Eight months after homelessness hit a record in New York City, you can still see the need of the city's most vulnerable in Tompkins Square Park.

"Good morning! Two pieces?" asks Mario Cornejo, as he places slices of frosted banana bread on paper towels for a long line of hungry people.

"It used to be just a small pot before," explains Cornejo, a volunteer with a New York group called Food for Life since 2008. "Now it's a big pot and bigger salad containers, more trays of cake."

Hartford Courant / FOX CT

A debate Wednesday between Hartford’s mayoral candidates stuck to familiar themes, with incumbent Pedro Segarra accusing his challenger of inexperience. Luke Bronin, who’s been endorsed by city Democrats ahead of Segarra, said citizens are waiting for action on high crime levels, unemployment and failing schools. 

Call it an exercise in futility. Call it a blueprint for an alternate future. Either way, Boston’s Olympics bid may be dead, but the debate lives on … at least another day.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Despite an uptick in shootings in Bridgeport, Mayor Bill Finch is defending his city's public safety record.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Colin spent the last few weeks speaking with each of the Bridgeport mayoral candidates likely to qualify for the September 16 primary. First, Joe Ganim. Last week, Mary Jane Foster. Today, we talk to incumbent Bill Finch.

Updated at 5:20 p.m. ET

The death toll from an industrial accident has risen to 50 in Tianjin, a port city in northeast China. Emergency crews are still working to locate missing people; 12 firefighters are among the dead, and more remain unaccounted for.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

It’s a big year for local politics in Connecticut -- and not just Hartford and Bridgeport.

This hour, we check in on the race for mayor in New London.

As we do on most weeks, we catch you up on other stories from across the state, including how to fund the $100 billion transportation overhaul, MGM's desire to get in on the Connecticut casino expansion battle, and the future of juvenile detention facilities.

Candidate Mary-Jane Foster is hoping to qualify for the Bridgeport mayoral primary on September 16. She thinks she's got a pretty good chance.

Foster is in a tight race with both incumbent Bill Finch and challenger Joe Ganim, the popular former mayor who spent seven years in prison for crimes he committed while in office.

photoguyinmo / Creative Commons

Eight cities from Jackson, Mississippi, to Seattle are the first winners in a $42 million, 100-city data-use contest sponsored by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's foundation.

Larry Lucchino's role in seeking a new Providence ballpark for the Pawtucket Red Sox "remains unchanged," a team spokeswoman said Saturday, even though Lucchino is winding down his impactful role as CEO of the Boston Red Sox.

"Larry's role remains unchanged with respect to the PawSox ownership group," Patti Doyle said via e-mail. "He remains focused on achieving a renegotiated agreement with the state on relocating the team to a new ballpark on lands within the I-195 District [area] in Providence."

Cloe Poisson / Courtesy of The Hartford Courant

No one can argue the charisma of former Bridgeport mayor Joe Ganim. He served five terms as a beloved leader in a city long plagued by  crime, poverty, and corruption, much of the corruption under the Ganim administration.

Hours before his group’s Olympic bid collapsed, Boston 2024 co-founder Corey Dinopoulos wrote a letter to Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.

Walsh had just said he would not support a guarantee to back the games with public funding in the event of cost overruns.

Friends, family and several dignitaries have been attending services in Springfield today for the local Marine killed in the shooting at a naval reserve center in Tennessee earlier this month.

More than 1 million people die in traffic deaths around the world each year — that's drivers, passengers, cyclists and pedestrians combined.

It's a problem in the United States: There are 11.4 deaths a year per 100,000 population. It's a problem in low-income countries like Zambia, where the comparable figure is 23.8 deaths. And it's a huge problem in the middle-income world. The Dominican Republic records 41.7 deaths per 100,000, and was ranked in 2013 as the most dangerous country in the world for drivers.

Governor Dannel Malloy's top criminal justice adviser said federal legislation penalizing so called "sanctuary cities" would have virtually no impact in Connecticut. 

