Alan Yu

Reporter

Alan was a Kroc Fellow at NPR and worked at WNPR as a reporter for three months. He is interested in everything from health and science reporting to comic books and movies. Before joining us, he studied journalism at Northwestern University, and worked at Psychology Today, NPR's Weekend Edition, and WBEZ in Chicago.

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Office Design
2:05 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

How a Well-Designed Doctor's Office Could Help Patients

Will doctor's offices look more like this in the near future? Some say the natural design elements can help patients.
John Bartelstone Jeffrey Berman Architect

Doctor's offices and hospitals may not always be stunning examples of architecture, but both architects and doctors are thinking of how designs can put patients at ease and help them heal.

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Arts Festivals
10:52 am
Thu May 29, 2014

Pop-Up Festivals Hope to Take Visitors Beyond Downtown New Haven

The New Haven festival draws many visitors in June, and the organizers hope people will see more than just the downtown area.
Judy Sirota Rosenthal New Haven International Festival of Arts and Ideas

The New Haven International Festival of Arts and Ideas has attracted visitors from all over the world to downtown New Haven. Organizers are now looking beyond downtown to the neighborhoods.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
12:30 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

Geek Is Chic: How Comic Con Became a Pop Culture Phenomenon

John Kantor and Eric Gunther are members of the Connecticut Ghostbusters. It’s a nonprofit charity and costuming group, servicing Hartford, New Haven and Fairfield counties. They’ve appeared at various comic cons for charity.
Chion Wolf WNPR

People who attend Comic Con and Star Trek conventions -- or nerds in general -- used to be the butt of jokes, including a famous "Saturday Night Live" skit by William Shatner, where he tells "Trekkers" to get a life.

Now "fandom" is a huge industry. It generates more than $500 million by one estimate, and is growing in both revenue and attendance. 

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Sister Cities
7:53 am
Mon May 26, 2014

Stratfords of the World Unite In Connecticut This Summer

Alan Yu and Heather Brandon for WNPR Creative Commons

People from the six places called Stratford are coming to Connecticut this summer.

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Cybersecurity
5:34 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Connecticut Investigates Attack on eBay With Other States

Credit Ebay

Connecticut's attorney general is working with other states to try and prevent data breaches like the ones that happened to eBay, Target, and Neiman Marcus.

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Technology
2:00 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Hospital Disinfects Phones to Tackle "Major Threat" to Patients

Phones brought in by patients must be kept clean, just like any equipment used at a hospital.
Sony Xperia Z Creative Commons

Sometimes people go to a hospital, and they leave with an infection. A new device being tested at St. Francis Hospital might reduce those infections.

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Music Manufacturing
12:18 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

Organ Company In Hartford Still Pulling Out All the Stops After 100 Years

Anne Wysocki, a voicer at Austin Organs, tunes a chimney flute that will be added to an organ in Cincinnati originally built by Austin in 1929.
Shana Sureck WNPR

If you ask Michael Fazio how long he’s been in the pipe organ business, he’ll say, “How do I get out of it?”

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Recreational Marijuana
5:52 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

Most Voters in Connecticut Support Legal Recreational Marijuana Possession

KatarzynaBialasiewicz/iStock Thinkstock

At 52 percent supporting legal possession, it's only a slight majority, but a new poll released by Quinnipiac University echoes a nationwide shift in attitudes towards marijuana. The poll also found that 90 percent of Connecticut residents support medical marijuana use. 

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Climate Change
9:06 am
Fri May 9, 2014

Could Climate Change Spread Ticks and Mosquitoes In Connecticut?

Around 30 million people in the Northeast could be exposed to West Nile virus-carrying mosquitoes by the end of the century.
James Gathany CDC/ National Climate Assessment

Climate change is linked to more floods, hotter and drier weather, and melting sea ice, but it could also affect infectious diseases like Lyme disease and West Nile Virus. The problem is we don't know how.

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Dental Health
3:16 pm
Thu May 8, 2014

Dental Care Still Out of Reach For "Huge Piece of the Population"

More than 200 dentists volunteered for a free, two-day dental clinic in Hartford.
Connecticut Mission of Mercy

Your teeth may not be the first thing you think of when it comes to health care. Dentists say oral health problems seldom get better on their own, and can point to disease elsewhere in the body, including diabetes and some forms of cancer and leukemia. Of course, a toothache can just be painful.

