Environment

DEEP
4:17 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Environmental Violations Cost Three New Haven Companies $750K

Attorney General George Jepsen says three New Haven companies and their operator, Bruno F. Suraci, Jr., must pay nearly $750,000 in civil violations as the result of environmental violations.
Credit Flickr Creative Commons / jwellsrobinsonpc

At the center of the investigation was Bruno Suraci, Jr., owner of three metal-finishing businesses near the Quinnipiac River in New Haven. The court ruling, totaling nearly $750,000 in civil penalties, comes for hazardous waste and air pollution violations.

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Antarctica
8:56 am
Fri January 3, 2014

One Of The Rescue Ships In Antarctic May Now Be Stuck, Too

The Xue Long in the much warmer waters of Taiwan in 2009.
AP

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 10:32 am

One day after helping to rescue 52 people from a ship stuck in Antarctic ice, a Chinese icebreaker is in danger of also being stranded for a while.

Australia's Maritime Safety Authority says the crew of the Xue Long sent out an alert Friday saying their ship may not be able "to move through heavy ice in the area."

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Wildlife
7:47 am
Fri January 3, 2014

'You're Invisible, But I'll Eat You Anyway.' Secrets Of Snow-Diving Foxes

Robert Krulwich NPR

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 1:57 pm

I'm a fox. It's January. I'm hungry. I want a meal. My food, however, is buried 3 feet down, deep in the snow, hiding. It's alive, in motion, and very small, being a mouse. So how does an above-ground fox catch an underground mouse? Well, the answer is nothing short of astonishing. Here's a fox:

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Winter Storm
6:59 am
Fri January 3, 2014

Wicked Winter Storm Leaves Deadly Trail Behind As It Moves Out

Walking was the best way to get around early Friday in Brooklyn, N.Y., where snow and strong winds made driving hazardous.
Sebastian Gabriel EPA/Landov

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 5:21 pm

The blast of winter weather that dumped 2 feet of snow in some parts of the Northeast and New England was being blamed for at least 13 deaths as of Friday afternoon.

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Winter Storm No Name
5:46 am
Fri January 3, 2014

Winter Storm Cancellations and Updates

A recent look at the radar.
Credit National Weather Service

In addition to many school closings throughout the region, here are some of the other closings and cancelations we're seeing. The snow should start to taper off late Friday morning.

If you must go out, bundle up and take it slow as road crews continue to clear the snow and treat the roads.

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Shackleton
2:56 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

Antarctic Explorer's Failure Becomes His Greatest Success

Recently recovered cellulose photos recovered by the New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust. Pictured, Iceberg and land, Ross Island. (New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust)

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 5:14 pm

A helicopter has rescued all 52 passengers from a research ship that’s been trapped in Antarctic ice since Christmas Eve.

The group was stuck in the ice for 10 days, but imagine being stuck there for 15 months – with no communication with the outside world.

That’s what happened to Irish explorer Ernest Shackleton and his team in their attempt to make a land crossing of Antarctica in 1914.

Their ship got stuck in the ice, and they never reached their goal. But that journey is now remembered for Shackleton’s journey to rescue his crew.

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Ice Crystals
2:30 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

What's in a Snowflake?

Credit Catie Talarski / WNPR

The winter storm hitting Connecticut is bringing "light, fluffy snow" to many parts of the state. Have you wondered what exactly makes the snow fluffy? 

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Winter Storm
7:56 am
Thu January 2, 2014

100 Million People In Path Of 2014's First Wintry Blast

Snow was falling fast Thursday morning in Albany, N.Y.
Mike Groll AP

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 11:29 pm

Updated 11:30 p.m. ET

The Associated Press reports: "The National Weather Service said 21 inches of snow had fallen in Boxford, just north of Boston, by Thursday night, while other parts of the state had 17 or 18 inches. It said parts of upstate New York had 18 inches."

