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Hartford Residents Should be Skeptical About New Rock Cat’s Stadium


By State Rep. Douglas McCrory

Mayor Pedro Segarra announced Minor League Baseball is coming to Hartford after the Rock Cat’s have decided to make Hartford their new home.

But is this the best option for the Capitol City?

Are we dedicating too much of our time and resources to a playground for future millionaire baseball players and billionaire owners? It’s a strong possibility we are. We should use the $60 million to create, allure and maintain year-round businesses that will not only bring in additional tax dollars to the City but will provide jobs and services to the residents who actually live here and need it the most considering we have an unemployment rate approaching 20 percent.

I don’t agree that this is the right time to spend over $60 million on a new stadium in Hartford. But I would propose, Mayor Segarra and city council representatives, that if you are going to create between 500 and 1,000 jobs, those jobs should go to Hartford residents. That should go into the contract if it is not already there. These people need work, so why not allow them to work on this new playground in their backyard? I am leery that this project will create that many jobs, but any available job should go to Hartford residents looking for work considering the jobs will be temporary and mostly part-time. Thank God we’re raising the minimum wage.

Hartford contractors, and more specifically, minority contractors should be given priority to bid on this project. We have heard too many times recently that minority contractors will be used for projects in Hartford, but that just hasn’t been the case. If this is going to be a Hartford project, truly make it a Hartford project by getting the city residents involved and employed, after all, our taxes are funding the project. Consider what happened with the MLB Washington Nationals. The people in their community were given first priority for employment. Viewing this as a benefit, the community ultimately supported the project which was a win-win for all parties involved.

Doug_McCroryAlso, does it not raise concern that $60 million was seemingly found overnight for baseball? We have had the community voicing their concerns for years that we need a new Martin Luther King Jr. school, among many other needed improvements. If you walk around that school, it’s like a building from the pre- Brown vs Board of Education era. What a shame because it’s named for one of the greatest Americans of all time.

the-hartford-guardian-OpinionWe need to be smart about how we are spending the money we have and be very careful in how we invest in the future of the Capitol City. Our tax base needs to be expanded and our citizens need to be employed with livable wages. This can be done by improving the quality of our education efficiently and tackle improvements on the infrastructure of the city. I believe, this is how we can uplift our city and make it a true rising star where people will want to live and raise their families.

The thought behind this project is correct: something needs to change in Hartford. As Connecticut’s Capitol City, providing entertainment is great but we should also ensure Hartford’s community and economic development are a priority. Our focus should be on the best way to get people back to work and have students thriving in school. Then we can talk about a playground for future millionaires.

 

 

 

 

 

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77-Year Old Grandmother to Graduate High School


By David Medina, Contributor

HARTFORD — Betty Ayers spent most of her 77 years raising children. She raised two of her own, three grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

On June 5, she will get up on the stage at the Bulkeley High School Auditorium and receive the high school diploma she earned as one of 145 graduates of Hartford Public Schools’ Adult Education Center.

Inspired by her life’s story, the staff at the center at 110 Washington Street also selected Ayers to address her fellow graduates at the commencement ceremony.

Ayers said that, during her many years of raising children, she was constantly seeking out government programs that provided her with opportunities to study English, Math and typing. Under the city’s Senior Aid Program, she worked in customer service in the Office of the Mayor from 2003 to 2008, when her position was eliminated.

She enrolled in the Adult Education program last year, she says, because the only way to get ahead in life is to have a diploma.

“It has been a great pleasure to have Ms. Ayers in our program,” said Thomas A. Blake, the center’s social worker. “She has served as a role model for our students and shared her wisdom with both students and staff.”

The center will present diplomas from both the GED Preparation Program and the National External Diploma Program, which assesses the high school level skills of adults, like Ms. Ayers, based on their life and work experiences. Hartford State Representative Angel Arce will be the keynote speaker for the ceremony.

According to Dr. Tina Jeter, the director of the center, 95 percent of the graduating students there are employed and many have amazing stories to tell of perseverance and overcoming barriers to earn their diploma. We welcome your coverage of this event.

 

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Hartford Puerto Rican Set for June 1


HARTFORD — Get ready for the 2014 Greater Hartford Puerto Rican Day Parade.

The annual event will begin at noon on June 1, starting on Warwarme Avenue in Hartford and continues with a festival that is scheduled to end at 8 p.m. at the Bushnell Pavilion.

Festival attendees will have  a wide variety of food, music and entertainment, including performers such as Frankie Negron. Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra is expected to attend.

For more information, please call 860-978-7412 andwww.hartfordprparade.com.

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State to Hold ‘Step Up’ Business Conference


WETHERSFIELD  – There is still time for employers to register for the free Step Up conference on June 3 in Bristol.

