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DOJ Charges Hartford Man with Larceny


HARTFORD — A Hartford man was arrested and charged with fraudulently collecting more than $14,000 in Unemployment Compensation benefits.

Deochand Hemchand, 39, of 30 Bristol Street, Hartford, was arrested Thursday and charged with one count each of larceny in the first degree by defrauding a public community and unemployment compensation fraud.

According to the arrest warrant, Hemchand fraudulently collected about $14,000 in unemployment benefits from October 2012 through May 2013 when he was employed and grossly under-reported his wages in order to collect the benefits.

Hemchand was released on a $10,000 non-surety bond and is scheduled to appear in New Britain Superior Court, on May 28.

 

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Charter School Advocates Fight Budget Cuts


By Fran Wilson, Staff Writer
HARTFORD — Nearly 40, 000 Connecticut children attend under performing schools and many of them can’t read or do math at grade level, charter school advocates said this week while touting the number of people signed a petition demanding support for charter schools.

 
The Coalition For Every Child on Wednesday announced that 3,782 people have signed on to a petition to state leaders demanding that they support a great school for every child. The petition will remain open to collect more signatures until the end of the legislative session.

 
“Right now, there are 40,000 Connecticut children who attend under performing schools where the majority of students cannot read and do math at grade level,” the petition reads. “Most of them are low-income students or children of color. This is unacceptable. All children deserve the opportunity to get a great education, and they need it now. Connecticut needs expanded access to high-quality public schools for all children.”

 
Advocates said that the solution for under performing schools is to “continue to open high-performing public schools, fund all public schools equitably, and hold all schools accountable for results while also protecting the flexibility of individual schools to effectively serve the needs of all students, regardless of race, economic status or zip code.”

 
The announcement comes after 1,500 people from across the state attended a rally on the North Steps of the Capitol to voice their opposition to the Appropriations Committee budget, which proposed cuts for new public charter schools in Bridgeport and Stamford.

 
Funding for both schools and seats at existing charter schools was previously included in the budget release by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy in February.

 
There are currently more than 3,600 students on wait lists for charter schools in the state. The budget proposed on Tuesday by the Appropriations Committee would do little to, charter schools advocates said.

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Connecticut Historical Society Opens Exhibit


HARTFORD — A 1798 map of Connecticut’s Western Reserve, which extended to Ohio, a brass button display and a lithograph of P.T. Barnum’s life are among the 50 items that are now on display in the Connecticut Historical Society’s new ‘Connecticut: 50 Objects/50 Stories’ exhibit.

The exhibit opened on Tuesday, culminating a five-month crowdsourcing history effort with individuals, historic and cultural organizations and companies. The 50 objects in ‘Connecticut: 50 Objects/50 Stories’ –– as well as an online gallery of more than 150 uniquely Connecticut objects that have been suggested to date.

‘Connecticut: 50 Objects/50 Stories’ asks “If an object could define Connecticut, what would it be? What objects – from the past and from today – help tell the stories that define our state as a changing place, a community, and an idea?”

Connecticut: 50 Objects/50 Stories will be on display from May 18 to Oct. 24 at CHS.

“We know that no one object, nor 50 objects, can completely represent Connecticut’s history. We planned this exhibit as part of an effort to gather diverse suggestions about what defines our state from not only historians but also from the general public, and various communities, organizations and companies who have made our state what it is today,” said CHS Executive Director Jody Blankenship.

The 50 items selected for the physical portion of the exhibit – and those in the online gallery – help tell the history of our state’s entrepreneurship, innovation and leadership, up to and including the present.

Blankenship said that the objects revealed the everyday lives of Connecticut’s original residents and of the diverse communities, who have immigrated here from Africa, Asia, Europe, and the West Indies.

The 50 items selected come from the CHS collection, other historical societies and museums, people who own the object or item and people who recommended an object they did not own, but which CHS tracked down and borrowed from its source.

The exhibit’s online gallery on the CHS website (http://chs.org/50objects/) will also be available until October 24. CHS will continue accepting submissions on the virtual site until October.

