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In New England, all states except for Rhode Island and New Hampshire have bottle bills. Those are recycling programs built around a system of deposits and refunds, aimed at reducing litter and protecting the environment. But when it comes to old aluminum, it’s not just environmentalists who want to see more recycling -- there’s a real business case to be made for it, too.

Joanne C Sullivan/flickr creative commons

At the end of June, 26 Catholic churches in the state are set to close. Some will be sold, while others could be converted to youth centers, homeless shelters, or other types of facilities. In addition, 59 churches will merge with others as part of a restructuring plan recently announced by the Hartford Archdiocese.

Tony Webster / Creative Commons

In the last 50 years, Sunday mass attendance in the Archdiocese of Hartford has declined 70 percent, and the number of active priests is down 65 percent. So it’s not a surprise that the Archdiocese is closing down and merging churches across the state -- from 212 to 127. This hour, we talk about the local mergers with priests and parishioners. 

Brett Hondow / Creative Commons

One of the major ratings agencies has downgraded Connecticut’s general obligation bonds, making it more expensive for the state to borrow money. Fitch Ratings downgraded the state from A+ to AA-. 

As a neonatal intensive care nurse, Lauren Bloomstein had been taking care of other people's babies for years. Finally, at 33, she was expecting one of her own. The prospect of becoming a mother made her giddy, her husband, Larry, recalled recently— "the happiest and most alive I'd ever seen her."

New England states are considering the idea of sticking with daylight saving time year 'round. Proposals to make the switch are being taken up by several legislatures, including Maine's.

Dean Hochman / Creative Commons

Connecticut's environmental watchdog has issued its annual check-in on the state's environment. The Council on Environmental Quality said the state needs to do more to meet its environmental goals.

Scott Bauer / U.S. Department of Agriculture

The tick population and tick-borne diseases are steadily increasing in Connecticut and throughout the Northeast according to scientists. In response, Senator Richard Blumenthal announced a federal grant to enhance research efforts into mosquito and tick-borne diseases.

Lori Mack/WNPR

The state said its high school graduation rates have reached a record high. Governor Dannel Malloy announced the state’s 2016 figures in New Haven Monday.

A man named Eddie threads through the mid-afternoon crowd in Cambridge’s Central Square. He’s headed for a sandwich shop, the first stop on a tour of public bathrooms available for drug use. Eddie, whose last name we’re not including because he uses illegal drugs, knows which restrooms on Mass. Ave. he can enter, on what terms, at what hours and for how long.

Wikimedia Commons

Gypsy moths have been with Nutmeggers for a while. The pest was first detected in Stonington in 1905, and by the mid-20th century, spread statewide. The pests hurt trees, annoy homeowners, and in recent years -- have been growing in number. 

Photo courtesty of Pantone Inc.

It’s St. Paddy’s Day! And did you know the 2017 color of the year is Greenery?

This hour, we find out more from the so called Authority on Color — Pantone. Plus, Connecticut based fiddler Dan Foster joins us to play some Irish tunes for the occasion — ahead of his band's Friday evening concert in Stonington. 

The White House is celebrating some encouraging numbers this week. Factory jobs are up. Illegal border crossings are down.

The new administration is claiming credit on both fronts, although much of the change so far is psychological.

The U.S. added 235,000 jobs in February, while the unemployment rate nudged down a tenth of a percentage point to 4.7 percent. The monthly report released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics fell roughly in line with economists' expectations: Healthy economic growth continuing January's strong showing.

Editor's note: This story contains language that may be offensive to some readers.

Harassment, threats and intimidation of minorities and immigrants spiked nationwide after President Trump's election in November. Comprehensive statistics are hard to come by, but officials and watch groups say hate-motivated incidents remain higher than usual more than three months after Election Day.

Massachusetts is among the many states that have seen such a spike.

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