Diane Orson

Managing Editor/Host

Diane Orson is WNPR's local host for Morning Edition.  She's also a reporter and managing editor for WNPR, as well as a contributor to National Public Radio. Her stories are heard on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition and Here And Now.  Diane began at WBUR in Boston and came to Connecticut in 1988 as a co-producer for Open Air New England.  She shared a Peabody Award with Faith Middleton for their piece of radio nostalgia about New Haven's Shubert Theatre.  Her reporting has  been recognized by the Connecticut Society for Professional Journalists and the Associated Press, including the Ellen Abrams Award for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism and the Walt Dibble Award for Overall Excellence.

Diane is also an active professional musician. She lives in Hamden with her husband. Her two children are in college.


Artifact Recovery
8:41 am
Fri October 7, 2011

International Center For The Study Of Machu Picchu And Inca Culture Opens In Peru

Diane Orson

The International Center for the Study of Machu Picchu and Inca Culture opened yesterday in the city of Cusco, Peru. The event marks the end of a long-running dispute over a collection of antiquities taken from Machu Picchu by Yale explorer Hiram Bingham nearly 100 years ago. It's also the beginning of a collaborative partnership between Yale and the National University of San Antonio Abad del Cusco .  

Speaking to reporters in Cusco, Yale researcher Lucy Salazar explained that museum is housed in a historic Inca palace called the Casa Concha.  

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8:18 am
Wed September 28, 2011

Harp Guitar Gathering In Connecticut

Musicians from Europe, Canada and across the U.S. will meet in Connecticut on October 8th & 9th for the 9th annual Harp Guitar Gathering. What’s a harp guitar?   

Think of an acoustic guitar – either nylon or steel string - sitting on your lap. Between your chin and the guitar, half of a harp springs out from the top shoulder of the instrument. It's a sight to behold!  There are no frets on the additional strings. They’re either plucked or resonate as you play, but they expand the instrument’s range down as low as a grand piano.

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9:29 am
Mon September 26, 2011

When Talking About Weight, Words Matter

Doctors may want to think carefully about the language they use when talking with parents about a child’s weight.  A new study by Yale University researchers finds that certain words reinforce negative stigma and may undermine important discussions about health.

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Drug Control
4:27 pm
Thu September 22, 2011

UNH Forensic Biologist Develops Marijuana DNA Databank

A forensic biologist at the University of New Haven is developing a DNA databank that will help federal authorities track where marijuana originates.  It’s aimed at assisting law enforcement with drug busts, but it could also be used to protect against bio-terrorism.

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5:58 pm
Tue September 20, 2011

Linda McMahon Announces Bid For U.S. Senate

Diane Orson

Former WWE CEO Linda McMahon announced today she’ll run again for the U-S Senate in 2012.  McMahon stressed her business background at the top of the professional wrestling world.

Linda McMahon declared her candidacy for US Senate at a small family-run manufacturing company in Southington, CT.  "Ladies and gentlemen, I am a proven job creator and today I’m announcing that I’m a candidate for United States Senate"

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Higher Education
1:19 pm
Sun September 18, 2011

Air Force ROTC Returns To Yale University

The Secretary of the U.S. Air Force was in New Haven on Monday.  He joined Yale University officials to announce a new Reserve Officer Training Corps unit on campus. Air Force ROTC is the second military detachment to agree to return to Yale this year.  The university announced in May that it would also reinstate a Naval ROTC unit. 

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Disaster Relief
1:15 pm
Sun September 18, 2011

S.T.O.R.M. Irene Panel

Governor Malloy has appointed a panel to review how the state, municipalities and utilities responded to Tropical Storm Irene.  The group will also take a broader look at Connecticut’s disaster preparedness.

Members of the S.T.O.R.M. Irene Panel include leaders from the military, disaster relief, non-profit agencies and municipal governments.  They’ll examine response to the storm - what worked and what didn’t.

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Artifact Recovery
1:11 pm
Sun September 18, 2011

Peru Bestows Award On Yale University President

The government of Peru has presented Yale University’s President with its highest civilian award. The honor was bestowed in recognition of an agreement ending a nearly century-long dispute over ancient artifacts from the Incan site of Machu Picchu.

In a ceremony at the Peruvian Embassy in Washington, DC on Thursday, Yale President Richard Levin was awarded the Order of “The Sun of Peru” in the Grade of “Great Cross”.  

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10:57 am
Fri September 9, 2011

Teaching About 9/11

Diane Orson

As the nation prepares to commemorate the tenth anniversary of September 11th,  Connecticut schools are holding special assemblies and classroom discussions. We report on some of the challenges facing educators who teach students about 9/11, and the larger issues that surround the historic event.

