John Henry Smith | Connecticut Public Radio

John Henry Smith

Courtesy: Norwich Public Utilities Facebook

With some in Connecticut just getting their power back one week after Tropical Storm Isaias, a lot of families have wondered aloud whether some other company could do a better job than Eversource and United Illuminating. One man who emphatically answers yes is Joe Courtney, the U.S. representative for Connecticut’s 2nd District. 

Courtesy: Griebel Frank campaign

There has been a massive outpouring of tributes from around Connecticut to the late Oz Griebel. The well-loved business leader and two-time gubernatorial candidate died July 29, days after being struck by a car while jogging. He was 71 years old. 

glegorly/iStock / Thinkstock

With so many layoffs statewide since the pandemic began, Connecticut workers have needed lots of help. And they’re going to need a lot more once the $600 federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance supplement comes to an end this weekend. 

Courtesy: State of Connecticut

Connecticut legislators meeting in special session are set to vote before the end of the week on a bill that would effectively allow anyone to vote absentee in the November presidential election. State Republicans are fighting the idea every step of the way, saying expanded mail-in voting is vulnerable to fraud. 

Courtesy: Shawn Wooden

From his days leading the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in his early 20s to his 33 impactful years as a U.S. congressman, civil rights legend John Lewis was a social justice giant. He died last Friday at the age of 80.

Connecticut State Treasurer Shawn Wooden knew Lewis and has great stories to tell about his time with the congressman. 

As our pandemic-induced recession marches on, a lot of people who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own now face the scary prospect of losing their homes. A moratorium on evictions is slated to end soon. In anticipation of this, the Connecticut Department of Housing has announced two relief programs for renters and homeowners. 

Courtesy: Hilton Hotels & Resorts

Coronavirus has been hard on many industries, perhaps none more so than hospitality. With both business and leisure travel at a historic low, hotels are struggling to survive. Two gems of the downtown Hartford hotel scene -- the Hilton Hartford and the Marriott Hartford Downtown -- announced to state officials this week that they are on the verge of mass layoffs and that their very survival is in question. 

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

A union representing thousands of workers at Stop & Shop grocery stores around New England says it will file charges against the chain with the National Labor Relations Board. The United Food and Commercial Workers Union says the decision to end additional hazard pay -- or so-called “hero” pay -- for front-line workers at the beginning of July in this time of pandemic is “inexcusable.” 

Courtesy: FaithActs

As the national discussion continues to center on whether we should -- or whether we can -- send our kids to school in the fall, one group out of Bridgeport says that students of color in particular are not being served well by the state of Connecticut’s return-to-school plan. 

Tomwsulcer / Wikimedia Commons

As Connecticut continues to project that it will be able to open K-12 schools this fall, individual districts are already grappling with what that might mean in reality. Plans to hold in-person summer school in Norwalk were dealt a blow last week when a staff member came down with Covid-19 after classes began. Experiences like that have many people asking, is this a window into what we can expect when schools open in the fall? 

Senior Jacob Gilman, 18, wears a Red Hawks shirt while his friend, 18-year-old Josh Monty, wears a Redmen shirt during a Killingly High varsity basketball game on Jan. 11. Gilman says he wore the shirt mostly because he got it for free.
Joe Amon / Connecticut Public Radio

The racial injustice reckoning the nation is experiencing in the wake of George Floyd’s death has only amplified calls for sports teams to get rid of Native American nicknames. That’s a movement that was already underway in Connecticut. 

Nick Allen / Wikimedia Commons

The Trump administration’s decision to issue a policy requiring international students at American universities to attend in-person classes in the fall or lose their visa status has caused a firestorm of criticism. The dean of Yale Law School, Heather Gerken, has released a strong statement in opposition to the move.

Photo by Bart Everson (Flickr)

If you want to find a group of people whose ears really perked up when the state announced plans to return K-12 students to classrooms this fall, look no further than parents of kids with severe disabilities. These special needs students got invaluable help learning and socializing from a team of professionals in school. That help was left up to the parents alone as schools moved to distance learning to slow the spread of the coronavirus. 

