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Sound Bites: A historical interest in United Illuminating’s Fairfield proposal

Molly Ingram

Good morning. 

A group of Fairfield, Connecticut residents fighting United Illuminating to bury its electric infrastructure has gained support from The National Trust for Historic Preservation. 

A proposed United Illuminating plan looks to build a series of monopoles to run electrical lines from homes and businesses between Fairfield and Bridgeport. Residents have banded together with the national historic preservation group to ask the Connecticut Siting Council to intervene with the project. The council was set to hold an evidentiary hearing for the project on Thursday.

The request was filed three days after a protest against the project involving several hundred people at Pequot Library. They said the project will have a potential negative impact on recognized historical sites, as well as possible environmental impacts on the natural resources of the surrounding area.

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

Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has planned an estate sale to help pay back the more than $1 billion he owes Sandy Hook families. A judge last month ruled that Jones could not discharge that debt the way a person with bankruptcy protection would be able to. He plans to sell cars, boats and guns as a way to make “payment of professional fees” in the defamation case he lost.

Antisemitic graffiti was found in Commack and Smithtown schools this week. Schools across the U.S. have seen an increase in antisemitism and Islamophobia in schools since the start of the Israel-Hamas war. Commack’s superintendent says the district officials plan to hold a presentation from the Suffolk County Police Department’s Hate Crimes Unit.

Research teams from five universities, including Stony Brook University, have been given a $3.8 million grant from the NIH's National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities to study healthcare disparities among Latinos in low-income immigrant communities. The five-year study will examine the legal issues that cause members of the Latino community to be more susceptible to certain diseases, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. It will explore unsafe working environments, denial by insurance companies, and illegal housing evictions that may lead to increased vulnerability to these health problems among the Latino population.

Suffolk County funded $3.3 million to the Town of Riverhead toward downtown revitalization initiatives, including renovating the Long Island Science Center. The center is among four projects in Riverhead awarded grants to enhance culture, education and parking in the downtown area. Town officials said the funds will help progress ongoing revitalization efforts, including a new $4 million town square.

Central Connecticut State University students and faculty rallied Wednesday to oppose the proposed budget cuts and tuition hikes that could be in effect next year. Administrators said the cuts and tuition hikes are necessary to seal a budget shortage that will reach $140 million in 2025. A CSCU spokesperson said they are working toward addressing the budget deficit but will ultimately need more funds.

New York has sued PepsiCo for the beverage company’s alleged environmental pollution and endangering public health. State Attorney General Letitia James accused PepsiCo of contributing to a public nuisance for creating significant plastic waste. James said the pollution is attributed to health problems, and PepsiCo failed to warn customers of plastics' potential health and environmental risks. A PepsiCo spokesperson expressed the company's commitment to bringing awareness for recycling and improving recycling infrastructure.

Two more families from the Farmingdale High School marching band bus crash are suing the bus company and its driver for negligence after a retired teacher and school chaperone were killed and multiple students were injured. These two filings bring the total number of lawsuits to six in Nassau County Supreme Court concerning the crash. The allegations address a history of disobeying traffic laws and reckless driving alongside defective tires. A National Transportation Safety Board investigation of the crash is ongoing.

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Andrea Quiles is a fellow at WSHU.
Bill Rodrigues is a graduate intern at WSHU.