Monday, September 1, 2014

September 2014

September 30 (producer: Erin Schultz)
In the news tonight: Connecticut lobbyists call for relief from 

unfunded state mandates on municipalities; Members of the 

Connecticut Education Association endorse Governor Dannel 

Malloy; Suffolk County officials pass measures to help homeless 

veterans; and the Suffolk County Tick Control Advisory Committee 

is approved for at least another year.

The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities is calling on state 

policymakers to relieve local governments of the more than 1,200 

mandates the state imposes on towns.

The group released a report Monday saying that the mandates – 

most of which are unfunded -- burden residential and business 

property taxpayers with significant costs and siphon resources from 

local services. The report contains recommendations for candidates 

running for the state legislature and for Congress on how to ease 

the burdens unfunded mandates impose.

One recommendation calls for exempting school construction 

projects and raising the threshold for other new construction 

projects from $400,000 to $1 million, which the group says will help 

labor unions and municipalities deal more cooperatively with 

prevailing wage.

Another recommendation includes eliminating minimum budget 

requirements for schools and shifting the cost of special education 

to the state rather than individual districts.

Members of the Connecticut Education Association announced on 

Monday their endorsement of Governor Dannel Malloy – a move 

that comes after a push by the union's leadership to defuse 

previous dissatisfaction with the first-term Democrat.

In an endorsement statement Monday, union representatives 

criticized the “money-follows-the-children” plan of Republican Tom 

Foley, Malloy’s opponent in this year’s gubernatorial race. Foley’s 

plan would allow urban parents to pick the local public school of 

their choice and would cost struggling school systems $39.5 million.

The CEA board vote came after the union's political committee 

voted 8 to 7 two weeks ago against making any endorsement. 

Malloy angered teachers in 2012 as he unveiled an education 

reform proposal by saying teachers merely had to “show up for four 

years” to win tenure -- remarks that he has since apologized for.

Under Malloy, state funding for education has increased each year, 

and the union says Malloy is the first governor in Connecticut to fully 

fund the state's teacher pension obligations every year.

Newsday reports that measures to transfer surplus property to 

nonprofits to create housing for homeless veterans passed the 

Suffolk County Legislature's Veterans and Seniors Committee on 


With an estimated 750 to 1,000 homeless veterans on Long Island, 

the three bills also would place a county veterans services officer at 

Department of Social Services offices one day a week; create a 

web portal for help in accessing local, state and federal services; 

and create a census of homeless veterans in Suffolk County.

Existing county personnel initially would be able to set up the 

website, conduct the census and staff the social services offices, 

although funding for additional staff might be required in next year's 


Thomas Ronayne, director of Suffolk's Veterans Service Agency, 

called the measure “a game changer,” saying that the programs 

would be good not only for veterans, but also for the neighborhoods 

where the county owns vacant houses.

A public hearing before the full legislature is scheduled for October 

7 in Riverhead.

Suffolk County’s Tick Control Advisory Committee will be around for 

at least another year, according to a report from the Suffolk Times.
Months after voting to disband the committee, members of the 

county’s Public Works, Transportation and Energy Committee voted 

on Monday to extend its life until Suffolk’s 2016 Annual Vector 

Control Plan is adopted next fall.

The tick committee was originally formed to brainstorm ways to 

stem the tide of a growing presence of tick-borne illnesses in the 

county. Deputy Presiding Officer Jay Schneiderman of Montauk 

said that now the committee is “expanding somewhat to have a little 

bit more of an ongoing role while a plan is being implemented.”

Committee member and Southold Town resident John Rasweiler 

agreed that the committee is still needed to narrow down a series 

of recommendations for the vector control plan. The finished plan 

follows the USDA’s controversial $225,000 winter deer cull, which 

killed only 192 of the Suffolk County’s deer.

Monday, September 29 (news edit by Melinda Tuhus and Scott Schere)

In the news tonight: a New Haven peace activist faces prison; Connecticut’s transportation infrastructure lags behind the funding;  a Long Island village bans e-cigarettes in public buildings, and a Riverhead soup kitchen faces hard times.


A New Haven peace activist was convicted of several misdemeanors last week for protesting drone warfare last December at Hancock Airbase in Syracuse, NY.   Mark Colville, of the Amistad Catholic Worker, was found guilty, after a two day trial in which he represented himself.

Colville and two Yale Divinity students brought a People's Order of Protection to the front gate of the base to prevent further victims of drone attacks perpetrated from inside Hancock Airbase.  This action was in response to a request by Raz Mohammad, an Afghan, whose brother-in law was killed by a U.S. drone strike. Gate personnel rejected the petition. 

After trial Colville stated, "This court, by its conduct, continues to condemn itself by manipulating and misapplying the law, intentionally disregarding the cries for justice from those who the law is supposed to protect. The petition that we brought to the base, the People's Order of Protection, demanding that we give relief to the innocent victims of these horrible drone killing machines remains unresponded to.  We will continue to tell the truth in the streets of the Town of De Witt and in its court room until true justice flows down like a mighty river." 

Judge Robert Jokl  promised to sentence Colville to the maximum penalty allowed, which would be two years and 45 days. When Colville asked "Why?" the judge responded, "Because I think you deserve it."  Sentencing will be on Dec. 3rd.


Five increases in the state’s wholesale fuel tax to be spread across the coming decade won the near-unanimous support of the 2005 legislature and Gov. M. Jodi Rell. This year the state expects to rake in 40 percent more at the pumps, in wholesale and retail taxes combined, than it did a decade ago, but the money has not brought Connecticut’s transportation network up to speed.  The Department of Transportation has reported almost $12 billion worth of major, long-term "unfundable" projects that DOT doesn’t have the money to fund. For example, the state has more than 410 bridges with at least one structural deficiency – 20 percent more than a decade ago.

And the DOT not only has 172 fewer staffers than it did in 2005, but also is almost 150 below where it stood in 2010, when the legislature’s chief investigative panel concluded it was struggling to complete projects on time and under budget. 
Both Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Transportation Commissioner James Redeker insist the state is doing more transportation work now than it has under several previous administrations.

Lindenhurst has banned the use of electronic cigarettes in public buildings in the village. The village board earlier this month unanimously approved the new policy targeting e-cigarettes, in which a liquid solution containing nicotine is heated and vaporized, producing an aerosol that mimics tobacco smoke. The regulation falls under the village's restrictions on smoking and states that the use of e-cigarettes "of any kind" is prohibited inside all village-owned buildings and vehicles as well as within 50 feet of any entrance or window of a village building.

Village Mayor Thomas Brennan said the amendment to the smoking policy came about after an incident in which someone was smoking an e-cigarette in Village Hall. Mr. Brennan added, “It could become an issue so we're trying to be proactive,".
Electronic cigarettes have been growing in popularity as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes. The village's new regulation comes as many municipalities begin to work out regulations for e-cigarettes, even as general no-smoking rules on Long Island have been expanded to public outdoor spaces, such as parks and beaches.

The Bread and More Inn soup kitchen tends to never turn away a hungry neighbor and they don’t want to start now. The organization, which operates three nights a week at First Congregational Church in Riverhead, is very concerned an increase in food costs means it might not raise enough money to feed the hungry come winter.  

Judy Barth, one of the kitchen’s three co-presidents said. “Volunteers often have to stop people at the door and act as a hostess because the church can only seat so many at a time. But the cost of providing those meals has increased by about 30 percent in the past year."

The organization has experienced cuts in federal and state grant funding, which used to provide it with between $6,000 and $8,000 per year.

In an effort to raise money, the organization is hosting a community fundraiser at Hallockville Museum Farm’s Naugles Barn from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 3.

 Friday September 26 (Kristiana Pastir, producer):

In the news tonight: Constitutional amendment added to Connecticut’s ballots, Hartford hospital added to Anthem network, cleanup ordered for contaminated Islandia site, and New York 1st Congressional District’s first debate.


In the upcoming November election, Connecticut citizens will have a chance to vote on a constitutional amendment.

The amendment concerns restrictions to absentee voting in the state constitution. Currently, Connecticut only allows absentee voting when a voter is sick on Election Day, outside of the district, serving in the military, or has religious obligations.

The amendment would strike this specification and add a provision allowing people to vote without appearing at a polling place on Election Day.

Common Cause executive director Cheri Quickmire said being able to vote early or by absentee ballot would be benefit anyone who might have trouble making it to the polls on Election Day, particularly commuters, elderly residents, and those who can’t leave work or school.

Many state Republicans think removing the language from the state constitution could give too much power to the legislature to decide election laws.


As of October 1, St. Francis Hospital in Hartford will be part of Anthem’s exchange network.

The timing is important: Hartford Hospital will leave the insurer’s network next week if its parent company, Hartford HealthCare, doesn’t reach a deal on new contracts. Without the St. Francis agreement, Anthem’s exchange customers would’ve faced not having either major Hartford-area hospitals in their network.

St. Francis participates in most Anthem plans, but had opted against joining the exchange plan network. 

Now, Anthem’s exchange network covers all hospitals in Connecticut. But that could change next week the five Hartford HealthCare hospitals. If the two sides don’t reach a deal, then those hospitals would be out of Anthem’s entire network.

Anthem is the state’s largest insurance company.


About 1,000 cubic yards of contaminated material buried at a subdivision for six veterans' families in Islandia must be carted off Long Island as part of the first state-approved cleanup plan for sites in Islip under criminal investigation for illegal dumping.

