Difficult Operations
8:12 am
Sat November 15, 2014

Comet Lander, Firefighters Execute Dazzling Feats Above The Earth

Onlookers take cell phone pictures of stranded window washers hanging from scaffolding on the side of One World Trade Center.
Timothy A. Clary AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat November 15, 2014 10:21 am

Everyone has days in which we wonder if much of anything works. Websites crash. Screens blink, go blank, or taunt: I'm sorry. Try later. We have an unusually high volume of calls. Download to update. Click here if you've forgotten your password.

But for a couple of hours on an afternoon this week, people got glimpses of excellence.

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Middle East
7:49 am
Sat November 15, 2014

At A Tense Jerusalem Holy Site, Palestinians Stand Watch

Palestinian men shout slogans next to Israeli police as they await permission to enter what Jews call the Temple Mount and Muslims call the Nobel Sanctuary, on Nov. 5, in Jerusalem, Israel. On Friday, Israel dropped age restrictions on men attending Friday prayers, a move aimed at lowering tensions around access to the contested shrine.
Lior Mizrahi Getty Images

Originally published on Sat November 15, 2014 4:09 pm

Muslims call it the Noble Sanctuary. Jews call it the Temple Mount. On the contested hilltop that has been the focus of so much of the unrest in Jerusalem, Muslims who see themselves as "defenders" of the sanctuary raise their voices in a call to God whenever Jewish visitors enter.

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Health Insurance
6:49 am
Sat November 15, 2014

They Paid How Much? How Negotiated Deals Hide Health Care's Cost

Sal Morales found an Obamacare health plan this year that costs him $145 per month — versus the $560 he'd been paying.
Courtesy of The Miami Herald

Originally published on Mon November 17, 2014 1:43 pm

As Americans begin shopping again for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act on Saturday, they'll be wrestling with premiums, deductibles, out-of-pocket costs and other vague and confusing insurance-speak.

Believe it or not, that's the easy part compared with figuring out what health care actually costs.

Sal Morales of Miami bought insurance in March during the ACA's first enrollment period on the HealthCare.gov website.

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Demographic Shifts
3:38 pm
Fri November 14, 2014

College-Educated Young May Be Squeezing Connecticut's Urban Housing

Hartford, Connecticut.
Wonderlane Creative Commons

The number of college-educated people aged 25 to 34 moving to U.S. city centers has surged, up 37 percent since 2000, even while those cities’ populations have shrunk slightly, according to a report from economist Joe Cortright at City Observatory, a think tank based in Portland, Oregon.

The Hartford metro area saw a 25 percent increase of educated young adults living within three miles of its city center between 2000 and 2010, according to the think tank.

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Wake of Newtown
3:25 pm
Fri November 14, 2014

Newtown Families Address State Commission

Nelba Marquze-Greene addresses the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission on Friday in Newtown.
CT-N

Governor Malloy's Sandy Hook Advisory Commission met in Newtown on Friday. The panel heard from three parents of children killed in the Newtown tragedy, who offered a host of policy recommendations based on their experiences over the last 23 months since the massacre. 

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State Senate Dilemma
2:39 pm
Fri November 14, 2014

Kevin Rennie, Rob Simmons at Odds Over State Sen. Andrew Maynard's Benefits

Columnist Kevin Rennie in a WNPR file photo.
Chion Wolf WNPR

Republican columnist Kevin Rennie took issue with one of his own in his latest Hartford Courant column, scolding former Congressman Rob Simmons for suggesting that the injured Andrew Maynard be awarded a pension and health benefits should he be incapable of serving the term to which he’s just been elected.

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Sub Base
1:38 pm
Fri November 14, 2014

Man Charged in Confrontation at Groton Navy Base

Credit Sean Phillips / U.S. Navy

Investigators say a man involved in a shooting at a gate outside the Navy's submarine base in Connecticut lunged at one police officer with a knife and then stabbed another in the thigh before an officer opened fire.

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Science Fashion
1:32 pm
Fri November 14, 2014

'Shirtstorm' Leads To Apology From European Space Scientist

Scientist Matt Taylor, left, said "I made a big mistake" by wearing a shirt featuring scantily clad women. Taylor spoke at Friday's update by the European Space Agency on the Philae lander.
ESA

Originally published on Fri November 14, 2014 1:38 pm

The European Space Agency's Rosetta mission made history this week by putting a lander on a comet. But at the same time, one of its leading scientists drew wide criticism for wearing a shirt featuring lingerie-clad women – a decision for which he apologized Friday.

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Food Waste
1:01 pm
Fri November 14, 2014

Massachusetts DEP Commissioner To View Red Lion Inn's Composting Process

Originally published on Thu November 13, 2014 4:14 pm

With America Recycles Day Saturday, Massachusetts environmental officials are celebrating the Commonwealth’s new commercial food waste ban – the first statewide ban in the nation. The state’s Commissioner of Environmental Protection will visit the Red Lion Inn to see how the renowned hotel is shipping its food waste to a nearby farm.

