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Hartford Corruption
4:30 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

Insurance Agent Earl O'Garro Indicted, Pleads Not Guilty

Earl O'Garro.
Mike Priggins and Kyle Reyes under30ceo.com

Earl O'Garro, the troubled insurance agent who was the target of a federal grand jury that brought an unwelcome spotlight on Hartford City Hall last year, was charged Friday in federal court with one count of wire fraud. He pleaded not guilty.

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Connecticut Business Briefs
2:02 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

Connecticut Lawmakers to Retailers: Hands Off Thanksgiving!

Steven Depolo Creative Commons

Connecticut lawmakers say they want to make another effort to save Thanksgiving. In the face of widespread store openings, Representative Matt Lesser said he’ll once again introduce a bill that would make stores pay their employees 2.5 times their normal rate on Thanksgiving. 

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Affordable Care Act
11:33 am
Fri November 21, 2014

Republicans File Suit Against Obama Administration Over Health Law

Originally published on Fri November 21, 2014 12:49 pm

House Republicans on Friday followed through on a threat to sue President Obama over actions he has taken concerning the Affordable Care Act.

The lawsuit was filed in a federal court against the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Treasury.

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Connecticut Business Briefs
1:44 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

State Adds Jobs; Unemployment Rate Remains Steady

Credit Wavebreak Media / Thinkstock

Connecticut employers added 3,600 jobs in October, with the biggest gains coming in the retail sector. The state’s unemployment rate, which is based on a separate survey, remained steady from September at 6.4 percent. In the first ten months of the year, Connecticut has added 18,300 jobs, up from 13,700 in the same period of 2013.

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Insurance Capital
12:33 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

Connecticut Insurance Commissioner Resigns

Insurance Commissioner Thomas Leonardi.
Credit State of Connecticut

Connecticut's insurance commissioner is moving on for a job in the financial services industry. Thomas Leonardi will leave the agency in December.

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Talky Tina
2:55 pm
Tue November 18, 2014

Need Help With Obamacare in Connecticut? Meet Tina

An avatar named Tina greets users visiting accesshealthct.com.
accesshealthct.com

Have a question about the Affordable Care Act? Meet Tina.

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Energy
8:06 am
Tue November 18, 2014

Connecticut OKs Higher Electric Generating Rates

Credit Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary / Thinkstock

Connecticut regulators have approved higher rates to generate electricity for residential and business customers of two utilities. 

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Food Waste
3:47 am
Mon November 17, 2014

To End Food Waste, Change Needs To Begin At Home

Sherri Erkel and her daughter, Asa, cook dinner in their kitchen in Iowa City, Iowa. The Erkel family is part of an EPA study measuring the amount of food wasted in U.S. homes.
Pat Aylward NET News

Originally published on Mon November 17, 2014 3:24 pm

It's a hot summer day outside Lincoln, Neb., and Jack Chappelle is knee-deep in trash. He's wading in to rotting vegetables, half-eaten burgers and tater tots. Lots of tater tots.

"You can get a lot of tater tots out of schools," Chappelle says. "It doesn't matter if it's elementary, middle school or high school. Tater tots. Bar none."

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Automobiles
4:29 pm
Sat November 15, 2014

For Best-Selling Truck, Ford Bets Big On Aluminum

A 2015 F-150 rolls off the assembly line at the Dearborn Truck Plant in Dearborn, Mich. The aluminum-sided F-150 could set a new industry standard — or cost the company its pickup truck crown.
Paul Sancya AP

Originally published on Sat November 15, 2014 5:30 pm

The first 2015 Ford F-150 rolled off the assembly line this week, and it is no normal truck. The new F-150 pickup is the first with an aluminum body, making it hundreds of pounds lighter than its predecessors.

Ford isn't taking this gamble on just any truck — the F-150 is the company's most important vehicle. Morgan Stanley estimates the F-Series truck line and SUV derivatives represent 90 percent of Ford's global profits.

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Health Insurance
6:49 am
Sat November 15, 2014

They Paid How Much? How Negotiated Deals Hide Health Care's Cost

Sal Morales found an Obamacare health plan this year that costs him $145 per month — versus the $560 he'd been paying.
Courtesy of The Miami Herald

Originally published on Mon November 17, 2014 1:43 pm

As Americans begin shopping again for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act on Saturday, they'll be wrestling with premiums, deductibles, out-of-pocket costs and other vague and confusing insurance-speak.