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Our country’s newspapers are increasingly being bought by, or at least controlled by, hedge funds -- and many would say not for the better of the republic. The Hartford Courant is in this boat, and the journalists who work there would like to change that. 

Doug Kerr / Creative Commons

Seven years after old Big East broke apart, UConn is back in the conference -- as of July 1. The university reached an agreement to rejoin the league a year ago, but teams had to finish out last season in the American Athletic Conference first and then pay the AAC $17 million to leave. So will this move help UConn athletics get out of debt? Was this a “nostalgia” move? What will it do for recruiting? 

Bonnie-Brown / Creative Commons

The state of Connecticut has released the details of its plan to return K-12 students to in-person classes in the fall. So what could it mean in practice? Teachers representatives are concerned and call the plan “lacking.”

National Museum of Health and Medicine / Creative Commons

You’ve probably heard the old phrase, “Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.” One has to wonder whether that dynamic is playing out in this time of pandemic and racial unrest -- specifically in regard to the quadruple tumult at the beginning of the last century, of war, pandemic, racial unrest and recession. 

a closed sign
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

The economy has been thrown into turmoil by the coronavirus pandemic, but predicting the longer-term effects of the downturn can be a tricky business. U.S. consumer spending was up a record 18% in May, despite the fact that unemployment remains in double digits. So how do we chart the future now that the pandemic has changed everything?

Grace Murray Stephenson / Austin History Center

This year is the 155th annual Juneteenth Celebration, symbolically marking the freedom of Black people from slavery in this nation. But despite the long history of the day, many white Americans are hearing about it for the first time in the wake of George Floyd’s killing. Connecticut has recognized Juneteenth since 2003, but it is not yet an official state holiday. 

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

The U.S. Supreme Court has voted by a 6-3 majority that the 1964 Civil Rights Act barring sex discrimination in the workplace protects LGBTQ employees from being fired for their sexual orientation. Shawn Lang is deputy director of AIDS Connecticut (ACT). 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Legislators and other public figures have had many different responses to the protests that have followed the killing of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis. Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy added his thoughts via Twitter, and he had a very particular take on what the nation, and our state, should do to address issues of racial injustice.

Connecticut Treasurer Shawn Wooden
Chion Wolf / WNPR

Connecticut Treasurer Shawn Wooden recently penned a passionate editorial in the Hartford Courant, imploring corporations to use their influence to lead the way in making society more equitable for people of color. Last fall his office spearheaded an effort known as the Northeast Investors’ Diversity Initiative to try to force big companies to diversify their boards. He spoke with Connecticut Public Radio’s All Things Considered host, John Henry Smith.

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

The worldwide demonstrations of the last two weeks have been in protest of police brutality. And yet, they have delivered images from across the U.S. of police acting brutally against unarmed people in the midst of the protests. 

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

There’s long been good evidence for the premise that racism is bad for your health. And that truth stands whether you’re the victim or the perpetrator. In light of both the racial disparities of the coronavirus pandemic and the momentous events in the wake of George Floyd’s death, Connecticut Public Radio’s All Things Considered host, John Henry Smith, spoke with Dr. Cato T. Laurencin, a professor of orthopedic surgery at UConn. 

Ryan Lindsay / Connecticut Public Radio

The outcry in Minnesota over the killing of George Floyd as the result of an encounter with an overly aggressive police officer is just the latest of many examples of this country of people of color dying at the hands of law enforcement. 

coronavirus, Weaver, High Schools
Joe Amon/Connecticut Public/NENC

We’ve heard a lot about the distance learning going on at K-12 schools during this coronavirus pandemic shutdown. But there’s a good number of kids who are not distance learning for a variety of reasons and badly need schools to reopen. 

Selbe Lynn / Creative Commons

Monday is the day that Connecticut’s two casinos will reopen after weeks of shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. Gov. Ned Lamont has been open about his feeling that it’s too early to resume gaming at Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun. 

Absentee Ballot
Airman 1st Class Zoe Thacker / U.S. Air Force

Gov. Ned Lamont recently signed an executive order that will allow people who are concerned about contracting the coronavirus to use an absentee ballot for the August presidential primary elections. That has some members of the state Republican party upset. 

Courtesy: Yale School of Public Health

On the same day the state partially reopened, 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.