Coverage of Connecticut from New England Public Radio, NPR, and other NPR stations.

Connecticut is likely to have digital credentials for COVID-19 vaccines available by the end of the month. Officials said it would make it easy to scan and verify vaccination status.

Connecticut Losing Ground On Building Emissions Despite Efficiency Programs

Sep 16, 2021

Greenhouse gas emissions from heating and cooling buildings continue to rise in Connecticut despite the state’s efforts to improve energy efficiency.

An annual greenhouse gas inventory released last week for 2018 — the latest available data — showed vehicle exhaust remains the state’s largest problem, but the sharpest year-over-year increase came in the residential sector. Commercial building emissions were also higher.

An Afghanistan evacuee deplanes in Italy on August 22, 2021, assisted by U.S. military.
Sgt. William Chockey / U.S. Marine Corps

Refugee resettlement agencies are preparing for hundreds of evacuees from Afghanistan coming to western Massachusetts.

Connecticut expects to welcome hundreds of Afghan refugees in the next couple of months as resettlement agencies and groups across the state are assigned families already on military bases.

But as advocates ramp up efforts to receive as many families as possible, they’re also calling on the U.S. State Department to focus on those who haven’t been able to leave the Taliban-controlled country despite their ties to the U.S.

Advocates say dozens of Afghan Americans from Connecticut are still stuck in Kabul with no way out.

Health leaders across Connecticut are warning state legislators about the dangers of dirty air. But the head of the state Senate said Monday the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) will not be on the agenda during a special session expected to occur within the next two weeks.

In Connecticut, Pelosi Dismisses Mid-term Challenges

Sep 9, 2021

EAST HARTFORD — U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., insisted Wednesday she is not feeling the tidal pull of history — the trend of the president’s party losing House seats in mid-term elections.

“I think any assumptions about politics are obsolete. We live in a whole new world of communication and the rest,” Pelosi said. “And I think that all of our members who survived Trump being on the ballot with them will survive next year.”

Connecticut has reduced greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation, but emissions from transportation and buildings are up. That’s according to a state environmental report.

Would Hartford Gain From A Boston Train? Advocates Are All Aboard

Sep 7, 2021

When Gov. Ned Lamont announced in June that the state would spend $8 billion to $10 billion to (modestly) improve travel times on the busy (if pokey) New Haven Line, the reaction was generally favorable. Most understand that the rail connection to New York City is vital to Connecticut’s economy and quality of life, and the faster the better.

An on-duty state police sergeant in Connecticut died Thursday after his cruiser was swept away in floodwaters in Woodbury.

Brian Mohl, a 26-year department veteran, called for help at about 3:30 a.m. Thursday.

Police searched the area with divers, helicopters, boats and drones and found the sergeant in the swollen river later in the morning after daybreak. First responders performed lifesaving measures, and Mohl was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

West Hartford, Connecticut, author Ethan Rutherford.
Lou Russo / Courtesy of the author

West Hartford, Connecticut, author Ethan Rutherford says his latest collection of short stories, “Farthest South,” is about “the fever dream of parenthood,” in the form of “bedtime stories for the end of the world.”

Four people were killed Thursday morning when a small jet carrying two pilots and two passengers crashed after takeoff from an airport in central Connecticut.

Authorities say the Cessna Citation 560XL took off just before 10 a.m. from the Robertson Airport in Plainville. The plane then crashed into a building housing the manufacturing company TRUMPF Inc.

Authorities said no one in the building was hurt. The names of the deceased, all of whom were on board the jet, have not yet been released.

A gun rights group and a few Connecticut residents have sued the police chiefs of four cities across the state over their gun permit processes.

The problem of garbage-filled recycling bins continues to foul up efforts to boost recycling levels in Connecticut’s capital city.

Public records show Hartford is recycling more material since Connecticut Public reported on a major drop-off in recycling loads earlier this year, but the city still burned about 75 percent of its curbside recyclables from May to the end of July 2021.

Connecticut refugee resettlement agencies expect to take in hundreds of Afghan refugees and visa-holders as the Taliban retake the country. The agencies said they’re facing immense challenges.

Backed By New CDC Report, Lamont Stands Firm On School Mask Mandate

Aug 31, 2021

A week after being accosted at a school by anti-mask protesters, Gov. Ned Lamont made an uneventful visit Monday to an elementary school in a district where the school superintendent says masks are not an issue.

“I would say Newington is off to a fantastic start. We have 100% cooperation with masks,” said Maureen Brummett, the superintendent. “And now we’re working on the immunization protocols, which I fully support.”

If you’re tossing all of your glass into a blue recycling bin, wishing and believing you’re doing the planet a favor, you may be wrong, said Bethel First Selectman Matthew Knickerbocker.

“Not all glass is created equal,” he said. “A great deal of that glass is not recyclable, and even worse, it contaminates some of the materials that are recyclable.”

