Carmen Baskauf | Connecticut Public Radio
WNPR

Carmen Baskauf

Producer, Where We Live

Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Carmen Baskauf is a producer for WNPR news-talk show Where We Live, hosted by Lucy Nalpathanchil. She has also contributed to The Colin McEnroe Show.

Carmen produces shows on a wide variety of topics for Where We Live; she especially loves producing shows about science and history. Some highlights include producing a full hour about menstruation (recipient of a national PRNDI award) and meeting a real-live glowing axolotl in studio for a show on bioluminescence and biofluorescence.

Originally from Nashville, Tennessee, Carmen now lives in New Haven, Connecticut. She has a B.A. in History from Yale University, where she studied nationalist movements in 20th-century North Africa and the Middle East, as well as international migration and human trafficking.

In her free time, Carmen likes reading about science, playing bridge, and learning new languages. You can sometimes find her riding to work on an electric scooter.

Ways to Connect

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

COVID-19 cases continue to grow in Connecticut. And although the governor’s office has rolled the state’s reopening back not all municipal leaders think it’s enough.

This hour, we talk with New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker, who’s called for a further rollback that would halt indoor dining.  What impact would this have on Elm City businesses?

And we find out how students in New Haven are doing. Most haven’t had in-person school since the spring. 

Are you a New Haven resident? We take your questions and comments for the mayor.

Later in the hour, we check in with Yale New Haven Hospital. With rising cases, how is hospital capacity holding up?

Portrait of "Flying Bird" Fidelia Fielding taken in 1902 in Mohegan, Connecticut
Courtesy of the Mohegan Tribe

The last fluent speaker of the Mohegan language, "Flying Bird" Fidelia Fielding, preserved her linguistic heritage in her extensive writings.

But Flying Bird’s writings have been separated from the tribe for years, in the possession of outside scholars, and even at one point nearly all lost in a fire.

Author photo of Rebecca F. Kuang
Kobi C. Felton

Rebecca F. Kuang started writing her first novel, The Poppy War, when she was just 19 years old. Now, the final installment in the author’s dark military fantasy series, The Burning God, comes out today.

This hour we talk with Kuang, who will also be starting a PhD program at Yale University in East Asian Languages and Literature. She has pursued an extensive academic career in modern Chinese studies—while also writing Nebula and Locus award-nominated fantasy novels.

Kuang’s stories weave the fantastic with her deep knowledge of twentieth century Chinese history.

Have you been reading The Poppy War trilogy?

free-photos / Pixabay

Connecticut lost four young people to suicide last month, leading Connecticut’s Child Advocate to issue a public health alert.

There’s no doubt that the pandemic has taken a huge toll on everyone. This hour, we focus on the unique mental health challenges teens face during this pandemic.

We talk with advocates and survivors about the risk factors for young people who may be in crisis, and how to support them.

lesjbohlen / Pixabay

COVID cases in Connecticut continue to rise, and the majority of residents now live in what the state defines as “red zones”. Governor Lamont has ordered a voluntary curfew and the state has required restaurants to begin shutting down starting at 9:30 p.m., with doors closed by 10 p.m.

But what will this mean for an industry already on a knife’s edge financially?

We hear from a restaurant owner and an industry leader.

And, with winter approaching, is there a way to enjoy restaurant dining safely? We talk to an epidemiologist about how we should consider the risks of indoor dining during a winter COVID spike.

SIMSBURY, CT - NOVEMBER 03, 2020: A line to exit the poles at Latimer Lane School on November 03, 2020 in Simsbury, Connecticut.
Joe Amon / Connecticut Public

As votes are still being counted in critical swing states, Americans are holding their breath waiting to see who will be elected President.

There’s no doubt the 2020 election is determining the political future of this country.

But it’s also a major test of our democracy.

This hour, we talk with New York Times columnist Amanda Taub and political scientist Dr. Bilal Sekou.

We talk about what this election reveals about our system of government. We explore the consequences of our electoral college system and more.

"I voted" sticker at a polling place
Chion Wolf / WNPR

Connecticut is a safe blue state in national elections, yet in 2016, a significant number of residents supported Donald Trump.  And some of them plan to vote for him again.

Artist's reproduction of Caihong juji, a dinosaur with iridescent feathers. Guest Julia Clarke was co-lead author on the paper which describe the species.
Velizar Simeonovski / Field Museum

When you think about a dinosaur what springs to mind? Probably something with giant teeth, but is it grey and scaly like a lizard? What about the sound it makes? Does it have a roar like a supersized lion?

