping a truck on a highway and leaving the scene.

Police say Norwalk Officer Hector Delgado was on Interstate 95 north in Fairfield on Aug. 8 when he struck the truck. He is also charged with illegally carrying a firearm while under the influence and failure to drive in the proper lane.

Delgado, a 26-year department veteran who in 2014 was named the city's Officer of the Year, told The Hour that he "used poor judgment," and is prepared to go through the court system and "face the consequences."

The 46-year-old Delgado remains on duty but Chief Thomas Kulhawik will review the case before deciding on further action.


Connecticut police officer with multiple arrests is fired

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut police officer with a history of domestic violence arrests has been fired.

Bridgeport Police Chief Armando Perez announced that Officer Steven Figueroa had been terminated, effective Wednesday afternoon. In a statement, Perez said an investigation determined Figueroa is "wholly unfit to serve as a police officer" and "violated his oath of office and the public trust."

The Connecticut Post reports 29-year-old Figueroa was arrested six times over the past two years by various police departments. Three arrests occurred this summer, including a first-degree sexual assault charge. He was suspended without pay from the department on July 22.

His lawyer has said Figueroa maintains his innocence. A union spokesman declined to comment on the firing.

Democratic Mayor Joe Ganim recently issued a video, demanding action be taken against Figueroa.

Animal rights group puts up ads honoring slaughtered cow

BLOOMFIELD, Conn. (AP) - An animal rights organization is putting up advertisements in Connecticut to remember a calf that was slaughtered in public.

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals are running the ads on buses in Hartford for the next four weeks to honor a calf killed behind a Home Depot in Bloomfield.

On July 13, a calf escaped the Saba Live Poultry butcher shop in Bloomfield and workers chased the animal to the back of hardware store parking lot where a worker slit the animal's throat. The halal method of killing an animal includes the cutting the throat.

The incident sparked outrage and racists comments online against the halal butcher shop.

The worker who killed the animal is expected to appear in court on charges related to animal cruelty.

Connecticut estimates 200,000 impacted by immigration change

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Connecticut officials estimate as many as 200,000 residents could be impacted by sweeping Trump administration changes that would deny green cards to many immigrants who use Medicaid, food stamps and other forms of public assistance.

Democratic Attorney General William Tong, other state officials and advocates predicted Wednesday the planned changes will lead to more expensive emergency room visits, increased demand at food pantries and a decline in children enrolled in Connecticut's HUSKY health insurance program, ultimately having "profound implications for the state," including economic ones.

Set to take effect in October, the rule change by President Donald Trump's administration is pitched as a way to keep only self-sufficient immigrants in the country.

Connecticut, New York, Vermont and New York City filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday seeking to stop the change.

Report: Yale professor sexually assaulted 5 students

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - An investigation has concluded that a Yale University psychiatry professor sexually assaulted five students at a research facility on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts and committed sexual misconduct against at least eight others.

The report by former Connecticut U.S. Attorney Deirdre Daly was released Tuesday. She investigated Dr. D. Eugene Redmond, who retired last year from the Yale School of Medicine as disciplinary proceedings were imminent.

Redmond denied the allegations. Messages seeking comment were left with Redmond and his lawyer Tuesday.

Daly concluded Redmond sexually assaulted two students in the early 1990s and three others between 2010 and 2017. She reported the assaults involved nonconsensual touching of male students.

The report says Yale officials failed to adequately respond to complaints against Redmond in 1994.

Yale President Peter Salovey says he's sorry Redmond's behavior wasn't stopped.

Police: Fire captain embezzled 15K from minority group

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut fire captain who allegedly stole more than $15,000 from an organization for minority firefighters has been arrested and placed on leave.

The Hartford Courant reports 43-year-old Darrien Penix, of Bridgeport, was charged Monday with second degree larceny.

The charges stem from an investigation that accuses the former president of the Firebird Society of Bridgeport Connecticut of using the group's credit and debit cards to purchase personal items, including car repairs and vacations.

The newspaper reports that in text messages with the group's vice president Joseph Kirkland, Penix acknowledged taking the money.

The Connecticut Post reports Penix paid back everything but $600 after he was notified of the investigation.

Fire Chief Richard Thode says he will remain on paid leave while the department's financial crimes unit continues the investigation.


