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Sound Bites: Traffic fatalities are on the rise on Long Island

Good morning. Nearly 1,200 motor vehicle fatalities occurred statewide in 2022, according to a report from New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. Almost 250 of these deaths occurred on Long Island; Suffolk County saw double the traffic fatalities than Nassau. 

Officials attribute the increase to speeding and running red lights, as well as distracting behaviors such as texting, drunk driving and people not wearing seatbelts. Preliminary federal data shows that at least 217 traffic fatalities occurred on Long Island last year. 

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

A New Haven man was sentenced to seven years for being involved in a drug trafficking ring. In 2022, the FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force began an investigation into a Fair Haven drug trafficking ring. An undercover police officer purchased drugs and a handgun from Kelvin Munoz. He was arrested in August 2023 and later pleaded guilty to distributing drugs last April.

A Northwell Health executive is the new American Heart Association president. Stacey Rosen, Northwell’s senior vice president of women’s health, has worked as a practicing cardiologist for over 30 years and will be formally elected president in July 2025. In her role, Rosen will provide guidance and help direct initiatives to the national association, which is supported by 35 million volunteers. Rosen hopes she can help continue work to promote heart and brain health and address unique health challenges women face.

Gov. Kathy Hochul signed a bill for New York to no longer require student test scores to be used to evaluate teacher performances. Instead, school district officials can develop their own methods to review teachers based on a 1-4 scale —with 4 being the highest rating. Parents will still receive their children’s teacher scores every year. New York’s largest teacher union said the change will better embrace teachers’ creativity and growth.

Connecticut’s former chief public defender is accusing the state of civil rights violations. This is in response to TaShun Bowden-Lewis being fired from the Public Defender Services Commission last month. She alleged that she was fired in retaliation for her complaints and suffered adverse disciplinary actions that her predecessors were not subjected to. Bowden-Lewis said the commission lacked the legal authority to fire her and often resorted to “racially discriminatory behavior.”

16 Connecticut university employees were paid at least $1 million last year across six colleges. These schools include Quinnipiac, Sacred Heart, UConn, University of New Haven, Wesleyan and Yale. The most highly paid staff was at Yale. UConn had the highest paid employee with men’s basketball coach Dan Hurley paid over $5 million last year.

Five state roads will be repaved on Long Island by 2026. These roads include the Robert Moses Causeway, State Route 454, State Route 25, Meadowbrook State Parkway and State Route 106. This $18.3 million project is expected to improve driving conditions of 60 lane miles of pavement in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. In addition to receiving two inches of new asphalt pavement, new highly reflective lane markings and crosswalks will also be installed. Construction on the roads is set to begin in Suffolk in July during off-peak hours.

The Westport-based Newman's Own introduced a pizza truck with a pay-what-you-want system. Here, people can purchase three to four types of pizza but pay whatever amount they’d like for the food. All proceeds will go to the Newman's Own Foundation and other food insecurity youth organizations. The truck is expected to travel to 22 locations nationwide throughout the summer.

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Eric Warner is a news fellow at WSHU.