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Connecticut

Students get off a bus on the first day of school in Connecticut. The first few days will be about setting expectations for mask wearing and social distancing according to superindendents.
Ali Oshinskie / Connecticut Public Radio

The academic year is well on it’s way. How are students and teachers in Connecticut adapting to their second semester of online learning? 

This hour, Connecticut Department of Education Commissioner Miguel A. Cardona joins us to answer our questions and yours on the state of Connecticut’s schools. 

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public

Even in a deep blue state like Connecticut, Saturday’s announcement of Joe Biden’s win in the U.S. presidential election was met with a mixture of caution, elation, disappointment and disapproval.

Two opposing camps of people outside the Capitol building in Hartford made that well known as they shouted at each other from opposite sides of Capitol Avenue -- President Donald Trump supporters in front of the gold-domed building and Biden supporters in front of the state Supreme Court. 

With COVID Cases On The Rise, Lamont Limits Private Gatherings To 10 People

Nov 5, 2020
Gov. Ned Lamont outside the Executive Residence.
Mark Pazniokas / CTMirror.org

With increased rates of positive COVID-19 tests in Connecticut, Gov. Ned Lamont on Thursday announced a new restriction on private social gatherings, including holiday celebrations in people’s homes, saying no more than 10 people may congregate at a time.

Mold, Asbestos May Put Connecticut Weatherization Goal Out Of Reach

Nov 4, 2020
Costly removal of mold and asbestos can be a barrier to updating home insulation.
National Institutes of Health

Lorenzo Wyatt owns a Connecticut energy-efficiency contracting business focused almost exclusively on low-income residents — about 80 percent of his customers are eligible for no-cost energy savings services through the state’s residential efficiency programs.

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public

Election Day is finally here. Connecticut Public Radio will bring you election coverage all day, and all night as Americans wait for results.

Coming up, Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise Merrill joins us to answer our questions and yours about voting at the polls today, including where to submit your absentee ballot.

Brad Greenlee / Creative Commons

The Colin McEnroe Show has an Election Day tradition of celebrating voters by inviting "citizen observers" from around the state to share their experience with voting. An ongoing pandemic and tensions stemming from a deeply divided electorate make this a year like no other.

Is Food Bank System Contributing To Health Disparities?

Nov 2, 2020
Volunteer Marsha Royster adds canned beef to bags at the Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen.
Melanie Stengel

The nation’s food bank system, created to provide emergency food assistance, fills a chronic need. Still, it may be perpetuating obesity among those facing hunger, concludes a new report by the University of Connecticut’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity.

Voters in line to cast ballots at New Haven’s Hall of Records during the 2016 election.
Paul Bass / New Haven Independent

Stationing officers near polling locations has been part of the Stonington Police Department’s Election Day routine for as long as Chief Darren Stewart can remember. Police regularly stand outside the town’s five polling stations and direct traffic, manage lines and help people cross the street so they can cast their ballots.

PURA Orders Utilities To Maintain Payment Plans To Delinquent Consumers

Oct 30, 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 / CTMirror.org

State regulators ordered utilities Friday to continue offering payment plans to all consumers, regardless of hardship, through early February.

But the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority declined to extend the blanket moratorium on all shut-offs that Eversource Energy had sought.

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

Health care workers stood along Route 195 out in front of Natchaug Hospital in Mansfield Thursday afternoon as they waved signs and used megaphones to demand better workplace protections during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

CT's Daily COVID Positive Test Rate Surges Past 6 Percent

Oct 29, 2020
Gov. Ned Lamont
Cloe Poisson / CTMirror.org

Connecticut’s daily coronavirus infection test rate soared beyond 6 percent on Thursday — roughly six times the daily rate the state faced all summer and early into the fall.

A somber Gov. Ned Lamont warned residents to brace for the worst, but he opted not to reverse the Oct. 8 easing of restrictions on business activities.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

When Debra O’Neall gets home from her overnight shift at a nursing home in Danbury, she removes her scrubs and jumps in the shower before she does anything else.

Later, she settles in on the sofa, turns on the news, picks up a sketchbook from the coffee table and begins to draw.  

Frankie Graziano / WNPR

The confirmation of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett may be a threat to women’s reproductive rights and health. The first case she is set to hear on Nov. 10 will determine whether the Affordable Care Act continues on. 

In Connecticut, COVID-Related Worker Complaints Are Many, But Feds Punish Few Employers

Oct 27, 2020

Since the coronavirus pandemic began its sweep of the state in March, hundreds of Connecticut workers filed COVID-related complaints with the federal agency tasked with policing health and safety laws.

