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November 2017

Wednesday November 15, 2017  (Thanks to volunteers Liz Becker and Daniella Tompos)

On tonight’s news: Sandy Hook families in court with gun manufacturers; Connecticut Seniors, Disabled and Low-Income Residents Losing Health Care Coverage; Bridgeport City Police to get dash cameras; and, Southampton Conducts Seminar on opioid issue
CT News Junkie reports:
The marketing campaign behind the AR-15 style Bushmaster firearm started targeting the Sandy Hook Elementary School gunman through advertising when he was 14 years old, according to an attorney for some of his victims.

“Remington may never have known Adam Lanza, but they have been courting him for years,” Josh Koskoff, the attorney for the plaintiffs told the Connecticut Supreme Court on Tuesday during his opening remarks. He represents nine victims who were killed and a teacher who survived the Dec. 14, 2012, massacre.

Koskoff argued that his clients — victims of one of the deadliest school shootings in history — should be able to continue their discovery in the case to prove the manufacturers and sellers of the firearm were negligent. He said Lanza, the shooter, was dressed in tactical gear when he showed up at the school that day and fired 154 rounds in less than five minutes.

James Vogts, an attorney for the gun manufacturer Remington, said no advertisement is responsible for a wrongful death. Vogts said the tobacco industry wasn’t held responsible for its advertising. The Supreme Court will, according to legal experts, have to decide whether Remington can be held liable for “negligent entrustment” or whether they violated Connecticut’s Unfair Trade Practices Act. 
Roughly 68,000 seniors and disabled Connecticut residents will lose access to a Medicare financial assistance program January 1, when income eligibility requirements change under the newly enacted state budget.

As reported by CT News Junkie: Currently, through the Medicare Savings Program, the state Department of Social Services (DSS) pays Medicare Part B premiums for low-income elderly and disabled adults earning less than 246 percent of the federal poverty level. Those earning less than 234 percent of the poverty level can receive additional help covering co-pays, deductibles and prescriptions.

In the new year, only those earning less than 100 percent of the poverty level—or $12,060—will qualify to receive all benefits under the program, and those receiving subsidies for premiums alone must earn less than 135 percent of the poverty level to be considered for eligibility. 

Once the change occurs, the new income eligibility will be at the federal minimum, the same level used by 45 other states, according to DSS. Southampton Conducts Seminar on opioid issue
The Connecticut Post reports:
Just days after a video showed a female cop repeatedly bashing the head of a teen held down by other officers, the city’s police cars are finally getting dash cameras.
Allegations that police sometimes used excessive force — and that the cameras might be called for — have swirled around the department for years, with little effect. The city couldn’t afford the cost, was the official stance. But the dark and violent video has apparently changed all that.

Police Chief Armando Perez said Tuesday that during a meeting with the state’s legislative delegation about last Friday’s confrontation between Officer Christina Arroyo and 18-year-old Aaron Kearney, he was told the state has the money to purchase the dash cameras for the city. He said that body cameras for officers could be next, but there is still a lot of money needed to fund that.

Police Union President Charles Paris said he had initially been against body cameras but is now leaning in favor of them as a result of the incident involving Kearney. 
The East End Beacon Reports:
In an effort to stop the spread of the deadly opioid drug crisis, the Town of Southampton Opioid Addiction Task Force scheduled a public forum for 7 p.m. tonight at the Hampton Bays High School Auditorium. 

The Task force is developing an action plan for the Southampton Town Board and it is inviting members of the community to participate. 

Medical, mental health, education and law enforcement professionals participated in this Town Hall event to help search for solutions to the opioid crisis that impacts everyone. 

The Opioid Addiction Task Force hopes to come up with an action plan to present to the Southampton Town Board by June 1, 2018.

Tuesday November 14, 2017  (Thanks to WPKN volunteers Trace Alford, Phil Hall and Alyssa Katz) 

In the news tonight: New Connecticut budget already showing red ink; Thermal Loop Project Planned for Bridgeport; Suffolk Legislature looks at domestic waste-water systems; 
and New York utility workers head for Puerto Rico
The Connecticut Mirror reports:
Less than three weeks after Connecticut legislators approved a new state budget, eroding revenues and sales tax receipts have opened deficits topping $175 million this fiscal year and nearing $150 million in 2018 and 19.

The new budget faces major challenges on the spending side as well as the revenue component. It requires Governor Malloy to achieve unprecedented savings after the budget is in force—a level that the governor already has warned would be difficult to achieve.
The consensus report from Governor Dannel Malloy’s administration and the legislature’s nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis raises the risk the state might exhaust its emergency reserves.

