Heather Brandon

Digital Content Editor

Heather Brandon is digital content editor for WNPR. She previously worked as a producer for Where We Live, The Colin McEnroe Show, and news broadcasts. Heather lives in Hartford with her husband and three children. She has a master's degree in public policy from Trinity College, and a bachelor's degree in urban studies from Bryn Mawr College. 

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New Britain
12:33 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

CCSU: Suspect in Custody; Campus Gets the "All-Clear"

A photo posted to Twitter at 2:35 pm on Monday showed what appeared to be an arrest at CCSU, following a lockdown.
Credit Olivia Maffucci

Central Connecticut State University in New Britain states that a suspect is in custody, and the school has given an "all clear" to people on campus following a three-hour lockdown Monday afternoon. The school's official campus website earlier told students and personnel to “get inside buildings and stay in place.”

While at Central, WNPR's Patrick Skahill said students were told that the focus of the police investigation was James Hall, a dormitory on campus. The school confirmed that in a tweet just after 1:30 pm on Monday.

Eyewitnesses said that campus security told students to stay in place at the student center at around noon. In a tweet just after 2:00 pm on Monday, CCSU said "police are looking for a man who reportedly was carrying a gun."

Skahill spoke with WNPR's Ray Hardman just after 2:00 pm on Monday. "The police presence is very strong here right now," Skahill said, with police support coming from nearby towns such as Newington and West Hartford. Listen below.

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Live Music
2:06 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Neko Case: Live Tiny Desk Concert

Neko Case.

It's Halloween! Watch a live Tiny Desk Concert featuring Neko Case and Kelly Hogan, as well as Eric Bachmann of Crooked Fingers and Archers of Loaf. Case is keeping her outfit under wraps for now, but promises a reveal worthy of the occasion.

The Wheelhouse Digest
12:35 pm
Mon October 28, 2013

New Haven Violence; UConn Assaults; How We Talk About Small Towns

A connection between violence and nightclub districts in New Haven has Mayor John DeStefano concerned. He wants to tighten some restrictions on nightclubs after a weekend homicide, and Governor Dannel Malloy is backing him up. Also, The Wheelhouse Digest wants to know from you: do you think we can work our way through local problems in our towns and cities without knowing personally the right person to do the job? Do we sometimes hide behind bureaucracy, or can it be a good shield? That and more below.

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Transportation
10:35 am
Mon October 28, 2013

Metro-North Power Failure Hearing

Senator Richard Blumenthal is chairing a hearing in Bridgeport on the recent Metro-North power outage. The hearing is examining the causes of the outage, how to prevent such failures from reoccurring, and the economic impact of such a major service disruption. It's hearing of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety and Security.

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Where We Live
7:03 am
Mon October 28, 2013

Organ Donation: Providing Life After Death

Caitlyn Bernabucci, LifeChoice Donor Services
Chion Wolf WNPR

Every day, around 80 people receive organ transplants in the U.S. But an average of 18 people die daily due to a shortage of much-needed organs, like kidneys, livers, hearts and lungs, even corneas.

One body donor can impact the lives of more than 50 people.

This hour, a conversation on organ donation and transplantation. Do you have personal experience with organ donation? Are you a donor or recipient? Why did you choose to be a donor? 

GUESTS: 

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Sexual Assault at UConn
2:26 pm
Fri October 25, 2013

Herbst Prepares to Hear Student Input on Campus Culture and Safety

UConn President Susan Herbst.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

As the University of Connecticut responds to a federal discrimination complaint, President Susan Herbst sent a letter to the school community about sexual assault and harassment on campus. 

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The Wheelhouse Digest
11:34 am
Fri October 25, 2013

Calls for a Hearing; Police Lineup Changes in Effect; Seeking Stakeholders

UConn President Susan Herbst.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

The University of Connecticut has been on the defensive since the announcement at the start of the week that seven women filed a federal discrimination complaint against the school. President Susan Herbst said, "The suggestion that the University of Connecticut, as an institution, would somehow be indifferent to or dismissive of any report of sexual assault is astonishingly misguided and demonstrably untrue." Governor Dannel Malloy and Republican leaders in the state have called for hearings into the way the school is handling complaints. That and more in The Wheelhouse Digest.

