Fairfield Region

Metro-North Derailment
4:03 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Train Engineer 'Nodded At Controls,' Official Says

Monday, as a train on an unaffected track passed by (in the background) work continued on removing the commuter cars that derailed the day before.
Mark Lennihan AP

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 2:30 am

Updated at 2:00 a.m. ET Wednesday:

Federal investigators in New York announced late Tuesday that they had removed the rail employees union, the Association of Commuter Rail Employees, as a participant in the investigation. According to The Associated Press, investigators cited a breach of confidentiality after Anthony Bottalico, leader of the union, spoke to the media concerning comments train engineer William Rockefeller had made about what happened moments before Sunday's derailment.

Update at 8 p.m. ET:

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Metro-North Derailment
8:10 am
Tue December 3, 2013

NYC Commuter Train Was Well Above Speed Limit Before Crash

Search and rescue teams work at the scene of Sunday's passenger train crash in the Bronx. The train crash killed four people and injured dozens more.
Craig Ruttle AP

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 6:53 pm

Update at 6:50 p.m. ET. Speeding Into Curve; A Mile Or More To Safely Stop:

A commuter train headed into New York City was traveling at 82 mph Sunday morning when it entered a curve where the speed limit was supposed to be 30 mph and derailed, National Transportation Safety Board investigators have concluded. Four people on the train were killed and at least 60 others were injured.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
10:50 am
Mon December 2, 2013

The Scramble: Metro-North, the "Globalization of Indifference," and Kurt Weill

Kurt Weill is a German composer who emigrated to the United States in 1935, at the age of 35, to escape persecution in Nazi-led Germany. He is considered one of the most important composers of the 20th century.
Credit Kevin Dooley / Creative Commons

Metro-North has had a tough year. Yesterday's derailment in the Bronx follows the May derailment in Bridgeport that injured more than 70 people, the death of a rail worker repairing tracks in West Haven one week later, the July derailment of a freight train that occurred about 1,700 feet from Sunday's derailment, and a nearly two-week power outage in September that severely disrupted rail traffic.

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Transportation
8:09 am
Mon December 2, 2013

Call for Expedited Probe Into Latest Deadly Metro-North Derailment

A Metro-North train bound for Grand Central Station derailed early Sunday morning in the Bronx.
Credit Daniel Cohen / @danielcohen on Twitter

A Metro-North train on the Hudson line derailed Sunday morning in the Bronx. Four people were killed and more than 60 people were injured.

It's been a difficult year for Metro-North. In May, two commuter trains collided outside of Bridgeport, injuring more than 70 people. Just weeks later, a track foreman was killed by a train near West Haven. Then in September, a power failure disrupted travel on the New Haven line for nearly two weeks.

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Transportation
3:48 am
Mon December 2, 2013

Deadly Derailment Is Latest Accident For N.Y. Commuter Train Line

The wreckage of a Metro-North commuter train, which derailed Sunday just north of the Spuyten Duyvil station in Bronx, N.Y., lies on its side. The train was heading to Grand Central Terminal along the Hudson River.
Christopher Gregory Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 3:30 pm

A commuter train crash that left four people dead and dozens injured Sunday in the Bronx is the most serious among a number of incidents in the past year for Metro-North Railroad.

As the investigation into what caused the derailment continued Monday, thousands of commuters were looking for alternate ways in and out of New York City.

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Fairfield
10:12 am
Mon November 25, 2013

Happy Anniversary! 81 Years And Counting For Conn. Couple

John Betar, 102, and his wife Ann, 98, at their home in Fairfield, Conn. They eloped on Nov. 25, 1932.
Michelle McLoughlin Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Mon November 25, 2013 10:02 am

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Courts
11:39 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Kennedy Cousin Michael Skakel Released Today on $1.2 Million Bond

Michael Skakel in court on Thursday.
Credit CT-N

Michael Skakel walked out of Stamford Superior Court this afternoon after posting a $1.2 million dollar bond. He has served eleven years in prison after being convicted in the 1975 death of Greenwich neighbor, Martha Moxley when they were 15.

