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.

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ISIS
1:49 pm
Fri August 8, 2014

Sen. Murphy Urges Caution on U.S. Intervention in Iraq

Sen. Chris Murphy in a WNPR file photo.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

The Pentagon said military strikes have begun against advancing Islamic militants operating near U.S. personnel in northern Iraq. That announcement comes after President Barack Obama authorized airstrikes and humanitarian aid in the region.

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Vision Quest
8:57 am
Mon August 4, 2014

How Do You Give an Eye Exam to a Fossil?

The fossil of Acutiramus cummingsi was remarkably well preserved, allowing scientists to gauge the vision of a creature that lived hundreds of millions of years ago.
Yale University

How do you give an eye exam to a creature that's been extinct for hundreds of millions of years? First, you need a fossil -- a really well-preserved fossil.

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Wrongful Conviction
4:27 pm
Tue July 29, 2014

Man Wrongfully Imprisoned for 21 Years Seeks Damages From Connecticut

Kenneth Ireland spent 21 years imprisoned for a crime he didn't commit.
Credit Connecticut Innocence Project

Kenneth Ireland was released in 2009 after DNA tests exonerated him for a crime he didn't commit. Now the state of Connecticut is holding hearings about how much to compensate him.

When police questioned 17-year-old Kenneth Ireland for the rape and murder of a Wallingford woman in 1986, he thought it all would pass. "I figured they would figure this out and that it would just go away," he said. "I just went on with my life. I joined the National Guard to get the grant for college. I had gotten a decent job for my age. I was heading down this path where I was constructing a life."

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Beetle Invasion
11:30 am
Tue July 29, 2014

As Emerald Ash Borer Infestation Spreads, Scientists Turn to Wasps

This is the time of year when you might see adult emerald ash borer beetles.
USDAgov Flickr Creative Commons

The Emerald Ash Borer, an invasive insect first detected in the state in 2012, has now spread to 39 Connecticut towns. That's up from just five towns two years ago. The most recent addition? Bridgeport.

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Veterans Affairs
9:34 am
Tue July 29, 2014

Blumenthal Pushes Veterans Affairs Reform Bill

Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Senator Richard Blumenthal spoke in Hartford about a bipartisan compromise to reform the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs health program, which has been impacted by long patient wait times.

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Stacks of Smoke
4:45 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Capping Carbon Emissions Could Provide Economic Benefits, Study Finds

A new study quantifies the potential economic impact of a new federal plan to regulate carbon emissions.
Credit CandiceDawn/iStock / Thinkstock

Federal proposals to cap carbon emissions could actually benefit some states economically, according to a new study released on Thursday in Washington, D.C.

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Skeeters
9:49 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Staging a War Against West Nile and Eastern Equine Encephalitis

The state announed mosquitoes trapped in East Haven on July 16, 2014 have tested positive for WNV.
Johnan J.Ingles-Le Nobel Flickr Creative Commons

Mosquitoes trapped in East Haven are the first this year to test positive for West Nile Virus.

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View From Up Here
8:16 am
Tue July 22, 2014

Monitoring Marine Life in the Atlantic, From Water and From Orbit

The Research Vessel Endeavor is the floating laboratory that scientists will use for the ocean-going portion of the SABOR field campaign this summer.
Tom Glennon University of Rhode Island

NASA has begun a new experiment to monitor plankton off the Atlantic coast using boats, airplanes, and satellites.

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Governor's Race
12:50 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

Foley, McKinney Face Off in Republican Primary Debate

John McKinney, at left, and Tom Foley, at right, Republican candidates for Connecticut governor, as portrayed on their campaign websites.
mckinneyforgovernor.com/tomfoleyct.com

The two Republican candidates for Connecticut governor faced off in a primary debate on Thursday at The Hartford Courant

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Pollutants in the Water
12:23 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Nitrogen Pollution in Long Island Sound Continues to Decline

Nearly a week after Hurricane Irene drenched New England with rainfall in late August 2011, the Connecticut River was spewing muddy sediment into Long Island Sound.
NASA Goddard Photo and Video

A new report says nitrogen pollution discharged into Long Island Sound continues an overall decline. That's good news for marine life because too much nitrogen can fuel the growth of algae, which dies, settles on the ocean floor, and decays, using up oxygen in the process.

