Where We Live

Weekdays at 9:00 am and 7:00 pm

Where We Live, hosted by John Dankosky, is a talk show about where we live in Connecticut, in New England, in the United States, and on the planet (sometimes even beyond).

On any given day, you can hear interviews with elected officials, roundtables on transportation and infrastructure, the latest scientific breakthroughs, changes in the health care system, education in the 21st century, the effects of worldwide events like climate change on our local communities, and music played live by a diverse array of local artists.

We also take questions and hear stories from you and your neighbors doing amazing things to improve life in our cities and towns.

You can join the conversation every day on Where We Live, where we bring you radio with a sense of place.

Contact producers:

The executive producer is Catie Talarski. The digital editor is Heather Brandon. The technical producer is Chion Wolf.

The Safety of Rail Travel Across the Northeast

May 18, 2015
Mark Llanuza / f

Train ridership is higher in the northeast than anywhere else in the U.S. Last year on Amtrak alone, nearly 12 million people rode the Northeast Corridor between Boston and Washington, D.C.

Despite so much riding on the reliability of trains, government and industries responsible for maintaining the rail system have been slow to make crucial safety improvements.

GotCredit / Creative Commons

According to a 2014 report, more than 300,000 Connecticut households struggle to pay their energy bills. In fact, the average low-income household owes rougly $2,560 more in annual energy bills than it can actually afford.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

For the past fourteen years, Mark Crino, Evan Green, Andy Chatfield, and Eric DellaVecchia have been performing under the name Stanley Maxwell. They’re a Connecticut-based quartet with a jazz-meets-rock-meets-funk sound that’s bound to get you off your feet. The four of them recently joined us in our Studio 3 to share some of the music that’s kept them all together for so long.

Darko Stojanovic / Creative Commons

For one year, journalist Karen Brown set out to learn why more young doctors aren't choosing primary care. Her findings are now the subject of a new documentary, “The Path to Primary Care: Who Will Be The Next Generation of Frontline Doctors?” 

This hour, Karen joins us along with some primary care professionals to weigh in on the latest trends, and to tell us what the future of primary care looks like both here in the northeast and across America.

Jeff Turner / Flickr Creative Commons

At the beginning of this century, when tech stocks were hot and dot-coms were appearing everywhere, Yale professor and renowned economist Robert Shiller was already warning of a bubble -- and he was right. Years later, when housing prices were skyrocketing and millions of American were betting big on real estate, Robert Shiller again predicted an impending crisis. Sadly, he was right again.

Now, with the housing market showing signs of improvement, many are getting the sense that we’re finally out woods. And with this feeling returns the idea that buying a home today means financial gains down the road.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Coming up on the next Where We Live, John Dankosky hosts our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse! Oh, wait -- Dankosky has meetings at the NPR mothership in Washington...

Coming up on the next Where We Live, Colin McEnroe guest-hosts our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse! Darn it -- Colin is sick...

ShellVacationsHospitality / Creative Commons

In the United States, men named John, James, Robert, and William hold more corporate board seats than women hold altogether. It’s a pretty striking reality, which begs the question: Why aren’t there more women in corporate America? 

Chris Yarzab / Creative Commons

Is it time to rethink how we train our police? This hour, we take a closer look at police training guidelines both in Connecticut and across the nation. 

Banning Eyre

If you listen closely to the music of Thomas Mapfumo, you will hear the pulse of Zimbabwe. It’s a sound unlike any other, driven by decades of struggle, brutality, and cultural sabotage. 

Peter Patau / Flickr Creative Commons

For over a decade now, when we've heard about military drones, we've likely been hearing about the Predator-- that peculiar, pilotless aircraft, patrolling the deserts and preying on its targets below. Indeed the iconic image of this modern day killer and tales of its near-autonomous deeds have been featured in the news, magazines and even Hollywood movies.

Mikkel Rønne / Creative Commons

Text messages between members of Gov. Dannel Malloy's staff pulled back the curtain on the controversial firing of the longtime labor-relations chief. This comes as New Jersey's "bridgegate" scandal is back in the news, which also featured text messages and emails that were made public. Why do state officials leave paper trails at all?

This hour on our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse we discuss that story, plus a recent amendment to a bill has transparency advocates scratching their heads. Also, grants from the National Science Foundation to the University of Connecticut have been frozen after it was discovered professors used the money to purchase equipment from a company they had a stake in.

Finally, have you met August Wolf? This Stamford Republican is ready to take on Sen. Richard Blumenthal in the 2016 election.

Bob Muller / Creative Commons

David McCullough is an iconic two-time Pulitzer Prize winning historian whose work encompasses notable people from John Adams to his latest work on the Wright Brothers. We spend a few minutes with him this morning in anticipation of his appearance with author Stacy Schiff at The Connecticut Forum, this Saturday, May 9, at 8:00 pm at the Bushnell.

But first, we talk about a Connecticut program that helps families learn to develop resilience in the face of overwhelming adversity -- known as “toxic stress” -- that is often associated with poverty, and is particularly hard on kids.

Is Fast Food Going Out of Style?

May 4, 2015
Corna. QTR ♥ أستغفر الله / Creative Commons

McDonald’s has more or less dominated the world of fast food since its debut in 1955, but not anymore. The franchise has struggled over the past several years, leading to the termination of its CEO. 

Cliff / Creative Commons

Each year, for-profit corporations spend billions of dollars on reported lobbying expenditures. It’s a significant investment that’s placed American businesses among the most powerful forces in Washington, and in state houses like the one in Hartford.

Ryan King / WNPR

For decades, the elevated section of highway through Hartford along I-84 has been a major feature of the city's landscape. It's now viewed as a barrier, dividing the city in two. It's also aged out of its usefulness.