But so far, only two Connecticut companies have been penalized for COVID-related negligence.

Frank Fontana and his daughter, Liz Marciano, visit Sharon Fontana at Kimberly Hall North in Windsor.
Cloe Poisson / CTMirror.org

When COVID-19 cases shot up in New London this month, Bill White, whose family owns the Beechwood Post-Acute & Transitional Care Center there, began to worry about visitors bringing the disease into the facility.

Federal and state guidelines were changed recently to allow indoor visitations at nursing homes, but the rules don’t require guests to be tested for coronavirus. White worried that would leave his facility vulnerable to an outbreak.

Bob Hebert, a Republican legislative candidate in Ridgefield, talks to a voter outside the GOP headquarters on Main Street in Ridgefield.
Mark Pazniokas / CTMirror.org

Ridgefield — There is no Trump sign in the window at the Republican headquarters here. It’s a storefront across from the Ace hardware store and Deborah Anne’s Sweet Shoppe, a quaint stretch of Main Street with brisk foot traffic. The absent sign is, well, a sign of the times.

AG William Tong: $8.3B Purdue Pharma Settlement Is 'Unacceptable'

Oct 21, 2020
Toby Talbot / Associated Press

In a deal slammed by Connecticut Attorney General William Tong, Stamford-based Purdue Pharma has agreed to plead guilty to three federal criminal charges related to its production and marketing of Oxycontin in an $8.3 billion settlement with the Justice Department.

Tyler Russell / Connecticut Public

The timeline on a COVID-19 vaccine is generally unknown, but whether one is approved this year or the next, Wizdom Powell said it won’t help much if Black residents lack confidence in its safety and effectiveness.

“There’s so many stories of Black folks surrendering their bodies to medical institutions and coming out worse after,” said Powell, who is director of the Health Disparities Institute at UConn Health. 

Sipa via AP Images

With few answers on how and when a COVID-19 vaccine will actually be available, Connecticut has submitted a draft plan to the federal government on how it will execute statewide mass vaccination.

The 77-page document, submitted to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by the Oct. 16 deadline, outlines potential groups of people who would receive priority status for getting doses early on and how the state will coordinate vaccine administration by medical providers. 

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

Connecticut’s secretary of the state is serving notice to anyone planning to hassle voters at the polls in the upcoming general election.

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. 

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public

Jobs at Pratt & Whitney, the jet engine maker headquartered in East Hartford, may soon be cut due to the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on commercial air travel.

Census Ends Effort In Connecticut’s Hardest-To-Count Tracts

Oct 14, 2020
Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz says the decision will hurt cities. At left is Assistant Attorney General Margaret Chapple.
Mark Pazniokas / CTMirror.org

The U.S. Supreme Court decision Tuesday effectively ending the 2020 Census this week comes in what was expected to be the final push in hardest-to-count neighborhoods of Bridgeport, Hartford, New Haven and Waterbury, Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz said Wednesday.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

Krystal Webb recently visited a “State of Connecticut Official Ballot Drop Box” outside Bloomfield Town Hall. Webb is voting absentee for the first time this year.

As Pandemic Grinds On, Domestic Violence Shelters Grapple With Budget Gaps And Growing Needs

Oct 13, 2020
 Carmay Albano glues a paper star she cut out to a larger piece she is making that will be transformed to fabric for the Center for Victims quilt as part of an event to raise awareness of domestic violence, Friday, Oct. 10, 2014, in Pittsburgh
Keith Srakocic / AP Photo

Katherine Verano is wrestling with an 830% increase in costs compared with last year for hoteling victims of domestic violence during the coronavirus pandemic.

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public

State education officials say their information shows that local students aren’t catching COVID-19 in schools; that’s part of their plea to parents to allow their kids to return to the classroom amid the pandemic.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett.
C-Span

Washington – With polls showing strong support for the Affordable Care Act, Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee, including Sen. Richard Blumenthal, used the first day of Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation hearing to characterize the nominee as the most imminent and dangerous threat to the health care law.

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. 

Prisons To Resume Social Visits On Oct. 15

Oct 9, 2020
Cybulski Correctional Institution in Enfield.
WNPR

For the first time since March, friends and families will be allowed to visit Connecticut prison inmates beginning this week. The Department of Correction announced Friday it would open its facilities for non-contact social visits on Oct. 15.

Linnaea Mallette / Need Pix

Although we are in a pandemic, that doesn’t mean we have to miss out on our favorite fall activities. 

This hour, we hear from the Connecticut Historical Society about how Mexican Americans are finding ways to celebrate Día de Muertos this year. 

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