THURSDAY MORNING UPDATE

NEW DEAL FOR L&M WORKERS

Lawrence & Memorial Hospital announced the three unions representing workers had ratified three-year contracts with the hospital, a year before their current contracts expire. It’s the first contract to be ratified since the hospital affiliated with Yale New Haven Health in 2016 and the second ratification since contract talks stalled in late 2013 and led to a strike and three-week lockout. The new contract, which will go into effect in June 2019, includes a two percent pay increase for all union members for each year of the contract. The increase could go up to three percent if the hospital meets certain goals for profit margins.

SEAT GETS A BOOST

The Southeast Area Transit District has been told that it will receive a 2.5 percent increase in funding next year and should not plan service cuts or fare increases. The state budget passed last month avoided a potential 15 percent reduction to transit districts and other transportation cuts for the upcoming fiscal year. SEAT General Manager Michael Carroll said even with the 2.5 percent increase, the transit district is projecting a small shortfall in the upcoming year but will follow DOT’s direction to not make service cuts or raise fares.

OYSTER PLAN PROPOSED

Stonington Aquafarms LLC is seeking a permit to raise oysters to maturity in stacked cages just outside of Stonington Harbor. The state shellfish lease area he proposes to use is located about 1,700 feet southeast of Wamphassuc Point and 100 feet south of the harbor breakwater. Cove residents said that allowing commercial activity in the cove for the first time in more than a century would lead to more commercial operations, decrease their property values and damage the ecology of the cove along with its scallop and eelgrass populations.

MAN CALLS POLICE FROM CRUISER

Rhode Island police say a man called 911 from the back of a cruiser to complain about an officer who volunteered to give him a ride. Officers broke up an argument between the 28-year-old man and his girlfriend in Westerly Wednesday and offered the man a ride to the police station because he seemed intoxicated. Once inside the cruiser, the man used his cellphone to call 911. Police say the man has been charged with making a false 911 call.

HEADING TO ALASKA

A research scientist from the Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut and several students are heading to Alaska for an annual research expedition to monitor the health of beluga whales.  Officials say students from the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, one student with the aquarium’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates program and research scientist Tracy Romano will leave for the trip Sunday.  The group will install satellite transmitters and take biological samples to determine how much climate change, pollution and other factors are impacting the well-being of the whales.  Aquarium officials say the work is critically important to humans, especially the Alaska Natives who can legally hunt belugas for sustenance.   The research expedition in North Slope will last from June 24 to July 7.

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