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Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

State contracting officials have allowed vendors to redact pricing information for COVID-19 tests from more than half a dozen public contracts, and newly obtained emails show the state went out of its way to accommodate at least one company after it missed a deadline to claim its pricing should be kept secret.

Bonnie-Brown / Creative Commons

The state of Connecticut has released the details of its plan to return K-12 students to in-person classes in the fall. So what could it mean in practice? Teachers representatives are concerned and call the plan “lacking.”

Ray Hardman / Connecticut Public Radio

Lake Compounce bills itself as “the oldest continuously operating amusement park in North America,” but COVID-19 threatened to end that 174-year streak.

Now, with clearance from the governor’s office, the Bristol amusement park is ready to open, but there will be some notable changes to ensure the safety of guests and staff.

June 25, 2020: These travelers coming to Connecticut from South Carolina are being asked to voluntarily enter a two week quarantine upon entering the state.
Tyler Russell / Connecticut Public

Connecticut added eight states Tuesday to its travel advisory that calls for visitors from now 16 states to quarantine for two weeks. Meanwhile, as Connecticut reported just over 150 new COVID-19 cases, the nation’s top infectious disease doctor warned that the U.S. could experience 100,000 new cases a day.

Bus Company First Student Gets $7M For Not Driving Kids

Jun 30, 2020
Sam Gurwitt / New Haven Independent

New Haven will pay its school bus contractor $1.5 million less than normal for time the buses were idle during the pandemic — but more than they should, according to some Board of Education members.

Gwen Carr
Harriet Jones / Connecticut Public Radio

Eric Garner died during an arrest in New York City six years ago -- in a police chokehold, saying the words “I can’t breathe.” In the years since, the Black Lives Matter movement has become a national force, and Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr, has become an activist, speaking out across the country against police brutality. 

Gail Hardy
Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public

Gail Hardy authored a surprising twist Monday to her reappointment as lead prosecutor for the Hartford Judicial District.

State Releases Plan To Return Students To School

Jun 29, 2020
Governor Ned Lamont Bradley International Airport
Tyler Russell / Connecticut Public

The state released requirements and guidance Monday for local districts to open schools this fall as COVID-19 hospitalizations in the state fell under 100 for the first time in months. 

Addiction Programs Adapt To Meet Challenges of Pandemic And A Rising Need

Jun 29, 2020

Earlier this year, a National Institutes of Health (NIH) examination of death certificates in the U.S. showed a sharp rise in alcohol-related deaths between 1999 and 2017. Connecticut mirrored those numbers, and addiction organizations stepped up their efforts to reach those in need.

Then came the pandemic. Treatment centers, support groups and the state were suddenly ordered to shut down.

Cloe Poisson / CT Mirror

This article was produced in partnership with the Propublica Local Reporting Network.

On a recent Sunday, protesters marched through the center of Weston, a small, wealthy town in southwest Connecticut. They chanted “no justice, no peace” and raised handwritten signs that read “Black Lives Matter” and “Silence is Violence.” 

Somewhere in the crowd, Brian Murray hoisted his own message.

“Fact check: Weston, CT. No Black teachers. No Black police officers. No Black board members. No Black town of Weston government office members.”

Yale School of Music

The Yale School of Music is implementing a series of initiatives in an effort to address issues of racism and diversity at the school and beyond.

National Museum of Health and Medicine / Creative Commons

You’ve probably heard the old phrase, “Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.” One has to wonder whether that dynamic is playing out in this time of pandemic and racial unrest -- specifically in regard to the quadruple tumult at the beginning of the last century, of war, pandemic, racial unrest and recession. 

Signs at Bradley International Airport remind travelers to wear masks at all times and maintain proper social distancing on June 25.
Tyler Russell / Connecticut Public

The number of patients in Connecticut hospitals with COVID-19 increased Friday -- the first uptick in hospitalizations in the state in a month, as concerns grew across the country about rising coronavirus infections. 

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public

Did you know that before the clock was invented, we used to sleep in two installments? Or that the standardization of cameras and film led to racial bias in the production of photographs?

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

Wearing a mask and speaking through a megaphone, Jesse Martin prompted a crowd that had gathered outside the state Department of Public Health building in Hartford late Thursday afternoon.

“What do we want?” he asked.

“Hazard pay!” the crowd yelled back.

“When do we want it?”

“Now!” 

