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Drivers will soon be banned from using any hand-held devices, like cellphones, while behind the wheel.

Gov. Charlie Baker signed the bill into law Monday, bringing Massachusetts in line with the other five New England states with bans in place.

Baker said the law will help significantly to end distracted driving in Massachusetts.

“Operators driving a car should not be holding a phone to text, check social media or email,” he said. “When a driver on an electronic device hits something or someone, that’s not an accident. It’s a crash that was avoidable.”

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U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) joined the Connecticut Public Interest Research Group and staff from the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center to announce the 2019 “Trouble in Toyland” report this week. The annual list focuses on toys that pose a danger to children -- things like choking hazards, toxins, toys that are so loud they could damage a child’s hearing and recalled toys still on the market.

This is the 34th annual report. Petra Favorite, a campus organizer for ConnPIRG, says that over the years the report has made children safer.

JJBers / Creative Commons

Anyone who’s spent time outdoors in Connecticut has probably come across a dam or two. The state is home to more than 4,000 dams, a dozen of which were spotlighted in a recent national dam safety investigation by The Associated Press.

This hour, we take an in-depth look at this investigation. What do its findings tell us about the integrity of the nation’s dam infrastructure? And how are states like Connecticut working to address dam safety? 

Ublester Rodriguez could not have anticipated that his life would be profoundly changed by kitchen and bathroom countertops.

He says that he grew up poor, in a small Mexican town, and came to the United States when he was 14. He spoke no English, but he immediately got a job.

"In the beginning I was working in a Chinese restaurant, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. It was all day, so I never had time to go to school," he recalls. "I was a dishwasher."

Yuichi Kosio / Creative Commons

Ralph Nader's niece died when Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 max 8 jet crashed in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, in March 2019.  Since that day, her family has been trying to prove that Boeing put profits before public safety when they failed to ground the plane when they recognized the danger it posed. 

If you often hit that midafternoon slump and feel drowsy at your desk, you're not alone. The number of working Americans who get less than seven hours of sleep a night is on the rise.

And the people hardest hit when it comes to sleep deprivation are those we depend on the most for our health and safety: police and health care workers, along with those in the transportation field, such as truck drivers.

Dying For A Photo

Sep 12, 2019
Sam Hawley / CreativeCommons.org

A photo of people inching their way up a snaking line to the peak of Mount Everest last month has drawn attention to a number of problems, one of which was the jostling at the top of the mountain to take social media-ready selfies and photos.

Ryan Lindsay / Connecticut Public Radio

Following multiple fatal shootings in Hartford last week, Mothers United Against Violence is holding a series of vigils to honor the victims. They've been organized to give the community an opportunity to grieve, come together and be encouraged.

Patrick Skahill / Connecticut Public Radio

Since a drowning accident took the life of their 21-month-old son in 1989, Stew and Kim Leonard have worked to raise awareness about the importance of water safety — bringing their message to a West Hartford pool Friday morning.

Dying For A Photo

Jun 26, 2019
Sam Hawley / Creative Commons

A photo of people inching their way up a snaking line to the peak of Mount Everest last month has drawn attention to a number of problems, one of which was the jostling at the top of the mountain to take social media-ready selfies and photos. 

Allen Allen / Creative Commons

The American criminal justice system has become less 'just' over recent decades and prosecutors bear much of the responsibility.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

The intentional burning of New Haven's Diyanet Mosque during Ramadan prompted community members of all faiths to gather at the site for a vigil Thursday night. The mosque went up in flames on Sunday afternoon, sending waves of concern, anger, and heartbreak throughout the community.

Ryan Lindsay / Connecticut Public Radio

The Hartford Police Department has begun rolling out body cams to its officers to use on a daily basis. Using a combination of state grant money and funding from the city, the department purchased 325 cameras. The cameras, supporting equipment, and some cloud storage space came from Axon, a company that started out making tasers in the 1990s. Since the launch of its pilot program in February, officers have recorded more than 12,000 videos with the body-worn cameras.

Wikipedia

Reality TV shows like the Discovery Channel's Doomsday Bunkers and National Geographic Channel's Doomsday Preppers perpetuate a stereotype of "preppers" that omits the wide swath of people who engage in preparedness in a less extreme and more varied way.

