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In Hartford, the goal of city Democrats was to have a new council president by Thanksgiving.  But that time has come and gone and there still is no consensus on who will lead. Most of the time, it doesn't really matter who the president of the Hartford city council is.  Except, of course, when it does -- like last year, when Pedro Segarra went from council president to mayor.  He was filling the seat left vacant by convicted former Mayor Eddie Perez.

A day after a leading national Democrat endorsed her opponent, Susan Bysiewicz says she's happy to play the role of the Washington outsider in her run for U-S Senate.  As WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, Bysiewicz held a conference call to talk about her policy priorities and some political strategy.

In Hartford, Mayor Pedro Segarra ordered an end to the Occupy Hartford encampment just off I-84.  As WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports. Segarra says that reports of violence and drug abuse made the site a threat to public safety.

Flickr Creative Commons, makelessnoise

Have you noticed that nothing is ever quite funny enough?

Last night I was reading a story in the New Yorker and glancing at the cartoons and kind of gasping at how not funny they were. Hey, this is the New Yorker! It's not like there's some place else for all the better cartoons to go.

Governor Dannel Malloy is investigating whether scores of people, including some state employees, defrauded the state when they received emergency aid after Tropical Storm Irene. As WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, Malloy says state workers could be fired or arrested should the allegations prove true.

In Hartford, it's been over a year since former Mayor Eddie Perez was convicted on public corruption charges.  He was sentenced to three years in jail but is free pending his lengthy appeal.  Meanwhile, as WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, the disgraced mayor has just won a payout from the city. Perez had argued through his attorneys that he was owed money for back sick and vacation time.  He also made the case that he was officially working as mayor while he defended himself in court.  

On Wednesday, lawmakers redrew the district lines for the state house and senate. That means some change for the city of Hartford. House Speaker Chris Donovan said Wednesday that, for the first time in 30 years, Windsor will have a house district in which its residents are the majority. That was the good news. The bad news for Hartford, though, is this. The same number of people will be representing the capital city -- but, in all likelihood, one of those representatives won't be from Hartford anymore. Matt Ritter represents the city's West End. He said the census is to blame.

State lawmakers are meeting this hour to try and finalize boundaries for state legislative districts and federal congressional elections. But as WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, there's a midnight deadline, and the question of how to draw the lines for the US House of Representatives is still unresolved. New district lines for state representatives and senators have apparently been agreed upon.  But according to Mark Pazniokas of the Connecticut Mirror, it now appears that the bi-partisan redistricting commission will ask the state Supreme Court for more time to figure out how to draw the state's five congressional districts.

Courtesy of Joe Cahn

I was in the parking area next to Yale Bowl two Saturdays ago as word spread around the clumps of tailgaters that there had been a fatality in one of the lots. Details were sketchy, but everyone seemed to know that people had been hit by a motor vehicle. And for a lot of us, the shadow of that tragedy hung over the whole day. My son was with me, and he has a knack for summing things up. "Imagine dying because you decided to go to a football game," he said sadly.


Last week, Howard Baldwin made a splash when he proposed putting more than $100 million into the XL Center with the goal of bringing an NHL hockey team back to Hartford.  But as WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, a report commissioned by the state in 2006 says that no amount of renovations could retrofit the arena to the standards of the NHL. Baldwin is the chairman and CEO Whaler Sports & Entertainment.  He says that a refurbished XL Center would create 1,500 new jobs a year and boost economic activity in downtown Hartford.  Baldwin wants to update the arena's seating, concessions areas, mechanical systems, and surrounding streetscapes.  And a video promoting his vision says the upgrade... "...provides the economic foundation to enable NESE to pursue a National Hockey League franchise in Hartford."

Flickr Creative Commons,

When I was a kid, my parents fell into the practice of dropping me off at churches they themselves had no intention of attending.

So for a while, in the 1960's, I joined the Universalist Church on Fern Street in West Hartford. I went to services and Sunday school and, somewhere around sixth grade, I joined a Youth Fellowship there.

The Unreliable Eyewitness

Nov 22, 2011
kevin dooley

Every year, more than 75,000 eyewitnesses identify criminal suspects in the U.S., and studies suggest that as many as a third of them are wrong.

Nearly 300 people nationally have been exonerated thanks to DNA evidence, and that number is expected to rise.  Meanwhile, many guilty people have been let to live free.

Today, where we live, Connecticut’s new task force to look at eyewitness testimony and its reliability.

