Archive | May, 2014

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Hartford Puerto Rican ParadeSet for June 1


HARTFORD — Get ready for the 2014 Greater Hartford Puerto Rican Day Parade.

The annual event will begin at noon on June 1, starting on Warwarme Avenue in Hartford and continues with a festival that is scheduled to end at 8 p.m. at the Bushnell Pavilion.

Festival attendees will have  a wide variety of food, music and entertainment, including performers such as Frankie Negron. Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra is expected to attend.

For more information, please call 860-978-7412 andwww.hartfordprparade.com.

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State to Hold ‘Step Up’ Business Conference


WETHERSFIELD  – There is still time for employers to register for the free Step Up conference on June 3 in Bristol.

The conference, which  will be in the Oaks Ballroom at the Hilton on located at 42 Century Drive, Bristol, is scheduled to be from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Registration will begin at 7 a.m. and a continental breakfast will be provided.

Conference topics include incentives such as a six-month wage subsidy and training grants under the Subsidized Training and Employment (Step Up) program, low-interest financing through the Small Business Express Program,  job expansion tax credits, guidelines for becoming a State of Connecticut vendor, and tax incentives for equipment purchases.

Free assistance for business planning, market analysis services and website design will also be featured.

In addition to informational presentations, program representatives will answer questions and determine how employers can optimize the various services offered to Connecticut businesses.

The Step Up conference is being hosted by area legislators, including State Sen. Jason C. Welch, State Rep. Christopher A. Wright, and State Rep. Frank N. Nicastro. Sponsors include Governor Dannel P. Malloy, Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, Secretary of State Denise Merrill, the Connecticut Department of Labor, the state’s Workforce Investment Boards, the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, and a number of community partners and organizations.

To pre-register or for a list of additional Step Up conferences being offered in June, please visit the Labor Department’s Step Up website at www.StepCT.com.  For questions about the Bristol Step Up conference please contact Janice Albert at Janice.Albert@ct.gov or (860) 827-6207.

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Hartford Library to Kick off Reading Program


HARTFORD — Research shows that low-income students that do not continue educational programming during the summer suffer greater achievement losses, gain more weight, and become less likely to graduate high school than their more affluent peers.

In order to fill this critical learning gap, Hartford Public Library’s Summer Learning Program will aim to encourage reading and enrichment throughout the hotter months with a citywide educational events, activities, and prizes with its 2014 Summer Learning @ HPL Program.

The kick off  festival is set for June 7 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Library’s Downtown location.

The festival will incorporate the theme of this year’s Summer Learning Program, “Fizz Boom READ!” with science activities, crafts, games, and a special 3:00 p.m. Mad Science show. A bounce house, giant slide, face painting, airbrush tattoos, snacks, music and more will be free for all.

Free transportation will be available throughout the city via buses that will run between Library branches and Downtown Hartford.

In addition to the festival fun, attendees will have the opportunity to learn about and register for the Summer Learning Program and how to win prizes for reaching summer reading goals.

This year, in partnership with Mega Education, a series of 10 Summer Learning registration ice cream parties will be held throughout the summer, where two lucky registered participants at each Library branch will win brand new Android tablets.

Mega Registration parties are held from 2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. at the following locations:

Tuesday, June 24 – Mark Twain Branch, 55 Forest Street

Friday, June 26 – Barbour Branch, 259 Barbour Street

Thursday, July 3 – Blue Hills Branch, 649 Blue Hills Avenue

Tuesday, July 8  –  Ropkins Branch, 1750 Main Street

Tuesday, July 15 – Camp Field Branch, 30 Campfield Avenue

Friday, July 18 – Albany Branch, 1250 Albany Avenue

Tuesday, July 22 – Downtown Library, 500 Main Street

Wednesday, July 30 – Park Branch, 744 Park Street

Thursday, July 31 – Dwight Branch, 7 New Park Avenue

Friday, August 8 – Goodwin Branch, 460 New Britain Avenue

Registration for the Summer Learning program can also be completed at the June 7 kickoff, or online at www.hplct.org by clicking on the summer sun.

 

Library Offers Adult Summer Reading Events!

Hartford Public Library’s summer programs and prizes are not just for the school-aged! Adult readers are invited to participate in Library Book Club summer discussions:

Thursday, June 19, 12:30 p.m. – Book Talk with James Rouman, author of Uncertain Journey

Thursday, July 17, 12:30 p.m. – Book Club Discussion – Delicious! A Novel by Ruth Reichl

Thursday, August 21, 12:30 p.m. – Book Club Discussion – Aya of Yop City by Marguerite Abouet

Registered participants are eligible to win prizes at each event! Adult readers may register for the Summer Reading Program online at www.hplct.org or at any Library branch.