Revelations of dumping at the Islandia site came after about 50,000 tons of contaminated fill was found at Roberto Clemente Park in Brentwood. Eyewitnesses at Veterans Way claimed that Datre trucks dumped construction and demolition debris in a 40-foot-deep hole at the site last year. 
Samples of the fill showed levels of "hazardous" contaminants, such as DDT and chlordane, as well as metals. Some of the substances are known to cause cancer or brain damage if ingested in sufficient amounts. 
District Attorney Thomas Spota said the samples from the front and back of each of the homes did not test positive for contaminants. However, the subdivision will be the scene of further testing to allay the fears of residents.
The Long Island Builders Institute charity that built the subdivision was headed by Tom Datre, who said he would stake his reputation on the quality of fill brought to Veterans Way: “It was clean sand with boulders.”


New York’s 1st Congressional District candidates, U.S. Representative Tim Bishop and State Senator Lee Zeldin, exchanged barbed attacks during their first debate this week. They argued their differing opinions on almost every major policy issue, from gay marriage to term limits. Hampton Bays Civic Association sponsored the debate.

Zeldin, a Republican from Shirley, accused Bishop of not producing results during his 12 years in Washington and for supporting President Obama’s administration.

Bishop defended his track record in Congress as one reflecting his own ideology rather than strictly adhering to the Democratic Party platform. He criticized Zeldin for arguing against policies such as the Affordable Care Act and the immigration reform bill without backing an alternative. 

When asked about same-sex marriage, Bishop said he fully supports it while Zeldin said he believes marriage should be between a man and a woman. Zeldin said he did not run for office to get involved in the gay marriage debate, but rather to address issues related to taxes, licensing and veterans affairs.


Thursday, September 25 (Melinda Tuhus, producer)

In the news tonight, Tom Foley presents his urban agenda in his race for Connecticut governor; improvements in veterans health care are on the way; a surprising sentencing date for convicted former Governor John Rowland; and Huntington residents sue over plans to build a new housing development on a dairy farm.

One of the centerpieces to Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley’s urban policy agenda is a proposal to cut the car tax rate in any city or town where it’s higher than 30 mills. Foley said his proposal would only cost about $30 million and it would also include a cap on the personal property taxes for small businesses in cities where the mill rate is above 30 mills. He claimed, for example, that his proposal would cut the car tax in Hartford by 60 percent or about $400 on a typical car. The drop would be significantly less in most other towns and cities.

Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s 2013 proposal to cut car taxes was promptly squashed by local mayors and first selectmen who rely on the revenue to support their municipal budgets. That year, Malloy’s budget called for eliminating the tax on motor vehicles valued at $28,500 or less. The Office of Fiscal Analysis estimated that cities and towns would lose more than $630 million as a result. Foley said in his plan the revenue loss would be made up by the state.

A spokesman for the Malloy campaign said Foley’s urban strategy, especially the car tax reduction, does not even begin to address the needs of urban communities.
The other parts of Foley’s three-part urban strategy focus on turning around underperforming public schools and reducing crime and improving the criminal justice system.

A new law designed to reform the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs should bring improvements in delivery of medical care to Connecticut veterans, though some of the changes will be slow in coming and problems are expected to continue to hamper the VA system.

A scandal that broke this spring over long waits for medical appointments at some VA facilities nationally, and attempts to conceal those wait times, prompted a VA audit of its entire system. That audit found little wrong with wait times in Connecticut -- but it did find other problems.

Among the shortcomings the VA audit did find in Connecticut was the fact that only about 13 percent of the employees who scheduled appointments were aware of an electronic wait list, which keeps track of backlogged appointment requests. Also, patients were called to remind them of upcoming appointments only 40 percent of the time. The figures nationally for both processes were much higher. 

Senior U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arterton has rescheduled the sentencing of former Gov. John G. Rowland for 10 a.m. on Jan. 7, casting a shadow over a significant day in Connecticut politics: the opening of the General Assembly and the inauguration of the governor.

Political leaders said Thursday they were surprised at the scheduling conflict, and a few expressed hope that the judge, who has spoken forcefully from the bench about the democratic process, will move the sentencing of Connecticut's 86th governor to another day.

House Minority Leader Lawrence F. Cafero Jr., R-Norwalk, also said he hoped Arterton  will change the date.

Rowland was convicted six days ago on all counts arising from what the government described as a scheme to solicit two congressional campaigns in 2010 and 2012 to secretly pay him as a political consultant in violation of U.S. campaign finance laws.

He resigned as governor in 2004, while facing an impeachment inquiry into bid-rigging. He eventually pleaded guilty to federal corruption charges and served 10 months in prison.
Rep. Arthur O'Neill, R-Southbury, who was co-chairman of the impeachment committee, is among those preferring a different sentencing date.

"The court is probably unaware that it's inauguration day for the legislature and governor," he said. "It's one of those eerie things."

Newsday reports:

A group of 7 Huntington Town residents has filed a lawsuit in state Supreme Court in Riverhead aimed at stopping the Seasons at Elwood, the age-restricted housing development recently approved for a dairy farm in East Northport.

Last month, the town board voted 4 to 1 to approve a zoning change that will allow the homes in 43 multiunit structures on the 37acre site.

Their lawyer, Wendi L. Herman, said their goal is to nullify the town's approval of the project. "Right now, our contention with the town is that what they did was insufficient and faulty in granting the zone change," she said.

"Their position was the Seasons of Elwood was better than a working dairy," Herman said. "The comparison is flawed, because what they should look at is the Seasons compared to what the dairy farm is actually zoned for, which is single-family homes."

Jan Burman, president of Garden City-based Engel Burman, parent of BK Elwood LLC, said he did not have enough detail about the suit to comment.

Hari Singh, president of Oak Tree Dairy, said the dairy is named in the suit but the allegations are not aimed at the dairy. "As I understand it, they are challenging how the town handles things administratively," he said. "I am not in a position to comment on how the town manages these decisions."

Wednesday, September 24 (producer, Erin Schultz)

In the news tonight: New data shows Connecticut’s poverty levels remain consistently high; the Sandy Hook Advisory Committee considers new requirements for homeschooled students; David Denenberg abruptly ends his campaign for New York State Senate; and a straw vote is approved for a new merger proposal for the Southampton and Tuckahoe School Districts.


Data released by the U.S. Census last week reveals that Connecticut’s poverty levels are actually higher than they were in 1959.

CT News Junkie reports that poverty in Connecticut was around 9.6 percent in 1959 and climbed to about 10.7 percent in 2013. The biggest increase in poverty was between 2003 and 2009, when it jumped from 8.1 percent to 9.4 percent.

Wade Gibson, director the fiscal policy center at Connecticut Voices for Children, said that low-income families have been hit hardest by the recession, comparing the poverty threshold of $23,834 for a family of four to the state median income of $67,098. 

Edith Karsky, executive director of Connecticut Association for Community Action, said that the number of individuals seeking her agency’s services has increased, with more than 365,800 people receiving services through one of the 11 Community Action Agencies in 2013. That’s an increase of 2,273 individuals from the year before. 

In 2013, more than 52,000 of the 365,800 people served by the agencies were employed.

Members of the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission said on Tuesday that they want to give local special education directors the authority to approve or reject individualized homeschool plans, according to a report from CT News Junkie.

The change to the group’s draft recommendations on mental health comes about because Adam Lanza, the 20-year-old perpetrator of the 2012 shooting that killed 20 school children and six educators, was homeschooled for years and suffered from social and behavioral problems. Currently, parents of homeschooled children may choose to participate in school programming, but are not required to.

Formed over a year and a half ago, the advisory committee is made up of experts in education, mental health, law enforcement, and emergency response. Though some members said the change might cause pushback from parents of homeschooled children, others like Dr. Harold Schwartz, head psychiatrist at Hartford Hospital’s Institute of Living, said the commission’s mental health team considered the proposal at length before recommending it.

The panel is also recommending establishing risk assessment teams in schools to intervene if a student appears to be at risk.

David Denenberg, the Democratic candidate in a highly competitive State Senate race on Long Island, abruptly ended his campaign on Tuesday after his former law firm accused him of fraud.

Denenberg’s downfall is a blow to Democrats who are trying to win control of the Senate. Democrats slightly outnumber Republicans in the district, which includes parts of Nassau and Suffolk Counties. Democrats were optimistic that they would win the seat in November, and analysts viewed it as one of the Senate’s most pivotal battlegrounds.

His former law firm sued him in State Supreme Court in Manhattan on Tuesday, deriding him as an “arch and devious criminal.” The lawsuit accused him of a “cold, calculated scheme” in which he was said to have falsely billed a client for more than $2 million in nonexistent work. The firm said he was fired in June.

In a statement, Denenberg said he would defend himself against the allegations but would not continue his campaign.


Taxpayers from the Tuckahoe and Southampton districts will head to separate polls this November 18 to vote on a proposed merger of the two districts.

27 East reports that members of the Tuckahoe Board of Education approved the measure on Monday night to hold a straw vote in each district to decide whether the idea of Southampton annexing the Tuckahoe School District on July 1st should move forward to a joint referendum.

A similar proposal failed in the Southampton School District last October by a vote of 1,075 to 693 due to concerns about tax increases. But this time around, two pieces of legislation approved by New York State —one that would slowly roll out the tax increases for Southampton residents, and another that would allow the district to use capital reserve funds to offset tax increases – have changed the proposal.

Under the new plan, the tax associated with the merger would add no more than $330 to the overall school tax during the 2024-25 school year for a house valued at $1 million.

If the vote fails again, Tuckahoe officials said they would need to consider cost-saving measures such as pulling Tuckahoe students -- and roughly $3 million in tuition -- from Southampton.


  Tuesday September 23: (Erin Schultz, producer) 

In the news tonight: Visits from Republican rivals in support of Connecticut gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley don’t bother Governor Dannel Malloy; Connecticut residents seeking to re-enroll in the same heath care plan might face increases in premiums; the North Fork Spanish Apostolate moves headquarters; and Long Island’s utility company once again considers an underwater power line from Greenport to Shelter Island.


Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy said on Monday that he welcomed the fact that two of his Republican rivals — Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie — have made plans to come to Connecticut to support his opponent, Tom Foley.

Christie made an appearance on Tuesday with Foley at a retailer in Stamford, and Jindal plans to make a fundraising stop in West Hartford on October 17. Both events will raise money for the Connecticut Republican Party.

Malloy told CT News Junkie on Monday that the visits will “remind  people of who Tom Foley hangs out with,” saying that New Jersey has had its bond rating downgraded nine times under Christie’s tenure, and Jindal has publicly opposed raising the minimum wage. 

Malloy, who signed a bill to raise Connecticut’s minimum wage, criticized Jindal earlier this year after the Louisiana Governor described the wage increase as “waving the white flag of surrender.”

Connecticut Republican Chairman Jerry Labriola Jr. defended both governors and said that his party’s fundraising activities were transparent compared to the fundraising efforts of state Democrats, who typically do not comment on their fundraisers.


CT News Junkie reports that those who re-enroll in the same heath care plan that they purchased last year through Access Health CT might see an increase in premiums.

Heath care actuary Julia Lerche told members of the Access Health CT Board of Directors last Thursday that “even if the rate for the plan that you’re in does not change before subsidies because that rate has gone down, now that differential between your plan and the benchmark plan has changed, and you could see a higher increase than the zero change in the rate.”

The amount of subsidy a person receives is based on income. In addition to the changes in the federal poverty level chart, the exchange now has four private insurance carriers. Total enrollment through the exchange is about 283,114 individuals.

Individuals who might be facing an increase in premiums can shop around for a different plan starting on November 15th, when the second enrollment period begins.


The North Fork Spanish Apostolate, an organization that has served the North Fork’s Spanish-speaking community for the past 18 years, is relocating its offices from the corner of Roanoke Avenue and East Second Street to the former elementary school building at St. John the Evangelist Church in Riverhead.

The Rev. Larry Duncklee, pastor at St. John’s, said on Friday that services at the new location will now be available four days a week, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The food pantry will re-open on October 1.

The North Fork Spanish Apostolate provides food and clothes for Spanish-speaking immigrants but also helps them with health, parenting, financial, and legal issues.

Sister Margaret Smyth will remain at the head of the organization, leading her staff and volunteers to provide services. Smyth will also take the helm of St. John's Parish Social Ministry, which will be operated under the auspices of the Diocese of Rockville Centre. The diocese is leasing the space in the former school building.


The Suffolk Times reports that Long Island’s utility company is once again considering installing an underwater pipeline aimed at updating power to Shelter Island just over a year after a similar $10 million project for the island failed.

Last Wednesday, officials from PSEG-LI re-visited the site of the failed project at the intersection of Island View Lane and Bay Shore Road, encountering hostility from residents who live next to the once-battered drilling site.

Shelter Island’s utilities were due for an upgrade after Hurricane Sandy damaged one of two underwater cables sending power to the island. Last year’s pipeline project required drilling a nearly mile-long hole from Greenport to Crescent Beach on Shelter Island about 90 feet below the bay’s bottom. 

But work was halted after a piece of the drill rig broke off in the underwater hole and became stuck in the pipeline about 500 feet from Greenport’s shore.

Utility officials have proposed two different sites for an on-island substation for Shelter Island, but those plans were rejected due to cost and safety concerns.


Monday, September 22:

In the news tonight:  Governor Rowland guilty on all 7 counts, Malloy and Foley debate Connecticut’s economic development program, Heroin use by youth on the rise on Long Island, Long Island Railroad replacing escalators linked to passenger death.


A federal court jury unanimously agreed Friday that former Governor John Rowland was again guilty of corruption. A decade after he resigned amidst scandal, jurors handed Rowland seven guilty verdicts related to two congressional campaigns.

After 12 days of evidence, witnesses, and arguments, it took jurors about seven hours to agree the former governor was guilty of all the crimes prosecutors accused him of when they indicted Rowland in April.

Those crimes are: falsification of records in a federal investigation, conspiracy, causing false statements, and illegal campaign contributions. 

Although it is unlikely to be imposed, the crimes carry a maximum penalty of more than 50 years. Rowland is scheduled to face a judge for sentencing on December 12, but prosecutors offered to delay the hearing until after the holidays.
The jury began deliberating Rowland’s fate Thursday afternoon.

A court clerk announced a verdict had been reached at 2:27 p.m. Friday.


Democrat Governor Malloy and his Republican challenger Tom Folley are battling over the Governor’s economic development policy and the state’s deal with aerospace company United Technologies (UTC).   

UTC, which had profits of over $6 billion in the last year, agreed to invest up to $500 million in capital improvements over the next five years and to keep jobs at Sikorsky in Stratford for 5 years and Pratt and Whitney in East Hartford for at least 15 years.. In return, Connecticut agreed to extend tax credits of $400 million over 14 years to the company. 

Foley has been critical of the tax incentives Malloy’s administration has offered employers. He says Malloy has sought to bribe companies with “corporate welfare” rather than fix the business climate.

Now the Governor’s campaign is defending his economic development policies in an ad released Friday that touts the deal. 

In Malloys’ 30-second TV spot a narrator accuses Foley of threatening Connecticut jobs by opposing a common practice.

Malloy’s new ad says UTC’s departure from Connecticut was imminent in 2010 based on quotes from their execs in the Hartford Courant, although no moving plans were announced.

Malloy is trailing Foley slightly in recent public opinion polls.

The economic laws of supply and demand are reflected in a dramatic change in statistics of drug-related deaths on Long Island, Newsday reports. 

The latest numbers show that Heroin killed a record-high 144 people on Long Island in 2013, as an oversaturated drug market forced street prices for the drug down and addicts continued to turn away from costly opioid pain pills, according to government records.

As heroin claimed more lives, opioid pain pills killed fewer people than in years past. 

Pain pills containing opioid medications -- oxycodone, hydrocodone and hydromorphone -- played a role in 137 overdose deaths in 2012 and 107 in 2013, 

The newly released data show deaths linked to heroin rose in both Suffolk and Nassau.

The drug, which played a role in 38 overdose deaths in Suffolk in 2010, killed almost three times as many people last year. 

CNN reports that an increase in HIV and hepatitis transmissions is tied to intravenous needle sharing.  Treatment experts say anecdotal evidence points to a significant rise in infections among heroin users.

On Long Island, proximity to major airports and transportation centers, and a statewide crackdown on prescription painkillers, has had the unintended effect of pushing more kids to cheaper and more accessible heroin.

 The replacement of a half-dozen Babylon line escalators is the latest effort by the Long Island Railroad to increase their safety and reliability after the 2012 death of an 88-year-old woman who fell on the Lindenhurst station escalator.

The new effort comes despite the $5 million LIRR spent on major repairs in early 2013, That work mainly replaced some components and installed new safety technology, 

The railroad said it was a necessary short-term measure to ensure the safety of the aging escalators. But LIRR officials acknowledge not all components were replaced, and that even with the upgrades, the six targeted escalators have "been in use well beyond their expected life span."

LIRR contractors will do the work in two phases, with Amityville, Lindenhurst and Baldwin escalators expected to be finished by next June.  

Friday September 19: 

In the news tonight: Connecticut gets federal funding for Walk Bridge project, jury deliberates on former Governor Rowland conspiracy case, Smithtown Councilman casts deciding vote on his raise, and Long Islanders to go car-free for a day.


Connecticut received $161 million federal grant to replace the Walk Bridge, New Haven Line’s railroad bridge over the Norwalk River, according to Governor Dannel Malloy’s recent announcement. The project is expected to cost $465 million.

This past spring, the 118-year-old bridge malfunctioned twice in a two-week period.

The state had applied for $600 million in federal funding to help cover the costs of three New Haven Line projects, according to the release. That included $349 million for the Walk Bridge Replacement Project.

But the grant came up short.

Malloy spokesman Peter Yazbak said Wednesday construction should begin in 2016 and completed in 2019. With the federal grant and existing state funds, Yazbak said, the state has about $277 million for the project. 

“We also have the ability to move funding from other out-year projects into the Walk Bridge project,” he said. “Expenses will be assessed in the coming months.”

The Short Term Action Team (STAT), charged with reviewing and determining the best approach to improve the bridge, had outlined a series of modifications, and the state made $3 million available for the improvements.


Jury deliberations started Thursday on the case against former Governor John Rowland. His seven-count indictment charges him with attempting to be secretly paid as an adviser to two congressional campaigns.

In 2010 and 2012, Rowland approached Mark Greenberg and Lisa Wilson-Foley, who were running or about to run for the 5th Congressional District seat.

One count charges Rowland with drafting a sham consulting contract with Greenberg and his animal-welfare charity for a monthly fee of $35,000, which was ultimately rejected.

The remaining six counts relate to charges of Rowland’s conspiracy with Wilson-Foley and her husband, owner of Apple Rehab nursing homes. When Rowland wasn’t hired to run Wilson-Foley’s campaign, her husband signed him to a consulting contract worth $5000 a month.

Defense lawyer Reid Weingarten insisted everything Rowland did for Wilson-Foley’s campaign and her husband’s company was normal politics.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Mattei scoffed at any suggestion that it was anything but corrupt.

The jury ended deliberations at 5 p.m. Thursday, and returned today at 9 a.m.


Smithtown Town Councilman Thomas McCarthy cast the deciding vote to give himself a $30,000 raise in the stipend he receives as deputy town supervisor -- a 600 percent increase.

