Diane Orson

Managing Editor/Host

Diane Orson is WNPR's local host for Morning Edition.  She's also a reporter and managing editor for WNPR, as well as a contributor to National Public Radio. Her stories are heard on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition and Here And Now.  Diane began at WBUR in Boston and came to Connecticut in 1988 as a co-producer for Open Air New England.  She shared a Peabody Award with Faith Middleton for their piece of radio nostalgia about New Haven's Shubert Theatre.  Her reporting has  been recognized by the Connecticut Society for Professional Journalists and the Associated Press, including the Ellen Abrams Award for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism and the Walt Dibble Award for Overall Excellence.

Diane is also an active professional musician. She lives in Hamden with her husband. Her two children are in college.

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Higher Education
9:13 am
Tue February 4, 2014

New Haven Promise Reaches Out to Younger Children in Effort to Build a College-Going Culture

Student Arianna Taft with Patricia Melton, executive director of New Haven Promise.
Credit Diane Orson / WNPR

A recently-released report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office found that as college tuition costs soared between 2007 and 2012, demand for federal student loans increased more than 300 percent.

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Metro-North
9:37 am
Mon February 3, 2014

Upgrade to Metro-North New Haven Line Begins

Governor Malloy announces upgrades to the New Haven line alongside other officials. Behind him, from left: Senator Richard Blumenthal, Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, DOT Commissioner James Redeker, and Rep. Elizabeth Esty.
Credit Office of Governor Dannel Malloy

Work on a $10 million project to upgrade the power supply for Metro North’s New Haven Line begins on Monday. The upgrade is aimed at preventing the kind of catastrophic power failure that took place in New York last fall, seriously disrupting service. 

Governor Dannel Malloy announced the project Sunday at Union Station in New Haven. “Transportation is the backbone of our economy here in Connecticut,” he said. “As governor, I’ve been clear that we need to invest in bringing our highways and mass transit systems into the 21st century after years of under-investment.”

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Music
11:56 am
Thu January 30, 2014

Ladysmith Black Mambazo to Perform in Connecticut This Weekend

Ladysmith Black Mambazo. The group will perform at UConn on February 1 at 8:00 pm.
Credit Lulis Leal

The South African a capella vocal group Ladysmith Black Mambazo will be in Connecticut this weekend. The group began performing over 50 years ago during the period of apartheid, and became a worldwide sensation after performing on Paul Simon’s landmark Graceland album in the 1980s. 

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Police Recruits
10:43 am
Thu January 30, 2014

East Haven Police Chief Looks to Stop Immediate Transfers of New Trainees

East Haven Police Chief Brent Larrabee.
Credit Town of East Haven

East Haven's police chief is asking that something be done to stop town police recruits from completing their training and immediately transferring elsewhere. According to The New Haven Register, Chief Brent Larrabee has seen 26 officers of his 53-person force leave during his two years on the job. 

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Folk Aboard
3:32 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

My Road Trip With Pete Seeger

"This machine surrounds hate and forces it to surrender."
Credit Joseph Holmes / Creative Commons

It was the 1980s and I was a busy musician in New York City. Mine was an eclectic musical life as both a violinist and singer. One day I was seated in a chamber orchestra playing classical violin, the next I was gigging on my electric fiddle and singing back-up in a folk/Latin band.

One day, Mike, the leader of a folk band I played with, called to say that he and I were going to drive Pete Seeger to a music festival in Washington, D.C.

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Antarctica
8:28 am
Tue January 28, 2014

Yale Student Treks to the South Pole at Record Pace

Yale student Parker Liautaud and explorer Doug Stoup in Antarctica.
The Willis Group

Parker Liautaud, 19, is a sophomore at Yale University studying geology and geophysics. He’s also a polar adventurer who just returned from an expedition, where he and another explorer broke the world record for the fastest unsupported trek from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole.

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Special Education
9:18 am
Mon January 27, 2014

Bridgeport Failed to Identify Students in Need of Special Education

Credit mygueart/iStock / Thinkstock

The State Department of Education has determined that Bridgeport Public Schools have violated their obligation to students under the Individuals with Disabilities Act.

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East Haven
10:50 am
Fri January 24, 2014

Former East Haven Police Officer Sentenced to Five Years in Prison

Former East Haven police officer Dennis Spaulding with his wife.
Credit Melanie Stengel / The New Haven Register

Former East Haven police officer Dennis Spaulding has been sentenced to five years in prison for violating the constitutional rights of members of the East Haven community, particularly Latinos.  

