Jeff Cohen

Reporter

Jeff Cohen is a proud New Orleans native who now calls New England home. Or at least his second home.

He started in newspapers in 2001 and joined WNPR in 2010, where he is a reporter and an occasional fill-in host for All Things Considered.

In addition to covering state and Hartford city politics, Jeff covered the December 2012 Newtown shootings and the stories that followed.  Much of that work was featured on NPR.  Also in 2012, Jeff was selected by NPR and Kaiser Health News for their joint Health Care In The States project. That work resulted in several national stories, including ones on the Affordable Care Act and medical education.

Jeff was also selected by the Tow Foundation and the John Jay College of Criminal Justice as a fellow in their 2012 juvenile justice reporting project.

Before working at WNPR, Jeff worked as the city reporter for The Hartford Courant.  While at the Courant, he won a National Headliner Award for a Northeast Magazine story about the ostracized widow of the state's first casualty in Iraq; wrote about his post-Katrina, flooded out home in New Orleans; and was part of a team of reporters that broke the stories of alleged corruption at Hartford City Hall that led to the arrest of former Mayor Eddie A. Perez. 

He also worked at the Meriden Record-Journal and as a freelancer for The New York Times.

Jeff lives in Middletown with his wife, cats, and two trouble-making kids. Thanks to the kids, he's now writing children's books. The first, published by HarperCollins Children's Books, comes out in early 2014.  He likes to make bread and wine.

Pages

How Affordable Is The ACA?
7:00 am
Mon June 30, 2014

Obamacare Agency Changes Course, Releases Public Information

Some of the responses to our Freedom of Information request.
Credit Jeff Cohen / WNPR

One dollar and 22 cents. That's how much Access Health CT, the state's health insurance marketplace, pays its call center operator for each minute it spends on the phone helping someone navigate the Affordable Care Act.

It's also a number that Maximus, the call center operator, has tried to keep from public disclosure for months.

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Rent or Own?
4:54 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

When It Comes to Paying For Stadium, Hartford Changes Course

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra.
Chion Wolf WNPR

The city of Hartford is changing its plans for how to build, and pay for, a new minor league baseball stadium downtown. The mayor and the city council now plan to ask developers and private investors to weigh in. 

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Play Ball
4:21 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

If a Ballpark Comes to Hartford, Who Gets the Luxury Seats?

Jupiterimages/Photos.com Thinkstock

Much has been written about whether the city of Hartford should have its own box in the new proposed baseball stadium its considering building to house the New Britain Rock Cats.

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Stadium, Stadium, Stadium
4:16 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

Hartford City Council to Hire Its Own Stadium Consultant

The proposed site for a Hartford ballpark.
Credit City of Hartford

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra's plan to build a new minor league baseball stadium in the heart of downtown is facing more scrutiny from the city council. 

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Play Ball, And Politics
11:01 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

Ballpark Debate Makes For Interesting State Senate Politics

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra, Rock Cats Owner Josh Solomon, and Council President Shawn Wooden announce the deal earlier this month.
Credit Jeff Cohen / WNPR

It may be baseball season.

It's also political primary season.

When it comes to the ballpark in Hartford, two opposing candidates for state senate have two very different views. 

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Where To Build
4:17 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

Locating Hartford's Proposed Ballpark

Two possible locations for a Rock Cats stadium in Hartford, as proposed by Pendulum.
City of Hartford

The city of Hartford has said it looked at other city locations for a new minor league baseball stadium -- including a location on Market Street, the sometimes-home of Cirque du Soleil.

Now, there are some documents to back that up. 

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Bringing Baseball Downtown
5:04 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Stadium Deal Not Approved Yet, But Hartford Goes Out to Bid

A rendering of a proposed Rock Cats stadium in Hartford.
Credit City of Hartford

There's a lot of work yet to be done before a minor league baseball stadium in the state's capital city becomes a reality. For starters, it has to be approved by the Hartford city council, and that won't likely happen until later this summer.

Mayor Pedro Segarra, however, isn’t waiting around for the city council to act.

