John Henry Smith | Connecticut Public Radio
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John Henry Smith

Courtesy: Town of Prospect

The state’s new color-coded COVID alert system has designated 19 Connecticut towns as “red alert towns” for having positive test rates exceeding 15 per 100,000 residents for a two-week period. Gov. Ned Lamont has given these towns the option of pulling back from Phase 3 reopening to Phase 2.

Constitution Plaza in downtown Hartford.
Henk Sijgers / Creative Commons

What if the work-at-home trend becomes permanent? What will happen to Connecticut’s downtowns? Economist Victor Calanog of Moody’s Analytics joined All Things Considered to opine on whether downtowns are as good as dead. He also broke down what he thinks city planners should be doing right now to prepare.

Yale University
Pixabay

The U.S. Justice Department is suing Yale University, claiming it discriminated against Asian and white students in its college admissions process. The lawsuit, filed Oct. 8, accuses Yale of violating federal civil rights laws by making admissions decisions based on a candidate’s race. 

Official ballot boxes outside West Hartford Town Hall have sped up the process of accepting absentee ballots, according to Essie Labrot, West Hartford's town clerk. Voters can drop ballots in the boxes up until 8 p.m. on election day.
Ali Oshinskie / Connecticut Public Radio

The rise in mail-in voting this year due to the coronavirus led to a couple of bumps in the road for Connecticut’s August primary election. With a low percentage of voters familiar with absentee ballots, it was something new for everyone. 

Ingram Publishing / Thinkstock

The federal Paycheck Protection Program distributed funds to thousands of Connecticut companies earlier this year as a way to help keep them solvent during pandemic shutdowns. The deal was: Keep your employees on the books and what was initially a loan will be converted to a grant. Sounded like a simple idea. The catch was, the paperwork to obtain that loan forgiveness was anything but simple. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

As we get closer to the election, the pace of events in Washington, D.C., only increases. U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy joined Connecticut Public Radio’s John Henry Smith on All Things Considered to talk about the COVID-19 outbreak at the White House, a troubling Twitter thread alleging that the Russians have actually ramped up interference this election season, and why he thinks the Trump administration is trying to politicize the Voice of America. 

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

According to a new UConn study, the state of Connecticut could reap $1 billion in tax revenues over five years and create 17,000 jobs if it legalized marijuana. The study was funded by a marijuana advocacy group, and its critics say it overestimates Connecticut's windfall while underestimating the social costs of legalizing the drug.

CT-N

The new leader of Connecticut’s largest business organization is now in his second month on the job. Chris DiPentima, CEO of the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, joined Connecticut Public Radio’s All Things Considered to talk about the tough act he has to follow, the current business climate statewide and his plans to make Connecticut businesses inclusive and equitable.

Tomwsulcer / Wikimedia Commons

Amid a lot of talk about whether K-12 kids should go back to the classroom is the disturbing truth that it increasingly seems as if there aren’t enough teachers to lead their classes. 

Clinical staff members coronavirus drive-through test
Joe Amon/Connecticut Public/NENC

Connecticut's coronavirus infection rate has risen to 1.6 percent -- after spending most of the summer under 1 percent.  Gov. Ned Lamont described the climbing number of positive tests as "concerning" this week, although the administration insists the resumption of in-person instruction in K-12 schools isn't behind the rise in cases.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

Eversource has hardly been out of the news since the prolonged restoration of power in the wake of Tropical Storm Isaias. And the latest headline concerns a $700 million loan the utility says it would like the state to underwrite. 

Signs at Bradley International Airport remind travelers to wear masks at all times and maintain proper social distancing on June 25.
Tyler Russell / Connecticut Public

Gov. Ned Lamont announced this week that folks who ignore Connecticut’s mask mandate will be subject to a $100 fine. Also, there are now fines for parties of more than 25 people indoors or more than 100 people outdoors. 

Brian A. Pounds / Hearst Connecticut Media

Federal authorities have arrested Bridgeport police chief Armando "AJ" Perez and city personnel director David Dunn on charges that reportedly amount to an accusation that the pair rigged Perez’s hiring two years ago. 

Dan Foy (Flickr Creative Commons)

Hartford Public Schools canceled the first day of both in-person and online classes after hackers hit its computer systems with a ransomware attack. Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin says there’s no evidence the hackers actually demanded any ransom. 

Courtesy: Norwalk PD

State Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff spoke recently with All Things Considered about his allegations of abuse and intimidation at the hands of members of the Norwalk Police Department. He said that treatment came in response to his 'yes' vote on the Police Accountability Bill in special session this summer. Norwalk’s Chief of Police Thomas Kulhawik met with Duff Friday to discuss the senator's concerns. 

CPTV Sports

School is back in session across the state and, for now, so is fall sports. Workouts are underway in preparation for a shortened, modified schedule. Full practices commence September 21. 

Courtesy: Waterbury Public Schools

The Office of the Child Advocate is raising alarm at the number of calls made from Waterbury public schools to police to handle behavioral issues with students ages 4 to 12. Almost 200 calls were made over a six-month period, resulting in close to 40 arrests. 

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal says Eversource should be broken up. According to Connecticut’s senior senator, the power company’s failure to get the lights back on quickly statewide after Tropical Storm Isaias was just the latest in the utility’s litany of failures. 

Jessica Hill / AP Photo

The return to college campuses this year is fraught with angst like never before because of the pandemic. Already UConn has had to eject students from university housing because of an illicit, dorm-room party. Several students returning to campus have tested positive as part of the check-in process, and have been quarantined. The university also announced Wednesday that two faculty members have COVID-19.

A sign for coronavirus testing outside of a CVS drive-through in Hartford, Conn.
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Pubic

Scientists at the Yale School of Public Health say they have developed a quick, affordable COVID-19 saliva test, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted it emergency-use authorization. It’s called SalivaDirect, and one of its project leaders is Anne Wyllie, an associate research scientist at the Yale School of Public Health. Wyllie spoke on All Things Considered about why this testing method is better than the swab method, the crucial role the NBA played in its development, and the price she and her team had to pay to make this dream a reality.

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

The U.S. Department of Justice has ruled that Yale University illegally discriminates against Asian American and white applicants, in violation of federal civil rights law. For its part, Yale calls the allegation “meritless” and “hasty.” The case is similar to one brought against Harvard last year. That case was rejected by a federal judge. 

Kin Mun Lee / Creative Commons

In July, New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker wrote an op-ed in which he suggests penalizing Connecticut towns that fail to meet the threshold of making 10% of their housing supply affordable. If they don’t comply, he said, they should be taxed.  

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.” 

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