As part of the state budget, Governor Charlie Baker signed into law the creation of a rural policy commission in Massachusetts. It continues a longstanding effort to express small town needs in the Boston-centric commonwealth.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Local races across the state have caught our eye: from the crowded field running for mayor in Hartford, to the Bridgeport race pitting the incumbent versus a former mayor who went to jail for corruption when in office. This hour on our weekly news roundtable, The Wheelhouse,  we check-in on those races and more news from across the state.

Our weeklong series on violence in the region continues now. In part two of Crime in our Communities, WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau Chief Jim Levulis reports on Pittsfield, where a few incidents in recent years have raised the awareness of violence in Berkshire County’s largest city.

Authorities in Massachusetts’ third largest city are using innovation, technology, and more police on patrol to combat violent crime.

Total crime is down about 8 percent in Springfield so far this year, according to the Springfield Police Department.  It is in keeping with a national trend of steadily declining crime rates. But, the crime that makes the headlines – homicides – stands at 13, just one shy of the total number of murders Springfield recorded for all of last year.

Jonathan McNicol/WNPR

With a four-run, eighth-inning rally, the Freedom Division All Stars beat the Liberty Division All Stars, five to one, in the 2015 Atlantic League All-Star Game Wednesday night in Bridgeport.

Now you’re wondering: What’s the Atlantic League? What’re the Freedom and Liberty divisions? And does any of this actually matter?

Crime in America may be on the rise again. It's too early to talk about a national trend, but there have been troubling spikes in shootings and murders in big cities such as New York, Baltimore and Los Angeles.

Until recently, crime decreased steadily for two decades, and the national murder rate is half what it was in the early 1990s — so police departments are under pressure to crack down. But at the same time, their tactics are under more scrutiny from the public, and they have to be careful not to appear too heavy-handed.

The University of Massachusetts is forging stronger ties with Springfield.  A new partnership in education based in Springfield is aimed at improving health care in urban and rural areas of western Massachusetts.

The University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester will open a campus in 2017 at Baystate Health’s flagship medical center in Springfield.  This will be the first regional campus for the state’s only public medical school. By placing it in western Massachusetts, officials hope to begin to address a severe shortage of physicians in the region.

What officials said is the final piece of funding for a major transportation project in western Massachusetts was announced today in Springfield.

Massachusetts is committing the remaining funds needed to complete the redevelopment of Union Station in Springfield into an intermodal regional transportation hub. It brings the total amount of federal, state, and local funds for the project to $88.5 million.

Damian Gadal / Creative Commons

The Planning and Zoning commission for Bridgeport will vote on June 29 on a proposal to extend a moratorium on applications for medical marijuana farms and dispensaries for another year.

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Ixnayonthetimmay / Creative Commons

  A new list of  the "best and worst cities to retire" puts Hartford and New Haven near the bottom.

Baystate Health, the largest employer in western Massachusetts, has announced a round of job cuts.

Twenty-four employees are being laid off, hours cut for 17 workers, and 45 vacant positions will go unfilled.  Baystate spokesman Ben Craft said the cuts are across the board and almost all at the flagship hospital in Springfield.

"Largely support and administrative positions in both the clinical and business areas of Baystate Health. There are  no physicians or bedside nurses affected. Ten management positions are included," he said.

City of Springfield

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno kicked off his re-election campaign for another term Monday, saying he has even greater passion and energy for the job than when he first ran eight years ago.

Tiago Daniel / Creative Commons

State lawmakers have crafted a new bill that creates a two-step process for a new tribal casino in Connecticut. 

The challenge of strategizing the best route to work against the herd of other drivers can be as routine as the daily commute itself. A number of apps are out there to help shortcut one's route and evade traffic jams. But which ones are the most accurate? And how?

The All Tech Considered team put a few competing traffic apps to the test in Robert Siegel's usual short commute from Arlington, Va., to NPR's D.C. headquarters.

The Test Drive

This ride is about 15 minutes in no traffic. But it's now morning rush hour.