No exception for veteran, 90, being evicted for smoking

Sept. 5, 2013 at 2:09 PM

NEWINGTON, Conn., Sept. 5 (UPI) -- Eviction proceedings are continuing against a disabled World War II veteran because of his cigarette smoking, the Newington, Conn., housing authority said.

The housing authority seeks to evict Andy Nowicki, 90, for continuing to violate a policy against smoking in the breezeway of his apartment in the state Veterans Home. The rule requires smokers to be outdoors and at least 10 feet from windows.

Nowicki can barely walk because of war wounds and old age, The Hartford (Conn.) Courant reported Thursday, adding new eviction papers were served on his wife Leona, 90, who has advanced Alzheimer's disease.

"I'm appalled and disgusted that someone would do this to another human being," said their daughter, Janet. "She (her mother) thinks she's going to jail. If they're supposed to serve somebody it's supposed to be me."

Janet Nowicki said she sought an exemption to the smoking policy for her father, a Purple Heart medal recipient, but the housing authority, at a meeting Wednesday, continued to rule out an exception.

Executive Director Melinda Harvey noted that, instead of banning smoking, as the Veterans Home will do in June 2014, it allowed the accommodation of permitting smoking outdoors and away from windows.

"This is a reasonable accommodation," Harvey said. "We understand it's an addiction, but for the health and safety of everyone, we need to have this policy."

State Sen. Paul Doyle, a lawyer representing the Nowickis, said he hopes a compromise can be reached before their Sept. 17 hearing date.

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