Author: Henry Wyard

Army Sargent Killed in Nigeria

The pen­ta­gon deployed elite com­man­dos in response to the dead­ly ambush of a Spe­cial Forces team in Africa, fear­ing that one sol­dier whom was miss­ing at the time was alive and might fall into ene­my hands, U.S. mil­i­tary offi­cials said.

The com­man­dos, with the secre­tive Joint Spe­cial Oper­a­tions Com­mand (JSOC), were deployed from the Unit­ed States late Octo­ber 4 after three U.S. sol­diers and 5 Nige­rien troops part­nered with them were declared killed in action, said three offi­cials, who had famil­iar­i­ty with the oper­a­tion and spoke on the con­di­tion of anonymi­ty because of its sensitivity.

The remains of the miss­ing sol­dier, Army Sgt. La David T. John­son, were recov­ered the evening of Oct. 6 after local nige­riens found Johnson’s body and turned it over to Nige­rien author­i­ties work­ing with U.S. troops.

Johnson’s sep­a­ra­tion from his unit after an ambush by mil­i­tants affil­i­at­ed with the Islam­ic State trig­gered the dec­la­ra­tion of what the mil­i­tary calls a DUSTWUN, which stands for “duty sta­tus where­abouts unknown,” the offi­cials said. Dec­la­ra­tion of that sta­tus typ­i­cal­ly leads to an intense search for a miss­ing ser­vice mem­ber. It is used when a com­man­der sus­pects that a ser­vice mem­ber may be absent invol­un­tar­i­ly, but does not think enough evi­dence exists to make a defin­i­tive deter­mi­na­tion, accord­ing to a U.S. mil­i­tary manual.


Marine Gen. Joseph F. Dun­ford Jr., the chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, appeared to allude to the deploy­ment of JSOC mem­bers dur­ing a news con­fer­ence Mon­day, say­ing that “nation­al assets” were made avail­able for the search. Dun­ford received a phone call from Marine Gen. Thomas D. Wald­hauser, the chief of U.S. Africa Com­mand, the night of the ambush, trig­ger­ing their approval for addi­tion­al help, the chair­man said.

Two U.S. mil­i­tary offi­cials said it is unlike­ly that JSOC would have deployed forces for the search if it was clear at the time that John­son was dead. The con­cern, the offi­cials said, was that the miss­ing sol­dier could be cap­tured alive.

All of us were prepar­ing at the time for PR sup­port,” said one U.S. mil­i­tary offi­cial, allud­ing to sen­si­tive per­son­nel recov­ery operations.

The deploy­ment of JSOC in response to Johnson’s dis­ap­pear­ance was first report­ed by ABC News. It has not pre­vi­ous­ly been report­ed that the mil­i­tary issued a DUSTWUN alert, or that com­man­ders had some con­cerns that John­son was alive and poten­tial­ly attempt­ing to evade those who had ambushed his unit. It is not clear whether they ever became direct­ly involved in the search.

JSOC includes the military’s most elite forces: the Naval Spe­cial War­fare Devel­op­ment Group, bet­ter known as SEAL Team 6, and the Army’s 1st Spe­cial Forces Oper­a­tional Detach­ment-Delta, bet­ter known as Delta Force. It is not clear which force was assigned to help, or if both were.

[Sergeant’s wid­ow says Trump’s stum­bling call made her “cry even worse”]

The ambushed unit includ­ed 12 U.S. sol­diers with the 3rd Spe­cial Forces Group, and deployed on a recon­nais­sance mis­sion Oct. 3 while accom­pa­nied by about 30 Nige­rien sol­diers, Dun­ford said. They were ambushed by small arms, rock­et-pro­pelled grenades and vehi­cles with weapons mount­ed on them out­side the vil­lage of Ton­go Ton­go while try­ing to return to their base in the cap­i­tal, Niamey, he said.

John­son, 25, worked as a mechan­ic and was attached to the 3rd Spe­cial Forces Group team. His death has been at the cen­ter of a polit­i­cal fight in which Pres­i­dent Trump has been accused of being dis­re­spect­ful in a phone call last week to the soldier’s preg­nant wid­ow, Myeshia John­son. Trump and some of his senior White House offi­cials have denied that was the case.

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The oth­er U.S. sol­diers killed in the oper­a­tion were Staff Sgt. Jere­mi­ah John­son, 39; Staff Sgt. Bryan C. Black, 35; and Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright, 29. Staff Sgt. John­son was a con­ven­tion­al sol­dier trained to work with chem­i­cal, bio­log­i­cal, radi­o­log­i­cal and nuclear weapons, while Black and Wright were Green Beret soldiers.

Two U.S. mil­i­tary offi­cials said that La David John­son may have become sep­a­rat­ed from his unit in part because they were ambushed twice on Oct. 4. That detail, first report­ed by NBC News, may explain the chaot­ic nature of the mis­sion. Dun­ford said Mon­day that the U.S. and Nige­rien troops first faced ene­my fire that morn­ing, but did not call for help until about an hour lat­er, per­haps because they ini­tial­ly thought the sit­u­a­tion was under control.

