NYSTROM LAYS OUT AGENDA
A fairly ambitious agenda is laid-out by Norwich Mayor Peter Nystrom last night in the annual “State of the City” address. The Republican says the goal of the city council is to maximize efforts to improve the city while at the same time keep spending and taxes in check. Nystrom and the city council voted against a plan last year to put a school consolidation plan on the city ballot. However, he thinks the idea is worth a second look. He’s also proposing a scholarship program to help needy city kids gain access to recreation and health education programs. The mayor is also hoping a question can be put on this November’s ballot that would expand a downtown revitalization municipal bond program to other parts of the city, including Greeneville and Thamesville. He didn’t suggest a dollar amount for the bond issue.
MITCHELL VOWS TO FIGHT
An opinionated and outspoken member of the New London Housing Authority Board of Commissioners, targeted for removal by three of her fellow commissioners, doesn’t plan to go quietly and called for a hearing to defend herself. Kathleen Mitchell plans to dispute the board’s allegation that she is disruptive and combative for purposes to cause conflict and division. The board voted three-two to ask Mayor Michael Passero to remove her. A rare hearing is expected to be held later this month.
FUNDS REDIRECTED TO EDUCATION
The Groton Town Council unanimously approved a supplemental appropriation of about $1.57 million from the town’s undesignated fund balance, for education. Groton was recently named an Alliance District by the state, placing it among the lowest performing districts in the state, along with Norwich and New London. The board of education discussed plans to spend $600,000 on paraprofessionals, $39,000 for a special education teacher and $39,000 each to make the literacy and math specialists at West Side and Carl C. Cutler middle schools full-time positions.
ELIMINATE AMISTAD FUNDING
North Stonington State Rep. Diana Urban said she will recommend $263,000 allocated for the schooner Amistad be used instead to help offset a $54 million shortfall in the Medicare Saving Program. The Medicare program uses Medicaid money to help low income residents pay medical expenses not covered by Medicare. There are about 171,500 low income seniors and residents with disabilities enrolled in the program. Urban said that preserving money for the Amistad while cutting health care funding for low income seniors and the disabled, “sends the worst possible message to the people of the state of Connecticut.”
ALDERMEN APPROVE REID AND HUGHES EXTENSION
Norwich aldermen last night unanimously agree to give the Women’s Institute for Housing and Economic Development 60 more days to seek more grant funding to stabilize the Reid and Hughes building. The developer says it has secured loan money to do the work, but adds the Institute’s board of directors are somewhat leery to proceed with the project just with the loan money. Alderman agreed to the extension, but add they want to see some progress as to the project’s status within the added time frame. The Womens’ Institute has requested the city take a more active role in the project.
HAYNES FIRST CMEEC REP
The Norwich City Council last night unanimously named Rasheed Haynes to be the city’s first-ever ratepayer representative to the Connecticut Municipal Electric Energy Cooperative. The newly-created position is part of state-mandated reforms against CMEEC, in light of the Derbygate scandal. Haynes is a former member of the Norwich School Board.
Jerome Hudson, the 28-year-old man accused of fatally stabbing Travon Brown in New London on December 17th appeared in New London Superior Court Tuesday. Members of Brown’s family and supporters of Hudson attended his first court appearance. Hudson is charged with murder and is being held in lieu of $1.25 million at the Bridgeport Correctional Center.