Episode 191: Weathering Coronavirus Through FaceTime; Getting Drug Users Clean With Help, Not Handcuffs

Before the coronavirus outbreak, a wife visited her husband nearly every day at the nursing home. This week on NEXT, how visitor limitations are separating the couple for the first time in 70 years of marriage. Plus, how homeless shelters are coping with the pandemic. And we talk with singer-songwriter Heather Maloney about music, meditation and how she found her voice during a silent retreat.

After 70 Years Of Marriage, One Vermont Couple Weathers COVID-19 Apart

Marion Austin Rutland Vermont.

Marion Austin used to visit her husband John Austin every day at The Pines in Rutland, Vermont. Now, the couple of nearly 70 years keeps in touch via FaceTime. (Nina Keck / Vermont Public Radio)

Nursing homes and assisted living centers across New England are drastically limiting access to visitors. It’s an effort to protect elderly populations that are especially vulnerable to COVID-19. But this is isolating some couples away from each other. For the Austins, a Vermont couple who began dating just after World War II, it’s the first time they’ve been apart.

NEXT Wants To Hear From You

As states ask “non-essential” businesses to close and plead with people to stay home, many New Englanders are now out of a job. Is that your experience? Have you had to file for unemployment? Or are you the owner of a small business? Call 860-275-7595 and leave us a voicemail, or record a message on your smartphone and email it to us at next@ctpublic.org.

Western Mass. Police Keep Knocking On Drug Users’ Doors Until They’re Ready For Help

pottery class

Police Officer John Cacela with Emily Ligawiec at a pottery class at Workshop 13 in Ware, Mass., where they talk about her recovery from a drug overdose. (Karen Brown / NEPR)

People addicted to opioids often stay under the radar until it’s too late. Health leaders are developing ways to get drug users help and keep them alive until they’re ready to get clean. In one type of outreach gaining traction around Massachusetts, police officers collaborate with public health departments. Reporter Karen Brown brings us the breakthroughs and challenges.

This story is part of a series on overdose response teams from New England Public Radio.

Musician Heather Maloney Talks Meditation And Music

Heather Maloney

Musician Heather Maloney released her album “Soil in the Sky” in 2019. She’s based in western Massachusetts. (Scott Housley)

The coronavirus pandemic has forced musicians across the country to cancel concerts and tours, instantly zapping a key source of income. Heather Maloney is one of those artists. Last summer, the Massachusetts-based singer-songwriter released “Soil In The Sky,” her fourth, full-length studio album. But instead of being on tour, Maloney — like many musicians — is live streaming concerts from home.

Maloney has collaborated with bands like The Avett Brothers and Band of Horses, and her voice has been praised by the Boston Globe as “pretty but not precious, fully able to launch into aural backflips but perhaps more affecting when intimately expressive.”

Also on this week’s show:

About NEXT

NEXT is produced at Connecticut Public Radio
Host/Producer: Morgan Springer
Executive Editor: Vanessa de la Torre
Senior Director: Catie Talarski
Contributors to this episode: Nina Keck, Karen Brown, Robbie Feinberg and Emily Corwin.
Guests: Heather Maloney
Music: Todd Merrell, “New England” by Goodnight Blue Moon; “Making Me Break,” “All In Your Name,” and “What I Don’t Know Too” by Heather Maloney; “Woodstock” by Darlingside and Heather Maloney; and “Kid With A Camera” by Wise Old Moon.

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