Town board members voted 3-2 to increase McCarthy's annual stipend from $5,000 to $35,000. McCarthy will receive the stipend in addition to his $55,818 salary, according to the 2014 town budget.

McCarthy, who has served on the town board since 1998 and has been deputy supervisor since 2008, said Thursday he didn't see a conflict of interest in his vote.

McCarthy, a former car dealership owner, also said he has increased town duties related to new economic development initiatives and other issues.

Pat Biancaniello, a former councilwoman, called the vote an "outrage" and said at the meeting that the public had no advance notice of it.

"It's a slap in the face to people who work in this town, who are paying taxes, that their voices . . . were not heard in this," said Biancaniello. "For three of you to push this forward, it's the reason why people don't want to get involved in politics."


Monday is World Car Free Day, and Long Islanders are asked to do something few of us can imagine: leave their cars parked at home and venture out into the world of alternative transportation.

The event has been around since the year 2000, and this is the second year that a consortium of Long Island alternative transportation groups has banded together to hold a car free day here.

With the busiest pledge days still ahead, nearly 2,400 Long Islanders have already taken the pledge, available at

Event co-chairwoman Rosemary Mascali said, “It's about Long Islanders taking action to have a positive impact on our environment and our economy.”

Car Free Long Island’s Facebook page lists the alternative transportation modes available on Long Island, and asks participants to share their experiences for a chance to win prizes.


 Thursday, September 18: 

In the news tonight: Most Connecticut House members vote NO on arming Syrian rebels; Long Island members vote YES; the right to legal council for the poor in New York; Long Island opts out of deportation program, and Democrat Bishop leading in poll on 1st District House vote. 


Democrat Joe Courtney, who represents the 2nd District, was the only member of Connecticut’s U.S. House delegation to vote for an amendment Wednesday that will allow the Pentagon to spend money arming and training Syrian rebels.

The rest of the delegation voted against the $500 million measure. 

Courtney said “I believe that this measure strikes a sensible balance between providing the authority and support the president has requested, and establishing a narrow scope of operations with robust congressional oversight.”

Democrat Jim Himes, who represents the 4th District, said  

“ the creation of a proxy army we don’t control and which has a double mission – fighting both ISIS and Syrian President Al-Assad -  is a mistake.”.

Long Island House members – 1st District Representative Tim Bishop,  2nd District’s Peter King, 3rd District’s Steve Israel and 4th District’s Carolyn McCarthy voted YES  .  


The Albany Times-Union reports 

The New York Civil Liberties Union’s new report “State of Injustice” argues that New York is failing to provide adequate legal counsel for poor defendants, undoing the promise of the 1963 Gideon case, in which the U.S. Supreme Court determined that every defendant has the right to legal counsel regardless of their ability to pay for those services.

The report says in Suffolk County, cases involving public defenders involved the use of virtually no expert witnesses, and criminal defendants regularly appeared at arraignment without attorneys.

In some counties, many attorneys spent more time billing than talking to their clients or witnesses.

NYCLU’s Executive Director Donna Lieberman said the state should move immediately on reforms along three tracks: ensuring that a lawyer represents every indigent defendant with proper time to consult and prepare; reducing the caseloads of public defenders; and overhauling the current county-based system for providing those resources.


Newsday reports: Sheriff's departments in Nassau and Suffolk counties said they no longer will hold in jail immigrants who are flagged for deportation unless federal officials produce warrants. 

The practice was part of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement program known as Secure Communities.

As of July 31, ICE had sent 781 immigrants from Suffolk and 499 immigrants from Nassau back to their homelands since both counties joined the program in February 2011.

200 jurisdictions nationwide have withdrawn at least in part from the program.  


According to a Newsday/News 12/Siena College poll, Democratic incumbent Tim Bishop holds a 10-point lead over Republican challenger Lee Zeldin in the race for New York's 1st Congressional District.

In the sample of 592 likely voters surveyed, 28% were Democrats, 33% Republican, and 33% were independent or registered with another party.

27% said that jobs ranked as the top issue.

Of those polled, 46% said Bishop would do a better job, compared with 36% for Zeldin; 18% had no opinion.

 A majority of voters—52%—said the U.S. should "do more both politically and militarily" in the Middle East to combat terrorism. 40% percent favored not getting involved, and 8% were undecided or had no opinion.

Though 65% of respondents said they would support passing comprehensive immigration reform, 41% preferred Bishop, who supports a pathway to citizenship for those already here; 39% favored Zeldin, who is against any "amnesty" leading to citizenship. 20% were unsure.

---------------------------------------Wednesday, September 17 (Erin Schultz, Producer)

In the news tonight: New Haven will lead the charge to bring affordable ultra-high-speed Internet to Connecticut; Republican candidate for governor of Connecticut Tom Foley says he supports  a state law prohibiting people who have temporary restraining orders against them from possessing firearms;

Advocates of a New York State plastic bag ban put pressure on the New York City Council; and a one-of-a-kind banner supporting Abraham Lincoln’s 1860 presidential campaign is found in the attic of a North Fork store.

New Haven Mayor Toni Harp and Connecticut Consumer Counsel Elin Swanson-Katz announced on Monday that New Haven is leading a multi-year effort to bring ultra-high-speed Internet to the state starting in about three years.

The New Haven Register reports that the plan is to develop partnerships between the private sector and municipalities around the state so that homes and businesses can have access to affordable high-speed Internet with speeds of 1,000 megabits per second – more than 100 times faster than the average speed currently available to residential customers.

Swanson-Katz said at the Monday press conference that “Internet access is now a necessity -- it’s like electricity,” but telecommunications and cable television companies have failed to deliver affordable, reliable and ultra-fast Internet service, forcing consumers to use other, more costly data network offerings.

Connecticut Comptroller Kevin Lembo said the role of the state in the process is to act as “a convener of communities.” Other interested communities can participate in the request for qualifications for ultra-high-speed Internet by contacting New Haven officials before October 15.


After remaining silent on the issue for a week, Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley said on Tuesday that he would support a Connecticut state law prohibiting people who have temporary restraining orders against them from possessing a firearm.

Last Tuesday, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy proposed an initiative that would make it legal to have weapons removed immediately from people with restraining orders against them.. Under the current system, law enforcement officers can’t take weapons from the person until a hearing up to two weeks later.

The initiative was brought to the table after Lori Gellatly, of Oxford, was shot and killed allegedly by her estranged husband, Scott, earlier this year. Lori had received a temporary restraining order but her husband still had access to a weapon.

Members of the Connecticut Citizens Defense League  -- a group that has endorsed Tom Foley -- oppose the governor’s initiative, but Foley said on Tuesday that state laws should “balance the rights of people who feel they are at risk with other rights” and that his opponent’s proposal in this regard made sense.


With California poised to become the first state in the nation to enact a statewide ban on single-use grocery-store plastic bags, supporters of a plastic bag ban in New York State spoke to the New York City Council for Advocacy Day on Tuesday.

Jennie Romer of said that more than 100 students from eight local schools spoke to council members in support of a measure to impose a 10-cent charge in New York City for plastic bag use. The measure is now headed to the city council's Sanitation Committee.

Romer said that residents from Long Island to Westchester should keep a close eye on the council action as they work to impose similar measures across the state. She said that Long Islanders in particular share many of California residents’ concerns about tackling the issue to protect miles of shoreline, which can get littered with plastic bags, polluting waterways and harming wildlife.


Newsday reports that a silk banner supporting the 1860 Presidential campaign of Abraham Lincoln is now in the hands of the Southold Historical Society.

Discovered by a local antiques dealer in the attic of an old Peconic store on the North Fork, the artifact was initially used by Mattituck members of the Wide Awakes, a paramilitary campaign group affiliated with Lincoln's Republican Party during the 1860 campaign, and was repurposed at the end of the war in 1865 to honor soldiers returning from the Civil War.

Southold Historical Society Executive Director Geoffrey Fleming said that the banner is the only surviving Wide Awake banner from Long Island known to exist -- and the only locally made banner from the era known to exist – making it extremely rare.

The historical society purchased the artifact from the local antiques dealer for several thousand dollars and is trying to raise $14,500 to have it conserved and framed for display. 

Tuesday, September 16
(Erin Schultz, Producer)
In the news tonight: The prosecution rests and the defense calls its first witness in the corruption trial of former Connecticut Governor John Rowland; Connecticut gubernatorial candidates debate transportation and public transit issues in New Haven; a fire that is now deemed suspicious destroys a 17th century house in Southampton; and a proposal for a hotel and spa development in East Marion is once again before the Southold Town Planning Board.

Prosecutors in the federal campaign corruption trial of former Connecticut Governor John Rowland rested their case on Monday after showing jury members a chart of hundreds of calls Rowland made to the 2012 fifth district congressional campaign of Republican Lisa Wilson-Foley while working as a consultant for Apple Health Care, a nursing home owned by Wilson-Foley’s husband, Brian Foley.

Rowland, who was convicted of corruption charges in 2004, is accused of working on the campaign while being paid to do so through the consulting deal with Foley’s nursing home and conspiring to hide payments. Prosecutors showed that Rowland made only several dozen to executives at the nursing home company and that a ten-to-one ratio of Rowland’s emails went to the campaign instead of the nursing home.

On Tuesday, Rowland's defense attorney, Reid Weingarten, called Apple Health Care’s executive vice president, Brian Bedard, as his first witness. Bedard described Wilson-Foley’s 2012 congressional campaign as “incestuous” with the nursing home company but maintained that Apple’s relationship with Rowland was legitimate.


Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy defended his stance at a press conference on Monday that investments in both highways and public transit for the state should be increased, while his Republican challenger Tom Foley said that he would focus mostly on highway expansion if elected in November.

