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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The Wheelhouse Digest
1:38 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Reform Rejected; Gang Leader Turns Editor; Borrowing Encouraged

Paul Vallas in 2008, when he served the New Orleans school district.
Credit Manny Broussard / FEMA

As the fall leaves begin to turn in Connecticut, we're thinking today at The Wheelhouse Digest about a few other things turning a corner as well. Efforts toward school reform in Bridgeport were pushed back last week. A former Latin Kings member in New Haven found a way to transform herself and her work. And everything will be turning up jobs if we just borrow some more, according to a new report. Here's a taste of the news you need to know now.

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Health Care
12:20 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

New Haven Offers Free Prescription Discount Card to Residents

The Prescription Discount Card program is administered by ProAct, Inc., which negotiates discount rates with participating pharmacies.
Credit Oaktree b / Wikimedia Commons

New Haven is now the largest city in Connecticut to offer residents a Prescription Discount Card. Mayor John DeStefano introduced the benefit for city residents yesterday. (Click here for a list of all participating towns and cities.)

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New Haven
1:01 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

New Haven Native Nominated for Posthumous Congressional Gold Medal

Constance Baker Motley in 1988.
Credit Columbia Law School

Constance Baker Motley, a New Haven native, has been nominated for a posthumous Congressional Gold Medal. Motley was born in 1921 to a family that emigrated to New Haven from the West Indies. She was a pioneer as a civil rights lawyer, lawmaker and judge.

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The Wheelhouse Digest
11:06 am
Tue September 17, 2013

Malloy Rebuts; Six Eyes at Mohegan; New Rooftop Turf

Malloy talks with reporters on Monday.
Credit Mark Pazniokas / The Connecticut Mirror

The week started off pretty rough with yesterday's news of a horrific shooting at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C. Here's a dose of daily news you need to know now that does not involve violence... maybe just a little mud in the eye. 

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Hartford
4:55 pm
Mon September 16, 2013

Hartford High School Students Provide Electricity to a Nepalese School

Students and their teacher stand around one of five pallets that comprised the wind turbine/solar panel system that was ready to be shipped out by truck, plane, and helicopter to Saldang, Nepal. L to R: Akeem Brown, Derrick Cardona, Danilo Sena (UConn), Pravesh Mallik (Uconn), Jazzmin Mitchel, Orlando Nugent, Dave Mangus (teacher), Akwayne Wilson, Samuel King (seated).
Credit Dayl Walker / CBIA

A school in a remote village in Nepal is getting electricity, thanks to a group of Hartford High School students, the Associated Press reports. Fourteen students in the school's academy of Engineering and Green Technology designed and built a wind-powered turbine for a school in Saldang, which is in Nepal's Dolpa region, surrounded by the Himalayan mountains.

The school in Nepal has no power and is accessible only by yak. During the winter months when the region is covered with snow, it is not accessible at all.

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Where We Live
12:42 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

What's In A Name?

Credit kaatjevevoort / Flickr Creative Commons

Just last week, a Tennessee judge ruled that the parents of a baby boy they named “Messiah,” must change his name to Martin.

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Where We Live
1:48 pm
Thu September 12, 2013

A New England Kind of Racism

Tiffani Jones
Chion Wolf

We all heard the story. Dave Chappelle had a bad night in Hartford. He got heckled, he walked offstage. He later called the audience “evil”.... “an arena full of suburban torturers” and “young, white alcoholics” as he joked about North Korea dropping a bomb on the Capital City.

We may be a laugh line for Chappelle, but does Hartford deserve the bad press? The label as a place filled with racists?

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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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Where We Live
10:39 am
Mon September 9, 2013

Talking About Suicide

Young adults who consider suicide are not all depressed. Since young brains aren't fully developed, impulsive behavior can take over, causing them to act before they think. It is best to keep potential means to suicide, such as prescription medication and guns, out of their reach.
Credit John Brawley on Flickr Creative Commons

Yesterday marked the beginning of National Suicide Prevention Week and tomorrow is World Suicide Prevention Day, both intended to call attention to a serious public health issue.

We were recently shocked by the suicide of a 15-year-old Greenwich High School student after his first day of school.

But the numbers prove this is not an isolated incident. Every 15 minutes, someone dies by suicide in the U.S. For every one of the almost 40,000 people who died this year, there are many more who think about, plan, or attempt suicide.

