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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Birth Certificates
5:01 pm
Fri June 6, 2014

Malloy Says He'll Sign Adoption Rights Bill

Under the proposal, adults could request a birth certificate if they were adopted after October 1, 1983.
Credit Katelyn Kenderdine / Creative Commons

Governor Dannel Malloy said he'll sign a bill that could allow adoptees access to their birth records. Under the proposal, anyone 18 or older would be able to request a copy of their original birth certificate if they were adopted after October 1, 1983.

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Technology
12:53 pm
Fri June 6, 2014

Listen: How the Internet Works

Lit-up servers serving.
Tristan Schmurr Creative Commons

Have you ever wondered how your favorite cat video reaches your computer? Some questions stump even the most techno-savvy adults. 

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UV Rays
8:20 am
Wed June 4, 2014

What Can a Tanning Bed Do to Your Brain?

Endorphins are released when you're in a tanning booth.
g-stockstudio/iStock Thinkstock

The Food and Drug Administration will now require tanning beds carry a warning label saying they shouldn't be used by persons under the age of 18. Tanning beds emit UV radiation that may cause skin cancer. But the beds may also cause changes to the brain.

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Eel of Fortune
5:26 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

How Did Glass Eel Prices Get So High?

Glass eel markets in Maine and South Carolina have reached $40 million in recent years. That number is 20 times greater than the average value for the past eleven years.
Uwe Kils Creative Commons

Governor Dannel Malloy has vetoed a bill that could have brought a glass eel fishing season to Connecticut. Glass eels are a juvenile species of American eel that can sell for hundreds of dollars per pound, but how did those prices get so high?

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Drug Addiction
10:04 am
Fri May 30, 2014

In Connecticut, a Summit to Explore, and Maybe Expand Narcan Use

Lucy Nalpathanchil / WNPR

Earlier this year, Attorney General Eric Holder issued a rare memo calling on more first responders to carry Narcan, a drug that reverses the effects of opiate overdoses. Connecticut held its first-ever "overdose prevention summit" on Thursday to explore ways to expand Narcan's reach. 

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Environmental Law
3:41 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

Can More Environmental Violations Actually Be a Good Thing?

Flickr Creative Commons

The Council on Environmental Quality issued its annual report on state environmental data on Wednesday, and one number seems to be at the center of some questions: 72.

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QRZ
4:24 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

Celebrating 100 Years of Ham Radio

The American Radio Relay League Celebrates 100 Years this May.
Patrick Skahill / WNPR

This month marks the centennial of the American Radio Relay League. That’s the largest association of ham radio hobbyists in the United States that is headquartered in Newington, Conn. WNPR paid a visit to “the mecca of ham radio” where each year hundreds of people converge to broadcast signals across the globe.

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Ham Radio
5:04 pm
Mon May 26, 2014

Celebrating 100 Years Of Ham Radio

Originally published on Tue May 27, 2014 10:34 am

This month marks the centennial of the American Radio Relay League, the largest ham radio association in the United States. That means it will be a special year for the hundreds who converge annually on W1AW, a small station known as "the mecca of ham radio" in Newington, Conn., to broadcast radio signals across the globe.

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Tune In
1:29 pm
Fri May 23, 2014

The History and Science of Ham Radio

A wall of old ham radio rigs.
Bill Hammond Creative Commons

On May 18, the American Radio Relay League celebrated its 100th anniversary. It's the largest association of ham radio hobbyists in the United States, headquartered in Newington.

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Crime and Punishment
4:21 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

Illegal Dumping Through a "Magic Pipe" Leads to a $1.2 Million Penalty

rabiem22 Flickr Creative Commons

Inspections in New Haven harbor have led to $1.2 million in fines for a Singapore-based shipping company. The penalty was tied to illegal dumping in international waters using something called a "magic pipe."

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Drug Development
3:33 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

A History of Drugs, Compiled

Yale's Michael Kinch studies drug development trends from 1827 to today.
Natallia Yaumenenka/iStock Thinkstock

A Yale scientist is in the midst of a 20-paper series studying the history of drug development in the United States. Michael Kinch, the managing director of Yale's Center for Molecular Discovery, has spent the last year creating a massive database of compounds approved by the FDA.

