MALLOY’S NEW BUDGET PLAN
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has added a sales tax increase to his budget plan that would raise an extra $220 million over two years. The Democratic governor on Friday proposed raising the tax to 6.5 percent from 6.35 percent in a budget plan he submitted to legislators. He also suggested increasing the restaurant sales tax to 7 percent. Lawmakers haven’t been able to agree on budgets for the current and following fiscal years. The state’s annual budget is about $20 billion and it faces an estimated $3.5 billion deficit over two years. The governor announced Thursday that he was restoring some state aid to municipalities that he slashed in a previous proposal. His budget would take effect if a budget deal isn’t reached by the end of the month.
NPU LINEMEN HEADING SOUTH
Four Norwich Public Utilities linemen are heading to Orlando, Florida to help restore power once Hurricane Irma leaves the area. John Benoit, Grahm Andruskiewicz, Jeff Burgess, and Tony Rizzi are expected to arrive at the command center of the Orlando Utility Commission Tuesday, along with a pickup truck and digger truck. The four workers will first meet-up with crews from nine other New England municipal electric utility companies Sunday in Danbury, before heading South. There is no specific date as to when they’ll return. Orlando Utility officials will fully compensate NPU for expenses.
BIG CIG BUST
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Connecticut revenue agents have made what they are calling the largest seizure of contraband cigarettes in state history. Department of Revenue Services spokesman Jim Carson tells The Courant that the 3,601 cartons of cigarettes with bogus tax stamps attached were headed for retail stores in Hartford and New Britain. He says with the current state cigarette tax at $3.90 a pack, the state would have lost $140,790 in revenue, not counting sales tax. A 49-year-old Hartford man is under arrest in connection with the seizure and more arrests are expected. The seized cigarettes were from Virginia, North Carolina, Indiana and Michigan, all states with lower cigarette taxes than Connecticut’s. Also seized were thousands of counterfeit Connecticut and New York state tax stamps.
LOOKING FOR LEAKERS
State police say they are investigating who apparently leaked to the Day newspaper, information about an incident involving a New London police officer. Deanna Nott appears to strike a handcuffed man in the face while he’s being arrested in June, 2016. Police video shows the handcuffed suspect, Adonis Smith, yelling obscenities at police, and physically resisting arrest, before Nott hit him while he was in a police cruiser. City Police documents say two of Nott’s supervisors determined her actions were out of line. Both New London police and the Chief State’s Attorney’s office are investigating the incident.
SERIAL KILLER PLEADS GUILTY
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – An East Coast drifter who authorities say drove a van he called the “murder mobile” has pleaded guilty to killing six people in Connecticut in 2003. William Devin Howell entered the pleas Friday in New Britain Superior Court. He is expected to be sentenced Nov. 17 to 360 years in prison. The 47-year-old native of Hampton, Virginia, had previously been convicted of manslaughter in a seventh victim’s death and sentenced to 15 years in prison. The bodies of the seven victims – six women and a man – were found buried behind a strip mall in New Britain. The guilty pleas Friday confirm Howell is the most prolific serial killer in Connecticut history.
SAY GOOD-BYE TO BENNY’S
SMITHFIELD, R.I. (AP) – “Your favorite store” is closing. Benny’s is announcing that the southern New England retailer is closing its 31 stores. An announcement Friday afternoon says the Bromberg family, which owns the chain, is retiring. The company says the decision to close was “strongly influenced by the changing face of retailing today and the dominance of online retailers like Amazon and others.”
Arnold Bromberg says the landscape “shifted in a way that makes it almost impossible” for small, family-owned chains like Benny’s to reasonably compete in the future. He says they want to close in an “orderly, structured way.” The company will begin winding down immediately and will close by the end of 2017. The 93-year-old chain has 715 employees that will lose their jobs in Rhode island, Massachusetts and Connecticut.
STUN GUN ARREST IN WATERFORD
Two Waterford men are being charged after police say they found a heavy-duty stun gun in their Hamast Avenue residence. 19-year old Douglas Greene and 36-year old Thomas Wyment are to appear Monday in New London Superior Court. The arrests occurred after a woman living nearby claimed a man chased her with a Taser while she walked her two dogs late last month. A relative of the two suspects claims the woman, Morganne McCarthy, had been yelling threats at the men, and has been taking pictures of houses and cars on Hamast Avenue, and looking into windows. McCarthy denies the allegations.
PACS FINANCING NORWICH DEMOCRATS
Norwich’s Democratic candidates for the School Board and City Council are getting support from local political action committees. “Achieve Excellence for Norwich Students” has raised some 18-hundred dollars for the Board of Ed hopefuls, with fundraisers being planned. The money will be used for campaign material, such as flyers, posters, signs, and brochures. A similar PAC, titled “A Clean Slate for Norwich” has been raising funds for the Democratic candidates on the City Council since June. Republican Town Committee officials say they have no plans to establish local PACS, although the party’s mayoral candidate, Peter Nystrom, does have his own fundraising committee.