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True Colors, the Hartford-based nonprofit offering an array of resources for LGBTQ youth over the last 22 years, has abruptly closed its doors. 

State Auditor Rob Kane Found Dead At Home

Feb 6, 2021
CTMirror.org

Rob Kane, the Republican auditor of public accounts, was found dead Friday at his home in Watertown after police made a wellness check at the request of his family.

Friends and relatives grew concerned after Kane, a divorced father of two, uncharacteristically failed to respond to texts or calls. Family members met police at his home, and the police entered and found his body.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

The U.S. House of Representatives has stripped Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) of her two committee assignments in a process initiated by Connecticut Congresswoman Jahana Hayes.

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public

Gov. Ned Lamont said last week that he doesn’t want to build a proposed natural gas power plant in Killingly and that he is hamstrung by regional market obligations. But the head of a trade group representing virtually all of the power plants in New England said the state does have some control over whether to approve the project. 

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public

New state data revealing town-by-town COVID-19 vaccination coverage shows that the rollout in some areas of Connecticut is happening at a faster rate than in others.

The preliminary numbers confirm what some public health experts and health equity advocates have suspected all along, which is that vulnerable and underserved communities, including Black and brown neighborhoods already suffering high infection and mortality rates, are at risk of falling through the cracks. 

Medical Practices Become Another Pandemic Casualty

Feb 5, 2021
Briana Jackson / ISTOCK / THINKSTOCK

After 35 years as an oral surgeon, Dr. Arthur Wilk closed his practice in Clinton following “daunting challenges” caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In Darien, Dr. Cecile Windels sold her pediatric practice to a hospital health system after enduring significant income losses.

Mark Mirko / Hartford Courant

In 2013, a social worker named Winston Taylor showed up for jury duty in New London, Connecticut. He was being questioned as a potential juror in the murder trial of Evan J. Holmes. When a state's attorney asked Taylor about his perceptions of police, he said he had at times been fearful of cops -- based on his experiences as a Black American. Taylor also said he knew good police officers and would be a fair juror.

Pixabay.com

Houseplants not only do provide soothing greenery in winter, they also bring in some pests! There are a number of houseplant pests you're probably seeing right now. Here are three main ones.

Michael Jackson

Avant-garde jazz trumpeter and composer Wadada Leo Smith has been named a 2021 United States Artists Fellow. United States Artists is a national arts funding organization based in Chicago.

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

White House press secretary Jen Psaki hails from Fairfield County, Connecticut, and her current turn in the spotlight is being closely followed by some of her old friends back home.

Brenda Leon / Connecticut Public Radio

Gender violence in Puerto Rico has increased in recent years, so much so that newly sworn-in Gov. Pedro Pierluisi has declared a state of emergency in response to calls by activists on the island.  

Last October in Connecticut, Nina Vázquez joined other Puerto Rican women in the diaspora to rally in Hartford in support of activists on the island who demanded the state of emergency. During the rally, Vázquez, a graduate student at the University of Connecticut, read the names of women murdered in her homeland of Puerto Rico in 2020.  

It Has Been Slow To Arrive, But High-Speed Rail Could Be Coming

Feb 2, 2021
The North Atlantic Rail project will include a tunnel under Long Island Sound through New Haven to Hartford, create a new line from Hartford to Providence, RI and connect multiple mid-sized cities.
North Atlantic Rail

In 2016, federal officials unveiled a plan for high-speed rail along the Northeast Corridor that included a 50-mile passage from Old Saybrook to the village of Kenyon, R.I.

The route went through Old Lyme and other historic small towns while bypassing New London. The plan, called NEC Future, met with heavy — almost unanimous — opposition. Hundreds turned out at meetings to oppose the plan. Sen. Richard Blumenthal seemed ready to lash himself to the tracks, calling the idea “half-baked and hare-brained” and “unworthy of any sort of taxpayer dollars.”

Connecticut Congresswoman Jahana Hayes is calling on Republican leadership not to seat Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene on the House Committee on Education and Labor.  On Monday, two Democratic U.S. representatives from Florida, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and Ted Deutch, joined the call. 

Before she took office in January, Greene questioned on social media whether the Sandy Hook mass shooting had taken place. The 2012 Newtown massacre left 20 children and six educators dead. 

Lamont Put A Quiet Freeze On New Judges. It’s About To Thaw.

Feb 1, 2021
Gov. Ned Lamont makes point at a press conference outside the Capitol in October.
Mark Pazniokas / CTMirror.org

Gov. Ned Lamont, who has demonstrated little interest in the political nuances, benefits and occasional hazards entailed in appointing judges, is preparing to make his first class of nominations to a trial court system that has an unprecedented number of vacancies.

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

Several public health proposals are making a comeback to the legislative arena this year, including a couple that have sparked significant controversy in past sessions.

The COVID-19 pandemic cut short the 2020 legislative session. Lawmakers managed only a few weeks of committee meetings and a handful of public hearings before the Capitol was shut down in late March.

