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Trinity College Taps Katie Couric for 2014 Commencement


HARTFORD – Katie Couric, the host of Katie, a daily syndicated daytime talk show, and Yahoo News global anchor will be the featured speaker at Trinity’s 188th Commencement on May 18.

An award-winning journalist and TV personality, Couric is also a devoted cancer research advocate, documentary film producer and author of The Best Advice I Ever Got: Lessons From Extraordinary Lives.

Couric served as a special correspondent for ABC News, contributing to ABC World News, Nightline, 20/20, Good Morning America, This Week, and primetime news programs from August 2011 to December 2013.

katie-couricHer steady rise in television news occurred over a 15-year span as she co-anchored NBC News’s Today and became the first solo female anchor of a national nightly news broadcast as anchor and managing editor of the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric. At CBS News, Couric also contributed segments to 60 Minutes, CBS Sunday Morning and primetime specials.

In addition to her TV career, Couric authored The New York Times bestseller, The Best Advice I Ever Got: Lessons from Extraordinary Lives.

A tireless advocate for cancer research and awareness, Couric is a co-founder of Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), an organization that has raised nearly $200 million to accelerate research and get new therapies to patients more quickly. 

Photos Courtesy of AllVoices.com

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Christians Celebrate the Hope we have in the Easter Message.


By Glenn Mollette

Unfortunately, millions of Americans are faintly holding on. They are holding on to the instilled American dream they saw in grandpa or even mom and dad. It’s about the attainable dream of living securely with a job, a house, a car and trips to the grocery store. Don’t forget a trip to the doctor when necessary. Many Americans can remember people in their family retiring at 55 – 65 years old. Those ages seemed old then but not so old today.

glen mollettIn the middle of today’s political chaos, government shutdowns and the national finger-pointing blame game, many Americans keep hoping. Years ago many of us were instilled with belief, faith, hope and dreams. We were taught that you don’t give up. We heard, “When the the-hartford-guardian-Opiniongoing gets tough, the tough get going.” We heard about independence, liberty and that eventually with enough work, faith and focus life would settle in and work out.

We heard about the power of people helping people, the great United States of America and that all things with God are possible. Today, many see our country as a place of “me-ism.” Fewer people are confident that we can count on our government leaders to make wise choices and to look out for the people. While mega churches are flourishing thousands of churches have closed their doors due to lack of interest.

America is more desperate today than we’ve been in a long time. Overall, America is desperate for government leadership to stop fighting and do something. We’re tired of hearing about the evil Democrats and the hypocritical Republicans. We’re tired of the unemployment numbers and hungry Americans living in the streets. We’re weary of worrying if there is any future for our children. We don’t want another ten- year trillion dollar war that we can’t afford and takes the lives of our innocent children and parents. We just want to get past all of this mess, but it never ends and is ever growing.

This week there is a shining example of someone who taught us about hope and making a real difference. He went more than the second mile, helped others, cared for the sick and the poor and actually had some very wealthy friends. His name is Jesus. He was a friend of sinners, loved people and humbled himself even unto death. His life changed our world. He was a problem solver and a grave conqueror.

Sadly, America must hope and pray this Easter that our political leaders might become what we elected them to be – servants of the people. They are not servants but they are supposed to be. Our entire planet, from Vladimir Putin, President Barack Obama, Kim Young-Un, Hassan Rouhani to all of us caught in the crossfire, could turn our planet around if we would all become more like the one man who Easter is about.

Glenn Mollette is an American columnist and author.  Contact him at GMollette@aol.com.   Like his facebook page atwww.facebook.com/glennmollette.

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Hartford Police Arrest West Hartford Man for Rape


HARTFORD —  A West Hartford man was arrested for sexual assault after luring a woman to a mutual assistance agency under pretense of helping her with citizenship, police said.

Hartford Police arrested Le Nghi, 56, of 46 Brace Road, West Hartford on Friday for first degree sexual assault and second-degree unlawful restraints.

Police said Nghi allegedly lured  the woman to The Connecticut Coalition of Mutual Assistance at 143 Madison Ave. in Hartford, saying he could help her with getting her citizenship.

Nghi allegedly the woman his services in exchange for sex. He then raped the woman and held her captive without her consent.

Hartford Police Department detectives believe that if the alleged allegations  prove to be true, that there may be other victims who have yet to come forward.

Any person with a similar experience or information is encouraged to come forward and call Sergeant Sonia Watson at (860) 757-4041. All victims will remain confidential, police said.

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White House to Honor Two Local Champs


WASHINGTON — The White House on April 3 will honor two Connecticut residents for their grassroots effort to help reduce gun violence.

Sarah Clements, Founder and Chairwoman, Jr. Newtown Action Alliance and Mark Barden, Director of Advocacy, Sandy Hook Promise in Newtown, CT are among nine grassroots leaders from around the country.

