Around New Haven: 3.05.10

Feds arrest fugitive girlfriend beater

Federal marshals, FBI agents and state police arrested a man Tuesday who allegedly beat his pregnant girlfriend last July. Willie Franco, 21, was charged with assault in the first degree of a pregnant person, risk of injury to a minor, interfering with an officer and various motor vehicle charges. He is being held on $250,000 bond. —Yale Daily News

Elderly man with Alzheimer’s is missing

Police are searching for a 62-year-old man with Alzheimer’s disease who has been missing from his Fair Haven home since Tuesday. Manuel Santiago has a history of going missing: The last time he walked off, he was found at a firehouse on East Grand Avenue, New Haven police spokesman Joseph Avery said. Santiago, a 5-foot-2-inch man, is 140 pounds and clean-shaven, with green eyes and white hair. People who may have information are encouraged to call the New Haven police, Avery added. —Yale Daily News

Rell aims to up college grad rates

Gov. M. Jodi Rell announced this week that the state has pledged to work with Complete College America, a nonprofit established in 2009 to increase state college graduation rates nationwide. “We see signs of a potential slippage [in the educational quality of the workforce],” Rell said. “Now is the time to take bold steps to reverse these trends by focusing on the importance of a meaningful postsecondary education credential.” The organization will suggest strategies and provide technical support to help Connecticut increase its college graduation rate, Rell spokesman Rich Harris wrote in an e-mail. —Yale Daily News

Connecticut does not top Race to the Top

Connecticut was not named one of the finalists in phase one results of Race to the Top, a $4 billion federal program that issues competitive grants to states to aid their school reform efforts. The 16 finalists are Colorado, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Tennessee. More winners of Race to the Top grants are slated to be announced in two additional phases. If Connecticut is not named a finalist in either of the final rounds, New Haven could lose out on about $10 million in federal funds. —Esther Zuckerman

State aid to pave New Haven’s roads

New Haven will likely receive $610,471 in state aid March 16to pave and repair its roads, according to a statement issued Thursday by Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s office. “All across the state, there are roads in need of repair and resurfacing,” Rell said in the release. “This state aid will address not only road renovations but also help to improve sidewalks, sewer facilities and flood control. Cities and towns have been patient, and these funds are on their way into municipal coffers.” —Esther Zuckerman

Student writers speak, move crowd

Three student writers and Francis Writer-in-Residence Anne Fadiman read original personal essays at the New Haven Free Public Library on Thursday evening before a full crowd. Cory Finley ’11 spoke about his tallness, Kate Lund ’12 about her gay father and Victor Zapana ’11 (a city editor for the News) about his father’s military deployments. Speaking after her three former students, Fadiman read an excerpt from a piece she is currently writing about being the wine-indifferent daughter of an aficionado. —Esther Zuckerman

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