March 23 - 1977: Connecticut offers seceding Islanders a new home

2007: Disaster aid for red tide is $1,400
Ella Grasso served two terms as Connecticut Governor in the 1970s, the first women elected as governor on her own

2007: Disaster aid for 2005 red tide will net each shellfisherman about $1,400

Payment was for the 2005 severe red tide bloom

On this day in 2007 local shellfishermen learned they can expect on average about $1,400 from federal natural disaster aid, declared in response to a severe red tide bloom in the summer of 2005 that shut down much of the local industry for about three months. The areas closed are shown on right.

The federal government declared the bloom a natural disaster last summer and allocated $2 million to Massachusetts shellfishermen. This week, the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries held meetings in Gloucester, Chatham and Bourne to explain to shellfishermen how the money will be distributed and how to apply.

"It will be based on landings' value and the duration of the closure," said Mark Rousseau, the red tide relief coordinator for the Division of Marine Fisheries...  A large red tide bloom shut down the shellfish industry from New Hampshire to Cape Cod in 2005. On June 9, 2005, then-Gov. Mitt Romney declared a state of emergency and five days later, the U.S. Department of Commerce declared New England's outbreak a commercial fishery failure eligible for federal assistance.  The federal government appropriated $5 million in disaster aid for the 2005 bloom; $2 million was allocated for Massachusetts, less the $100,000 for administrative expenses.

1977: Connecticut offers refuge to islanders threatening secession

Offers to make seagull the state's co-bird

On this day in 1977, Connecticut Gov. Ella Grasso offered for Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket to become part of the Nutmeg State after the islands threatened to secede from Massachusetts.

"Connecticut from its very beginning has been a refuge for disgruntled Massachusetts residents," said Grasso, as reported by the Associated Press. "There is no record of any of them regretting the move."

Island residents were angered by a proposed legislative redistricting.

Grasso noted that Thomas Hooker fled Massachusetts and founded Hartford in 1636 and New London was founded a decade later by former Bay State Gov. John Winthrop Jr.

"Mrs. Grasso said she is considering proposals to fly the islands' flag from the east tower of the Connecticut Capitol and to make the seagull the co-state bird, along with the robin," according to the AP.

Below is our artist's rendition of what the transfer might look like.

First woman governor

In 1974, she won the Democratic nomination for governor of Connecticut and defeated her opponent by 200,000 votes. She was inaugurated in January 1975, becoming the first woman to serve as governor of Connecticut and the first woman to hold a state governorship in her own right. welcomes thoughtful comments and the varied opinions of our readers. We are in no way obligated to post or allow comments that our moderators deem inappropriate. We reserve the right to delete comments we perceive as profane, vulgar, threatening, offensive, racially-biased, homophobic, slanderous, hateful or just plain rude. Commenters may not attack or insult other commenters, readers or writers. Commenters who persist in posting inappropriate comments will be banned from commenting on