Teen's App Helps Pay Family's Bills

May 5, 2014

Michael Sayman is a 17-year-old game developer from Miami, whose app — 4 Snaps — has been going strong in the iTunes App Store. Sayman was highlighted at Facebook's development conference last week by Mark Zuckerberg. He graduates from high school this month and starts an internship at Facebook headquarters later this summer. Sayman spoke with Tell Me More about his app, how he used the proceeds to help his family and how some schools and teachers are overlooking the importance of tech.

How did you get into tech?

Experts agree that climate change is a global problem. A documentary film company in our region planned to look at how Adirondack communities are adapting to climate change. But  the film’s producer changed his focus after encountering high school students at a Youth Climate Summit.

We're pretty sure they've all realized what a horrible idea this turned out to be: Sixty-two students in Teaneck, N.J., were arrested after a senior prank went too far.

Chris Lewis / Creative Commons

About half of Connecticut's residents would move to a different state if given the chance, according to a Gallup poll conducted in all 50 states last year.

Lucy Nalpathanchil / WNPR

DCF Commissioner Joette Katz met on Friday with the juvenile who was the focus of two rallies in Connecticut and New York City.

More than three dozen supporters of a transgender teen being held at Connecticut's women's prison protested in front of the Department of Children and Families headquarters in Hartford.


Police are investigating the stabbing death of student at Jonathan Law High School in Milford on Friday morning. Maren Sanchez was attacked in the hallway around 7:15 am.

Connecticut Dept. of Correction

The 16-year-old transgender girl who has been detained at a Connecticut women's prison for over two weeks issued a statement on Wednesday asking DCF Commissioner Joette Katz to visit her in prison.

Joshua Davis

Attorneys for the teen and the state are moving towards an agreement on "conditions of confinement" as a 16-year-old transgender girl reaches the two-week mark for being detained at Connecticut's women's prison. Her lawyers have been adamant that she be removed from York Correctional Institution as soon as possible.    

Chion Wolf / WNPR

"Molly" is the nickname for MDMA, or ecstasy. It's short for "molecule," meaning you're getting the "real thing," chemically speaking. Except you almost never do.

This hour, we talk about the dangers of Molly, the medical uses of MDMA, and the curious romance between the drug and the form of music known as EDM, Electronic Dance Music.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The Commissioner of the state Department of Children and Families is defending her agency's rare transfer of a 16-year-old transgender girl to Connecticut’s women’s prison. Joette Katz said the state had run out of options for the troubled youth.

Brian Turner / Creative Commons

A temporary restraining order has been filed in federal court on behalf of a transgender juvenile being detained at Connecticut's women's prison. It includes an affidavit from the 16-year-old alleging multiple accounts of physical and sexual abuse while she was in DCF custody.

Lawmakers are considering a proposal that would further protect the public’s right to record police officers. The bill has been pushed through the Judiciary Committee, which approved it two weeks ago. They’re awaiting waiting again for the Senate and House to act. Current law already allows people to record police from a safe distance, but the bill would take it a step further by allowing people to sue officers who interfere with the recording of their actions.

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Attorneys for the transgender juvenile at a Connecticut women's prison say the Department of Correction will not transfer the teen to Manson Correctional Institution, a male facility.

Aaron Romano, who is representing the juvenile in federal court, is working with the DOC on a plan that he hopes will be more rehabilitative, despite the fact the 16-year-old is in a correctional adult facility.

Chris Reed/iStock / Thinkstock

Attorneys for a transgender teen recently placed at Connecticut's women's prison said the Department of Correction is expected to announce on Friday whether she will remain there, or be sent to a male facility. 

Meanwhile, an attorney for the 16-year-old was in federal court Thursday morning.

Until Wednesday, the 16-year-old Pennsylvania boy who's charged with multiple counts of attempted murder and aggravated assault after a stabbing attack at his high school was known as "a nice young boy," his attorney said this morning. Now the sophomore is in custody after the attack that left more than 20 people — nearly all of them fellow students — injured.

Connecticut Dept. of Correction

For the first time in state prison history, a transgender juvenile is being detained at an adult prison.

