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Sound Bites: Newton qualifies for Bridgeport primary for CT Senate

Ernie Newton
Molly Ingram
Ernie Newton

Good morning —  Ernie Newton has qualified for the August primary race to get his old state Senate seat back in Bridgeport.

Newton, who served in the Senate from 2003-05 and now serves as a city councilmember, was one vote shy of reaching the primary on nomination night. Instead, he had to collect signatures to petition his way onto the ballot. According to his campaign, Newtown received more than 1,600 signatures and can now participate in the primary.

His Senate term ended when he was convicted of federal corruption charges and sentenced to prison. He’s running against incumbent freshman Herron Gaston, a pastor and chair of the Public Safety Committee.

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

Reports of sexual assault at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy doubled last year. The increase comes despite long-term efforts to make the Kings Point school safer for cadets. A report to Congress counts 12 sexual assaults and 19 other reports of sexual harassment, retaliation, stalking and sexual violence in the school year that ended in 2023. There were 19 other reports of sexual harassment, retaliation, stalking and sexual violence. U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) said the uptick is expected due to widespread efforts to encourage survivors to come forward.

A Connecticut laboratory has launched EndoRISE, the state’s first funded endometriosis study. The program at Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine started collecting tissue samples from UConn Health and will start collecting samples from hospitals across the state to further research into the disease. This project comes as President Biden signed an executive order in March to advance women's health research.

U.S. Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-CT) introduced a bill that would require community colleges to report their graduation rates more accurately. Community colleges are already required to report the graduation rates of first-time, full-time students. According to the Association of Community College Trustees, over half of students at community colleges are enrolled part-time. Hayes said incomplete data could mislead prospective applicants. The Connecticut State Colleges and Universities have endorsed the bill.

New York has set max temperatures for public schools. State lawmakers passed a bill that requires schools to take safety precautions if temperatures reach 80 degrees or above. These measures range from turning on fans and closing blinds to evacuating the school.

The Town of Fairfield has received over $1 million to repair the Southport wharf damaged by a storm in 2022. The money was approved in the latest round of the state Bond Commission. The wharf has been closed for more than a year and a half. The town has also approved more than $160,000 in preliminary construction. The project is slated to finish by 2025.

The Long Island Maritime Museum will restore a historic ship after receiving a $21,000 grant from the New York State Historic Preservation Office. The ship is the Patchogue-built oyster-picking sloop Priscilla. It first sailed in 1888 and continued as a commercial ship until 1963. The museum obtained the boat in 1976, and in 2006, it was declared a National Historic Landmark.

Molly Ingram, Desiree D’Iorio and Eda Uzunlar contributed reporting…

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David Tauscher is a news intern at WSHU for the spring of 2024.