cities

Hartford Yard Goats / Facebook

When the city of Hartford needed land for its $350 million stadium and downtown development project, it couldn’t come to an agreement with a certain property owner on a price. So the city took some of the land it wanted by force, and decided to pay $1.9 million for it -- an amount its owner said was "wholly inadequate."

Now, the matter is in court, and the two sides are in front of a judge arguing over how much the city should actually pay. 

Additional hearings have been scheduled to review the latest plans for the $950 million MGM Springfield casino. 

The Springfield City Council, which has already held four hearings on the site plan for the resort casino, has scheduled two additional hearings later this month. 

City Council President Mike Fenton said he’s been assured by MGM officials that the extended review will not hold up the construction of the casino which is scheduled to open in 2018.

Hartford's HartBeat Ensemble premieres a new work this weekend that draws on the stories of people from the city’s Asylum Hill neighborhood. It accompanies an effort by community leaders to inspire change in the neighborhood by working closely with the people who live there. 

Trombone Shorty

Troy Andrews has been playing the trombone since he was a boy, which is how he got the nickname he still uses: Trombone Shorty. This week, the New Orleans native is coming to UConn to perform.

Arasmus Photo / Flickr Creative Commons

Sanctuary cities have become a focus in the national debate on immigration reform. But what are they? Where are they? And how do they affect communities around the country? 

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin announced Wednesday a deal between the city, the developer of Hartford’s new minor league baseball stadium, and the Hartford Yard Goats that will cover a $10.3 million shortfall to complete the stadium.

The city said the stadium will be ready for the team's home opener on May 31. The stadium was originally scheduled to open April 7. 

To understand why General Electric would abandon its sprawling Fairfield, Connecticut, campus, for Boston’s waterfront, consider what one small, 30-person firm is looking for as it seeks out office space in the same neighborhood: showers.

“Because a lot of people are biking to work,” explained real estate broker Greg Hoffmeister. “They want to have that, or go running at lunch. So having a shower is pretty important.”

Chion Wolf / WNPR

A new report on Connecticut's civic health was released Tuesday. This hour, we discuss its findings with Secretary of the State Denise Merrill. 

Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has some big changes planned for Penn Station in New York City. Among them: he wants to connect it to Metro-North, with a plan to build four new stations in The Bronx.

Denis-Carl Robidoux / Creative Commons

General Electric said in this week's announcement that it began considering a headquarters move three years ago: in other words, long before last spring's dust-up over Connecticut’s budget. 

Harriet Jones / WNPR

General Electric confirmed on Wednesday afternoon that it will move its headquarters to Boston from Fairfield.

Vincent Scarano / Connecticut College

Picture a curbside lined with garbage. You may imagine old mattresses or discarded TVs, but there's one bit of trash your mind may block out: cigarette butts. An anthropology professor at Connecticut College has become obsessed with these often-overlooked artifacts of modern life, examining what they can tell us about our culture -- and the basics of archeology. 

MGM has announced major demolition work will begin next week as it prepares the site in downtown Springfield where a $950 million resort casino is planned.

Almost a year after the former Zanetti school building served as the backdrop for the MGM Springfield groundbreaking, it will be demolished beginning Tuesday, according to a press release from MGM. 

The much anticipated major construction work follows state environmental and city zoning approvals. 

MGM Springfield President Mike Mathis said the casino remains on track to open in the fall of 2018.

It's the end of an era in Charleston, S.C. One of the longest-serving mayors in the country, Joe Riley, is retiring after 40 years in office. His tenure has seen the transformation of downtown Charleston from a decaying urban center to a top cultural destination.

On a tour of downtown, you can literally see Riley's imprint on the Charleston landscape, down to the most subtle of details – from the paint color at City Hall to the color of the driveway bricks.

"That's Riley Red," he says with a laugh. "It's not because of my hard head, that's just the color."

An Islamic center and mosque in Worcester is taking a proactive approach to confronting Islamophobia.

The Worcester Islamic Center is holding an event Saturday that it’s calling “Meet a Muslim Day.” It’s designed to get members of the public who may not know much about Islam — beyond the headlines — to learn about the faith practiced by about one-fifth of the world’s population.

Homelessness is hard enough, but being a young adult and homeless brings its own set of challenges. No longer eligible for family shelters, 18- to 24-year-olds can be targets of theft and assault by older homeless adults, experts say. In Boston, a new homeless shelter just opened — for young adults only.

The night before the shelter opens, there is a celebratory dinner in the basement of the First Parish church in Harvard Square. The space has been through a $1.3 million renovation, with funds coming from foundations, grants and donations.

Lori Mack / WNPR

Immigration activists held a rally on Wednesday in New Haven against plans by federal officials to round up Central Americans who have recently crossed the border illegally. 

crecschools.org

A long-time education leader said that the best way to desegregate schools in the Hartford region is to invest in urban centers.

A hotel in downtown Dubai erupted in flames on Thursday evening, just two hours before the city was due to celebrate New Year's Eve with a massive fireworks display.

At midnight local time, the celebration proceeded as planned — resulting in a jarring double display of light and smoke, as firefighters continued to battle the blaze at one skyscraper while fireworks were sent off from the nearby Burj Khalifa.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Hartford city Treasurer Adam Cloud said he will give back a $20,000 raise that neither the mayor nor the city council remembers approving.

City of New Haven

New Haven’s downtown streets are soon changing direction. Some streets that have been one-way for decades are now going to be two-way streets.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Faced with concerns that the minor league baseball stadium the city wants built may not be on time or on budget, the stadium’s developers said that the city “breached” its agreement by failing to give the developer complete control over the project. But the city said the developer's claims are "bogus."

MGM Springfield / Courtesy The Springfield Republican photo desk

The Springfield City Council voted Monday to approve a zoning ordinance outlining the footprint of MGM’s casino. The vote is another procedural step in bringing the project to fruition. 

Lindsay Zier-Vogel / The Love Lettering Project

When was the last time you sent a letter? Not an email, but a real, tangible piece of mail? If your answer is "not recently," you’re not alone.

Except for the occasional birthday or holiday card, most of us haven’t sent -- or received -- good, old-fashioned snail mail in a very long time. 

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has apologized for the death of Laquan McDonald, the black 17-year-old shot 16 times by a Chicago police officer in 2014.

"That happened on my watch," Emanuel said in an emotional address to a special meeting of the Chicago City Council on Wednesday, NPR's David Schaper reports.

"I'm sorry," the mayor said, promising "complete and total reform of the system."

MARK M.MURRAY / THE REPUBLICAN

MGM continues to defend design changes for its Springfield casino, this time before the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, which held a public meeting in the city Thursday.

Arasmus Photo / Creative Commons

Sanctuary cities have become a focus in the national debate on immigration reform. But what are they? Where are they? And how do they affect communities around the country? 

At least 16 people were killed and several others injured at a Cairo nightclub, after Molotov cocktails set fire to the club and restaurant early Friday morning. Police say the attack followed a dispute between club employees and some young men.

NPR's Leila Fadel reports:

"A statement from Egypt's Ministry of the Interior says following the argument, the young men threw Molotov cocktails into the club out of anger.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel appears to be reversing course and says he now "welcomes" a Justice Department investigation in "systemic issues embedded" in the city's police department.

The mayor's office Thursday morning released a statement seeking to "clarify" Emanuel's comments Wednesday, in which he suggested a federal civil rights pattern-and-practice investigation "in my view, would be misguided."

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