Earlier this month Where We Live producer Carmen Baskauf moderated a virtual event with paleontologist Julia Clarke, a lecture presented by the Yale Peabody Museum.

Clarke studies the evolution of dinosaurs—including birds—and in her research, Clarke takes on questions that seem impossible to answer, like: What color were dinosaurs? And what might a Tyrannosaurus rex sound like?

Maria Hinojosa, wearing a necklace that says "Chingona"
Kevin Abosch

Maria Hinojosa has been a groundbreaking journalist reporting on politics, immigration, and more for years.

From being the first Latina in NPR’s newsroom to starting her own media company, Hinojosa has pushed the mainstream to acknowledge the importance of Latinx representation.

Pixabay

Dogs are man’s best friend, but what’s really going on inside of their heads?

This hour, we talk with canine cognition researcher Brian Hare.

Blurred image of police car lights
WCN 24/7 / Flickr

Connecticut’s capital city is experiencing another public health crisis amidst the pandemic -- an epidemic of gun violence.

There have been more than 50 shootings in Hartford since September.

This hour, we talk about what’s behind this disturbing rise in violence, and how to address it. Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin joins us and we hear from anti-violence advocates.

How should we make sense of a rise in shootings through a public health lens? We hear from an expert who used to lead the CDC’s national injury prevention center.

Drive-through COVID-19 Testing
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

Connecticut’s COVID-19 numbers have been rising. And, as the weather gets colder, safe outdoor options for socializing will become more difficult. How worried should we be about a COVID-19 spike, and what can we do to help prevent it?

This hour we talk with Hartford Healthcare’s Chief Clinical Officer, Dr. Ajay Kumar.

Are you worried about a second wave?

Infrared photo of Venus at night, from the Japanese robotic spacecraft Akatsuki, which orbits the planet
JAXA / ISAS / DARTS / Damia Bouic

Extreme heat, crushing air pressure, and toxic clouds. Venus may not seem like a hospitable place.

But the discovery of a certain chemical, phosphine, in that planet’s atmosphere has raised new questions about the possibility of extraterrestrial life. Scientists wonder if a living organism could possibly be creating this unexpected chemical.

This hour, we sit down Martha Gilmore, a Wesleyan professor. She’s a planetary geologist and Venus expert.

What questions do you have about Venus or our solar system?

Beef cattle standing in a field
Carmen Baskauf / WNPR

Do you worry about how you’re everyday actions contribute to climate change? You may think about the carbon gas-burning cars are putting into the atmosphere, or coal-powered electricity in your houses.

But what about the food you eat?

This hour we talk about the role of the livestock industry on putting carbon into the atmosphere. Are our carnivorous habits contributing to the climate crisis?

Permafrost thaw on the Peel Plateau of Canada
Scott Zolkos / Woodwell Climate Research Center

As climate change continues to raise temperatures worldwide, the arctic is warming even faster than the rest of the world.

Today, we take a look at the unique arctic terrain that is under threat from climate change: the permafrost. This frozen landscape is defined by deep layers of soil that never get above freezing.

But now, that’s starting to change, and the permafrost is starting to thaw—with devastating affects for the communities living on top of it.

Albert Woodfox
Courtesy of Grove Atlantic

As a teenager, Albert Woodfox had his first encounter with the criminal justice system. After being sentenced to prison for robbery, he would go on to spend more than 40 years of his life in solitary confinement.

Woodfox is the recipient of the 2020 Stowe Prize, which is awarded to books that illuminate a critical social justice issue in our society.

We hear about his experience surviving solitary in the Louisiana State Penitentiary—known as Angola—one of the nation’s most notorious prisons.

Mike Mozart / Flickr

How often do you buy new clothing?

Stores like H&M and Forever 21 sell new styles at low prices, making it easy to constantly update your wardrobe. But, this hour, we listen back to a conversation about the environmental and social costs of "fast fashion". 

A sewer manhole
Kurt Kaiser / Wikimedia Commons

As Connecticut looks to keep COVID numbers low, some researchers have turned to studying poop -- as a tool to help public health officials.

This hour, we talk with scientists studying our waste. Can our collective toilet flushing give public health officials a head start on detecting coronavirus outbreaks?

We hear from Yale researchers who have been testing New Haven sewage to track COVID-19 cases since March. That work was recently published in the journal Nature Biotechnology.

We also hear from the mayor of Stamford about how wastewater data will shape that city’s public health response.

And we check in with Yale epidemiologist and Governor Lamont advisor Dr. Albert Ko. How should Connecticut prepare for a potential coronavirus surge this winter?

