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Thompsonville Fire Chief Sues District, Commission Chair


As he gets ready to head back to work after a one-month suspension, Thomsponville Fire Chief Frank Alaimo is taking legal action against the fire district and commission, which he says is trying to force him into retirement, according to his attorney.

Alaimo was suspended last month over allegations that he failed to properly log his hours and document his daily activities while on the job, fire commission chairwoman Colleen Reidy said in December. She also cited Alaimo’s late arrival to a deadly fire on South River Street on Dec. 10.

A federal lawsuit filed Jan. 13 depicts a strained relationship between the chairwoman and chief, a 35-year veteran of the department who has held his post since 2007. According to the suit, tensions ran high between the two even before Reidy was elected to the fire commission.

The lawsuit says Reidy was part of an outspoken group pushing back against the construction of a $3.5-million fire station in 2012. Alaimo was a strong proponent of the new facility and became a target of personal attacks, according to the paperwork.

“Reidy was one of the most vocal critics of Alaimo,” the lawsuit claims.

After Reidy became chairwoman, she took “willful and intentional” action against Alaimo by failing to accommodate his medical concerns and publicizing them to the rest of the commission, according to the lawsuit.

The paperwork says Alaimo was late to the fire scene Dec. 10 because he was dealing with a chronic medical problem. Although Reidy claimed the commission was unaware of the issue, the suit quotes an email Alaimo sent her over the summer explaining his condition.

The lawsuit also says Reidy refused to allow Alaimo to order the lighter fire helmet his doctor recommended after the chief underwent surgery. He'll now need additional surgery as a result of complications from wearing the heavier helmet.

According the suit, the commission tabled the issue twice during public meetings, when it should have been addressed in a private setting, as required by law when it comes to employees’ medical histories.

Additionally, the chief was required to use sick days and vacation time to cover his medical leave of absence, which cost him about $400 per day, since firefighters are reimbursed for their unused sick time when they leave the department, according to the paperwork.

The lawsuit says another commissioner, who was also opposed to the construction of the new firehouse, told Alaimo he would be “checking up on him” to make sure the chief reported to fire scenes while off duty.

Per the Department of Labor, Alaimo should be paid his normal wages for all hours worked while off the clock, but the chief has yet to see that money, according to the suit.

Alaimo is seeking unpaid wages, punitive damages, compensation for emotional distress and for medical expenses he incurred as a result of having to wear a heavier fire helmet, attorney fees and the lightweight helmet he still has not received.

Reidy could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

New Haven, Yale to Decide Restaurant's Fate


City officials in New Haven will work with building owner Yale University Properties to determine the fate of the popular Anchor Restaurant, which boarded up its windows earlier this month.

The Anchor closed down just after New Year's amid reports of financial problems, and residents started a petition urging Yale to reconsider.

Now rumors are swirling that Yale has plans to change the storefront.

“It is a community establishment. It's not just created for the community, it was created for Yale students as well. It's a place where everybody could mingle together, feel comfortable and as they say in the old advertisement, and rub elbows with the stars of stage and screen,” said Colin Caplan, an architect and historian.

Caplan said stars like Lucille Ball, Marlon Brando and Thornton Wilder spent time there, and it would be a tragedy to see the iconic facade go.

“And the thing about the look of it, even from the inside with the half-round tables and the chairs, it's just a beautiful sight and it makes people feel like home,” said Caplan.

The city of New Haven has asked Yale University Properties for a 90-day stay on making changes. Yale has agreed.

“Obviously, it's Yale's right to have a good business in there, but we feel that the citizens and the people in New Haven have a right to the streetscape and the beautiful signs and facades that they've come to expect,” said Matthew Nemerson, New Haven’s Economic Development Administrator.

The city and Yale are working together to see what happens next.

"We are currently accepting proposals from all interested parties," Yale University Properties said in a statement. "People have many different ideas as to what should go into the space and we are listening to the various proposals. Contrary to rumors, we have no current plans to change the facade of the building."

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Catholic School Closing in Meriden


A Catholic school in Meriden is closing its doors, according to the office of the Archdiocese of Hartford, which announced the decision Wednesday night.

