Patrick Skahill

Reporter

Patrick Skahill is a reporter at WNPR. He covers science with an emphasis on health care and the environment. Prior to becoming a reporter, he was the founding producer of WNPR's The Colin McEnroe Show, which began in 2009 and won a PRNDI award in 2011. 

He writes about science for The Beaker. 

Patrick's reporting has appeared in The New York Times and on NPR's Morning Edition, Here & Now, and All Things Considered. He worked for two years as a print reporter at Stonebridge Press in Massachusetts where he covered crime and education. 

A graduate of Villanova University, Patrick holds a bachelor's degree in history with a concentration in Arab & Islamic Studies and a minor in Classical Studies. He holds a master's degree in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago. He knows way too much about Seinfeld and is a devoted fan of comedian Hannibal Burress.

He can be reached by phone at 860-275-7297 or by email: pskahill@wnpr.org.

Pages

Wrongful Imprisonment
8:02 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Wrongfully Incarcerated Connecticut Man Is Now $6 Million Richer

Kenneth Ireland will receive $6 million compensation from the state.
Credit Connecticut Innocence Project

The state of Connecticut has awarded $6 million to a man who was wrongfully imprisoned. Kenneth Ireland served more than two decades in prison --- for a rape and murder that he did not commit.

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Biocontainment
5:16 am
Wed January 28, 2015

A New Way to Contain GMOs in the Lab, and Maybe One Day, in the World

Researchers tested their biocontaiment idea with E. coli, a bacteria used in pharmecuticals.
Wikimedia Commons

Yale researchers have developed a new way to biologically contain genetically modified organisms, a finding that could have future impacts in agriculture and medicine.

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Drive My Car
9:13 am
Mon January 26, 2015

For Tesla, a Fight in Connecticut to Open Stores and Sell Cars

A Tesla Motors Store in Toronto, Canada. Currently, Tesla is not allowed to sell its product directly to consumers from storefronts in Connecticut.
Wikimedia Commons

When Art Linares wanted to buy a Tesla, it wasn't as easy as walking into a store and taking a test drive. Instead, he had to go to New York -- because in Connecticut, it's illegal for a car manufacturer to sell directly to a customer.

"It prevents companies like Mercedes and BMW from creating their own stores, so they have to go through a dealership," said Linares, who's no ordinary customer -- he's a state senator for the 33rd District.

Linares wants to change those dealership laws for at least for one company, Tesla, which has a world-wide policy of selling directly to customers. "What we're trying to do here in Connecticut is make an exemption for Tesla to be able to open up their own stores and sell their cars," he said.

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Plum Island
11:32 am
Tue January 20, 2015

Conservationists Vow to Fight Sale of Plum Island

Plum Island hosted an animal testing center for years. Now, the government wants to sell it.
Wikimedia Commons

Plum Island, an 840-acre land mass in Long Island Sound, is becoming a focal point for environmentalists. That's because of government plans to sell the island to fund the construction of a new USDA animal-testing center. 

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Tue January 20, 2015

Sizzling Space Spectacular

Meredith Hughes is an assistant professor of Astronomy at Wesleyan University.
Chion Wolf WNPR

When it comes to space, there’s a lot to be excited about. Telescopes are scanning the farthest reaches of our galaxy and we’re learning more than ever before about the origins of planets.

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Access Health CT
2:33 pm
Thu January 15, 2015

As Registration Deadline Looms, New Affordable Care Act Applications Continue

Credit Kaiser Health News

Open enrollment for the second year of the Affordable Care Act ends in one month, but how many people have signed up so far? 

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Quakin' in CT
10:55 am
Wed January 14, 2015

Earthquake Rattles Eastern Connecticut for Third Day in a Row

The U.S. Geological Service confirmed a 2.0-magnitude earthquake at about 6:30 am Wednesday in Plainfield.
Weston Observatory Twitter

Have you been feeling the earth move?

In what's becoming a daily event, a minor earthquake has shaken parts of eastern Connecticut.

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Unlimited Power
4:20 pm
Tue January 13, 2015

For PURA, Questions Abound About How to Set Rates Right

Guido Gerding Wikimedia Commons

Back in 2011, a few things changed for PURA, the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority. Its staff was cut, and it developed a closer relationship with the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. Some of PURA's budget and its hiring authority shifted over to DEEP, and the move changed the way the board does its main job: reviewing the performance of power companies.

