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Sound Bites: CT looks to ban non-biodegradable balloons

In this Thursday, April 25, 2019 photo, a balloon sits tangled on the rocky coast after washing ashore in Biddeford Pool, Maine. Bills are pending in a growing number of states to ban the feel-good tradition of releasing helium-filled balloons at events, since they have the unintended consequence of spoiling the environment and threatening wildlife.
Robert F. Bukaty
/
AP
A balloon sits tangled on the rocky coast after washing ashore. Bills are pending in a growing number of states to ban the feel-good tradition of releasing helium-filled balloons at events, since they have the unintended consequence of spoiling the environment and threatening wildlife.

Good morning — A bill proposed in Connecticut would ban the sale of non-biodegradable balloons. The bill addresses lighter-than-air balloons that threaten animals and marine life in waterways, including Long Island Sound. 

State Representative Joe Gresko, who co-chairs the legislative environmental committee, argues that the bill is more of an encouragement than a mandate, as they believe the industry is providing written notices to consumers and offering to collect balloons after use. The rule would be implemented over up to five years to give the industry time to create biodegradable options. 

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

A $6.7 million infrastructure initiative was unveiled in New Haven. Mayor Justin Elicker, along with city and state leaders, kicked off construction for the Lower State Street Redesign Project on Wednesday. The project aims to improve pedestrian and cyclist safety, unlock the potential of seven underused parking lots and create 450 new housing units and retail space.

The death of a New Haven baby in June spurred changes in the state Department of Children and Families' policies regarding fentanyl testing for parents caring for young children. The agency has implemented new tests and a new testing plan for caseworkers and contracted service providers. To combat the opioid crisis, the agency launched a pilot program to provide the opioid overdose reversal drug Naloxone to workers who see families at their homes and within the community. However, concerns about caregiver safety and effectiveness have been raised.

North Bellport school bus driver arrested. A bus driver was arrested and charged after refusing to allow medical personnel to evaluate five children onboard following a crash Wednesday morning. The children, ages 10-14, suffered minor injuries and were taken to the hospital. He was issued a desk appearance ticket after being released from the hospital. The bus company, Towne Bus Corporation, is cooperating with authorities while investigating the incident.

Long Island school districts are deploying armed security. Half Hollow Hills Central School District will add armed guards to its school grounds, joining a growing list of Long Island districts to deploy armed security. The school board passed a resolution to hire Covert Investigations & Security, a New York-based company, to station armed guards at the schools. Hiring armed guards is estimated to cost about $1 million a year.

The deadline to apply for the school tax relief program, known as STAR, offered to New Yorkers 65 and older is March 1. STAR can save older homeowners thousands on their property taxes through credits or exemptions. The program has saved more than $815 million in the past year.

Professional Bull Riding will be held for the first time in Bridgeport this weekend. The PBR Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour is a pre-qualifying series for bull riders who want to participate in the Unleash The Beast Tour and the PBR World Finals. Tickets start at about $34 at Total Mortgage Arena.

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Andrea Quiles is a fellow at WSHU.