 

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Finch: City’s Festivities Free and Open to All


BRIDGEPORT — Mayor Bill Finch and Bridgeport’s Downtown Special Services District on Wednesday announced the musical lineup for the fifth installment of the city’s Free Concert Series on Thursdays.

This announcement comes with a new format for the concert series, which includes at least two musical performances that will extend each event from 5:30-9:00 p.m.

 “Bridgeport is becoming an arts and culture powerhouse in the Northeastern U.S.,” Finch said. “And, that’s happening because of events like Downtown Thursdays. I’m looking forward to seeing large crowds gathering for live music in our revitalized downtown, which is home to many great restaurants and bars for concert goers to enjoy.”

 The first event will take place on June 19 at 5:30 p.m. at McLevy Green, which is just a few short blocks away from the Bridgeport Metro Rail Station and Greater Bridgeport Transit Authority.

These events are open to people of all, and the festivities are free to the public.

Downtown Thursdays Schedule:

Ø  Thursday, June 19Vinny and Ray Afro-Cuban Latin JazzOrquesta Afinke

Ø  Thursday, June 26Funky Dawgz Brass BandJen Durkin and the Business

Ø  Thursday, July 3: N/A – Break for Independence Day weekend

Ø  Thursday, July 10: The Elements of Hip Hop with DJ Billy Busch, DJ Grand Wizard Stevie, DJ Kool Keith, DJ White Flash

Ø  Thursday, July 17Alpaca GnomesBeach AvenueLiza Colby Sound

Ø  Thursday, July 24Mikata, Son 7

Ø  Thursday, July 31SoulshotMystic Bowie

Ø  Thursday, August 7Girls on Bikes (opening for CT Free Shakespeare, 8pm performances August 6-10)

Ø  Thursday, August 14Pocket Hotties, karaoke talent night

Ø  Thursday, August 21The ZambonisMates of States

Ø  Thursday, August 28SuperheroThat ‘80s Band, Soul Synergy

“We’re thrilled about this year’s line-up and new format,” said Kim Morque, Chairman of the Bridgeport DSSD. “With genres spanning from Latin to indie, rock to reggae, and funk & soul to old school hip-hop, our Downtown Thursdays have you covered, regardless of your musical preference.”

Sponsors for Downtown Thursdays include: City of Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch; Bridgeport Downtown Special Services District; Bridgeport Bluefish; Webster Bank Arena; Harbor Yard Sports and Entertainment; Spinnaker Real Estate Partners, LLC; Forstone Capital Holdings; Main State Ventures; Bridgeport Regional Business Council; The United Illuminating Company; Aquarion Water Company; Barnum Publick House; Bistro B; Carlson Corporation; Fairfield University; Ginsburg Development Corporation; POKO Partners LLC; ServPro; Cohen and Wolf; Narragansett Brewing Company; Greater Bridgeport Transit; Connoisseur Media, Star 99.9, 99.1 PLR, 95.9 FOX and CTBoom.com; BOMBA 97.1 FM; Radio Cumbre 1450 AM; and WPKN 89.5 FM.

For more information, and to follow the Downtown Thursdays summer line-up, please visit: www.downtownthursdays.com.

 

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Larson Joins Nation in Mourning Death of Maya Angelou


HARTFORD — The nation has lost one of its prized possession: Maya Angelou.

Congressman John B. Larson released the following statement Wednesday on the passing of author, poet, actress and teacher Maya Angelou:

“Today, the nation lost a literary giant whose impact reached the hearts of millions around the world. Dr. Maya Angelou overcame great adversity before going on to receive wide praise in the arts, becoming a voice for justice and an inspiration for the American people. What she meant to this country cannot be understated as we look back at her work and honor a lifetime of achievement.”

The White House also released a statement, saying that this brilliant writer and fierce friend was truly a phenomenal woman.

“Over the course of her remarkable life, Maya was many things–an author, poet, civil rights activist, playwright, actress, director, composer, singer and dancer. But above all, she was a storyteller–an her greatest stories were true.”

Maya Angelou, author of the classic book “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sing” died Wednesday in Winston-Salem, N.C. She was 86.

Her book, Caged Bird, catapulted her to fame. It chronicled her childhood traumas in the Jim Crow South and was among the first autobiographies by a 20th-century black woman to reach a wide general readership.

