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
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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Courts
8:24 am
Fri October 4, 2013

A Look at the East Haven Civil Rights Trial

East Haven police officer Dennis Spaulding and his wife leave court in late September in Hartford.
Credit Melanie Stengel / The New Haven Register

WNPR News talked with Evan Lips, a reporter for The New Haven Register who has been covering the trial in East Haven of two police officers accused of violating the civil rights of several Latinos during arrests. The officers are David Cari and Dennis Spaulding, who were charged with conspiracy to violate civil rights. Spaulding was also charged with excessive force. Lips shared his observations about the early stages of the trial.

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Lockdown During the Shutdown
3:53 pm
Thu October 3, 2013

U.S. Capitol Shooting: Report From the Inside

Credit Matanya / Flickr Creative Commons

Billy House, a Congressional correspondent for National Journal, was in the House chamber at the U.S. Capitol when gunfire was reported outdoors, behind a Senate building nearby. He provided an account of the brief lockdown that occurred in Washington, D.C. on Thursday afternoon.

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The Wheelhouse Digest
12:22 pm
Thu October 3, 2013

Shutdown Impact; UConn Affordability; Winchester Schools Fiscal Crisis

Credit Uma Ramiah / WNPR

It's day three of the federal government shutdown. While lack of funding is having a major impact across the country and here in Connecticut, it's not the only financial reality getting new attention. UConn's affordability is under scrutiny today, and one school system in the state is struggling to stay open after suffering a massive theft under investigation. This is The Wheelhouse Digest.

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Foxwoods
2:43 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

Pequot Tribal Treasurer Resigns

The treasurer of the tribe that owns Foxwoods Resort Casino has resigned from the tribal council as he awaits trial on federal theft charges, the Associated Press reports.

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The Wheelhouse Digest
9:55 am
Wed October 2, 2013

Enrollments Promising; Shutdown Ripple Effects; Con Edison's Walk of Shame

Credit Christine Stuart / CT News Junkie

On today's episode of The Wheelhouse we're covering the hot political topics of the day, crunched together here in a quick-to-skim format, including how Access Health CT did on its unveiling: despite technical glitches, more enrollments came through than expected. This is The Wheelhouse Digest.

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The Wheelhouse Digest
10:56 am
Tue October 1, 2013

New Laws Begin; Yale Drops Charges; Metro-North Meltdown Continues

Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

You may have noticed that the federal government shut down today. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called this a "sad day for America." But it's not keeping Connecticut down. Today, the state's new health care exchange takes its first spin around the Internet (if on slightly unstable web-wheels), and -- you know you've been waiting for this -- a bunch of new laws go into effect. Maybe you forgot just how good October 1 would be to you. That and more in today's Wheelhouse Digest.

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10:29 am
Tue October 1, 2013

Putnam Bans Non-Essential Water Use

Lead in text: 
Putnam has banned non-essential water use as of today because the water level in the Little River is low. Residents may not water lawns and gardens or wash cars, and they are urged to conserve water for showers and household cleaning. No rain is expected for several days, which means the ban could last a week or longer.
Beginning today, Putnam residents are banned from watering lawns and gardens, washing cars and other non-essential water uses. The Putnam Water Pollution Control Authority instituted the ban because the water level in the Little River has fallen below a level that lets the town produce water under state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection regulations, according to a news release from Public Works Director Jerry Beausoleil.
Health Care
9:11 am
Tue October 1, 2013

Where We Live: Rolling Out the Health Care Exchange

Kevin Counihan.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Join us while we talk about the new Connecticut health care exchange on Where We Live. Listen live here.

9:11 am: Kevin Counihan, CEO of Connecticut's health insurance exchange, says Access Health CT is up and running. He says plenty of people are visiting the site and it's active. "It's a highly complex implementation," he says, citing lots of support in the state for the health care exchange.

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Plum Island
8:57 am
Tue October 1, 2013

Cuomo Calls for Further Study of Plum Island

The Plum Island Animal Disease Center in 2007.
Credit Joelmills / Wikimedia Commons

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Monday that questions about the environmental condition of Plum Island need further study before the federal government proceeds with its sale. The island, off eastern Long Island, has been home to a federal research facility that studies infectious diseases that could threaten the nation’s livestock industry.

