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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Live Blog
9:02 am
Fri November 15, 2013

School Reform Live on Where We Live

Dr. Steve Perry during an earlier visit to WNPR.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Today on Where We Live, we're continuing an ongoing conversation about school reform. Dr. Steve Perry, principal of Hartford's Capital Prep Magnet School, joins us to talk about why he calls himself "America's most trusted educator." We'll talk about Dr. Perry's record at Capital Prep, where he says 100 percent of graduates are accepted at four-year universities. We are also joined by Paul Diego Holzer, executive director of Achieve Hartford!, which works to drive "community ownership" of school reform, among other goals. Follow along below as we live blog the conversation.

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Affordable Care Act
11:35 am
Thu November 14, 2013

Live Coverage: President Obama Speaks About Health Insurance Coverage

President Barack Obama.
Credit Pete Souza / Creative Commons

President Barack Obama will deliver a statement to the nation on Thursday about the Affordable Care Act. His remarks come after a House oversight hearing that focused on technical glitches at the healthcare.gov website.

Watch the address live below.

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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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Audible Math
9:11 am
Thu November 14, 2013

The Sound of Sorting

Credit panthema.net

Ever wonder what an algorithm sounds like when it's being sorted? Wonder no more. A demo program called "The Sound of Sorting" visualizes algorithms and provides interesting sound effects, too -- low notes for smaller values, and high notes for higher values.

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Veterans' Day
1:36 pm
Mon November 11, 2013

Fairfield University Commemorates Veterans' Day With Creative Works

Lucy Nalpathanchil.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Four veterans will read from their creative writing Monday evening and participate in a panel discussion about the notion of "just war" and the therapeutic value of writing at Fairfield University. WNPR's Lucy Nalpathanchil, a reporter who launched the Coming Home Project and hosts All Things Considered, will moderate the event, which is free, and open to the public, and starts at 6:00 pm in the lower level of Fairfield University's Barone Campus Center.

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Veterans' Day
1:01 pm
Mon November 11, 2013

On Remembering, and Forgetting: One Veteran Speaks

Joe Carvalko.
Credit Joe Carvalko

The following is a keynote address delivered by Joe Carvalko at the Milford Veterans' Day parade on Sunday, November 10 on the town green. Carvalko is an American author and lawyer born in Bridgeport. His recent novel is We Were Beautiful Once, Chapters from a Cold War. Carvalko is a veteran of the Air Force (’59-’64), 307th Bomb Wing, Strategic Air Command, and is Adjunct Professor of Law at Quinnipiac University, School of Law. Learn more about  him at carvalko.com.

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Student Success
10:31 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

Interagency Council Looks at Chronic Absenteeism and the Achievement Gap

Students eligible for free lunch are three times as likely as their peers who are not eligible for lunch subsidies to be chronically absent.
Connecticut State Department of Education

The Interagency Council for Ending the Achievement Gap met Thursday in Hartford. The focus of the discussion was chronically absent students. It's a simple equation: a student can't learn if they are not in school. 

The State Department of Educations's Ajit Gopalakrishnan presented some pretty dramatic statistics Thursday to prove that point. "If a child eligible for free lunch was chronically absent in ninth grade," he said, "37.8 percent of them actually got to the finish line, with graduation in four years."

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November Sunset
4:59 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

A Rainbow Blooms in the Heart of Connecticut

Credit Heather Brandon / WNPR

In Hartford, we at WNPR witnessed a beautiful rainbow to the east, and a gorgeous sunset to the west on Thursday evening. People all over social media noticed it too. Here are a few of their snapshots.

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Election 2013
11:55 am
Wed November 6, 2013

What Matters in East Haven? Taxes Trump Tacos

Joseph Maturo, Jr. defeated Jack Stacey in East Haven's mayoral race.
Credit WNPR

Perhaps the comment that made East Haven Mayor Joseph Maturo, Jr. a staple on "The Daily Show" have faded from the minds of voters. Maybe the conviction of two police officers last month on charges of civil rights violations were overshadowed by Maturo's record on lowering property taxes. Regardless of the reasons, Maturo was elected to his seventh term in office on Tuesday. 

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Municipal Elections
8:53 am
Wed November 6, 2013

Maturo, Boughton Re-Elected to Mayoral Seats; Martin Defeats Fedele

Mark Boughton defeated Paul McAllister in Danbury.
Credit WNPR

Cities and towns across the state held elections Tuesday. East Haven Republican Mayor Joseph Maturo, Jr. was re-elected Tuesday, defeating Democrat Jack Stacey. In Danbury, incumbent Republican Mayor Mark Boughton won a seventh term against Democrat Paul McAllister. 

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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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