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Letter: Tom Foley’s Bold-Face Lie


Dear Editor:

Tom Foley made several inaccurate statements in  recent gubernatorial debate  regarding home care workers and consumers. 

The collective bargaining agreement explicitly states that there will be no harm to consumer budgets and services. Both the public act and collective bargaining agreement state that no consumers shall suffer a reduction in services as a result of collective bargaining.

“Such a misrepresentation by Tom Foley is completely irresponsible.  It is a bold face lie to state that consumers are negatively affected because home care workers won the right to collectively bargain. It is explicitly stated in the public act and the collective bargaining agreement that consumers will not be negatively affected.  By allowing home care workers in Connecticut to collectively bargain we are starting to create a better paid and more stable workforce.  The people of Connecticut deserve the truth from their elected officials and Tom Foley made it clear in today’s debate he is incapable of that.  Both consumers and caregivers are benefited from the actions Governor Malloy and the state legislature took.  Governor Malloy  has helped Connecticut build a stronger workforce to care for the disabled and elderly,” spokesperson Jennifer Schneider said.

“Without my personal caregiver I wouldn’t be able to survive,” Margie Santana a Hartford consumer suffering from multiple sclerosis said.  “Tom Foley is out of touch with what people with disabilities in Connecticut need.  In no way have I been negatively impacted because my home care worker was able to collectively bargain.  Those of us suffering from disabilities  known that Governor Malloy has our best interest and has worked hard to help us have better care.”

The quality of home care that consumers receive can be affected by high turnover of caregivers. Turnover for home care workers ranges from 44 to 65 percent per year.[i]  This high turnover is primarily due to low pay and little to no benefits.

The annual turnover rate of the workforce fell 17 percent and the “bad turnover” rate fell by 30 percent after workers in San Francisco negotiated raises and better benefits, according to a study by the Center for Labor Education and Research at the University of California, Berkeley.[ii]

 

Jennifer Schneider

Communications Director

SEIU 1199, New England

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Hartford Guardian to Celebrate 10th Year Anniversary


HARTFORD —  The Hartford Guardian will kick off its 10th Year Anniversary celebration on Friday, Oct. 24, 2014 at Aetna Insurance Building on Farmington Ave. in Hartford, CT.

The Luncheon under the theme, Building to Empower and Engage, will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. to mark this significant milestone in the new media organization, which began in 2004 as a print publication.

Over the past decade, The Guardian has served individuals and families throughout the Greater Hartford area and beyond—disseminating untold stories, news and information that effect change on a local and national level.

The Guardian has won several notable recognitions and awards for its reporting, including the International Center for Journalists, Patch/AOL, Knight Center for Journalism New Media institute and the Hartford Magazine.

The Guardian was founded by Dr. Ann-Marie Adams, an award-winning journalist and historian. She has worked as a reporter and writer for The Hartford Courant, The Norwich Bulletin, Times Herald Record, People magazine, The Washington Post and other local and national publications. She teaches journalism and history, most recently at Quinnipiac University, Howard University and Rutgers University.

The Hartford Guardian was founded in 2004 to build communities through civic journalism. It is one of three programs by the Connecticut Alliance for Better Communities, Inc. CABC, Inc is a nonprofit organization established to encourage and increase civic engagement in Greater Hartford by (i) educating  residents about various social issues and services in Hartford, (ii) educating them about how government and media work, and (iii) offering opportunities to explore and engage in civic journalism.

For more information on how to become a sponsor or purchase tickets, email theguardian@thehartfordguardian.com. RSVP is required for seating and validated parking information.

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Sen. Murphy to Travel to Eastern Europe


HARTFORD — Sen. Chris Murphy is expected to travel to Albania, Croatia, Kosovo, Serbia and Montenegro next week.

Murphy announced his trip on Thursday, saying the aim is to ensure that the United States “strengthen the relationships” with these Eastern European countries. Murphy is Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on European Affairs.

To help prepare for his trip, the junior senator also plans to meet with the Albania community in Waterbury tonight.

During his expected visit to begin Oct. 14, Murphy is expected to meet with government officials to stress the U.S.’s support of the Balkan region’s integration into the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Murphy will also meet with non-governmental organizations to discuss possible trade relationships with Connecticut, officials said. More specifically, he plans meet with Defense Ministers and American Business Chambers to discuss how Connecticut can trade goods to the region.

