© 2024 WSHU
NPR News & Classical Music
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Sound Bites: Connecticut resident freed from Iranian prison after six years

Morad Tahbaz/Facebook

Good morning! Morad Tahbaz is being released from an Iranian prison. He was wrongfully imprisoned while researching an endangered cheetah species. Tahbaz, co-founder of the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation (PWHF), was arrested and  charged with espionage with seven colleagues in 2018 by the Iranian government.

Their research involved placing cameras in Iranian national parks. The cameras they used were camera traps, which are equipped with short-ranged sensors that take photos of any animal that comes close. The group sought to track the less than 50 Asiatic cheetahs that exist in the wild. 

President Joe Biden negotiated a deal to release him and four other American prisoners in exchange for unfreezing $6 billion in Iranian oil revenue and dismissing federal charges against five Iranians accused of violating U.S. sanctions. Most of Tahbaz’s fellow conservationists still remain imprisoned. 

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

Five Long Island synagogues received bomb threats during Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Arson Bomb Squad detectives investigated the threats made Sunday and Monday by email but found no explosives at the places of worship. Suffolk County Police are investigating if there is any connection to other recent threats.

United Illuminating has sued Connecticut. The lawsuit is in response to the state Public Utilities Regulatory Authority voting to not approve a 8% rate hike over three years. The electric company is asking a New Britain Superior Court to reverse the hike denial. Without the increase, the company said it is expected to lose nearly $32 million in profit annually.

The head of Long Island Power Authority believes its service provider deserves a D-plus grade. At a hearing this week, LIPA chief executive Tom Falone gave PSEG Long Island a poor rating due to low customer satisfaction scores and poor performance metrics. Their contract with LIPA expires in 2025, and Falcone said LIPA is already looking for a new contractor. The hearing weighed whether LIPA should become fully public and distribute electricity themselves.

A former Suffolk County union treasurer was charged with larceny. Fannie Bowe, a school monitor for the South Country Central School District and member of Bellport Teachers Association Affiliates, allegedly used a union debit card to steal over $20,000 in the form of unauthorized purchases and ATM withdrawals. Bowe will return to district court on Thursday and could face up to seven years in prison if convicted.

The Norwich Board of Education has removed its superintendent amid a complaint investigation. Teachers from Norwich Public Schools claim Kristen Stringfellow was an abusive leader causing over 160 teachers to leave the school system last year. The Norwich Teachers League said that 96% of teachers refused to speak on school issues in fear of retaliation from Stringfellow. She was placed on paid administrative leave.

The Nassau County Legislature approved a 13-year deal with the Civil Service Employees Association union. The previous labor agreement expired in 2017. This deal will retroactively increase wages by 3% from 2018 through 2030. Employees who work 15 years will receive a stipend of $2,000 and those who work 35-hour per week or more will receive a signing bonus of $3,000. Employees will have to work 20 years to qualify for lifetime health benefits, instead of 10 years, starting in 2026.

Bradley Air National Guard Base will receive a new C-130J aircraft from the U.S. Air Force. A unit of the Air National Guard, the 103rd Airlift Wing, will receive the aircraft to replace their aging C-130Hs. The Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules is a four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft that has been previously used in Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns. Bradley Air will only receive the aircraft after the Department of the Air Force conducts an environmental impact analysis at the base, expected to be complete by 2025.

If you appreciated this story, please consider making a contribution. Listener support is what makes WSHU’s regional reporting, news from NPR, and classical music possible. Thank you!

Eric Warner is a news fellow at WSHU.