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Small Business

WNPR’s small business coverage elevates understanding of the challenges faced by small business, educates policy-makers, and highlights the vital role of small business to the state’s economy. 

FEMA launched a mobile vaccine unit at the Beardsley Zoo in March 2021 to bring more COVID-19 vaccines to vulnerable communities. Health care workers administer vaccines.
Tony Spinelli / Connecticut Public

More than 7 in 10 adults over the age of 18 in Connecticut have received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine. And on Monday, the FDA approved the Pfizer vaccine for children age 12-15 under its Emergency Use Authorization. This will expand the pool of residents eligible to be vaccinated to an even younger cohort--starting later this week.

But as more workers come back to in-person offices, can employers mandate the vaccine for workers? This hour, we talk to an employment law expert.

First, we hear from Connecticut's Acting Public Health Commissioner Deidre Gifford about the state's vaccine program and more. What questions do you have?

Russell Shaw Higgs / Flickr

Universal Basic Income, a program popularized --by presidential candidate Andrew Yang, might be coming to a Connecticut city. 

Ken Teegardin / Wikimedia Commons

Ever wonder why you were required to learn algebra, but not how to balance a checkbook and file your taxes? Although personal finance and accounting are offered as an elective in many high schools, they're not often required for graduation.

TOONMAN_blchin / Wikipedia

The art of tattooing has been traced back 7,000 years. While the significance or reason behind the oldest-known tattoos are total speculation, we do know that often, they were applied as sacred rites, and awarded as a signifier of adulthood. In Ancient Egypt, it’s likely they were used as a means of safeguarding women during pregnancy and birth.

Rod Cornish
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

This month, the CUTLINE series on Connecticut Public Television looks at the many ways small, independently owned retail businesses in Connecticut survived the downturn caused by COVID-19.

There is no doubt that small businesses were hit hard by the pandemic. According to the U.S Census Bureau’s Small Business Pulse Survey, 34% of small business owners in Connecticut say the pandemic has had a “large negative effect” on their business -- that’s about 4% higher than the national average.

Photo by Victoria Will, illustration by John Gibson

Hear about the 5000 year history of billboards, and meet the man behind the “I LOVE YOU JESUS” billboards on I-84 and I-91 here in Connecticut.  And hear about a technology that focuses the audio of a billboard directly to you and only you.  Plus, why one Baltimore resident chose to propose to his girlfriend with a billboard (and how it went).

Guy Walker Wolf III died on February 13th, 2021. He was 77 years old.

There are many ways to describe Guy, but I’d say we who knew him would all agree that he could be described as the captain of his own ship. And he was my stepfather. I’ve known him since I was 11.

Throughout the process of his death at home, I was compelled by the people who were a part of guiding us through it.

So today, I’m gonna introduce you to the people who helped Guy die, and who helped us celebrate him. From the hospice workers who came to the house, to the funeral home director, to the cantor who sang at his mass.

You’ll meet his wife, my mom, and hear about how she made the choices she did, and how it feels to be a new widow. And at the end of the show, you’ll hear a little something from Guy.

Roman Eugeniusz / Wikimedia Commons

With the ongoing pandemic, what do municipalities need to do to stay afloat?  This hour, we look at neighborhoods and towns in Connecticut working to keep their residents connected and businesses thriving during this pandemic. We hear from residents in Westville, a small thriving community in New Haven. We also hear from New London - a city looking to revitalize and create more resiliency. 

Minority Businesses: Wounded By COVID, But Key To Inclusive Revival

Dec 7, 2020
Tia Woods makes a breakfast during her night shift. She now has a mentor helping  her learn how to improve her business when she opens online. “What can I do better to make sure that my business doesn’t close again?” Woods asked herself.
Yehyun Kim / CTMirror.org

Tia Woods had been the coordinator of a dance program. It closed but left her with space in East Hartford. She had a business idea: Woods, who is Black, knew many minority artisans needed space to show and sell their products.

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

Restaurants are among the small businesses that are struggling. And even though the state hasn’t shut down many sectors this COVID wave, some small businesses are considering whether to close for good.

This hour, we talk with David Lehman, the Commissioner of the state Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD).

Shoppers at the 2019 holiday market. The Women's Business Development Council decided to support local businesses and protect shoppers by taking the event virtual this year.
Contributed photo

Last year’s holiday market in downtown Stamford was a big success. The Women’s Business Development Council, which sponsors the market, planned to invite more of the women-owned businesses it supports year-round for 2020, but rising COVID-19 numbers make that impossible.

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Holiday shoppers now have an alternative to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It’s called “Artists Sunday,” a new nationwide marketing initiative that encourages shoppers to take advantage of deep discounts on arts and crafts created by local artists.

Pratt Street in Hartford remains empty during the lunch rush on November 4, 2020.  At the end is Dish Bar & Grill, one of several Connecticut restaurants permanently closed due to COVID-19.
Tyler Russell / Connecticut Public

Connecticut has reverted to a modified Phase 2 reopening plan after an increase in coronavirus cases. Among the changes, indoor dining at restaurants had to drop back to 50% capacity. They’re also required to close by 10 p.m., which is a change from the governor’s initial order to close at 9:30. 

