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Sound Bites: LIRR considers physical barriers to stop fare evasion

Kathy Willens

Happy Friday! The Long Island Rail Road is cracking down on fare evasion. The LIRR loses almost $25 million to fare evasion. Officials estimate one third of that $24.4 million is due to unpaid or incorrectly collected fares.

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

An attempt to ban two graphic novels at Newtown High School has failed — for now. The Board of Education held a vote on Tuesday to ban “Flamer” by Mike Curato and “Blankets” by Craig Thompson, but the vote was tied at 3-3.

The MTA may install physical barriers on the LIRR to keep riders from evading fares. Fare evasion costs the MTA around $700 million annually, and LIRR fare evasions account for almost $25 million.

Connecticut electric rates are expected to drop significantly in July. The average Eversource Energy customer could save $56 a month, and the average United Illuminating customer could see a $28 decrease monthly.

Construction is underway to install speed tables on Sargent Drive in New Haven. It's in an effort to deter illegal drag racing. Speed tables, which are similar to long speed bumps, were installed on Long Wharf Drive in 2021, and Mayor Justin Elicker said there has been no drag racing on the street since.

Sag Harbor voters have rejected a plan to expand Pierson Middle-High School. The proposal, which included plans to purchase Marsden Street properties, failed by 75 votes.

Crystal Mall in Waterford, Connecticut has been sold for $9.25 million at auction. Bidding began at $2 million and jumped more than $4 million in the last 10 minutes of the two-day bid period. It is not yet known who purchased the mall.

A Bridgeport police officer has won a federal lawsuit against the city. Lt. Ronald Mercado discovered the body of a fellow officer in 2019, and was then deemed psychologically unfit to serve by the former police chief. Mercado was awarded $45,000.

Two former Connecticut Municipal Electric Energy Corporation employees have been sentenced to prison for misuse of funds. 62-year-old Drew Rankin (former CEO) will spend 12 months in prison for using money awarded to the CMEEC for personal travel. 56-year-old James Sullivan (former chairperson) will spend six months for the same reason.

FEMA has awarded Wesleyan University $2 million for COVID-19 testing costs. The university purchased more than 100,000 COVID tests for students, faculty and staff. FEMA has given the state of Connecticut more than $650 million for pandemic related costs.

A seventh-grade student in Stamford has won the statewide “Doodle for Google” contest. The contest asks K-12 students to draw the Google logo into a new image. This year’s prompt was “I am grateful for.” Rhea Sadhu will now compete against each state's winner to determine a national champion.

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Molly is a reporter covering Connecticut. She also produces Long Story Short, a podcast exploring public policy issues across Connecticut.