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Rick In Space
1:37 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

Rick Mastracchio Ends Six-Month Journey In Space

Rick Mastracchio during a Christmas Eve spacewalk outside the ISS.
NASA

Waterbury astronaut Rick Mastracchio has returned from a six month journey aboard the International Space Station. During 188 days in space, the UConn graduate orbited Earth more than 3,000 times, traveling nearly 79.8 million miles.

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Juvenile Justice
12:23 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

Transgender Teen at York Moved to Different Part of Prison

Sarah Eagan is Connecticut's child advocate.
Credit Chion Wolf

A 16-year-old transgender girl who has been detained at the state women's prison for more than a month has been moved to another location at the prison.

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Eel of Fortune
10:26 am
Tue May 13, 2014

Could a Glass Eel Gold Rush Come to Connecticut?

Glass eels have prompted a gold rush in recent years, with worldwide shortages pushing prices as high as $800 per pound in 2014.
Uwe Kils Creative Commons

A bill headed to Governor Dannel Malloy's desk could establish a fishing season for glass eels in Connecticut. Glass eels are a juvenile species of the American eel, about as long as your pinky finger, and called "glass" because of their translucent skin.

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Biomaterials
7:50 am
Tue May 6, 2014

Under a New Composting Law, Companies Flock to Southington

An anaerobic digester in New Mexico, at the Jarratt Dairy. It has a discharge pipe that feeds into a wetland.
U.S. Department of Agriculture

A law that went into effect in January requires certain businesses to recycle their food waste. So far, two companies have emerged with high-tech composting plans to help process that waste and they both want to do it in the same town: Southington.

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Mental Health
7:55 am
Fri May 2, 2014

As Funding Runs Low, Two Early Intervention Programs Advocate for Support

One early intervention program in Connecticut is iCare, based in Middletown, which helps elementary-aged children in their schools, homes, and communities.
Paul Horton Creative Commons

School officials and health care professionals joined lawmakers at the state capitol on Thursday, touting the importance of early mental health care intervention for kids. It's a cause that's gotten increased attention since the school shooting in Newtown.

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Technology
9:24 am
Thu May 1, 2014

Department of Defense Gives UConn Millions For Hardware Security

The U.S. Department of Defense has awarded $7.5 million to UConn to study hardware security.
Danny Hope Creative Commons

April was all about cybersecurity: fixes for the so-called "Heartbleed" bug, alerts about exploits in Internet Explorer, and a now, a security initiative spearheaded by UConn.

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Legislative Session
8:49 am
Wed April 30, 2014

Bill Poised to Give More Freedom to Certain Nurses

Legislation introduced by the governor will allow certain APRNs to practice independently.
Credit Slawomir Fajer/iStock / Thinkstock

A bill that would allow advanced practice registered nurses more flexibility appears poised to become a law.

The nurses, also known as APRNs, have been licensed to treat patients and prescribe medications independently since 1999, but there's been a catch. They can only do that after entering into a signed collaboration agreement with a medical doctor.

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Fracking Waste
12:12 pm
Mon April 28, 2014

What Connecticut Stands to Gain (and Lose) From Fracking

Water tanks preparing for a fracking job.
Joshua Doubek Creative Commons

Connecticut lawmakers are considering a ban of waste from “fracking,” the controversial method of obtaining natural gas cheaply. This comes less than a year after the state approved a major expansion of its natural gas infrastructure to capitalize on production in nearby states. Now, some are wondering whether Connecticut can avoid the environmental risks of the fracking boom.

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Media
6:45 am
Mon April 28, 2014

Hillary Clinton On Journalism: Less Advocacy, More Explanation Needed

Clinton spoke about the problems she sees with the news industry during her appearance at UConn.
Peter Morenus/UConn Photo

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke at the University of Connecticut last week. The speech was closed to the public, but she took questions, including one from UConn President Susan Herbst exploring the current state of journalism.

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Politics
8:54 am
Thu April 24, 2014

Hillary Clinton Met With Cheers at UConn

Hillary Clinton spoke at UConn's Edmund Fusco Contemporary Issues Forum on Wednesday evening.
Peter Morenus University of Connecticut

Hillary Clinton spoke in Massachusetts and Connecticut Wednesday. The former Secretary of State weighed in on many current events to a rip-roaring crowd.

