cities

Connecticut's Crash Davis
12:00 pm
Fri September 19, 2014

Bridgeport Bluefish Ballplayer to Retire After 20-Year Career

Luis Lopez.
Jonathan McNicol/WNPR

When Luis Lopez played his first professional baseball game, Bill Clinton was president, “Forrest Gump” had just beaten “Pulp Fiction” for best picture at the Academy Awards, and Derek Jeter was still a year away from his rookie season with the New York Yankees.

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Cities
4:13 am
Fri September 19, 2014

Some On Staten Island Opt For Buyout Of 'Houses That Don't Belong'

New York state is buying homes like this one in Staten Island's Fox Beach neighborhood as part of a Hurricane Sandy recovery project in the hopes that demolishing them will help nature return and provide a barrier to future storm surges.
Matthew Schuerman WNYC

Originally published on Fri September 19, 2014 8:30 am

Staten Island's Fox Beach neighborhood used to be a working-class area with about 180 homes, mostly small bungalows. Fox Beach is — or rather was — a few hundred feet from the Atlantic Ocean, and after Hurricane Sandy hit in 2012, homeowners decided their neighborhood was dangerous in terms of natural disasters and too expensive because of the rising cost of flood insurance.

So the state has been tearing down the homes.

Bill Bye's home at 16 Kissam Ave. was a recent one to go.

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Cities
6:38 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

A Coastal Paradise Confronts Its Watery Future

Half the land in the city of Satellite Beach is only 6 feet above the waterline.
Jon Hamilton NPR

Originally published on Thu September 18, 2014 6:59 pm

Dan Reiter, 37, is a long-board surfer and contractor who used to live in Tampa, Fla. Then he discovered the surf breaks along a stretch of coast south of Cape Canaveral. "It's one of the most beautiful places in the world to live and surf and raise your kids," says Reiter, 37, as we watch head-high waves roll into Hightower Beach.

But there's trouble in this coastal paradise. It's on a low-lying barrier island that's getting lower as sea level rises. So the cities here are looking for ways to keep the water at bay or retreat from it.

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Art Show
8:10 am
Thu September 18, 2014

New Haven Art Show Lets Attendees Take Art Off The Wall

Artwork by Anita Soos

Nearly 150 pieces of artwork from established Connecticut artists will go home with new owners this weekend as part of the "Somewhat Off the Wall" art show in New Haven.

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Springfield
6:43 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Climate Action Planners Confront Biomass Project

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 6:16 pm

Activists who have been working for months on a climate change plan for Springfield, Massachusetts say they must factor in an unwanted development — the possible construction of a wood-burning power plant in the city.

Neighborhood representatives, community organizers, and people from health-focused organizations have been brainstorming ways to improve the environment and reduce greenhouse gases with a goal to present a plan to the Springfield City Council by the end of the year.

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Cities
12:09 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

Yale's Rudd Center Plans Major Move to Downtown Hartford

Constitution Plaza in downtown Hartford, where the Rudd Center is moving January 1.
Henk Sijgers Creative Commons

A nationally recognized research center dedicated to food policy and issues of obesity will leave Yale University at the end of the year and partner with the University of Connecticut.

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Springfield
6:27 am
Mon September 15, 2014

Mayor Blocks Appeal Against Biomass Plant

Originally published on Fri September 12, 2014 1:26 pm

The mayor of Springfield, Massachusetts won’t authorize an appeal to block construction of a wood-burning power plant.

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Warehouse Fire
2:56 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

Bridgeport Fire Leads to Environmental Damage

No serious injuries have been reported in the fire at a Bridgeport industrial building.
Titus YouTube

A fishing ban has been imposed on all commercial and recreational fishing from Norwalk to Milford until the environmental impact of a massive overnight fire in Bridgeport can be evaluated. The fire has also forced evacuation of residents and cut electrical power.