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The Wheelhouse Digest
10:22 am
Thu October 24, 2013

Malloy's Cali Trip; Skakel's New Trial; a Short History of the High-Rise

Governor Dannel Malloy on Wednesday said he doesn't believe he solicited a state contractor for a campaign contribution.
Credit Mark Pazniokas / The Connecticut Mirror

Governor Dannel Malloy made a recent fundraising trip to California on the state Democrats' dime, and now questions are being asked about whether he approached an executive who works for a company that does work for the University of Connecticut. More on that below, and discussion of why Michael Skakel will get a new trial, in The Wheelhouse Digest.

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Courts
5:06 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

Michael Skakel Granted a New Trial

In a decision, Honorable Thomas Bishop pointed to defense counsel as ineffective.
Credit State of Connecticut Judicial Branch

From the Associated Press in New Haven:

A Connecticut judge has granted a new trial for Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel, ruling his attorney failed to adequately represent him when he was convicted in 2002 of killing his neighbor in 1975. Judge Thomas Bishop's ruling marks a dramatic reversal after years of unsuccessful appeals by Skakel. 

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The Wheelhouse Digest
9:57 am
Wed October 23, 2013

New Haven Debate; Problematic Sandy Hook Leaks; an Open Letter to Herbst

Toni Harp and Justin Elicker at Tuesday's mayoral debate in New Haven.
Credit Melissa Bailey / New Haven Independent

The Wheelhouse Digest today is being very careful to avoid tweeting under any fake names, and in the meantime we're keen to learn the details of last night's mayoral debate in New Haven. Details about the Sandy Hook school shooting are slowly leaking out, but never officially. Read about that and more below.

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The Wheelhouse Digest
12:55 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

UConn Complaint; East Haven Ambivalent; Hartford Council Calls for Criminal Investigation

Lawyer Gloria Allred.
Credit Luke Ford / Wikimedia Commons

It's a day for discussing where certain things fall on the range of just-a-bad-idea to downright criminal. The verdict is out in the East Haven trial of two police officers, Dennis Spaulding and David Cari, who were both found guilty of violating the civil rights of Latinos. Residents there appear divided in their response. In other news, seven women have filed a federal discrimination complaint against UConn, and Hartford's City Council wants a formal state investigation into Hybrid Insurance Group. More below in The Wheelhouse Digest.

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2:40 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

Greenpeace Captain in Russian Custody Speaks With His Wife

Lead in text: 
Peter Willcox of Norwalk spoke with his wife, Maggy Willcox, for the first time Monday since his arrest by Russian authorities on a piracy charge. This improves on her previous communication with him, which was an email saying the Russians were taking over his ship.
  • Source: Fw
Read More: http://fw.to
The Wheelhouse Digest
10:42 am
Mon October 21, 2013

High Marks for Access Health CT; Dobelle's Grand Ideas; Two-Way Streets

Kevin Counihan, CEO of Access Health CT.
Credit Christine Stuart / CT News Junkie

The new federal health care exchange at healthcare.gov has received criticism for not working smoothly over the first few weeks of its introduction, with one analyst calling the glitches a "fiasco." Here in Connecticut, Access Health CT has received high marks from HealthPocket, an independent firm that examines plans and their performance across the country. That and more in The Wheelhouse Digest. 

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The Wheelhouse Digest
10:53 am
Fri October 18, 2013

A Brother in Photos; a Father Grieves; Best Friends

Chris and Nick Capozziello visited WNPR.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

The Wheelhouse Digest today turns to family matters as we recover from a recent overdose of political craziness. Two brothers from Connecticut visited WNPR to talk about a unique book of photographs to be released on October 30. And Newtown resident Jimmy Greene talked with The New York Times about grieving for the loss of his daughter by continuing his work as a musician. That and more below.

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Housing
8:45 am
Fri October 18, 2013

Too Little Affordable Housing in Connecticut, Says Report

An apartment building on Spring Street in Hartford.
John Phelan Wikimedia Commons

A new report from the Partnership for Strong Communities, a housing advocacy organization, says that Connecticut continues to suffer from a lack of affordable housing.

