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It's an unusual time to be the president of a state university in Connecticut.

The Malloy administration has been trying to overhaul the system of state colleges and universities, the legislature is trying to reign in spending by the Board of Regents which oversees that system. A tuition increase is going into effect, which has drawn protests from students and even some faculty, who feel that the University of Connecticut is getting preferential treatment to the State Universities and Community colleges.

Tambako the Jaguar, Creative Commons

We all know the story. Monkeys in a science lab, top secret research, something goes terribly wrong. It’s no surprise that most cinematic attempts to depict research like this ends up focusing on what happens to the humans.

But what about the ethics of this research, and what it means for the test subjects? In many cases, chimpanzees have been seen as viable in research because of their close relationship to humans.

Hartford Public Schools have signed an agreement with federal education authorities to improve supports and services for students who are English Language Learners.  

A complaint was filed with U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights in 2007 on behalf of Somali-Bantu, Liberian and Spanish-speaking students in the Hartford Public Schools.   

"Students did not have appropriate amounts of supports, accommodations and services so they could understand what was being asked of them."

As a federal push for an assault weapons ban seemingly fades, gun control advocates at the state level are keeping the pressure on. In New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg held a press conference today with the vice president and Newtown families calling for tougher gun laws.

Jeff Cohen/WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy's plan to get rid of the car tax for most of vehicles in the state will not likely pass the legislature. That's according to the office of Democratic House Speaker Brendan Sharkey. WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports. A spokesman for Sharkey says that the car tax is one of the most regressive taxes the state has. On that, he's in agreement with Malloy. But Sharkey doesn't think that the governor's plan is the right one. So he's asking a legislative committee to study the issue further.

Working For Equality

Mar 20, 2013
susieqc3, Flickr Creative Commons

Women's rights pioneer Marcia Ann Gillespie was in state for Women’s Day at the capitol.  We talked to her about her rise to prominence as the editor-in-chief of Essence magazine, and the fight for gender and racial equality.  

But first, Hartford Area Habitat for Humanity started out as a small grassroots organization... And next year will turn 25. It is building in eight different cities and towns in the region and completing its 200th home. Habitat’s vision is a world where everyone has a decent place to live.  

 

Governor Dannel Malloy says he wants bipartisan agreement on a plan to ban the sale of the kinds of weapons used in the Newtown shooting last December. But as WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, the governor says that if he doesn't have Republican support, there's more than enough Democrat leverage to push a plan through.

Photo by Lucy Nalpathanchil

Forty men and women from Connecticut died in the Iraq War. Trumbull resident Mike Mastroni created the Connecticut Fallen Heroes Foundation to remember veterans killed after 9-11 and to honor their families.

WNPR's Lucy Nalpathanchil spoke with him in Hartford about his decision to get involved in this way.

More about the Connecticut Fallen Heroes Foundation can be found here. The state of Connecticut has also created a website to remember local veterans who died in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

 

A Look at Libraries

Mar 18, 2013
Calsidyrose/flickr creative commons

Think about your local library. Do you still picture a dusty old building full of dusty old books? Do you imagine little old ladies with their glasses down at the ends of their noses, shushing you every time you speak?

Today we’ll check in with the libraries of the 21st century. Ebooks, the Internet, audiobooks. Music, movies, videogames. Coffee bars, couches, comic books… And no shushing? It’s a whole new world in the world of libraries.

StockMonkeys.com on Flickr Creative Commons

When we need to go to the hospital, we usually don’t care what it costs to make us better. We just want to get better.

And when you think about it, you shouldn't have to worry about how much it costs when you’re sick or hurt.

But in America, where we’re likely to spend $2.8 trillion dollars on health care this year, the care we receive doesn’t cost the same for everyone.

Jeff Cohen/WNPR

Busloads of employees from Colt Manufacturing and other gunmakers came to the state capitol today. And as WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, they say an assault weapons ban would cost the state jobs. They came in buses, and they came with their bosses, who say they've all got a lot to be afraid of.

Legislative leaders are meeting this week to try and cobble together new laws in response to the Newtown shootings. As WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, gun makers and owners showed up to the state capitol in force today to weigh in. Manufacturers of guns and gun parts say it's simple: some of the proposed gun laws will cost the state jobs.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers reviewing possible new gun laws after the Newtown shootings has decided to issue two lists of recommendations -- one from Democrats, another from Republicans. As WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, that wasn't exactly the plan.

Eren {Se+Prairie} on Flickr Creative Commons

Good teaching is the single biggest indicator for student success, and while we spend more money to teach our students than in any other country, we achieve at lower levels than our foreign counterparts.

So, what makes for a good teacher, and how do we know it when we see it?

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation asked that question of 3,000 students and their teachers in a recently released study that took 3 years and cost $45 million dollars to complete. 

What they learned is what most kids already know, students are the best judge of what works. 

