Officer arrested over $20 paid for prostitute

New Haven police officer Sam Streater, suspended Nov. 24 for patronizing a prostitute, was arrested Wednesday on criminal charges for the same incident. Streater allegedly paid Vanessa DiVerniero — a known prostitute with an arrest warrant pending — $20 to have sex with him in his car. He was caught by fellow police officers on a prostitution sting Sept. 23. The decision to pursue the arrest was made by the state’s attorney’s office and not the New Haven Police Department, which was satisfied with Streater’s two-week suspension, City Hall spokeswoman Jessica Mayorga said. —Jessica Letchford

‘Theater menu’ promo offers deal on dinner

Following on the heels of the highly successful New Haven Restaurant Week held in October, 20 area eateries are banding together for a new prix-fixe dinner promotion, “See, Sip, Savor.” Aimed at theater-goers, participating locations offer $29 three-course meals at times convenient before and after theater shows. Suzette Franco-Camacho, the owner of Bespoke and Sabor and the organizer of the promotion, said she hopes the special price rate will be within the price range of students, who might otherwise overlook the downtown restaurant scene. The promotion began last week, and restaurants have pledged to keep the offer going until the end of theater season in June.—Horace Williams

Parking fees covered by updated City Card

The New Haven Department of Transportation, Traffic and Parking announced improvements to its Parcxmart card program, a method used to pay for metered parking, on Thursday. The card, now called the New Haven City Card, can be reloaded online for up to $500 and can be used both for parking and as payment in a variety of local stores, which will receive a 10-cent flat rate for each transaction. Previously purchased vouchers and Parxcmart cards will still be honored. The intent of the City Card program, which was launched last month, is to prompt the majority of local merchants to join the payment system by the end of 2009, the city said. —Shala Naimi

San Francisco delays municipal ID card

California immigrants’ rights activists are calling for San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom to set a date for the launch of the city’s new municipal identification program, the BeyondChron online daily in California reported last week. Though the San Francisco legislation approved the program in November 2007, Newsom has delayed its start in response to increased criticism from the federal government. San Francisco would be the second city in the United States, after New Haven, to institute a municipal identification program that would cater to all residents regardless of their immigration status.—Martine Powers

39 graduate from police academy

Thirty-nine new officers will join the New Haven Police Department when they graduate from the New Haven Police Academy today. The graduates will be paired with veteran officers for field training. The additions come at a time of personnel shortage in the NHPD: Before today, the department comprised approximately 400 officers, almost 100 officers short of its fully-staffed level. Anticipated retirements of officers could cancel out up to 40 percent of the personnel gains, NHPD Chief James Lewis told the New Haven Register this week. The city chose to delay the next police academy from April to July in an effort to save $400,000. —Harrison Korn