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DOGS: Day 2 of hearing starts today in Litchfield
Continued from Page One construction at Sugar Mountain Farm on Watertown Road. “This is a grave injustice,” Acker said moments before state police cuffed his hands and led him outside to a parked cruiser. “I have the utmost confidence in my attorney. She’ll get to the truth tomorrow.” Bethlehem has asked the court for a temporary injunction to maintain custody of the seized dogs, order Acker to pay the state maximum $15 per dog per day for care and feeding, and prevent Acker from owning, possessing or controlling any animal. Before his arrest, Acker occasionally whispered to his lawyer as Bethlehem Animal Control Officer Judy Umstead testified before Superior Court Judge Wilson J. Trombley. In her testimony, and in Bethlehem’s petition for the injunction, Umstead described visits to the partially constructed barnlike building Acker rented on the farm in which she observed dogs in cages with feces and urine and no food or water bowls. She said some dogs were in crates in which they could not turn themselves around. In court, she described a photograph she took in which a dog appeared distressed in a cage with diarrhea on the floor. Umstead said she first visited the building Oct. 10 to investigate property owner Gary Swaingle’s report of a loose dog roaming the area. The following day, she found Mo, a Bichon-Frise-poodle mix, dead on the side of Route 63, apparently killed by a passing vehicle. “This little dog paid with his life,” Umstead said. Umstead testified that on Oct.
LEARN: Writing has suffered
Continued from Page One sometimes do while watching TV, listening to iTunes and using Facebook. “They’re always multitasking all the time, so you don’t get a lot of full concentration, especially with the home stuff,” Swanson said. “In school I can stay on them.” Almost 60 percent of teachers told Common Sense Media that texting and other media have hurt students’ writing skills. Eaton, who was not surveyed, said students spend less time on their work and do not revise it so they can move on to the next digital entertainment. Twitter and other social media have taught them to keep their thoughts brief, Eaton said. “I think they’ve lost the art of writing,” Eaton said. Colleen McMorran and Deborah Coretto, library media specialists at Naugatuck High School, said they agreed with the Pew study’s findings that the Web is a positive resource for students but that it conditions them to expect quick and easy research. “They want the quick fact, they don’t want to dig for it, that’s for sure,” Coretto said.
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Frederick Acker sits in his empty shelter in Bethlehem on Friday as he goes through pictures of dogs he has rescued. Acker was arrested earlier this month after authorities raided the shelter and seized more than 60 dogs. 13, she measured the interior temperature of the building at 28 degrees, using a handheld infrared thermometer through the glass of a window. Acker’s lawyer, Alice McQuaid, asked Umstead if she was familiar with the product’s instruction manual. According to Raytek, the company that makes Umstead’s infrared MiniTemp thermometer: “The unit cannot measure through transparent surfaces such as glass. It will measure the surface temperature of the glass instead.” Umstead said she and a state animal control officer recorded 30-degree temperatures inside and outside the building on the day of the raid. The only heat in the section of the building with the dogs — with no insulation, and a tall, unfinished barnlike ceiling — was supplied by two small heaters not sufficient for the space, Umstead said. McQuaid declined to comment on the hearing. Trombley said he understood the urgency to reach a decision on the matter for the sake of the dogs, being held in locations Umstead would not reveal, but he expressed concern over the difficulty of fitting the hearing around already scheduled matters and the Thanksgiving holiday. The hearing will reconvene today at 11:30 a.m.
AP and high performing students, by contrast, have learned to focus more intently on their work, spend more time researching and use resources apart from Google, teachers said. The drawbacks to digital media can, in some ways, be controlled or used to students’ advantages, teachers said. McMorran and Coretto teach students to check a website’s credibility and use subscription research databases rather than Google in the library at Naugatuck High. Their lessons are part of freshman science, while other schools offer similar digital literacy classes as part of English or other high school courses. Swanson and Eaton tell students to submit assignments
on Google Documents so the teachers can give them interactive feedback. Teachers can also see when a student started working on the assignment and how often it was revised, setting them up to give students tips about their work habits. Eaton said he has incorporated note taking, interactive smartboard presentations and individualized computer work in a single lesson so that students are more engaged. “You’re hitting that kind of reset button,” Eaton said. As part of a business ethics lesson, Catanese recently asked students how much their lives were worth, then led into a digital presentation on the exploding Ford Pintos of the 1970s. He then broke students into groups with laptops and gave them links and QR codes that led to different codes of ethics. Students were finally asked to present their findings. “I think the questions you should be asking them isn’t a simple Google answer,” Catanese said. “If anything, it’s changed the way you approach education.” Visit rep-am.com to comment on this story.
