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CT Signs On To Regional Plan To Cut Transportation Emissions

Dec 21, 2020
Much of the money from the TCI will go towards transportation initiatives, which in turn create jobs, tax revenue and some of the economic growth the state needs. It also adds a funding stream to the underfunded transportation fund.
Patrick Skahill / Connecticut Public Radio

Connecticut has signed on to a groundbreaking plan that will help dramatically lower greenhouse gas and other emissions from transportation and at the same time bring badly needed revenue to the state’s transportation system — and the underserved communities that are disproportionately affected by the impacts of climate change.

AP Pool

Nine grueling months into the pandemic, nursing home workers and operators say they’re feeling some relief with the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines.

“Everybody wants to get back to the lives we had before, so the vaccine is a great step toward that,” said Sophia Walker, a registered nurse at The Reservoir nursing home in West Hartford.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

In anticipation of potential COVID-19 surges in the coming weeks, state officials and health experts are expanding the Hartford region’s hospital bed capacity.

The state National Guard and the Department of Public Health in partnership with Hartford HealthCare are reopening a 600-bed field hospital at the Connecticut Convention Center. They say this is a precautionary move as numbers of cases and hospitalizations continue to generally trend upward. 

Consensus Building For COVID Aid To Connecticut Restaurants

Dec 16, 2020
Last summer, Sammy Bajraktarevic (right), owner of Luce Restaurant in Middletown, and server Alex Cirikovic set up socially distanced tables for a dining area in the restaurant’s parking lot as part of reopening amid the pandemic..
Cloe Poisson /

With the restaurant industry desperate for help, Gov. Ned Lamont told a business audience Wednesday that his administration is planning at least $25 million more in COVID-19 aid for small businesses in addition to the $50 million in grants now being processed.

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

More shipments of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine arrived Tuesday at Connecticut hospitals, many of which began immediately vaccinating front-line workers.

That included Ivan Sarmiento, an emergency room registered nurse at Saint Francis Hospital in Hartford, a member of Trinity Health Of New England. He was cheered on by colleagues as he became the first employee to get a dose shortly before noon. 

The town of Wilton has found a unique way to use its absentee ballot box. Now that it’s done with delivering ballots to the polls, the box has acquired the power to transport kids’ letters to the North Pole. 

Pfizer ‘s coronavirus vaccine is expected to begin distribution in Connecticut in mid-December.
Tyler Russell / Connecticut Public

Last February, in the early weeks of Connecticut’s legislative session, lawmakers intent on erasing the state’s religious exemption from mandatory vaccinations quickly rolled out a draft of their proposal, called a public hearing and voted the bill out of committee with a goal of making it one of the first to arrive on the House floor.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

Surrounded by colleagues underneath a tent that protected them from the freezing rain, Dr. Ajay Kumar rolled up his sleeve as a nurse cleaned the upper part of his arm with an antiseptic wipe.

“Here we go, number one,” someone shouted. 

Can Opportunity Zones Revive Struggling Neighborhoods?

Dec 14, 2020
A building in downtown New London’s Opportunity Zone that is planned for mixed-use redevelopment. City development director Felix Reyes says restoration of a small building can revive a whole street.
Tom Condon /

In early September, Brian Marois, a Republican on Manchester’s board of directors — its governing body — proposed a redevelopment project for a vacant school building, saying it was ideal for attracting private investment because it sat in one of the town’s two Opportunity Zones.

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

At almost 16 years old, Emma Heslin knew very little about any type of diabetes. But then she was diagnosed with Type 1, also known as juvenile diabetes.

“You’re like, what is that, what does that mean?” said Heslin, now a 22-year-old registered nurse. “So, you’re not going into it knowing it’s lifelong.” 

Graeme Robertson / AP

After more than nine months of a pandemic that has sickened and killed millions worldwide, the United States is on the verge of obtaining its first federally reviewed COVID-19 vaccine.

The Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, a group of independent scientists and researchers from institutions all over the country, will hold a public meeting today to discuss Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine. 

MMCT Venture said Monday that the casino in East Windsor could be built within two years. But the project faces several obstacles.
Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun say they won’t build a casino in East Windsor -- for now. The controversial project that united the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes could be the casualty of a bigger plan that involves exclusive rights to operate sports betting in Connecticut.

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

Since Joe Biden became the president-elect, we’ve heard a lot about the series of losses the Trump campaign has suffered in court as it scuffles to find a way to keep President Donald Trump in the White House. Less talked about, but perhaps more important, is the Trump White House’s string of losses in court regarding its efforts to neuter the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA.

Courtesy: TikTok

The social media app TikTok may be better known by Generation Z, but Shannon Doherty’s parenting hacks have gone viral.    

Rep. Rosa DeLauro
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

By a nearly 2-to-1 margin, House Democrats recently tapped Connecticut’s 3rd District congresswoman, Rosa DeLauro, to become the second woman and the first person from Connecticut to chair the powerful U.S. House Appropriations Committee.

Ryan Lindsay / Connecticut Public

A text message invitation to bet on the location of next year’s first homicide in Hartford has resulted in a major shakeup within the city’s police department.

Minority Businesses: Wounded By COVID, But Key To Inclusive Revival

Dec 7, 2020
Tia Woods makes a breakfast during her night shift. She now has a mentor helping  her learn how to improve her business when she opens online. “What can I do better to make sure that my business doesn’t close again?” Woods asked herself.
Yehyun Kim /

Tia Woods had been the coordinator of a dance program. It closed but left her with space in East Hartford. She had a business idea: Woods, who is Black, knew many minority artisans needed space to show and sell their products.

