Matt Dwyer | Connecticut Public Radio
WNPR

Matt Dwyer

News Anchor / Producer / Reporter

Matt Dwyer produces The Wheelhouse, WNPR's journalist round table and news analysis show and anchors midday news headlines. Counting his time in college, Matt has been doing news on the radio in Connecticut since 1996, at stations including WTIC AM, WILI AM/FM, and WHUS FM.  

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Connecticut Attorney General William Tong is urging state regulators to deny a change in ownership being sought by Norwalk-based internet and phone provider Frontier Communications. Tong says the company should commit to keeping its headquarters in Connecticut, or to making investments in its operations in the state. Frontier entered bankruptcy back in the spring. The company is trying to get out from under $10 billion in debt. Frontier has faced complaints about poor service or slow internet speeds in Connecticut.

A West Hartford holocaust survivor who shared her personal story for more than three decades has died. Gisela Adamski spoke at schools and holocaust memorial events in Connecticut and New York. She was a survivor of Auschwitz-Birkenau and other camps. A remembrance posted by the Weinstein Mortuary in Hartford says she came to the United States with an eighth-grade education and worked her way up to run a gauge-calibration company.

A virtual version of the Manchester Road Race began Thursday. Runners can do the event any time before 5 pm on Wednesday. Participants can run in the location of their choosing -- in some cases on another continent. They can time themselves with an app on their cell phones. The phone's GPS capability tells participants when they have run the proper distance of a little less than 4.8 miles. Organizers announced the switch to a virtual race back in September.

Connecticut's official unemployment rate has dropped to 6.1 percent, and that could be bad news for some people who need unemployment benefits. The state labor commissioner says the improvement brings Connecticut's three-month average unemployment rate below an 8 percent threshold used by the federal government. That means Connecticut could lose federal funding for an extra seven weeks of pandemic unemployment assistance. Some economists say the official unemployment rate under-represents the portion of people who should be considered unemployed in the state.

Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise Merrill has issued a statement of support for Christopher Krebs. Krebs, the Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, was fired by President Donald Trump this week. Merrill says his firing is bad news for the country's cybersecurity, and should be deeply disturbing to everyone who cares about protecting U.S. elections from foreign interference. Krebs had been appointed by President Trump to lead efforts to protect the country from online attacks.

People living in low-income housing in the north end of Hartford have filed a lawsuit against the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. They resided in apartment complexes that were determined to be too run down to live in, forcing them to seek new places to live. Their lawyers argue that HUD failed to give residents the help they were entitled to, when they were looking for new homes. The attorneys say HUD only approved relocation vouchers that had the effect of keeping the residents in low-income area of Hartford.

The state of Connecticut will receive $1.8 million as part of a settlement with tech giant Apple. A group of states challenged the company's 2016 practice of slowing down some models of iPhones to prevent unexpected shutdowns. Attorney General William Tong said the company tried to conceal problems with its batteries by covertly slowing down customers' phones, prompting some users to replace their phones because they mistakenly thought the devices had become obsolete.

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

Top members of the Lamont administration go into quarantine as they also deal with a resurgence of COVID-19 in Connecticut.  How much trouble are we facing in the state, and in the nation?  And could an app on your phone help protect the people around you?

Gov. Ned Lamont says he is working with other states to coordinate a coronavirus policy on what college students should do when they travel long distances to return home for Thanksgiving. Speaking on Connecticut Public Radio's Where We Live Monday, Lamont says college students will be asked to quarantine or get a COVID-19 test before they cross state lines to return home. Students will also be asked to take a second test after they arrive.

At a meeting Thursday evening, New Britain's city council is expected to consider removing a Christopher Columbus statue from McCabe Park in the city. Members of the council who favor removing the monument say the explorer symbolizes a dark history of white supremacy and violence against indigenous people in the Americas. They say the statue, which was erected in 1941, provides little educational value outside of a museum. If the removal goes ahead, it could be replaced with another symbol of the contributions of Italian Americans.

Town officials in Wallingford are conducting a recount Thursday in the 90th state House district. Initial results showed Republican representative Craig Fishbein trailing Democratic challenger Jim Jinks, but the town clerk told the Connecticut Mirror that those initial numbers failed to include one of the nine polling places in the district. The full results showed Fishbein winning by 21 votes, out of more than 14,000 votes cast. That triggered an automatic recount because the difference was less than one half of one percent.

The governors of all six New England states and New Jersey are banning interstate youth hockey. The governors ordered a halt to youth hockey competitions and private school matches across state lines starting on Saturday. The ban runs through the end of December. The purpose of the move is to slow down the spread of COVID-19 across state lines. In a joint announcement issued Thursday, the governors of Connecticut and the other states say it is critical that neighboring states coordinate their approach to the virus.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

After losing the presidential election, the Trump administration has threatened to sue, and argued that maybe the Supreme Court should decide the election.  Why have the lawsuits failed to gain traction so far? 

President-elect Joe Biden has begun his transition effort, naming a Yale professor as one of the leaders of his coronavirus task force. 

And new leaders are asserting themselves at the General Assembly.

Connecticut's Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona said there is no sign of transmission of COVID-19 within schools. When contact tracers look for the source of a student’s illness, Cardona says the cases appear to have originated outside of school. The commissioner says if the illness was spreading within schools, multiple cases would be seen in classrooms or other groups of students that spend time together, but that has not been observed. There have been more than 450 student cases.