The U.S. mil­i­tary has not clar­i­fied pub­licly when exact­ly John­son died, although the mil­i­tary did announce that he “died Oct. 4 in south­west Niger as a result of ene­my fire.”

Myeshia John­son told ABC’s “Good Morn­ing Amer­i­ca” on Mon­day that U.S. mil­i­tary offi­cials said she should not view her husband’s remains. Dun­ford, asked about that, said after­ward that a casu­al­ty assis­tance offi­cer may sug­gest that a fam­i­ly may not want to see their loved one’s remains, but that it is the family’s choice.

I don’t know what hap­pened in the case of Mrs. John­son, but we’ll cer­tain­ly find that out,” Dun­ford said. “From a pol­i­cy per­spec­tive, we would typ­i­cal­ly defer her to the family’s desires, and we do that.”






Olive Shortage In Italy

TREVI, Italy — It was in June the time of year when the first olives nor­mal­ly burst from their blos­soms in the mild warmth of ear­ly sum­mer, when Irene Guidobal­di walked through her groves in blis­ter­ing heat and watched in hor­rror as the flow­ers on her trees began to with­er and fall.

The only way to save her fam­i­lies pre­cious orchard in the hills of Umbria was to buy the most pre­cious thing of all in this sum­mer of drought: water.

Lots and lots of water.

And so, Ms. Guidobal­di, an eighth-gen­er­a­tion olive grow­er, bought water by the truck­load, near­ly every day, for most of the summer.

The heat wave that swept across south­ern Europe this sum­mer, which sci­en­tists say bore the fin­ger­prints of human-induced cli­mate change, is only the lat­est bout of strange weath­er to befall the mak­ers of olive oil.

Some years, like this one, the heat comes ear­ly and stays. Oth­er years, it rains so much — as it did in 2014 — that the olive fly breeds like crazy, leav­ing worms inside the olives. Or there’s an untime­ly frost when the fruits first form, which is what hap­pened in Beat­rice Con­ti­ni Bonacossi’s groves in Tus­cany. Or, an ear­ly hot spell is fol­lowed by a week of fog and rain, which is what hap­pened on Sebas­tiano Salafia’s farm in Sici­ly a few years ago, leav­ing the trees con­fused, as he put it, about when to bear fruit.

Every year, there’s some­thing,” Mr. Salafia said.

Gone are the days when you could count on the mild “mezze sta­gioni,” or half-sea­sons, that olives rely on before and after the heat. Gone, too, is the cycle you could count on: one year good, next year not good.

Now, said Ms. Guidobal­di, stretch­ing wide her long twig­gy arms, “It’s like play­ing the lottery.”

Olive trees are hardy sur­vivors. In the Bible, a dove brings an olive leaf to Noah on the ark, a sign that the world is not entire­ly destroyed. Olive oil is cen­tral to food and folk­lore across the Mediter­ranean. And its health ben­e­fits have been so extolled that glob­al demand for extra vir­gin olive oil has surged.

Now, a chang­ing cli­mate is turn­ing olive oil into an increas­ing­ly risky busi­ness — at least in the Mediter­ranean, the land of its birth.

Har­vests have been bad three of the last five years, sub­ject to what Vito Mar­tiel­li, an ana­lyst with Rabobank, based in Utrecht, the Nether­lands, called weath­er-relat­ed “shocks.” And with grow­ing demand, whole­sale prices have gone up.

No one will go hun­gry if there’s not enough olive oil on the mar­ket. But the impact of cli­mate change on such a hardy and high-end prod­uct is a mea­sure of how glob­al warm­ing is begin­ning to chal­lenge how we grow food.

The fore­cast for olive oil pro­duc­tion this year is mixed. In Italy it’s expect­ed to be 20 per­cent below the 2000–2010 aver­age, though bet­ter than last year, accord­ing to the Inter­na­tion­al Olive Coun­cil, with some grow­ers expect­ing a small­er but very tasty yield. Spain, the world’s largest pro­duc­er, expects at least a 10 per­cent dip from last year, accord­ing to the coun­cil; the Span­ish grow­ers asso­ci­a­tion fore­casts a much big­ger dip. Greece is expect­ed to have a robust har­vest. So, too, Tunisia.

But as the sup­ply from the Mediter­ranean becomes more unpre­dictable, some bot­tlers are look­ing else­where as future sources of oil. Even some cham­pi­ons of Mediter­ranean oil, like Nan­cy Har­mon Jenk­ins, author of “Vir­gin Ter­ri­to­ry: Explor­ing the World of Olive Oil,” rec­om­mend ven­tur­ing fur­ther afield.

I hes­i­tate to say this because I love the Mediter­ranean and I want peo­ple to have Mediter­ranean olive oil,” she said, “but I think Cal­i­for­nia is going to be more and more impor­tant in the years ahead and places like Aus­tralia and New Zealand.”



