Connecticut prepares for presidential visit

Donald Trump
FILE - In this Monday, Feb. 6, 2017, file photo, U.S. President Donald Trump salutes as he arrives on Air Force One at MacDill Air Force Base, in Tampa, Fla. New Zealand's Prime Minister Bill English said Tuesday he told Trump during a phone call that he disagreed with his travel and refugee ban but that the conversation remained amicable. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara/File)

NEW LONDON COUNTY, Conn. (WTNH) — On Tuesday morning, a C-17 military transport plane flew over southeastern Connecticut. Its destination was the Groton-New London Airport in Groton, where preparations are underway for the President Donald Trump’s arrival Wednesday morning. He’s scheduled to attend the commencement ceremony for the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.

“We’re providing as much assistance as we can for the secret service and expect it to be a smooth running operation that’s uneventful,” said Groton Police Chief Louis J. Fusaro, Jr.

While the exact route of the President’s motorcade is under wraps, parking is being banned starting at 5 a.m. on roads around the airport, and roads will be closed when the President is en route to the Coast Guard Academy, and back to the airport. So if you think you can pull over and watch it go by…

“Probably not going to happen,” said Chief Fusaro. “No. There are some areas where they’d be able to go but they’re few and far between where the airport is located.”

Meanwhile, Stonington fishermen plan to join a flotilla of boats on the Thames River. It’s allowed as long as they’re 500 yards away from the academy.

“We’re expecting boats from Long Island as far as even Shinnecock,” said Mike Gambardella, Owner of Gambardella Wholesale Seafood. “We have a few coming out of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, a few of our Connecticut boats.”

fishermen cga graduation sign Groups and Groton prepare for Presidential visit
(WTNH / Tina Detelj)

The goal is to welcome the President, congratulate the graduates, and maybe catch the President’s eye with signs saying ‘WELCOME PRESIDENT TRUMP! CONGRATULATIONS UNITED STATES COAST GUARD ACADEMY CLASS OF 2017.’

“If we get noticed that would be good because we would like to have the president review some regulations and ease up the way things are working for fishermen before we are gone completely,” saId Joseph Gilbert, Owner of ‘Regulus.’

They hope Mr. Trump will ‘make commercial fishing great again’ which is another sign and bumper sticker.

“This is definitely not a protest,” said Gambardella.

The Unify & Resist Coalition, on the other hand, is protesting the president’s policies peacefully.

stonington fishermen boats 1 Groups and Groton prepare for Presidential visit“Trying to speak directly to the administration while also honoring the special time for coast guard graduates and their families and trying to somehow separate those two things,” said Frida Berrigan who is with the War Resisters League. Her group is part of the coalition.

They made signs Tuesday night during a gathering called a joyous noise of resistance at Parade Plaza in downtown New London. Those signs will be carried by the group which plans to leave Parade Plaza and march to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy starting at 8:30 Wednesday morning.