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Hartford Police Arrest Three for Narcotics


HARTFORD —  Hartford Police arrested three men on Wednesday for drug and weapons charges, police said.

Police arrested James Castaneda, 26, of Hartford was arrested on charges of possessing narcotics and other controlled substances, Henry Dejesus-Morales, 27, of Hartford for  possessing a firearm and narcotics, and Eddie Crespo, 24, of West Hartford for possession of narcotics.

Police said they obtain a tip that the suspects  at 100 Francis Ave. in Hartford were conducting illegal drug sales and possess firearms.

Among the items recovered are a 9mm handgun, 13 grams of crack cocaine, ammunition and $4,000 in cash and more than 1100 bags of heroin.

Items that the police found at the location included one loaded handgun and a large amount of narcotics, packaging material, U.S. Currency and a large amount of live ammunition.

Bond and court dates were unavailable at press time.

 

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UConn Health to Address Health Disparities


FARMINGTON –  Health officials are gearing up to address health disparities in Connecticut.

The Connecticut Institute for Clinical and Translational Science at UConn in partnership with the Connecticut Legislative Black & Puerto Rican Caucus and the W. Montague Cobb/NMA Health Institute, will host the National Health Disparities Elimination Summit at UConn Health in Farmington on  June 13.

The summit, “Keeping it Real: Real Solutions, Real Change,” seeks to spearhead an important dialogue and generate actionable solutions to eliminate health disparities.

The summit’s keynote speaker will be Louis W. Sullivan, M.D., former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, CEO and chairman of The Sullivan Alliance, and President Emeritus of the Morehouse School of Medicine.

Sullivan and other distinguished speakers will share their expertise and insight into the causes of health disparities and avenues for change. As a result, a collaborative atmosphere will be created to define pathways to truly eliminate health disparities.

For further information about the National Health Disparities Elimination Summit at UConn, visit the organization’s website (http://cicats.uconn.edu).

 

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UConn’s Kevin Ollie to Speak at Summer Soiree


By Shakira Johnson, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — The Greater Hartford Arts Council will host its first Summer Soirée on June 17 at the historic Philip Cheney Mansion in Manchester with basketball coach Kevin Ollie.

Ollie, UConn’s head basketball coach, will speak at the event to benefit the Arts Council’s 2015 United Arts Campaign and Neighborhood Studios, a summer arts apprenticeship program for teens. The event will begin at 5:30p.m.

The event will also feature live entertainment by Neighborhood Studios apprentices and master teaching artists. Guest speaker, Coach Ollie, will speak about the importance of youth engagement and development through community programs like Neighborhood Studios.

Coach Ollie made national headlines in 2014 when The Huskies defeated the Kentucky Wildcats in the NCAA men’s championship.

Arts Council officials said Ollie is known for his commitment to building strong, professional teams that aligns with the mission of Neighborhood Studios.

Tickets are $150 and can be purchased online at LetsGoArts.org/Soiree.

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CT Senate Unanimously Backs Police Accountability Bill


By Mark Pazniokas, CT Mirror

HARTFORD — The state Senate responded early Tuesday to demands for greater police accountability by unanimously passing legislation that would establish standards for investigating officer-involved shootings and equipping police with body cameras.

With the vocal support of Republican leaders, including a recently retired police officer, the Senate voted for a bill that also requires changes in police training and hiring and subjects departments to liability if police illegally stop a citizen from recording them.

“Police officers have very broad authority, and that includes the use of force, deadly force, in protection of themselves and others,” said Sen. Eric Coleman, D-Bloomfield, offering a simple rationale for a bill that has taken on a sense of urgency in recent months.

The bill goes to the House, where the Republican minority leader, Rep. Themis Klarides of Derby said the GOP has not agreed to let the bill come to a vote before the constitutional adjournment deadline of midnight Wednesday.

The Senate vote came at nearly 4 a.m.

The Connecticut State Police would be required to equip its troopers with body cameras, while municipal departments would be encouraged with financial assistance, but not required, to follow suit.

A pool of $13 million in grants would be created for municipalities to purchase cameras and store the images, beginning in the 2017 fiscal year.