At the forum sponsored by state and regional transportation organizations in New Haven, Malloy said he’s spending more on transportation than previous administrations and that his administration “is committed to building out the infrastructure that should have been built over the last 25 years.” He also said that railroad and bus lines also need improvement through continued government support.

Foley said that he thought that congested traffic is the worst it’s been in several years and that to invest too much in mass transit would only take away from creating better highways for those who will continue to choose to drive. Malloy countered that Foley “has this idea that all transit is for people other than his class and therefore it’s not important,” and that the state need to “get serious” about future funding for transportation and transit.


A fire destroyed a 17th century house in Sagaponack in the Hamptons early Monday morning.

27 East reports that firefighters responded to the blaze at the southern end of Sagg Main Street shortly before 6 a.m., when the structure was fully engulfed in flames. The home, built by the Pierson family around 1650 and included in the National Registry of Historic Places, was empty, and its owner, Peter Smith, was in Connecticut at the time of the fire. No injuries have been reported.

After investigation, members of the Suffolk County Arson Squad deemed the incident suspicious and turned over the investigation to Southampton Town Police. The home’s charred remains rekindled twice on Monday afternoon, prompting firefighters back to the scene.


The Suffolk Times reports that a controversial plan for a hotel and spa first proposed in 2003 in East Marion has hit the table of the Southold Town Planning Board once again.

Six years after planning board members sent the project’s draft environmental impact statement back to the developer for revision, the Dr. Kazuko Tatsumura Hillyer, the owner of the bayfront property at the end of Shipyard Lane, filed a dredging permit application with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Aug. 12 without notifying the planning board.

Dr. Hillyer’s plan for the proposed Shizen Hotel Wellness Center and Spa includes 114 guest rooms, a 195-seat restaurant, 27 spa suites, and several other amenities on a 18.7-acre former oyster processing plant property along Gardiners Bay. It also includes replacement of the existing bulkhead on the property and the dredging of a 16-slip private marina.

Southold Town officials said that Dr. Hillyer has not submitted a revised environmental impact study to the town since 2008. Planning Board members submitted a letter of opposition to the dredging permit application to the Army Corps of Engineers last Tuesday.


 Monday, Sept 15:

In the news tonight, a Connecticut activist for getting money out of politics comments on U.S. Senate action to do just that; dysfunction continues in the Department of Social Services; Long Island joins “Welcoming Week” for immigrants; and new state regulations in Southold Town expand deer hunting terrain.

The Senate debated the so-called "Democracy for All" Amendment last week – and then voted along party lines to kill what would have been the 28th Amendment to the Constitution. Cheri Quickmire with Common Cause in Connecticut says the Senate had an opportunity to level the playing field by restoring limits for political campaign spending.
She says the fact that the Senate could not muster 60 votes to keep the measure alive, is a sign of just how compromised U-S elections are, adding,  "They're the ones who are the real opponents of free speech; they're the ones who are maintaining a system where a few wealthy Americans are allowed to drown out the voices of millions of others."

The Supreme Court in the Citizens United decision ruled that corporations have the same rights as individuals when making campaign contributions. Opponents of the measure say they were standing up for free speech, but Quickmire says very few Americans have piles of money to contribute to political campaigns. She says her group will press on, noting it took more than 70 years to pass the 19th Amendment that granted women the right to vote.

Supporters of the amendment say the reason Senate Republicans decided to allow the measure to even come up for debate is because the issue of big money in politics has become part of the national conversation.

Last month, it took an average wait of one hour and 18 minutes on hold to reach a worker at the state Department of Social Services in the agency’s call centers. Seventy-one percent of callers who wanted to speak to a worker hung up before their calls were answered.

More than a year after DSS launched the new call centers as part of a broad “modernization” effort, people who use the system say reaching a worker remains unacceptably difficult. The long wait times are especially problematic, DSS clients and advocates say, because many poor people rely on cellphones with limited minutes that can quickly get sapped if they need to call the department.

Social Services Commissioner Roderick L. Bremby acknowledged that the phone wait times are too long, but described the call centers as the one area of concern in a new system that’s otherwise working “extremely well.”
However, DSS clients, local human service workers and legal aid attorneys take a less rosy view of the rest of the new system.

This is National Welcoming Week, and New York is one of 27 states with communities taking part to embrace immigrants and their value to the community. On Long Island, local advocates say 2,000 unaccompanied children who fled brutal conditions in their home countries are in special need of a warm welcome. Maryann Sinclair Slutsky with Long Island Wins says about 90 percent of these children fled into the arms of waiting family members.

As part of Long Island Welcoming Week, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone will highlight a naturalization ceremony for new citizens on Thursday, and will declare Suffolk a "welcoming community." Welcoming Week wraps up Friday with Long Island faith leaders calling for compassion for local immigrants, especially the newly-arriving children.

While the media refers to these kids as “undocumented, unaccompanied minors,” Slutsky says people need to remember the serious reasons that prompted them to leave their home countries, such as gang violence and domestic abuse, and the current stress of finding themselves in legal limbo. She said, “It remains to be seen if the U.S. government will classify them as refugees – but in reality, that’s what they are."

The Suffolk Times reports that new state regulations have opened an additional 110 acres for deer hunters in Southold Town this year.

Southold Town deer management committee member Jeff Standish said, “The legislation, passed in April, decreases the distance bowhunters are required to stand away from structures from 500 to 150 feet. The move frees up 110 acres of hunting access, bringing the total acreage of huntable land to 626 acres”.

The county owns about half that land, he said, and much of the new acreage is located near Bayview Avenue and Horton’s Point. Deer hunting season begins Oct. 1.

Since its implementation in 2008, hunters in the town’s deer management program have harvested 863 deer — including 265 in 2013, about double the number killed on the North Fork during a controversial federal deer cull using USDA sharpshooters earlier this year.

Friday, September 12;

In the news tonight: Black drivers are stopped at twice the rate of whites in Connecticut; 

Candiates for Governor will answer transit advocates questions at a forum in North Haven on Monday; Suffolk prepares for the November election and the Justice Department drops probe of Congressman Bishop’s campaign contributions. Recycling gets easier on the east end. 

Researchers at Central Connecticut State University found that black drivers were nearly twice as likely as white drivers to be stopped by police and blacks stopped were twice as likely as whites to have their vehicles searched in Connecticut. 

The study was based on a compilation of 360,000 traffic stops from Oct. 1, 2013, through May 31, 2014.

The study also found that even though vehicles operated by blacks were more likely to be searched, contraband was found more frequently in cars operated by whites.

The research is one of the nation’s most ambitious attempts to measure racial profiling, using law enforcement’s most common interaction with the public: the traffic stop. 

James Fazzalaro, the project manager said “This is in effect a national model we are creating here.”

Researchers and police chiefs cautioned that the statistics can be skewed by a number of factors, primarily a large influx of drivers for work or shopping.

The data was gathered electronically from 102 police agencies covering 168 of the state’s 169 communities under the mandates of a state law revised in response to the allegations of widespread racial profiling by East Haven police, which led to federal criminal indictments.


Advocates for a better-funded state transportation system will get their chance next week to appeal to Connecticut’s gubernatorial candidates face-to-face in North Haven.

The campaigns for Governor, Dannel Malloy and Tom Foley confirmed Thursday they will attend a forum at Monday sponsored by Moving Transportation Forward in CT, a coalition of nearly three dozen chambers of commerce, construction trades and businesses, environmental advocates, regional planning agencies and municipal groups.

During a mid-August press conference at Union Station in Hartford, the coalition challenged the gubernatorial candidates to support increased funding to overhaul the state’s aging transportation network, even if it means tax increases or tolls.

The group also asked the candidates to attend a public forum devoted exclusively to transportation issues. But both Malloy and Foley have ruled out tax hikes. And while each has said he is willing to discuss tolls, neither has proposed them. According to event organizers, Monday’s forum, set for 9 a.m. at the Best Western Plus at 201 Washington Ave., North Haven, each candidate will appear on stage separately, offering opening remarks and fielding questions from transportation advocates.


The Suffolk Legislature passed a bill Wednesday to place a proposition on the November ballot that would restore money taken from the Suffolk County Drinking Water Protection Program and ensure that the program can never be changed in the future without a mandatory referendum for voter approval. 

Newsday  reports that first district Congressman Tim Bishop’s attorney says a U.S. Justice Department probe of Bishop’s actions in relation to a constituent’s claim that he asked for a campaign contribution after helping him with permits for a fireworks show has been dropped. The House Ethics Committee is still investigating the matter.

Bishop, the first district Democrat and his challenger in the November election, Republican Lee Zeldin, will conduct a debate and answer questions from the audience at the Hampton Bays High School Auditorium on Monday, September 22, beginning at 7 p.m.


Southold Town residents will no longer have to separate their recycling. The town’s waste transfer station in Cutchogue has implemented a new “single-stream” recycling plan that eliminates the need for residents to separate paper, glass, cardboard, metal and other recyclables. 

The move is expected to not only boost recycling efforts, but save the town money on the overall cost of garbage disposal according to the Suffolk Times.  

Southold Town is the second municipality on Long Island to offer single-stream recycling to its residents.

The first was Brookhaven Town, which announced plans last November to invest $7 million to upgrade the town’s Yaphank recycling plant to include single-stream recycling capabilities.  Since January, Brookhaven has seen recycling numbers spike, according to Town Supervisor Ed Romaine. 


Thanks to WPKN volunteer Paul Atkin,

Thursday, September 11:

In the news tonight:  gun control in the race for Connecticut Governor; Suffolk adopts stiffer anti-discrimination law; Lyme disease research is the subject of a proposed Federal law, and Southampton acts to preserve part of land sacred to the Shinnecock Tribe.


