From Birdcalls to Beantown
1:50 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

This Week on WNPR: Five Things Not to Miss

There's lots of news to digest this week, from birdcalls to Beantown. Below are a few things you shouldn't miss.

1. Hummingbirds Go Viral

Fun fact: A hummingbird's heart beats about 1,200 times a minute. When hovering in the air, its wings flap around 100 times a second. WNPR's Patrick Skahill reported that UConn scientist Alejandro Rico-Guevara captured male hummingbirds fighting over potential mates. He recorded them with a high-speed camera, and then slowed the tape down. It sounds like a dinosaur, he said -- although we can't prove it. Read more at The Beaker, and listen below: 

2. More Than 4,700 Hartford Students Waiting for Schools 

The waiting list for Hartford students who want to go to a high-performing school next year is more than 4,700 students. Ray Hardman reported on a rally that took place in Hartford this week, where parents voiced their concerns over the process of getting their children into good schools. Teacher Debra St. Germaine said the process is so convoluted that she's not sure where her grandchild will be going to kindergarten next year. "We've been told there are no schools in our neighborhood that will be accepting her, either," she said. "We have no idea where she will be going to school."

Hartford parents rally.
Hartford parents rally.
Credit Josh Nilaya / WNPR

3. Boston Olympic Idea Torched

Boston Globe sports columnist Dan Shaughnessy is a famous contrarian whose opinionated takes on the Red Sox, Celtics, and Patriots often get him a lot of angry responses. His column, “Just Say No to a Boston Olympics,” touches on a majority opinion in town. He came on Where We Live to talk about the city’s bid to get the 2024 games, an idea he calls “preposterous.”

Mark Perryman agrees. He wrote the book Why the Olympics Aren’t Good For Us, And How They Can Be about the 2012 Games in London, something he told us was “a giant party,” but not the best use of public money. He thinks Washington, D.C. is in line to get the next Games in America, following a trend of other recent capital cities claiming bids.

Meanwhile, NPR Olympics expert Howard Berkes told us the 2002 games in his town, Salt Lake City, worked in part because the people there are just so darned nice.  

Listen below to the three of them go at it, in a segment that’s as close to sports-talk radio as we’re likely to get:

4. The Hartford Circus Fire: Accidental or Deliberate? 

On July 6, 1944, a circus tent in the North End of Hartford caught fire. The tent covered three blocks. It was gone in six minutes. The Colin McEnroe Show brought together a panel of folks who have studied and written about the fire in a remembrance of the event that took the lives of 170 people.

While much of the consensus over the years is that the blaze was just a horrible accident, the CMS guests all felt differently -- that the fire was set deliberately. Author and Circus Fire Memorial Committee member Don Massey said there was a confession and a cover-up. Below, listen to Massey, Mary-Ann Tirone Smith, and Gary Payne: 

5. Central American Migrant Children Arrive in Connecticut

All week long, NPR has been focusing on the story of tens of thousands of children fleeing Central America and arriving at the U.S. border with Mexico. A group of those kids… are staying now in the New Haven area. Diane Orson spoke to several of these teenagers on Thursday night at a rally on the steps of the federal courthouse in New Haven. They had been released from detention, and are being allowed to reunite with family in Connecticut until their cases are evaluated by an immigration judge. Hazel Menecos Jimenez, 13, told Orson, "Some people don't understand that we come to this country to fight for our dreams."

Anabelia Diaz, 17, at left, and Hazel Menecos Jimenez, 13.
Anabelia Diaz, 17, at left, and Hazel Menecos Jimenez, 13.
Credit Diane Orson / WNPR