For Tesla, a Fight in Connecticut to Open Stores and Sell Cars

A Tesla Motors Store in Toronto, Canada. Currently, Tesla is not allowed to sell its product directly to consumers from storefronts in Connecticut.
Wikimedia Commons

When Art Linares wanted to buy a Tesla, it wasn't as easy as walking into a store and taking a test drive. Instead, he had to go to New York -- because in Connecticut, it's illegal for a car manufacturer to sell directly to a customer.

"It prevents companies like Mercedes and BMW from creating their own stores, so they have to go through a dealership," said Linares, who's no ordinary customer -- he's a state senator for the 33rd District.

Linares wants to change those dealership laws for at least for one company, Tesla, which has a world-wide policy of selling directly to customers. "What we're trying to do here in Connecticut is make an exemption for Tesla to be able to open up their own stores and sell their cars," he said.

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A Beautiful Life
3:26 pm
Tue December 30, 2014

Remembering Ana Grace Through Music, Love, Community, Connection

Jimmy Greene's new album Beautiful Life
jimmygreene.com

It’s been two years since saxophonist Jimmy Greene lost his six-year-old daughter, Ana, in the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. On his new album Beautiful Life, Greene memorializes his little girl.

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Affordable Care Act
11:58 am
Tue December 30, 2014

Hospitals Win In States That Chose To Expand Medicaid

When the Affordable Care Act passed, many people focused on the law's creation of marketplaces to help the uninsured buy coverage, often with the help of federal subsidies.

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Russia
11:36 am
Tue December 30, 2014

Yale World Fellow and Putin Opponent Convicted in Russia

Russian activist and former Yale World Fellow Alexei Navalny
Evgeny Feldman Wikimedia Commons

Updated at 11:36 a.m. 

A Russian activist with ties to Yale University has received a suspended sentence on fraud charges. Alexei Navalny has become a prominent political opposition leader in Russia, leading protests over the years against President Vladimir Putin. 

According to the Associated Press, thousands of protestors took to the streets outside the Kremlin in response to the conviction. Navalny was subsequently arrested for breaking the terms of his house arrest and joining the protestors.

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Yik Yak Mobile App
10:36 am
Tue December 30, 2014

'Yaks' Threaten East Lyme and College Campuses Everywhere

Yik Yak logo for the popular social media app.
Yik Yak

Local, state police, and federal law enforcement are investigating a post on social media threatening a "hail of bullets" in East Lyme.  The post, which appeared anonymously Dec. 24 on the mobile app Yik Yak, said East Lyme should "get ready for the hail of bullets."

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Conservation
8:26 am
Tue December 30, 2014

Working to Preserve 1,000 Shoreline Acres

The Preserve is 1,000 acres along the shoreline in Old Saybrook, Essex, and Westbrook.
preserve1000acres.com

A fundraising effort to buy 1,000 acres of shoreline land is nearly complete.  The land is called The Preserve, and it spreads across Old Saybrook, Essex, and Westbrook.  

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Plane Crash
6:43 am
Tue December 30, 2014

AirAsia Crash: Rescue Crews Pull Bodies, Find Plane Wreckage In Java Sea

Relatives of passengers of the missing AirAsia Flight 8501 react upon seeing the news on television about the findings of bodies on the waters near the site where the jetliner disappeared in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia, on Tuesday.
Trisnadi AP

Originally published on Tue December 30, 2014 9:36 am

Rescue crews scouring the waters off Indonesia say they have found dozens of bodies and have spotted wreckage that belongs to AirAsia QZ8501, the jetliner that went missing Sunday, carrying 155 passengers and seven crew members.

The Australian Broadcasting Corp. quotes an Indonesian navy spokesman:

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SUV Recall
4:13 pm
Mon December 29, 2014

Massive Recalls Give The Auto Industry An Unwanted Record

General Motors CEO Mary Barra testifies before a Senate panel July 17 at a hearing about auto safety recalls.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 29, 2014 6:35 pm

More than 60 million cars, trucks and SUVs have been recalled this year — nearly twice the previous record. That translates to nearly 1 out of every 4 cars on the road recalled for a safety-related defect.

But analysts say those recalls say more about the way the industry has restructured than about overall car safety.

