State GOP Lawmakers Say Democrats Have Weakened Campaign Finance Laws

Republicans joined Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano and House Republican Leader Themis Klarides to talk about campaign finance.
Credit Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Republican legislative leaders held a press conference Thursday to call for changes in the state’s campaign finance laws, though leading Democrats said talking to them first might have been a better strategy. 

Joined by rank and file legislators, Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano and House Republican Leader Themis Klarides said state Democrats have consistently worked to undermine and erode the clean elections laws they worked to pass in 2005 after the conviction of former Governor John Rowland.

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Health Insurance
2:59 am
Wed January 21, 2015

Tax Preparers Get Ready To Be Bearers Of Bad News About Health Law

Lou Graham prepares taxes in Connecticut and is ready to answer client questions about the Affordable Care Act.
Jeff Cohen WNPR

Originally published on Sat January 24, 2015 4:17 pm

Are you thinking about tax day yet? Your friendly neighborhood tax preparer is. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen declared this tax season one of the most complicated ever, partly because this is the first year that the Affordable Care Act will show up on your tax form.

Tax preparers from coast to coast are trying to get ready. Sue Ellen Smith manages an H&R Block office in San Francisco, and she is expecting things to get busy soon.

"This year taxes and health care intersect in a brand-new way," Smith says.

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SOTU
10:55 pm
Tue January 20, 2015

'Tonight, We Turn The Page': Obama Lays Out 2015 Agenda

President Obama receives a standing ovation as he prepares to deliver his State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill Tuesday.
Jonathan Ernst Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed January 21, 2015 12:48 am

Delivering his sixth State of the Union address Tuesday night, President Obama faced a Congress that's now controlled by his Republican opponents. His speech included possible areas of cooperation — and a threat to use his veto power.

Tax proposals that would boost middle-class families were in the president's speech; so were calls for a new approach to immigration and a push for free education at community colleges.

Obama also called on Congress to pass a resolution to authorize using military force against the extremist group ISIS.

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White House
5:50 pm
Tue January 20, 2015

What To Expect From Obama Tonight On Education

President Obama speaks at Pellissippi State Community College in Knoxville, Tenn., on Jan. 9. Obama is promoting a plan to make publicly funded community college available to all students.
Mark Humphrey AP

On the education front, President Obama's State of the Union address is likely to focus on three big proposals:

First, the president wants to talk about the idea he floated last week of making community college tuition-free. This is new.

The plan would benefit about 9 million full- and part-time students and would cost the federal government about $60 billion over 10 years. According to the administration's numbers, that would account for three-fourths of the total cost. States and community colleges would come up with the rest.

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Politics
3:16 pm
Tue January 20, 2015

Obama Joins Ike, The Gipper, Bill And George II In A Club No One Wants To Be In

President Dwight Eisenhower delivers his State of the Union address before a joint session of the 86th Congress in 1959. Behind him are Vice President Richard Nixon (left) and Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn.
AP

Originally published on Tue January 20, 2015 7:06 pm

President Obama begins his seventh year in office Tuesday facing a Congress where both the House and Senate are in the hands of the opposition party. He shares this in common with every other president fortunate enough to even have a seventh year in office since the 1950s.

Dwight Eisenhower in 1959, Ronald Reagan in 1987, Bill Clinton in 1999 and George W. Bush in 2007 all climbed the rostrum for this late-in-the-game challenge looking out at majorities of the other party in both chambers.

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Cities
1:13 pm
Tue January 20, 2015

The City Might Not Be To Blame For High Asthma Rates

Dr. Stephen Teach helps Jeffery Ulmer listen to his daughter Alauna's asthmatic breathing at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Alauna's mother, Farisa, holds her. The District has one of the highest rates of pediatric asthma in the country.
Jahi Chikwendiu Washington Post

Originally published on Sat January 24, 2015 4:15 pm

Asthma affects children regardless of where they live and whether they are rich or poor. But scientists have long thought that living in poor urban neighborhoods adds an extra risk for this troublesome lung inflammation. A new study suggests that's not necessarily the case.

Asthma is often triggered by something in the environment, so in the 1960s, scientists started looking for places where asthma was especially bad.

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Plum Island
11:32 am
Tue January 20, 2015

Conservationists Vow to Fight Sale of Plum Island

Plum Island hosted an animal testing center for years. Now, the government wants to sell it.
Wikimedia Commons

Plum Island, an 840-acre land mass in Long Island Sound, is becoming a focal point for environmentalists. That's because of government plans to sell the island to fund the construction of a new USDA animal-testing center. 

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Connecticut Business Briefs
10:45 am
Tue January 20, 2015

Big Changes Ahead for United Technologies?

New CEO Greg Hayes appears to be putting his stamp on the company
Credit UTC

There’s speculation that the recent changes in personnel at United Technologies could mean the conglomerate is mulling major new acquisitions or other structural changes.

