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Is Food Bank System Contributing To Health Disparities?

Nov 2, 2020
Volunteer Marsha Royster adds canned beef to bags at the Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen.
Melanie Stengel

The nation’s food bank system, created to provide emergency food assistance, fills a chronic need. Still, it may be perpetuating obesity among those facing hunger, concludes a new report by the University of Connecticut’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity.

Voters in line to cast ballots at New Haven’s Hall of Records during the 2016 election.
Paul Bass / New Haven Independent

Stationing officers near polling locations has been part of the Stonington Police Department’s Election Day routine for as long as Chief Darren Stewart can remember. Police regularly stand outside the town’s five polling stations and direct traffic, manage lines and help people cross the street so they can cast their ballots.

Carol Hollander, left, fills out an application for an absentee ballot for her neighbor and friend, Gertrude Lerman, right. Lerman is 104 years old and made it to the New Haven Hall of Records Saturday so she could cast her ballot.
Ali Oshinskie / Connecticut Public Radio

The window of opportunity to apply for an absentee ballot has come and gone in most towns. But some municipalities are allowing voters to come by town hall to get everything done at once. And in an effort to limit risk of the coronavirus, New Haven voters could brave the weather Saturday and apply for and cast their absentee ballots outdoors. 

PURA Orders Utilities To Maintain Payment Plans To Delinquent Consumers

Oct 30, 2020
An Eversource energy car stops at a road that’s blocked due to fallen trees on Aug. 7, 2020, a few days after Tropical Storm Isaias.
Yehyun Kim /

State regulators ordered utilities Friday to continue offering payment plans to all consumers, regardless of hardship, through early February.

But the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority declined to extend the blanket moratorium on all shut-offs that Eversource Energy had sought.

Contributed Photo

Nina Vázquez left her hometown of Aguada, Puerto Rico, when she was 13 years old, moving to Meriden with her family. 

“I consider my family an economic refugee,” said Vázquez. “The reason why we left was because of an economic downfall in Puerto Rico. We were planning to go back a few years later, but it never could happen.” 

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

Health care workers stood along Route 195 out in front of Natchaug Hospital in Mansfield Thursday afternoon as they waved signs and used megaphones to demand better workplace protections during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

CT's Daily COVID Positive Test Rate Surges Past 6 Percent

Oct 29, 2020
Gov. Ned Lamont
Cloe Poisson /

Connecticut’s daily coronavirus infection test rate soared beyond 6 percent on Thursday — roughly six times the daily rate the state faced all summer and early into the fall.

A somber Gov. Ned Lamont warned residents to brace for the worst, but he opted not to reverse the Oct. 8 easing of restrictions on business activities.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

When jobless claims soared and wide portions of the economy shut down in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, Daniel Quigley faced an unenviable task: asking people to give money to politicians. 

So, for a while, he said he just didn’t do it. 

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

This election, NPR and many local affiliates, including stations within the New England News Collaborative, will count on The Associated Press to call the winner of the presidential race and other key contests in the U.S.

To make its call, the AP deploys a network of stringers and analysts in all 50 states to examine the vote tallies as they come in from local and county clerks.

elaine faith (Flickr / Creative Commons)

It's estimated in Connecticut, that 22 percent of the waste we send to landfills is food scraps. That's a shame because all those food scraps can be turned into compost to feed our gardens.

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

A worker at Geer Village Senior Community in Canaan wasn’t feeling well while at home. 

Ciaran Griffin/Stockbyte / Thinkstock

If you’ve gotten a steady flow of texts and phone calls from political campaigns this election season, you are not alone. It made us curious -- how do political campaigns get hold of your personal information and how much of it do they have? 

Health care workers at Golden Hill Rehab Pavilion in Milford react with heart hands to a group of Democratic State Senators and State Representatives who visited the facility.
Cloe Poisson /

With the number of deaths from COVID-19 in Connecticut’s nursing homes surpassing 2,900 this month and the state stepping up mandates for testing, health officials and legislators are forming a panel to consider whether there should be new legal requirements for staffing levels, testing and how equipment is procured and distributed, among other issues.

UConn Halts Free Tuition Program Amid Surging Budget Deficits

Oct 28, 2020
The spire of the Wilbur Cross building at UConn rises above the campus in this July, 2019 photograph.
G.J. McCarthy / UConn Foundation

Citing gaping deficits caused by the pandemic and a lack of philanthropic support, the University of Connecticut announced Wednesday it is discontinuing a program to offer free tuition for all low-income students whose families make less than $50,000 a year.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

When Debra O’Neall gets home from her overnight shift at a nursing home in Danbury, she removes her scrubs and jumps in the shower before she does anything else.

Later, she settles in on the sofa, turns on the news, picks up a sketchbook from the coffee table and begins to draw.  

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public

People detained in jails pretrial or those serving a sentence for a misdemeanor offense are eligible to vote in Connecticut. Yet, out of the more than 3,000 eligible inmates, most are not expected to have their votes counted in the upcoming election. 

