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  • Recalled parts threaten Metro-North PTC safety deadline

    Hundreds of defective antenna assemblies for Metro-North’s long anticipated Positive Train Control safety system have been recalled, threatening further delays in an already delayed project.

    More than 1,200 scanner assemblies that allow trains to communicate with a central system were recalled over defective parts. The signals allow the lifesaving PTC system to control trains, slowing or stopping them if they are operating in an unsafe manner.

    “I will tell you none of us accept this level of failure,” said Neal Zuckerman, a Metropolitan Transportation Authority board member during a meeting this week in New York City.

    “It is completely unacceptable,” Zuckerman said.

    The problem centers around antenna assemblies manufactured by Siemens Rail Automation for Metro-North and the Long Island Rail Road under a $428 million contract shared with Bombardier Transportation.

    The PTC system transmits signals to and from rail cars to a central computer that tracks movement, speed and track conditions.

    So far, 285 defective units were recalled from Metro-North trains and are due to be replaced by July.

    Another 976 defective units were recalled for LIRR trains and are scheduled to be replaced by October, MTA officials said.

    Deborah Chin, the PTC project manager, said the recall will not cause the railroads to miss the Dec. 31, 2020 federal deadline to fully install PTC control on its trains.

    “We still remain on target to implement by end of 2020,” Chin said.

    Metro-North and its parent, the MTA, are under pressure to meet that deadline. The railroad already missed a December 2018 deadline to install the system.

    The railroads received a two-year...

  • Derby police arrest 2 after assault outside tavern

    DERBY - Two men have been arrested following an assault near the River Rock Tavern on Friday night.

    Lt. Salvatore F. Frosceno said police were called to a Bank Street address Friday night on a report that someone was being assaulted.

    “That assault victim ran (around the block) into the River Rock Tavern. His two assailants chased after him and waited outside. After a short time the victim went back outside and was again assaulted,” Frosceno said.

    The police investigation led to the arrest of two people.

    Joseph Lamb, 24, of Everette Street in West Haven and Keshon Earl, 27, were was charged with second-degree assault, conspiracy to commit second-degree assault and and breach of peace.

  • Study: Natural gas pipelines leaking in Danbury, other cities

    A new survey of natural gas pipelines in Danbury and other Connecticut cities shows methane is seeping into the air from underground pipes and could cause a disaster similar to the explosions last year that rocked three Massachusetts towns.

    “It’s just a matter of rate and time and situation that determines if any of these leaks are going to be dangerous,” said Nathan Phillips, a University of Boston professor who participated in the study conducted for the Connecticut Chapter of the Sierra Club.

    The study found an average of 3.6 leaks per mile of underground gas lines in Danbury. The Hartford results showed an average of 4.3 leaks per mile and 2.6 leaks per mile in New London.

    “The potential for what happened in the Merrimack Valley [in Massachusetts] exists in Connecticut,” Phillips said. “It was the same kind of low pressure gas line that the study surveyed.”

    Last September, exploding underground gas lines in Massachusetts damaged as many as 40 homes and caused over 80 individual fires in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover.

    The cause of the explosions was blamed on human error related to nearby construction work.

    Sierra Club members and others said it’s time to strengthen laws regarding leaks while transitioning from carbon-based energy sources to renewable energy.

    “This report shows again that Connecticut has a real problem with gas leaking from pipes, and that we urgently need legislation that incentivizes gas companies to repair this ongoing hazard,” said Leah Lopez Schmalz, chief program officer for the Connecticut Fund for the Environment.

    Mitch Gross, an Eversource spokesman, said the company has a “comprehensive” maintenance, inspection and management...

  • Lamont plans big changes for UConn board

    Gov. Ned Lamont intends to install “a slate” of new trustees at the University of Connecticut, starting with the replacement of its chairman, Thomas E. Kruger, and one of its long-serving members, Denis J. Nayden, a UConn donor and major financial backer of the governor’s Republican opponent, Bob Stefanowski.

    Administration officials confirmed the imminent departure of Kruger, but declined to name others who will not be reappointed. Multiple sources say one is Nayden, a former GE Capital chief executive officer who has served as a UConn trustee during the administrations of Lamont’s three predecessors, two Republicans and a Democrat.

    Nayden’s support of Stefanowski included a $100,000 contribution to a super PAC that helped the GOP candidate buy attack ads directed at Lamont.

    The changes at UConn are the latest sign that the Lamont administration intends to show a stronger hand in the governance of the state’s flagship university, a break with previous governors who seldom forced changes on the board. A businessman, Lamont has said UConn needs to be a central element of the state’s efforts to grow the economy.

    “It is not the governor’s right and privilege, it’s the governor’s responsibility to select a chair for the board. It is his responsibility to select members of that board that are up” for reappointment, said Ryan Drajewicz, Lamont’s chief of staff. “He takes that very seriously, like he did with the selection of the next president.”