Ron Pinciaro, Executive Director of Connecticut Against Gun Violence, told supporters Tuesday they must get out the vote on November 4. 

They have an estimated 50,000 members across the state.

Gun control is an issue that has divided Connecticut voters. A Quinnipiac University poll released in May suggested that 56 percent of voters support the stricter gun control laws while 38 percent oppose.

Members of Connecticut Voters for Gun Safety will most likely endorse Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy, who signed the 2013 bill into law.

The Connecticut Citizens Defense League (CCDL), which opposed the 2013 legislation, has endorsed Republican Tom Foley.

Members of the CCDL have said that the gun legislation would not have done a single thing to prevent the tragedy at Sandy Hook.

But Senator Donald Williams said that “virtually everything in that bill could have changed the outcome of that tragic day.”

Williams worked with Democrats and Republicans to craft that legislation. 


The Albany Times-Union reports that a bill that would require the federal government to establish a more aggressive plan to battle Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses, in the face of their rise throughout upstate New York, passed the House of Representatives on Tuesday.

The Tick-borne Disease Research Transparency And Accountability Act, authored by Congressman Chris Gibson, would require the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to consult with Lyme experts and patient advocates. 

The bill next moves to the Senate.

The diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease can be controversial. Members of the Lyme Action Network and similar groups statewide believe Lyme disease can linger in the body, causing chronic problems. But some doctors, including the nation's most influential infectious disease medical group, do not acknowledge chronic Lyme.

Other tick-borne diseases, including babesiosis and anaplasmosis, have also been on the rise throughout New York.


The Suffolk County Legislature has voted unanimously to expand protection from discrimination to transgender people, pregnant women, nursing mothers, domestic violence victims and military members.

The bill also will bar landlords from discriminating against people who receive public rental assistance and will prohibit employers from discriminating based solely on past criminal convictions.

Currently, the five-member staff of the county's Human Rights Commission, which investigates discrimination complaints, can hold hearings only if the matter concerns housing. The new law would allow them to hear cases about employment or public accommodation discrimination, said Jennifer Blaske, the commission's executive director.The commission gets about 160 to 170 complaints a year, she said.

The law brings Suffolk's existing human rights law up to state standards and exceeds it in others.. 

Fourteen years after protesters from the Shinnecock Nation failed to stop the clearing of a sacred site for a housing sub-division, the Southampton Town Board, on Tuesday, approved purchase of a 1.5 acre lot in the project to prevent construction there. 

$900,000 for the purchase will come from the Town’s Community Preservation Fund. 

A request by the Tribe to hold an annual ceremony on the lot is under consideration by the Town Board.

Shinnecock elder Elizabeth Thunder Bird Haile told WPKN News that the land now known as Parrish Pond was part of the land leased by the Shinnecocks to proprietors of Southampton in the 18th century. 

The whole area was open land before the year 2000 and the Shinnecock hunted rabbits and deer there.

Becky Genia of Shinnecock and the Inter-Tribal Historic Preservation Task Force, told the Southampton Press that the site was used to manufacture wampum beads from quahog shells. Wampum was used by natives in wampum belts used to document treaties. 

The tribe contends that ancient native remains on the land were unearthed and removed from the property by workers during housing construction. 

Ms. Genia said the workers talked about it “all over town. We know there were burials there.”


 Thanks to WPKN volunteer Nadine Dumser.

Coming up next.- national and international news from Feature Story News. 

This is ---------  -----------.


 Tuesday, September 9:

Erin Schultz, Producer

In the news tonight: A key witness testifies in the second corruption trial of former Connecticut Governor John G. Rowland; Connecticut Congresswoman Elizabeth Etsy refuses a pledge to limit outside campaign spending; Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy announces his plan to boost job growth; and 120 mosquito samples test positive for West Nile this year in Suffolk County.


Brian Foley testified on Monday in the federal case against former Connecticut Governor John G. Rowland that he did try to cover up the true intent of the governor’s involvement with his wife’s congressional campaign while he worked as a consultant for Foley’s nursing home chain.

Foley, who pleaded guilty in March to campaign finance violations, told the federal jury that in September of 2011, he came up with a plan to find a plausible reason to hire Rowland as a consultant and brainstormed ways to hide the governor’s involvement with the campaign to the Federal Elections Commission. 

He said that his wife, Lisa Wilson-Foley, a first-time Republican candidate in the 5th Congressional District, also went along with the idea.

Though Rowland did do some work for the nursing home chain, Foley testified that the main purpose of hiring him as a consultant was to “pay him through the company, but have him work on the campaign.”

Foley told the jury that he did not want to disclose Rowland’s role with the campaign because there were too many negatives associated with the former governor, who was convicted in 2004 on corruption charges.


U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty said on Sunday that she is still not interested in negotiating a pledge with her Republican opponent Mark Greenberg to reduce outside spending in Connecticut’s 5th Congressional District race, according to a report from CT News Junkie.

About a week ago, she rejected Greenberg’s offer to limit the role of outside spending and on Friday, Common Cause of Connecticut encouraged Esty rethink her decision. In 2012, when Esty first ran for the seat, she loaned her campaign $500,000 before the primary and $100,000 after the primary. But she points out that Greenberg has spent $3 million on two failed campaigns for the seat and said that she would not “take a pledge from someone who has pledged himself to spend millions of his own money.”

Greenburg has since suggested that both parties agree to a spending cap of $1.28 million.


Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy announced a series of initiatives on Monday to boost the state’s economic stability by expanding job training and small business assistance, according to a report from the CT Mirror.

On the table are tax credits for growing businesses; grants and low-interest loans; more state investments in affordable housing; and a new state-funded public works program. Malloy was unclear at the Monday press conference how these programs would be funded, though most are traditionally paid for through borrowing.

Malloy, who took office in January of 2011, said that Connecticut has regained about 60,000 private-sector jobs during his term and has seen its lowest unemployment rate in six years. The governor signed a bill this past spring that will lift the state’s $8.70-per-hour minimum wage to $10.10 by January 2017.

In order to address unemployment problems in the state’s urban centers, Malloy said he would expand the Small Business Express Program he and the legislature created in late 2011. The state has also committed up to $300 million to expand affordable housing over the next eight years.


Newsday reports that Suffolk County health officials announced on Monday that a total of 120 Suffolk County mosquito samples tested positive this year for West Nile virus on Long Island.

The 14 most recent samples were collected in Rocky Point, Huntington, Bay Shore, Dix Hills, West Islip, Nesconset, Huntington Station, North Babylon, West Babylon, Selden, East Setauket, Holtsville, and Patchogue, officials said.

The virus has also been found in 11 birds this year, and 79 mosquito samples have also tested positive in Nassau County.

The first human case of West Nile virus was confirmed this year in Nassau County. Four human West Nile cases and no deaths were reported in Suffolk last year, with eight human cases and no deaths in Nassau, officials said.

Last year, 2,469 cases of human infection were reported in the United States, resulting in 119 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


 Monday September 8:

In the news tonight: Connecticut businesses show cautious optimism, CT DCF unveils new plan for mental health care, Enterprise Park at Calverton development debate continues, New York votes Tuesday with oversight from a new watchdog agency.

An annual survey of Connecticut businesses revealed “cautious optimism” among the respondents. At least 35 percent of companies said they were growing, while 54 percent reported they were “holding steady.”

The Connecticut Business and Industry Association and BlumShapiro’s surveyed a total of 460 businesses.

Thirty-four percent of respondents cited the state’s economy as their biggest challenge.

The survey found 52 percent of businesses say government should reduce taxes, 24 percent want to see regulatory reform, 11 percent want spending cut, 7 percent want increased tax incentives, and 6 percent want improved infrastructure.

Peter Gioia, an economist with the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, said he thinks the survey shows that Connecticut is continuing and recovering.

Gioia said one of the biggest hurdles businesses face is the high cost of healthcare from all the “healthcare mandates” in this state.

The Connecticut Department of Children and Families unveiled the first draft Friday of a new plan for children’s mental health services. Legislators had ordered this overhaul in response to the December 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting

DCF administrators, mental health providers, community-based social service providers, educators and families of patients made up the working group that developed the plan.

The new plan recommends standardized screening and enhanced school services, better training for caregivers, and pooling hundreds of millions in public funds scattered across the budget.

Roughly 20 percent of Connecticut’s children have mental health needs that would benefit from treatment, yet many lack access, according to the report.

Jeffrey Vanderploeg, Child Health and Development Institute mental health initiatives vice president and working group member, said $300 to $400 million is scattered across the state budget for behavioral health initiatives. The plan calls for streamlining that public financing, and Vanderploeg said one of the next steps is a detailed analysis.

Public comment period is through September 12. The plan is due to the General Assembly in October.

Hearings on plans to develop the Enterprise Park at Calverton drew nothing but criticism from members of the public at both the Riverhead Town Board and Riverhead Planning Board meetings last week in Town Hall.

Plans contemplate the construction of as many as 300 dwelling units as uses "supportive" of the more than 10 million square feet of commercial, industrial, institutional, office and retail uses at the Calverton Enterprise Park.

Skydive Long Island owner Ray Maynard objected to the residential uses. Skydive Long Island, which moved to EPCAL in 2000, is the only business currently using the runway there. Maynard said construction of housing at EPCAL is "guaranteed to be detrimental to my business."

Richard Amper, executive director of The Pine Barrens Society, faulted the plan and draft supplemental generic environmental impact statement for being vague and inadequate. Amper said, "The plan does not provide specific mitigation measures for impacts to groundwater, traffic or demands for town services."

Supervisor Sean Walter said, "I don't support housing there. I never have. It will either get written out of the zoning or it will be regulated into oblivion. You don't need single family residential housing there and nobody's talking about that.”