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Where We Live
1:23 pm
Fri September 6, 2013

Live from UConn: One-on-One with Susan Herbst

UConn President Susan Herbst with John Dankosky live in the UConn Student Union.
Jillian Ives

We’re at the Student Union on the Storrs campus as a new school year is underway, and the state’s flagship school is back in the news once again. They’re planning new facilities, like a $100-million recreation center for students, and they're preparing for an even bigger rebuild that will require a new flow of water onto campus.

There’s also a "flow" of money for top administrators at the school, as some students worry about what this means for the rising cost of college.

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Where We Live
10:36 am
Thu September 5, 2013

Just Doodle It

Constanza Segovia
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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9:18 am
Tue September 3, 2013

Connecticut Dairy Farmers Lose Federal Aid

Lead in text: 
The Connecticut Mirror reports that because Congress failed to act on a farm bill before its summer recess, Connecticut's dairy farmers lost their federal assistance this past weekend.
Washington - Because Congress failed to act on a farm bill before its summer recess, Connecticut's dairy farmers lost their federal assistance over the weekend. Connecticut farmers received about $1.2 million last year in payments from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Milk Income Loss Program, or MILC, and much, much more during years when milk prices were lower.
Where We Live
11:11 am
Thu August 29, 2013

The War on Lyme...and About Lyme

We often don't feel a tick on us because they secrete chemicals that numb us to their presence. While they can stay on us for up to one week, the threat of infection is low if we remove them within 36 hours.
Credit John Tann on Flickr Creative Commons

Lyme disease gets its name from the Connecticut town, and it’s always been a problem here...but it’s spreading, as far North as Maine and south down to Virginia. Dr. Paul Mead of the CDC says that due in part to the “reforestation” of the Northeast.

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Where We Live
11:34 am
Wed August 28, 2013

The Wheelhouse: Corruption Junction Edition

Matthew Kauffman, investigative reporter for The Hartford Courant
Chion Wolf

Robert Braddock is going to jail for 38 months for his role in the scandal surrounding the congressional campaign of Chris Donovan. The judge said the long sentence would send a message to others about corrupt political behavior. If nothing else, it seemed to send a message to Braddock himself, who told her: "You couldn't force me to work in politics ever again."

"If the judge really wanted to make it worse," Braddock said, "she could have sentenced me to work for another campaign."

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The Wheelhouse Digest
1:10 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

A Bid for Governor and Secure Schools

State Senator Toni Boucher, R-Wilton, announces an exploratory bid for governor in Naugatuck, Connecticut.
Credit The Connecticut Mirror

School is back in session in Connecticut, and we all know what that means. More school buses, which means more traffic, which might mean more time in a car. And that gives you more time to listen to WNPR on the radio. But while we have you online, check out some of the latest stories we've been keeping an eye on... This is The Wheelhouse Digest.

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Where We Live
11:31 am
Thu August 22, 2013

Warming Waters: The New Normal

pinay06 (Wikimedia Commons)

We’ve talked about warming waters before on Where We Live. Now warm waters are in the news again. There are new climate change studies that provide more proof of the human causes of warming temperatures. The next big UN report on climate change contains some scary predictions...that sea levels could rise more than three feet by the end of the century.

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Where We Live
11:10 am
Thu August 15, 2013

Creating Safe Communities with the Connecticut Youth Forum

Chion Wolf

A common thread running through any type of interpersonal conflict in whether it’s bullying in school or online, gun violence on a street corner, or abuse in a home,  is a need for safe places to live, work, and learn. It’s a fundamental human need.

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Where We Live
12:03 pm
Tue August 13, 2013

What's Work Worth?

Cool Insights on Flickr Creative Commons

It’s the set-up for countless plots in tv and the cinema: The low-wage worker accidentally gets his hands on the big boss’ paycheck and is flabbergasted by the numbers he sees.

Outside of Hollywood, here’s the reality: Workers on Wall Street earned an average bonus of $121,900 last year while the per capita average income was $42,693.

But we knew that, right, that people who work in the financial industry in the “money-making” part of our economy are going to make more than, say, schoolteachers.

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The Wheelhouse Digest
12:39 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

Marijuana and Energy

While we're busy being distracted by fake marriage proposals on ballfields, plants are growing in Connecticut, or will be if some in the state have their say. Those stories and more you might have missed.

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MEDICAL MARIJUANA GROWER APPROVED IN MIDDLETOWN
Former factory space may become quite "green."

