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Hartford Holds Public Hearing on Neighborhod Assistance Act


By Kindred Gaynor, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — Katie Glass, the executive director of the Hartford Artisans Weaving Center, wants to create a safe environment for artists in an old building that was donated. So she plans to fix it up.

That’s why she applied for $143, 002 from the Connecticut Neighborhood Assistance Act. The organization hopes to do roofing and lighting updates.

“It is a 40-year-old building that requires renovations,” Glass said. “Our roof being fixed is critical because it means that people can keep coming to a safe environment.”

The organization, which enriches lives through hand weaving, is also asking for a new HVAC system because the one that is in place now is original to the building.

Glass was one of the 67 agencies that apply for the program. Only five of them showed up to the public hearing Monday night at city hall.

The NAA Tax Credit Program is designed to provide funding for municipal and tax exempt organizations by providing a corporation business tax credit for businesses that make cash contributions to these entities.

The Hartford City Council must take action on 67 eligible 2019 Neighborhood Assistance Act proposals no later then June 10.

The organizations will benefit from the Neighborhood Assistance Act because unlike loans, grants don’t have to be repaid. These grants are designed to help these organizations grow. The types of community programs that qualify for the NAA tax credit program include energy conservation, employment and training, child care services, neighborhood assistance, substance abuse, open space acquisition, crime prevention programs, and affordable housing development.

This year the caps on individuals are the same. There is a $150,000 cap for non-profit organizations for the amount that they can raise from donors that is covered by tax credit. There is also an $150,000 cap for each dollar on the amount they can donate in any one tax year.

 In previous years, the total amount of credits that were permitted state wide was $10 million dollars. Two years ago they cut that maximum in half to $5 million dollars state wide.

Joan Gurksi, director of grants, explained the process of the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services. “What the Connecticut DRS does after they receive all of the applications is they not only determine whether or not they agree with the programs but they also assign a limit of the amount that can be raised with tax credit.

There is a formula that is applied in order for DRS to generate the amount that each organization/agency is supposed to receive. There is some discretion during this process.”

Connecticut DRS lets the public know how much tax credit is allotted to each donor from each non-profit. The lists that Central Grants gets from Connecticut DRS will be posted on the Central Grant web page.

Adria Giordano, director of development for Chrysalis Center, explained why her company is requesting a $150,000 grant from the state. “We provide homes for homeless individuals, people who are on the brink of homelessness and those who suffer from mental health issues,” said Giordano.

The Chrysalis Center has a total of five sites in the state of Connecticut, one of those sites being for veterans. The organization recently received a grant to purchase the home for 21 homeless veterans. Giorando said, “The home that was purchased is a turn of a century building that would benefit immensely from renovations. It needs a lot of work to be energy efficient.” The organization wants to get the renovations done as soon as possible to improve the overall safety of the building.

Jennifer DeJong represented the Village for Families and Children. The organization is requesting a $150,000 grant for numerous upgrades to their facility. It has been brought to their attention that they are experiencing high levels of carbon monoxide.

They have been advised to replace the boilers that they currently have with high energy efficient stainless steel boilers. This organization works in collaboration with the Department of Children and Families and needs to refurbish their facility without any further delay.

Council President, Glendowlyn Thames, concluded the public hearing by telling each of the representatives that she doesn’t see any issues with their grant requests and they should expect to know if their grants were approved by Labor Day.

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Hartford Approves 2020 Budget with Slight Increase


By Fran Wilson, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — Hartford residents will see a slight increase of city spending after the City Council on Tuesday approved Mayor Luke Bronin’s proposed $573.2 million budget for 2020.

City spending will increase by $3.2 million, or less than one percent over the current year. The budget is effective July 1.

Under the new budget, the size of the city’s workforce remains smaller than previous years. For example, there are 54 fewer workers than in 2015. However, spending for the Hartford Police Department increased by 0.3 percent to $46.6 million so that the city can hire 60 additional police officers. The department is expected to add 26 officers. In all, there will be 436 police officers by July 2020.

Spending is also flat with the education budget. That budget maintains the educational spending of previous years, $284 million. It will be supplemented by an additional $3.2 million from the state’s budget. Part of that amount will be used on reducing chronic absenteeism.

There is an increase on public safety. The Hartford Fire Department’s budget increased by $1 million or about 3 percent over the current year to $34.3 million.

Capital improvements also got a boost with $24.5 million paid through grants and the city’s general fund. The budget will cover ongoing renovations such as Weaver High School, roads and sidewalks.

The Municipal Accountability Review Board, which will oversee the state’s agreement to pay off the $550 million in Hartford’s debt, will review the budget.

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Know Good Market Returns for Fourth Season in Parkville


HARTFORD — Hartford residents will have a chance to sample a variety of cuisines on Thursday at this year’s Know Good out-door market in Parkville.

The Know Good Market will be held on May 9 at 30 Bartholomew Ave. — between 1429 Park St. and the Tradehouse on Bartholomew Ave — in Hartford from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The market, now in its fourth season, is on the second Thursday of every month from May through November with a holiday bazaar on Dec. 7. The Company — Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner — sponsors the family-friendly event.

