THURSDAY EVENING UPDATE

HE WAS MAKING FUN OF ME!!
A state trooper charged with hitting a man in the face early Saturday morning in a Mystic bar says he did it because the alleged victim was making fun of him. The police arrest warrant affidavit says 52-year old Jeffery Meninno of Waterford attacked the man at the Chapter One Restaurant and Bar on West Main Street shortly before 1 AM. The victim had to be taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital with reportedly serious facial injuries. Meninno was forcibly removed from the bar, with police later arresting him at his house. The affidavit states he had a strong smell of alcohol on him. Meninno’s been temporarily suspended from the state police force, pending the outcome of a state police investigation. He’s due in court June 26th.

INCIDENT IN LEBANON
State police are reportedly investigating what they’re calling a suspicious incident in Lebanon. Authorities say a girl was approached by a teenage boy in the woods of the Pease Brook Management Area around 12:40 PM today. No further information available now. State police in Colchester are asking anyone who may have information about the situation to contact them.

ACCIDENT-STAGERS FOUND GUILTY
Two Norwich men have been found guilty of car insurance fraud. Connecticut’s U-S Attorney says 32-year old MacKenzy Noze and 33-year old Jonas Joseph staged some fifty car crashes between April 2011 and February 2014 to collect the insurance money. Payouts generally ranged from between 10-thousand and 30-thousand dollars per accident. Noze was found guilty of nine counts of wire and mail fraud, Joseph six, with each count carrying a maximum 20 years behind bars. Noze is to be sentenced September 1st, and Joseph September 5th. Noze has been ordered detained to his native Haiti until sentencing.

NPU CONSTRUCTION
Norwich Public Utilities officials are announcing some construction work in the city’s downtown. Piping and infrastructure for a new underground gas regulating station will take place at the intersection of Broadway and Chestnut Street during the evening and overnight hours. Construction will take place on Sunday evening, June 18th through Friday morning, June 23rd between the hours of 7 PM and 5:30 AM. No road closures are anticipated. The regulating station will be installed in August.

NO MORE DROUGHT!!
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – A coalition of state agencies says the drought advisory issued last summer in Connecticut can now be lifted. Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s office announced Thursday that the Connecticut Interagency Drought Workgroup has determined stream and ground water levels, as well as water levels at most of the state’s water company reservoirs, are normal or above normal across much of Connecticut. This development comes after much of Connecticut received above-normal precipitation in May. Last October, the workgroup issued it’s first-ever “drought watch” for most of Connecticut. Residents, businesses and local governments were urged to voluntarily reduce water usage by around 15 percent. The workgroup is still asking people to practice smart water conversation techniques. Those can include steps such as stopping indoor and outdoor plumbing leaks and replacing old toilets.

MAY JOB NUMBERS
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – A new report shows Connecticut’s unemployment rate remains unchanged since April, despite the state experiencing a net increase of 6,700 jobs. Andy Condon, director of the Office of Research at Connecticut’s Department of Labor, says job growth through May “is far ahead of last year’s pace.” He says unemployment data also indicate “workers are entering or rejoining the labor force and most are finding employment.” However, the labor department revised the number of job losses in April, expanding it from 1,500 to 3,100. Thursday’s report shows Connecticut’s jobless rate is 4.9 percent, four-tenths of a percent lower than it was a year ago. Peter Gioia, the Connecticut Business and Industry Association’s economist, says May’s job figures are good news, but Connecticut’s unemployment rate remains the highest in New England.

FIRE CHIEF ALLEGEDLY GETS INTO ARGUMENT
The head of the Voluntown and Mohegan Tribal Fire Departments has been accused of getting into a verbal disagreement with an American Ambulance employee. State police say 57-year old Jody Grenier got into the altercation while tending to an overdose on Campbells Mill Road in Voluntown around 3 AM on June 8th. He’s been charged with second-degree breach of peace. State Police aren’t providing any further information, saying it was-quote-a disturbance. No injuries reported. Grenier has not been placed on leave from the Mohegan Department. His current status with the Voluntown Fire Department is unclear right now.

MORE ROOM FOR RI CHICKENS
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) – The Rhode Island House of Representatives has passed a bill that would give caged chickens more freedom to spread their wings. The House voted 61-9 to pass legislation that would ban overly crowded conditions for egg-laying hens. The bill now moves to the state Senate, where similar legislation has been blocked in recent years. Deputy House Speaker Charlene Lima, a Cranston Democrat who supports the measure, took to the House floor on Thursday to say it’s a “shame” that the legislation keeps getting killed in the Senate. She also criticized chicken owners who only “care about the dollar” and cruelly squeeze birds into restrictive cages. Republican Rep. Mike Chippendale, who voted against it, says what’s killing the legislation is “common sense.”