Veteran Evicted After New Smoking Ban In Apartment Complex

Veteran Evicted After New Smoking Ban In Apartment Complex

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90 year old Newington Resident Andy Nowicki started smoking 70 years ago, while serving in the United States Army, during World War II. And, it's this habit that has brought him and his wife to the brink of eviction from the apartment they have called home for 20 years.

On January 1, 2012, the Newington Housing Authority banned smoking inside all enclosed areas in the three housing complexes they oversee. And, they mandated that smoking only be done at least ten feet from any of these buildings. This has caused major problems for Mr. Nowicki, who uses a wheelchair and can barely walk.

Until recently, he would smoke right outside his apartment door, inside a breezeway. But, the Executive Director of the Newington Housing Authority, Melinda Harvey, says a complaint for an anonymous resident and observations by NHA staff led to the eviction notice.

Nowicki says he is now in compliance, but there is still a court date set for September 3 at Hartford Housing Court. Mediation will be the goal of that session. And agreement would be best not only for Mr. Nowicki, but also his 90 year old wife, who suffers from advanced Alzheimer's disease.

"This is the last place she's known for almost 20 years. So, to have to take her and tell her she doesn't live here anymore and put her in somewhere else would be just really confusing for her," says Shayna Golet, who is the Nowicki's granddaughter.

Andy Nowicki won a Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts during the war. He was a combat infantryman fighting the Nazis in Africa, Italy, France and Germany. The army is where he picked up his smoking habit 70 years ago because Uncle Sam provided soldiers with free cigarettes during the war.

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