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Harriet Jones

If Connecticut is to have an engaged and productive workforce it must have reliable childcare. Childcare comes in many different forms, but an increasing number of providers are small, home-based businesses. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

In a tiny condo in Hamden, Lushanna Thompson is allowing her small charges to let off some steam.

Aplicare

Getting into the international market can be both exciting and challenging for a business. It offers the chance for new customers and growth, but it’s also a steep learning curve. WNPR’s Harriet Jones visited one Meriden firm that’s sending Connecticut-made medical products all around the world, and bringing work back from overseas.

“So this is our production floor. We have 21 production lines, that are operating on two shifts….”

The Secret Life of Water

Feb 25, 2011
Nancy Eve Cohen

Environmentalists want to protect the states’ rivers from running dry. The state and federal government want to keep public water supplies safe from terrorists. These competing interests have led to a battle over information, which is going before the state’s Freedom of Information Commission tomorrow. 

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra's decision earlier this week to intervene in the board of education's search for a superintendent continues to reverberate.  WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports.

Nancy Eve Cohen

Record-setting snowfall and sub-zero temperatures in the Northeast have led to increased demand for firewood this heating season. There’s also been an uptick in complaints by consumers who say they’re getting less firewood than they pay for. As part of a collaboration with Northeast stations, WNPR’s Diane Orson reports. 

Northeast environmental reporting is made possible, in part, by a grant from United Technologies.

Chion Wolf Photo

One day after Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra upended the search for a school superintendent at the last minute possible, the chairman of the city's board of education sat down with WNPR and expressed his displeasure.

David MacDonald became chairman of the Hartford board of education just last week.  He said he was disappointed in Segarra's call on Tuesday for a national search.  MacDonald says that Segarra's concerns about the transparency of the search for a new superintendent showed great disrespect.

Debate Over Busway Heats Up

Feb 23, 2011
Capitol Region Council of Governments

Connecticut’s Transportation Committee is considering a proposal to take funds designated for a New Britain to Hartford bus project and spend it on reinvigorating train service from Waterbury to Hartford. WNPR’s Nancy Cohen reports.

The “busway” project, as it’s known, is designed to reduce the congestion on Interstate 84 by building a separate 9.4 mile road just for busses. There would be elevated platforms, similar to a train station with service every three to six minutes during peak commuter hours.

State Senator Proposes Bill to Decriminalize Marijuana

Feb 22, 2011
JailBreak Photography

In his state budget address, Governor Dannel Malloy proposed changes to how Connecticut deals with drug offenders.  WNPR’s Jason Cunningham reports on one of four new proposed bills that tackle marijuana reform.  

“There are too, there are simply too many people also, who have been arrested for and jailed for minor, non-violent or drug offenses.”

While Governor Malloy didn’t directly address the issue of marijuana reform in his budget proposal, he did talk about "alternative forms of punishment" for those convicted of some minor crimes.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The Hartford board of education is scheduled to meet Tuesday to pick a successor to Superintendent Steven Adamowski, who is leaving after this year.  But there's some concern in the community that the process was flawed.  The district’s spokesman has been advocating for one of the two candidates to take Adamowski’s place.

You might know the name Elizabeth Horton Sheff.  She's the Sheff in Sheff vs. O'Neill, the landmark school desegregation case in Hartford.

Chion Wolf, WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy unveiled his new two year budget yesterday.  The $19.7 budget for 2012 seeks to close a $3.2 billion deficit through tax hikes, spending cuts, and 2 billion dollars in union concessions.  

Chion Wolf/WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy presented his plan to close the state’s $3.2 billion budget gap to a joint session of the state legislature today. 

Budget Day

Feb 16, 2011
Chion Wolf, WNPR

Budget day at the Connecticut capitol used to be like Christmas morning…you were never sure what you’d be getting.

Sure, like with Santa Claus you had a pretty good idea.  I mean you’d been dropping hints for months.  But, the final budget presented by the governor always included a hint of surprise.

Helping Small Businesses With Energy Costs

Feb 16, 2011

Governor Dannel Malloy announced today a pilot program to help small businesses pay for energy costs. 

