THURSDAY EVENING UPDATE

COLLEGE MERGER PLAN PUSHES ON

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – The president of the Connecticut State Colleges and University System says he’ll push ahead with plans to merge the state’s 12 community colleges, despite opposition and calls for him to resign. Mark Ojakian made his comments on Thursday at a meeting of the Board of Regents for Higher Education. A regional higher education accreditation organization last month rejected a plan to consolidate the schools into a single institution. Ojakian says he wants to preserve individual campuses and keep tuition costs down, while stabilizing finances. Several faculty members from state universities spoke out against the plan during Thursday’s meeting. Louise Williams, president of the faculty union at Central Connecticut State University, said she remained opposed to any modified version of the merger plan, and suggested that Ojakian step down.

BOOSTING MINORITY RECRUITMENT

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Connecticut’s education commissioner says new legislation could help boost the number of minority teachers the state has been struggling to raise for decades. In Connecticut, less than 9 percent of public school teachers are African-American or Latino, while 44 percent of the students are nonwhite. States across the country have been taking steps to recruit and develop teacher workforces that better reflect the makeup of their student bodies. Commissioner Dianna Wentzell said Thursday that the legislation approved this week could help by changing some requirements for teacher certification and improving coordination with other state agencies to identify teacher candidates. The office of Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy says he will review the bill in the coming days.

PRISON NURSE CHARGED

A former registered nurse at the Corrigan-Radgowski Prison in Montville is charged with having sexual relations with an inmate. 46-year old Dana Gibson of Montville is out on a 25-thousand dollar bond, and is to be arraigned May 24th in Norwich Superior Court. The arrest warrant affidavit says Gibson worked as a UConn Health Center nurse at the prison from March 2017 till two months ago. Police records say the inmate told authorities that Gibson sent him cards and letters, deposited 300-dollars into his prison account, and gave him the number of a prepaid phone that she used to talk with him.

SEX OFFENDER FACES MORE JAIL TIME

A Preston sex offender will now have to serve 27 months behind bars for violating his probation for a third time. 61-year old Timothy Touchette admits to contacting boys via Instagram. He served three years in prison, and was also sentenced to ten years strict probation after being arrested in November, 2007 for buying alcohol and inappropriately touching three under-aged males and a female. He will be off probation once his current prison term ends, but will still be registered as a sex offender.

EAST LYME MISTRIAL

A mistrial has been declared in the case of an East Lyme man, because the defendant can’t be found, and his attorney has been granted permission to withdraw from the case. 40-year old Michael Callanan is accused of threatening and harassing the foster parents of his infant child, as well as threatening and harassing town police. Callanan failed to show up in court on the second day of his trial Wednesday, and again on Thursday. His attorney has now been allowed to leave the case, citing a conflict of interest, prompting the judge to declare a mistrial. State officials say the monitoring bracelet Callanan is wearing has been traced to New York. The state would have to re-arrest Callanan to force a new trial.