Saint Stanislaus School, which is located on Akron Street and serves students in Kindergarten through eighth grade, will shut down in June so students can finish out the school year.

Saint Joseph School and Our Lady of Mount Carmel School will stay open, and school officials said they're working to reassign students.

"Excellence in Catholic school education will continue to be provided to families in the city of Meriden," Catholic school superintendent Dr. Dale Hoyt said in a statement.

Police Following Leads in Enfield Arson Case


After a string of suspicious fires in the Hazardville section of Enfield, police offered reassurances to concerned neighbors at a community meeting Wednesday night, explaining that investigators are following leads and doing everything they can to catch the culprit.

Enfield Police Chief Carl Sferrazza spoke before a crowd of about 200 people alongside other fire officials at a community meeting held at the Enfield Senior Center.

“We are all on pins and needles. All on pins and needles, looking out the windows all the time,” explained Enfield resident Nancy Bailey.

Ten suspicious fires have broken out since August, mostly in vacant buildings and empty cars, according to police. Now neighbors are keeping their lights on, putting away cars and searching for answers.

“What, in fact, is being done about it? Why, why is it continuing? Why is it so difficult to catch the perpetrator?” asked Joe Lomenzo.

Because the case is still open, Sferrazza said he can't reveal details of the investigation, except to say the department is putting every resource into the manhunt.

“It’s totally unprecedented that we would have a meeting to discuss a case that is still ongoing,” said Sferrazza. “I can’t tell you it’s going to be next week or the week after, but this will end.”

Sferrazza said investigators are following leads. State and federal officials have joined the investigation, and there was even talk of bringing in a profiler.

But not everyone is satisfied with the status of the investigation.

“I think there are other resources that they need to employ and bring into the situation,” explained resident Joshua Mills, who said during the meeting that concern about another fire keeps his daughter up at night.

Police will post fliers around town offering a reward of up to $2,500 for information leading to an arrest.

Until a suspect is behind bars, police are reminding residents to keep their lights on, lock their cars, and keep an eye out for anything suspicious.

Elderly Man Seriously Hurt in North Canaan Blaze


An elderly resident was airlifted to Hartford Hospital for treatment of burns on his face after his home burst into flames in North Canaan on Wednesday afternoon, according to fire officials at the scene.

Firefighters said they found the man outside the home on Salisbury Road when they arrived shortly before 3:30 p.m. The resident was taken by ambulance to Sharon Hospital, then airlifted to Hartford Hospital for further treatment.

Fire ravaged the home over a period of several hours. Officials said the house is a loss.

The state fire marshal arrived on the property Wednesday evening to investigate the cause of the blaze.

Authorities have not publicly identified the fire victim or released any additional information on his condition.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Police Seize Guns in Hartford


Hartford police said they recovered several guns while serving a warrant in the 200 block of Maple Avenue on Thursday morning.

The area is safe, according to a Tweet from police.

Check back for updates.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Police Respond to 2-Car Crash in South Windsor


One person has been taken to Hartford Hospital to be evaluated after a two-car head-on crash in South Windsor on Thursday morning.

Police said the crash happened at the busy intersection of Buckland Road and Deming Street around 7:50 a.m. and the injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.

The roadway was cleared at 8:30 a.m.

Police ask anyone who witnessed the crash to call Officer Stephen Hoover of the Traffic Unit at 860-644-2551.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Hartford Interim Asst. Fire Chief Demoted: Sources


The NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters have learned there's been a shakeup in the Hartford Fire Department.

Interim Asst. Fire Chief Terry Waller has been demoted, sources told the Troubleshooters.

Waller, who was the ranking officer at the scene of the October blaze where firefighter Kevin Bell died in the line of duty, submitted a letter to Hartford Fire Chief Carlos Huertas on Wednesday explaining that he feels stripped of responsibility.

The Troubleshooters exclusively obtained a copy of that letter.

"This is to inform you that I will be returning to my permanent position as Deputy Chief in District 1, effective immediately," the letter begins. "I have been Interim Assistant Chief for more than 1 year and it was a much appreciated opportunity, however I have experienced my authority to get things done within the department diminish."