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Holocaust
2:06 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Film Documents Children's Rescue From the Nazis -- and One Lives in Hartford

Ivan Backer, 84, a Hartford resident rescued by Sir Nicholas Winton during the Nazi takeover of Prague.
Chion Wolf WNPR

Next Monday marks the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Next week in Woodbridge and Madison, there will be two screenings of the film "Nicky’s Family," a Czech documentary that tells the nearly-forgotten story of Sir Nicholas Winton, a British stockbroker who organized the rescue of 669 children just before start of World War II. 

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Civil Rights
4:32 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Former East Haven Police Officer Sentenced to Two and a Half Years In Prison

David Cari, at center, in a 2009 video that led to an arrest.
Credit Father James Manship / New Haven Independent

A former East Haven police officer was sentenced on Tuesday to two and a half years in prison for multiple civil rights violations. David Cari was found guilty in October of conspiring to violate and violating the civil rights of members of the East Haven community, particularly Latinos.  

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School Funding
3:49 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Landmark Lawsuit Moves Forward That May Affect Public Education Funding

Credit Gloda/iStock / Thinkstock

A Hartford Superior Court judge has denied a request by the state to delay the start of a landmark education lawsuit that challenges the way Connecticut funds its public schools. The attorney general’s office had filed motions aimed at postponing the start of the trial until October 2015. Now, the case is set to begin later this year. 

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Bravo Waterbury!
3:21 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

Music Program in Waterbury Teaches Children Team-Building Skills

The Asylum Saxophone Quartet featuring Bravo Waterbury! woodwinds.
Credit Bravo Waterbury!

Two years ago, we reported on plans to launch after-school music education programs for low-income children in several Connecticut cities. The programs are inspired by El Sistema, a music phenomenon in Venezuela that’s touched the lives of hundreds of thousands of kids, and captured the attention of the world. WNPR’s Diane Orson now reports on Bravo Waterbury!, an initiative of the Waterbury Symphony Orchestra.

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Connecticut Legislature
3:01 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

New Haven to Hold Special Election for Open State Senate Seat

Gary Holder-Winfield, left, and Juan Candelaria, right, are both interested in Toni Harp's vacated state senate seat. The special election is February 25.
Credit Thomas MacMillan/Melissa Bailey / The New Haven Independent

Two incumbent state legislators and a former alderman plan on running in next month’s special election for New Haven’s open state Senate seat. The post became vacant after Toni Harp became the city’s new mayor.

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Photography
2:34 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

JFK in Photographs: A Yale Art Exhibit

Dealey Plaza, Dallas, 1964. Gelatin silver print. Yale University Art Gallery.
Garry Winogrand The Estate of Garry Winogrand, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

Fifty years after his assassination, images of President John F. Kennedy continue to resonate as an expression of American culture and self-identity. A photography exhibition called "A Great Crowd Had Gathered: JFK in the 1960s" examines the president by way of his public at the time. It's at the Yale Art Gallery and runs through the end of March. 

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Connecticut Statesman
3:24 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

Weicker and Lamont Remember Former GOP Chairman Tom D'Amore

Tom D'Amore sits on a panel discussion about the 2006 Senate race on C-Span.

Former state Republican chairman Tom D'Amore died this week. A close friend of former Governor and Senator Lowell Weicker, he was the campaign manager for most of Weicker 's campaigns.

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Smoking
10:05 am
Wed January 8, 2014

Anti-Smoking Measures Have Saved Millions of Lives

"The Flintstones" show was once sponsored by Winston cigarettes.

It was 1960 when Winston cigarettes sponsored the popular TV cartoon series, "The Flintstones." Four years later, the U.S. Surgeon General released a groundbreaking report spelling out the harmful effects of smoking, a compilation of the best scientific evidence at the time. 

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Transportation
11:19 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Metro-North President to Retire

Howard Permut.
Credit Patrick Cashin / MTA

Metro-North President Howard Permut is stepping down. The New York Times reports that he announced his retirement Monday afternoon. 

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Extreme Cold
11:25 am
Fri January 3, 2014

Frigid Temperatures Bring a Risk of Frostbite and Hypothermia

Credit Digital Vision/Photodisc / Thinkstock

When skin and underlying tissues freeze after exposure to very cold temperatures, that's frostbite. Hands, feet, nose and ears are most at risk. The key to treating frostbite is to gradually warm the skin, which may feel red and painful as it thaws. 