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public

Distrust of the medical system for Deicin Garcia goes back to when she arrived from Mexico 15 years ago as an undocumented teenager. She and her family came to pick tobacco on a ranch about half an hour’s drive north of Hartford. 

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public

As forecast, Connecticut is contending with its first major storm of 2021. The weather system had dumped up to 16 inches of snow on parts of the state by late Monday.

More than half of all people in Connecticut who died from COVID-19 in the first wave of the disease lived in nursing homes or assisted living facilities. Advocates for the elderly want to know whether someone should be held accountable for those deaths -- so they’re asking Gov. Ned Lamont to stop shielding the homes from legal action.

Facebook

As the original guitarist for the British Invasion group The Animals, Hilton Valentine will probably be best remembered for the now-iconic arpeggiated opening riff from their 1964 hit “The House of the Rising Sun.” But Valentine was a lot more than that one moment. As a guitar player and composer, he was comfortable playing folk, skiffle, rhythm and blues and, of course, rock ’n’ roll music over his long career.

Adam Glanzman / Northeastern University

A professor from Northeastern University in Boston is bringing a “justice first” mindset to President Joe Biden’s Department of Energy. Shalanda Baker has been appointed deputy director for energy justice.

Patrick Skahill / Connecticut Public

Nate Walpole steadied his hand, readied his needle and issued a friendly warning. 

“Sir, big poke!” Walpole said, holding the syringe in place for a few seconds before quickly pulling it out and tapping it on a nearby table, protective plastic flipped up over the needle.

On this particular day, the syringe contains only saline, injected into a pillow held in place on a classmate’s shoulder. But soon, it will be the real deal: the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise Merrill conducted a public opinion poll on what reforms voters would like to see in a post-pandemic election.
Connecticut Secretary of the State

Secretary of the State Denise Merrill is calling for a number of voting reforms after a new poll conducted in January finds that a majority of Connecticut voters favor early and no-excuse absentee voting.

At a virtual news conference Thursday, Merrill shared that 79% of Connecticut voters support early voting and 73% support the option to vote by absentee ballot without needing an excuse.

An Inmate Had Asthma And Diabetes. The State Transferred Him To The Prison With Most COVID Deaths.

Jan 28, 2021
David, Dorothea and Franklyn Ferrigon Sr. (l-r) pose in the living room of their Bloomfield home where a tapestry memorializing their son and brother, Michael Ferrigon, hangs on the wall.
Cloe Poisson / CTMirror.org

When her son Michael told her in June that he was being transferred to the Osborn Correctional Institution from a prison in Newtown, Dorothea Ferrigon thought his two-year ordeal was almost over.

CT-N (Screengrab)

On Thursday, a legislative committee took up the permanent appointment for acting Connecticut Department of Correction Commissioner Angel Quiros.

School-Based Health Centers Remain Vital Resource During Pandemic

Jan 28, 2021
Nurse practitioner Shannon Knaggs examines a student at the health center at Augusta Lewis Troup School in New Haven.
Yale New Haven Hospital

Thirteen-year-old Estrella Roman and her mother have made the 30-minute walk to Rogers Park Middle School in Danbury several times during the pandemic, even when the school has been closed for in-person learning. That’s because the school’s on-site health center is where Estrella, who emigrated with her family from Ecuador in 2019, receives routine vaccinations, wellness care, and treatment for headaches, among other health services.

Leeks
Pixabay.com

One of my favorite winter vegetables are leeks. These non-bulbing, onion-family plants, have a mild flavor, are easy to grow and are beautiful in the garden. Of course, I'm not growing any leeks in late January, but I am thinking about them. They freeze really well and we're still making delicious potato-leek soups in winter.

Yale Indigenous Performing Arts Program / Facebook

Since its inception six years ago, the Yale Indigenous Performing Arts Program has become a focal point nationally for up-and-coming Native American playwrights, storytellers and actors.

Every year the program, also known as YIPAP, presents the Young Native Playwright’s Contest, the Young Native Storytelling Contest, and for the first time this year, the Young Native Actor’s Contest.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

Students from Naugatuck High School, along with some of their parents and supporters, staged a demonstration in town Wednesday after racist social media posts from a fellow student were revealed.

Access Health CT

Nearly 1 million people in Connecticut chose health insurance plans for 2021 through Access Health CT, the state’s Affordable Care Act marketplace, new data show.

That includes a year-over-year uptick in the number of people eligible for low-income insurance programs under HUSKY Health. Experts say some of that was likely driven by the pandemic. 

Is The State's Vaccine Rollout Leaving Behind Black And Latino Residents?

Jan 27, 2021
Georgia Goldburn (right), executive director ofthe Hope Child Development Center in New Haven , said she is concerned that child care providers who work directly with children are not being vaccinated on the same schedule as teachers.
Cloe Poisson / CTMirror.org

Merrill Gay helped his elderly mother, sequestered alone at home, make an appointment last week to get a coronavirus vaccination.

Meanwhile, the thousands of child care workers who are members of the coalition he leads, the Early Childhood Alliance, have been told they will have to wait more than a month for their turn to make an appointment.

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