Federal transportation officials have officially committed $275 million for a busway from New Britain to Hartford.  As WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, state officials say construction will begin this Spring. The state says that when the busway opens in 2014, it will be a bus-only stretch of road with 11 stops and service every three to five minutes, carrying an estimated 16,000 passengers a day.  The half-billion dollar project has drawn criticism from those who say it's too costly to those who say it's the wrong transportation plan to begin with.  At a press conference, Governor Dannel Malloy defended the busway as he celebrated it.

#Occupy's Day Of Action

Nov 18, 2011
Chion Wolf

Yesterday’s national “day of action” for Occupy Wall Street was meant to mark the movement’s two-month anniversary...but it also came just after a forceful eviction from the park in lower Manhattan where the protests started.

Chion Wolf/WNPR

More than 100 people chanting and carrying signs marched through downtown Hartford yesterday, calling for jobs, public safety and infrastructure investment, and an end to corporate greed.  As WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, the march was part of a national protest to declare an economic emergency. The culmination of the rally was to be the occupation of a busy onramp to Interstate 84.  On the way there, people from labor groups, community organizations, and the Occupy Hartford movement talked about what brought them out.

Small Business Breakfast: Young Entrepreneurs

Nov 16, 2011
Chion Wolf

We keep hearing that the job prospects for young workers aren't very good. So, what if they start their own businesses? 

Today, we're live from the Oakdale Theater in Wallingford for the last Small Business Breakfast of the year. It's taking place as part of the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce Business Expo.

Chion Wolf Photo

The panel looking into the state's response to two damaging storms this year heard from electricity providers today/yesterday. As WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, the panel want to know what needs to happen to keep the lights on the next time weather strikes. Executives from United Illuminating and Connecticut Light & Power appeared before the panel. Joe McGee is the body's co-chair, and he was particularly interested in two areas of inquiry.  First, he wanted to know whether the prospect of fining utilities could prompt them to do more before a storm approaches. 

Flickr Creative Commons, david_shankbone

New York did not cover itself in glory last night as it used the wee small hours of the morning to play rough with the press and Occupy Wall Street.

Reports are jumbled, but there doesn't seem much doubt that reporters doing their jobs were shoved around and in some cases arrested.

These are not the tactics of a free society.

The Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether it's constitutional to make Americans buy health insurance -- and if not, whether the rest of the health care overhaul can take effect.  The court's announcement means some uncertainty for Connecticut and states across the country.

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.

On Deadline

Nov 9, 2011
thomasbonte, creative commons

Today CL&P faces their final deadline to have everyones power back on. Are you still in the 1%?

Flickr Creative Commons, Steve Snodgrass

Jewett City, a community of 2.5 square miles in southeastern Connecticut, has its own power company, owned by the town. There are seven non-profit companies like this in the state. They're small, which means they can coordinate closely with other branches of government. Heck, they can coordinate with branches on trees.

Still In The Dark

Nov 4, 2011
Chion Wolf

Governor Dannel Malloy deployed the troops six days after the snowstorm that tore down powerlines and left millions of Northeast residents in the dark.

Still, as of this morning, 300 thousand customers are without power in Connecticut - making the state the slowest to respond.  

Some residents in the hardest-hit areas are forming “vigilante” tree crews to clear debris - something that CL&P officials say could be dangerous.  

Chion Wolf

Yesterday, Wolfie and I walked the Wallace Stevens route with our friend the Hartford film-maker Helder Mira and intern Andrew Kufta. We started at the first marker.

A Banking Roundtable

Nov 3, 2011
Chion Wolf

President Obama just unveiled a new plan to help homeowners avoid foreclosure...but what other help is out there?

The state of Connecticut is working to help homeowners as well...sponsoring a mortgage assistance event  on Tuesday November 15.  

Chion Wolf

In the audio embedded here, you'll hear Wednesday afternoon interviews with Gov. Danel P. Malloy, energy and environment commissioner Dan Esty, a vice-president for CL&P, an electrical workers' union official, a key state legislator and a consultant on how utilities can change their infrastructure to make it more storm-resistant.

Patrick Raycraft, The Hartford Courant

You're about to meet Poster Boy, an artist who defaces and rearranges advertising posters so that new messages appear. His work is up at Real Art Ways and we recorded this interview late last week.

Special Session Roundtable

Oct 25, 2011
Chion Wolf

The state legislature is calling a special session tomorrow. It’s a tale of two bills: Jobs and Jackson Labs.

Governor Malloy has unveiled a jobs plan.  It’s focused on small business growth, startup investments for innovative firms, and streamlining the process for business to get things done.  
These are all ideas that the governor and legislative leaders expect to get some level of bi-partisan support.