Two Sons of CT Use State University Program to Drive Local TV Meteorology Careers

Among the meteorologists reporting on the Blizzard of 2015 on Connecticut's local television stations are Dan Amarante and Sam Kantrow, who began their careers as student meteorologists-in-training at Western Connecticut State University and now can be seen on FOX Connecticut and NewsChannel 8.  Amarante has lived in Connecticut his entire life, growing up in Cheshire, and graduated from Western Connecticut State University with a Bachelor of Science in Meteorology. While at WCSU, he produced and anchored many school run weather broadcasts for the University’s website, as well as forecasts for the school’s radio station.dan amarante Western Connecticut State University has the state's only meteorology program, which was run for many years by WTNH-TV meteorologist Dr. Mel Goldstein.  The WCSU website is chock full of charts and maps highlighting the latest conditions.The site includes the latest  Geostationary Satellite Images from the Space Science and Engineering Center at the University of Wisconsin and the National Weather Service radar mosaic Northeast Sector loop.  Greater detail is offered in Surface Charts from the National Weather Service and a series of Upper Air charts courtesy of Unisys Weather.  The school has a Weather Center, where students produce forecasts and work with clients while studying meteorology.

After college, Amarante got his start at WGGB ABC40/FOX6 in Springfield, MA, where he was the weekend weather anchor.  He is a Certified Broadcast Meteorologist, the highest certification from the American Meteorology Society.sam kantrow

Meteorologist Kantrow joined "Storm Team 8" on WTNH in February, 2011, first as weather producer and web meteorologist, and is now the on-air meteorologist for the weekend editions of Good Morning Connecticut.  Born and raised in Hamden, he is a graduate of WCSU and has a B.S. in Operational Meteorology and Weathercasting. Before coming to News 8, Kantrow interned at NBC Connecticut.  The WTNH website reports that "Sam’s weather interest began at a very young age, when the tornado that went through Hamden on July 10, 1989 narrowly missed his house! Ever since then, he has loved the weather, and anything about the weather. Sam grew up watching the meteorologists on News 8 and always wondered what it would be like to be in their shoes."

WCSU's Bachelor of Science in Meteorology is the only such program in Connecticut, and one of only a few in the Northeast. The university  has developed a foundation of courses in mathematics, computer science, physics, astronomy and earth science, combined with meteorology, to prepare you for television and radio weathercasting, operational forecasting, or for teaching or research in the atmospheric sciencesmap.  Students in the bachelor's program  earn credits while performing TV/radio weathercasts or doing real-time forecasting for clients in the university's on-campus Weather Center, according to the WCSU website.

The program meets recommendations for an undergraduate meteorology degree program from the American Meteorological Society.  Additionally, students graduating with this B.S. Meteorology degree will have all the course requirements for entry level positions as a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, the single largest employer of meteorologists in the country.wcsustackedBLK

The university also offers a graduate program - a Master of Arts in Earth and Planetary Science, Meteorology/Climatology Option.

Last October, WCSU hosted the 5th Annual Tri-State Weather Conference on campus in Danbury, presented by the university's Meteorology Program  and co-sponsored by the WestConn Student Chapter of the AMS, the New York City/Long Island Chapter of the AMS, NOAA/National Weather Service/Upton, N.Y and NOAA/National Weather Service/Taunton, MA.  The purpose of the conference was to enhance education, professional development and communication among private and public sector meteorologists, researchers, educators, students, emergency management officials, and weather enthusiasts.  Amarante, who joined FOX Connecticut in early 2011, was master of ceremonies for the conference at his alma mater.

The meteorology program at Western also includes among its graduates television meteorologists in a number of cities across the country. In addition to his work in Connecticut, Amarante has filled in as a weather producer at CBS 2 in New York City, and became snowed in at the station during the Blizzard of 2010.  Kantrow, who will be on-air reporting on the Blizzard of 2015 beginning at 3 AM on Tuesday, may find himself in similar circumstances, if forecasts for the day's snowfall come to fruition.

New Technologies to Assure Safety Provide Challenges, Opportunities for Law Enforcement

New technologies are being designed and implemented in Connecticut and across the country aimed at ensuring safety by improving the effectiveness and speed of police operations. Two of the most fascinating systems, and probably the most advanced, are next-generation 911, which support text, data and video from any device, and drones, which are aerial vehicles that act as watchdogs of the sky, according to the website StateTech.

Recent news reports, however, are raising questions in Connecticut regarding at least one of the new technologies, now on the ground here.  In 2011, the city of Hartford introduced a technology to boost public safety that was ushered in as a way to respond to  Hartford gun violence, FOX Connecticut recently reported. It’s called the ShotSpotter system, built to detect gunfire and it is also used in New Haven and Springfield, Mass.

In an investigative story on the technology, FOX Connecticut reported that during an analysis of ShotSpotter in spring 2012, police records show that out of 60 total alerts, only six were confirmed, meaning the system was only 10 percent accurate. Nearly a year later, an interdepartmental police memo shows the system’s accuracy on 27 alerts was even lower, at just eight percent. Two of those 27 alerts were labeled as gunfire but really weren’t, including one which was just noise from a snow plow.sound

Additional assets are being sought, and received, by Connecticut municipalities, using both local and federal resource to boost efforts on the ground, in the air, and in the water.

The Stamford Advocate reported earlier this year that a plan to purchase a new high-tech public safety boat capable of detecting an arsenal of hazardous materials took another step forward, when the Board of Finance agreed to spend $610,000 to purchase the vessel.  The boat will ultimately be paid for by the federal government, according to the report, which noted that the federal government is also paying for other boats delivered to, or on order from, Greenwich, Norwalk, Fairfield and New Haven.

Last September, Fairfield took possession of a $488,000, 34-foot police boat paid for by the grant, the Advocate reported. In June and July, New Haven expects to take possession of a $1.1 million, 39-foot fire boat paid for by FEMA with two fire nozzles capable of spraying a total of 4,000 gallons per minute. That boat will be operated by the fire department, but the city's police department will have access to the vessel for its dive team.  And Greenwich is expecting delivery of a 38-foot, $600,000 boat to be paid for with a Port Security Grant. The police department will have ownership of the boat, but fire and EMS will have access to it.

In Bridgeport earlier this year, what ultimately proved to be an innocent wind-driven error brought a response by local police and the FBI when a drone crashed near a waterfront power plant, the Connecticut Post reported.  Among the other technologies in use around the country are automatic license plate recognition and wearable cameras, which the Hartford Advocate has reported are being used by officers in Branford.  The high-tech license readers, now mounted on 87 police cruisers statewide in Massachusetts, scan literally millions of license plates in that state each year, not only checking the car and owner’s legal history, but also creating a precise record of where each vehicle was at a given moment, according to the Boston Globe.