Archive | March, 2016

Red Hot Horns Band to Perform in Plainville


PLAINVILLE — Red Hot Horns will return to Connecticut with its incredibly tight horns, outstanding lead vocals and an intrepid rhythm section this April.

The engagement will be at Waxy O’Connors in Plainville, CT on April 29 at 9 p.

Red Hot Horns unique re-creation of hot dance and party tunes offers an evening of “feel good’’ and exciting, dance music. It’s repertoire includes a blend of musical flavors: Soul, Pop, R&B, Motown, Top 40, Rock and Funk.

The signature sound of our powerhouse horn sections can be heard on every song, but especially when Red Hot Horns play some of the most famous horn bands ever: Bruno Mars, Maroon 5, Chicago, Tower of Power, Kool and The Gang, and Earth, Wind and Fire and others.

Organizers said that this live music with Red Hot Horns is a memorable night.

Red Hot Horns features: Tim Babbs on lead vocals, Kevin Hughes on guitar, Scott Chaurette on bass, Randy Plude on keyboards, Scott Donofrio on drums, Tom Cantafi on trumpet and Ralph Martin on saxophones.

For more information, visit www.waxys.com/locations/plainville/.

 

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Greater Hartford Foundation’s President to Retire


HARTFORD — After more than 10 years serving as head of Connecticut’s oldest and largest community foundation, Linda Kelly announced her resignation set for March 2017

Kelly on Wednesday announced her retirement as president of the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, one of the oldest and largest community foundations in the nationShe has been serving since  2005.

“The Hartford Foundation has been an integral part of this community for more than 90 years, and I am privileged and proud to have worked with a talented, passionate and dedicated staff and board, our generous donors and the region’s nonprofit and community leaders to advance substantial and sustainable benefit in the Greater Hartford community,” Kelly said. “With the adoption of our new, three-year strategic plan, the Foundation is well-positioned to build on its achievements, and to lead, inspire and engage others in creating opportunities for all residents in our region to thrive.”

A board search committee has been formed and will begin a nationwide search for Kelly’s replacement.

Since 2005, Kelly has led the Foundation’s growth, with assets reaching an all-time high of $934 million, despite several years of severe, external economic turmoil.

The Foundation has continued to set annual grantmaking records, awarding $33 million to area nonprofits in 2015, supporting their efforts to have lasting impact in the region.

Kelly also provided philanthropic leadership at the state and national levels. She serves on the board of directors of Connecticut Council for Philanthropy and MetroHartford Alliance, is a steering committee member of the national Community Foundation Opportunity Network, and an active participant on the planning committee of the Larger Community Foundations (U.S.).

Previously, Kelly chaired the Connecticut Community Foundation CEO Network and served on various committees of the national Council on Foundations.

“Linda leaves a powerful legacy,” said Yvette Meléndez, chair of the Foundation’s board of directors. “She has been a strong champion for the Greater Hartford region.

“Serving as this Foundation’s president is an honor and great privilege. I look forward to continuing our work until next March, and ensuring a smooth transition to a new leader,” said Kelly.

 

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Legislature Adopts Bipartisan Plan to Close this Year’s Modest Deficit


The General Assembly overwhelmingly adopted a bipartisan plan Tuesday afternoon to close most or all of the current year’s budget deficit, immediately shifting the legislature’s focus to a far larger projected shortfall for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

The House of Representatives voted 127-16 just before 3:45 p.m. to approve the plan, roughly 90 minutes after the Senate adopted it 33-3. Nine Democrats and seven Republicans opposed the plan in the House. One Democrat and two Republicans voted against it in the Senate.

While the legislation eliminates $220 million in red ink in the budget year that ends June 30, it technically doesn’t reduce much larger shortfalls on the immediate horizon. Resources from off-budget accounts and other one-time sources of revenue covered 40 percent of the deficit-mitigation effort, or $87.2 million.

“This is to be celebrated I think for a day, then the hard work of the changes to the 2017 budget will be upon us,” Gov. Dannel P. Malloy told reporters as the House votes were being tallied.

Most of the remaining $133 million in cuts involved various small reductions applied to programs only for this fiscal year. Still, some legislators said many of those cuts will be employed again when the 2016-17 budget is adjusted later this spring.

