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Sound Bites: Suffolk County highway worker files racial discrimination complaint

New York State Division of Human Rights

Good morning. A Suffolk County Department of Public Works employee has filed a racial discrimination with the state Division of Human Rights.

According to the complaint, Julio Germain, who is an Afro-Cuban American, said white coworkers ridiculed him as they clocked out with "derogatory" epithets and mocked him for his attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. He said he was routinely denied promotional opportunities and was fired after reporting misconduct.

The state agency has awarded nearly $7 million to over 1,000 discrimination victims statewide since last July, including 139 complainants.

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

Unsafe sleeping conditions are the leading cause of death of Connecticut toddlers, according to a report released by the state Child Fatality Review Panel. The panel investigated the deaths of 97 children three years old or younger from 2019 to 2022. They found that half of children who died from poor sleeping conditions were three months old or younger. Twenty of the deaths were ruled accidental, over a dozen were homicides and eight died due to fentanyl intoxication.

Yale researchers are working on a vaccine to ward off insects. Instead of targeting the diseases themselves, the new type of vaccine would target mosquitos, ticks and arthropods' saliva, which can transmit viruses. Animal testing is already underway and if successful, researchers hope this strategy will reduce the spread of malaria, dengue, West Nile virus and more.

For the second summer, Connecticut’s shoreline traffic enforcement will roll out. The South-Central Regional Traffic Enforcement Unit will redeploy for six weeks. The unit is composed of police from six coastal towns, including North Haven and Guilford, dedicated to prevent speeding, DUI’s and the driving of unregistered vehicles. In 2022, the unit made over 1,300 motor vehicle stops for violations and issued over 400 infractions.

A fourth member has resigned this year from Bridgeport’s Board of Education. Michael Maccarone, an adjunct professor at the University of Bridgeport, resigned this week in order to spend more time with his family. He was elected to a four-year term on the board in 2021. The board will look for a replacement starting Thursday.

A renovated New Canaan affordable housing apartment complex at the Canaan Parish is open. The remodeling cost the town $46 million and will provide homes for 100 families. New Canaan Housing Authority Chair Scott Hobbs said the renovated complex won’t qualify for tax moratorium.

Antisemtic flyers were found on people’s driveways in Westport on Monday. According to the Westport Police Department, the flyers blamed Jews for supporting women’s sexual and reproductive care. Police are investigating the hate speech and urged residents of Patrick Road to review surveillance camera footage to hopefully identify and arrest the flyers’ creators.

Restaurant employees make up the majority of applicants to Connecticut’s latest retirement savings program. Over 500 restaurants applied to MyCTSavings. Several other businesses including dentists, lawyers and physicians applied to the program, but wereexemptdue to already offering retirement plans of their own. According to state law, businesses are required to register with the state program or show that they have a retirement plan already in place by Aug. 31, or they could face civil lawsuits.

The brother of the late football player Aaron Hernandez faces charges for plotting to shoot up the University of Connecticut. Bristol police arrested DJ Hernandez last week for allegedly threatening to kill his ex-girlfriend and violence at UConn and Brown University. She contacted police after she became concerned he was planning a mass shooting after he mapped out the two colleges. Hernandez is in custody at the Hartford Correctional Center on a $250,000 bail.

Eversource will deploy helicopters to patrol electric transmission line rights-of-way in Fairfield and New Haven counties on Thursday and Friday. The two blue helicopters will inspect the electricity lines to determine if there’s any issue that may threaten reliability for customers in the area. The flights will take place from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., weather permitting.

Two proposals would shift Connecticut to large-scale zero carbon electricity. The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said the draft proposals would improve energy affordability and reliability through the construction of offshore wind turbines and energy storage facilities. These projects follow the state goal of achieving a 100% zero-carbon electricity production by 2040 and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% below 2001 levels by 2050.

This story was updated to explain Julio Germain had filed a new complaint with the New York State Division of Human Rights, which is separate to the fiscal 2023 data released by the state agency this week.

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Eric Warner is a news fellow at WSHU.