Believe it or not, that's the easy part compared with figuring out what health care actually costs.

Sal Morales of Miami bought insurance in March during the ACA's first enrollment period on the HealthCare.gov website.

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Demographic Shifts
3:38 pm
Fri November 14, 2014

College-Educated Young May Be Squeezing Connecticut's Urban Housing

Hartford, Connecticut.
Wonderlane Creative Commons

The number of college-educated people aged 25 to 34 moving to U.S. city centers has surged, up 37 percent since 2000, even while those cities’ populations have shrunk slightly, according to a report from economist Joe Cortright at City Observatory, a think tank based in Portland, Oregon.

The Hartford metro area saw a 25 percent increase of educated young adults living within three miles of its city center between 2000 and 2010, according to the think tank.

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State Budget
11:24 am
Fri November 14, 2014

Gov. Malloy Budget Chief Sticks to No Tax Hike Pledge

Ben Barnes, Gov. Malloy's secretary of the Office of Policy and Management.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy's budget chief says he plans to adhere to his boss's campaign promise not to raise taxes in Connecticut's new two-year state budget.

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Open Enrollment
3:26 am
Fri November 14, 2014

State Health Insurance Exchanges Hope To Woo Urban Minorities

In one of Access Health CT's new video commercials, a barber explains to his clients why getting health insurance should be a priority.
Access Health CT

Originally published on Fri November 14, 2014 10:34 am

Tomorrow it begins again – open enrollment for Obamacare. Two very successful state health insurance exchanges, Connecticut's and California's, are both intent on reaching people who avoided signing up last year – especially young Latinos and African-Americans.

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Business
12:53 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

Gender Wage Gap in Connecticut Exceeds National Average

Phil Whitehouse Creative Commons

Women’s position in the workplace in Connecticut has improved significantly over the last 15 years, according to a new report. But the study, commissioned by the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women, says too many disparities still remain, particularly for women of color. 

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Thu November 13, 2014

The Young and Restless in Connecticut

Downtown Hartford on the Connecticut River.
Ricky Aponte Creative Commons

More young people are moving to the heart of cities, according to a report from think tank City Observatory. This includes cities that we usually think of as “economically troubled,” like Buffalo, Cleveland, and, yes, even Hartford. Some of these cities have been losing their overall population, but gaining in their numbers of college graduates in their 20s and 30s.

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Health Insurance
2:55 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

Massachusetts Set To Launch Online Health Exchange

Massachusetts Health Connector Ex. Dir. Jean Yang ( second from right) is joined by officials at Caring Health Center in Springfield to promote the upcoming open enrollment for the state's new online health insurance exchange

Originally published on Mon November 10, 2014 6:21 pm

Open enrollment at the Massachusetts health insurance exchange begins this week. State officials say there is a new – and functioning – website that people can use if they need to purchase insurance.

The Massachusetts Health Connector will launch the new online health insurance marketplace on Nov. 15th.  Thousands of people across the state who have Health Connector coverage now, or were placed in temporary plans over the last year, will have to use the new website to submit an application if they want to remain insured.

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Power Marketplace
9:08 am
Tue November 11, 2014

Big Electric Rate Hikes on the Way for Winter in Connecticut

Your meter may not be spinning any faster, but you'll pay more.
Sarah Simpson Creative Commons

Both of Connecticut’s electric utility companies want to raise rates sharply in January. 

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Mon November 10, 2014

Connecticut's Plan for Energy Efficiency; Roundtable Looks at CL&P Rates

Kevin Dooley Creative Commons

According to a new scorecard from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, Connecticut has dropped to sixth place in the national ranking of state energy efficiency. 

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The Business of Governing
10:31 am
Thu November 6, 2014

Catherine Smith Looks Forward to Economic Development 2.0

DECD Commissioner Catherine Smith
Credit Chion Wolf

Economic development was a major part of the campaign rhetoric this election season, and it seems destined to be a high-profile part of Governor Dannel Malloy’s second term.

WNPR sat down with the administration’s economic development chief, Catherine Smith to talk about what a second term will look like.

