cities

Winter Olympics
7:29 am
Fri February 7, 2014

Sochi's Stray Dogs Melt Hearts, And Put Officials On Defensive

Olympic volunteers pet a stray dog in downtown Sochi, Russia, on Tuesday. The city's long-standing contract with a pest control company has animal right groups concerned about the fate of the many strays roaming the area.
Kevin Dietsch UPI /Landov

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 8:28 pm

It's after dark in Sochi, and a pack of stray dogs is hogging the sidewalk like they own the place. There are a dachshund mix, several random mutts and one dog that looks like it may be part chow. They're cute and look like pets; seemingly well-fed and with decent pedigrees.

That is, until a fight breaks out. It's loud but ultimately more dog park than street fight, and the dogs quickly get back to prancing around and eating abandoned leftovers.

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China
3:25 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Chinese Flock To The Countryside For A More Authentic New Year

Chinese blacksmiths in Nuanquan (Warm Spring) Town perform a folk custom called "making trees and flowers." They throw ladles of molten iron onto a wall, creating showers of sparks. The centuries-old custom originated with blacksmiths too poor to afford fireworks. In recent years, urban tourists have flocked to this once obscure town over the Chinese New Year holiday to enjoy local folk customs.
Anthony Kuhn NPR

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 12:35 pm

China goes back to work Friday after a weeklong holiday marking the Year of the Horse. Traditionally, celebrations continue through the first month of the Lunar New Year.

As in years past, some 800 million viewers tuned in this year to the state TV New Year's gala program to watch Hong Kong actor Jackie Chan, French actress and singer Sophie Marceau, and other entertainers.

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Public Notice
2:09 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Should Full Public Notices Be Allowed Online Only?

Credit Jon S / Creative Commons

The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities has released its list of legislative priorities for the year. One of them would allow towns and cities to publish full public notices online, and not in newspapers. The move could save public money, but it is opposed by the state's newspapers.

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Strange Dining
3:28 am
Thu January 16, 2014

Sometimes A Perfect Stranger Is The Best Dinner Host

A group gathers in a Ballston, Va., home for a supper club organized through the site Feastly. A new food trend gaining popularity in New York and other cities lets diners enjoy a meal prepared by a stranger in that person's home.
Courtesy of Noah Karesh

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 3:07 pm

With website names like Eat With, Side Tour, VoulezVousDiner and Feastly, a new food trend that is sweeping New York and other cities allows diners to enjoy fine meals inside someone else's home.

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WAMC News
7:21 am
Tue January 14, 2014

FEMA To Pay Springfield $25 Million For 2011 Tornado

U.S. Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA) and Springfield, MA Mayor Domenic Sarno sign papers to accept $25 million from FEMA for damage to city property from the June 1,2011 tornado

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 6:12 pm

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has agreed to pay Springfield, Massachusetts $25 million for the destruction of public property by the 2011 tornado.  It is a final settlement that city officials worked relentlessly to obtain.

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Connecticut Legislature
3:01 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

New Haven to Hold Special Election for Open State Senate Seat

Gary Holder-Winfield, left, and Juan Candelaria, right, are both interested in Toni Harp's vacated state senate seat. The special election is February 25.
Credit Thomas MacMillan/Melissa Bailey / The New Haven Independent

Two incumbent state legislators and a former alderman plan on running in next month’s special election for New Haven’s open state Senate seat. The post became vacant after Toni Harp became the city’s new mayor.

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New Haven
9:15 am
Mon January 13, 2014

Yale School of Management Opens Its New Building

Edward P. Evans Hall sits on New Haven's Whitney Avenue.
Harriet Jones WNPR

Yale School of Management has moved into its new home, Edward P. Evans Hall. The huge glass palace on Whitney Avenue is an architectural landmark for New Haven, but it's also attracted some controversy.

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WAMC News
8:15 am
Mon January 13, 2014

FEMA Settlement To Be Announced

The June 1,2011 tornado tore the top floor off this apartment building in Springfield. The building was later torn down.

Originally published on Sun January 12, 2014 4:16 pm

Officials have scheduled an announcement Monday of a final settlement with FEMA for the tornado that devastated part of Springfield, Massachusetts two-and-a-half years ago

Springfield recently received final approval from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for the claims filed from the June 1,2011 tornado.  Mayor Domenic Sarno had vowed to be aggressive in pursuing reimbursements for debris removal and other emergency expenses born by the city

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Public Housing
5:30 am
Mon January 13, 2014

Hartford Housing Authority Scraps Plans For Major Development

Dwayne Patterson stands outside his apartment building at Bowles Park in Hartford.
Credit Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Last summer, we told you the story of plans to knock down two of the biggest and oldest public housing complexes remaining in the city of Hartford. Officials at the Hartford Housing Authority hoped that developers would think big when it came to what's next.

But it turns out they didn't think big enough. 

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Cities
10:59 am
Sun January 12, 2014

Nation's New Mayors Revive Big-City Liberalism

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks after being sworn in during the public inauguration ceremony at City Hall in New York on Jan. 1.
Seth Wenig AP

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 3:22 pm

Like all newly elected politicians, the class of mayors being sworn in as the year begins has made many grand promises.

