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In this photo released by the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles, shows the option of a gender-neutral designation on a driver’s license. The agency announced the new policy on Monday, June 11, 2018. A sticker will be placed on licenses and IDs for the time-being before cards are upgraded next year. (Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles via AP)

Connecticut became the last New England state Monday to include a non-binary option on its driver’s licenses. This week on NEXT, we talk to the person who helped push for change in Maine — the first state in the region to include the non-binary designation. And ahead of the New Hampshire primary Feb. 11. we hear where Democratic presidential candidates stand on drug policies. Plus, what happened to the ESPN editor whose headline about Jeremy Lin was interpreted as a racial slur.

Kobe Bryant Remembered At UConn game And The Basketball Hall Of Fame In Springfield

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James Hurdle of Windsor Locks with his daughter Jasmine at an exhibition game at the XL Center in Hartford. They both wore Kobe Bryant jerseys in memory of James Hurdle’s favorite player. (Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio)

People around the country and the world have been reacting to the death of Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna. They died Sunday in a helicopter crash, which killed nine people. In Springfield, Massachusetts, the home of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, people came to pay their respects and place flowers at a memorial in the lobby.

Bryant spent his entire 20-year career playing for the Los Angeles Lakers and won five NBA titles. He retired in 2016. This year, he became eligible for enshrinement into the Hall of Fame. John Doleva, the president of the Hall of Fame, says Bryant’s induction is a foregone conclusion. He says they’ll announce the inductees in April.

At a University of Connecticut exhibition game on Monday between the UConn women’s basketball team and Team USA in Hartford, some spectators also remembered Bryant, arriving in his No. 8 Lakers jersey. The women’s team put a jersey and an array of flowers on an empty bench seat at the game to honor Gianna. Both Bryants were fans of UConn, and Kobe Bryant had suggested that his daughter was “hell-bent” on playing basketball for the school. 

All New England States Now Have Non-Binary Option On Driver’s Licenses

Ian-Meredythe Lindsey (Matthew Delamater)

Not long ago, most people got two options when selecting gender on a driver’s license: male or female. Now residents of every New England state can also select non-binary –a gender identity that is not exclusively masculine or feminine. Connecticut was the last state in the region to make the change, rolling out the option this week. Maine was the first, making the change in 2018. We spoke with Ian-Meredythe Lindsey, who filed a complaint with the Maine Human Rights Commission after trying to include a non-binary option on a drivers license application in 2017. That prompted the state to add the gender-neutral designation.

A Random Pocket-Dial Connects Two Grieving Mothers

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A random butt dial can be kind of embarrassing. But the experience was different for Kris Francoeur. Last month, she unintentionally dialed her son Sam’s old phone number. He had passed away from an accidental overdose in 2013, and Francoeur had discontinued his number, freeing up the phone company to give it to a different client. Francoeur’s pocket dial brought surprising comfort when it connected her with another grieving mother on the other end of the line.

ESPN Headline Interpreted As Racial Slur, Editor Turns To Priesthood 

Anthony Federico, former ESPN editor, is practicing priesthood.

(Courtesy Anthony Federico)

Jeremy Lin was the only Asian American basketball player in the NBA in 2012, and he was on fire, leading the New York Knicks to seven straight wins. Then on February 17, 2012, Lin had a bad game. Anthony Federico was an editor at ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut, and early the next morning he wrote a headline, trying to capture Lin’s unusual poor performance.

“A headline that I had used myself many times before, and that sports media sites had been using for years,” he says. “And, about a half hour later, I realized that it had been going viral for the wrong reason.”

How one of the biggest social media controversies of the past decade prepared Federico for the priesthood.

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: Frankie Graziano, Theo Greenly, Martha Bebinger, Nina Keck, Martin Kessler and Nancy Cohen.
Music: Todd Merrell and “New England” by Goodnight Blue Moon.

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