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WAMC News
9:29 am
Fri September 12, 2014

Regulators To Begin Deliberations On Greater Boston Casino License

Massachusetts Gaming Commissioners evaluated casino proposals from Mohegan Sun and Wynn Resorts in five categories and suggested changes to both projects. Final deliberations by the regulators that could lead to the awarding of a greater Boston license will begin Sept. 15

Originally published on Thu September 11, 2014 7:01 pm

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission will meet Monday to consider issuing a license for a casino in greater Boston.

The gambling industry regulators have completed an exhaustive review of the two competing casino proposals and have suggested changes to both projects.  Mohegan Sun and Wynn Resorts will respond to the commission’s suggestions by the end of this week. Acting chairman James McHugh said there will be a public discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of each proposal.

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Street Sports
5:48 pm
Thu September 11, 2014

Parkour May Run, Flip, Dive And Slide Its Way Into Olympics

A Libyan youth displays his skills in parkour, an extreme sport, during a friendly competition in Tripoli on March 7, 2014.
Mahmud Turkia AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri September 12, 2014 9:00 am

Parkour looks like skateboarding, without the skateboards. It is a city sport where people run, flip and slide through parks and over buildings — all with just their hands and feet.

A few weeks ago, parkour leaders met with the International Olympic Committee, which led to speculation that parkour could one day end up in the Olympics.

Dan Edwardes, the founder and director of Parkour Generation, a professional parkour organization based in London, said the meeting went well, like a good first date. Perhaps the first of many.

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WAMC News
12:35 pm
Thu September 11, 2014

Fight Against Biomass Plant To Continue

Dozens of opponents of the biomass plant proposed by Palmer Renewable Energy in Springfield, MA urged the city council during a special meeting Wednesday night to appeal a court ruling reinstating the project's building permit.

Originally published on Thu September 11, 2014 9:41 am

The city council in Springfield, Massachusetts has green-lighted an appeal to try to block construction of a wood-burning power plant. 

   The council authorized the filing of a notice of appeal of last month’s Massachusetts Land Court ruling that reinstated the building permit for the biomass project.  Dozens of project opponents urged the council to act prior to a September 15th deadline.   City Councilor Tim Allen said a lawyer advised the council the appeal has a 25 percent chance of success.

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Retail
3:22 am
Wed September 10, 2014

Here's What's Becoming Of America's Dead Shopping Malls

New transit-oriented, mixed-use walkable downtowns, like this one in Rockville, Md., are often replacing indoor shopping malls and strip malls that once defined suburban America.
Federal Realty Investment Trust Courtesy of WDG Architecture

Originally published on Wed September 10, 2014 10:56 am

Chances are your local mall is hurting. There are roughly 1,200 enclosed malls in the U.S. and only about a third of them are doing well.

Online shopping, the recession and demographic shifts are some of the factors killing shopping malls. And as these changes leave behind huge concrete carcasses, they're being "reimagined" into everything from medical centers to hockey rinks.

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Dealmaking
4:31 pm
Thu September 4, 2014

Paying For Hartford's New Stadium and Neighborhood Developments

Credit City of Hartford

Earlier this week, Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra announced he had picked a developer to build a new minor league baseball stadium and other surrounding buildings in a new, $350 million project. As the deal moves to the city council for its review, however, there are still a lot of questions. 

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WAMC News
12:15 pm
Thu September 4, 2014

Extensive Makeover Announced For Downtown Apartment Complex

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno speaks during the unveiling of plans for a major renovation to a 280-unit downtown apartment complex. Listening to the mayor are Springfield Chief Development Officer Kevin Kennedy ( at far left), and Erik Dowling of the SilverBrick Group, the developers.

Originally published on Wed September 3, 2014 6:26 pm

A New York City-based developer unveiled plans today for a major renovation to an apartment complex in downtown Springfield.  The project was hailed by city officials as another big step in downtown’s  revitalization.

Officials with the SilverBrick group outlined plans for what they said would be a $6 million renovation of the 280-unit complex that fronts Main Street.  The extensive makeover will include luxury amenities intended to persuade people to pay market-rate rents to live in the urban center.