Maria Hinojosa, wearing a necklace that says "Chingona"
Kevin Abosch

Maria Hinojosa has been a groundbreaking journalist reporting on politics, immigration, and more for years.

From being the first Latina in NPR’s newsroom to starting her own media company, Hinojosa has pushed the mainstream to acknowledge the importance of Latinx representation.

Waterbury Public Schools school buses
Franke Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

A new report from Connecticut’s Child Advocate finds staff at Waterbury Public Schools have called the police hundreds of times on elementary and middle school students experiencing mental health crises.

Some of these children were as young as five years old.

A toddler looking at a play pen
Pikist

Many Connecticut families have faced a child care crisis during the pandemic and it hasn’t changed despite most schools opening. Remote learning during the school week has some parents struggling to balance work and child care.

This hour, we talk with Beth Bye, the state’s Early Childhood commissioner. How are you managing childcare and remote school while working? 

First, we talk with a Fairfield woman who ran for the Connecticut General Assembly in 2018 and wanted to use public election funds to pay for child care while she campaigned. A recent court ruling has sided with the former candidate. What does this mean for working parents in Connecticut who see child care as a barrier to running for elected office?

The National Sepember 11th Memorial in Manhattan. The fountains mark the footprints of the towers, which were destroyed in the attack.
Saschaporsche / Wikimedia Commons

Today, we reflect back on the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, 19 years ago. Nearly 3000 people died when hijacked passenger jets slammed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Another would crash into a field in Pennsylvania.

We hear about the health impacts first responders continue to face and the long fight to secure funding for their medical treatments.

Later, we look at the legacy of 9/11 on American foreign policy. Almost two decades after the attacks, how does that day shape our country’s foreign policy today? We talk to two international relations experts.

Max Pixel

As the nation faces a public health crisis with the coronavirus pandemic, we are also amid a long overdue and urgent national reckoning with the ongoing effects of systemic racism.  And that also profoundly affects public health and the health of children.

Still, many parents struggle to talk about racial bias with their kids.  Coming up we explore why, and talk about preparing for these important conversations. Guest host Diane Orson speaks with a developmental behavioral pediatrician, and with a TV critic about ways media shape views of race.

U.S. Census Bureau

The U.S. Census Bureau will end its counting efforts early later this month. But in many of Connecticut’s large cities, half or more of all residents did not fill out the self-reported survey.

Today, we talk about what’s at stake if Connecticut doesn’t get an accurate headcount.

A health care worker prepares to administer a nasal swab for a COVID-19 drive-by testing site
JOE AMON / CONNECTICUT PUBLIC/NENC

While most of Connecticut has seen a low rate of positive COVID-19 cases, the city of Danbury has become a concerning exception.

This hour, we talk to the city’s Mayor, Mark Boughton, to hear more about this local outbreak.

And later, contact tracing is a critical public health tool for containing the spread of COVID-19. But who are the people actually running Connecticut’s tracing efforts?

We hear from one of the state’s regional health directors.

And we check in across the Atlantic with a reporter in Germany, a place many point to as a model for public health response to the pandemic.

Ryan von Linden / New York Department of Environmental Conservation

Do you see bats where you live? These flying creatures play important roles in ecosystems around the world, from pest control to pollination.

Pixnio

The first day of school is just around the corner for many Connecticut students, but “back to school” will look very different for families across Connecticut. 

This hour, we hear from from students, parents and educational leaders.

A diagram of the kidneys from Henry Gray's "Anatomy of the Human Body" (1918)
Henry Gray / Wikimedia Commons

State Representative Jeff Currey is a longtime public servant. Now he’s asking the public to help him. The East Hartford lawmaker is in kidney failure, and he needs a transplant.

This hour, he joins us to talk about kidney donation. We often think of organ donation as something considered after someone’s death, but living donors can give a kidney to a person in need.

Coming up we hear from patients, donors, and medical professionals about this lifesaving transplant.

And we learn about a revolutionary system that pairs matching donors and patients--that allows for multiple kidney transplants. 

Have you considered becoming a kidney donor?

Marina Shamesh / PublicDomainPictures.net

On sweltering summer days, having a house or apartment with air conditioning is important not only for comfort, but also for safety.  The need to cool down will only grow as climate change makes our world  hotter.

Airman 1st Class Daniel Hambor / U.S. Air Force

Businesses have reopened and most schools have come up with plans to see students again, but it’s increasingly clear life won’t truly get back to “normal” until we have a vaccine.

But when will that be? This hour, we get the latest from New York Times science writer Carl Zimmer on the race to develop a COVID vaccine. We hear the status of ongoing vaccine trials and learn more about the research process that ensures a vaccine will be safe and effective.

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