In New York, county and state Election Boards, will have more oversight to assure fair voting results starting with tomorrow’s primary election.

The New York Daily News reports a new state Board of Elections enforcement unit created as part of the deal to shut down Cuomo's anti-corruption commission is set to begin work on Tuesday.

The new compliance office is designed to probe potential election law and campaign finance violations. The unit will have three investigators, three lawyers and two support staff. For the past several years, the Board of Elections has had no investigators to enforce election law.

Democrats challenging Governor Andrew Cuomo on September 9 are constitutional lawyer and corruption investigator Zephr Teachout and drug law reform advocate Randy Credico. 

A contest for Lieutenant Governor will be held between Kathy Hochul supported by the Democratic Party and Columbia University law professor and media reform advocate Timothy Wu. 

Polls are open Tuesday from 6 am to 9 pm

Thanks to WPKN volunteers Kristiana Pastir and Scott Schere.

Friday, September 5:
In the news tonight  Fast food workers arrested in Hartford protest,  Feds arming Connecticut police, and Long Island Farm Bureau abandons deer cull after poor results

The Hartford Courant reports: About 150 supporters of fast food workers marched down Park Street in Hartford, in support of a $15 minimum wage and a union.

13 fast-food workers from Connecticut and Rhode Island sat in the road before being arrested.

Protesters crowded into a McDonald's just off Park Street listening to fast-food workers who have become activists.

Representative Edwin Vargas, of-Hartford, spoke to the crowd in the restaurant. "It's corporate policy that has kept the worker down. You cannot be a giant vacuum cleaner, taking every dollar out of our community,"

In an interview outside, he said, "I think most consumers would gladly pay an extra 10 or 15 cents."

About half the fast-food workers at the protest work at Wendy's, where the  average customer's bill is $7. A Wendy's purchase will have to increase by 15 cents each year over the next three years for a restaurant to pay Connecticut's scheduled $10.10 minimum wage if the typical yearly $80,000 profits per location is maintained.

Connecticut’s police chiefs assured the state’s U.S. senators that the abuses of police authority that occurred in Ferguson, Mo., would likely not happen in Connecticut. But it’s likely Connecticut cops' use of military equipment to fight crime is soon coming under review.

Images of Ferguson police using war-fighting equipment to threaten those who protested the police killing of a black youth last month sparked a debate in Washington over the future of a Pentagon program that donates surplus equipment to the nation’s cops.

Mike Lawlor, Connecticut Undersecretary for Criminal Justice Policy and Planning, said a divided Congress may not be able to agree on reforms of the “1033 program,” that has provided military assault rifles, grenade launchers, night vision equipment, mine resistant and armored vehicles and even a helicopters to Connecticut police departments

Lawlor said the Malloy administration may also look at placing restrictions on the program or persuading Connecticut police to voluntarily place curbs on the acquisition and use of military equipment,

At a meeting with Lawlor and Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy
Connecticut police chiefs defended the program and said state police officers receive intensive training that would avoid the type of violence that occurred in Ferguson.
The Suffolk Times reports that the deer cull program sponsored by the Long Island Farm Bureau and conducted by the US Department of Agriclulture will not be repeated next year.

Considering the disappointing numbers reported last week from the controversial deer cull that took place earlier this year, a call is going out to get all stakeholders — especially environmentalists — involved as state and regional authorities regroup and figure out a plan to tackle Suffolk County’s overpopulated deer herds.

The farm bureau began lobbying more than a year ago to get East End communities on board with the idea. But after facing stiff opposition from a diverse group comprising hunters and environmentalists alike, Mr. Gergela said his organization won’t seek funds for another cull, and “Down the road, if the community wants to do it again, let the community go to Albany”.

The farm bureau received a $200,000 state grant to fund the cull, which was undertaken by federally trained sharpshooters from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But the final tally of just 192 deer killed was deemed a disappointment by many.

The county’s deer population is estimated to be anywhere from 25,000 to 36,000.

The  report on the cull compiled by the USDA and released last week states that “the most effective and long-term approach to white-tailed deer damage management caused by an overpopulation of deer is by managing the herd on a regional level .....through a variety of applicable methods.”

Newsday reported an East Hampton group announced this week they have funding for a deer sterilization program to be conducted in a small area of East Hampton Village. 
Thanks to WPKN volunteer Paul Atkin.

Thursday, September 4:

In the news tonight:  Connecticut senators clash again with Feds over Danbury prisoners, the trial of former Governor Rowland begins, Riverhead considers plan for industrial park, and Cuomo campaign donors have received millions in New York state grants.


Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy are in dispute with the Federal Bureau of Prisons. At issue are the fates of about 200 female prisoners who were transferred out of state while serving sentences at the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury.

The senators are objecting to delays in building a new facility that will house the inmates.  Construction, not begun, could take 30 months to complete. 

The delay forced the transfer of the prisoners to jails in Philadelphia and Brooklyn.

Blumenthal told federal officials."The delay is simply unacceptable and inexplicable,''

Piper Kerman, a former Danbury prisoner and author of “Orange is the New Black,” said, “The women who are in these facilities right now are in a crisis situation.” 

Besides difficulties in visiting their children and family members and the interruption of drug rehabilitation programs, they suffer under physical constraints, forced idleness, and sensory deprivation.



During the first day of former Governor John G. Rowland’s criminal trial, his lawyer told jurors the case would contain plenty of distasteful politics, but no evidence of criminal wrongdoing by the man forced out of office a decade ago.

Rowland, who resigned in 2004 before serving 10-months in federal prison on corruption charges, appeared in court Wednesday. 

He’s now facing charges he arranged to do political work for two congressional campaigns while conspiring to keep his pay hidden from election regulators.

Prosecutors showed jurors emails from Rowland promising a political victory to Mark Greenberg, a longshot candidate in 2009. “I can get you elected if you are interested,” Rowland wrote.
Greenberg eventually rebuffed a contract to pay Rowland $35,000 a month — money he says Rowland insisted come from outside the campaign. During the next election cycle, feds say Rowland took his proposal to candidate Lisa Wilson-Foley and her wealthy husband, Brian Foley.

Rowland’s attorney, Reid Weingarten, presented the former governor as a man humbled by his prior conviction and looking to support his family. Attorney Weingarten said Rowland wanted to work in politics and “maybe redeem himself, just a little” by helping Republican candidates.

Weingarten suggested it was Brian Foley, who offered Rowland up to federal prosecutors when he was facing serious charges of his own. The Foleys have pleaded guilty to related charges and Brian Foley is expected to be the government’s key cooperating witness.


The New York Daily News reports:

Several companies run by big-time donors to New York Governor Cuomo have won over $15 Million in state grants since he took office..

At least seven of the companies are linked to $1.25 million in donations to Cuomo’s campaign treasury since 2010. One of those companies, Taylor Biomass LLC in Orange County, was awarded $1 million in 2013 to build a waste-to-energy facility.

Its president, James Taylor, gave Cuomo’s campaign more than $100,000 since 2010. 

Cuomo aides said the grants cited by the Daily News represent a fraction of the more than 2,600 projects awarded $2.2 billion in funding since 2011 under the Regional Economic Development Council program.

The aids say the governor’s office has no formal role in selecting who receives the awards. The projects, they say, are recommended by the 10 regional councils, under a system Cuomo established in 2011. 

The Cuomo-controlled Empire State Development Corp. scores the recommendations and picks the winners, which Cuomo typically announces in a public ceremony.


Riverhead Town officials held a meeting Wednesday about the future use of some 2,300 acres of land south of Route 25 in Calverton.  The property was once owned by the U.S. Navy and used by the Grumman Corporation to manufacture and test military aircraft.

The plan calls for subdividing the land into 50 lots, 42 of which would be developed with a mix of industrial, commercial, retail, government, utility, recreation and residential uses. 

If the "ultimate buildout" is achieved by 2035, the site would generate $43 million in property taxes, create over 25,000 permanent jobs. 9,000 constructions jobs are projected over the construction period.

Adverse traffic impacts of the proposed redevelopment would be significant and cannot likely be fully mitigated, according to a draft environmental impact statement.

A planning board meeting on the project is scheduled for this evening.


Thanks to WPKN volunteer Nadine Dumser.


Wednesday, Sept. 3: (Erin Schultz, Melinda Tuhus Producers)

In the news tonight: New evidence is allowed in the second corruption trial of former Connecticut governor John G. Rowland; Bill Clinton visits Connecticut to show support for Governor Dannel Malloy; road work is expected to cause traffic delays in Riverhead and Southold; and environmentalists gather in New Haven to promote the People’s Climate March in New York City.

U.S. District Judge Janet Arterton has decided to allow accidentally-disclosed, privileged emails to become evidence in the second corruption trial of former Connecticut Governor John G. Rowland, according to a report from CT News Junkie.

Rowland’s charges in the case stem from allegations that he conspired to illegally hide compensation from elections regulators. Brian Foley, the husband of congressional candidate Lisa Wilson-Foley, pleaded guilty in March to attempting to conceal $35,000 in payments to the ex-governor in 2011 and 2012 through Foley’s nursing home chain.

Federal investigators acquired privileged emails between Foley and his lawyers when they executed a search warrant on Foley’s laptop and turned them over to Rowland’s lawyers along with other data during discovery.

Rowland’s lead attorney Reid Weingarten told Judge Arterton on Tuesday that Foley’s emails to his attorneys were part of a cover-up and that “feeding false information to the government” qualifies as an exception to attorney-client privilege.

Arterton said on Tuesday that “misleading and false information ought to be the subject of cross-examination” in the trial, which began at 9 a.m. on Wednesday.