Norwich Manhunt Over

Nor­wich — The sus­pect who prompt­ed a mas­sive man­hunt, shut­ting down much of Greeneville on Tues­day night as armed offi­cers swarmed the area, is dead, Lieu­tenant Jonathan Ley of Nor­wich police con­firmed short­ly before midnight.

He did not pro­vide details on how Bran­don Uzialko, 25 died.

The Greeneville neigh­bor­hood is safe. Peo­ple can leave there homes and return to their homes,” Ley said. “The sus­pect is deceased and there is no con­tin­ued threat to the community.”

Ley warned resident’s there would be a large police pres­ence in the area while city offi­cers con­duct­ed an inves­ti­ga­tion with state police.

The inci­dent start­ed about 6:30 p.m., with infor­ma­tion pro­vid­ed to police by a res­i­dent in the area. Uzialko, who was armed and want­ed in con­nec­tion with a home inva­sion and attempt­ed mur­der inci­dent Sat­ur­day night, led police on a foot chase Tues­day evening. Shots were exchanged between Uzialko and police at the start of the chase, prompt­ing police to urge res­i­dents to “shel­ter in place,” police Chief Patrick Daley said. Res­i­dents were urged to call 911 to report any sus­pi­cious activ­i­ty, includ­ing a per­son running.

No offi­cers were injured, Daley said.

In a Wednes­day morn­ing email, state police said they had tak­en up the inves­ti­ga­tion. Accord­ing to them, offi­cers locat­ed Uzialko near 13 Prospect St. hours after the exchange of gun­fire. He was pro­nounced deceased at the scene.

State police, who also did­n’t say how Uzialko died, said the state Office of the Chief Med­ical is going to con­duct a post-mortem exam­i­na­tion to deter­mine that. State police did say one Nor­wich offi­cer was involved in the inci­dent. Police are with­hold­ing that offi­cer’s name.

Uzialko had been want­ed on a war­rant for charges of attempt­ed mur­der, home inva­sion, first-degree assault and risk of injury to a minor in the home inva­sion inci­dent, which occurred at 10:21 p.m. Sat­ur­day. The male vic­tim in that inci­dent suf­fered life-threat­en­ing stab wounds, and police said he was list­ed in crit­i­cal con­di­tion at a hos­pi­tal not dis­closed by police.

Dur­ing the chase, large areas of Greeneville were blocked off, includ­ing Cen­tral Avenue, Prospect Street and Boswell Avenue in the area of 10th Street, with cruis­ers and yel­low tape block­ing off the roads. Police were seen car­ry­ing rifles while offi­cers also were stop­ping cars and ques­tion­ing dri­vers. Offi­cers were direct­ing north­bound traf­fic in the area toward North Main Street, though the south­bound lane was closed.

Daley had described the sit­u­a­tion as “very active and very serious.”

Nor­wich police had called for mutu­al aid to respond to the inci­dent and respond to oth­er calls for ser­vice in the city,” Ley said. State police, Gro­ton Town and City and Led­yard all responded.

The inves­ti­ga­tion is ongoing.


Senator Flake Delivers Indictment of Trump

WASHINGTON — A for­mer Repub­li­can Pres­i­dent. A senior Repub­li­can sen­a­tor with a crit­i­cal ill­ness. A retir­ing Repub­li­can sen­a­tor. And now an inde­pen­dent-mind­ed Repub­li­can sen­a­tor who faced a dif­fi­cult, if not impos­si­ble, path to re-election.

George W. Bush. John McCain. Bob Cork­er. And now Jeff Flake of Ari­zona, who deliv­ered a sting­ing indit­ment of Pres­i­dent Trump and his own par­ty on the sen­ate flooor on Tues­day after­noon as he announced that he would not seek anoth­er term. His stir­ring call to arms came min­utes after Mr. Trump con­clud­ed a pri­vate ses­sion with Sen­ate Repub­li­cans meant to unite them over their shared agenda.

The 4 men rep­re­sent a new type of free­dom cau­cus, one whose mem­bers are free to speak their minds about the pres­i­dent and how they see his words and actions dimin­ish­ing the Unit­ed States and its stand­ing in the world with­out fear of the polit­i­cal back­lash from hard-right conservatives.

But who — if any­one — will follow?

Well aware of the mer­cu­r­ial nature of the pres­i­dent, most con­gres­sion­al Repub­li­cans are loath to do or say any­thing that could upset Mr. Trump and risk pro­vok­ing an ear­ly-morn­ing Twit­ter tirade from the White House when they are try­ing to del­i­cate­ly piece togeth­er a com­plex tax agree­ment. One can prac­ti­cal­ly sense Repub­li­cans tip­toe­ing around the Capi­tol, tak­ing extra care not to awak­en the pres­i­dent to their pres­ence in a way that could draw a scold­ing or rebuke.