The conference, which  will be in the Oaks Ballroom at the Hilton on located at 42 Century Drive, Bristol, is scheduled to be from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Registration will begin at 7 a.m. and a continental breakfast will be provided.

Conference topics include incentives such as a six-month wage subsidy and training grants under the Subsidized Training and Employment (Step Up) program, low-interest financing through the Small Business Express Program,  job expansion tax credits, guidelines for becoming a State of Connecticut vendor, and tax incentives for equipment purchases.

Free assistance for business planning, market analysis services and website design will also be featured.

In addition to informational presentations, program representatives will answer questions and determine how employers can optimize the various services offered to Connecticut businesses.

The Step Up conference is being hosted by area legislators, including State Sen. Jason C. Welch, State Rep. Christopher A. Wright, and State Rep. Frank N. Nicastro. Sponsors include Governor Dannel P. Malloy, Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, Secretary of State Denise Merrill, the Connecticut Department of Labor, the state’s Workforce Investment Boards, the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, and a number of community partners and organizations.

To pre-register or for a list of additional Step Up conferences being offered in June, please visit the Labor Department’s Step Up website at www.StepCT.com.  For questions about the Bristol Step Up conference please contact Janice Albert at Janice.Albert@ct.gov or (860) 827-6207.

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Hartford Library to Kick off Reading Program


HARTFORD — Research shows that low-income students that do not continue educational programming during the summer suffer greater achievement losses, gain more weight, and become less likely to graduate high school than their more affluent peers.

In order to fill this critical learning gap, Hartford Public Library’s Summer Learning Program will aim to encourage reading and enrichment throughout the hotter months with a citywide educational events, activities, and prizes with its 2014 Summer Learning @ HPL Program.

The kick off  festival is set for June 7 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Library’s Downtown location.

The festival will incorporate the theme of this year’s Summer Learning Program, “Fizz Boom READ!” with science activities, crafts, games, and a special 3:00 p.m. Mad Science show. A bounce house, giant slide, face painting, airbrush tattoos, snacks, music and more will be free for all.

Free transportation will be available throughout the city via buses that will run between Library branches and Downtown Hartford.

In addition to the festival fun, attendees will have the opportunity to learn about and register for the Summer Learning Program and how to win prizes for reaching summer reading goals.

This year, in partnership with Mega Education, a series of 10 Summer Learning registration ice cream parties will be held throughout the summer, where two lucky registered participants at each Library branch will win brand new Android tablets.

Mega Registration parties are held from 2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. at the following locations:

Tuesday, June 24 – Mark Twain Branch, 55 Forest Street

Friday, June 26 – Barbour Branch, 259 Barbour Street

Thursday, July 3 – Blue Hills Branch, 649 Blue Hills Avenue

Tuesday, July 8  –  Ropkins Branch, 1750 Main Street

Tuesday, July 15 – Camp Field Branch, 30 Campfield Avenue

Friday, July 18 – Albany Branch, 1250 Albany Avenue

Tuesday, July 22 – Downtown Library, 500 Main Street

Wednesday, July 30 – Park Branch, 744 Park Street

Thursday, July 31 – Dwight Branch, 7 New Park Avenue

Friday, August 8 – Goodwin Branch, 460 New Britain Avenue

Registration for the Summer Learning program can also be completed at the June 7 kickoff, or online at www.hplct.org by clicking on the summer sun.

 

Library Offers Adult Summer Reading Events!

Hartford Public Library’s summer programs and prizes are not just for the school-aged! Adult readers are invited to participate in Library Book Club summer discussions:

Thursday, June 19, 12:30 p.m. – Book Talk with James Rouman, author of Uncertain Journey

Thursday, July 17, 12:30 p.m. – Book Club Discussion – Delicious! A Novel by Ruth Reichl

Thursday, August 21, 12:30 p.m. – Book Club Discussion – Aya of Yop City by Marguerite Abouet

Registered participants are eligible to win prizes at each event! Adult readers may register for the Summer Reading Program online at www.hplct.org or at any Library branch.

 

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Finch: City’s Festivities Free and Open to All


BRIDGEPORT — Mayor Bill Finch and Bridgeport’s Downtown Special Services District on Wednesday announced the musical lineup for the fifth installment of the city’s Free Concert Series on Thursdays.

This announcement comes with a new format for the concert series, which includes at least two musical performances that will extend each event from 5:30-9:00 p.m.

 “Bridgeport is becoming an arts and culture powerhouse in the Northeastern U.S.,” Finch said. “And, that’s happening because of events like Downtown Thursdays. I’m looking forward to seeing large crowds gathering for live music in our revitalized downtown, which is home to many great restaurants and bars for concert goers to enjoy.”

 The first event will take place on June 19 at 5:30 p.m. at McLevy Green, which is just a few short blocks away from the Bridgeport Metro Rail Station and Greater Bridgeport Transit Authority.

