The goal: lower the cost of textbooks and course materials for certain courses at state higher education institutions. The method: in the final days of the legislative session, establish a new statewide Council and get started.Read More
Once there were six. Then there were two. Now, there is a last-minute proposal – included in the massive 500-page budget bill – to condense even further into just one, by merging the two surviving agencies into a Commission on Women, Children, Seniors, Equity and Opportunity.Read More
The most popular names for babies born in Connecticut in 2018 were Noah and Olivia. Runners-up were Liam and Emma. They were also the leaders in the baby-naming sweepstakes in Connecticut in 2017.Read More
Although Connecticut’s state and local appropriation per full-time equivalent higher education student, on average, has dropped by 24.1% between 2008 and 2018, the state’s “investment in higher education” ranks 8th highest in the nation, according to a new data analysis.Read More
The historic Charter Oak Cultural Center’s annual celebration comes in the midst of efforts to save from imminent collapse the 143-year-old Rose Window, the centerpiece of the historic structure’s former sanctuary, and honors three outstanding community leaders in Greater Hartford.Read More
The international Earth Day Network, marking the 49th annual Earth Day, is recognizing programs and initiatives around the world that are furthering public awareness of, and participation in, environmental initiatives. Among the 21 programs world-wide identified as noteworthy Art & Ecology Residencies – programs supporting artists engaged in the environmental cause – is one in East Haddam, CT.Read More
A public hearing this month on a proposal to “eliminate the restriction on the length of Runway 2-20 at Tweed-New Haven Airport, was, in some ways, deju vu all over again, as advocates for ramping up flights in and out of Tweed came to the State Capitol to urge action. A decade ago, in 2009, supporters of the regional airport came to the Capitol seeking state funds to fuel growth. This year, the focus is on runway expansion to do the same. The common thread: economic development.
“To realize the region’s full potential as a destination, the airport must improve its infrastructure to support an expanded schedule of flights to additional destinations,” said Ginny Kozlowsi, then president and CEO of the Greater New Haven Convention & visitors Bureau, in 2009.
This month, she was back at the Capitol, as executive director of REX Development: “The retention and recruitment of businesses are essential for the economic success of Connecticut. With the limited flights currently available at Tweed new Haven Regional Airport, it is difficult for companies in Southern Connecticut to access current clients, attract talent and secure more business.”
In testimony this month, Garrett Sheehan, the president and CEO of the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce, pointed out that “The ability to bring people to New Haven and efficiently travel to other locations would greatly improve if Tweed New Haven Airport had additional flights and destinations. It is our expectation that expanding the runway from 5600 feet to 6600 feet, within the airport’s existing footprint, will open the door for new commercial service at Tweed.”
Sheehan noted that today “business is conducted on a global scale. The New Haven region is home to thriving manufacturers, biotech companies, tech startups, and other important businesses. These companies have employees that travel regularly and customers and suppliers who need to visit.”
He named the local organizations and businesses supporting what he described as “a better Tweed”: Avangrid, Alexion, Arts Council of Greater New Haven, Arvinas, ASSA ABLOY, Biorez, CA White, CT Bio, CT Tourism Coalition, DISTRICT New Haven, Ferguson & McGuire Insurance, Fitstyle by Shana, Marcum, My Language Link, New Haven Manufacturing Association, Prometheus Research, Radiall USA, Inc., Regional Water Authority, Technolutions, The Outtrim Group, Ulbrich Stainless Steels and Special Metals, and Yale New Haven Health.
One of them, ASSA ABLOY, testified ten years ago, when vice president Jack Dwyer stated: “A clear function of business travel efficiency is proximity to an airport…and having Tweed as a viable alternative is viewed by our management team and owners as being a factor in our ongoing and future success.”
In its testimony this month, Yale New Haven Health senior vice president Vin Petrini, chief policy and communications officer, pointed out that “Yale New Haven Health is currently the largest private employer in Connecticut with more than 25,000 employees located in nearly every town, city and legislative district in the State. We also have the distinction of being the State’s largest taxpayer having paid more than $300 million in provider taxes last year alone.”
