What's happening in Connecticut? Here's a collection of trending topics from around the state.
Who are those masked men?
Like any good masked vigilante, New Haven’s Sabir Abdussabur has his origin story. In 2014, he was bicycling when he was hit by an SUV and dragged along the street. Afterward, he donned a black suit and hockey mask with bicycle chest armor, called himself the Masked Maniac and went on patrol, enforcing safe driving and pedestrian practices. This summer, Abdussabur announced that several others had joined him in a group he calls the Masked Maniax. The Maniax are not armed and are not focused on violent crime. “If we do encounter other criminal stuff we have a protocol of, ‘if you can handle it, handle it. If you can’t, know where the cops are,’ ” Abdussabur told New Haven Register reporter Clare Dignan. So far, it’s unclear if they are making the streets of New Haven safer, but they are certainly making them stranger.
Sexual abuse and the Boys & Girls Clubs
A six-month investigation by Hearst Connecticut Media, of which Connecticut Magazine is a member, recently revealed that 250 victims in 30 states say they were sexually abused as children at the hands of employees, volunteers and other members of Boys & Girls Clubs of America affiliates. The 95 cases found in the investigation, including ones in Greenwich, Bridgeport and Fairfield, had criminal convictions and civil lawsuits with various outcomes spanning decades. Since the reporting was published in mid-August, more cases have come to light and the numbers are expected to grow. The investigation, which involved examining thousands of criminal and civil court documents across the U.S., is believed to be the first comprehensive national accounting of child sex abuse tied to Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Within 24 hours of publication, the organization announced that it would immediately take measures to improve the safety of the children it serves, including new mandatory annual audits of every local club, a national day of safety drills and training and improvements to how transparent it is with parents and communities about allegations of abuse. The group also said it would hire an outside firm to conduct a top-to-bottom review of safety procedures. To read more about the project, go to ctinsider.com/at-risk
Making homeowners whole again
It’s a mix of good news and bad news for people in northeastern Connecticut whose homes have crumbling foundations. The good news is that more than 150 homeowners plagued by pyrrhotite in the concrete beneath their houses are expected to be back in their homes by next fall. Repairs will be paid for through the Connecticut Foundation Solutions Indemnity Company, which was set up earlier this year after insurance companies refused to pay to fix the problem, a cost that averages nearly $200,000. The company has identified about 1,100 claimants so far this year. In all, several thousand homeowners — with some estimates going much higher — are impacted by the problem. The bad news? The company not only had to stop accepting new homeowners into the program due to lack of funding from the state, but it’s also losing its administrator in October. A national search is underway to find his replacement.
Bobby V’s playhouse
Students and athletes at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield now have a whole lot more space to play. In late August, the school opened a $21.8 million athletic complex complete with an indoor track, bowling center, an 18-bike spin center, a 45-foot climbing wall, and exercise and weight-training rooms. The nearly 60,000-square-foot facility is named after the school’s executive athletics director, former Major League Baseball manager and player Bobby Valentine. The Stamford resident took a key role in seeing the project come to completion, doing fundraising and donating his own money. Before the new complex opened, the school’s dozens of Division I and club teams shared the much-smaller William H. Pitt Center.
The circle of living
Remember the milkman, who would deliver farm-fresh milk in glass bottles right to your doorstep and take them away once you were done? Well, unless you’re of a certain age, probably not. But, trust us, it was a thing! While the milkman might be gone for good, the concept of circular shopping — in which containers and packaging are reused rather than disposed of — is making a comeback. A new shopping platform called Loop (loopstore.com) recently expanded to Connecticut, offering hundreds of brand-name products, everything from shampoo and detergent to orange juice and oatmeal, all in reusable containers of metal and glass rather than plastic. The idea is that no containers ever end up in the trash or recycling bin. Instead, you order products from Loop, they deliver them to you in a tote, and the containers are picked up when you’re done, to be cleaned and reused. At last check, we didn’t see any milk offered on the Loop website. But we can still hope.
Getting out of Connecticut?
An online poll this summer found that nearly half of state residents planned on moving from Connecticut in the next five years. We’re not sure if that means eventually the state will be half full or half empty. In the meantime, here’s a closer look at the numbers, as compiled by InformCT.
47 percent of survey respondents said it was likely they’d be moving out of state over the next five years
505: the number of residents who responded to the online survey
4%: the survey’s margin of error