Small town leaders from across the state were at the state capitol today. As WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, they were there to push back against one of Governor Dannel Malloy's budget proposals -- the elimination of some car taxes.

Malloy wants to eliminate the property tax for cars worth less than $28,000. He says it will provide middle class tax relief and that it will curtail the "most hated and regressive tax in the state." John Elsesser doesn't like the tax, either. He's the town manager for Coventry.

The superintendent of schools for Aurora, Colorado spoke to Governor Dannel Malloy's Sandy Hook Advisory Commission today/Friday. Aurora was the scene of a mass shooting last July. WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports. Malloy's task force is meeting to come up with policy recommendations after the Newtown shootings.

Chion Wolf

A few years ago, we broadcast from "The Grove" in New Haven's Ninth Square, when it was part of "Project Storefront" - an attempt to breath life into a neighborhood that needed help.

Now, this co-working space, which draws entrepreneurs from all over, is part of a state-sponsored innovation "hub" - as well as a center of activity for a thriving neighborhood.

Vice President Joe Biden was in Connecticut to talk about gun control measures at a conference with Governor Dannel Malloy. As WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, an otherwise somber governor did a little bit to try and make the crowd laugh. Without the vice president in the room, Malloy gave his remarks and said that anytime you get to spend part of your day with Joe Biden is a good day.

And then he said this: "I'm going to bet that he's going to mention either his grandmother or his grandfather at some point in his talk with us." Enter the vice president.

r.f.m II on Flickr Creative Commons

Earlier this week, the Department of Defense officially announced it will extend certain spousal benefits to partners of gay and lesbian service-members. It's another step in a policy shift to treat all service members equally since the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

Sarah.249 on Flickr Creative Commons

America is getting older and Connecticut is growing grayer faster than almost every other state.

The first batch of baby boomers hit 65 in 2011, and Connecticut’s over-65 population is expected to grow by more than 64% by the time the last batch turns 65 in 2029.  When they retire, here’s what we’re looking at: A smaller and less skilled pool of workers to replace them.

But don’t expect this new group of seniors to just retire all at once; they’ll be working longer, in part because they want to, but also to rebuild those nest eggs smashed during the recession.

Chion Wolf

The Shubert Theater in New Haven turns 100 next year - At one time it was a test stage for future Broadway shows, but since then has struggled to make ends meet, and now the city wants to hand over operations and expenses to a private company.

But the Shubert’s a success story, in that it survived the wrecking ball, while other, once thriving performance and movie houses have fallen to pieces, long ago torn down and forgotten.

Courtesy of Clifford Beers Clinic

A New Haven mental health clinic has received a federal grant to help the children of military families. The clinic aims to use the funding to fill a gap that exists in the VA health care system.

Interstellar Travel

Jan 23, 2013
Temari 09, Flickr Creative Commons

When you think of all the things here on the ground that don't work right, the notion that we should consider traveling to other stars seems a little crazy.

Harriet Jones

Advocates who work with domestic violence victims in Connecticut say many times the workplace can be a key to stopping abuse and saving lives. And they say many of the state’s employers could be doing a whole lot more to help. 

 

 

The law firm of O’Brien Tanski and Young is located right in downtown Hartford.

“We used to be a very open law firm. We didn’t lock the door and people came and went without thinking.”

Connecticut officials are welcoming President Barack Obama's sweeping proposals for curbing gun violence following the deadly shooting at Newtown's Sandy Hook Elementary School. WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports. Gov. Dannel Malloy credited the president with taking "the critical first step" in making sure such a tragedy doesn't happen again. Malloy said the president has offered "common sense measures" that "we should all be able to agree on."

Kortunov on Flickr Creative Commons

After Newtown, school nurses and teachers have been asking for training to identify the early signs of trauma in children. The Child Health and Development Institute held two training sessions last week for school personnel in Connecticut with several more planned in the following weeks. 

Joining us this morning is Dr. Robert Franks, a trauma expert and Vice-President of The Child Health and Development Institute.

Connecticut legislators are establishing a bipartisan task force to recommend possible legislation to prevent gun violence, provide mental health care and improve school safety. As WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, this comes a month after the shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.

The Air We Breathe

Jan 14, 2013
The Environmental Blog on Flickr Creative Commons

The air we breathe is usually not something we can see.  Today, in Beijing, that is not the case. Activist Zhou Rong of Greenpeace tells NPR, "In the last three days, the air pollution is beyond index. It's the worst since we have readings starting from last year." But just because this blanket of smog highlight’s China’s less-than-stellar air quality, that doesn’t mean we’ve got the problem solved here at home.

As Vice President Biden prepares to issue his gun safety recommendations to the president early next week, Connecticut Democrats are keeping the pressure on. WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy say they've sent a letter to Biden, urging measures that would expand assault weapons bans, institute universal background checks for gun and ammunition purchase, and improve federal tracking of firearms.

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