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

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.

Tropical Storm Isaias snapped this pole and damaged a transformer on Arlington Road in West Hartford.
Joe Amon / Connecticut Public

First July electric bills went through the roof. Then, hundreds of thousands of Connecticut residents lost power for days after a tropical storm. Today, ratepayer frustration with Connecticut’s largest electric utility, Eversource, are higher than ever.

After years of paying more for electricity with the promise that some would be used to “harden the grid”, many residents are wondering--where did that money go?

This hour, we talk with lawmakers and the state’s utility regulator about how Eversource responded after the recent tropical storm and what needs to change.

Are you an Eversource customer? How do you want to see the utility respond?

SGT. ASHLEY N. SOKOLOV / U.S. Air Force

The pandemic has caused major disruptions for workers' careers, but the latest numbers show women have been hit particularly hard.

Women, and especially women of color, are bearing some of the largest economic impacts of the pandemic, from facing higher rates of unemployment to holding the majority of frontline essential jobs.

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public

Many Connecticut residents are used to spending a lot of time commuting, whether driving on a highway, riding on a train to the city or taking the bus across town. But the number of drivers and ridership across all modes of transportation have dropped dramatically with stay-at-home orders and the closing of non-essential businesses.

CPTV

Whether students return to the classroom or learn online, how should parents and schools weigh concerns around health and equity?

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

How does a national teacher of the year - turned Congresswoman - view school reopening plans in Connecticut? This hour, we talk with Congresswoman Jahana Hayes, who represents Connecticut’s Fifth District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The freshman lawmaker is nearing the end of her first term in Congress.

Hayes is a member of the House Education and Labor Committee--we ask her to weigh in what measures need to be in place for students and teachers to return to school safely.

Empty desks in a classroom
Don Harder / Creative Commons

The school year starts soon, and teachers and parents still ask: How will schools open safely?
This hour, we talk with Jeff Leake, the president of the state’s largest teachers union, the Connecticut Education Association.
The union says the state should only open school buildings if CDC and other safety guidelines are met. Some teachers worry that crowded classrooms won’t have sufficient measures to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks.
And if schools become fully remote, how can districts ensure that all students are able to access online learning? We, hear from a Columbia University researcher who is helping districts plan ahead for the possibility of returning to fully-remote education.
Are you a teacher or a parent? What fears or concerns do you have for this upcoming school year?

Carl Zimmer - New York Times columnist and author of 13 books about science, including She Has Her Mother’s Laugh: The Powers, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity.
Chion Wolf / WNPR

Inside our genomes, we carry information about our recent ancestors as well as ancient human history. This hour, we talk with science writer Carl Zimmer about his book, She Has Her Mother's Laugh: The Powers, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity. We ask him what our DNA can—and can’t—tell us about where we’re from and who we are.

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

State lawmakers in Connecticut’s House of Representatives have passed a major police accountability bill in the middle of a national conversation about police violence and racism.

This hour, we check in with CT Mirror reporter, Kelan Lyons to learn more, as the bill heads to the state Senate this week.

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.

But air conditioning itself also contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. This hour, we talk about how to make sure climate-friendly cooling options are available to everyone.

Here in Connecticut, not all residents can afford to run air conditioners in the heat of summer because of sky-high electricity costs. We talk about how energy efficient homes are important not only for our state’s carbon footprint, but also for racial and socioeconomic equity.

Fadein / Wikimedia Commons

With the weather getting hotter and many indoor activities limited because of the pandemic, a trip to the water is a great way to cool off.

But not every Connecticut community has a beachfront or river in town, and many wealthy communities with waterfronts have a history of limiting water access to residents only.  Some of those restrictions have reappeared this summer in response to COVID-19.

This hour, we talk about the implications of excluding access to our state’s natural waters, especially during a pandemic.

Martin Vorel / Libreshot

COVID 19 cases have dropped in Connecticut, but it’s still important for residents to stay home when possible to slow the spread of the disease. But what about residents who don’t have a home?

This hour, we look at homelessness during 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.

But bats in Connecticut are in big trouble. This hour: bats in our state have been devastated by White-Nose Syndrome. We learn more about this deadly disease and talk about why we should be concerned that populations in Connecticut have been so hard hit.

Bats in China have made news because of the COVID-19 pandemic. We hear why scientists have looked to these flying creatures to understand the origins of a number of deadly diseases.

And we talk with bat researchers about why--amid fears of a pandemic--bats need our support, not our fear, more than ever.

Fiber optics
Groman123 / Flickr

COVID-19 has shown the Internet is more important than ever. From Google Classrooms for distance learning to endless Zoom meetings for some professionals, the Internet has become even more essential during the pandemic.

But how many Connecticut residents still don’t have access to a high-speed connection? This hour, we look at Connecticut’s digital divide.

How does the lack of broadband in communities exacerbate existing disparities in education and economic opportunity? We talk with experts and hear how some communities want to address the issue.

We want to hear from you, too.  Have your children struggled to access remote learning?

images of Giant ground sloth (Megatherium americanum), Moa (Megalapteryx didinus), Blue Whale (Balaenoptera musculus)
Ballista, George Edward Lodge, Michael L. Baird / Wikimedia Commons

What would it have been like to see a huge, elephant-like mastodon roaming our state? 

The earth has been home to some spectacularly large animals. A few of them still roam or swim our world today.

This hour, we take a look at the biology of these giants. 

Members of Students for a Democratic Society stage demonstrations New Haven Green near area where huge rally was being held by Black Panthers and supporters, May 1, 1970. Panthers were protesting the jailing of eight of their group in New Haven.
AP

On May 1st, 1970, the eyes of the nation were on the Elm City. Students and others from around the country had gathered to protest the murder trial of Black Panther Party leaders Bobby Seale and Ericka Huggins.

This hour, we take a look back at May Day in New Haven, 50 years ago this year. We talk with Huggins and hear from a former Baltimore mayor who was one of the Yale students who helped keep protests peaceful.

Do you remember May Day and New Haven’s Black Panther Trials?

David McBee / Pexels

Protests against police brutality have put systemic racism in the spotlight. But how do the written and unwritten rules in communities perpetuate racial inequality?

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

In the heart of Wooster Square, New Haven’s historically Italian American neighborhood, the statue of Christopher Columbus has come down after more than 125 years -- to the cheers of a crowd of mostly younger New Haven residents and laments of some older Italian Americans.

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public

1.5 million people filed for unemployment last week according to the US Department of Labor, despite states re-opening in the last month. 

This hour, we look at unemployment insurance during the pandemic. Many Connecticut residents who have been laid off have been getting by with a combination of money from state unemployment insurance and a $600 weekly benefit from the federal government.

But that money is set to expire next month.

Governor Lamont has said he doesn’t support extending that benefit because he believes it “discourages work”.  Coming up we find out the impact of unemployment insurance on both workers and employers.

And we want to hear from you, too. Have you been receiving unemployment?

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