Connecticut and California Groups Unite to End Social Isolation in Schools

No One Eats Alone Day aims to enable students to help each other and form their own connections without adult interference.
BeyondDifferences.org

Laura Talmus experienced that most unthinkable of events for a parent. Her daughter, Lili, died in her sleep after only 15 years of life. Her death was due to complications with a cranial facial syndrome, but her mother, Laura, said that while Lili was alive, she also suffered from an often-unnoticed affliction: social isolation.

“When Lili passed away, it was a group of her peers who came up to me and said that they had really not realized that by leaving Lili out from a lot of the social structure of middle school, but particularly at lunch, they felt terrible and they wanted to know what they could do,” Talmus said.

So Talmus and Lili's classmates got together and went to other middle schools to see if students noticed anyone eating alone or without friends. The response, she said, was overwhelming.

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Journalism
9:56 am
Thu January 29, 2015

Connecticut Woman's Libel Claims Dismissed in Federal Appeals Court

A New York ceremonial courtroom.
Credit Douglas Palmer / Creative Commons

A New York federal appeals court has rejected a Connecticut woman's claims that media outlets libeled her by refusing to delete stories about her arrest after charges were dismissed.

The ruling by the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals pertained to the August 2010 arrest of Lorraine Martin. The court said her arrest's deletion from legal records doesn't make news accounts of the arrest false or misleading.

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Confirmation Hearing
9:04 am
Thu January 29, 2015

Loretta Lynch Pledges Tough Enforcement on White Collar Crime

Nominee for attorney general, Loretta Lynch, was questioned during a confirmation hearing about her stance on white collar crime.
Douglas Plamer/Flickr

Although the headlines focused on immigration and marijuana, President Obama’s nominee for attorney general has also pledged to get tough on white collar crime, and corporate malfeasance. 

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Commuter Rail
8:05 am
Thu January 29, 2015

Good News, Bad News for Metro-North

Metro-North was praised for its handling of winter storm service, and criticized for another derailment.
WalkingGeek Flickr Creative Commons

Metro-North received something this week that it's not used to: praise. The commuter rail line was commended by transportation advocates for its handling of this week's snow storm and getting passengers to their destination before the storm hit.

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January Nor'easter
8:01 am
Thu January 29, 2015

Connecticut May Pursue Disaster Declaration Over Storm

Mystic's Amtrak station was deserted with no train service Tuesday.
Harriet Jones WNPR

Connecticut may apply for a federal disaster declaration for the towns most heavily affected by Tuesday’s blizzard, but Governor Dannel Malloy has said he’s not sure whether it will succeed.

Malloy visited Stonington in the far southeastern corner of the state Wednesday to see the cleanup efforts for himself. Like many towns in Eastern Connecticut, Stonington was clobbered with more than two feet of snow and heavy gusting winds. 

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Metcalf on Music
8:00 am
Thu January 29, 2015

Older Than That Now: Dylan Sings Frank

Bob Dylan performs in Hamburg in 1984.
Heinrich Klaffs Creative Commons

As near as I can determine, Frank Sinatra never sang a Bob Dylan tune. No lush Gordon Jenkins arrangement of “I Want You”; no swinging, finger-snapping treatment of “Sad-Eyed Lady”; no symphonic Nelson Riddle big-band rethinking of “Masters of War.”

As of Tuesday, February 3, however, the reverse will not be true. That’s the day Dylan’s new album, Shadows in the Night, is due to be released. The album is just ten tunes, and all of them are standards that Sinatra recorded, and in some cases made famous.

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Sequester Reversal
6:24 am
Thu January 29, 2015

Obama's Budget Would Undo Broad, Automatic Cuts Made In 2013

President Obama speaks to the media after the automatic budget cuts associated with the sequester took effect in March 2013.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 9:07 am

When President Obama meets with House Democrats tonight during their retreat in Philadelphia, officials say he'll lay out the details of his budget proposal, which will include reversal of large cuts to federal spending instituted in 2013.

