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Latest Connecticut news, sports, business and entertainment

December 23, 2019 GMT

DISCRIMINATION LAWSUIT

NORWALK, Conn. (AP) — A racial discrimination lawsuit filed by a former state representative and human relations director for a Connecticut city’s public schools heads to court in the new year.

The Hour newspaper reports that Bruce Morris’ complaint filed in July 2017 will be heard beginning in mid-January at Stamford Superior Court.

Morris says his employment with Norwalk’s schools was terminated in 2016 because he is black and because of his previous opposition to discriminatory practices.

The chairman of the city Board of Education said Morris did not perform his duties and responsibilities.

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The school district cited budget cuts for eliminating Morris’ position.

HOUSE FIRE

Fire official: house fire caused by smoldering cigar

ORANGE, Conn. (AP) — A fire that destroyed a Connecticut home last week has been ruled accidental.

The New Haven Register reports Sunday that Orange Fire Marshal Tim Smith has determined the Wednesday fire was caused by a cigar left smoldering on a couch.

Officials say the homeowners weren’t home when the fire started in the early morning hours, but their adult son was and managed to escape.

Neighbors called 911 as the house became quickly engulfed in flames. But snow and icy conditions presented challenges for firefighters trying to put out the blaze.

Smith said the house was a total loss and that all the belongings inside were destroyed.

BOAT RESCUE

2 men rescued from frigid river after boat overturns

SHELTON, Conn. (AP) — Two men have been rescued from a Connecticut river after their boat flipped over in frigid waters.

The Shelton Fire Department says the accident happened around 4 p.m. on Saturday in the Housatonic River.

The two men had been clinging to the 10-foot aluminum motor boat about 450 feet offshore when rescue crews arrived.

Fire officials say marine unit crews had to don cold water immersion suits and borrow a local resident’s row boat to reach them.

The crew was able to pull one victim on board the rescue boat and entered the water to retrieve the other. It’s not clear was caused the boat to overturn.

The two men, who have not been identified, were taken to a local hospital for treatment for their injuries, which officials haven’t disclosed.

WESTERLY SHOOTING

Memorial service planned at yacht club for shooting victim

WESTERLY, R.I. (AP) — A memorial service is planned for the victim of a housing complex shooting in Rhode Island that injured two others.

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The “celebration of life” honoring 47-year-old Julie Cardinal will be held Dec. 27 at the Westerly Yacht Club, according to her obituary.

The Westerly resident played a key role in pushing the private club to allow women to become full members in 2016. Her obituary says the wake, funeral and burial will be held privately.

Cardinal was a mother of four children who served a variety of roles in the community, including as a former employee and volunteer for the Misquamicut Business Association, according to her obituary.

“Julie loved the ocean and the beach as well as the people and community she lived in,” the obituary reads. “She was an amazing singer who loved music. She loved fiercely and will be missed by so many.”

Cardinal was killed Thursday at Babcock Village, a subsidized housing complex for the elderly and disabled in Westerly where she worked as an office manager.

Another worker and a resident were also seriously injured. Both are recovering in the hospital.

The gunman, 66-year-old Joseph Giachello, was a resident of the complex. He killed himself in his room after the shooting, which took place near the complex’s main entrance.

Authorities haven’t disclosed a motive in the attack.

HOLIDAY LIQUOR LAWS

Holidays bring change in hours at Connecticut liquor outlets

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The holidays in Connecticut mean a change in hours for some liquor permit holders.

The Department of Consumer Protection reminded residents that package stores must be closed on Christmas Day and on New Year’s Day, under state law.

Connecticut law also requires bars to be closed by 3 a.m. on the morning of New Year’s Day.

Consumer Protection Commissioner Michelle Seagull said her office encourages those who choose to drink alcohol “to make responsible decisions.” She reminded the public they must be over age 21 to make alcohol purchases.

Connecticut lawmakers this year passed legislation updating the state’s liquor laws, in hopes of helping the state’s growing craft brewery industry.

One change, which has already taken effect, allows breweries to sell more beer to customers for consumption off-premises.

The prior law limited craft breweries to selling only up to nine liters to a single individual within one day.