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LITCHFIELD — Michael Criss, first selectman of Harwinton and chairman of the Northwest Hills Council of Governments’ (NHCOG) legislative committee, told a group of state legislators that the 21 municipalities “are not asking for any more money.”

Criss was speaking at the legislative breakfast, sponsored by NHCOG and the Northwest Connecticut Chamber of Commerce, at EdAdvance in Litchfield on Thursday morning, Feb. 1.

The NHCOG is an organization made up of the first selectmen from 21 area towns.

Criss asked the legislators to avoid shifting...

Regional News

State employee layoffs cut into union budgets

HARTFORD — The 6,500 layoffs proposed by Gov. Dannel Malloy to balance the state budget — in addition to their impact on state government — will cut into the budgets of the unions that represent state employees.
The State Employee Bargaining Agent Coalition and its member unions recently failed to pass a tentative agreement with Malloy, which led him to propose the layoffs.
Under the tentative agreement, state employees would have faced a wage freeze, which for some unions would have slowed the growth of their income.

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Shhh. Who said this money is to protect bog turtles?

cynthiah@lakevillejournal.com

A $25,000 grant from General Electric to the Nature Conservancy will help protect some of the Tri-state region’s wetlands and fens, which are home to a host of rare plants and animals.
The grant was awarded June 8 and comes from the General Electric Foundation.

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Nature Watch

What's the latest buzz?

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Former FOI head: Smaller agency will struggle with open government

winstedjournal@sbcglobal.net

After lobbying against changes that would reduce the power of the state’s Freedom of Information Commission (FOIC), the commission’s former executive director, Mitchell Pearlman, said this week that the state of open government in Connecticut remains “one big mess” for the foreseeable future.
Under Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s 2011-12 budget, which remains in executive-legislative limbo, the Freedom of Information Commission has been reduced in size and combined with eight other agencies to form a new Office of Governmental Accountability (OGA).

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I scream! You scream! We all scream!

shawi@winstedjournal.com

RIVERTON — Yes, ice cream is now available at the Riverton General Store. The store offers 19 flavors of Beck’s Ice Cream.
Store owner Leslie DiMartino said Beck’s Ice Cream had previously been offered at another local store for more than 20 years. Flavors include mud, swamp, buck tracks, toasted almond and chocolate chip cookie dough.
The store is located at 2 Main St. and is open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more information, call 860-379-0811

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Fee increases at DMV will help budget

Along with a host of new taxes and other laws, changes at the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) went into effect Friday, July 1. Many fees were increased, and the Legislature passed several new laws aimed at streamlining services and making the DMV more efficient.
Most of the fees are going up only a few dollars. The fee to obtain a six-year drivers’ license was raised from $66 to $72 and a new penalty fee of $25 was added for failing to renew a drivers’ license or a commercial drivers’ license. The fee for a two-year registration of a passenger vehicle rose from $75 to $80.

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Good tunes and times in Riverton

shawi@winstedjournal.com

RIVERTON — Music was in the air during the first Riverton Music Festival, held on Saturday, July 2.
The outdoor music festival last from late morning all the way into the night on the town Green. More than 100 people gathered to enjoy folk, rock and big band swing.
Performers included Valley Swing Shift, The Girls of Mad River Crossing, The Al Fenton Big Band, The Rivertones and Vinyl Vortex.
Carl Gallmeyer, organizer of the festival, said a lot of people and businesses were involved in the organization of the event.

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Natural gas: boom, disaster or both?

Part one: A super field unfolds

NEW YORK STATE — Across the Hudson River, a 21st-century gold rush is on.
The mineral this time is natural gas and the players are some of the biggest names in the oil-and-gas industry, Exxon/Mobile and Chesapeake Energy among them. It’s locked a mile down in Devonian Shale, deposited 400 millions years ago as mud and plankton when the Appalachian basin was a sea and aged since to high-Btu-content fuel.

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Important though obscure

10 Mill Law limits forest land taxes
karenb@lakevillejournal.com

It’s a state law that probably affects fewer people here than any other legislation. But it has the potential to impact millions of dollars in tax penalties.

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Firework safety for pets

HYDE PARK — With the start of the summer season, the Dutchess County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) offers tips for pet owners concerned about their pets reactions to loud noises. This time of year, noises from fireworks and thunderstorms can upset pets and can even cause damage to their hearing. Pets can become terrified of loud noises. They cannot control their reactions. Pets may try to run away or otherwise escape the noise. They may injure themselves in the attempt to get away.

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