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Sound Bites: Incorporated in 1784, New Haven starts to envision 2034

The New Haven Green.
Molly Ingram
The New Haven Green.

Good morning. New Haven has started its Vision 2034, a citywide planning process to create its 10-year comprehensive plan. Mayor Justin Elicker said this week at the first community meeting that the plan will act as a blueprint for the city's future and a policy guide for completing its planning goals over the next decade. 

The community meetings involve residents in planning, providing input on the plan's goals, priorities and actions — including housing, neighborhood planning, land use, economic development, transportation and sustainability. The plan coincides with New Haven's 250th anniversary as an incorporated city from 1784 to 2034. 

Here’s a bite-sized look at what else we’re hearing:

Connecticut’s film tax credits were awarded without a completed application. The state’s three media tax credits — designated to incentivize film, television, digital media and animation producers — are under scrutiny after a report from the state Auditors of Public Accounts revealed hundreds of millions of dollars in film and television production tax credits were awarded without completed applications. In some cases, recipients even submitted applications late — well outside the 90-day window. The voucher program, administered by the state Department of Economic and Community Development, was found to improperly use fees associated with the application process and lack internal controls. The industry has faulted the tax credits for causing revenue loss for large companies.

Ridgefield finally considers a fair rent commission on Jan. 24 despite opposition from some officials and residents. Connecticut required towns with at least 25,000 residents to create fair rent commissions by July 2023. Ridgefield and Greenwich are the only municipalities that have yet to comply with the state law. The commission’s activities include receiving tenant complaints, conducting hearings and reducing or delaying rent increases if they decide an increase to be unreasonable. No penalty exists for towns that fail to meet the July 1 deadline for forming a commission. Officials and some landlords said the commission would be a government overreach.

The owner of three Connecticut hospitals owes the state $67 million in taxes. The state has filed three tax liens against Prospect Medical Holdings for failing to pay back taxes. Officials said the state is defending its interest if the hospital chain files for bankruptcy or is sold. Prospect is negotiating with Yale New Haven Health to sell Prospect Waterbury, Manchester Hospital and Rockville hospitals for $435 million, but the deal needs final approval from the state Office of Health Strategies.

Long Island has the most Regeneron semifinalists. Long Island has the nation’s most high school students selected for this year’s prestigious Regeneron Science Talent Search. The 50 high school seniors from both public and private schools completed projects from artificial intelligence to wildfire origins, attitudes toward the war in Ukraine, and the neurobiology of suicide. The top 300 students will compete in Washington, D.C. for a piece of the $1.8 million prize money. Each scholar and their school will be awarded $2,000.

Gov. Kathy Hochul wants Native American art removed from the state Capitol. Hochul said the artwork of Native Americans in the state Capitol building could be offensive to Indigenous people. This arises at the time when towns and cities are considering removing statues of Christopher Columbus from public squares or government buildings over his treatment of Indigenous people. Native American activists have complained about murals in the governor's reception room, which depict New York's early battles and the expansion efforts of former President Theodore Roosevelt, a proud Long Island resident.

Connecticut joins the fight to ban the sale of military-grade ammo to civilians. State Attorney General William Tong and 20 state attorneys general are calling on the White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention to investigate reports that a federally funded contractor, Lake City Army Ammunition Plant in Missouri, has produced military-grade ammunition for sale to civilians. Tong said Lake City has become the "ammunition of choice" for mass shootings — while the federal government is investing over $860 million to improve production at Lake City. The coalition is asking the federal office to guarantee future military production contracts to prohibit the sale of military-subsidized weapons and ammunition to civilians.

Hartford Healthcare teams up with Hims & Hers. The partnership allows licensed medical providers on the telehealth company’s platform to refer patients to Hartford Healthcare's primary and specialty care network when necessary, allowing them to provide care for complex health histories, additional in-person follow-up care, or conditions not currently supported by the platform. Those include specialist care services like cardiovascular health, diabetes and prostate care. Hartford Healthcare is a supporter of WSHU Public Radio.

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Andrea Quiles is a fellow at WSHU.