cities

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?"

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.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

About 50 people opposed to plans for a new minor league baseball stadium in Hartford held a march and protest Monday. 

Foreign and Commonwealth Office / Creative Commons

We’ve spent a lot of time considering whether it’s a good idea to build a new minor league ballpark in Hartford to lure a team up the road from New Britain.  

Chion Wolf / WNPR

A few months ago, I was asked to be part of a panel discussion about politics, and sat next to Hamden Mayor Scott Jackson.

During the panel, he said something that you don’t often hear out of municipal leaders in Connecticut -- that maybe one of our problems is that we have too many towns, or at least not enough cooperation between the ones we do have.

Regionalization -- it’s sometimes a dirty word in towns that value their “home rule” -- but it’s also seen as increasingly necessary as a way to provide public services at the best possible cost.

The Mayor of Springfield, Massachusetts has renewed a call for an end to new refugee resettlements in Springfield.  Massachusetts Congressman Richard Neal said the mayor has raised concerns that need to be addressed.

     Mayor Domenic Sarno first called for a moratorium on refugee resettlements in Springfield 10 months ago, but then backed off amid criticism from social service providers and advocates for immigrants. Sarno said his office recently learned that up to 70 refugees will be settled in Springfield in the coming year.

826 Paranormal / Creative Commons

The trial of the alleged killer of a 14-year old Bridgeport youth began Monday. Justin Thompson was one of three teens killed amid a spate of deadly violence in the city in 2012.

Following calls by residents for better police protection, Bridgeport imposed a youth curfew that year. For the past two years, kids under age 18 have needed permission from a parent or legal guardian to be on the streets after 11:00 pm on weeknights, and after midnight on weekends.

City of Hartford

There's a lot of work yet to be done before a minor league baseball stadium in the state's capital city becomes a reality. For starters, it has to be approved by the Hartford city council, and that won't likely happen until later this summer.

Mayor Pedro Segarra, however, isn’t waiting around for the city council to act.

m01229 / Creative Commons

Known as The Land of Steady Habits, the Nutmeg State, and somewhere you can be "Still Revolutionary," Connecticut is ever-changing, if sometimes very slowly. 

The city of Springfield, Massachusetts has a budget in place for the fiscal year that begins July 1st.  The city’s elected officials are in agreement that following years of recession-forced spending cuts, the budget for fiscal year 2015 moves the city forward.

The $581.9 million budget recommended by Mayor Domenic Sarno was adopted by the Springfield City Council Monday night by an 11-0 vote with two councilors absent.  The vote wrapped up the least contentious budget season in the state’s third- largest city in recent years.

MGM Resorts International

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission voted on Friday to award a western Massachusetts casino license to MGM Springfield, as soon as a repeal issue is resolved. Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno called the casino one of three essential ingredients to revive the city's "urban core."

Editors' Note: This post has been revised to clarify and correct reporting on the findings of the bike helmet study. The researchers looked at head injuries, not just brain injuries, so the descriptions have been changed to head injuries throughout. The lead researcher said in response to follow-up questions that the study was designed to look at the risk of head injuries as a proportion of all injuries related to bicycling, so the headline and descriptions of the work have been changed to reflect that distinction.

Heather Brandon / WNPR

For the better part of a year and half, Hartford city officials negotiated a plan to move the New Britain Rock Cats to the capital city behind closed doors, saying the deal needed that kind of confidentiality, lest it fall apart. 

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