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King in Connecticut 

In his youth, Martin Luther King Jr. spent two summers working on Connecticut tobacco farms. The local culture — far more integrated than the Jim Crow South where he grew up — had a lasting impact on King, but many details of his time in the state are not as clear as historians would like. New efforts are underway to change that, as the State Historic Preservation Office has received $30,000 from the National Park Service’s African American Civil Rights Grant to study where King and fellow students from the South stayed in Connecticut and identify sites to nominate for the National Register of Historic Places.

A different kind of ‘edible’

Edible Arrangements, which left Connecticut for Atlanta in 2018, is now establishing roots of a different sort in the state. The company, which is best known for creating fruit baskets that look like floral arrangements, has teamed with the University of Connecticut to grow, test and process 20 acres of hemp at a South Windsor farm. The hemp will be used to create CBD-infused products for the company’s newly launched Incredible Edibles business that will eventually farm, process and sell CBD products.

CBD is an extract from the hemp plant that is celebrated for its calming properties but lacks the psychoactive THC compound. While guidelines for selling CBD federally are murky, the product is legal to sell in Connecticut. 

Tariq Farid, the founder of Edible Arrangements, whom we profiled in 2017, told Forbes he was not going to rush the sale of CBD products. Instead, the company will work on creating shelf-stable CBD products and roll out wellness franchise locations that will have a similar feel to a juice bar. Farid reportedly plans to open the first location in Connecticut.

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Anvers Island in Antarctica, home to Palmer Station

Cold Comfort 

In November 1820, a young sailor from Stonington named Nathaniel Palmer became one of the first humans to lay eyes on the icy continent of Antarctica. To celebrate the upcoming bicentennial of that sighting, Abercrombie & Kent, a luxury expedition travel company, will take would-be explorers on a voyage that retraces Palmer’s historic expedition. Travelers who fork over more than $18,000 will arrive in Buenos Aires before departing for Ushuaia, the world’s southernmost city and the “gateway to Antarctica.” The group will then board a ship and cruise the Drake Passage, the waters between Cape Horn and the northern reaches of Antarctica, visiting the areas where Palmer and other explorers first sighted the continent. The voyage will focus on climate-change research and feature special guest and noted Antarctic researcher Dr. James McClintock, who will lead a tour at Palmer Station, a U.S. research post located on Anvers Island near the Antarctic Peninsula.

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Equality control

Connecticut scored higher than the national average in the Human Rights Campaign’s eighth annual Municipal Equality Index, the only nationwide assessment of LGBTQ inclusion in municipal law, policy and services. The ratings are on a scale of zero to 100 (a perfect score), based on 49 criteria. A total of 506 cities were ranked, including, but not limited to, the five largest cities in each state and 75 municipalities that have high proportions of same-sex couples. Connecticut's statewide average score was 74, compared to the national average score of 60. Connecticut cities ranked as follows:

Hartford: 99

Norwalk: 97

New Haven: 85

New Britain: 73

Waterbury: 71

Storrs: 52

Fairfield: 46

Bridgeport: 42

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From left, Marian Chertow, Nell Newman, Elizabeth George Plouffe and Martha "Matt" Lengevin.

Hall pass

Four women joined an elite group as the latest class inducted into the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame. The theme of the 26th annual ceremony was “Women: A Force for Nature,” and each inductee was recognized for her work in conservation and sustainability.

Marian Chertow, a professor at Yale, is an industrial ecology pioneer, researcher and teacher of environmental management and strategy.

Nell Newman, daughter of Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, is an ecologist, conservationist, organic farmer and the founder of Newman’s Own Organics.

Elizabeth George Plouffe and Martha “Matt” Langevin were sisters and the last two Pequots living on the reservation in the 1970s whose resistance enabled the Pequot Nation to rebuild and reclaim over 1,250 acres.

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State Sen. Will Haskell (D-26), of New Canaan, arrives at a press conference at Fairfield Fire Department headquarters in Fairfield in October 2019.

New political generation coming of age?

Will Haskell, elected to the Connecticut state Senate at age 22 last year, had this reaction to earning a spot on the Forbes 30 Under 30 listings for 2020: “I’ve had a blast looking at the others and feeling inadequate.” Wow, if he’s daunted, how about the rest of us? Haskell is the only elected officeholder on the lists of 30 standout teens and 20-somethings in 22 categories. Still, he sees recent grads and even students jumping into politics. “Almost every week I get a call or an email from some young person looking to run for office,” says Haskell, whose political résumé working for fellow Democrats belies his age. At the College Democrats of America convention this year, Haskell figured a few people would stick around after his presentation to talk about running for office. “There was a line out the door,” he says, “and they didn’t just have dreams. They had concrete plans.” Is Connecticut set for a serious youth movement, driven by generational issues like climate change, gun control and student debt? Haskell rattles off a few names and says more would be “awesome.”

Endangered Unicorns

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Minor league baseball turmoil is nothing new in Connecticut, and fans in Norwich are the most recent to get caught looking at a curveball. The Norwich Sea Unicorns — until December known as the Connecticut Tigers, and a Class A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers — is one of 42 teams being targeted by Major League Baseball for contraction. Under the plan, 13 teams would be eliminated and the rem­aining 29 would be stripped of their MLB affiliations and relegated to independent leagues. The Sea Unicorns would be one of 11 teams placed in the “Dream League,” which will be supported by MLB.

“Let’s be clear. [This plan] has nothing to do with what is good for baseball, but it has everything to do with greed. Your proposal to throw about 1,000 ball players out of work comes less than three months after an appeals court ruled that Minor League Baseball players could move forward with a class action lawsuit seeking higher wages.” — U.S. Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders in a letter to MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred

This article appeared in the January 2020 issue of Connecticut Magazine. You can subscribe here, or find the current issue on sale hereSign up for our newsletter to get the latest and greatest content from Connecticut Magazine delivered right to your inbox. Got a question or comment? Email editor@connecticutmag.com, or contact us on Facebook @connecticutmagazine or Twitter @connecticutmag.

The senior writer at Connecticut Magazine, Erik is the co-author of Penguin Random House’s “The Good Vices” and author of “Buzzed” and “Gillette Castle.” He is also an adjunct professor at WCSU’s MFA Program and Quinnipiac University

Mike Wollschlager, editor and writer for Connecticut Magazine, was born and raised in Bristol and has lived in Farmington, Milford, Shelton and Wallingford. He was previously an assistant sports editor at the New Haven Register.