Tag Archive: Connecticut

  1. Takeaways from the Great Snowprise of 2K12

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    The National Weather Service predicted yesterday morning that three to five inches of snow would fall in New Haven, tapering off in the early afternoon. We blogged accordingly — stay inside, watch a movie, whatever 2K12, this is just standard winter.

    Turns out the storm was a lot more serious than the NWS first thought. By nightfall, eight inches had fallen in New Haven proper. The state high was in North Haven, which received 12 inches. Not quite a snowpocalypse, but certainly a snowprise.

    Mayor John DeStefano declared a snow emergency in downtown New Haven, which allowed him to tow all cars parked on downtown streets between 2 and 6 a.m. (We watched a car get towed on Howe Street at 3 a.m.)

    All that snow made driving hazardous, so there were hundreds of wrecks across the state, the Courant reported. In the peak of the storm, at around 11:45 a.m., we drove to IKEA yesterday with our mom, and conditions were near-whiteout. The IKEA was totally empty, too. By our 7 p.m. trip to Lowe’s, though, the streets were in large part clear. And in keeping with the chill vibe of our first post yesterday, no one was seriously injured in a car crash and no one lost power. Children of all ages came out to play. It was perfect.

  2. Connecticut dumps $22 mil into re-branding

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    Last week, the state of Connecticut launched a two-year, and $22 million marketing campaign in order to “aggressively” promote the state as a go-to destination for tourism, enterprise and family fun. (This is incidentally also the plot of a “30 Rock” episode.)

    Apparently, cohesive state marketing can foster economic growth and improve the general welfare of the Nutmeg State. But the plan is also necessary for competitive purposes.

    “For the last two years, Connecticut has been the only state in the region to have allocated no marketing money for stimulating business development and tourism,” Malloy said in a press release. This new marketing strategy seems like a thinly veiled act of war targeting our New England brethren, especially—though this is really just a guess—New Hampshire.

    Connecticut needs a brand-new identity, but what should it be? Most campus favorites—Wenzels, bulldogs and the like—are indigenous to New Haven, not Connecticut, and far be it from us to monopolize such an important initiative. Here are a few fun, little-known facts about the Constitution State — kudos to you if you can work any of them into a pitch.

    1) Connecticut’s motto is qui transtulit sustine, which translates roughly to “he who transplanted, sustains.” These words of wisdom make slightly more sense when juxtaposed with Connecticut’s agrarian coat of arms and Colonial roots. It’s no “Live Free or Die,” but, hey, we’ll take it.

    2) In a similar vein, Connecticut’s state song is “Yankee Doodle.” Other notable state songs include “Do You Realize??” (Oklahoma) and “Rocky Mountain High” (Colorado), so this is a battle we are objectively losing.

    3) Connecticut neglected to ratify the 18th Amendment. Much to the glee of early 20th century college kids, the 18th Amendment happened to be Prohibition.

    4) The can opener, the submarine and the Frisbee all got their start in Connecticut.

    5) Connecticut’s state animal is the sperm whale.

    Listen, there are some great things about Connecticut. Our convenient East Coast location, Le Petit Café, the Merritt Parkway and delightfully sporadic weather patterns (re: who doesn’t love snow in October?) all converge to make Connecticut a state arguably worthy of the Constitution’s name. Surely Governor Malloy and his Don Drapers can think of something. Maybe less like this:

    or this:

    and maybe more like this:

  3. Gov. Malloy wants Sunday beer and liquor sales

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    In a move that seems destined for celebration here at Yale, Gov. Dannel Malloy hopes to give you more time to buy your beer.

    Malloy is expected to propose changes to state liquor laws that would allow supermarkets and package stores to sell alcohol on Sundays, the Hartford Courant reported on Friday. Malloy also wants to extend the hour until which liquor can be sold until 10 p.m., and allow bars to stay open until 2 a.m. every night, not just Fridays and Saturdays. He is expected to announce these proposals in a Sunday press conference.

    While these changes have been proposed in the past, they have never received the governor’s support and have failed to pass the state legislature.

    Malloy hopes the proposed changes will boost revenue, but critics say that won’t happen. Instead, they argue that Sunday alcohol sales will only decrease customer traffic the rest of the week while forcing businesses to pay to remain open another day.

    Proponents of the changes, meanwhile, argue that the state must allow liquor sales on Sunday to stay competitive with Massachusetts and New York, which allow alcohol to be sold every day of the week. They have also said that increased alcohol sales could bring in as much as $5 million per year to state coffers.

  4. Connecticut may allow bear hunting lottery

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    The state of Connecticut is not afraid to allow residents to go on a bear hunt.

    With nearly 3,000 bear sightings in the past year, the state of Connecticut is deciding whether to implement a hunting lottery, used in states such as Maine, the Hartford Courant reported Tuesday. The proposal for the lottery, which is being reviewed this week, would allow hunters to pay a fee to enter a lottery for a permit to kill a bear. It aims to reduce the number of bears and profit the state.

    The proposal faces opposition from animal rights activists. Its opponents claim a hunting lottery would make Connecticut devolve into a “wild west.”

    “It’s definitely a bloody way to make money,” said Nancy Rice, the outreach coordinator for Darien-based Friends of Animals. A more effective route, activists say, would be to eliminate open food sources that attract bears.

    Bears have spread south into Connecticut, leading to an increase in sightings. The current bear population, somewhere between 500 and 1000, is expected to double every five to seven years. We can only hope the bears don’t make it down to East Rock, for then where would we picnic?

  5. Two Storm Panel makes 82 recommendations

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    Connecticut’s Two Storm Panel filed its final report Monday, including 82 recommendations for the state to take in order to prepare for storms like August’s Hurricane Irene.

