CONNECTICUT

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

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.

Two Connecticut teacher’s unions say many educators in the state don’t think schools are safe enough for children or themselves to be in as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

The coronavirus has taken the lives of over 5,600 Connecticut residents. Urbano Sifuentes of West Hartford was among them. For 25 years, Sifuentes worked as a janitor at the University of Hartford.

Speaking in Spanish, his daughter Rosemary Torres remembered him as a generous man who worked hard and had a great sense of humor.

“He was a very, very loving, very tender man. It has been difficult because it was very surprising the way he left us. It was so sudden. He was always cheerful and always joking around.”

Miguel Cardona is drawing praise from many in the academic community as a visionary choice to be the next U.S. secretary of education. President-elect Joe Biden announced his pick last week.

Mass. Is One Of 3 States Joining Vehicle Emissions Pact

Dec 22, 2020

Fewer than one-third of the state and local governments talking about forming a regional effort to staunch vehicle emissions along the East Coast have agreed to sign on to the final program from the outset, but officials said Monday they are confident the program will still be effective.

State public health officials have removed a consumption advisory on fish taken from a portion of the Farmington River. That advisory had been in place since June 2019 after a spill at a nearby airport hangar washed thousands of gallons of toxic chemicals into the river.

In anticipation of potential COVID-19 surges in the coming weeks, state officials and health experts are expanding the Hartford region’s hospital bed capacity.

The state National Guard and the Department of Public Health in partnership with Hartford HealthCare are reopening a 600-bed field hospital at the Connecticut Convention Center. They say this is a precautionary move as numbers of cases and hospitalizations continue to generally trend upward. 

Elected officials across Connecticut testified before state regulators Monday that electric utility Eversource repeatedly failed to provide critical updates on power restoration in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Isaias, which knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of customers earlier this year.

Baystate Hospital In Springfield, Massachusetts.
File Photo / The Republican / Masslive.com

The head of Baystate Health said he expects to receive the first shipment of the coronavirus vaccine on Tuesday and start vaccinating employees on Wednesday.

A rendering of the proposed Tribal Winds Casino in East Windsor, Connecticut.
Stu Loeser / Tribal Winds

The head of Connecticut's Mohegan Tribe said he remains hopeful a new casino can still be built in East Windsor, even though tribal officials announced this week now is not the time.

The Hartford chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority holds a get-out-the-vote rally prior to Election Day in downtown Hartford.
AKA Hartford Chapter / Courtesy AKA Hartford Chapter

On Monday, electors gather in each state and cast their votes for president and vice president. It will be a major step for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on their way to the White House.

Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun say they won’t build a casino in East Windsor -- for now. The controversial project that united the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes could be the casualty of a bigger plan that involves exclusive rights to operate sports betting in Connecticut.

A text message invitation to bet on the location of next year’s first homicide in Hartford has resulted in a major shakeup within the city’s police department.

Lamont To Leverage $55M In Federal Aid To Assist Poor Unemployed

Dec 7, 2020

Gov. Ned Lamont announced an expansion Friday of unemployment eligibility rules expected to channel more than $1,800 this winter to each of about 38,000 residents, most of whom lost low-paying jobs.

By spending $7.5 million from the state unemployment trust — which is already in debt — to slightly boost state benefits to those residents, Connecticut could leverage $55 million in additional federal benefits for its jobless.

For decades, millions of tons of trash have been put on a truck and shipped to the banks of the Connecticut River in Hartford.

There, inside an incinerator, trash from dozens of communities is burned and turned into power. But recent years brought problems to the plant, as age, mechanical failures and ever-changing energy market forces aligned to cause the plant’s operator to threaten permanent closure.

Early in the pandemic, Xiomy De la Cruz was working at a fast-food restaurant when her work hours were cut back. She is a Peruvian refugee and a single mother with two children and another on the way. Like many families, she found herself in various pantry lines to make ends meet.

Black and Hispanic communities have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19. A new study from Yale finds Hispanic and Black children are hospitalized for COVID-19 at even higher rates than adults.

The federal government could grant emergency use authorization to COVID-19 vaccines as soon as next week, potentially getting doses in the hands of Connecticut hospitals by mid-December.

While official statewide distribution plans are still being finalized, health providers do know enough about the upcoming vaccines in order to take some immediate steps in preparation, with little time to spare. 

As COVID-19 drags on and advocates continue to pressure state officials to release people from prisons and jails, the Board of Pardons and Paroles has a tool that, in the words of the U.S. Supreme Court, gives them “unfettered discretion” to commute a person’s sentence and shorten the length of time spent behind bars.

After chastising legislators for rejecting his calls for tolls, Gov. Ned Lamont faces another budget quandary centered on Connecticut’s cash-starved transportation network.

With big deficits looming over the next two fiscal years, Lamont already is expected to propose some ugly spending cuts in February as he tries to avoid tax hikes while potentially gearing up to seek reelection in 2022.

An Ode To A Landmark Copper Beech, Recently Felled

Nov 26, 2020
St. John's Episcopal Church, which is located on the Hartford and West Hartford border, recently cut down a huge copper beech tree the church had been advised could no longer be saved.
Dwight Latif / Courtesy of St John's Episcopal Church, West Hartford, CT.

The town I call home, West Hartford, has lost a dear old friend.

The Eastfield Mall on Boston Road in Springfield, Massachusetts, urges people to wash their hands frequently on its electronic billboard.
Steven E. Nanton / The Republican / masslive.com

Black Friday traditionally marks the start of the holiday shopping season, a crucial time for retailers. But a group representing them in Massachusetts said it's impossible to predict how it will go this year.

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut says President-elect Joe Biden’s administration should include more money for pedestrian and bicycle lanes in its federal transportation proposals.

Native American history would be a mandatory part of public schools in Connecticut, if a bill introduced by State Senator Cathy Osten passes.

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