Archive | November, 2014

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Protest Erupts After Grand Jury Acquits Police for Killing Michael Brown


By Ann-Marie Adams, Staff Writer

The nation is reacting to a  St. Louis County grand jury’s verdict after they refuse to indict a white police officer who killed an unarmed black teenager.

The jury said that 28-year-old Darren Wilson will not be indicted for killing 18-year-old Michael Brown with six shots in an August confrontation, St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch said lateMonday night.

In Washington, President Barack Obama called for peaceful protests.

“We need to accept that this decision was the grand jury’s to make. There are Americans who agree with it, and there are Americans who are deeply disappointed, even angry. It’s an understandable reaction,” Obama said. “But I join Michael’s parents in asking anyone who protests this decision to do so peacefully.”

As protesters took to the streets in Ferguson, The Hartford Guardian encourages readers across the country to  on Twitter.

According to reports, crowds of protesters filled streets near the Ferguson police station following the announcement. And police car and stores were set on fire, other stores were looted, gunfire was heard and bricks were hurled. Police said they had been fired on and responded with smoke bombs and pepper spray before using tear gas.

Police later said they came under heavy automatic weapon fire, and some buildings were left to burn because of the danger. County police said an officer suffered a gunshot wound, but it was unclear if it was because of the protest violence.

Protests sprang up in cities from New York to Los Angeles and remained mostly peaceful. At least half a dozen commercial airline flights into St. Louis were diverted out of concerns about the unrest.

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College Search Selects Three Finalists


HARTFORD — Three finalists were selected after a long search for a new president at Housatonic Community College, one of the 17 institutions of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities System.

State officials said a nationwide, months-long search has been narrowed to include Dr. Athos K. Brewer, Vice President for Student Affairs, Bronx Community College of the City of New York; Dr. Paul Brodie II, Vice President for Student Services, Orange County Community College, a member of the State University of New York; and Dr. Matthew Reed, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Holyoke Community College.

“We are extremely pleased with the caliber of the candidates who applied for the position, and especially with that of the three finalists,” Chairman of the Board of Regents Nick Donofrio said. “These finalists represent the very best in higher education at this time, as evidenced by the experience and accomplishments that comprise their impressive careers to date.”

All three candidates will be visiting the Housatonic campus beginning in early December.  Reed will visit Dec. 1; Broadie will visit Dec. 2, and Brewer will visit Dec. 3.

During their visits to Bridgeport, the candidates will participate in various meetings and events with faculty, students, staff, and community stakeholders.

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DRS Warns Residents of Housing Scams


HARTFORD —  Homeowners beware.

A new ploy claiming government agencies placed liens on the victim’s property, according to Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services  Kevin B. Sullivan,.

Sullivan on Monday warned state homeowners about a new ploy saying that “crooks never take time off.”

“Impersonating government officials is a popular ploy and it is being used in the letters sent to victims claiming that DRS and the IRS filed property liens against the victim,”  he said.

Officials said that the letter instructs victims to call an 800 number to resolve the matter, which is when the scammer attempts to scare the homeowner into sending a payment.

They said that if anyone receives any phone calls, emails, letters, or other communication claiming to be from the IRS or DRS and demands immediate payment for taxes should contact our department immediately.  For contact numbers,  and methods for contacting DRS can be found on the DRS website at www.ct.gov/drs.

For more information about the Connecticut tax issues, visit www.ct.gov/DRS or call 1-800-382-9463 (Connecticut calls outside the Greater Hartford calling area only) or 860-297-5962 (from anywhere). Media calls should be directed to the communications office at (860) 297-5610 or emailed to sarah.kaufman@po.state.ct.us .

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State Police Reports Missing Man from Nevada


NEW BRITAIN — State Police are searching for a missing New Britain man who  was last seen driving on Route 9.

According Lt. Paul Vance, Henry Williams Jr. was driving  a 2013 gray Honda  as he was  following a family member in the New Britain area.

He had a Nevada registration, 206 YKD.

Williams recently moved to Connecticut and he is not familiar with the area, police said.

Anyone who may see this car or has seen this gentleman is asked to contact State Police at 860 534-100.

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In Wake of Obama’s Executive Action, Advocates Warn About Scams


By New America Media

President Barack Obama announced on Thursday his plan to take executive action on immigration. His plan would revise enforcement priorities to focus on recent arrivals and those who had committed serious crimes. It would expand the existing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and create a new deferred action program for parents of U.S.-citizen or legal-permanent-resident children who have lived in the country for more than five years. It would also revise the legal immigration system, with a special focus on science, technology and entrepreneurs.

