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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Budget Bills
10:45 am
Thu March 13, 2014

Barnes: Proposed State Tax Rebate Will Generate 1,000 Jobs

Benjamin Barnes before the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee.
Credit CT-N

Governor Dannel Malloy's proposal to give Connecticut taxpayers a modest rebate was up for discussion before the General Assembly's tax-writing committee on Thursday. Budget chief Benjamin Barnes said it could be a job generator in the state.

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New York City
7:52 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Two Apartment Buildings Collapse in New York City; Metro-North Restores All Service

Paramedics respond to a double building collapse in Manhattan.
Credit Stephen Nessen / WNYC

Metro-North restored all train service into and out of Grand Central Terminal on Wednesday after service had been suspended for several hours. Two apartment buildings collapsed after an explosion at Park Avenue and 116th Street adjacent to the Metro-North commuter tracks. 

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Connecticut Legislature
1:15 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Government Administration and Elections Committee Meets to Weigh Recommendations

The Connecticut State Capitol.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

The Connecticut legislature's Government Administration and Elections Committee met Monday to discuss an act that would implement the recommendations of the Task Force on Victim Privacy and the Public's Right to Know. 

Some legislators acknowledged they're struggling over whether to support the proposed legislation, which would limit public access to 911 audio tapes, additional types of crime scene photos, and law enforcement audio recordings.

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Connecticut Legislature
1:03 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Judiciary Committee Meets, Considers Privacy Task Force Recommendations

State Sen. Eric Coleman.
Credit CT-N
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Wake of Newtown
10:26 am
Mon March 10, 2014

Father of Adam Lanza Speaks Publicly About Newtown Massacre

Credit State of Connecticut

For the first time since the Newtown school shooting, the father of gunman Adam Lanza is speaking publicly. Peter Lanza told The New Yorker magazine, in an extensive interview by Andrew Solomon, about his relationship with Adam.

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Wealth
10:02 am
Fri March 7, 2014

There Are Over 1,000 Billionaires Worldwide -- and Connecticut Has 13 of Them

Credit hynci/iStock / Thinkstock

Thirteen Connecticut residents appear on this year's list of the nation's billionaires, compiled by Forbes Magazine. The list, released annually, includes 1,645 billionaires worldwide. 

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White House
12:59 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

White House Updates Position on Ukraine, Condemns Violation of International Law

President Barack Obama talks on the phone in the Oval Office with Russian President Vladimir Putin about the situation in Ukraine, March 1, 2014.
Credit White House

President Barack Obama delivered a statement about Ukraine from the White House on Thursday, condemning the possibility that international law would be violated in Crimea. Earlier in the day, it was announced the European Union suspended talks on some of the agreements with Russia over the Ukraine crisis, and threatened further sanctions.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Thu March 6, 2014

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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Barack Obama
2:12 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

President Obama Visits Connecticut, in Tweets

President Barack Obama speaking at CCSU.
Credit whitehouse.gov

President Barack Obama visited Connecticut on Wednesday to urge an increase in the federal minimum wage. He arrived at Bradley International Airport via Air Force One, accompanied by a Connecticut delegation, and drove down I-91 with a motorcade.

Below is a collection tweets from around the state as the president arrived, and then came to New Britain with great anticipation to deliver his speech. 

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Decibels
12:36 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Should Noise in Connecticut Movie Theaters Be Regulated?

Credit Kenneth Lu / Creative Commons

Connecticut lawmakers are considering a proposal that would establish a maximum decibel level at movie theaters across the state. The General Assembly's Public Safety and Security Committee heard testimony during a public hearing on Tuesday, including from Joseph Masher, the chief operating officer of Bow Tie Cinemas.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Tue March 4, 2014

Where We Teach: A Conversation With Connecticut's Teachers

WNPR's John Dankosky moderates a discussion with teachers Liz Natale, David Bosso, Ebony Murphy-Root, and David Low.
Chion Wolf WNPR

Our teacher panel welcomed educators from across the state. We broadcasted live from the CPBN Learning Lab, the home of the Journalism and Media Academy Magnet High School Satellite Campus and the Institute for Advanced Media.

Are you a teacher? Why did you decide to enter this profession and what keeps you going back to school every day? Find our tweets from the discussion at #WhereWeTeach, and watch our video of the event below.

