Patrick Skahill | Connecticut Public Radio
WNPR

Patrick Skahill

Reporter

Patrick Skahill is a reporter at WNPR. He covers science and the environment. Prior to becoming a reporter, he was the founding producer of WNPR's The Colin McEnroe Show, which began in 2009. Patrick's reporting has appeared on NPR's Morning Edition, Here & Now, and All Things Considered. He has also reported for the Marketplace Morning Report. 

He can be reached by phone at 860-275-7297 or by email: pskahill@ctpublic.org.

Vaccinations continue across Connecticut with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reporting Thursday a total of 4,687,585 doses have been distributed to the state and 4,339,850 doses have been administered.

So far, about 66.3% of Connecticut’s population has received at least one vaccine dose and 59.3% are fully vaccinated, according to CDC data.

Camila Vallejo / Connecticut Public

Carlson Place, a residential care facility in Norwalk, has been ordered to move all of its residents after a state investigation that found nearly two dozen public health code violations. Included on the list were inadequate food supplies, “grossly soiled” bathrooms and live bedbugs.

The state attorney general said Thursday that a new buyer had been identified for the facility and that all residents will be moved out of the building to allow for a complete renovation.

solar farm
Joe Amon / Connecticut Public

Fewer families are choosing burials for deceased loved ones and opting instead for cremation. It’s a funerary trend that is helping to forge a link between the Catholic Church and the solar industry. 

tolls
Patrick Skahill / Connecticut Public Radio

Environmental advocates were hopeful a proposal to cap vehicle emissions would be brought up during a special legislative session convened this week. 

But the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) was not expected to be called for a vote in the House Wednesday and was left out of a massive 800-plus-page budget document. 

The Connecticut State Capitol Building
Joe Amon / Connecticut Public

The recently completed legislative session notched a number of wins -- but also some losses -- for environmentalists. Advocates hailed improvements to Connecticut’s “bottle bill” but expressed disappointment with lawmakers’ failure to sign on to a multistate program aimed at reducing vehicle emissions.

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

New numbers from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that Connecticut’s northeast corner is seeing a much slower COVID-19 vaccination rate when compared to other parts of the state. 

warehouse with PPE
Tony Spinelli / Connecticut Public

After shutting down his manufacturing plant and sending 2 million unsold face shields to sit in a warehouse, Bing Carbone found himself wondering what was next for his plastics company. 

His business had “an outstanding 2020,” pivoting from making high-grade plastic parts for the defense and medical industries to producing more than 30 million of those now ubiquitous transparent face shields worn by doctors and dentists. But then, Carbone said, buyers stopped calling him back. And the reason was clear: Asian factories were back online.

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public

A hand recount shows that Simsbury voters overwhelmingly approved a multimillion-dollar land deal in their town Tuesday evening, after a ballot preparation error led to thousands of votes not getting recorded by a machine tabulator. 

Tobacco Barnes in Simsbury
Joe Amon / Connecticut Public

A multimillion dollar land deal goes before voters in Simsbury on May 4 that asks residents to authorize more than $2.5 million in taxpayer money for the purchase of nearly 300 acres of land, including a spot where Martin Luther King Jr. once worked. 

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

State regulators on Wednesday issued a final decision highly critical of how utility Eversource responded to Tropical Storm Isaias. The decision will reduce Eversource’s allowable profits from state ratepayers and could also pave the way for monetary fines announced as early as next week.

The Connecticut State Capitol Building
Joe Amon / Connecticut Public

The United States Census Bureau released congressional apportionment numbers Monday, which show that Connecticut’s population grew slightly over a 10-year period. Those results mean the state will continue to have five representatives in the U.S. House. 

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

That recycling you put out each week in the blue bin may not be going where you think it is. 

Because of contamination in curbside bins, the city of Hartford is now redirecting most of its recycling to a nearby incinerator, which means tons and tons of recyclable materials are going to waste while the city spends about $30,000 a month trying to deal with the problem.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

State regulators met Monday to hear directly from utility Eversource about its response to Tropical Storm Isaias. At issue were potential fines for the company due to a storm response that was highly criticized in a draft decision issued by the state’s Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) last month.

Tony Spinelli / Connecticut Public

Alexander Amado started working with Community Health Center Inc. nearly a year ago. He took a job at the health center’s Hartford COVID-19 testing sites when they were newly constructed last spring.

