John Dankosky

News Director/Host

John is Vice President of News for CPBN, and Host of Where We Live, twice recognized by PRNDI as America’s best public radio call-in show. He oversees WNPR’s talented and award-winning newsroom. You can also hear him as the regular fill-in host for the PRI program Science Friday in New York. He has worked as an editor at NPR in Washington, and reported for NPR and other national outlets on a variety of subjects.

As an editor, he has won national awards for his documentary work, and regularly works with NPR and member stations on efforts to collaborate in the public media system. As an instructor, John has held a chair in journalism and communications at Central Connecticut State University and been an adjunct professor at Quinnipiac University. He is also a regular moderator for political debates and conversations at The Connecticut Forum , the Mark Twain House and Museum and The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center. John began his radio career at WDUQ in Pittsburgh, his hometown.

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When Donald Trump talked about Mexicans as “rapists,” one might have thought, “that’s the craziest statement I’ve heard from a political candidate in a long time.” Which he then followed up by questioning John McCain’s war hero status. The outcome? Trump’s only risen in the polls.

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A scathing new report from the office of the state child advocate lists a series of troubling problems at the Connecticut Juvenile Training School and the new Pueblo girls unit. State child advocate Sarah Eagan said the conditions in the jails put children there in state custody in physical and emotional harm. Now the state DCF has responded with a promise of change. We’ll talk about what’s in this report.

Also, we’ll sit down with a Yale Law professor who is on President Obama’s task force examining policing, as America grapples with a series of deaths of African Americans after confrontations with police.

Marc Nozell / Creative Commons

The life of the black Republican is pretty lonely these days, but it hasn’t always been that way. Black Americans were deeply rooted in the party of Lincoln for decades to avoid joining a Democratic Party controlled by "devils from below the Mason-Dixon line."

Pete Souza / White House

When Dustin Johnson missed that four-footer on the final hole in this year's U.S. Open that would've forced a playoff with eventual champion Jordan Spieth, he wasn't under this much pressure.

Joe Courtney, the mild-mannered Connecticut Congressman, had scored a spot in a weekend foursome with fellow House Democrats John Yarmuth of Kentucky, Ed Perlmutter of Colorado, and the most famous lefty golfer this side of Phil Mickleson, President Barack Obama.

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 This hour, two education leaders discuss turnarounds of a very different type. In Bloomfield, not too many years ago, students struggled with some of the worst math scores in the state, and only about half of students went on to colleges. Those numbers have improved substantially over the last few years. We talk about the successes with the school superintendent, James Thompson.

Tom Tomorrow

This hour, we talk toons on the week that Bloom County returns. Local artist Dan Perkins (better known as Tom Tomorrow) has a new retrospective celebrating 25 years of his strip, This Modern World. His Kickstarter campaign to fund the book had an $87,000 goal and was surpassed in less than 22 hours. We also hear from the Hartford Courant’s always colorful Bob Englehart. Meanwhile, there's a new celebration of political cartoonist Art Young in Bethel.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

While all the other members of Connecticut's congressional delegation voted against it, Jim Himes has been a strong supporter of "fast track" trade authority, which allows the president to negotiate with 11 other Pacific nations.

Keoni Cabral / Creative Commons

Water shapes our lives. From streams to rivers, bays to oceans, water defines not only topography, but the neighborhoods and culture around us. 

The Connecticut Mirror

Connecticut’s legislative session ended with a soft thud last week. There wasn’t quite the mad rush we're used to seeing as the clock ticked down. That means, lawmakers will have to return to the capitol for a special session. This hour on our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse, we recap the long session and talk taxes, as business groups and even other states are jumping in with comments on the state's new tax plans.

David Sim / Flickr Creative Commons

When NPR launched a network-wide “diversity project” in 2012, the aim was for the network to sound more like America. Three years later, race and diversity issues are in the news like never before –- from stories about immigration, to police conduct, to how we interact on social media. 

This hour, two leaders of NPR’s project join us to look more closely at how the media covers diversity, and how we talk about it in society.

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?

Official U.S. Navy Page / Creative Commons

Military recruitment has long been a controversial issue in America's high schools and colleges. Dating all the way back to the days of the draft, there's been a tension between the nation's need to keep a military, and the desire - and fitness - of young people to serve.

Eric Heath / Creative Commons

Americans have been tipping for good service for centuries.

Tipping is so ingrained in our American story that we rarely question why we still do it, even though we leave an estimated $40 billion in tips every year.

Some say tipping is a good thing because it gives a much-needed boost to lower-paying service jobs. Others wonder if tipping still serves its purpose: to reward good service. Workers reliant on tips to pay their bills are sometimes tempted to discriminate against customers they think will be “bad” tippers.

The Post and Courier

The video of white North Charleston, South Carolina police officer Michael Slager shooting black, unarmed Walter Scott in an open field has ripped open the national wound over race relations and law enforcement abuse. Slager now faces a murder charge after he shot Scott eight times in the back while the 50-year-old father ran away following a traffic stop.

Mara Lavitt / WNPR

The data breach that affected Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in February affected more than a million and a half current and past Connecticut members. Most recently, Anthem announced they’ll be sending letters to those whose data was possibly leaked, offering them two years of free credit monitoring. We'll get an update. 

Bob Jagendorf / Flickr Creative Commons

Everyone’s heard of Coney Island -the Wonder Wheel, the side shows, the miles of sandy beach.

Yet, most of us have never seen it except through the eyes of others, including artists and filmmakers who used it as a prism through which to shape their view.

And, what they saw was a place with both lovers and con men, natural beauty and bawdy amusement, social inclusion and class boundaries.

