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Sound Bites: Frigid weather in CT to blame for hypothermic deaths

A car treks down a snow covered road, Sunday, Jan. 7, 2024. Some areas of New England saw about a foot of snow from a winter storm.
Charles Krupa
A car treks down a snow covered road, Sunday, Jan. 7, 2024. Some areas of New England saw about a foot of snow from a winter storm.

Good morning. An investigation is underway into four deaths in Connecticut from suspected hypothermia during a week of frigid conditions. The deaths occurred in Bridgeport, Hartford, Westbrook and Thomaston. The cause of death is pending further tests. The New York Times reportedat least 72 people died from weather-related causes nationwide this past month. 

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

Offshore wind developer Orsted has agreed to accept Eversource's stake in the Sunrise Wind project. Eversource announced earlier this year that it would leave its 50-50 joint venture in three projects planned for the U.S. offshore market. This project off the coast of Long Island’s south shore is awaiting an updated contract from New York state. If awarded, the project could be completed in 2026. A decision on award winners could be made in February.

Former legislator Rudy Sunderman is serving as Suffolk County deputy commissioner. County Executive Ed Romaine appointedSunderman to serve as deputy commissioner of Fire, Rescue and Emergency Services. Sunderman, a Republican, resigned from the legislature in 2021 after pleading guilty to false financial disclosure to the county's ethics board. Prosecutors argued he tried to circumvent the board's ruling against him working for two separate fire districts. Sunderman was sentenced to a conditional discharge and fined $1,000.

Long Island will receive $343,000 in state grants to reduce invasive species. New York awarded $3 million in grants across the state to reduce invasive species in its communities, waterways, fields and forests. The state Department of Environmental Conservation's Invasive Species Grant Program will be distributed to 43 projects in the state. Long Island's haul ranked third among the state's 10 regions.

Pratt & Whitney undergoes a second annual loss. The Connecticut-based company was ordered to inspect and replace airplane engine parts due to cracks in high-pressure turbine disks that had contaminated metal powders. The turbine disk recall cost Pratt & Whitney $1.46 billion in 2022, wiping out net earnings of $1.1 billion that year and most of a $454 million profit in 2021.

A New Yorker died from undeclared Stew Leonard's peanut product. The resident died from an allergic reaction after eating a vanilla Florentine cookie containing undeclared peanuts. The cookie was manufactured by wholesaler Cookies United and labeled with Stew Leonard's brand name. Stew Leonard's published a recall on the cookies, notifying customers with nut allergies to dispose of them or return them. The state Department of Agriculture, as well as Connecticut’s Department of Consumer Protection and Public Health, is leading the investigation into the incident.

Connecticut school nursing program ends contract. The Visiting Nurse Association of Southeastern Connecticut will end its school nursing contracts with East Lyme, Groton, New London and Waterford at the end of the school year. The program employs 50 people and will end in June. The decision comes as the VNArefocuses on staffing resources in its home healthcare program. Nurses and nurse aides in the school districts are being connected with potential opportunities in the Yale New Haven Health system.

Mystic, Connecticut chefs nominated. David Standridge and Renee Touponce are semifinalists for the James Beard Awards. Touponce, executive chef for The Port of Call, is a semifinalist for Outstanding Chef this year. Standridge, executive chef at The Shipwright's Daughter, is a semifinalist for the 2024 Best Chef: Northeast category. The finalists will be announced on April 3, with winners revealed in a ceremony in Chicago on June 10.

Three Long Island students head to Washington. Three seniors from Nassau County, Natasha Kulviwat, Vincent Huang and Jacob Gross, have been announced finalistsin the national Regeneron Science Talent Search competition. Each finalist will travel to Washington, D.C., to compete for a $25,000 prize. The competition will be held on March 6-13, where the finalists will compete for more than $1.8 million in prizes.

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Andrea Quiles is a fellow at WSHU.