Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Could Connecticut ban bear feeding?

The state's Office of Legislative Research has issued a report on the legality of feeding black bears in Northeast states.

As it turns out, you can feed bears in Connecticut with impunity, and without fear of legal reprimand. That's not the case in other places, where shooting a bear might be just fine (in season) but feeding them is a no-no.

For example, intentionally feed a bear in New Jersey and you could be looking at a $1,000 fine.

New York might send you to jail for 15 days for intentionally feeding the bears. In Rhode Island, you can get a license to feed the bears for scientific reasons, but unlicensed bear feeding could put you in prison for 90 days, plus a $500 fine.

Those states also prohibit leaving food around that might attract bears, so Yogi has to go without his pick-i-nick basket.

Black bears are, of course, very common in Connecticut. According to the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, there have been 2,787 black bear sightings in the state for the year ending Nov. 6. Apparently Farmington is swarming with bears — there have been 228 bear sightings reported within the last year.

Torrington is another big city for bears. The DEEP reports 177 sightings in the last year, behind only Farmington and Burlington (183 sightings).

In May, a Burlington man was charged after allegedly shooting and killing a black bear on his property (DEEP photo at right).

The Connecticut Mirror reported in September that, “Conflicts with humans are increasing every year,” according to Jason Hawley, a wildlife biologist with the (DEEP. “Really the only way to manage a bear population is through a hunting season.”

That report also specified 352 reports of damage by bears in Connecticut last year.

Earlier this year a bear in Madison, dubbed a "nuisance" by law enforcement officials, was caught and euthanized after days of raiding bird-feeders and garbage cans. 

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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Should Connecticut secede from the union?

There's been a lot of press lately on various efforts to secede from the union, most notably in Texas, where a petition has gained more than 100,000 signatures. California, Vermont and other states have seen those petitions rise since the re-election of Barack Obama.

Connecticut is not immune.

WeThePeople.com, run by the White House, already contains a petition to allow Connecticut to secede. For real. And it has more than 3,300 signatures.

The petition specifically asks for the following: "Peacefully grant the State of Connecticut to withdraw from the United States of America & create its own NEW government." The creator is listed as Elaine C. from Bridgeport.

The website works, too - if petitions reach a certain threshold within a certain time-frame, they actually get taken seriously. Obama's administration will officially give a response. The CT secession petition needs 21,641 signatures by Dec. 12, so with less than a month to go and 3,300 signatures collected so far, there's not much chance of it actually happening.

Of course, there are more than a few wackadoo petitions on WeThePeople. One, for example, seeks to take away citizenship from everybody who signs on to secession petitions.

Here are a few petitions that have no chance of succeeding.

- Establish new legal system of motorcycle riding "Judges" who serve as police, judge, jury, and executioner all in one

Thursday, November 8, 2012

New Haven lawmaker re-elected to Senate leadership post

HARTFORD – State Sens. Donald Williams, Jr., D-Brooklyn, and Martin Looney, D-New Haven, have been re-elected to their positions as Senate president pro tempore and majority leader, respectively.
According to a statement, Williams, in his acceptance speech, said “I am honored and humbled for the continued support and confidence of my fellow Democratic Senators. Over the past two years we’ve worked across the aisle to get our state’s economy back on track and help folks find jobs. My colleagues and I look forward to continuing our efforts fighting on behalf of middle class families.”
Williams has served as Senate President Pro Tempore since 2004.
Looney, in his acceptance speech, also according to a statement, said “I am deeply grateful for the continued trust and confidence of the members of our Senate Democratic Caucus. We have achieved important goals for the people of our state in recent years, including the historic Jobs Bill of 2011, a responsible budget, a major education initiative, and expansion and protection of programs and services for low income families and persons in need.”
Looney, shown in the photo, has served as majority leader since 2003.

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Friday, November 2, 2012

Candidates quizzed by Conference of Municipalities

The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities sent a questionnaire to major party House and Senate candidates asking for their feelings on a variety of issues: "Governmental Partners Working Together," "Infrastructure Support," "Public Safety," "Poverty Reduction & Economic Opportunity," "Community Revitalization & Affordable Housing" and "Education Reform."

Responses were received by Joe Courtney, Paul Formica, Jim Himes, John Larson and Andrew Roraback.

Linda McMahon, Chris Murphy, John Deckes, Rosa DeLauro, Wayne Winsley, Steve Obsitnik and Elizabeth Esty did not respond, and it should be noted that minor party  and write-in candidates did not receive the survey.

The full survey and verbatim responses are below.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Merrill: 70 polling places still dark

Secretary of the State Denise Merrill said that between 65 and 70 polling locations under Connecticut Light & Power’s auspices remain without electric power, down from approximately 100 polling locations yesterday.  Merrill also reported that approximately 25 polling locations in the service area of United Illuminating are still lacking electrical power.

According to a release issued by the Secretary of the State’s office, these figures are based on reports provided to Merrill directly from the utilities today.  

“At this point, we are monitoring the situation very closely with our partners at the local level who must administer the presidential election on Tuesday Nov. 6,” Merrill said in a release.  “We still have some polling places that lack electricity, and both power utilities have assured us they are working very hard to restore power to these locations as soon as possible.  At the local level, towns and cities are already executing their election preparation functions and backup plans where necessary for preparing voter lists and making sure the voting machines are ready to use next Tuesday.  We will be ready to vote next Tuesday no matter what, and the preferences would be not to move or consolidate any polling locations unless absolutely necessary.  My message to our local officials continues to be to focus on the tasks at hand, to coordinate with local and state government to find alternate locations for voting if necessary, and most importantly to inform voters of those changes with adequate time before the election so voters can know where to cast a ballot.”