The revised bill was co-sponsored by four Republicans in the Senate, including Minority Leader Len Fasano of North Haven and Kevin Witkos of Canton, a retired police officer.

Passage followed high-profile police shootings, including one in which a passerby made a recording of a white officer in North Charleston, S.C., shooting an unarmed black man in the back as he ran away after a traffic stop.

“I think this is a great step forward,” Fasano said. “We don’t need the incident here. Let’s get ahead of it. Let’s be proactive.”

Sen. Gary Winfield, D-New Haven, said legislators in Connecticut were talking about the issue of greater police accountability long before incidents in South Carolina, Ferguson, Mo., and elsewhere.

“I am very pleased I know this is a bipartisan effort,” he said.

The bill exempts the body-camera video recordings from release under the Freedom of Information Act under several circumstances, including communication with other officers, encounters with informants, and interactions with victims of domestic or sexual abuse. Recordings depicting victims of homicides, suicides and accidents also are exempt.

The bill encourages departments to recruit minorities and prohibits them from hiring former officers who were fired or disciplined for malfeasance or serious misconduct.

It also requires that police shootings be investigated by a special prosecutor or a prosecutor from a different judicial district than that where the death occurred.

Under current practice, the chief state’s attorney is permitted but not required to have police shootings investigated by a prosecutor from a different judicial district.

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YMCA Honors Former City Councilman Matthews


By Fran Wilson, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — Former City Council Member I. Charles Matthews was recently honored by the YMCA of Greater Hartford.

Mathews of West Hartford received the 2014 Robert C. Knox, Jr. YMCA Distinguished Leadership Award at the YMCA’s 162 Annual Meeting.

The award honors the memory of the late Robert C. Knox, Jr., a Hartford insurance executive, whose dedication helped the YMCA grow, prosper and fulfill its mission to serve others.

Officials said the award is the YMCA of Greater Hartford’s highest honor recognizing volunteers.

After a career in corporate law and city government, I. Charles found a new calling in the Y.

“I’ve got 4,000 kids at the Wilson-Gray YMCA,” Matthews said and his volunteers are mentoring them all, starting in grade school with a program that brings in speakers– doctors, lawyers, engineers, business leaders– who give them a glimpse beyond their neighborhoods.

Matthew said he has helped to expand community engagement with the state and Hartford city official and to increase the Y’s presence within the local neighborhood by establishing community events.

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U.S. Removes Cuba from Terrorist List


By Ann-Marie Adams, Staff Writer

WASHINGTON—United States officials on Friday removed Cuba from its list of countries that sponsor terrorism.

The move comes more than six months after President Barack Obama announced plans to re-establish diplomatic ties between Washington and Havana. That’s because State Department officials’ 45-day review was the last hurdle to cement a relationship with Cuba.

State Department officials said that even though the country was removed from the list, the U.S. and Cuba still have differences. The U.S. placed Cuba on the list in 1982 because it allegedly support terrorist organizations in Latin America.

“While the United States has significant concerns and disagreements with a wide range of Cuba’s policies and actions, these fall outside the criteria relevant to the rescission of a State Sponsor of Terrorism designation,” spokesman Jeff Rathke said.

Currently, only Syria, the Sudan and Iran remain on the list.

The President in December 2014 officially requested Cuba’s removal after a meeting with Cuban President Raul Castro in Panama, where the Summit of the Americas was held.

This move paves the way for the U.S. to have embassies in America and Cuba. Officials are expected to announce details next week.

The recent development will also remove selected trade barriers against Cuba. However, Congress would have to reverse the overall embargo.

 

 

 

 

 

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State Officials: Hurricane Season Begins June 1


Fran Wilson, Staff Writer

HARTFORD —  June 1 will mark the 2015 Atlantic Hurricane season.

As a result, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy in a press release reminds residents to be prepared for severe weather that may impact the state.

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30 with most of the threat period for the state occurring between mid-August and mid-October.

“As we have experienced, it only takes one hurricane or tropical storm to make landfall to have a devastating impact on our state,” Malloy said.  “Now is the time to prepare.  I urge residents to take three simple preparedness steps: Get a kit, make a plan, and stay informed. These three steps will allow you to become more resilient to any storm or emergency you may face.”
State officials said the potential risks to the community includes storm surge, flooding, road or bridge closures.
 “If a storm is approaching your area, carefully monitor weather reports and follow all of the instructions provided by public safety officials,”Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection Commissioner Dora B. Schriro said.
Connecticut residents can subscribe to get alert messages by going to www.ct.gov/ctalert to register.