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Rick In Space
12:25 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

Rick Mastracchio Completes Successful Spacewalk

Mastraccio will make repairs to the exterior of the International Space Station with Steve Swanson at 9:20 am ET.
NASA

Waterbury native Rick Mastracchio completed a short spacewalk to replace a failed computer outside of the International Space Station on Wednesday. The airlock was re-pressurized starting at 11:32 am ET, signifying the excursion's end time.

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Quadrennial Review!
10:59 am
Tue April 22, 2014

U.S. Secretary of Energy Visits Hartford

Ernest Moniz is the U.S. Secretary of Energy. He visited Hartford Monday.
Credit Department of Energy

America's top energy official just came to Hartford. He was seeking input on New England's energy problems.

Ernest Moniz is working to craft the holy grail of U.S. energy policy. He's doing it, he said, by "bringing together colleagues across the government to look at energy in the context of our economic aspirations, our environmental concerns, and our security concerns."

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Rick In Space
4:10 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

For Waterbury's Rick Mastracchio, Again a Walk in Space

In December Rick Mastracchio, above, completed two spacewalks to repair the ISS.
NASA

Astronaut Rick Mastracchio is scheduled to make his ninth spacewalk. The Waterbury native will repair a failed computer outside the International Space Station. 

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Minority Business Development
11:45 am
Thu April 17, 2014

$2.4 Million Settlement Hailed as Victory for State Minority-Owned Businesses

Credit Chris Reed/iStock / Thinkstock

A Connecticut construction company will pay $2.4 million in fines for alleged fraud tied to a 2007 road project. The settlement is being hailed as one of the most important decisions in decades for minority business owners.

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Minority Business Development
5:04 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Hartford Contractor Identified in Federal Construction Probe

A Hartford-based firm at the center of a federal probe has been identified.
Credit Kyle May / Creative Commons

Manafort Brothers, Inc. will pay $2.4 million in fines for alleged fraud tied to a 2007 road project. A Hartford-based firm has also now been identified at the center of the federal investigation.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
9:22 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Forty Years, in Search of a Zipless F---

Erica Jong's "Fear of Flying" turned 40 this year. Jong spoke with Colin McEnroe about sex, childbearing, and gender in pop culture.
Credit Michael Childers

Fear of Flying sold 18 million copies worldwide and helped tip feminism into a new focus on fulfilled sexuality. But it also introduced a meme so pervasive that the book's author, Erica Jong, worried the phrase "zipless f--k" would appear on her tombstone.

Jong recenly defined the phrase on NPR's Weekend Edition:

The zipless f---- was more than a f----. It was a platonic ideal. Zipless, because when you came together, zippers fell away like rose petals. Underwear blew off in one breath like dandelion fluff. Tongues intertwined and turned liquid. Your whole soul flowed out through your tongue and into the mouth of your lover.

So how does the world of 2013 look to the writer who gave us Isadora Wing?

We talk with Jong about feminism and gender in American pop culture and politics.

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O Mycelium!
8:43 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Connecticut's Growing Role in Mushroom Cultivation

Logs drilled, plugged with mushroom spawn, and coated with wax.
Patrick Skahill WNPR

Last month, Governor Dannel Malloy announced more than $880,327 in state grants for dozens of Connecticut farms. Among the recipients is a farmer in Higganum looking to fill 1,000 logs with many more mushrooms.

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Former Governor
4:04 pm
Fri April 11, 2014

Rowland Pleads Not Guilty; Lawyer "Eager to Go to Trial"

Reporters scrum at the federal courthouse in New Haven on Friday.
Patrick Skahill WNPR

Former Governor John G. Rowland has pleaded not guilty to charges that he broke election laws to pursue roles with two congressional campaigns. A federal judge in New Haven heard the plea Friday and said jury selection is scheduled to begin on June 10.

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Reflecting On Obamacare
3:28 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Head of State Health Insurance Exchange Reflects on Lessons Learned

Kevin Counihan says Access Health CT's two retail storefronts performed well, enrolling over 70 percent of their 14,000 visitors.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Now that the deadline for enrollment in Obamacare has passed, the head of Connecticut's health insurance exchange has said he learned a few lessons.

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