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Mansfield mulls management of Storrs Center parking garage

May 15, 2012 Business, Local News Comments Off

The agreement assumes the operator, Storrs Center Alliance (SCA), will assume management responsibilities for the parking facility, on-street parking and the Storrs Road/Route 195 parking for at least seven years.

Mansfield Town Manager Matt Hart and other staff members will review a draft parking management agreement that will spell out how the Storrs Center parking garage is to be operated.

The management deal is between the town, Storrs Center Alliance (a subsidiary of Leyland Alliance, the project’s master developer) and its development partner, Education Realty Trust (EdR).

The Mansfield Town Council dissected the agreement at its regular meeting Monday (May 14).

The proposed agreement includes the public parking garage and shared facilities that serve both the garage and intermodal facilities for bicycles and buses.

All of the buildings are part of the $220 million Storrs Center multi-use development now under construction on Route 195 and Dog Lane, across from UConn’s south campus.

The garage is expected to be complete by this summer.

The agreement assumes the operator, Storrs Center Alliance (SCA), will assume management responsibilities for the parking facility, on-street parking and the Storrs Road/Route 195 parking for at least seven years.

Under the agreement, the SCA would collect revenues from the operation of the garage and use them to pay various expenses, such as routine maintenance, parking regulation enforcement, insurance, sales and use taxes payable to the state on parking revenues.

Mansfield Public Works Director Lon Hultgren said the agreement indicates the operator is responsible for “everyday maintenance” and the town is responsible for “major” issues that arise.

However, council member Meredith Lindsey said she is concerned about the “vagueness” of the language in the agreement, i.e. the difference between a “routine” repair and a “minor repair.”

“I think it’s very confusing,” said Lindsey.

Hart said staff will review the language and possibly add “additional specificity.”

Lindsey requested a list of what would be considered “minor” repairs and what would be considered “routine.”

Hultgren said it would be difficult to create a list including all instances. “It’s really a case-by-case basis,” he said.

Mansfield Mayor Betsy Paterson agreed. “Invariably, there will be something that isn’t on the list,” she said.

There also was discussion about a clause pertaining to mandatory arbitration between the involved parties. The draft agreement states, if there is a dispute and it cannot be resolved within 30 days after the initial mediation conference, there must be arbitration.

This will also be mandated if a party has waived its right to mediation.

The council asked Hart to have the town attorneys review this clause.

“Mediation is almost never going to be successful,” said Council member Paul Shapiro, who is a lawyer.

Town Attorney Dennis O’Brien said he doesn’t feel arbitration is a good idea either, but that was part of the negotiations.

Deputy Mayor Toni Moran, another lawyer, was on the other side of the coin.

“The advantage of arbitration is it’s a lot less expensive,” she said. “I’m not certain that you’d get any more certainty by going to court than you would through arbitration.”

 

Shapiro said one of the “weaknesses” of arbitration is parties “don’t have any right of judicial review if something goes wrong.”

The council also approved various other items related to the Storrs Center project, including authorizing Hart to grant Connecticut Light & Power a utility easement.

This is necessary because, even though the streets around the development will be town roads in the future, construction is not yet finished.

Electrical facilities will be installed while the roads are being built.

Councilors also authorized Hart to sign a quit­claim deed, which terminates a 1998 easement from the Fleet National Bank to the town along the southern edge of Dog Lane.

The council also granted a triangle of land to EdR from the current part of Dog Lane to construct the foundations for the new building in front of the parking garage.

This is necessary since the realignment of Dog Lane will not be completed beforehand.

Posted May 15, 2012 as edited by HTNP.com Editor Brenda Sullivan

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CT Sunday liquor sales expected to begin by May 20

May 12, 2012 Areawide, Business Comments Off

The legislation allows liquor permittees to sell alcohol 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays, as well as on the Memorial, Independence and Labor Day holidays, and on Mondays following any Christmas and New Year's Day that falls on a Sunday.

Connecticut residents may be buying alcohol on a Sunday for the first time, in this state, as soon as May 20. That’s what Gov. Dannel P. Malloy told reporters on Thursday morning (May 10) at a post-legislative session press conference.

The legislation allows liquor permittees to sell alcohol 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays, as well as on the Memorial, Independence and Labor Day holidays, and on Mondays following any Christmas and New Year’s Day that falls on a Sunday.

Also:

  • No one will be allowed to own more than three package stores (which is an increase from two under the old law).
  • Minimum prices will remain intact, with one exception; retailers can sell one item per month for 10 percent below the cost of acquisition.
  • Discounted items cannot be sold for less than 90 percent of the permittee’s wholesale cost.

The governor said Thursday the bill hadn’t arrived on his desk yet, but added that by early next week, he expects to receive the bill, give it a final review and sign it.

