Jeff Cohen | Connecticut Public Radio
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Jeff Cohen

News Director

Jeff Cohen started in newspapers in 2001 and joined Connecticut Public in 2010, where he worked as a reporter and fill-in host. In 2017, he was named news director.

 

In addition to covering state and Hartford city politics, Jeff covered the December 2012 Newtown shootings and the stories that followed. In 2012, Jeff was selected by NPR and Kaiser Health News for their joint Health Care In The States project. Much of his reporting has aired nationally on NPR. As news director, Jeff began The Island Next Door -- Puerto Rico and Connecticut After Hurricane Maria, which has won several awards, including one national and two regional Edward R. Murrow awards.

 

Jeff began as a reporter for The Record-Journal in Meriden, Conn. before moving to The Hartford Courant, where he won a National Headliner Award for a story about the ostracized widow of the state's first casualty in Iraq; wrote about his post-Katrina home in New Orleans; and was part of a team that broke stories of alleged corruption at Hartford City Hall that led to the arrest of the city’s mayor. His work has also appeared in The New York Times.

Jeff lives with his wife and two daughters, whose haircutting incident brought the family more notoriety than journalism ever will. He's written two children's books, and he likes hiking, whitewater kayaking, napping outside, and making bread and wine.

Ways to Connect

Courtesy of WFSB

Denise D'Ascenzo, who worked in Connecticut broadcast journalism for more than three decades, died unexpectedly on Saturday, according to WFSB television.

Courtesy: CT Port Authority

The Connecticut Port Authority has had significant problems with policies and procedures around ethics, money, procurement, personnel, accounting, and records management, a new state audit shows. 

Gov. Ned Lamont delivered his first budget address to the legislature on February 20, 2019.
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

Gov. Ned Lamont is out of the office.

“He’s been gone since Friday,” Max Reiss, his spokesman, said on Sunday. “His family takes a summer trip to Maine. Some years it’s been as long as a month that they go up there. This year he’s taking two weeks.”

Former Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez leaving Hartford Superior Court on November 14, 2018, following arguments over his pension.
Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

A state judge has revoked the public pension of former Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez, a year and a half after Perez pleaded guilty to two corruption-related offenses stemming from his time in office.

Access Health CT

The federal health care law was known as Obamacare. And Republicans, including President Trump, campaigned on repealing it.  

The Federico Mathew Baez in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico closed over a year ago.  Now, community members are working to turn it into a community center.
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

This used to be Gamaliel Laboy Andino’s school. But he doesn’t go here anymore. No one does -- not since the government closed it more than a year ago. It saddened him, he said, because there are students who now have to go to school far away.

“It makes me sad, because there are students who don’t have anywhere to go,” he said.

UW Health / Creative Commons

The rate of people without health insurance in rural Connecticut has gone down dramatically since the passage of the Affordable Care Act.

That’s the takeaway message from a new report on health insurance out of Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families. Edwin Park, a research professor at the center, said the key to the drop is the state’s expansion of Medicaid to include more people.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

You only have to ask Ramón Luis Morales once to know that the trauma of Hurricane Maria is still fresh.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

Alberto Díaz lost most of what he had when Maria passed through. Nine months later, he is making opportunity out of disaster. His kitchen is a kitchen again. He used some wood he found to make a homemade tostonera -- a tool for smashing green plantains. Someone was throwing out a basketball court, so he took it, cleaned it, cut it, and now he’s got new wooden floors.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

The island of Vieques, Puerto Rico, is an isolated place known both for its remote beaches and the decades during which the U.S. Navy used those beaches for bombing runs and training exercises.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

Hurricane Maria blew away the backyard retiree clubhouse Angel Luis Cotto built as a place to relax. He misses it, and, as a new storm threatened to pass just to the south of Puerto Rico Monday, Cotto said he’d prefer she stay far away.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The Supreme Court is allowing Ohio to clean up its voting rolls by removing the names of people who haven't cast ballots in some time. 

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty used her personal email address in a confidential severance agreement with former Chief of Staff Tony Baker.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Connecticut Democratic Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty says she regrets her handling of a sexual harassment case within her own office. 

Hurricane evacuees Yara Vasquez (left) and Wanda Ortiz (center) watch a press conference at the hotel they were living in with their families under a FEMA program on January 19, 2018.
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

More than five months after Hurricane Maria, Connecticut researchers are working to better understand the needs of families who’ve relocated from the island to Hartford.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Valle Hill is a neighborhood in Puerto Rico that shouldn’t exist.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

Valle Hill es un vecindario de Puerto Rico que no debería existir.

