Environment

Income and Housing
2:58 pm
Fri February 24, 2012

Low-Income Renters Struggle to Find Housing

Home values continue to fall, and yet housing is becoming increasingly difficult to afford. As WNPR’s Neena Satija reports, a new study from the Center for Housing Policy shows the situation is particularly dire in Connecticut.

In 2010, nearly a quarter of all working households suffered from what’s called a “severe housing cost burden.” That means more than 50 percent of households' income goes toward housing. The problem is worst for people who are renting. Megan Bolton is a senior research analyst at the National Low-Income Housing Coalition.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
4:26 pm
Mon February 13, 2012

The Science Of Dust

Gilles San Martin/flickr creative commons

There was a time when nobody studied dust. In fact, two kinds of nobody studied two kinds of dust. Astronomers were annoyed by interstellar dust because it got in the way of what they were looking at. It took a long time for them to realize the dust itself was worth looking at.

Same goes for earthbound particulate dust. Dust might creep into a sample on a slide if somebody got sloppy. And that was a problem. Only recently did scientists start looking at the dust itself and even cataloging it in, off all things, a dust library.

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Where We Live
10:45 am
Tue January 31, 2012

The Urban Metabolism

compujeramey

Having a “high metabolism” is seen as a positive for humans...what about cities?

The idea of “urban metabolism” comes from a new book by Austin Troy, associate professor at the University of Vermont’s Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources.  He’s the author of The Very Hungry City: Urban Energy Efficiency and the Economic Fate of Cities

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The Colin McEnroe Show
2:21 pm
Mon January 23, 2012

Wolves In The World

The Colin McEnroe Show
4:15 pm
Tue January 17, 2012

Inside Gov. Malloy's Two-Storm Panel

Chion Wolf

We tell ourselves that Connecticut weathered huge storms last year, and that's both true and not true. Irene, for example, never struck Connecticut as a hurricane.  Any kind of hurricane. Irene's sustained winds reached about 50 mph.

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Where We Live
10:37 am
Fri December 30, 2011

A Year of Wacky Weather

Chion Wolf

The big story of 2011 was the weather: epic snowstorms, dangerous ice storms, a deadly tornado, a tropical storm...

And that was all before a freakish October Nor’Easter that snapped leaf-laden trees, downing power lines and - for a week - took us back to a kind of pre-Colonial Connecticut. Today, where we live, meteorologist Ryan Hanrahan helps us take a look back at an unpredictable year - and we’ll find out if climate change foretells an “apocalyptic” 2012.

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Where We Live
10:52 am
Thu December 8, 2011

Environmental Priorities

Where We Live
10:40 am
Thu December 8, 2011

Studying The Chaos Theory

Gardener41, creative commons

Mark Demers is a Fairfield University Professor who just got a grant to study “chaos theory.” Could the gentle flap of a butterfly wing in China set off a tornado in Texas? He’ll study the evolution of systems that change over time and attempt to understand their stability and predictability.

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Where We Live
10:40 am
Mon November 21, 2011

Preparing for Future Storms

Chion Wolf

We’ve been hearing for years that Connecticut has an aging electricity infrastructure - along with some of the highest electric rates in the country.

So, there’s a problem - how to upgrade without sending costs through the roof? It’s a problem that the state has been able to kick down the road for years - but now consecutive, massive storms have brought these questions into the fore.

First Tropical Storm Irene knocked out power to around three-quarters of a million customers...then a few months later, a freakish October snowstorm did even more damage.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
4:36 pm
Tue November 8, 2011

Human & Animal: An Ever-Changing Coexistence

Flickr Creative Commons, Chi King

"You have just dined, and however scrupulously the slaughterhouse is concealed in the graceful distance of miles, there is complicity."

So said Ralph Waldo Emerson who saw, even in the 19th century, the way civilization puts artificial spaces in the natural order of things. Nature is wild. Wild animals are savage. The livestock business is brutal. Pigs are sentient. All of these things are true, but we prefer to have them orbit around, flung as far into space as possible.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
2:44 pm
Mon November 7, 2011

Would Town-Controlled Power Grids Get the Lights On Faster?

