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Courtesy of Access Health CT

A federal appeals court in New Orleans dealt another blow to the Affordable Care Act last week, saying the requirement under the law to have health insurance is unconstitutional. But the court sidestepped the question of whether the health law itself is invalid.

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

Killingly High School student-athletes were once called the Redmen. Then, briefly, they were the Redhawks.

Now the school has no mascot at all.

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

Five Connecticut women returning from prison just got a big gift in time for the holiday season -- a new home.

Fungi aficionados can easily grow mushrooms indoors.
Dominick Guzzo (Flickr) / Creative Commons

Collecting wild mushrooms is a great treat, if you go with an experienced veteran who can distinguish good fungi from bad fungi. You can also cultivate your own mushrooms outdoors in beds, but that takes time. To get a quick fix of the taste of wild mushrooms without hunting or cultivating, grow them from kits indoors.

Timothy Norris / Courtesy: The Hip Hop Nutcracker

“The Hip Hop Nutcracker” returns to The Bushnell for its third holiday season this Friday. 

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference has named Maloney High School junior Haley Lespier its winner of the 2019 Michael H. Savage Spirit of Sport Award.

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

A line of people bundled in thick coats, scarves and gloves formed along the outer edges of a small parking lot earlier this month at Elm Ridge Park in Rocky Hill.

Despite the cold and drizzly weather, residents waited with empty grocery bags, shopping carts, baskets and boxes as volunteers from Foodshare, the Greater Hartford region’s food bank, set up tables with fresh vegetables, fruits, meat and poultry.

UnconventionalEmma / Creative Commons

Richard Cowles said owning a Christmas tree farm is magical. 

Lori Mack / Connecticut Public Radio

New Haven saw an uptick in violent crime in 2019, according to year-end statistics.

Police Chief Tony Reyes said violent crime is up, particularly shooting incidents, but he stressed that New Haven remains a safe city. Officers broke down the numbers and described the challenges and strategies by neighborhood during a recent meeting at police headquarters. Statistics showed 74 nonfatal shooting victims as of Dec. 15 -- the highest number since 2012.

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

The state has closed four investigations into the use of deadly force by a police officer, and in each case, prosecutors said the use of force was justified.

Access Health CT

Judges in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans this week found that the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate -- the requirement that residents buy health insurance or pay a fine -- is unconstitutional.

But they held off from saying that the entire law is invalid, sending the case back to a lower court in Texas for more analysis into which parts of the federal law can continue without the individual mandate. 

Blogtrepreneur / Flickr

A West Haven man faces a bond hearing Friday, less than a week after he was arrested by federal authorities for an alleged plan to travel to the Middle East and join ISIS.

The man was arrested on Dec. 15 as he tried to board a ship in Stonington.

Suspected Gunman Dead After Fatal Shooting In Westerly, Rhode Island

Dec 19, 2019
Babcock Village, a federally funded facility serving elderly and disabled residents in Westerly, Rhode Island.
Joe Tasca / The Public's Radio

A man suspected of shooting three people at a housing complex in Westerly, Rhode Island, has been found dead of what police believe was a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The 66-year old-man, who was a resident at Babcock Village, shot and killed an employee and wounded two other people.

Anthurium, also known as the flamingo flower.
Bernard Spragg. NZ (Flickr) / Creative Commons

Many people are growing houseplants again to create a lush, green oasis in their home or apartment. But it doesn't have to just be green houseplants. There are new varieties of easy-to-grow houseplants that feature colorful leaves and flowers and some even grow in low-light conditions. Here are some of the best.

House Television via AP

All five of Connecticut’s representatives in the U.S. House voted to impeach Donald Trump in an historic session Wednesday. Only one, the 4th District’s Jim Himes, gave remarks on the floor before the vote.

Himes, who has been closely involved in the impeachment process as a key member of the House Intelligence Committee, said it is time to hold the president to account.

Chion Wolf photo / Connecticut Public Radio

The holidays are traditionally a time of celebration and good cheer. But for many, this season of joy compounds feelings of sadness, stress, and loneliness. Many places of worship respond to those who are hurting during the holidays with what’s called a “Blue Christmas” worship service.