New CEO Greg Hayes is shaking up the C-suite, with the departure of Alain Bellemare, who headed up UTC Propulsion and Aerospace Systems. He won’t be replaced, but the company has elevated another executive, Mike Dumais to head of strategic planning.

Some analysts believe these shifts signal that Hayes is considering a big move, perhaps an acquisition, an inversion move, or a spin-off.

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Disease
9:47 am
Tue January 20, 2015

Diabetes Takes Disproportionate Toll on Hispanics and Blacks in Connecticut

Diabetes continues to be a disease prevalent within minority, immigrant, and, urban communities.
Oscar Annermarken Creative Commons

Connecticut’s diabetes rate ranks lower than the national average, but Hispanics and African-Americans are more than twice as likely to have the disease compared with their white neighbors, and are at greater risk of dying from diabetes-related causes.

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Discrimination
8:00 am
Tue January 20, 2015

U.S. Attorney to Investigate Discrimination in Connecticut Schools

U.S. Attorney Deirdre M. Daly.

Discrimination claims from people across Connecticut led the U.S. Attorney’s Office to announce that it would form a working group to investigate possible civil rights violations by public and private schools and childcare programs.

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Supreme Court
1:03 am
Tue January 20, 2015

Should Judicial Candidates Be Allowed To Solicit Campaign Money?

Judge Adrian Adams is helped with his robe by his daughters during a robing ceremony Friday in Gretna, La. Adams won a race for 24th Judicial District Court in November behind a campaign that raised a modest $22,350, including several four-figure donations from attorneys and law firms. Louisiana law, like Florida law, bars judicial candidates from personally soliciting campaign contributions.
Brett Duke The Times-Picayune/Landov

Originally published on Tue January 20, 2015 8:56 am

The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Tuesday in a case testing whether states, in the name of preserving judicial impartiality, may bar judicial candidates from personally soliciting campaign contributions.

There was a time when judicial elections were a pretty tame affair, with relatively little money spent, and candidates in most states limited in how they could campaign. Not anymore.

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Deflated...after a win?
11:38 am
Mon January 19, 2015

NFL Investigates Reports Of Deflated Balls After Patriots Rout Colts

Questions over out-of-regulation footballs have come up after the New England Patriots won the AFC Championship Game Sunday. Running back LeGarrette Blount ran for 148 yards and three touchdowns in the Patriots' 45-7 win over the Indianapolis Colts.
Elsa Getty Images

Did the New England Patriots tamper with the footballs used in the AFC Championship Game? The NFL is asking that question, after the host Patriots beat the Indianapolis Colts, 45-7, in rainy conditions Sunday.

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Environment
11:01 am
Mon January 19, 2015

New Justice Department Environment Chief Takes Helm Of Gulf Spill Case

Cruden ranks the Gulf oil spill as one of the most significant environmental disasters of our time. It "deserves ... all of our energy to make sure nothing like this ever happens again," he says.
Gerald Herbert AP

Originally published on Mon January 19, 2015 7:37 am

John Cruden served with U.S. Special Forces in Vietnam, taking his law school aptitude test in Saigon and eventually becoming a government lawyer.

Earlier this month, he started a new job running the environment and natural resources division at the Justice Department. For Cruden, 68, the new role means coming home to a place where he worked as a career lawyer for about 20 years.

Cruden has been around long enough to have supervised the Exxon Valdeez spill case, a record-setter. That is, until the Deepwater Horizon exploded in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

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Music
10:53 am
Mon January 19, 2015

Can Connecticut Win NPR's Tiny Desk Contest?

Do you have what it takes to join The Pixies behind NPR's Tiny Desk?
North Country Public Radio

Back in early December of last year, NPR announced a contest aimed at finding new talent to play for its wildly popular Tiny Desk Concert series. These intimate concerts are held midday in the midst of office cubicles at NPR, and the crowd is a group of lucky producers, editors, reporters, and other NPR workers who get to spend a bit of their lunch with artists as diverse as Where We Live favorites Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill, the Sun Ra Arkestra, and The Pixies

To enter, contestants just have to make a video of a performance of an original song. And -- oh, it has to be behind a desk of any kind or size.

Monday, January 19, is the last day to submit entries, so in case you've been thinking about it, fire up the iPhone and make a video! I'd really like to have bragging rights next time I'm at NPR HQ, knowing that a Connecticut artist took home the prize.

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MLK Day
3:35 am
Mon January 19, 2015

What Does Martin Luther King Jr.'s Legacy Look Like To A 5-Year-Old?

Elspeth Ventresca, center, and the rest of Carolyn Barnhardt's prekindergarten class at John Eaton Elementary School wear the crowns they made to celebrate Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday.
Emily Jan NPR

Originally published on Mon January 19, 2015 12:07 pm

It's morning meeting time. "When Dr. King was little, he learned a golden rule," sings a class of 4- and 5-year-olds with their teacher, Carolyn Barnhardt.