Even before Monday’s report, one of the chief criticisms of the new budget was that it sets up the winners of the next state election to face a deficit much worse than the one lawmakers just tackled.
A plan to make Bridgeport the first American city to establish a municipal low-temperature thermal heating district is moving forward.

According to the Fairfield County Business Journal, the thermal loop will use a network of underground pipes to distribute energy produced by a fuel cell or a combined heat and power facility to supply space heating and domestic hot water to Bridgeport’s downtown buildings.

The project will be installed in two phases, starting with the $15 million installation of pipeline to supply thermal heat to 2 million square feet of building space, followed by piping to heat an additional 3 million square feet of space, which will cost approximately $14 million. The thermal loop was included in the state budget signed by Governor Malloy on October 31. 

Construction is expected to begin during the spring, with a completion by the end of next year.
Newsday reports:
A proposed Suffolk County law would require homeowners to replace failing cesspools with septic tanks starting in 2019. The requirement would affect an estimated 5,000 to 9,000 homes a year.

Replacing a cesspool costs between $4,000 and $8,000 depending on the house, and installing a septic tank would cost about $2,000 more, according to a supplier. Since 1973, the county has required both a septic tank and a leaching structure in new construction. But Suffolk has allowed homeowners to replace failing cesspools with new cesspools.There are an estimated 252,000 homes with only cesspools.

Kevin McAllister of the activist group Defend H2O has recommended the County require alternative systems for which the County has a nitrogen discharge standard of 19 milligram per liter.  But McAllister told WPKN News that the County has declined to do so.
County legislators tabled the bill Monday, saying they wanted to discuss concerns about costs. It will be heard again in the committee later this month.
The Albany Times-Union reports:
More than 160 New York State electric public and private utility experts and nearly 100 utility vehicles have arrived in Puerto Rico. And 220 people more will head to Puerto Rico later in the week, according to the Governor’s office. They will assist with the recovery of its power grid caused by severe damage from Hurricane Maria in September. 

The New York State utility workers will coordinate directly with the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, in cooperation with the United States Army Corps of Engineers, to help restore the damaged electric system.

The workers include personnel from the New York Power Authority, Con Edison, PSEG, and National Grid. NYPA technical experts previously went to Puerto Rico in September.
Monday, November 13, 2017  (Thanks to WPKN volunteers Lee Yuen Lew, and Neil Tolhurst)

In the news tonight:  cops under investigation after Friday beating of Bridgeport teenager; man with loaded AR-15 arrested in Bridgeport; Cuomo signs bill to allow medical marijuana for PTSD; and New York Comptroller warns of fiscal troubles ahead 
The Connecticut Post reports that Bridgeport police officers are under investigation for allegedly beating a city teen after a car accident Friday night.
Police Chief Armando Perez said he has placed several officers on administrative status and ordered the city’s Office of Internal Affairs to investigate the incident. 

Police said it began when 18-year old Aaron Kearney of Bridgeport reported a minor car accident he was involved in. In a video posted on the Internet, five police officers can be seen forcing Kearney face-first onto the hood of a car as Kearney’s mother is screaming: “Don’t hurt my son.”  Also a female officer appears to be hitting the side of Kearney’s face with her hand.  “Get back,” the female officer yells to the person taking the video. “Or you are next.”

Kearney was charged with breach of peace and assault on a police officer following the incident. His family says that he has never had any trouble with police before. and had attended summits on improving relations between the community and police.

The incident took place a day after police broke up a gathering marking the six-month anniversary of the police shooting of 15-year old Jayson Negron, and arrested one person. A state police investigation is ongoing in that incident with the officer involved on leave.
Bridgeport police arrested a man found with a loaded AR-15 rifle last Wednesday. As reported by the Connecticut Post, officers responded after receiving calls about a man behaving suspiciously. 

He was questioned about what was in a duffel bag he was carrying. The man said the bag contained clothes, gave the officers permission to look, and they found a loaded AR-15, with three magazines fully loaded. The man also carried a notebook with what police described as strange writings, including a reference to the president.

He was questioned by Connecticut State Police, the Anti-Terrorism Task Force, Bridgeport police detectives, and personnel from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It was determined that there was no threat to the President.

Police held the man, who they declined to identify, on unspecified charges and a $1 million bond. He was scheduled to appear in court on Monday. 
New Yorkers dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder will now be able to use medical marijuana as prescribed by a doctor under a new law approved by Governor Cuomo on Saturday.

As reported by the Albany Times-Union, the law adds PTSD to a list of ailments that can be treated with medical marijuana under the state’s tightly regulated program. That list already includes cancer, HIV or AIDS, epilepsy and chronic pain, among other conditions. 

