Insurance
5:13 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

State Officials Pleased With Affordable Care Act Enrollment Numbers

Jim Wadleigh, executive director of Access Health CT.
Credit Twitter

This is the second year of open enrollment in the Affordable Care Act. The state said it has nearly exceeded its goals. 

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Freedom
4:25 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Alan Gross, U.S. Contractor Freed By Cuba, Says 'It's Good To Be Home'

Alan Gross addresses a news conference in Washington on Wednesday hours after his release from Cuba.
Gary Cameron Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 2:56 pm

American Alan Gross, who spent five years in a Cuban prison before his release today as a humanitarian gesture, said "it's good to be home," and that he hoped the U.S. and Cuba move past their "mutually belligerent" policies.

"Two wrongs never made a right," Gross said in Washington shortly after he returned to the U.S. aboard a government plane.

Gross appeared frail but cheerful. Some of his front teeth were missing.

Gross thanked President Obama and his national security team for working toward his freedom.

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Infrastructure Investment
4:01 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Gov. Malloy Pledges Transportation Focus in Second Term

Gov. Dannel Malloy speaking at a Middlesex Chamber of Commerce event.
Credit CT-N

Governor Dannel Malloy said he'll turn the focus onto solving Connecticut's transportation challenges in his second term.

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Entertainment
3:39 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Sony Cancels Christmas Day Release Of 'The Interview' Amid Threats

A sign posted Wednesday on the box office window at the Sunshine Cinema in New York. The New York premiere of The Interview, a Sony Pictures comedy about the assassination of North Korean President Kim Jong Un, has been canceled.
Andrew Kelly Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 5:56 pm

Updated at 5:10 p.m. ET

Sony Pictures has canceled the Christmas Day release of The Interview, the comedy that centers on a plot to assassinate North Korea's leader. The move came after the largest U.S. movie theater chains said they won't screen the film in the wake of threats against them by a group that also allegedly hacked Sony's internal documents.

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Natural Gas
2:47 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

New York State to Ban Fracking Over Health Concerns

From left, Dr. Howard Zucker, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio at an October meeting.
Kevin P. Coughlin Office of Governor Cuomo

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's administration announced on Wednesday that it will ban hydraulic fracturing in the state, following a long-awaited health impact study.

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Diplomacy
12:25 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Obama Unveils 'New Approach' On Cuba As Former Foes Chart New Course

President Obama announced Wednesday that the U.S. will work with Cuba to normalize diplomatic ties.
Doug Mills UPI /Landov

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 2:41 pm

Updated at 2:39 p.m. ET

President Obama announced today the most significant change in U.S. policy toward Cuba in more than 50 years, paving the way for the normalization of relations and the opening of a U.S. Embassy in Havana.

Obama said "we will end an outdated approach that for decades has failed to advance our interests and instead we will begin to normalize relations between our two countries."

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Jazz Corridor
11:19 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Blues Legend Spotlights Young Saxophonist’s Soulful Side at Collinsville’s Bridge Street Live

Grace Kelly

If you’re looking for a house-rocking, soul-drenched, exuberantly emotional concert, the place to be is Collinsville’s Bridge Street Live on Thursday, December 18, as blues master James Montgomery and his super blues band jam with the skyrocketing, young jazz saxophonist Grace Kelly in a funk-filled funfest.

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Metro-North
9:01 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Engineer Files Lawsuit Over Train Derailment

A 2013 Metro-North train derailment in Bridgeport injured 65 commuters.
Credit NTSB

A second Metro-North engineer has filed a federal negligence lawsuit against the railroad as a result of the May 2013 derailment in Bridgeport that injured dozens of people. 

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Massachusetts
8:24 am
Wed December 17, 2014

A Closing Conversation With Gov. Deval Patrick

Gov. Deval Patrick with WBUR's Bob Oakes (left). (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 10:48 am

With only a few weeks now remaining now in Gov. Deval Patrick’s administration, WBUR’s Bob Oakes sat down with the outgoing Massachusetts governor for the last time in his executive office on Beacon Hill.

The conversation began with a look back to Patrick’s first inaugural address in 2007. In that speech, Patrick spoke of lifting up the poor and stabilizing the middle class.

Listen above to Gov. Patrick’s full conversation on WBUR’s Morning Edition.

