Middlesex and New London Region

Our Middlesex and New London Region coverage includes stories about all the towns in Middlesex and New London Counties, ranging from Cromwell and Clinton to Voluntown and Stonington.

Rick Ciaburri / Wesleyan University

Award-winning composer and lyricist Lin Manuel Miranda addressed college graduates on Sunday as the keynote speaker at Wesleyan University's commencement.

Harriet Jones / WNPR

President Obama may have had an unusually tough message on climate change for graduates at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, but commencement was still a day for celebration and reflection for the cadets themselves.

Tanger Factory Outlets

The Tanger Outlet mall that opens at Foxwoods on Thursday morning could bring two to three million new visitors to the casino each year. That’s the bet that the casino’s owners are making with the new $120 million destination retail venue. 

White House

President Barack Obama visited New London on Wednesday to give the keynote address at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy's 134th commencement. He told the new ensigns the Coast Guard is on the front line to help combat and adapt to climate change.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

President Obama comes to New London to address graduating cadets at the Coast Guard. The big theme of his speech? Climate change. It's a little different from Vice President Joe Biden's message to Yale grads this weekend. He encouraged them to find their "sweet spot."

This hour, it’s our weekly news roundtable, The Wheelhouse where we’ll talk about the president’s trip and about the use of the word "racist" in political speech. Governor Dannel Malloy used the word and Republicans are criticizing him for it.

Also, the a bill banning powdered alcohol is going to the governor's desk. Wait, what? Powdered alcohol?

During a commencement address at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy today, President Obama will cast climate change as posing an "immediate risk to our national security."

NPR's Scott Horsley reports Obama is expected to tell graduates that the Coast Guard itself will have to adjust to the effects of rising sea levels. Scott filed this report for our Newscast unit:

Harriet Jones / WNPR

President Barack Obama will be in New London Wednesday to give the commencement address at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. It’s the second time he's been the keynote speaker for graduation at the Academy. He was last here in 2011. 

Jason Neely

The beautiful spring weather helps fill up local parks. In Middletown, residents walk and picnic at one of the highest points in the city. It's not a park, but a cemetery. 

Joe Mabel / Wikimedia Commons

As a child prodigy, the now adult, prodigious drummer Johnathan Blake made an appearance on “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood,” the legendary children’s series on PBS created and hosted by Fred Rogers.

Diane Sobolewski / Goodspeed Theater

So, you think it's easy to write a Broadway song? I say not so fast. 

The four aspiring writing teams that attended Goodspeed's Festival of New Musicals this past January say it's plenty hard. They spend a lot of time kicking around ideas, most of which never see the light of day. But, really, they have no choice. "If you can do anything else, you do do anything else," says Marcy Heisler, one half of one of our amazing teams. 

Joe Mabel / Wikimedia Commons

Testimony concluded on Thursday in Middletown Superior Court where members of an all-male fraternity are challenging Wesleyan University's new policy requiring fraternities to become co-ed.

Noah Baerman

If you knew absolutely nothing about Noah Baerman except for the music you heard on his nine triumphant recordings, you’d never suspect for a minute that the brilliant pianist/composer from Middletown has struggled for years with the debilitating pain caused by a rare and incurable connective tissue disorder called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS).

Don Harder / Creative Commons

The Board of Regents announced on Wednesday that the Meriden branch of Middlesex Community College will remain open, after the state legislature made an effort to block efforts to close it.

Jmabel / Creative Commons

Wesleyan University said two of the five students arrested on drug charges following a rash of on-campus overdoses have been expelled. 

Vice President for Student Affairs Michael Whaley said in a campus-wide letter that the judicial process is continuing for the other three students, who are currently suspended. 

Harriet Jones / WNPR

Connecticut is receiving the federal disaster declaration needed to receive federal aid to help cover costs incurred from the January blizzard.

Gov. Dannel Malloy said Wednesday that financial assistance will be provided to state agencies and municipalities in New London, Windham and Tolland counties. Also, the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribes will be eligible for funding to help cover costs incurred from the storm. The reimbursement rate is 75 percent.

Natasha Vora / Creative Commons

Schools in Connecticut and across the nation are reporting a consistent rise in the number of students with mental health issues, and an increase in the complexity and severity of problems. This week, WNPR focuses attention on a particularly troubling condition: self-injury.

RM Bradley Co.

It's not often that an entire village goes up for sale by bid, so last fall's auction of Johnsonville drew a lot of attention. The 62-acre parcel of land in East Haddam, complete with eight buildings, a covered bridge, and a waterfall, went for a high bid of $1.9 million.

But that deal has now fallen through. 

WNPR/David DesRoches

Dozens of students marched to their college president's home on Sunday after racist graffiti was found in several campus bathrooms.

The graffiti read, “no n------”, with the “n” word spelled out. Sources tell WNPR that the graffiti was found in several bathrooms and in different handwriting styles.

David DesRoches / WNPR

Classes are canceled at Connecticut College on Monday after racist graffiti was found in a bathroom Sunday.

David DesRoches / WNPR

It's an idea as old as free speech itself: where does one's right to speak freely end, and the public's right to safety begin? The community at Connecticut College in New London is in the middle of trying to figure that out. 

Creative Commons

A firestorm of controversy has erupted on the normally quiet campus of Connecticut College in New London over a philosophy professor’s Facebook post that many are claiming was racist toward Palestinians.

The professor, Andrew Pessin, said the entire event has been taken out of context and that the outcry is not about his alleged racism, but is a concerted effort to attack his reputation because of his pro-Israel point of view. 

Billy Hathorn / Creative Commons

New London has fired a city employee, suspended two others and otherwise disciplined another two workers after an investigation of alleged safety violations at the city's transfer station. 

Jeff Kubina / Creative Commons

Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mohegan Sun have been dominant forces in the gambling world since entering the market in the 1990s. With that success came revenue for the state of Connecticut. But neighboring states are getting in on the game, opening their own casinos seeking many of the same patrons. 

Guillaume Laurent / Creative Commons

Kyle Eastwood, a hard-swinging bassist and gifted jazz and film score composer, continues to carve a brilliant career all his own, an ongoing success story that makes the day for his proud father, the legendary Hollywood actor/director, Clint Eastwood.

Connecticut National Guard Adjutant General Thaddeus J. Martin / Twitter

Two units of the Connecticut National Guard have been deployed for missions that will take them to Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Middletown Police Department

Police have arrested a fifth Wesleyan University student on drug charges stemming from on-campus overdoses that sent a dozen people to the hospital. 

Mohegan Sun is to add a second hotel, years after canceling plans for a larger expansion as the recession hit.

Times might still be hard in the casino business, but Mohegan Sun says last year it had to turn away half a million potential room nights at its Uncasville property, because it didn’t have enough hotel capacity. Now it hopes it can set that right by building a seven story, 400 room facility that it will call the Earth Hotel.

John Mueller / Creative Commons

Amtrak says 299 passengers headed for Boston were stuck on a cold, dark train for more than three hours after it lost power in Connecticut. 

Elipongo / Creative Commons

Police say that only one Wesleyan University student remains hospitalized following a rash of drug overdoses last weekend that left a dozen people in need of medical treatment.

Lt. Heather Desmond of Middletown police said Thursday that the family of the patient at Hartford Hospital is not authorizing the release of details on the student's condition. 

Joe Mabel / Creative Commons

Police say four Wesleyan University students arrested this week after about a dozen people who took the party drug Molly were hospitalized are known on campus as drug dealers.

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