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Civic Education
11:28 am
Thu September 4, 2014

Relations Improving Between Danbury Hispanics and Mayor's Office

Danbury City Hall.
Credit City of Danbury

The Hispanic Center of Danbury is holding citizenship classes this month and continuing a partnership with the mayor's office to educate residents about city government.

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WAMC News
8:28 am
Tue September 2, 2014

A Tale Of Two Casinos And A City

Originally published on Fri August 29, 2014 12:50 pm

As established casinos across the Northeast close their doors or administer cost-cutting measures, New York is just getting into the game.  And although it won’t host a casino if its own, Albany has become a key player.

The mantra has been "jobs and the economy," and New York's capital is crossing its fingers, hoping for a windfall should a casino go up in nearby Rensselaer County.

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Cities
3:31 am
Tue September 2, 2014

Detroit Bankruptcy Battle Begins In Federal Court

The murals by Diego Rivera and other works at the Detroit Institute of Arts would be safe from creditors under the plan before a bankruptcy judge Tuesday.
Carlos Osorio AP

Originally published on Tue September 2, 2014 10:04 am

Detroit's historic bankruptcy case is entering the home stretch. The crucial, final trial phase begins Tuesday in a Detroit courtroom.

The trial will decide the fate of a plan to wipe out billions of dollars in debt and help Detroit emerge from bankruptcy as a new, revitalized city.

This trial is a big deal, but don't expect anything with lots of courtroom drama. For one thing, it's federal bankruptcy court — and there's no jury.

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Delaney's Fire
8:05 am
Tue August 26, 2014

Blaze Destroys New Haven Pub

A crowd of onlookers watched as Delaney's burned to the ground on Monday evening.
David Sepulveda New Haven Independent

Firefighters are continuing to put out hot spots at a New Haven pub that went up in flames and has been declared a total loss. 

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Maryland
3:42 am
Tue August 26, 2014

On Ocean City's Boardwalk, Costumed Performers Prompt Legal Debate

A Cookie Monster is one of many costumed performers on the boardwalk in Ocean City, Md., this summer. Kids can pose for a photo with them, and then their parents are expected to leave a tip.
Chris Parypa for NPR

Originally published on Tue August 26, 2014 11:47 am

Late August is peak vacation season, and boardwalks up and down the coasts are crowded. Many beach towns attract musicians, jugglers and costumed characters who work the boardwalk for tips.

Ocean City, Md., is grappling with an influx of new boardwalk performers — some of whom are generating lots of controversy. The trend may be the unintended consequence of a couple of legal victories for the town's street performers.

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WAMC News
11:04 am
Mon August 25, 2014

Federal Universial School Lunch Program Expands In Massachusetts

Originally published on Sun August 24, 2014 12:06 pm

A federally-funded universal free lunch program is being introduced this year in the public schools in Springfield, Massachusetts.

The Springfield Public Schools will receive $15.4 million to provide lunch daily at no charge to any student who wants it.  Springfield Superintendent of Schools Dan Warwick said the quality of the school lunches will improve with more vegetables and fruits on the menu.

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Here and Now
3:03 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

Malls On The Decline Find New Ways To Stay Relevant

In addition to traditional shopping mall attractions like shops, restaurants, and movie theaters, the largest U.S. mall -- the Mall of America -- also includes an amusement park, an aquarium, and several museum exhibit spaces. (Jeremy Noble/Flickr)

Originally published on Fri August 15, 2014 7:14 pm

Shopping malls are a part of American culture — people go to malls to socialize, eat and, of course, buy. But as purchases are increasingly just a click away online, malls have been losing money.

NPR’s Sonari Glinton has been reporting a series on shopping malls across America, and he joins Here & Now’s Robin Young to discuss why some malls are doing better than others, and the creative new ideas that some malls are adopting to attract customers.

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WAMC News
2:46 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

City Councilor Warns Crime Battle Is Being Lost

Springfield City Councilor Tim Rooke

Originally published on Fri August 15, 2014 12:26 pm

In a city where public safety consistently ranks as the top issue in public opinion polls, a veteran Springfield city councilor caused a buzz this week when he suggested people had become complacent about violence.

In an op-ed published on MassLive.com, Springfield City Councilor-at-large Tim Rooke called on the “silent majority” to speak up and help dismantle the violent drug gangs that he said are causing families to move out of Springfield and hurting businesses.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Fri August 15, 2014

From Suburbs to Cities: Design for a Better Future

Norman Garrick.
Chion Wolf WNPR

In her first book The End of the Suburbs: Where the American Dream is Moving, author Leigh Gallagher observes a growing trend in America’s housing landscape: fewer people are choosing to live in suburbs. This hour, Leigh joins us to explain some of the forces driving Americans out of suburbia, and give us a glimpse of what the post-cul-de-sac future might look like.

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Election 2014
6:20 pm
Mon August 11, 2014

Connecticut Legislative Races Show "Real Action" on Primary Day

Shawn Wooden, Sen. Eric Coleman, and Len Walker at a recent debate.
Credit Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Tuesday is primary day across the state. All eyes will be on the Republican race for governor between businessman Tom Foley and state Senator John McKinney, but a series of legislative races have also gotten some attention. 

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Addiction
12:50 pm
Fri August 8, 2014

Worcester Takes Steps To Stop Spike In Fatal Drug Overdoses

Originally published on Fri August 8, 2014 8:21 am

In the wake of at least nine fatal drug overdoses in Worcester in less than a week, the city is taking the problem into its own hands by trying to get those struggling with addiction the help they need.

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Crime Fiction
10:58 am
Thu August 7, 2014

Mystery Writer Evokes The Sights, Sound And Grime Of 1970s New York

The Empire State Building shines while Greenwich Village remains dark during the 1977 New York City blackout.
Carlos Rene Perez AP

Originally published on Thu August 7, 2014 9:08 am

Crime fiction writer Lawrence Block lives in New York's West Village, in a stately art deco building overlooking Abingdon Square. He bought an apartment there decades before actress Jennifer Aniston did. (She sold hers shortly thereafter.) Block is 76, silver-haired and keen-eyed; and in his pastel shirt and khakis, he looks decidedly more Hamptons than downtown.

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Cities
10:03 pm
Sat July 26, 2014

When Cities Become Science, Where Does Art Fit In?

"Flower Power" by Icy and Sot on the back wall of Rochester's Good Luck restaurant.
Mark Deff Photography Courtesy of WALL\THERAPY

Originally published on Sat July 26, 2014 10:45 am

The race has started. It's going to be run fast and hard and it won't be over for a while. It's a race whose winner doesn't matter as long as someone, somewhere makes it to the finish line.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Thu July 24, 2014

How Effective Are Charter Schools?

The charter school issue is contentious but how good of a job do they do at educating children?
Chion Wolf WNPR

The recent FUSE scandal has raised questions about charter school oversight. Is this type of problem representative of the overall charter school system? We take a look at just how effective these schools are and how much oversight they have. We're joined by experts and we want to hear from you, especially if you have experience in the charter school system.

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Show me the money
2:35 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

For Development Around Stadium, Hartford Wants Federal Funding

Here's what Hartford city hall says the neighborhood could look like.
Credit City of Hartford

Hartford officials recently held a pre-bid conference for developers and others interested in building a new minor league stadium and its surrounding neighborhood. While the city fielded questions about available land and other infrastructure improvements it has in mind, one big question sticks out: "Have you identified promising sources of federal or state funds?"

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Youth Migrants
3:15 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Bridgeport and New Haven Weigh Whether to House Migrant Children

New Haven Mayor Toni Harp in a file photo.
Credit Melissa Bailey / New Haven Independent

The mayors of Connecticut's cities will take part in a conference call this week to discuss whether their communities have space to host some of the children from Central America who have been flooding the U.S. border.

New Haven Mayor Toni Harp and Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch are hosting the call on Friday. Harp said they will make the request to their counterparts in Hamden, Meriden, New Britain, East Hartford, Waterbury, Hartford, West Haven, Norwalk, and Stamford.

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