Central Connecticut State University ordered to reinstate former administrator after domestic violence charges were dropped

Central Connecticut State University has been ordered to reinstate its former director of student conduct more than a year after prosecutors dropped a slate of criminal charges against him related to an April 2018 domestic incident in Hartford.



a man standing in front of a building: Chris Dukes, the former director of student conduct at Central Connecticut State University, left, appears with his attorney, Marina Green, in court after being charged in April 2018 with first-degree kidnapping and strangulation.


© Mark Mirko / Hartford Courant/Hartford Courant/TNS
Chris Dukes, the former director of student conduct at Central Connecticut State University, left, appears with his attorney, Marina Green, in court after being charged in April 2018 with first-degree kidnapping and strangulation.

Christopher Dukes was fired from the job without just cause and the university could not convince an arbitrator that Dukes’ conduct the night of the domestic incident still merited his removal after the charges were dismissed in November 2019, according to an arbitration award filed this week.

Now CCSU must bring Dukes back to his former job, remove its discipline from his personnel file and pay Dukes more than $200,000 in back pay, arbitrator Joseph Celentano concluded.

“My family and I are beyond pleased, we’ve been expecting this decision for a very long time,” Dukes said Tuesday evening. “I’m pleased with the fact that instead of focusing on accusations, [the arbitrator] actually took the time that no one else has done, to actually look at the facts and all the evidence.”

CCSU and the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system are reviewing the decision, however, and will consider whether to appeal the arbitration award in court.

“It is unfathomable that someone could look at the evidence, listen to the recording of the 911 call, hear the fear in the victim’s voice, and come to the conclusion the arbitrator reached,” CSCU President Mark Ojakian said in a written statement Tuesday. “Our first, last, and most important obligation is to keep our students, faculty, and staff safe while on campus. The arbitrator’s decision makes it more difficult to meet that obligation at the same time it disregards the victim’s account of the situation. At this time, we are reviewing the details of the decision and are keeping all options, including appealing to the courts, on the table.”



a man standing in front of a building: Hartford, Ct. - 04/30/2018 - Chris Dukes (L), the director of student conduct at Central Connecticut State University, appears with his attorney in court after being charged last week with first-degree kidnapping and strangulation


© Photograph by Mark Mirko | [email protected]/Hartford Courant/TNS
Hartford, Ct. – 04/30/2018 – Chris Dukes (L), the director of student conduct at Central Connecticut State University, appears with his attorney in court after being charged last week with first-degree kidnapping and strangulation

Dukes was arrested in April 2018 during an hourslong incident at his Hartford home after his wife reported to police that she had been bound in their basement and assaulted by Dukes during a confrontation. Hartford SWAT officers staged outside the home until Dukes eventually agreed to come out, at which point he was charged with a half-dozen offenses including kidnapping, assault and strangulation.

CCSU fired Dukes in December 2018 but he maintained his innocence and rejected several plea offers, including one that would have dismissed the charges, instead pushing ahead for a trial. But in November 2019, prosecutor Vicki Melchiorre instead dropped all of the charges against Dukes because she said the victim

Read more

US grid-battery costs dropped 70% over 3 years

US grid-battery costs dropped 70% over 3 years

In recent years, the cost of solar and wind energy has declined precipitously, which has accelerated the growth of these renewable energy technologies. Increasingly, utilities are now planning for a future grid dominated by solar and wind. That will require changes in grid management and transmission upgrades as well as the addition of storage to smooth out the supply from variable generators.

Grid storage is still pretty early days, but we’re already seeing huge cost reductions as the industry matures. The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) highlighted this recently, showing that grid-scale battery-project costs in the United States dropped 70 percent in just a few years.

Between 2015 and 2018, average project costs decreased from $2,152 per kilowatt-hour of storage to $625. Costs will need to drop much more for grid batteries to scale, but that’s a huge improvement in a short period of time.

Average costs (per kilowatt-hour capacity) dropped about 70 percent from 2015 to 2018.
Enlarge / Average costs (per kilowatt-hour capacity) dropped about 70 percent from 2015 to 2018.

By the end of 2018, the US had 869 megawatts of battery power capacity and 1,236 megawatt-hours of energy capacity. (Power is the rate at which the batteries can supply electricity, while energy is the total amount it can supply when going from full charge to empty.) EIA also has installation data for 2019, which saw the addition of another 150 megawatts/450 megawatt-hours. And in just the first seven months of 2020, yet another 300 megawatts of power capacity were installed.

EIA doesn’t see this slowing down. It expects installed battery storage to increase by 6,900 megawatts “in the next few years”—a figure ambiguous enough to allow for a rapid spike in planned projects.

While you might think that one battery is more or less the same as another, there are regional differences hidden within the average costs of recent projects. In in the Midwest-to-mid-Atlantic region of the grid managed by PJM, for example, the average cost between 2013 and 2018 was $1,946 per kilowatt-hour. Projects in Hawaii averaged just $947 per kilowatt-hour.

Average costs for different grid regions, with circle size representing capacity. Batteries can be designed to prioritize power (rate) or energy (total storage).
Enlarge / Average costs for different grid regions, with circle size representing capacity. Batteries can be designed to prioritize power (rate) or energy (total storage).

Much of this difference can be explained by the fact that batteries are serving many different purposes. In the PJM region, for example, that cost drops to $1,004 if you calculate it per kilowatt rather than per kilowatt-hour. And by that metric, Hawaii’s average cost goes up to $1,498.

Source Article

Read more