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Sound Bites: MTA fare hikes set to take effect Aug. 20

Kathy Willens

Good Morning. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority will raise rates for Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road commuters on Aug. 20 to increase fare revenues 4% annually. 

On the chopping block is the 20-trip ticket, which offered a discount of 20% over the cost of 20 peak trips that was created during the pandemic for a hybrid workforce. Instead, the MTA will look to steer customers to purchasing the monthly pass, which were discounted by 10% last year.

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

A Connecticut Supreme Court rules that immunity does not apply to negligent emergency vehicle operators. The state law allows operators of emergency vehicles to disregard certain traffic laws, signals and signs, but a recent court ruling stated they also have a duty to the safety of all persons and property. This overturns a lower court's decision that sided with the Bloomfield Police Department when an officer injured a woman and her children when responding to a call, granting him governmental immunity.

Two more mosquitos have tested positive for West Nile virus in Connecticut. According to the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, the mosquitoes were found in Wallingford and Stamford. West Nile usually causes flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache and nausea, but in some cases can cause life-threatening illnesses. Last season, the virus was detected in 185 mosquito pools across six Connecticut counties.

Suffolk County is in the lead nationwide for the most meat allergy cases caused by a tick. The allergy is called alpha-gal syndrome, which can develop in some people after having been bit by a tick. The CDC data showed that 90,018 people in the country tested positive for the syndrome between 2017 and 2022, with the highest number of cases in Suffolk County at 3,746. Doctorsin eastern Long Island are seeing this increase in cases. A CDC study released last month, which surveyed health care workers, found that 35% of respondents were "not too confident" about their ability to diagnose or manage patients with alpha-gal syndrome.

The Hamptons’ “Billionaire Lane" is home to the biggest water users on Long Island. All but one of the top 15 highest water users in Suffolk County last year were on the South Fork, according to water records obtained by Newsday, with five located on Billionaire Lane. Each home used more than 4.7 million gallons of water in 2022. Most of the water usage is from lawn watering and irrigation, depleting water tanks overnight. Residents have been urged to minimize water usage in the face of “abnormally dry” drought levels.

A 15-year-old was arrested in the fatal stabbing outside an East Haven elementary school. Dustin Cecarelli, a North Branford teen, was stabbed during a fight outside of East Haven’s Tuttle Elementary School in May. The East Haven Police Department arrested an unnamed 15-year-old and charged them with manslaughter and assault in the first degree. The suspect has been transferred to Bridgeport Juvenile Detention Center.

A warning letter on short-term rentals caused an uprising for Greenport homeowners. Mayor Kevin Stuessi signed a letter to residents that the short-term rental law would be enforced, citing a new restriction not found in the village code. This restriction falsely states that legal short-term rentals are limited to one rental every two weeks — causing an uproar among residents. (One frustrated Greenport resident, even mailed a letter to everyone in the village warning them of the erroneous letter.) In an interview with the Suffolk Times Stuessi acknowledged the error but said he has no intention of issuing a correction.

Two people were injured when a boat exploded in Stony Brook on Saturday night. Suffolk Police say the boat stalled as it was coming into the Stony Brook Marina, and exploded shortly after it was restarted. Police do not consider the explosion suspicious.

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Maria Lynders is a former news fellow at WSHU.
Andrea Quiles is a fellow at WSHU.