Thomas McMillan, New Haven Independent

A pilot landing at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks hears a roaring noise just above his plane, but checks his traffic alert system and sees nothing in the area.

“Do you have traffic on top of us?” he asks an airport controller. The response is matter-of-fact but chilling: The plane has entered an area of “heavy military operations,” with a pair of F-15 fighter jets that departed nearby Barnes Municipal Airport coming close enough to deem the incident an “NMAC,” or near midair collision, a January 2010 report says.

Last year President Obama challenged the nation’s businesses to double their exports within 5 years. Connecticut has been responding to that call, and as WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports, small business has been a key part of the effort.

Exporting—selling products overseas—is complex and often challenging. It may not seem to be a natural fit for a small business. Not so, says economist Peter Gioia of the Connecticut Business and Industry Association.

Chion Wolf Photo

Harriet Jones

Manufacturing used to be a mainstay of employment in Connecticut. Competition from lower-cost states and overseas production has decimated the industry. But small manufacturers persist in the state and are finding ways to survive. WNPR’s Harriet Jones visited one shop in Milford for our latest small business profile.

Diane Orson

Chion Wolf/WNPR

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra took over last summer after Eddie Perez was found guilty of corruption and resigned his office. Now Segarra is running for mayor, and he says Perez’s political allies are targeting him. Segarra appeared on WNPR’s Where We Live with John Dankosky. He suggested that efforts by at least one of his opponents, State Representative Kelvin Roldan, have the feel of Perez politics.

Harriet Jones

Connecticut has around 5,000 manufacturing companies. You may be picturing Pratt & Whitney or Electric Boat, but of course the vast majority of manufacturers are small businesses. WNPR’s Harriet Jones looks at the challenges facing those firms in a shrinking industry.

It’s a typically busy day on the shop floor at Prestige Manufacturing in Milford. Ken Dugan has run this business for 27 years.

Abeeeer photo via Flickr Creative Commons

It started with a flub by U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal.  It wasn't a big deal. As one of his spokespeple suggested, even the substitution of the word "era" for "days" would have helped his cause quite a bit. Most other politicians would not have been called on this, but, for Blumenthal, it fits kind of a narrative some people have about him.

Snow Damages Farm Buildings, Some Animals Killed

Feb 9, 2011
Diane Miller

Front Street in Court

Feb 8, 2011
Jeff Cohen/WNPR

The retail development known as Front Street in Hartford is finally built and looking for tenants.  But the project took years to materialize, and now it's in court.

Front Street is a publicly-subsidized development that was geared to attract area people to downtown Hartford and the adjacent Connecticut Convention Center.  Here’s how George Royster puts it. He's an attorney for the state:

“Because people coming to Hartford with no place to go would not be likely to return to the convention center or the hotel if they had no entertainment or retail or places to eat.”

Foxtongue photo via Flickr Creative Commons

What's the impact on the state pension fund when a low-paid legislator moves to a high-paid administration job? We like this piece on "pension spikes" from a policy blog

But maybe it doesn't matter, because we're not really making any serious attempt to fund that whole system.

New Haven Considers Giving Up the Bottle

Feb 8, 2011
Nancy Eve Cohen

Clean Streets Versus Clean Water

Feb 8, 2011
Monica Brady-Myerov

There has been an historic amount of snowfall around the Northeast.  So far in Hartford, at least 80 inches have fallen.

The extreme snowfall has pitted disposing snow against protecting the water.  Many cities in the Northeast have run out of space to put the snow and are asking for permission to dump it in waterways. As part of a collaboration with northeast stations, Monica Brady-Myerov of WBUR reports.

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra is taking the city's schools superintendent to task for issuing a series of bonuses to district employees. Segarra says he understands the bonuses total about $2.7 million -- a figure that seemed to frustrated the mayor of this cash-strapped city. In a letter to Superintendent Steven Adamowski, Segarra said he wants to know why these bonuses were issued, what criteria was used in a awarding them, and who approved them.

Nancy Eve Cohen

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