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Hartford's outdoor concert season is about to start. And while that's fun for a lot of people, some call it a scheduled mass casualty event. As WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, binge drinking is a serious concern for law enforcement and public health officials.

State officials are dealing with a new wave of paperwork as they work to implement new gun laws. As WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, residents who want permits and background checks may have a longer wait than usual. Before the December Newtown shootings, the state would typically have between 800 and 1,400 pending pistol permits to process each month.

Caviar Takes Its Toll

May 9, 2013

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra has made headlines recently for questionable city spending -- like dining on caviar at taxpayer expense. Now, it looks as though the city council is taking concrete action to push back. As WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, it's likely the council will reject Segarra's appointment for the city's chief operating officer.

The legislature is considering a bill that would allow students to opt out of dissecting a dead animal at school. WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports. State Representative Diana Urban supports the bill.

Last December, the Capitol Region Gun BuyBack coalition traded more than $10,000 in gift cards for over 180 working guns -- an effort to get those firearms off the streets.

In a couple of weeks, they're hosting another gun buyback -- and officials say it's not just about public safety...but about public health. Joining us now is Dr. David Shapiro from St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center, one of the partners in the program. 

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra says city employees will no longer be able to use their credit cards for business entertainment. WNPR's Jeff Cohen has more. When someone issues a controversial audit at 5:02 p.m. on a Friday, it's kind of sign that they don't want you to read it.

That's what happened last week, when the city of Hartford released its internal audit of its credit cards. City officials have been fending off claims of abuse. A New Year's Eve dinner for Mayor Pedro Segarra, his spouse, and six others at Max Downtown was what first drew headlines.

Chion Wolf

The music, culture and movement of Brazil is evocative of a certain kind of lifestyle to many Americans - like me - who’ve never been there. The beach at Ipanema, dense rainforests, a lyrical language and laid-back people.

But the real Brazil is booming and complex, one of the world’s emerging economies.

Connecticut is also home to many thousands of Brazilian immigrants - who occupy an uneasy space as part of a Latin American diaspora with a different language and cultural heritage.

Catie Talarski

Libraries might be changing faster than just about any other part of public life. These civic institutions were known for more than a century for their voluminous stacks of books and quiet spaces - now, they’re all about public events, high-tech connectivity, even 3-D printing!

Courtesy of CT DMV

Many undocumented immigrants in Connecticut want to apply for a state driver's license.

As WNPR's Lucy Nalpathanchil reports,  legislation to allow them to do so stalled in a legislative committee.  Now proponents are pushing lawmakers to find another way to get the legislation before the full General Assembly. 

It may be time to say goodbye to the Whale...again. As WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, Hartford's minor league hockey team could soon have a new name. The team used to be known as the Hartford Wolf Pack.

Then, in 2010, it was renamed the Hartford Whale -- a throwback to the city's onetime NHL Whalers. "It was sort of about embracing the Whaler past." That's Paul Doyle, a reporter with the Hartford Courant. He says Howard Baldwin, who operated the franchise, did his best to bring the Whalers back from the dead. They left the state in 1997.

Two bills that would change the way Connecticut sentences juveniles convicted of serious crimes are making their way through the legislature.  As WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, they come in response to U-S Supreme Court rulings that say treating young people like adults could violate the constitution. The proposed bills come with the recommendation of the Connecticut Sentencing Commission -- a mix of judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, corrections officials and others.  And both of them deal with the lengthy adult sentences imposed on juveniles and hinge on the idea that kids are different than adults, and should be treated that way.  One is called house bill 6581.  For those people in prison serving lengthy sentences for crimes they committed when they were younger than 18, this bill would give them a second-look.  That means it would mandate a parole hearing after a good portion of their sentences had been served. Sarah Russell is a law professor at the Quinnipiac School of Law.

Chion Wolf

A few weeks ago, the Greater New Haven Branch of the NAACP released a report showing significant health, economic, and educational disparities between White and minority populations....so significant that they’re calling it a modern day “urban apartheid.”

sarahstierch, creative commons

One in 10 adults in the United States is a lapsed Catholic, according to a 2009 report by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

This might change, say some religious scholars. They think that the newly appointed Pope Francis is going to bring people back to the church. He’s focusing on the poor, wearing simple vestments, washing women’s feet.  A far stretch from his predecessor.

Office of Policy and Management Secretary Ben Barnes
Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

Connecticut Hospital Day at the Capitol drew more than 600 hospital workers to Hartford today. They were protesting Governor Malloy's proposed budget, which they say would cut state spending on hospitals by $550 million over the next two years. The cuts would include the payments hospitals get for treating the uninsured.

But on WNPR's Where We Live, the administration's budget chief Ben Barnes said he's not sure the plan should actually be called a cut. "In recent years," Barnes said, "hospitals have received very very large increases each year, so we've discontinued providing large increases but I think overall, we're looking at a flat-funding scenario over the next few years."

Governor Dannel Malloy signed new laws that say people who own assault weapons and high-capacity magazines will have to register them with the state by January 1. But as WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, the state says creating the registration process is going to take some time.

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