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Pentagon
11:49 am
Fri November 14, 2014

Hagel Announces Billions In Upgrades To Nuclear Program

A Minuteman III missile engine is loaded into a truck for transport to another building for X-raying before being torn down and rebuilt. The Air Force's missile command-and-control structure has been the subject of several recent scandals.
Douglas C. Pizac AP

Originally published on Sat November 15, 2014 1:25 pm

Updated at 10:25 a.m. ET

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said today that the Pentagon is aiming to invest about 10 percent more over the next five years to upgrade the nation's nuclear deterrent, following reviews that uncovered "systemic problems" in the system.

Hagel said the U.S. was "probably looking at a 10 percent increase" in spending, according to Reuters, which said internal and external reviews have made some 100 recommendations on improving the nuclear forces.

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State Budget
11:24 am
Fri November 14, 2014

Gov. Malloy Budget Chief Sticks to No Tax Hike Pledge

Ben Barnes, Gov. Malloy's secretary of the Office of Policy and Management.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy's budget chief says he plans to adhere to his boss's campaign promise not to raise taxes in Connecticut's new two-year state budget.

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Philae
9:59 am
Fri November 14, 2014

Comet Lander Deploys Drill, But Could Lose Power Tonight

Engineers at the European Space Agency fear that they won't be able to communicate with the Philae lander after Friday. Here, lander manager Stefan Ulamec (left, in foreground) watches as data confirming the comet landing arrived Wednesday.
European Space Agency

Originally published on Fri November 14, 2014 12:38 pm

Philae, the lander currently on comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, may not be able to perform its extended mission — scientists at the European Space Agency worry that the probe may have landed in a spot too shadowy for solar panels to recharge its batteries. The ESA says it may not be able to contact the craft after Friday night.

Worries over the robotic lander's power supply prompted engineers to take the risky step of activating its drill, an operation that had been shelved out of fears that it would sap the remaining charge.

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Middlefield
9:15 am
Fri November 14, 2014

Making Music Together: The Eastern Connecticut Recorder Society

The Eastern Connecticut Recorder Society practices together in Middlefield.
Diane Orson WNPR

Amateur musicians have loved playing music since the word was first derived from the Latin - ‘amare’ – meaning ‘to love’.  Once a month in Connecticut,  a group of amateur recorder players meet to improve their technique and sight-read skills, and to enjoy the experience of making music.

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Education
8:25 am
Fri November 14, 2014

Granby School Principal Who Made Slasher Movies Resigns

Granby Memorial Middle School, where Mark Foley resigned as principal.
Credit Granby Public Schools

A Connecticut middle school principal has resigned amid questions about his role in making violent movies featuring scantily clad women. 

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School Performance
7:52 am
Fri November 14, 2014

A Botched Study Raises Bigger Questions

John Ayers, executive director of the Cowen Institute for Public Education Initiatives at Tulane University, will resign at the end of November.
Paula Burch-Celentano Tulane University

Originally published on Fri November 14, 2014 7:03 am

New Orleans, where nine of 10 children attend charter schools, has perhaps the most scrutinized public school system in the country.

And since Hurricane Katrina, a major source of information about the city's schools has been the Cowen Institute for Public Education Initiatives, a research group connected with Tulane University. The institute has been widely cited by political leaders and in the news media, including our reporting.

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Open Enrollment
3:26 am
Fri November 14, 2014

State Health Insurance Exchanges Hope To Woo Urban Minorities

In one of Access Health CT's new video commercials, a barber explains to his clients why getting health insurance should be a priority.
Access Health CT

Originally published on Fri November 14, 2014 10:34 am

Tomorrow it begins again – open enrollment for Obamacare. Two very successful state health insurance exchanges, Connecticut's and California's, are both intent on reaching people who avoided signing up last year – especially young Latinos and African-Americans.

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Business
5:43 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

As Casinos Fold, Stakes Are High For Atlantic City Transformation

Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian stands in front of an outdoor goods store under construction. The state's Casino Reinvestment Development Authority contributed land and $12 million for the project.
Rob Szypko NPR

Originally published on Fri November 14, 2014 6:46 pm

In gambling, they say, the house always wins. But that hasn't been the case in Atlantic City this year. By year's end, the city that once had an East Coast monopoly on gaming may lose its fifth casino.

The city is reeling from the closures. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Thursday that the first order of business is to "stop the bleeding." So city and state officials are trying to reposition Atlantic City by literally building it up.

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Music
4:46 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

What's a Lautenwerk? Find Out at Annual Concert in Hartford

The keyboard of Edward Clark's lautenwerk.
Ray Hardman WNPR

This Friday night, Concora presents a concert featuring keyboard music from the time of Johann Sebastian Bach.