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Bogus Charges
3:43 pm
Mon December 29, 2014

T-Mobile May Owe You A Refund

Senator Richard Blumenthal and Jessical Rosenworcel
Credit Lucy Nalpathanchil

T-mobile customers may qualify for a refund after the cell phone company agreed to a $90 million dollar settlement over allegations of mobile cramming. The practice of "cramming" includes when third-party companies add bogus charges to monthly bills.

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Manufacturing
9:43 am
Mon December 29, 2014

Niche Manufacturers Still Attract Big VC Funds

Some venture capitalists are bucking the trend and betting big on manufacturing companies.
Sujata Srinivasan

Later stage manufacturing companies are not, as a rule, high on the venture capital radar. According to PriceWaterhouseCoopers MoneyTree Report, only three out of 53 VC financing transactions in Connecticut went to manufacturing firms last year. Of this, two were established businesses with a revenue-making product. So how are some manufacturers bucking the trend and attracting big VC investments? 

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Breastfeeding
9:30 am
Mon December 29, 2014

Breastfeeding Rates on the Rise, as Mother-Baby Support Systems Expand in Connecticut

Amy Devoe breastfeeds Zoe, five months.
Kathleen Schassler

Candid online posts describing the challenges of breastfeeding fill the Facebook page of Breastfeeding USA’s Connecticut chapter. The daily stream of anecdotes, questions and comments alternate in tone from exasperated to celebratory.

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Air Travel
7:11 am
Mon December 29, 2014

Search Resumes For Missing AirAsia Flight With 162 Aboard

Family members of passengers of AirAsia flight QZ8501 gather at Juanda International Airport in Surabaya, Indonesia, on Sunday, hours after news broke that the flight had gone missing. The AirAsia Airbus plane with 162 people on board went missing en route from Indonesia to Singapore.
Juni Kriswanto AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 29, 2014 8:44 am

Updated at 10:15 p.m. ET

Ships and planes have resumed the search for AirAsia flight QZ8501, which lost contact with air traffic control on Sunday. The search efforts, which were suspended overnight, picked up again at dawn, The Associated Press reports.

Bambang Soelistyo, the head of Indonesia's search and rescue agency, says the plane has likely crashed into the ocean, Reuters reports. Soelistyo calls that an "initial estimation."

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White House
5:20 am
Mon December 29, 2014

Transcript: President Obama's Full NPR Interview

Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep interviews President Obama in the Oval Office.
Kainaz Amaria NPR

Originally published on Fri January 2, 2015 3:19 pm

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Affordable Care Act
3:34 am
Mon December 29, 2014

A Split View On Obamacare's Past And Future

Kevin Counihan (left) runs HealthCare.gov, and Michael Cannon, of the Cato Institute, is a prominent critic of Obamacare.
Courtesy of Chion Wolf/WNPR ; Courtesy of the Cato Institute

Originally published on Tue December 30, 2014 10:05 am

Kevin Counihan and Michael Cannon look at the Affordable Care Act and see very different things.

Cannon is part of the brain trust behind a Supreme Court case that could result in the repeal of a part of the exchanges he says is illegal.

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Heroin Epidemic
3:06 am
Mon December 29, 2014

Teaching Friends And Family How To Reverse A Drug Overdose

Tina Wolf demonstrates the use of naloxone to community members in Lindenhurst, N.Y., during an overdose prevention training. Georgia Dolan-Reilly (left) of the Suffolk County Prevention Resource Center helped with the training.
Kevin Hagen for NPR

Originally published on Tue December 30, 2014 10:05 am

When Priscilla Graham-Farmer went to get her hair done in Newark, N.J., recently, she noticed the elevator in the building was broken, so she took the stairs. And that's when Graham-Farmer saw him: a young guy sprawled out, not breathing.

"He was literally turning blue," she says. "And everybody was walking over him."

But Graham-Farmer stopped. And looked closer. She saw that he had a needle and some cotton balls. The guy had clearly overdosed.

"I'm screaming in the hallway," Graham-Farmer remembers. "Nobody's answering."

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NYC Police
10:07 am
Sat December 27, 2014

Police, Politicians, Gather In New York For Ramos Funeral

Vice President Joe Biden, center, arrives for funeral services for New York City police officer Rafael Ramos at Christ Tabernacle Church, in the Glendale section of Queens, on Saturday.
Julio Cortez AP

Originally published on Sat December 27, 2014 5:37 pm

Updated at 5:45 p.m. ET

Police from around the country are gathering at the Christ Tabernacle Church in Queens today to honor a fallen comrade, Officer Rafael Ramos, who was fatally shot in an unprovoked attack one week ago along with his partner, Wenjian Liu.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Vice President Joe Biden are in attendance at the funeral, which followed a wake for Ramos on Friday that was attended by hundreds.