SUDOK1 / ISTOCK / THINKSTOCK

Syed Alishan Nasir, a fourth-year medical student, recently completed a clinical rotation at Norwalk Community Health Center, which, like other community health centers, treats many low-income and underserved residents.

The experience further cemented Nasir’s idea to one day become a primary care physician and work in a similar setting, but said he and others face significant barriers to going into primary care, which typically doesn’t pay as much as other specialties.

Connecticut Legislature Approves Hospital Settlement And Restaurant Law

Dec 18, 2019
Chion Wolf / WNPR

The General Assembly unanimously voted in special session Wednesday to accept the settlement of a high-stakes lawsuit in which the hospital industry claimed billions in damages from a complex taxing scheme that increased federal Medicaid reimbursements for the state without producing new revenue for the hospitals.

JJ Bers / Flickr

A New York lawmaker is fighting Connecticut’s plan to toll a stretch of an Empire State highway that briefly cuts through southwest Connecticut.

Ryan Lindsay / Connecticut Public Radio

Securing funds to address gun violence was at the heart of a congressional and state legislative forum held in Hartford Monday afternoon. Advocates said they want to see successful national models to combat violence adopted here in Connecticut -- and they have an idea of how to find the necessary money. 

COURTESY OF ACCESS HEALTH CT

Residents still looking to get health care insurance coverage for 2020 have 30 more days to select plans through Access Health CT, the state’s Affordable Care Act exchange.

Access Health CT officials announced Monday that they’ve extended the open enrollment period to Jan. 15 -- the original deadline passed on Sunday. Officials said the extension gives people more time to review plan changes or select new plans for next year. 

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy says the NCAA is not prioritizing the health of student-athletes. In a report released Monday, Murphy cited the governing body of college sports for failing on issues like football concussions, brain injury, and policing coaches who put athletes at risk.

Denise Gordon / Cuatro Puntos

The Music Moves Hartford Street Choir is a musical group with a difference. The choir members are all part of the downtown homeless community.

The project is a collaboration between Hartford’s Christ Church Cathedral and arts organization Cuatro Puntos.

As Conn. Debates, Mass. Sets New Limits On Toxic PFAS Chemicals

Dec 16, 2019
Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection has released new draft regulations to limit toxic PFAS chemicals in drinking water supplies. The regulations will set the combined limit for six PFAS chemicals at 20 parts per trillion.

Senior Evan Prestera celebrates after the win.
Ryan Lindsay / Connecticut Public Radio

Saturday marked seven years since the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting that left 20 students and six educators dead. And, as a town came together to remember and to pray in the morning, it also came together to celebrate an unlikely football victory by night’s end. 

Courtesy: Thompson Family

State officials and immigration attorneys in Connecticut are welcoming a ruling last week by the federal Board of Immigration Appeals that clarifies its position on the state’s pardon power. The BIA says it will now honor Connecticut’s pardons. That means Hartford resident Wayzaro Walton will be able to regain her legal status and avoid deportation from the U.S. 

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

It’s been seven years since a shooter killed 20 children and six adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. On Friday, a community drive was held in New Britain -- turning the time marking the tragedy into a day of giving.

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

Saturday, Dec. 14, marks the seventh anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, that took the lives of 20 first graders and six educators. 

Carol Ann Davis, who is a professor of English at Fairfield University, a poet, an essayist and an author lives in Newtown. She moved to the village of Sandy Hook with her husband and two sons a few months before the shooting. 

UConn Announces One Major Gift, And Another To Come

Dec 12, 2019
Jimmy Emerson / Creative Commons

The UConn Foundation announced Thursday that it has received $3 million from an anonymous donor to establish two endowed chairs for scientists in ecology and evolutionary biology.

The gift means the university will be able to recruit and retain two of the “best scientists in the field,” according to a statement from the foundation, which is the university’s fundraising arm.

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

An effort by Republican board of education members in Killingly, Connecticut to reinstate a high school mascot offensive to Native Americans has stalled.

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