Massachusetts resists transgender inmate’s bid for electrolysis
changed, even though she hasn’t had electrolysis treatments since 2008. “I continue to believe that BOSTON — A transgender inmate who won a court order it’s not medically necessary for taxpayer-funded sex- for this patient,” said Diener, chief psychiatrist at change surgery has MHM Services, no medical need for Inc., a company further electrolysis subcontracted by treatments, a pristhe state Departons department psyment of Correction chiatrist testified to provide mental Monday. health services. Dr. Robert Diener Under questiontestified during a ing by Kosilek’s hearing in U.S. Dislawyer, Diener trict Court on AP FILES acknowledged that Michelle Kosilek’s Kosilek in 1993. he had not pubrequest to have additional hair-removal treat- lished any articles or conductments. Diener, chief psychia- ed any research on gendertrist for the state Department identity disorder, a diagnosis of Correction, said he evaluat- given to Kosilek. Diener also said he was told ed Kosilek in 2010 and again last month and concluded that that the reason prison officials Kosilek’s anxiety level hasn’t stopped giving Kosilek elecBY DENISE LAVOIE
WEIGHT: Schools trying to get healthy
Continued from Page One trend even translates into poorer educational performance, according to speakers, which included state leaders, education and health experts. Connecticut has scored some victories in recent years, said Lucy Nolan, executive director of End Hunger Connecticut. In 2006, the legislature passed a law trading larger school lunch subsidies for schools willing to keep high food standards, including banishing junk food. More recently, the state has increased requirements for weekly exercise. “But we are not ready to rest on our laurels yet,” Nolan said. Senate President Donald E. Williams Jr., D-Brooklyn, recalled the fight to pass a ban on soda and other unhealthy foods in Connecticut schools in 2006. Now, as then, he described it as legislative “hand-to-hand combat,” as the soda companies, and their deep pockets, came out in opposition. Williams expressed astonishment that about 25 percent of Connecticut’s school districts have opted not to participate in the Healthy Foods Certification Program. He urged residents in those communities that are not involved to lobby their local school boards. For those who complain about Connecticut becoming a “nanny state,” Williams reminded of the topic at hand. “That’s what we are supposed to do,” he said. “These are our children.” Connecticut Health Commissioner Jewel Mullen said the issue is also a fiscal problem. THE NATION SPENDS 18 percent of its gross domestic product on health care, a figure that is going to be driven higher and higher by problems associated with weight, Mullen said. Mullen also stressed a connection between grades, poverty and disease. Connecticut Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor shared more sobering statistics. Twenty-two percent of the state’s white high school students are overweight, he said. That’s too high, but far lower than the 31 percent of Hispanic high school students or 44 percent of African American students. Pryor drew a parallel between that disparity and the standardized testing disparities for different ethnic groups. “These are interrelated phenomenon, and they are not incidental,” he said. He also touted recent improvements under current state leadership. The state has funded 10 new family resource centers in low-income districts. These act as an in-school clearing house for medical, clothing and all sorts of whole-family assistance. Some districts receiving state funds for education reform are incorporating health services into their plans. “There is an educational process that needs to occur in Connecticut society and American society,” Pryor said. “I’m proud to be education commissioner at a time when we can tackle that issue.” Outside Monday’s forum, Williams said he wasn’t certain if any additional healthy schools legislation is in the offing in the short term, but he remains receptive to ideas. Visit rep-am.com to comment on this story.
trolysis after seven treatments is because it was too expensive. Kosilek’s lawyer, Frances Cohen, said prison officials’ refusal to allow Kosilek to have additional treatments is “simply another incident of deliberate indifference” to Kosilek’s medical needs. The department has said it discontinued the treatments after finding she had already received significant hair removal and saying her remaining hair could be removed by shaving or depilatories. Judge Mark Wolf didn’t immediately rule on the request. In September, Wolf ordered the state to provide sex-reassignment surgery, saying it is the only way to treat Kosilek’s “serious medical need.”
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