Flickr Creative Commons, Steve Snodgrass

Jewett City, a community of 2.5 square miles in southeastern Connecticut, has its own power company, owned by the town. There are seven non-profit companies like this in the state. They're small, which means they can coordinate closely with other branches of government. Heck, they can coordinate with branches on trees.

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Trees
11:22 am
Mon November 7, 2011

Connecticut and Trees: Is the Love Affair Over?

Harriet Jones

Most storm clouds have a silver lining, and the freak October snowfall was no exception. Connecticut’s tree companies have work ahead of them for many, many months. 

In Vernon, Sue Peterson is surveying the scene of devastation in her front yard.

“It was huge Norway maple. Huge, huge tree.”

She was in the dark after her power failed on the Saturday night of the storm.

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Where We Live
10:12 am
Mon November 7, 2011

West Hartford Center

conbon33, creative commons

Donald Poland’s research focuses on the remaking of urban spaces, and he’s using West Hartford Center as a case study.

Poland argues that this type of space is not “explained” by current studies of urban areas - which focus instead on big cities and metro areas.

Today - where we live - we’ll explore West Hartford Center which he describes as both “resilient and mundane.”

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Where We Live
10:15 am
Fri November 4, 2011

Still In The Dark

Chion Wolf

Governor Dannel Malloy deployed the troops six days after the snowstorm that tore down powerlines and left millions of Northeast residents in the dark.

Still, as of this morning, 300 thousand customers are without power in Connecticut - making the state the slowest to respond.  

Some residents in the hardest-hit areas are forming “vigilante” tree crews to clear debris - something that CL&P officials say could be dangerous.  

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Weather
5:28 pm
Thu November 3, 2011

After Storms, Middletown Arboretum Takes A Hit

The Colin McEnroe Show
10:30 am
Mon October 31, 2011

The October Snowstorm For The Record Books

Chion Wolf

The freak October storm that hit the state this weekend caused more power outages than Hurricane Irene. And, for people in many parts of the state, it could be at least a week until they get their power back. Transmission lines are out to the Northwest corner of the state - where many towns are 100 percent out. Many state schools are closed - power is out to businesses, and hundreds of roads are either closed or barely passable because of downed trees and lines.

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Animal Transport
11:54 am
Tue October 25, 2011

Beluga Whale Travels on Fed Ex Plane to Connecticut

Courtesy of Shedd Aquarium By Keith Pamper

Partnerships are common at zoos and aquariums for breeding programs but what does it take to transfer animals across the country safely?  Especially if the animal you're talking about is a 2100 pound beluga whale?

Kristine Magao, Supervisor of Belugas, at Mystic Aquarium spoke with WNPR's Lucy Nalpathanchil about the recent journey of Naluark, a male beluga whale who came to Mystic from Chicago's John G Shedd Aquarium.

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Where We Live
10:48 am
Wed October 19, 2011

Examining Environmental Regulations

thoth, creative commons

The EPA has been criticized for being both “regulators gone wild” and “regulators gone missing.”

The Environmental Protection Agency has been the target of legislation passed in recent weeks by the Republican-led House.  The bills aim to gut existing regulations - while forcing the agency to examine the economic impact of the work it does.  This movement the heart of a new book by Richard Trzupek about how many Republicans think the EPA kills jobs.

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Environment
10:19 am
Thu October 13, 2011

Deb Heinrich

creative commons

Our recent conversation with Robert Egger, the social enterprise pioneer, got us thinking more about the role of non-profits in the state.  In fact, he thinks Connecticut has a leg up in the way it thinks about the non-profit sector, having appointed Deb Heinrich, a former state lawmaker, to the job as “liason” earlier this year.  We sat down earlier this week with Heinrich to talk about “social enterprise” and the scope of her work for Governor Malloy.