There is no new application available yet, however, and advocates are warning immigrants to stay tuned to trusted media sources and community groups to get accurate information.

Any time immigration reform is in the news, advocates warn, immigrant families are vulnerable to scam artists and unscrupulous individuals who promise to help them in exchange for a fee.

Earlier this year, NAM reported that the San Francisco District Attorney’s office had seen a spike in immigration fraud cases in 2013, prompting it to launch a multilingual campaign to educate immigrant families about how to avoid scams.

NAM found that some people were seeking immigration advice from unqualified individuals, and that translation issues were contributing to the confusion.

For example, in most Latin American countries the term “notario” means lawyer. But in the United States, a notary just means someone who is licensed by the state to witness and sign documents.

“Notaries can’t represent a person in court, they can’t assist them in a formal legal process; they can only fill out forms. But anyone can fill out a form,” said Diana Otero, coordinator of the immigration program at Catholic Charities of San Mateo. She says immigrants need to get help from attorneys or qualified people that know how to deal with the immigration process.

Vanessa Sandoval, program director with Services, Immigrant Rights and Education Network (SIREN) in San Jose, offered this advice to undocumented immigrants who go to notaries to complete immigration work. She spoke with Maria Antonieta Mejia.

Why aren’t notaries a good alternative to immigration attorneys?

They do not have a degree to practice law and they do not have the legal right to offer those services. What they are doing is taking money from people offering services they are not qualified to perform. The result, in many cases, is deportation.

How do you determine whether someone is qualified to help with immigration work?

In the United States, practicing attorneys – those licensed by the American Bar Association or the State Bar Association – and non-profit organizations certified by the Board of Immigration Appeals have the right to offer legal services. No one else.

What recourse is there for victims of immigration fraud?

The first thing to do is report the person to the proper authorities. There are dedicated attorneys at the DA’s office focused on investigating fraud cases. You can also report that notary directly to Immigration or file a civil suit.

Where should immigrants look first for help?

Start with non-profit organizations. In San Jose, there are more than seven organizations certified by the Board of Immigration Appeals that offer this type of service. If an organization does not have the capacity to help, it can offer recommendations for private attorneys.

For more information about SIREN, please visit siren-bayarea.org.

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Hartford Police Investigate South End Shooting


HARTFORD —  Police are still investigating a Hartford man, who was shot in the face by a firefighter earlier this month. He was discharged from the hospital yesterday with his mouth “wire shut,” according to reports.

Jose Medina, 28, of 86 Webster St., in the South End, was discharged from Hartford Hospital Wednesday. No arrests have yet been made

According to a police report, officers responded to 86 Webster St. about 12:15 a.m. Nov. 2. after  someone reported that Medina was  accidentally shot in the head.

Police report said Medina was shot in his left cheek while he was being shown a handgun  by Hartford Firefighter Justin Wood, when it “accidentally discharged.”

The shooter was , police said. He was placed on paid administrative leave from the fire department, where he remains, according to Fire Capt. Helene Lynch.

Deputy Police Chief Brian Foley said the shooting didn’t seem  “nefarious.” Wood is licensed to carry a firearm and was cooperating with investigators, he said.

 

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Bond Commission Approves Metro-North Funds


HARTFORD — In a move to fix an “unreliable and inefficient”  New Haven-Metro North line, the  State Bond Commission approved more than $53 million for the Connecticut Department of Transportation  to begin work to replace the line’s 118-year-old Walk Bridge, a component of a larger project that will create or retain approximately 4,500 construction-related jobs, state officials said Wednesday.

The Walk Bridge, which carries over 140 trains a day and is maintained by Metro-North under contract to the State of Connecticut, malfunctioned in two separate incidents within a two week period this past summer and caused serious delays for New Haven Line commuters.

The $53 million in state funds will be used to match a $161 million federal grant awarded to ConnDOT in September under the Sandy Resiliency Project Program for states most affected by Storm Sandy. Governor Dannel P. Malloy said that Connecticut applied for the federal funding to cover the capital costs of several resiliency, or “infrastructure hardening”, projects central to the New Haven Line, including the design and full replacement of the Walk Bridge. Built in 1896, the Walk Bridge is the oldest movable bridge along the Northeast Corridor in Connecticut. The bridge will be replaced with a more resilient “bascule” or vertical lift bridge that opens for marine traffic from one side with a counterweight system and will significantly enhance the safety and reliability of commuter and intercity passenger service on the New Haven Line.