The bill signing coincides with Veterans Day. According to the federal Department of Veterans Affairs, 7 percent to 8 percent of the U.S. population will experience PTSD at some point in their lives. 

And VA statistics show that among veterans, between 11 percent and 20 percent of those who served in operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom have PTSD in a given year. Also about 30 percent of Vietnam War veterans have had PTSD in their lifetime.
The Albany Times- Union reports:
New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli has warned of a “triple threat of budgetary risks” as state tax data show that collections are nearly $387 million below the latest projections. 

DiNapoli’s mid-fiscal year update report shows lower than expected personal income tax collections. If receipts continue to fall below projections, next year’s projected $4 billion budget shortfall may grow.

For the state to see a projected $711 million increase in sales and use tax collections by the end of the fiscal year, growth will have to increase 7.6 percent over the next six months, according to the report. 
Friday November 10, 2017 (Thanks to WPKN volunteers Trace Alford, Keith Galgot, John Iannuzzi, and Melinda Tuhus)

In the news tonight: Connecticut police chiefs push back on racial profiling report;
New Haven rally for Clean DREAM Act; Southampton gets climate smart designation; Bridgehampton National Bank to close Cutchogue branch
CT NewsJunkie reports:
The Connecticut Police Chiefs Association is pushing back against the third annual report to the Connecticut Racial Profiling Prohibition Advisory Board. The association says it has reservations about its validity. The report found significant disparities in the rate of Hispanic and Black motorists stopped during daylight relative to darkness. The data covers traffic stops during 2015 and 2016.

American Civil Liberties Union executive director David McGuire says the report “shows that some police in Connecticut are disproportionately stopping Black and Latino drivers and unjustly targeting neighborhoods where people of color live and drive.”

Project manager Ken Barone says 20 police departments identified over the past two years have worked with the group to reduce the disparities.
Hundreds of people gathered in New Haven Thursday afternoon for a rally supporting immigrants rights. WPKN’s Melinda Tuhus was there and filed this report:
The event was part of a national day of action calling for Congress to pass what supporters are calling a Clean DREAM Act to allow immigrants brought to the U.S. as children to stay in the country.

Carolina Bortoleto of Connecticut Students for a Dream explains: “A clean DREAM Act is a DREAM Act that provides permanent protection for undocumented youth, but does not criminalize or terrorize our communities. So we don’t want more enforcement, we don’t want more ICE agents, we don’t want a wall. I don’t want to trade my safety for the safety of my parents.”

Bortoleto added that in Connecticut November 9 also marked three months since Marco Reyes Alvarez has been in sanctuary in the First & Summerfield Church, where the rally began, and one month since Sujitno Sajuti has been in sanctuary in the Unitarian Universalist Church in Meriden.

Melinda Tuhus, WPKN News
Newsday reports:
Southampton Town is the second on Long Island to be certified by the state as a climate smart community. East Hampton Town is the only other Long Island municipality with the designation.

Department of Environmental Conservation commissioner Basil Seggos said state and local officials must step in to stem climate change and sea level rise, especially after President Trump announced that he will withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord. Seggos said: “…it’s imperative we do everything we can on Long Island to protect our population, to protect our natural resources.”

The climate smart certification makes the town eligible for state grants funding sustainability efforts.
Suffolk Times reports:
Bridgehampton National Bank’s Cutchogue branch will be one of seven branches to close across Long Island in February. In a letter to its customers, BNB encouraged customers to use the Mattituck branch about four miles away.

Chief retail banking officer James Manseau said: “…overall, all branch transactions are down because people are using mobile banking, online banking, bill pay and ATMs.” He added that most Cutchogue branch employees should be able to find positions at other BNB locations.

BNB has over 40 branches on Long Island and New York City.
Thursday November 9, 2017 (Thanks to WPKN volunteers Ramzi Babouder-Matta and Mike Merli)

In the news tonight: Care 4 Kids re-opens in Connecticut; The Connecticut Television Network will air re-runs until a labor solution is reached; New York State Education Commissioner calls for greater efforts around Pre-K; and, Federal prosecutors want to use campaign contributions to Governor Cuomo as evidence in a corruption trial.
Connecticut News Junkie reports:
A program that subsidizes the cost of daycare for working families is re-opening and accepting new applications for the first time since August 2016. Care4Kids, a joint state and federal program, was closed to new applicants in 2016 because the federal government instituted new costly mandates.

State officials felt it was best to restrict the number of children in the program, rather than changing eligibility criteria, which meant closing the program to new applicants.
However, thanks to $31 million in funding over the next two years as part of the recently approved state budget, the program will begin accepting new applicants.

