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Second chances are often talked about in relation to conversations about prison reform, but rarely do we hear from those who actually need them. This hour, we take a look at Connecticut’s “Second Chance Society” through the eyes of a former inmate

Your Dilapidated Barn Is Super Trendy. Just Ask HGTV

Sep 1, 2016

Larry Gerdes is having his barn taken down and disassembled in Malta Bend, Mo. It's about the size of a three-car garage but stands much taller in a clearing surrounded by 6-foot stalks of corn.

The barn's exterior is graying, part of its roof is missing, and there's a gaping hole looking out from the hayloft. It's about 100 years old, and it's not really useful.

"It's deteriorated and it would cost a lot of money to repair it," Gerdes says. "And it doesn't fit into modern farming. Unless you got two cows to let them loaf inside, nothing fits, and it's just obsolete."

Yismagazine / Flickr

In an era awash in the rollout of brand new gadgets, gizmos, fashions, and fads, it's easy to think of obsolescence as part of the natural order -- remember popped lapels, pay phones and laserdisc players? But the idea that an object should quickly fall from favor, lose functionality, and find itself in a landfill somewhere is quite new -- and it didn't come about by accident.

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.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Connecticut is home to many historic landmarks -- among them is the former residence of American architect and icon Philip Johnson. Since it opened to the public in 2007, Johnson's Glass House has welcomed thousands of visitors from across the country and around the world. 

Georg Aumer / Flickr

What can you say about the sun? It sits not only at the center of our solar system but has, over time, been at the center of religions, scriptures, songs, art and countless other aspects of our culture.

Henry Zbyszynski / Creative Commons

As the oldest part of our country, New England has dozens of historic house museums. These famous living quarters tell the stories of the early colonists, prominent artists, social activists and influential authors. They give us a glimpse into these icons' daily lives.

But historic house museums aren’t just about old dining rooms and fine china. This hour, we learn about how some museums are trying new and creative approaches to tell the stories of the past, to keep visitors coming through their doors, and to keep donors enthusiastic. 


Jim Furyk shot a 58 at the Travelers Championship in Cromwell, Connecticut on Sunday. It's the lowest round in PGA Tour history.

Using specialized X-ray imaging, a team of researchers in Australia has revealed a striking painting of a woman's face hidden under French Impressionist Edgar Degas' Portrait of a Woman.

The researchers believe the auburn-haired woman in the hidden work — which they also attribute to Degas — is Emma Dobigny, who was reportedly one of Degas' favorite subjects and modeled for him in 1869 and 1870.

CircaSassy / Creative Commons

Connecticut is among the least religious states in the country according to the Pew Research Center. While the number of churchgoers might not be high, religion is a pillar of our state’s history.

Faith in Connecticut is rich and diverse, but this hour, we zoom in on our Puritan past and find out how, if at all, that past still influences our communities today. We speak to a professor and historian and we get the perspective of a pastor from the United Church of Christ -- a protestant denomination that can trace its roots to the Puritan religion. 

American women were not exactly a powerhouse at the 1972 Summer Olympics: They won just 23 medals, compared with 71 for the U.S. men. The women were absent from the medal podium in gymnastics. They didn't win a single gold in track and field, managing just one silver and two bronze.

But something else happened that year. The U.S. Congress passed Title IX, which bars sex discrimination in education programs receiving federal money. Sports wasn't the focus of Title IX. In fact, quite the opposite.

Doug Butchy / Creative Commons

At 220 years old, Hartford’s Old State House is a relic from the past. It’s even thought to be inhabited by ghosts from our state’s history. But this Connecticut treasure is now closed to the public and it may even lose its historic memorabilia -- the result of the state’s ongoing budget problems. This hour, we examine the history of the Old State House and discuss what the future holds for the building

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Connecticut is home to many historic landmarks -- among them is the former residence of American architect and icon Philip Johnson. Since it opened to the public in 2007, Johnson's Glass House has welcomed thousands of visitors from across the country and around the world. 

Ken and Nyetta / Creative Commons

This hour, we look at the impact of climate change on New England's native plant and animal species. We talk with scientists and science journalists, and we hear from you. Have you noticed anything different about the flora and fauna in your backyard? And what can historical records -- like the observations of naturalist Henry David Thoreau -- teach us about our changing environment? 

Loren Kerns / Creative Commons

There are many ways to experience the American landscape -- you can bike it, drive it, fly over it... even take trains across it. But there’s nothing quite as intimate or liberating as the experience you get while walking it. 

Charlie Jane Anders / Flickr

Author Ben Winter's latest work of alternative History, Underground Airlines, has been getting lots of attention in the short time since its release. Taking on themes such as institutional racism, social responsibility and personal redemption, the novel's relevance to today's top issues can't be denied.

Daniela Brighenti / New Haven Independent

The former Yale University dining hall worker fired for smashing a stained-glass window depicting slaves is asking for his job back.

With the overwhelming support of the Senate, Dr. Carla Hayden has been approved as the next librarian of Congress.

Hayden, the head of Baltimore's public library system and the former president of the American Library Association, is the first woman and the first African-American to hold the post.

Hayden was nominated by President Obama in February, but a vote on her nomination wasn't held until Wednesday.

Mabel Lu / flickr creative commons

Last fall, Colin saw The Bloodstained Men and Their Friends demonstrating in New Haven.

They wear white coveralls with red stains on the crotches.

The Boston Citgo sign, all 3,600 square LED feet of which has served as the backdrop to Red Sox games since 1965, is now officially a "pending landmark."

Jim Glab / Flickr

There are few genres of entertainment more American than the Western. But for a genre so steeped in the iconography of our past, its accuracy in portraying historical event leaves much to be desired. Many argue that the Western is more myth than reality, and that this myth is akin to revisionist history.

Daniela Brighenti / New Haven Independent

Yale University officials have asked the state not to pursue criminal charges against a former worker who destroyed a stained glass window depicting slaves in a cotton field. 

David DesRoches / WNPR

In the summer of 1877 there was a battle in the mountains of Montana. The Nez Perce people fought the U.S. Army over two days. Dozens of women and children were killed, along with U.S. and Nez Perce fighters. 

After seven years, the British have released the findings of inquiry into the Iraq War.

NPR's Lauren Frayer says that the 6,000-page report, the result of an investigation led by retired civil servant John Chilcot, found that Britain rushed to war before all peaceful means were exhausted. Lauren filed this report for our Newscast unit:

Charles Bulfinch / Creative Commons

Connecticut's Old State House will be closing, at least temporarily.