They are equal­ly wary of rais­ing the ire of hard-right activists who already had Mr. Flake in their sights, con­tribut­ing to his deci­sion. Those activists cel­e­brat­ed Mr. Flake’s deci­sion, claim­ing a Repub­li­can scalp.

While Mr. McCain, who is being treat­ed for brain can­cer and has spo­ken bit­ing­ly of Mr. Trump in recent weeks, glow­ing­ly praised his home-state col­league for his “integri­ty and hon­or and decen­cy,” he did not use the Sen­ate floor to sec­ond Mr. Flake’s wor­ri­some mes­sage of a gov­ern­ment and nation at risk. Mr. Flake is pop­u­lar with his col­leagues, and his fel­low Repub­li­cans quick­ly not­ed how sor­ry they were to hear of his deci­sion. But none joined him pub­licly in urg­ing Repub­li­cans to stand up more defi­ant­ly to the president.

Sen­a­tor Mitch McConnell, Repub­li­can of Ken­tucky and the major­i­ty leader, cred­it­ed Mr. Flake as a “team play­er” and man of high prin­ci­ple after Mr. Flake’s speech. But Mr. McConnell quick­ly turned the Sen­ate floor back to a minor debate over a bud­get point of order.

It was a jar­ring tran­si­tion in a day of polit­i­cal shocks.

In a stun­ning one-two assault, Mr. Cork­er of Ten­nessee, the chair­man of the For­eign Rela­tions Com­mit­tee, and Mr. Flake took on the pres­i­dent in terms rarely, if ever, heard from mem­bers of a sit­ting president’s party.

Mr. Cork­er, who has been feud­ing with the man he once con­tem­plat­ed serv­ing as vice pres­i­dent, accused Mr. Trump of ser­i­al lying and debas­ing the office.

Mr. Flake, who has been a per­sis­tent Trump foe since 2016, nev­er men­tioned Mr. Trump by name in his remarks. But there was no doubt who he was talk­ing about when he point­ed to the “inde­cen­cy of our dis­course” and the “coarse­ness of our lead­er­ship,” and sug­gest­ed his beloved Repub­li­can Par­ty was being com­plic­it in an “alarm­ing and dan­ger­ous state of affairs.”

We must nev­er regard as nor­mal the reg­u­lar and casu­al under­min­ing of our demo­c­ra­t­ic norms and ideals, we must nev­er meek­ly accept the dai­ly sun­der­ing of our coun­try,” Mr. Flake said.

But Mr. Cork­er, Mr. Flake and Mr. McCain remain the out­liers. Mr. Corker’s exceed­ing­ly harsh assess­ment of Mr. Trump — deliv­ered in a series of morn­ing TV inter­views in a rea­son­able, stud­ied tone — and Mr. Flake’s announce­ment and damn­ing speech book­end­ed what was to be the ini­tial cen­ter­piece of a day on Capi­tol Hill intend­ed to get law­mak­ers and the pres­i­dent on the same page with a dif­fi­cult tax debate looming.

Mr. McConnell left his lunch with Mr. Trump and mem­bers of the cau­cus to empha­size the issues that bind con­gres­sion­al Repub­li­cans to Mr. Trump and play down the divi­sions under­scored by Mr. Flake and Mr. Corker.

There’s a lot of noise out there,” said Mr. McConnell, who made clear what the inter­ests of the par­ty are. “Tax reform is what we are about.”



Fats Domino Dead at 89

Antoine “Fats” Domi­no, the jovial New Orleans enter­tain­er whose bluesy singing and boo­gie-woo­gie piano style helped launch rock-and-roll in the 1950s with such rolick­ing songs as “Blue­ber­ry Hill,” “Ain’t That a Shame” and “I’m Walkin’,” died Oct. 24. He was 89.

Mark Bone, chief Inves­ti­ga­tor with the Jef­fer­son Parish coroner’s office in Louisiana, con­firmed his death to the Asso­ci­at­ed Press. Addi­tion­al details were not imme­di­ate­ly available.

Among the ear­ly rock­ers, Mr. Domi­no was rivaled only­by Elvis Pres­ley in record sales. He dom­i­nat­ed Bill­board mag­a­zine’s Pop and rhythm-and-blues charts from 1955 to 1963. More­over, Mr. Domi­no’s sig­na­ture piano triplets — three notes for every beat — became the basis of rock and pop bal­lads for the next three decades, includ­ing such diverse record­ings as the Bea­t­les’ “Oh, Dar­ling,” Otis Red­ding’s “These Arms of Mine” and even Per­cy Faith’s “Theme From ‘A Sum­mer Place.’ ”

In a music style iden­ti­fied with rebel­lion, Mr. Domi­no was­n’t very rebel­lious in his approach. Unlike Pres­ley, Jer­ry Lee Lewis, Lit­tle Richard and any num­ber of oth­er flam­boy­ant per­form­ers, he sang in a mel­low voice and sport­ed a wide grin on stage. His lone gim­mick involved using his immense girth to push the piano to the front of the stage — and this he did only dur­ing his encore.

