RTM Approves Limited Parking Plan for Legacy Theatre Neighbors

by marcia chambers | Jun 16, 2017 9:46 am | Comments (1)

Marcia Chambers Photo The Representative Town Meeting (RTM) agreed Wednesday to allow limited special resident parking on a public road at certain times and for certain months as part of a four-way legal agreement that is expected to enable the Legacy Theatre to finally open its doors. 

Despite a last minute development that nearly derailed an agreement that took several years to work out, the RTM, in a 21-1 bi-partisan vote, overwhelmingly approved the agreement. The parties include the Legacy Theatre, the town of Branford, the Stony Creek Association (SCA), and a separate group of neighbors who live adjacent to the theater on Thimble Islands Road.

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Dr. Wang Pleads Guilty To Killing Dr. Toor

by marcia chambers | Jun 9, 2017 2:18 pm | Comments (6)

File Photos In a dramatic turn of events, Dr. Lishan Wang pleaded guilty in Superior Court on Church Street Friday morning to killing his former colleague Dr. Vajinder Toor outside his Branford condominium on the morning of April 26, 2010 as Dr. Toor left for work at Yale Medical School. Dr. Toor was 34 when he was gunned down.

Dr. Wang faces up to 32 years in prison, plus five years of special probation when he is sentenced on Sept. 22.

A combination of factors led to the plea, including the complexity of the case along with potential lengthy appeals, a potential insanity defense, witness availability given the length of the case and Dr. Wang’s slow return to mental stability under forced medication, a development that might not be permanent. Overall, the case has rattled the criminal justice system.

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Senate Unanimously Adopts Bill to Combat Opioid Epidemic

by Staff | Jun 7, 2017 12:05 pm

File Photo State Sen.Ted Kennedy, Jr., (D-Branford), last night led a unanimous bi-partisan state senate to adopt a series of major policy changes in how the state fights an ongoing opioid crisis. Kennedy, a health care attorney, said the bill will transform the way Connecticut fights the opioid epidemic on a variety of fronts. 

The new bill law establishes a “standing order” model, which will make it easier for friends and family members of opioid addicts to obtain Narcan, the life-saving opioid overdose reversal medication. It also requires doctors to reduce the maximum opioid prescription for minors from seven days to five unless the doctor can document the need for an extended prescription. 

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Judge Rules Wang Cannot Represent Himself at Murder Trial

by marcia chambers | Jun 6, 2017 8:47 am

File Photo A Superior Court judge ruled yesterday that while competent to stand trial, Dr. Lishan Wang is not competent to represent himself as his own attorney at his murder trial; the legal issues are complex and the stress could have serious consequences. He is accused of killing a former colleague, Dr. Vajinder Toor as Dr. Toor left his Branford condo on April 26, 2010. He is also accused of attempting to kill Dr. Toor’s wife.

“I am convinced that if allowed to represent himself, he would return to a state of (mental) incompetence,” Superior Court Judge Thomas V. O’Keefe, Jr.  told those assembled yesterday in his sixth courtroom at the Church Street courthouse. “I am going to deny the motion for self- representation,” he said, adding that he did not disagree with the conclusions offered by hospital and outside psychiatrists that Dr. Wang is competent. 

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Man Charged With Crashing into Police Car, Assaulting Cops

by marcia chambers | Jun 3, 2017 8:19 am | Comments (1)

Branford P.D. An 18-year-old man was arrested Thursday night after he crashed his motorcycle into a police cruiser, then lunged into the window of the police car, attempting to assault the police officer. He was wearing a bandana to cover his face. When another officer attempted to pull the man from the window, he bit the officer on the hand, police said.

After the crash, the man arrested was identified as Gino Vella, who was charged with assault on a peace officer, a “C” felony, and was held in $50,000 bond until his court hearing in New Haven Superior Court Friday morning. Police are seeking a third young man as yet unidentified who joined Vella on a wild ride that ended when Vella went head-on into the front of the police car.

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Land Use Judge Combines Two Branford Land Commission Appeals

by Diana Stricker | May 4, 2017 7:17 am

File Photo A half-acre Branford lot that is prone to coastal flooding is gaining notoriety as its owner takes his failed attempts to develop the property to the Land Use section of Hartford Superior Court.

Arsalan Altaf, through his Pawson Road LLC, is appealing denials by the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) regarding a single-family home; and denials by the Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Commission regarding affordable housing on the same lot. Both cases were moved to the Land Use section of Hartford Superior Court, where Judge Marshall K. Berger Jr. recently approved the request by Altaf’s attorney to combine the two cases.

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“Negro Heads” Sea Buoy May Become “Sowheag Rocks”

by Bill O'Brien | May 1, 2017 10:47 am | Comments (4)

Bill O'Brien Photo A local landmark that has been identified on United States nautical maps for more than 100 years could have a new name after all the “i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed.”

State Sen. Ted Kennedy Jr., D-Branford, has led a campaign for the past year to rename the “Negro Heads” landmark, a buoy and rocks located southeast of Maltby Cove in the Indian Neck section of Branford.

The change requires approval of both federal and state agencies, including the U.S. Geological Survey.

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Atlantic Wharf Project Moves Forward

by Diana Stricker | Apr 27, 2017 7:40 am

With Permission The Atlantic Wharf residential and retail complex in the heart of Branford is another step closer to reality now that the a court appeals process has ended. A permit to demolish the crumbling Atlantic Wire building may be the next step.

The option for further appeals was denied earlier this month by the state’s Appellate Court. The Costanzo family, of 33 Wilford Ave., initially filed an appeal in February 2016 in New Haven state Superior Court to reverse the decision of the Planning and Zoning (P&Z) Commission regarding approval of Atlantic Wharf.  That appeal was dismissed in January 2017 by Superior Court Judge Angela Robinson who issued a 13-page decision. The judge said that “the substantial evidence” in the record “does not support any of the plaintiff’s three claims raised on appeal.”

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