There are currently 5,769 families on the wait list in Connecticut.
Connecticut News Junkie reports:
It’s been almost a week of previously taped shows and there is still no definitive plan for the Connecticut Television Network, or CT-N.

Last Friday at 5pm, the Connecticut Public Affairs Network (or CPAN) ended its relationship with the Office of Legislative Management (or OLM) based on what the non-profit believed to be untenable budget cuts. Since then, OLM has asked the staff of CPAN – the non-profit operator of CT-N for the last 18 years – to consider applying for what could be temporary jobs with no benefits.

Yesterday, James Tracy, executive director of OLM, said they have not hired any of the 22 employees who were laid off to work for the network. Until a solution is reached, the network will continue running on a loop of previously recorded programs.
Newsday reports:
New York State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said Tuesday that Long Island lags far behind in providing quality state-funded pre-kindergarten education, and greater efforts must be made to expand those services to the youngest learners.

Elia, speaking to early childhood educators, administrators and advocates, noted that only 7 percent of Long Island 4 year-olds have access to state-funded, full-day pre-K, compared with 100 percent of such students in New York City. She urged the audience to become advocates and publicize the importance of pre-kindergarten, saying that early literacy leads to greater academic success.

Tuesday’s event was hosted by the Long Island Pre-K Initiative, a grant-funded project that seeks to share information about research, policy, and best practices for early learning.
The Albany Times Union reports:
Federal prosecutors are seeking to use campaign contributions to Gov. Andrew Cuomo as evidence in the upcoming corruption trial of a former top Cuomo aide and three others.

Joe Percoco, the former Cuomo Aide, is charged with taking bribes from two companies in exchange for government favors. The other defendants include former and current representatives of the two companies, which are Syracuse firm COR Development and Competitive Power Ventures based in Maryland.

Acting Manhattan U.S. District Attorney Joon Kim wrote in a recent filing in U.S. District Court that campaign contributions were a critical part of the relationship between the alleged co-conspirators. The prosecution said it intends to show that the COR executives made contributions to Cuomo to "strengthen connections with the office of the governor and its senior officials, which they believed would, in turn, lead to benefits and opportunities."

Cuomo's office has repeatedly said that campaign contributions never influence administration policies.
Wednesday November 8, 2017 (Thanks to WPKN volunteers Liz Becker, Keith Golgot, Alyssa Katz, and Danniella Tompos)

In the news tonight: Democrats claim victory in Connecticut municipal elections; talks continue re Connecticut health insurance; Enfield prison to close as inmate population falls; Constitutional Convention rejected by New York voters; and, Suffolk voters select DA, Sheriff and Town officials
As reported by CT Mirror:
With no competitive mayoral races in Connecticut’s largest cities, the focus in municipal elections Tuesday turned to the suburbs, where jubilant Democrats made gains on Republican turf across the state in races for local councils and chief elected officers.

In Bridgeport, the city that elected ex-convict, Joe Ganim, as mayor two years ago, elected former state Senator Ernest Newton, also an ex-convict, and a Democrat, to the city council. But voters in Waterbury shut down a comeback attempt by their former mayor, Joe Santopietro, who was driven from office by a federal corruption conviction 25 years ago.Republican Representative Laura Hoydick, was elected mayor of Stratford.

Democrats said discontent with Trump drew first-time volunteers to phone banks and canvassing campaigns, a base they hope to build upon in 2018 in the open race for governor and control of a closely divided General Assembly.
The Hartford Courant Reports:
Some of the state's largest employers have weighed in on the Hartford HealthCare and Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield contract impasse.

The employers, including the Mohegan Sun and the town of West Hartford, are calling for resolution of a disagreement over reimbursements for medical treatments that threaten coverage for tens of thousands of patients. A letter was sent to the presidents of HHC and Anthem expressing their concerns.

In the absence of an agreement, Hartford HealthCare has been removed from Anthem’s network of health providers, leaving tens of thousands of Connecticut patients with the prospect of higher out-of-pocket and out-of-network costs for treatment. Patients with “true emergency conditions” can receive treatment at any of Hartford HealthCare facilities and pay the in-network rate.

Without this provider and no word of reimbursement, people are starting to consider other healthcare options.
The Connecticut Mirror reports:
Connecticut is closing the Enfield Correctional Institution, a prison that opened in 1962 as the Osborn Prison Farm.Closure of the 700-bed, medium security prison comes as the state prison population is continuing to contract.