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5:59 pm
Mon August 15, 2011

Independent Colleges And Economic Development

Governor Malloy visited Wesleyan University in Middletown on Monday.  He met with leaders of Connecticut’s private colleges and universities to talk jobs.

The Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges represents 16 schools that employ over 22,000 people.  

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3:53 pm
Fri August 5, 2011

Teachers And Staff Suspected Of Cheating At A Waterbury Elementary School

An investigator for the State Department of Education has begun to question teachers and staff at a Waterbury elementary school about suspected cheating on the 2011 Connecticut Mastery Tests.  This is the latest in a string of cheating scandals nationwide.

17 teachers and other employees at Hopeville School in Waterbury have been placed on leave as an investigator looks into possible test tampering.  A preliminary review showed many wrong answers on this year’s CMTS had been erased and corrected.  

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Consumer Protection
4:01 pm
Tue August 2, 2011

Online Ticket Resale Market Entangled In Controversy, Looking For Respect

Mattia Luigi Nappi via WikiMedia Commons

The online ticket resale market is one of the fastest growing areas in business today.  

Governor Malloy recently announced that Connecticut-based TicketNetwork would be eligible for state incentives if the company adds jobs in the next two years. But the industry has been entangled in controversy and is now on a quest for respect.  

Googling Yankees tickets...ok...StubHub.com, NewYorkYankees.ticketsnow.com...Yankees.mlb.com...

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Higher Education
4:52 pm
Thu July 21, 2011

New Haven Promise Awards Scholarships

Diane Orson

More than 100 students were honored on Thursday as the first class of New Haven Promise.  That’s the new scholarship program that provides college tuition for city students. 

Wearing caps and gowns, New Haven public high school graduates filed into Sprague Hall on the Yale University campus.  Parents beamed.  City and state officials told the students that the Promise scholarship program was an expression of confidence in their promise for a brighter future.   

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School Resources
9:36 am
Wed July 20, 2011

CT Resident Is New National School Boards Association President

The National School Boards Association represents state boards of education across the country, and their 90 thousand members.  The Association’s new president is a school board member from Connecticut.

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Achievement Gap
3:12 pm
Mon July 18, 2011

Achievement Gap Between Hispanic And White Students Found In Every School District

For the past two decades, the achievement gap between Hispanic students and their white classmates nationwide has remained largely unchanged. Hispanic students perform about two grade levels below their white peers in math and reading.

Connecticut has one of the largest gaps in the nation, and a new study finds the problem exists in every school district in the state.

White students in Connecticut are two to three times more likely than Hispanic students to achieve at or above goal on the Connecticut Mastery Tests. 

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1:46 pm
Fri July 15, 2011

Training Program Helps Low-Income Parents Help Kids

Diane Orson

A special summer program has just wrapped up at a New Haven elementary school.  But  in this class the students are parents. 

It’s the final day of his year’s parent training program at Lincoln-Bassett School in New Haven.  Brenda Whitfield is telling the class of about 20 parents, what she’s learned. "I found out a lot of stuff about the math I can tell my granddaughter and my grandson. And I learned a lot about the science. I just learned so much while I was here at the training."

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Mayoral Race
1:38 pm
Thu July 14, 2011

Ganim? Seriously? Maybe.

Cloe Poisson photo 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.

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State Intervention
10:18 am
Mon July 11, 2011

Quick Takeover Of Bridgeport Public Schools

A former Bridgeport Board of Education president says he and many city residents were surprised by the state’s quick takeover of the troubled school system.  

Max Medina Jr. says in 16 years serving on Bridgeport’s Board of Education he’s never seen anything quite as speedy as the recent decision by the state to intervene in the city’s schools.

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3:30 pm
Tue June 21, 2011

Court-Appointed Hearing Officer To Determine If East Haven Police Chief Keeps His Job

The Mayor of East Haven will allow a court-appointed hearing officer to determine whether the town’s police chief should keep his job.  

In April 2010, East Haven Mayor April Capone Almon placed Police Chief Leonard Gallo on paid administrative leave. That was just after the U.S. Department of Justice released early findings of its investigation into allegations of race-based violence, harassment and intimidation of Latinos by the town’s police. The DOJ cited the police department’s outdated policies on conduct and a lack of appropriate guidelines on the use of force.

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8:15 am
Fri June 17, 2011

Connecticut Company Creates LawyerUp App

U.S.federal statistics show that 16 to 20-year-olds are more likely to be arrested than involved in car accidents. A Connecticut-based company has created a new smartphone application that provides fast legal advice to people who find themselves in legal emergencies.

The moment when someone has been or is just about to be arrested, is critical, says Chris Miles, a former AIG employee who used to work in insurance and risk management.  "Not only is it time-sensitive, its also a interaction where mistakes matter. You really can’t make an error."

