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BC-CT--Connecticut News Digest 1:30 pm, CT

January 23, 2019

Editors, news directors:

Good afternoon. Questions about today’s coverage plans are welcome and can be directed to Mike Melia at 860-246-6876 or mmelia@ap.org.

New England News Editor Bill Kole can be reached at 617-357-8100 or bkole@ap.org. New England Photo Editor Bill Sikes is reachable at 617-357-8106 or bsikes@ap.org.

For up-to-the minute information on AP’s coverage, visit Coverage Plan at newsroom.ap.org.

A reminder that this information is not for publication or broadcast, and these coverage plans are subject to change. Expected stories may not develop, or late-breaking and more newsworthy events may take precedence. Advisories and digests will keep you up to date.

Some TV and radio stations will receive shorter APNewsNow versions of the stories below, along with all updates.

TOP STORIES:

SICK STUDENTS-VAPING

Four students who became ill after vaping in a high school bathroom were taken to a hospital by ambulance, officials said. First responders were called to Portland High School on Tuesday afternoon out of an abundance of caution, Portland Schools Superintendent Philip O’Reilly said. SENT: 210 words.

GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN-WHALES

Rescuers who respond to distressed whales and other marine animals say the federal government shutdown is making it more difficult to do their work. The shutdown, which is entering its 33rd day on Wednesday, includes a shuttering of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration operations that rescuers rely upon. By Patrick Whittle. SENT: 625 words, photo.

MEEK MILL-CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM

A coalition of big names in sports and entertainment is taking on criminal justice reform. Rappers Meek Mill and Jay-Z and the owners of the Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets and the Super Bowl-bound New England Patriots came together in New York City on Wednesday to announce the launch of an organization that will lobby for changes to state probation and parole laws. SENT: 320 words.

IN BRIEF:

_ WHISTLEBLOWER OFFICER FIRED: A Connecticut police officer who says he has been retaliated against for cooperating in a federal civil rights investigation of his department has been fired in a misconduct probe. SENT.

_ WEATHER RELATED DEATHS: Fire officials say a 75-year-old Connecticut man was killed when his own car slid down his icy driveway and rolled onto him. SENT.

_ PRISON GUARDS-LEAVE: The state Department of Correction has placed seven prison officials on paid leave pending an investigation. SENT.

_ WRONG-WAY FATAL: A Connecticut man will face over two years in prison for his role in a wrong way crash that killed another driver. SENT.

_ RIGHT WHALE PROTECTION: The developer of an offshore wind energy project is partnering with environmental groups on a plan to try to protect the endangered North Atlantic right whale. SENT.

SPORTS:

BKW--T25-SMU-UCONN

No. 3 UConn, which has never lost an American Athletic Conference game, hosts SMU at Gampel Pavilion. By Pat Eaton-Robb. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos. Developing from 7 p.m. start.

CAVALIERS-CELTICS

The Cleveland Cavaliers visit the Boston Celtics. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos. Game starts at 7:30 p.m.

ROCKETS-KNICKS

The Houston Rockets visit the New York Knicks. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos. Game starts at 7:30 p.m.

PATRIOTS-STEADY DEFENSE

It hasn’t been perfect, but after a slow start the Patriots have stabilized a defense that gave up 25 or more points four times in its first eight games and looked lost at times following the departure of former defensive coordinator Matt Patricia. But it came together down the stretch under de facto coordinator Brian Flores, the All-Pro season of cornerback Stephon Gilmore and improved play up front. By Kyle Hightower. UPCOMING: 700 words by 6 p.m. ET, photos.

RAMS-BETTING BIG

The Los Angeles Rams made a big bet on themselves last spring, and it’s paying off with a Super Bowl run. After the Rams lost their first playoff game in 13 years last season, general manager Les Snead decided they needed to leap through this championship window by acquiring high-priced defensive veterans and giving huge contracts to their two best players. By Greg Beacham. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos by 9 p.m. ET.

HALL OF FAME-LOOKING AHEAD

Mariano Rivera sailed into the Hall of Fame without a single dissenting vote. Next year, it’s Derek Jeter’s turn _ and don’t expect much opposition then, either. By Baseball Writer Noah Trister. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos.

MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL

New Hampshire at Hartford, 7 p.m. UPCOMING: 150 words, more on merits.

____

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