To read the full story, click here: http://www.ctmirror.org/story/16313/sunday-liquor-sales-should-begin-may-20

Posted May 12, 2012

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Connecticut gets $6 Million from settlement with drug company

May 7, 2012 Areawide, Business Comments Off

Abbott Laboratories allegedly offered and paid illegal remuneration to health care professionals and long-term care pharmacy providers to encourage them to promote and/or prescribe Depakote

Connecticut Atty. General George Jepsen said today (May 7) the state will receive approximately $6 million from settlements with Abbott Laboratories in relation to charges the pharmaceutical company marketed the prescription drug Depakote for uses not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Depakote is approved by the FDA for treatment of seizure disorders, “mania” associated with bipolar disorder and to prevent migraine headaches.

According to complaints, Abbott also marketed the drug for behavioral disturbances in dementia patients, anxiety, conduct disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, alcohol and drug withdrawal, attention deficit disorder, autism and other psychiatric conditions – uses the FDA has not deemed to be effective.

According to the allegations in the complaint, Abbott Laboratories promoted Depakote for unapproved uses by:

  • making false and misleading statements about the safety, efficacy, dosing and cost-effectiveness of Depakote for some of these uses;
  • improperly marketing the product for use in nursing homes;
  • and by offering and paying illegal remuneration to health care professionals and long-term care pharmacy providers to encourage them to promote and/or prescribe Depakote.

Abbott Laboratories’ marketing for non-FDA approved uses allegedly resulted in false claims to Medicaid and other federal healthcare programs.

Jepsen said these settlements “will serve as a deterrent to other companies who seek to benefit unfairly from government healthcare programs.”

“Most importantly, they will help to protect consumers who were prescribed an expensive drug with little evidence the drug could help their condition,” Jepsen said.

In the settlements, Abbott has agreed to pay the involved states and the federal government $800 million in civil damages and penalties.

Connecticut’s share of Medicaid claims is more than $3.9 million.

Connecticut will also receive $499,000 for state-funded benefit programs administered by the state Department of Social services.

Social Services Commissioner Roderick L. Bremby said, “Our claims data indicated a significant and inappropriate impact on Medicaid expenditures, a factor that will now be mitigated by this major settlement.”

The company has also agreed to a $700 million criminal fine and forfeiture for violating the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

Another $100 million settlement with 45 states and the District of Columbia, resolves civil consumer protection claims that the company engaged in unfair and deceptive practices by illegal off-label marketing of Depakote.

Connecticut’s share of the consumer protection settlement is more than $1.5 million, including $150,000 for the state Department of Consumer Protection’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program.

Consumer Protection Commissioner William M. Rubenstein said, “The funding that the settlement provides for Connecticut’s Prescription Monitoring Program will directly benefit patient health by assisting pharmacists and physicians to better monitor potentially dangerous drug interactions and prescription errors.”

Abbott also agreed to enter into a corporate integrity agreement with the federal government.

For a period of five years, Abbott must also limit:

  • the creation and use of responses to requests by physicians for non-promotional information about off-label uses of Depakote;
  • dissemination of reprints of clinical studies relating to off-label uses of Depakote;
  • and use of grants and continuing medical education.

It must also disclose payments to physicians and register and disclose clinical trials.

The healthcare fraud settlement was based on four qui tam cases, filed under federal and state false claim statutes that were consolidated and are pending in U.S. District Court in Virginia.

Assistant Atty. General Thomas Saadi handled the consumer protection settlement for the Attorney General with Assistant Atty. General Phillip Rosario, head of the Consumer Protection department.

Consumers can make inquiries of the Attorney General’s office by calling 860-808-5318 during office hours or sending email to attorney.general@ct.gov You can also follow the office on Facebook at Attorney General George Jepsen and on Twitter @AGJepsen

Posted May 7, 2012, based on a press release

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USDA announces farm-to-school grants

April 17, 2012 Areawide, Business Comments Off

“School cafeterias are great places to champion U.S. agriculture and to teach students where their food comes from,” said U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Deputy Secretary Merrigan. Image source: consumerwellness.org

U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced this week that the USDA will invest in farm-to-school programs nationwide to help eligible schools improve the health and well-being of their students and connect with local agricultural producers.

“School cafeterias are great places to champion U.S. agriculture and to teach students where their food comes from,” said Deputy Secretary Merrigan.

“More and more, schools are connecting with their local farmers, ranchers and food businesses each day and these programs are a great way to bring more local offerings into school cafeterias and support U.S. producers as well. As we struggle with obesity and associated diet-related diseases, farm-to-school programs give us one important tool to help our kids make lifelong healthy eating choices,” she said.

The Farm to School Grant Program is part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which authorized and funded USDA to assist eligible entities, through grants and technical assistance, in implementing farm-to-school programs that improve access to local foods.

Farm-to-school initiatives can also include agriculture- and nutrition-education efforts such as school gardens, field trips to local farms, and cooking classes.

