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Sound Bites: Connecticut opens 4 new children crisis centers

Aerial view of the campus of Yale-New Haven Hospital in Connecticut.
YNHH Editor
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Wikimedia Commons
Four new children urgent crisis centers opened in Connecticut statewide, including one located and operated at Yale New Haven Hospital.

Good morning! Gov. Ned Lamont announcedWednesday that four new children’s urgent crisis centers are opening across Connecticut. The children crisis centers are designed to divert families from using emergency rooms in order to better address their children’s behavioral health. This is the result of legislation Lamont signed in 2022 to improve children and teens mental health. 

Children with their families can simply walk into these centers to receive medical and psychological assistance. Councilors are available to address thoughts of suicide, depression, out-of-control behaviors, substance use and other mental health concerns. The centers can see up to 72 patients per day. 

The centers are located in Hartford, New Haven, New London and Waterbury. Here’s a bite-sized look at what else we are hearing:

Bridgeport has failed to create a fair rent commission by its July deadline. The city was ordered under state law to create a renters commission in order to investigate complaints issued against housing rental prices. Without the commission, over 140,000 of the city’s tenants are unable to properly address unjust rate hikes and hold landlords accountable. Mayor Joseph Ganim has said he is still nominating members of the commission.

The Yale Veterans Legal Services Clinic is representing a lawsuit against the federal government for discriminatory policies against in vitro fertilization services. New York City’s Chapter of the National Organization for Women is suing the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs for only allowing military service members if they’re a part of a married couple of the opposite sex and have suffered a service-related injury impacting fertility. This denies IVF coverage to same-sex marriage, unmarried and single service members.

The energy bill from National Grid may increase for downstate New Yorkers by up to 21%. The state Public Service Commission heard testimony from Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Long Island residents this week about the potential rate hike. The average Long Island customer could see their natural gas bills increase to $34.66 per month starting April 2024. The increase is intended to help residents reduce their natural gas usage and support connecting renewable energy projects.

New York is well behind its goal to reduce the impact of climate change, according to a report issued by State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act mandates the state transition 70% of its electricity production from fossil fuels to renewable resources by 2030. DiNapoli said the state would need to produce 200% more solar, wind and hydro energy in order to remain on track. In 2022, 29% of New York’s electricity was generated from renewable resources. DiNapoli blames delays in electric transmission infrastructure construction for lagging behind.

Sexual assault charges against a former Greenwich school social worker were dropped. Alexander Pino was charged for allegedly sexually assaulting two clients in 2013 and 2014 at New Lebanon Schools, but the accusers no longer wish to testify. A state Superior Court judge dismissed his case on Tuesday. Pino had faced up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

A Days Inn hotel in New Haven could become the city’s first non-congregate homeless shelter. Mayor Justin Elicker plans to use the shelter as a safe space for individuals and families experiencing homelessness to access private sleeping quarters and warmth for the upcoming winter season. If approved by the Board of Alders, the city would use funds from the American Rescue Plan Act to purchase the hotel on Foxon Boulevard for $6.9 million.

A 20-year-old Amityville man was indicted for the attempted murder of a police officer. Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond Tierney said Jayvon Bell robbed a taxi driver at gunpoint in May, and shot at police in June before getting arrested for threatening a Bolla Market employee. Bell faces 20-years-to-life in prison if convicted.

Connecticut’s Affordable Housing Roundtable held their first meeting on Monday. The group was formed to determine how the state can expand affordable housing. Instead, they discovered more barriers to building the housing stock beyond zoning, including state environmental regulations, property taxes, rising interest rates and soaring construction costs. They acknowledged that many of these issues are outside of state control due to national inflation costs, workers shortages and increasing supply costs. The roundtable is expected to submit a report to the legislative Housing Committee in January.

An environmental review will look at connecting underserved areas of Brooklyn and Queens to the Long Island Rail Road. Governor Kathy Hochul chose the state-based engineering and design firm WSP USA to work on the Interborough Express Transit project. The light rail project would expand 17 subway lines to the LIRR to reduce travel times. Once finished, commute times would be cut down by 40 minutes and serve an estimated 115,000 riders daily.

Connecticut Lottery is asking customers to hold their tickets after issues with lottery terminals were discovered. The lottery corporation issued a public notice on Tuesday stating that several terminals are incorrectly scanning and printing winning tickets as “previously paid,” preventing winners from receiving their rewards. CT Lottery is working on resolving the error.

Two swastikas were spray painted on a Merrick elementary school playground on Sunday. Nassau County Police discovered the 12-inch-long hate symbols at Chatterton School after responding to a bias incident report. The graffiti is under investigation and police ask anyone who may have information to contact them immediately.

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Eric Warner is a news fellow at WSHU.