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Sound Bites: Outcry from Fire Island for a state of emergency

Kismet, N.Y. — Fire Island's westernmost community
Sabrina Garone
Kismet, N.Y. — Fire Island's westernmost community

Good morning. A powerful rainstorm crippled New England on Monday, severely impacting coastal areas. On Long Island, the storm washed away emergency vehicle routes and threatened a breach of Fire Island.

Henry Robin, president of the Fire Island Pines Property Owners' Association, is calling for New York and Suffolk County authorities to declare a state of emergency in order to address damages. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers previously reconsidered whether to restore the Fire Island shoreline from previous storm damage last week, and Robin is requesting the federal agency expedite the restoration.

If left untouched, destruction on the barrier island may threaten local communities and those on the south shore of Long Island to further flooding and damage.

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

Connecticut’s Public Utilities Regulatory Authority awarded $1.7 million to the electric vehicle charging company, AmpUp. The grant will be used to develop an EV charging station management platform to help prepare the state as more and more residents switch to electric cars. According to the EV Club of CT, the state is home to over 36,000 registered electric vehicles. The platform is expected to begin development in 2024.

Southampton is considering increasing the length of terms for trustees and the town supervisor. Last week, officials proposed extending term limits from eight years to 12. According to Town Attorney Kathleen Murray, this extension would align with other Long Island municipalities' term limits such as Brookhaven, Huntington, Islip and Riverhead. A public hearing to vote on the extension will be held later in 2024.

The Connecticut Airport Authority will partner with the Sky Harbour Group Corporation to build a $30 million multi-hanger campus at Bradley International Airport. Eight acres of unused land will be used for the site. Kevin Dillon, the authority’s executive director, said this development will generate regional jobs and make the airport more attractive to the corporate and private aviation market. Construction is expected to begin in 2025.

Long Island lawmakers are proposing to expand the “Son of Sam” law following developments in the Gilgo Beach murder trial. The New York law prevents convicted persons from making over $10,000 from their crimes. State lawmakers proposed expanding the law to include ex-spouses and family members of criminals after the wife of alleged murderer Rex Heuermann received over $1 million from an NBC/Universal documentary.

An investigation into how Connecticut awarded contracts through the state’s school construction grant program is ongoing. Former head of the program Konstantinos Diamantis allegedly pressuredofficials to hire specific companies that he previously worked for. A federal grand jury has issued several subpoenas as recent as October to find phone records, emails and calendar entries of state employees in connection with Diamantis’ schemes.

Around half of Long Island students are proficient in English and Math courses. About 52% of students scored proficient on New York's latest English assessment while 58.4% scored proficient on the Math assessment. However, these results may not represent Long Island’s total student population due to students increasingly opting out of state assessments. Still, Long Island students scored better than the state average.

President Theodore Roosevelt was brought back to “life” on Long Island. Residents can learn from the 26th president of the United States via the new Theodore Roosevelt Augmented Reality app and scannable stones where he details his achievements and connection to Long Island. The app is available at the Theodore Roosevelt Sanctuary and Audubon Center, the Oyster Bay Railroad Museum, the Montauk Historical Society and Sayville's Meadow Croft estate.

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Eric Warner is a news fellow at WSHU.