These events are open to people of all, and the festivities are free to the public.

Downtown Thursdays Schedule:

Ø  Thursday, June 19Vinny and Ray Afro-Cuban Latin JazzOrquesta Afinke

Ø  Thursday, June 26Funky Dawgz Brass BandJen Durkin and the Business

Ø  Thursday, July 3: N/A – Break for Independence Day weekend

Ø  Thursday, July 10: The Elements of Hip Hop with DJ Billy Busch, DJ Grand Wizard Stevie, DJ Kool Keith, DJ White Flash

Ø  Thursday, July 17Alpaca GnomesBeach AvenueLiza Colby Sound

Ø  Thursday, July 24Mikata, Son 7

Ø  Thursday, July 31SoulshotMystic Bowie

Ø  Thursday, August 7Girls on Bikes (opening for CT Free Shakespeare, 8pm performances August 6-10)

Ø  Thursday, August 14Pocket Hotties, karaoke talent night

Ø  Thursday, August 21The ZambonisMates of States

Ø  Thursday, August 28SuperheroThat ‘80s Band, Soul Synergy

“We’re thrilled about this year’s line-up and new format,” said Kim Morque, Chairman of the Bridgeport DSSD. “With genres spanning from Latin to indie, rock to reggae, and funk & soul to old school hip-hop, our Downtown Thursdays have you covered, regardless of your musical preference.”

Sponsors for Downtown Thursdays include: City of Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch; Bridgeport Downtown Special Services District; Bridgeport Bluefish; Webster Bank Arena; Harbor Yard Sports and Entertainment; Spinnaker Real Estate Partners, LLC; Forstone Capital Holdings; Main State Ventures; Bridgeport Regional Business Council; The United Illuminating Company; Aquarion Water Company; Barnum Publick House; Bistro B; Carlson Corporation; Fairfield University; Ginsburg Development Corporation; POKO Partners LLC; ServPro; Cohen and Wolf; Narragansett Brewing Company; Greater Bridgeport Transit; Connoisseur Media, Star 99.9, 99.1 PLR, 95.9 FOX and CTBoom.com; BOMBA 97.1 FM; Radio Cumbre 1450 AM; and WPKN 89.5 FM.

For more information, and to follow the Downtown Thursdays summer line-up, please visit: www.downtownthursdays.com.

 

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Adams: Connecticut Should “Get Your House in Order”


Updated May 28, 2014 at 4:30 p.m.

By Ann-Marie Adams, Ph.D.

There’s this saying when it comes to getting a job or resources for your business or home: It’s who you know.

Here’s why this saying is problematic, especially if you live in a segregated state such as Connecticut, where all-white suburban residents terrorize the few blacks who move into towns that don’t have local buses traveling from the urban core to the outer-ringed suburbs.

Dr_AnnMarie_AdamsIf you go to an almost all-white school, attend an all-white church, shop in a supermarket where blacks and other people of color are menial workers, you as a white person won’t know too many people of color—except those in menial positions.

So guess what? The all-time saying of “It’s who you know, not what you know”—doesn’t fit the bill here when it comes to doling out city, state and federal funds, especially services to small businesses, home owners and all other human beings.

the-hartford-guardian-OpinionOn Wednesday morning at the Mark Twain House on Farmington Avenue, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy chaired a roundtable discussion about small businesses that are doing well under his small business express loan programs and other state incentives designed to help foster a good climate where small businesses can start and grow.

All the success stories came from white men.

In fact, the room did not have any black women business owners at press time. So I guess black women and other minority business people are out of the loop—because they don’t know anyone in that room.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy chairs roundtable of successful start-up companies under small business programs.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy chairs roundtable of successful start-up companies under small business programs.

Perhaps we should retire that saying when it comes to city, state and federal programs–as well as for services rendered by organizations that get federal funding–such as Hartford Hospital and its affiliates, the Hartford Medical Group, St. Francis Hospital, John Dempsey Hospital and its affiliates, Manchester Memorial Hospital and all its affiliates in the ECHN network.

That also goes for the Community Health Center in Hartford and New Britain. Agencies such as CT Transit, LogistiCare and all relevant subcontractors should also be audited for their blatant discriminatory tactics I’ve witnessed in the last six months and will report on in the coming months.

That’s because these programs have specific guidelines to prohibit the kind of blatant discrimination I’ve experienced while seeking service and scrutinizing these programs. The Connecticut Department of Social Services is unbelievable conduit for employees who are clueless about these federal guidelines. A quick glance of the various types of discrimination prohibited by the laws and enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission can be found here for their benefit.

The city of Hartford and the state of Connecticut should also have its employees take a refresher course in these guidelines. Otherwise, they should be prepared for a tsunami of lawsuits from educated consumers. And the buck stops with whomever is heading these agencies. And that includes Hartford’s mayor Pedro Segarra and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.

