WNPR

Jeff Cohen

Reporter

Jeff Cohen is a proud New Orleans native who now calls New England home. Or at least his second home.

He started in newspapers in 2001 and joined WNPR in 2010, where he is a reporter and an occasional fill-in host for All Things Considered.

In addition to covering state and Hartford city politics, Jeff covered the December 2012 Newtown shootings and the stories that followed.  Much of that work was featured on NPR.  Also in 2012, Jeff was selected by NPR and Kaiser Health News for their joint Health Care In The States project. That work resulted in several national stories, including ones on the Affordable Care Act and medical education.

Jeff was also selected by the Tow Foundation and the John Jay College of Criminal Justice as a fellow in their 2012 juvenile justice reporting project.

Before working at WNPR, Jeff worked as the city reporter for The Hartford Courant.  While at the Courant, he won a National Headliner Award for a Northeast Magazine story about the ostracized widow of the state's first casualty in Iraq; wrote about his post-Katrina, flooded out home in New Orleans; and was part of a team of reporters that broke the stories of alleged corruption at Hartford City Hall that led to the arrest of former Mayor Eddie A. Perez. 

He also worked at the Meriden Record-Journal and as a freelancer for The New York Times.

Jeff lives in Middletown with his wife, cats, and two trouble-making kids. Thanks to the kids, he's now writing children's books. The first, Eva and Sadie and the Worst Haircut Ever!, came out in June 2014.  The second, Eva and Sadie and the Best Classroom Ever!, comes out in June 2015.  He likes to make bread and wine.

Ways to Connect

Centerplan Companies

Two years ago, the city of Hartford used eminent domain to take private land from a developer to be used for part of its baseball stadium development project. For that land, the city paid $1.98 million. But now, a state court judge has ruled that the figure wasn’t nearly enough. 

Sandy Hook Ride on Washington

The Connecticut Supreme Court will hear an appeal in a case brought by Newtown families against gun maker Remington Arms. The families are arguing that the manufacturer shouldn't have marketed and sold military-style weapons to civilians.

Digital Vision / Thinkstock

Concerned by a spike in stolen guns in the city of Hartford, police are reaching out to legal gun owners in the capital city and asking them to take better care of their weapons.

Back9Network

It was just about a year ago that the partly state-funded, golf television station the Back9Network filed for bankruptcy. Since then, it has re-emerged as a smaller enterprise -- this time not as a lifestyle and entertainment network, but as a mobile golf app.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

The state’s chief medical examiner told lawmakers Friday that his budgetary shortfall will cost his office its national accreditation and threatens its performance. 

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

No one wants the city of Hartford to declare bankruptcy. Still, it’s an option that -- given the depth of the capital city’s financial distress -- is on the table. But should the city eventually decide think bankruptcy is the only viable option, it would first have to get the governor’s consent. 

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

There's been a lot of talk about rigged elections, and state officials have dismissed it. But while Connecticut’s recent Election Day problems haven’t been about corruption, they have been about incompetence. 

Mara Lavitt / WNPR

A Facebook notification on Monday reminding people to register to vote is likely having a real effect. The state said it brought in 15,000 newly registered voters on that day alone. 

UW Health / Creative Commons

The state is looking for a transportation company to get low-income Medicaid patients to their medical appointments.  This comes after legislators overrode a veto of a bill by Governor Dannel Malloy.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Retired major league baseball player and Hartford resident Doug Glanville has been appointed to the state panel that sets standards for police officers. 

The Hartford police officer who allegedly kicked a handcuffed suspect in the head said he did so in order to get the suspect to lay flat on the ground. The officer said he lacked the latex gloves he needed to force the suspect down with his hands, so he used his foot, instead, according to a newly-released police report

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin is continuing his effort to highlight the capital city's structural financial problems. And he's giving state lawmakers a few suggestions on how to fix them. 

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Things may be looking up for Hartford’s Dunkin’ Donuts Park, as the city and the insurance company for the developer have finally signed an agreement that should get construction at the stalled baseball stadium going again.

Philips Communications / Creative Commons

The legislature wants to save money on healthcare, and one issue has been whether it makes sense to penalize doctors who don’t keep costs down. 

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Last week, Hartford police released a video of one of its officers kicking a handcuffed man in the head. On Monday night, about 40 people marched from city hall to the home of the mayor to protest the police use of excessive force. 

Hartford police arrested Ricardo Perez and Emilio Diaz after a wild car chase that began in Hartford and ended in West Hartford back in June. But it’s what happened after the car chase that has led to a state investigation of the possible use of excessive force. 

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

David Dunn runs hiring for the city of Bridgeport, Connecticut, where he was born and raised, and for years, there's been a consistent complaint.

"Certainly for the last decade there has been a good deal of criticism from the community [and] a number of community-based organizations that our police department was not reflective of the community as a whole," Dunn said.

Lance Cheung / U.S. Department of Agriculture

State public health officials have released a list of 14 farms in Connecticut that got tainted beef from a Massachusetts slaughterhouse that is the source of an E. coli outbreak. 

Connecticut Mission of Mercy

The ninth annual Connecticut Mission of Mercy free dental clinic is this Friday and Saturday in Hartford, and this year it could serve a couple of thousand people at the XL Center. 

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said his budget numbers are ugly. The more than $15 million in savings he was hoping for from union negotiations probably aren’t going to happen. 

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

The insurance company that will pay to finish Hartford’s minor league baseball stadium is already fighting to get its money back. Arch Insurance is demanding nearly $19 million from the developer and at least one other company. 

Drug Enforcement Agency

The rate of accidental drug overdose deaths in Connecticut grew again in the first six months of 2016, and the lab drug fentanyl is playing a big role in that. 

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

The insurance company behind the ousted developers of Hartford's stalled minor league baseball stadium has agreed to take over and pay for the completion of Dunkin' Donuts Park in time for games in 2017, Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said Tuesday.

Hartford Fire Department

A state court judge has ruled that the city of Hartford owes more than $6 million to tenants who were eligible for -- but did not get -- housing relocation assistance after the city ordered them to leave their homes. Praising the decision, attorneys for the tenants said the administration of former Mayor Pedro Segarra all but ignored state law.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Editor's note: Gene Wilder died Sunday at his home in Stamford, Connecticut. In 2014, WNPR's Jeff Cohen reported on a screening of "Blazing Saddles" with Wilder in attendance, followed by a Q&A with the actor. This was first published on October 30, 2014.

It's been 40 years since the release of the Mel Brooks' movie Blazing Saddles. I recently went to an anniversary screening and in the audience was one of the movie's stars: Gene Wilder.

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