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First Five
3:20 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

Pitney Bowes to Remain in Stamford, Get State Loan

Pitney Bowes' Stamford headquarters

Technology giant Pitney Bowes has announced it will remain in Stamford, ending a months-long search for a new location. The company will also add 200 new jobs in Connecticut, after striking a deal with the state for a low-cost loan.

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Disaster Relief
1:25 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

AmeriCares Ships $1 Million in Medical Aid to the Philippines

To date, Americares has delivered $1 miilion in medical aid to the Phillipines. The challenge for Amerciares, and other relief organizations is distributing the aid to the hardest hit areas.
Matthew McDermott Americares

Nearly two weeks ago Typhoon Haiyan, perhaps the strongest storm on record, ravaged the Philippines. Survivors in the hardest-hit parts of that island nation are still in need of the most basic supplies, like food, water and shelter. On Wednesday, Philippine officials estimated the death toll from the storm at 4,000.

Stamford, Connecticut-based AmeriCares has been in the Philippines since the day after the typhoon, delivering medical supplies, and helping to rebuild hospitals.

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Resilience
12:15 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

Disaster Assistance Centers Open in Two New Connecticut Locations

Storm surge during Sandy contributed to flooding along the Connecticut shoreline.
Credit Jan Ellen Spiegel / WNPR

The state is opening two new disaster assistance centers on Wednesday to help residents who suffered losses during Superstorm Sandy. One is a mobile center, serving Middlesex County. The other will be located at the Groton senior center. 

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Addiction Treatment
11:03 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

Fairfield University Opens Housing for Students in Recovery

McAuliffe Hall at Fairfield University.
Credit Stagophile / Creative Commons

Fairfield University has opened the state’s first off-campus home for college students recovering from alcohol or drug addiction. The university's Recovery House differs from other substance-free college housing because it’s designed specifically for students who are actively trying to stay sober.

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Coming Home Project
11:43 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

Veterans Reflect on Military Service Through Creative Writing

Veterans' Day event at Fairfield University
Jason Neely

Veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and the Cold War era gathered at Fairfield University Monday night, November 11, to read from their creative writing. 

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Disaster relief
11:38 pm
Mon November 11, 2013

Stamford-Based Americares on the Ground in the Philippines

An estimated 10,000 people in the Philippines were killed by Super Typhoon Haiyan. Americares' Garrett Ingoglia says his organization will be providing relief to survivors for "weeks, possibly months"
Credit Erik DeCastro / Reuters

Stamford-based Americares has sent a relief team to the Philippines in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan. The non-profit disaster relief and humanitarian aid organization said days before the typhoon reached landfall, Americares stockpiled relief supplies in the Philippines in anticipation. 

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Veterans' Day
1:36 pm
Mon November 11, 2013

Fairfield University Commemorates Veterans' Day With Creative Works

Lucy Nalpathanchil.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Four veterans will read from their creative writing Monday evening and participate in a panel discussion about the notion of "just war" and the therapeutic value of writing at Fairfield University. WNPR's Lucy Nalpathanchil, a reporter who launched the Coming Home Project and hosts All Things Considered, will moderate the event, which is free, and open to the public, and starts at 6:00 pm in the lower level of Fairfield University's Barone Campus Center.

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School Reform
11:16 pm
Wed November 6, 2013

Election Shifts Bridgeport School Board

Bridgeport Schools Superintendent Paul Vallas.
Credit The Connecticut Mirror

In this week’s election, the small Working Families Party won coalition control of Bridgeport’s Board of Education. The nine-member school board will now have a five-member voting bloc that opposes School Superintendent Paul Vallas and his education reform efforts.