Clements is a senior at Newtown High School in Newtown, CT. On December 14th, 2012 her mother survived the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. After the shooting, Sarah began using gun violence prevention advocacy to transform her painful experience into positive action.

Barden leads policy and outreach efforts for Sandy Hook Promise and frequently serves as a spokesperson for the organization.  Since the tragic loss of his son Daniel at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Mark has dedicated himself to bringing people together to prevent future tragedies and spare other families the pain of losing a child to gun violence.

President Obama’s Administration officials said the Obama administration “is continuing to take key steps to reduce gun violence by implementing more than 23 executive actions and elevating successful local efforts.”

This week, the Administration will highlight the critical work some of these local leaders have spearheaded to make their neighborhoods safer and to keep firearms out of the wrong hands.

In his State of the Union Address, President Obama declared, “Citizenship means standing up for the lives that gun violence steals from us each day. I have seen the courage of parents, students, pastors, and police officers all over this country who say ‘we are not afraid,’ and I intend to keep trying, with or without Congress, to help stop more tragedies from visiting innocent Americans in our movie theaters, shopping malls, or schools like Sandy Hook.”

The White House created the Champions of Change program to feature individuals doing extraordinary things to empower, inspire and support members of their communities.

The event will be live streamed on the White House website. To watch this event live, visit www.whitehouse.gov/live at 10:00 am ET on April 3rd.  To learn more about the White House Champions of Change program and nominate a Champion, visit www.whitehouse.gov/champions.

 

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Play Features Trinidadian Activist Gene Miles


HARTFORD — Direct from Port-of-Spain in Trinidad, Lordstreet Theatre Company’s production of Miss Miles: The Woman of the World will be performed at the Austin Arts Center at Trinity College.

Performances of Miss Miles are free and open to the public. Curtain time is 7:30 p.m. from April 24 through 26.

Written and directed by Tony Hall, Miss Miles is a dramatization of the brief life of Gene Miles, a flamboyant fashionista and conscientious civil servant in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, who caused a court inquiry into that government’s “gas station racket” in the 1960s. The whistleblower lost her job. For some, she has become a symbol of integrity in the civic life of Trinidad.

The one-person play stars Cecilia Salazar as Gene, summoned “from the world beyond” by the audience. Salazar has won nine Cacique Awards from the National Drama Association of Trinidad and Tobago, a record for an actor. She holds a B.A. in Theatre from Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada.

Miss Miles, which opened to critical and popular acclaim in October 2011 in Port-of-Spain, marks the third Lordstreet Theatre production to be presented at Trinity College. In spring 1998, Lordstreet brought Jean and Dinah… Speak Their Minds Publicly by Tony Hall, and that fall, The Dragon Can’t Dance by Trinidadian author Earl Lovelace.

Running time is approximately two hours. For information, call 860-297-2199 or visit www.trincoll.edu.

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Choose One America: Obamacare or Reparations


By Ann-Marie Adams

With only one day left to sign up for the Affordable Care Act, opponents are still removing logic and common sense from arguments that tout the ACA as unsound. Basically, they don’t want to subsidize insurance premiums for Americans on the government exchange.

This debate, seen as another attempt to gut the law, comes weeks after the Congressional Budget Office released a report that says the ACA, or Obamacare, would nix 2.3 million jobs. According to some, this would shake the foundation of the American economy.  Most recently, a divided federal appeals judge said it was “an unmitigated disaster.”

Really?

Dr_AnnMarie_AdamsBefore we move into hyperbole, we should examine the drawn-out brouhaha (more than 50 attempts to repeal it) over the ACA in an uncomfortable context.

the-hartford-guardian-OpinionThe health care law, otherwise known as Obamacare, allows uninsured people—mostly poor whites, the elderly and people of color—access to health insurance. The main arguments against it are that universal healthcare—found in other developed countries, is too costly for America—the richest nation on the planet. And Americans will become lazy and work less because they have access to healthcare.

Sounds ludicrous? It is.

But I would urge some opponents of universal healthcare to consider the life of Henrietta Lacks, a poor black woman whose cells were taken without her consent and then used to develop cures for polio, vitro fertilization and other vital scientific breakthroughs in science.

This fascinating topic was recently discussed at the Avon Free Public Library. Two of the Lacks family members participated in the discussion. The series offered an opportunity to explore not just health, ethics and race but the healthcare industry itself.

For more than 60 years, the healthcare industry made billions from Lacks’ cells. And today the Lacks family still wonders why their mother’s immortal cells did so much for science, and they can’t afford health insurance. After all, some in the Lacks family argue, their mother’s He-La cells benefited “the whole world and all they got was her Bible and medical records.”

