Fairfield Region

Chion Wolf / WNPR

With two major holidays falling on Wednesdays, it seems like forever since our weekly news roundtable, The Wheelhouse has gotten together. Well, we’re back with a New Year’s edition - where we start looking ahead to the 2014 campaigns.

WNPR/CPTV

Governor Dannel Malloy is urging communities to open warming centers for those needing assistance. Officials with the Department of Transportation say they have crews out on the state's roads, but they're reminding motorists to drive with caution. By Wednesday afternoon, temperatures will rise into the 20s, and highs will be above 30 across most of the state by Thursday afternoon.

Patrick Cashin / MTA

Metro-North President Howard Permut is stepping down. The New York Times reports that he announced his retirement Monday afternoon. 

Creative Commons

Sikorsky will pay damages to the Canadian government over a delay in fulfilling a helicopter order. But Canada said it will continue with the contract despite the difficulties.

CT-N

The Connecticut legislature's Transportation Committee held a public hearing on Wednesday to learn more about the recent problems with Metro-North. The Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redeker addressed the Transportation Committee. 

Transportation Committee member Jonathan Steinberg, a State Representative from Westport, told Redeker, "Thank you, Commissioner, for submitting to our version of shoot-the-messenger." 

J.P. Chan / MTA

Connecticut’s Congressional Delegation is applauding Thursday’s announcement by the Federal Railroad Administration that it’s conducting an analysis of every aspect of the Metro-North Commuter Railroad. 

Chion Wolf

It’s a snowy commute this morning. That means you’ll be sharing the road with Connecticut Department of Transportation crews, plowing and treating the roads.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

James Redeker, Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Transportation, joins us to talk about the latest in infrastructure. What with Metro-North woes, CTfastrak progress, talk of changes to the I-84 viaduct in Hartford, and more emphasis on transit-oriented development, is the state doing everything it can to improve the quality of our trains, buses, bridges, and roads? Check in below to see what Redeker has to say.

J.P. Chan / MTA

Metro-North announced immediate improvements to address safety concerns at critical curves and moveable bridges. 

A commuter train crash that killed four passengers in New York is raising questions about whether a high-tech safety system could have prevented the derailment.

Daniel Cohen

A time-lapse video created over two days shows the track repair work underway at the site of a Metro-North train derailment where four people died and 63 people were injured. 

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:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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. 

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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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