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By DON STACOM | February 23, 2010
Stung by Connecticut's embarrassing shutout in the competition for $1.5 billion in federal transportation grants, the state's congressional delegation Tuesday pressed Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to make it up when he hands out the next round of money in October. LaHood reportedly stopped short of a guarantee, but his response prompted several House members and Sen. Christopher Dodd to predict that Connecticut will fare well in the fall. "The secretary admitted his department had made some errors, that a number of our projects had made the standards for funding.
NEWS
By KENNETH R. GOSSELIN | February 20, 2010
Home sales and prices appear to be gaining some stability in Connecticut, but a sobering report Friday showed that the number of residential borrowers struggling to make mortgage payments is higher than at any other time in the past 30 years. Foreclosures and seriously delinquent home loans in Connecticut jumped more than a full percentage point to 8.1 percent in the last three months of 2009, compared with the previous quarter, according to the report from the Mortgage Bankers Association.
NEWS
February 22, 2010
Officials are investigating a snowmobile accident that killed a 15-year-old Connecticut girl in southern Vermont. Vermont State Police say that Briena Antonio of Watertown was riding on the back of a snowmobile operated by her aunt, Andrea Mitchell, 40, of Middlebury, when the machine went off a trail. Antonio was killed when she was ejected and struck a tree. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Mitchell was also ejected and sustained back and abdomen injuries. Police say they were part of a tour group from High Country Tours at Mount Snow.
NEWS
By ERIC GERSHON | February 19, 2010
AT&T; on Thursday said it would add 20 new cellular sites in Connecticut and upgrade about 50 others to improve its 3G mobile broadband network, part of an $18 billion to $19 billion capital investment plan nationwide. Increased use of smartphones, such as Apple's iPhone, are taxing AT&T;'s wireless networks, so it must expand if it wants to maintain service standards, officials said. AT&T; and Verizon are competing vigorously for 3G customers. Verizon issued a statement Thursday saying that it is already up to 3G standards in Connecticut and that it has activated 36 additional 3G cellular sites in the state.
NEWS
By NORMAN A. PATTIS | February 21, 2010
Connecticut's method for picking juries promotes a waste of resources, delay and expense. We should change the system. In our courts, each potential juror in a case is questioned by the lawyers, outside the presence of all the other potential jurors. No other state or federal court uses this method, called individual sequestered voir dire. In every other jurisdiction nationally, juries are selected in a group voir dire. Questions are put to potential panelists to see whether they can be fair and impartial in the case for which they may be selected.
NEWS
February 27, 2010
Teetotalers, lobbyists and politicians have made claims about the revenue-generating potential of Sunday alcohol sales since the beginning of Prohibition in 1920. Ninety years later, one might think that the arguments for or against Sunday alcohol sales have become more academic. Sadly, that's mistaken. As a Trinity College economist and alcohol researcher, I had to chuckle recently when I read an "economic" argument given by one of our esteemed state senators in opposition to Sunday sales.
NEWS
By KENNETH R. GOSSELIN | February 19, 2010
Foreclosures and seriously delinquent home loans in Connecticut jumped more than a full percentage point in the last three months of 2009, compared with the previous quarter, according to a new report today. Nearly one out of every 12 mortgages was in foreclosure or 90 days past due as of Dec. 31. The figures from the Mortgage Bankers Association show continued underlying weakness in the state's housing market despite some early signs of improvement in sales and prices. There was one bright spot: the number of residential borrowers who missed just one payment fell in Connecticut in the fourth quarter of last year compared with the previous quarter -- a sign that the mortgage crisis may be easing.
NEWS
By JOSH KOVNER | February 15, 2010
Eight miles from Connecticut's northwestern border, in Dover, N.Y., sit the 850 acres and fortress-like brick buildings of the former Harlem Valley Psychiatric Center. In 2003, New York State sold the site to a developer who is now seeking final approvals from the town for a $400 million housing, retail and recreation complex — all of it surrounding an existing Metro-North commuter train station. Farther south, on Long Island, the state has sold all or part of three large former mental-health centers.
NEWS
December 19, 2009
Being next to New York is usually a plus, but perhaps not this time. New York was dead last in a study that ranked the happiest and unhappiest states. We in Connecticut were just above the Empire State, making us the bridegroom of gloom. Louisiana, Hawaii and Florida led the smiley-faced states. The four-year survey of 1.3 million people was done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which normally has better things to do. But is being the second most miserable state, the rueful runner-up, the vice president of pain, necessarily a bad thing?
