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Sound Bites: Riverhead accused of wrongful death after deadly apartment fire

Jen Wilbanks

Good morning! Leaders in Connecticut’s Town of Lyme have declared a name change for their town board. Effective earlier this week, the Board of Selectmen became the Board of Selectpeople. The name change arose as Kristina White was appointed a Selectperson, the second woman in Lyme history to hold the position.

Keep reading for a bite-sized look at what we’re hearing.

The Town of Southampton has paused battery-powered energy storage systems on Tuesday. The lithium-ion storage systems, which complement renewable energy sources by storing generated power for future use, may not be up to fire code. The decision comes after growing safety concerns about the systems overheating and catching fire, resulting in a six-month moratorium on the storage systems’ use. The issue was brought to attention after a blaze at a facility in May disrupted the Town of East Hampton.

The Town of Riverhead is being accused of another wrongful death concerning the case of a 2021 apartment fire. Court documents now show Ruben A. Gonzalez Godoy filed a lawsuitagainst the town last month claiming both the property owner of the apartment as well as the town are to blame for the death of his daughter Andrea. Andrea’s mother, half-brother and multiple cousins were lost to the same fire.

More employers in Connecticut are embracing apprenticeships to combat the state’s labor shortage. The apprenticeship program, which is run through the Department of Labor, currently employs about 6,400 residents through apprenticeships. Approximately 1,750 employers are registered in the program. Since 2018, $15 million has been allocated to the program through the state Bond Commission for workforce-related partners to assist with the initiative.

Auditors flagged the Connecticut Office of the Attorney General for concerns in record keeping. Specifically, the state auditor flagged that the attorney general's office had failed to properly track their settlement accounts receivable, leaving over $10 million in receivables unreconciled.

The Town of Brookhaven is hiring more staff at their animal shelter following complaints that cite unsanitary conditions within the property. The town’s animal shelter will hire six new employees. Additionally, officials say they are assigning staff from other town facilities to help mend the clogged pipes and water damage, as well as clean what are cited as dirty kennels.

The Coast Guard has charged a mariner engineer with sexually assaulting a U.S. Merchant Marine Academy cadet in 2019. The mariner surrendered his license to work at sea on Wednesday, a week after being charged. The mariner is accused of assaulting the then-cadet who had been attending the Kings Point Service Academy on Long Island’s North Shore at the time.

A 14-year-old boy was shot and injured in a stolen car found early Wednesday morning off of the interstate in Waterbury, Connecticut. The car was found empty by state troopers with damage from a bullet hole in the back of the vehicle. Officers later learned that a teenage boy had been admitted to a nearby hospital with a gunshot wound. An investigation is underway.

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Eda Uzunlar (she/her) is a reporter for WSHU.