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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Music
1:40 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

Sandra Boynton's Latest: Country Music for All Ages

Credit Copyright © & Ⓟ Sandra Boynton 2013

Connecticut resident Sandra Boynton is hard to label. She's arguably one of America's most popular children's book authors. She's an artist whose whimsical greeting cards are wildly popular. She's also a music composer who's produced five albums and been nominated for a Grammy.

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News
3:47 pm
Fri September 6, 2013

UConn President Herbst Defends Hartford Plan, Salaries

Susan Herbst and John Dankosky speak with UConn students after today's Where We Live broadcast.
Credit Heather Brandon

University of Connecticut President Susan Herbst is defending raises that were recently awarded to two dozen top school administrators. The pay hikes, which range from $10,000 to more than $25,000, have raised eyebrows. They come at a time when the state is struggling to balance its budget.

Herbst said administrators’ salaries need to be competitive in a national labor market. "We have a study of what these different positions--deans, vice presidents--make around the country," she said on WNPR's Where We Live, "and I stay within that range to make sure our salaries are normative. But I will tell you that I will only hire great people." 

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World
10:17 am
Wed September 4, 2013

Congressional Delegates Weigh a Military Strike on Syria

Senator Richard Blumenthal
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

President Obama is winning some Republican support for military action against Syria. But judging by response from Connecticut's congressional delegation, he won't have an easy time with members of his own party.

"The authorization document that the President has submitted to Congress is insufficiently limited in defining our objectives and strategy," Senator Richard Blumenthal told WNPR's Where We Live. He said the authorization the President is asking congress for is far too broad in its scope, and he wants more information on the long-term objectives.

"Our national security has to be one of the predominant factors that we consider," he said.  

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News
8:21 am
Tue September 3, 2013

200 Years After His Death, A Connecticut Slave Will Be Buried

Fortune, a Connecticut slave during the 18th century.
Credit Courtesy of the Mattatuck Museum.

More than 200 years after his death, the remains of an 18th century Connecticut slave will soon receive a proper burial.  

The slave is known as Fortune. He, his wife, and three children were owned by a doctor whose medical practice was in Waterbury. 

After Fortune died, the doctor used his skeleton as a teaching tool for students. Later, it was donated to the Mattatuck Museum and put on display. The skeleton was called “Larry." After the display was removed in the 1980s, researchers  determined that the bones were, in fact, those of the slave,  Fortune.

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Technology
3:45 pm
Mon September 2, 2013

An App for Researching Eyeball "Floaters"

Credit Gtanner (Wikimedia Commons)

Smartphone apps have been changing the way people track data about their health and fitness. Now a Yale University researcher has developed a smartphone app to gather data for medical research.

Dr. Jadon Webb says the idea began when floaters began interfering with his own vision. "I really came to notice a lot of spots in front of my eyes," said Webb. "A lot of things would look like cobwebs, or lines or shapes, that would move and seem to swim around inside my field of vision."

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News
9:06 am
Fri August 30, 2013

Connecticut Student Commits Suicide After First Day Of School

A Greenwich High School student committed suicide this week, just hours after his first day of classes. A preliminary investigation revealed that 15-year old Bart Palosz died Tuesday of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.  

Greenwich Police Lieutenant Craig Gray told WTNH that Palosz used a weapon that was stored inside a gun locker at his home. "The firearm was a family firearm, and it had been secured inside a gun safe," said Gray.

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Business
3:13 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

Americans Abroad Say They'll Miss ESPN TV

Connecticut-based ESPN has suspended its TV broadcasts in most of Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and US sports fans living abroad say they’re having a tough time adjusting to the change.

Peter Alegi says Americans overseas love to argue about 2 things: US politics and US sports. Alegi – a self-described baseball nut - is a New Haven native who has lived for decades in Italy.  Speaking from the town of Todi, Italy, he says ex-pats will sorely miss TV broadcasts of major league baseball, the NBA and NFL.  

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Television
3:10 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

Americans Abroad Say They'll Miss ESPN TV

Connecticut-based ESPN has suspended its TV broadcasts in most of Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and US sports fans living abroad say they’re having a tough time adjusting to the change.

Peter Alegi says Americans overseas love to argue about two things: U.S. politics and U.S. sports. Alegi – a self-described baseball nut - is a New Haven native who has lived for decades in Italy.  Speaking from the town of Todi, Italy, he says ex-pats will sorely miss TV broadcasts of major league baseball, the NBA and NFL.  

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Education
4:09 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

Unintended Consequences Of Standardized Testing?

The State Department of Education is investigating possible test tampering at a Hartford elementary school.  This follows a cheating scandal in Connecticut two years ago  and dozens more nationwide.

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Barbershop Law
6:32 am
Fri August 16, 2013

A Connecticut Lawyer on the Cutting Edge

Diane Orson WNPR

With law school grads facing a tough job market, some entrepreneurial attorneys are trying out hybrid businesses. One Connecticut attorney has opened a shop that combines his passion for the law with his skill as a barber.

Donald Howard says he first got the hybrid-business idea working as a paralegal for a personal injury attorney who doubled as a sports agent. Then he saw the concept again on a reality television show.