The New York Times reports:

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Fish Industry
5:22 am
Thu January 2, 2014

Why The Cod On Cape Cod Now Comes From Iceland

With local cod so scarce, Chef Toby Hill of Lyric Restaurant in Yarmouth Port, Mass., tries out a dogfish salad — served here with garlic aioli on toast — instead. Dogfish is still plentiful in New England waters, but wholesale fisheries say there's not much demand for it in the U.S.
Christine Hochkeppel Courtesy of Cape Cod Times

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 2:53 pm

Good luck finding local cod in Cape Cod, Mass.

The fish once sustained New England's fishing industry, but in recent years, regulators have imposed severe catch limits on cod, and the fish remain scarce.

"I've never seen cod fishing this bad," says Greg Walinsky, who has been fishing on Cape Cod for more than 30 years. "It looks to me like it's over. And I can't catch any codfish."

It's so bad, many fishermen say, that for the first time, they cannot catch enough cod to even reach shrinking government quotas.

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Antarctica
7:34 am
Tue December 31, 2013

Singing, Stomping, Stranded Explorers Prep Antarctic Helipad

Framed by ice: the MV Akademik Shokalskiy, which has been stuck in Antarctic ice since Christmas Eve.
Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 8:31 am

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Boots Were Made For It
7:00 am
Tue December 31, 2013

New Haven Ranks as Country's Eighth "Most Walkable City"

About 12 percent of New Haven commuters report walking to their jobs, according to U.S. census data.
Yale University Creative Commons

First, let's check the numbers. About 12 percent of New Haven commuters report walking to their jobs, which ranks the Elm City eighth nationally -- that's right alongside Washington D.C. and Boston.

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Space
3:26 am
Tue December 31, 2013

Bon Voyage, Voyager: Old Friends Take Stock

NASA/JPL-Caltech

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 9:37 am

For the scientists who have emotionally traveled with NASA's Voyager mission for decades, 2013 will be remembered as the year they knew Voyager 1 had finally become the first explorer from Earth to enter the mysterious realm of interstellar space.

Voyager 1 and its twin, Voyager 2, both blasted off in 1977, more than 35 years ago. Voyager 1 flew by Jupiter, then Saturn — and then on toward the unknown region that lies between stars.

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Antarctica
8:47 pm
Mon December 30, 2013

Lost Images Come To Life A Century After Antarctic Expedition

Alexander Stevens, Shackleton's chief scientist, looks south from the deck of the Aurora. Hut Point Peninsula on Ross Island, Antarctica, can be seen in the background.
nzaht.org

Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 8:25 pm

Conservators working to preserve artifacts from the early days of Antarctic exploration have uncovered century-old black-and-white negatives taken during Ernest Shackleton's 1914-1917 expedition but never printed.

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Ocean Life
5:00 pm
Mon December 30, 2013

Whale Traffic Jam Delights Visitors And Baffles Scientists

A diving whale off the coast of Southern California near the Los Angeles suburb of Palos Verdes in 2010.
Mike Nelson EPA/Landov

Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 6:13 pm

This is one of the best times of the year to spot gray whales off the coast of Southern California as they migrate south for the winter. But recently, there have been an unusually high number of sightings of other whales.

"We've had so many whales," Dan "The Whale Man" Salas tells the guests on his boat. "This is all in the last two weeks. We've had orcas, we had a sperm whale, we've got humpback whales, blue whales, fin whales. Yesterday we had a massive pod of gray whales, so we never know what we're going to see out here."

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Antarctica
9:15 am
Mon December 30, 2013

Third Icebreaker Fails To Reach Stranded Ship In Antarctic

Nowhere to go: A view from the MV Akademik Shokalskiy, which is trapped in thick Antarctic ice 1,500 nautical miles south of Hobart, Australia.
Andrew Peacock/Australasian Antarctic Expedition/Footloose Fotography AP

Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 2:17 pm

"Bad news: Aurora couldn't get through. Tried twice. Low visibility & heavy ice. Returning to open water. Try again tomorrow?"

