WNPR

Fairfield Region

Our Fairfield Region coverage includes stories about all the towns in the Greater Fairfield area, ranging from Sherman, New Fairfield and Brookfield to Shelton, Stratford, Bridgeport, Stamford and Greenwich.

Gardener41, creative commons

Mark Demers is a Fairfield University Professor who just got a grant to study “chaos theory.” Could the gentle flap of a butterfly wing in China set off a tornado in Texas? He’ll study the evolution of systems that change over time and attempt to understand their stability and predictability.

The Connecticut Supreme Court heard arguments on Thursday challenging the state’s takeover of Bridgeport’s troubled public schools.  Much of the debate centered on whether officials followed proper steps before replacing local school board members with state appointees.

Bridgeport officials will conduct a national search for the city’s next school superintendent.  A state-appointed Board of Education has fired Bridgeport’s current superintendent as part of its takeover of the troubled school system.

Bridgeport’s state-appointed board of education will part ways with Superintendent John Ramos at the end of December.   An interim superintendent will come in to serve while education officials conduct a national search for the city’s next school leader. 

Dick Howell, Wikipedia

Contrary to what you've been told, the first flying machine may have flown in Bridgeport.

Gustave Whitehead is a mostly unsung pioneer in American aviation, and there's some evidence supporting the claim that he flew before Wilbur and Orville did.

Whitehead's story stayed buried a long time, and some believers say this was because of anti-Teutonic attitudes at the outbreak of World War I.

We'll check in with the New England Air Museum about Gustave's flight and the storm of controversy his story ignited among aviation historians.

The Great Danbury Fair

Sep 23, 2011
Korker

The Danbury Agricultural Society held its first fair in 1821 to exhibit the region’s agricultural products. Initially, the fair was held in a grange with a few adjacent tents that displayed vegetables, livestock, pigeons, poultry, flowers, and preserves.  Ox and draft horse pulls took place outside. Residents of Hartford and New York enjoyed train transportation, provided by the New England Railroad Company, bringing them directly to the fairgrounds at discounted rates. By 1881, the fair attracted more than 20,000 visitors and was considered the largest fair in the state.

courtesy Plastic Forming Company

Small businesses everywhere are learning the lesson – adapt to technology or die. Consumers increasingly look for both marketing and retailing online and companies need to meet those expectations or lose sales. In the first of a series of reports on the rise of social media in marketing, WNPR’s Harriet Jones looks at how one manufacturer is facing up to the challenge.

Malloy Tours Irene Ravaged Areas

Aug 30, 2011

Nearly half a million Connecticut residents and businesses are still without power after Hurricane Irene. Governor Dannel Malloy took a tour of storm affected parts of the state Tuesday.

Stopping at a hurricane ravaged beachfront community in Fairfield, Governor Malloy asked for patience in the face of continued outages.

"Energy is going be the big issue, and it's going to be the big issues for the next 7 days. That's a reality."

Irene Breaks Records

Aug 29, 2011

Irene hit Connecticut as a strong tropical storm Sunday with torrential rains and gusty winds that destroyed coastal homes, toppled trees and left a record 800,000 customers without power, surpassing damage from Hurricane Gloria in 1985. More than eight inches of rain fell.

The storm reached New England weaker than expected as it failed to re-intensify after making initial landfall in North Carolina as a Category 1 hurricane, but it still destroyed or damaged dozens of beachfront homes in East Haven and nearby communities and undermined sections of seawall, walkways and streets.

Harriet Jones

The rest of Connecticut might groan at summer gas prices, but in Fairfield County, four dollar gas has a whole different meaning. Small businesses especially, pay the price for the county’s transportation woes. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

When gas prices spiked this year, and gas was more than $4.30 a gallon in southwest Connecticut, the help wanted ads began going up all over Fairfield County.

Cloe Poisson / Courtesy of The Hartford Courant

Former Bridgeport Mayor Joseph Ganim has not announced whether he’ll jump into the mayoral race this year, but a poll finds that if he does, it could change the landscape of the election.

Joe Ganim was released from prison one year ago after serving six years for a massive municipal corruption scandal. The former Bridgeport mayor was convicted on 16 counts, including steering city contracts in return for hundreds of thousands of dollars in kickbacks.

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.

Harriet Jones / WNPR

Swiss bank UBS has been a huge presence in downtown Stamford for more than a decade. It’s the city’s biggest employer, with some three thousand workers, and its biggest taxpayer. But for months, rumors have been flying that the company may relocate some or all of those people back to Manhattan. WNPR’s Harriet Jones takes a look at what that might mean for the city’s business ecosystem.

A group of UBS traders arrives for lunch at Fiesta Restaurant on Stamford’s Atlantic Street.

Shakespeare in Stratford

Jun 10, 2011

The American Shakespeare Festival Theatre opened in 1955 as a living memorial to English playwright, William Shakespeare (1564-1616). Under the guidance and directorship of Lawrence Langner, John Houseman and Michael Kahn, the theatre provided memorable theatrical experiences for more than thirty years.

Stratford, Connecticut was an appropriate setting for the theater, echoing the name of Shakepeare’s birthplace, Stratford-on-Avon in England.  The octagonal shape of the theater recalled the Globe Theatre in London, where Shakepeare’s plays were performed during the 17th century.

jjsala, Creative Commons

Nearly 30 million trips are made every day using public transit, mostly in the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas.  And the main destination of these millions of commuters is, not surprisingly, work.  So a new Brookings report surveyed public transit in 100 cities in the U.S. including Bridgeport, New Haven and Hartford, to see just how effective public transit is in getting people to their jobs every day.

clip art

The Bridgeport Mayor's Election  Advisory Panel released a report today (Thursday) detailing dozens of recommendations to change how Connecticut runs its elections. The proposal is meant to restore trust in the system after Bridgeport's infamous failure to order enough ballots during last November's elections.

One recommendation allows Secretary of the State Denise Merrill to recommend how many ballots a town should order.  And, after review, it could allow her to force the town to order enough ballots for all of the town's registered voters.  

Pages