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Common Core
3:03 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

Education Committee Holds Forum on Implementing Common Core Standards

State Sen. Andrea Stillman.
Credit CT-N

An informational forum took place on Friday at the State Capitol focusing on Connecticut's controversial Common Core standards. Introducing the event, State Sen. Andrea Stillman described the forum as "a chance to see, hear, and digest information."

Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor told lawmakers that the state wants to be flexible with its approach to reform, knowing that local districts are struggling to make sweeping changes while also revising the way teachers are evaluated. 

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Wake of Newtown
9:42 am
Fri February 28, 2014

Sandy Hook Advisory Commission Hears From Law Enforcement

Scott Jackson, commission chair and mayor of Hamden.
Credit CT-N

A state panel reviewing the Newtown school shooting heard from law enforcement professionals on Friday, including Newtown Police Chief Michael Kehoe, about incident management. 

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Transportation
12:45 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Metro-North Executives Say Efforts to Improve Are Underway

MTA chairman Thomas Prendergast before the state's Transportation Committee.
Credit CT-N

Two Metro-North Railroad executives said on Thursday that the rail line has slowed down its trains, installed new technology, and changed internal management, all in an effort to make commuter rail service better.

MTA chairman Thomas Prendergast and new Metro-North president Joseph Giulietti met with members of the state legislature's transportation committee to talk about reliability and safety with state lawmakers. 

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Sexual Abuse Allegations
9:02 am
Thu February 27, 2014

Report on UConn Professor Shows Misconduct, Delayed Action

University of Connecticut.
Credit Matthias Rosenkranz / Creative Commons

According to a report from an independent law firm, University of Connecticut officials knew of sexual abuse allegations against a music professor for a decade before taking action.

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Special Election
10:28 am
Wed February 26, 2014

Holder-Winfield Wins State Senate Special Election

Gary Holder-Winfield thanked supporters at the The Greek Olive in New Haven alongside his wife, Natalie Holder-Winfield, and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, far left.
Credit Thomas MacMillan / The New Haven Independent

Democratic State Representative Gary Holder-Winfield of New Haven won a special state senate election on Tuesday. He succeeds veteran Toni Harp, who's now the mayor of New Haven.

The New Haven Independent reports that Holder-Winfield defeated Republican Steven Mullins with 76 percent of the vote. Holder-Winfield had the backing of top state Democrats for the 10th District seat, including state Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney, and U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy. 

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School Reform
1:50 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

East Lyme Superintendent: Mere Slowdown of Education Reform Is Not Enough

Credit carlosbezz/iStock / Thinkstock

A local superintendent's recent letter to Governor Dannel Malloy laid out concerns about changes to Connecticut's educational system. East Lyme Public Schools Superintendent James Lombardo, a long-time veteran of Connecticut's public schools, wrote a letter to Malloy and Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor saying education reforms are pointing the state and the country in the wrong direction. 

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Minimum Wage
10:52 am
Tue February 25, 2014

U.S. Labor Secretary Touts Minimum Wage Increase in Hartford

U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, at right, with Bridgeport business owner Douglas Wade, left, and U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal.
Credit Skyler Magnoli

A top Obama cabinet member was in Hartford on Monday advocating for an increase in the federal minimum wage. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez joined with Connecticut's two U.S. Senators for a round table at the Hartford Public Library. 

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Transportation
11:24 am
Mon February 24, 2014

Metro-North Conductor Apologizes to Passengers With a Letter on Seats

Credit Susan Sermoneta / Creative Commons

In an unusual move, a Metro-North conductor left a note on passengers' seats Monday morning apologizing for an express train on Friday that never came.

Michael Shaw said he put 500 copies of his written apology on seats after telling passengers at the New Haven, West Haven, Milford, and Stratford stations to wait for an express train that was later canceled. In his note, he said he was "shocked and furious."

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Legislative Session
10:03 am
Mon February 24, 2014

Drone Use Among Many Topics at Judiciary Committee Public Hearing

State Senator Eric Coleman.
Credit CT-N

A lawsuit brought against the Hartford Police Department has piqued interest in private drone use in Connecticut. The state legislature's Judiciary Committee is expected to address the topic, among others, during a meeting on Monday.