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Economy
4:29 pm
Thu December 25, 2014

Economy Weathers A Bad Winter And Other Storms To Finish 2014 Strong

A New York Stock Exchange trader works on the floor on Dec. 17. Stocks rose nearly 300 points after the Federal Reserve announced it plans to begin raising interest rates next year.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 29, 2014 12:13 pm

The economy was floored by the polar vortex early on in 2014 — plus, businesses and consumers were still a little dazed by a government shutdown and debt ceiling fight late in 2013.

Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics, says it all produced an anxious start to the year. "Yeah, a lot of worry, particularly because we had misstepped a few other times during the recovery," he says. "We had these false dawns when we really thought the economy was going to kick into gear and then we kind of fell back into the morass."

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Ebola
4:18 pm
Thu December 25, 2014

Where Ebola Has Closed Schools, A Radio Program Provides A Faint Signal Of Hope

Florence Allen Jones, right, is part of the education ministry's classes-by-radio team.
John W. Poole/NPR

Originally published on Mon December 29, 2014 12:13 pm

Florence Allen Jones used to teach in Washington, D.C., before coming back home to Liberia.

Now she's part of the education ministry's teaching-by-radio team. Working with UNICEF and another nonprofit, Talking Drum, in Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, the government aims to provide lessons to children across the country, hit by the Ebola outbreak. Most schools closed this past summer and will likely remain closed for months.

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Television
12:34 pm
Wed December 24, 2014

Bianculli's Top 10: 2014 Was A 'Good Year For Programming'

Allison Tolman plays Deputy Sheriff Molly Solverson in the FX TV series Fargo. It's a breakout role for the actress who had done only theater and commercials.
Chris Large

Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 2:47 pm

Although it wasn't a great year for the shows themselves, it was a good year for programming, says TV critic David Bianculli.

"In terms of what was happening on television, in terms of new and old formats and new, exciting players coming into the mix — [it was] another good year," Bianculli tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "I'm actually kind of encouraged."

Bianculli reflects on how far TV has come.

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Year in Review
11:38 am
Wed December 24, 2014

In A 'Depressing' Year For Films, Edelstein Finds Some Greats

Ellar Coltrane, who plays Mason in Boyhood, was 6 years old when director Richard Linklater picked him for the role. Made over the course of 12 years, the film is David Edelstein's favorite of the year.
Courtesy of Matt Lankes

Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 2:06 pm

"This is a very, very depressing year for film," critic David Edelstein tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross, "because none of the great material came from Hollywood studios."

Studios, he says, direct their financial resources into sequels and comic-book movies, which leaves little room for "creative expression, and for doing something weird and potentially boundary-moving."

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Alan Gross
11:34 am
Wed December 24, 2014

Contractor Freed By Cuba Will Get $3.2M From U.S.

Alan Gross pauses during a news conference at his lawyer's office in Washington on Dec. 17. The federal government will pay him $3.2 million as part of a settlement with the company that employed Gross when he was arrested in Cuba in 2009.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 12:18 pm

Alan Gross, the former USAID subcontractor who spent five years in a Cuban prison before his release last week, will get $3.2 million from the federal government, part of a settlement with the Maryland-based company for which he worked at the time of his arrest.

The U.S. Agency for International Development, in a statement, said it had finalized a settlement, agreed to in principle in November, with Development Alternatives, Inc.

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Movies
10:46 am
Wed December 24, 2014

Two Connecticut Theaters to Show "The Interview"

A movie poster for "The Interview."
Sony Pictures

Moviegoers in Connecticut who want to watch "The Interview" have a choice of two theaters screening the film at the center of an international storm involving Hollywood, Washington, D.C., and North Korea. 

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Prayer Vigil
10:35 am
Wed December 24, 2014

Two Slain NYPD Officers Remembered in Prayer Vigil at Hartford City Hall

At a prayer vigil for the two slain NYPD officers, The Reverend Henry Brown called for unity between Hartford police and the community.
Ray Hardman

Mayor Pedro Segarra and Hartford area religious leaders held a prayer vigil on the steps of City Hall to remember the two New York City police officers shot and killed last Saturday, and to call for an end to violence in Hartford. 