Coney Island is not an easy place for them to define, so they portrayed what they saw - but also what they wanted it to be.

Eric Heath / Creative Commons

Americans have been tipping for good service for centuries.

Tipping is so ingrained in our American story that we rarely question why we still do it, even though we leave an estimated $40 billion in tips every year.

Some say tipping is a good thing because it gives a much-needed boost to lower-paying service jobs. Others wonder if tipping still serves its purpose - to reward good service. And, workers reliant on tips to pay their bills are sometimes tempted to discriminate against customers they think will be “bad” tippers.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Senator Chris Murphy said this week that as long as he's been in the Senate, he's never seen anything like the letter that Republicans recently wrote to Iranian leaders. He called the move by 47 GOP lawmakers "unprecedented."

Chion Wolf

The first few months of Governor Dannel Malloy’s second term as governor have been very, very busy. He’s rolled out major initiatives to take on our transportation problems, and to create a "second chance society" to change our system of incarceration, punishment, and re-entry after prison.

Malloy has also had to deliver a budget to lawmakers that includes deep cuts prompted by a multi-billion-dollar budget deficit. This plan has gotten criticism from social service providers on the left for cutting too much into vital plans, and from Republicans on the right for not cutting government deeply enough. There's even dispute about whether the budget is balanced or comes under the so-called "spending cap."

David Sim. / Creative Commons

When NPR launched a network-wide “diversity project” in 2012, the aim was for the network to sound more like America. Three years later, race and diversity issues are in the news like never before –- from stories about immigration, to police conduct, to how we interact on social media. 

This hour, two leaders of NPR’s project join us to look more closely at how the media covers diversity, and how we talk about it in society.

creative commons

Governor Dannel Malloy announced his two-year budget plan last week, and everything has been a mess ever since. The proposed budget would hurt social services and cause potential layoffs at UCONN, a situation that drew star basketball players to testify at the Capitol.  

On Tuesday, we learned that a SNAFU with accounting sets Malloy's proposed budget more than $50 million over the state's spending cap for the next fiscal year. That might be more cuts. OPM Secretary Ben Barnes issued a formal (somewhat confusing) apology.  

Bob Jagendorf / Creative Commons

Everyone’s heard of Coney Island -the Wonder Wheel, the side shows, the miles of sandy beach.

Yet, most of us have never seen it except through the eyes of others, including artists and filmmakers who used it as a prism through which to shape their view.

And, what they saw was a place with both lovers and con men, natural beauty and bawdy amusement, social inclusion and class boundaries.

Coney Island is not an easy place for them to define, so they portrayed what they saw - but also what they wanted it to be.

Paul Keller / Creative Commons

With sex education being a big political issue in many states, what does this all mean for the future of sex education funding in America? 

This hour, local and national experts weigh in on how public schools are talking to students about their sexual health. We learn about the history of sex education in the U.S., and find out where it's all headed in the future.

The Connecticut Gological Survey

Following a series of small earthquakes in the eastern part of Connecticut, WNPR’s Patrick Skahill set out on a mission to find out what was causing so many to occur over such a short period of time. Turns out, to fully understand, you have to go back hundreds of millions of years to a time when our state was being rocked by a massive continental collision. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy delivers his budget speech on Wednesday, an event we've anticipated for weeks.

The address is expected to include details about Malloy's big transportation plans for the state, and how he plans to balance the budget while changing the sales tax system.

In our weekly news roundtable The Wheelhouse, we preview his speech while looking at the big picture: What do budget addresses mean, and what are the messages they send?

Today's edition of The Wheelhouse is in two parts. Part one is a preview of the budget speech. Part two is a broadcast of the budget address in its entirety and a wrap-up with WNPR reporters.

Ethan Stock / Creative Commons

In a perfect world, we wouldn’t worry whether our food and working conditions were safe, or whether government regulators were keeping track of these things for us -- but we don’t live in a perfect world.

In fact, there’s a sense that if you run a big company, and you’re responsible for something really bad happening, that you’ll probably skate away with a slap on the wrist while somebody else has to live with the damage done.

Christian Haugen / Creative Commons

Between the late 18th and early 20th centuries, millions of young, Jewish men left their homelands in search of more promising futures. They threw sacks on their backs and traveled door to door, peddling their way across the New World. 

Logan Ingalls, Creative Commons

We take a break from the usual news and politics to talk about something that newsmakers and politicians just don't seem to talk about very much: arts and culture, history and humanities, our museums and gathering places. 

We hear that all of these things are important to "revitalize" cities and to "spur economic growth." If that's true, why isn't there more investment, more coordination, more big thinking about the arts? 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Do you know anyone who’s ever had measles, mumps, or rubella? Those diseases have essentially been wiped out in the U.S. because of effective and widespread adoption of vaccines. 

But that might be changing. Dr. Thomas Frieden, Director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said that last year, there were more than 600 measles cases in the U.S., and that was more than there have been for a long time. "This year, there were 100 in January alone," he said.

Peabody Awards / Creative Commons

Ophira Eisenberg is a standup comic from Canada, who brought her act to American radio on NPR’s trivia show Ask Me Another. Later this month, Ophira will be in Connecticut to perform for local fans at The Outer Space in Hamden. This hour, she joins us to talk about some of her latest projects, including her memoir Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way to Monogamy.

Later on, public radio extraordinaire Ira Glass will tell us a bit about his show "Three Acts, Two Dancers, One Radio Host." It was in New Haven last month and is now on its way to Pittsburgh. He tells us about his inspiration to combine radio and dance, two seemingly different art forms, into a single performance.

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