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Will New Jobs Save Connecticut's Budget?

Feb 1, 2011
Flickr Creative Commons, smemon87

Diane Orson

New Haven Mayor John DeStefano says changes to city pension plans are urgently needed to keep from bankrupting the funds.  

He says New Haven is facing a growing budget gap.

"Over four years the next year this is a total budget gap of $309 million. The largest single expenditure item contributing to that gap is the increasing city contribution to our two pension plans."

Cash is the lifeblood of any small business, and access to financing can be a critical factor in whether a small enterprise can grow and thrive. Businesses need credit to hire and to make capital investments. It may sometimes seem as if the chips are stacked against them.

For 17 years, Joe Petti ran a small manufacturing firm, Delaney Engineering in Milford. He says one of the biggest issues he faced growing his company was dealing with the banks.

Bringing Farmers and Chefs to the Table

Feb 1, 2011
Nancy Eve Cohen

The Connecticut Department of Agriculture convened a meeting today to introduce farmers to chefs looking for local food. As WNPR’s Nancy Cohen reports the agency held a kind of “speed dating” exercise to bring people together.

“30 seconds left! 30 seconds left!”

A clang of a cow-bell moves the participants from table to table. About two thirds are from restaurants, hospitals and food distributors. One third are harvesters and farmers, like Alysson Angelini from Jones Family Farms.

Winter Markets Help Northeast Farmers Survive

Jan 31, 2011
Nancy Eve Cohen

Farmers markets have seen huge growth in the past three decades. They give consumers access to local food, sometimes at a lower price. And farmers can sell without a middleman getting a cut.

Now, some markets now run through the entire winter. As part of a collaboration of Northeast stations WNPR’s Nancy Cohen reports the number of winter-long markets have doubled, tripled... even quadrupled in some states.

A census on domestic violence services offered in Connecticut shows the need for them has grown in the last year.  

Jeff Cohen/WNPR

courtesy Larry Berk

“Buy local” has become a rallying cry for small businesses attempting to revive the high street. But it’s also a good message for those small businesses whose customers are big business. Plenty of small suppliers in Connecticut would like to see big corporations and state government look first in their own backyard when they spend money.

For the latest of WNPR’s small business profiles, business reporter Harriet Jones met with one such small supplier. 

East Haven’s Police Chief says he’s done his best to comply with all requests for information in connection with a federal investigation into alleged racial profiling by the town’s police officers.  

Hydro Quebec: 'Green' Enough for the Northeast?

Jan 27, 2011
John Dillon

Northeast states are increasingly looking to Canada to meet a growing demand for low cost hydro electricity from renewable sources. But the energy imports are stirring controversy. In northern New Hampshire, local activists are fighting a power line that would send the electricity south. And questions are being raised about whether big hydro is really green.

As part of a collaboration of Northeast stations John Dillon of Vermont Public Radio reports:

Eastern Washington University, Flickr Creative Commons

In his State of the Union address, President Obama called on higher education to reinstate the Reserve Officer Training Corps on college campuses. Many elite colleges and universities haven't had ROTC chapters since the late 1960s. But the end of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell could open the door. Most undergraduates at Yale University think its a good idea. 

Yale student Katherine Miller says President Obama’s message is clear. The military is becoming more inclusive. And that  means she’ll be able to pursue her dream of a career in uniform. 

(photo: Hartford.gov)

The long-vacant hotel at the center of downtown Hartford's Constitution Plaza may soon have a new use. The city says the hotel commonly known as the Sonesta has sat vacant for at least a decade.  Now, a New York-based development groups says it plans to buy the building this week, invest as much as $20 million dollars, and turn the building into high-end apartments.

Joseph Klaynberg runs Wonder Works Construction and Development.  He says this will be his first investment property in Hartford.

Animal rights activists have named this cat William Curry, after Connecticut's beloved former comptroller and gubernatorial candidate.

Here is what we know about it, via Julie Lewin of the National Institute For Animal Advocacy:

Nathan & Jenny / Creative Commons

Hospitals that participate in Medicare and Medicaid have new rules to follow concerning patient rights. Earlier this month, the federal Department of Health and Human Services implemented the new federal regulations that were first proposed by President Obama in 2010.

The Freedom of Information Commission in Hartford is to hear testimony on Tuesday from the Former Police Chief of East Haven.  He’s been subpoenaed in connection with an investigation into alleged racial profiling by East Haven police officers.

Former Police Chief Leonard Gallo is expected to testify about documents related to a U.S. Department of Justice investigation into race-based violence, harassment and intimidation by East Haven police officers against Latinos.   

DEP Asks Public to Report Odd Bat Behavior

Jan 21, 2011
CT Department of Environmental Protection

Five years ago this winter, a caver in New York photographed bats with a white fungus on their faces -- and found a few dead bats. Since then, more than one million bats have died in at least 12 states, including Connecticut, from a condition now known as “white nose” syndrome. Connecticut’s environmental agency is asking the public to keep an eye out for odd behavior in bats.

Harriet Jones

This year, WNPR’s Small Business Project is taking apart what it means to be a small business owner. As part of our coverage we’re showcasing the huge diversity of the state’s small businesses and what they’re accomplishing. Most businesses start very, very small—even at the kitchen table. For the first of our small business profiles, WNPR’s Harriet Jones visits a tiny commercial kitchen in Griswold.

Jennifer Chominski is spending the morning pressing out piecrust for her baking business, Gracie Mae’s Kitchen.

Federal regulators have rejected a new inhaled insulin treatment from drug maker MannKind. The diabetes treatment was due to have been manufactured in Danbury. 

More details are slowly emerging about the Connecticut-based financial expert that Warren Buffett has chosen to oversee investments at Berkshire Hathaway. The billionaire has been trying to arrange succession planning at the company after his five decades in charge. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The mood was electric as supporters waited to see the president. Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch, Gubernatorial candidate Dan Malloy, and U.S. Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal warmed up the crowd, calling on voters to get to the polls and urge everyone they know to do the same on Tuesday.

Lagging In Polls, McMahon Claims "Underdog" Status

Nov 1, 2010
Deirdre Shesgreen, Connecticut Mirror

Republican Linda McMahon called herself the "underdog" on Sunday, even as she disputed recent polls showing her behind Democrat Richard Blumenthal and touted a sophisticated field operation assembled by her $42 million-plus U.S. Senate campaign.

"I like being the underdog," McMahon told a crowd of several hundred well-heeled voters at a Republican rally in Darien. "We are undaunted."

JOHN WOIKE / HARTFORD COURANT / October 31, 2010

Former President Bill Clinton told a partisan audience of 2,000 at the University of Hartford on Sunday night that Republicans have waged "a fact-free campaign" to convince America they are blameless for the recession. 

Out in Connecticut: Fleurette King

Oct 29, 2010

Fleurette King is the director of the Rainbow Center at the University of Connecticut in Storrs. The mission of the Rainbow Center is to serve the diversity of the UConn Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, and Allied community and to provide resources and services to the wider community of students, faculty, staff, and local residents.

A state court judge said she would not immediately rule on the lawsuit brought by Republican Martha Dean that tries to disqualify Democrat George Jepsen from the race for attorney general. Dean filed suit earlier this week claiming that Jepsen didn’t have the required legal experience to serve as attorney general.

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