Frankie Graziano / WNPR

The confirmation of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett may be a threat to women’s reproductive rights and health. The first case she is set to hear on Nov. 10 will determine whether the Affordable Care Act continues on. 

Connecticut's One-Day COVID Positive Rate Hits 4.1 Percent

Oct 27, 2020
Gov. Ned Lamont smiles as Anna Emannuel, of West Hartford, drops off her absentee ballot during a press conference on Tuesday at West Hartford Town Hall.
Yehyun Kim /

Gov. Ned Lamont said Tuesday that the daily positive rate for COVID-19 tests has “scooted up to 4.1 percent,” the highest one-day number since early June. The new seven-day rolling average is 2.5 percent.

danielfela/iStock / Thinkstock

When Victoria van Basten began putting together her paperwork to apply for U.S. citizenship, her plan was to have one consultation with an immigration lawyer, to keep costs as low as possible. 

“We just knew there was no way to pay for a lawyer’s time,” van Basten said. “Not with all the filing fees and things that go along with immigration.”

And those fees soon may nearly double under the Trump administration. 

In Connecticut, COVID-Related Worker Complaints Are Many, But Feds Punish Few Employers

Oct 27, 2020

Since the coronavirus pandemic began its sweep of the state in March, hundreds of Connecticut workers filed COVID-related complaints with the federal agency tasked with policing health and safety laws.

But so far, only two Connecticut companies have been penalized for COVID-related negligence.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

This fall, Logan Dancey, an associate professor at Wesleyan University, asked his students to work with three other schools to comb the websites of candidates for state Senate in Georgia, Minnesota and Connecticut. 

He was curious about how candidates featured issues like voting on their websites. 

Courtesy: Town of Prospect

The state’s new color-coded COVID alert system has designated 19 Connecticut towns as “red alert towns” for having positive test rates exceeding 15 per 100,000 residents for a two-week period. Gov. Ned Lamont has given these towns the option of pulling back from Phase 3 reopening to Phase 2.

The day after the 2016 presidential election, David Nastri, like many, couldn’t believe his candidate had won. Then he ran into one of his friends. She was crying, in disbelief that so many Americans had chosen Donald Trump.

The Connecticut Center for Economic Analysis at UConn issued a grim forecast for the state’s economy Friday.
Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

Connecticut likely will struggle for a decade or longer to undo the economic damage created by the coronavirus pandemic, a University of Connecticut think tank warned Friday.

In its first long-term forecast, the Connecticut Center for Economic Analysis also warned the state was headed for financial trouble even before the pandemic struck, having failed for more than a decade to make vital investments in information technology.

courtesy Ekonk Hill Turkey Farm

Turkey growers describe this time of year as the industry’s Super Bowl, when orders for turkeys start rolling in. But Thanksgiving will be different this year because of the pandemic.

Rick Hermonot said it’s still a little early to know how many people will order smaller turkeys from his farm in Sterling.

Constitution Plaza in downtown Hartford.
Henk Sijgers / Creative Commons

What if the work-at-home trend becomes permanent? What will happen to Connecticut’s downtowns? Economist Victor Calanog of Moody’s Analytics joined All Things Considered to opine on whether downtowns are as good as dead. He also broke down what he thinks city planners should be doing right now to prepare.

Backus Nurses' Union Reaches Deal With Hospital Over New Contract

Oct 22, 2020
Nurses stand on the picket line on Oct. 13 outside Backus Hospital in Norwich. They have asked the hospital to provide sufficient protective gear and offer fair pay to retain experienced workers.
Yehyun Kim /

A union representing more than 400 nurses at Backus Hospital approved by a near-unanimous vote on Wednesday a new, four-year contract that includes pay increases and ends a weeks-long standoff between the hospital and employees that triggered a two-day nurses’ strike.

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted Thursday to advance the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court. But the roll call vote was also notable for its silence from Democrats. 

As the committee clerk read off a list of names, she got no answer from several senators. The reason was simple: Those senators, including Connecticut’s Richard Blumenthal, weren’t there. 

Alonso Nichols

Liliana Cruz of Boston has just been selected for a school desegregation program. At dawn, she takes the bus to a mostly-white high school in the suburbs. There she makes friends, endures microagressions and racism, wrestles with her identity and finds her voice. That's the premise of Jennifer De Leon's debut novel “Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From,” which came out this year. 

Frank Fontana and his daughter, Liz Marciano, visit Sharon Fontana at Kimberly Hall North in Windsor.
Cloe Poisson /

When COVID-19 cases shot up in New London this month, Bill White, whose family owns the Beechwood Post-Acute & Transitional Care Center there, began to worry about visitors bringing the disease into the facility.

Federal and state guidelines were changed recently to allow indoor visitations at nursing homes, but the rules don’t require guests to be tested for coronavirus. White worried that would leave his facility vulnerable to an outbreak.