He had a nat­ur­al tal­ent,” said rhythm-and-blues his­to­ri­an John Broven. “Yet he seemed to have lit­tle idea as to why he was famous, which only enhanced his charm and appeal. His biggest hits made rock-and-roll accept­able by appeal­ing to all age groups and races. And he did it with­out com­pro­mis­ing his New Orleans roots.”

The Fats Domi­no sound,” Broven added, “was a com­bi­na­tion of Fats’ clear­ly enun­ci­at­ed and nat­u­ral­ly melod­ic Cre­ole-laced vocals, aid­ed by his under­rat­ed piano work — from cre­ative boo­gie-woo­gie to sim­ple triplets — and the impec­ca­ble solos and riffs from the accom­pa­ny­ing band.”

Such songs such as “Walk­ing to New Orleans” and “Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans?” instant­ly iden­ti­fied Mr. Domi­no with his home town. The lat­ter record­ing, from 1961, was revived on the radio dur­ing the after­math of Hur­ri­cane Kat­ri­na in 2005.

New Orleans cul­ture was heard in the catchy parade rhythms of such hits such as “I’m Walk­ing” and “I’m Gonna Be a Wheel Some­day” — a reflec­tion of his arranger Dave Bartholomew’s back­ground in tra­di­tion­al jazz.

Antoine Domi­no Jr. was born Feb. 26, 1928, in New Orleans’ 9th Ward, the youngest of eight in a bilin­gual Cre­ole fam­i­ly. His father played Cre­ole songs on the vio­lin. Mr. Domi­no learned the basics of piano from his broth­er-in-law, Har­ri­son Ver­rett, a ban­jo play­er and gui­tarist with Papa Celestin’s Dix­ieland band, who would lat­er work as Mr. Domi­no’s road manager.

Mr. Domi­no stud­ied boo­gie-woo­gie records by Meade Lux Lewis and devel­oped a smooth singing style from croon­ing blues singer-pianists Charles Brown and Lit­tle Willie Littlefield.

He put a band togeth­er and secured an engage­ment in 1947 at the Hide­away Club while work­ing dur­ing the day in a bed­springs fac­to­ry. His way with boo­gie-woo­gie proved a good draw — good enough to con­cern Bartholomew, a trum­peter whose band worked down the street.

Bartholomew, moon­light­ing as the tal­ent scout for Impe­r­i­al, a strug­gling Cal­i­for­nia record label, brought the label’s own­er, Lew Chudd, to the Hide­away. Chudd, who was white, lat­er recalled that he had to scrunch down in the back seat of Bartholomew’s car because of New Orleans’ seg­re­ga­tion laws. Mr. Domi­no signed with the label, an asso­ci­a­tion between Bartholomew, Chudd and Mr. Domi­no that last­ed more than a decade.

For his first record­ing ses­sion in 1949, Bartholomew sug­gest­ed they write new words to Cham­pi­on Jack Dupree’s “Junker’s Blues,” one of Mr. Domi­no’s most pop­u­lar live num­bers. The result­ing hit, “The Fat Man,” estab­lished his hap­py-go-lucky stage persona:

They call me, call me the fat man 

Cause I weigh 200 pounds 

All the girls they love me 

Cause I know my way around 

While Mr. Domi­no ini­tial­ly balked at trav­el­ing out­side New Orleans, the hit made him a tour­ing attrac­tion with a band that often includ­ed ses­sion sax­o­phon­ists Herb Hard­esty and Lee Allen.He occa­sion­al­ly lent his piano trills to oth­er per­form­ers’ record­ings such as Lloyd Price’s 1952 hit, “Lawdy Miss Clawdy,” lat­er cov­ered by Presley.

The 1955 hit “Ain’t That a Shame,” his first record­ing to enter the pop charts, was nar­row­ly eclipsed in sales by pop singer Pat Boone’s cov­er ver­sion. Pro­duc­ers had to dis­suade Boone from chang­ing the song’s refrain to the gram­mat­i­cal­ly cor­rect “isn’t that a shame.”

We were actu­al­ly search­ing for a sound in those days. I nev­er want­ed to get things too com­pli­cat­ed,” Bartholomew once said. “It had to be sim­ple so peo­ple could under­stand it right away. It had to be the kind of thing that a 7‑year-old kid could start whistling. I just kept in simple.”

Blue­ber­ry Hill,” per­haps the song most iden­ti­fied with Mr. Domi­no, proved dif­fi­cult to record. He had learned the stan­dard from a Louis Arm­strong record­ing but remem­bered only one verse. The engi­neer edit­ed the fin­ished record togeth­er from two incom­plete takes.

Mr. Domi­no suc­cess­ful­ly record­ed oth­er pop stan­dards includ­ing “My Blue Heav­en,” “When My Dream­boat Comes Home” and “I’m In the Mood For Love.”