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Tourism
7:45 pm
Thu September 22, 2011

Vermont to Connecticut Tourists: We're Open for Business

Nancy Eve Cohen

Vermont is a big tourist destination for people in Connecticut who enjoy the outdoors.  As the foliage season begins Vermont’s Office of Tourism says most of the state has recovered from Tropical Storm Irene and is "open for business". WNPR’s Nancy Cohen reports.

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Education
10:23 pm
Wed September 21, 2011

Technical High School Builds Lab For Green Trades

Nancy Eve Cohen

Connecticut’s Technical High School System is building energy-efficient buildings that will serve as laboratories for students to learn about green technology. WNPR’s Nancy Cohen reports the first one opened this week

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Weather
9:07 am
Sun September 18, 2011

Initial Shock Of Irene Is Waning, But Emotions Still Raw In Vermont

Nancy Eve Cohen

About three weeks after Irene hit people in some areas of Vermont have been living without phone service, impassable roads and a scarred landscape.  WNPR’s Nancy Cohen reports some Vermont residents are worn out physically and emotionally.

The Rock River in South Newfane flows through the back yard of Maureen Albert-Piascik. She says when Irene hit the river started to crest and she evacuated.

"it just went up so fast. The river was just so high the next thing I knew my house was surrounded by water." 

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Weather
6:53 pm
Wed September 14, 2011

Irene Took A Swipe At Hammonasset Beach State Park

The impact of Tropical Storm Irene is still being felt in some locations, including state parks. WNPR’s Nancy Cohen reports Hammonasset Beach State Park sustained a lot of damage.

The preliminary estimate for the cost of repairing damage at all of the state parks is about $10 million. $7 million of that is just at Hammonasset where some of the dunes were blown away and old cedar trees at the campground took a hit.  Environmental Deputy Commissioner Susan Frechette says the storm surge did the most damage at West Beach.

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Pollution
6:30 pm
Wed September 14, 2011

EPA To Discuss Housatonic Clean Up With Massachusetts, Connecticut

Nancy Eve Cohen

The U-S Environmental Protection Agency has decided to meet with biologists from the states of Connecticut and Massachusetts to discuss the clean up plan for the Housatonic River. As WNPR’s Nancy Cohen reports the meetings will delay the release of EPA’s clean-up proposal.

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Weather
4:15 pm
Thu September 8, 2011

Flooding Causes Sewage To Overflow

Nancy Eve Cohen

Heavy rains today have brought some flooding in urban areas across Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. WNPR’s Nancy Cohen reports in a few places the sewage system has been affected.

In Connecticut the ground is saturated and there’s still a lot of debris left over from Tropical Storm Irene, clogging up storm drains. That means there aren’t a lot of places for storm water to go. Dennis Greci with Connecticut’s environmental agency says in some cases flooded streets have drained into the sewage system and overflowed.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
2:33 pm
Tue September 6, 2011

Disaster Preparedness Part II

Flickr Creative Commons, Rhys Asplundh

So. Bought your generator yet? During the long power outage, everybody, it seemed, became a preparedness expert, if not an out and out survivalist. But it's a mentality you might find hard to hold on to. You have to buy food you're NOT going to eat right away.

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Where We Live
10:35 am
Fri September 2, 2011

Still Recovering From Irene

Chion Wolf

Five days ago, Tropical Storm Irene battered Connecticut and put nearly a million utility customers in the dark.

Still, Governor Dannel Malloy says the biggest issue facing the state is “power, power, power, power.”

Homes from Bristol to East Haven have been destroyed by flooding. Outages have pushed back school openings by more than a week in some districts.

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Weather
8:48 am
Thu September 1, 2011

Washed Out Roads, Bridges Leave Some Vermonters Stranded

Nancy Eve Cohen

In Connecticut losing power has been a big problem post Irene. In Vermont people have had a hard time getting around. About 65 roads are closed there and dozens of bridges are out . WNPR’s Nancy Cohen took a road trip in the southern part of the state and found some people are still stuck at home.

On route 112 in Halifax a stretch of road is missing. The asphalt has caved into the North River. A guard rail  is under water.  But  despite the conditions Brianna Inman is heading northwest to Whitingham

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