 

 

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How We’re Losing Our Daughters by Ignoring Their Pain


By:

“Ms. Tiffany, why don’t black girls matter?”

It was an awkward question posed during one of the listening sessions I conduct for Black Girls Unscripted, a documentary in progress which aims to expose girls of color to positive self-imagery, educational resources, cultural exploration, mental wellness and leadership opportunities. It’s during these listening sessions that girls get to sound off and propose solutions to issues of importance to them.

I was stunned by the question, not quite sure how to offer a thorough answer in the 15 minutes we had remaining. So I posed the question back to them: “Tell me why you believe you don’t matter.”

Their responses varied—from the low expectations others have of them to persistent media stereotyping that undervalues women and girls. When I asked who, besides their parents, they confide in regarding their fears and concerns, they stated, almost in unison, “My parents told me to keep my business to myself.”

I was reminded of the stigmas surrounding mental health that permeated my own childhood during the ’70s. Back then, mental illness was viewed as a sign of weakness. I distinctly remember hearing folks say, “Black people don’t get depressed,” or “If black people could endure slavery, we can endure anything,” or “Black women just deal.” Mental-health care was a luxury that few in my community could afford.  And those who did seek treatment often reported experiencing discrimination at the hands of doctors who failed to diagnose them properly.

Fast-forward to the 21st century and not much has changed. Stigmas still persist, and African Americans, especially youths, are still not receiving the necessary mental-health interventions.

A recent Time article highlighted a study published by JAMA Pediatrics indicating that from 1993 to 2012, the suicide rate among black children significantly rose while the rate among white children dropped. An earlier report funded by the National Institute of Mental Health found that black American teens, especially girls, may be at high risk for attempting suicide even if they have never been diagnosed with a mental disorder. Researchers estimate that at some point before they reach 17 years of age, 4 percent of black teens overall and more than 7 percent of black teen girls will attempt suicide. It is apparent that our girls are burdened by emotions bearing down on them in ways that we fail to properly address, leaving them to manage feelings of anger, fear and confusion on their own.

But, mostly, they feel invisible.

President Barack Obama recently announced a nonprofit spinoff to My Brother’s Keeper—the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance—which includes investments of more than $80 million for programs focused on the well-being of young black and Latino men.  And while there is plenty of evidence to indicate that black boys and girls are drowning under the weight of similar issues, girls and young women continue to be excluded from the president’s signature racial-justice initiative.

So why do so few notice that our girls are also in crisis?

Girls like 17-year-old Ayana*, petite, with dimpled cheeks, who spent 13 years being shifted from one abusive foster home to the next. She reported the abuse to her caseworker, teachers and school counselors. They didn’t believe her. Forced to push down the pain and anger, fighting became her outlet.

Or Myrna*, a doe-eyed Latina, who endures the daily teasing about her broken English and the fear that her undocumented parents will be deported. Self-mutilation became her coping mechanism.

Or with my former mentee, Alisha, who attempted suicide because she didn’t feel pretty or worthy.

Thankfully, each of these girls now benefits from amazing programs that offer a safe haven, access to mental-health resources, a place to connect with girls who share similar challenges and a pipeline to opportunities. It’s stories like these, and the countless others that remain untold, that prompted me to create the Black Girls Unscripted movement, focused on the empowerment of girls and young women of color. We’re building critical partnerships with organizations like Breathe Nonprofit to deliver suicide-prevention education to young people and bring continued awareness of mental-health challenges in our community.

The quote “It takes a village to raise a child” has never been more relevant than it is today. I call on every black woman to commit to doing away with the damaging notions of the “strong black woman” that prevent us from seeking the help we so deserve. Let’s acknowledge that we are breakable and that it’s OK to ask for help when we need it. Let’s all rally together—fathers, sons, brothers and uncles included—to push for policies and programs that empower girls of color, girls who are full of aspirations, potential and hope. Their continued abandonment will only serve to undermine the well-being of our entire community. We owe it to our daughters, nieces, sisters, granddaughters, neighbors and students to advocate on their behalf, make room at the table for their voices and help them reimagine their role in society.