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The Wheelhouse Digest
10:14 am
Thu October 17, 2013

Privacy vs. Transparency; Bridgeport Police; House Stenographer Goes on a Rant

State Rep. DebraLee Hovey during Wednesday's FOI/privacy task force hearing.
Credit CT-N

The state's task force examining victim privacy and public information met Wednesday for a marathon session to consider issues at stake in restricting Connecticut's Freedom of Information Act. "Privacy now is so fleeting and so easily violated," testified Morgan Rueckert, the attorney for 22 Newtown families. One brief exchange captured on video put its finger on the pulse of the debate. That and more below in The Wheelhouse Digest.

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The Wheelhouse Digest
11:09 am
Wed October 16, 2013

A Perfect Storm; Ethical Questions; Betting on Failing Sports

Ron Schurin, UConn associate professor-in-residence.
Credit University of Connecticut

As Congress works to come to a deal Wednesday to try to reopen the federal government, Connecticut is still dealing with the fallout from lack of government funds and agency support. Political scientist Ron Schurin appeared on WNPR's Where We Live to explain just why the political gridlock has been so tough. Other hot topics: ethical problems are plaguing a number of politicians in the state. That and more in The Wheelhouse Digest.

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New Haven
1:09 pm
Tue October 15, 2013

Expansion Begins at Common Ground

A groundbreaking Tuesday marked an expansion at Common Ground High School in New Haven. From left, Frank Mitchell, board chair; student Mettao Feliz; State Rep. Toni Walker; William Curran, donor; Melissa Spear, executive director; and Stefan Pryor.
Common Ground High School

Students, administrators and elected officials gathered at the Common Ground High School in New Haven Tuesday to break ground on a new, state-of-the-art facility. Joel Tolman, the charter school's director of development and community engagement, said the new building will house science, art, performance, and athletic spaces. It will also model sustainability with a solar array, geothermal system, and other materials aimed at reducing climate change. 

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The Wheelhouse Digest
10:33 am
Tue October 15, 2013

Harp's Cash; UConn Moves in on Stamford; Jepsen Seeks Review

State Senator Toni Harp has raised the bulk of her mayoral campaign funds from outside the city of New Haven.
Credit Thomas MacMillan / The New Haven Independent

Campaign season in New Haven comes to an end in three weeks, when the mayoral election takes place on Tuesday, November 5. The two candidates have been busy, but one is drawing more heavily on financial support from city residents, while the other seems almost more poised for a gubernatorial run. That story and more in The Wheelhouse Digest.

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Transportation
8:52 am
Tue October 15, 2013

Amtrak Boasts Rosy Figures

Amtrak broke records this year.
Credit Mark Fischer / Flickr Creative Commons

Ridership on Amtrak is up for the year, the company reported, despite the disruptions in service during and after Sandy. Amtrak transported a record 31.6 million riders in the past year ending September 30, and made a record $2.1 billion in ticket sales.

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The Wheelhouse Digest
10:38 am
Mon October 14, 2013

Debt Ceiling Impact in Connecticut; Federal Courts Operating for Now; Living in Stolen Luxury

Keith Phaneuf, budget reporting guru.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

It's all about cash money in The Wheelhouse Digest. While the government is coming close to hitting the debt ceiling again, with federal dollars in a state of seizure, someone else is in the news for stealing public money from a Connecticut town, and leading a "double life." Can anyone make an honest dollar anymore? That and more below.

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The Wheelhouse Digest
10:49 am
Fri October 11, 2013

GOP Candidates Raising Cash; Norwich Bell Rings; Unusual Busway Ideas

Republican candidate for governor John McKinney.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

While preparation for Saturday's ING Hartford Marathon has understandably gotten the media focused on public safety, there's apparently significant road construction coordination going on behind the scenes. Officials are getting Broad Street in working order (again) in time for the runners to pound the pavement, and there's somewhat off-the-wall talk of using the new Hartford-New Britain busway as a possible marathon route. That and more in today's fall foliage edition of The Wheelhouse Digest.

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Where We Live
7:37 am
Fri October 11, 2013

Just Doodle It...Again

Where We Doodle! Where do you doodle?
Chion Wolf WNPR

Ever been caught doodling during a meeting a work? A boring class? You’re not alone. Did you get yelled at? “Get your head in the game! You’re distracted! You're not serious!" 

