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Near the end of last year, a big finance company in Charlotte, N.C., was doing what a lot of other businesses have been doing recently: switching up their health care offerings.

"Everything was changing, and we would only be offered two choices and each were a high-deductible plan," says Marty Metzl, whose husband works for the company.

High-deductible plans are the increasingly common kind of health insurance that have cheaper premiums than traditional plans, but they put you on the hook for thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket costs before the insurance kicks in.

A Touching, 'Telling' Book About Cheese

Jul 28, 2013

The first thing you should know: This is not a book about cheese. I mean, it is — and a famous, award-winning cheese at that, a Spanish sheep's milk cheese called the Páramo de Guzmán that cost $22 per pound in 1991. A cheese so good, the king of Spain himself couldn't get enough of it.

But this book is far more about its makers — the cheesemaker himself, an enormous and enormously charming Castilian named Ambrosio, and the book's maker, journalist and author Michael Paterniti, who basically falls in love with Ambrosio at first sight.

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VA Offers Free Gun Locks To Help Prevent Vet Suicides

Mar 7, 2013

Every day an estimated 22 veterans kill themselves in the U.S. and most of them use a gun to do so, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. This trend mirrors the general population where more people kill themselves with guns than by all other methods combined.

The VA is trying to help with a program that offers gun locks to veterans for free. The thinking is that if they lock their guns up they might not reach for them in the spur of the moment.

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Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy wrapped up a post Hurricane Sandy news briefing earlier this week by talking about sewage discharges into Long Island Sound. "Suffice to say in the immediate time being, no one should eat the clams or oysters," he said.

That's right. Because of water quality issues, the state put a temporary stop to oyster farming, but that's usually a short-term thing and it happens fairly regularly after a big storm.

If buying a local wine just isn't local enough for you, then you might consider joining the growing ranks of people making homemade wine this fall.

Some home winemakers make wine with friends for fun, some make wine with family for tradition; some make it "old school," adding nothing, and drink it by Christmas; others do it "new school," adding preservatives, and wait a year or more to bottle.

Two years ago, Republican Linda McMahon ran for an open U.S. Senate seat in Connecticut, spent $50 million of her own money in the process, and lost.

In an otherwise Republican year, the former top executive at World Wrestling Entertainment was easily beaten by Democrat Richard Blumenthal.

Now, McMahon is trying again — running for the seat of outgoing Sen. Joe Lieberman, an independent.

This month, more than a dozen homeless veterans will finally have a place to call their own, thanks to the American Legion.

The organization's post in a small Connecticut town has been working for a decade on a unique project to create not transitional but permanent supportive housing in their rural community.

For 55-year-old Army veteran Jeff MacDonald, the new facility in Jewett City, Conn., was like "winning the lottery."

Lucy Nalpathanchil / WNPR

Originally aired on NPR's "All Things Considered"

This month, more than a dozen homeless veterans will finally have a place to call their own thanks to the American Legion. A local Post in a small Connecticut town has been working for a decade on a unique project to create not transitional, but permanent supportive housing in their rural community. 

For the health policy world, the Supreme Court's tough questioning of the individual mandate last week was a seismic event.

But in Hartford, Conn., the city sometimes called the epicenter of the insurance industry, David Cordani isn't quaking.

Cordani is the CEO of Cigna, the nation's fourth-largest health insurer. He says the insurance industry started changing itself before the Affordable Care Act became law in 2010. And the changes will continue regardless of what happens at the high court.

Connecticut, like every state trying to reduce health care spending, is looking closely at how it cares for people with chronic conditions.

Gov. Dannel Malloy has promised to move more than 5,000 poor and disabled patients out of nursing homes in five years.

Business Boot Camp Gives Veterans A New Start

Mar 1, 2012

The pullout of American troops in Iraq and those returning from Afghanistan have brought many service members back to their families and into the civilian job market.

While there is a new law that offers incentives to employers who hire them, many veterans across the country are trying to start their own businesses. A rigorous, free program started at Syracuse University is giving them the tools to be their own boss.

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A version of this story aired on NPR's "All Things Considered" on February 29, 2012

A few months ago, WNPR reported on a unique training program for veterans at the University of Connecticut. A consortium of business schools run The Entreprenuership Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities, which teaches veterans to be their own boss.

As part of our Coming Home project, WNPR's Lucy Nalpathanchil follows up with an EBV grad who is now a small business-owner.

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And now to lawmaking at the state level. In Connecticut, residents will have to do some advance planning for their Super Bowl parties. The state is one of only two that still bans the sale of all alcohol at stores on Sundays. But Jeff Cohen of member station WNPR reports, that could change.

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