Around New Haven

Blumenthal fights false advertising of acai berries

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal LAW ’73 announced this week he would launch an investigation into the business practices and the science behind companies marketing acai berry products as weight-loss treatments. Blumenthal said he was investigating not only those questionable scientific claims, but also allegations that companies have improperly charged credit cards, making free trials almost impossible to cancel. He said his office received numerous consumer complaints.

— Zeke Miller

MicroSociety school receives $10K from Toyota

Third-grade students at New Haven’s MicroSociety Interdistrict Magnet School have received $10,000 from the Toyota Tapestry Grant program thanks to the efforts of teacher John Fortier. The grant will be used to establish the Microville Science Museum, an interactive initiative where students will conduct experiments, create exhibits and learn about careers in science. The initiative builds upon the philosophy of the Magnet School where students act as citizens of “Microville” — a town complete with its own mayor, bank, marketplace, police and judicial system. The project is slated to start in the fall of 2009.

— Carmen Lu

In two separate shootings, minors sent to hospital

Two minors were shot in New Haven this week. On Wednesday at 11:43 a.m. at 1378 Quinnipiac Ave., a 14-year-old male was shot in his left leg, City Hall spokeswoman Jessica Mayorga said. The victim was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Shortly after 6 p.m. Tuesday, a 17-year-old male was shot in the abdomen at the intersection of Congress Avenue and Baldwin Street, approximately five blocks from the Yale Medical School, by a man driving by in a car, New Haven Police Department spokesman Officer Joseph Avery confirmed. The victim was taken to Yale New-Haven Hospital where he was listed in critical condition with non life-threatening injuries, Avery said Wednesday afternoon.

— Harrison Korn

City makes prescription drugs up to 20 percent cheaper

This week marked the first full week of the city’s new presciption drug discount program, which makes cards — good for an average savings of 20 percent off drug retail prices ­— available to all residents free of charge regardless of age or income level. The card, sponsored by the National League of Cities and administered by CVS Caremark, can be used at 22 pharmacies throughout the city. Mayor John DeStefano Jr. said in a press release that the program aims to offer seniors, in particular, help during the recession.

— Yale Daily News

Civil rights group supports city in discrimination suit

Several civil rights groups, including the International Association of Black Professional Firefighters, the ACLU and the NAACP, submitted friend-of-the-court briefs Wednesday supporting the City of New Haven in the Ricci v. DeStefano case. In the case, scheduled to be heard by the Supreme Court on April 22, one Hispanic and 19 white New Haven firefighters are suing the city for throwing out a promotional exam on which black firefighters scored poorly. The briefs argue that the city did not violate the Equal Protection clause and that if the Court sided with the firefighters it would effectively destroy much of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, also known as Title VII.

—Harrison Korn

Looney looks to decriminalize possession of some marijuana

Connecticut Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney of New Haven submitted testimony this week to the General Assembly’s Judiciary Committee on decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana. Looney said a proposal to make possession of small amounts of marijuana an infraction as opposed to a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $121 would be “compassionate and pragmatic policy.” According to the Office of Fiscal Analysis, such a move would save taxpayers $11 million and generate $320,000 in fines annually.

—Zeke Miller

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