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.

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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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Newtown: One Year Later
12:33 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

Documenting an Outpouring of Grief in Newtown

A child sent this note to Newtown.
Ross MadDonald

Saturday marks the one-year anniversary of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School that left 20 first graders and six educators dead. WNPR will bring you stories throughout this week looking at the impact of that tragedy on our community.

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Metro-North
11:32 am
Mon December 9, 2013

Changes, Improvements Announced for Metro-North

Metro-North Signal Department workers consult circuit diagrams, make signal changes and test the system at Spuyten Duyvil.
J.P. Chan MTA

Metro-North announced immediate improvements to address safety concerns at critical curves and moveable bridges. 

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School Reform
8:26 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Governor Malloy Talks Education Reform at American Enterprise Institute

Governor Dannel Malloy during a visit to WNPR.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy was in Washington, D.C. on Monday to talk about Connecticut’s education reform initiatives. He spoke at a forum hosted by the conservative free-market think tank, the American Enterprise Institute. 

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Children
9:38 am
Mon December 2, 2013

Toy Safety a Concern as Holiday Shopping Gets Underway

ConnPIRG's annual survey of toy safety warns that not all toys comply with stricter new laws.
Credit polica/iStockphoto / ConnPIRG

With the holiday shopping season underway, the Connecticut Public Interest Research Group has released its annual report on toy safety. Director Abe Scarr cautioned that parents and guardians need to watch out for toys with toxic chemicals on store shelves.

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Transportation
8:09 am
Mon December 2, 2013

Call for Expedited Probe Into Latest Deadly Metro-North Derailment

A Metro-North train bound for Grand Central Station derailed early Sunday morning in the Bronx.
Credit Daniel Cohen / @danielcohen on Twitter

A Metro-North train on the Hudson line derailed Sunday morning in the Bronx. Four people were killed and more than 60 people were injured.

It's been a difficult year for Metro-North. In May, two commuter trains collided outside of Bridgeport, injuring more than 70 people. Just weeks later, a track foreman was killed by a train near West Haven. Then in September, a power failure disrupted travel on the New Haven line for nearly two weeks.

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Food Assistance
3:11 pm
Wed November 27, 2013

Food Pantry Demand Linked to Benefit Cuts

Federal stimulus funds that supported SNAP benefits ran out on November 1, and area food pantries have seen an increase in demand.
Credit Rick Reinhard / Creative Commons

Connecticut’s food pantries and soup kitchens continue to see rising numbers of people in need of food assistance. Nancy Carrington is president of the Connecticut Food Bank. She said though there’s been slight improvement in job growth in the state, its not affecting people at the lower end of the pay scale.

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Strings For Newtown
11:56 am
Wed November 27, 2013

Newtown Concert Features Some of America's Best-Known Fiddlers

Bruce Molsky, Jay Ungar and Molly Mason, Mark O'Connor, Julie Lyonn Lieberman, Donna Hebert, Laraaji Venus (clockwise from top-left corner) and Norwalk Youth Symphony (center).

Grammy-winning violinist Mark O’Connor, nationally celebrated duo Jay Ungar and Molly Mason, and premier fiddler Bruce Molsky are among the musicians who will be in Connecticut on Sunday December 1 to perform during a concert called Strings For Newtown. The program begins at 3:00 pm at Newtown Congregational Church.

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Language Education
4:09 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

End of Bilingual Education in Windham Forces English Language Learners to Cope

Credit carlosbezz/iStock / Thinkstock

As the number of Hispanic students in Connecticut's schools continues to rise, the achievement gap between these students and their white classmates remains. Gaps can be found in every grade, in every subject, in just about every school district in the state. The highest percentage of English language learners can be found in the town of Windham. In the past year, there have been big changes there to the way Hispanic students are being taught.

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Addiction Treatment
11:03 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

Fairfield University Opens Housing for Students in Recovery

McAuliffe Hall at Fairfield University.
Credit Stagophile / Creative Commons

Fairfield University has opened the state’s first off-campus home for college students recovering from alcohol or drug addiction. The university's Recovery House differs from other substance-free college housing because it’s designed specifically for students who are actively trying to stay sober.