CT Mirror reports that Former President Bill Clinton paid a visit to New Haven on Tuesday to show his support for Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy, the first-term Democrat who is running against Republican Tom Foley and third-party candidate Joe Visconti in his bid for re-election.

Clinton told Malloy and Democrats at a fundraising rally at the Omni Hotel that the choice in Connecticut is between a Democrat who did unpopular things in hard times and a Republican who is unclear about what he would do on taxes, gun control, economic development and education reform.

Chris Cooper, a spokesman for Foley, said that while it’s great to have a former president come to the state, he criticized Clinton’s visit, saying that it was evidence of Malloy's precarious standing with voters during a rematch of the 2010 gubernatorial election, when Malloy beat out Foley by 6,404 votes.

Cooper said that Malloy’s record-breaking 2011 tax increase in 2011 and other polices have stalled economic growth, while Clinton praised the progress that Malloy has made since inheriting the nation’s largest per-capita deficit in 2011 and his leadership after the Newtown school massacre, calling the resulting gun control measures well-crafted.


The New York State Department of Transportation started work on Tuesday on an $8.1 million project to repave 15 miles of road in Riverhead and Southold towns. The Suffolk Times reports that motorists should expect delays from the intersection of Route 58 and Doctors Path in Riverhead to the intersection of Route 25 and Tuckers Lane in Southold.

DOT spokeswoman Eileen Peters said that the project will be completed in three-mile sections during off-peak daytime hours between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. in an attempt to minimize traffic delays. The DOT will also remark bike lanes and pedestrian crosswalks and add a rumble strip on the centerline to warn motorists who stray across into oncoming traffic.


Leaders of the labor movement and faith communities in Connecticut held a press conference on Tuesday at New Haven’s Union Station to promote the September 21st People’s Climate March in New York City, to be held just before world leaders gather at the United Nations for a climate summit. WPKN’s Melinda Tuhus reports.

Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to converge on New York to demand that politicians stop stalling and start taking action to prevent the worst impacts of climate disruption, which scientists say will occur if temperatures rise more than 3.6 degrees Farhenheit over historical norms.

Speakers said protecting the climate could produce thousands of jobs in renewable energy.

Lori Pelletier is head of the Connecticut AFL-CIO. She said there are many examples of workers being directly impacted by climate-related catastrophes, from the longer and hotter forest fire seasons that included the tragic loss of 19 firefighters last year to the impacts on children and teachers of hotter school days with no air conditioning in their buildings.

Speakers urged Nutmeggers to get on the special Metro North trains with discounted fares on Sunday, the 21st, by going to


 Tuesday, September 2: (Erin Schultz, Melinda Tuhus Producers)

In the news tonight: New Haven residents continue to protest Israel’s control of the Gaza strip; a new report reveals troubling news for Connecticut’s economic future; New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo confirms that Kathy Hochul will be his running mate; and speed-zone cameras are now operating in Nassau County.


Although the fighting in Gaza is suspended for now, New Haven area supporters of Palestinian rights on Monday night protested Israel’s ongoing control of the Gaza Strip and its announcement of the biggest appropriation of Palestinian land in the West Bank in decades.

Little or no progress is being made in ending the siege of Gaza, tens of thousands of families are homeless after 50 days of Israeli shelling, and thousands of injured residents are without treatment. Speaker after speaker emphasized the importance of continuing to speak out now that the issue is fading from the headlines.

Following the speakers, a violin virtuoso from Burlington, Vermont, gave a one-man concert to raise funds for Gaza relief. Michael Dabroski said he was inspired to write his Suite for Gaza after giving a concert in Gaza City last year. He said, “I believe it is my artistic responsibility to connect the benefits of music to the gathering of community: to create compassion, inspire constructive change or grieve during times of crisis.” The concert was sponsored by Tree of Life Educational Fund.


Representatives of Connecticut Voices for Children released a report on Tuesday identifying the disproportionate impact of the state’s weak economy on young, minority, and less-educated workers – a report that they say points to a troubling economic future.

The “State of Working Connecticut 2014” report examines employment and wage trends and finds that the state has fewer jobs now than it did 25 years ago, with 50,000 fewer jobs than at the beginning of the recession and over 10,000 fewer jobs than in 1989. At the current pace of job growth, Connecticut will need three more years to recover to pre-recession job levels.

The report also states that only Connecticut’s highest earners have seen wage growth since 2000, and that workers aged 16 to 24 faced an unemployment rate about double the rate for adults aged 25 to 54 in 2013.

Members of Connecticut Voices have urged state policy makers to restore the state’s earned income tax credit to its original level and to expand access to high-quality early care and education in order to broaden economic opportunities,


Newsday reports that New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo assured supporters at Brooklyn's 47th annual West Indian Day Parade on Monday that he had no plans to drop running mate Kathy Hochul from the ticket in his bid for re-election.

Cuomo described Hochul, a former congresswoman who represented a conservative Buffalo-area district, as a “progressive Democrat through and through,” while Cuomo’s challenger, Zephyr Teachout, described Cuomo as “really not a democrat. Teachout attended the parade with her running mate, Timothy Wu, and said she feels that New Yorkers have a “genuine excitement about having the first woman governor, about having the first Asian-American statewide officer, about really new politics."

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio reaffirmed his backing of Cuomo and Hochul at the parade.

After an initial July rollout riddled with problems, school-zone speed cameras are operating again in Nassau County in time for the first day of school, according to a report from Newsday. That means drivers caught speeding past schools while classes or other student activities are underway will be subject to $80 tickets.

Last month, County Executive Edward Mangano dismissed all 40,000 tickets issued after learning that nearly 10,000 were generated in error. The flawed system angered many drivers -- some of whom received as many as 11 tickets each – and bombarded county officials with complaints, saying that they had no idea that school activities were underway and that warning signs for the cameras could not be seen at all. Mangano spokesman Brian Nevin said the county plans to install flashing lights and that warning signs have been posted at all locations.

Cameras began operating at 20 sites on Tuesday, and five more will start on Sept. 8. Hours of operation for are from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Nassau County officials plan to eventually install 56 cameras that are expected to generate $25 million in fines annually.


 Monday, Sept. 1
In the news tonight: An anti-violence rally with butterflies in New Haven, a gubernatorial candidate ends his campaign, authorities contemplate how to reduce the deer population on Fire Island, and the Ku Klux Klan tries to take advantage of tensions due to the growing immigrant population in Hampton Bays.

Dozens of adults -- and children dressed as butterflies -- gathered in front of New Haven City Hall on Saturday to rally against violence in their community and to remember family members who lost their lives to violence.  WPKN’s Melinda Tuhus reports.
The event was organized by SWANA – Sisters with a New Attitude – and My Brother’s Keeper.  Half a dozen clergypersons of many faiths addressed the crowd, followed by community members and police officers who work with the black community, one of whom was Officer Shafiq Abdussabur. He said the solutions to gun violence can be found close to home. 


Organizer Debra Elmore of SWANA said it was critically important to involve the children, who participated in skits and read poems. The event culminated with the release of dozens of butterflies, representing the lives of their loved ones who had died.

Melinda Tuhus, WPKN News.


Secretary of the State Denise Merrill confirmed in a press release Friday that petitioning candidate Jonathan Pelto will not be appearing on the ballot during this year’s campaign for governor.
Merrill verified  that Pelto had failed to collect the 7,500 voter signatures necessary to petition onto the ballot. She said he collected just over 4,300 signatures.

Pelto, a liberal critic of Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy and former lawmaker, had hoped to challenge Malloy’s re-election by picking off progressive voters dissatisfied with the governor’s education policies. He created the Education and Democracy Party in an effort to get on the ballot. He said he would stay involved in the political process and will partner with other third parties to “develop and advocate for a legislative package that will reduce the unfair aspects of the petitioning process.”

The National Park Service is evaluating options to control the increased population of deer on Fire Island according to Newsday.  Park service officials say, with an estimated 300 white-tailed deer now living in about eight square miles of the national park portion of the barrier island, the hungry creatures, which have no natural predators, are destroying native vegetation and threatening the rare Sunken Forest maritime holly forest -- one of only two in the world.

The service is proposing reducing the Fire Island deer population either through reproductive controls, killing the animals with sharpshooters or a limited and controlled public hunt, or some combination of nonlethal and lethal methods. No target number for the reduction was specified. The agency said it believes an acceptable reproductive vaccine will be available within a decade, and lethal methods would be used until the vaccine is developed.
Animal advocates say deer control should be achieved solely through reproductive means, and an acceptable vaccine already exists. The Park service is taking public comments on the proposed deer management plans until Oct. 10. The plans can be found at

Newsday reports that when Ku Klux Klan recruitment pamphlets appeared in Hampton Bays this summer, they landed in one of the most ethnically diverse corners of the Hamptons, in a hamlet where immigrants from Central and South America have transformed schools, shops and residential streets over the past decade. They now make up a third of the population. Many new immigrants are drawn to the area by the prospect of service work in the Hamptons. At the same time, more settled immigrants are opening small businesses.

Some Hampton Bays residents, while not citing ethnicity or immigration status, have joined an intensifying push in recent years for Southampton Town to close houses and motels illegally divided into apartments, which serve as the only housing within financial reach of many recent immigrants.
Hampton Bays residents have denounced the KKK pamphleting, which occurred sporadically on several blocks in late July and again in August. They said any anger in their community is directed at unscrupulous landlords and the town, not the immigrants. Southampton Police Sgt. Todd Bennett said police have received four complaints from residents who have received the materials. The department notified the Suffolk County Police Department hate crimes unit and will continue to document the incidents, Bennett said, noting that distributing the materials is not a crime.


Today's newscast was prepared by Melinda Tuhus with the aid of Scott Schere.

No comments:

Post a Comment