 

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Black Women “Sick and Tired” of Low Quality Healthcare, Infant Mortality


Editor’s Note: This article was made possible by the International Center for Journalists’ Community Health Reporting Fellowship and is a part of an ongoing series on Race, Gender and Medicine in America.

By Ann-Marie Adams

Connecticut has the highest infant mortality rate for black babies.

That’s according to the state’s own 2009 health disparities report, which reveals consistently higher infant mortality rates than white and Hispanic infants.

The infant mortality rate represents the number of deaths among babies under one year old per 1,000 births. The latest report shows the number of deaths for black babies between 2001 and 2005 was 314 or 13 percent compared to Hispanics with 251 or 6.5 percent, or Whites with 515 or 3.9 percent.

Dr_AnnMarie_AdamsNaturally, someone should ask why there’s such a high death rate among black babies in Connecticut. Is it caused by improper nutrients from food desserts in urban areas? Or is it a systematic attempt—unmitigated long after the infamous Tuskegee experiment—to harm black people in America? Many so-called Third World countries do not have such high infant mortality rates. So I’m leaning toward the latter, considering socio-economic factors that are already impacting the black family.

the-hartford-guardian-OpinionBefore you get your panties in a bunch, consider the history of race and medicine in America. If you do, you will contextualize the contemporary conditions and see that this is not an alarmist approach to scant evidence. It’s a singular theory based on American history and years of research that have produced enough facts to examine this crisis.

According to The Hartford Guardian’s own investigation of Greater Hartford-area hospitals, doctors are more willing to prescribe medications that damage black women’s reproductive organs. The atrocity of substandard healthcare for many black women can be in the form of benign neglect in a hospital emergency room to egregious malpractice such as forcing medications against will—a common and often criminal–practice at Hartford Hospital’s Institute of Living. The most popular culprit is Risperidone, which seeps into breast milk and enlarges breasts.

Besides robbing many black women of their breast milk, Risperidone contributes to the mammification of the black woman’s body. It’s the most frightening side effect of this drug known to cause death. Similar steroidal and non-steroidal medications include cyclobenzprine, hydrocodon-acetaminophn, methylprednisolone, cogentin, gabapenten and haldol. Many cause hyper-lactatemia, a fancy word for inflating a woman’s breast with deadly toxins.
The problem is not just in Connecticut, however. This also occurs at the Maryland-based National Institutes of Health, where doctors recruit women to use experimental drugs that cause harm to their reproductive system and then send them off to deal with the later consequences of an unknown drug.
Black men also face similar harm with pills that decrease libido or contribute to erectile dysfunction. But this story about the health industry makes a sharp departure from the overall black experience when we look at the intersection of race, gender and medicine.

The syphilis experiment from 1932 to 1972 by the U.S. Health Service generated national outrage and is well-known around the world. The lesser known experiments of black women like Henrietta Lacks did not cause an uproar.

This makes me want to scream.

Consider this: Black women are more likely to die of heart failure, cancer, and other diseases because of deficient medical care. They are also more likely to have uterine fibroids, which are commonly associated with stress. The confluence of stressors is attributed to socio-economic conditions. For example, black women are three times more likely than white women to be unemployed. And though you have gender inequality among wage earners, black women earn 70 cents on the dollar for the same work as other workers.

Mental Health Series: African-Americans Negotiate Mental Illness

Perhaps President Barack Obama, who benefited from the overwhelming support of black women voters in 2008 and 2012, should consider implementing policies that mitigate centuries of medical abuses and character assassination of the black woman in America. Besides the medical maladies they face, most black women are considered angry—even if they wear pastel colors and glue their mouths shut.

The angry woman trope is laughable among the righteously discontented, who are now wondering when they will we see policies that have a direct impact on their lives in every sphere. Let’s deal with specificity. When will black women have equal access and opportunity?

Do they need to storm the White House to get Obama’s attention? With two years left in the White House, perhaps he should consider forming a task force of multi-ethnic black women who will attack these deficiencies in the health field and change the way health care is administered to them. Are these deficiencies factored into the web of policies linked to Obamacare, which supposedly gives Americans access to quality and affordable healthcare?