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Ancient Giants
9:06 am
Mon July 14, 2014

This Ancient Bird Had the Largest Wingspan Ever

Pelagornis sandersi was an ancient marine bird with a wingspan nearly twice as large as anything living today.
Reconstruction Art by Liz Bradford

An extinct species of bird just discovered may have had the largest wingspan ever. The animal lived 25 million years ago and was found buried at an airport.

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Clean Air
8:49 am
Fri July 11, 2014

Connecticut Still Waiting for Action on Federal Clean Air Plans

CandiceDawn/iStock Thinkstock

Connecticut has to wait for more federal action on cross-border pollution, according to a top environmental official who visited Hartford.

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Crime and Punishment
9:21 am
Wed July 9, 2014

New London CEO Guilty of Violating Clean Water Act

Credit Flickr Creative Commons / manoftaste.de

The former CEO of a New London company has pleaded guilty to violating the Clean Water Act. According to federal prosecutors, the infractions date back to 1986 and involve toxic discharges into the city's sewer system.

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Fast and Feathered
1:59 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

Listen Closely: There's Something Hidden in This Hummingbird's Chirp

Creative Commons / David~O

Here's the thing about hummingbirds: Almost nothing they do is like a regular bird. A hummingbird's heart beats about 1,200 times a minute while exercising. 

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Philanthropy
2:54 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

Mysterious Donor Leaves Behind an $8 Million Gift

One of the few photographs of Peter Grayson Letz. The North Stonington Resident died last year and left $8 million to the CFECT.
CFECT Archives

A reclusive North Stonington resident who died in September has left an approximately $8 million donation to the Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut. According to the group, it's the largest gift it's ever received.

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Election 2014
4:54 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

For Pelto, Union Endorsements (and Conversations) Prove Elusive

Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman and Gov. Dannel Malloy accept the endorsement of the state's largest union, the SEIU. They represent more than 65,000 workers in the state. Malloy accepted the endorsement at the SEIU's New England Headquarters in Hartford.
Credit Patrick Skahill / WNPR

Connecticut's largest union announced it will support Governor Dannel Malloy in this fall's upcoming election. The Service Employees International Union represents more than 65,000 workers in the state, but those potential voters didn’t get to hear from another candidate running against Malloy.

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Wildfire
1:08 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

In Connecticut, a Crew to Respond to Wildfires Thousands of Miles Away

Chris Renshaw, above, with a drip torch. What he called "one of the most iconic tools in wildfire"
Jordanna Hertz

One year ago, 19 firefighters from the Granite Mountain Hotshots died battling a wildfire. While Connecticut isn't known for its forest fires, it is known for a surprisingly elite group of firefighters: the Connecticut Wildfire Crew. 

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Bats
10:25 am
Tue July 1, 2014

Feds Delay Listing a Connecticut Bat as Endangered

A northern long-earred bat with visible symptoms of White-Nose Syndrome.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced a six-month delay on whether or not to list the Northern Long-eared Bat as endangered. The delay is so scientists can examine the impact of White-Nose Syndrome.

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Tough Jobs
11:54 am
Fri June 27, 2014

Listen: My Job is to Make People Cry

Bruno Passigatti/iStock Thinkstock

Have you wondered what work is like for the producer of a reality television show? Rebecca Hertz, based in Los Angeles, has worked on a number of shows, and to hear her describe it, sometimes the job is pretty harrowing.

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Trees, Please
9:05 am
Thu June 26, 2014

PURA Issues Final Decision on Tree Trimming

A resident holds up a "Trees Please" sign during a public hearing on "enhanced tree-trimming" in March.
Credit Patrick Skahill / WNPR

Connecticut has a lot of trees. Our state leads the nation on this piece of technical jargon from the state forester, "woodland urban interface tree density." That means two things -- one: Connecticut has a lot of old, towering, trees -- and two, when major storms, like the ones in 2011 and 2012, hit those trees can be really vulnerable.

