Lewis Hine (1874-1940) / Wikimedia Commons

Shade tobacco came to Connecticut in 1900 from the island of Sumatra, which was beginning to dominate the world of cigar wrappers. The leaf had a light color, delicate texture, and mild flavor that cigar lovers love.

So it seemed like a good idea to grow it somewhere besides Sumatra and the artificial shade concept developed in Florida in the 1890s. Connecticut growers tried it on one-third of an acre in Windsor in 1900, and the result was so good that farmers, in an un-Yankee-ish burst of headlong passion, planted 50 acres in 1901.

The industry grew like shade tobacco -- that is, fitfully -- and woven into its life were the stories of the latest set of immigrants willing to work in cheap and concentrated bursts. We tell you as many of their stories as we can.

dailyjoe / Creative Commons

Ask an environmental regulator what they do -- and they're likely to say this: making sure people don't break the law and don't pollute. But as a WNPR investigation found out, getting people to obey environmental rules can be tricky.

Mark Pazniokas / The Connecticut Mirror

A federal judge has denied a bid from former Governor John Rowland for a new trial in the criminal case that could send him to prison for up to three years. 

U.S. Congress

Former Arizona U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords visited Connecticut to push for new gun control legislation designed to help domestic violence victims. 

Jackie Fortin

A 17-year-old Connecticut girl who was forced to undergo chemotherapy by the state testified at a closed-door hearing on Monday. She and her mother are seeking her release from state custody.

James Malone / Flickr Creative Commons

At the beginning of this century, when tech stocks were hot and dot-coms were appearing everywhere, Yale professor and renowned economist Robert Shiller was already warning of a bubble -- and he was right. Years later, when housing prices were skyrocketing and millions of American were betting big on real estate, Robert Shiller again predicted an impending crisis. Sadly, he was right again.

Now, with the housing market showing signs of improvement, many are getting the sense that we’re finally out woods. And with this feeling returns the idea that buying a home today means financial gains down the road.

Julia Pistell / WNPR

A public hearing on Monday at Hartford Public High School heard residents' input on a bill that would clarify state laws on police officers' authority to make arrests outside of their own towns.

Grendelkhan / Creative Commons

Snowstorms are being blamed for a drop in revenue and slot machine bets at Connecticut's two casinos last month.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

If you follow Hartford politics, you may remember Kennard Ray's story.

Less than a day after being hired as Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra’s new deputy chief in 2013, Ray resigned from the position. He had a criminal record that Segarra said was "not initially disclosed," but came to light after The Hartford Courant asked questions about Ray's past.  

Tess Watson/flickr creative commons

That's what we learned from neuroscientist Dr. Seth Horowitz of Brown University; true silence is non-existent. "In truly quiet areas," he writes in his book, The Universal Sense, "you can even hear the sound of air molecules vibrating inside your ear canals or the fluid in your ears themselves."

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