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Hear in-depth interviews from the hosts Connecticut Public's flagship news shows, Morning Edition and All Things Considered. This page includes exclusive, extended web-only content.

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.

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. 

Courtesy NPR

Vice President Mike Pence and his Democratic challenger, U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, met Wednesday in Utah for their one and only debate of the general election.

Two more presidential debates are scheduled before the Nov. 3 election, although negotiations over those remain tense. Last year, the city of Hartford was hoping to host one of these events. That bid was unsuccessful, but a lot has changed since then -- mainly, the coronavirus pandemic.

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.

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. 

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. 

Neena Satija

Each year millions of students take in-person standardized tests like the SAT and ACT as part of their application process for college. But amid the pandemic, concerns over health and safety have closed hundreds of test sites nationwide. 

Alexei Navalny at a campaign stop when he ran for mayor of Moscow in 2013.
ermakov / Flickr Creative Commons

Alexei Navalny, a Russian opposition leader with ties to Yale University, was poisoned, according to the German hospital where he is being treated. Navalny remains in a medically induced coma. The 44-year-old is known for his anti-corruption investigations against Russian state corporations and senior officials, and he participated in Russia’s 2018 presidential election.

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.

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. 

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. 

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

Attorney General Bill Barr faced pointed questions on a range of issues at a House Judiciary Committee hearing this week. Connecticut Public Radio’s Morning Edition host Diane Orson reached out to Jim Himes, the state’s 4th District congressman, for his reaction. Himes, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, questioned Robert Mueller last year on the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.  

AP Photo/Mark Humphrey

The late civil rights icon John Lewis will lie in state at the Capitol Rotunda in Washington this week. He is to be buried on Thursday. 

Back in 2015, Lewis stood by the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. He had been brutally beaten there 50 years earlier while demonstrating for voting rights, and he said there was still work to be done. 

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. 

Summer vacation is traditionally a time for kids to step away from academics and spend time with family, at camp or poolside. But the coronavirus upended this school year and Connecticut students have not physically been in class since mid-March, and that's posing fears for many families that their kids could suffer from summer learning loss. 

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. 

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. 

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. 

Sage Ross / Creative Commons

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?

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