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Historical Accuracy
1:39 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Congressman Joe Courtney Turns Glaring Mistake in "Lincoln" Into a Teachable Moment

"Lincoln" screenwriter Tony Kushner incorrectly portrayed 2 of Connecticut's 4 congressmen as voting against the 13th amendment.

One hundred fifty years ago this Saturday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the 13th amendment to the Constitution, which abolished slavery. To commemorate, Connecticut's Second District Congressman Joe Courtney has issued a resource guide for students that details Connecticut's part in passing the amendment. The guide also corrects a glaring mistake in Steven Spielberg's 2013 movie "Lincoln."

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State Budget
12:50 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Gov. Malloy Makes Budget Cuts After Inconclusive Lunch Date

Governor Dannel Malloy in a WNPR file photo.
Chion Wolf WNPR

Last week, Governor Dannel P. Malloy announced cuts to social services and health care in his second round of emergency rescissions to cut down the state budget deficit.

Malloy’s office projected a $121 million deficit last week. On Monday, the non-partisan Office of Fiscal Analysis estimated the deficit is closer to $202 million.

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Springfield
12:42 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Bishop Calls Plan on Cathedral High School’s Future Optimistic, But No Decision Yet

Bishop Mitchell Rozanski of the Springfield Catholic Diocese speaking on plan addressing Cathedral High School's future.
Kari Njiiri NEPR

The head of the Springfield Catholic Diocese says a plan addressing the future of the tornado-damaged Cathedral High School has been worked out. But Bishop Mitchell Rozanski is refusing to say what that is…for now.

Rozanski says a workshop this past weekend involving parents, alumni, and faculty produced a plan he calls both optimistic and realistic. But the bishop says he now needs do his homework and due diligence, and won’t announce his decision until mid-February.

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Mexico
9:59 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Mexico Officially Declares 43 Missing Students Dead

A relative holding a picture of one of the missing students, wipes a tear from her face during a press conference in Mexico, City.
Eduardo Verdugo AP

Mexico's attorney general made it official last night: The 43 college students who went missing last fall are dead.

That's the conclusion they've reached based on confessions of the alleged perpetrators and forensic evidence.

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Winter Storm
9:56 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Uncertain Science of Weather Forecasting Impacts Connecticut Municipalities

This week's blizzard is captured from satellite imagery near peak intensity around 1:45 am on Tuesday, January 27.
NASA/NOAA

With meteorologists predicting the latest storm would bring 15 to 30 inches of snow across Connecticut, cities and towns prepared for the worst. But the latest storm brought a mixed bag.

Eastern Connecticut was clobbered, while western parts of the state were not hit nearly as hard as expected.

Speaking on WNPR’s Where We Live, Mayor Mark Boughton said the forecasters who predicted two feet of snow in Danbury got it wrong, and that means that people may not believe him when the next storm heads our way.

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Jazz Corridor
9:18 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Elm City’s Gift to Jazz World Celebrates at Big Apple’s Village Vanguard

Wayne Escoffery moved from London to New Haven, Connecitcut and is currently in pursuit of his musical aspirations in New York City.
Gulnara Khamatova wayneescofferymusic.com

Tenor saxophonist Wayne Escoffery, one of the best and the brightest of New Haven’s major contributions to the international jazz scene, hopes that his many friends and fans in Connecticut will show up to help him celebrate several major milestones in his life and career as he leads his new band in a six-night stint from February 3 to February 8 at the Village Vanguard.

Along with the sheer joy of playing once again at the Vanguard, a jazz shrine located in Greenwich Village, Escoffery, a formidable saxophonist, composer, bandleader and consummate sideman, is celebrating his 40th birthday on every one of those nights in the venerable venue.

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Winter Storm
7:11 am
Wed January 28, 2015

As Nor'Easter Lifts, Life Slowly Gets Back To Normal In Hard-Hit Areas

Students play football at the Quad, on the campus of Harvard University on Tuesday in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Maddie Meyer Getty Images

A day after a monstrous winter storm spun its way across the Northeast, life is slowly getting back to normal.

Some residents of Massachusetts are digging out of almost 3 feet of snow. The AP reports that a travel ban has been lifted and Boston's highways are filling up with traffic.