Leav­ing Impe­r­i­al for the larg­er ABC-Para­mount label in 1963, Mr. Domi­no record­ed in Nashville with con­sid­er­ably less suc­cess. The pop­u­lar­i­ty of the Motown sound had made Mr. Domi­no’s style less fash­ion­able. Crit­ics have also cit­ed the lack of New Orleans spon­tane­ity on his lat­er records. Unde­terred, Mr. Domi­no toured Eng­land, where his records were still pop­u­lar with the rock­er subculture.

As his record sales declined in the 1960s, Mr. Domi­no per­formed steadi­ly in Las Vegas but lost mon­ey in the city’s casi­nos. At his first Las Vegas engage­ment in 1962, he gam­bled away $180,000 in two weeks. His fee for the engage­ment was $6,500 a week.

I went to play the Flamin­go for two weeks and I stayed for 15 years,” he told USA Today.

He briefly reemerged on the pop charts in 1968 with a ver­sion of the Bea­t­les’ “Lady Madon­na,” a song that crit­ics have point­ed out owes much to his piano-dri­ven style.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induct­ed him in 1986, its first year. The next year, Mr. Domi­no won a Gram­my Award for life­time achieve­ment. He received a Nation­al Medal of Arts from Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton in 1998.

His wife, the for­mer Rose­mary Hall, for whom he named the song, “Rose Mary,” died in 2007. They were mar­ried in 1947. Their son Andre died in 1997. A com­plete list of sur­vivors was not imme­di­ate­ly available.

In lat­er years, he toured with less fre­quen­cy. “I trav­eled all over for about 50 years. I love a lot of places, and I’ve been to a lot of places, but I just don’t care to leave home,” Mr. Domi­no told USA Today.

Mr. Domi­no remained in New Orleans in the impov­er­ished neigh­bor­hood where he grew up. He often invit­ed peo­ple into his home from off the street to taste his Cre­ole cooking.

The home, a man­sion among the neigh­bor­hood’s “shot­gun shacks,” was not spared dur­ing Hur­ri­cane Kat­ri­na. Many news out­lets ini­tial­ly report­ed the singer as dead. How­ev­er, he had wait­ed out the storm with his wife, two daugh­ters and a son-in-law on the house­’s third floor as the water lev­el rose to 15 feet. Mr. Domi­no was res­cued by helicopter.

A local char­i­ty, the Tip­iti­na Foun­da­tion, helped repair the home in return for his record­ing a ben­e­fit album, “Alive and Kickin’, ” in 2006.

The next year, rock jour­nal­ist Andrew Per­ry vis­it­ed Mr. Domi­no at his home in New Orleans.

Just as he was the most con­ge­nial and inof­fen­sive of the first-wave rock­ers, he would also be the last New Orlean­ian to voice anger about Kat­ri­na,” wrote Per­ry. “When I ask him to give his thoughts on how the dis­as­ter was han­dled, he ami­ably deflects from the issue. Sud­den­ly, he thrusts his beer bot­tle into my hand again. “Feel it,” he says, “ain’t that cool?”

The singer had reemerged after the hur­ri­cane with ben­e­fit con­certs in New Orleans and New York.

When Per­ry asked him if he was mak­ing a come­back, Mr. Domi­no said, “I just drink my lit­tle beers, do some cookin’, any­thing I feel like … Let us know when you’re comin’ again, I’ll cook some­thing up for you.”




By MARK PAZNIOKAS and KEITH M. PHANEUF, The Con­necti­cut Mirror 

The Gen­er­al Assem­bly says leg­isla­tive lead­ers are poised to end Con­necti­cut’s long and bit­ter bud­get impasse in dra­mat­ic fash­ion by week’s end, unit­ing one of the nations most close­ly divid­ed leg­is­la­tures behind a bipar­ti­san com­pro­mise engi­neered to sur­vive a veto by Gov. Dan­nel P. Malloy.

Will have the vast major­i­ty of our mem­bers vot­ing in favor of this his­toric agree­ment. Hav­ing Democ­rats and Repub­li­cans work togeth­er on a bud­get has­n’t been seen in Con­necti­cut,” House Speak­er Joe Ares­i­mow­icz, D‑Berlin, said Tues­day night after a Demo­c­ra­t­ic cau­cus. “This has been a very, very impres­sive process.”

The Sen­ate is expect­ed to open debate on the bud­get ear­ly Wednes­day evening, hours after the leg­is­la­ture’s non­par­ti­san staff deliv­ers a line-by-line bud­get for the fis­cal year that began July 1. The House prob­a­bly would fol­low with a vote Thurs­day, set­ting the stage for Mal­loy to sign or veto a bud­get craft­ed with­out his direct involvement.

In sep­a­rate news con­fer­ences Tues­day, state House Democ­rats and Repub­li­cans broad­ly sketched the basis of a bipar­ti­san com­pro­mise once seen as unthink­able: The Uni­ver­si­ty of Con­necti­cut would lose about $65 mil­lion in annu­al fund­ing, more than the $50 mil­lion Mal­loy was ready to accept last month, but far less than the $120 mil­lion orig­i­nal­ly sought by the GOP.

