Connecticut | Connecticut Public Radio


Lamont’s Budget Dilemma: Protecting Transportation Makes The Deficit Worse

Nov 25, 2020
Patrick Skahill / Connecticut Public Radio

After chastising legislators for rejecting his calls for tolls, Gov. Ned Lamont faces another budget quandary centered on Connecticut’s cash-starved transportation network.

With big deficits looming over the next two fiscal years, Lamont already is expected to propose some ugly spending cuts in February as he tries to avoid tax hikes while potentially gearing up to seek reelection in 2022.

ALAN LEVINE / Creative Commons

When the coronavirus became widespread in Connecticut earlier this year, Tom Dykas was already on a seasonal layoff from his job.

By April, that layoff became permanent as businesses downsized and shed positions due to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. That left Dykas, who has Type 1 diabetes, searching for employment. 

Trump's Threatened Defense Veto Echoes In Connecticut

Nov 24, 2020
An aerial view of attack submarines USS Virginia, bottom, and USS Connecticut at the Groton submarine base in 2007.
U.S. Navy / John Narewski File Photo

It’s not a crisis. It won’t delay a new class of submarine at Electric Boat. But a lame-duck president’s renewed threat to veto a massive defense spending bill is an end-of-year complication at the end of a year that needed no more complications.

Thanksgiving Plate

Thanksgiving is this Thursday. What is your Thanksgiving going to look like? 

This hour, we focus on gratitude. Despite this chaotic, hard year, we want to know what you’re thankful for this year. Coming up, we talk about how we can all practice being a little bit more grateful, even during a pandemic.

Tim Sackton / Creative Commons

Is it safe to gather with loved ones for Thanksgiving? Local health experts say no.

Paul Witherspoon, Shot At By Officer In New Haven Incident, Settles With Hamden

Nov 23, 2020
Sam Gurwitt

A year and a half after Hamden cop Devin Eaton opened fire on Paul Witherspoon outside his parked car, Witherspoon has reached a legal settlement with the town.

State To Change 'Problematic' Health Care Pay Model

Nov 23, 2020
Alabama Extension/ Flickr/Creative Commons

For decades, Connecticut and other states have used a fee-for-service model to pay for health care: The provider bills for each service, every consult, every procedure, every test, every pill.

State Comptroller Kevin Lembo and many others have come to view that system as seriously flawed. It not only contributes to skyrocketing medical costs but also fails to deliver optimum care, Lembo said. 

Heather Brandon / WNPR

As the days grow colder, the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness has launched a statewide campaign to help house those who need it during a time when shelter capacity is challenged.

Analysts: Lamont, Lawmakers Face $4.3 Billion Gap In Next Two-Year State Budget

Nov 20, 2020
Gov. Ned Lamont (right) and Democratic legislative leaders announcing their budget deal in 2019, Lamont’s first year in office.
Mark Pazniokas /

State officials are facing almost $4.3 billion in red ink in the next two-year budget, due largely to the coronavirus-induced recession, according to a new report Friday from nonpartisan analysts.

Those deficits, while daunting, are significantly less imposing than the massive shortfalls Connecticut faced after the last recession in 2011 — gaps that forced a record-setting tax hike of nearly $1.9 billion nine years ago.

Nearly 60 Percent Of Nursing Homes In Conn. Now Have At Least One COVID Case

Nov 19, 2020
Donna Sullivan visits with her long-time partner, Walter Zbikowski, through a window at Parkway Pavilion Health and Rehabilitation Center in Enfield.
Cloe Poisson /

Nearly 60 percent of the state’s nursing homes have recorded at least one case of COVID-19 among residents or staff, state officials said Thursday, and plans are being made to test every resident in those facilities after the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

Julianne Varacchi / Connecticut Public

Racial justice advocacy group CT Core – Organize Now! and spoken word artist Salwa Abdussabur are hosting the first Black Haven Film Festival. The live virtual event gets underway Friday.

Courtesy: Purdue Pharma

A federal bankruptcy judge has approved an $8.3 billion settlement between Stamford’s Purdue Pharma and the U.S. Department of Justice. Connecticut is one of the states that brought suit against the drugmaker for its part in the opioid epidemic, and the state’s Attorney General, William Tong, has been outspoken in condemning the DOJ deal.

TYLER RUSSELL / Connecticut Public

Beginning Monday, Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks will add a drive-thru COVID-19 testing site open to travelers and all other community members.

The Connecticut Airport Authority is partnering with Hartford HealthCare to run the site in parking Lot 3 off Schoephoester Road. This will be the health organization’s ninth permanent testing location in the state. 

While her husband Jermaine is in prison, Samaris Smith has been struggling to pay the mortgage and raise five kids in the Bridgeport house the couple purchased last year. “We spent everything we had to get this,” Samaris said. Her hat says “No Days Off.”
Yehyun Kim /

When the stress and anxiety overwhelm her, Samaris Smith kneels at the altar she erected in her home and covers her head with a cloth blessed by her pastor.

