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Industrial Farming Outweighs Willpower In Obesity Crisis, Experts Say

Sep 8, 2020
Sandy Flores of City Seed puts away a bag of $1 tokens at the close of the Wooster Farmers Market. Snap recipients can scan their EBT cards and receive two dollars in tokens for each dollar to spend at the market.
Melanie Stengel / C-HIT

Industrial-scale farming and food processing are greater factors in rising obesity numbers in Connecticut and worldwide than individual behavior, scientists say.

The San Marino Ristorante Italiano restaurant in Waterbury has brought back about half of its business, but La Bella Vista banquet hall, about 5 miles away, has struggled with indoor gathering capacity limits.
Ali Oshinskie / Connecticut Public Radio

Tony D’Elia owns San Marino Ristorante Italiano and La Bella Vista in Waterbury. One’s a restaurant, one’s a banquet hall. And he's among the many restaurant owners pushing to increase the capacity of indoor and outdoor dining in the state.

Hotel du Vin & Bistro / flickr creative commons

Historian Christine Sismondo says that "America, as we know it, was born in a bar."

Taverns were where the Boston Tea Party was planned. They were where court cases were carried out, where land was bought and sold, where immigrants came to congregate.

Over the centuries since, bars have fostered so much social change. And today, they're where we go to meet people, to catch the game, to talk about our problems, to relax.

First And Last Tavern
Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public

First came the return of outdoor dining at Connecticut restaurants, and now the state is allowing indoor dining.

It’s part of Phase 2 of the state’s reopening from what was essentially an economic shutdown due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Oakville Restaurant Surviving Pandemic Debut

Jun 16, 2020
Olivia Hickey / Connecticut Public Radio

While many restaurants worried about keeping their doors open during the coronavirus pandemic, one Oakville restaurant was opening its doors for the first time. 

Jonathan McNicol / Connecticut Public Radio

No one likes a cloudy sky. A cloud on the horizon is seen as a harbinger of doom. We feel like clouds need to have silver linings.

But here's our thesis: Clouds are unfairly maligned.

Consider this: From almost any vantage point (literally -- any vantage point in the universe), clouds are planet Earth's defining characteristic.

They're what changes, what moves. They're what's going on on our pale blue dot.

coronavirus empty supermarket shelves
Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

More than 30,000 suddenly unemployed Connecticut residents became SNAP beneficiaries in the months since the coronavirus pandemic began in March. Now they and the more than 350,000 other SNAP recipients statewide can use their benefits online to order groceries from ShopRite, Walmart and Amazon.

Ali Warshavsky / Connecticut Public Radio

Right now, the state of Connecticut says restaurants could be allowed to resume indoor service on June 20. But some restaurant owners are pushing for inside dining as soon as this week.

Wonderval / pixabay.com

Last week marked the beginning of a phased reopening of Connecticut. Several businesses are permitted to reopen under Phase 1 of Connecticut’s reopening, including restaurants that are able to open for outdoor dining. This hour, we hear how restaurants have fared through the shutdown, and what reopening looks like. 

A group of friends hang out at Hammonasset Beach State Park Friday to kick off the Memorial Day weekend.
Cloe Poisson / CTMirror.org

Connecticut State Parks filled with visitors under sunny skies Sunday after rain showers and clouds began the long Memorial Day weekend the day before. Restaurants across Connecticut welcomed diners outdoors during the first weekend since the state eased some COVID-19 restrictions.

COVID-19 Update: Connecticut DOT Gives A Boost To Outdoor Dining

May 23, 2020
Daniel Morrison / Flickr/Creative Commons

With rain and chilly temperatures, it wasn’t a good day for al fresco dining. But Gov. Ned Lamont announced Saturday the issuance of the first-of-its kind state permit: Mystic Pizza was granted permission to use a state highway right-of-way for outdoor dining.

Illustrative amendment by Chion Wolf
John William Waterhouse (1902) / Wikipedia

May 20th was the long-awaited date in Connecticut when the first phase of reopening began after the Coronavirus caused life as we know it to be put on hold. Offices and malls were allowerd to open with precautions; restaurants, museums and zoos could open outdoor areas as well.

The Country Diner
Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public

Restaurants returned to serving dining customers Wednesday as part of phase one of Connecticut’s COVID-19 reopening plan.

In Enfield, “reopening day” marked the return of The Country Diner, a spot that’s been closed for the past two months.