Lawmakers expect hospital funds to be released

Still, leaders of the Democratic majority and the Republican minority hailed the plan. They argued it closes the current shortfall, mitigates future deficits and should trigger the release of $140 million in payments owed to hospitals that the Malloy administration has withheld in recent months.

“Today’s bipartisan agreement once again demonstrates that Democrats were willing to compromise in a way where we didn’t abandon our principles of protecting our investments in property tax relief, community hospitals, education, transportation and the safety net,” Senate President Pro Tem Martin M. Looney, D-New Haven, and Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff, D-Norwalk, wrote in a joint statement.

“This bipartisan package will preserve funding for the most vulnerable in the state, protect our towns from painful cuts, restore funding to our hospitals to care for the sick and elderly, and make the appropriate level of cuts to balance the budget and initiate savings for future years,” said Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano, R-North Haven.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy watches as the House vote on the deficit-mitigation bill is tallied on the screen.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy watches as the House vote on the deficit-mitigation bill is tallied on the screen.

Gian-Carl Casa, a spokesman for Malloy’s budget office, said the administration is on board with the new deficit-mitigation plan and would release the hospital funds.

But Rep. Craig Miner, R-Litchfield, said he’s still worried hospitals might not receive the funds if state finances take another turn for the worse, possibly in late April when state income tax revenues are analyzed again.

“It would be an awful message (to hospitals and their host communities) if the administration did not resume those payments,” Miner said.

Miner asked Rep. Toni Walker, D-New Haven, co-chair of the budget-writing Appropriations Committee, if Malloy administration officials had assured her the hospital funds would be released.

“We have not received that,” Walker replied.

The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities expressed relief that municipal aid wasn’t cut, given the lateness in the fiscal year.

“All spending cuts are difficult, but sparing towns from more mid-year cuts is a evidence of a strong partnership between the state and local governments, and a real recognition of the interdependence of the state-local tax system when setting the tax burden on our residents and businesses,” said Joe DeLong, the group’s executive director.

New plan replaces Malloy’s emergency cuts

The deficit-mitigation plan legislators were expected to adopt Tuesday would replace reductions the governor ordered unilaterally March 16.

Most of the reductions in the legislators’ plan involve small cuts spread across most segments of the state budget. But like past mitigation efforts, they fell disproportionately on social services and higher education — two areas where spending is not locked in tightly by contract.

Still, the legislators’ plan significantly reduced cuts Malloy made earlier this month to social service agencies, particularly those serving people with intellectual or developmental disabilities and people with mental health or addiction issues.

While Malloy cut $17.2 million from the Department of Developmental Services, the legislative plan would cut $3.4 million. The legislative plan would not cut any funding from employment opportunities or day services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities (Malloy had cut $4.6 million), and reduced Malloy’s $9.7 million cut to community residential services to $900,000.

However, the legislators’ plan would increase the projected savings from the department’s salary account from $1.5 million under Malloy’s cut to $2 million.

The deficit-mitigation plan would cut $2.2 million from the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, restoring nearly $5 million from Malloy’s mid-March cut. A $1.9 million cut Malloy made to grants for mental health and substance abuse treatment providers was reduced to $163,131 as part of the legislative plan.

Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford would see a $350,000 reduction under the plan, compared to a $730,275 cut Malloy issued March 16. The Hartford children’s hospital had been expected to receive more than $14 million from the state this fiscal year.

The deal would also reverse a nearly $4 million cut in state and federal funding to community health centers, made as part of Malloy’s March 16 cuts.

A cut to the state’s nearly $2.5 billion Medicaid account comes from a re-estimation of expenses in the program this fiscal year, rather than any policy changes aimed at cutting costs.

The state’s public universities and colleges were also cut; the University of Connecticut by $4.73 million and the four regional Connecticut State Universities and community colleges by  $1.6 million. Officials at each of those college systems have both implemented strict hiring controls to reduce costs.

Funding for education was hit $9.2 million. Those cuts will come from the state-run vocational-technical high school system ($2 million), low-achieving schools that are part of the Commissioner’s Network ($1.1 million) and charter schools not enrolling as many students as originally budgeted ($1 million).