Boeing knew that there was a problem with one of the safety features on its 737 Max planes back in 2017 – well before the Lion Air crash in October 2018 and the Ethiopian Airlines crash in March. But it did not disclose the issue to airlines or safety regulators until after the Lion Air plane crashed off the Indonesian coast, killing all 189 aboard.

Wikipedia / Creative Commons

Do you rush to the store to buy food before a snowstorm? Do you buy flashlights and a generator in case the power goes out? Do you insure your home, your car, your health against catastrophe?

Antonia Ayers-Brown / Connecticut Public Radio

Near a fleet of glossy parked vehicles in a Wallingford Toyota showroom, Fredina Mendez sits in the corner at a manicure table. Her job is to offer manicures to people waiting for their cars to be serviced. She thinks it’s a great customer service idea, but it’s not her dream job. 

Sage Ross / Flickr

Connecticut-based consumer rights advocate Ralph Nader lost his grand-niece in the recent crash of a Boeing 737 Max jet in Ethiopia. Now he’s gunning for the planemaker and federal safety regulators who allowed the aircraft to be certified. 

Neena Satija

Senator Richard Blumenthal has condemned Metro-North and many other railroads for failing to implement Positive Train Control safety technology. Only four of more than 40 railroads have installed the technology which can control train speeds and prevent collisions and derailments in the event of human error. 

August Pelliccio / The Southern News, Southern Connecticut State University

David Hogg survived the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in February and on Tuesday night, he spoke to an audience at Southern Connecticut State University as a part of the university's Social Justice Month. It’s one of many speaking engagements he’s done since the Parkland, Florida mass shooting and part of a new lifestyle Hogg's adjusting to.

Wikimedia Commons

Massive wildfires are devastating California, with dozens dead and hundreds of thousands of residents evacuated. This hour we talk with author and environmental journalist Michael Kodas about why wildfires today are so much larger and more destructive than ever before. Do you have family or friends who’ve been affected by blazes across the west?

The emergency personnel were shown points of entry so that they could reach passengers in a manner that's quick but safe. That included a demonstration of how to use fire axes to get into the train.
Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

Hartford firefighters and other area first responders went through a simulation of a head-on train collision Saturday.

Max Pixel

A four-year old boy died Thursday in West Haven after being left in a hot car. The victim’s two year old brother who was also in the vehicle, was taken to hospital but survived. The vehicle was parked outside an apartment complex in town, but the exact circumstances of the death aren’t yet clear, and police say the incident is still being investigated.

Betsy Kaplan / WNPR

In 1955, Connecticut experienced catastrophic flooding that killed more than eighty people. Two back-to-back hurricanes  - Connie and Diane - dropped over two feet of rain across Connecticut. The rains overwhelmed the Naugatuck, Farmington, and Quinebaug Rivers and their tributaries too quickly for many to escape its wrath. After the flood, Connecticut enacted flood control measures that led to several new dams. 

Paolo Zialcita / Connecticut Public Radio

After several years of limited budgets and reduced lifeguard staff, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection secured funding for state park operations, which will be used to hire full lifeguard crews.

Max Pixel / Creative Commons

Listen on Tuesday at 9:00 am.

Black children are three times more likely to drown in the United States than white children. This hour, we learn the history behind this deadly disparity.

Jeff Wiltse

African American children are more likely to drown in swimming pools than white American children. Jeff Wiltse, Professor of History at the University of Montana and author of Contested Waters: A Social History of Swimming Pools in America, has researched how this shocking statistic in racial disparity is rooted in America’s discriminatory past at public swimming pools.

Wiltse recently spoke with Connecticut Public Radio’s Lucy Nalpathanchil about how this problem still divides across America’s racial lines, how African Americans suffered the most, and how the disparity will separate class lines in the future.

Max Pixel / Creative Commons

Black children are three times more likely to drown in the United States than white children. This hour, we learn the history behind this deadly disparity.

CAS-CIAC

Connecticut’s Dr. Karissa Niehoff has been named the executive director of America’s ruling body of high school sports and activities, the National Federation of State High School Association. She’ll be the first-ever woman to lead the organization.

It’s a simple plan: Run. Hide. Fight.

That's what the Department of Homeland Security advises people to do when there’s an active shooter. Police departments also use this method when training school employees, students, and increasingly, aspiring teachers.

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