Interview Highlights

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New York
8:20 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Former New York Governor George Pataki 'Very Seriously' Considering Presidential Run

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 8:06 am

Former New York Gov. George Pataki says he is "very seriously" considering a run for the White House.

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Massachusetts
8:20 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Springfield City Council Sets New Property Tax Rates

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 12:10 pm

New property tax rates have been set in Springfield, Massachusetts.  For the first time in many years, the rates for both homeowners and business property owners have been reduced, as property values continue to recover from the Great Recession

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Congress
1:45 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Senate OKs Judicial Nominees, Tax Extensions Before Republican Takeover

Senator Harry Reid of Nev. on Tuesday, walks to one of his final meetings as the Senate Majority Leader. In January, Republicans take over the majority.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 4:27 am

In what The Associated Press called a "final flurry of accomplishment" Tuesday night, lawmakers were able to push through a bill that extended a package of tax breaks, which had expired at the end of 2013, and confirmed 12 more judicial nominees. NPR's Ailsa Chang reported the confirmations also marked a big accomplishment for the Obama administration.

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Hospitals
5:56 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Waterbury Hospital CEO Calls on Gov. Malloy to Help Salvage Tenet Deal

Darlene Stromstad, CEO of Waterbury Hospital.
Credit fosters.com

Five hospitals in Connecticut are contemplating their next steps after Texas-based Tenet Healthcare withdrew a bid to buy the hospitals last week.

The CEO of one of the biggest hospitals in the failed deal said they're now looking to Hartford for help. 

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Labor
4:29 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Metro-North Gets Record Fine in Retaliation Case

A Metro-North car.
Susan Sermoneta Creative Commons

The U.S. Labor Department has ordered the Metro-North Railroad to pay a record fine for taking disciplinary action against an employee who reported getting injured on the job. 

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Rhode Island
3:58 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Rhode Island Governor-Elect Taps Stefan Pryor as First Commerce Secretary

Stefan Pryor in a WNPR file photo.
Chion Wolf WNPR

Rhode Island's governor-elect Gina Raimondo has picked Connecticut Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor, a fellow Yale alum with experience leading economic-development efforts in New York and New Jersey, as her choice to be Rhode Island's first commerce secretary.

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Pennsylvania
3:02 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Suspect In Shooting Spree Near Philadelphia Has Been Found Dead

Police cordon off a wooded area during the search for suspect Bradley William Stone in Pennsburg, Pa., Tuesday.
Matt Rourke AP

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 5:12 pm

Bradley Stone, who police say went on a shooting rampage that killed six people in Montgomery County, Pa., has been found dead. Police had been looking for Stone, 35, for more than 24 hours; they found his body today.

Member station WHYY passes along this update from the Bucks County District Attorney's office:

"Authorities have confirmed that suspected mass killer Bradley Stone is dead, his body found in the woods near his Pennsburg home."

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State Parks
11:59 am
Tue December 16, 2014

Architect Seeks Ideas for Waterford's Seaside

Victor Solanoy Creative Commons

Around 100 people attended a meeting in Waterford on Monday night to discuss ideas for a proposed new state park. 

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Environmental Law
11:57 am
Tue December 16, 2014

Strengthening Connecticut Environmental Law to Target First-Time Offenders

The state is inspecting gas stations more frequently, leading to more frequent environmental violations.
John Phelan Creative Commons

Should state regulators be more aggressive in punishing first time violators of environmental law? That's a question the Council on Environmental Quality hopes lawmakers wrestle with in the upcoming legislative session. 

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Pakistan
10:30 am
Tue December 16, 2014

Taliban Gunmen Storm School, Kill Dozens In Pakistan

A Pakistani girl, who was injured in a Taliban attack on a school, is rushed to a hospital in Peshawar, Pakistan, on Tuesday.
Mohammad Sajjad AP

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 2:21 pm

(This post was last updated at 2:07 p.m. ET.)

Taliban militants stormed a school in northwest Pakistan on Tuesday, leaving scores of students dead.

Quoting Pakistani officials, multiple media outlets say the death toll is at least 140, including at least 80 students in grades 1 through 10.

A little before 8 p.m. local time, police announced that the operation had ended after the gunmen were killed. Security personnel, police official Abdullah Khan told the AFP, were now in the process of sweeping the rest of the building.