Still, the AP adds:

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Biocontainment
5:16 am
Wed January 28, 2015

A New Way to Contain GMOs in the Lab, and Maybe One Day, in the World

Researchers tested their biocontaiment idea with E. coli, a bacteria used in pharmecuticals.
Wikimedia Commons

Yale researchers have developed a new way to biologically contain genetically modified organisms, a finding that could have future impacts in agriculture and medicine.

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Waze
3:36 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Officers Ask Map App To Remove Police Tracking

Waze's police reporting tool is one of several features in the app. Users can also share reports of traffic and construction in real time.
Courtesy of Waze

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 6:50 pm

Waze, the popular navigation app boasting more than 50 million users worldwide, has a new critic: police officers. Over the past few weeks, law enforcement officials have been urging the app and its owner, Google, to disable a feature that allows users to report when they've spotted a police officer, in real time, for all other Waze users to see.

Sergio Kopelev, a reserve sheriff in Orange County, Calif., is one of the law enforcement officials behind the push to remove Waze's police tracker. He says he first discovered the feature through his family.

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January Nor'easter
2:28 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Photos: Eastern Connecticut Digs Out

Downtown Mystic saw almost two feet of snow.
Harriet Jones WNPR

Eastern Connecticut got the brunt of the storm Monday night into Tuesday, with some areas recording two feet of snow by early morning.

Snow continued to fall through the day, and forecasters said the region could expect up to nine more inches before the storm moves on.

But the power remained on, and most people were cheerful as they began to dig out.

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Rhode Island
2:15 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Rhode Island Starts Digging Out Of The Blizzard

A snow blower clears off a side walk in downtown Providence Wednesday morning
John Bender RIPR

Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 9:14 am

Residents across the state are digging out of the blizzard that dumped more than two feet on parts of the state. Gov. Gina Raimondo lifted the state’s travel ban last night. She thanked Rhode Islanders for staying off the roads. There was a fire in Providence and a handful of accidents, but no major injuries from the storm.

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Blizzard Conditions
2:02 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Storm Comes to Gradual End; Gov. Malloy Lifts Statewide Travel Ban

Snow-covered cars in a Vernon parking lot Tuesday morning.
Tucker Ives WNPR

Blizzard warnings eased early Tuesday for parts of Connecticut, but central and eastern parts of the state saw continuing snowfall and strong winds through midday. By noon, most counties were downgraded to a winter storm warning as a powerful nor'easter made its way across the state.

A statewide travel ban lifted in Connecticut at 2:00 pm. Local roads were opened in Litchfield and Fairfield Counties early Tuesday morning, but Governor Dannel Malloy asked residents to wait before getting on the roads if possible. State bus service will resume Wednesday, and state employees return to work in the morning.

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Homelessness
1:17 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

State Activates Plan During Storm to Protect the Homeless

Credit Heather Brandon / WNPR

Before this winter storm, the state activated its severe cold weather protocol. It’s an effort to make sure no resident is without shelter during a weather emergency.

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Voice and Verse
1:14 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

A Poem in Honor of #Blizzard2015

Anthony Quintano Creative Commons

Calling in to WNPR's Where We Live on Tuesday, Michael from Middletown shared a poem he wrote in honor of Blizzard 2015. 

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School Closings
12:49 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Got a Snow Day? Varied Approaches to School Closings in Connecticut Towns

Water Street in Stonington during Tuesday's storm.
Harriet Jones WNPR

Approaches to getting information and making decisions for Connecticut school closings vary widely among the state's towns. For some school districts, it’s almost like a science. 

Take Torrington, for example. The district pays about $3,000 a year to a weather alert service in Burlington for daily weather updates and for consulting services. This helps officials determine if and when to close school due to bad weather.

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Connecticut Business Briefs
10:04 am
Tue January 27, 2015

Utility Workers Question Repair Strategy

Credit Harriet Jones / WNPR

Widespread power outages haven’t yet hit the state as it continues to weather a massive nor'easter, but utility linemen said the state’s power companies have less capacity to deal with problems than they had four years ago. 

