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Sound Bites: Ed Romaine takes office as Suffolk County executive

J.D. Allen

Good morning, and a Happy New Year! Hope everyone is feeling rested and ready for 2024. 

Here’s is a bite-sized look at what we’re hearing (that that you might have missed):

Ed Romaine has been officially sworn-in to his term as Suffolk County executive. The 76-year-old Republican replaces Democrat Steve Bellone, who was term-limited after 12 years in office. Romaine said he will focus on selecting a police commissioner, filling positions in the public works and labor departments and securing the county’s computer systems against cybersecurity threats.

Bridgeport is monitoring for health and environmental impacts from an explosion on Friday at an environmental services facility. Police say a Tradebe facility on Cross Street had a large explosion after a delivery of about 4,000 gallons of low-grade oxidizer. Water runoff in the area is being sampled, and anyone should refrain from fishing in nearby brooks due to high PH levels.

New York’s legal cannabis market generated over $150 million in sales in its first year. The state Office of Cannabis Management received more than 6,900 applications from businesses and individuals trying to get into the industry. So far just 40 retail dispensaries have received approval to sell marijuana legally, including a location in Farmingdale on Long Island.

Connecticut regulators have denied a request from United Illuminating seeking an interim rate increase after the state Public Utilities Regulatory Authority last summer rejected the company's request to hike its rates by more than $100 million over a three-year period. The decision avoids a potential $3.81 increase per month for a typical customer.

A Yale study finds environmental data that scientists rely on could be skewed by decades of racist housing practices. Data about bird migration and tree canopy cover are often crowdsourced by everyday people through smartphone apps. Data studied in New Haven came mostly from white, affluent neighborhoods — and lacked in Black and Latino communities with histories of redlining.

Suffolk County reports more than 100 cases of whooping cough in school-aged children and their parents. Most of the individuals with the pertussis infection are vaccinated and have milder symptoms. The county is unaware of any hospitalizations due to the outbreak.

Connecticut offshore wind crews have deployed a rubber barrier around areas of heavy construction to dampen shockwaves that could be a threat to marine life. Compressed air is sent through the concentric rings of perforated hoses to blow enough bubbles that a wall of air is created to absorb up to 90% of the pile-driving noise.

Christopher McPartland was released from federal prison. The former aide who helped ex-Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota cover-up the beating of a handcuffed man in the former police chief’s custody, was two years into his five-year sentence. McPartland is expected to be placed under home confinement or in a halfway house.

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A native Long Islander, J.D. is WSHU's managing editor. He also hosts the climate podcast Higher Ground. J.D. reports for public radio stations across the Northeast, is a journalism educator and proud SPJ member.