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

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.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Fuimos en auto hasta Caguas, una ciudad al sur de San Juan, cuatro semanas después de que golpeara el Huracán María. Nuestra guía fue Luis Cotto, un exconsejal de la ciudad de Hartford que ahora vive en Cambridge, Massachusetts. Viajamos a Puerto Rico para contar historias; él viajó para entregar miles de dólares en inflables, lámparas solares y filtros de agua a personas que las necesitan, incluso a integrantes de su propia familia.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Blanca Ortiz-Torres was sitting in a Puerto Rican oasis. She was at a working bakery in the tiny mountain town of Maricao that had both a generator and a cistern and, as a result, could serve cold drinks, hot coffee, fresh pastries, and pizza.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Blanca Ortiz-Torres estaba sentada en un oasis puertorriqueño. Estaba en una pastelería en funcionamiento en la pequeña ciudad de Maricao, que tenía tanto un generador como una cisterna, en consecuencia, podía servir bebidas frías, café caliente, pastelería fresca y pizza.

Veronica Montalvo fills up a water jug for a boy in Salinas, Puerto Rico.
Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico on September 20, and a month later, clean water continues to be hard to come by for some residents -- particularly those in more rural parts of the island.

Veronica Montalvo fills up a water jug for a boy in Salinas, Puerto Rico.
Ryan Caron King / WNPR

El Huracán María golpeó Puerto Rico el 20 de septiembre y un mes más tarde, el agua limpia sigue siendo difícil de conseguir para algunos residentes, particularmente para aquellos que viven en las zonas rurales de la isla.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Guillermo Class just couldn’t wait any more. The reports he was getting from his two teenage sons living in Puerto Rico weren’t good. Food and water were getting to them and their mother. But not enough.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Guillermo Class ya no podía esperar más. Los informes que recibía de sus dos hijos adolescentes que vivían en Puerto Rico no eran buenos. A ellos y a su madre les llegaban alimentos y agua, pero no suficientes.

Veronica Montalvo/Facebook

Veronica Montalvo was born in Willimantic and has lived in Hartford, Middletown, Waterbury -- and, now, San Juan. She moved there earlier this year. And she weathered Hurricane Maria in her 300-year-old apartment building. She says the hours of howling winds were unbearable. The walls of her apartment were so wet they looked like they were crying. Part of her ceiling caved in.

And now, the aftermath.

Veronica Montalvo/Facebook

Verónica Montalvo nació en Willimantic y ha vivo en Hartford, Middletown, Waterbury, y, ahora vive en San Juan. Se mudó para allá a principios del año. Y aguantó al Huracán María en su departamento de un edificio de 300 años. Dijo que las horas de vientos huracanados fueron insoportables. Las paredes de su departamento estaban tan mojadas que parecía que lloraban. Parte de su techo cedió.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

The first year of Hartford’s new minor league baseball stadium is complete, but the legal fights concerning the land surrounding it are far from over. On Monday, the city announced that it formally terminated Centerplan from further work. 

Ken Cedeno / International Medical Corps

Dr. Robert Fuller visited five primary clinics in Puerto Rico Wednesday -- gong clockwise around the island from San Juan to Arroyo and then north to Caguas.  

Ken Cedeno / International Medical Corps

Robert Fuller was loading his car with supplies in San Juan, getting ready to leave the battered capital for a trip inland to survey damage to local health facilities, when we caught up with him by phone.

Ken Cedeno / International Medical Corps

Robert Fuller estaba cargando su auto con suministros en San Juan, alistándose para salir de la golpeada capital en un viaje al interior para investigar los daños a las instalaciones sanitarias, cuando conversamos con él por teléfono.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

As Puerto Ricans emerge from the devastation of Hurricane Maria, family members back in the continental U.S. are desperately trying to get in touch. In Connecticut, political leaders are focused on both how to rebuild, and how to find their loved ones.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

As the state continues to operate without a budget, the impact on the city of Hartford only get more dire.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Not long after the state Supreme Court tossed his original felony convictions and ordered two new trials in 2016, former Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez started getting a city pension worth $2,328.76 a month

Adavyd / Creative Commons

The Connecticut legislature approved a Republican-backed budget early Saturday, sending it to the desk of a governor who promises to veto it and prolonging the state's fiscal uncertainty.

Frankie Graziano / WNPR

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin is telling state elected officials that, absent a state budget, the city will run out of money in 60 days and will likely file for bankruptcy. 

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Former Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez pleaded guilty Thursday to charges he accepted a bribe from one contractor and tried to extort another, ending a decade-long saga that forced him from office in 2010, changed this city’s political landscape, and forever linked his “local boy does good” story with the word corruption. 

Gwen Everett / WNPR

A mother of four who has lived in the U.S. for 24 years is refusing to abide by a deportation order to her native Guatemala and has taken sanctuary in a Connecticut church. 

JJ flickr.com/photos/tattoodjay/ / Creative Commons

Bridgeport police have settled a lawsuit brought by a man who was stopped, searched, and ticketed as he drove his boys home from little league and pizza two years ago.  

Progressive Animal Welfare Society / Creative Commons

Bats eat an enormous amount of bugs. It’s the kind of feeding that keeps pests down and agriculture stable.

But a newly updated report from the Connecticut Council on Environmental Quality says the cave-dwelling bat population is down, and that’s a reason for concern.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

With the Connecticut state budget at an impasse, and the city in the throes of a structural budget problem that projects a $50 million deficit this year alone, Hartford is looking for options. 

Photo Phiend flickr.com/photos/photophiend/6045345789 / Creative Commons

Connecticut House Democrats said they've come up with a two-year budget proposal that could be ready for a vote on July 18.

Michelle Lee / Creative Commons

A bill that would have brought paid family leave to Connecticut died in the legislature this week, despite having been a priority for Democratic Senate leadership. Though the bill had been the subject of bipartisan negotiations earlier in the session, it failed to get the support it needed to advance. 

mygueart/iStock / Thinkstock

The decades-long effort to desegregate Hartford schools and improve educational outcomes for its students is headed back to court. 

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Former Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez has lost his latest legal battle, as a state appellate court dismissed an appeal he brought before it, and he's now asking the state Supreme Court to intervene. 

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