    The panel was originally formed by Gov. Dannel Malloy after Irene knocked out power to thousands of state residents and was expanded after October’s snowstorm that left even more Connecticut residents without electricity. It recommended setting performance standards for utilities companies following storms and pairing the standards with monetary penalties, should the companies fail to meet them. It also emphasized the need for stronger utilities infrastructure, and suggested a tax increase on utilities to finance such projects.

    The report included recommendations to monitor rising sea levels as a result of climate change as well as trim tree branches that present a danger to power lines. Malloy said his administration would have a response to the reports by the end of the week.

    Hurricane Irene reportedly killed at least two people and left more than 700,000 utilities customers without power. The October snowstorm, meanwhile, dumped up to two feet of snow and left over 850,000 residents without electricity or heat.

  6. DeStefano pushes voting rights for illegal immigrants

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    Mayor John DeStefano Jr. is pushing to give voting rights to illegal immigrants.

    While speaking to the New Haven Independent following a Tuesday press conference, DeStefano said he plans to push the state for a “resident voting rights” law that would allow all New Haven residents, regardless of immigration status, to vote in municipal elections. DeStefano said he would raise the issue during next year’s session of the state legislature, which would need to approve the proposal.

    “[The bill is about] how you define community, and how you define responsibility in community,” DeStefano told the Independent.

    Under DeStefano’s proposal, all New Haven residents would be allowed to vote in local elections if they can prove their residency and provide identification. Several communities have already implemented similar laws — non-citizens can vote in municipal elections in six Maryland communities and in school board elections in Chicago. In Cambridge, Mass., the city council passed a measure allowing noncitizens to vote to vote in municipal elections, but the Massachusetts state legislature has not given the requisite approval to the Cambridge plan. In order to see his proposal become reality, DeStefano will also need support at the state level — the New Haven Register reported that the proposal might require a constitutional amendment.

    At a Friday press conference in Hartford, Gov. Dannel Malloy he does not support the proposal.

    “I’m doing my best to honor a willingness to hear other ideas, but nothing I’ve read or heard thus far would convince me to support such a law,” he said. “But I don’t close the door completely.”

    Meanwhile, State Rep. Juan Candelaria, who represents New Haven, came out in support of the idea Tuesday. While he said he was uncertain about its legality, Candelaria said he believes the plan makes sense for New Haven residents.

    It is not the first time DeStefano has taken a controversial stance on immigration — in 2007, his administration began issuing the Elm City Resident Card, a form of identification designed to help illegal immigrants open bank accounts and use city resources. In September, he called the card his proudest accomplishment as mayor.

    “We did an important thing in recognizing that communities are defined by character and values, not just by birth certificates,” he said.

    Next year’s state legislative session, during which DeStefano plans to push his voting rights plan, will begin in February.

  7. Yale prof’s connections questioned in Hartford

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    Yale professor Dan Esty LAW ’86, now the state’s environmental and energy commissioner, is in hot water in Hartford over a financial tie with a major utility that his department regulates emerged, the Hartford Courant reported today.

    In 2009, Esty received a $7,500 speaker’s fee from United Illuminating, one utility company serving New Haven. In addition to money from United Illuminating, ING and UTC Power, a financial services corporation and fuel cell company respectively, paid Esty for speeches about three years ago.

    These business transactions were within five years prior to Esty’s appointment as commissioner of Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. However, none of the three companies are listed on Esty’s “recusal” list of 26 corporations and two organizations whose issues Esty said he will not touch as commissioner due to past relationships with them.

    “The commissioner did develop a recusal list based largely on consulting relationships within the past five years. He did not list businesses and organizations where he did paid appearances and speeches on his recusal list. There’s a real distinction between the kind of relationship you have over time and working closely with the management of a company [as a consultant], as opposed to the one-time ‘come in, give a talk, leave’ relationship [of speech-making]. It’s just very different,” DEEP spokesman Dennis Schain told the Courant.

    Esty received personal income from both major utility companies that serve Connecticut before being installed as head of DEEP, which regulates them, the Courant reported.

    Esty will no longer give paid speeches while he is commissioner. Though he holds a dual appointment at Yale Law School and the School of Forestry, Esty will not teach during his term with DEEP.

  8. McMahon makes a run for our money

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    Republican Linda McMahon is inching up in the polls in the race for the Connecticut U.S. Senate seat.

    Richard Blumenthal LAW ’73 is now only ahead of the former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO by 3 percentage points, 49 to 46, according to a Quinnipiac University Poll released Tuesday morning.

    Blumenthal, who recently got a boost in New Haven from his law school classmate former President Bill Clinton LAW ’73, led McMahon by a much wider margin — 6 percentage points — in a Sept. 14 poll.

    “Angry” voters are liking McMahon. According to the poll, 78 percent of the 33 percent polled saying they are “angry” with the federal government are would vote for McMahon. Only 20 percent would vote for Blumenthal.

    “Blumenthal has to be concerned about Linda McMahon’s momentum,” Quinnipiac University Poll Director Douglas Schwartz said in a statement. “He can hear her footsteps as she closes in on him.”

  9. Bass ’82 launches second Web-only publication

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    Valley Sentinel

    As newspapers across the country continue to go bankrupt, Yale lecturer Paul Bass ’82 just launched a new media outlet for south-central Connecticut. But don’t look for this paper in print: Like the New Haven Independent, which Bass started in 2005, it is only available online.

    The Online Journalism Project, which is led by Bass, launched its second online-only newspaper, the Valley Independent Sentinel, this week. The Sentinel, employing two full-time reporters and freelance contributors, will cover news from Ansonia, Derby, Oxford, Seymour and Shelton. It is being financed by a $500,000 grant from the Knight Foundation.