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Sound Bites: Another Long Island school hires armed guards

Tony Webster
Wikimedia Commons

Thursday is the new Friday when the weather is this nice. Today: temperatures across Connecticut and Long Island top the 60s. You could even take a dip in the water…The locally known “Gatsby mansion” in Kings Point on Long Island, has recently been listed, in case you’re in the market for a 18 bed/32 bath, $45 million home that boasts palatial pools indoor and outside.

Nassau County Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams (D-Freeport) is challenging the majority’s redistricting proposal. In a letter Abrahams wrote on Tuesday, he said the Democrats’ district advising committee found the proposal to be an “unlawful and extreme partisan gerrymander” that violated equal voting rights among other municipal legislation. He warns the proposed map “fails to create five majority-minority districts,” diluting the voting power of non-white residents. A public hearing is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the county legislative buildings.

Stamford’s new Veterans Resource Center opened its doors on Wednesday. Mayor Caroline Simmons shared that the space, which is located on the second floor of the Old Town Hall, will provide “better access to government resources, programs, and community support services.” Simmons also offers that the center will allow for veterans to better engage with each other and the city. The center is open from 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

A teachers’ union is pushing New Haven Public Schools for competitive pay. As a means to retain teachers as well as bring in new educators, administrators are negotiating a nearly 15% raise for teachers over the next three years, raising the starting salary to $51,421 by 2026. So far, the contract has been overwhelmingly approved by the teachers union and subsequently the school board. Next, the negotiations will be discussed by the full Board of Alders.

A Stony Brook University alumni is eyed for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) recommended Glenn Magpantay for a six-year appointment. If selected, Magpantay will be the only American Asian Pacific Islander on the commission. Magpantay is a long-time civil rights attorney, an LGBTQ rights activist, and a professor of Asian American studies and law.

Bridgeport’s school board is looking to eliminate the rule that requires its members to receive permission before visiting schools. Former chairperson John Weldon shared that the rule, which was implemented in 2019, was put in place because board members were accused of using their position to interrupt class and harass teachers. Current members are pushing back on the rule; member Joseph Sokolovic said, “No other business in the world does the employer have to ask the employee for everything.”

Smithtown Central School District is hiring armed guards to be placed outside of its schools. The decision came after a budget workshop included plans for armed security, which would cost about $850,000. The decision, while controversial considering other arguments for funding allocation, is not new to Long Island: districts including South Huntington, Montauk, Tuckahoe, West Babylon, Connetquot, Massapequa, Hauppauge and Miller Place all either have security in place or have considered the measure.

U.S. Rep. George Santos (R-NY) refused to speak with constituents at his Queens office on Wednesday. Approximately 25 residents attempted to visit Santos, who was under multiple investigations for possible campaign finance fraud. They were met at his office door by a staffer who said that while Santos was in the building, he refused to meet with a “mob.” A police barricade was set up outside.

Students at the University of Connecticut walked out of class Wednesday over a lacking proposed budget. Governor Ned Lamont’s two-year budget proposal leaves the university without almost $160 million. For students, this means a tuition increase of $3,000. University President Dr. Radenka Maric said this cut to funding puts all non-university expenses at risk, including the $70,000 price tag of every basketball game played at Hartford’s XL Center arena. Lamont maintains students are misinformed on the budget process.

New York state officials have been eyeing the Nassau Coliseum as a possible location to house migrants in New York City. When State Senator Monica Martinez asked New York City’s Mayor Eric Adams about the prospect, he said he was unsure if the Coliseum was an official consideration for migrant temporary housing. Martinez is concerned that housing migrants in the multi-purpose arena would only put further strain on Long Island’s resources.

The Long Island Greenway is moving forward in its planning process. The greenway,which is a 175 mile-long pedestrian and bicycle route that links major parks and open spaces and stretches from Montauk to Manhattan, is funded through a combination of private and taxpayer support. The first leg of operations, which establishes a portion of the trail 25 miles from Eisenhower Park in East Meadow to Brentwood State Park, is slated to begin next year.

Eda Uzunlar is WSHU's Poynter Fellow for Media and Journalism.