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Clean Water
2:18 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

Have You Wondered How Arsenic Enters a Well? You're Not Alone

Undergraduate Laura Markley samples a private well. The water will be tested for arsenic and compiled into a database managed with the help of Meredith Metcalf at ECSU. Testing in Lebanon is being done on a volunteer basis, with all testing costs covered.
Meredith Metcalf Eastern Connecticut State University

A new project at Eastern Connecticut State University is looking at arsenic contamination in privately-owned wells. The question of where that arsenic is coming from has attracted surprisingly little attention, until now. 

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Reviews
4:04 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Listen: Five Ways to Make Connecticut Better

Jumping for joy in Mystic.
m01229 Creative Commons

Known as The Land of Steady Habits, the Nutmeg State, and somewhere you can be "Still Revolutionary," Connecticut is ever-changing, if sometimes very slowly. 

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Seeking Ospreys
7:02 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Why Osprey Nest Sightings in Connecticut Matter

The Connecticut Audubon Society has launched a new program to track the number of ospreys in Connecticut.
Fifth World Art Flickr Creative Commons

The Connecticut Audubon Society wants to get a better handle on osprey populations in the state. To do so, the group is launching a new citizen science program called "Osprey Nation."

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Gaming
4:04 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

In War Against AIDS, a New Potential Weapon: Video Games

Designers are working to build a video game that helps educate men in Mexico City about treatment options for HIV.
Credit L.Bö / Flickr Creative Commons

It's not something you'd immediately associate with staying healthy: video games. A professor at Quinnipiac University is exploring whether or not digital avatars can encourage gay men in Mexico City to get tested regularly for HIV. 

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Walking Boots
4:38 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

City of Bridgeport Pilots New "Crosswalk Flag" Program

Bridgeport Police Chief Joseph Gaudett displays one of six "crosswalk flags" being piloted at Broad Street in Bridgeport.
City of Bridgeport

Let your pedestrian flag fly. That's the message coming from the City of Bridgeport, which is piloting a new program in front of the City Hall Annex aimed at increasing pedestrian safety through crosswalk flags. 

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Spineless Wonders
11:04 am
Tue June 17, 2014

Mating Season in Long Island Sound Is Prime Time for Horseshoe Crab Researchers

Every May and June, horseshoe crabs wash up on eastern shorelines to spawn.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

It’s mating season for Long Island Sound’s horseshoe crabs. Every year, a group of biologists from Sacred Heart University scour Connecticut’s beaches to track and tag these ancient creatures. I met up with one group in Milford, under a full moon at midnight, to learn more.

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Natural Gas
7:15 am
Mon June 16, 2014

Fracking Waste Moratorium Signed Into Law

The new law, effective July 1st, will temporarily ban the importation of fracking waste to Connecticut until the DEEP drafts regulations.
Tar Sands Blockade Creative Commons

Governor Dannel Malloy has signed a bill imposing a moratorium on bringing fracking waste into Connecticut. The moratorium will extend to at least to July 2017. In the meantime, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection will draft regulations about what, if any, fracking waste can come to Connecticut.

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Hip Hop Classic
3:15 pm
Fri June 13, 2014

Listen to a Beatboxer Explain How He Jams With the Hartford Symphony Orchestra

linda369369 YouTube

Beatboxer Shodekeh has the skills to improvise along with a symphony. How does he do it?

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We Be Jammin'
2:55 pm
Thu June 12, 2014

Could Tolls End the I-95 Traffic Nightmare Through Connecticut?

A picture of the high-speed tolling system on CityLink, a network of tolled urban Freeways in Melbourne, Australia.
Contributed Photo Connecticut Department of Transporation

Highway tolls are again being discussed in Connecticut as part of an 18-month study conducted by the state Department of Transportation. It's got road planners asking an interesting question, can one type of toll actually reduce traffic?

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Magicicada
12:20 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

The Fate of Connecticut Cicadas, One Year Later

In 2013, Connecticut played host to a patchy emergence of 17-year periodical cicadas. The bugs are now holed up underground as nymphs.
Creative Commons

Last June, Connecticut played host to an emergence of periodical 17-year cicadas. For many, promises of bug swarms covering neighborhoods never came to pass.

For others, in places like Meriden and North Branford, millions of cicadas did take over, lining roads, trees, and mailboxes. One year later, I met up with an entomologist to see what those bugs have left behind.

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