Lamont To Leverage $55M In Federal Aid To Assist Poor Unemployed

Dec 4, 2020
Gov. Ned Lamont
Mark Pazniokas /

Gov. Ned Lamont announced an expansion Friday of unemployment eligibility rules expected to channel more than $1,800 this winter to each of about 38,000 residents, most of whom lost low-paying jobs.

By spending $7.5 million from the state unemployment trust — which is already in debt — to slightly boost state benefits to those residents, Connecticut could leverage $55 million in additional federal benefits for its jobless.

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

Restaurants are among the small businesses that are struggling. And even though the state hasn’t shut down many sectors this COVID wave, some small businesses are considering whether to close for good.

This hour, we talk with David Lehman, the Commissioner of the state Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD).

Rosa DeLauro Wins Caucus Fight For Appropriations Chair

Dec 3, 2020
At the 2016 Democratic National Convention, Rosa DeLauro shares a light moment with fellow House members Joe Courtney, left, and John Larson. Both helped work to elect her as Appropriations chair.
Mark Pazniokas /

U.S. Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro, D-3rd District, was chosen on a 148-79 vote by the Democratic caucus Thursday to become chair of the House Appropriations Committee, one of the most influential posts on federal spending.

The overwhelming vote came after one of her two rivals, Marcy Kaptur of Ohio, withdrew and endorsed DeLauro, leaving the New Haven lawmaker in a two-way contest with Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida.


The federal government could grant emergency use authorization to COVID-19 vaccines as soon as next week, potentially getting doses in the hands of Connecticut hospitals by mid-December.

While official statewide distribution plans are still being finalized, health providers do know enough about the upcoming vaccines in order to take some immediate steps in preparation, with little time to spare. 

PURA Overhauls Electric Rate Process, Restricts Costs Utilities Can Recoup

Dec 2, 2020
An Eversource energy car stops at a road that's blocked due to fallen trees on Aug. 7, 2020, a few days after Tropical Storm Isaias.
Yehyun Kim /

State utility regulators ordered a comprehensive overhaul Wednesday of Connecticut’s rate-setting process while also affirming that a key element of electric rates will remain fixed through May 1.

The new process unanimously approved by the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority also will tighten the expenses Eversource and United Illuminating can recoup from their customers going forward.

Mike Ensor / flickr creative commons

How we define what it means to be a hero depends a lot on the values shared by the group that's in power at any given time.

We're seeing it today in the push and pull over the statues of men whose values no longer reflect the values of a changing community. And time tends to wash away the nuance and complexity of heroes that stand as a symbol of a prior generation.

Yet, America loves its heroes, even if only for a time. But ​we have a way of using the language of "heroism" to sacrifice the very heroes we admire. Many of the essential workers we deemed heroes of the pandemic had to choose between their health and a paycheck. They didn't choose to be heroes. Some didn't want to be. Others were silenced or shamed for speaking out about unsafe conditions.

As COVID Hospitalizations Rise In CT, Concerns Grow About Staffing, Capacity

Dec 1, 2020
Pamelia Bogle, an anesthesia technician at Hartford Hospital, holds a reassuring heart sign at a celebration for National Nurses Week at Hartford Hospital.
Cloe Poisson /

With state leaders estimating that Connecticut’s winter COVID-19 surge won’t hit its peak until January, concerns about staffing and capacity at hospitals across the state are intensifying.

At Foodshare's drive-thru food bank at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, volunteer Tiina Hyvonen stacks 5-pound bags of potatoes. Most passengers driving through kept their windows up and volunteers loaded food directly into trunks.
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

November and December are typically the busiest months of the year for Foodshare, which helps those struggling with food insecurity. This year, that need is only intensified by the pandemic.

Southern Connecticut State University senior Asma Rahimyar has a history of breaking new ground. The 20-year-old Trumbull resident is the child of Afghan immigrants and was the first in her family born in the United States.

Now the political science and philosophy major has achieved another remarkable first -- she is Southern Connecticut State University’s first-ever Rhodes Scholar, one of the most prestigious academic awards in the world. 

Mmmm Donuts

Dec 1, 2020
Gabriel Kronisch / Creative Commons

Almost everybody has a favorite donut - even if you don't eat a lot of donuts. It's not so much about the donut as it is about how donuts bring people together - to celebrate, to mourn, to share.

Donuts have been part of cultures around the world for more than a thousand years, first as a festival special-occasion food, later as an everyday treat.  Later still, as a "weapon" in World War I. They're in movies, music, and Twin Peaks.  In the words of Homer Simpson, "Mmmm donuts.

Franchise Opportunities / Flickr

Open enrollment periods for two of the nation’s largest health insurance programs and marketplaces are running concurrently, but time is ticking.

Connecticut state officials and health insurance experts are urging people to pick health plans now before it’s too late to secure coverage for 2021, which will see a continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic and its long-term impacts. 

Asnuntuck Community College

Completion rates for low-income Black and Latinx students enrolled in Connecticut’s two-year public colleges were already low before COVID-19 hit, and the pandemic has exacerbated the challenges they face.

The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving is helping out some of those students through grants it has awarded to five community colleges.

Courtesy: Westport Now

The Westport community will lose its online newspaper at the end of the month due to the death of its founder.