Archive | June, 2010

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Hartford Candidate Forum Kicks Off Election Cycle


HARTFORD — After the big summer holiday this weekend, the city’s election cycle begins in earnest as challengers face long-time incumbents this fall.

A candidate forum is scheduled for July 13 at the Hartford Public Library on Main Street to help kick off the season. The event is expected to begin 5:30 p.m.

Organizers say residents will have a chance to question candidates about thier positions on a various issues after the first round of prepared questions by the moderator.

Invited panelists are incumbents and their challengers:

State Senator – District 1
John Fonfara and Edwin Vargas

State Representative – Assembly District 1
Kenneth Green and Matt Ritter

State Representative – Assembly District 4
Kelvin Roldan and Angel Morales

State Representative – Assembly District 6
Hector Robles and Alyssa Peterson

State Representative – Assembly District 7
Douglas McCrory and rJo Winch

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The Redemption of Chris Brown


New America Media, News Report, Charles Jones

A lot has already been said about Chris Brown’s emotional tribute to Michael Jackson at the 2010 BET Awards aired last night.

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That this was Brown’s “comeback moment.” That it was a shameless and feeble attempt at regaining the notoriety he deservedly lost after he beat his ex-girlfriend, pop songstress Rihanna, over a year ago.

What has not been said, however, is that this was Brown’s first true shot at redemption in the eyes of the public since that fateful beating incident. His many, many (some would even say too many) attempts at regaining the public’s trust up to this point have all ended in further scrutiny and ridicule, like when “#chrisbrownsbowtie” became the number one topic on Twitter during his interview with Larry King.

When he later released his sophomore album, Graffiti, he was almost a pop culture footnote — a joke. And while we, the viewing public, weighed in and pontificated on these two young pop stars’ personal lives and decisions, we look at Rihanna as the hero/victim, and Brown as the villain/aggressor.

Brown’s apologies and attempts to atone his “sins” were all but laughed at. No one thought about his personal struggles and demons. Instead, he was viewed as Rihanna’s domestic abuser. His sign of strength or masculinity became unacceptable, and his music career suffered.

Before the beating incident, Chris Brown was an extremely physical, high-energy dancer and performer. These days, he only gets contrition from the public. And, Graffiti was weighed down by too many slow “Baby I’m so sorry” tracks that did nothing but remind the public of what they didn’t like about him, while doing almost nothing to remind us what it is we did like.

Unlike Brown’s album, his Sunday night’s performance at BET Awards was loud, physical, energetic, happy, and was full of songs that we all love and know word for word.

Graffiti was a critical and commercial flop, an apology that the public refused to accept. That is why it is fitting that his seemingly re-emergence into our good graces came during a Michael Jackson tribute on BET. A young man we refused to forgive, performing a tribute to a dead man that we all refused to hold accountable.

Perhaps that’s what really made young Chris Brown cry like a baby while performing Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror.” He received an overwhelming support from a house full of his peers in Los Angeles — something that had become alien over the past year. Seeing black women (his harshest critics, by far) standing, clapping, feeling and crying, with and for him, was revelatory.

When it is allowed to occur, redemption is a beautiful thing.

Chares Jones is a writer and social commentator at NAM.

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State Begins Emergency Alert System


HARTFORD — Gov. Jodi Rell announced today that the state of Connecticut is signing up residents for a statewide emergency notification system, the first one of its kind in the U.S.

CT Alert allows state authorities to communicate critical information to its residents before, during and after emergencies.

The system is a fast and efficient way for Connecticut authorities to reach residents during events such as natural disasters and public-health emergencies.

Some towns in Connecticut – such as Mystic and Pawcatuck — already have used the CT Alert system to help people stranded by storms in the spring.

For information on how to sign up, please visit http://www.ct.gov/dps/cwp/view.asp?Q=462250&A=11 andhttp://www.ctalert.gov/ctalert/site/default.asp .

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Police Seek Suspect for Willard Street Shooting


HARTFORD —

Police are seeking a man who fired shots at a glass door and drywall early Monday on Willard St.

Police described the suspect as a thin,  5-foot-10 black male with hair  in braids and acne scars on his face. He was last seen waring  a white T-shirt in a blue BMW coupe.

Hartford Police Department Crime Tip Hotline is asking anyone with information to call 1-866-457-TIPS (8477).

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Jobs Still on Hold as Teens Leave School for the Summer


WASHINGTON (NNPA) – As summer streets await energetic teens in search of wholesome activities, Black lawmakers continue pushing for summer jobs funding. But they face resistance from opponents wary of putting more strain on the nation’s already record debt.

The U. S. House of representatives passed a jobs bill that includes funding for high school students last week. But, the Senate has yet to vote on the final measure. Members continue to haggle over the H.R. 4213, which includes $1 billion dollars in additional funding for more than 400,000 summer jobs as well as other measures aimed at reducing unemployment.

The unemployment numbers for Black teenagers, the highest of any group, took a rise in jobless rates in May after experiencing decreases over six consecutive months. Their jobless rate, currently at 38 percent, has fallen almost ten percent since a decade high in November, when just under half of all Black teenagers were without jobs.

“Specifically, the bill includes $1 billion for a summer youth program and $2.5 billion in emergency assistance for needy families—two initiatives that will further our economic recovery,” says Congressional Black Caucus Chair Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) in a statement. “This bill is good for the health of our economy and it is imperative for the U.S. Senate to act swiftly and pass this legislation.”