 

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UConn Breaks Ground for New Campus


HARTFORD – UConn students and administrators, state and local officials celebrated the start of construction on the university’s new downtown Hartford campus by breaking ground and raising the UConn flag at the site Monday.

The campus will be anchored by the former Hartford Times building, where UConn President Susan Herbst was joined Monday by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, UConn Board of Trustees Chairman Larry McHugh, Hartford Mayor Pedro E. Segarra, several legislators, and a crowd of other guests to celebrate the event.

The campus will open for classes in fall 2017 with about 2,300 students and 250 faculty members. Construction includes the addition of a new attached five-story building while retaining the iconic Beaux-Arts façade of the 95-year-old Hartford Times structure.

The $115 million project is funded primarily through Next Generation Connecticut, the initiative supported by Malloy and the General Assembly to expand STEM education and other offerings at UConn to drive economic growth throughout the state.

Officials said the move returns UConn to its roots in Hartford, where it had been located from its opening in 1939 until it moved in 1970 to West Hartford.

In keeping with the neighborhood campus concept, the building will have an exterior courtyard open daily to the public, and retail stores at ground level to encourage public visits.

In all, the campus will comprise about 217,000 square feet between the Times anchor building, a building that UConn is purchasing at 38 Prospect St., and space in other nearby buildings in partnership with those neighboring entities.

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Officials Warn Against Scams for Seniors


HARTFORD  –State officials are calling on residents to guard against scams targeting seniors.

Attorney General George Jepsen and Department of Consumer Protection Commissioner Jonathan A. Harris warned residents about a scam that targets older adults, callers demand money immediately to free a kidnapped relative and threaten physical harm to the relative if funds are not delivered,

The scammers work to instill a sense of panic and urgency in an effort to rush the victim into sending money to save or free their loved one. Victims are often ordered to stay on the phone until money is wired, often to a third party.  The scammers demand “ransom” payments from $600 to $1,900 or more.  In some cases, even after a payment is made, the scammers claim the money was not received and demand additional funds.

According to law enforcement officials, some warning signs of this scam include:

  • Most of the calls come from out-of-state or foreign area codes.
  • The fake kidnappers try to keep you on the phone; real kidnappers usually hang up in order to prevent the call from being traced.
  • The calls do not come from the relative’s phone.
  • The callers demand that “ransom” money be sent by wire transfer service.

If you believe your relative is the victim of a real kidnapping, call 911 or your local FBI office.

For more information about family emergency scams, click here to visit the Federal Trade Commission’s Web site.

 

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Gov. Malloy Appoints Diverse Group of Judges


By Fran Wilson, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — Connecticut’s judicial system now has a more diverse group of judges.

That’s because Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on Tuesday announced his choices to fill vacancies on the Superior Court bench. To date, the four nominees would bring the number of judges named to the trial bench to 47.

The first judicial nominees in Malloy’s second term are Edward T. Krumeich II of Greenwich,  Alice A. Bruno of New Britain, John B. Farley of West Hartford and Gerald L. Harmon of Southington.

They are expected to be confirmed by the General Assembly by the end of the 2015 session.

“Selecting qualified, diverse nominees is not an easy task – we do it exceptionally carefully because these decisions impact our future, and we’re working to build a Connecticut for the long-run, for everyone. That’s why these selections are so important, and that’s why it’s so vital to find candidates who are representative of our diverse population,” Malloy said.

Bruno, 59, was  a special counsel in the secretary of the state’s office. She is a former partner in Tyler, Cooper & Alcorn.

Farley, 56, is a partner in Halloran & Sage, where he co-chairs both the appellate and business litigation practice groups.

Harmon, 54, who has his own law office, practices criminal defense and civil litigation in state and federal courts.

Krumeich, 64, is a member of Ivey, Barnum and O’Mara. He does  commercial, construction and real estate litigation in state and federal courts.

So far,  there were 111 men and 59 women serving as Superior Court judges, including 13 black men and 11 black women.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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White House Honors East Hartford Teacher


By Ann-Marie Adams, Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — The White House recently honored one of Connecticut’s best teachers in Washington, D.C.

President Barack Obama honored Cara Quinn, one of 55 teachers from across the nation who gathered in the Rose Garden on a sunny afternoon. a East Hartford resident.

