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Rowayton residents allege 6TD ‘tactics’ led to vote against BLM sign

The Old School Fence in November, with flags replacing signs including one that said Black Live Matter. (Posted on Twitter by Sixth Taxing District Commissioner Mike Barbis.)

A Black Lives Matter sign formerly posted on the Rowayton fence, as depicted by protesters. (Courtesy photo)

NORWALK, Conn. — Rowayton has resoundingly rejected the proposed return of a Black Live Matter sign to their community fence. Some question the integrity of that vote, accusing Sixth Taxing District Commissioners of souring Thursday’s election by putting a proposal on the ballot that turned people off.

“Once I learned of the ballot language, I understood there was no good outcome, regardless of the results,” said Jillian Shutsharawan, a Rowayton resident who was close to the situation. Continue reading Rowayton residents allege 6TD ‘tactics’ led to vote against BLM sign

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White supremacists who stormed US Capitol are only the most visible product of racism

Known white supremacists have been identified among the Trump supporters at the Capitol on Jan. 6. (Probal Rashid/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Among the Trump supporters who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 were members of right-wing groups, including the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers and Three Percenters.

The increasing violence and visibility of these groups have turned them into symbols of white supremacy and racism. They were involved in the deadly Unite the Right march in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017 and street clashes with racial justice protesters in Portland, Oregon, last year. At a Trump rally in Washington, D.C., in December, Black Lives Matter banners were torn from two historically Black churches and destroyed. The Proud Boys’ leader has been criminally charged in those acts. Continue reading White supremacists who stormed US Capitol are only the most visible product of racism

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Norwalk Council offers first public feedback on BoE budget request

Norwalk Public Schools Chief Financial Officer Thomas Hamilton explains 2021-22 budget issues during Thursday’s joint meeting of the Common Council and Board of Education Finance Committees, shown on a television.

NORWALK, Conn. — Norwalk Public Schools representatives began the annual attempt to persuade Common Council members to meet their funding request Thursday, making the case for $11.7 million more in the upcoming school year than was funded this fiscal year.

Two of five Council members present for the annual joint meeting of the Council and Board of Education Finance Committee indicated it might be a tough sell.

“We have a concern about where this mill rate ends up having to go based on current projections, and then based on what we all have to think about, the what-for and the wherefores of what may happen too,” Council member David Heuvelman (D-District A) said. “It’s a concern, because we also have a community that’s that has taken a hit financially and is suffering in some way, parts of our community. And if we have to raise taxes in order to do this, to a point that is unsustainable, that’s a problem.” Continue reading Norwalk Council offers first public feedback on BoE budget request

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Norwalk political notes: A ‘day on,’ condemnation and a proclamation

From left, Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling, U.S. Rep. Jim Himes (D-Greenwich, former State Rep. Bruce Morris (D-140) and the Rev. Carl McCluster during the 2019 Martin Luther King Day ceremony at City Hall. (File photo)

NORWALK, Conn. — Some Norwalk political notes for you:

  • Rilling on MLK Day: Perform an act of kindness
  • A Council statement regarding the riot
  • Religious Freedom Day

Continue reading Norwalk political notes: A ‘day on,’ condemnation and a proclamation

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COVID-19 update: Nine recent deaths, 7,600 total positives

A chart from Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling’s Saturday COVID-19 update.

NORWALK, Conn. — The Norwalk COVID-19 death toll has risen to 191.

Mayor Harry Rilling’s Saturday coronavirus update said four more residents have died due to COVID-19. Rilling reported seven deaths on Jan. 7 and one on Jan. 11. The total positive reported cases is said to be 7,600. Continue reading COVID-19 update: Nine recent deaths, 7,600 total positives

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What you need to know about the new COVID-19 variants

B117, the SARS CoV-2 variant that was first detected in the U.K., has been found to be 30%-80% more transmissible. (Juan Gaertner/Science Photo Library via Getty Images)

Editor’s note: Two new strains of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 called B.1.1.7 and B.1.351 have been found in the U.K. and South Africa and are thought to be more transmissible. In this interview, David Kennedy, a biologist who studies the evolution of infectious diseases at Penn State, explains how these new strains are different, what “more transmissible” means, what that means for the public and whether the vaccines will be effective against them.

David Kennedy explains the two new COVID-19 strains B117 and B1351, which were detected in December.