* The names have been changed to protect the identity of minors.

Tiffany L. Gill is an activist, creator of the Black Girls Unscripted film campaign and lover of all things chocolate. Follow her on Twitter.

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Stanley Park to Host Outdoor Fun Event


NEW BRITAIN — It’s that time again to experience Tarzan swings, obstacle courses and other outdoor activities.

Go Ape, a highly interactive treetop adventure course, will hold a grand opening celebration on May 29 at 11:30 a.m. at the A.W.Stanley Park.

As part of the festivities, the Holmes School there will be will be doing their Wounded Warrior walk through the Park.

Then, the Holmes school Choir will sing the National Anthem with the Pulaski School Band, followed by a ribbon cutting and remarks from New Britain Mayor Erin E. Stewart, Go Ape USA Managing Director Dan D’Agostino, and New Britain Parks & Recreation Director Bill Demaio.

Participants at the Grand Opening will get to swing from the trees, participate in a raffle for prizes and enjoy a light lunch.

Go Ape offers Connecticut residents and visitors a unique outdoor experience that encourages them to swing from the trees and live life adventurously.

 

 

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‘Anti-Indian Rhetoric’ at Rogue Congressional Hearing


By  Gale Courey Toensing, Indian Country

The United South and Eastern Tribes, seven partner organizations and a federally recognized sovereign Indian nation have asked the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs to renounce the testimony presented at a recent oversight hearing by one of its invited panelists. The panelist, attorney Donald C. Mitchell, supported terminating the federal recognition of tribes he alleged were unlawfully acknowledged by the Interior Department.

On May 6, United South and Eastern Tribes, Inc. (USET), the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, the California Association of Tribal Governments, the Council of Athabascan Tribal Governments, the Inter Tribal Association of Arizona, the Maniilaq Association, the Midwest Alliance of Sovereign Tribes, and the Native American Rights Fund jointly submitted a statement for the subcommittee’s record of its April 22 oversight hearing on proposed revisions of the federal recognition regulations.

“[Mitchell’s claim that] the Secretary of Interior has never been delegated authority to recognize Indian tribes—and [his] strong inference that such tribes should be stripped of federal recognition as their recognized status lack any legal merit,” the group wrote. “We refute that theory. We ask that the Subcommittee review this material [we have submitted] and disavow Mr. Mitchell’s testimony.” ICTMN has received a copy of the letter.

In his comments and 14-page written testimony, Mitchell, an attorney from Alaska, claimed that Congress never delegated its “plenary power” over Indians to the Interior Department or authorized the Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs “to create new tribes” – an expression he used repeatedly that both misrepresents and disparages the formal procedure by which existing tribes are acknowledged. Because Interior acted without authority, Mitchell argued, the federal recognition regulations that BIA officials promulgated in 1978, the 1994 amendments to those regulations, and the current proposed revisions, “if they are published in a final rule. . . were and are ultra vires” – meaning they are actions taken outside of the powers or authority granted to them by law. Since 1978, the BIA has federally recognized 17 tribes. Mitchell urged Congress “to reassume control of the tribal recognition process.”

Photo Courtesy of Indian Country: Obama meets with tribal nations at the White House

Photo Courtesy of Indian Country: Obama meets with tribal nations at the White House

In his written testimony, Mitchell cited without censure Andrew Jackson’s sweeping policy of ethnic cleansing that was part of the 1830 Indian Removal Act, the Allotment Act, which destroyed reservations, and the termination policy, which aimed at erasing Indian identity through assimilation into mainstream American society. He also advocated for the use of “blood quantum” – a Euro-American strategy of genocide – to determine Indian identity.

The material submitted by the tribal organizations cited case after case in which court rulings and Congress itself have explicitly, implicitly and repeatedly acknowledged the Interior secretary’s authority to extend federal recognition to Indian tribes and affirmed congressional delegation of that authority.

