Monthly Archives: October 2012

Swiss bank UBS reluctant to reveal job cuts in Stamford

The Swiss bank UBS, which employs thousands of workers in Connecticut, will cut 10,000 jobs globally over the next three years. But the company is disputing a report that 3,000 of those jobs will be lost in the state. At the announcement of the worldwide job losses, company officials said that one-quarter of those workers would lose their jobs in Switzerland — which has strict rules about disclosing such things — but gave no details on where the other cuts would come. Due to what company officials called an “incorrect extrapolation” of percentages during the conference call with reporters, a number — 3,000 layoffs — was attributed to Connecticut. UBS says that number is wrong, but won’t give details on how many losses are expected in the state or when that number will be available. Sources tell WNPR that the number is more likely in the “low hundreds.” Continue Reading →

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Malloy waives fares on limited Metro-North access to NYC

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority had some good news for Stamford-New York commuters on Wednesday: Metro-North will resume service between Stamford and Manhattan on the New Haven Line starting Thursday at 4:43 a.m. About half of New Haven line commuters shuttle between the cities on a daily basis.Service will be free for Thursday and Friday.The restoration of service has come more quickly than many expected, given the tremendous number of trees down on the New Haven line and destruction of catenary wires — overhead lines that transmit electrical energy to the trains. The wires were already in need of extensive repair before the storm hit. Trees and wires down at the New Canaan Metro-North station (photo courtesy of Metropolitan Transportation Authority) But Metro-North still doesn’t know when service might be restored for stations north of Stamford, or for the New Canaan, Danbury and Waterbury branch lines.“We have not had time to focus on [the branch lines] yet,” Metro-North spokeswoman Marjorie Anders said Wednesday afternoon. The Waterbury and Danbury branches are in “pretty good shape,” she said, but the New Canaan branch line took a much harder hit.“We took one look at New Canaan and said we can’t do this first,’ ” Anders said. Metro-North might look into providing temporary bus service for those commuters. Both Anders and Malloy said they expect at least limited service on all of New Haven’s main line to be restored before the weekend.For Connecticut commuters coming from anywhere north of Stamford, options for getting into New York City are few and far between. Continue Reading →

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Utilities pledge to ramp up field crews to restore power

Connecticut’s two major electric utilities pledged to significantly expand field crews as they begin shifting their primary focus Thursday from removing safety hazards and assessing damage to restoring power. Meanwhile, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced that Janet Napolitano, the U.S. secretary of Homeland Security, will join him Thursday on a tour of storm damage in Connecticut and that limited commuter rail service would resume from Stamford without fares. Metro North service would resume only from Stamford into Grand Central Station. Malloy said Connecticut would charge no fares on Thursday and Friday into New York, and New York would charge nothing for the trip to Stamford. Malloy announced the free fares late Wednesday night, soon after Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York announced free travel on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s trains, buses and subways. Continue Reading →

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How to register for federal disaster relief

Residents of the four Connecticut counties declared federal disaster areas Tuesday must register with federal authorities either online or by telephone to receive aid, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced Wednesday. “This declaration will bring much-needed financial assistance to residents who were impacted by Hurricane Sandy,” Malloy said.  “But it is critical to note that you must register with FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) to begin the process of accessing possible federal assistance.  We will continue to work to get the rest of the counties in the state declared.” The declaration will trigger federal funding for temporary housing payments, grants to repair homes, extended unemployment benefits and low-interest loans to businesses and farms.
Residents and businesses in New London, Middlesex, New Haven and Fairfield counties, as well as the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribal nations, may register by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). The text telephone line for those with speech or hearing disabilities is 1-800-462-7585. The line is open from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., seven days per week. Affected parties in the four shoreline counties and two tribal nations also may complete applications for disaster aid online at www.disasterassistance.gov.
The Malloy administration is continuing to work with FEMA officials in hopes of opening federal relief to residents and businesses of Connecticut’s four other counties: Windham Tolland, Hartford and Litchfield. Continue Reading →

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Storms and politics make strange bedfellows

Who says it’s an ill wind that blows no good? Sandy not only has Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey making nice to President Obama, but now Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is showing empathy toward Christie. Malloy, who has taken great joy in jousting with the GOP governor of the Garden State, said Wednesday that he was stunned Tuesday night by the video of the storm damage in New Jersey and New York. As soon as it no longer is needed to clean up Connecticut, Malloy is making available Department of Transportation equipment that might be useful in New Jersey and New York. Connecticut already has sent New Jersey a UH-60 helicopter and National Guard crew. Continue Reading →

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Merrill upbeat, but 100 polling places remain without power

Secretary of the State Denise W. Merrill was optimistic Wednesday about the prospect of an orderly Election Day next Tuesday, though she warned that her office continues to monitor nearly 100 polling places — and possibly more — that remain out of power. Connecticut’s chief elections official also said that despite the massive flood damage along the shoreline and the widespread power outages, none of Connecticut’s communities have sought to relocate polling places. “The election will go on,” Merrill told Capitol reporters during a midday news conference, adding that municipal officials showed in recent meetings they are ready to press on with Tuesday’s vote. “They seem to be carrying on,” she said. “Most of the town halls are up and running.” Continue Reading →

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Power restored overnight to 320,000 customers

With its high-voltage transmission lines repaired, Connecticut Light & Power restored power to 320,000 customers overnight, leaving less than 30 percent of its system without electricity Wednesday morning. Officials from CL&P and the smaller United Illuminating said they will be able to estimate Thursday when substantial restoration will be complete to an electric grid shredded by Sandy, the third major storm to hit in 14 months. “I want everyone to know this remains our top priority,” Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said at his morning briefing at the Emergency Operations Center in Hartford. CLP outage map: Black means at least 91 percent without service. Yellow and beige are least affected. Continue Reading →