So here’s a popular saying they should heed to as well: get your house in order.

And just in case you’re thinking I’m out of my place–meaning I’m acting like I’m a citizen with rights or any of those fancy things protected by the United States Constitution–you should explain to me why others have rights and I don’t.

Perhaps we could battle this out in court–if need be. But I’m thinking the state of Connecticut has a high percentage of educated and decent people who can argue this case very well.

After all, Connecticut is the home of the 19th-Century abolitionist movement. And their descendants–in spirit and in truth–are  already poised to make their presence known and felt again.

Photo Credit:http://www.elsolnews.com. Gov. Dannel Malloy announces the first round of small business grants in 2013.

 

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Stop & Shop Launches New PickUp Locations


HARTFORD — Greater Hartford residents looking to shop from home and then pick up groceries can now do so with Stop & Shop’s sister company Peapod, which launched pick up locations in Bloomfield and Middletown.

Store representatives said that the combination of shopping online from a computer or smartphone and picking up groceries from a local Stop & Shop is “another convenient option to help fit the needs of busy shoppers.”

Shoppers can now order their groceries online for easy pick-up at their local Stop & Shop store and choose a convenient one-hour pick-up time from morning through evening. There are no fees associated with the service, no minimum order, and no need to get out of the car.The attendants load groceries right into their vehicle.

Pick-up shoppers can also create personal lists, read nutrition information online, sort products rapidly by price or by nutrition criteria and take advantage of thousands of weekly specials.

For more details about Pick-up in Stop & Shop stores, please visitwww.stopandshop.com/pick-up.

 

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Labor Department Now Offers Online Help


WETHERSFIELD – The Connecticut Department of Labor’s online Unemployment Insurance Assistance Center is now available in Spanish, as well as English.

The online service center, which can be found at www.filectui.com, offers a number of unemployment insurance services, including the ability to request an address change, reset a locked account or PIN for benefit filing, make changes to income tax withholding status, and notify the agency upon a return to work.

The online service, first launched a year ago, currently receives up to 1,500 requests each month. The site also has a “UI Basics” section for first time filers, provides information on unemployment benefits that have been paid, instructs people about how to file an appeal, and contains information on how to report suspected fraud. 

According to officials, requently asked questions include whether a person is eligible to collect unemployment, and if an individual can file for benefits while working part-time or attending school or training classes. Answers to these types of questions can easily be found on the site, along with instructions outlining how to apply for benefits via the state’s direct deposit system.

 

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Dean Baquet Named 1st African-American Executive Editor at the New York Times


By Stephen A. Crockett, Jr., The Root

Dean Baquet will become the first African-American executive editor at the New York Times, replacing Jill Abramson, who leaves the top position unexpectedly. The news apparently stunned New York Times staffers, who did not see this move coming.

On Wednesday Arthur Sulzberger Jr., publisher of the New York Times and chairman of the New York Times Co., first told senior staff of the changng of the guard and then informed the full newsroom around 2:30 p.m., the New York Times reports.

While the reason for the change was not immediately made clear, Baquet—a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and a former editor of the Los Angeles Times—seems a fitting choice to lead the newspaper.

“It is an honor to be asked to lead the only newsroom in the country that is actually better than it was a generation ago, one that approaches the world with wonder and ambition every day,” said Baquet, who at the time of his appointment to helm the New York Times was the newspaper’s managing editor.

Baquet, 57, was born in New Orleans and has worked in the newspaper industry for more than 25 years, beginning in 1980 with his hometown paper, the States-Item, before it merged with the Times-Picayune, Businessweek.com reports.

In 1984 he joined the Chicago Tribune, where four years later he led a three-member team that would win a Pulitzer Prize for in-depth investigative reporting on corruption among the Chicago City Council.

According to Businessweek.com, Baquet left the Tribune in 1990 to join the New York Times, and over the next decade he served in several positions: first as a metropolitan reporter, then as special projects editor and as a deputy metropolitan editor. He would leave a national editor position at the paper in 2000 to join the Los Angeles Times. There, Baquet served as editor and executive vice president of Los Angeles Times Communications until November 2006, when he rejoined the New York Times as chief executive of the paper’s Washington bureau.

“There is no journalist in our newsroom or elsewhere better qualified to take on the responsibilities of executive editor at this time than Dean Baquet,” Sulzberger said in announcing Baquet’s appointment.

“He is an exceptional reporter and editor with impeccable news judgment who enjoys the confidence and support of his colleagues around the world and across the organization.”

Abramson, who was appointed to the position of executive editor in 2011, was the first woman to serve at the helm of the New York Times. The reason for her abrupt departure was not made clear, with Sulzberger attributing it only to “an issue with management in the newsroom.”

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