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Spotlight on the Arts
9:47 am
Tue December 16, 2014

Watch: Inside the Creative Process With Pilobolus

"On The Nature of Things" by Pilobolus Dance Theater.
Robert Whitman

Regarded as one of the most imaginative and athletic dance companies on the planet, Pilobolus thrives on taking audiences where the rest of the dance world dares not.

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Australia
9:39 am
Tue December 16, 2014

Thousands Lay Flowers At The Site Of Hostage Siege In Sydney

Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his wife, Margie, pay their respects at the Martin Place memorial site on Tuesday in Sydney, Australia.
Jennifer Polixenni Brankin Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 10:32 am

A day after a hostage siege left two people plus a gunman dead, Australians left thousands of bouquets of flowers at a makeshift shrine.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports:

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Union Hire
9:25 am
Tue December 16, 2014

Chris Donovan Heads for Union Post

Chris Donovan in a WNPR file photo.
Chion Wolf WNPR

Former House Speaker Chris Donovan has a new job. CT News Junkie reports Donovan will take up a position with the Connecticut Education Association. 

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Podcasts
8:35 am
Tue December 16, 2014

Next Time, on Serial...One Bad Haircut

Eva. Sadie. Next time, on Serial...
Credit Jeff Cohen

As the inaugural season of Serial comes to an end, speculation about the second season heats up. What will the story be about? Will it be another crime mystery?

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Olympics
8:14 am
Tue December 16, 2014

U.S. Olympic Committee To Hear Boston 2024 Bid

After Tuesday's meeting, Boston could be one step closer to landing the Olympics. (Charlie Riedel/AP)

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 8:14 am

Picture the Olympic flame at night, reflecting off Boston Harbor. Picture rowers slicing up the Charles River, the sun warming the russet roofs of Harvard behind them.

That imagery may be part of the presentation Tuesday, as representatives from Boston try to persuade the United States Olympic Committee, or USOC, to choose Boston over three other U.S. cities for consideration for the 2024 Summer Games.

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Manufacturing
6:27 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Massachusetts Announces Funds To Train Machinists

Mass. secretary for Housing and Economic Development is seen touring a state-funded training center for machinists at Springfield Technical Community College

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 6:36 pm

The Patrick administration today announced more funding to help strengthen the advanced manufacturing industry in Massachusetts.

       Massachusetts will distribute $1.5 million to be shared by five regional workforce development agencies across the state to help recruit and train 280 unemployed or underemployed people for careers in precision manufacturing.    A vocational high school in western Massachusetts will get $400,000 to equip its machine shop with state of the art equipment.         

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Bushmaster
5:31 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Newtown Lawsuit Aims to Hold Gun Makers, Sellers Responsible

A Bushmaster rifle was found in a Sandy Hook elementary school classroom after Adam Lanza's attack.
Credit State of Connecticut

An injured teacher and the families of nine others who were killed in Newtown in 2012 are planning to file suit against the gun industry. 

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Topline
3:12 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Americans Love Local Business, But Do They Spend Accordingly?

Mark Hillary Creative Commons

It’s the holiday season, meaning it’s time for Americans to hit the stores for Christmas sales and New Year's bargains. This November and December, millions of shoppers will peruse the aisles of big-box stores and chain retailers, hoping to find the coolest gifts and lowest prices.

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Photography
2:57 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Watch: Connecticut Photographer Explains 19th-Century Tintypes

A tintype photograph of John Dankosky.
Chion Wolf WNPR

In the age of Snapchat and Instagram, smartphones and tablets, it’s almost impossible to imagine a time when horses carted around darkrooms, and photo portraits took several hours, rather than a few minutes or seconds.

But such a time existed. And one Connecticut photographer is set on bringing it back. 

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State Parks
2:53 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

State Seeks Ideas for Waterford's Seaside

Seaside sits on prime coastal land.
Artondra Hall Creative Commons

The team that will work to develop a new state park at the former Seaside Regional Center in Waterford will be introduced on Monday evening.

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Wake of Newtown
2:45 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Newtown Families to Continue Congressional Lobbying

U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, and U.S. Representative Elizabeth Esty, whose district includes Newtown, marked the second anniversary of the Sandy Hook tragedy with a promise to continue to push for gun safety legislation.

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