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
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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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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