CONNECTICUT

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

Unions for Connecticut’s grocery workers said they’re disappointed to be left out of Governor Ned Lamont’s changes to the state’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout plan.

Connecticut Secretary of the State Denise Merrill wants lawmakers to support constitutional amendments that would allow for early voting and no-excuse absentee ballots.

Governor Ned Lamont said Connecticut’s priority for COVID-19 vaccinations will now be based on age instead of essential workers. He said starting next Monday the rollout will extend to residents 55 and older.

Eversource Energy is expecting regulators to allow the utility company to charge customers to pay back millions of dollars in costs from their response to Tropical Storm Isaias last summer.

The Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness finds that almost 30% of people in their shelters first became homeless after release from the state Department of Corrections. Lawmakers are considering legislation that could make it easier to find housing after leaving prison.

A still image from a TV ad by the Connecticut Education Association promotes COVID-19 vaccines for educators.
Connecticut Education Association / YouTube

Though Connecticut educators are considered essential workers, they are not yet eligible for vaccination against COVID-19.

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont received his first shot of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday.

Connecticut's only maximum security prison — Northern Correctional Institution — will close in July, according to Governor Ned Lamont. Northern houses more than 50 inmates. Barbara Fair, an activist with Stop Solitary CT, has worked for more than 20 years to close the prison. Her crusade began in 1998 when her son was sent to Northern.

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont has received mixed reviews from state lawmakers over his $46 billion two-year state budget proposal. The package includes the legalization of pot and a truck-only highway fee. The budget is balanced by relying on federal aid and the state’s rainy day fund.

Lamont Leans Heavily On Federal Aid To Keep Taxes Flat In Connecticut

Feb 11, 2021

Gov. Ned Lamont proposed a two-year, $46 billion budget Wednesday that relies on federal funding and state reserves to close a major deficit without significant tax hikes while bolstering aid for municipalities and school districts.

But the package also leaves Connecticut with several budget challenges to be resolved in the not-so-distant future.

Connecticut will open COVID-19 vaccinations for residents 65 and older starting Thursday. Governor Ned Lamont said this would allow providers to immediately begin to use any extra vaccine doses on that group.

The state of Connecticut doesn’t have enough housing for tens of thousands of its poorest residents, and the problem is getting worse. That’s according to a new report from affordable housing advocates.

Officials at Hartford HealthCare say their plans to open numerous mass vaccination sites across Connecticut are on hold because they don't have the supply of vaccine to operate them.

It Has Been Slow To Arrive, But High-Speed Rail Could Be Coming

Feb 4, 2021

In 2016, federal officials unveiled a plan for high-speed rail along the Northeast Corridor that included a 50-mile passage from Old Saybrook to the village of Kenyon, R.I.

The route went through Old Lyme and other historic small towns while bypassing New London. The plan, called NEC Future, met with heavy — almost unanimous — opposition. Hundreds turned out at meetings to oppose the plan. Sen. Richard Blumenthal seemed ready to lash himself to the tracks, calling the idea “half-baked and hare-brained” and “unworthy of any sort of taxpayer dollars.”

Distrust of the medical system for Deicin Garcia goes back to when she arrived from Mexico 15 years ago as an undocumented teenager. She and her family came to pick tobacco on a ranch about half an hour’s drive north of Hartford. 

Health providers and hospitals at this time of year would typically see rising numbers of patients coming in with fever, cough, sore throat and body aches -- classic symptoms of the flu.

“In a bad year, hundreds by this time,” said Keith Grant, director of infection prevention at Hartford HealthCare.

But this is far from a normal year. 

Connecticut health officials expect to administer the first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine to all state residents who are 75 and older within the next three weeks.

An emerald ash borer.
Judy Gallagher / Creative Commons

The U.S. government has lifted a quarantine on an invasive insect, the emerald ash borer, that's killed many trees in Massachusetts and Connecticut. But critics of the change have been more vocal outside those states.

"Landscape With Rainbow" by 19th century painter Robert Duncanson was shown during a ceremony at the inauguration of President Joe Biden.
Gift of Leonard and Paula Granoff / Smithsonian American Art Museum

A presentation of art was among the many moments in Washington during Wednesday’s presidential inauguration.

The Calvin Theatre in Northampton, Massachusetts, is one of several venues owned by Iron Horse Entertainment Group. The company is rescheduling shows for later in 2021 and 2022.
Sam Hudzik / NEPM

In the last 10 months, New England’s rich arts scene has been hit hard.

As dignitaries filed into their seats for President Joe Biden’s inauguration in Washington, D.C., roughly a dozen people affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement in Connecticut marched to the front of the state Capitol in Hartford.

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont and state lawmakers would have enough revenue to balance the state’s next budget without raising taxes.

The percentage of Hartford students in racially integrated schools dropped significantly this academic year amid the challenge of the COVID pandemic and a major change in the operation of the regional school choice lottery, according to figures provided by the state Department of Education.

State and local law enforcement agencies blocked off and locked down the Connecticut State Capitol complex Sunday in anticipation of pro-Trump protests that never came to pass.

Police plan to have a massive presence at a demonstration possibly taking place Sunday at the state Capitol in Hartford, anticipating it could be much larger than a typical protest there.

Conn. Residents 75+ Can Register Online For Vaccine

Jan 14, 2021

Connecticut officially opened its online registration for phase 1b of its Coronavirus vaccine rollout Thursday morning, just days after New York’s website went live with an appointment backlog.

J.R. Romano announced Tuesday night that he has resigned as chairman of the Connecticut Republican Party. Last October, Romano had said he would step down at the end of his term in June. The immediate resignation marks a surprise development.

He said in a short email statement that he decided his resignation was best for the party. In an interview, he refused to elaborate, saying his statement said it all.  

“That’s why my statement was concise, it’s exactly how I feel,” Romano said. “The party needs a new face, it needs a new voice.”

A driver buckles up.
Facebook / National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

A highway safety advocacy group says Vermont and New Hampshire are "dangerously behind" adoption of recommended traffic laws, and Massachusetts and Connecticut are faring only slightly better. 

In past years, hundreds showed up for the Three Kings Day celebrations at Blessed Sacrament Church in Springfield, Massachusetts. Because of COVID-19, Grisel Delgado and her daughter are producing a scaled-back event.
Courtesy / Grisel's Privare Dance School for the Performing Arts

Many Christians celebrate Epiphany on January 6, also known as Three Kings Day. In Puerto Rico, it’s an official holiday and for Puerto Ricans living in western Massachusetts, the community celebrations are usually huge, but not in the era of COVID-19.

Angelica Llanos and her family.
Courtesy Angelica Llanos

When she was 15 years old, Angelica Llanos arrived — undocumented — in Norwalk, Connecticut, from Colombia. She lived with her mother and sister, finished high school, studied for two years at Norwalk Community College but had to drop out because she was ineligible for financial aid.

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