If single black women consist of 70 percent of black households that overwhelmed voting booths to elect the first black president, then we ought to see specific policies that address these constituencies—sooner rather than later.

Like Fannie Lou Hamer who helped reshape the Democratic Party in the 1960s, some of us black women are sick and tired of being sick and tired.

Mental Health Series: Reclaiming Black Men’s Mental Health

Dr. Ann-Marie Adams the founder and editor of The Hartford Guardian. She has worked for The Hartford Courant, The Washington Post, The Root.com, and People Magazine. She has taught U.S. History and Journalism at Quinnipiac University, Howard University and Rutgers University. Follow her on Twitter: @annmarieadams.

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Moody’s Downgrades Hartford’s Credit Rating


HARTFORD — Citing the city’s declining fund balance,  stagnant property values and scant revenue sources, Moody’s downgraded Hartford’s bond rating on Monday.

This move could impact future capital projects in the city, including a proposed stadium and school renovations.

Since 2010, the City of Hartford has held an A1 Bond Rating. City officials said that one notch down to the A2 rating is still a strong investment grade rate that will allow the city to continue to raise capital at lower interest rates.

“It is tough to hear but we have to keep everything in perspective,” said Mayor Pedro E. Segarra. “In the last four years tax revenues declined, our Rainy Day Fund increased, our pension was fully funded all the while our expenditures grew significantly due to contractual obligations…. As far as cities go, we are doing better than most.”

Segarra is calling for expedited economic development an dmore public/private partnerships to increase the bond rating.

City Council President Shawn Wooden agreed.

“It’s very challenging and yet we have seen tremendous growth in our City over the last few years. The bottom line is that we need new revenue sources to put Hartford on a path of fiscal stability and new development that will increase property values and not place any further burden on our taxpayers.”

officials said that Moody’s rationale for the downgrade was also influenced by unemployment, lack of financial flexibility due to contractual obligations and limited revenue sources.

Several strengths were cited including strong pension fund practices, and the city’s status as a regional economic center.

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CT Pushes Back on Proposed Tribal Rules


By Fran Wilson, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — Connecticut officials are pushing back against proposed federal guidelines that would give tribal recognition to groups that have been denied it under the state’s stiff requirements.

In a statement released to the press on Wednesday, Attorney General George Jepsen announced his decision to  file official comments with the Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs opposing those proposed rules. Jepsen said the new rules, established in May, breaks from “acknowledged principles” and would dismantle previous decisions.

“Rather than improving transparency, predictability and finality, the proposed changes may undo settled decisions on which the state and others had expended significant resources and on which they have relied,” Jepsen said.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy added that the federal rules issued recently would significantly weaken the state’s substantive requirements for federal tribal recognition, which require groups to prove contact with Europeans.

Groups such as the Eastern Pequot, Schaghticoke and possibly the Golden Hill Paugussett, may benefit from the new federal guidelines.

That aside, Malloy said the federal government should consider the “grave and unfair impact” on Connecticut–if the new rules were to be adopted.

“Such a change would likely result in federal acknowledgement for groups that have made land claims to large areas of settled land here in Connecticut, and who have already been denied recognition after a long, intense, and fact-based federal process.”
If adopted as proposed, previously denied petitioners could gain recognition in the state. Such a consent requirement would likely be subject to litigation, state officials said.
The federal tribal recognition rules currently in place require a tribe to prove its continuous community and political authority since first contact with European settlers. Under the changes proposed by the BIA, groups would be required to demonstrate that a state has maintained a state reservation since 1934.

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CL & P Needs Common Sense Approach to Increase


By Rep. David Baram

Citing the need for infrastructure improvements, Connecticut Light & Power Co. has asked for a 59 percent increase in its fixed monthly service fee and another increase in its rate of return on investment.

In addition, CL&P wants a 45 percent increase in the fixed fee it charges for small business customers regardless of how much energy David_Baramthey consume.

Clearly, these increases would create a significant economic hardship on low-income residents already the-hartford-guardian-Opinionstruggling to pay for basic necessities like food and utilities. They would also essentially penalize residents and businesses that try to use less electricity or promote energy efficiency.