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Legislative Session
4:08 pm
Mon January 12, 2015

Ted Kennedy, Jr. Hopes to Rely on Bipartisanship and Science as Environment Committee Chair

Ted Kennedy, Jr., pictured on election day, is head of the state senate's environment committee.
Mara Lavitt WNPR

A member of the Kennedy family will now be heading up the state's environment committee. In the upcoming legislative session, Ted Kennedy, Jr., a newly-elected Senator from Branford, said he'll be tackling everything from pesticide use to pollution in Long Island Sound.

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Policing
4:08 pm
Fri January 9, 2015

New Taser Law Takes Effect in Connecticut

A Taser stun gun.
Credit Playing Futures: Applied Nomadology / Creative Commons

The reform is the first of its kind in the nation, and it works like this: every time police fire a Taser, they'll have to file a "use of force report."

"It's a very thorough report," said David McGuire with the ACLU of Connecticut. "It goes through the person's race, their age, their height, their weight; how the Taser was used; what mode it was used in; how many times it was fired; whether the person had an injury; whether medical assistance was provided."

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Flu Fighters
10:58 am
Wed January 7, 2015

As Flu Season Ramps Up, Focus Falls on New Vaccine Made in Meriden

A retouched photograph of the H1N1 virus.
Wikimedia Commons

This year's flu shot might not work as well as in previous years, so focus is now on a new vaccine created in Connecticut.

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Clark Griswold
2:46 pm
Tue December 23, 2014

NASA Imagery Sees Holiday Lights From Space

Depicted in dark green are the areas where lights are 50 percent brighter during December.
NASA's Earth Observatory/Jesse Allen

We know that technology and price can drive electricity demand, but what about culture?

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Electric Rates
8:06 am
Tue December 23, 2014

State Legislators Call for Lower Residential Electric Rates

Creative Commons / angeloangelo

Legislators and lobbyists are calling for the state's largest electric utility to lower its fixed residential charge with a new proposal that would set Connecticut Light and Power's fixed rate at $10.00 a month.

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Medicine
3:09 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Connecticut Company Ships Ebola Vaccine to NIH for Testing

Protein Sciences will ship its ebola vaccine to the National Institutes of Health for testing next week.
Huntstock Thinkstock

Meriden-based Protein Sciences has completed work on a preliminary Ebola vaccine, and will ship its creation to the National Institutes of Health on Monday.

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Stellar Cocoons
8:45 am
Fri December 19, 2014

Observatory in Chile is Wesleyan Radio Astronomer's Answer to Hubble

The Atacama Large Millimeter Array in northern Chile has 66 antennae, seen here in June 2014.
A. Marinkovic Creative Commons

A Wesleyan astronomer has just returned from a conference in Tokyo, Japan, where she discussed research from the ALMA space telescope -- a radio observatory partly funded by the National Science Foundation -- which is just finishing construction.

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Environmental Law
11:57 am
Tue December 16, 2014

Strengthening Connecticut Environmental Law to Target First-Time Offenders

The state is inspecting gas stations more frequently, leading to more frequent environmental violations.
John Phelan Creative Commons

Should state regulators be more aggressive in punishing first time violators of environmental law? That's a question the Council on Environmental Quality hopes lawmakers wrestle with in the upcoming legislative session. 

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Tue December 16, 2014

Sizzling Space Spectacular

Meredith Hughes is an assistant professor of Astronomy at Wesleyan University
Chion Wolf WNPR

When it comes to space, there’s a lot to be excited about. Telescopes are scanning the farthest reaches of our galaxy and we’re learning more than ever before about the origins of planets.

Read more
Brain Games
12:23 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Researchers Say More Needs to Be Done Analyzing Effectiveness of Brain Games

mrbichel Flickr Creative Commons

Can playing a game make a person smarter, more alert, and better able to learn? Well, the science on that question isn't clear.

