July 30, 2021
In This Issue:
From Paddi's Desk
CT Agency Corner
Municipal Roundup
From Inside The Golden Dome
This Day in CT History
Governor Lamont Nominates Dr. Manisha Juthani as Public Health Commissioner

Governor Lamont announced today that he is nominating Dr. Manisha Juthani to serve as Connecticut's commissioner of the Department of Public Health.

Dr. Juthani is an infectious diseases physician at Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, where she specializes in the diagnosis, management, and prevention of infections in older adults. Her most recent area of interest is at the interface of infectious diseases and palliative care, including the role of antibiotics at the end of life.
 
She completed her undergraduate training at the University of Pennsylvania, attended Cornell University Medical College, completed residency training at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Campus, and was a chief resident at Memorial-Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. She arrived at Yale School of Medicine in 2002 for infectious diseases fellowship training and joined the faculty full-time in 2006. She assumed the role of infectious diseases fellowship program director in 2012.

Dr. Juthani will succeed Dr. Deidre Gifford as head of DPH. For the last year, Commissioner Gifford has been serving dual roles, acting also as the Commissioner of the Department of Social Services. The Governor is now asking Dr. Gifford to take on an additional role: to become the Senior Advisor to the Governor for Health and Human Services. In this new role, Dr. Gifford will be tasked with coordinating a multi-agency approach among the state’s nine health and human services agencies to improving health and healthcare in Connecticut.

The Mayor’s races are in full swing throughout the state of CT. This week there were two big news events in two of the state’s biggest Mayoral races. First, in New Haven incumbent Mayor Justin Elicker was unanimously endorsed by the Democratic party this week. Challenger Karen DuBois-Walton announced just before the caucus that she would drop out of the race altogether after counting the votes and realizing that she would not get the party’s nomination. There was a third candidate vying for the Democratic endorsement, Mayce Torres, who received no nominations and no votes in support at the convention. Mayor Elicker will likely face off against Republican John Carlson in November, but this week essentially sealed his re-election with Democrats outnumbering Republicans in the City of New Haven by a wide margin. Mayor Elicker thanked Dubois-Walton, who served under previous Mayor DeSefano, during his nomination speech and thanked her for her “incredible history in the city” and that “she threw herself into this campaign with endless energy.”
 
In Stamford, State Representative Caroline Simmons had a surprise upset in the Democratic convention this week, getting the nomination narrowly against incumbent Mayor David Martin. The deciding factor was two votes during the convention with a 21-19 victory. Representative Simmons after the victory “I couldn’t be more optimistic about the future of Stamford and all the potential and possibility that lies ahead for our city.” Immediately after the vote this week, Mayor Martin announced that he would force a primary suggesting that many residents have been telling him that he’s doing a great job.” Mayor Martin will need to gather 5 percent of registered Democrat’s signatures by August 11th to force the primary.
Bear With Me

In 2021, Connecticut is experiencing rapid growth...in its bear population. This year, there have been 5,710 bear sightings in our state, which is over twice as many sightings as there were a decade ago. This includes 436 sightings in Simsbury, 451 in Avon, 188 in Torrington, 149 in Bristol, 131 in New Milford. The impetus in bear sightings has been felt heavily by Connecticut residents, whose trash cans, grills, and bird feeders have been ransacked by the beasts. Simsbury, who has been hit the hardest, has prohibited bird feeders until the fall. While bear attacks on our trash cans are prevalent, bear attacks on humans are rare, less than 2 per year in North America. The increase in bear reports is actually more worrying for their sake than ours. 63 bears were killed in road crashes in CT in 2018

The hunting of bears is illegal in the state of Connecticut according to Chapter 490 of the State's general statutes. Every year, Western Connecticut legislators submit legislation to allow bear hunting in Litchfield County, the part of the state with the highest bear populations. Just this year, a group of Republican State Senators offered an amendment to SB 925, which would have authorized DEEP to adopt regulations for legal bear hunting in the state writ large, however it was rejected by the majority.

CT's bear population is currently around 1200, and is growing at a rate of 10-15 percent per year. DEEP says that Connecticut can support 3,000 bears, which seems like a high number given how many encounters we are experiencing today, with a population of half that number. The legislature may need to act in the coming years to address the state's bear problem.
July 30th, 1970: Powder Ridge: The Epic Rock Festival That Never Was

Today in 1970, a sea of nearly 30,000 concertgoers circumvented police roadblocks and hiked up Beseck Mountain in Middlefield, Connecticut with high hopes of attending a rock concert — and party — for the ages. In an attempt to ride the momentum of the wildly popular rock n’ roll mega concert at Woodstock in 1969, the owners of the Powder Ridge ski area in Middlefield organized a multi-day festival, headlined by some of the biggest rock stars and singer-songwriters of the day. Scheduled acts included the Allman Brothers, Van Morrison, Janis Joplin, Jethro Tull, James Taylor, Chuck Berry, Fleetwood Mac, Grand Funk Railroad, and more.
However, local residents around Powder Ridge, alarmed at the prospect of Woodstock-style chaos, crowds, and property destruction coming to their neighborhood, were able to secure a legal injunction from the local Planning and Zoning committee that prohibited the concert from taking place. Still, nearly half of the expected concertgoers showed up the day before the festival was scheduled to begin anyway, either ignorant of the show’s cancellation or in spite of it, and camped out on the slopes of Powder Ridge for days. Local news reports described wild scenes of hard partying, including rampant drug use and naked swimming in a polluted pond. Triage centers were set up by local first responders and volunteer doctors to handle the dozens of cases of severe drug overdoses that occurred during the course of the mass encampment.
The court-ordered injunction remained firm, however, and none of the headliner acts ever showed up at the ski resort. After the crowds finally started to dissipate the following weekend, local volunteers — including a fair number of concertgoers — remained to help clean up the trash-strewn hillsides of Powder Ridge. It was arguably the greatest rock concert that never was, today in Connecticut history.

The full article from the CT Humanities Council can be found here.
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