Continue reading What you need to know about the new COVID-19 variants

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Spiking tax revenue will wipe out state budget deficit, analysts say

The Connecticut state Capitol in Hartford. (CTMirror.org)

Lamont, lawmakers have enough revenue to balance next state budget without tax hikes

HARTFORD, Conn. — Gov. Ned Lamont’s prospects for balancing the next state budget without tax hikes took a big leap forward Friday as revenue projections for the coming two years skyrocketed by almost $1.7 billion.

According to a joint forecast by Lamont’s budget staff and nonpartisan legislative analysts, spiking income tax revenues — particularly those tied to capital gains and other investment earnings — were the driving force behind the improvement. Continue reading Spiking tax revenue will wipe out state budget deficit, analysts say

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Winfield: Judiciary Committee to take on pot but leave police accountability law intact

Sen. Gary Winfield, co-chairs the Judiciary Committee. (CTNewsJunkie file photo)

HARTFORD, Conn. — The Senate chair of the Judiciary Committee says its agenda will most likely include legalizing cannabis but skip major changes to the police accountability law during the newly minted legislative session.

The curtailed 2020 session left several criminal justice initiatives on the table and appetite to address them now, said State Sen. Gary Winfield (D-New Haven).

“There’s a lot of desire to do a lot since we lost a session,” Winfield said.

Read the full story on CTNewsJunkie.

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Lamont appoints reformers, disability advocates to reconstituted Police Officer Standards and Training Council

Troopers lined up in formation as they walked onto the field. (Yehyun Kim, CTMirror.org)

Gov. Ned Lamont appointed 11 members to the Police Officer Standards and Training Council on Thursday, reconstituting a board that oversees the training and decertification of cops across Connecticut.

The appointments are a requirement of the police accountability bill passed over the summer in a special session. The new law gives POST the authority to decertify a police officer — revoking a necessary credential for employment — if they use excessive physical force or if they do something that “undermines public confidence in law enforcement.” Continue reading Lamont appoints reformers, disability advocates to reconstituted Police Officer Standards and Training Council

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Norwalk hit by successful assessment appeals, Finance Department unfazed

Waypointe, as seen Jan. 6 from the neighboring Pinnacle site.

Updated, 5 a.m. Saturday: Comment from Norwalk Communications Manager Josh Morgan, additional information, edits. 5 p.m. Saturday: copy edit.

NORWALK, Conn. — Waypointe is getting a $1.2 million refund from the City of Norwalk after challenging the property’s assessment in court.

Common Council members technically approved the refund at their Thursday evening meeting, and a $25,719 refund to AGW Sono Partners LLC, also stemming from a successful property assessment appeal.

They were told a similar ruling regarding Manresa Island was “coming up,” but that’s already out – a judge authorized a $13 million reduction in that property’s assessment Monday. Continue reading Norwalk hit by successful assessment appeals, Finance Department unfazed

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CT formally expands next group of COVID vaccines to those age 65 and up

Esther Schwartz, 92, of Cheshire, grimaces as she receives her first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine from Hartford HealthCare pharmacist Momeezah Syed on the second day of the state’s Phase 1B vaccination rollout at the Connecticut Convention Center. “Its easy to get the shot, but I’m worried about what happens after” Schwartz said, referring to possible side effects. (Cloe Poisson, CTMirror.org)

Lamont urges patience as the state receives only 46,000 doses per week

Gov. Ned Lamont said Thursday that he has accepted recommendations from Connecticut’s vaccine advisory group to expand Phase 1B of the rollout to include about 715,000 more people – those ages 65 to 74 and those 16 to 64 with co-morbidities such as cancer or chronic kidney disease.

That’s in addition to another 652,000 people already approved for Phase 1B who live and work in congregate settings such as prisons and homeless shelters, “essential workers” like grocery store employees and teachers, and those 75 and older. Continue reading CT formally expands next group of COVID vaccines to those age 65 and up

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Lamont will spare town aid while closing big deficit in next state budget

Gov. Ned Lamont addresses the Connecticut Conference of Small Towns’ annual meeting in Southington. In background is Bethel First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker, president of COST. (CTMirror.org)

Gov. Ned Lamont has to close a whopping $4.3 billion deficit in the next two-year state budget, but he won’t make cities and towns bear the brunt of that fiscal pain.

Lamont told the Connecticut Council of Small Towns at its annual meeting Wednesday morning that he wouldn’t propose cuts to municipal aid, which totals nearly $3 billion per year. COST represents 110 towns with populations of 30,000 or less. Continue reading Lamont will spare town aid while closing big deficit in next state budget

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