NEWS
By CHRISTOPHER KEATING | February 18, 2010
Connecticut ranks as the fifth-worst state in the nation in funding pensions for its state employees, and the problem is growing worse, according to a national study to be released today. The report says the problem is "cause for serious concern." Connecticut's pension fund is only 62 percent funded, far short of the 80 percent that federal experts deem as preferred. The only states ranked lower than Connecticut are Illinois, Kansas, Oklahoma and Rhode Island. If left unchecked, the growing unfunded pension liability could eventually force states such as Connecticut to either raise taxes or cut services in order to pay for the pensions that are mandated under union contracts.
ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
February 28, 2010
$2.00 in Fairfield County and outside Connecticut, Copyright The Hartford Courant Co.
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NEWS
February 28, 2010
Actual fiscal responsibility and sustainability cannot be achieved in just 100 days. However, if elected, I will spend my initial days as Connecticut's senator launching an effort to conquer the financial ills that plague this nation. As unemployment and debts have recently soared to new heights, we are given a choice to either overcome the problem's root cause or continue down the path of destruction. History shows that following the current course will lead to disaster, and yet professional politicians force America down the same failed path anyway.
NEWS
February 28, 2010
What will I do in my first 100 days as senator? Here's what I will not do. I will not follow tradition by sitting quietly in the back of the chamber, learning the ropes and schmoozing the powerful. I will not be another fresh face joining one of the world's most corrupt clubs. And I will not wait my turn, because Connecticut cannot wait. For too many of our citizens, the American dream is dying. Career politicians have sold it to the Chinese. The people demand health care, a growing economy and an end to banks "too big to fail," but each time legislation in support of these issues comes up, it is amended to feed the Washington special interests, leaving hard-working Americans in the lurch.
NEWS
February 28, 2010
Fighting for Connecticut's people and meeting their individual needs for service will be my continuing priority during my first 100 days and beyond if I have the honor of election to the U.S. Senate. Our most urgent challenge is creating jobs and reviving our economy. Putting America back to work is the only way to re-energize our economy and ensure that Wall Street's recovery reaches Main Street. Among my specific goals will be extending and expanding payroll tax exemption programs, expanding tax credits for hiring, and enlarging small business administration aid and direct funding to states and cities for public works and public safety.
NEWS
February 27, 2010
Ordinarily, Gov. M. Jodi Rell's aversion to piling up expenses on official travel is commendable. But you have to wonder whether Mrs. Rell made the right call in deciding to stay home from the winter meeting of the National Governors Association in Washington this week, when 49 of the nation's 55 governors (including territories such as Puerto Rico) had face time with President Barack Obama and other officials responsible for parceling out federal stimulus money. Showing the state's flag in the nation's capital at this critical time might have been the right thing to do, considering the recent record: New England neighbors and New York lapping up federal funds while Connecticut draws a blank.
NEWS
February 27, 2010
Teetotalers, lobbyists and politicians have made claims about the revenue-generating potential of Sunday alcohol sales since the beginning of Prohibition in 1920. Ninety years later, one might think that the arguments for or against Sunday alcohol sales have become more academic. Sadly, that's mistaken. As a Trinity College economist and alcohol researcher, I had to chuckle recently when I read an "economic" argument given by one of our esteemed state senators in opposition to Sunday sales.
NEWS
February 25, 2010
I love the way our elected politicians, state officials and liberal media editorialists whine and cry about how Connecticut didn't receive any federal transportation handouts. That's exactly what they should have expected when the government confiscates our money and redistributes it to others. Now they know how we powerless taxpayers feel when their profligate spending and socialist policies result in picking our pockets and giving us nothing in return. Ron Izumi, Riverton
NEWS
By KENNETH R. GOSSELIN | February 25, 2010
Permits for new home construction in Connecticut rose in January, the first monthly, year-over-year increase since July. But even with the increase, the number of permits issued for single-family houses, condominiums and apartment units in January was still far below levels seen in 2008 as a slowdown in construction was well under way. A report today from the state Department of Economic and Community Development showed towns and cities issued...
NEWS
February 25, 2010
The Feb. 23 editorial "Bageled By The Feds" raises questions concerning the ability and competence of our state in competing for federal dollars. Several state and federal legislators also questioned the state's ability concerning high-speed rail disbursements. The Courant's article listing the high-speed rail grants [CTNow, Jan. 31, "Feds Put Rail Plan On Slow Track"] showed the bulk of these dollars were awarded to Chicago, Tampa and San Francisco. My only question: Do the number of electoral votes make a state more competent in challenge grant applications?
NEWS
February 25, 2010
In response to the Feb. 23 story "In Reversal, State On Trial": Connecticut's legal system is a joke. Criminals are handled with kid gloves while the system spits on the victims' graves. The entire country is watching this case, waiting for justice to be served. The Cheshire killers stole a nation's innocence, and now the state of Connecticut is patting Steven Hayes on the back for a botched suicide attempt. It's a sad day when the killers run the courthouse. Joy Stricker, Longwood, Fla. •The writer is a former West Hartford resident.
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