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Antarctica
4:50 pm
Sun December 29, 2013

Air Evacuation Is Being Considered For Antarctic Passengers

Russian ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy is trapped in thick Antarctic ice, 1,500 nautical miles south of Hobart, Australia.
Andrew Peacock AP

The crew and expedition leaders aboard the MV Akademik Shokalskiy are considering an air evacuation of the passengers on board the ship, which is stuck in Antarctic ice.

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Ice Coast
7:16 am
Sun December 29, 2013

Thousands Still Without Power As More Snow Due To Fall

Maine resident Jim Ridley uses a flashlight to get his mail Thursday. Thousands may be without power well into next week if snow and ice hit the state Sunday night.
Robert F. Bukaty AP

Originally published on Sun December 29, 2013 1:25 pm

A massive post-Christmas package of precipitation is headed up the East Coast today. The storm is predicted to dump snow and ice from Boston on up and promises to vex residents already a week without power since the last winter storm.

The storm is carrying drenching rain through the Carolinas, Mid-Atlantic and southern New England during the day. The downpour will reduce visibility and make travel difficult, according to Accuweather.com.

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Water Treatment
4:47 pm
Fri December 27, 2013

Sewage Spill Along the Naugatuck River Is Contained

At it's peak, raw sewage spilled from this broken manhole structure into the Naugatuck river at a rate of 100 to 200 gallons a minute. The leak was contained on Friday.
Credit Steve Cherhoniak

A leak at a water treatment plant that spilled thousands of gallons of raw sewage in the Naugatuck River has been contained. The leak started Wednesday at Veolia Environment North America, a wastewater treatment plant in Seymour. 

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Space
11:37 am
Fri December 27, 2013

PHOTO: Saturn's Holiday Closeup

Saturn, looking something like a hand-painted ornament, in a newly released image from NASA.
NASA.gov

Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 1:00 pm

Just before Christmas, NASA released a photo of Saturn that we can't resist posting.

Here's how the space agency describes the image:

"The globe of Saturn, seen here in natural color, is reminiscent of a holiday ornament in this wide-angle view from NASA's Cassini spacecraft. The characteristic hexagonal shape of Saturn's northern jet stream, somewhat yellow here, is visible. At the pole lies a Saturnian version of a high-speed hurricane, eye and all. ...

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Washington, D.C.
4:33 pm
Thu December 26, 2013

With National Treasures At Risk, D.C. Fights Against Flooding

The U.S. Capitol dome provides a view down the National Mall, an area vulnerable to flooding.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 7:13 pm

The nation's capital is not exactly a beach town. But the cherry-tree-lined Tidal Basin, fed by the Potomac River, laps at the steps of the Jefferson Memorial. And, especially since Superstorm Sandy, officials in Washington have a clear idea of what would happen in a worst-case storm scenario.

"The water would go across the World War II memorial, come up 17th Street," says Tony Vidal of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. "And there are actually three spots where the water would come up where we don't have ... a closure structure right now."

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Rare Bird
12:08 pm
Tue December 24, 2013

A Partridge in a Pear Tree? Unlikely, in Connecticut

Alex Brash, president of Connecticut Audubon Society, said, "Our forests are aging and our landscape [is] less diverse, which means that many of Connecticut’s most beautiful birds, such as Ruffed Grouse, are disappearing."
Credit Ybou photos / Creative Commons

The Connecticut Audubon Society says that if state residents plan to give their true love a partridge in a pear tree on the first day of Christmas this year, they're likely to be disappointed.

Partridges have become so rare in Connecticut over the last two decades that it might be easier to find two French hens, or three Turtle Doves, than a partridge -- known more commonly here as the Ruffed Grouse.

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Magic Carpet Ride
6:36 am
Tue December 24, 2013

Connecticut Weighs Feasibility of Carpet Recycling Law

Credit Flickr Creative Commons, stevendepolo

Earlier this year, Connecticut became the first state in the nation to pass a law requiring manufacturers to recycle unwanted mattresses generated in the state. Now, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is reviewing similar rules for things like carpet and batteries. 