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Can you get to NYC yet? Sort of…

Transportation is still choked, and will be throughout the tri-state area, for some time to come. But for those who commute from Stamford to New York or back, some good news awaits: Metro-North will resume service between Stamford and Manhattan on the New Haven Line starting Thursday morning at 4:43 a.m. That’ll be a big help to the 52 percent of New Haven line commuters who shuttle back and forth between those two cities on a daily basis. All trains that originate in Stamford — NOT trains that would have started in New Haven — will run to NYC as scheduled. Check the MTA web site tonight for updates. The restoration of service is quicker than many have expected, given the tremendous number of trees down on the New Haven Line and the destruction to the catenary wires — which were already in need of extensive repair before the storm hit. Continue Reading →

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Flood!

The street outside Union Station was completely flooded during a rainstorm earlier this year. (Photo by Melissa Bailey/New Haven Independent)

New Haven Union Station is apparently a low-lying area that is very prone to flooding. Metro-North is aware of this and they’ve secured a lot of their equipment…still, should be interesting to see what happens during the storm today. Stay safe. Continue Reading →

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Ex-union chief to plead guilty in Donovan campaign case

A former correction officer and union president is expected to plead guilty Friday to charges in connection with the investigation of illegal contributions to the congressional campaign of House Speaker Christopher Donovan, D-Meriden. David Moffa, 52, of Middlebury, the former president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Local 387, is listed on a court docket as scheduled to change his not-guilty plea in U.S. District Court in New Haven. He was one of six defendants indicted in July. The indictment described Moffa and two smoke shop owners meeting in Waterbury to talk about proposed legislation that could impose fees or taxes on the roll-your-own cigarette business. Federal authorities allege the meeting was part of a conspiracy to kill the bill. Continue Reading →

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Ready for the next storm? Add this to your shopping list

If you avoided damage from Sandy and are ready to start preparing for the next storm, the Connecticut Poison Control Center has a suggestion: Get a carbon monoxide detector and extra batteries for it. Already, three people have been hospitalized with suspected carbon monoxide poisoning this week, and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has been warning people to take precautions when heating their homes during power outages. Amy Hanoian-Fontana, a community education specialist with the UConn Health Center-based poison control center, said people should include carbon monoxide, or CO, detectors in their storm preparations. “From past cases we know that having a CO detector can lower your risk of CO poisoning,” she said in a statement. The poison center’s experts offered these tips:
• Make sure your home has a working carbon monoxide detector with battery backup, preferably    installed near sleeping areas. Continue Reading →

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Hurricane Sandy also packed a political punch

Hurricane Sandy’s romp along the East Coast did more than flood homes and streets and down trees and power lines. It also upended political strategies in the crucial final week before the election. Longstanding plans had to be tossed and new playbooks written. The trick for political candidates in the storm’s aftermath Tuesday was to stay visible without being overtly political. U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy accompanied the governor on his disaster tour in Newtown. Continue Reading →

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Malloy says damage from Sandy surpasses 2011 storms

Despite causing fewer power outages, Hurricane Sandy appears to have taken a deeper toll on Connecticut residents and properties than last year’s Tropical Storm Irene, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said late Tuesday. Following a day of touring much of Connecticut’s shoreline, Malloy said he fears as many as four lives were lost and estimated that “hundreds” of homes were left uninhabitable by the storm. He added that officials won’t know for certain until after several days of damage assessment. Meanwhile, the governor announced that his request for a disaster declaration in four Connecticut counties along the shoreline was approved. Federal Emergency Management Agency officials will determine the need for relief for the state’s other four counties after damage assessments are more developed. Continue Reading →

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FEMA declares four Connecticut counties disaster areas

Washington — President Obama has fast-tracked approval of a declaration of a major disaster in four storm-hit coastal counties — and two Connecticut tribes — to allow their residents to apply for a variety of federal aid. Under the declaration announced late Tuesday, residents of Fairfield, New Haven, Middlesex and New London counties and the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and Mohegan Tribal Nation in New London County are eligible for temporary housing payments, grants to repair homes, extended unemployment benefits and low-interest loans to businesses and farms.
Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said he would continue to press the Obama administration to declare the entire state a major disaster area and that “in the coming days” state officials and Federal Emergency Management Agency officials will be conducting damage assessments to determine if additional counties may be eligible for assistance. A FEMA trailer in Connecticut Tuesday
But Malloy said “it was crazy to ask for a survey” to declare the coastal counties disaster areas. The declaration also allows local governments said in the hard-hit counties to receive up to 75 percent of reimbursements for the cost of emergency protective measures and debris removal. Malloy said he spoke to members of Connecticut’s congressional delegation “to make the case” for speedy approval of federal relief. Continue Reading →

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Candidates are visible, if not quite campaigning

U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy accompanied Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on his disaster tour in Newtown, as did U.S. Rep. Jim Himes in Greenwich. Linda McMahon dropped off coloring books at a shelter in Norwalk. The trick for political candidates in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy was to stay visible Tuesday without being overtly political. Connecticut’s two nationally watched races — the contest for an open Senate seat and an open congressional seat in the 5th District — moved uncertainly toward a resumption of campaign activities. In the 5th, NBC30 canceled its Tuesday night debate between Democrat Elizabeth S. Esty and Republican Andrew W. Roraback, but the AARP plans to go forward Wednesday with its forum, originally scheduled for Monday. Continue Reading →

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