Es un conjunto de casas privadas en un humedal público. Cuando llueve, se inunda. Los residentes que tiene agua o energía eléctrica probablemente la tienen de forma ilegal. Pocos, o ningún residente, tienen títulos de propiedad. ¿Y el proyecto de aguas que era para ayudar a los residentes? Está paralizado, como también lo está el esfuerzo por construir un dique para evitar que las aguas crezcan de nuevo.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Puerto Rico is officially declaring itself open for tourism -- nearly three months after Hurricane Maria. But on an island where so many people still lack electricity, what does open for tourism mean?

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Puerto Rico se está declarando oficialmente abierto al turismo, cerca de tres meses después del Huracán María. Pero en una isla en la que aún tantas personas carecen de electricidad, ¿qué significa abierto al turismo?

Children in the mountain town of Orocovis returned to school two weeks ago after a two-month pause following Hurricane Maria. The school doesn't have electricity, so it lets out at 12:30 pm.
Ryan Caron King / WNPR

The Puerto Rican effort to advance from response to recovery after Hurricane Maria continues. For some, water and electricity are still elusive. And that makes it hard to get back to normal — especially for children.

Children in the mountain town of Orocovis returned to school two weeks ago after a two-month pause following Hurricane Maria. The school doesn't have electricity, so it lets out at 12:30 pm.
Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Continúa el esfuerzo puertorriqueño de avanzar desde la respuesta hasta la recuperación, luego del Huracán María. Para algunos, el agua y la electricidad aún son esquivas. Y eso hace más difícil el regreso a la normalidad, especialmente para los niños.

After the storm blew out her windows, Maria Enid Rodriguez lost water, Internet, power and her entire home office. Her company offered her a one-way ticket to be with family in New Britain, Conn. Rodriguez refused. She said that it was a round trip ticket or nothing. She wanted to come back.

"I went to New Britain for 10 days," she said, through her tears. "Not for me. For them. For my daughters. They have to see me, that I was okay."

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Alejandro La Luz Rivera pulled the keys from his pocket, unlocked the heavy gate, and walked slowly up the outdoor stairs leading to what used to be a rooftop patio. Before Maria, this was the 90-year-old's favorite place to be. Now, without electricity, it's not as quiet up here — he doesn't have a generator, but his neighbors do. And the patio is gone, destroyed by the hurricane and its winds.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Alejandro La Luz Rivera sacó las llaves de su bolsillo, abrió el pesado portón y caminó lentamente subiendo por las escaleras exteriores hasta lo que solía ser un patio de azotea. Antes de María, este era el lugar favorito del hombre de 90 años. Ahora, sin electricidad, ya no es tan tranquilo aquí arriba, no tiene un generador, pero sus vecinos sí. Y el patio ya no está, fue destruido por el huracán y sus vientos.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

When we met Dr. Bolivar Arboleda Osorio in the city of Caguas a few weeks back, he talked about his experience treating patients in the aftermath of the storm -- first came the trauma victims, then came the chronic and severe cases that were becoming emergencies as time dragged on and the lights stayed off. Electronic records were stuck in the cloud. Patients, not able to call for an appointment, just showed up.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Cuando conocimos al Dr. Bolívar Arboleda Osorio en la ciudad de Caguas hace unas semanas, habló sobre su experiencia tratando pacientes de las secuelas de la tormenta, primero vinieron las víctimas de trauma, luego vinieron los casos crónicos y graves que se convertían en emergencias a medida que avanzaba el tiempo y la electricidad permanecía apagada. Los registros electrónicos estaban atrapados en la nube. Como los pacientes no podían llamar para una cita, simplemente se presentaban.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

It’s 7:00 am, and Joemar Class is dressed in his new Bulkeley High School uniform. His older brother William already finished school in Puerto Rico, so he’s still asleep in the bedroom the two boys share with their father.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Son las 7:00 a.m. y Joemar Class viste su nuevo uniforme de la Secundaria Bukeley. Su hermano mayor William ya terminó la escuela en Puerto Rico, así que aún duerme en la habitación que los dos chicos comparten con su padre.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

We drove to Caguas, a city south of San Juan, four weeks after Hurricane Maria hit. Our guide was Luis Cotto -- a former Hartford city councilman now living in Cambridge, Massachusetts. We traveled to Puerto Rico to tell stories; he traveled to deliver thousands of dollars in inflatable solar lights and water filters to people who need them, including members of his family.

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