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Weather
9:26 am
Mon December 23, 2013

Ice Storm Leaves Tens Of Thousands In The Dark

Heather Griffin, of Buffalo, N.Y., and her dog Sal walk beneath ice-covered trees on Sunday in Buffalo.
Mike Groll AP

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 1:06 pm

About 200,000 households are in the dark across the country, after a massive ice storm swept through Midwest and the Eastern Seaboard.

The Associated Press estimates that some 95,000 households are without power in New York, Vermont and Maine. MLive.com reports that 155,000 are without power in Michigan.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
10:01 am
Thu December 19, 2013

Paying Homage to Pigs!

Colin meets Rosie.
Chion Wolf WNPR

Behold! The unique dilemma of the pig: There is nothing that smart that tastes that good. Is it true they're as smart as dogs? Why do some religions require people abstain from eating pork? What's it like raising pigs, and what parts of the pig are overlooked when it comes to eating them?

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Metro-North
8:46 am
Thu December 19, 2013

Transportation Committee Hears Details of Metro-North's Problems

James Redeker speaks before the Connecticut legislature's Transportation Committee on Wednesday.
Credit CT-N

The Connecticut legislature's Transportation Committee held a public hearing on Wednesday to learn more about the recent problems with Metro-North. The Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redeker addressed the Transportation Committee. 

Transportation Committee member Jonathan Steinberg, a State Representative from Westport, told Redeker, "Thank you, Commissioner, for submitting to our version of shoot-the-messenger." 

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Photography
6:34 am
Thu December 19, 2013

Wadsworth Atheneum Highlights "An Artificial Wilderness"

Edward Burtynsky's "Oxford Tire Pile #1," taken in Westley, Calif. in 1999, is one of the centerpieces of "An Artificial Wilderness," which runs through Feb. 23 at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford.
Edward Burtynsky / Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art

It might seem odd for a museum boasting one of the nation's largest collections of the Hudson River School, a 19th-century art movement celebrating the beauty of America's outdoors, to document parking lots and discarded rubber tires. 

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Power Broker
12:30 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

From New Haven Son to New York's Master Builder, Robert Moses Turns 125

Robert Moses with a model of the Battery Bridge in New York City, which was built as a tunnel instead when the public opposed the potentially blocked view.
Credit C.M. Stieglitz / Creative Commons

Wednesday marks the 125th birthday of New Haven native Robert Moses, a powerfully influential shaper of the modern city. Moses famously carried out most of his work in appointed positions in New York City, both as head of the Triborough Bridge Authority and through public housing projects. 

Moses is credited with transforming New York City -- and many cities that followed suit or took his advice, like Hartford -- into a place dominated by the automobile. He frequently recommended demolishing older, poor neighborhoods in order to carve a path for an elevated highway.

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Host's Diary
10:37 am
Wed December 18, 2013

A Long Fracking Conversation With Dan Esty

Dan Esty, Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, during a visit to WNPR.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Okay, so it's not Frost/Nixon. But over the last few years, I've been having an ongoing, at times entertaining, occasionally frustrating, and always interesting conversation on air and on stage with Dan Esty about "fracking" and natural gas. 

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Insects
1:49 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

From 'Death Jars' To Wasps: A Quest To Stamp Out The Stink Bug

The invasive brown marmorated stink bug has become an expensive nuisance for U.S. farmers. It has spread to 40 states and eats about 100 different crops.
Matt Rourke AP

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 10:26 am

The brown marmorated stink bug doesn't just smell bad. It's also been causing trouble for homeowners and farmers from New Hampshire to California for the past three years.

No predators are eating the invasive species fast enough to keep it under control, but researchers think they may have found a solution to the stink-bug menace.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Dan Esty on Fracking, Wind Power, and Natural Gas

Commissioner Dan Esty speaking with WNPR's John Dankosky at the Mark Twain House.
Credit Tucker Ives / WNPR

Dan Esty, Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, has a plan for energy security that includes a huge investment in natural gas. But what about the effects of natural gas extraction methods like fracking and the uncertainty of future low prices? What about the need for renewable sources of energy?

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