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Supporting Entrepreneurs
8:54 am
Tue November 5, 2013

State's Entrepreneur Ecosystem Awards Second Round of Funding

The B:Hive co-working space in Bridgeport.
Credit B:Hive

Five million dollars in state funding has been awarded to more than 20 organizations that will promote start-up businesses in Connecticut through the state's entrepreneurial ecosystem. CT Next was launched a year ago to try to create a climate that would support entrepreneurs and foster successful startup businesses. But the first year got off to a slow start, and there was disagreement about who should take the lead in developing the ecosystem.

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Danbury Prison
1:57 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

Judges Oppose Plans to Convert Danbury Federal Prison to All-Male

Credit Kudumomo / Creative Commons

Chief judges in the region, including Connecticut’s Chief Judge Janet Hall, say they oppose plans to convert a federal prison in Danbury into a men’s facility. The facility is the only federal prison in the northeast for women. 

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Supporting Entrepreneurs
11:32 am
Thu October 31, 2013

New Business Incubator at Fairfield University is a Place to Network

The incubator aims to help future entrepreneurs, such as, from left to right: Jamie Ramerini and Daphne Dixon, both of Fairfield, who are working on home automation; and Nicole Juliano Peranick of Stamford, founder of Conscious Decisions.
Fairfield University

Businesses need somewhere to start out in life, and incubators are an increasingly popular solution. The new business incubator at Fairfield University aims to foster links with the community.

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Courts
12:47 pm
Mon October 28, 2013

Trial of Terror Suspects Delayed

Babar Ahmad.
Credit BBC

It's been a year since two terror suspects were extradited from Britain to a supermax prison in Connecticut. Government authorities say Babar Ahmad and Syed Talha Ahsan operated a group of websites that allegedly recruited fighters, and provided cash, military equipment and training to terrorists in Afghanistan and Chechnya. 

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Transportation
10:35 am
Mon October 28, 2013

Metro-North Power Failure Hearing

Senator Richard Blumenthal is chairing a hearing in Bridgeport on the recent Metro-North power outage. The hearing is examining the causes of the outage, how to prevent such failures from reoccurring, and the economic impact of such a major service disruption. It's hearing of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety and Security.

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Who was the first to fly?
8:12 am
Fri October 25, 2013

Battle Heats Up Over Gustave Whitehead vs. Wright Brothers

Gustave Whitehead.
National Air and Space Museum

If Connecticut thought a state law acknowledging Bridgeport resident Gustav Whitehead as the first in flight would put the issue of who flew first to rest, Ohio and North Carolina are saying: not so fast. North Carolina Republican State Senator Bill Cook and Ohio Republican State Representative Rick Perales held dual news conferences Thursday reasserting the Wright brothers' legacy as the first to achieve powered flight. 

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Sandy Hook
6:26 am
Fri October 25, 2013

Newtown Residents Demolish A School, And Violent Memories

In June, people gathered in Newtown, Conn., to remember the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 25, 2013 9:55 am

Demolition has begun at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where a gunman killed 20 students and six adults last December. Bricks will be pulverized, steel melted down and a new school built at the same location.

Allison Hornak attended Sandy Hook Elementary School as a kid. After college, she returned home to Newtown, Conn., and opened an art gallery that's within walking distance of where the mass killing took place.

Hornak says she has a lot of fond memories of Sandy Hook — like a teacher who let her chew gum in class, and the pathways through the school.

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Courts
5:06 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

Michael Skakel Granted a New Trial

In a decision, Honorable Thomas Bishop pointed to defense counsel as ineffective.
Credit State of Connecticut Judicial Branch

From the Associated Press in New Haven:

A Connecticut judge has granted a new trial for Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel, ruling his attorney failed to adequately represent him when he was convicted in 2002 of killing his neighbor in 1975. Judge Thomas Bishop's ruling marks a dramatic reversal after years of unsuccessful appeals by Skakel. 