Connecticut Orders Schools To Reopen In Fall, Teachers Are Concerned

Jun 25, 2020
School buses
Yehyun Kim / CTMirror.org

Connecticut schools will reopen for a five-day school week in the fall – as long as the coronavirus behaves, Gov. Ned Lamont announced Thursday.

Governor Ned Lamont
Tyler Russell / Connecticut Public

The school year may have just ended, but plans are taking shape for the return of students inside schools this fall. Gov. Ned Lamont announced the plans Thursday, noting that several COVID-19 trends are holding steady in Connecticut while the virus continues to spread in other parts of the country.

Bradley Airport
Tyler Russell / Connecticut Public

The state’s travel advisory to visitors from coronavirus hot spots took effect Thursday.

Gov. Ned Lamont and his counterparts from New Jersey and New York say that a visit from areas with high infection rates requires a 14-day self-quarantine.

But the way Lamont was talking as he spoke Thursday from Bradley International Airport, self-quarantine is more of a recommendation than a requirement.

spring cleanup
Ali Warshavsky / Connecticut Public Radio

Amid what amounts to a new civil rights movement, Black-owned businesses in Fairfield County say they are feeling the support of the community in ways they never have. And that boost comes in the wake of the devastating pandemic shutdowns that hit minority businesses harder than most. 

Jesse Costa / WBUR

Protests over police violence and racism continue across the country. And some state and local government leaders in New England are starting to announce changes. Boston’s Mayor Marty Walsh declared racism a public health crisis, joining several other cities and towns in the region.

Geranium 'Ann Folkard'
troistoques (time-out) (Flickr / Creative Commons)

There are geraniums and then there are geraniums. The classic geraniums everyone knows are the annual flowers my mom used to love. She'd pot up some red geraniums every year at her house. While I still grow annual geraniums in honor of my mom, I also like perennial geraniums.

Hartford Stage
Courtesy Hartford Stage

Three months of COVID-related measures continue to take their toll on arts and culture organizations in the state. The prolonged closure of Connecticut’s performing arts venues and museums has cost those organizations nearly $29 million, according to the national arts advocacy organization Americans for the Arts. 

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

In the heart of Wooster Square, New Haven’s historically Italian American neighborhood, the statue of Christopher Columbus has come down after more than 125 years -- to the cheers of a crowd of mostly younger New Haven residents and laments of some older Italian Americans.

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

Faced with a massive deficit -- only exacerbated by the economic pain of coronavirus shutdowns -- the University of Connecticut’s athletics department is making cuts.

coronavirus testing
Tyler Russell / Connecticut Public

Connecticut is paying more than half a dozen outside vendors to test people for the coronavirus. But state officials are redacting the contracts that spell out how much taxpayers are paying for each test because the vendors say those prices are trade secrets.

The Office of the State Comptroller has redacted at least six public contracts at the request of vendors who say their prices for a budgeted $50 million in taxpayer-funded tests shouldn’t be publicly disclosed.

Conn., N.Y., And N.J. To Quarantine Visitors From COVID Hot Spots

Jun 24, 2020
CT Governor Ned Lamont
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

This story is developing and will be updated.

The governors of Connecticut, New York and New Jersey jointly outlined protocols Wednesday for self-quarantine measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 by visitors from states experiencing a resurgence of the disease and an alarming spike in hospitalizations.

a closed sign
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

The economy has been thrown into turmoil by the coronavirus pandemic, but predicting the longer-term effects of the downturn can be a tricky business. U.S. consumer spending was up a record 18% in May, despite the fact that unemployment remains in double digits. So how do we chart the future now that the pandemic has changed everything?

DMV Reopens With COVID-Inspired Changes

Jun 23, 2020
Welcome to the DMV: Cynthia Brown greeted customers by taking their temperature and quizzing them about COVID-19 symptoms.
Yehyun Kim / CTMirror.org

The new COVID-ready Department of Motor Vehicles opened for license and registration renewals Tuesday, and the long-awaited first look at how public schools will operate in the fall will come Thursday.

In New England, Declining Car Sales Prompt Call For Electric Bike Rebates

Jun 23, 2020
Richard Masoner / Flickr Creative Commons

As interest in cycling rises and electric vehicle sales drop off amid the pandemic, advocates are calling on Connecticut officials to extend the state’s rebate program to include electric bicycles.

The Navy and Electric Boat have come to an agreement on a price for the outstanding costs of the first two massive Columbia-class nuclear ballistic submarines, a $10.3 billion deal that will eventually lead to a sharp uptick in production at the company’s Connecticut shipyard.

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