HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – A report shows Connecticut’s newly reached state budget agreement is already in the red. Consensus revenue estimates released Monday by Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s budget office and the General Assembly’s nonpartisan fiscal office project the current fiscal year will end $178.4 million in deficit, while the new fiscal year beginning July 1 will be $147.1 million in the deficit. State lawmakers last month passed a new, bipartisan two-year $41.3 billion budget, about four months after the fiscal year began. The Democratic and Republican leaders of the state Senate say the numbers are disappointing but not unexpected. In a joint release, Democratic Senate President Martin Looney and Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano say they’ll monitor the numbers closely and “remain committed to working together” to make any necessary changes.
WHITING HORROR STORIES
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – State officials are expressing surprise at the extent of alleged abuse that took place at Connecticut’s only maximum-security psychiatric hospital. Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services Commissioner Miriam Dephin-Rittmon told state lawmakers Monday that top officials “never had information that would suggest a pattern this significant.” Thirty-seven employees at Whiting Forensic Division of the Connecticut Valley Hospital in Middletown have been implicated in the alleged abuse of a patient. Seven have been fired and 10 have been arrested. Dephin-Rittmon says fear and intimidation helped to cover up the alleged abuse, which she says “has sickened me and haunted me” ever since she saw the video evidence. She says her agency is “working very hard to understand how this could happen,” noting it’s “not reflective of our whole system.”
N STONINGTON ZONING CHANGE
Zoning regulations along the western end of Route 2 in North Stonington have changed. The town’s planning and zoning commission has unanimously agreed to open some 369 acres to more recreation and hospitality-related development. The area stretches from the Ledyard border to about a half-mile west of Swantown Hill Road. Town officials have been pushing for the change for more than a decade. They envision a mixed use that could include condos, hotels, retail, and indoor and outdoor recreation attractions. It doesn’t allow things like amusement parks, or racetracks. Strip malls are being discouraged.
ALBANIAN STAYING HERE, FOR NOW
CHESHIRE, Conn. (AP) – A federal court has delayed the scheduled deportation of a 15-year resident of Connecticut to her native Albania. Denada Rondos was scheduled to be returned to Albania on Monday but U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal’s office said that she has been granted a temporary stay which will allow her to pursue her case to remain in the U.S. The 32-year-old Rondos came to the U.S. in 2002 using a fraudulent passport. She has since married a U.S. citizen and has three U.S.-born children. She and her husband run a restaurant in Cheshire. Rondos received a deportation order in 2007. She has been meeting with immigration officials regularly, but was told in September that she was being deported. Blumenthal says Rondos faces persecution in Albania and deporting her is “cruel and inhumane.”