Photo: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

This year’s market will feature returning favorites like Samba Cuisine, Mercado, Craftbird, Taco Tequila and a rotating cast of greater Hartford’s best street food vendors. Hog River Brewing Co. will be open next door as well as local artisan and craft vendors purveyors.  A host of local DJ’s will be back on the loading docks stage as well.

Organizers said the market is designed to create space for a shared cultural experience in Hartford and offer an experience of raw community celebration.

The “community focused environment”, they said,  welcomes about one thousand patrons every month and seeks to engage the community’s heart and stomach.

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Agency to Host Session on Business Access to Capital


HARTFORD — This summer, small business owners will have access to training that will help them grow.

Thanks to a partnership with the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving and the Boston-based organization, Inner City Capital Connections.

ICCC will host an information session on Wednesday, April 24 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Trinity College. The goal of the event is to inform and encourage business owners in Hartford to take advantage of the free program.

The ICCC will bring its 40-hour executive leadership program to Hartford for the first time this summer.

The program aims to help position small and medium sized businesses in economically distressed areas for long-term growth through capacity-building education, one on one coaching and access to capital.

The program will kick off with an all-day training seminar on May 29, followed by a series of online webinars where participants learn strategy, entrepreneurial finance, marketing, and capital options.

The program also offers one-on-one coaching with local and virtual mentors ranging from small business bankers to top consulting firms. The program culminates with a national conference in Boston this November where participants will connect with different capital providers.

Organizers said the program was designed for urban entrepreneurs. Businesses must have been in operation for at least two years to participate.

For those interested in attending the information session, register here.

Those who want to apply should apply here.

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Hartford Public Library Offers Security Officer Training Program


HARTFORD — Do you want another way to make money?

If so, the Hartford Public Library will be offering training for those who want to make money as a security guard.

The library will offer its popular eight-hour security officer training program on a monthly basis. The next training is on April 17 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 500 Main Street.

This is a required training to become a Certified Security Officer. The successful completion of this program will qualify candidates to apply for a Security Officer Identification Card.

The average pay for a Security Officer is $36,174 per year.

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Hartford Police Chief David Rosado to Retire, Jumps to Private Sector


By Ann-Marie Adams, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — After about one year on the job, Hartford Police Chief David Rosado will retire in April to take a leadership position in the private sector.

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin on Thursday announced that Rosado will take a job with Pratt & Whitney. Rosado’s last day will be April 12.

Rosado was one of two picks by Bronin after a national search for a replacement of former Chief James Rovella, who retired in February 2018. Rosado, a former lieutenant colonel with the state troopers, was born and raised in Hartford. He actively lobbied for the job by meeting with community leaders and the city council before he was selected and confirmed in January 2018.

Rosado touted his accomplishments during his 14 months on the job, namely increasing accountability, rolling out body cameras, and recruiting diverse classes of new officers. However, he said, he will leave because of his family.

“This opportunity to take a leadership role at Pratt & Whitney is one that I could not turn down for my family,” Rosado said. “I made this decision with mixed emotions, but as anyone who knows me understands, my family is central to everything I do, and they have supported my career in public service for more than two decades. It’s difficult to leave the men and women of the Hartford Police Department, who do incredible work each and every day.”

Bronin thanked Rosado for his service and said there will be “significant community involvement in that process” in the city’s national search to replace Rosado.

“I’m grateful to Chief Rosado for his service to Hartford,” Bronin said. “Chief Rosado has had a long and distinguished career in law enforcement, and over the last year he and his team have done important work to strengthen the department. I respect his decision based on what’s best for him and his family, and I wish him and his family the very best as he gins the next chapter.”

During the national search, Assistant Chief Jason Thody will serve as interim chief.

Thody, who has been working with the Hartford Police Department for 23 years, said he’s looking forward to serving the city.

“It’s an honor to be asked to serve as Interim Chief of the Hartford Police Department,” Thody said. “I am looking forward to continuing to work with Mayor Bronin, the City Council, the men and women of the department and the community in this new role.”

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Blue Earth Compost to Unveil CT’s First Food Scrap Truck


By Fran Wilson, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — Elected officials will help unveil Connecticut’s first food scrap dump truck on Wednesday in Hartford.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Rep. Matthew Ritter, Rep. Brandon McGee and Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin will join the owner of Blue Earth Compost to highlight the company’s first commercial food scrap collection truck.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony will begin 1:00 p.m. at the State Capitol.

The truck is the first of its kind in the state, according to representatives from Blue Earth Compost. The purchase of the truck was made possible with a loan from the Department of Economic and Community Development and matching donations received through crowd sourcing.

Blue Earth Compost, which picks up compostable materials from homes, businesses, and events, and delivers compost in return, is now positioned to be the largest diverter of food scraps in Connecticut, representatives said.

“This truck is the result of a supportive community that cares about our planet and values the principles of environmental justice,” said Alexander Williams, owner of Blue Earth Compost. “At Blue Earth, we are working to change the present waste hauling paradigm, towards one that values the health and safety of our Earth and all communities in our state.”