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American Made: The New Manufacturing Landscape
3:24 am
Thu November 6, 2014

In South Carolina, A Program That Makes Apprenticeships Work

John Harris makes a weld for a test during a welding class at Spartanburg Community College in Spartanburg, S.C., on Oct. 22.
Mike Belleme for NPR

Originally published on Thu November 6, 2014 6:41 pm

Several years ago, South Carolina had a problem: a shortage of skilled workers and no good way to train young people for the workforce. So at a time when apprenticeship programs were in decline in the U.S., the state started a program called Apprenticeship Carolina.

"We were really, really squarely well-positioned at the bottom," says Brad Neese, the program's director.

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Medical Plans
12:38 pm
Wed November 5, 2014

Employers Can't Skip Insurance Coverage For Hospitalization

Some employers said that leaving out hospital coverage helped protect low-wage workers from big deductibles.
Amriphoto iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed November 5, 2014 12:44 pm

Closing what many see as a loophole that could trap millions of people in sub-standard insurance, the Obama administration said Tuesday that large-employer medical plans lacking hospital coverage will not qualify under the Affordable Care Act's toughest standard. It also offered relief to workers who may be enrolled in those plans next year.

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Energy
3:28 am
Wed November 5, 2014

New England Electricity Prices Spike As Gas Pipelines Lag

One proposed solution for New England's energy price spike problem: Importing more liquefied natural gas and feeding it into the pipeline network on the other side of the region's bottleneck.
Sam Evans-Brown New Hampshire Public Radio

Originally published on Wed November 5, 2014 11:58 am

When Don Sage of Concord, N.H., learned his electric bill could rise by as much as $40 a month he got flustered. He and his wife make do on a bit less than $30,000 a year in Social Security payments, and they pay close attention to their electric bills.

"When the invoice comes in the mail to get paid, I have a target amount that we can fluctuate up or down, based on our fixed budget," Sage says. "They don't need my permission to hike up their rates, but the fact is we're the ones that are paying these increases."

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Economic Development
3:33 pm
Mon November 3, 2014

UBS, Connecticut Strike New Deal Over Stamford Jobs

UBS Stamford headquarters
Credit Harriet Jones

The state of Connecticut has cut a new deal with banking giant UBS, which it hopes will keep the company in Stamford for another seven years. 

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Election 2014
12:33 pm
Mon November 3, 2014

Malloy, Foley Say No More Taxes; Visconti Says Not Possible

As in many campaigns, tax increases have been called off by both major candidates.
Credit Chris Potter / Creative Commons

Governor Dannel Malloy and Republican challenger Tom Foley have repeatedly said they will not raise taxes. After dropping out of the race as a petitioning candidate, Joe Visconti said it just can't happen.

"I don't know how we can cut enough, even if the legislature agreed with it, and mothball enough programs for us not to have some form of a tax increase unless we grow completely out of it in a miracle situation," Visconti told WNPR.

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Business
3:45 pm
Thu October 30, 2014

Frontier Offers Refunds to Customers Affected by Outage

Credit Thinkstock

Frontier Communications said it will offer refunds to customers who have been affected by outages in service. The Stamford-based company just switched over all of AT&T'’s landline, Internet and streaming video customers.

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Election 2014
7:29 am
Wed October 29, 2014

Tom Foley Fears Push Towards State Health Insurance; Nancy Wyman Says He's Wrong

Tom Foley.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy has made implementing the Affordable Care Act a priority, something not all governors across the nation have done. With the election just a few days away, we spoke with Republican Tom Foley to get his view on the nation's new health care law. 

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Retail Technology
2:28 pm
Mon October 27, 2014

CVS Pulls Apple Pay, And Many See A Fight Over Mobile Wallets

Originally published on Mon October 27, 2014 3:25 pm

One week after Apple's new mobile payment system, Apple Pay, debuted in CVS stores, CVS has backtracked and barred its use. Rite Aid took the same step, leading many observers to note that the two companies are part of a group of retailers that's developing its own payment system, called CurrentC. Partners include Wal-Mart, Best Buy and 7-Eleven.

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Green Green Money
8:33 am
Fri October 24, 2014

Connecticut Joins Growing List of States Issuing Green Bonds

Credit Adam Gault/Photodisc / Thinkstock

When you think of ways to combat climate change, a few things probably jump to mind. Clean energy. Recycling. But investments?

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