John Eaton Elementary School, a public school in Washington, D.C., is unusual. It sits in one of the District's wealthiest neighborhoods, but the majority of students hail from different parts of the city, making it one of the most racially and economically diverse elementary schools in the nation's capital.

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Football
10:14 pm
Sun January 18, 2015

New England Beats Indianapolis 45-7 In AFC Championship

Duron Harmon and Darrelle Revis of the New England Patriots celebrate Revis' interception in the third quarter of the 2015 AFC Championship Game. The Patriots beat the Indianapolis Colts and will be playing in the Super Bowl Feb. 1.
Elsa Getty Images

Originally published on Sun January 18, 2015 10:25 pm

As a cold rain poured down, the New England Patriots crushed the Super Bowl dreams of the Indianapolis Colts with a 45-7 victory.

The Patriots established their lead early, scoring two touchdowns in the first quarter. The Colts scored one touchdown in the second quarter, but after a Patriots field goal, New England still entered halftime 10 points in the lead.

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Football
2:25 pm
Sun January 18, 2015

Seattle Super Bowl Bound After NFC Title Win Over Green Bay

Luke Willson (#82) of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates after scoring on a two-point conversion during the fourth quarter of the 2015 NFC Championship game against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. Seattle won 28-22.
Tom Pennington Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 19, 2015 12:12 am

Updated at 6:33p.m. ET:

The Seattle Seahawks have defeated the Green Bay Packers to win the NFC title and earn their ticket to Super Bowl XLIX.

Seattle won 28-22 in a game that saw the Packers pull out to a commanding early lead — going into the half 16-0. Seattle gained traction, however, scoring touchdowns in the third and fourth quarters to close the gap.

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Business
9:43 am
Sat January 17, 2015

As Cities Push For Their Own Broadband, Cable Firms Say Not So Fast

Provo, Utah, is one of three cities in which Google is rolling out its Google Fiber gigabit Internet and television service.
George Frey Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue January 20, 2015 12:07 pm

Americans increasingly see decently fast Internet as more like a functioning sewer line than a luxury.

And a number of cities are trying to get into the Internet provider business, but laws in 19 states hamper those efforts. President Obama announced this week that he wants to lift those restrictions, and supporters of what is known as municipal broadband can't wait.

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Wake of Newton
4:13 pm
Fri January 16, 2015

Newtown School Panel Working on Final Details of Report

Hamden Mayor Scott Jackson in a WNPR file photo. Jackson is the chair of the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission.
Chion Wolf WNPR

The panel created by Governor Dannel Malloy in the wake of the Newtown school shooting is continuing to work on its final recommendations. 

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Bridgeport
4:00 pm
Fri January 16, 2015

Federal Jury Clears Bridgeport Officer in Suspect's Beating

J J Creative Commons

A Bridgeport police officer has been acquitted of civil rights violations charges in the beating of a suspect captured on video.

 The Connecticut Post reports that a U.S. District Court jury cleared Clive Higgins Wednesday of wrongdoing in the May 20, 2011, beating of Orlando Lopez-Soto in Beardsley Park. "I never stopped praying," said Higgins, who had been suspended.

Scot X. Esdaile, state president of the NAACP, called the verdict a miscarriage of justice.

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Torture in the U.S.A.
3:05 pm
Fri January 16, 2015

Do We Approve of Torture? Depends on How You Ask

Val Kerry Creative Commons

The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee’s torture report released last December revealed that the CIA lied about the effectiveness of torture in gaining important information from terrorism suspects. But that didn't change America's opinion of using such tactics. 

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White House
1:56 pm
Fri January 16, 2015

Obama: There's A Less Than 50-50 Chance Of A Nuclear Deal With Iran

British Prime Minister David Cameron speaks as President Obama looks on during a joint news conference in the East Room of the White House on Friday.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 16, 2015 7:40 pm

During a joint press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron, President Obama warned Congress that if it passed further sanctions against Iran, he would veto them.

The two leaders, speaking to the press after a series of bilateral meetings, stood shoulder to shoulder on all the issues that came before them. Cameron said that on Iran, he had been calling U.S. senators to tell them he didn't think new sanctions would work against Iran.

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Connecticut Business Briefs
1:48 pm
Fri January 16, 2015

Electric Boat Hiring, Warns of Possible Talent Shortage

Electric Boat in Groton, Connecticut.
Electric Boat

Electric Boat issued an upbeat forecast for hiring for 2015, and the sub maker said it will be investing millions in shipyard upgrades in the next few years. 

