Fairfield Region

Our Fairfield Region coverage includes stories about all the towns in the Greater Fairfield area, ranging from Sherman, New Fairfield and Brookfield to Shelton, Stratford, Bridgeport, Stamford and Greenwich.

Tim Coffey

Many of Connecticut's sewer treatment plants are in need of upgrades because of aging infrastructure.  But in the city of Stamford, some observers are blaming an ambitious "waste to energy" plan for taking the city's focus away from needed upgrades. In part 2 of a series about problems with Stamford’s sewer treatment plant,

Tim Coffey

Aging infrastructure is taking its toll on Connecticut’s sewer treatment plants. But in Stamford, that problem has been coupled with years of mismanagement that could cost state and local taxpayers dearly, and is creating problems for Stamford Harbor and Long Island Sound.

I’m standing in front of a huge water tank that’s 130 feet in diameter. And I’m with Bill Degnan, supervisor of Stamford’s sewer treatment plant. The plant treats an average of 17 million gallons of water a day in Stamford and Darien.

Transportation advocates and officials across Connecticut gathered in the state capitol Monday to ask some tough questions about how the state will pay for badly-needed transit upgrades. Commuters themselves will probably have to chip in.

On the national level, we’re looking either at a “fiscal cliff” meltdown with big spending cuts or possible tax increases. Here in Connecticut, the state’s own money problems seem to be getting worse each day. So where does that leave funding for transportation?

For Bridgeport, Post-Sandy Life Still A Struggle

Dec 10, 2012

Superstorm Sandy took a heavy toll on residents of public and low-income housing in Bridgeport. Those living near the water are faced with rebuilding as well as trying to prepare for the next storm. But they simply can’t afford to do both.

Debris still litters the front yards of Seaside Village in Bridgeport. It’s the second year in a row that resident Mariela Wilches has lost her washer, drier, water heater and furnace. Not only does she have to replace them all again, she has to pay rent to live somewhere while she has no heat.

Rant & Rail: The Plight of a Train Station Parker

Nov 19, 2012

Metro-North ridership is at its highest ever in Connecticut, but for many of these new passengers, driving – and parking – are still a part of their daily commute.

Dru Nadler

I don’t normally think of commuting as an adventure. But it did seem a little like one yesterday morning as people got word that they could finally take the train from Stamford into Manhattan once again. Trumbull resident Brian Keane usually commutes from Westport into the city. Today, he drove to Stamford’s train station – and was ready for a little adventure when it came to parking.

“I actually have a bike in my car, because I figured if there wasn’t any parking, I’d park up on Bedford Street and bike down," he told me.

As Funding Dwindles, So May Public Disclosure

Oct 15, 2012

As state and local governments deal with bigger deficits and less appetite for big spending, they’re asking the private sector to get more involved in construction projects. But as WNPR’s Neena Satija reports, that could mean a less open process.

Commuters will have a chance to weigh in on state plans to rebuild a parking garage at the Stamford train station tonight. But since the names of potential developers and their plans will be kept a secret, no one’s sure what they’ll be able to weigh in on. WNPR’s Neena Satija reports.

Fred S.C. Li

Today we're broadcasting from one of the cultural meccas of Fairfield County - a waterside aquarium that hosts a half-millionlion visitors each year.  Among other things, they have exhibits of seals and fish, and lots of stuff for kids. 

Four times a year, WNPR's Small Business Project goes on the road to take the pulse of small business in our state.  Today, we'll be visiting with business leaders from the shoreline to talk about something that's unavoidably important this year: the politics of small business.

The operating permit for Connecticut’s lone coal-fired power plant in Bridgeport was renewed yesterday, after the state received record amounts of public comment.

No one expected the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to deny a permit renewal for the Bridgeport Harbor Coal Plant.

Still, more than 150 people attended a public hearing on the issue in May and more than a hundred local businesses in Bridgeport have publicly supported closing the plant.

Scott Bauer (Wikimedia Commons)

As Lyme disease continues to spread across New England and into parts of the Midwest, more than 100 people gathered in Stamford on Thursday morning, August 30, to discuss ways to fight it. Senator Richard Blumenthal, who hosted the hearing, is proposing that Congress create an advisory committee on tick-borne related diseases that can help advocate for better diagnosing and prevention: “We share a common concern with a disease that has really reached epidemic proportions.

Will the Future of Rail Travel Include Metro-North?

Aug 27, 2012
WalkingGeek (Flickr Creative Commons)

There’s talk of Hartford to New York in half an hour. New York to Boston in 90 minutes. Tunnels under the Long Island Sound zipping trains across the region. It’s exciting stuff. But here in Connecticut, many are saying, ‘wait a minute. First thing’s first.’

“We don’t have money today to run the railroad that we operate – or try to operate – today," says Jim Cameron.

Neena Satija

A mattress recycling factory in Bridgeport is bringing jobs to those who need them – while disposing mattresses in an environmentally-friendly way. WNPR’s Neena Satija reports on Park City Green.

44-year-old Angel Morales is surrounded by piles and piles of old mattresses. His job is to deconstruct them using his hands and a utility blade.

