WNPR

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 Theater.  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 and two children.

Cloe Poisson / Courtesy of The Hartford Courant

Former Bridgeport Mayor Joseph Ganim has not announced whether he’ll jump into the mayoral race this year, but a poll finds that if he does, it could change the landscape of the election.

Joe Ganim was released from prison one year ago after serving six years for a massive municipal corruption scandal. The former Bridgeport mayor was convicted on 16 counts, including steering city contracts in return for hundreds of thousands of dollars in kickbacks.

A former Bridgeport Board of Education president says he and many city residents were surprised by the state’s quick takeover of the troubled school system.  

Max Medina Jr. says in 16 years serving on Bridgeport’s Board of Education he’s never seen anything quite as speedy as the recent decision by the state to intervene in the city’s schools.

The Mayor of East Haven will allow a court-appointed hearing officer to determine whether the town’s police chief should keep his job.  

In April 2010, East Haven Mayor April Capone Almon placed Police Chief Leonard Gallo on paid administrative leave. That was just after the U.S. Department of Justice released early findings of its investigation into allegations of race-based violence, harassment and intimidation of Latinos by the town’s police. The DOJ cited the police department’s outdated policies on conduct and a lack of appropriate guidelines on the use of force.

U.S.federal statistics show that 16 to 20-year-olds are more likely to be arrested than involved in car accidents. A Connecticut-based company has created a new smartphone application that provides fast legal advice to people who find themselves in legal emergencies.

The moment when someone has been or is just about to be arrested, is critical, says Chris Miles, a former AIG employee who used to work in insurance and risk management.  "Not only is it time-sensitive, its also a interaction where mistakes matter. You really can’t make an error."

The court-martial of a Marine Staff Sergeant from Connecticut has been postponed indefinitely.  Frank Wuterich of Meriden is accused of leading a 2005 assault that killed more than 20 Iraqi civilians.

In November 2005,  a squad of U.S. Marines led by Staff Sargeant Frank Wuterich, killed 24 men, women and young children in the Iraqi town of Haditha. The Marines had been searching for those responsible in an IED explosion that led to one death and two injuries. 

woodleywonderworks, Flickr Creative Commons

Though education advocates are expressing frustration at an overall lack of progress during this legislative session, there’s one area where people are feeling cautiously optimistic. A bill focusing on early childhood education could help tackle the state’s stubborn achievement gap, and may better position Connecticut for future federal funding.

For years, the original manuscript of the novel Gone With the Wind was believed to have been destroyed.  But as WNPR’s Diane Orson reports, the last four chapters recently re-appeared in a Southport, Connecticut library.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell tells the sweeping story of a headstrong Scarlett O’Hara and her turbulent love affair with Rhett Butler – set against the backdrop of the Civil War. The film starring Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh received ten Academy Awards. 

Uma Ramiah

A former lab technician was sentenced to 44 years in prison today in the 2009 murder of a Yale University graduate student.

Raymond Clark the Third told the courtroom that he, alone, was responsible for the death of 24-year old Yale pharmacology student Annie Le.  Clark pleaded guilty in March to murder and attempted sexual assault.

Le disappeared in September 2009.  Her body was discovered five days later behind the wall of a high security, university research building. DNA evidence linked Clark to the crime.

Two men were arraigned last month in connection with an alleged sexual assault at Southern Connecticut State University. SCSU is part of a consortium of Connecticut colleges and universities that are working together to reduce violence against women. As part of our continuing series on campus safety, WNPR's Diane Orson reports. 

The statistic is hard to believe. A U.S. Department of Justice study finds one in five women will become a victim of rape or attempted rape while in college.

"This is a not talked about phenomena"  

More than 800 students graduate tonight from Gateway Community College in New Haven. Many took their first steps into higher education through the school’s open door policy.  But budget shortfalls could end open admissions at community colleges in Connecticut. Walk down the corridor at Gateway Community College and you’ll see a diverse mix of students – teenagers right out of high school, mothers in their early 30s, even senior citizens.  

15- year old Fuko Chiba was visiting her family in Japan in March when a massive earthquake and tsunami hit the island. She’s a ninth grade boarding student at Indian Mountain School in Lakeville, Connecticut.  Here’s her “This I Believe” essay about what happened.

Editor B, Flickr Creative Commons

A new study finds a link between lead poisoning in young children and lower scores on the CT Mastery Tests.  And black children in the state are more likely to be exposed to lead.

First, researchers looked at blood lead data for all Connecticut 4th graders in the 2007-2008 school year. Then they studied test scores on the CMTs.  

Rebecca Anthopolis is a statistical analyst with the Children’s Environmental Health Initiative at Duke University where the data were analyzed.

Diane Orson

Last year, the city of New Haven announced the start of an ambitious 5-year education reform program. Schools were assigned levels, or “tiers". That’s something that might not affect kids as much as teachers and school administrators. 

With summer vacation just a few weeks away, we visited a lower-performing “Tier Three” school to talk with educators and parents about what’s changed this year.

A new report finds noticeable academic progress in fifteen low-performing Connecticut districts where there’s been intensive intervention by the state.  Test scores in these districts show substantial improvement over time, particularly among minority students.

Bridgeport, Hartford, New Haven, New London, Waterbury and Stamford are among fifteen school districts that are part of the Connecticut Accountability for Learning Initiative or CALI.  All were identified as needing improvement under the No Child Left Behind Act.  

A bill that would raise the starting age for kindergarten has passed out of the Appropriations Committee.  Critics are concerned that it does not provide an alternative for kids whose families cant afford an extra year of preschool.

The idea is to require children entering kindergarten to be five years old by October 1st. This new law would take effect in 2015, and supporters say it would improve teaching and learning because right now, the age range in kindergarten is too wide. 

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