Waller went on to explain that all division heads and deputy chiefs now report directly to Huertas and no longer to him. He also said he's been excluded from helping to make personnel assignments and transfers.

"As a member of senior management I have had no role in assisting with the management of the department budget," the letter continues. "Also, by not permitting me to have any support staff has made it difficult for me to successfully carry out my responsibilities."

Multiple sources within the department told the Troubleshooters that a notice went out to the entire department informing them that Waller had been moved down.

The chief said in a statement Wednesday afternoon that Waller's change of rank came at his own request.

"Terry Waller has served the Hartford Fire Department for many years. He is entitled to make decisions regarding his own career," Huertas wrote. "I respect his decision to resume his duties and thank him for his service as Interim Assistant Chief."

Huertas said Waller's responsibilities will be divided among other members of the department command staff.

"Moving forward, we will give careful consideration as to how best to fill this position for the benefit of our Fire Department and the people of Hartford," he wrote.

Despite being the ranking officer on scene at the fatal fire in October, the Troubleshooters have learned that Waller never took command that night.

Sources told the Troubleshooters that Waller's demotion relates to a recent conflict with Huertas.

"By returning to the position of Deputy Chief now you will be able to select a permanent Assistant Chief that you trust and have confidence in," Waller's letter to Huertas concludes. "Wishing you continued success."

Students Evaluated As Precaution After School Bus Crash


A school bus was involved in a minor crash in Windham on Thursday morning, according to police.

The school bus was on Windham Road, approaching Windham Center Road, when a white pickup struck the back of the bus, police said.

There was minor damage to the bus and no injuries are reported.

Some students were on the bus, but no one was injured. 

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Protests Cause Mass. Traffic Delays


Massachusetts State Police say protesters with the Boston contingent of "Black Lives Matter" shut down two sections of a busy Boston highway on Thursday morning.

Police say protesters blocked I-93 northbound at East Milton Square south of the city and I-93 southbound at Mystic Avenue in Medford north of the city around 7:30 a.m. The protests caused massive backups during what is already typically a busy commute.

Police say the protesters in Milton chained themselves to 1,200-pound barrels.

State police said 17 people from the Medford protest and six from the Milton protest were arrested and are being processed.

One person was seen holding a sign that reads "united against racism," and the protesters issued a statement saying they wanted to "disrupt business as usual" and protest "police and state violence against black people" in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

"Today, our nonviolent direct action is meant to expose the reality that Boston is a city where white commuters and students use the city and leave, while Black and Brown communities are targeted by police, exploited, and displaced," said Katie Seitz, one of the activists.

"We must remember, Ferguson is not a faraway Southern city. black men, women and gender-nonconforming people face disproportionately higher risk of profiling, unjust incarceration, and death," added activist Nguyen Thi Minh Thu. "Police violence is everywhere in the United States."

Failure to indict police blamed for the recent deaths of black men at the hands of white police in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York City have led to protests nationwide.

As of 8:30 a.m., officials confirm that the protesters on I-93 southbound in Medford have been removed and all lanes are open.

NECN's Jeff Saperstone reports that Boston firefighters were called in to help out in Milton, and used chainsaws and bandsaws to cut through the barrels and free the protesters. He said all of t he protesters had been removed as of 9:40 a.m. and all lanes are expected to reopen shortly.

Photo Credit: Jeff Saperstone
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Prospect Street in Hartford Blocked Off


The area around 26 Prospect Street in Hartford is blocked off after either a gas leak or gas main break.

It is not yet clear if there are evacuations.

An NBC Connecticut crew is on the way to the scene.

Check back for updates.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Drugs and Guns Seized During Torrington Bust


Drugs and several weapons were seized during a bust at a multifamily home on Smith Street in Torrington on Wednesday night.

Torrington Police narcotics and city detectives raided 30 Smith Street to serve a search warrant for drugs and said they seized drugs and a large number of guns.

Police will be holding a news conference this morning at the police station to discuss the bust.

2.2 Magnitude Quake Is 12th Since Last Week


There was yet another earthquake in Eastern Connecticut this morning and that makes 12 earthquakes since last Thursday.

On Tuesday,geophysicists from Weston Observatory at Boston College, including Justin Starr, visited the area to investigate the frequent activity and brought seismometers to detect movement in the surface of the earth.