Patricia Corrales Tangarife works the hot bar at Antojitos Colombianos at El Mercado Marketplace in Hartford. Antojitos Colombianos is one of the many small businesses in Connecticut who have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

Small businesses and nonprofits across Connecticut could receive a one-time $5,000 grant starting Nov. 9. 

SGT. ASHLEY N. SOKOLOV / U.S. Air Force

The pandemic has caused major disruptions for workers' careers, but the latest numbers show women have been hit particularly hard.

Women, and especially women of color, are bearing some of the largest economic impacts of the pandemic, from facing higher rates of unemployment to holding the majority of frontline essential jobs.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

Antonio Lopez drives his Mexican Food Truck every morning from Holyoke to Hartford, where he has been selling food for three years on the corner of Putnam and Park streets. But customer traffic has been scarce, and he says a second wave of the coronavirus could put him out of business.

Sgt. Ashley N. Sokolov / U.S. Air Force

This is part of a series of shows from Where We Live about the future of work after the COVID-19 pandemic.

The pandemic has caused major disruptions for workers' careers, but the latest numbers show women have been hit particularly hard.

Women, and especially women of color, are bearing some of the largest economic impacts of the pandemic, from facing higher rates of unemployment to holding the majority of frontline essential jobs.

This hour: how will COVID-19 worsen gender inequality in the workplace?

We talk about how societal expectations around child care duties affect parents’ careers especially when schools have been closed.

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.

barbershop haircut
Harriet Jones / Connecticut Public Radio

This story has been updated.

Cat Thibodeau opened the doors of Modern Barber and Shave Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. -- as she had consistently advertised on social media. 

And the line of at least six customers on her porch in Pawcatuck seemed to validate that decision.

“I’m feeling really good,” Thibodeau said. “I’m feeling excited to see my customers after a two-month hiatus, and catch up.”

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.

Gov. Ned Lamont.
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

Connecticut’s continuing decline in the number of daily hospitalizations, as well as an uptick in testing capabilities, has both state officials and federal health experts confident that Wednesday’s reopening will be successful.

The Draft Choice sports bar New London
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

It’s been about 2½ weeks since the federal government made a second wave of Paycheck Protection Program funding available to small businesses that promise to keep their employees on the payroll. But there is growing concern that the program is failing to serve minority-owned businesses. To learn more about the issue in this state, Connecticut Public Radio’s John Henry Smith spoke with state Sen. Douglas McCrory on All Things Considered.

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

What will Connecticut’s reopening look like?  The anticipated day is just a couple weeks away on May 20. In the lead up, the Governor’s administration has released a set of rules for businesses that will be allowed to reopen, including restaurants and hair salons.

This hour, Governor Ned Lamont calls in to talk about the rules businesses will have to follow. We ask: is May 20 a firm date? What other conditions will need to be met before Connecticut reopens?

And later, we talk with Dr. Charles Lee of Jackson Labs in Farmington, Connecticut. How have research institutions in our state pivoted to fight the pandemic?

Cottonbro / Pexels.com

Branimir Balogović / Pexels.com

You remember what the mother of Mr. Rogers said: Always look for the helpers.

Turns out, they're everywhere. Sometimes they're livestreaming themselves doing great work on social media, sometimes they're in a photo, smiling behind a mask as part of a group of volunteers (spaced six feet apart, of course), and sometimes you never even know they're there.

Dallas / Flickr Creative Commons

Dr. Saud Anwar, demonstrating a successful simulation to ventilate 7 patients with one ventilator using the quad splitter
Courtesy of Saud Anwar

As Connecticut approaches its peak in hospitalizations and COVID-19 cases, health systems continue to prepare so they can keep patients alive.

Connecticut State Senator and intensive care doctor, Saud Anwar worries ventilator capacities may soon become overstretched. So he reached out to friends in the design and manufacturing communities to create a novel solution. This hour, we hear more from Dr. Anwar as we talk about innovation during this public health crisis.  

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

Last month, the Connecticut Department of Labor received more than 300,000 unemployment claims. Last week, Governor Ned Lamont announced the formation of a multi-state council to get people back to work and restore the economy.

This hour, we’re speaking with Governor Lamont to understand just what this means. What will easing COVID-19 restrictions look like?

Later, we will hear from the Connecticut Department of Labor Deputy Commissioner Daryle Dudzinski on how those claims are being processed. 

We want to hear from you. What questions do you have for Governor Lamont, and Commissioner Daryle Dudzinski?

Lamont, Northeast Governors Promise To Cautiously Ease COVID-19 Restrictions

Apr 13, 2020
Hospital staff thank local fire, police, and EMS.
Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

The Democratic governors of a half dozen northeastern states outlined a regional approach Monday to devising a plan for the careful easing of COVID-19 restrictions, warning  that changes will come slowly and be guided by public health experts, not politicians or business interests.

Lars Klintwall Malmqvist / Wikipedia

I’ve been a producer here at Connecticut Public since 2007, and since then, our team that’s reported on some really difficult times. And now? We’re all trying to make sense of this unprecedented era of Covid-19.

After we all started working from home, I kept seeing these painful stories of layoffs and panic. But there were also stories about the Helpers who are trying to make sense of all this, who are trying to ease the pain.

That’s who you’ll hear from on this show. Every week, you’ll hear from people who are struggling in the chaos of this virus, people who are helping get us through each day, and, because they have a much needed perspective, you’ll hear from children.

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