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Student Health
9:40 am
Thu November 14, 2013

Federal Bill Aims to Better Protect Students With Food Allergies

A shot is delivered to treat an allergic reaction.
Credit Michelle McCandless / U.S. Navy

President Obama signed a bipartisan bill Wednesday that offers financial incentives to states if schools stockpile epinephrine. Epinephrine is the emergency medication considered the primary treatment for a severe allergic reaction, called anaphylaxis.

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First Time Voter, First Time Candidate
8:52 am
Thu November 14, 2013

First Time Voter Wins Seat on Hamden School Board

Arturo Perez Cabello and Michael Ross
Credit Diane Orson, WNPR

Only about a third of Connecticut’s eligible voters made it to the polls for last week’s municipal election. Meet Arturo Perez-Cabello, a recently naturalized citizen who voted for the first time on election day and won a seat on his local school board. 

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Student Credits
11:55 am
Mon November 11, 2013

Debate Over Transfer Credits Questions Integrity, Affordability

Tunxis Community College in Farmington.
Sphilbrick Creative Commons

University of Connecticut officials will soon vote on a proposal to limit the number of credits freshmen students can transfer from the state’s community colleges. 

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Spotlight on the Arts
10:58 am
Fri November 8, 2013

Meet the Juice Vocal Ensemble

Juice Vocal Ensemble.
Credit Dannie Price

Each of the three singers has a solo career, but when they come together, the women of the Juice Vocal Ensemble perform a wide range of music. Alto Kerrie Andrew spoke with CPTV. "We can sing very difficult virtuosic new music," she said, "or we can sing folky stuff, or have a go at a bit of beat boxing, or be told what to in an opera or improvise, or work with electronics. So we like to think that’s fairly individual for our group, that we’re pretty diverse."

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Cheating
8:49 am
Thu November 7, 2013

Investigators Confirm Test Tampering at Hartford School

Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

An investigation has confirmed test tampering at a Hartford elementary school. In a report submitted this week to state education officials by an outside law firm, investigators concluded there were irregularities in more than two dozen Connecticut Mastery Tests at the Early Reading Lab at Betances Elementary School. The report was obtained by The Hartford Courant.

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School Reform
11:16 pm
Wed November 6, 2013

Election Shifts Bridgeport School Board

Bridgeport Schools Superintendent Paul Vallas.
Credit The Connecticut Mirror

In this week’s election, the small Working Families Party won coalition control of Bridgeport’s Board of Education. The nine-member school board will now have a five-member voting bloc that opposes School Superintendent Paul Vallas and his education reform efforts.

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Election Day
1:33 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

New Haven Voters to Decide Makeup of School Board

Toni Harp and Justin Elicker during a mayoral debate this campaign season.
Credit Melissa Bailey / New Haven Independent

New Haven residents will decide today who will be the city’s next mayor. State Senator Toni Harp is facing Alderman Justin Elicker. The winner will replace the retiring Mayor John DeStefano, who served 20 years in office.

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CCSU Lockdown
8:22 am
Tue November 5, 2013

Student at Center of Lockdown Apologizes

David Kyem was charged with breach of peace.
Credit New Britain Police Department

A 21-year-old student at Central Connecticut State University is apologizing for actions that led to a three-hour lockdown on campus Monday. David Kyem, the son of a CCSU geography professor, told The Hartford Courant that he’s sorry for the fear and confusion. Kyem was arrested and charged with breach of peace, and then released on $1,000 bail.

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Election Day
5:39 am
Tue November 5, 2013

Residents to Vote on Casino Proposal in Palmer, Massachusetts

Credit Brad Willis / Creative Commons

Residents in Palmer, Massachusetts will vote Tuesday on whether to support or reject a proposal by Mohegan Sun to build a $1 billion resort casino in their town. Polls show that support for the idea of a casino in Palmer continues to increase, but that does not guarantee a win for casino supporters. 

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Danbury Prison
1:57 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

Judges Oppose Plans to Convert Danbury Federal Prison to All-Male

Credit Kudumomo / Creative Commons

Chief judges in the region, including Connecticut’s Chief Judge Janet Hall, say they oppose plans to convert a federal prison in Danbury into a men’s facility. The facility is the only federal prison in the northeast for women. 

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