These grants, administered by USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), will help schools respond to the growing demand for locally-sourced foods.

In this first cycle, $5 million will be provided to USDA to support grants, technical assistance, and Federal administrative costs.

Food and Nutrition Service anticipates awarding up to $3.5 million in grants, while the remaining $1.5 million will support a combination of training and technical assistance, administrative costs, and/or additional farm-to-school grants.

Letters of Intent are suggested but not required by May 18, 2012, while proposals are due by June 15, 2012.

To assist eligible entities in preparing proposals, USDA will host a webinar related to Implementation grants at 1 p.m. Eastern time on Tuesday, May 15 and a webinar related to Planning grants at 1 p.m. Eastern time on Thursday, May 17.

For more information on webinars, the farm-to-school grant program, or USDA’s farm-to-school efforts in general, please visit the USDA Farm to School website at http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/f2s/

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFK) of 2010 marks a great win for the nearly 32 million school children that participate in the National School Lunch and the 12 million school children that participate in the School Breakfast Programs each school day.

The USDA is working to implement historic reforms that will mark the most comprehensive change to food in schools in more than a generation, which include:

  • updated school meals nutrition standards to increase fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy;
  • science-based standards for all foods and beverages sold on the school campus;
  • performance-based funding increases for schools – the first real increase in 30 years;
  • and training and technical assistance to help schools meet improved standards.

USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service administers 15 nutrition assistance programs that, in addition to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and National School Lunch Program, also include the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), and the Summer Food Service Program. Taken together, these programs comprise America’s nutrition safety net.

Posted April 18, 2012

Related links:

FarmtoSchool.org http://www.farmtoschool.org

The Connecticut Farm to School program http://www.ct.gov/doag/cwp/view.asp?A=2225&Q=299424

WK Kellogg Foundation Food & Community program grants http://www.foodandcommunity.org/What-We-Do/Grantee-Stories/National-Farm-to-School-Network-Improving-Health-of-Children.aspx

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UConn basketball coach Geno Auriemma announces plans to open restaurant in Storrs Center

April 10, 2012 Business, Local News, Sports Comments Off

UConn women's basketball head coach Geno Auriemma signs an autograph for a young fan at First Night. File photo by Vito J. Leo for HTNP Sports.

UConn women’s basketball head coach Geno Auriemma announced at a press conference this morning that he plans to open a restaurant in Storrs Center, now under construction on Route 195/Storrs Road adjacent to the University of Connecticut campus.

The 100-seat restaurant, to be called “Geno’s,” will be part of the first phase of the project, and plans are to have it open by late summer, according to its developers, Storrs Center Alliance, LLC, a subsidiary of LeylandAlliance LLC.

“Geno’s” will be the newest restaurant to be operated by Auriemma and his partners, who also own and operate “Geno’s Fast Break” at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut.

“This is an incredible opportunity for us… Storrs Center feels like home.  We hope Geno’s will be loved by the Mansfield community and campus population, as well,” Auriemma said.

“With Mr. Auriemma’s national reputation in the collegiate sports world, opening Geno’s restaurant is a natural for Storrs Center… Geno’s will be a signature restaurant, and we expect it to become a major draw,” said Howard Kaufman, Managing Member of LeylandAlliance,.

Several other restaurants have signed letters of intent to become a part of this project, which is being developed in cooperation with the Mansfield Downtown Partnership, the Town of Mansfield and EdR, a real estate company.

President of the Mansfield Downtown Partnership, Philip Lodewick said, “The Partnership has been working tirelessly with master developer LeylandAlliance to create a vibrant, mixed-use, pedestrian-oriented downtown for Mansfield.  With Geno’s restaurant joining the list of national, regional and local businesses in Storrs Center, I believe we are closer to meeting the ambitious goals we have set.”

Storrs Center is a $200 million project to create a “downtown” in Mansfield that is pedestrian friendly and that will include a mix of shops, restaurants, offices, and residential units. Applications are already being accepted from the first apartments. For more information about the project, visit www.storrscenter.com

Posted April 10, 2012

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Job Fair in Mansfield Friday March 30

March 30, 2012 Business, Local News Comments Off

On Friday, March 30, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., there will be a Job Fair at the East Brook Mall located on Route 195/Storrs Road (near the Willimantic/Mansfield town line).

Congressman Congressman Joe Courtney will participate in the Mansfield Job Fair from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., which he is co-hosting with the Eastern Workforce Investment Board (EWIB), CT Works, the Chronicle Newspaper, Quinebaug Valley Community College, the Northeastern Chamber of Commerce and the Windham Chamber of Commerce.

The job fair will connect job seekers and businesses that are currently hiring, and will offer information on veterans hiring tax credits and federal resources.

Staffers from Congressman Courtney’s office also will be on hand to help constituents with casework requests.