But if you’re an adult who doesn’t have dental insurance, caring for your teeth and your health can be a real challenge. The Affordable Care Act covers dental care for children, but not adults, and dental care isn't cheap.

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Freedom of Information
9:17 am
Wed May 7, 2014

Company Says Health Care Exchange Contracts Are "Trade Secrets"

Stockbyte Thinkstock

The company that got the multimillion-dollar contract to run the call centers for the health care exchange Access Health CT -- called Maximus -- is refusing to release invoices and contracts to show exactly how much they are paid by the state. 

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Early Childhood Education
2:18 pm
Mon May 5, 2014

More Children in Connecticut Could Have Access to Preschool Soon

Gov. Dannel Malloy called for universal access to pre-kindergarten this year, including at a press event at a middle school in Hamden.
Gov. Dannel Malloy Creative Commons

The Connecticut General Assembly passed a budget this past weekend, which -- along with two other bits of legislation -- expands access to pre-kindergarten education. Advocates have said it doesn't reach the ideal goal of universal preschool, but it's an important step in that direction.

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State budget
3:03 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

Malloy Announces Budget Deal That Doesn't Have "a Lot of Pain"

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy announced a budget agreement on Friday which would not raise new taxes, and would deposit the smaller-than-expected $43.4 million surplus into the state's rainy day fund.

Broadly speaking, Malloy said that without a deficit, it's time to focus on future growth.

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Utilities
8:43 am
Thu May 1, 2014

State Senate Measure Could Change the Face of Electric Bills

Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary Thinkstock

The state senate has unanimously passed a bill to address many complaints against independent electricity suppliers.

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Rivers
1:48 pm
Mon April 28, 2014

What Gets Flushed Into Rivers as More Rain Hits the Northeast?

The color of rivers is one indicator of the amount of dissolved organic matter.
Nicholas A. Tonelli Creative Commons

Connecticut and the Northeast region have gotten a lot more rain over the years. A report from the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration found a 67 percent increase since 1958, more than any other part of the country.

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Dental health
10:26 am
Mon April 28, 2014

Free Dental Clinic Continues to Draw Crowds

At Hartford's XL Center, hundreds of volunteer dentists cleaned teeth and performed other procedures for whoever showed up.
Alan Yu WNPR

More than 2,000 people waited outside the XL Center in Hartford this past weekend to get free dental work at the Connecticut Mission of Mercy dental clinic.

There were so many people that hundreds had to line up overnight.

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Teacher Evaluations
10:42 am
Fri April 25, 2014

Connecticut Educators May No Longer Be Judged Based On One Test Score

Alberto G. Creative Commons

The advisory council responsible for developing Connecticut's evaluation system for teachers and principals is recommending changes to the guidelines. If the changes are adopted, educators may no longer be judged based on just one test score.

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Sleep Medicine
10:56 am
Tue April 22, 2014

What Groton's Navy Lab Can Teach Us About Irregular Sleep

The U.S.S. Scranton is the first submarine to try on the new schedule on full deployment, and the crew loved it, as reported by the Associated Press.
Danna M. Morris U.S. Navy

The U.S. Navy is allowing sailors on submarines to work on a 24-hour schedule, based on research from the Navy lab at Groton, but civilians who don't work normal hours should pay attention, too.

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Metro-North
7:04 am
Mon April 21, 2014

How to Avoid Delays as Metro-North Gets Fixed

Metro North customers wait during a service disruption in September.
Metropolitan Transportation Authority/Kevin Ortiz

The past year was a bad one for Metro-North. A derailment and collision in Bridgeport injured at least 50 people, and another derailment in the Bronx killed four. Even Governor Dannel Malloy said on WNPR’s Where We Live that the railroad “couldn’t have had a worse year.” 

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Law Enforcement
4:24 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Advocacy Groups Want to Know When and How Police Use Tasers

Credit TASER International

The American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut is calling for statewide regulations and clear policies on how the police use Tasers.

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Cybersecurity
4:36 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Connecticut and Utilities Prepare Defenses Against Cyberattacks

Credit Flickr user Chris Hunkeler/ Creative Commons

Governor Dannel Malloy has released a plan to protect Connecticut's utilities against cyber attacks. Connecticut's electric, natural gas, major water companies and the regional distribution systems have already been penetrated in the past.