The state’s pub­lic financ­ing of cam­paigns would sur­vive, as would the state’s port­fo­lio of green ener­gy and ener­gy-effi­cien­cy pro­grams, though the lat­ter would lose some fund­ing. Munic­i­pal aid would be large­ly pre­served, though no town-by-town num­bers were released, nor­mal­ly a pre­req­ui­site for any law­mak­er com­mit­ting to a budget.

House Minor­i­ty Leader Themis Klar­ides, R‑Derby, said her cau­cus was pleased that the bud­get deal includes ele­ments of pro­pos­als long sought by the GOP, includ­ing revi­sions to pre­vail­ing wage and bind­ing-arbi­tra­tion laws, as well as new lan­guage for caps on spend­ing and bor­row­ing by the state. Details were not released.

I think over­all peo­ple were very impressed with the his­toric amount of struc­tur­al change we got in this bud­get,” Klar­ides said after the GOP caucus.

One of the changes is a statu­to­ry require­ment that bars state labor con­tracts and bind­ing arbi­tra­tion awards from tak­ing effect with­out a vote by the leg­is­la­ture. Under cur­rent law, con­trac­tors and arbi­tra­tion awards can take effect with­out an affir­ma­tive vote by lawmakers.

The labor changes sought by Repub­li­cans were a sen­si­tive issue for Ares­i­mow­icz, whose employ­ment out­side the part-time leg­is­la­ture is a $100,000-a-year job with one of the state’s largest pub­lic-sec­tor unions, Coun­cil 4 of AFSCME. Ares­i­mow­icz, who was employed by the union before his elec­tion to the leg­is­la­ture, said he left nego­ti­a­tions about labor changes to House Major­i­ty Leader Matt Rit­ter, D‑Hartford.

Many ques­tions remain about the details of the bipar­ti­san deal and its poten­tial con­se­quence, includ­ing whether it will change the polit­i­cal cul­ture of a Gen­er­al Assem­bly, where bud­gets long have been intense­ly par­ti­san, or the dynam­ics of the 2018 elections.

The Repub­li­can play­book for win­ning con­trol of the Gen­er­al Assem­bly next year for the first time since 1984 was expect­ed to revolve around a strat­e­gy of blam­ing Democ­rats, who also regained the gov­er­nor’s office in 2010 for the first time in two decades, for the state’s chron­ic fis­cal woes.

In a blue state, Repub­li­cans have achieved near-par­i­ty in the leg­is­la­ture, rebound­ing from a low point in 2008, when Democ­rats won majori­ties of 114–37 in the House and 24–12 in the Sen­ate. Democ­rats now have a nar­row major­i­ty of 79–72 in the House and are tied, 18–18, in the Sen­ate, where their only advan­tage is the abil­i­ty of Lt. Gov. Nan­cy Wyman to break ties.

The new polit­i­cal order was made evi­dent last month, when three Democ­rats in the Sen­ate and five in the House helped the GOP defeat a Demo­c­ra­t­ic bud­get and pass a Repub­li­can alter­na­tive that was vetoed by Mal­loy. Over the past three weeks, leg­isla­tive lead­ers have been nego­ti­at­ing with­out Malloy.

Ares­i­mow­icz down­played the gov­er­nor’s absence from the talks.

The gov­er­nor was always present at the nego­ti­a­tions, whether he was there phys­i­cal­ly or not,” Ares­i­mow­icz said. “We know where the gov­er­nor stood. There’s one thing about this gov­er­nor that is both reas­sur­ing and mad­den­ing at the same time: He’s amaz­ing­ly con­sis­tent. He lays out exact­ly what he feels about an issue and then he does­n’t budge from it all that easy.”

The gov­er­nor offered praise Tues­day night for one appar­ent con­ces­sion by law­mak­ers: They will mit­i­gate the extent to which they will divert mon­ey from the Green Bank and anoth­er ener­gy con­ser­va­tion pro­gram sup­port­ed in large part by sur­charges on con­sumers’ month­ly util­i­ty bills.

The Green Bank diver­sion sparked con­sid­er­able debate this week after clean ener­gy advo­cates — includ­ing the gov­er­nor — not­ed that each dol­lar of state fund­ing in this pro­gram lever­ages $8 to $10 of pri­vate investments.

Leg­isla­tive lead­ers did not dis­close final num­bers. But sources said lead­ers were look­ing to retain but reduce the diver­sion from the Green Bank and increase the dol­lars drawn from the Ener­gy Effi­cien­cy Fund.

Tonight’s com­ments from leg­isla­tive lead­ers that the debil­i­tat­ing sweeps of these funds are under recon­sid­er­a­tion is wel­come news,” Mal­loy said. “While we await details of the final num­bers, we strong­ly hope that much of the dam­age these cuts would have caused will be avoided.”