Governor Malloy has said that the falling crime rate for the young is an indicator that the prison system will continue to shrink, allowing both budget savings and an expansion in programs geared to preparing inmates for release and reducing recidivism.

The closing is expected to save $6.5 million annually.
The Albany TimesUnion reports:
On Tuesday, New York voters overwhelmingly rejected a Constitutional Convention.

They also approved a constitutional amendment that creates a forest preserve land bank that towns in the Adirondacks and Catskills can tap into for certain development projects.
The amendment passed by a slim margin. It creates a 250-acre forest preserve land bank that towns could use if they have “no viable alternative to using preserve land.” This allows installing new lines for broadband, water, or sewers when it is necessary to cross forest preserve lands along a roadway.

Voters also approved an amendment that allows judges to reduce or revoke the pensions of public officials convicted of a felony related to their duties.
Voters in Suffolk County chose a new District Attorney and a Sheriff Tuesday,
according to Newsday.

Democrat Timothy Sini defeated Republican Ray Perini to replace long time D.A. Tom Spota who is under indictment for corruption. In the race for Sheriff, Errol Toulon, a Democrat, may have defeated Republican Lawrence Zacarese.  The race will be determined when absentee votes are counted.

Democrat  Laura Jens-Smith won the Supervisor post in Riverhead, defeating Republican Sean Walter.

In Southampton Democrats gained control of the Town Board and Supervisor
Jay Schneiderman was re-elected.

The two Republican incumbent Southold Town Board members won re-election as the GOP swept the three open trustees positions and other town posts.
Tuesday November 7, 2017 (Thanks to WPKN volunteers Trace Alford, Phil Hall
 and Lee Yuen Lew)

In the news tonight: Bridgeport Amphitheater Approved; Connecticut TV Network Shut Down; School District opposes Brentwood development; What’s in a name for the Stony Brook Medical School; and, get out and vote!
As reported by the Connecticut Post:
Bridgeport’s city council has authorized local developer Howard Saffan to transform the just-vacated ballpark into a warm weather concert amphitheater. Mr. Saffan and concert promoter Live Nation have pledged to bring a minimum of 20 major musical acts to town annually beginning in spring of 2019.

The city and Saffan will split the estimated $15 million renovation cost, including preliminary design and engineering work. A last-minute change to the deal with Saffan includes clarification that Bridgeport would not be on the hook financially should the developer be unable to move forward.

The Sound Tigers hockey team, under contract with the city to run the arena next door, have threatened legal action over the amphitheater.The team argues the amphitheater will pose competition. City Hall chose Saffan and Live Nation, rather than enter into a new contract with the Bridgeport Bluefish baseball team.
The Connecticut Television Network, also known as CT-N, ceased all original broadcasting last Friday after 18 years of broadcasting. The Fairfield County Business Journal reports the network was financed by the State of Connecticut, but was unable to continue operations after its funding was cut from $3.2 million to $1.6 million in the budget signed by Governor Malloy last week.

CT-N carried live coverage of the state legislature, along with municipal meetings and original public affairs programming. The network is now showing reruns of broadcasts from earlier in the year.

Paul Giguere, president of the nonprofit organization that ran CT-N, called the loss of funding “simply unworkable”. He also accused state legislators of trying to take editorial control of the network’s contents and focus.

CT-N employed 33 people.
Newsday reports:
The Brentwood school district filed a lawsuit in state Supreme Court in Riverhead against the Islip Town Board and developers of Heartland Town Square.

Brentwood school officials and a civic group say the Heartland Town Square development would overcrowd schools, increase traffic, and alter the area’s suburban setting,
The suit also contends that proper legal procedure was not followed in approving the project.

The Islip Town Board approved the massive mixed-used Heartland development’s first phase in July.

Heartland developer Jerry Wolkoff said the development will provide a community for millennials and empty-nesters and is “not for schoolchildren”.  Michael Capuano, president of Citizens for a Better Islip, said the billion-dollar Heartland development would be a major economic boost.
According to Newsday’s newsletter, The Point:
At its October meeting, Stony Brook University’s oversight board approved a resolution to rename the Stony Brook School of Medicine.The new name would be the Renaissance School of Medicine, after the East Setauket hedge fund. The reason? More than $500 million in donations to Stony Brook from Renaissance employees since 1982.

Renaissance founder James Simons is a major Stony Brook backer. But Renaissance’s top executive, Robert Mercer, is a major backer of President Donald Trump. Mercer announced last week he would step down from his positions at Renaissance.

The U.S. Senate concluded in 2014 that Renaissance had failed to pay more than $6 billion in taxes,
Members of the North Country Peace Group have been protesting Mercer, a Long Island neighbor.They don’t think the company should get its name on a state institution. They plan to lobby the trustees, a new front in their Mercer fight.
Today is election day in Connecticut where pols close at 8PM and in New York where they close at 9PM.

