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Police officer pleads guilty to domestic violence, stalking

A Concord police officer initially accused of assaulting a woman and pressuring her to lie about it pleaded guilty Friday to misdemeanor domestic violence, stalking, and contempt of court charges. Bryan Croft, 39, will serve eight months in jail. Croft pleaded guilty to slamming a door on the woman’s arm in October, stalking her, and coming into contact with her. The attorney general’s office said Croft was a Concord police officer at the time of the alleged crimes. (AP)


UConn latest school to make COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory

The University of Connecticut on Friday became the latest school to require that students be vaccinated against COVID-19 before returning to classes in the fall. The school’s board of trustees approved the policy on a unanimous voice vote during a special meeting on Friday. UConn joins seven private state colleges and universities, including Yale, and 11 of the nation’s top 25 public universities in instituting a mandatory vaccination policy, school officials said. Dr. Andrew Agwunobi, the school’s interim president, said UConn decided to institute the policy to guard against any fall resurgence of the virus or its variants. “There’s a lot of ambiguity. There’s a lot we don’t know,” said Agunobi, who is a pediatrician by training. “One thing we do know is that vaccines work and vaccines make us safer.” Students will be required to receive a full course of vaccination before attending classes, with some medical and other exemptions on a case-by-case basis, he said. Those receiving exemptions would be subject to other protocols, which could include a requirement to wear masks, undergo periodic surveillance testing, participate in close contact quarantining and abide by housing restrictions. (AP)



Suit wants high-security wing at state hospital to stay open


A lawsuit on behalf of patients was filed Thursday seeking to prevent the closure of a high-security unit at the Connecticut mental hospital that treats those acquitted of crimes by reason of insanity. Lawyers with the advocacy groups Disability Rights Connecticut and the Connecticut Legal Rights Project allege that closing the unit at Whiting Forensic Hospital in Middletown would create “likely and imminent irreparable harm” to patients, who they say will be transferred to units that cannot provide the care they need. The state recently decided to close the unit, one of six high-security units in the hospital, and consolidate other services amid staff shortages, according to the lawsuit. The state Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, which runs Whiting, said it could not comment on pending litigation. The lawsuit, which was filed in US District Court in Bridgeport, alleges, among other things, that as result of the closure and recent merger of two units at Whiting, “some patients with a history of conflicts, including past assaults, and thereafter placed in separate units, are now being placed together in the same unit, increasing the ‘risk of serious harm.’” Disability Rights Connecticut said the patients were notified of the pending changes by staff on May 17 and by this week, seven of the 13 patients in the unit had been moved. They said they met with hospital officials to argue that closing the unit and moving the patients would violate the hospital’s legal obligations. (AP)


$30 million for businesses that didn’t get relief funding


Vermont has launched an economic recovery program for businesses that have not received prior state and federal pandemic-related funding and for others that continue to suffer pandemic-related losses. The program is expected to deliver $30 million in federal financial relief to businesses that were ineligible for state and federal funding and to businesses that can show a continued loss of revenues, Governor Phil Scott said. “As we move out of the pandemic emergency and into our long-term recovery, it’s so important that we support Vermont’s small businesses and employers, who are the backbone of our economy,” Scott said Thursday. “These grants will provide critical relief in the short term, allowing them to rebuild a stable foundation for their economic futures.” The state will start taking applications for the Economic Recovery Bridge Program on Monday. Grants will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis. In the first 30 days, priority will be given to businesses that have not received or do not have a pending application for any state or federal financial assistance in 2020 or 2021, officials said. (AP)


Officials warn about hot temperatures, very cold waters

With summer temperatures forecast for the weekend and early into next week, the Vermont Health Department and National Weather Service are warning about heat illnesses and cold temperatures of lakes and streams. Temperatures are expected to be in the 80s and 90s. It takes time for people’s bodies to adjust to being active in warmer conditions and heat illnesses can be dangerous, the Health Department said. “During hot weather, your body’s temperature control systems can have a hard time keeping up, and your temperature can get dangerously high,” the department said in a written statement. “Whether you are putting in your garden, taking your canoe out for a paddle, heading up the Green Mountains or Adirondacks for panoramic views, or just out for a walk, it’s important to start slowly, drink more fluids than usual and take extra breaks in the shade or cool indoor locations.” Officials also warned that the water temperature of lakes and rivers remains dangerously cold this early in the season. (AP)