“The Walk Bridge impacts many commuters and businesses throughout New England,” said State Rep. Bruce Morris (D-140). “This bond allocation is critical. I appreciate the expedited commitment to make repairs to this aging asset.”

Other state representaives see this as a positive for all Connecticut residents.

“This bond authorization is good news, not only for Norwalk, but also for all of Connecticut,” said State Rep. Gail Lavielle (R-143). “The New Haven Line is essential to the economic viability of both Fairfield County and the entire state.

 

 

 

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Commission to Vote on Tech School Expansion


HARTFORD — Gov. Dannel P. Malloy recently  announced that the State Bond Commission on Wednesday will vote to approve $5 million for the continued expansion of the Connecticut Technical High School System’s  manufacturing programs, as well as funds for a new extended-hours program.

The State Bond Commission is scheduled to vote on the items at its Nov. 19, 2014, meeting at 10:30 a.m. in Room 1E of the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.

The governor said that this funding will help students to be  “better prepared for careers or to continue their studies in college as a result of these improvements.

State offificials said that the funds are requested to finance installation of equipment and machinery, alterations and improvements to buildings and computer and technology upgrades.

“Students in our manufacturing cluster receive the technical skills and training necessary to operate complex machines and produce high-quality products,” said CTHSS Superintendent Dr. Nivea Torres.  “Today’s manufacturing jobs require specialized computer training and Connecticut’s educational system is prepared to train young people to enter this exciting field.”

The technical system has 17 diploma-granting techinical high schools, one techical education center and two aviation maintaenance programs in the state.

Also, $434,000 is sought for extending school hours at A.I. Prince Tech in Hartford and Eli Whitney Tech in Hamden to “allow expansion of weatherization, carpentry, gas pipeline, cement masonry, and manufacturing programs,” officials said.

 

 

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Malloy to Cut State Budget


By Ann-Marie Adams, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — In an effort to close a projected $100 million deficit, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is expected to cut the state’s budget this week.

Budget Director Benjamin Barnes in a briefing held on Monday at the state Capitol said Malloy’s administration can make that cut without legislature approval.

The proposed cut is less than one percent of the general fund. Bigger cuts would have to be approved by the legislature.

“We are trying to find things that are realistic,” Barnes said. “We will try to do it in a way that minimizes the harm to the beneficiaries—the folks who use state programs.”

Barnes said that no final decisions have been made, adding “I don’t know a number yet” on the total amount of cuts.

Legislative analysts say the state faces more than a billion in 2015, a $1.32 billion deficit in 2016, and a $1.4 billion deficit in 2017.

Malloy is scheduled to deliver the next two-year budget to the legislature on Feb. 4.

Photo Credit: Ann-Marie Adams

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CT Lawsuit Against Malloy Set for Oral Argument


HARTFORD  —  Three Connecticut parents recently sued Gov. Dan Malloy and other state officials to stop a union leader from serving on the State
Board of Education.

The group, Connecticut Parents Union, on Monday will head to Hartford Superior Court for oral  arguments.

The parents seek the removal of Erin D. Benham, President of the Meriden  Federation of Teachers and Executive Committee Vice President of the
Connecticut American Federation of Teachers to the State Board of Education. The group said she can either serve as a union official or a public official, but not both.

“Classroom teachers have the best interest of kids at heart. Union leaders start to forget that. They focus on protecting the union instead
of teachers and children,” plaintiff Gwen Samuel said. “I’m not anti-good teacher, I’m anti-bad teacher, and the unions don’t know the
difference.”

Gwen and the other plaintiffs will be available for interview at the courthouse after oral arguments at approximately 11:30 a.m.

The lawsuit HHD-CV14-5038194-S SAMUEL, GWENDOLYN Et Al v. MALLOY, DANNEL P. Et Al, alleges that the appointment of the AFT Connecticut local president is clearly a conflict of interest and raises questions  about a quid pro quo for the teachers union’s contributions to Malloy’s re-election campaign. According to the complaint, before the appointment, the teachers union contributed $10,000 to Malloy’s campaign via the Connecticut Democratic State Central Committee and $250,000 to support Malloy through the Connecticut Forward  Super PAC.

For more information visit:

http://civilinquiry.jud.ct.gov/CaseDetail/PublicCaseDetail.aspx?DocketNo=HHDCV145038194S

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