Rebranding The "Rising Star"

Aug 17, 2011

For a decade now, Hartford has been “New England’s Rising Star.” It never really caught on, did it?

That “branding” campaign was pretty widely ridiculed from the moment it was first unveiled. Why? Because people who know the city...who know its story...don’t really believe in what that slogan says.

It IS however, a city with an amazing history...linked with innovation and risk...and its a place just struggling enough that someone with imagination, creativity and daring might make it big.


This year marks the 150th anniversary of the start of the American Civil War, and the state of Connecticut is paying tribute.

Earlier this year, we talked a bit about Connecticut’s civil war history - and got a big response.  Including from our friend, author and historian Bill Hosley.  

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Income tax increases are being felt in some paychecks while tax breaks are going out to some big companies.

Those tax increases are being felt mostly by Connecticut’s wealthiest residents...and are showing up in paychecks now.  It’s an issue of “fairness” according to some - but another look at the numbers shows the state’s revenue stream is more “volatile” because of a dependence on the rich.

Flickr Creative Commons, phogel

No matter what you think of trucks and truckers, trying going a day without anything that made at least part of its way to you on a truck. It would be a quiet day, I think. 

Photo by Mark Walz (Flickr)

The Podunk Bluegrass Music Festival gets underway in East Hartford and runs through the weekend. Some of the best Bluegrass acts in the country will perform this weekend. What started 16 years ago as a small get together of local bluegrass musicians and fans has become one of the biggest Bluegrass festivals in the US.

Joining us by phone is C. Roger Moss, director of East Hartford's department of parks and recreation which organizes the event

West End, Park-Like Setting, Needs Work

Aug 1, 2011
State of Connecticut

As tempers flare over the contentious vote and revote on a labor concession deal, one of the questions that occasionally pops up on comment boards is this: Is the Malloy Administration really spending money to redecorate the governor's mansion as it is demanding labor givebacks?

Courtesy Cundari Group

Today on the Nose, we talked about the controversial $200,000 marketing report released earlier this week.

Mike Poresky

Yesterday, Republicans who control the house finally addressed the issue that's been gripping the nation: Naming Post Offices.

Yes, when it became clear that House Speaker John Boehner's two-stage solution to avert the debt crisis was not going to get enough votes from within his caucus, the House quickly turned to the important task of naming the Post Offices in Peoria and Pasadena.   

Flickr Creative Commons, jitze

Yesterday, The Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection announced its preliminary findings on the origin of the now-famous Mountain Lion that was struck and killed by a Hyundai SUV in Milford last month. 

We spoke with Deputy Commissioner Susan Frechette today to hear the details.

Listen to our previous show that aired shortly after the news of the Mountain Lion's death here.

Photo by Jurvetson (Flickr)

When the space shuttle Atlantis lifted off on its final mission earlier this month, it brought along a little bit of Hartford with it. A group of eighth graders from the Annie Fisher STEM Magnet School in Hartford's North End wanted to measure the effect of microgravity on Tomato growth, so they wrote a proposal and it was accepted.

We talk to principal Melony Brady about her students' project.

William Tong

Jul 26, 2011
Chion Wolf / WNPR

What do you get when a little-known candidate raises more than a half-million dollars in the first months of a run for Senate?  Could it be “tong fever"?

Well, at least that’s what Colin McEnroe called it.  The condition is named after William Tong, who in 2006, became the first Asian American elected to a state office in Connecticut.  

New Report on Domestic Violence

Jul 22, 2011

The Connecticut Domestic Violence fatality review committee has spent a decade looking into the factors that lead to domestic homicide. The Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence which oversees the fatality review committee releases the findings of their first study on Friday.

The interim executive director of the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence joins us to discuss the study.


In the wake of the failed labor concessions agreement between Governor Dannel Malloy and state labor unions, state agencies are feeling the crunch. The Office of the Chief public defender has to cut about 7.5 percent of their overall budget, which some believe will hinder the states poorest from getting proper legal counsel, and will make it difficult for public defenders to honor their constitutional obligations.

We are joined by Mike Lawlor, undersecretary for criminal justice planning.

Chion Wolf

Before we get started on ferries, let me make a few things clear.