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Minnesota
1:41 pm
Fri January 16, 2015

Archdiocese Of St. Paul-Minneapolis Files Chapter 11

St. Paul-Minneapolis Archbishop John Nienstedt speaks at his office in St. Paul, Minn., in a photo taken in July. Nienstedt announced Friday that the archdiocese was filing for bankruptcy following more than a dozen claims from alleged sexual abuse victims.
Craig Lassig AP

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has become the 12th U.S. diocese forced into bankruptcy by claims from alleged victims of clergy sexual abuse.

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Massachusetts
1:26 pm
Fri January 16, 2015

Boston Releases Plan For Action On Climate Change

Rising tide floods Christopher Columbus Park next to Boston's Longwharf on Friday, Jan. 3, 2014.

Originally published on Tue January 20, 2015 11:09 am

Standing on Boston’s Long Wharf, John Barros, the city’s chief of economic development, recalled what the site looked like in January 2014, when a nor’easter brought record high tides.

“We’re at ground zero here,” said Barros, who was part of a steering committee that spent the past year working on a plan to prepare for storms like that one, as well as the effects of climate change and rising sea levels.

“When we think about what 2-to-5 feet means, which is some of the conservative estimates of sea rise, 2 feet, this place would probably be underwater every day,” he said.

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Retail
1:09 pm
Fri January 16, 2015

Food Trucks, Share The Lane. Food Bikes Are Merging Into The Business

Charlie Wicker of Trailhead Coffee Roasters makes all of his deliveries within the 6-mile radius of urban Portland, Ore., on one of his custom-built cargo bikes. He can also pull over to brew and serve coffee.
John Lee Courtesy of Trailhead Coffee Roasters

Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 1:17 pm

When upscale food trucks roared into popularity a few years ago, the folks running them praised their rolling operations as far cheaper and simpler to launch than a bricks-and-mortar restaurant.

Now, entrepreneurs are finding similar advantages in food bikes.

Brewers, chefs, baristas and even farmers are turning to pedal-powered vehicles to bring their goods to consumers — and, sometimes, actually produce them on the street.

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Hartford
12:30 pm
Fri January 16, 2015

Report: Hartford Registrars Made "Multiple, Serious Errors" Around Election Day

From left, attorney James Rotondo, Hartford City Council President Shawn Wooden, City Councilman Alex Aponte, and City Councilwoman Cynthia Jennings.
Jeff Cohen WNPR

An investigation into election day failures in Hartford shows that the city turned people way from the polls, lost track of 70 absentee ballots, and failed to agree on an accurate vote tally.  Now that the problem has been identified, leaders on the city council say they're working on a fix.  

Election day last November began badly in Hartford. Some residents couldn't cast their ballots because the polls weren't open, and the polls weren't open because the voter lists weren't in place. 

A report drafted by lawyers working for the city council say a bunch of factors caused the mess: the city's registrars failed to give the state important voter lists in time, failed to open polling places in time, and failed to resolve discrepancies in vote tallies after the fact.

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Mystic Seaport
11:45 am
Fri January 16, 2015

Mystic Seaport Breaks Ground on New Exhibit Building

A front rendering of a new exhibition hall planned for Mystic Seaport.
Centerbrook Architects and Planners/Kent + Frost Landscape Architecture

Mystic Seaport will undergo a major transformation this year that will ultimately allow the museum to open year-round.

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Hospital Jobs
9:29 am
Fri January 16, 2015

Waterbury Hospital Announces Cuts in Wake of Funding Shortfall

Waterbury Hospital CEO Darlene Stromstad.
Credit Waterbury Hospital

Waterbury Hospital announced Thursday that it's cutting positions to deal with a $9 million dollar shortfall in government reimbursements.

Hospital CEO Darlene Stromstad said an estimated 100 full- and part-time workers will be affected by the plan. 

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Europe
8:48 am
Fri January 16, 2015

More Than 2 Dozen Arrested In France, Belgium In Anti-Terror Raids

Police stand guard around the central police headquarters in Brussels on Thursday.
Virginia Mayo AP

Originally published on Fri January 16, 2015 10:39 am

Overnight, police in France, Belgium and Germany arrested more than two dozen people suspected of having ties to terrorism.

In Paris, NPR's Eleanor Beardsley reports that police moved in at dawn and arrested about a dozen people, who police said were tied to Saïd and Chérif Kouachi, who attacked the offices of Charlie Hebdo, and Amedy Coulibaly, who attacked a kosher market in eastern Paris.

"These people are said to have been in their entourage," Eleanor told our Newscast unit. "They may have helped them to obtain cars, guns or may have been drivers."

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Infrastructure Investment
7:57 am
Fri January 16, 2015

Gold Star Bridge in New London Illustrates Transportation Challenges

The double spans of the Gold Star Bridge dwarf the Gov. Dannel Malloy and assembled politicians.
Harriet Jones WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy took his transportation road show to New London, talking about the need to strengthen the Gold Star Bridge and widen I-95. 

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