Walter Wick

Downtown Hartford has a new piece of public art -- a large mural of the famous Charter Oak.  WNPR's Jeff Cohen met with the artist to talk about the project.

Calhoun Retires

Sep 13, 2012

UConn men's basketball coach Jim Calhoun has retired after 26 years and three NCAA championships.  As WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, Calhoun says this is the right time to move on. 

Bongaboo, Creative Commons

It flows from the upper reaches of New Hampshire through the heart of New England...and winds its way through our state - twisting, turning, sometimes flooding, and eventually emptying into Long Island Sound.

The 410-mile-long Connecticut River was recently designated America’s first National Blueway.

Photo by Lucy Nalpathanchil

To date, 63 men and women from Connecticut have died while serving in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. A small group of Connecticut residents are working to create a living memorial to these service members. It will be called the Connecticut Trees of Honor, and the planned site is in Middletown's Veterans Memorial Park.

Jeff Cohen/WNPR

A week before Governor Dannel Malloy is set to speak at the Democratic national convention, he got a bit of a warm up before the state's press corps today. WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports.

carterse/flickr creative commons

Alan Khazei has pioneered ways to empower citizens to make a difference throughout his life. As a young graduate from Harvard Law School, he turned down lucrative offers from corporate law firms to found a non-profit called City Year. City Year allows young people to serve their communities—first in Boston, now in twenty cities across the U.S. and in Johannesburg and London—through mentoring, tutoring, and leading children. Khazei is our guest.

Courtesy of Flickr CC by JimmyWayne

Some needing legal help find that their only option is to represent themselves 

Secret Money in Politics

Jul 20, 2012
Kevin Dooley, Creative Commons

In 2011,  Aetna spent more on lobbying than any other insurance company - 11.6 million dollars.  3.3 million went to the American Action Network, and 4.5 million went to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce - both organizations supporting conservative causes, both working against federal health care reform. Later, the company said this wasn’t “lobbying” money - it was “educational” - a big distinction in the world of money and politics.

Courtesy of Flickr CC by Ira Gelb

Students from Norwalk are raising awareness about human trafficking in an unusual way. As WNPR's Lucy Nalpathanchil reports, they're taking their campaign to rest areas on Interstate 95.

Chion Wolf

The big story of 2011 was the weather: epic snowstorms, dangerous ice storms, a deadly tornado, a tropical storm...

And that was all before a freakish October Nor’Easter that snapped leaf-laden trees, downing power lines and - for a week - took us back to a kind of pre-Colonial Connecticut. Today, where we live, meteorologist Ryan Hanrahan helps us take a look back at an unpredictable year - and we’ll find out if climate change foretells an “apocalyptic” 2012.

Flickr Creative Commons, kkirugi

Today's show was sort of a political grab bag. We drilled down -- that might be the first time I've ever used that expression -- on the subject of political endorsements, which are flying around fast and furious right now.  We'll also alighted briefly on the issue of reapportionment, which is winging its way to the State Supreme Court.

Taxing Inequality

Dec 22, 2011

Income inequality stands to be the biggest issue - not just of the next election cycle - but of the next decade. Why? Well, the rich just keep getting richer - a new study released by Connecticut Voices for Children shows that over a four year period, the highest wage earners in the state have seen their income sharply increase - even through a recession - while middle-class workers struggle by, making about the same.

The Connecticut Economy is a quarterly review put out by the University of Connecticut that analyzes - well - the state’s economy. The latest edition was recently released and includes an analysis of Connecticut’s quality of life.

One major factor in any economic study is the unemployment rate and yesterday, the Connecticut Department of Labor released new statistics showing a slight drop to 8.4% in what the department calls a plateauing of the unemployment rate.

Hartford officials say they will likely miss their February deadline for picking a new person to run the police department.  As WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, the current police chief's tenure ends December 31st. Daryl Roberts is leaving after 30 years on the force and more than five years as the city's chief. He announced his retirement in September -- just before Mayor Pedro Segarra released the results of an outside investigation that said the police department had serious management issues.