Their goal is to find the epicenter and determine whether eastern Connecticut is experiencing an "earthquake swarm," similar to one that the Bar Harbor area of Maine experienced several years ago.

Star said earthquakes are not abnormal from time to time in New England, and they sometimes come as "earthquake swarms," which he described as several earthquakes in fairly quick succession.

For instance, there were more than 40 earthquakes in the Bar Harbor area of Maine over several weeks in 2006 and 2007, but the activity then died down, Starr said.

"Is this on the same scale as that? Too soon to tell. It may just die down or it may capture a few more quakes, but it's no surprise to us," Starr said.

Earthquakes, centered in Plainfield, have rattled Eastern Connecticut every day for several days and 12 times since last Thursday. 

On Friday morning, the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection will hold a multi-agency briefing at the State Emergency Operations Center to discuss the state’s preparedness should earthquakes continue and begin to cause damage.

Later in the day, a public forum will be held to provide information and answer residents' questions.

The Board of Selectmen in Plainfield, along with the Plainfield Police Department and Office of Emergency Management will hold an informational session at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, January 16, at Plainfield High School Auditorium about the earthquakes.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, there have been small earthquakes in New England since colonial times, with moderately damaging quakes happening every few decades and smaller earthquakes around twice per year.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty
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Man Says Shooting Cops "Easy: NYPD


A 32-year-old Brooklyn man was arrested this week after he allegedly said it would be "easy to shoot a police officer" and then pointed an iPhone at two officers sitting in their patrol car at a traffic light, according to the NYPD.

Unique Johnson was arrested Tuesday night after two police say he allegedly pointed an iPhone at them as though it were a gun and mimicked a shooting motion twice when the SUV he was driving pulled up next to the officers’ patrol car at West 125th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Police said Johnson's car sped off once the light turned green, leaving the two officers terrified by the ordeal.

"I absolutely thought we were dead," said one of the officers.

The officers pulled over Johnson’s SUV a moment later, the NYPD says. When they asked Johnson what he was thinking when he pointed the phone at them, he allegedly said he was showing one of the six coworkers in his vehicle how easy he thought it would be to shoot an on-duty cop.

Johnson is charged with menacing a police officer, harassment, disorderly conduct and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle. It's not clear if he has an attorney.

The arrest comes days after the NYPD issued a memo to all rank-and-file officers telling them to stay alert for possible attacks following the deaths of three police officers in last week's terror attacks in France and the re-release of an Islamic State video calling for supporters to kill authority figures.

The memo advises officers to pay attention to approaching cars and pedestrians as well as their hands. It also told officers stationed with cruisers at fixed locations to split up, with one officer sitting inside the car and another standing outside to look for possible threats.

Johnson is one of nearly 30 people to be arrested after making alleged threats against police officers following the deaths of officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, who were both shot and killed while sitting in their patrol car in Brooklyn last month.

The department says it has investigated 126 threats against officers since the shootings.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Wedding Nightmares Over Pope Visit


Nearly everything was set by the end of August.

The church was chosen, hall booked. The groomsmen would wear gray tuxes and light blue dresses for the bridesmaids. At the reception, there will be touches of the Jersey Shore — the place where Brittany Lowell and Jeff Doney first went steady.

“I'm not a huge fan of flowers, so I am incorporating other things in place of flowers and I am planning on making everything — bouquets, centerpieces, place cards,” Lowell said of her upcoming wedding on Saturday, September 26.

Everything was going smoothly and then last November planning hit a big roadblock: Pope Francis.

The leader of the world’s largest Christian church confirmed he'd make his first trip to the United States and spending three days in Philadelphia from September 25-27 to take part in the World Meeting of Families conference and deliver mass to some 2 million people.

“As soon as that happened I went into panic mode,” the 26-year-old legal secretary and dance instructor from Northeast Philly said.

It’s not the serious influx of visitors or the traffic or the increased security that is causing a snag, rather, finding a place for the newlyweds-to-be and their guests to stay.