Programs that offer child care and early education were cut by $2.7 million, which will be absorbed primarily by not filing spots as they become vacant.

House Speaker Brendan Sharkey, House Minority Leader Themis Klarides and House Majority Leader Joe Aresimowicz talk to reporters shortly before the House convened.

Mark Pazniokas / CTMirror.org

House Speaker Brendan Sharkey, House Minority Leader Themis Klarides and House Majority Leader Joe Aresimowicz talk to reporters shortly before the House convened.

Sen. Danté Bartolomeo, the co-chair of the committees that oversee higher education and the state’s child welfare agency, the sole Democrat to vote against opposed the budget fix in the Senate, spoke out against cuts that would affect the homeless, abused and neglected children, college students and disabled residents.

“They have been cut and cut and cut,” Bartolomeo said on the Senate floor. “There are options that I would prefer.”

Those options included retreating from big Democratic initiatives passed last year to dedicate sales tax receipts for transportation and municipal aid.

“We thought we could protect our safety net and afford these initiatives,” she said. “In order to afford this new spending, services to people are being eliminated. So funding these new initiatives means funneling 1 percent of the sales tax revenue away from the General Fund… I cannot cut life-sustaining services to my constituents in order to pay for new initiatives in a time that I do not believe we can afford them.”

Malloy told reporters that he thinks the safety net has not been shredded by these cuts.

“I think we struggle to support our safety net on a constant basis and I think that we are doing a pretty go job of that, for instance with respect to rescissions made and cuts made in special session,” he said. “We have gone to extraordinary lengths to protect the safety net and we’ll continue to do that.”

House leaders embrace plan as well

House Democratic and Republican leaders also held a joint press conference around mid-day on Tuesday to emphasize the bipartisan approach to the current-year deficit, but House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, R-Derby, warned plenty of fiscal issues still divide the parties as they try to reach an agreement on how to solve a bigger shortfall in next year’s budget.

“You’ve heard us stand up, both sides of the aisle, and talk about how we don’t agree with this or we don’t agree with that. And there’s certainly more of that to come. Don’t be disappointed,” Klarides said. “Listen, we’re in a very difficult situation. We have different opinions and thoughts on how to handle it, and I ‘m sure there’ll be more disagreements to come, but I certainly hope there are more days like today.“

More budget solutions needed

House Speaker J. Brendan Sharkey, D-Hamden, and Klarides each said agreeing on a deficit-mitigation plan was easy compared to the task ahead.

They acknowledged that the plan, which relies on budget revisions that are one-time savings, does little to lower the projected shortfall next year.

“This package does not have a lot of that in it,” Sharkey said.

“There’s much bigger fish to fry going forward, Klarides said.

The bipartisan plan did not incorporate some controversial reductions that Republicans and Democrats had proposed including:

  • Furlough days for state employees, which could not have been implemented without negotiations with worker unions.
  • A $16.7 million reduction in municipal aid.
  • And a 10 percent salary cut for all legislators.

Fasano said he still believes a legislative pay cut is important.

Republican lawmakers were the first to call for major restructuring of worker benefits and other labor costs, and the minority leader said Connecticut leaders cannot coax workers to the table if they don’t set the right example.

“That’s the reason we put it out there,” Fasano said.“But we couldn’t find a consensus for that idea” in negotiations with Democratic legislators.

“We’re going to be in big trouble,” in future years, Fasano said during the Senate debate in which he urged lawmakers to find ways to restructure labor costs. “This is not enough.”

The state’s chief business lobby, the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, thanked legislators for their efforts, but said they need to reduce spending more now given the huge deficits to come.

“Specifically we need to adopt structural spending reforms that could bring about more effective programs and do so more efficiently, said Bonnie Stewart, CBIA’s general counsel. “This year, it was said by many people that tough choices need to be made, and unfortunately, that’s true. What’s also true, though is that those decisions need to be made this year to show that Connecticut is taking our fiscal situation seriously and that Connecticut is a place in which to invest.”

Tuesday’s votes may not even have closed the entire deficit for this fiscal year.