Of the state’s 2.5 million tons of trash produced each year, about 500,000 tons is food scraps. This represents the single largest component of solid waste sent to incinerators and landfills.

Hartford is host to the Mid Connecticut trash plant, which burns more than 40 percent of the state’s waste. The environment gets polluted from the burning and affects low-income, minority communities, producing one of the highest rates of asthma in the nation.

Blue Earth is offering an environment friendly way of scrapping trash as well as meeting the state’s ambitious recycling goal of diverting 60 percent of municipal solid waste through reductions, reuse, recycling and composting by 2024.

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Lunafest Film Festival Comes to Goodwin College


EAST HARTFORD — Lunafest, a short film festival that supports women, will be at Goodwin College on March 16.

The traveling festival features films by women with women leads and range from animation to fictional drama that cover issues such as women’s health, body image, relationships, cultural diversity and breaking barriers.

The event will begin at 2 p.m. at Goodwin at One Riverside Dr. in East Hartford.

Hailed as one of the most beautifully supported short film festival, the event is a way to empower women, organizers said.

The festival is hosted by Soroptimist International Central Connecticut Clubs and will benefit the organization’s Live Your Dream Awards.

Tickets are $15 and are available at lunafest.org.

Featured films are as follows:

  • “Today, Tomorrow and Yesterday,” an animated story of a woman finding her old diaries, by Jackie Files.
  • “Drummer Girl,” the story of a woman with a passion for music, by Sophie Hexter.
  • “Flip the Record,” a coming-of-age story about a Filipino-American girl, by Marie Jamora.
  • “War Paint,” the story of a woman facing racism and sexism, by Katrelle N. Kindred.
  • “Ur Dead to Me,” a story about a delivery woman learning about life, by Yonoko Li.
  • “The Final Show,” a story of a woman contemplating death, by Dana Nachman.
  • “Are We Good Parents?” a story about a girl who comes out to her family, by Bola Ogun.
  • “My Immigrant Story,” a documentary about director Yuriko Gamo Romer’s family.

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St. James Episcopal to Host the Vienna Boys’ Choir


WEST HARTFORD – The world-famous Vienna Boys’s Choir will give only one performance in Connecticut during its spring concert tour in the United States.

The Austrian ensemble will perform on April 2 at 7 p.m. at St. James’s Episcopal Church at 1018 Farmington Ave in West Hartford.

Artistic Director of Concerts at St. James Vaugh Mauren said the church is “extremely fortunate that the Vienna Boys Choir has included West Hartford in their 2019 tour.”

That’s because the choir gives about 300 concerts per year in locations across the world and is in high demand, he said.

“This concert is a rare opportunity for music lovers in the Greater Hartford region to have one of the finest boys choirs in the world,” Mauren said.

The Vienna Boy’s Choir, which traces its history to 1498, is known for their lively singing style and beautiful tone. Before 1918, the choir sang exclusively for the imperial court, at mass, concerts, private functions and on state occasions.

Mauren said that the choir will be heard in the natural acoustic of the church sanctuary that is “much more suited” to the boys’s voices than a larger venue.

The program will included the famous “O Fortuna” from Orff’s Carmina Burana, Renaissance and Baroque choral classics and selections from Broadway musicals. It will also end with favorite Strauss polkas and waltzes, including “The Beautiful Blue Danube.”

Tickets for the Vienna Boys Choir’s concert are priced from $20 to $65 and can be purchased here.

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Gov. Lamont Appoints Hartford Resident to Lead DMV


By Fran Wilson, Staff Writer

HARTFORD —  A West-End resident in Hartford was appointed to lead Connecticut’s Department of Motor Vehicles.

Gov. Ned Lamont on Thursday appointed Sibongi Magubane as the Commission of DMV. She will begin on April 1, pending consent from the General Assembly.

Magubane is a business executive who has served within Fortune 100 companies, volunteered in civic organizations and earned a reputation for bringing a “fresh approach” to business and agencies, state officials said.

“She’s a sharp, solutions-oriented thinker with a strong business acumen who will bring to state government an innovative approach that works to cut red tape and brings to the DMV the solutions that so many residents of our state are demanding,” said Lamont in a press release.

Currently, Magubane serves as the human resource director with Specialty Transportation, a contractor of the Hartford Board of Education that provides transportation to students.

She previously worked for Aetna as head of information technology strategic planning, head of finance information systems and enterprise management systems. She also worked for Keane and Cigna.

A native of South Africa, she was named by The Network Journal in 2009 as one of the 25 most influential black women in business. She moved to the United States at the age of 9.

Additionally, she is the president of the West End Civic Association/Neighborhood Revitalization Zone, co-chairs Hartford 2000, Inc, a coalition of Hartford’s neighborhood revitalization zones, and serves as board member for Hartford Stage.

“It’s an honor to serve the people of Connecticut as commissioner,” Magubane said. “As a lifelong resident of Connecticut, I look forward to restoring confidence in the DMV. We will improve customer service and efficiency by listening to citizens, seeking new solutions and working closely with all state agencies.”

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