From New York Mayor Bill de Blasio's pledge to provide universal pre-kindergarten classes, financed through taxes on wealthy individuals, to Seattle Mayor Ed Murray's push for a $15 minimum hourly wage, their agenda looks decidedly liberal.

New mayors in cities such as Boston, Minneapolis and Pittsburgh have also been talking about the importance of racial inclusion and the need to address income inequality.

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Crime Trends
5:09 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

Police Say Hartford Crime Went Down in 2013

Hartford gun crimes over time.
Credit HPD

The 2013 crime statistics from the city of Hartford are in. And police say most major crime numbers are down.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Tue December 31, 2013

The Suburban Corporate Wasteland

Ken Gosselin, Hartford Courant
Credit Chion Wolf

One hundred seventy three acres of office space in Simsbury is up for sale, formerly The Hartford, but now what? It’s not a new story. Decades ago, many corporate headquarters moved from cities to the suburbs into sprawling campuses surrounded by trees. Now with downsizing and cost cutting, many of these suburban “temples” sit empty. 

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Boots Were Made For It
7:00 am
Tue December 31, 2013

New Haven Ranks as Country's Eighth "Most Walkable City"

About 12 percent of New Haven commuters report walking to their jobs, according to U.S. census data.
Yale University Creative Commons

First, let's check the numbers. About 12 percent of New Haven commuters report walking to their jobs, which ranks the Elm City eighth nationally -- that's right alongside Washington D.C. and Boston.

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Power Broker
12:30 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

From New Haven Son to New York's Master Builder, Robert Moses Turns 125

Robert Moses with a model of the Battery Bridge in New York City, which was built as a tunnel instead when the public opposed the potentially blocked view.
Credit C.M. Stieglitz / Creative Commons

Wednesday marks the 125th birthday of New Haven native Robert Moses, a powerfully influential shaper of the modern city. Moses famously carried out most of his work in appointed positions in New York City, both as head of the Triborough Bridge Authority and through public housing projects. 

Moses is credited with transforming New York City -- and many cities that followed suit or took his advice, like Hartford -- into a place dominated by the automobile. He frequently recommended demolishing older, poor neighborhoods in order to carve a path for an elevated highway.

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WAMC News
11:36 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Investigators Find MGM "Suitable" To Bid For Massachusetts Casino License

An artist's rendering of the MGM Resort casino project proposed in downtown Springfield, MA.

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 6:17 pm

MGM Resorts International appears to have cleared a key hurdle in the quest to build a resort casino in Springfield, Massachusetts.  The results of a 10-month investigation by Massachusetts gaming industry regulators were released today.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Tue December 3, 2013

The Suburban Corporate Wasteland

The Hartford's campus in Simsbury at 200 Hopmeadow Street.
Town of Simsbury

One hundred seventy three acres of office space in Simsbury is up for sale, formerly The Hartford, but now what? It’s not a new story. Decades ago, many corporate headquarters moved from cities to the suburbs into sprawling campuses surrounded by trees. Now with downsizing and cost cutting, many of these suburban “temples” sit empty. 

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Pennsylvania
2:58 am
Fri November 22, 2013

Charter Schools In Philadelphia: Educating Without A Blueprint

Shayna Terrell is the outreach coordinator at Simon Gratz Mastery Charter School in Philadelphia.
Matt Stanley for NPR

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 11:39 am

This is final story in a three-part report on Philadelphia schools in crisis.

Shayna Terrell is in a good mood: It's report card night at the Simon Gratz Mastery Charter high school in North Philadelphia, and parents are showing up in good numbers.

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Canada
3:21 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

Beyond The Caricature: 5 Things To Know About Mayor Rob Ford

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford leaves his office after councilors passed motions Monday to limit his powers.
Chris Young The Canadian Press

Originally published on Tue November 19, 2013 4:50 pm

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford was thrust into the international spotlight after he admitted to smoking crack. Since then, a caricature of the politician has emerged: a bumbling, error-prone addict, whose everyman persona has helped him maintain his popularity in Canada's most populous city.

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Hartford Development
11:45 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

New Downtown Housing Planned for Old Hartford Buildings

111 Pearl Street in downtown Hartford, one of the buildings in question.
Credit City of Hartford

There are two office buildings in downtown Hartford that have long been vacant. Now, developers are about to buy them and turn them into something the city's core desperately needs: housing.

Hartford's recent wave of downtown investment has yielded a few lessons. One is that the city needs more rental housing downtown. More housing brings more people, and more people are what's needed to make a healthy downtown tick.

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Local Control
7:43 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

How Would Your City Handle A Mayor Like Rob Ford?

Mayor Rob Ford talks during a City Council debate in Toronto on Nov. 13.
Nathan Denette AP

Originally published on Mon November 18, 2013 3:47 pm

If an American city had a mayor as embarrassing as Rob Ford of Toronto, whose problems with drugs and alcohol have caused an international sensation, it could get rid of him.

Probably.

Recalls of local elected officials have become more common in the U.S. over the past few years.

