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Love, Politics, and Leonard Cohen

Nov 14, 2016
Rama / Creative Commons

Leonard Cohen, one of our greatest poets, died last Monday and was buried on Thursday next to his parents in a cemetery in Montreal. The cause of his death was leukemia. The likely cause of the leukemia was a lifetime of smoking. 

Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Leon Russell has died in Nashville at the age of 74. His wife, Jan, said through an intermediary that the legendary musician and songwriter had died Sunday in his sleep in Nashville.

Influential singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen has died at the age of 82, according to a publicist for his U.S. record label.

Cohen died Monday, but news of his death came out late Thursday. His Facebook page had this announcement:

"It is with profound sorrow we report that legendary poet, songwriter and artist, Leonard Cohen has passed away.
We have lost one of music's most revered and prolific visionaries.

Janet Reno, the first woman to serve as attorney general of the United States, died early Monday from complications of Parkinson's disease. Reno's goddaughter Gabrielle D'Alemberte and sister Margaret Hurchalla confirmed her passing to NPR.

Reno spent her final days at home in Miami surrounded by family and friends, D'Alemberte told The Associated Press. She was 78.

Reno served longer in the job than anyone had in 150 years. And her tenure was marked by tragedy and controversy. But she left office widely respected for her independence and accomplishments.

Young children and teenagers are increasingly likely to be poisoned by opioid painkillers that are often prescribed for other family members, a study finds.

The rate of children hospitalized for opioid poisoning increased 165 percent from 1997 to 2012, from about 1.40 per 100,000 kids to 3.71 per 100,000.

Asylum Hill Congregational Church

Gary Miller wasn’t primarily a musician; he was a clergyman.

As many thousands of you around here know, Gary was the senior minister at Asylum Hill Congregational Church in Hartford for 12 years, beginning in 1999. And he was beloved by that sprawling, interestingly diverse congregation.

On the final day of June 2015, Colin LePage rode waves of hope and despair. It started when LePage found his 30-year-old son, Chris, at home after an apparent overdose. Paramedics rushed Chris by helicopter to one of Boston's flagship medical centers.

Doctors revived Chris' heart, but struggled to stabilize his temperature and blood pressure. At some point, a doctor or nurse mentioned to LePage that his son had agreed to be an organ donor.

"There was no urgency or, 'Hey, you need to do this.' I could see genuine concern and sadness." LePage says, his voice quavering.

The last surviving leader of Israel's founding generation, Shimon Peres was a three-time prime minister, the architect of the country's secretive nuclear program and a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to make peace with the Palestinians.

Arturo Pardavila III, Flickr Creative Commons

This hour, we mourn the loss of 24-year-old Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who died in a boat accident over the weekend. 

Golfing legend Arnold Palmer has died at 87.

Before Scott Kopytko joined the New York City Fire Department, he worked as a commodities broker in the South Tower at the World Trade Center. On Sept. 11, he rushed up the stairs of his old office building, trying to save lives with his fellow firefighters before the towers fell.

"He went to work, and he never came back," says his stepfather, Russell Mercer.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

This Sunday marks the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. This hour, we hear from two people whose lives were forever changed by the tragedy. 

Drug Enforcement Agency

The rate of accidental drug overdose deaths in Connecticut grew again in the first six months of 2016, and the lab drug fentanyl is playing a big role in that. 

wikimedia Commons

Gene Wilder, the iconic actor who starred in "Blazing Saddles," "Young Frankenstein," and "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory," died at his home in Stamford, Connecticut on Sunday. He was 83.

Wilder's nephew said he passed away from complications from Alzheimer's disease.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Editor's note: Gene Wilder died Sunday at his home in Stamford, Connecticut. In 2014, WNPR's Jeff Cohen reported on a screening of "Blazing Saddles" with Wilder in attendance, followed by a Q&A with the actor. This was first published on October 30, 2014.

It's been 40 years since the release of the Mel Brooks' movie Blazing Saddles. I recently went to an anniversary screening and in the audience was one of the movie's stars: Gene Wilder.

More than a day after a powerful earthquake struck central Italy, rescue teams are desperately searching for survivors in the rubble of once-charming mountain towns.

At least 241 people died in the disaster, according to civil protection officials, The Associated Press reports. Many of the devastated communities are difficult to reach, and the exact number of missing persons isn't known.

Travelers

Jay Fishman, the chairman and former chief executive officer of the Travelers Companies, has died.

East Lyme PD / Facebook

Connecticut State Police are investigating after a human skull was discovered by a passerby on the property of a retirement community in East Lyme. 

A New York City man was charged Monday in Saturday's shooting deaths of an imam and his associate as they left a mosque in Queens. Police say the suspect, Oscar Morel, 35, of Brooklyn, is charged with two counts of second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon.

Police Deputy Inspector Henry Sautner describes how the crime occurred:

Rarely has an actor not seen or heard made such a big impact.

Kenny Baker, the actor who played R2-D2 in six of the Star Wars films, died Saturday, his agent confirms to NPR.

Standing at 3 feet 8 inches tall, the British actor also appeared in The Elephant Man, Time Bandits and Flash Gordon, among other films.

"He was just a lovely guy," said agent Johnny Mans, "and I shall miss him terribly."

Wokandapix / Creative Commons

A driver chased by Hartford police got into a three-car accident in Bloomfield Sunday night and later died, Bloomfield police said Monday. 

At least two people were killed and more than a dozen injured in a shooting at a nightclub in southwestern Florida, in violence that police say began around 12:30 a.m. Monday. Three people have been detained for questioning, officials say.

The shooting took place at Club Blu Bar and Grill, restaurant and bar that's located in a strip mall on Evans Avenue. Officers who were called to the bar found several victims suffering from gunshot wounds.

Paul Sableman / Creative Commons

This hour, community leaders, activists, and law enforcement officers discuss the recent string of deadly shootings in Baton Rouge, Minnesota, and Dallas. We consider what's driving these horrific acts of violence. Is it racism? Our nation's gun culture? Something else entirely? And how do you talk to your kids about all of this?

Following the death of three law enforcement officers in Baton Rouge, La., on Sunday, President Obama said that "attacks on police are an attack on all of us."

Three officers were killed and three others were wounded in an encounter that began shortly before 9 a.m. Sunday. Louisiana law enforcement said they believe the gunman who shot at officers was killed at the scene. A law enforcement source confirmed to NPR the identity of the shooter as Gavin Eugene Long. The 29-year-old black man was a former Marine who served from August 2008 to August 2010.

Three law enforcement officers were killed and three others were injured in Baton Rouge, La., when a suspect fired on officers outside a convenience store.

This comes less than two weeks after a gunman opened fire on police at a protest in Dallas, killing five officers.

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