The state Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA), which is charged with the responsibility of oversight, should reject CL&P’s request and even consider rolling back the favorable rates that the utility already enjoys.

We recognize that CL&P faces business challenges and changes in its revenue stream resulting from efficiency, the use of renewables, a growing emphasis on distributed generation and other efforts to meet our energy needs in ways that reduce costs and the impact on the environment.

But the simple fact is that CL&P has to find a common sense approach to its business needs without penalizing rate payers. They should not have to pay a higher share of the utility’s costs.

Considering that our state’s energy model is predicated upon the principles of reducing energy costs for our citizens and more efficient energy usage, an increase in CL&P’s fixed fee would undermine Connecticut’s effort to achieve long-term energy conservation and reduced costs.

As Governor Malloy has stated, a rate increase cuts to the heart of our state’s nationally recognized Comprehensive Energy Strategy (CES). It would limit the ability of residents and businesses across our state to reduce their electric bill through energy efficiency or the use of solar, fuel cells and other renewable energy sources.

If Connecticut accepts the argument that raising consumer costs is justified by the proliferation of fuel cells, solar, wind and other renewables, it will discourage future investment in these beneficial technologies and further limit our progress toward ensuring greater access to low-cost, environmentally beneficial energy sources.

Connecticut already ranks among the top five states in the country in the cost of electricity and to expect residents and small businesses to pay even higher rates is beyond comprehension.

Rep. David Baram  represents the 15th Assembly District, which includes Bloomfield and Windsor.

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FoodShare’s President to Resign


BLOOMFIELD –Gloria McAdam, Foodshare’s President and CEO, has accepted a position heading an organization that fights hunger in Northern New York.

McAdam will remain at Foodshare until Dec. 31, 2014 when she will assume the role of Executive Director of GardenShare in Canton, NY, near where she grew up.  During the search for a permanent replacement, COO Christine O’Rourke will serve as interim CEO.

The organization has already activated its succession plan, which includes launching a nationwide search for a new President/CEO.

“We are indebted to Gloria for building a robust and dynamic organization with a strong mission and a deep bench of talented employees,” said Leslie Soler, Chair of Foodshare’s Board.  “Her determination and passion for the twin issues of fighting hunger and ending its causes has been an inspiration for the last 30 years.  We will miss her terribly, but her drive to build this organization into a fiscally sound force against hunger leaves it strong and resilient.”

 

 

 

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OEM Controls, Inc. Employees Eligible for Benefits


WETHERSFIELD – Former employees of OEM Controls, Inc. in Shelton, Connecticut who produced joystick controllers and control systems, were certified on September 9, 2014 as eligible to apply for federal Trade Adjustment Assistance.

The Connecticut Labor Department is mailing an eligibility notice regarding the benefits to all affected employees and is providing information on how to apply for benefits. Employees eligible to apply for federal benefits are those who are or will be totally or partially separated from employment due to lack of work on or after Aug. 8, 2013 and on or before Sept. 9, 2016.
Available assistance may include: training; income support in the form of Trade Readjustment Allowances (TRA); job search and relocation allowances for qualified workers who seek or obtain employment outside their normal commuting areas.  Individuals 50 years of age and older who return to lower-paying work may be eligible to receive Alternative Trade Adjustment Assistance (ATAA) wage subsidies.
Workers who qualify yet do not receive eligibility information are urged to contact their nearest American Job Center for information and assistance.

Those who need to apply for unemployment benefits are reminded that claims can now be taken over the Internet or by telephone. Information can be found on the Department of Labor’s Web site at www.ct.gov.

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CRT Offers Help with Foreclosures


HARTFORD — Help is available for Greater Hartford area homeowners facing foreclosure.

The Community Renewal Team has housing counselors who can work with homeowners to put a plan in place to save the home from foreclosure.

There are no income restrictions to participate in CRT’s foreclosure prevention and homeowners don’t need to have a foreclosure notice before taking part.

CRT’s expanded foreclosure prevention program is due in part to increased federal funding to programs that help homeowners.

For more information on CRT’s Housing Counselling Department and how we can help homeowners at all income levels, call (860) 761-7937 or email foreclosure@crtct.org.

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