Food Safety Nets Are Straining Under Economic Meltdown

May 18, 2020
Weeks into the pandemic, people wait outside of the 164 Wilson Food Pantry for their numbers to be called to receive food. The pantry is part of the Wilson Memorial Church of God in Christ, Stamford.
Melanie Stengel / Connecticut Health I-Team

Beyond the gleaming office towers overlooking I-95 in Stamford and the pleasure boats that frequent the city’s marinas, thousands of city residents are struggling with hunger, a situation worsened by the pandemic.   

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit that alleged Ben & Jerry's Homemade Inc. misleads consumers with claims that its farms protect the environment and keep their cows contented.

foodshare
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

As Connecticut’s death toll continues to climb and the number of COVID-19-related hospitalizations continues to decline, Gov. Ned Lamont is calling for volunteers -- to help children and adults with intellectual disabilities and help get groceries and meals to senior citizens.

As Jobless Rate Soars, State Sets Rules For Reopening Businesses

May 8, 2020
closed barber shop
Cloe Poisson / CT Mirror

Retailers, hair cutters, offices and other businesses shuttered in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic are about to get detailed guidance on changes they must make before reopening on May 20, the first steps towards what state officials warned Friday would be a slow economic recovery.

Davis Dunavin / WSHU

Connecticut Commissioner of Agriculture Bryan Hurlburt says local food banks are competing for supplies the same way states were in a bidding war for medical equipment.

“Just like we saw with the PPE, each organization is trying to outbid the other for additional food, and that can’t be the solution.”

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

Thousands lined up to collect food donations at Rentschler Field in East Hartford last week. Foodshare started the drive-through food bank on Monday and decided to extend the program for two more weeks due to an “overwhelming response” from the community. 

Dallas / Flickr Creative Commons

grocery store supermarket
Joe Amon / Connecticut Public Radio

Grocery store workers want help from the state to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in their workplaces.

They’re asking the governor to label them ‘front line workers’, a move that would help them blunt the impact of the coronavirus.

Travis Wise / flickr creative commons

I haven't been grocery shopping in 21 days. The last time I went, March 26, was a harrowing experience.

It was before this particular grocery store, at least, had started limiting the number of customers in the building at a time, before it had made aisles one-way, before it started wiping down carts after each use and providing sanitizing wipes for customers to use.

Staff and customers alike didn't seem to understand just how far six feet is, and the aisles were too narrow to afford that sort of distancing anyway. Fresh meats were in short supply, cleaning products were nowhere to be found, and canned and frozen foods were few and far between.

And so I haven't been back.

coronavirus aid program
Courtesy: Raven Blake

For some vulnerable people who need food and resources during the coronavirus pandemic, the solution has come through support from within their own community. A mutual aid network, spearheaded by the racial justice organization CTCORE, has created a way to get food and resources directly to people in need through word-of-mouth and an online form.

Brian Crawford / Creative Commons

Restaurants around the country have closed their doors to in-dining service to help slow the spread of Coronavirus and prevent unnecessary deaths. That's good news.

But it's also bad news for an industry that employs 160,000 people in Connecticut alone, many laid off and waiting for their unemployment application to be processed by our overwhelmed state system.

A lot of restaurants are offering creative ways to have some fun with takeout. But most restaurants can't live on takeout alone, even if their closure helps us live.

restaurants close coronavirus
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

As Connecticut’s food and drink industry implements new rules and regulations to mitigate the spread of coronavirus, many are finding creative ways to stay in business.

school closing coronavirus
Joe Amon/Connecticut Public/NENC

COVID-19 school closures mean uncertainty for students who usually rely on the lunch period for a guaranteed meal.

avery soda coronavirus
Olivia Hickey / Connecticut Public Radio

Avery’s soda factory in New Britain is known for creating special limited edition sodas based on national events. They’ve poked fun at everything from presidential elections to the government shutdown -- and now the coronavirus. 

The Office of the Lieutenant Governor of Connecticut

Experts in the local maple syrup industry are concerned that mild winter weather could lead to a drop in production.

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

A line of people bundled in thick coats, scarves and gloves formed along the outer edges of a small parking lot earlier this month at Elm Ridge Park in Rocky Hill.

Despite the cold and drizzly weather, residents waited with empty grocery bags, shopping carts, baskets and boxes as volunteers from Foodshare, the Greater Hartford region’s food bank, set up tables with fresh vegetables, fruits, meat and poultry.

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

The Trump administration has made a ruling that critics say will force many Americans into hunger.

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