Voters in New Haven and other Connecticut towns can choose their Mayor. In Suffolk County there are contests for District Attorney, Sheriff and numerous town officials.

There are three questions on the ballot, including whether to hold a state constitutional convention.  Look on the reverse side of the ballot for these.
Monday November 6, 2017 (Thanks to WPKN volunteers Phil Hall, Lee Yuen Lew, and Neil Tolhurst)

In the news tonight:  500 kids fleeing Hurricane Maria now in Connecticut schools; New Haven Police don body cameras; GE refused three inducements to stay in Connecticut; and, New Yorkers vote Tuesday on Constitutional Convention 
The Connecticut Mirror reports:
At least 500 children who fled hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico are now attending public schools throughout Connecticut. Most of them – 85 percent – showed up in the state’s lowest-achieving districts, which already have high concentrations of needy students. These include Hartford, Waterbury, New Haven and Bridgeport.

Hartford provides 88 new students with immediate enrollment, school supplies, winter coats, food and other necessary services.

There is no dedicated pool of money for the increased students, but districts can include students who enrolled by the end of October in their enrollment counts that are typically used to determine future state-funding levels.

The state education department will guide schools on their obligations to provide special services these students may need.  This will include how to ensure students get services even if their legal guardian did not move with them. 
Thirty New Haven police officers have begun training for use of new body-worn cameras.  Police officials call this a step toward transparency, accountability and trust. Mayor Toni Harp, who advocated for body cameras while in the legislature, said she believes that transparency alone will benefit the department and the public.

The police department received a $780,000 grant to purchase 800 body cameras, enough for each officer to be issued a camera for use during a regular shift, and a backup camera at the station. Officials promised that the body cameras will change the way the department functions. 

The department will proactively release footage from some major incidents and will also occasionally highlight the everyday good that cops do on the beat to give the public a better idea of what the day-to-day life of a police officer is really like.
Connecticut officials secretly offered General Electric three proposals to keep the company from moving its headquarters to Boston in 2016, according to state documents that were recently made public.

The Fairfield County Business Journal reports that the state proposed buying the company’s 66-acre campus in Fairfield, with the caveat that GE relocate to a city in Connecticut. 

Another proposal involved GE relocating part of its staff to another Connecticut city while the state paid for headquarters upgrade. A third had the state paying for renovations at the GE headquarters campus. 

GE moved its headquarters to Boston last year and Sacred Heart University purchased the property for $31.5 million.
On Tuesday November 7, in addition to voting for county-wide and town offices, Suffolk voters will have the chance to decide if a New York constitutional convention should happen.

According to the Suffolk Times: 
New York State’s constitution requires that every 20 years the people decide if a constitutional convention should be held to consider amendments.

Some groups, many of them labor unions, oppose the convention, concerned that a convention would put workers’ benefits, wages and rights at risk while also raising taxes.
Groups favoring a convention, hope a convention will eradicate corruption and government dysfunction. 

Should a majority of citizens vote YES, three delegates from each of the state’s 63 state senatorial districts would be chosen in the 2018 election. Fifteen more at-large delegates would be selected statewide. Those delegates would meet in Albany in April 2019 to adopt amendments that would be submitted to voters on the ballot the following November.

The constitutional convention proposal and two proposed amendments to the state constitution are on the reverse side of the ballot.
Friday November 3, 2017 (Thanks to WPKN volunteers Trace Alford, Keith Galgot, and Melinda Tuhus)

In the news tonight: Connecticut budget cuts Medicaid help; homeless in New Haven march for better housing; Connecticut Chief Justice to retire; DEA opioid enforcement team to form on Long Island; Shelter Islanders favor hunting for deer, tick control
The CT Mirror reports: 
Connecticut’s two-year, bipartisan budget signed by Governor Malloy this week will cut Medicaid help for at least 68,000 seniors and disabled individuals. The cuts, decried by doctors and health care advocates, will take effect January 1.

To save about $70 million, the budget will roll back eligibility for the Medicare Savings Program, which helps low-income and disabled Medicare recipients and provides some benefits of the Medicaid program.

Advocates for the cuts say Connecticut’s income levels to qualify for the program should be higher because of Connecticut’s high cost of living.
Dozens of homeless people and their supporters marched through downtown New Haven on Wednesday afternoon, demanding Housing Not Jail. 

