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Sound Bites: Warning issued for Long Island Sound oysters

Wayne Perry

Good morning. The Connecticut Department of Public Health issued a warning against consuming Long Island Sound oysters due to a potentially life-threatening bacteria. Officials say eating raw shellfish or bathing in salty or brackish water from Long Island Sound could expose people with weak immune systems to the bacteria Vibrio vulnificus.

Since July 1, one of three residents over age 60 who became infected with Vibrio has died; the others remain hospitalized. Symptoms are stomach illnesses, fever, low blood pressure and blistering of the skin.  

Officials recommend cooking shellfish and washing open wounds with soap if contact occurs. Here’s a bite-sized look at what else we are hearing:

Overtime costs increased at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority last year. Workers made an additional $200,000 in overtime costs — totaling $1.3 billion — in 2022 compared to the year prior. According to the Empire Center for Public Policy, over 1,000 MTA employees doubled their annual salaries through overtime pay. Top earners of more than $100,000 include more than 280 Long Island Rail Road and 85 Metro-North employees.

Stamford’s Board of Representatives has proposed changes to the city charter. The board wants to gain more decision making power after Mayor Caroline Simmons tried to block their legislative proposals last month. Among the over 50 changes suggested, they include giving appointment power to a majority of members of the city’s land use boards and requiring the mayor to report to the Board of Representatives and Board of Finance on all state legislative matters. The draft is being reviewed by the city’s Charter Revision Commission.

Negotiations are underway after over 100 nurses at St. Catherine of Siena Hospital in Smithtown went on strike last week. Their previous contract expired on Monday. According to theNew York State Nurses Association Union, the nurses want safer staffing and expanded wages and benefits that are competitive with other Long Island hospitals. If agreed upon, the nurses hope the new contract will help recruit and retain employees at the hospital.

Fewer Connecticut residents are purchasing flood insurance despite recent damaging storms. According to Hearst Connecticut Media, the decrease in flood insurance policy coverage is due to rising premium costs. In 2022, the average homeowner would have to pay $1,600 per policy annually. Over 30,000 flood insurance policies are being used in the state, as of June.

New York seeks to resurrect the state’s Amistad Commission. The commission, named after the 1839 revolt of enslaved people against the Spanish ship La Amistad, is dedicated to teaching students the history of slavery and racism in the U.S., including the positive impacts African Americans have made in developing the country. The commission was first created in 2005, but has been inactive since 2016. Legislators plan to revive and fund the commission through the state Education Department in the 2024 legislative session.

The body of a missing New London teenager was found in the water off the coast of Westerly, Rhode Island on Sunday. The 15-year-old boy was last seen swimming at Dunes Park Beach on Thursday. Westerly Police have not confirmed a cause of death but presume the boy drowned. The name of the boy and his family have not been released yet.

New York Republicans are suing the state to overturn a $35,000 outside income limit. This in response to a 29% legislative annual pay increase from $110,000 to $142,000 that Governor Kathy Hochul approved in January. This pay raise included the new income cap, which is set to take effect in 2025. Republicans are calling the limit unconstitutional and claim it deprives them of property interests.

A Connecticut state trooper charged in the 2020 death of Mubarak Soulemane has rejected a plea deal. The offer would have forced Brian North to openly plead guilty to second-degree manslaughter for the shooting death of the 19-year-old New Haven resident, and serve up to 10 years in prison. Instead, North will face 40 years if convicted when his case goes to trial in January.

The New London newspaper The Day has sold its original building headquarters at 47 Eugene O'Neill Drive. The Maine-based historical building renovator High Tide Capital purchased the building for almost $2 million last week. The building was first put on the market in February 2022 with a price of $2.65 million. It was constructed in 1907. The Day will move to another property in downtown New London.

A new museum called “Lost In New Haven'' dedicated to the history and character of the city will open soon. The museum is a passion project of resident Robert Greenberg who has been collecting city artifacts since he was kid. The 22,000-square-foot, nonprofit museum is dedicated to the history and character of the city through the preservation of unique objects, including:

  • The glowing Cutler’s Records phonograph sign
  • An original photo of John F. Kennedy campaigning for president on the New Haven Green in 1960
  • Two mint-condition tickets from the first Yale-Harvard football game played at the Yale Bowl in 1914
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Eric Warner is a news fellow at WSHU.