"It was a guy in California who did Legal Grind, a coffee house and a law office."

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Business
5:24 am
Thu August 15, 2013

Attorney Dispenses Legal Advice As Well As Shaving Cream

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Law school grads have been facing a tough job market, and this has prompted some young entrepreneurial attorneys to try out hybrid businesses.

Diane Orson from member station WNPR reports on one Connecticut attorney who's opened a shop that combines his passion for the law - with his skill as a barber.

DIANE ORSON, BYLINE: Donald Howard says he first got the hybrid-business idea working as a paralegal for a personal injury attorney who doubled as a sports agent. Then he saw the concept again on a reality television show.

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Common Core
8:45 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

School's Out for Kids, But Teachers Are Hard at Work

Diane Orson

School’s out for kids, but this summer many teachers can be found in classrooms around Connecticut learning about the Common Core State Standards.  

In a large room at the ACES building in Hamden, groups of teachers are seated around tables.

"These are middle school and high school teachers, grades 6-12, all English and English language arts teachers."

Leslie Abbatiello is the director of professional development for Area Cooperative Educational Services, which works with 26 school districts in the New Haven area.

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Education
6:19 am
Sun July 14, 2013

Three Connecticut Colleges Among The Nation's Most Expensive

The U.S. Department of Education has issued new data on the cost of college in America. Three Connecticut colleges rank among  the nation’s most expensive. 

Trinity College’s tuition is  5th highest in the nation for private, not-for-profit 4-year colleges. The sticker price at Trinity is $44,070 dollars.  Connecticut College ranks 7th .  Wesleyan University comes in a close 8th. 

The data can be found on the USDE’s website called College Scorecard, which offers students and families a variety of ways to compare the cost of college.

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Financing Higher Education
6:19 am
Sun July 14, 2013

Three Connecticut Colleges Among The Nation's Most Expensive

The U.S. Department of Education has issued new data on the cost of college in America. Three Connecticut colleges rank among  the nation’s most expensive. 

Trinity College’s tuition is  5th highest in the nation for private, not-for-profit 4-year colleges. The sticker price at Trinity is $44,070 dollars.  Connecticut College ranks 7th .  Wesleyan University comes in a close 8th. 

The data can be found on the USDE’s website called College Scorecard, which offers students and families a variety of ways to compare the cost of college.

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Environment
6:58 pm
Tue July 9, 2013

Bald Eagles' Nest Brings People Together

Adult and baby eagles.
Michael Lejeune

For the past few months, a group of people has been gathering each night along an industrial stretch of Route 5 in Hamden. There, next to a nondescript building, they lift their binoculars,  focus their telescopes and gaze across the street--past the traffic, over the railroad tracks, and up about 70 feet high.  

Nestled in a crook of two branches in a tree sits a large nest.  Inside is a  bald eagle chick, with a watchful adult hidden nearby.

"This is the only birdwatching I’ve ever done."

Michael Lejeune works at the town library. 

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Wildlife Conservation
6:58 pm
Tue July 9, 2013

Bald Eagles' Nest Brings People Together

Michael Lejeune

For the past few months a group of people has been gathering each night along an industrial stretch of Route 5 in Hamden. 

There, next to a nondescript building they lift their binoculars,  focus their telescopes and gaze across the street, past the traffic, over the railroad tracks, and up, up about 70 feet high.  Nestled in a crook of two branches in a tree sits a large nest.  Inside is a bald eagle chick, with a watchful adult hidden nearby.

"This is the only bird watching I’ve ever done."

Michael Lejeune works at the town library. 

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Health
9:58 am
Tue July 9, 2013

Heavy Rains Bring Record Number Of Mosquitoes; West Nile Expected

Flickr Creative Commons - Ashok666

The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, which runs the state’s mosquito trapping and testing program, is reporting record numbers of mosquitoes this year.  Chief Entomologist Dr. Theodore Andreadis says it’s a direct result of the heavy rains.

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Public Health
9:58 am
Tue July 9, 2013

Heavy Rains Bring Record Number Of Mosquitoes; West Nile Expected

Flickr Creative Commons - Ashok666

The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, which runs the state’s mosquito trapping and testing program, is reporting record numbers of mosquitoes this year.  Chief Entomologist Dr. Theodore Andreadis says it’s a direct result of the heavy rains.

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Religious History
12:13 pm
Sun July 7, 2013

Archaeological Site In CT Yields Rare Snapshot Into Early Jewish Life In America

UConn Chesterfield Field School

When you think of early Jewish life in America, you usually think of immigrants who settled in urban centers like the Lower East Side of New York and in Baltimore. But archeologists and historians are abuzz about recent findings at an excavation site in rural Connecticut.

Old Chesterfield is home to the remains of a 19th century Jewish farming community. There is a synagogue and, surprisingly, a ritual bath called a 'mikveh', which is rarely seen outside of cities.