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Immigration
10:11 am
Thu January 2, 2014

New Protocols Take Effect in Connecticut for Immigration Detention Requests

Credit fergregory/iStock / Thinkstock

New protocols went into effect January 1 that affect the way state law enforcement handles detention requests by federal immigration authorities. 

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Gun Control
10:23 am
Mon December 30, 2013

New Connecticut Gun Registration Deadline Approaches

Credit Michael Saechang / Creative Commons

The deadline is approaching for Connecticut residents to register high-capacity magazines and certain guns that qualify as assault weapons. Under Connecticut’s new gun law, anyone who owned a now-banned assault weapon before April 3 of this year must submit paperwork to the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection by January 1, or risk possible felony charges.

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Teaching
10:20 am
Fri December 27, 2013

A Visit With John Mastroianni, Connecticut's 2014 Teacher of the Year

John Mastroianni.
Credit John Mastroianni

In addition to leading his own quartet and a 16-piece jazz orchestra, Connecticut saxophonist John Mastroianni is a music teacher, and the director of bands at Hall High School in West Hartford. He’s also Connecticut’s 2014 Teacher of the Year. I visited him recently at the school to talk about his work.

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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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Higher Education
1:19 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

Adult Online Learners Add to Post University's Enrollment Increase

Credit Ingram Publishing / Thinkstock

Post University is one of several private schools in the state that's seeing enrollment actually increasing. According to data from the state Office of Higher Education, the for-profit independent school saw enrollment grow by 10.5 percent this year. 

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Yale University
9:03 am
Mon December 23, 2013

Asbestos Victims Ask Yale to Revoke an Honorary Degree

Members of AFEVA, the Asbestos Victims and Relatives Association
Courtesy of Chris Meisenkothen

An Italian organization representing victims of asbestos exposure has asked Yale University to rescind an honorary degree awarded to the owner of the company they once worked for.

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Homelessness
9:27 am
Fri December 20, 2013

Homeless Youths Study Sheds Light on a "Virtually Invisible" Population in Connecticut

Homeless youth are often not connected to services that could help steer them away from the risks of poverty, crime, and addiction.
frankiefotografie/iStock Thinkstock

A study released this month explores homelessness among youths in Connecticut. The report, called “Invisible No More,” was co-authored by two researchers, Derrick Gordon and Bronwyn Hunter, of The Consultation Center at Yale University School of Medicine. They found that homeless youths are a virtually invisible population in the state, often not connected to services that could help steer them away from the risks of poverty, crime, and addiction. 

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Capital Punishment
6:53 am
Thu December 19, 2013

Death Sentences Nationwide Near Record Lows

Credit Manuel-F-O/iStock / Thinkstock

A year and half after the repeal of capital punishment in Connecticut, death sentences nationwide are near record lows. That’s according to a report released today by the non-profit Death Penalty Information Center in Washington, D.C.

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Metro-North
12:25 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

Federal Officals Announce Thorough Analysis of Metro-North

Metro-North crews replace ties and improve drainage along a right-of-way in The Bronx in August 2013.
Credit J.P. Chan / MTA

Connecticut’s Congressional Delegation is applauding Thursday’s announcement by the Federal Railroad Administration that it’s conducting an analysis of every aspect of the Metro-North Commuter Railroad. 

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Day of Remembrance
11:17 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Vigil Thursday in Washington, D.C. Honors Victims of Gun Violence

Inside the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.
Credit Silviadc / Creative Commons

A vigil to honor victims of gun violence takes place this afternoon in Washington, D.C. at Washington National Cathedral. It will begin with the ringing of bells 30 times to mark the 30,000 people killed by guns since the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

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Courts
2:52 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Two British Terror Suspects Plead Guilty in New Haven Federal Court

Babar Ahmad.
Credit BBC

Two terror suspects who were extradited from Britain a year ago pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court in New Haven. The men admitted to raising funds for terrorists through a Connecticut-based web company that was unaware of it's clients' business practices.

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Emergency Response
11:37 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Faster Medical Response During Mass Casualty Attacks Can Save Lives

Credit Stockbyte / Stockbyte / Thinkstock

Federal officials and medical experts say when medical personnel respond more aggressively during mass casualty events, it can save lives. The Obama administration is formally recommending that emergency medical personnel be sent into so-called “warm zones” during mass attacks to try and prevent death by controlling victims’ early bleeding.

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