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Iraq War
7:57 am
Fri June 17, 2011

Court Martial of Connecticut Marine Staff Sergeant Postponed Indefinitely

The court-martial of a Marine Staff Sergeant from Connecticut has been postponed indefinitely.  Frank Wuterich of Meriden is accused of leading a 2005 assault that killed more than 20 Iraqi civilians.

In November 2005,  a squad of U.S. Marines led by Staff Sargeant Frank Wuterich, killed 24 men, women and young children in the Iraqi town of Haditha. The Marines had been searching for those responsible in an IED explosion that led to one death and two injuries. 

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Early Childhood Education
1:30 pm
Fri June 10, 2011

Early Childhood Education Bill Brings State Agencies Together

woodleywonderworks, Flickr Creative Commons

Though education advocates are expressing frustration at an overall lack of progress during this legislative session, there’s one area where people are feeling cautiously optimistic. A bill focusing on early childhood education could help tackle the state’s stubborn achievement gap, and may better position Connecticut for future federal funding.

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1:49 pm
Mon June 6, 2011

Final Chapters Of 'Gone With The Wind' Aren't Gone

For years, the original manuscript of the novel Gone With the Wind was believed to have been destroyed.  But as WNPR’s Diane Orson reports, the last four chapters recently re-appeared in a Southport, Connecticut library.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell tells the sweeping story of a headstrong Scarlett O’Hara and her turbulent love affair with Rhett Butler – set against the backdrop of the Civil War. The film starring Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh received ten Academy Awards. 

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3:41 pm
Fri June 3, 2011

Raymond Clark III Sentenced to 44 Years

Uma Ramiah

A former lab technician was sentenced to 44 years in prison today in the 2009 murder of a Yale University graduate student.

Raymond Clark the Third told the courtroom that he, alone, was responsible for the death of 24-year old Yale pharmacology student Annie Le.  Clark pleaded guilty in March to murder and attempted sexual assault.

Le disappeared in September 2009.  Her body was discovered five days later behind the wall of a high security, university research building. DNA evidence linked Clark to the crime.

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Higher Education
8:32 am
Wed June 1, 2011

Universities Partner To End Violence Against Women

Two men were arraigned last month in connection with an alleged sexual assault at Southern Connecticut State University. SCSU is part of a consortium of Connecticut colleges and universities that are working together to reduce violence against women. As part of our continuing series on campus safety, WNPR's Diane Orson reports. 

The statistic is hard to believe. A U.S. Department of Justice study finds one in five women will become a victim of rape or attempted rape while in college.

"This is a not talked about phenomena"  

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Higher Education
9:46 am
Thu May 26, 2011

Budget Shortfalls Could End Open Admissions at Community Colleges

More than 800 students graduate tonight from Gateway Community College in New Haven. Many took their first steps into higher education through the school’s open door policy.  But budget shortfalls could end open admissions at community colleges in Connecticut. Walk down the corridor at Gateway Community College and you’ll see a diverse mix of students – teenagers right out of high school, mothers in their early 30s, even senior citizens.  

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Natural Disaster
6:25 am
Wed May 25, 2011

Fuko Chiba: This I Believe

15- year old Fuko Chiba was visiting her family in Japan in March when a massive earthquake and tsunami hit the island. She’s a ninth grade boarding student at Indian Mountain School in Lakeville, Connecticut.  Here’s her “This I Believe” essay about what happened.

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Health & Wellness
3:01 pm
Fri May 20, 2011

Study Finds Link Between Lead Poisoning And Mastery Test Scores

Editor B, Flickr Creative Commons

A new study finds a link between lead poisoning in young children and lower scores on the CT Mastery Tests.  And black children in the state are more likely to be exposed to lead.

First, researchers looked at blood lead data for all Connecticut 4th graders in the 2007-2008 school year. Then they studied test scores on the CMTs.  

Rebecca Anthopolis is a statistical analyst with the Children’s Environmental Health Initiative at Duke University where the data were analyzed.

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9:15 am
Thu May 12, 2011

New Haven School Reform At Barnard Magnet School

Diane Orson

Last year, the city of New Haven announced the start of an ambitious 5-year education reform program. Schools were assigned levels, or “tiers". That’s something that might not affect kids as much as teachers and school administrators. 

With summer vacation just a few weeks away, we visited a lower-performing “Tier Three” school to talk with educators and parents about what’s changed this year.

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Academic Progress
9:10 am
Fri May 6, 2011

State Intervention Starting To Close Achievement Gap

A new report finds noticeable academic progress in fifteen low-performing Connecticut districts where there’s been intensive intervention by the state.  Test scores in these districts show substantial improvement over time, particularly among minority students.

Bridgeport, Hartford, New Haven, New London, Waterbury and Stamford are among fifteen school districts that are part of the Connecticut Accountability for Learning Initiative or CALI.  All were identified as needing improvement under the No Child Left Behind Act.  

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