Rates in White teenagers of working age in May, currently at 24.4 percent, saw an increase of 1 percent over April. White teens aged 16-19 saw a steady increase in their jobless numbers since February when it was 22.5 percent.

With the exception of April when it briefly rose to 9.9 percent, the national jobless rate has been hovering at a consistent 9.7 percent for the first half of the year.

In May, the national jobless rate for all African-American workers fell 1 percent from the previous month’s record-high of 16.5 to its lowest point since September when it hit 15.5 percent. Experts predict that the drop may be due to the hiring of over 400,000 temporary workers, including Census employees.

Black males 20 and older have also seen a 1 percent drop in the jobless rate. The current rate is 17.1 percent, still highest of all categories, except youth.

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Conference Slated For Child Abuse Survivors


WINDSOR LOCKS — Survivors of a abuse need support. And one group trying to be that support system is being smart about it.

The group, Stop Mind Control and Ritual Abuse, will hold a conference to educate survivors on the symtops and styles of severe child abuse, also called ritual abuse, manifest itself in the home and elsewhere.

The conference will be held on Aug. 6  – 8, 2010, between 8 – 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday at the DoubleTree Hotel near Bradley International Airport, 16 Ella Grasso Turnpike in Windsor Locks.

Organizers say this conference will help educate survivors of this abuse and their helpers.

Pre-registration is preferred.  For information more information visit   http://ritualabuse.us/smart-conference/.

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Pedro Segarra Takes the Helm in Hartford


HARTFORD — Pedro Segarra is now Hartford’s mayor.

Yesterday Segarra held a press conference, calling for unity as he readjusted to his transition from being the city council president to the mayor on what is considered a difficult turning point for the city.

“This is a difficult period for the City, but we need to join efforts to overcome our current differences and move our City forward.  There are too many people depending on us to get the job done and we cannot and must not let them down,” he said.  “These are challenging financial times as well, so it is important to develop a work plan to take-on these issues quickly and effectively.  I look forward to working with the Mayors in our surrounding towns and major cities as we deal with regional efforts.  I will reach out to the Governor to see how the State can continue to assist the City.  I also look forward to the support of the Hartford Delegation to ensure that the City’s voice is heard at the Legislative level as we are limited in our abilities to solve several issues at the local level.”

A native of Puerto Rico and a city  attorney,  Segarra became mayor at 5:01 p.m. on Friday after former mayor Eddie Perez submitted his resignation that was effective at 5 p.m.

Perez resigned one week after a jury found him guilty of extortion and larceny.

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Mayor Eddie Perez Resigns


HARTFORD — The capital city’s first strong mayor in decades resigned today.

At 3:07 p.m., a Eddie Perez submitted  a letter to the Town and City Clerk stating that he is resigning today as mayor of.  The resignation was effective today at 5:00 p.m., according to Sarah Barr, the mayor’s office official spokeswoman.

Perez resignation comes one week after a jury found him guilty for five felony charges: bribe receiving, attempted first-degree larceny by extortion, accessory to evidence tampering and two conspiracy counts. He was acquitted of tampering with evidence.

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Rell: State To End Fiscal Year With Surplus


HARTFORD — The state’s budget surplus increased by $76 million as it nears the end of its fiscal year, according to state officials.

Gov. Jodi Rell yesterday announced that her budget office is projecting that the state will finish this fiscal year with a budget surplus of $242.9 million, an increase of $76 million over last month’s estimates. The budget year ends June 30.

Rell said the state has seen three straight months of surplus and has added jobs iin each of the last five months.  That’s one reason, Rell said, to pay down the debt.

“Our state is now in a much stronger position to cut down borrowing,” Rell said. “If these projections hold, we will be able to apply more than $100 million of that surplus to pay down our securitization debt.”

The two-year budget, which the Governor signed on May 7, requires that the first $140 million in surplus be used as revenue to balance Fiscal Year 2011. Any amount of surplus over that will be used to reduce borrowing needs.

The Office of Policy and Management (OPM), the Governor’s budget office, said the latest figures reflect increased revenue of $58.9 million, an increase in projected agency lapses of $20.5 million and a $3.4 million adjustment of refunds for escheated property.

According to OPM the state sales tax estimate increased by $30 million, largely due to improving collection rate. It is the second straight month of growth in sales tax revenue.  Other changes include an improvement of $10 million in tax refunds that were lower than projected.  Collection of fees, licenses and permits also have improved by $12 million, according to a press release by the governor’s office.

Governor Rell also announced this week the creation of 700 new engineering jobs as a result of Electric Boat’s purchase of a former Pfizer facility in New London. The state is helping EB by providing a $15 million grant and other tax incentives to move forward with the deal. Just this week, the Connecticut became the first state in the nation to gain federal approval to transfer 45,000 low-income single adults from a state-funded health plan to Medicaid

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Hartford Mayor Plans To Resign June 25


HARTFORD — Mayor Eddie Perez said he plans to resign on June 25 to pave way for City Council President Pedro Segarra to take the helm of the city and restore normalcy.

In a statement sent you minutes ago, Perez states the following:

After lengthy and heartfelt discussions with my family and Council President Pedro Segarra, I will submit my letter of resignation as Mayor on Friday, June 25, 2010.  The effective date will be worked out with Council leadership in order to allow for a smooth transition. 

I want to thank the employees of the City for their hard work and dedication in serving the residents of Hartford by always putting them first.  I’m especially proud of our achievements together improving our schools, reducing crime, and maintaining financial stability during a worldwide economic crisis.

It is time to move the City forward.  I am truly sorry for the mistakes I have made that have harmed the City that I love.

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