While the Malloy administration estimated the shortfall at $220 million, the legislature’s nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis says it is slightly larger at $247 million.

Photos Courtesy of The Hartford Courant and CT Mirror

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Heroes for Hire Job and Career Fair Set for April


WETHERSFIELD —  The Connecticut Department of Labor’s Heroes 4 Hire Job and Career Fair – the largest and best-attended of its kind in New England – returns to the Rentschler Field Ballroom in East Hartford on April 27.

 

Sponsored by the Connecticut Department of Labor, the Connecticut Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Travelers, CBS Radio, and the local chamber of commerce. The veteran-focused event will run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

 

”More than 75 exhibitors are participating in this year’s Heroes 4 Hire career fair, including employers, service providers and educational institutions,” notes Terry Brennan, Director of the Connecticut Department of Labor’s Office of Veterans’ Workforce Development. “Certified Professional Résumé Writers from the Labor Department will also be on-site, offering advice on best ways to showcase résumés to prospective employers. DOL staff will also be available to talk to attendees and employers about employment services and related programs.”

 

“Veterans bring a strong sense of teamwork, organization and leadership skills to the workplace,” notes Brennan. “An accelerated learning curve allows veterans to enter the workforce with an advantage, plus they offer transferable skills that have been proven in real-life situations. Veterans have also demonstrated efficient performance under pressure and understand the demands of tight schedules and limited resources – providing a valuable perspective to potential employers.“

 

Additional details, including directions to the event, the list of participating companies and organizations, and an online registration form for employers wishing to participate can be found on the Connecticut Department of Labor’s career fair website at www.ctjobfairs.com.

 

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Gov. Malloy and Legislators Move Toward More Layoffs


HARTFORD — Facing a crushing deficit, Gov. Dan Malloy on Tuesday said there will be more layoffs of state employees.

The news comes after failed talks between the unions and the state’s pension office.

Malloy and other state officials said the total number of layoffs could be about 2,000.

Malloy says his administration is aiming to complete layoffs between June 9 and June 20 to save money in the 2017 fiscal year.

Senate President Martin Looney said the legislature on March 29 will vote on a plan to cover the current deficit, which is about $220 million.

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West Hartford Police Arrest Craiglist Rapist


By Fran Wilson, Staff Writer

WEST HARTFORD —  West Hartford Police arrested a Hartford man after he allegedly solicited sex on Craigslist.

Joshua Cordero, 26, of  16 Hungerford St. in Hartford was taken into custody on march 18 after police officers were sent to a resident on Glenn Lane for a report of sexual assault.

Cordero was charged with home invasion,  first degree burglary,  first degree kidnapping, first degree and third-degree sexual  assault, first degree unlawful restraint and third degree assault.

The female victim, who has not been identified, gave the officers a description of Cordero, who was arrested close to the victim’s home after his encounter with “a legitimate sale of merchandise posted on Craigslist,” according to the police report.

Cordero is being held on a $1 million dollar surety bond.

 

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State Police Arrest New Britain Man for Fraud


NEW BRITAIN — A New Britain landscaper was arrested on Friday and charged with using an invalid social security number to fraudulently collect more than $10,000 in Unemployment Compensation benefits, police said.

Julian Salazar, 62, of 200 Smith St., Apt. 1, in New Britain, was arrested by Inspectors from the Unemployment Compensation Fraud Unit in the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney and charged with one count each of Larceny in the First Degree by Defrauding a Public Community and Unemployment Compensation Fraud.

The arrest is the result of an investigation conducted by the unit following a complaint by the Connecticut Department of Labor.

According to the arrest warrant affidavit, Salazar, who is employed by a Simsbury landscaping business, fraudulently collected approximately $10,446 in unemployment benefits from December 2010 through February 2013 by using an invalid Social Security number.

He was arraigned today in New Britain Superior Court, G.A. No. 15, where bond was set at $20,000 cash or surety and the case was continued until April 14, 2016.

 

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Ben Carson Endorses Republican Front Runner Donald Trump


By Ann-Marie Adams, Staff Writer

ORLANDO, FL. — Ben Carson endorsed Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump on Friday, saying he has “buried the hatchet” after a long march to narrowing a large field of potential candidates for the White House.