Man violates supervised release on firearm and drug charges

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut man was sentenced to more than seven years in prison for violating his supervised release.

The U.S. attorney's office for Connecticut announced Tuesday that Qiyon Reed was sentenced after pleading guilty to firearm and drug offenses while on supervised release. He was arrested last September when New Haven police officers found two handguns and roughly one gram of cocaine after executing a search warrant at his house.

Reed is a convicted felon who was sentenced in 2013 to almost six years in prison followed by four years of supervised release. He was later released in 2017.

It is a violation of federal law for a person previously convicted of a felony offense to possess a firearm or ammunition that has moved in interstate or foreign commerce.

Aircraft company, union partner to create apprenticeship

STRATFORD, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut aircraft manufacturer is partnering with a major labor union to train the next generation of aerospace employees.

Stratford-based Sikorsky Aircraft and the Teamsters union recently announced an aircraft manufacturing pre-apprenticeship program certified by the Department of Labor.

The Hartford Courant reports the designation allows high school students to apply the hours of work and study certified to any aerospace manufacturer.

The partnership is a response to complaints from manufacturers that workers are in short supply and the demand for machining, additive manufacturing and computer design is high.

George Mitchell, vice president of production operations at Sikorsky, says the company and the union, which represents 4,000 of its workers, begin recruitment in students' sophomore year.

The apprenticeship can be as short as one year and up to five years.


Fate of legalized marijuana in Connecticut remains hazy

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Connecticut lawmakers have yet to decide when to make another attempt at legalizing and taxing recreational marijuana.

It's doubtful there will be a vote this summer or fall. And despite a desire by proponents to revisit the issue when the General Assembly reconvenes in February, it's unclear if that will happen. It's a shortened legislative session and an election year for lawmakers.

Democratic Rep. Joshua Hall of Hartford, a leader of the legislature's Progressive Caucus, says the issue is important, but the group isn't sure there's the "political appetite."

A new study released Monday by Pew Charitable Trusts shows it's been challenging for states to predict how much revenue to expect from a product that had been illegal. In Connecticut, estimates have been as much as $150 million.

New bill expands health care coverage for annual breast cancer screenings

A bill expanding health care coverage for annual breast cancer screenings is being touted by Connecticut lawmakers and breast cancer survivors.  Legislation passed in 2009 recommended additional ultrasound screenings for patients who had dense breast tissue, which could mask abnormalities and inhibit early cancer detection. The new state budget includes a mandate that will increase access to preventative care by lowering out-of-pocket costs for breast ultrasound screenings.  The impact on the state employee and retiree health plan is estimated at $15,000 annually.  While insurance policies are already required to cover breast ultrasounds for women with dense breast tissue, family history of breast cancer, positive genetic testing, or other high-risk indicators, they are not covered until patients have met their deductibles.  That's different than how mammograms are covered.  The Connecticut Breast Health Initiative says there are approximately 3,500 newly diagnosed cases of breast cancer in the state each year.

Man accused of abducting son in 1987 to change plea

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) - A Canadian man accused of abducting his toddler son in 1987 and disappearing for 31 years is expected to enter pleas to federal charges in Connecticut.

Allan Mann Jr. is charged in the U.S. with making false statements about his identity when obtaining federally funded housing and Medicaid services while on the lam. He also faces an abduction charge in Toronto.

Court records show Mann is scheduled to change his not guilty pleas Thursday in U.S. District Court in New Haven. His lawyer and prosecutors declined to comment. A scheduled change of plea usually means a defendant will be pleading guilty or no contest.

Authorities found Mann in Vernon, Connecticut, in October. His son, now in his 30s, has been reunited with his mother after believing she died years ago.

Boston Bruins to make stop at Connecticut state Capitol

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - The Boston Bruins are making a stop in Connecticut, where they plan to outfit young players with new hockey gear and mingle with fans.

Some current members of the NHL team, coaches, executives and New England Sports Network personalities are expected to be on hand for the annual Boston Bruins Fan Fest Tour of all six New England States.

Connecticut's stop will be held Saturday, August 24, from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the state Capitol in Hartford.

Synthetic ice rinks are planned at the free events, where fans can participate in drills. There will also be virtual reality experiences, fitness activities, face painting and Bruins trivia. Participating Bruins personalities will vary.