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Mail Service
8:15 am
Tue January 27, 2015

Postal Service Suspends Mail Service in Connecticut and Nearby States

Kate Ter Haar Creative Commons

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night? Not exactly. The U.S. Postal Service said it won't be delivering mail to a large swath of the northeast. 

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Blizzard
7:20 am
Tue January 27, 2015

Amtrak Service Suspended in Connecticut

The snow isn't as bad as expected in western Connecticut, but rail service is still suspended.
Credit MTA Metro-North Railroad

Amtrak says it's suspending service north of New York and reducing its schedule for trains operating south of New York due to the massive winter storm.

Northeast Regional and Acela Express services are operating on a reduced schedule between New York and Washington. The Keystone Service between New York and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, also is reduced. 

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Snowstorm
6:53 am
Tue January 27, 2015

Winter Blizzard Skirts New York City, But Still Walloping Northeast

A woman cross country skis on snow-covered roads during a winter blizzard in Boston, Mass. Tuesday.
Brian Snyder Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 4:04 pm

First the good news: Forecasts of a historic winter storm for the country's most populous city have failed to materialize.

Forecasters had called for up to 30 inches of snow in New York City, but as a new day dawned, meteorologists had downgraded the system to a winter storm from a blizzard and tempered their forecasts, saying when it was all done, the city would have about 12 inches of snow on the ground.

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Blizzard Conditions
5:20 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Gov. Malloy Declares State of Emergency, Statewide Travel Ban

Gov. Dannel Malloy meets with officials in the state Emergency Operations Center Monday morning.
Office of Dannel Malloy

Governor Dannel Malloy is asking residents to prepare for a significant snowstorm impacting Connecticut Monday evening through Tuesday. He declared a state of emergency, opened the Emergency Operations Center, and issued a travel ban on state highways as of 9:00 pm Monday.

Malloy said Bradley International Airport is closing to passengers at 7:00 pm Monday night. He said the last Metro-North train would leave Grand Central Station in New York City at 9:00 pm.

"Although storms can be unpredictable, this storm has the potential to have a significant impact on the state and we need to be prepared," Malloy said. "Just as the state is monitoring and preparing, the public should do the same."

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Boston
4:41 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Accused Bomber's Lawyers Say Boston Jury Pool Is Too Biased

A memorial at the site of the first explosion in the Boston Marathon bombing. Defense attorneys say too many people in the potential jury pool have some kind of personal connection to the case.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 11:02 am

The search for jurors in the case of accused Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is taking longer than expected.

Defense attorneys say it's nearly impossible to find open-minded, unbiased jurors around Boston. They're asking yet again for the judge to move the trial somewhere else.

From the beginning, defense attorneys have argued the entire jury pool has been poisoned by what they call "a narrative of guilt" from a "tidal wave" of media coverage. Now, Tsarnaev's lawyers say jurors' own comments on a court questionnaire prove widespread bias.

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Music
3:50 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Carnegie Hall Live: The Chicago Symphony Plays A Colorful Concert

Riccardo Muti leading the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Todd Rosenberg Courtesy of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Originally published on Mon January 26, 2015 2:59 pm

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra arrives at Carnegie Hall with a program that portrays choppy waters and changing tides, opening with Mendelssohn's Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage Overture followed by Debussy's La mer.

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Storrs
3:31 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

UConn Cancels Classes in Advance of Winter Storm

UConn students may find some extra time for sledding on Horsebarn Hill on Tuesday.
Christine Creative Commons

The University of Connecticut announced plans to close on Monday afternoon in advance of the winter storm.

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Snowball
12:56 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Snow Cancels Everything, Except Hartford's City Council Meeting

A meeting in city council chambers in a WNPR file photo.
Jeff Cohen WNPR

The governor has declared a state of emergency. Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra has declared a snow emergency. City schools let out at noon, and most city employees were dismissed then, too. There's a parking ban in effect. Even Winterfest at Bushnell Park is closing early.

But Monday night's Hartford city council meeting must go on. 

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