Conn. rail service returning to normal
NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) - Regular train service is returning to Connecticut, five days after a derailment injured scores of commuters and damaged tracks.
Commuter rail service from Connecticut to New York City, along with Amtrak service between Boston and New York, is scheduled to resume Wednesday morning on 1 of the nation's oldest and most heavily traveled railways.
Metro-North had been using buses to shuttle passengers around the affected area while the tracks were rebuilt.
The operation will require a reduced speed of 30 mph for several days, which officials say is standard for new track installations.
The Metro-North crash at rush hour Friday evening injured 72 people, including one who remained in critical condition Tuesday. It snarled commutes for roughly 30,000 people who normally use the train.
Jury convicts aide to former Conn. House speaker
NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) - A federal jury has convicted a former aide to ex-Connecticut House Speaker Christopher Donovan in connection with illegal contributions to Donovan's failed congressional campaign last year.
The jury in New Haven found Robert Braddock Jr. guilty of campaign finance and conspiracy charges Tuesday afternoon, hours after closing arguments.
Sentencing was set for Aug. 13.
Braddock was the finance manager for Donovan's failed congressional campaign. Prosecutors say Braddock and seven other co-defendants who pleaded guilty were involved in a scheme that funneled nearly $28,000 to Donovan's campaign through straw donors.
Defense lawyer Frank Riccio II said Braddock will likely appeal, but will assess his options.
Authorities say the scheme was aimed at getting Donovan to kill proposed legislation to raise taxes on roll-your-own cigarette shop owners.
Donovan wasn't charged and has insisted he did nothing wrong.
Sharkey says Conn. budget deal progressing
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Democratic House Speaker Brendan Sharkey says progress is being made on reaching a final budget agreement with Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and he's optimistic the Connecticut General Assembly will vote on it before the looming adjournment.
Sharkey said Tuesday the negotiators are "fine-tuning the numbers." He said he's optimistic budget-related bills will be voted on before the session ends June 5.
Malloy's Democratic administration and majority Democratic leaders are holding the closed-door budget talks. The Republicans were not invited.
Sharkey said lawmakers will have to adopt policy changes to ensure spending that's required for federal Medicaid reimbursement will not count toward the state's constitutional spending limit. Three-fifths of each chamber must approve.
While some Democratic senators have concerns with the proposal, Sharkey said he has enough votes in the House.
Conn. bill allows parole review for juveniles
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Legislation that would give certain juvenile offenders in Connecticut serving lengthy prison sentences a second chance to have their cases reviewed is progressing through the General Assembly.
On Tuesday, the House of Representatives passed legislation, on a 137-4 vote, allowing parole hearings for people who were convicted of serious crimes when they were 14 to 17 years old. They have served at least 12 years in prison or 60% of their sentence, whichever is greater, to be eligible.
The bill sets a maximum of 30 years that a juvenile must serve before their case is reviewed. It now moves to the Senate.
The Connecticut Sentencing Commission recommended the changes after the U.S. Supreme Court required these offenders receive a meaningful opportunity to seek release sometime during their sentence.
GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOOD
Bill requires labels for genetically modified food
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Connecticut lawmakers are pushing ahead with bipartisan legislation requiring the labeling of food containing genetically modified ingredients.
The Senate on Tuesday passed a bill, 35 to 1, that requires food entirely or partially genetically engineered to include the words "Produced with Genetic Engineering" on the packaging, as of July 2016, or 2015 if several Eastern states pass similar legislation.
Various exceptions are included in the bill, such as for products grown by local farms and food prepared for immediate consumption.
Sen. Joe Markley said that while there's disagreement about whether genetically modified food poses a health risk, people are entitled to the information.
Paul Pescatello, a Connecticut United for Research Excellence board member, said the labels imply "there's something wrong with the food when there isn't."
United Tech CEO sees stronger economy, airlines
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - The chief executive of aerospace giant United Technologies Corp. is optimistic about an improving economy and airline industry.
CEO Louis Chenevert (Shen-eh-VAIR) told analysts Tuesday that airline profitability looks better for 2013 than in recent years. And he said the Hartford, Conn., conglomerate's $18.4 billion purchase of Goodrich Corp. and a $1.5 billion deal by Pratt & Whitney to buy out Rolls-Royce from a joint venture that makes engines for the Airbus A320 are paying off.
Chenevert said North American commercial construction is improving - good news for its Carrier heating and ventilating business. And orders were up 22% in emerging markets in Brazil, Russia, India and China.
Chenevert said United Technologies expects to pay down $2 billion in debt this year and set aside $1 billion for acquisitions
NEW ENGLAND ECONOMY
Forecast sees New England economy growing modestly
BOSTON (AP) - Modest economic growth is expected in New England over the next three years with the region as a whole returning to pre-recession employment levels by 2015.
That's according to a new economic forecast being released this week by the New England Economic Partnership.
Forecast manager Ross Gittell, chancellor of New Hampshire's community college system, predicts that economic growth in the six-state region will average 3.3% per year through 2016, while employment climbs by 1.4% per year.
Economists warn the recovery could be slowed by several factors including the automatic federal budget cuts and continued economic uncertainty in Europe.
Conditions will also vary from state to state, with forecasters expecting the strongest growth in Massachusetts and Vermont.
NEEP plans to release its full forecast and state-by-state breakdowns on Wednesday.
Connecticut Judge G. Sarsfield Ford dies at 79
FAIRFIELD, Conn. (AP) - Connecticut Judge G. Sarsfield Ford, who sentenced serial killer Michael Ross to death in 1987, has died. He was 79.
An obituary prepared by Ford's family says he died Sunday in Fairfield after battling declining health following a stroke in 2006.
Ford grew up in Bridgeport, graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1955 and earned his law degree from Georgetown University in 1958. He worked as a private lawyer and public defender until Gov. Thomas J. Meskill nominated him for Superior Court judge in 1973.
Ford sentenced Ross to death for killing four young women in eastern Connecticut, after a jury decided on the death penalty. Ross was executed by lethal injection in 2005.
Ford's funeral is set for Friday at Our Lady of Assumption Church in Fairfield.
Ceremony planned for fallen Conn. soldier
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - A ceremony is planned at the state Capitol complex to honor a Connecticut soldier recently killed in Afghanistan.
On Thursday, a photographic portrait of Army Capt. Andrew Pedersen-Keel of Madison will be added to the Wall of Honor tribute, located between the state Capitol and the Legislative Office Building.
The 28-year-old Special Forces commander was killed in March when an Afghan policeman opened fire inside a police headquarters in eastern Afghanistan.
A ceremony, led by Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, is scheduled to take place in the Legislative Office Building atrium, where the names of all service members on the wall will be read. Their family members will have the opportunity to deliver remarks.
The memorial wall was started in 2007.
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