Federal lawmakers spent the weekend working on ways to break the standstill in budget talks. While there is still hope that lawmakers can come up with a package of spending cuts and taxes, including President Obama's $4 trillion so called grand bargain, with an August 2 deadline quickly approaching, a simple raise of the debt limit, as proposed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will be the more likely outcome.

Here to talk about reaction from Connecticut's congressional delegation is the Connecticut Mirror's Washington correspondent Deirdre Shesgreen.

Big City Violence

Jul 14, 2011
Chion Wolf

The number of violent crimes in the US dropped significantly last year to the lowest rate in 40 years.

But then why haven’t Connecticut cities like Hartford and New Haven been able to join this trend?  

J Holt

If you imagine a summer camp based on a farm, kids learning about crops and barnyard animals probably come to mind. But profit margins and business plans? Not likely at the top of the list. WNPR’s J Holt brings us a story of one farm taking camp in a new direction.

The city of Bridgeport is the latest struggling school district to be taken over by the state.

The Board of Education in the city has essentially voted to dissolve itself - to be replaced by an oversight board hand-picked by the State Department of Education.

Chion Wolf, WNPR

Deficit cutting negotiations with President Obama and Congressional leaders continued yesterday with no apparent progress.  Time is running short to raise the government's debt limit.  We talk to Congressman John Larson about the impasse.

Flickr Creative Commons, Håkan Dahlström

What's the hardest and scariest sports event in the world?

Chion Wolf

A new Pew study says the sluggish recovery from the “Great Recession” has been better for men than women.

But in the context of  the June recent jobs report that shows only 18,000 new jobs were created nationally - it might signal continued bad times for both sexes.

Olmsted's Legacy

Jul 8, 2011
creative commons

Flickr Creative Commons, brainchildvn

Everybody knows who Paul Marcarelli is. They just don't know they know.

Where We Live: Roundtable On Shared Sacrifice

Jul 1, 2011
Chion Wolf

Connecticut’s special legislative session ended last night with a budget deal.  But, believe it or not - this still might not be over.

Governor Dannel Malloy and state lawmakers agreed on a package to plug the last $1.6 billion dollar hole in the state budget with up to 6500 layoffs in the state workforce.  

It’s something neither Malloy, nor the Democratically controlled legislature...nor union leadership wanted to see happen.  But the union vote to reject a concessions package has seemingly sealed the deal.

No 4th of July recess for the US Senate as they try to hammer out a deal on the debt ceiling.  We talk to Deirdre Shesgreen, the Connecticut Mirror's Washington Correspondent about the action at the Capitol.

Morning Edition: Special Session Looming

Jun 30, 2011

With only hours to go before a new fiscal year, The General Assembly convenes a special session today to deal with a 700 million dollar hole in the state budget. That hole was left after the state's unionized workers voted against a concessions package that would have saved the state 1.6 billion dollars over two years. Joining us by phone this morning is State Senator Edith Prague, she is the chair of the legislatures Labor and Public Employees committee.

Chion Wolf

OK, I know this might not be as easy and fun as yesterday's show on comic books, but if the current state budget were a comic book, it would be about a dystopian future. (And present for that matter ...)

The state constitution requires that the budget be balanced by Friday. It isn't. The plan for doing that included significant givebacks by the state employees. They wouldn't do it.

Chion Wolf

Hartford is at a time of transition. Recovering from corruption, transforming its education planning for the future.

Today, Where We Live teams up with The Hartford Public Library for “The Year Ahead: A Conversation with Hartford’s State Legislators.” 

We'll be talking with members of the state congressional delegation from the city. They'll share their thoughts about the state of Hartford, and what lawmakers are doing to solve some of the city’s problems - from violence, to education scores, to literacy rates.

The capture of Boston Gangster Whitey Bulger puts an end to a long manhunt - but it brings up questions about his dealings with the FBI.

Despite his disdain for “rats” - Bulger, now charged with 19 murders and implicated in countless other crimes, was an informant with the FBI for years.  He developed a special relationship with agent John Connolly that allowed him to keep committing crime - and gave him a chance to flee in 1995.  

Unions Struggle For Resolution

Jun 28, 2011

State employee Union leaders met with reporters yesterday to discuss what options are still available to them now that enough rank and file union members voted to kill an agreement with Governor Dannell Malloy that would have saved the state 1.6 billion dollars over the next two years. Governor Malloy says thousands of state employee layoffs could begin as early as next week. Joining us by phone this morning is Larry Dorman.