Hartford Mayor Pedro  Segarra also released the following statementregarding the passing of Dr. Maya Angelou:

“Maya Angelou will be remembered as one of the most prominent literary figures of the Twentieth Century, and through her craft, she bore lyrical witness to sweeping changes in how the United States approached issues of race and cultural identity. Through her activism, she furthered the causes she chronicled in her work. She will be missed, and we should honor her by continuing to pursue her goals of justice and unity.”

 

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Adams: Connecticut Should “Get Your House in Order”


Updated May 28, 2014 at 4:30 p.m.

By Ann-Marie Adams, Ph.D.

There’s this saying when it comes to getting a job or resources for your business or home: It’s who you know.

Here’s why this saying is problematic, especially if you live in a segregated state such as Connecticut, where all-white suburban residents terrorize the few blacks who move into towns that don’t have local buses traveling from the urban core to the outer-ringed suburbs.

Dr_AnnMarie_AdamsIf you go to an almost all-white school, attend an all-white church, shop in a supermarket where blacks and other people of color are menial workers, you as a white person won’t know too many people of color—except those in menial positions.

So guess what? The all-time saying of “It’s who you know, not what you know”—doesn’t fit the bill here when it comes to doling out city, state and federal funds, especially services to small businesses, home owners and all other human beings.

the-hartford-guardian-OpinionOn Wednesday morning at the Mark Twain House on Farmington Avenue, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy chaired a roundtable discussion about small businesses that are doing well under his small business express loan programs and other state incentives designed to help foster a good climate where small businesses can start and grow.

All the success stories came from white men.

In fact, the room did not have any black women business owners at press time. So I guess black women and other minority business people are out of the loop—because they don’t know anyone in that room.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy chairs roundtable of successful start-up companies under small business programs.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy chairs roundtable of successful start-up companies under small business programs.

Perhaps we should retire that saying when it comes to city, state and federal programs–as well as for services rendered by organizations that get federal funding–such as Hartford Hospital and its affiliates, the Hartford Medical Group, St. Francis Hospital, John Dempsey Hospital and its affiliates, Manchester Memorial Hospital and all its affiliates in the ECHN network.

That also goes for the Community Health Center in Hartford and New Britain. Agencies such as CT Transit, LogistiCare and all relevant subcontractors should also be audited for their blatant discriminatory tactics I’ve witnessed in the last six months and will report on in the coming months.

That’s because these programs have specific guidelines to prohibit the kind of blatant discrimination I’ve experienced while seeking service and scrutinizing these programs. The Connecticut Department of Social Services is unbelievable conduit for employees who are clueless about these federal guidelines. A quick glance of the various types of discrimination prohibited by the laws and enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission can be found here for their benefit.

The city of Hartford and the state of Connecticut should also have its employees take a refresher course in these guidelines. Otherwise, they should be prepared for a tsunami of lawsuits from educated consumers. And the buck stops with whomever is heading these agencies. And that includes Hartford’s mayor Pedro Segarra and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.

So here’s a popular saying they should heed to as well: get your house in order.

And just in case you’re thinking I’m out of my place–meaning I’m acting like I’m a citizen with rights or any of those fancy things protected by the United States Constitution–you should explain to me why others have rights and I don’t.

Perhaps we could battle this out in court–if need be. But I’m thinking the state of Connecticut has a high percentage of educated and decent people who can argue this case very well.

After all, Connecticut is the home of the 19th-Century abolitionist movement. And their descendants–in spirit and in truth–are  already poised to make their presence known and felt again.

Photo Credit:http://www.elsolnews.com. Gov. Dannel Malloy announces the first round of small business grants in 2013.

 

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Stop & Shop Launches New PickUp Locations


HARTFORD — Greater Hartford residents looking to shop from home and then pick up groceries can now do so with Stop & Shop’s sister company Peapod, which launched pick up locations in Bloomfield and Middletown.

Store representatives said that the combination of shopping online from a computer or smartphone and picking up groceries from a local Stop & Shop is “another convenient option to help fit the needs of busy shoppers.”

Shoppers can now order their groceries online for easy pick-up at their local Stop & Shop store and choose a convenient one-hour pick-up time from morning through evening. There are no fees associated with the service, no minimum order, and no need to get out of the car.The attendants load groceries right into their vehicle.

Pick-up shoppers can also create personal lists, read nutrition information online, sort products rapidly by price or by nutrition criteria and take advantage of thousands of weekly specials.

For more details about Pick-up in Stop & Shop stores, please visitwww.stopandshop.com/pick-up.

 

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Labor Department Now Offers Online Help


WETHERSFIELD — The Connecticut Department of Labor’s online Unemployment Insurance Assistance Center is now available in Spanish, as well as English.