It wasn’t only Mitchell’s testimony that was troubling, USET President Brian Patterson, a citizen of the Oneida Indian Nation, told ICTMN. There was the Hearing Memo, which echoes Mitchell’s claims that the Interior Department has somehow usurped Congress’s power to regulate Indian affairs. And there was a “negative” tone to the meeting itself, Patterson said. That negative tone began with the hearing title – “The Obama Administration’s Part 83 Revisions and How They May Allow the Interior Department to Create Tribes, not Recognize Them.”

Paterson noted that the subcommittee has scheduled an oversight hearing with another “troubling” title — “Inadequate Standards for Trust Land Acquisition in the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934” – on Thursday, May 14. “We’re troubled about that hearing as expressed in the title. We’re concerned about Mr. Mitchell seeing the light of day with his anti-Indian rhetoric that is baseless and fictitious. Our USET tribal nation family will not stand on the sidelines and passively watch as others attempt to dismantle and erode our inherent sovereign rights and authorities,” he said.

Perhaps the most disturbing thing about the hearing was the committee members’ lack of support for the tribes, Patterson said. “Not one of them stood up for the tribes or spoke out against Mitchell’s specious claims,” he said. “Congress has a responsibility to promote tribal self-determination. It needs to respect and protect our inherent sovereign authorities and rights.”

The tone of the meeting became particularly troublesome during an exchange between Natural Resource Committee Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) and Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Kevin Washburn. Washburn attended the hearing to provide an overview of the Interior Department’s efforts to improve the federal acknowledgment process. It’s an effort that’s been discussed for years, but not acted upon until Washburn unveiled a draft “discussion” proposal of revised regulations in the spring of 2013. The draft had been produced during Washburn’s first year in office.

Bishop grilled Washburn about whether he would “commit to pull back” the proposed revised regulations until the committee could conduct “the appropriate oversight and can address the concerns held by this committee and others.” The revised regulations are currently lodged with the Office of Management and Budget for review – the last step before a “final rule” is published in the Federal Register.

“Chairman, we’ve been criticized for moving too slow and you’re asking us to stop,” Washburn said. ‘We’ve been working on this for two years, so respectfully, I won’t commit to doing that.”

Bishop leaned forward, hunched over his crossed arms on the desk in front of him, and glared at Washburn. “One way or another we’re gonna push you until we do it the right way and whether it’s quick or not I don’t care,” he said. The exchange begins at 52:24 in the archived video of the hearing.

The hearing was set up as a forum to showcase opponents of the proposed federal recognition revisions. Panelists were by invitation only. The three invited tribal leaders – Fawn Sharp, president of the Quinault Indian Nation, Glen Gobin, vice chairman of the Tulalip Tribes, and Robert Martin, chairman of the Morongo Band of Mission Indians – all expressed concerns that their nations may come into conflicts over resources if more tribes were to be federally recognized and fear that the proposed revisions would make it easier for other, perhaps “illegitimate,” tribes to gain recognition.

A key witness was Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), who has been at the center of anti-Indian sovereignty activity for more than two decades. Blumenthal threatened to sue the Interior Department if the final rule does not meet his approval. Subcommittee Chairman Don Young (R-AK) invited Reps. Elizabeth Esty and Joe Courtney, two Democrats from Connecticut’s congressional delegation who have been coached by Blumenthal on Indian issues, to sit at the subcommittee’s table.

The only panelist supporting the revised regulations was Brian Cladoosby, appearing in his role of president of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), not as chairman of the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community Senate.

Some observers said they were dismayed by what they saw at the hearing. “This new committee tends to be far more hostile then we have seen in recent years. It is rather disconcerting. It looks like we are going into another era of termination, albeit ‘cloaked’ under feigned ‘good intentions,” said Rev. John Norwood, a councilman of the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribe of New Jersey and co-chair of the National Congress of American Indians Federal Recognition Task Force.

Norwood warned tribes against falling victim to the government’s “divide and conquer” strategy. “Tribes thinking they are protecting their interests by allying themselves with Congress or federal agencies against other tribes have always found that when the smoke clears, they too have been the target of a government with a history that always tends to bend toward injustice against indigenous dignity and sovereignty,” he said. “Sadly, too many have not learned the lessons of history.”


Read more at
http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2015/05/13/baseless-and-fictitious-anti-indian-rhetoric-rogue-congressional-hearing-fed-recognition

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