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Union Workers Locked Out at Dichello; First Juror Picked in Petit Murders Trial; Improving a Troubled Police Department; and Hockey State Champs Celebrate

'The Towns Around Us' takes a look at what’s making news in neighboring communities.

ORANGE – Several Dichello Distributors’ employees showed up for work last week only to be locked out. Stalled talks on a union contract are reportedly to blame for the stalemate that now has the employees protesting outside the company headquarters.

Workers say the company imposed a contract that the union did not accept. Dichello, one of four Connecticut beverage wholesalers, has not commented.

Meanwhile, the protests continue. You can watch video of the protests by clicking here.

NEW HAVEN – A Yale doctor has been tapped to serve on the jury for one of the most horrific crimes in Connecticut history.

He was the first to be chosen for a 12-panel jury that will decide the fate of Joshua Komisarjevsky, who is facing 17 counts including capital felony murder, kidnapping, arson, larceny, burglary, assault and sexual assault for the murders of a Cheshire mother, Jennifer Hawke-Petit, and her two daughters, Hayley, 17, and Michaela, 11, in 2007.

Jury selection for the highly publicized trial began Wednesday in New Haven Superior Court. Click here for coverage of the first day, and here for coverage of when the first juror was picked.

In the midst of the juror selection process, the defense has filed a motion in which Komisarjevsky would plead guilty to capital felony murder in exchange for a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. The prosecution opposes the motion, as it intends to seek the death penalty like it did successfully against Komisarjevsky’s co-defendant, Steven Hayes, who was convicted following a separate trial in 2010 and is now on death row.

Click here for more on that story.

EAST HAVEN –A 40-step improvement program. That’s what the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) said it will take to create a better East Haven Police Department.

The $85,000 report identified policies and procedures that need updating and stronger enforcement, such as use of force, officers involved in shootings, pursuits, citizen complaints, racial profiling and internal investigations.

The report is not just about bringing certain policies and procedures up to date, though. The department suffered a major hit to its public image and internal morale last year when the Department of Justice launched an investigation into alleged racial profiling and police brutality. That investigation continues.

The department has already begun to address the issues cited in the report, but one lingering issue is who will be the chief of the department.

Click here for more on this story.

CHESHIRE – The boys’ ice hockey team is basking in glory.

The Rams took home the CIAC Division II state championship with a 3-1 win over Guilford on Saturday night. See video highlights from the game and interviews with the goalie and coach by clicking here.

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