The online service center, which can be found at www.filectui.com, offers a number of unemployment insurance services, including the ability to request an address change, reset a locked account or PIN for benefit filing, make changes to income tax withholding status, and notify the agency upon a return to work.

The online service, first launched a year ago, currently receives up to 1,500 requests each month. The site also has a “UI Basics” section for first time filers, provides information on unemployment benefits that have been paid, instructs people about how to file an appeal, and contains information on how to report suspected fraud. 

According to officials, requently asked questions include whether a person is eligible to collect unemployment, and if an individual can file for benefits while working part-time or attending school or training classes. Answers to these types of questions can easily be found on the site, along with instructions outlining how to apply for benefits via the state’s direct deposit system.

 

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Dean Baquet Named 1st African-American Executive Editor at the New York Times


By Stephen A. Crockett, Jr., The Root

Dean Baquet will become the first African-American executive editor at the New York Times, replacing Jill Abramson, who leaves the top position unexpectedly. The news apparently stunned New York Times staffers, who did not see this move coming.

On Wednesday Arthur Sulzberger Jr., publisher of the New York Times and chairman of the New York Times Co., first told senior staff of the changng of the guard and then informed the full newsroom around 2:30 p.m., the New York Times reports.

While the reason for the change was not immediately made clear, Baquet—a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and a former editor of the Los Angeles Times—seems a fitting choice to lead the newspaper.

“It is an honor to be asked to lead the only newsroom in the country that is actually better than it was a generation ago, one that approaches the world with wonder and ambition every day,” said Baquet, who at the time of his appointment to helm the New York Times was the newspaper’s managing editor.

Baquet, 57, was born in New Orleans and has worked in the newspaper industry for more than 25 years, beginning in 1980 with his hometown paper, the States-Item, before it merged with the Times-Picayune, Businessweek.com reports.

In 1984 he joined the Chicago Tribune, where four years later he led a three-member team that would win a Pulitzer Prize for in-depth investigative reporting on corruption among the Chicago City Council.

According to Businessweek.com, Baquet left the Tribune in 1990 to join the New York Times, and over the next decade he served in several positions: first as a metropolitan reporter, then as special projects editor and as a deputy metropolitan editor. He would leave a national editor position at the paper in 2000 to join the Los Angeles Times. There, Baquet served as editor and executive vice president of Los Angeles Times Communications until November 2006, when he rejoined the New York Times as chief executive of the paper’s Washington bureau.

“There is no journalist in our newsroom or elsewhere better qualified to take on the responsibilities of executive editor at this time than Dean Baquet,” Sulzberger said in announcing Baquet’s appointment.

“He is an exceptional reporter and editor with impeccable news judgment who enjoys the confidence and support of his colleagues around the world and across the organization.”

Abramson, who was appointed to the position of executive editor in 2011, was the first woman to serve at the helm of the New York Times. The reason for her abrupt departure was not made clear, with Sulzberger attributing it only to “an issue with management in the newsroom.”

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Hartford Officials Have Consensus on Budget


HARTFORD — After weeks of wrangling over the 2014-2015 budget, Hartford officials have an agreement.

On Wednesday, Mayor Pedro E. Segarra, City Council President Shawn T. Wooden and the Hartford City Council  announced a budget agreement the upcoming fiscal year.

The agreement allows continuous funding top priorities in public safety, economic development and infrastructure improvements to streets and sidewalks, officials said.

Moreover, the budget contains no mill rate increase, funds a new police class of 20 along with an additional 10 cadets, and contains no reduction in essential city services. The new police class is scheduled to start in Jan.  2015.

Officials said there is currently no draw down to the Rainy Day Fund Balance and no transfer of city assets to the pension fund.

The budget, which takes effect on July 1, includes a fully funded pension contribution and the creation of a Hartford Committee on the Restructuring of City Government.

The Committee, which is to be confirmed by July 1, 2014, will have joint appointments from the Mayor and City Council and includes experts in City government and labor unions representatives. They will provide quarterly recommendations, the first of which are due December 30, 2014.

“The biggest challenges we face are the rising cost of pension and medical benefits as well contractual salary increases,” said Mayor Segarra. “Our fixed costs are higher than our revenues and that model is not sustainable. As I said before, we are As we move forward, both the Mayor’s Office and City Council are committed to starting a process of strategic planning, encompassing all stakeholders, with the goal of making structural changes to our operations in order to provide long-term stability and build a sound financial future for the capital city.”

“Hartford’s long-term financial stability has been an important topic of conversation between the Mayor and City Council,” said Council President Wooden. “We are committed to identifying efficiencies to ensure Hartford has a healthy financial future.”

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