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public

On Connecticut Public Radio’s recent election special, departing state GOP Chairman J.R. Romano pointed to the fact that Raytheon -- the parent company of East Hartford-based Pratt & Whitney -- had chosen North Carolina instead of Connecticut to build a new plant. He said that’s evidence that years-long Democratic control of state politics has been devastating to Connecticut’s economy. 

CT Public

Shifting back and forth between in-person and remote learning has been tough, according to Alisha Price. She teaches social studies and literacy at Hallen School in Bridgeport.

CT Child Advocate Report: Adult Prison System Is No Place For Minors

Nov 17, 2020
A window inside a ‘restrictive housing unit’ at Manson Youth Institution in Cheshire.
Courtesy Office of the Child Advocate

The 18-year-old didn’t want to be in jail, he told Department of Correction officials one day in 2019, as he covered the window in his cell with a sheet and mattress. He wanted to be with his family.

He was being held in a “Restrictive Housing Unit” at Manson Youth Institution in Cheshire, confined to his cell for up to 23.5 hours each day. He was upset and wasn’t responding to efforts by prison staff to calm him. Instead, he threatened to hang himself.

Thomas Hart / Wikimedia Commons

Benedict Arnold's reputation as a traitor instead of a skilled warrior and confidante of George Washington, has become accepted history in the minds of Americans living hundreds of years removed from our founding. But that's too simple a story.  

CT Veterans Suicide Rate Rises; VA Monitoring COVID-19's Impact

Nov 16, 2020

In Connecticut, 47 veterans died by suicide in 2018, an increase of 10 from the previous year, newly released statistics show.

The increase reflected a higher suicide rate than in the overall state population. 

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

The holiday season is coming up, but Coronavirus cases are on the rise. This hour, we check in with Governor Ned Lamont. Many of us want to see our families, but is that the best thing to do for our state and our health?

Many of Connecticut's surrounding states have been placed on Connecticut’s travel advisory list. And Connecticut's own positivity rate is rising.

Cybulski Correctional Institution in Enfield.
Connecticut Public Radio

A series of emails recently released in a federal lawsuit make clear Department of Correction officials were aware of the shortcomings in the state’s prison health care system in April 2016, two years before the DOC took over inmate health care from UConn’s Correctional Managed Health Care.

Héctor Valdez / Bou Group

There is still time left to sign-up for this weekend’s Latino and Iberian Film Festival, at Yale.

The festival features films online from countries including Chile, Cuba and the Dominican Republic.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

Officials say two people were killed and three others injured after an explosion at a Veterans Affairs hospital in Connecticut.

Sanofi Pasteur / Creative Commons

The Center on Climate Change and Health at the Yale School of Public Health has just released a report on climate change and health in Connecticut. It comes to some troubling conclusions and makes urgent calls to action. One of the authors of that report is Laura Bozzi, Ph.D. She outlined the report’s findings on Connecticut Public Radio’s All Things Considered.

Nick Lebron

Shootings are up in Hartford in 2020, including what the city’s mayor calls an “unusual and severe” spike into the fall. And while this problem isn’t unique to Hartford, there is a major effort underway to pinpoint the cause of the problem in Connecticut’s capital.

Tim Matson / Pilobolus

Nearly 50 years ago, a group of Dartmouth College students met in a dance class. That chance encounter would later evolve into the world-renowned, Connecticut-based modern dance troupe Pilobolus.

Connecticut Ranks Last In Personal Income Growth Over Past Year

Nov 11, 2020

Connecticut is paying a stiff price for more than a decade of poor growth in high-paying jobs.

Unprecedented federal unemployment assistance pushed personal income nationally up 10 percent amidst the pandemic. But Connecticut — with an economy dominated by retail and hospitality jobs — ranked dead last with only half the national wage growth, according to a new analysis from Pew Charitable Trusts.

Brian A. Pounds / Hearst Connecticut Media

The principle of inclusive economic growth, holistic strategies aimed at helping all income groups prosper, is appealing in concept to state Sen. Saud Anwar, a physician for the past 25 years.

But in practice in Connecticut, it sometimes amounts to offering medicine to an asthmatic child trapped in a moldy, run-down apartment and hoping for the best. Medicine generally is helpful, but if offered within an overwhelmingly negative climate — one that’s unlikely to change — the prospects for measurable improvement are slim.

Ritter's First Move: Scanlon To Become Finance Co-Chair

Nov 10, 2020
Rep. Sean Scanlon, right, and Sen. Matthew Lesser at a press conference outlining a public health insurance option bill in 2019.
Mark Pazniokas /

Rep. Sean Scanlon, D-Guilford, was introduced Tuesday as the new co-chair of the legislature’s Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee as Rep. Matt Ritter, D-Hartford, made his first personnel moves as the incoming speaker of the House of Representatives.

Pratt Street in Hartford remains empty during the lunch rush on November 4, 2020.  At the end is Dish Bar & Grill, one of several Connecticut restaurants permanently closed due to COVID-19.
Tyler Russell / Connecticut Public

Connecticut has reverted to a modified Phase 2 reopening plan after an increase in coronavirus cases. Among the changes, indoor dining at restaurants had to drop back to 50% capacity. They’re also required to close by 10 p.m., which is a change from the governor’s initial order to close at 9:30.