It was a slow start, he said, but everything quickly escalated.

“People would come like four to six people in a car, and people would wait like three hours to get tested. It was pretty insane,” Amado said. “It was a little rough, but we got the rhythm going. And there were two lanes, because that was the volume of cars, and that would wrap around the building.”

National Transportation Safety Board

Federal investigators said Tuesday that pilot error and poor engine maintenance contributed to the destruction of a vintage B-17 airplane, which crashed and killed seven people at Bradley International Airport on Oct. 2, 2019.

Patrick Skahill / Connecticut Public

A key legislative committee voted Wednesday in favor of a program that could raise hundreds of millions of dollars for environmental programs in Connecticut, but it could also have an impact at the gas pump.  

AP Photo/Julio Corte

A new federal report released last week shows U.S. bald eagle populations quadrupling over the course of a decade. It’s an encouraging sign of growth for one of America’s most iconic animals, which comes as eagle populations in Connecticut also reached record-setting levels last year. 

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public

The state confirmed Tuesday that a new form of coronavirus first detected in New York has now made its way to Connecticut. 

The variant, called B.1.526, has been detected 44 times, according to information released Thursday through a collaboration among the Yale School of Public Health, Jackson Labs and the state Department of Public Health.

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public

The state Department of Public Health said Monday that old census data are to blame for inflated COVID-19 vaccine estimates, which wrongly assert that 44 towns across Connecticut gave first doses to their residents aged 75 and older at a rate of more than 100%.

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

Gov. Ned Lamont’s administration reached an agreement Thursday with Connecticut's two federally recognized Native American tribes on a comprehensive gambling expansion plan that could eventually lead to sports wagering and online gambling in the state. 

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

A major trash-to-energy plant in Hartford will close next year, raising questions about what will happen with hundreds of thousands of tons of garbage. Now the operator of that plant said it will also cease operations at its nearby recycling facility, effective May 1, 2021.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated data over the weekend that originally incorrectly logged tens of thousands of COVID-19 vaccine shots in Connecticut. The fix now places the state ahead of the national average on two key COVID-19 vaccination metrics. 

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public

Federal data this week showed Connecticut lagging the national average on fully completed COVID-19 vaccinations. But federal and state officials now say those numbers were reported in error. 

Cloe Poisson / Connecticut Mirror

When the Materials Innovation and Recycling Authority announced plans to close its trash-burning plant in Hartford by July 2022, the agency said it would turn off the incinerators and transform the site into a transfer station for garbage. But conversations with the state appear to have stopped those plans, which could mean that when the plant shuts down, hundreds of thousands of tons of garbage may no longer make their way into Hartford.

Gov. Ned Lamont holds a press briefing at the Community Health Center in New Britain to highlight CHC’s walk-up COVID-19 testing site and to encourage continued testing, June 18, 2020.
Cloe Poisson / CTMirror.org

Members of the state legislature heard testimony Monday on a bill from Gov. Ned Lamont aimed at reducing transportation emissions via a multistate collaborative called the Transportation and Climate Initiative Program (TCI).

A Hartford HealthCare worker prepares a COVID-19 vaccine
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

Starting Monday, everyone in Connecticut 55 and over can begin scheduling COVID-19 shots. That’s an expansion from the previous rules, which limited vaccinations to people over the age of 65, first responders and medical workers. Vaccination is also being opened up to educators and child care workers. The online scheduling tool opened up at midnight.

Courtesy: DEEP

Crews worked Thursday to contain a fire at a scrapyard in Waterbury, which environmental officials said impacted the Naugatuck River.

The state’s chief medical examiner said Wednesday his office identified more than 100 deaths that should have been reported as COVID-19-related, including dozens originally certified as non-COVID fatalities. 

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public

Gov. Ned Lamont’s announcement this week that Connecticut’s vaccine rollout will be done almost exclusively by age has stirred major controversy, particularly among some essential workers and people with preexisting conditions.

But top state officials said it’s a decision based both on data and a lack of it. 

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

Gov. Ned Lamont said last week that he supports an idea to double the 5-cent deposit and refund for certain cans and bottles. And while the so-called “bottle bill” still needs to go through the state legislature, increasing the deposit is an idea that Speaker of the House Matt Ritter recently said he also supports.

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