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Hartford Schools
12:57 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Hartford's New Superintendent Sees Internal Achievement Gap

Beth Schiavino-Narvaez.
Credit Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Hartford's new school superintendent held her first press conference on Monday. She said her top priority is to eliminate the achievement gap within Hartford's schools. 

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The Right Ballpark?
3:19 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Hartford Leaders Respond to Stadium Concerns

From left, Hartford treasurer Adam Cloud, State Rep. Brandon McGee, City Councilwoman Cynthia Jennings, City Council President Shawn Wooden, State Rep. Doug McCrory, and City Councilmen Kyle Anderson and Ken Kennedy.
Jeff Cohen WNPR

The debate over whether to relocate the minor league Rock Cats from New Britain to Hartford continues, and the Hartford's elected officials are now feeling some heat.

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Hartford Or Bust?
10:09 am
Tue June 17, 2014

Springfield Says There Were No Talks With Rock Cats

Springfield City Hall in Massachusetts.
Credit Jeremy Goldstein / Creative Commons

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra and his people have said that their negotiations to move the minor league New Britain Rock Cats to Hartford had to be confidential, because speaking about them publicly could have risked the whole thing and pushed the team out of state.

Several news reports -- some citing anonymous city officials and sources, others citing speculation and rumors -- suggested that Springfield, Massachusetts was a serious contender.  

Not so, says Springfield. 

Read more
Rock Cats
4:24 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

City Council May Not Have Final Vote On Hartford Ballpark

Credit City of Hartford

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra has called his plan to move the New Britain Rock Cats to the capital city a "done deal." He's celebrated the plan as both good for Hartford's pride and for its pocketbook.

The city council doesn't necessarily have the final vote, however -- and not everyone likes it. 

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Development Deals
2:10 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

City Explains Hartford's Secrecy Around Proposed Stadium

Hartford City Hall.
Credit Heather Brandon / WNPR

For the better part of a year and half, Hartford city officials negotiated a plan to move the New Britain Rock Cats to the capital city behind closed doors, saying the deal needed that kind of confidentiality, lest it fall apart. 

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Playing Ball
9:53 am
Wed June 11, 2014

Hartford State Senator Opposes New Rock Cats Stadium

A rendering of a proposed Rock Cats stadium in Hartford.
Credit City of Hartford

Earlier this week, Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra called the plan to move the New Britain Rock Cats to the capital city a "done deal." 

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Hospitality
4:09 pm
Fri June 6, 2014

Would You Spend the Night in Hartford After a Rock Cats Game?

Downtown Hartford as seen through a hotel room window.
Cliff Creative Commons

City leaders say building a minor league baseball stadium in Hartford would spur economic development. Some of the numbers are based on ambitious assumptions. 

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7,000 People Per Game
5:58 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

If You Build It, Lots and Lots of People Will Have to Come

The Rock Cats current New Britain home.
Credit Doug Kerr / Creative Commons

A bunch of numbers jump out when it comes to the proposed new minor league ballpark in Hartford. One of them is the jobs projection. 

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Playing Ball
2:02 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

Rock Cats Ballpark Economics, By the Numbers

A rendering for a proposed baseball stadium in Hartford for the Rock Cats.
City of Hartford

There are a lot of numbers that jump out when it comes to the proposed new minor league ballpark in Hartford – the 600 permanent, full-time jobs, the more than 9,000 seats, the 25-year deal, the $500,000 annual rent payment to the city. But there’s also the price tag itself. 

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Baseball In Hartford
4:48 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

Hartford Says Rock Cats Were Ready to Leave the State

Mayor Pedra Segarra announced on Wednesday that the Rock Cats are moving to Hartford.
Jeff Cohen WNPR

Hartford has announced a 25-year deal to bring the New Britain Rock Cats to the capital city. The move, celebrated in one city, is not so popular in the other. 

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Public Financing
9:58 am
Tue June 3, 2014

Tom Foley Will Apply for Public Financing In Governor's Race

Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Republican Tom Foley, who self-funded his 2010 campaign for governor, has decided that he'll apply for public financing this time around. 

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Election 2014
8:05 am
Fri May 30, 2014

Candidates for Governor Have the Cash to Qualify, But Will They Apply For Public Financing?