WPKN’s Melinda Tuhus was there:
Organized by the homeless themselves with support from the Connecticut Bail Fund, marchers started outside a church that serves breakfast to the homeless, then stopped at City Hall and the Elm Street courthouse to press their demands for portable toilets on the Green, an end to ticketing for being homeless, and to risky shelter that leads to injury and death.

Quentin Staggers said one of the city’s shelters crams 75 men into one bedbug-infested room.”So I say knock that building down and build a new shelter (yay!). Chant: Housing Not Jails!”

He said his efforts to create alternatives – such as getting agreement from more than 40 landlords with blighted properties to allow homeless people stay in them as long as they took care of them – were stymied by Mayor Toni Harp. Harp's spokesman said the city spends more on homeless services than any other city in the state.

Melinda Tuhus, WPKN News.   
The Connecticut Post reports: 
Connecticut Supreme Court Chief Justice Chase Rogers announced her retirement Thursday after 10 years of leading the high court. She will retire February 5, 2018 “before I overstay my welcome.”

Rogers wrote, “When I began my tenure in 2007, I told my family and close friends that I thought ten years in a position of leadership was just about right.”

She began her term as Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court April 25, 2007.
Riverhead Local reports: 
The federal Drug Enforcement Agency last week announced the establishment of six new enforcement teams focused on combatting heroin and illicit fentanyl, with one based on Long Island. The announcement came a day after President Trump declared opioid use a national public health emergency. 

Suffolk County has led the state in the number of opioid deaths among all counties outside New York City. 

DEA acting administrator Robert Patterson said the enforcement teams’ top priority will be “pursuing the criminal organizations that distribute their poison to our neighborhoods.”
East End Beacon reports: 
Shelter Islanders who responded to a town survey overwhelmingly supported hunting, including using professional hunters, as a means to control deer and tick populations.

Survey results released October 31 show that 72 percent of respondents support hunting. But only 57 percent said they would allow it on their property, with many saying their lots were too small or too close together to allow it. 

Seventy-seven percent support increased funding for deer and tick management.

Town Supervisor Jim Dougherty said the town wants to double funding to incentivize hunting, from $10,000 to $20,000, in the 2018 budget.
Thursday November 2, 2017 (Thanks to WPKN volunteers Ramzi Babouder-Matta, Phil Hall, and Mike Merli)

In the news tonight: Connecticut’s health insurance exchange is open for business; workforce development program to prepare Bridgeport residents for construction careers; Women’s Suffrage exhibit goes on display Saturday at New York State museum; and, Suffolk County judge drops drug charge for Mastic Beach man
Connecticut News Junkie reports:
It is the fifth and possibly the most challenging year for open enrollment on Connecticut’s insurance exchange – Access Health Connecticut.

President Donald Trump’s administration announced in September that it was cutting its advertising budget by 90 percent and then in October the President canceled a crucial subsidy that helped insurance carriers recover some of their costs for helping low-income individuals and families better afford coverage.

Anthem Health and ConnectiCare Benefits are the two insurance carriers offering plans on the exchange. Unlike last year, there are more than 200 insurance brokers who will be able to help consumers choose the right plan. For those who don’t want the help of a broker, there’s also a new consumer decision tool offered online by Access Health Connecticut.

As of yesterday, customers may now enroll online, by telephone, or by visiting one of 10 enrollment centers around the state.
Fairfield County Business Journal reports:
PSEG Power Connecticut has launched a workforce development program designed to prepare Bridgeport residents for construction industry careers.

According to the Fairfield County Business Journal, the new PSEG Ready2Work Apprenticeship Readiness Training will focus on preparing its students for registered labor apprenticeship programs, with the goal of leveraging this training into construction industry employment.

Karl Wintermeyer, the plant manager at the PSEG Bridgeport Harbor Station, said that the program did not guarantee employment in the construction industry, but added the company was working with the building trades and the Connecticut Department of Labor to give graduates a competitive advantage in qualifying for union apprenticeships.

Classes will begin in January and will be Bridgeport’s workforce development agency with comprehensive training supplied by Building Pathways–Connecticut.
The Albany Times Union reports:
An exhibit celebrating the 100-year anniversary of women’s suffrage in New York opens Saturday to the public at the State Museum in Albany. Named “Votes for Women: Celebrating New York’s Suffrage Centennial,” the exhibit will remain on display at the museum through May 13th, 2018.

The exhibit tells the story of women’s hard-fought battle for the ballot with more than 250 artifacts and images in the state that is credited as the birthplace of the women’s suffrage movement.