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Earnings
1:29 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

General Electric Reports Fallen Profits, But Record Backlog

The afterburner of a General Eletric J79 turbojet engine. The company reports a large order backlog helping to offset a slump in profits in the third quarter.
Credit Threecharlie / Wikimedia Commons

General Electric saw a fall in third quarter profits, but investors sent shares up anyway, because of a record backlog of orders for the company.

Fairfield-based GE is considered a bellwether for the U.S. economy because of its wide reach across many industries. In the third quarter, profits fell by 18 percent to just over $3 billion, brought down by a fall in revenues at GE Capital, the conglomerate’s finance arm. The numbers were also hit by the expense of foreign currency transactions.

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The Wheelhouse Digest
10:14 am
Thu October 17, 2013

Privacy vs. Transparency; Bridgeport Police; House Stenographer Goes on a Rant

State Rep. DebraLee Hovey during Wednesday's FOI/privacy task force hearing.
Credit CT-N

The state's task force examining victim privacy and public information met Wednesday for a marathon session to consider issues at stake in restricting Connecticut's Freedom of Information Act. "Privacy now is so fleeting and so easily violated," testified Morgan Rueckert, the attorney for 22 Newtown families. One brief exchange captured on video put its finger on the pulse of the debate. That and more below in The Wheelhouse Digest.

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The Wheelhouse Digest
10:33 am
Tue October 15, 2013

Harp's Cash; UConn Moves in on Stamford; Jepsen Seeks Review

State Senator Toni Harp has raised the bulk of her mayoral campaign funds from outside the city of New Haven.
Credit Thomas MacMillan / The New Haven Independent

Campaign season in New Haven comes to an end in three weeks, when the mayoral election takes place on Tuesday, November 5. The two candidates have been busy, but one is drawing more heavily on financial support from city residents, while the other seems almost more poised for a gubernatorial run. That story and more in The Wheelhouse Digest.

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Guns in Bridgeport
9:30 am
Thu October 10, 2013

Proposed Shooting Range Near School is Cancelled

Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch speaking on WNPR&apos;s <em>Where We Live</em> in February, 2013.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Bridgeport is scrapping plans to build a police training facility and shooting range across the street from an elementary school.

Mayor Bill Finch said the city will look into other locations. "After hearing such strong concerns from the parents," Finch said in a statement, "we have decided to seek alternate sites in the city for the indoor shooting range, and all potential new sites will be in non-residential areas away from school buildings."

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Patents
9:53 am
Tue October 8, 2013

Three Connecticut Companies are Listed World's Most Innovative

United Technologies Corporation headquarters in Hartford. UTC is one of the companies named most innovative.
Credit DanielPenfield / Creative Commons

Three Connecticut companies made the list of the world's most innovative companies. The ranking comes from Thomson Reuters, which issues an annual list of the top 100 global innovators.

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Technology
11:45 am
Mon October 7, 2013

Startups in Connecticut Develop Software Talent Pipeline

Derek Koch of Independent Software in New Haven.
Credit The Grid New Haven

The job of software developer is one of the hottest occupations in the world right now, and demand for developers is only expected to accelerate. That poses a dilemma for startup technology companies here in Connecticut. In an incredibly competitive marketplace, how do they find and cultivate the right talent? One program in Connecticut is trying to come up with a solution.

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The Wheelhouse Digest
10:12 am
Mon October 7, 2013

Prison Transfer; SNL Spoofs the Land of Steady Habits; New London has "Hope Bubbles"

Credit Kudumomo / Creative Commons

The plan to transfer all female prisoners out of the Danbury federal facility is back in effect today, although it remains to be seen whether the government shutdown will slow transfers. While we wait to see what happens next, The Wheelhouse Digest is making a pit stop in New London, where a German website has taken an interest in development news. Also a must-see: the "Saturday Night Live" send-up of a square white Connecticut mom who checks out Grand Theft Auto 5, and ended up playing it all week.

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