“In every sense, a job is the best social program of all. A job creates self-sufficiency and restores confidence people have in themselves, their family and their community,” said Congressman Courtney.

“Growing jobs – whether by opening new markets and boosting exports or by providing incentives to hire veterans – is critical to our continued economic recovery. We have more work to do to restore the American Dream, but this event will be a good boost toward achieving that goal,” he said.

Posted March 29, 2012

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CT State Police to host K-9 Olympics at UConn

A K-9 team emerges from the moat at the beginning of the obstacle course at the 2009 Connecticut Police K-9 Olympics. Photo © by Brenda Sullivan 2009.

A K-9 team emerges from the moat at the beginning of the obstacle course at the 2009 Connecticut Police K-9 Olympics. Photo © by Brenda Sullivan 2009.

The pub­lic is invited to attend the 20th annual Connecticut State Police K-9 Olympics on Saturday, July 23 on the University of Connecticut in Storrs.

Police dog teams will test their knowledge, ability, strength and stamina in the areas of obedience, obstacles, simulated apprehension and handler protection.

Police, fire, corrections, emer­gency services and local busi­nesses will have displays at this free event.

In addition, the Connecticut Child Identification Program (CHIP) will be on hand offering ID packets for children.

The packets include fingerprints, photograph, videotape and dental bite impressions, at no cost.

Food, beverages and T-shirts will be available for purchase with all proceeds benefiting the CHIPS program, the Shriners Hospitals for Children and the Hometown Foundation in support of the Special Olympics.

All proceeds from a raffle will also benefit these causes.

No pets are allowed at the event, which is scheduled at the UConn Depot Campus on Route 44 in Mansfield between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

For more information, visit the UConn Police Department web site at www.police.uconn.edu.

Posted 7-22-2011

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Slight delay for Farmer's Cow in Mansfield

July 19, 2011 Business, Local News Comments Off
courtesy thefarmerscow.com

courtesy thefarmerscow.com

Planning and zoning commission members Monday, July 18 voted to “moo-ve” the Farmer’s Cow Café public hear­ing to Aug. 1 after realizing the proposed café is within 500 feet of the Windham line.

“It was a technicality,” said Ru­dy Favretti, commission chair­man. “Because of the strange way the boundary is at that particular point, the staff didn’t realize it was that close to Windham.”

The area in question runs along the river, south of the express­way, according to Windham Town Planner James Finger, who said Windham received the notifica­tion from Mansfield and doesn’t anticipate any issues with it.

“I think it will be a nice addition over there,” said Finger. “We are hoping to see some revitalization there, it all helps the area to bring in traffic and make Willimantic a destination.”

The proposed café is slated to open at 82-86 Storrs Road, College Mart – the plaza across from the East Brook Mall. The plaza is currently anchored by The Hoot and Staples.

Farmer’s Cow, which is pro­posing to take up approximately 1,400 square feet next to Staples, is the brand name for dairy prod­ucts produced at six local family-­owned dairy farms in Woodstock, Lebanon, Hebron, Franklin, Thompson and Coventry.

It produces milk, creamers and seasonal beverages such as lem­onade, as well as fresh apple cider, eggs and ice cream.

Farmer’s Cow promotes its pro­ducts as ” fresh, humanely-pro­duced” foods free of artificial growth hormones.

Plans for the café are still in the works, but along with selling local products, it is expected to operate as an ice cream stand and sell light sandwiches.

Mansfield officials have already sent a letter to Windham officials notifying them of the special per­mit application. As a result, the Aug. 1 public hearing will be open to residents of Windham as well as those of Mansfield.

Because of the relative location, any new business means poten­tial business for the Windham/ Willimantic area as well. The East Brook Mall has a Willimantic mailing address and, as a result, has often confused people who don’t realize it is in Mansfield.

The hearing will be at 7:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers in the Audrey P. Beck Municipal Build­ing.

Posted 7-19-2011

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Windham and Storrs microgrid power projects could get additional funding

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Press Release Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced Oct. 30 that nine towns that are part of a pilot microgrid program, including Windham and Storrs, are eligible for additional funding. The …

In Mansfield, Get a jump on toy shopping

Over the Rainbow Toys in the East Brook Mall on the Mansfield/Willimantic town line is closing its doors at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 2, according to an e-blast sent to its customers today.

And between now and Nov. 2, shoppers will receive a 30 percent discount on all in-stock merchandise at the mall location – excluding Lego and Bruder toys.

UConn President responds to accusations school failed to act on sexual assault complaints

UConn President Susan Hebst. File photo.

There are circumstances under which the university should notify a student that another student who may have been suspended or expelled from campus will be returning, if they are returning. It is my understanding that this notification did not take place in a case that occurred three years ago and it should have. This process was corrected. – UConn President Susan Herbst

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