Speaking at a news conference on Friday morning at Trump’s private residence, Carson, a retired neurosurgeon called for party unity, after ending his White House campaign on Super Tuesday. Many politicos said Carson’s endorsement will give Trump a boost to his campaign going to the presidential primaries in Florida and Ohio on Tuesday.

“What I’ve been seeing recently is political operatives … once again trying to assert themselves and trying to thwart the will of the people,” Carson said. “I find that to be an extraordinarily dangerous place right now.”

According to Carson, there are  “two Donald Trumps” — one is Trump’s public persona and the other is a more = “cerebral” man.

“Some people have gotten the impression that Donald Trump is this person who is not malleable, who does not have the ability to listen, and to take information in and make wise decisions. And that’s not true,” Carson said. “He’s much more cerebral than that.”

After Carson won the straw poll last year, he had several heated exchanges with Trump. Now, that’s all in the past, Carson said.

“We moved on because it’s not about me. It’s not about Mr. Trump. This is about America.”

Trump returned the praise but made no promises to Carson about future political positing in his administration.

“Having (Carson’s) support, really, it just adds total credence to what I’m trying to do and to what we’re all trying to do,” Trump said.

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Trump Fears Alienating White Supremacist Voters


Washington Informer, News Report

During an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union” Sunday morning, Tapper asked Trump whether he would disavow Duke and other hate groups backing his campaign. But Trump couldn’t bring himself to do so.

trumimage_3_t580.jpg 

Last week Duke, a former Louisiana state representative, told listeners on his “David Duke Radio Program” to start volunteering for Trump, saying “voting against Donald Trump at this point is really treason to your heritage.” Duke added that he has not “formally endorsed him, but I do support his candidacy, and I support voting for him as a strategic action. I hope he does everything we hope he will do.”

And in a Facebook post, the following day, Duke wrote that he thinks Trump “deserves a close look by those who believe the era of political correctness needs to come to an end.”

But in his CNN interview with Tapper, Trump could not come to disavow Duke.

Read more here.

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State to Host Apprenticeship Awareness Meeting


WETHERSFIELD — Continuing what has become a St. Patrick’s Day tradition in Connecticut, labor officials, legislative leaders and community representatives will pay tribute to a truly unique contribution to the workplace – the state’s Registered Apprenticeship Program – at the 2016 Apprenticeship Awareness Breakfast and photo exhibit.

The year’s breakfast, to be held 8 to 9:30 a.m. March 17 in Room 310 of the State Capitol, will focus on promoting the diversity and opportunities provided by Connecticut’s apprenticeship system. Following the breakfast, tabletop displays will provide program and contact information regarding apprenticeship opportunities. The photo exhibit will remain on display in the upper concourse of the Legislative Office Building through March 28.

According to State Labor Commissioner Scott D. Jackson, the state’s apprenticeship program is often referred to as ‘the other four year degree.’ Administered by the Department of Labor’s Office of Apprenticeship Training, the program has been an integral part of the state’s employment and training picture for nearly 80 years.

“Registered Apprenticeship combines on-the-job training with classroom instruction to develop a skilled workforce for high-skilled careers that benefit our workforce and the economy,” Jackson noted. “Employers, labor-management trusts, apprentices and educators all rely on this program to provide comprehensive classroom and on-the-job training for many professions, including electricians, plumbers,  tool and die makers, and advanced manufacturing. These are the types of jobs that build wealth in our families, add stability to communities, and strengthen our state’s economy.”

“Registered Apprenticeship is a nationally-recognized program that goes back to the 1937 National Apprenticeship Act,” according to Apprenticeship Program Manager Todd Berch. “We are proud that there is a strong Connecticut connection to this program – the National Apprenticeship Act, also known as The Fitzgerald Act, that was sponsored by Congressman William Fitzgerald of Norwich.”

 

Today, close to 1,600 active employer-sponsors and labor-management training committees in Connecticut employ nearly 6,000 apprentices in registered programs. Information about the Registered Apprenticeship Program can be found on the agency’s website at: www.ctapprenticeship.com.

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