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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Economic Development
9:14 am
Mon December 2, 2013

Commission on Connecticut's Future Meets to Discuss Industry, Sustainability

Economist Patrick Flaherty of the Connecticut Department of Labor’s Office of Research presented jobs data Monday morning.
Credit CT-N

The Commission on Connecticut's Future meets Monday morning to discuss economic renewal in the state. The commission is examining the manufacturing industry and defense-related industries along with environmental sustainability. A report is due to the governor by this time next year. 

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Thu November 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? 

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Freedom of Information
5:30 pm
Tue November 26, 2013

Closed Investigation of Sandy Hook Shooting Prompts Nuanced Legal Questions

A photo from the Lanza home in Newtown from the summary report of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting investigation.
Credit State of Connecticut

State's Attorney Stephen Sedensky's summary report on the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting said that the investigation is now closed, and there will be no criminal prosecution in the case. None of the evidence points to collaboration in the crime, and the shooter is considered solely responsible.

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Newtown
11:56 am
Mon November 25, 2013

Judge Will Listen to Sandy Hook 911 Recordings

New Britain Superior Court Judge Eliot Prescott ruled Monday that the 911 tapes should remain sealed while under review.
Credit CT-N

After a hearing on Monday, New Britain Superior Court Judge Eliot Prescott said he will listen to the 911 recordings from the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting last year, and consider whether they can be released to the public. Prescott's decision will come soon after he hears the calls, but it will not be Monday.

The recordings were ordered by the Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission to be provided to The Associated Press in September. State's Attorney Stephen Sedensky III requested a stay while he appeals the order.

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You Shall Not Pass!
4:19 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

Hartford Resident Sues to Reopen Flower Street

Joshua LaPorte, CT State Senator John Fonfara, Christopher Brown, and Attorney Ken Krayeske.
Chion Wolf WNPR

Christopher Brown is a cyclist in Hartford, and he's suing the Connecticut Department of Transportation for closing Flower Street. Brown described the street as "a crucial North/South route for safe bike and pedestrian travel between Capitol and Farmington Avenues." 

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Disaster Relief
1:25 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

AmeriCares Ships $1 Million in Medical Aid to the Philippines

To date, Americares has delivered $1 miilion in medical aid to the Phillipines. The challenge for Amerciares, and other relief organizations is distributing the aid to the hardest hit areas.
Matthew McDermott Americares

Nearly two weeks ago Typhoon Haiyan, perhaps the strongest storm on record, ravaged the Philippines. Survivors in the hardest-hit parts of that island nation are still in need of the most basic supplies, like food, water and shelter. On Wednesday, Philippine officials estimated the death toll from the storm at 4,000.

Stamford, Connecticut-based AmeriCares has been in the Philippines since the day after the typhoon, delivering medical supplies, and helping to rebuild hospitals.

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Newtown
2:13 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

GE Donates $15 Million for Newtown Community Center

Main Street in Newtown.
Credit John Phelan / Creative Commons

General Electric has donated $15 million to Newtown to build and operate a community center. Town officials said that following the shooting deaths last December of 20 children and six educators at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, it was clear the town lacked a central meeting space.

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Marijuana Law
11:47 am
Tue November 19, 2013

State Reveals Applicants for Medical Marijuana Licenses

Credit O'Dea / Creative Commons

Thirty-seven companies have applied to the state for the right to produce or dispense medical marijuana. The Department of Consumer Protection said it expects to award licenses under the state's new medical marijuana law early next year. 

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Casinos
8:54 am
Tue November 19, 2013

Milford, Massachusetts Votes on Foxwoods Casino Plan

A rendering of the Foxwoods proposed resort casino in Milford, Massachusetts.
Credit Town of Milford, Massachusetts

The town of Milford, Massachusetts will get a chance to vote today on a plan by Foxwoods to build a $1 billion resort casino. Foxwoods wants to bid for one of three casino licenses that will be issued in the Bay State next year. 

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Springfield
12:42 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

Springfield Sees Renewed Potential for Downtown Market-Rate Housing

Springfield, Massachusetts may see a casino downtown as well as new housing.
Expos1225 Creative Commons

A renewed effort is underway to examine the potential for market-rate housing in downtown Springfield. On Thursday, the city along with Laurie Volk of Zimmerman/Volk Associates released a study showing strong promise for the success of housing in the area where a casino development may take place.

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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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