Demolition slated for East Street factory

At a meeting Wednesday night, Sal Brancati, a former development director for the city of New Haven, proposed that the City Plan Commission demolish the Simkins paper recycling plant that shut down in 2006. His plan is to reuse the site, currently located at 259 East St., for a manufacturing facility, which, he argued, would bring a wealth of new jobs. The potential buyer for the lot operates as a steel manufacturer in India, Turkey, China and Vietnam. The Commission board unanimously approved Brancati’s proposal, signing on to a $1.8-million demolition of the century-old factory.

—Liane Membis

For City Hall procrastinators, ‘game over’

Mayor John DeStefano Jr. moved to cut off City Hall employees from workplace entertainment last week, restricting office-wide access to streaming radio, video and online games. Already banned from sites such as YouTube and GoogleVideo, employees learned last week that an even stricter firewall had been installed, blocking them from a number of entertainment Web sites. “The firewall was installed for productivity’s sake,” City Hall spokeswoman Jessica Mayorga said Thursday. She and other city officials said they hope the firewall will curtail distractions and allow employees to focus their full attention on their work.

—Anne Loeb

Wanted New Haven man apprehended in Virginia

Police have found the man they believed to be responsible for a New Haven double shooting and homicide last Wednesday on Munson St. The man, Darryl Staton, has been listed as wanted for the murder of Enrique Lawrence and the shooting of his mother. Sgt. Vazquez of the New Haven Major Crimes Unit said he received information that Staton could be found at a specific location in Dumfrie, Va. Sheriff’s deputies in Virginia, after a tip from Vazquez, took Staton into custody Thursday morning. City Hall spokeswoman Jessica Mayorga said many New Haven residents had provided information used to help apprehend Staton.

—Colin Ross

Three firefighters promoted

The New Haven Board of Fire Commissioners approved the promotion of three firefighters, two Hispanic and one white, to fire inspector/investigator Wednesday. The city had only three inspectors before the promotions, down from 11 in 2005. The city has made only a few promotions since 2003, when the New Haven Civil Service Board refused to certify the results of promotion exams for lieutenant and captain because “not enough” minority firefighters passed the test. The firefighters who otherwise would have been promoted sued the city for reverse-discrimination. The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the case in April.

—Harrison Korn

Elis urged to pitch in to reform New Orleans

New Orleans mayoral candidate James Perry addressed an audience of over 30 students at a Trumbull Master’s Tea Thursday afternoon. Perry, currently the executive director of the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center, said housing, infrastructure reconstruction and education as his top priorities. While lauding the efforts of nonprofit organizations in facilitating the economic recovery in New Orleans, Perry criticized the lack of transparency in the incumbent administration of Ray Nagin: “The government and its institutions need urgent reforms,” he said. Calling New Orleans the “new center of social justice,” Perry urged Yale students to donate their talent and money to the city.

—Carmen Lu

Aldermen consider “green” cleaning order

The City Services and Environmental Policy Committee met Thursday evening to consider an aldermanic order to transition to “green” cleaning products in all city offices. Although New Haven Mayor John DeStefano Jr. already requires maintenance crews for City Hall and the New Haven Police Department use such products, the order, if approved, would formalize that requirement and extend it to all city facilities. Supporters of the switch — including individual aldermen, Yale students, custodial workers, and healthcare providers — cited the health risks associated with harsher products and the potential savings as reasons for voting to pass the order.

—Rustin Fakheri