Put It to the Test

Elm City educators look for answers to their questions about the national reform movement.

Illustration by Hanh Nguyen. Exams were approaching, and Lauren Canalori, a literacy coach at Fair Haven School, was apprehensive. In a few weeks, her students would be taking a new round of standardized tests, the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC). It was April 2014, and the tests would measure how well the district’s Common Core curriculum, implemented over the past three years, was working. Canalori had helped develop the curriculum and train teachers to execute it; now, her efforts would be put to the test.. . . Read more
Caroline Sydney
New Cops on the Block

As states cut treatment programs, police learn to work with the mentally ill.

Officer Mike Pepe is one of the New Haven police officers trained to respond to individuals with mental illness. Photo by Jennifer Lu. Officer Mike Pepe is cruising around the Dwight-Kensington neighborhood when he gets the call. Two women, the dispatcher tells him, are sitting on a park bench at a nearby elementary school playground. They’re staring into space while a toddler lies screaming on the ground. Pepe, a four-year veteran of the New Haven Police Department, quickly heads to the scene. He finds the. . . Read more
Michelle Hackman
Playing the Cards Right

Can an ID card help members of a vulnerable population feel at home in the Elm City?

Illustration by Edward Wang. Photographs by Jennifer Lu. In the early morning of June 6, 2007, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials swooped into New Haven, handcuffs at the ready, searching the city for undocumented residents. By the end of the raid, they had taken thirty-two people off the streets of Fair Haven or from inside their own homes. Families gathered in a local church to record the names of those missing. The arrests shook the community and even prompted a response from the mayor. . . Read more
Maya Averbuch
Painted Prayers

A Buddhist artistic practice develops a following in New Haven

Photo by Angelica Calabrese. Karen Burgess sits on the floor of her living room, a stretched canvas in her lap. Strings tied to the frame extend to a hook on the drywall behind her, holding her painting-in-progress upright. A loose gray braid drapes over her black sweatshirt. She leans carefully into the canvas and adds short, precise, sky-blue brush strokes. The sky surrounds her pencil sketch of the Eight Auspicious Symbols, a collection of Buddhist images that includes an umbrella, a conch shell, a wheel,. . . Read more
Angelica Calabrese
The X-Ray and the Eye

Scientists and art historians disagree about the right way to look at art

In a corner of an industrial building just outside of New Haven, a woman points a gun at a treasured painting. The weapon is loaded, and she is ready to fire. She aims carefully, focuses, and pulls the trigger. But this gun shoots X-rays, not bullets. As an X-ray strikes the canvas, it jumbles the electrons orbiting an atom of paint. The atom quickly reshuffles its particles in order to regain its former state of equilibrium. In doing so, the atom sends back another ray,. . . Read more
Julia Rothchild
Loaded Questions

Connecticut gun owners are suing their state over new gun laws. A reporter meets them at the shooting range.

We pull into the parking lot with a trunk full of guns. I have arrived at the Branford Gun Club along with Lenny Benedetto and his wife Virginia. Both are gun enthusiasts and active in the anti-gun control lobby. Lenny is the vice president of the Connecticut Citizens’ Defense League (CCDL), and his wife is the organization’s technology coordinator. They are out to show me that neither guns nor their owners are intrinsically scary, and today, they are going to teach me how to shoot.. . . Read more
Isabelle Taft
Lessons in Looking

Lines between reality and surreality.

Like a faint gray smudge sullying a building’s side—the only trace of the burned-down house that once stood next door—my photographs seek out the unexpected ways in which the natural and the man- made are intertwined. Rather than finding an easy division between the two, the images create an artificial naturalness and a natural artificiality. Along the way, I use both so-called “pure” observation and digital alteration; at times, I physically construct my own scenes. Seeing is as active as making: there is no such. . . Read more
Andrew Wagner

A journey between the lines.

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Madeleine Witt
Against the Tide

As the water’s edge draws closer, a cozy beach community stands against nature.

In the wake of 2011's Hurricane Irene, Andy Weinstein crouches by the ruins of his Cosey Beach home, which had stood strong for nearly a century. Photo Courtesy of Andy Weinstein. “I should have seen the peak of my house,” recalled Andy Weinstein. “It wasn’t there.” On August 28, 2011, Weinstein stood next to his car on Philip Street in East Haven. The roads sloped down toward the coast. The formerly well-defined border of sand and sea walls had been erased. Hurricane Irene had made. . . Read more
Ike Swetlitz
A Tale of Two Supermarkets

A writer evaluates the promises two markets made a hungry city.

Elm City Market, sauteed brussels sprouts with sundried tomatoes, white rice with a medley of colorful beans, and Italian-style stuffed chicken: $9.00 (meals bought by the pound). Photo by Meredith Redick. On your way up Whalley Avenue to the Stop & Shop in New Haven, you pass a Papa John’s, a Burger King, and a rundown Jamaican food cart. Further down, you can stop at  Subway, or McDonald’s. Every block or two, a convenience store appears. Mostly, though, this avenue—and the surrounding residential neighborhood—is all. . . Read more
Meredith Redick