Sound Bites: Artificial turf vs. natural grass fields
Good morning. Cities and towns in Connecticut are having a turf war between the benefits of artificial fields and natural grass.
Some residents in Stamford and Wethersfield are embracing turf fields due to their versatility in sporting events and effortless management. Fairfield and North Haven are calling for legislators to ban the use of crumb rubber fields due to their potential to contaminate the environment and possibly higher risk of injuries for athletes.
In 2018, Westportbanned the use of crumb rubber after studies found the recycled car tire material contains toxic chemicals. State Representative David Michel (D-Stamford) plans to propose legislation to restrict turf fields next session.
Here’s a bite-sized look at what else we are hearing:
New Yorkers, the Independent Redistricting Commission needs your help! The commission is looking for public input to determine what the state’s 26 congressional districts should look like. The IRC believes the state Court of Appeals may soon order the commission to draw new district lines for a revised political map. In 2022, Republicans sued to have a democratic-favoring map replaced and a state judge appointed an independent mapmaker to draw the districts instead. Since then, Democrats filed their own suit to give the IRC another chance at drawing the congressional map. Republicans appealed this suit with a hearing set for Wednesday, Nov. 15.
U.S. Senator Chris Murphy’s social media accounts were targeted by Vietnamese government agents in an attempt to install spy software. Several other members of Congress and Asia-focused journalists from CNN and The Washington Post were also targeted. Vietnamese spies attempted to have Murphy (D-CT), who serves on the Foreign Relations Committee and chair of its Middle East subcommittee, install surveillance software known as Predator on their smartphones through X, formerly Twitter. The hacking comes after President Biden signed an agreement with Vietnam to counter China’s growing influence in the region last month.
Bridgeport police illegally searched a man’s car. Police pulled over Raushah Campbell in 2022. Campbell refused to give officers his ID, and they searched his vehicle where they found a handgun in his glove box. Campbell was arrested for illegal possession of a weapon in a motor vehicle and carrying a pistol without a permit. A Superior Court judge found no justification in searching the car without a warrant. The gun cannot be used as evidence to prosecute Campbell.
Wesleyan University will no longer include loans in its financial aid packages. Starting next fall, Wesleyan joins Connecticut College and Yale University as schools that have eliminated or reduced loans based on family income. University President Michael Roth hopes this will help make higher education more affordable for low-income families as it becomes increasingly more difficult to meet higher tuition costs. According to a report last year, almost 541,000 state residents have borrowed a combined $19.3 billion in student loans.
Enfield and Southington, Conn. are devising new ways to address panhandlers. Instead of giving people cash, the towns are encouraging residents to donate money to local social service agencies to help address long-term issues, such as food insecurity. The towns are also considering ordinances to place signs warning residents to not hand money directly to panhandlers. According to last year’s annual point-in-time count, almost 3,000 people in the state experienced homelessness.
Shelton’s police chief was granted a civil protection order against a former officer. Shawn Sequeira accuses David Moore of allegedly stalking him. Sequeira claimed he saw Moore follow him for a month to Housatonic Community College where he teaches criminal justice. Moore was fired in 2020 after he attempted to cover up a domestic violence complaint against two Shelton officers. Moore said he wasn't following Sequiera but instead was conducting surveillance. Violation of the order could send Moore to prison for up to five years.
Two white supremacist banners were hung from highway overpasses in Norwich and East Lyme. Both banners were taken down by Monday and were found to be linked to the Patriot Front hate group. East Lyme’s Democratic Town Committee reaffirmed that hate has no place in the town. State Senator Cathy Osten is concerned that the banners may be in response to the military aggression between Hamas and Israel.