The story of Henrietta Lacks’ immortal cells is both amazing and unsettling. And the question of how race played into her healthcare is not difficult for some of us to answer. That’s because we know that race is a central theme in America. And it is well established that race affects healthcare delivery and outcomes.

This is not an attempt at what some people would call “race hustling.” It’s about highlighting certain facts in American history. I’m aware that many Americans have not studied U.S. history. But that doesn’t mean the rest of us who did should acquiesce to them.

Consider this: In 1951, a scientist at Johns Hopkins took slices of the woman’s tumor and decided to grow them, so he could “figure out the causes of cancer.” This is long after doctors found a dime-size tumor on her cervix. They kept sending her home until she protested and begged for admittance, so she could be treated. By then, her body was riddled with cancer.

UnknownThe Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, a book based on the Lacks family, details the encounter.  And people are rightfully asking whether this family is owed something for thier contribution to humankind. This is a good conversation to have amid the tired healthcare debate over whether to repeal Obamacare.

I think giving access to healthcare for the Lacks family and others in similar situations should be favorable over reparations. At least, this is one way of looking at it. Or perhaps it’s time Americans opposed to Obamacare choose: universal healthcare or reparations?

Some would argue for both.

Interestingly and ironically, the same argument used for not paying reparations has been used in the Lacks family’s case. Many are quick to offer statements and questions like: It’s impossible to calculate how much money is owed. Those who did the crime did their time on earth and died. And who would pay?

In both cases, the consequences of those past actions by individuals and institutions still linger. The Lacks story, among many, illustrates the need for universal healthcare in America.

Americans should consider universal healthcare as a human rights issue, or think of universal healthcare as payback for all the historical wrongs done not just to the Lacks family for “the good of humankind” but to all those other wrongs done in the name of science.

The most famous one in public memory is the Tuskegee Syphilis study, which began in 1932 and ran until 1972. In this study, the United States Public Health Service conducted an experiment in watching black men died from syphilis. The doctors didn’t tell these men they had syphilis. And they didn’t get healthcare. This story, like many, illustrates black oppression and medical neglect.

The Tuskegee case is more prominent, however, because it happened to black men. But there are other lesser-known atrocities, which happened to black women. Besides the Lacks case, we have the notorious J. Marion Sims, the so-called father of gynecology who used enslaved African women as experimental subjects.

These stories are known because the records exist. And unless we want to have more reasons to dig up America’s past medical atrocities, we should perhaps silence the chatter about repealing Obamacare.

If talk about a repeal of Obamacare persists, we should juxtapose that discussion with a public debate about reparations.

I’m so ready for that.

Dr. Ann-Marie Adams is the founder of The Hartford Guardian. Follow her on twitter @annmarieadams.

Photo: Ann-Marie Adams/The Hartford Guardian: ( l to r): Shirley Lacks, Victoria Baptiste, Dr. Robbin Smith.

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First Black Elected State Treasurer Dies


HARTFORD — Gerald Lamb, the nation’s first black state treasurer, has died. He was 89.

A native of Waterbury, CT, Lamb served two terms as Connecticut’s treasurer from 1963 to 1970. And he later served as Banking Commissioner.

He was also in the US Navy for more than three years, became General Manager of Waterbury Dental Laboratories, Vice President and Secretary of Meadow Homes, INC., and Senior Vice President of Connecticut Bank & Trust Company, Bank of New England Corp.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy released this statement:

WV0095107-image-2_20140325“He broke barriers not only in our state, but also in our nation at a time when civil rights were being heavily debated in communities across the country,” Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said in a statement. “Our condolences go out to his family and friends.”

Other state officials echoed this sentiment.

“We are grateful for his service to the people of Connecticut, and for his leadership that helped make us a stronger and more diverse state and nation,” said Lt. Governor Wyman.  “My thoughts are with his family and friends during this sad time.”

A funeral service will be held at 10 a.m., Friday, March 28, at Hollomon-Brown Funeral Home, Kempsville Chapel in Virginia. He will be buried atOak Bluffs Cemetery in Oak Bluffs, MA at a later date.

Photo Courtesy of the Lamb family.

 

 

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CT Legislators Approve Minimum Wage Hike to $10.10


UPDATED: Friday, March 28, 2014, 9:55 a.m.

By Ann-Marie Adams, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — Connecticut will increase its minimum wage to $10.10, sealing its place in history as the first in the nation to have a minimum wage that closely matches the rate of inflation.

That’s because the state’s General Assembly on Wednesday passed a bill to increase the minimum wage in 2017.  The House’s vote was 87-54. And the Senate’s vote was 21-14.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy will sign the bill on Thursday.

Support for the bill’s passage came from all quarters, including the state’s largest AFL-CIO union.

minimum-wage-hartford-ct“Raising the minimum wage will help reduce our state’s income gap — the 2nd largest in the nation — and helps us retain young workers who are on the verge of leaving the state because wages haven’t kept up with the cost of living,” said Council 4 Executive Director Sal Luciano. “Our members are excited that the Governor put forward this plan, and that the Legislature acted on it so quickly.”