Petrini said “Tweed represents the second most underserved region in the nation,” stating that action on the legislation would unleash a “key linchpin in the economic future of the region and the state of Connecticut.”
Ryan Duques, chairman of Madison’s Economic Development Commission, a tech startup managing partner and the former publisher of 15 Connecticut newspapers, and told lawmakers that “Tweed is vital to the economic sustainability of south-central Connecticut,” adding that “it is our expectation that this change will open the door for new commercial service at Tweed with additional destinations and flights.”
The words of former Southern Connecticut State University president Cheryl Norton a decade ago could easily have been said this month: “a robust regional airport would provide another travel option to our crowded roadways and trains.”
John Hickenlooper, a former two-term Governor of Colorado, Mayor of Denver and 1974 graduate of Wesleyan University in Middletown, is the latest Democrat to announce he will be seeking the party’s presidential nomination in the 2020 election cycle. Hickenlooper, 67, is expected to point to his eight years governing Colorado, a modern-day political swing state with an electorate nearly evenly divided among registered Democrats, Republicans and unaffiliated voters, the Denver Post reported this week.
In addition to leading the state during an explosive economic expansion following the Great Recession, Hickenlooper nudged the state to the left, the Post reported. By the time his second term ended in January, he had expanded the state’s Medicaid program, signed comprehensive gun-control legislation and helped establish civil unions for same-sex couples prior to the U.S. Supreme Court legalizing marriage equality.
“I’m running for president because we’re facing a crisis that threatens everything we stand for,” Hickenlooper says in a taped announcement, promising to “repair the damage done to our country and be stronger than ever.” He will kick-off his campaign at a rally Thursday in Denver.
Hickenlooper graduated from Wesleyan University with a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in geology. He began his career as a geologist and later opened a series of restaurants and brewpubs across the country, including the Wynkoop Brewing Co. in downtown Denver, which helped spark the revitalization of the city’s now-thriving Lower Downtown (“LoDo”) district. He served as the mayor of Denver from 2003 to 2011.
Hickenlooper delivered the commencement address at Wesleyan in 2010, where he said “Frankness impels me to say that my Wesleyan undergraduate career was notable, which is not to say distinguished. I came to Wesleyan as a slightly dyslexic extrovert with attention deficit disorders. And don’t you think that’s a particularly cruel irony – that the slowest readers could also have the short attention spans?”
On a more serious note, he explained that “in spite of the fact that my degrees are in English and geology – what I learned at Wesleyan was how to be an entrepreneur. The essence of entrepreneurship is not just the economic bottom-line so much as it is an exploration of innovation and creativity.
It’s the creative spark that has always interested me most, because there is such joy and satisfaction in the process of creating something that works, that fills a need, building something where nothing existed before, adding value to people’s lives so that their creative energies can also flourish.”
Reflecting on his time as Mayor, he said “I like to refer to myself, because the word ‘politician’ is still somewhat tainted despite our efforts, as an entrepreneur on loan to Public Service.”
Hickenlooper described a start-up as “the single best learning process in American enterprise. When you build something from scratch, you acquire a depth of understanding that no ‘professional,’ no management expert can match. There are few better ways to learn about yourself, your strengths and your weaknesses, than in beginning and building something, an enterprise. It is a wonderful mirror.”
“Entrepreneurship,’ he added, “is all about innovation, re-invention, adaptation and perseverance.”
A past chair of the National Governor’s Association, he was guest on the weekly podcast hosted by the leaders of Middletown-based Community Health Center a year ago, discussing how expanded coverage under the Affordable Care Act has improved access to health care in his state, how embedding behavioral health in primary care is improving outcomes, lessons learned from the state’s marijuana legalization, and how the opioid crisis was being combated in Colorado.
His Wesleyan commencement address at the start of this decade included this description of his years as Mayor: “We challenged the status quo that government can’t work. We were transparent and accountable. We sought talent, without regard to politics, whether someone was Republican or Democrat. We weren’t bi-partisan, we were non-partisan. Every good restaurateur learns early that there’s no margin, there’s no profit in having enemies. You need everyone. We were always about solving problems, and you can’t solve problems with only half the people.”