Leg­is­la­tors will rely on a mix of tax hikes, fund sweeps and oth­er rev­enue enhance­ments, and a broad range of spend­ing cuts to close major pro­ject­ed deficits.

Ana­lysts say finances, unless adjust­ed, will run $1.6 bil­lion in deficit this fis­cal year and $1.9 bil­lion in the red in 2018–19.

Cig­a­rette tax­es rise, income tax cred­its shrink

The sin­gle-biggest tax hike in the plan would raise the annu­al tax on hos­pi­tals by $334 mil­lion, from $556 mil­lion to $900 mil­lion. But the state would not ben­e­fit by that much.

That’s because Con­necti­cut would return all of those funds to the hos­pi­tal indus­try, and then some, to qual­i­fy for addi­tion­al fed­er­al Med­ic­aid reim­burse­ment. The net pro­ject­ed rev­enue gain to the state is esti­mat­ed at $137 mil­lion per year.

Leg­is­la­tors also would raise income tax­es on mid­dle-income house­holds and on the work­ing poor — not by rais­ing rates, but by reduc­ing credits.

The new bud­get also would raise the cig­a­rette tax by 45 cents per pack, push­ing the levy to $4.35. This would place Con­necti­cut in a tie with New York for the nation’s high­est cig­a­rette tax.

Teach­ers to con­tribute more for pensions

The new bud­get will not include Mal­loy’s pro­pos­al to shift a por­tion of the cost of teacher pen­sion onto cities and towns, which cur­rent­ly con­tribute noth­ing. Instead, con­tri­bu­tions from teach­ers will increase from 6 per­cent to 7 per­cent of their salaries.

But the pro­vi­sion is a bud­get maneu­ver that ulti­mate­ly brings more mon­ey to the gen­er­al fund, not the teacher pen­sion sys­tem: As the teach­ers increase their con­tri­bu­tions to their pen­sion fund, the state will reduce what it pays — a boost to the gen­er­al fund.

Retired teach­ers, who receive a 25 per­cent exemp­tion for their pen­sions from the state income tax, will not see that tax break climb to 50 per­cent with the returns they file next spring, as orig­i­nal­ly enact­ed three years ago.

A pro­pos­al to repeal munic­i­pal prop­er­ty tax­es on motor vehi­cles start­ing in July 2018 was stripped from the plan after city and town lead­ers object­ed to the loss of $800 mil­lion in rev­enue with no state plan to com­pen­sate for the loss. But leg­isla­tive lead­ers said the state cap on motor vehi­cle tax­es would rise from 37 mills to 39 this fis­cal year, and to 45 mills in 2018–19.

Ares­i­mow­icz said law­mak­ers intend to revis­it the prop­er­ty tax issue dur­ing the 2018 leg­isla­tive ses­sion and will explore alter­na­tives that could make the 45-mill cap unnecessary.

Edu­ca­tion Cost Shar­ing grants to most cities and towns — the state’s pri­ma­ry vehi­cle for pro­vid­ing local edu­ca­tion aid — would be cut by 5 per­cent or less, sources said. And pay­ment to the low­est-per­form­ing school dis­tricts large­ly would remain flat. Mal­loy want­ed a shift to the com­mu­ni­ties of great­est need.

Rep. Daniel Rovero of Killing­ly, a mod­er­ate Demo­c­rat who sup­port­ed the Repub­li­can bud­get in mid-Sep­tem­ber said he prob­a­bly would back the com­pro­mise plan.

I want to read it, but it did­n’t cut any­body real­ly dras­ti­cal­ly” in terms of local aid, he said. “And there’s no real big tax increases.

Ares­i­mow­icz and Fasano both said the new bud­get also address­es anoth­er major con­cern of the gov­er­nor’s: A man­date from the leg­is­la­ture for the admin­is­tra­tion to find cuts it could not.

The gov­er­nor said he already would be chal­lenged to hit the sav­ings tar­gets he pro­posed — $838 mil­lion this fis­cal year and just over $1 bil­lion in 2018–19. Mal­loy balked when the Repub­li­can plan he vetoed tried to add $260 mil­lion to those tar­gets over two fis­cal years combined.

But lead­ers said the new deal adds less than $20 mil­lion to the gov­er­nor’s tar­get each fis­cal year.

Leg­is­la­tors took this con­cern of Mal­loy’s seri­ous­ly, Rit­ter said. As late as Mon­day, some leg­is­la­tors sug­gest­ed clos­ing a lin­ger­ing gap of $30 mil­lion in annu­al finances by adding that onto the gov­er­nor’s sav­ings tar­get as well.

Instead “we sat there for 90 min­utes” to find oth­er spend­ing cuts to avoid hand­ing that chal­lenge off to the gov­er­nor, Rit­ter said.

Kei­th M. Pha­neuf and Mark Pazniokas are reporters for The Con­necti­cut Mir­ror ( Copy­right 2017 © The Con­necti­cut Mirror.


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