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Sound Bites: Invasive crab spotted in Long Island Sound

Oyster Bay near the opening to the Long Island Sound.
Seth Wenig
Oyster Bay near the opening to the Long Island Sound.

Good morning —  Look out for their furry white-tipped claws.  

Chinese mitten crabs have been spotted in Connecticut. The invasive species native to East Asia was illegally introduced on the West Coast in 1991 — and has slowly spread to the Long Island Sound. These crabs live in freshwater but require saltwater for reproduction. Although they are harmless to humans, they can disrupt local food webs and cause erosion due to their burrows. Contact Connecticut wildlife officials if you spot them.

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

A former state senator from Bridgeport heads back to federal court for alleged 2018 campaign finance fraud. The case stems from a $7,000 party held six years ago. Federal prosecutors say Dennis Bradley Jr. failed to report the party as a campaign expense. Bradley and his campaign manager, Jessica Martinez, face mail fraud and conspiracy charges. Martinez is also charged with making false statements to a federal grand jury. The case was dismissed by a lower court in 2022, but the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals overturned that decision earlier this week.

Time to just be a mom. All breastfeeding employees in New York are now entitled to 30-minutes of paid lactation breaks in a private room under a new law. Employees can take these breaks for up to three years after birth. Workers are mandated to inform employers of their plan for breaks and when they plan to first return from parental leave.

Suffolk County dismisses school bus camera tickets. Legal experts say a court ruling has not refuted thousands of school bus camera tickets that were issued statewide. But Suffolk County has decided to suspend hearings for contested tickets and dismiss nearly 90% of the 9,000 tickets issued to drivers that illegally pass stopped buses. Lawmakers will need to figure out how to account for nearly $2 million in lost revenue.

A plan to rebuff the bluffs in Montauk begins. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has started a $1.7 million project to restore Ditch Plains Beach in Montauk. The project aims to replenish the beach with sand and rebuild dunes to protect nearby homes. The first phase of the plan is expected to be completed by Wednesday, June 26. The Town of East Hampton also seeks state assistance to offset the project’s $1.75 million price tag.

A City of Bridgeport lawyer said he never received an email about the investigation into 2019 election fraud. Scott Stevenson, an inspector at the Chief State's Attorney's Office, claims he sent a meeting request to the email of Bridgeport City Attorney Mark Anastasi so he could speak with Assistant Clerk Christina Resto about how absentee ballots were handled at the Town Clerk’s office. Anastasi said he searched for the email but found nothing. Four political operatives were arrested last week in the investigation.

The Connecticut Port Authority is in search of a new executive director. The position would oversee the maritime agency and the state's three deep-water ports and coastal harbors. The Port Authority board is considering hiring a maritime industry firm to perform the search. The search was delayed due to Gov. Ned Lamont's proposal for the maritime agency to fold into the Connecticut Airport Authority. Lawmakers blocked that proposal from advancing.

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Andrea Quiles is a fellow at WSHU.