Kids enrolled in the Bruins Academy Learn to Play program will receive $500 in hockey gear.

Woman dies in New Britain police custody

NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (AP) - New Britain officials say a 45-year-old woman charged with violating a protective order has died in city police custody.

Police say Tamara Mifflin suffered an unexpected medical event while in custody early Saturday morning. Authorities say officers and paramedics tried to revive her.

Police arrested Mifflin earlier in the morning while responding to a domestic argument.

The Chief Medical Examiner's Office and the New Britain State's Attorney's Office are assisting in the investigating. An autopsy is planned as officials try to determine how Mifflin died.

State court records show Mifflin had several pending criminal cases and was sentenced to probation in 2015 for a felony larceny conviction.

Governor's Woodstock tribute contest is taking shape

WOODSTOCK, Conn. (AP) - Gov. Ned Lamont's plan to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Woodstock music festival in Woodstock, Connecticut, is taking shape.

The Democrat announced Thursday five bands chosen to participate in the 2019 Battle of the Bands competition, to be held Aug. 30 at the Woodstock Fair . Each will compete for a share of $17,000 in prize money and the title of Connecticut Band of the Year.

The 65-year-old former businessman, who is donating $20,000 to $30,000 for the tribute concert, couldn't attend the original 1969 festival. Lamont predicts Connecticut's version will be a "day filled with peace and music" and "bands playing everything from Janis to Jimi," referring to Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix.

More than 50 bands submitted contest entries.

The Woodstock 50 three-day concert was canceled last month.

Transgender athlete policy is subject of civil rights probe

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - The federal Office for Civil Rights has launched an investigation into Connecticut's policy allowing transgender high school athletes to compete as the gender with which they identify.

The investigation follows a complaint by the families of three girls, who say they were discriminated against by having to compete in track against two athletes who were identified as male at birth. They say that violates Title IX, the federal law designed to ensure equal athletic opportunities for females.

The Connecticut Association of Schools-Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference says its policy follows a state anti-discrimination law that says students must be treated in school by the gender they identify with.

Transathlete.com says Connecticut is one of 17 states that allow transgender high school athletes to compete without restrictions.

Blackjack dealer charged with overpaying patrons avoids jail

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. (AP) - A former blackjack dealer at a Connecticut casino who authorities say overpaid players by $18,000 won't get prison time.

The Day reports that 47-year-old Alysia OLeary of Hopkinton, Rhode Island, received a suspended prison sentence and five years of probation Wednesday. She pleaded guilty to larceny and cheating.

Court documents state that Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Police observed OLeary making 68 overpayments to a patron at a Foxwoods Resort Casino blackjack table in December 2016.

Mashantucket authorities had already been investigating OLeary and brought additional charges for past thefts. The state declined to prosecute those charges.

The patron was also arrested. Her case is sealed.

OLeary says she takes full responsibility and expressed remorse.

The judge told OLeary that if she steals so much as a toothpick she'll go to prison.

Connecticut man charged with killing wife found dead

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) - A Connecticut man charged with killing his ex-wife has been found dead after a standoff with police.

Authorities say 75-year-old James Taylor was found dead inside a storage container on his Fairfield property just before 10 p.m. Tuesday.

The standoff began at about 5:15 p.m. when Taylor's GPS monitoring bracelet, worn as a condition of his release on bail, went off and court officials were unable to contact him.

Police went to Taylor's home, where they found him barricaded in a storage container in the backyard.

The cause of death remains under investigation but police say it appears to be a suicide.

Taylor was free on $2 million bond.

Authorities say Taylor broke into his stepson's Fairfield home on Feb. 3 and fatally shot his 70-year-old ex-wife, Catherine.

MGM sues over federal approval of tribal casino deal

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Casino developer MGM has filed a lawsuit challenging the federal approval of a deal that would allow Connecticut's two Indian tribes to open a third casino in the state.

The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in Washington D.C. It challenges the Department of the Interior's approval of amendments to the gaming compact between the state and the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes.

MGM says the approval creates an unlawful advantage for the tribes in competing for casino rights off of tribal lands.

The tribes are planning to jointly operate a casino in East Windsor that would compete with MGM's casino in nearby Springfield, Massachusetts.

MGM also is competing with the tribes for the rights to open a casino in Bridgeport.

The tribes didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit.


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