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Theater
9:28 am
Thu December 11, 2014

Hartford Stage Presents Autism-Friendly Rendition of Christmas Classic

Hartford Stage

Hartford Stage produced its first-ever "sensory-friendly" performance this week. The staging of "A Christmas Carol" was geared toward audience members on the autism spectrum.

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Science Publishing
1:40 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

Is Nature’s Move to "Free" Publishing a Step Toward Open Access?

Annthea Lewis
Nature

The journal Nature announced last week it will offer free access to a number of its articles online.

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Climate Change
6:09 am
Tue December 9, 2014

How 3.6 Degrees Became a Global Warming Tipping Point

A team of scientists in 2012 from the Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Newport, Rhode Island, explores the waters near the Helheim Glacier in Greenland before using an autonomous undersea vehicle to study glacial ice melt.
U.S. Navy

As the United Nations climate change talks in Lima enter into their second week, one measurement that's coming up a lot is 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. 

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Particle Man
3:50 pm
Fri December 5, 2014

At Yale Lab, an Era of Particle Research Comes to an End

Yale University

Over the next year, the giant blue particle accelerator that for years has been at the center of Yale University's Wright Lab, will be scrapped. 

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Sexual Assault
9:21 am
Wed December 3, 2014

Jimmy Carter Says Yale University Mishandled Sexual Assualts

Yale President Peter Salovey, left, listens to former President Jimmy Carter, right. Carter was at Woolsey Hall at Yale University to discuss his latest book.
Yale University

America's 39th President Jimmy Carter, 90, was critical of Yale University's handling of sexual assaults during a visit to the campus this week. 

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Bottles, Bottles, Everywhere
8:25 am
Tue December 2, 2014

"Washed Ashore" Exhibit at Mystic Aquarium Features Ocean Trash

An exhibition features ocean creatures sculpted from collected beach refuse.
Mystic Aquarium

A new exhibition at Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut is using trash from the ocean to create art. It's an effort to highlight the importance of recycling plastic.

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Look Up
1:48 pm
Tue November 25, 2014

Yale Recruits the Crowd in the Hunt for New Planets

This section of the Milky Way captures Kepler's field of view.
Carter Roberts NASA

If you're looking for life elsewhere in the universe, there's a lot to look at, and computers are pretty good at it. At least, they're good at analyzing the stuff you tell them -- for example, the brightness of stars in our sky.

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Mental Health
4:25 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

Newtown Shooter Adam Lanza's History Reviewed in New Report

Some of Adam Lanza's belongings as discovered by police in his home.
State of Connecticut

Nearly two years after the shooting at Sandy Hook, officials are still looking for answers. A new report from the Office of the Child Advocate provides a window in the mental health of the gunman, Adam Lanza. 

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Lyme Disease
8:57 am
Fri November 21, 2014

Scientist Who Identified Origin of Lyme Disease Dies at 89

Dr. Willy Burgdorfer identified the bacterium responsible for Lyme Disease.
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease

Dr. Willy Burgdorfer, the Swiss-born researcher who gained international recognition for discovering the origins of Lyme disease, has died.

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Underwater Archeology
10:36 am
Wed November 19, 2014

Discovery of 17th-Century Shipwreck Provides Window Into Violent Past

Kroum Batchvarov, assistant professor of maritime archaeology at UConn, measures a cannon under water.
Dean Winter

There's only so much history you can learn from books. Sometimes, you just need to go underwater and travel back in time.

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Beetle Invasion
7:45 am
Tue November 18, 2014

Changes Are Coming to Connecticut's Emerald Ash Borer Quarantine

Beginning Dec. 5, Connecticut will join a federal quarantine zone restricting the movement of ash firewood.
USDAgov Flickr Creative Commons

It looks like the Emerald Ash Borer has won. Since 2012, the tiny invasive green beetle has spread to dozens of towns, posing a deadly risk to ash trees and resulting in six counties falling under wood quarantines. Now, with winter just around the corner, the state has announced it will modify those rules to make it easier for consumers to transport firewood around the state. 

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Climate Change
4:05 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

U.S. and China Announce Historic Climate Change Agreement

Flickr Creative Commons / why 137

A new agreement between China and the United States to reduce carbon emissions will send strong signals to the global community, according to a Wesleyan professor who has studied climate change for the Obama administration.

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