Quinn, who is on medical leave, teaches sixth grade at Sunset Ridge School.

During her career, Quinn has developed programs to prepare students for college, including a college immersion experience. She said she focuses not only on academics, but on character development.

“I think its important to nurture students to be globally aware,” she said.

Last October, Quinn was also named Connecticut’s 2015 Teacher of the Year.

“In her classroom, Mrs. Quinn not only teaches the material, she also teaches her students about their community and about their world,” Former Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor said in a press release. “She encourages her students to give back through service and inspires them to make a difference.”

A teacher of 11 years, Quinn was chosen from over 100 district-level Teachers of the Year.

Quinn succeeded the 2014 Connecticut Teacher of the Year,  John Mastroianni. He is a music teacher at William H. Hall High School in West Hartford

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Police Arrest Hartford Man for Operating Drug Factory


Ann-Marie Mesquita, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — A Hartford man was arrested for allegedly operating a drug factory in  his Southend apartment.

Police said that on Jan. 21, narcotic agents found about 1,500 feet of stash stashed in  Josiah Pinault’s apartment.

Pinault, 35, of 191 and 193 Jefferson St. in Hartford was arrested for narcotics as well as criminal possession of firearm,  possession of controlled substance and among other charges, operating a drug factory.

Through ongoing covert investigations, detectives were able to obtain information that there was firearm and narcotics “stashed” inside the apartment., police said.

After they searched the apartment interior, they found an illegal firearm, heroin, marijuana, and packaging material.

Police said Pinault had 19 previous arrests in Hartford and is a convicted felon.

 

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School Choice Begins in Connecticut


By Fran Wilson, Staff Writer

HARTFORD —  School Choice Week starts on Monday in Connecticut and across America.

From now until Jan.  31, there will be 153 school choice events across the state.

The events are part of National School Choice Week, which will feature 11,082 events across America – the largest celebration of educational opportunity in US history. In Hartford, several educators plan to discuss the future of North End schools on Jan. 31 at Liberty Christian Center at 9: 30 a.m.

The event is sponsored by Achieve Hartford!, African Caribbean American Parents of Children with Disabilities, Hartford Parent University, Daughters of Eve, and the Blue Hills Civic Association.

School Choice Week events in Connecticut include open houses, information sessions, policy roundtable discussions and more – planned by schools, organizations, homeschool groups and individuals.

“Connecticut families have choices when it comes to where to send their children to school, and National School Choice Week provides an opportunity for families to look into the options available to them, and, if they feel they want greater opportunities — to have their voices heard,” said  Andrew R. Campanella, president, National School Choice Week

Officials said the goal of the events is to inform parents about the K-12 education options available for their children, while raising awareness of the benefits providing families with a variety of different options for their children’s education.

Connecticut cities with the most events will also be in  New Haven,  Bridgeport,  and Waterbury.

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Two Men Charged for Windsor Bank Robbery


By Fran Wilson, Staff Writer

WINDSOR — Two Greater Hartford area men were arrested for stealing more than &80,000 at First Niagara Bank in Windsor.

David Johnson, 27, of Enfield and Odain Johnson, 21, of Hartford were charged with armed robbery

According to police reports, the two men wearing masks went into First Niagara at 2133 Poquonock Ave on Jan. 10 at about 9: 15 a.m.

The two men vaulted the teller counter, directed two bank employees to the bank vault and ordered one of the employees to open the vault.  Once inside the vault, the men ordered the bank employees to the ground and took $81,530 from the vault.  The men also ordered bank employees to open teller drawers and proceeded to take an additional amount of money from the drawers.

The complaint also alleges that a customer walked into the bank during the robbery.  One of the masked men pointed a gun at the customer, ordered him to the ground and told him not to look up.  After exiting the bank, the men confronted a second customer who was about to enter the bank.  One of the men pointed a gun at the customer and stated “If you say anything, we’ll shoot you….”

Police said they also  found and seized other items allegedly used during the robbery earlier that day, as well as a .380 caliber semi-automatic handgun with a fully-loaded magazine.

Both men are currently in state custody.

 

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