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Legislative session
3:14 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

State Public Safety Committee Raises Bill to Repeal Keno

Co-chairs of the legislature's Public Safety and Security Committee, Rep. Stephen Dargan and Sen. Joan Hartley, at left.
Credit Connecticut Commission on Children

Connecticut's Public Safety and Security Committee met Thursday morning to raise a bill on Keno in the state. State Representative Stephen Dargan (D-West Haven) is proposing legislation to repeal last year's bill that legalized the game in Connecticut.

The controversial game is looking less likely to survive the current session, as more lawmakers express an interest in repealing legislation that made it legal. 

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Transportation
11:48 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Fairfield Rail Commuter Event Draws Complaints About Metro-North

Over 100 people attended a Metro-North commuter speakout in Fairfield on Tuesday night.
Credit @CTRailCommuters

Over 100 people attended a forum in Fairfield on Tuesday night intended for Metro-North commuters to talk about problems plaguing the rail service. Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redeker attended the event at the Pequot Library and took questions.

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Metro-North
9:10 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Malloy Meets With New Metro-North President, Agrees to a Review

A train prepares to leave the station along the Metro-North New Haven Line.
Credit Patrick Cashin / MTA

Governor Dannel Malloy met on Monday with Joseph Giulietti, the new president of Metro-North Railroad, and Thomas Prendergast, chairman and chief executive of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Malloy said Connecticut and the MTA agreed to establish an independent review before work is done on Metro-North's power or electrical lines, in order to avoid outages like what happened last September.

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Weapons Registration
11:48 am
Sat February 15, 2014

Connecticut Will Accept Some Late Assault Weapons Registration Applications

A GR16 R4 Carbine assault rifle.
Credit Brian nairB / Creative Commons

Connecticut's Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection will accept and process several hundred applications to register assault weapons and large-capacity ammunition magazines that were not received by the January 1 deadline.

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Salt Shortage
2:08 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

State DOT to Help Cities and Towns Get Road Salt

Credit Feng Yu/Hemera / Thinkstock

The Connecticut Department of Transportation is helping cities and towns that are facing a road salt shortage after a series of storms have hit the state. So far, 22 municipalities have informed the state that they need help getting more road salt.

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Winter Storm
4:58 pm
Thu February 13, 2014

Gov. Malloy Declares State of Emergency Over Road Salt Shortage

Gov. Malloy delivering a previous weather briefing.
Credit CT-N

Governor Dannel Malloy said on Thursday that Connecticut is running short on road salt. He declared a state of emergency to request the federal government address the salt shortage.

Malloy said he is directing state emergency management personnel to reach out to cities and towns on Thursday night to get more information about their salt supplies. 

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Climate Change
10:31 am
Fri February 7, 2014

Most Ski Resorts in Warmer New England May Disappear By 2100

Vermont skiers may still be able to enjoy the slopes a century down the line.
Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com / Thinkstock

A climate scientist said that ski resorts in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island may not continue to be economically viable at the end of the century, as the region sees warmer winters.

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2014 Session
9:30 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Connecticut Legislative Session Opens

The Connecticut General Assembly (file photo).
Chion Wolf WNPR

The Connecticut legislative session began on Thursday morning in Hartford, delayed a day by a winter storm. Secretary Ben Barnes, of the Office of Policy and Management, delivered a budget briefing, and Governor Dannel Malloy addressed the joint session of the General Assembly at noon. Read the text of his speech here.

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Winter Storm
8:00 am
Wed February 5, 2014

Governor Malloy Delivers Briefing on Weather Impact in Connecticut

Gov. Dannel Malloy at the EOC.
Credit CT-N

Governor Dannel Malloy offered a briefing from the Emergency Operations Center in Hartford on Wednesday morning.

He ordered all first-shift, non-essential state employees to stay home due to the difficult weather conditions, and has advised that anyone who does not need to be on the road during the storm should avoid it. He has also instituted a soft ban on tandem trucks on interstate highways.

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Courts
12:39 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Federal Judge Upholds Connecticut Gun Control Law

Credit Chris Reed/iStock / Thinkstock

A federal judge upheld the state's gun control law on Thursday, acknowledging that it affects Second Amendment rights. U.S. District Judge Alfred Covello said in a ruling on Thursday that the measure is constitutional.

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