Visitors to the exhibit over the next six months will learn how Johnstown's Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Rochester's Susan B. Anthony and Cicero's Matilda Joslyn Gage helped lead the fight for suffrage at both the state and national level.
Newsday reports: 
A Suffolk judge dismissed a fentanyl distribution charge against a Mastic Beach man Wednesday afternoon, after a prosecutor told him that Suffolk police knew days before the man’s arrest that the substance he had was quote: not any kind of illegal drug.

Suffolk Police Commissioner Timothy Sini, who is running for district attorney, held a news conference Saturday to announce the arrest of 24 year old Corey Robinson, for first-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.

Sini said Robinson received “over 1.1 million doses of fentanyl” in the mail from Hong Kong. But by the time Robinson and two others were arrested Saturday, the police had lab results for almost three days showing the drugs were not fentanyl. However, the drugs have been sent to a Pennsylvania lab to determine if they are ‘analogs’ of fentanyl.  

Analogs of a drug have a slightly different chemical structure, but have similar effects.
If the substance contains a fentanyl analog, Robinson will be charged with fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a felony, a far lower charge.
Wednesday November 1, 2017 (Thanks to WPKN volunteers Keith Golgot and Alyssa Katz)

In the news tonight: Malloy signs budget but makes changes to hospital funding; Governor signs Millstone bill; tribes lawyers tell interior it must accept casino deal; and, New York health care enrollment begins
Governor Malloy signed the two-year bipartisan budget Tuesday. However, Malloy didn’t agree to accept the entire budget package. The governor line-item vetoed spending in support of a new hospital tax proposal. He cited its unsound legal basis in federal law, and urged lawmakers to pass workable language that his administration provided.

Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano said he understands the concerns Malloy raised about the hospital tax structure and is uncertain how the legislature will proceed.

Governor Malloy also pointed out that the budget could be built on some faulty assumptions. He said it also fails to fund an agreement between the state and District 1199 SEIU to cover raises for home health workers. 

The agreement will be submitted to the legislature for approval in January 2018 and if approved the budget will fall short of the money necessary to pay the contract.
The Connecticut Post reports:
A bill that, according to environmentalist, would allow the Millstone nuclear power plant the ability to compete with higher cost renewable power sources, was signed into law Tuesday by Governor  Malloy.

The legislation requires the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) and the Public Utility Regulatory Authority (PURA) to survey the nuclear plant and determine whether to allow it to join in the solicitation process for power-producing contracts.  

Opponents of the bill charged that allowing Millstone to compete with renewables, could cost consumers an extra $300 million a year in a state with some of the nation’s highest charges for electricity. An analysis that predicts the nuclear station will remain “highly profitable” through 2035 was released Tuesday by DEEP and PURA.

Millstone presently supplies about half of Connecticut’s electric power.
Lawyers for the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribal nations pressed the federal government Tuesday with a letter insisting the Interior secretary has no choice but to approve their gaming agreements with Connecticut. This would clear the way for them to jointly develop a commercial casino in East Windsor. 

The letter comes days after a meeting at the Bureau of Indian Affairs within the Department of the Interior, where the tribes and the state’s congressional delegation failed to move the department to act on approving amendments to the tribes’ gaming compacts. The refusal to give a clear answer was a victory for MGM Resorts International, which has fought for two years to block the East Windsor casino and protect the market for an MGM casino scheduled to open next year in nearby Springfield.

If MGM cannot stop the casino, it would like to delay its construction until after MGM Springfield opens. MGM also has begun a lobbying campaign for legislative approval to open its own casino resort in Bridgeport.
Newsday reports:
New York residents can now start signing up for another year of insurance coverage through the state’s official health plan marketplace. The enrollment period for the NY State of Health marketplace will run until Jan. 31.Premium rate increases were approved in August, with a weighted average increase for individual premiums of 14.5 percent.  

The plan includes low-cost options for those who qualify. Those with incomes between $30,000 and $40,000 will pay about $50 less a month for coverage on the silver plan. The bronze plan will be free for people whose income is $25,000, but will have higher deductibles and copays. 

For the next three months, 5,500 people certified by the state will begin signing people up at hospitals, social service agencies, libraries, churches and community centers. Or they can enroll at
Constitution Convention-explanation
Every 20 years, New York voters are faced with the constitutionally mandated question: Shall there be a convention to revise the constitution and amend the same?  To answer the question, November 7, 2017 voters in New York State will vote on whether or not to constitute a state constitutional convention (ConCon).  

On October 10, 2017 a constitutional convention debate took place at the Riverhead library in Riverhead, NY.  The event was sponsored by Indivisible North Fork, moderated by the League of Women Voters, recorded by WPKN radio and produced by WPKN News.  The 90-minute recording has been divided into five segments to facilitate listening.