The juvenile was sent to York Correctional Institution in Niantic on Tuesday after a judge transferred custody of the teen from the state Department of Children and Families.

David Butler II / CPTV Sports

The state high school basketball tournament brought excitement to the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville over the weekend. The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference Tournament featured eight championship games in the basketball finals, with over a dozen schools' boys and girls teams across the state competing.

Lucy Nalpathanchil

In 2012, a legislative committee found seven percent of Connecticut adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 had substance abuse issues. And the majority of those who needed treatment did not receive it.

In the last story of a three-part series, WNPR reports on the challenges families encounter with their insurance plans when seeking help for their teenage son or daughter.


One out of every 22 Connecticut high schoolers has taken medication such as painkillers that weren’t prescribed for them, according to the National Survey of Drug Use and Health. In the second of a three-part series, WNPR looks at treatment options available for local teens with substance abuse issues.

Lucy Nalpathanchil / WNPR

A big increase in opiate overdoses nationwide has focused attention on substance abuse. Nine out of ten adults suffering from addiction said they began using drugs or alcohol when they were adolescents.

In the first of a three-part series on youth battling addiction, WNPR introduces you to the Harmons of Guilford.

Many teen drivers are earnest when they say they know the risks of drinking and driving or texting behind the wheel. But it seems many either ignore those dangers or don't fully understand what it means to drive safely.

About half of teens who say they never text while driving admitted to texting at red lights or stop signs, according to a survey released Tuesday. And while 86 percent of teens consider driving under the influence to be dangerous, one in 10 who say they never drive under the influence actually do drive after drinking.

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Youth unemployment has persisted at record levels since the recession, in Connecticut and around the nation. That’s the finding of a new study which takes a look at the issues of young people trying to enter the workforce in the last decade.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy wants to ban the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors. He said the makers of the devices may be trying to hook smokers while they're young. 

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A few weeks ago, we held a conversation about the Connecticut Department of Children and Families’ proposal to open a second locked facility for juvenile justice involved girls. It’s a project that has been at the center of intense debate across the state, as many wonder if it’s the best treatment option for at-risk youths.

Aaron didn't intend to tell his classmates that he was homeless. But when he recorded his own story with StoryCorpsU — a project designed to help kids in high-needs schools build stronger relationships with their teachers — he says, it just came out.

"I felt ... like a big load was let off," Aaron explains. (NPR has withheld Aaron's last name, at the request of his foster care agency, to protect his privacy.) "I don't know what made me say it, but I'm like, 'Let me just be honest and just get it out.' "

CCSU Students React to Obama's Visit, Message

Mar 6, 2014
Chion Wolf / WNPR

President Obama spoke Wednesday to a packed gymnasium at Central Connecticut State University. Several CCSU students talked with WNPR about the president's call for a hike in the minimum wage, and opportunity for all.

Standing outside the Detrick Gymnasium, student Anna Battey said she thought President Obama’s speech was brilliant. "I work at a teas shop," she said. "I work for minimum wage, so anything helps. I'm a college student, so anything helps."

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Each year, 1.4 million of the nation’s eleven- to 17-year-olds enter the juvenile justice system. Of these boys and girls, some 71,000 are sent to incarceration facilities, where they may remain for several months in seclusion from the outside world. 

We usually think of the flu as an illness that afflicts the elderly. But this season the virus seems to be hitting younger people hard.

This winter at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., the median age of people hospitalized with influenza was 28.5 years. Many of the worst cases of flu occurred in young, otherwise healthy people.

The teenage years are a tumultuous time, with about 11 percent developing depression by age 18. Lack of sleep may increase teenagers' risk of depression, two studies say.

Teenagers who don't get enough sleep are four times as likely to develop major depressive disorder as their peers who sleep more, according to researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. They tracked the habits of more than 4,000 adolescents over a year.

Ira Gelb / Creative Commons

The FBI and dozens of law enforcement agencies rescued 16 juveniles in four states, including Connecticut, during an operation that targeted forced prostitution around the Super Bowl.