Tom Foley, left, and Gov. Dannel Malloy.
Chion Wolf WNPR

Both the Democratic and Republican endorsed candidates for governor have said they've raised enough money to qualify for public campaign funds, but either of them has actually applied. 

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Capital Punishment
4:19 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

Sentencing Death After the Death Penalty's Repeal

Richard Roszkowski at his sentencing last week. Roszkowski was sentenced to death after his conviction in a 2006 triple murder.
Credit CT-N

In 2012, Connecticut repealed the death penalty for crimes committed after the law was changed. That doesn't mean more people won't end up on death row.  A man convicted of a 2006 triple murder was sentenced to death last week. 

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Training Police
12:55 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

More Police Officers to Get Mental Health Training

Michelle Malven/iStock Thinkstock

Edward Yergeau, a patrol sergeant with the Hartford Police Department, has seen how changing attitudes about mental health has actually changed outcomes.

"Ten years ago," Yergeau said, "you either arrested a person, or threw them in the ambulance, and you were done with them. That was it." 

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Affordable Care Act
1:37 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Poll: Latinos Underinformed On Obamacare

Credit Access Health CT

A new poll by a non-profit working to get people health insurance coverage say that a lack of understanding hindered Obamacare enrollment for at least one demographic groups: Latinos. 

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High Finance
5:04 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

U.S. Education Secretary in Hartford to Talk About Paying for College

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Gov. Dannel Malloy speak with students at University High School of Science and Engineering.
Jeff Cohen WNPR

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan was in Hartford Monday to speak with high school seniors about paying for college.

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Access Health CT
8:03 am
Wed May 14, 2014

State's Bill For Obamacare Call Center Significantly Higher Than Estimated

vichie81/iStock Thinkstock

One part of the Affordable Care Act has become less affordable: call centers. Maximus, the company that runs the phone banks to enroll people in Connecticut, originally said it would charge the state $15 million over roughly three years.

The state now says the cost of that contract could nearly double. 

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Medicaid and Therapy
10:32 am
Tue May 13, 2014

State to Expand Medicaid to Cover Private Therapy

State health care advocate Vicki Veltri.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Single adults on Medicaid will soon be able to get therapy someplace other than a clinic. A bill passed by lawmakers last week aims to make the coverage available this year. 

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Election 2014
10:55 am
Sat May 10, 2014

QPoll: Malloy and Foley Tied

Republican Tom Foley (l) and Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

A new poll shows Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy tied with Republican Tom Foley in the race for governor, and Malloy's approval rating is still below 50 percent.

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Mental Health
8:26 am
Fri May 9, 2014

Mental Health 101: Program Helps Police Intervene In Crises

A police officer stands outside the entrance to Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 15, 2012.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 8, 2014 8:24 pm

How do you tell the difference between someone who needs to be taken to jail and someone who needs to be taken to the hospital? It can be a delicate situation to decipher, and it's been a big concern in Connecticut since the Newtown shootings of 2012.

Lance Newkirchen, a regular patrol officer in the town of Fairfield, is also specifically trained to respond to mental health calls. On a recent weekday, he headed out in his patrol car for a follow-up call.

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The Session That Was
4:38 pm
Thu May 8, 2014

Governor Malloy Reflects on the Session

Governor Dannel Malloy addresses reporters the day after the legislative session ends.
Jeff Cohen WNPR

With the state's legislative session now over, Governor Dannel Malloy met with reporters to discuss which bills were passed, and which weren't. Malloy told reporters that he got most of what he asked for in this short session. 

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Freedom of Information
4:33 pm
Wed May 7, 2014

FOI Advocates Pleased With Legislature's Lack of Action

Jim Smith, president of the Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Efforts to change the state's laws regarding access to public information have apparently stalled. That comes as good news to those who advocate for freedom of information. 

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Legislative Session
4:57 pm
Mon May 5, 2014

Bill On Legal Notices Is Stalled

Credit Jon S / Creative Commons

Some of the state's municipal leaders have pushed for a change in state law that would allow them to save money and cut back on printed public notices. But it seems unlikely that lawmakers will pass a measure before the session ends on Wednesday. 

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