John Henry Smith | Connecticut Public Radio

John Henry Smith

Courtesy: Yale School of Public Health

On the same day the state partially reopened on Wednesday, Gov. Ned Lamont disbanded the Reopen Connecticut Advisory Group, the task force that had been charged with coming up with a plan to guide the state into a safe, methodical reopening. One of the co-chairs of that group was Dr. Albert Ko of the Yale School of Public Health.

Mark Pazniokas / CT

In one of his most recent executive orders, Gov. Ned Lamont weighed in on the controversial question of absentee balloting. The governor says state residents can use fear of contracting COVID-19 as a reason to use an absentee ballot to vote in the presidential primary, now scheduled for Aug. 11. Republican Party Chairman J.R. Romano has been vocal in his opposition to absentee balloting. He spoke with Connecticut Public Radio’s All Things Considered host, John Henry Smith.

Hear the interview below:

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Two Republican state lawmakers were directly called out by Barbara Dalio as she and her husband, billionaire hedge fund owner Ray Dalio, announced they’ll end the multimillion-dollar philanthropic partnership they’d formed with the state of Connecticut.

It’s not just restaurants and malls that can open up this week. Gov. Ned Lamont says offices can welcome workers back if they need to. But how many of us want to go, and is it really safe to do so? 

Connecticut Attorney General William Tong
Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

There are plenty of pitfalls for consumers trying to navigate the new commercial landscape during COVID-19, and that means there’s plenty of work for the office of Connecticut Attorney General William Tong. He spoke recently with Connecticut Public Radio’s John Henry Smith about couples trying to get refunds on canceled weddings, securing adequate PPE for the state, fighting fraud in the age of coronavirus, and the federal Department of Justice’s decision in the Michael Flynn case.

nursing home
Connecticut Health I-Team

Those in nursing homes and senior care facilities -- along with the thousands of workers whose job it is to try to keep them safe -- are statistically still at the greatest risk of contracting the coronavirus and dying from it.

As of last week, just over 1,600 nursing home residents statewide had died from COVID-19, accounting for more than half of the coronavirus-related deaths in Connecticut.

Renée Coleman-Mitchell
Mark Pazniokas /

Gov. Ned Lamont has removed his public health commissioner. Lamont announced Renee Coleman-Mitchell’s abrupt dismissal in a press release Tuesday morning. Lamont later acknowledged that he fired her. But, according to the Connecticut Mirror, he declined to give a detailed rationale, other than a desire for closer coordination among state agencies as Connecticut approaches the first phase of easing COVID-19 restrictions on retailers and some other businesses.

The Draft Choice sports bar New London
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

It’s been about 2½ weeks since the federal government made a second wave of Paycheck Protection Program funding available to small businesses that promise to keep their employees on the payroll. But there is growing concern that the program is failing to serve minority-owned businesses. To learn more about the issue in this state, Connecticut Public Radio’s John Henry Smith spoke with state Sen. Douglas McCrory on All Things Considered.

national guard
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

New London native and 26-year Coast Guard veteran Capt. W. Russell Webster is FEMA’s New England regional administrator. And he’s in charge of the agency’s response in this region to the slow-moving disaster that is the coronavirus pandemic. He spoke with our All Things Considered host, John Henry Smith, about federal aid, PPE supplies, decontamination facilities and his relationship with the Lamont administration.

Glenn Lungarini
Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference canceled its spring sports season this week after news that public schools will remain closed for the remainder of the academic year. Executive director Glen Lungarini talked with All Things Considered host John Henry Smith about this decision and the criticism he faced when he canceled the winter sports playoff schedule back in March.

NEW LONDON, CT - April 15, 2020: Customer Jeff Kohrt walks out of The Draft Choice sports bar in New London with a growler of beer and a bag of food. He says he’s been trying to support local restaurants a few times a week during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

COVID-19 has changed the way we live, at least temporarily. But how long will this last and what does the future look like -- for the sick, for the poor, for those in nursing homes, for the workplace, for students and teachers, and for doctors, nurses, and health care professionals?

This past weekend, Hearst Connecticut Media published a series of articles across its various newspapers called The Road Ahead: Life After COVID-19. Columnist and Associate Editor Dan Haar joined All Things Considered’s John Henry Smith to discuss the project. 

Miguel Cardona
Courtesy: NEAG School of Education, UConn

It’s official: K-12 education in Connecticut for the rest of the school year will be online only. Gov. Ned Lamont confirmed Tuesday that students and teachers will not return to campus because of the coronavirus threat. Connecticut Public Radio’s All Things Considered spoke with Miguel Cardona, commissioner of the state Department of Education, about the decision.

Jahana Hayes speaking on WNPR's "Where We Live" after winning the National Teacher of the Year Award in 2016.
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

On Thursday, we learned that the husband of 5th District Rep. Jahana Hayes was dealing with the effects of COVID-19 and that the family would self-quarantine for two weeks. The congresswoman joined John Henry Smith on All Things Considered to talk about how she and her family are doing. 

Thomas Katsouleas
Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

Colleges and universities around Connecticut are wrestling with what the country is wrestling with: how and when to get back to business amid a global pandemic.

small business coronavirus
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

Paycheck Protection Program 2.0 opened for business this week in Connecticut and around the country. After the initial $349 billion ran in just two weeks, the federal government has now made an additional $310 billion available to small businesses who agree to keep, and pay, their employees. 

oak hill
Courtesy: Oak Hill

Much has been made of the insufficient federal efforts to get money and personal protective equipment to front-line medical workers during this pandemic. But many of Connecticut’s nonprofit community care providers have a bone to pick with the state in that regard. Connecticut Public Radio’s John Henry Smith spoke with Barry Simon, the CEO of Oak Hill, the state’s largest nonprofit social services provider.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The first woman to lead Connecticut House Republicans says she will not be running for re-election in November. Minority Leader Themis Klarides will be ending a 22-year run as the representative of the 114th district. She spoke with Connecticut Public Radio's John Henry Smith for All Things Considered.

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

The huge traffic jam at Rentschler Field Monday morning had nothing to do with football. The organization Foodshare held the first session of a week-long daily drive-through foodbank. The event saw Gov. Ned Lamont and Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz among the volunteers passing out food. 

package store sign
Alastair Battson / Creative Commons

Consider the plight of the alcoholic during this coronavirus shutdown. Liquor is still widely available at stores and even now via delivery. At the same time, social distancing means in-person recovery meetings are out of the question. Connecticut Public Radio's John Henry Smith spoke with Michael Askew, director of recovery advocacy for the Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery.