cities

WAMC News
1:26 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

Springfield Parking Authority Gets New Director And Direction

Springfield Parking Authority Executive Director Mary McNally speaks in city hall after Mayor Domenic Sarno ( at right) announced her appointment. Springfield Chief Development Officer Kevin Kennedy stands next to the mayor.

Originally published on Fri May 9, 2014 6:21 pm

An attorney and veteran of several municipal boards and commissions has been tapped to head the parking authority in Springfield, Massachusetts. The appointment comes as the city is on the verge of a parking space crunch. 

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno announced Friday the selection of Mary McNally as the new executive director of the Springfield Parking Authority.  He called her “eminently qualified” and said the appointment is part of a new direction at the authority.

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Making Payroll
12:47 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

New London Mayor: City Running Out of Cash

New London's municipal building.
Billy Hathorn Creative Commons

New London Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio has asked the state for help because the city is running out of cash, and won't be able to make its $1.7 million payroll this week. 

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Budget Time
5:20 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

Segarra's Proposed Budget Includes Tax Hike

Mayor Pedro Segarra presents his budget.
Jeff Cohen WNPR

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra presented a budget that increases taxes, cancels a class of police officers, and raises new money by selling off some of its parking assets. 

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Elevated Highways
1:11 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Survey Says: What's Your Springfield Commute?

Memorial Bridge in Springfield provides local access to I-91.
Heather Brandon WNPR

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation is asking the public for input on daily routes, parking locations, and commute timing in anticipation of the reconstruction of an elevated highway through Springfield.

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WAMC News
9:58 am
Fri April 18, 2014

MGM Springfield Seeks Delay In Awarding Casino License

Originally published on Thu April 17, 2014 4:16 pm

Nervous about the prospect of a casino repeal referendum, MGM is asking Massachusetts gaming industry regulators to delay awarding a casino license for the company’s Springfield project.

MGM Springfield President Mike Mathis asked the Massachusetts Gaming Commission on Thursday to continue its evaluation of MGM’s $800 million casino project, but stop just short of  issuing a license.

"What we find ourselves in because of the repeal effort is the award of a license that does not allow for the commencement of construction."

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WAMC News
9:58 am
Fri April 18, 2014

MassDOT Surveys Commuters In Planning I-91 Project

The elevated highway in Springfield, MA known as the I-91 viaduct will be rebuilt beginning in November. The project is expected to take 3 years to finish

Originally published on Thu April 17, 2014 6:52 pm

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation as part of the planning for a major highway project in western Massachusetts is surveying commuters.

   MassDOT wants to hear from people who travel on Interstate 91 to find out daily routes, arrival and departure times and parking locations.  It is part of the planning for the 3-year $260 million reconstruction of the elevated portion of the highway through downtown Springfield.  Springfield Chamber of Commerce President Jeff Cuiffreda says the online survey is a good first step toward minimizing traffic problems.

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WAMC News
12:04 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Progress Reported On Casino Impact Research Project

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 6:41 pm

Thousands of Massachusetts residents are being surveyed as part of multi-year, multi-million dollar research project on the social and economic impacts of introducing casino gambling to the state.

The members of the UMass Amherst led research team say initial results will be reported to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission in September. These findings will be the baseline that will be used to measure changes in problem gambling, domestic violence, housing prices and a host of other socio-economic factors as casinos open over the next one to three years.

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Courts
1:31 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Former Bridgeport Mayor Denied Law License

Former Bridgeport mayor Joseph Ganim.
Credit joeganim.com

The Connecticut Supreme Court has upheld a decision denying a law license for former Bridgeport Mayor Joseph Ganim, who was convicted of corruption. 

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Thu April 10, 2014

Big Ideas (That Didn't Work)

Fire Island Inlet Bridge (part of the Robert Moses Causeway).
Credit tsaiproject / Creative Commons

If you watch "House of Cards," you might have noticed a main storyline about a bridge from Long Island to Connecticut. Sounds crazy, right? Well, here's the thing: it was a real idea!

From bridges, to highways, to malls, Where We Live takes a look at some outlandish project ideas that -- for some reason or another -- just never worked. Why isn’t there a bridge connecting Connecticut and Long Island? And why wasn't the New Haven Galleria mall ever built?

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WAMC News
9:10 am
Tue April 8, 2014

Arbitrators To Decide Casino Mitigation Payments To Two Springfield Suburbs

An artist's rendering shows MGM's proposed $800 million casino in downtown Springfield

Originally published on Mon April 7, 2014 4:55 pm

Arbitrators have been chosen to decide how much two Massachusetts communities will be paid by MGM to mitigate the impacts of the proposed casino in downtown Springfield.

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WAMC News
12:41 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Gambling Commissioners Hear Pros, Cons Of MGM Springfield Casino

Originally published on Wed April 2, 2014 2:52 pm

Supporters and opponents of MGM’s $800 million casino project in Springfield had a final chance last night to sound-off in front of Massachusetts gaming industry regulators.  The state gaming commission held a final public hearing in Springfield as it prepares to award the lone casino license in western Massachusetts where MGM Springfield is the only applicant.

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WAMC News
8:30 am
Tue April 1, 2014

UMass Opens Springfield Center Campus Office

The welcome center at the UMass satellite campus in Springfield is now open to help enroll students for classes that start at the new campus in September

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 6:12 pm

The University of Massachusetts opened its first satellite campus today.  The university is inviting people to sign up for classes that  start later this year in downtown Springfield.

University and city officials took part in a ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday -- with about 200 people looking on -- to mark the formal opening of the UMass Center at Springfield. 

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Connecticut First
4:47 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

Connecticut Has High Hospital Infection Rate; Legislature Approves a PILOT Bill

Patients at Connecticut hospitals in 2012 contracted infections during treatment at rates “significantly” higher than the national rate. According to a report released this week by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, Connecticut patients contracted infections during or after colon surgery at a rate 27 percent higher than the national average. 

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Downtown Hartford
4:17 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

Plan to Move Downtown Hartford Street Faces Opposition

Gold and Main Streets as seen from the Wadsworth Atheneum.
Credit Heather Brandon / WNPR

Figuring out ways to bring more people to the city of Hartford has been a long-time work in progress. One plan to do that is called iQuilt, and one of its goals is to make the city more walkable. One aspect of it is facing opposition.

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Gone Solar
11:59 am
Fri March 21, 2014

Bridgeport Town Council Gives OK to Solar Project

After the solar project works its way through PURA, construction should begin. Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch estimates the project will bring about $7 million to the city over the next 20 years.
Credit Flickr Creative Commons

With a 15-5 vote, Bridgeport's City Council approved a massive solar energy project this week that could bring thousands of solar panels to a former city landfill. Since dumps are no longer allowed in Connecticut, that's left a lot of city leaders wondering what to do with that old space. 

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WAMC News
8:33 am
Thu March 20, 2014

Mayor Sarno Defends Process For Picking New Police Commissioner

Deputy Police Chief John Barbieri was selected by Mayor Domenic Sarno ( at right) to be the next police commissioner.

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 6:17 pm

A 26-year veteran of the police department in Springfield, Massachusetts has been picked to be the next police commissioner.  It is a high-profile post in a city where public safety has consistently ranked as the number one issue.

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Budget Time
3:53 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Connecticut Cities and Towns Make Their Case for Funding

Legislators listen to municipal leaders on Wednesday.
Credit Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Municipal leaders from across the state came to the capitol Wednesday to speak to legislators about their budget concerns. 

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New York City
8:22 am
Thu March 13, 2014

Death Toll From NYC Explosion Stands At 8, May Go Higher

Two buildings collapsed in Harlem on Wednesday after an explosion and fire. Authorities say there were reports of a gas leak shortly before the blast.
Jeremy Sailing AP

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 7:23 pm

This post was updated at 7:22 p.m. ET.

Rescue workers in New York pulled an eighth body out the smoldering rubble of two Harlem buildings that collapsed because of a gas explosion that also injured more than 70 people.

Unfortunately, according to NBC New York, not everyone has been accounted for: Crews are still looking for three people who remain missing.

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New York City
7:52 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Two Apartment Buildings Collapse in New York City; Metro-North Restores All Service

Paramedics respond to a double building collapse in Manhattan.
Credit Stephen Nessen / WNYC

Metro-North restored all train service into and out of Grand Central Terminal on Wednesday after service had been suspended for several hours. Two apartment buildings collapsed after an explosion at Park Avenue and 116th Street adjacent to the Metro-North commuter tracks. 

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Drug Free Schools
11:40 am
Wed March 12, 2014

Around Schools, a Potential Drawback for "Drug Enforcement" Zones

A new proposal aims to draw back the drug enforcement zones around schools from 1500 to 200 feet.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

A new law proposes making drug enforcement zones around schools smaller. It's a measure aimed at giving teeth to a law that's been on the books since 1987.

Currently, if you're convicted of possessing or selling drugs within 1500 feet of a school, you're subject to mandatory jail terms. But in urban areas, especially, that 1500-foot area encompasses vast areas of residential space.

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New York City
11:12 am
Wed March 12, 2014

7 Dead, Dozens Injured As Buildings Collapse In Harlem

Firefighters try to put out a fire after a reported explosion and building collapse in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City on Wednesday.
Justin Lane EPA/Landov

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 8:28 am

Update at 8:15 a.m .ET, March 13:

We've begun a new post, which at this moment is headlined "Death Toll From NYC Explosion Stands At Seven, May Go Higher."

Update at 4:25 a.m. ET, March 13:

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San Francisco
10:23 am
Wed March 12, 2014

VIDEO: San Francisco's Biggest Fire In Years

Flames leap from the roof of the under-construction apartment building that caught fire Tuesday in San Francisco.
Terry Schmitt UPI/Landov

Originally published on Wed March 12, 2014 11:08 am

A "quick-moving, monstrous blaze" on Tuesday destroyed a nine-story apartment building that was under construction in San Francisco's Mission Bay neighborhood.

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Cities
7:01 am
Thu March 6, 2014

Growing An Urban Neighborhood, One Store At A Time

Communications store owner Donny Seto (right) says other business owners shouldn't be so hesitant to set up in the Congress Heights neighborhood of Washington, D.C.
Leah Binkovitz NPR

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 11:30 am

Across the country, communities stranded in food and retail deserts are asking how they can enjoy the bounty afforded to other urban centers. One Washington, D.C., community thinks it might have an answer.

Just a 10-minute drive south of the U.S. Capitol, across the Anacostia River, sits Congress Heights. The Southeast D.C. neighborhood is less than 2 miles long and home to more than 8,000 people, many in single-family houses. But if you're looking for a sit-down meal, options are scarce.

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Minimum Wage
10:12 am
Tue March 4, 2014

Majority Supports Minimum Wage Hike, According to Q Poll

Credit Creative Commons

A new poll from Quinnipiac University shows that a majority of Connecticut residents want to see a raise in the minimum wage. The poll comes as the City of New London voted to raise the minimum wage for its own workers to $10.10 an hour, the governor's statewide target for 2017.

The Q Poll shows that 71 percent of Connecticut residents support raising the minimum wage, while 25 percent oppose the change. 

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Transportation
11:03 pm
Sat March 1, 2014

3 Cities With Freeways Going Nowhere

An artist's sketch of the revamped I-10/Claiborne Overpass in New Orleans.
CNU

Originally published on Sun March 2, 2014 9:00 am

When I was growing up in Memphis in the 1960s, the Feds — and state and local officials — unveiled plans to build a short stretch of Interstate 40 to connect East Memphis with downtown.

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WAMC News
3:16 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Debate In Springfield Over Police Commission

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 12:51 pm

A debate rages in Springfield, Massachusetts over who should run the police department – a five-member part-time commission, or a single all-powerful police commissioner.  A showdown vote between the city council and the mayor looms next month.

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Honoring the Coast Guard
10:06 am
Thu February 20, 2014

New London Signs Agreement for Coast Guard Museum

An artists rendering of the planned museum in downtown New London
Credit National Coast Guard Museum Association

The City of New London's ambition to host the nation's first Coast Guard Museum took a big step forward Wednesday as officials from the city, the State of Connecticut and the Coast Guard signed a memorandum of agreement.

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Michigan
7:33 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Battling Blight: Detroit Maps Entire City To Find Bad Buildings

A map of Detroit is spread on a table; on laptops, workers see the same map, overlaid with a grid of the city and blue dots representing surveyors in the field.
Dawn Uhl-Zifilippo

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 11:39 am

Inside one in a series of abandoned homes along a blighted block of Detroit's Brightmoor neighborhood, filmmaker Tom McPhee walks through the remnants of a life — broken furniture, scattered knickknacks and a flooded basement.

"This is fresh water that's coming into the basement here," McPhee points out. "All of that plumbing has been ripped away 'cause someone found a value in it, so they don't care that it's running. This is all over the city."

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WAMC News
7:32 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Decision Due On Casino Surrounding Community Petitions

An artist's rendering of MGM Resorts' proposed $800 million casino in downtown Springfield, MA

Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 10:11 am

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission will announce a decision Tuesday on the petitions from three municipalities seeking mitigation payments if an MGM casino is built in downtown Springfield.

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Salt Shortage
2:08 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

State DOT to Help Cities and Towns Get Road Salt

Credit Feng Yu/Hemera / Thinkstock

The Connecticut Department of Transportation is helping cities and towns that are facing a road salt shortage after a series of storms have hit the state. So far, 22 municipalities have informed the state that they need help getting more road salt.

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