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Sound Bites: UConn Huskies are dancing to the Sweet 16

UConn players celebrate in the second half of a second-round college basketball game against Baylor in the NCAA Tournament in Storrs, Connecticut.
Jessica Hill
UConn players celebrate in the second half of a second-round college basketball game against Baylor in the NCAA Tournament in Storrs, Connecticut.

Good morning! Both UConn men’s and women’s basketball teams are heading to the Sweet 16, the regional semifinal round of this year’s NCAA Tournament!

The women’s team won on Monday against the Baylor Bears, 77-58, at home in Storrs, moving onto their 29th consecutive Sweet 16 appearance. On Sunday, the men’s team defeated Saint Mary’s College, 70-55, in Albany. UConn women take on Ohio State in Seattle on Saturday. 

Here’s a bite-sized look at what else we are hearing: 

A federal court is hearing arguments against New York’s concealed carry law that bans guns from certain public places. The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held arguments against the law, claiming it violates New Yorker’s Second Amendment rights. The court will determine if the state can continue enforcing the law, which has been the focus of nine lawsuits. A provision that requires gun carriers to get consent to carry firearms on private property is also under fire. Law experts expect parts of the law to return to the Supreme Court.

Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection may develop a new clean hydrogen strategic plan. The plan, included in a bill approved last week by the state Energy and Technology Committee, would expand the state’s hydrogen economy and establish clean hydrogen energy sources in areas where renewable electric energy sources would be difficult to produce. It would also determine the cost differences from using hydrogen compared to fossil fuels.

Nassau County residents are rallying in opposition of a proposed entertainment center, including a casino, in the area surrounding the Nassau Coliseum. Hofstra University’s campus is located just down the road from the property in Uniondale. Open letters from the school’s Board of Trustees and Student Government Association called the location totally inappropriate, stating it is a threat to student safety and mental health. The “Say No to the Casino” Civic Association argues it would bring increased traffic and crime, and also create gambling problems in young people.

A Black Lives Matter advocate in Connecticut was awarded nearly $300,000 after getting spat on during a protest in 2021. According to Hearst Connecticut Media, Keren Prescott was confronted by Yuliya Gilshteyn during a vaccine mandate protest. Gilshteyn reportedly spat on Prescott, which made her fearful that she contracted COVID-19. A judge found Gilshteyn liable for emotional and economic damages against Prescott. In a criminal case, Gilshteyn received probation.

Nassau County will place 60 Narcan kits in public buildings and parks to prevent fatal opioid overdoses. Officials hope increasing the availability of the overdose reversal drug will help reduce substance use stigma. According to the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Long Island has the highest number of opioid deaths in New York state.

Free public bus service in Connecticut will end next month, according to the state Department of Transportation. Fares were suspended from 2022 to help residents combat soaring gas prices. The free rides were previously extended to December last year and planned to extend to November, but federal restrictions prevent the suspension from lasting longer than a year. Officials recommend riders purchase tickets ahead of time to avoid lines in April.

Layoffs have started at Sikorsky Aircraft in Stratford. It’s part of parent company Lockheed Martin’s plan to cut 800 jobs. Sikorsky employs 8,000 workers in Connecticut, but it’s unknown how many have been affected by these latest layoffs. This comes after Sikorsky lost out on the Army’s $1.3 billion contract in December to replace Black Hawk helicopters to Texas-based manufacturer Bell Textron.

Police in Connecticut want lawmakers to set fees and rules for compiling and releasing requested video footage from body-worn and dashboard cameras. Under state law, police camera footage must be disclosed 48 hours after the officer reviews the recording or 96 hours after the start of a disciplinary investigation, whichever comes first. A bill being considered would allow a state agency to set a redaction fee that police can charge for "portions of the footage not authorized to be disclosed under state or federal law."

A bill that would allow grocery stores in Connecticut to sell ciders and wines was defeated by a key legislative committee. Connecticut is one of the few states in the country that prohibit the sale of wine in grocery stores. Instead, the state is home to around 1,250 package stores where residents can purchase wine along with dozens of other alcoholic drinks. Supermarkets supported the bill, arguing customers would be able to purchase everything they wanted in one trip. Package store owners feared the bill would cause some locations to go out of business.

The city of Stamford plans to take out around $500,000 from its contingency reserve to cover overtime costs of employees working on Juneteenth, according to Hearst Connecticut Media. This action must first be approved by the Board of Finance and Board of Representatives. June 19, otherwise known as Juneteenth, commemorating the end of slavery in the United States, was declared as an official city holiday last year.

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Eric Warner is a news fellow at WSHU.