COVID-19 has been spreading among firefighters in New London. The Day of New London reports that ten firefighters tested positive for the illness. Tests are pending on four more. All fourteen of them are currently quarantining. Some of them should be back on the job next week. Other firefighters are working extra hours to make up the difference in staffing. The mayor and the fire chief say no stations will close.

(Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public)

Election day is in the rearview mirror… Finally.  But what can we see back there?  We will consider who will lead the country for the next four years, review Congressional contests in Connecticut, and search for meaning in General Assembly races.

Are you sitting on a ballot?

When Connecticut residents go to the polls in person Tuesday, about 25 percent of registered voters will have already cast their ballots. That's according to numbers from the Secretary of the State's office, which says 595,000 absentee ballots have been returned so far. Almost 300,000 absentee ballots were returned by Democrats, more than 200,000 were sent by unaffiliated voters, and Republicans returned nearly 100,000 absentee ballots. Applications for absentee ballots were sent to all voters in the state. Anyone was allowed to use the pandemic as a reason to vote absentee.

The chief state's attorney has announced that the prosecution will not attempt to retry Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel in the decades-old killing of Greenwich teen Martha Moxley. The state's top prosecutor said the case could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. A key witness in the case has died.

Skakel was convicted in 2002 and spent more than a decade behind bars, but his conviction was later thrown out. 15-year-old Martha Moxley was last seen alive the night before Halloween in 1975. Her body was found a short distance from her Greenwich home.

Governor Ned Lamont announced Tuesday that Connecticut's daily coronavirus positivity rate has spiked to almost 4.1 percent, the highest the state has seen since early June.

“That’s not unexpected but is still wakes you up like a cold shower," the governor told a news conference. "We could see what was going on in a lot of states around the country and even states in our region.”

A recent report from the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities and Dalio Education details disparities in access to high speed internet in Connecticut. More than one-third of low-income households in the state lack high speed internet service. A connection has become more important since school classes, many work meetings and other gatherings moved online during the pandemic. Residents of the state's largest cities are less likely to have service. Black and HIspanic residents of the state are more frequently without a high speed connection than are white residents.

Award-winning set designer and longtime Yale professor Ming Cho Lee has died. The New York Times reports that Lee passed away Friday in Manhattan at the age of 90. He taught at Yale for five decades, and greatly influenced the designs of sets in live productions including plays, operas and dance in the United States.

During debate today on the Supreme Court nomination of Amy Coney Barrett, Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal said she would be an activist judge, who would radically shift the political balance of the court. Blumenthal told the chamber the GOP has pursued an unprecedented rush to confirm a nominee. He said Barett would help decimate the healthcare system by ruling against Obamacare. But Republican senators describe Barrett as a restrained judge who will only call balls and strikes.

The percentage of COVID-19 tests coming back positive is increasing in Connecticut. A member of the state’s Congressional delegation describes what it is like to be targeted by racism.  And look out Donald Trump... Here comes the mute button!  We look ahead to tomorrow’s debate between the president and former vice president Joe Biden.

New employment numbers released today by the state Labor Department show Connecticut is still gaining back some of the jobs lost when parts of the economy shut down in the spring because of the pandemic. The state added back 17,000 jobs in September. But the month-to-month rate of that jobs recovery is slowing, and the state is still far from getting back all of the jobs lost in April.

The tongue-in-cheek saga of a TV personality and Danbury's sewage treatment plant continues. Last Week Tonight host John Oliver recently visited the plant for a videotaped ceremony unveiling a sign that reads, "John Oliver Memorial Sewer Plant." Mayor Mark Boughton posted photos on social media of Oliver's appearance. Danbury officials jokingly named the plant after Oliver sarcastically attacked Danbury in a previous show. Oliver said he would donate money to charity if the city followed through on the naming.

The state Board of Regents yesterday decided to use more than half of the reserve fund for Connecticut's community colleges to help with operating costs. The Connecticut Mirror reports that the system is facing a 15 percent drop in enrollment, and a loss in tuition revenue because of the pandemic and its impact on the state's economy.

The state of Connecticut has a deadline of Friday, Oct 16 to submit a draft coronavirus vaccination plan to federal healthcare officials. It is expected that the number of doses will be limited when a vaccine first goes into production, so state officials will likely have to decide which groups of people get inoculated first. State Department of Public Health acting commissioner Deidre Gifford says her agency is working with limited information, because vaccine development is still ongoing.

CHION WOLF / CONNECTICUT PUBLIC RADIO

There was no Wheelhouse this week because of live coverage of Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court confirmation hearing.  In place of the Wheelhouse, here is a new program on Connecticut Public Radio called Disrupted.  

In an online post, Fifth District Congresswoman Jahana Hayes says she is exhausted, and she is "not ok," after a group of people posted obscene racial insults during her recent online listening session with residents. Hayes said the comments are not about policy or politics; they are about racism. Hayes said Black women are expected to press on and ignore this behavior, but she said words matter and they cut deep. Hayes recently returned to online public appearances, after recovering from COVID-19.

Connecticut is part of a group of states and local governments that have reached a $1.6 billion settlement with drugmaker Mallinckrodt, over the company's sale of generic prescription opioids. Connecticut Attorney General William Tong says the business knew that its product was deadly. Over time, the company is expected to pay the money into a fund intended to address the opioid addiction crisis. Mallinckrodt is entering bankruptcy at the same time the settlement is being announced. It would pay some of the money when it comes out of bankruptcy, and the rest of the funds over seven years.

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