MGM OFF TO GOOD START
BOSTON (AP) – MGM officials say attendance and revenues from their nearly $1 billion casino in Springfield are exceeding expectations weeks after opening. MGM Springfield President Michael Mathis told state gambling regulators Thursday that the hotel, casino and entertainment complex is averaging about 50,000 daily visitors on weekends and about 25,000 during the work week. He said revenues have been similarly strong but declined to cite figures as they’re expected to be released Monday by the state Gaming Commission. Mathis said the casino is also meeting or exceeding most of its diversity hiring targets. But he noted the casino has had to impose new rules to deal with unattended children on the property, including a curfew for minors. MGM Springfield opened Aug. 24 and is the first of its kind in the state.
FENTANYL OVERDOSES UP
FARMINGTON, Conn. (AP) – Connecticut’s chief medical examiner says fentanyl-related overdose deaths in the state are on pace to increase 9 percent this year, while total deaths from accidental drug overdoses are expected to decline slightly. Dr. James Gill released overdose figures for the first six months of the year Thursday. There were 370 accidental deaths from January to June involving the powerful opioid fentanyl. If that rate continues, there will be 740 such deaths in 2018, a 9 percent increase over last year’s total of 677. A total of 515 people died from accidental drug overdoses from January to June, leading to a projected yearly total of 1,030. That’s slightly lower than last year’s 1,038 deaths. Just over 400 heroin deaths are expected this year, down 15 percent from last year.
JAIL SENTENCE FOR PHISHING
A Nigerian man will serve 32 months in prison for obtaining personal information via computer of Groton school employees, and then filing false tax returns in their names to get refunds. 34-year old Daniel Ojo was arrested in August of last year, and pleaded guilty to one count each of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and identity theft. Authorities say he also stole tax information of school employees in Glastonbury, and Bloomington, Minnesota. Ojo has also been ordered to repay more than 36-thousand dollars to the Internal Revenue Service. He’s scheduled to serve three years of supervised release after his jail sentence, but is expected to be deported at that time.
A Norwich man faces charges of smashing windows at four downtown buildings. Police arrested 25-year old Wendel Boateng-Moses overnight Wednesday at the Walgreen’s pharmacy on West Main Street, where he was causing a disturbance. Boateng-Moses is accused of smashing windows at the Foundry 66 building on Franklin Street, Chestnut Street Playhouse, Fashion 101 on Main Street, and a vacant Main Street building. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a suspended jail term and probation back in May for doing the same thing. Boateng-Moses is being held on 10-thousand dollars bond.
State legislators and others took part in a re-commissioning ceremony this morning at UConn’s Avery Point campus in Groton for the school’s marine “Research Vessel Connecticut”. The 19-year-old ship went through a makeover in the last year. The refurbished vessel will now be able to hold up to 13 researchers and technicians.
‘REDNECK WOMAN’ IN COURT
ENFIELD, Conn. (AP) – Country singer Gretchen Wilson has agreed to donate $500 to charity to settle a criminal charge related to a disturbance at Bradley International Airport last month. The Grammy-winning “Redneck Woman” singer appeared Thursday in court in Enfield. A misdemeanor breach of peace charge will be dismissed based on the donation to a fund for injured crime victims. Wilson was arrested Aug. 21 en route to a private show at the Mohegan Sun casino. State police said Wilson was in a minor disturbance on the plane involving another passenger and a bathroom, and was arrested after becoming “belligerent” with troopers. Wilson said Thursday that everyone has bad days, but celebrities are targeted when they have one. She was to return home to Tennessee on Thursday.
PURDUE PHARMA SUED
SALEM, Ore. (AP) – Oregon’s attorney general has sued the Connecticut-based pharmaceutical company that makes OxyContin, saying it misrepresented the risks and benefits of the drug and lied to a state regulatory agency to maximize profits. A spokesman at Purdue Pharma, targeted by Thursday’s lawsuit in Multnomah Circuit Court, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said that over the last decade, Purdue has engaged in racketeering and misleading activity. Rosenblum said Oregon sued Purdue in 2007 for deceptively marketing OxyContin, but the company has continued to market the highly addictive pain pill to Oregon doctors and mislead health care providers and the Oregon Pharmacy Board. Purdue and other drugmakers are facing lawsuits across the country, claiming they helped spark opioid addiction and an overdose crisis.