This week, the Connecticut DOT is inviting the public to take a look at what it's calling the I-84 Hartford Project. Anyone can drop by the Open Planning Studio at a downtown Hartford church to meet planners and engineers who are looking at alternatives to redesign I-84.

Veggies / Creative Commons

Governor Dannel Malloy issued his first veto of the session. The definition of a "spending cap" remains murky. And the former chief-of-staff to a former legislative leader pleads guilty to mail fraud. This hour on our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse, a look at the week's news from across the state, including the lack of a police response report from the Newtown tragedy. Also, a recent audit of the Hartford Police Department shows major problems with the ammunition supply and many questions remain.

We also take a look at the state of campaign finance. It has reached the point where even President Barack Obama is making jokes about it.

Jeff Millsteen / Flickr Creative Commons

Detentions, suspensions, and expulsions: these are the time-honored  and well-worn enforcements of many a scorned teacher. Even student arrests are not uncommon in some troubled school districts. The practice of addressing bad behavior in the classroom with an even worse punishment has long been the norm.

Official U.S. Navy Page / Creative Commons

Military recruitment has long been a controversial issue in America's high schools and colleges. Dating all the way back to the days of the draft, there's been a tension between the nation's need to keep a military, and the desire - and fitness - of young people to serve.

Public Domain

Pope Francis recently called the 1915 deaths of more than a million Armenians a genocide. The Turkish government hasn't responded kindly. To mark the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide, we speak with local experts and artists about what happened and the lasting political tension that still exists today. 

Also, did you know that one of two plaster casts of Pope John Paul II’s hand is in Chicopee, Massachusetts? It’s part of a collection of thousands of pieces of Polish culture and history. WNPR’s Catie Talarski gets a tour of the Polish Center of Discovery and Learning with founder Stas Radosz.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Five out of six New England governors will meet in Hartford on Thursday for a closed-door energy roundtable. Together, they’ll work on developing a cooperative strategy to address some of the region’s biggest energy challenges. 

Photo Phiend / Creative Commons

Republicans at the state capitol hope to get out in front of their counterparts by releasing their own budget plan. But what influence will that have on the majority party? Will new casinos be part of the long-term plan?

At the national level, presidential candidates are balancing their budgets with trips to Connecticut's gold coast, including Sen. Marco Rubio who will headline a GOP fundraiser in Stamford on June 4. That's just a day after the legislative session wraps up, so there may be some tired lawmakers in attendance.

Eric Heath / Creative Commons

Americans have been tipping for good service for centuries.

Tipping is so ingrained in our American story that we rarely question why we still do it, even though we leave an estimated $40 billion in tips every year.

Some say tipping is a good thing because it gives a much-needed boost to lower-paying service jobs. Others wonder if tipping still serves its purpose: to reward good service. Workers reliant on tips to pay their bills are sometimes tempted to discriminate against customers they think will be “bad” tippers.

Jonathan Tan / Creative Commons


Today more than ever college students face an uncertain future.

We hear more and more about the importance of a top-notch education and how increasingly, studies in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics offer the only promise of a successful road forward. But as the pragmatism of STEM fields is professed, and the ivy leagues declared the place to study them, has the importance of the humanities been forgotten?

Greg Breese/USFWS / Creative Commons

Each year, the red knot shorebird flies thousands of miles from the southernmost tip of South America, to the Arctic, and back. Along the way, it feasts on horseshoe crab eggs, which provide fat and fuel for the long journey ahead. 

City of Stamford

Earlier this week, Connecticut DOT officials shut down a state-owned parking garage at the Stamford Transportation Center. A chunk of concrete fell from one of the parking decks to the deck below over the weekend. Fortunately, no one was injured.

The garage is almost 30 years old, and has been part of a redevelopment plan of the state’s for a very long time -- a plan that will probably involve replacing the parking garage. But for now, it’s closed for evaluation, and that’s thrown off about a thousand commuters who rely on the rails to get to work.

It points to a bigger question: what will the state do about developing around transit stations? Are we stuck planning primarily for cars? 

Schoolhouse Rocks

Many bills, including some high-profile ones face the end of their life in the 2015 legislative session. They died a slow death due to personal drama behind closed doors. That allowed an important deadline to pass before moving bills through committee.

Also, remember Keno? That game was legalized by the legislature, then repealed the following year after public outrage. But now that the state is considering more casino gambling, the state lottery is pushing for Keno again and lawmakers are listening.

While Connecticut grapples with a budget deficit, many constituencies are defending their state funding, including librarians who spoke to Gov. Malloy this week. And the Hartford registrars of voters successfully defended their jobs in court.

If this makes your head spin, at least it's baseball season and the Rock Cats get underway in their final season in New Britain. So what happens to the stadium when they move to Hartford?

J E Theriot / Creative Commons

Known to many as the “first lady of the black press,” Ethel Payne fearlessly documented the struggle for civil rights in twentieth-century America. This hour, we take a look at a new biography, which celebrates the life and legacy of the pioneering journalist. 

Naotake Murayama / Creative Commons

Mark Rothko is undoubtedly one of America’s most important and influential painters. With his vast rectangular forms and ethereal color fields, Rothko’s art has inspired feelings of meditation and transcendence in ways that few other artists have been able to reproduce. 

Lydia Brown / WNPR

Since the 1970s, musicians Paul Howard, Tom Hagymasi, and Phil Zimmerman have been performing together as Last Fair Deal. They’re a local trio whose music puts an original twist on the old-style sound of American roots music. 

Tony Webster / Creative Commons

The shocking video out of South Carolina has race and policing back on the front page. This hour, we learn what a new CCSU report tells us about racial profiling and traffic stops in Connecticut.

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