That’s because when it comes to buying and selling recycled material, Knickerbocker said, there’s “good glass” and there’s “bad glass.”

Vaccinated? Connecticut Schools Now Asking Teachers For Proof

Aug 30, 2021

At Hartford’s S.A.N.D. Elementary School, Victoria Shears is settling into a new office and gearing up for another school year during the pandemic.

Among her indispensable tools are a dry-erase board on wheels and a blue box with neatly labeled folders, each with curriculum materials for students in kindergarten through grade five.

Then there’s the box of pandemic supplies: Lysol wipes, hand sanitizer and tablecloths, which make cleaning up a breeze.

A Barber’s Deal In Hartford: Get A COVID Shot, And The Haircut Is Free

Aug 26, 2021

HARTFORD — Lauri Malawitz, a North End preacher who believes in the power of prayer and vaccinations, was taking her 14-year-old grandson, Zakariah, for a haircut Wednesday when she saw a woman in medical scrubs outside the barber shop.

Malawitz, who is fully vaccinated, asked if they were offering COVID-19 vaccinations.

“She said, ‘Yeah, and a free haircut,’” Malawitz said. Laughing, her rapid-fire reply was, “That’s right up my alley, Jesus-thank-you-Lord!

And so Zakariah got both.

Despite Success In Other States, Hopes Dim For A Public Option In Connecticut

Aug 23, 2021

With just over two weeks left in the legislative session this year, Democrats who had been pushing a bill to create a public option health plan conceded that the effort would fail again. Opposition from the insurance industry and Gov. Ned Lamont had sunk the bill — the third consecutive year it died unceremoniously.

Connecticut’s transportation infrastructure would be significantly improved by the federal infrastructure bill negotiated by the Biden Administration.

Late on Monday night, two cars filled with luggage and seven tired travelers pulled up in front of the New Haven headquarters of Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services, or IRIS.

Gov. Lamont Continues COVID-19 Mask Mandate In Schools

Aug 18, 2021

With infections increasing, Gov. Ned Lamont said Tuesday he will continue a requirement that K-12 students wear masks in school to combat the spread of COVID-19 to a population that includes many children still ineligible for vaccinations.

“At this point, I don’t see that changing,” Lamont said at a morning event in New Haven. Hours later, he made it official, saying he wants no “ambiguity.”

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

Mayor Luke Bronin told the Materials Innovation and Recycling Authority’s board of directors Wednesday that bringing “massive amounts of trash” into Hartford shouldn’t be the long-term solution to a looming waste crisis slated to impact about 50 towns in less than a year.

On a farm in South Glastonbury, a tractor idles. It’s one of the most iconic farming inventions of the late 19th century, a tool that was invented shortly before Donald Preli’s grandfather came from Italy and started Belltown Hill Orchards.

Now, more than 100 years later, Preli said a much newer invention could revolutionize farming here: unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones.

“We only can see as we’re looking down a row,” Preli said. “This is flying over top ...“It’s going to see trouble areas a lot quicker than we will.”

Jonquel Jones of the Connecticut Sun.
Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

The Connecticut Sun will play for a midseason championship on Thursday, taking on the Seattle Storm in the WNBA's inaugural Commissioner's Cup in Phoenix.

A panel will consider who takes part in Connecticut’s legalized pot market by using drug arrest data since the early days of the Reagan administration.

Lamont Orders Long-Term Care Facilities To Get Workers Vaccinated Or Face Fines

Aug 9, 2021

Workers at nursing homes, residential care homes, assisted living facilities and other long-term care facilities will have to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Sept. 7 or their workplaces will face a $20,000 penalty per day, Gov. Ned Lamont announced late Friday.

Connecticut got a preview earlier this week just how many renters face eviction when the federal moratorium was lifted for two days.

Before the federal order was reinstated Wednesday, judges in Connecticut signed a surge of orders that allow state marshals to remove tenants and their belongings from their homes.

Yoni Zamir is a legal aid attorney who represents two of the 154 families that judges approved to be evicted while the federal moratorium was lifted Monday and Tuesday.

Hundreds Of UConn Students Ask For Vaccine Exemptions

Aug 4, 2021

More than 800 students attending the University of Connecticut this fall want exemptions from UConn’s coronavirus vaccine mandate, according to information disclosed in new court filings.

Students returning to campus in August are required to get the shot or seek an exemption, which allows them to attend with heightened health and safety requirements, such as wearing masks and staying in periods of quarantine.

A year after keeping the price of taxpayer-funded purchases out of public view in an effort to protect private business, state Comptroller Kevin Lembo has changed course and released unredacted contracts between 10 vendors and the state for COVID-19 testing.

The release came one day before Connecticut Public was set to argue for the full disclosure of the documents before a state public records panel.