THURSDAY EVENING UPDATE

IT’S HOT OUT THERE

BOSTON (AP) – Heat records are burning up in cities in the Northeast as the region gets a summer preview. The National Weather Service says the mercury reached 92 degrees in Boston on Thursday, breaking the old record of 91 degrees for May 18 set in 1936. New York City reached 91 degrees, eclipsing the old record of 90 degrees. Records also were set when Providence, Rhode Island, hit 93 degrees and Hartford, Connecticut, reached 94 degrees. Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection issued an air-quality alert with record temperatures forecast in that state. Boston’s Bunker Hill Monument, a tourist attraction, closed for a time because of the heat. Taking a break from his Boston hotel job, Matt McKenna said it felt like the weather had skipped spring and gone straight to summer.

PRESTON MAN ACCUSED OF THREATENING TO KILL WOMAN

A Preston man was to be arraigned Thursday in Norwich Superior Court after allegedly threatening to shoot someone over money issues.   Police say 67-year old Bruce Ezell, who is wheelchair bound, had pointed a handgun at someone in his River Road residence Tuesday night, and had told the woman he was going to shoot her, and, according to the victim-quote-“watch me bleed out slow”. There was no shooting. Ezell was taken to Backus Hospital in Norwich for an emergency medical committal, and is being held on 75-thousand dollars bond. Ezell denied owning a 45-caliber pistol, but police later found one hiding under his pillow. Police say Ezell smelled of alcohol when he was arrested.

ACCUSED RAPIST CAN STAND TRIAL

27-year old Christopher Chmielecki has been found competent to stand trial for two separate assault cases.  He pleaded not guilty Thursday in New London Superior Court, after examiners at the Connecticut Valley Hospital in Middletown released its findings on the suspect’s mental competency earlier this month. Chmielecki is accused of choking and raping a 24-year old woman in Norwich in August of last year, while threatening to kill her. He’s also accused of choking and raping another woman in her Willimantic apartment in May of last year. Chmielecki’s attorney requested a mental health review of his client in April. He has been hospitalized several times for psychiatric treatment.

DOWNTOWN BUILDINGS SOLD

Three vacant Downtown Norwich properties have been sold to an unidentified buyer.  City building official James Troger tells the Bulletin that the Fairhaven building at 24 to 28 Broadway, as well as the buildings on either side of Billy Wilson’s Ageing Still, also on Broadway, have been sold to a developer who has plans for commercial and residential development. Troger says an architect is drawing up conceptual plans, and permit applications are expected to be submitted soon.

NO ELECTORAL POOLING

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – It appears unlikely Connecticut will be the latest to join a group of states wanting to pool their Electoral College votes for the presidential candidate who wins the popular vote. Leaders of the Democratic controlled House of Representatives on Thursday tabled the bill after about 90 minutes of debate. House Majority Leader Matt Ritter, a Democrat, had told reporters earlier in the day that he wasn’t sure if there was enough support for the legislation, which had narrowly cleared the General Assembly’s Government Administration and Elections Committee in March. Democratic Rep. Roland Lemar of New Haven says joining the compact would “ensure every vote counts in every state across the country.” But opponents argued that Connecticut would ultimately have less sway in the electoral process under the proposal.

NO BEAR HUNTING IN LITCHFIELD

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Legislation that could have led to bear hunting in one Connecticut county has been snuffed out.  Senate Democrats on Thursday successfully scuttled the bill by replacing it with other legislation that makes it illegal to bring certain big game specimens into Connecticut.  Democratic Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman broke a tie vote in the Senate. The bill was ultimately referred to the Judiciary Committee. Litchfield Sen. Craig Miner, a Republican, originally proposed requiring the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to come up with bear-hunting season regulations. Recognizing he faced opposition, Miner amended the bill, allowing DEEP to decide whether to seek such regulations. Also, his revised bill limited potential bear hunting to Litchfield County. However, all of that language was stripped and replaced with the ban on big-game trophies.

DEREGULATE BRAIDING

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) – Rhode Island lawmakers are considering a bill that would deregulate the business of African-style braiding. The state House of Representatives was scheduled to vote on the bill Thursday, but instead delayed it until Tuesday. It would exempt natural hair braiders from the costly licensing requirements for hairdressers and barbers. Braiders say their practice is a cultural tradition and art form and the training and safety rules for cosmetologists aren’t relevant to what they do. They’re backed by a bipartisan group that includes the bill’s sponsor, Democratic state Rep. Anastasia Williams, of Providence, and conservative and libertarian organizations seeking to cut business regulations. The national law group Institute for Justice has been fighting for years to deregulate braiding around the country. Beauty schools have opposed the efforts.