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Canada
11:00 am
Mon November 18, 2013

After Chaotic Session, Toronto City Council Strips Mayor Ford Of Power

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is surrounded by the media as he waits for an elevator outside his office at Toronto City Hall on November 15.
Geoff Robins AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon November 18, 2013 5:57 pm

(This post was last updated at 5:52 p.m. ET.)

After a chaotic session that saw Mayor Rob Ford lash out at the public and topple a colleague, the Toronto City Council voted to strip Ford of most of his duties and slashed his budget to 40 percent of what it used to be.

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#SFBatKid
6:41 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

Holy Empathy! Batkid Lives Superhero Dream In San Francisco

Miles Scott, dressed as Batkid, talks strategy with Batman before saving a woman from peril in San Francisco on Friday. The Make-A-Wish Foundation turned San Francisco into Gotham City for Miles, creating a daylong event to grant the leukemia survivor's wish to be a superhero.
Jeff Chiu AP

Originally published on Fri November 15, 2013 6:50 pm

Friday was a busy day in the crime-fighting world. As a superhero might say, you never know when a dastardly plot will emerge. And sometimes you're outnumbered. But not in Gotham, and not today — because an entire city seemed to stand with Batkid, aka a 5-year-old boy named Miles, whose wish to be a superhero has been granted.

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Springfield
12:42 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

Springfield Sees Renewed Potential for Downtown Market-Rate Housing

Springfield, Massachusetts may see a casino downtown as well as new housing.
Expos1225 Creative Commons

A renewed effort is underway to examine the potential for market-rate housing in downtown Springfield. On Thursday, the city along with Laurie Volk of Zimmerman/Volk Associates released a study showing strong promise for the success of housing in the area where a casino development may take place.

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Insurance
2:17 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

Is Hartford Still the Insurance Capital of the World?

The City of Hartford. Capital of many things, possibly even insurance
Credit Global Jet, Creative Commons

Is Hartford still the insurance capital of the world? I conducted a non-scientific poll of the internet (aka Googled it) and came upon a few articles from the past decades: "Hartford: Insurance Capital of the World or Has-Been?" (ouch), and "Hartford is No Longer the Insurance Capital."

According to the internet, it seems we're doomed. 

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Architecture
3:03 am
Fri November 8, 2013

Size Does Matter, At Least In The Tallest Building Debate

The view from the Willis Tower, formerly known as Sears Tower, in Chicago.
FleishmanHillard

Originally published on Fri November 8, 2013 2:20 pm

There's a question that's looming over the new skyscraper at the World Trade Center site in New York: Should it count as the tallest building in the country?

The developers say yes. But by some measures, the Willis Tower in Chicago — formerly known as Sears Tower — can still lay claim to the title.

Now, an obscure organization known as the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat is preparing to settle the debate.

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Election 2013
5:15 pm
Wed November 6, 2013

Official Hartford Election Results

There's a good deal of analysis to be done.

But, for now, here are the results

Municipal Elections
8:53 am
Wed November 6, 2013

Maturo, Boughton Re-Elected to Mayoral Seats; Martin Defeats Fedele

Mark Boughton defeated Paul McAllister in Danbury.
Credit WNPR

Cities and towns across the state held elections Tuesday. East Haven Republican Mayor Joseph Maturo, Jr. was re-elected Tuesday, defeating Democrat Jack Stacey. In Danbury, incumbent Republican Mayor Mark Boughton won a seventh term against Democrat Paul McAllister. 

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Election Day
1:33 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

New Haven Voters to Decide Makeup of School Board

Toni Harp and Justin Elicker during a mayoral debate this campaign season.
Credit Melissa Bailey / New Haven Independent

New Haven residents will decide today who will be the city’s next mayor. State Senator Toni Harp is facing Alderman Justin Elicker. The winner will replace the retiring Mayor John DeStefano, who served 20 years in office.

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O Canada
12:48 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

Toronto Mayor: 'Yes, I Have Smoked Crack Cocaine'

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford told members of the media to get off his property as he left his home in Toronto on Oct. 31.
Nathan Denette AP

Originally published on Wed November 6, 2013 5:26 am

"Yes I have smoked crack cocaine... Probably in one of my drunken stupors."

That's what embattled Toronto Mayor Rob Ford just dropped on the media during a surprise press conference just after noon ET on Tuesday.

According to The Toronto Star, Ford qualified:

" 'I am not an addict,' he told the media.

" 'I wasn't lying. You didn't ask the correct questions,' Ford explained to why the admission was so long in coming.

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Downtown 720
11:55 am
Tue November 5, 2013

Hartford Breaks Ground on City's First Skate Park

"Heaven," Hartford's first skate park, is located just blocks from the XL Center.
Lara Maltz Rozza

Hartford broke ground on a new skate park this week. Skaters have dubbed it "Heaven" and say it will be a space for skaters, bikers, and artists.

The park is located just above the I-84 tunnel a few blocks from the XL Center. For years it's been an informal hangout spot for skaters and artists. And now, Hartford is ready to formalize "Heaven" as the city's first official skate park.

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