A few years ago, an Orthodox Jewish group opened  a religious center for students at the nearby University of Hartford.   But the city told them to stop.  Now, as WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, a state court judge says the city was wrong. There are lots of big houses along Bloomfield Avenue.  One of them used to be owned and operated by a Baptist church organization before it was bought for use as a Chabad house -- a place for Jewish university students to pray, celebrate and learn.

It's been a good year for Connecticut's Working Families Party.  In Hartford, the party won all three of the city council's minority seats and sidelined Republicans.  And at the state capitol, it won a major victory with the passage of paid sick leave. But  the party is now looking to the future. The Working Families Party tries to match its name -- and advocate for issues that matter to the state's working families.  One of those issues was paid sick leave for service workers.  Last session, with Democratic support and over the objection of state Republicans, it won that battle.  Now... "There have been people in the state legislature who've are coming to us now and are saying, well, that was cool, what do we do next? "

Jeff Cohen/WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy has announced a new chief of staff.  Mark Ojakian will start the job in January. Ojakian will take the place of Tim Bannon, who Malloy says is leaving as planned after a year on the job.  Ojakian was the governor's point person in labor negotiations. "His work negotiating with the state employees union was critical to our plans to reinvent Connecticut state government and even more critical to our budget plans. And while it was a bruising and often frustrating endeavor, in the end, we got what we needed. And in large part we got what we needed because of his superior skills." Malloy says one of those skills proved especially useful.  "Well, he's got a lot more patience than I do -- probably is the best way to put it."

As the U-S Supreme Court prepares to test the constitutionality of President Obama's signature health care reform law, state officials across the country are trying to figure out the best ways to implement it -- even if they don't think it's the best option out there.  Victoria Veltri is Connecticut's health care advocate.  As the state gears up for the introduction of its private health insurance exchange, where those without insurance can buy it, Veltri told WNPR's Where We Live that she'd like to see something totally different.  A public health insurance plan.

Chion Wolf

Connecticut’s new healthcare advocate, Victoria Veltri is tasked with helping residents through the maze of health care laws, regulations and roadblocks.

Veltri’s involved in disputes between insurance carriers and health care providers; disputes about the state’s Medicaid program for low-income adults; and about the implementation of state health exchanges.

The city of Hartford is building a new, $77 million public safety complex to help protect its residents.  But, the complex could use some protection itself.  As WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, thieves have stripped it copper at least five times since May. When it opens in 2012, the public safety complex will be the new home of Hartford's police, fire, and emergency communications divisions. But so far, it's been an open invitation for thieves. David Panagore is the city's chief operating officer.

Getting On The List

Dec 12, 2011
J Holt

Municipal contracts can be an important source of income for small businesses. But it’s not always easy to find a way through the maze of red tape to get the work. Hartford has been trying particularly to help small contractors, and women and minority-owned businesses to benefit from city contracts. WNPR’s J Holt brings us the story.

Rosemond Frett has been in business in Hartford for fourteen years, but she’s never had a contract with the city itself. She says when she first registered her company with the state in 1997, she did seek out opportunities.

In Hartford, the goal of city Democrats was to have a new council president by Thanksgiving.  But that time has come and gone and there still is no consensus on who will lead. Most of the time, it doesn't really matter who the president of the Hartford city council is.  Except, of course, when it does -- like last year, when Pedro Segarra went from council president to mayor.  He was filling the seat left vacant by convicted former Mayor Eddie Perez.

A day after a leading national Democrat endorsed her opponent, Susan Bysiewicz says she's happy to play the role of the Washington outsider in her run for U-S Senate.  As WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, Bysiewicz held a conference call to talk about her policy priorities and some political strategy.


In Hartford, Mayor Pedro Segarra ordered an end to the Occupy Hartford encampment just off I-84.  As WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports. Segarra says that reports of violence and drug abuse made the site a threat to public safety.

Flickr Creative Commons, makelessnoise

Have you noticed that nothing is ever quite funny enough?

Last night I was reading a story in the New Yorker and glancing at the cartoons and kind of gasping at how not funny they were. Hey, this is the New Yorker! It's not like there's some place else for all the better cartoons to go.

Governor Dannel Malloy is investigating whether scores of people, including some state employees, defrauded the state when they received emergency aid after Tropical Storm Irene. As WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, Malloy says state workers could be fired or arrested should the allegations prove true.