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Where We Live
11:18 am
Wed August 7, 2013

Edith Prague's New Job, Rosa DeLauro's Ongoing Fight, and Rinku Sen on Health Equity

Mark Pazniokas/CT Mirror, Chion Wolf/WNPR, Kris Krüg/PopTech

Earlier this year, Governor Dannel Malloy named Edith Prague the Commissioner of the state’s Department on Aging.

The 87-year-old previously served as state representative, state senator and was even the commissioner of aging once before under Governor Lowell Weicker.

We sat down with Edith Prague to talk about her new job, her political career, and one job she doesn’t want.

"I wouldn’t go to Washington if my life depended on it," said Prague.

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The Wheelhouse Digest
2:42 pm
Tue August 6, 2013

Water and Guns

Summer feels like it's winding down this week, what with cooler temperatures and earlier sunsets. That has us thinking about school, which of course makes us think about UConn students needing a lot of water. That and more in today's not-to-miss stories.

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UCONN'S WATER WILL COME FROM CONNECTICUT WATER CO.
Controversial plan dropped to draw from MDC supply.

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Where We Live
10:46 am
Tue August 6, 2013

Surviving Political Scandal

Thomas Good, Wikimedia Commons

Anthony Weiner is definitely not the first U.S politician to find himself wrapped up in a sex scandal. But being implicated in a political scandal may no longer be a career death sentence. Newt Gingrich and Mark Sanford are just two examples of politicians who have gone on to have successful political careers despite past infidelities.

So, what does this say about the American electorate? Do we really not care about the private lives of politicians, as long as they do their jobs?

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The Wheelhouse Digest
2:19 pm
Mon August 5, 2013

Exchanges and Gifts

Credit Sage Ross, Wikimedia Commons

Got time for a little news diversion while you wait to find out if A-Rod will play in Chicago tonight? You're at the right place. Here are a few stories you should know about today.

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NO INDIVIDUAL HEALTH INSURANCE EXCHANGE FOR YOU
Aetna withdraws from Access Health CT.

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The Wheelhouse Digest
1:17 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

Bargains and Ballots

Have you been spending too many hours playing outside? Working on those tan lines? We don’t blame you, the weather’s been gorgeous.

While you were out, political news has continued to churn. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

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OBAMA TRIES TO BARGAIN
The President attempts a new deal on jobs and taxes.

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9:55 am
Wed July 24, 2013

State Senator John McKinney Will Run for Governor

Lead in text: 
John McKinney is the Senate Republican leader, and is the first to announce formally in the race.
Fairfield - John P. McKinney entered the 2014 race for governor Tuesday as a moderate Republican who hopes to reach beyond Connecticut's limited GOP base and as a convert to the public financing of campaigns. "I am doing the public financing, because it is the right direction for the campaign," said McKinney, who voted against the law creating public financing in 2005.
Where We Live
11:19 am
Fri July 12, 2013

Kids Strive to Be Socially Responsible Consumers

Chion Wolf

Young teens and “tweens” are plenty comfortable with technology and networking - and they use iPhones to explore brands they’re interested in, and what they’d like to buy. But they can’t be manipulated easily - experts say they’re more independent and fickle than previous generations.

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Where We Live
10:41 am
Mon April 15, 2013

Changing Health Outcomes

Chion Wolf

A few weeks ago, the Greater New Haven Branch of the NAACP released a report showing significant health, economic, and educational disparities between White and minority populations....so significant that they’re calling it a modern day “urban apartheid.”

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Where We Live
12:05 pm
Mon April 1, 2013

Small Business After Hours: Prepping Young People for Jobs

Chion Wolf

In his State of the Union address, President Obama issued a challenge:

"To grow our middle class, our citizens must have access to the education and training that today’s jobs require. But we also have to make sure that America remains a place where everyone who’s willing to work hard has the chance to get ahead."

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Where We Live
11:09 am
Wed December 12, 2012

Project Longevity

Chion Wolf

Alicia Caraballo’s story is far too common in Connecticut cities: “I have a 24 year old son. Only child. Did everything the right way. Went to school. Became a social worker. Became a school administrator. Little did I know I would be called to the hospital because my son was murdered.” She’s now Adult Education Director for the New Haven Board of Education - and one of many officials and activists throwing their support behind a new attempt at curbing gun crime: Project Longevity.

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Where We Live
10:25 am
Mon June 4, 2012

Paved Paradise

Picabu (Wikimedia Commons)

Picture a parking lot....what comes to mind? A sea of asphalt, white lines, birds pecking at discarded food. Don’t forget the stray shopping carts, bright lighting at night, and blinding glare by day. Not the most pleasant place.

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