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STATE OF THE WEEK 05: CONNECTICUT

Connecticut

Five Fast Facts

  1. The Fundamental Orders, adopted by Connecticut Colonists on January 24, 1639, is considered to be the first written constitution in the western world. While short, it sets principles that were later applied to the US Constitution. These include government based on the consent of the governed (including spelling out individual rights and how they are ensured) and election of leaders by free men.
  2. Connecticut was the first state to set a speed limit for automobiles; in 1901 the Connecticut government set a speed limit of 12 miles per hour. In 1937 it became the first state to issue permanent license plates for cars.
  3. Among the silly laws allegedly on the books in Connecticut: in order for a pickle to be considered a pickle, it has to bounce; silly string is banned in the town of Southington, and it is illegal to walk backwards on city sidewalks after sunset in Devon.
  4. The Hartford Courant is the oldest continually published newspaper in the United States, having been established in 1764.
  5. Opened in 1846, Lake Compounce, located just down the street from ESPN’s Bristol headquarters, is the oldest continuously-operated amusement park in the United States. Its premier attraction, Boulder Dash, is the first wooden roller coaster built entirely into the side of a mountain, and has won the Golden Ticket Award for Best Wood Coaster four times since it opened in 2000, including the past three years.
The Constitution State, The Nutmeg State
Abbreviation: CT
Time Zone: US Eastern (UTC-5/-4)
Admission to the Union: January 9, 1788
Population: 3,590,886 (29th)
Area: 5,543 sq. mi (48th)
State Capital: Hartford
Largest City: Bridgeport
Demonym: Connecticuter, Nutmegger
Borders: Rhode Island (E), Massachusetts (N), New York (W), Long Island Sound (S)
Subreddit: /Connecticut

Government

Governor: Dannel Malloy (D)
Lieutenant Governor: Nancy Wyman (D)
Connecticut General Assembly
  • 36 Senators (20 Democrat, 15 Republican, 1 Working Families Party)
  • 151 Representatives (87 Democrat, 64 Republican)
  • President pro tem of the Senate: Martin Looney
  • Speaker of the House: Brendan Sharkey
U.S. Senators: Richard Blumenthal (D), Chris Murphy (D)
U.S. Representative(s): 5 Democrat
Last 5 Election Results (election winner in italics):
  • Barack Obama (D) – 905,083 (58.06%), Mitt Romney (R) – 634,892 (40.73%)
  • Barack Obama (D) – 997,773 (60.59%), John McCain (R) – 629,428 (38.22%)
  • John Kerry (D) – 857,488 (54.31%), George W Bush (R) – 693,826 (43.95%)
  • Al Gore (D) – 816,015 (55.91%), George W Bush (R) – 561,095 (38.44%)
  • Bill Clinton (D) – 735,740 (52.83%), Bob Dole (R) – 483,109 (34.69%), Ross Perot (I) – 139,523 (10.02%)

Demographics

Racial Composition:
  • 71.2% White (non-Hispanic)
  • 10.1% Black
  • 6.4% Hispanic
  • 3.8% Asian
  • 2.6% Mixed Race or Multicultural
  • 0.3% Native American
  • 5.6% Other
Ancestry Groups
  • 19.3% Italian
  • 17.9% Irish
  • 10.7% English
  • 10.4% German
  • 8.6% Polish
  • 6.6% French
Second Languages – Most Non-English Languages Spoken at Home
  • Spanish
  • Italian
  • French
  • Polish
Religious Affiliation – Largest Religious Denominations
  • Catholic (43%)
  • Protestant (27%)
  • Non-religious (23%)
  • Jewish (1%)
  • Other Christian (2.5%)
  • Buddhist and Hindu – 1.5%

Education

The first law school in the nation, Litchfield Law School, was operated from 1773 until 1833 in Connecticut. Connecticut State Schools are governed by the Connecticut Board of Regents for Higher Education, a body established in 2011 to accredit schools and programs as well as to set budgets and coordinate operations.

Economy

Unemployment Rate – 7.0%
Wealthiest Cities/Towns (by per capita income)
  • New Canaan ($100,824)
  • Darien ($95,577)
  • Greenwich ($92,759)
  • Weston ($92,735)
  • Westport ($90,792)
Largest Employers, excluding Wal-Mart and state/federal government
  • Foxwoods Resort Casino
  • Aetna
  • Pratt & Whitney
  • Immucor
  • Sikorsky Aircraft Group

Transportation

Major Highways
  • Interstate Highways: I-84, I-91, I-95, I-395
  • State Routes/Highways
  • Rush hour traffic on I-95 between New York and New Haven is some of the most congested in the United States, and frequently affects the nearby Merritt Parkway. The state has begun encouraging ride-sharing and rail-use to alleviate the congestion.
Public Transit
System Services Area Description
Metro-North Rail Southwestern Connecticut Operated by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, offers rail service between New York City and New Haven, with several local branches
Amtrak Rail Eastern/Northern Connecticut Commuter rail between New Haven and Springfield, Massachusetts, with local lines opening to Hartford and Central Connecticut
CT Transit Bus Statewide Public bus system
CTfastrak Bus New Britain to Hartford Rapid bus transit
Airports/Seaports
  • Bradley International Airport (BDL)
  • Tweed-New Haven Airport (HVN)
Connecticut has some of the highest rates of bicycle ownership and use in the U.S., and New Haven has the highest percentage of commuters who bicycle to work of any major metropolitan center on the East Coast.

