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Neanderthals have long been recognized as humans’ closest relatives. They were highly intelligent, skilled hunters, with a rugged build, and a knack for toolmaking.

Eric Hunt flickr.com/photos/ericinsf/28907735 / Creative Commons

With the emphasis on pumpkins, apples, and chrysanthemums at this time of year, it's easy to forget those subtropical bulbs that have faded with the cold weather. 

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

The I-84 viaduct in Hartford -- the “futureless freeway” that divided neighborhoods and demolished historic architecture when it was built in the 1960s -- will most likely meet its end in the next decade.

The state is exploring options for reconstruction, looking for feedback from communities in and around Hartford on whether they should replace or renovate the current structure, bring it to ground level, lower it in a trench, or bury the highway in a tunnel. One city resident has a vision for what he thinks would work. 

Lars Plougmann / Creative Commons

A new wood product used in construction could help create greater demand for materials from local forests. Some tree buffs say more desire for New England timber could actually be a good thing for preserving Connecticut woodlands. 

Connecticut Department of Transportation

Following a nationwide search, the Connecticut Department of Transportation has appointed a veteran New Jersey Transit official to lead the state’s bureau of public transportation. 

Harriet Jones / WNPR

A team from Connecticut-based non-profit AmeriCares is on the ground in Mexico assessing the need for disaster relief in the wake of Hurricane Patricia. Patricia made landfall late Friday as a Category 5 hurricane, but weakened rapidly to a tropical storm.

On Thursday morning, Patricia was a relatively small Category 1 hurricane. By Friday afternoon, it was the most powerful storm ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere.

Is climate change to blame for this record-breaking storm's ferocious rise?

The answer is complex, and shows why it's so hard to tie a single weather event to global warming.

Railroads warn they may have to shut down unless Congress extends an end-of-the-year deadline to install new safety equipment called Positive Train Control.

PTC is a complex system that monitors a train's location and speed, then automatically slows down or stops a locomotive if the engineer doesn't respond to a danger warning.

Updated at 8:05 p.m. ET

The National Hurricane Center says the eye of Hurricane Patricia has made landfall near Cuixmala on Mexico's southwestern Pacific coast. Its winds were measured at 165 mph, somewhat weakened but still a Category 5 storm capable of catastrophic damage.

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In New Hampshire, male crickets start singing in July or August.  They stop singing when the temperature drops below 50 and they die when it gets too cold.  The death of the crickets is, in a way, a sign that winter has begun.  This year, as NHPR's Sean Hurley reports, the crickets stopped on October 17th with the first hard frost.

For centuries, Vermont has been able to turn fall foliage into tourist dollars for the state. But there are two men who are now exporting the colorful leaves — for a price.

Bruce Guenter / Creative Commons

Look around Connecticut. We don't have fracking for natural gas. There aren't underground oil deposits, and solar energy is just now starting to get popular. All that means when it comes to managing energy that’s often produced out-of-state, Nutmeggers have historically been pretty thrifty. 

The most powerful hurricane ever recorded in the eastern Pacific will make a "potentially catastrophic landfall" in southwestern Mexico Friday, the National Weather Service says. Hurricane Patricia is bringing winds that now top 200 mph; it's expected to strike Friday afternoon or evening.

Susy Morris / Creative Commons

Being an Italian-American from Waterbury, Connecticut who likes to cook, I eat a lot of garlic. Luckily for me, growing garlic is almost as easy as eating it. 

Editor's Note: In some cities, transportation of the future may resemble the transportation of the past. From Washington, D.C., to Guangzhou, China, cities are looking to streetcars. NPR's Franklyn Cater looks at the struggles to revive them in Washington, while Anthony Kuhn examines the new technology that's up and running in Guangzhou.

New streetcars glide along tracks set into a grassy strip along the Pearl River in southern Guangzhou city. The first tramline covers five miles in the city's up-and-coming Haizhu district.

Every other Saturday, a huge semi truck with a 42-foot trailer pulls up in a parking lot in Putnam, Connecticut. Amid the barking of dogs in the background, a burly man named Greg Mahle hops out.

For the past 10 years, Mahle has made it his mission to find homes for rescue dogs. He brings them up from the South to what he calls “forever families” here in the North. He estimates he has saved some 50,000 dogs.

Chris Lewis flickr.com/photos/chrissam42/10024722525 / Creative Commons

Environmental officials in Connecticut are trying to preserve 21 percent of the state's land as open space in the next eight years. So far, the state is making ample progress toward the goal.

Few images can put life's trivialities into perspective quite like the sight of our planet in the interminable blackness of space.

And at the very least, it's a cool view.

On Monday, NASA announced that this view will be available every day on a new website dedicated to publishing images from a satellite camera 1 million miles away from Earth.

Is Summer Foliage in Connecticut’s Future?

Oct 19, 2015
Emily Prince flickr.com/photos/emilyprince / Creative Commons

Changing leaf colors in New England can be beautiful to behold at this time of year. But since it’s an annual biological event, the weather can have a big influence over when it happens, and just how colorful it can be.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Since the dawn of the steam engine, rails and trains have run through the city of Hartford. But today, the commuter rail corridor in central Connecticut is not so robust. 

The U.S. government is backing away from Arctic offshore oil and gas drilling on two fronts.

On Friday, the Department of the Interior announced the cancellation of two potential lease sales off the Alaskan coast in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas. The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement also denied lease extension requests from two companies, Shell and Statoil, that were exploring the seas for fossil fuels.

The combustion engine is dominant. In the United States, according to the latest estimates from the Census, more than 76 percent of us get to work alone in a car. The numbers are not quite as lopsided in some big cities, where public transit and other options are more widely available.

Bats in New Hampshire have been struggling with White Nose Syndrome for the past few years. So we sat down with Wildlife Biologist Emily Preston from NH Fish and Game and Endangered Species Biologist Susi von Oettengen from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to find out how they’ve been faring recently. 

In one photo, apples, crispy bacon, shredded cheddar cheese and a couple of sprigs of fresh sage rest on a weathered wooden cutting board, ready to be made into savory scones.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Getting around by car is the most common way people get to work and back in Connecticut -- and the state's infrastructure isn't set up as well as it could be to support the volume. For many drivers, that means a challenging commute every day.

Carter Roberts / NASA

A star in the direction of the constellations Cygnus and Lyra has some astronomers scratching their heads. It's pretty run-of-the mill by stellar standards, but what appears to be passing in front of the star is a bit of a mystery.

Shandi-lee Cox flickr.com/photos/shandilee/8983279962 / Creative Commons

Fall is not only for pumpkins, corn stalks, and colorful leaves. It's also bulb planting time. 

Creative Commons / redplanet89

The price to put a solar panel on your home has dropped in recent years, spurring a growth in residential solar energy installations. But at least one researcher said consumers still need to be diligent before deciding to put a panel on their house.

Fracking Opponents Shift Focus To Gas Pipelines

Oct 14, 2015

Hydrofracking has been banned in New York State for nearly a year now,  but opponents of the natural gas extraction process have other concerns, including new pipelines.

Almost a year after its shutdown, the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant is still sparking debate over safety, spending and the disposal of nuclear waste.