YVSREDDY (Wikimedia Commons)

Stamford is ramping up efforts to test private wells for potentially cancer-causing pesticides that may be in the water. But getting the word out is a slow process, and so far, surrounding towns haven’t shown much concern.

Neena Satija

For years, Danbury has tried to revitalize its downtown to become a vibrant, walkable community where people want to live. City officials held a meeting with the community last week to talk about their efforts, and many say a more welcoming environment towards immigrants is a big part of the solution.

There was seating for 120 people here at the 2 Steps Downtown Bar and Grille; 150 showed up for a meeting about downtown revitalization. Many were residents saying they want a reason to live downtown.

Bridgeport Landing Development, LLC

Decades ago, there was a steel mill on this 50-acre property. After that a power plant was built; then that was demolished too. About 100 families lived here; they were torn down in the 1990s to make way for a redevelopment that never happened. Now all you can see is an empty stretch of grass with a prominent sign that reads Steelpointe Harbor. That’s Steelpointe with an ‘e’ at the end.

Employers in cities across the country are requesting visas for high skilled foreign workers. As WNPRs Lucy Nalpathanchil reports, the demand has increased in the last decade according to the Brookings Institution.

This is the first time a report has looked at the local demand for foreign workers who receive H1-B visas to legally work in the U.S.

Senior Research Analyst at the Brookings Institution, Jill Wilson says the visa is widely requested by employers across the U.S not just those in the Silicon valley or NYC.

Seth Tisue (Wikimedia Commons)

Delegates from more than 120 governments around the world gathered in a small seaside town in Uruguay this past week.  A Fairfield University Associate Professor was there to observe the continuing negotiations toward a global treaty reducing mercury emissions to the environment.

Neena Satija

Developers are taking advantage of a down economy to build more affordable housing. It’s happening even in the small-town suburbs of Connecticut, where people are forgoing the big country home for smaller, more energy-efficient houses or rental apartments. In the small Danbury suburb of Ridgefield,  not everyone is happy about the changes.

U.S Navy

On Monday, The Center for Sexual Assault Crisis Counseling and Education in Stamford hosted a viewing of "Invisible War," an award-winning documentary about sexual assault in the military. More servicemembers who have experienced this trauma are starting to file claims with the VA.

Courtesy of the IP Factory

When it comes to inventing things, Connecticut still punches way above its weight. But sometimes the good ideas dreamed up here end up languishing on a shelf instead of making a difference in people’s lives. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports on a new project that aims to find a home for orphan technologies.

Dr. Suzanne Campbell

Fairfield University is participating in the nationwide initiative, Joining Forces, to to help veterans. WNPR's Lucy Nalpathanchil spoke with the Dean of the School Of Nursing, Dr Suzanne Campbell.

A vacant 26-story office tower in downtown Hartford may get a new life. A Fairfield developer has plans before the city to turn the old Bank of America building into nearly 300 apartments. The project is in the early stages, and the city says there's no public or private financing committed to it yet. But it's worth noting the ambition -- the building at 777 Main Street has nothing happening inside of it, and developer Bruce Becker has an idea: He wants to build 286 apartments and a bunch of retail space near Hartford's State House Square.

New Haven Rejects Immigration Crackdown Program

Feb 20, 2012
Uma Ramiah

The federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency, or ICE, announced it will roll out a program called Secure Communities in the state this week. In New Haven, community leaders are calling on Governor Dannel Malloy to reject the initiative.

Harriet Jones

The City of Stamford hopes to attract high-tech entrepreneurs with a new initiative to convert its Old Town Hall into a business incubator. 

Stamford’s gracious, marble-lined Old Town Hall occupies some prime real estate in the center of town, but it hasn’t served as a hub for the town since the 1960s. Now it’s bustling once again.

“It’s a center of gravity and it works for the whole community.”

Catie Talarski

NPR Music says Mates of State are the “sound of infectious joy.”  Its a joy that rubs right off of this very happy and pleasant married couple - both on their new record, Mountaintops, and in person.

School Arrests Bring New Scrutiny, Reforms

Dec 14, 2011
Jordan Valentine Graphic

As a fifth grader at a New Haven magnet school in 2009, Jacob was watching a lot of “Ed, Edd n Eddy” shows on TV—a slapstick cartoon that features adolescent equivalents of the Three Stooges. Maybe too many shows, his mother now says.

Gardener41, creative commons

Mark Demers is a Fairfield University Professor who just got a grant to study “chaos theory.” Could the gentle flap of a butterfly wing in China set off a tornado in Texas? He’ll study the evolution of systems that change over time and attempt to understand their stability and predictability.

The Connecticut Supreme Court heard arguments on Thursday challenging the state’s takeover of Bridgeport’s troubled public schools.  Much of the debate centered on whether officials followed proper steps before replacing local school board members with state appointees.

Bridgeport officials will conduct a national search for the city’s next school superintendent.  A state-appointed Board of Education has fired Bridgeport’s current superintendent as part of its takeover of the troubled school system.

Bridgeport’s state-appointed board of education will part ways with Superintendent John Ramos at the end of December.   An interim superintendent will come in to serve while education officials conduct a national search for the city’s next school leader. 

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