    One of Lamont’s first acts after taking office in January was to postpone selection of a new president until he became comfortable with the ability and willingness of the search committee’s choice, Thomas C. Katsouleas, to make UConn a bigger partner in economic and...

  • Boston Celtics ticket posted for sale leads to RI man’s burglary arrest

    WESTPORT - A ticket for a Boston Celtics basketball game that was offered for sale online led to the arrest of a Providence, R.I. man.

    Jeff Lubin, 30, was charged with four counts of third-degree burglary.

    The case against Lubin began on Dec. 26, 2018 when officers were dispatched to a Charles Street office building on a report of a burglary. Four office suites were burglarized after the suspect kicked in the doors.

    Investigators later found physical evidence linking Lubin to the crime scenes.

    “One of the businesses, a ticket retailer, reported a Celtics ticket had been stolen,” Lt. Jullian Cabana said in a release. “Lubin later posted the stolen ticket for sale on a social media page.”

    An arrest warrant application was submitted for Lubin and later approved.

    On March 25, Lubin was taken into custody in Rhode Island at the office of probation on the outstanding warrant. He was held at the Rhode Island Adult Correctional Institution until he was extradited to Connecticut by Westport detectives on Monday.

    Lubin, who was was held on a $200,000 bond, was later arraigned in Norwalk Superior Court.

  • Cops: Stratford teen recklessly rode bicycle on town streets

    STRATFORD - A 13-year-old boy was charged Monday after police said he recklessly rode his bicycle on town roads.

    He was arrested Monday near Paradise Green for obstructing traffic, Capt. Frank Eannotti said in a release.

    “The youth was observed riding his bicycle down the center line of the roadway causing a clear traffic hazard. The juvenile suspect was observed by an officer riding in this manner on Huntington Road and through the intersection of Main Street and Huntington with a total disregard for oncoming traffic,” Eannotti said.

    “Once stopped the juvenile was uncooperative with officers and subsequently charged with interfering with an officer, failure to ride a bicycle to the right and town ordinance violation for reckless or uncontrolled riding.”

    The juvenile was later turned over to his guardian and issued a summons.

    Eannotti said the Town of Stratford has an ordinance prohibiting reckless and uncontrolled bicycle riding as a result of numerous complaints and traffic issues related to reckless riding and traffic safety. Violations of the ordinance may result in enforcement of the ordinance as well as bicycles used during the violation being seized.

    “All cyclists are encouraged to ride safely and responsibly and to refrain from riding in the travel portion of the road, recklessly on sidewalks and to not cause hazards to motor vehicle or pedestrian traffic.”

  • Combing beach for clues after Silver Sands fire

    MILFORD — A fire at Silver Sands State Park that destroyed three controversial, nearly completed buildings at the beach and closed the site for at least a day remains under investigation.

    With visitors kept out, investigators from the state Fire Marshal’s Office searched the 297-acre park Wednesday to determine what caused the fire, which was reported at about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday.

    “We’re treating it as an active and open investigation,” said Capt. Keith Williams of the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s Environmental Conservation Police.

    As for whether the fire was suspicious, Williams said, “We are looking it at that way and will not rule it out.”

    The units were scheduled to be open for Memorial Day weekend. They are part of a contested $9.1 million construction project to create a bathhouse, concessions and office space.

    “The park will remain closed for as long as necessary to investigate the fire and protect the safety of the public,” DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes said. “Though we are saddened by the loss of the buildings under construction, the most important thing is that no one was injured fighting the fire.”

    Jeff Beckham, a spokesman for the state’s Department of Administrative Services, which was overseeing construction, said the general contractor, Scopes Construction of New Britain, was required to carry insurance. Those details are being reviewed, Beckham said.

    He said the project had temporary electrical power at the time of the fire, and that there had been no overnight surveillance.

    “The buildings were close to being finished,” Williams said. “This is devastating for the state (and) DEEP, to put that much effort into it...

  • Police: New Haven man banned from Walmart returns to shoplift from store

    MILFORD - A man - banned from Walmart - was arrested on Tuesday after allegedly shoplifting merchandise at the store.

    King Wilcox, 46, of Grand Avenue in New Haven, was charged with first-degree trespass and sixth-degree larceny.

    Police went to the Walmart store on the Boston Post Road around 2 p.m. Tuesday on a report of trespassing.

    “The investigation led to the arrest of Wilcox who is accused of being on the property of Walmart which he was previously banned from on Feb. 19,” said Officer Joesph Dempsey. “Wilcox is also accused of shoplifting over $21 worth of merchandise from the store.”

    Further investigation showed Wilcox to have an active warrant for his arrest, accusing him of failing to appear in court on Jan. 22, stemming from a trespassing arrest in Milford on Dec. 13.

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