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Business
12:53 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

Gender Wage Gap in Connecticut Exceeds National Average

Phil Whitehouse Creative Commons

Women’s position in the workplace in Connecticut has improved significantly over the last 15 years, according to a new report. But the study, commissioned by the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women, says too many disparities still remain, particularly for women of color. 

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Military Forces
12:50 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

U.S. Would Consider 'Modest' Force For Complex Iraq Operations

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel testifies on Capitol Hill Thursday.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Thu November 13, 2014 2:58 pm

Updated at 12:55 pm. EST

Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, the top U.S. military commander, told lawmakers today that the U.S. would consider sending some U.S. troops to fight alongside Iraqi forces in more complex missions against militants of the Islamic State.

He told the House Armed Services Committee that though Iraqi forces were tackling the militants, operations such as retaking the city of Mosul or restoring the border with Syria could need help.

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Curveball
10:33 am
Thu November 13, 2014

Hartford Files to Take Land By Eminent Domain for Baseball Stadium Project

A rendering of a planned baseball stadium near downtown Hartford.
City of Hartford

The City of Hartford said it's unable to reach an agreement to buy three acres of land it needs as part of its baseball stadium development project. So, instead of buying it, it's just going to take it

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Architecture
8:42 am
Thu November 13, 2014

For Greener Skyscrapers, Basic Building Materials Are Being Reinvented

The world's tallest timber residential tower, 10 stories, in currently in Melbourne, Australia, though a 14-story Norwegian project may top it in 2015.
Courtesy of Lend Lease

Originally published on Wed November 12, 2014 11:48 pm

In a head-spinning step, a handful of researchers from Cambridge, England, are experimenting with one of man's oldest building materials — the kind from trees — instead of steel as the primary structure for big buildings. And they're aiming really, really high.

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Veterans
7:11 am
Thu November 13, 2014

Free Screenings for Veterans to Combat Cancer Killer

Jake Martins is a Vietnam war veteran and cancer survivor
Credit Lucy Nalpathanchil

This week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced it would start covering the cost of lung cancer screenings. Clinicians are applauding the decision including staff at Middlesex Hospital where it offers free lung screenings to veterans during the month of November. 

Jake Martins served in the U.S. Marine Corps during Vietnam. He described smoking as a habit for much of his life. "For 53 years, four packs day," he said. 

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Wish You Were Here
6:57 am
Thu November 13, 2014

Photo Shows Lander Sitting On Comet After Bounce-Landing

The Philae lander beamed back images showing one of its three feet on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko . This photo is compiled from two images; a wider version will be released later Thursday.
ESA/Rosetta/Philae/CIVA

Originally published on Thu November 13, 2014 12:11 pm

The European Space Agency released a new photo Thursday of the Philae lander safely resting in its new home on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, as it hurtles through space. The agency's data also show the lander bounced twice before coming to rest.

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Metcalf on Music
6:56 am
Thu November 13, 2014

Puccini: Don't Forget the Kleenex

Giacomo Puccini.
Creative Commons

The first truly modern composer?

Stravinsky? Schoenberg?

I say a case can be made for Giacomo Puccini.

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Polish Stories
5:52 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

Polish Stories Project: WWII Vet Henry Kawecki Married His German Sweetheart

Henry and Gertrude Kawecki, married 69 years
Catie Talarski

Henry Kawecki was born on April 30, 1924 in Warsaw, Poland. At 90 years old, he's seen more than most. In fact, he could write chapters of a history book.

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Climate Change
4:05 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

U.S. and China Announce Historic Climate Change Agreement

Flickr Creative Commons / why 137

A new agreement between China and the United States to reduce carbon emissions will send strong signals to the global community, according to a Wesleyan professor who has studied climate change for the Obama administration.

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Exploration
11:54 am
Wed November 12, 2014

For First Time in Human History, Spacecraft Lands on Comet

This image was captured when the Philae lander was just 3km from the surface of the comet.

The European Space Agency made history on Wednesday morning, landing the first man-made object on the surface of a comet. 

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Obamacare
10:02 am
Wed November 12, 2014

Open Enrollment for Affordable Care Act Begins This Week

A barber in a television ad for Access Health CT.
Credit Access Health CT

Open enrollment for the second year of the Affordable Care Act begins this Saturday. By the state's calculations, the first year of Obamacare cut the number of uninsured in Connecticut in half. Of those who remain, remove the roughly 70,000 people who won't ever enroll in health insurance, and that leaves about another 70,000 to go. 

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Jazz Corridor
8:09 am
Wed November 12, 2014

Guitar Gods Rule Supreme From Worcester to Hartford and Norfolk

Pat Metheny
Credit Jimmy Katz

Guitar gods Pat Metheny, a master maker of melody and texture, and the thunderous, Thor-like, lightning-tossing duo of Eric Johnson and Mike Stern rule supreme in the next few days in the Jazz Corridor with individual appearances ranging from Worcester, Massachusetts, to Hartford and Norfolk.

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