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Student Loans
2:42 pm
Fri June 28, 2013

Student Loan Interest Rates Set to Double on July 1

With a July 1 deadline looming, it seems unlikely that Congress will be able to stop interest rates on new federal student loans from doubling.  But there may be time to address the situation before classes begin next fall.

About 7 ½ million students nationwide pay for a portion of their college tuition through subsidized Stafford Student loans. Right now, interest rates will go from 3.4% to 6.8% on July 1st.

"There is a window of opportunity for Congress to still act."

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Immigration
6:32 am
Thu June 27, 2013

The DOMA Decision and Immigration

Diane Orson

Yesterday’s landmark Supreme Court decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act will allow same-sex couples to access hundreds of federal benefits.  One of those benefits will be to allow a U.S. citizen to help a fiancé or spouse get a green card.

Russ Hanoman is a systems engineer in Stamford. His finance lives in the Netherlands..

"I always had DOMA in the back of mind as an impediment to how this was eventually going to turn out."

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Immigration
6:32 am
Thu June 27, 2013

The DOMA Decision and Immigration

Diane Orson

Yesterday’s landmark Supreme Court decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act will allow same-sex couples to access hundreds of federal benefits.  One of those benefits will be to allow a U.S. citizen to help a fiancé or spouse get a green card.

Russ Hanoman is a systems engineer in Stamford. His finance lives in the Netherlands..

"I always had DOMA in the back of mind as an impediment to how this was eventually going to turn out."

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Education Reform
7:56 am
Tue June 25, 2013

Incentivizing School Desegregation

Connecticut’s final 2013 budget includes more money for suburban school districts that accept urban students through the Open Choice program.  Open Choice is seen as an important way for the state to meet its desegregation goals in the long-running Sheff vs. O’Neill case.

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Marriage
5:36 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

A CT Family Waits For DOMA Decision

Diane Orson

The US Supreme Court still has to rule on several major cases before the end of the term. Same-sex couples across the country are waiting for a decision on The Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA.  A report now on how the DOMA ruling may affect one Connecticut family.

Under Connecticut law, same-sex couples can marry and adopt children.  But under DOMA and in the eyes of the federal government same sex marriage is not valid.

"This is my room, the best room in the house because I sleep in it!"

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Immigration
1:20 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

Father's Day Far Away From Dad

As Father’s Day approaches, many kids are making plans to spend special time with their dads. But some Connecticut young people will be far away from their fathers.  A surge in deportations under the Obama administration has affected tens of thousands of American kids. WNPR brings you the story of a Norwalk teenager whose dad was removed to Colombia two years ago.

"It all started when I was in 8th grade. I was 13 years old. We were in New York and my dad got a phone call from a neighbor saying that a police officer was looking for him."

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Urban Planning
7:42 am
Tue June 11, 2013

History Repeating Itself? New Haven Neighbors Fight To Keep Their Homes

Back in the early 2000s, a group of mostly low-income African- American families took the city of New Haven to court. They were fighting to stay in their homes which were slated for demolition in order to build a new school complex. A documentary film airing tonight on CPTV tells their story.

"My house is paid for. I’ll never have to pay another mortgage no more in life. It's not much, but its mine."

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Schools
7:03 am
Mon June 3, 2013

Common Core: Too Much, Too Fast?

School districts across Connecticut are wrestling with how to implement  the new Common Core state standards, which mean changes to the way teachers teach reading and math along with new computer-based tests. 

The transition is expected to take place over the next year and a half. But some districts say that time frame may be hard to meet.

The Common Core State Standards are a set of expectations for language arts and math. The goal is to ensure that  students have the skills they need for success in college and careers. 

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Education Reform
7:03 am
Mon June 3, 2013

Common Core: Too Much, Too Fast?

School districts across Connecticut are wrestling with how to implement  the new Common Core state standards, which mean changes to the way teachers teach reading and math along with new computer-based tests. 

The transition is expected to take place over the next year and a half. But some districts say that time frame may be hard to meet.

The Common Core State Standards are a set of expectations for language arts and math. The goal is to ensure that  students have the skills they need for success in college and careers. 

Read more
Immigration
6:19 am
Fri May 31, 2013

Immigrants Praise Passage of Undocumented Drivers' Bill

Diane Orson

Members of the state’s immigrant community are praising the passage of a bill that will allow undocumented residents in Connecticut to obtain drivers’ licenses.   

Armon Morales lives in East Haven, a town with a history of discriminatory policing, including race-based traffic stops. With yesterday’s passage by the Senate of a bill that will allow all immigrants, regardless of federal immigration status, to obtain licenses in Connecticut, Morales says his community will be less afraid of law enforcement.

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Danbury
4:44 pm
Tue May 28, 2013

Allegations of Verbal Harrassment By Danbury Police

Four Danbury police officers have been placed on administrative leave over the alleged verbal harassment of an undocumented driver. The traffic stop was recorded on a cell phone.

During a March 9th traffic stop, Danbury police allegedly subjected the driver -  an undocumented immigrant – to a long, verbally abusive tirade. A recording of the incident circulated among other police officers. Then in April, a complaint was filed.

After an internal investigation, Chief of Police Alan Baker says he referred four police officers to Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton.

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