Budget woes, Aetna move among top Connecticut stories of '17
By MICHAEL MELIA
Dec. 24, 2017
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The governor took a pass on the 2018 race, another big-name company made for the exits, and the UConn women saw a historic streak come up just a couple wins short of another national championship.
The year also saw an airing of past sexual abuse incidents at a boarding school known for its blue-blooded alumni and a police shooting in Bridgeport that prompted cries of brutality.
A look at some of the top stories from Connecticut in 2017:
BUDGET STALEMENT LINGERS
Facing a massive deficit, Connecticut legislators struggled for much of 2017 to reach a deal on a new two-year state budget. For 123 days, the state was without a budget, a situation that prompted cuts to programs serving people with disabilities, teacher layoffs and delays in school openings and local tax bills. Democratic and Republican legislative leaders ultimately reached a deal on a tax-and-spending plan without the Democratic governor. That budget, however, is already more than $200 million in deficit in the first year, making more mid-year budget cuts likely in the coming weeks.
MALLOY PASSES ON ANOTHER RUN
The surprise announcement came in the middle of April: Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, a two-term Democrat, announced he would not be seeking a third. The 62-year-old politician who led the state through the aftermath of the Newtown school shootings and persistent struggles said his decision was not related to low public approval ratings, but rather a desire by him and his family to do something different. With his lieutenant governor, Nancy Wyman, also bowing out of the 2018 contest a number of Republicans and Democrats are lining up to join the wide-open race.
SEX MISCONDUCT AT CHOATE
Choate Rosemary Hall aired decades of dirty laundry in releasing a report in April that detailed sexual abuse of students at the elite boarding school in Wallingford. At least 12 former teachers had sexually molested students in episodes dating to the 1960s, according to the report commissioned by the board of trustees. The fallout included two former headmasters who resigned their emeritus positions and the school announced in September that is had hired a law firm to look into new allegations of inappropriate behavior by faculty members.
AETNA LEAVES HARTFORD
It's leaving most of its employees, but the symbolism was painful for some in a city that still regards itself an insurance capital. Aetna said in June that it would move its headquarters to New York City after nearly two centuries in Hartford. The governor had lobbied the company to stay, pledging to match any incentive package offered by another state.
UCONN WOMEN LOSE IN FINAL FOUR
It had to end sometime, but it was still a stunner. After pushing their record win streak to 111 games, the UConn women's basketball team lost in the last seconds of overtime against Mississippi State. It was the program's first loss since 2014 and it ended UConn's run of four consecutive national championships. The Huskies have not lost since and their coach, Geno Auriemma, recently celebrated his 1,000th win.
An unarmed 15-year-old boy, Jayson Negron, was killed when an officer opened fire during a traffic stop May 9. Bridgeport's police chief has said the rookie officer opened fire when a stolen SUV driven by Negron went into reverse and nearly struck the officer. A passenger in the SUV who was also injured in the shooting has said Negron was trying to surrender and when the officer tried to pull Negron out of the vehicle, his foot came off the brake. The shooting spurred protests in Bridgeport and Hartford. Waterbury State's Attorney Maureen Platt, the prosecutor investigating the shooting, has said there is no timetable for a decision on whether criminal charges are warranted.
SERIAL KILLER PLEADS GUILTY
With seven victims, he is believed to be the most prolific serial killer in Connecticut history — not counting mass shootings. William Devin Howell was sentenced last month to six consecutive life sentences for his killing spree in 2003. Howell, who drove a van he called the "murder mobile," apologized at the hearing to victims' families. All seven victims had been buried behind a strip mall in New Britain.
WHITE PRIVILEGE ESSAY CONTEST
In the affluent, overwhelmingly white town of Westport, some were ruffled by this year's question in an essay contest : How have students been touched by white privilege? The annual contest aims to stir discussion of multicultural issues, and it did so this year far beyond the shoreline community. The winner, Chet Ellis, was a high school sophomore who wrote about the unavoidable racial issues he faced growing up in town as a black teenager.