When asked just how many cyber attacks have happened, Arthur House, chairman of the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, said he can't go into much detail.

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Small Business
8:54 am
Fri April 11, 2014

New Haven Cardboard Furniture Company Goes Beyond One-Man Production

Zachary Rotholz of Chairigami.
Alan Yu WNPR

In New Haven, there's a furniture shop where everything is designed, hand-made, and shipped by just one employee working with cardboard.

Now Zachary Rotholz of Chairigami is working with manufacturers in Connecticut to scale up production of his cardboard furniture, and even make it high-tech.

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School Integration
4:35 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

Most Charter Schools in Connecticut Are "Hyper-Segregated"

Credit jnaas/iStock / Thinkstock

In most charter schools in Connecticut, more than 90 percent of students are racial and ethnic minorities. This is despite a state goal to provide an integrated learning environment, and let students and teachers interact with people of other racial, ethnic and economic backgrounds.

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Sports Riots
2:38 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

Why Fans in Connecticut and the U.S. Riot When Their Team Wins

Police in the U.K. break up a clash between soccer fans. Unlike in the rest of the world, some U.S. fans become violent if their team wins.
Credit Flickr user Ben Sutherland/Creative Commons

Fans watching major sports championship games in the U.S. sometimes riot afterwards. But unlike the fist fights that happen between fans of opposing teams in Europe, researchers found that U.S. fans riot if their team wins.

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Parking
11:45 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Study: Hartford, New Haven Hurt By Abundance of Parking

Downtown Hartford has a lot of parking space, and the city is forgoing tax money for it.
Credit Heather Brandon/WNPR

Regardless of how hard it can seem to find a parking spot sometimes, Hartford and New Haven have built a lot more parking over the past few decades. But that can be a bad thing.

A team of researchers at the University of Connecticut recently investigated the impact of parking policies in six cities across the U.S. 

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College Sports
12:03 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

What a Ruling on Football Players Means for College Athletes

Credit Flickr Creative Commons/The U.S. Army

Earlier this week, a regional director of the National Labor Relations Board in Chicago ruled that Northwestern University football players are employees of the university. That could have implications for other student athletes in private universities nationwide, including local schools like the University of Hartford.

This all started because the football players at Northwestern wanted to form a union so they could have collective bargaining rights and better health coverage.

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Family Court
9:56 am
Wed March 26, 2014

Are There Better Ways of Handling Child Custody Cases in Connecticut?

Dr. Elizabeth Thayer said the system needs to change but advocates shouldn't just criticize the GALs.
Credit Chion Wolf/WNPR

There's growing tension in Connecticut between parents and guardian ad litem lawyers or GALs, who are appointed to represent minor children in child custody cases.

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Higher Education
8:34 am
Tue March 25, 2014

Community Colleges in Connecticut Experiment With Remedial Classes

About two-thirds of students at community colleges in Connecticut are not prepared for college-level work.
Credit Gloda/iStock / Thinkstock

This fall, community college students in Connecticut who take remedial classes will be part of a large and, some say, much-needed experiment.

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Electric Cars
5:32 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Connecticut Fights Climate Change With Electric Car Selling Contest

Credit Nissan

Connecticut is running a contest to boost sales of electric vehicles: The dealer that sells the most electric cars between now and July gets an award. There's no prize money, but the contest is part of an effort to meet an ambitious quota.

Car salesman Joe Quistorff just sold a plugin hybrid car (a car that can run on either gas or electricity) a few days ago.

"My sales effort was actually fairly simple, fortunately," he said. "These are the kind of people that buy those vehicles."

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Sandy Ground Project
6:02 am
Tue March 18, 2014

Volunteer-Built Playground in Hartford Celebrates Sandy Hook Shooting Victim

The Sandy Playground Project has built playgrounds in New Jersey and Connecticut to remember the victims of the shooting at Sandy Hook and restore the east coast after Hurricane Sandy.
Credit Alan Yu / WNPR

A corner of a Hartford's Elizabeth Park became a construction site last weekend, but this wasn't just any ordinary project.

Even on a chilly day in March, hundreds of people came to watch. The organizers hope the community will continue to feel a strong connection to the playground that was built.

A group called the Sandy Ground Project is building 26 playgrounds as living memorials to the children who died in the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. 

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