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Boston
10:25 am
Wed December 24, 2014

Teacher Wins $150,000 Prize — And Donates It All To Her School

Third-grade teacher Nikki Bollerman, 26, won a contest that gave her students books for the holidays. When she also won $150,000, she decided it should go to her school.
YouTube

Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 3:43 pm

One thing's for sure: Nikki Bollerman believes in her school and the kids who go there. How else to explain Bollerman, 26, giving a $150,000 windfall to the Boston area public charter school where she teaches third grade?

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Health Insurance
9:51 am
Wed December 24, 2014

Kevin Counihan Says Affordable Care Act Shares Fundamentals With State Exchange

Kevin Counihan announcing his departure from Access Health CT earlier this year.
Jeff Cohen WNPR

Kevin Counihan began 2014 as the head of Connecticut's health care marketplace under the Affordable Care Act. Now, he's the head of the entire federal Obamacare effort. WNPR checked in with him recently.

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Transportation
9:48 am
Wed December 24, 2014

Condition of State Roads, Bridges Evaluated in Research Group's Report

A flooded road in Granby, Connecticut.
Dave Ginsberg Creative Commons

A national transportation research group says Connecticut’s deteriorating roads are costing state drivers more than $4 billion a year. 

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Funding the Arts
9:17 am
Wed December 24, 2014

Everyone Wants A Piece Of Boston’s New 'Arts Czar'

(AP)

Originally published on Mon December 22, 2014 12:12 pm

The city of Boston’s new chief of arts and culture has been making the rounds during her first full week on the job. Her name is Julie Burros and she hails from Chicago, a city famous for embracing and supporting the arts (like “Cloud Gate” in the above photo).

Burros quickly earned the nickname “arts czar” after Boston Mayor Marty Walsh fulfilled his campaign promise by appointing her to the newly created cabinet-level position this past September.

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New York
9:15 am
Wed December 24, 2014

Demonstrators March In NYC After Mayor's Call To Suspend Protests

Protesters march through Midtown Manhattan on Tuesday, a day after New York City's mayor called for a pause in the demonstrations.
Michael Graae Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 10:09 am

Protesters against police brutality marched along Fifth Avenue in Manhattan on Tuesday, despite a call from New York Mayor Bill de Blasio to suspend demonstrations. De Blasio asked people to wait until after the funerals of two police officers who were shot and killed over the weekend.

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Supreme Court
8:50 am
Wed December 24, 2014

Obama Administration Downplays Court Challenge To Health Law

Elisa Carrero assists Julian Gauiria, of Paterson, N.J., with enrollment in the health insurance exchange in November. Signups continue to be brisk, health officials say.
Tyson Trish North Jersey/Landov

Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 10:24 am

This time last year, federal officials were scrambling to get as many people enrolled in health insurance through HealthCare.gov as they could before the start of the program on Jan. 1.

Now, with the technical problems mostly fixed, they're facing a different problem: the possibility that the Supreme Court might rule that the subsidies that help people afford coverage are illegal in the 37 states where the federal government is running the program.

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Missouri
7:40 am
Wed December 24, 2014

Police Kill Young Man In Missouri; 'It's Not What People Portray,' Mayor Says

Surveillance video shows a scene leading up to a police officer shooting and killing an armed man at a gas station in Berkeley, Mo. The St. Louis County Police Department is investigating the case, in which an 18-year-old man died.
Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 12:36 pm

Updated at 12 p.m. ET

Protests over a police killing have returned to the St. Louis area, after a Berkeley, Mo., police officer shot and killed an 18-year-old black man Tuesday night. The authorities say he was armed; the shooting took place shortly after 11 p.m. outside a gas station in the St. Louis suburb that's just 2 miles west of Ferguson.

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Jazz Corridor
7:36 am
Wed December 24, 2014

Phil Bowler’s Reunion Band Celebrates New Release After 20-Year Hiatus

Pocket Jungle with William Bausch, Phil Bowler, Paul Carlon, Scott Latzky and Pete Smith.
Facebook

Every now and then, the jazz world needs a reminder that there are master musicians among us whose distinguished careers, elegant artistry, versatility, intelligence, resilience and well-honed craftsmanship are not given the recognition they so richly merit.

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