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New England

UConn Chesterfield Field School / UConn

When you think of early Jewish life in America, you usually think of immigrants who settled in urban centers like the Lower East Side of New York and in Baltimore. But archaeologists and historians are abuzz about recent findings at an excavation site in rural Connecticut.

Old Chesterfield is home to the remains of a 19th century Jewish farming community. There is a synagogue and, surprisingly, a ritual bath called a 'mikveh', which is rarely seen outside of cities.

The Story of Malaga Island, Maine

Feb 20, 2013
Photo montage by Kate Philbrick, 2009.

The state of Maine has never been considered a “diverse” place - the population of blacks has always been less than one percent. And as you can imagine, this minority group hasn’t always been treated well. Today we'll talk to a radio producer who dug into the history of one very small mixed race community - 45 adults and children  - who lived on Malaga Island in Southern Maine, after the Civil War to the turn of the 20th century. 

Welcome To The Great State Of New England!

Jan 16, 2013
Toronto Public Library

Our beloved New England. Scenic coastline...lobster pots and clam shacks...Green Mountains, White Mountains...a long river valley filled with Yankees who take their long winters as a point of pride...history,’s all right here.

So, here’ sa question...what if New England wasn’t a collection of tiny, picture-postcard colonies...but one, giant state? One whose economic and political power would put us in a league with New York, Texas and Florida?

Diane Orson

Gun violence survivors and consumer advocates gathered at a  Wal-Mart store near Newtown Tuesday. They’re calling on the nation’s largest gun retailer to end assault weapon sales.

Nearly 300,000 Wal-Mart customers have signed an online petition urging the retail giant to stop selling assault weapons and munitions.

About sixty people met to deliver the petition to the Wal-Mart in Danbury, a few miles away from the site of the December massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Among the crowd were survivors of gun violence.

WalkingGeek (Flickr Creative Commons)

New England is experiencing its first big winter storm of the season and while it is a mostly wintry mix for southern New England, it's dumping a lot of snow up north. That's a headache for commuters, but for ski areas, snow means skiers and snowboarders.

Joining us by phone is the owner of New Hartford, Connecticut's Ski Sundown Bob Switzgable. Switzgable said that while opening on December 26 is later than usual, it's not the first time it's happened.

Steve Zind (VPR)

It’s been one year since Hurricane Irene tore up the Eastern Seaboard, finally hitting Connecticut as a Tropical Storm. While the damage and power outages in this state were substantial, the impact was nothing like that in Vermont, where heavy rains flooded creeks and streams, blocking roads for days and washing away buildings across the state. As Steve Zind of Vermont Public Radio reports, the recovery effort is ongoing. But it’s not just about rebuilding…it’s also planning for future storms. 

Taking a Ride Down the Connecticut River

Sep 5, 2012
Bongaboo, Creative Commons

It flows from the upper reaches of New Hampshire through the heart of New England...and winds its way through our state - twisting, turning, sometimes flooding, and eventually emptying into Long Island Sound.

The 410-mile-long Connecticut River was recently designated America’s first National Blueway.

The Great River

Jul 27, 2012
The Connecticut Historical Society, Gift of Dr. W. J. Russell

Highway. Barrier. Resource. Sewer. Each of these names has been used to describe the Connecticut River in the almost four centuries since Europeans first settled along its banks.  This prominent feature of the state’s physical landscape also provides a reference point for our sense of place (e.g. “east of the river” or “the lower valley”) in a land where local identity still exerts a powerful influence.

Yankee Magazine

Apr 17, 2012
eric/flickr creative commons

It's time to get in the car and enjoy New England. And so we offer a one-year subscription to Yankee magazine, filled with great things to see and do every month.

Owners of illegal exotic pets had a "no-questions-asked" opportunity to surrender their animals to state environmental officials this weekend. WNPR's Patrick Skahill has more on the DEEP's "Animal Amnesty Day"

That hissing is from a nine-foot long Burmese python. It was one of seven exotic and illegal pets surrendered at the Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport on Saturday.

A Tradition of Craft

Mar 29, 2012

The newest exhibition at the Connecticut Historical Society brings together craftspeople from across the country, from New England, New York, and Pennsylvania to as far away as Missouri, New Mexico, and California. A Tradition of Craft: Current Works by the Society of American Period Furniture Makers features selected furniture created by today’s members of SAPFM displayed alongside authentic 18th- and 19th-century furniture from the CHS collection. It’s a unique opportunity to admire the skill and passion of woodworkers from both the past and the present.

The New England Klan

Mar 29, 2012
Martin (Arete13 on Flickr Creative Commons)

Many Americans know the history of the KKK in the South but there is A Little Known History of Discrimination in New England: The Ku Klux Klan Attacks on Franco-Americans in the first half of the 20th century -  that's the name of a presentation that will be given by Eileen Angelini. She's a professor of French at Canisius College and was named a recipient of a 2010-2011 Canada-U.S. Fulbright Award as a Visiting Research Chair in Globalization and Cultural Studies at McMaster University.