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Yale University
8:18 am
Tue October 1, 2013

Yale Receives Largest Gift in School History

Connecticut Hall at Yale University in New Haven.
Credit Ragesoss / Wikimedia Commons

Yale University received a $250 million gift from 1954 graduate Charles B. Johnson, the largest gift in the school's history. “This is an extraordinary commitment from one of Yale’s most loyal alumni,” Yale President Peter Salovey said. “It builds on Charlie’s long history of generosity to Yale."

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Health Care
8:01 am
Tue October 1, 2013

Access Health CT Opens Its Virtual Doors

Credit Pete/Comedy_Nose / Flickr Creative Commons

Access Health CT, the state's new health care marketplace, goes live for customers today. Officials are encouraging people shopping for insurance plans to do it online, if possible, to limit paperwork. Officials are also sending workers into the community to work with low-income people who may not have web access, or may not be web-savvy. 

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7:46 am
Tue October 1, 2013

Car Ignition Lock Use Tripled in a Year in Connecticut

Lead in text: 
Use of ignition interlock devices has tripled since a state law took effect in 2012 requiring first-time DUI offenders to have the device installed. The Day reports that nearly 2,700 people in the state currently use such a device in their cars. The device is wired to the car's ignition and requires a breath sample before the car will start. Mothers Against Drunk Driving is pushing for the device for all convicted drunken drivers and intends to reintroduce state legislation at the 2014 legislative session.
Publication: The Day Norwich - Jacqueline Caron of Norwich has spent months perfecting the proper steps needed to start her car. On one recent afternoon, the 52-year-old planted herself in the driver's seat, inhaled deeply, pursed her lips and exhaled into a tube while humming a tone reminiscent of a prolonged "whooo."
Where We Live
12:00 am
Tue October 1, 2013

The Health Exchange in Connecticut

Kevin Counihan, CEO of Access Health CT
Chion Wolf

Today’s the day the new Affordable Care Act kicks into gear.  

The health care reform known as “Obamacare” is creating state exchanges where those without insurance can buy it.  But how do these exchanges work? Who’s eligible and who’s not? What about all the myths, mysteries and misconceptions? How much is it really costing us?

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The Wheelhouse Digest
10:31 am
Mon September 30, 2013

Law Enforcement Grants; UConn's Faculty Surge; Waterbury Absences

Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

It's the last day of September, so you know what that means: it's your last day to celebrate the full functioning of federal government, which may be partly out of commission by this time Wednesday. All the same, federal grants were just awarded to five Connecticut towns for law enforcement purposes. We'd hate to see those grants not come through, but these are strange times at The Wheelhouse Digest. That story and more on this federal holiday of sorts.

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Sandy Relief
10:46 am
Sun September 29, 2013

Malloy Announces Online Sandy Relief Application for Small Businesses

Cosey Beach in East Haven, Connecticut, on October 28, 2012.
Credit Jan Ellen Spiegel

Governor Dannel Malloy pointed small businesses in Connecticut who were affected by Superstorm Sandy to a new state website, Connecticut Recovers, to apply for a share of $10.5 million in federal grants. The site is intended to streamline the process of filing for relief.

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The Wheelhouse Digest
11:21 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Keno Gets Closer; Anchoring Bass Pro; Rail Headaches

Keno fever may soon hit Connecticut. Symptoms already can be seen at this Carson CIty, Nevada restaurant.
Credit Nazox / Wikimedia Commons

Connecticut has been dancing around the idea of keno for a while now. The state made another move across the room to commit some spending that would help to bring keno to hundreds of locations in the state. Meanwhile, the bond commission is working to get Bass Pro Shops in place in Bridgeport, and miserable commuters continue to cope with a broken Metro-North. Read about it in today's Wheelhouse Digest.

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Transportation
9:33 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Metro-North Delays Cause More Frustration

Grand Central Station in New York City.
Credit JoeJoeJoe93 / Wikimedia Commons

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy met with railroad and utility officials at New York's Grand Central Station Thursday to discuss the disruption of rail service for tens of thousands of commuters on the Metro-North and Amtrak lines, the Associated Press reports.

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Obamacare Calculator
12:50 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

The Affordable Care Act: How is Your Health Care Affected?

Credit Darnyi Zsóka / Creative Commons

Connecticut is launching a new online health exchange, Access Health CT, where residents can shop for and purchase health insurance. The unemployed or uninsured may be able to receive health insurance under the new federal law. To see how it affects you, and whether you can take advantage of the health exchange, try the helpful tools below.

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