Currently, the state’s minimum wage is $8.70 per hour, which when adjusted for inflation, is below the rate it was during when it was first implemented under the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration in 1938.

According to a recent study, about 90,000 Connecticut workers earn the minimum wage. And more than half the minimum wage earners are women. The age for the average worker is 35.

State Sen. Eric Coleman championed the passage of the bill, saying: “Working families across Connecticut will see a genuine change in their day-to-day lives as a result of the legislation we passed. Faced with the costs of housing, food, utilities, car maintenance and gasoline, our current minimum wage isn’t sufficient for many families to make ends meet. This will help our families and lift them up at a time when they need it most. We can be proud that Connecticut is leading the way on this issue.”

The state’s legislative move comes after Malloy’s campaign and President Barack Obama visited Connecticut on March 5 to push for a nation-wide increase of the minimum wage.

In a statement to the press, Obama said: “I hope Members of Congress, governors, state legislators and business leaders across our country will follow Connecticut’s lead to help ensure that no American who works full time has to raise a family in poverty, and that every American who works hard has the chance to get ahead.”

Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch agreed.

“Increasing the minimum wage will not only help more families make ends meet in Bridgeport, but will serve as a catalyst for economic mobility by putting additional resources in the hands of hard-working consumers.”

Some Republicans balked at the idea of raising the minimum wage, saying a raise would curtail hiring and retard job growth.  The GOP bolstered their claim after a Congressional Budget Office released a report that says America would lose about 2 million jobs.

An author of the report has since said others have misinterpreted the report. And the Obama administration has vigorously refuted that claim.

Furthermore, many small and large businesses support the minimum wage increase, according to a Bloomberg poll.

Similar proposals are being considered in, among other states,  Maryland, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

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Obama Nominates CT Lawyer to Serve as U.S. Attorney


WASHINGTON, DC – President Obama recently nominated Deirdre M. Daly  to serve as U.S. Attorney.

Daly has served as the First Assistant United States Attorney in the District of Connecticut since 2010 and as the Acting United States Attorney since May 2013.

Previously, Daly was a partner with the Connecticut law firm Daly & Pavlis LLC from 2001 to 2010 and with the New York law firm Gage & Pavlis from 1997 to 2001.

She also served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York from 1985 to 1997.

Obama’s nominations are subject to confirmation by the Senate.

 

 

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FUNdraising Good Times: Six Things To Do as a Board Member


By Mel and Pearl Shaw

Calling all nonprofit board members: Do you sometimes wonder what value you bring to the nonprofits you serve? Do you wish you were more engaged, or that “they” took more advantage of the talents you bring to the board? We have the solution for you: take initiative! Don’t wait for someone to ask you to get involved.

Mel and Pearl Shaw

Mel and Pearl Shaw

Here are six things you can do between now and the next board meeting to energize yourself and your fellow board members. Choose one or more that sounds like fun to you. Each can help engage new supporters, increase awareness and raise money. These tips work if you are involved with university, a grassroots organization, or any size nonprofit in-between.

First, write a thank you note or personally call a donor to thank them for their gift. Allocate five minutes for the conversation. Ask what encouraged them to give and what attracts them to your organization. Listen. Respond to any questions they may have. Thank them again.

Second, invite a potential supporter to visit the organization’s facilities and observe its programs. Agree on a date and time to meet at the nonprofit and tour together. Request that a staff member join you – one who can share information and answer questions.

Third, visit staff members to get to know them and ask “what can I do to help?” Follow through on what you learn.

Fourth, have lunch with a fellow board member to discuss how the two of you can work together to increase awareness or raise funds. Hatch a plan that can be implemented without staff involvement. Follow through on your ideas.

Fifth, make arrangements to speak before a local organization to share information about your nonprofit. It could be your church, the rotary, or your book club. Keep your comments brief and engaging.

 

Sixth, host a small fundraising event. Invite a few close friends and associates to your home or office for coffee or an evening glass of wine. Spend five minutes sharing information about the nonprofit you serve and ask each guest to make a gift equal to or greater than your gift.

 Before implementing these suggestions, take a moment to identify the three things you want to communicate about why you give your time and talent to serve on the board. Share these in conversation or through your presentation. Let people know you are accessible if they have questions in the future, or if they want to get involved. Share your contact information. Bring a simple brochure to share.

Anyone of these activities will extend the reach of your nonprofit. They will energize you. You will have something new to report at the next board meeting. Don’t wait for someone to “assign” you to a task. Jump in!

Mel and Pearl Shaw position nonprofits, colleges and universities for fundraising success. For help with your campaign visit www.saadandshaw.com or call (901) 522-8727.

 

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