All dogs are good dogs, but Sonny might be just a little bit better. Sonny is a K-9 and something of a star on social media. His Instagram profile, @clinton_police_K9, has more than 76,000 Instagram followers as of early March.
Cpl. Jason Frey is Sonny’s human partner, and Clinton Police Chief Vincent DeMaio says the pair’s following is a testament to their impact. “You can see how the outreach of Sonny and Jason have brought Clinton across the globe,” he says. “He’s got fans, honestly, all across the globe. We get mail from Brazil and Germany and Ireland and Japan. It’s amazing the way people connect to the team.”
Frey says his success on social media is because of how honest the posts are about what life is like with a K-9. “I wasn’t trying to portray anything other than what we actually do at work and what we actually had for a home life and how he was treated,” he says.
‘Legacy denied’ … for now
For two years, a Norwich woman named Tamara Lanier and Harvard University have been locked in a legal battle over the ownership of photos of a 19th-century slave and his daughter. Lanier says she is the descendant of Renty, who labored on a South Carolina plantation in the pre-Civil War era, and his daughter Delia. The daguerreotype images were commissioned in 1850 by Louis Agassiz, a Harvard professor who used the photos to promote a theory of racial differences that was, in turn, used to justify slavery. Lanier and Harvard agree that, due to their enslaved condition, Renty and Delia were not able to freely give their consent to be photographed. But in its argument to retain possession, Harvard has said the images hold historical significance and are “powerful visual indictments of the horrific institution of slavery.” (The story of Lanier and her quest was featured in our May 2020 issue.)
In March, a Massachusetts judge dismissed Lanier’s lawsuit, saying that since Renty and Delia did not own the photographs, their descendant is not entitled to them. “Fully acknowledging the continuing impact slavery has had in the United States, the law, as it currently stands, does not confer a property interest to the subject of a photograph regardless of how objectionable the photograph’s origins may be,” Justice Camille F. Sarrouf of Middlesex County Superior Court wrote in a judgment.
Lanier says she plans to appeal the ruling, telling The New York Times that the judge had “completely missed the humanistic aspect of this, where we’re talking about the patriarch of a family, a subject of bedtime stories, whose legacy is still denied to these people.”
Time’s up for Daylight Saving Time?
What time is it? One proposal is seeking to make the answer to that question a lot simpler. The bill, which Rep. Kurt Vail, R-Stafford, has submitted for five years running, this year has received the support of several legislators on both sides of the aisle. The goal is not to move off Eastern Standard Time, though that would be the effect should the bill become law. The intention, however, is to do away with Daylight Saving Time. Essentially, the next time we “spring forward,” we would never again “fall back.”
“I just think it’s a practical means to handle something that we don’t need anymore,” says state Sen. Cathy Osten, D-Sprague.
According to Vail, Daylight Saving Time results in more car accidents, wreaks havoc with schedules and sleep, increases mental health concerns and is, at best, anachronistic and useless. “There’s a lot of health issues with it,” Vail says. “Obviously the world doesn’t rotate differently but our bodies are programmed to this time frame.”
The bill would not take effect until all other New England states, from New York north, did the same. The Connecticut bill is tied to similar legislation in Massachusetts, which is tied to similar bills in Vermont, and so on.
But not everyone is in favor. When the bill came to a public hearing in 2019, Jane Stephens, a resident of Bolton, spoke vociferously against it. “I believe this is a completely absurd idea. What a nightmare it would be to be out of step with the rest of the Eastern Time Zone,” she said at the time. “I hope the legislature would deal with important issues facing the state and stop wasting time with ridiculous nonsense like this bill.”
A pandemic housing boom?
In 2019, more people were moving out of Connecticut than moving in. The state saw a net population loss of 7,520 people. In 2020, amid the coronavirus pandemic, the numbers flipped and the state gained 16,500 residents, according to the state Department of Economic and Community Development. “People are rediscovering the Connecticut lifestyle a little bit and knowing what it means to have a little bit of extra space, maybe a little bit of a backyard,” Gov. Ned Lamont said at a press conference earlier this year. “If you think this may not be the last time we ever have to quarantine, Connecticut’s not a bad place to be.”
As a result of the influx of new blood, home prices in Connecticut have risen as much as 20 percent, along with a drastically decreasing available supply. According to The Associated Press, which used data from real estate analyst The Warren Group, the $300,000 median sale price for a single-family home in Connecticut over 2020 was an all-time high. That represents a 15.4 percent increase from 2019.
“We recognize that our data plan was new for our customers in the Northeast.While only a very small percentage of customers need additional data, we are providing them with more time to become familiar with the new plan.”
— A statement on Comcast’s website as it announced in February that it would delay raising prices and capping data until 2022. The plan had been to begin placing a cap on data usage and charging customers more when they crossed that threshold, beginning in March; but those plans changed after attorneys general in several states raised questions about the timing.
Make a Beeline for a new bike path
The state’s biking routes will take a major spin forward in the coming years. A $600,000 state grant will help to construct the proposed Beeline Trail, which will, when it’s built, connect the New Britain CTfastrak hub to the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail, Connecticut’s longest bike trail. Intended for commuters and recreational cyclists, the Beeline Trail will connect New Britain to Plainville with five miles of trail when it’s completed in the next few years. The grant, authorized by Gov. Ned Lamont in January, will enable a section of the trail to be built in the heart of New Britain.
“This means we have funding for two of three sections in New Britain. I think we’re going to be able to do 95 percent of it off road,” New Britain’s public works director Mark Moriarty told the Hartford Courant.
As Moriarty told the Courant, the more work gets completed, the more likely additional funding becomes. “The more you perform and get done, the more your project is fundable going forward,” he said. “This will be another really good trail connection giving accessibility around the state by alternate means of travel.”