Anticipating the pontiff’s trip, hotels blacked out large portions of the 30,000 rooms in the Philadelphia region to accommodate visitors for the Catholic conference and historic visit. The couple called hotels around their venue in Southampton, Bucks County, in Philadelphia and New Jersey. Each time, they were told there was either no room at the inn or they needed to book extended stays, Lowell said.

“It’s been a nightmare,” she said. “A lot of hotels said that they were completely booked and the ones that weren’t said they were $300 a night and had a three-night minimum. No one’s going to pay $1,000 to stay for our wedding and we can’t ask anyone to do that.”

Lowell and Doney have guests traveling from South Carolina, the Jersey Shore and Delaware County. She says even though the latter two are driving distance, they’re concerned about people driving home after the nuptials.

Adam D’Alonzo and Amy Vandegrift have the same concerns. They booked their wedding for Friday, September 25 in Ambler, Montgomery County. That’s the day Pope Francis is set to arrive. They went far in their planning before finding out booking hotels is near impossible.

“We do have family coming from California and Florida. I have family from South Philly as well,” D’Alonzo, a 27-year-old nurse from Bensalem, told NBC10. “I don’t know what the area is going to be like around that time, too, with all the people in town, so even driving may be a problem.”

Like the other couple, they called hotels all over, but have been unable find reasonable rooms. They considered looking in Atlantic City, reaching out to bed-and-breakfasts or asking family to house people from far away, but are still looking for a miracle.

“We’re kinda hoping that some hotels are going to open up,” D’Alonzo said.

“I think some people were hoping for the hotel thing. I think they’re kind of disappointed by it, but I don’t really have a choice,” added Vandegrift, a 23-year-old nursing student.

Ed Grose, Executive Director of the Greater Philadelphia Hotel Association, said the only real option for couples is to move their wedding date.

“The papal visit is the biggest event in our generation in Philadelphia and the economic impact and the jobs and the exposure for the city is priceless,” he said. “I’m very sympathetic and I hope that the 10 months’ notice was enough.”

Cathy Gough and Jason DeCampli did move their date. Their Great Gasby-inspired wedding was originally set for Saturday, September 26, at Stotesbury Mansion right off Rittenhouse Square. The square is where they got engaged.

DeCampli, a 38-year-old architect from Woodbury, New Jersey, said some hotels would begin the room blocking process before turning around and saying rooms were blacked out. Not getting help from the hotels, he called the city. He didn’t fare any better.

“It was interesting process and it was hard. No one would help. Do I have any options? We’re spending a ton of money, it would be nice if someone could offer some suggestions,” he said.

Luckily, their venue was able to switch the date without penalty and they hadn’t booked many vendors.

“I’m glad I’m a procrastinator, I guess,” said Gough, a 36-year-old high school librarian.

But for others, moving the date is not such an easy decision.

“If you don’t do the wedding, you have to bet on 10-plus vendors being able to change the date,” said Lowell. “We would lose so much money.”

Grose said he hopes vendors would give couples a break with rescheduling their weddings. “Something of the magnitude of a papal visit, I would hope that the vendors of a wedding would understand and work with their clients,” he said.

Lowell was able to secure a small room block at a Bucks County hotel, but expects her 200-person head count to drop. They included a warning to their guests in Save the Dates sent out this weekend.

“Something that’s so positive for the city and so positive for Catholics is turning out to be not so positive for me,” she said. “I’m honestly surprised that the priest hasn’t called to cancel it yet. That was my first worry.”

Still, all three couples agree Pope Francis’ visit is great for the city and they’re trying to make the best of the situation.

“We definitely say we’ll never forget it. We’ll take the memory,” D’Alonzo said.

Quipped Gough: “If it had to happen, the pope seems like a pretty cool guy. If the date had to be moved for someone, he’s a good reason."

Contact Vince Lattanzio at 610.668.5532, vince.lattanzio@nbcuni.com or follow @VinceLattanzio on Twitter and Facebook.

Photo Credit: AP/Toni Cameron Photography
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Police Arrest Suspect in Norwalk Armed Robbery


Norwalk police have arrested a man accused of robbing a city convenience store at gunpoint in November.

James Thompson, 25, of Norwalk, has been charged with first-degree robbery, fifth-degree larceny and conspiracy to commit both robbery and larceny.

