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Sound Bites: Gold Star Memorial Bridge fire heroes honored

Brandon Bylo (light blue shirt), Lt Cornelius Rodgers (uniform) and Chief Brian Wright (far right) of New London Police Department in Garde Arts Theater
Brian Scott-Smith
Brandon Bylo (light blue shirt), Lt Cornelius Rodgers (uniform) and Chief Brian Wright (far right) of the New London Police Department.

Good morning! The New London Police Department honored Lt. Cornelius Rodgers and Brandon Bylo for their heroic actions during April’s deadly Gold Star Memorial Bridge fire. 

Rodgers, who was off-duty, Bylo and an anonymous third person helped save several passengers of a disabled vehicle. Moments after, the vehicle was engulfed in flames from fuel draining out of a burning oil tanker truck. 

The department commended these heroes saying, “Lt. Cornelius Rodgers and Brandon Bylo displayed extreme heroism, character and a relentless life-saving commitment under enormously challenging conditions.” A moment of silence was held to recognize the truck driver, Wallace Fauquet, who died when his heating oil truck flipped over while trying to avoid the disabled vehicle.

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

A nonprofit organization will help pets recover from animal abuse and neglect in Suffolk County. The Fund for Animal Cruelty Treatment of Suffolk, or FACTS, will be funded primarily from community donations that will go to providing veterinary care. Any household or entity showing signs of animal abuse will be investigated by FACTS and the County District Attorney’s Animal Safety Team.

Fentanyl caused over 37% of pediatric opioid deaths in the U.S. since 1999. Dr. Julie Gaither, a Yale School of Medicine professor, published the report on national pediatric fentanyl deaths from 1999-2021 on Monday. Nearly 90% of those who died were teenagers from ages 15-19. Gaither recommends supporting harm reduction strategies and expanding easier access to naloxone for opioid treatment.

A Suffolk County legislative committee will subpoena four county employees. The workers refused to be interviewed on Monday by the Cyber Attack Investigation Committee. This committee has been conducting interviews with county employees as a part of an investigation into the cyberattack that held the county in a $2.5 million ransom and forced the county website to be shut down until February. Suffolk did not pay the ransom.

Over 7,700 borrowers in Connecticut were approved for Public Service Loan Forgiveness. The U.S. Department of Education said more than $458 million were approved between October 2021 and May 2023. The program forgives public employees’ remaining federal student loan balances for those who make the required 120 qualifying monthly payments. Nearly 616,000 borrowers nationwide were approved for a total of $42 billion in Public Service Loan Forgiveness since 2021.

A settlement was reached in a lawsuit against Northeast Medical Group and Yale New Haven Health. NEMG and YNHH will have to pay nearly $561,000 for overbilling federal Medicare and Connecticut Medicaid programs. An anonymous whistleblower filed a lawsuit claiming the health system submitted false claims for physician rate services provided by lower-level providers.

Greenport Village approved a six-month extension to its downtown development moratorium. The moratorium in three downtown commercial districts allows the village to have more time to update the codes for the Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan.

A deceased female minke whale washed up on Cupsogue Beach County Park on Monday. The Atlantic Marine Conservation Society conducted a necropsy exam on the whale. Decomposition makes an exact cause of death uncertain. Minke whale deaths have mysteriously increased since 2017 along the North American East Coast. NOAA Fisheries reported a total of 142 deaths, as of 2023.

Syosset Central School District will drop its Braves mascot. Changes to the high school’s football field end zone and scoreboard will reportedly cost $70,000. This is in accordance with New York’s recent ban on all Indigenous names, logos and mascots. A dozen Long Island schools that use Native American imagery have until the 2024-25 school year to change their mascot — or risk having state funding withheld.

Victims of violent crime or their next of kin in New Haven can receive a one-time cash payment. Yale New Haven Health launched the pilot program in February. The Health Alliance for Violence Intervention and 4-CT arranged the funding with the goal of reducing violent crime in the city by making sure victims are supported after they leave the hospital. Patients will receive $500 and next of kin would receive $1,000 until 2024 when the program ends.

Grand Central Madison’s Biltmore Room has a new entrance and exit. Two new escalators and an elevator began operation on Monday, which will provide riders with direct access between the LIRR terminal, and Grand Central's main concourse connecting to Metro-North.

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Eric Warner is a news fellow at WSHU.
An award-winning freelance reporter/host for WSHU, Brian lives in southeastern Connecticut and covers stories for WSHU across the Eastern side of the state.