Our guest Sunni Brown, author of The Doodle Revolution: Unlock the Power to Think Differently, says doodling involves a lot of the senses... movement, sound, and visuals… and, far from being a distraction, it actually can enhance learning.

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The Wheelhouse Digest
11:58 am
Thu October 10, 2013

Opiate Addiction; Climate Departure; Mystery at Sea

Credit Doug Wheller / Flickr Creative Commons

There was an internal debate about including a link about a local meteorologist and cat vomit. We passed. If you'd like to see that, you can search it out on your own because we've already said too much. Speaking of cat vomit, CNN informs us that we are in Day Ten of the federal government shutdown, and the debt ceiling deadline is 156 hours away as this is written. That means you have time to watch all of "Battlestar Galactica," "Breaking Bad," and the first seven seasons of "Seinfeld" before the deadline. Hop to it.

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The Wheelhouse Digest
11:37 am
Wed October 9, 2013

Foreshaw Asks for Clemency; Explosives in Fairfield; Debt Crisis

Tamara Miller, daughter of victim Joyce Amos, testifying at today's clemency hearing for Bonnie Foreshaw.
Credit CT-N

The federal shutdown has been tough on a lot of people, as was made eminently clear this morning during the Wheelhouse episode of Where We Live, when plenty of impassioned callers made their frustrated views known. Making matters a little tougher, the U.S. Treasury Department is running out of cash to pay its bills. More on that below in The Wheelhouse Digest, plus a link to watch the Bonnie Foreshaw clemency hearing live from Niantic.

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Government Shutdown
1:53 pm
Tue October 8, 2013

Live Coverage: President Obama's Press Conference

President Barack Obama is delivering a statement and taking questions from the press at the White House starting today at 2:00 pm. Watch live below.

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The Wheelhouse Digest
10:10 am
Tue October 8, 2013

Policing Gangs with Social Media; an Irving Tribute; Wolfgang's Untapped Vein

An entrance to the L train in Chicago, Illinois.
Credit Adam Jones, Ph.D. / Wikimedia Commons

Along the lines of Project Longevity, a violence-prevention initiative that launched in New Haven in the past year, Chicago is trying something different to identify trouble and maybe even get out in front of it. That and more in today's Wheelhouse Digest, including Colin McEnroe's tribute to the late, much-beloved, "titanic figure" Irving Kravsow.

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The Wheelhouse Digest
10:12 am
Mon October 7, 2013

Prison Transfer; SNL Spoofs the Land of Steady Habits; New London has "Hope Bubbles"

Credit Kudumomo / Creative Commons

The plan to transfer all female prisoners out of the Danbury federal facility is back in effect today, although it remains to be seen whether the government shutdown will slow transfers. While we wait to see what happens next, The Wheelhouse Digest is making a pit stop in New London, where a German website has taken an interest in development news. Also a must-see: the "Saturday Night Live" send-up of a square white Connecticut mom who checks out Grand Theft Auto 5, and ended up playing it all week.

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4:13 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

Play Rent Roulette to Find Affordable Housing in Connecticut

Lead in text: 
The Partnership for Strong Communities wants to know if you can find an affordable apartment in expensive Connecticut. Their new video game, Rent Roulette, allows you to role play. "Maybe you'll land a job that allows you to live where you want," they say. "But maybe, you’ll be like so many in our expensive state, and have to settle for something less." The game was designed by Ed Hogan of Manchester Community College, and includes real-time housing and labor data for Connecticut.
Think you can find an affordable apartment in expensive Connecticut? Play our new video game, Rent Roulette, and see. Maybe you'll land a job that allows you to live where you want. But maybe, you'll be like so many in our expensive state, and have to settle for something less.
The Wheelhouse Digest
12:03 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

Car Chase Ends Fatally; Helicommute a No Go; Hill's Double Release

A secret service car near a gate accessing the White House.
Credit TCY / Wikimedia Commons

As we mourn the passing of legendary Connecticut photojournalist Bill Eppridge today -- he was 75 -- we're also thinking at The Wheelhouse Digest about the bizarre incident in Washington, D.C. on Thursday that ended fatally, when a Stamford woman tried to drive through a barrier toward the White House. More on that and our dashed hopes about commuting by helicopter below.

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