Police said he's one of two people linked to the armed robbery of the In and Out Variety Store at 178 Main Street the evening of Nov. 25.

Hector Diaz was charged in connection with the robbery on Jan. 6 after officers caught him burglarizing a post office in South Norwalk late last month, according to police.

Thompson's bond was set at $500,000. He's due in court Jan. 23.

Anyone with information about the robbery is urged to call the Norwalk Police Department Detective Division at 203-854-3011.

Photo Credit: Norwalk Police Department

Hamden Police Arrest 2 in Drug Bust


Hamden police arrested two people after a drug raid at 178 Bassett Street in New Haven on Wednesday.

When police executed the search warrant yesterday, they seized 36 bags of crack cocaine and 22 grams of marijuana, worth a combined $700, police said.

Dennis Baldwin, 22, of 178 Bassett Street, was charged with possession of narcotics, possession of narcotics with the intent to sell, possession of narcotics with the intent to sell within 1,500 feet of a school, possession of marijuana and possession of marijuana with the intent to sell.

Baldwin, who was detained at police headquarters on a $50,000 bond, is scheduled to appear in court in Meriden on January 28.

Keron Troutman, 29, of 23 Homestead Avenue in Hamden, was found at the scene with marijuana and was charged with possession of marijuana and possession of marijuana with the intent to sell, police said.

He was detained at police headquarters on a $2,500 bond and is scheduled to appear in court in Meriden on Jan. 28.

Police Search for Car That Hit Man in Plainfield


Police are searching for the Jeep Grand Cherokee that injured a Moosup resident in a hit-and-run crash in the Central Village section of Plainfield on Wednesday morning.

According to police, a 25-year-old Moosup man was struck by a car while walking westbound on East Main Street around 7:45 a.m. Wednesday.

Officers found the Jeep's sideview mirror not far from the scene and determined that it belonged to a 1999-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee.

The victim was taken to the Day Kimball Hospital in Putnam for treatment of injuries.

Anyone with information on the crash is urged to call Plainfield police at 860-564-0804.

Millionaires Make Up Half of Congress: Report


Congress is getting richer and seeing its number of millionaire members grow, as average Americans continue to struggle to recover from years of economic distress, according to a new report.

The median net worth of a member of Congress hit nearly $1.03 million by the end of 2013, an analysis of financial disclosure forms by the Center for Responsive Politics found. That figure, up 2.5 percent fron the previous year, makes the body's average elected representative 18 times richer than the average American household, which one recent study found was worth about $56,000 the same year.

In all, Center for Responsive Politics identified 271 millionaires elected to federal office— about half the total membership of the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. That's up slighly from the year before, when the group counted  at least 268 millionaires.

 “At a time when income inequality is much debated, the representatives we choose are overwhelmingly affluent,” CRP’s Executive Director Sheila Krumholz said in a statement. “Whether voters elect them because they are successful or because people of modest means do not run, or for other reasons, is unclear, but struggling Americans should not assume that their elected officials understand their circumstances.“

The Senate is the wealthier of the two bodies, with a median net worth of $2.97 million compared to the House of Representatives' $843,000.

GOP Rep. Darrell Issa of California led both houses with an estimated net worth of $448.4 million. At $254 million, Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., was the wealthiest senator, the group found.

Not all members boast anywhere close to those nine-figure sums, though. About two dozen members, including Rep. David Valadao, a Republican from California who was named Congress' least wealthy member, reported being in the red.

Click here to read the full report.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Aquarion Water Company to Credit Connecticut Customers


Aquarion Water Company announced Thursday that it will begin crediting Connecticut customers at a rate of 5.6 percent on each billing statement over the next three years.

It comes as the result of a federal tax rebate. According to the water company, customers will receive a total of $29 million in credit over the next few years.

Aquarion will also delay its next general rate increase, the company said Thursday.

“While we are lowering water bills for our customers, we will continue to make prudent investments to improve and maintain the integrity of our system’s infrastructure,” Aquarion President and CEO Charles Firlotte said in a statement Thursday. “Customers should also continue to employ water conservation measures. While their water bills are lower, the overall water supply is still finite and it is more important than ever to conserve it.”

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