Stop & Shop strike, pot tax, drone hazards at airports top weekend news

April 15, 2019

As the Stop & Shop strike reached Day 4 on Sunday, workers said they were tired and scared, yet determined to remain on the picket lines as the two sides returned to the negotiating table over the weekend. Workers at Stop & Shop locations in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island went on strike Thursday afternoon, protesting cuts stipulated in the company’s contract proposal.

The timing of the strike has affected customers preparing for the Passover and Easter holidays. Others living in cities like New Haven and Bridgeport have struggled to find alternative stores to buy groceries.

Here are some of the other top stories from this weekend:

Pot tax rate key to driving down illegal market in CT

The potential legalization of recreational marijuana gives Connecticut, and other states, a unique opportunity. It’s a chance to protect public health, shape consumer behavior, reduce an illegal market and increase state revenue, economists agree. One decision by Connecticut lawmakers will be crucial to the state’s success in all these areas: setting the tax rate on recreational cannabis.

Drones pose safety issues at Danbury, Sikorsky airports

Drones have caused anxiety at large and small airports around the country — and, around the world. Over the last few months, airports from New Jersey to Dublin, Ireland, and Dubai have grounded flights after drones were spotted in the vicinity of their tarmacs. Small unmanned aircraft are a concern for other Connecticut airports like in Danbury and Stratford.

Concert amphitheater slowly rising from Bluefish stadium

Developer Howard Saffan says the conversion of the former home of the Bridgeport Bluefish minor league baseball team to a concert amphitheater will be the “talk of the country.” The renovation has been slowly progressing, with the hope for opening this May pushed back to 2020.

Norwalk man launches nation’s first hybrid cargo vessel

After nearly four years of development, Norwalk businessman Bob Kunkel revealed the nation’s first hybrid cargo vessel last week. The ship, named Harbor Harvest after Kunkel’s market of the same name in East Norwalk, is an emission-free, lithium-battery-powered catamaran that will serve as the backbone of an eco-friendly, farm-to-table distribution network between New York and Connecticut.

New Haven’s highest paid: Firefighters, police lead the way

The highest New Haven salaries traditionally have been held by school administrators, while overtime opportunities go to public safety officers with the largest payouts to retiring police and fire personnel. That pattern was repeated in fiscal 2018 when retiring Deputy Fire Chief William Gould took the No. 1 spot with a combined salary, overtime and retirement payout of $312,663.

Stamford Government Center filled with high earners

At last count, 30 percent of full-time city and school employees earned six-figure annual salaries. The 2017 percentage, the most recent available, continued a trend. It began in 2011, when the high-earner count quadrupled. From then until 2017, the number of municipal employees earning at least $100,000 increased 131 percent. By comparison, payscale.com reports that the average individual salary in Stamford last year was $70,091.

Bridgeport police union wants some accused cops exempt from hearings 

The city’s police union is turning to federal court in an attempt to allow 11 of the 19 officers named in an Office of Internal Affairs report to face discipline by the police chief instead of Bridgeport’s Police Commission.

Stamford judge trades courtroom for boxing ring

When Judge Gary White sits on a case in state Superior Court in Stamford, it can take months or longer from start to decision and sentencing. But for a dozen or so weekends a year as an amateur boxing referee, the former public defender turned no-nonsense judge’s decisions come almost as fast as the punches thrown by the fighters he is scoring.

Greenwich tax collector pursues delinquent owners

Greenwich’s aggressive pursuit of owed back taxes has brought in more than $1 million, as 16 delinquent taxpayers have paid in full. But that is only the tip of a deep iceberg as Tax Collector Howard Richman said more than 100 delinquent payments still have to be collected, a sum of $6 million to $7 million.