After three days of intense pressure over its decision to end funding to Planned Parenthood, the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation has changed its mind. But as WNPR’s Neena Satija reports, the reversal won’t affect Connecticut all that much in the short term.

Beginning this June, Planned Parenthood will lose hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding from a national foundation committed to the prevention and treatment of breast cancer. The foundation says that’s because Planned Parenthood is the subject of a Congressional inquiry. WNPR’s Neena Satija reports on how that will affect the services it provides here in Connecticut.

Winter Wonderlands

Dec 23, 2011

The Canadian-born printmaker Kerr Eby is best known for his depictions of combat during World War I and World War II.  He is one of a very few artists who served during both conflicts.  Less well-known but equally impressive are Eby’s stark and lovely landscapes of Connecticut in the winter.

Poverty in the Suburbs

Nov 15, 2011
Chion Wolf

By the end of  2010, over 15 percent of the nation’s population lived below the federal poverty line— that's just over $22 thousand dollars for a family of four.

Over a ten-year span, the US saw the poor population grow by 12.3 million, driving the total number of Americans in poverty to a historic high of 46.2 million.

...and the number of those poor people living in the suburbs increased by 25%. New research from the Brookings Institute explores how poverty is shifting from inner cities to the suburbs.

Vermont to Connecticut Tourists: We're Open for Business

Sep 22, 2011
Nancy Eve Cohen

Vermont is a big tourist destination for people in Connecticut who enjoy the outdoors.  As the foliage season begins Vermont’s Office of Tourism says most of the state has recovered from Tropical Storm Irene and is "open for business". WNPR’s Nancy Cohen reports.

Nancy Eve Cohen

About three weeks after Irene hit people in some areas of Vermont have been living without phone service, impassable roads and a scarred landscape.  WNPR’s Nancy Cohen reports some Vermont residents are worn out physically and emotionally.

The Rock River in South Newfane flows through the back yard of Maureen Albert-Piascik. She says when Irene hit the river started to crest and she evacuated.

"it just went up so fast. The river was just so high the next thing I knew my house was surrounded by water." 

Flooding Causes Sewage To Overflow

Sep 8, 2011
Nancy Eve Cohen

Heavy rains today have brought some flooding in urban areas across Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. WNPR’s Nancy Cohen reports in a few places the sewage system has been affected.

In Connecticut the ground is saturated and there’s still a lot of debris left over from Tropical Storm Irene, clogging up storm drains. That means there aren’t a lot of places for storm water to go. Dennis Greci with Connecticut’s environmental agency says in some cases flooded streets have drained into the sewage system and overflowed.

Nancy Eve Cohen

In Connecticut losing power has been a big problem post Irene. In Vermont people have had a hard time getting around. About 65 roads are closed there and dozens of bridges are out . WNPR’s Nancy Cohen took a road trip in the southern part of the state and found some people are still stuck at home.

On route 112 in Halifax a stretch of road is missing. The asphalt has caved into the North River. A guard rail  is under water.  But  despite the conditions Brianna Inman is heading northwest to Whitingham

Vermont Town Devastated By Irene Is Moving Forward

Aug 31, 2011
Nancy Eve Cohen

In Wilmington Vermont the town is picking up after  the devastating floods of Tropical Storm Irene.  WNPR’s Nancy Cohen reports.

Just outside of the village center the remains of an antique shop sit on the side of the road. Only the roof is left.

"It came all the way from around that corner about a quarter of a mile."

Steve Amidon and his crew from  Furlon Construction are taking the building apart.

“Oh this one’s pretty heavy! Just cleaning up the mess! That’s all we’ve been doing since the water went down.”

Nancy Eve Cohen

Although some people may have found Irene’s punch to be weaker than they had expected, others say it was more than enough. WNPR’s Nancy Cohen reports on evacuations on the Westfield River in western Massachusetts.

About midday, officials in Chester heard of a possible breach at a dam upstream of town That was enough to evacuate about 50 people there who lived close to the Westfield River.  Further downstream, in Huntington and in Westfield more were evacuated.

Chion Wolf

A new study reports on the economic impact of shifting from gasoline --- to fuels with lower carbon emissions. WNPR’s Nancy Cohen reports the study focused on 11 Northeast and mid-Atlantic states

So Few Smelt

Apr 11, 2011
Flickr Creative Commons, John Loo

Migrating fish just a half-foot long once flooded coastal rivers of the northeast every spring. In recent decades, rainbow smelt populations have been declining every year, and are fading to a dim memory in many places. But not in Down East Maine. As part of a collaboration with Northeast stations, Murray Carpenter reports that elsewhere in the region, scientists are trying to bring them back.