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.

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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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Health Disparity
9:43 am
Tue April 29, 2014

Advocates, State Working to Expand Behavioral Health Coverage For the Poor

Pamela McGuire is a licensed clinical social worker in private practice in Hartford.
Jeff Cohen WNPR

The Affordable Care Act is all about getting people health insurance. Once they're insured, there's another hurdle: getting them access to care. That's a particular problem for people living on low incomes.

It's even more of a problem for the poor who seek behavioral health care. 

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Crunching Numbers
7:04 am
Mon April 28, 2014

Segarra Doesn't Like His Budget Fix, But It's All He Has

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra.
Jeff Cohen WNPR

Even Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra doesn't like the idea of selling more than $30 million in parking assets to balance his budget, but he said it's the only option he's got left. 

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Public Health
10:02 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Getting Medications Where They Need to Go In an Emergency

e-Magine Art Creative Commons

This is just a test. But imagine that a something really nasty is spreading around the state.

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Budget Time
5:20 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

Segarra's Proposed Budget Includes Tax Hike

Mayor Pedro Segarra presents his budget.
Jeff Cohen WNPR

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra presented a budget that increases taxes, cancels a class of police officers, and raises new money by selling off some of its parking assets. 

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Crisis Intervention Teams
11:45 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Training Connecticut Police in Mental Health 101

Fairfield Officer Lance Newkirchen on his way to visit the family of a man who, two days earlier, considered suicide.
Jeff Cohen WNPR

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? That’s a big concern in Connecticut, where the intersection of law enforcement and mental health has been a huge issue since the Newtown shootings of 2012. 

WNPR spent time with police officers to learn about their training in mental health.

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Budget Woes
5:19 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Segarra to Propose Budget, Facing Lots of Ground to Make Up

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Next year's municipal budgets across the state are beginning to take shape. In Hartford, Mayor Pedro Segarra will present his budget to the city council on Monday. It's got a big hole in it. 

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It's Spring. Now Sneeze.
4:29 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Cold Winter Means Healthy Trees -- and Pollen

A red maple in bloom.
Benny Mazur Creative Commons

Now that the long winter is over, spring is here. So is tree pollen.

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Arraignment Friday
7:07 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Rowland Indicted By Federal Grand Jury

Former Gov. John Rowland.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Former Republican Governor John Rowland, who has already served federal prison time on corruption-related charges, has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of illegal campaign activity

It's a controversy that has been brewing for a couple of years. It picked up steam last week with the guilty pleas of a one-time Republican congressional candidate and her husband.

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Affordable Care Act
5:03 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Connecticut to Share Its Obamacare Computer Code

Credit Michael Himbeault / Creative Commons

Connecticut's Obamacare enrollment website did well enough this year to attract the interest of other states. Officials from Access Health CT said they are finalizing a deal with the state of Maryland to share computer code.

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Gun Control
3:21 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Anti- and Pro-Gun Advocates in Connecticut Continue Their Fight

Gun control advocates rally at the capitol.
Credit Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Gun control advocates rallied with Democratic leaders at the capitol Thursday, announcing a new effort to support lawmakers who passed last year's gun measures. The meeting came as pro-gun activists plan a rally of their own.

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Rowland Scandal, Again
4:54 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Rowland Won't Talk; Wants to "Respect the Process"

Former Gov. John Rowland.
Credit WTIC

Former Republican Gov. John Rowland took to the airwaves on Tuesday to host his afternoon talk show on WTIC 1080. He began by saying he would not discuss the federal case that has apparently ensnared him. 

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Affordable Care Act
4:09 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Obamacare Enrollment Surged in Connecticut as Deadline Expired

Credit Slawomir Fajer/iStock / Thinkstock

President Obama said that more than seven million people have signed up for insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Connecticut saw a huge surge in enrollments as Monday's deadline passed. 

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The New Rowland Case
1:28 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Former FBI Agent Speaks Out On Rowland and Politics

Former Gov. John Rowland in Hartford in 2009.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Former Republican Governor John Rowland is again at the center of a federal investigation that has already resulted in two guilty pleas. Mike Clark is the former FBI agent who investigated Rowland the first time around, and blew the whistle on him the second.

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Legislative Session
10:13 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Newspapers, Municipalities Still Divided Over Legal Notices

Credit Jon S / Creative Commons

The state's daily newspapers, and its towns and cities, remain divided over how to change the state’s laws on printed legal notices.

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Election 2014
11:55 am
Fri March 28, 2014

Malloy Says He's Running Again

Gov. Malloy, just before his announcement.
Jeff Cohen WNPR

Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy has announced he intends to seek reelection in 2014. 

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Higher Education
11:32 am
Thu March 27, 2014

Neuroscientist From Tufts Named Trinity College President

Joanne Berger-Sweeney, Trinity College's next president.
Trinity College

Hartford's Trinity College has announced its next president. Joanne Berger-Sweeney is a neuroscientist who will be the college's first woman and first African American to lead the school. 

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Affordable Care Act
5:19 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

Federal Obamacare Deadline Extends, But Connecticut's Does Not

Credit Gubcio / iStock / Thinkstock

As the deadline to sign up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act approaches, the federal government now says it will give some people extra time to enroll. But that change won't apply to people in Connecticut.

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Obamacare
4:07 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

As Obamacare Deadline Approaches, Penalties Loom for Those Who Miss It

Gov. Dannel Malloy sells Obamacare as the enrollment deadline approaches.
Credit Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Officials say enrollment in the state's health insurance marketplace is surging as the March 31 deadline to sign up approaches. 

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Access Health CT
7:31 am
Mon March 24, 2014

Customers Rush To Retail Store In Connecticut To Buy Obamacare

DeLisa Tolson signed up for health insurance at a retail store set up by Connecticut's exchange. She says she was so happy with the experience, she told all her friends.
Jeff Cohen/NPR

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 12:25 pm

Mike Dunn stands inside a store in downtown New Haven, looking through the big glass windows at his future customers outside. He's not selling phones or food or clothes. He's selling Obamacare.

There's one week left to get health insurance through the Affordable Care Act marketplaces, and states have gone to great lengths to enroll as many people up as possible. In Connecticut, the exchange has opened two retail storefronts where people can walk in and sign up.

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Downtown Hartford
4:17 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

Plan to Move Downtown Hartford Street Faces Opposition

Gold and Main Streets as seen from the Wadsworth Atheneum.
Credit Heather Brandon / WNPR

Figuring out ways to bring more people to the city of Hartford has been a long-time work in progress. One plan to do that is called iQuilt, and one of its goals is to make the city more walkable. One aspect of it is facing opposition.

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Budget Time
3:53 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Connecticut Cities and Towns Make Their Case for Funding

Legislators listen to municipal leaders on Wednesday.
Credit Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Municipal leaders from across the state came to the capitol Wednesday to speak to legislators about their budget concerns. 

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