Culture

Nutmegger?
So what does nutmeg have to do with Connecticut? Well, no one really knows. One theory (the most popular told to Connecticut children) is that swindlers from the state were notorious for selling counterfeit nutmegs made from wood to unsuspecting travelers and residents of seaside towns. Another more innocuous explanation is that traders from Connecticut were in fact selling real nutmeg, but customers unfamiliar with the unusually hard native form of the spice may have felt they had been tricked into buying a wooden counterfeit. The source of the legend traces back to the 1830’s newspaper column “The Sayings and Doings of Samuel Slick, of Slickville”, who claimed that Captain John Allspice, a popular trader who did business in Charleston, would cut his purchase of fifty barrels of nutmeg into two and fill the remaining space with wooden counterfeits, which looked so real that it was impossible to spot the difference unless you bit the nutmeg with your teeth.
Sikorsky Aircraft and United Technologies
Igor Sikorsky, a Kiev-born immigrant, founded Sikorsky in 1925 in Roosevelt, New York. In 1929, the company moved to Stratford, Connecticut and became part of United Technologies Corporation. Originally focused on multi-engine airplanes and amphibious aircraft (such as the Sikorsky Clipper), Sikorsky began developing the first practical helicopter, continuing work he had begun in Russia in 1909. In 1939, the first tethered and free-flight helicopter flights took place between 1939 and 1940; the V-S 300 design remains the basis for most helicopter designs today.
Cuisine
New Haven-style pizza (known as “Apizza”) is considered by culinary historians (such as Jeffrey Steingarten) to be among the best styles of Neapolitan-American pizza, along with New York City. While limited geographically until recently, restaurants specializing in the style have opened in the Washington DC, Oregon, Michigan, Texas and Tokyo.
The lobster roll originated in Milford in 1929 at a restaurant called Perry’s. The Connecticut-style lobster roll is simply warm lobster meat soaked in butter and served on a steamed bun. The more popular Maine style, consisting of cold lobster meat served with mayonnaise, celery, lemon juice, and lettuce is known locally as a lobster salad roll, and is more well-known outside of New England.
Connecticut is recognized by the Library of Congress as the birthplace of the modern hamburger. Louis Lunch in New Haven is known as the oldest continually operating hamburger restaurant, and is known for disliking the addition of any condiments to the burger, especially ketchup. Yale students who sneak in ketchup have been asked to leave in the past.
Charter Oak
The Charter Oak was a large white oak tree estimated to be around 600-700 years old at the time it fell in 1856. According to tradition, the state’s Royal Charter of 1662 was hidden in the hollow portion of the tree to prevent its confiscation by the English governor-general; this story became a symbol of American Independence. Captain Joseph Wadsworth (ancestor of Revolutionary general Elijah Wadsworth) was was credited as the person who hid the charter from Royal authorities, who did not like the amount of local autonomy the charter gave to colonists. After it fell during a violent storm, timber from the tree was made into several chairs, which are displayed in the Hartford Capitol Building. The Charter Oak adorns the state quarter and is still a symbol for the state as a whole today.
Sports
While Connecticut does not currently have a “big four” franchise, it has hosted multiple teams in all of the big four previously:
League Team Years Active
NHL Hartford Whalers 1972 - 1997
MLB Hartford Dark Blues 1876
NFL Hartford Blues 1926
NFL New York Giants 1973 – 1974 (played at Yale Bowl while Giants Stadium was under construction)
NBA Boston Celtics 1975 – 1995 (various home games)
The WNBA Connecticut Sun are the only current major professional sports team playing in the state, and are considered the most successful franchise in the WNBA to not win an overall championship.
The Pilot-Pen Tennis Tournament and the Travelers Championship both take place in Connecticut (in New Haven and Hartford, Respectively).
Lime Rock Park is a 1.53-mile natural-terrain course located in the Northwestern corner of Connecticut. It currently hosts events for the WeatherTech Sports Car Championship and has hosted events for NASCAR, Grand-Am, ALMS and the Pirelli World Challenge. The track also hosts a Historic Festival every Labor Day which features classic car shows and historic race cars taking part in exhibition races.
Connecticut’s NCAA Division I teams are:
  • UCONN
  • Quinnipiac University
  • Fairfield University
  • Central Connecticut State University
  • Sacred Heart University
  • University of Hartford
The UCONN Huskies are the only team to win men’s and women’s basketball championships in the same year, having done so twice (2004, 2014). The UCONN Women hold the NCAA record for the longest winning streak in college basketball at 90 games, having gone undefeated from 2008 until December 30, 2010 after a loss to Stanford. The Women have not missed the NCAA Final Four since 2008.

List of Famous People

Previous States:
  1. Delaware
  2. Pennsylvania
  3. New Jersey
  4. Georgia
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