Author Archives: Amanda Falcone

About Amanda Falcone

Reporter for the Hartford Courant.

Governor\’s Foot Guard Tangled Up In Clash Over Bullets, Jurisdiction

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If you missed reading this story about the First Company Governor\’s Foot Guard in Sunday\’s newspaper, you can read it now:

\"footTrustees of the First Company Governor\’s Foot Guard — a largely ceremonial military unit whose red, Colonial-style uniforms are common sights across Connecticut, especially at parades — want their bullets back.

And they are prepared to sue the state to get them.

In 2008, the state\’s military department confiscated 18,014 rounds of ammunition from the High Street armory in Hartford, where, at the time, the state rented space for Foot Guard activities. Department officials had no record of state-issued bullets at the site and were worried that the ammunition posed a safety hazard. Continue reading

Rep. O\’Brien Fights Back From Brain Cancer

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\"elaineobrien\"It hasn\’t been an easy few months for state Rep. Elaine O\’Brien.

The joy of an Election Day win was offset by health problems. The Suffield Democrat was able to attend the legislature\’s opening day, but missed the governor\’s budget address, and a brain cancer diagnosis, two surgeries and chemotherapy and radiation treatments left her with little time to propose any bills.

O\’Brien, who is also town clerk in Suffield, said she knows that she has to take care of herself, but says she hasn\’t stopped thinking of her constituents during her illness. Her brother, Jack Corrigan, says he can vouch for that.

Throughout her first round of cancer treatment at Massachusetts General Hospital, O\’Brien, 57, stayed at Corrigan\’s home in Brookline, Mass., and he said technology allowed his older sister to both keep in touch with those in Hartford and study the governor\’s proposed budget.

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Enfield School Board Upset Over Unfunded Mandates

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The Enfield school board met on Tuesday, and they voted to spend $125,000 to create a new state-mandated district-wide teacher evaluation program.

Board members said they only voted in favor of spending the money because it would hurt the school system if they chose not to do so. There could be repercussions from the state, they said.

During the conversation about the expenditure, board members expressed anger at the state for imposing unfunded mandates on local school districts.

\”Do legislators even look at what they are proposing and passing?\” said one board member.

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Enfield Officials Ask State Lawmakers For A Thompsonville Rail Station

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Enfield officials asked state lawmakers Wednesday to put a high-speed rail station in the Thompsonville section of their town.

\"tophamThe local officials who testified at the transportation committee public hearing say they want Enfield to be a stop on the proposed high-speed rail service between New Haven and Springfield. Putting a station in Thompsonville would improve the community’s economy, said town councilman William Edgar Jr.

“Enfield is the hub of north central Connecticut,” Edgar said, explaining that many town residents work in Hartford and in Springfield.

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Donovan Campaign Reports $145,177 In Debt And Obligations

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Former House Speaker Chris Donovan withdrew from the 5th District congressional race nearly six months ago, but the Meriden Democrat still owes $145,177 in debt and obligations, according to his most recent campaign finance filing.

That number is about $4,000 less than he reported owing in October.

Most of Donovan’s outstanding debt — $113,623 — is money owed to two law firms: Zeedles, Needle & Cooper in Bridgeport and Day Pitney. The remaining $31,554 in unpaid obligations is for bills from companies like AT&T and Connecticut Light &Power.

The Donovan campaign did work with Day Pitney last summer when it commissioned former U.S. Attorney Stanley Twardy, who works for Day Pitney, to conduct a probe of its campaign finances. The probe came after the FBI launched its own investigation.

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Rep. Alexander Has Military Background; Knowledge Of The Capitol

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Those who know David Alexander say his greatest asset as a state lawmaker will be his military background — second only to his knowledge of the legislature and the Capitol.

Alexander, a 31-year-old Democrat from Enfield, is believed to be the only lawmaker in both chambers of the General Assembly to have served in the military after Sept. 11, 2001, and he is very aware that he brings a unique perspective to the Capitol at a time when soldiers are coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Connecticut is expecting about 7,000 veterans to return to the state over the next two years.

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Murphy And Blumenthal Hear From Hartford Residents Who Want To Curb Gun Violence

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The Rev. Henry Brown addressed participants Friday at a round-table discussion about gun violence in Hartford. U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy and U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal hosted the event. In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, the senators are pushing for Congress to make changes to the nation\’s gun laws.

Blumenthal And Murphy Urge Measures To Address Gun Violence

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Connecticut\’s two U.S. senators sent a letter Friday to Vice President Joe Biden that includes recommendations for reforming the country\’s gun laws.

Biden is heading the White House Task Force on Gun Violence.

\”The recent shootings in Newtown, Connecticut reminded Americans of the horror that is possible when one deranged person can gain access to dangerous weapons,\” wrote Richard Blumenthal and  in the letter. \”The weeks after this terrible mass shooting have been filled with grief and pain, as we have seen firsthand, but the strength and courage of the families and the community should inspire us to prevent gun violence in the future.\”

In their letter, Blumenthal and Murphy say they support a new and expanded assault weapon ban that includes a ban on high capacity magazines. They cited Department of Justice statistics in their letter, saying that a previous ban was responsible for a nearly 7 percent decline in total gun murders.

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