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AARP Honors Rep Baram for Legislative Role


Recognition for Power of Attorney Legislation

HARTFORD — Rep. David Baram was proud to receive a Certificate from AARP recognizing his role as a legislator – attorney in providing advice and guidance in drafting new legislation revising Connecticut’s statute on the Power of Attorney.

Featured picture: Joined by Mike Humes (Associate Director), volunteers Marilyn Diaz and Veda White!

 

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Federal Government Recognizes CT WIC Programs


HARTFORD — The Department of Public Health recently announced that four of Connecticut’s local Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children programs are being recognized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for exemplary efforts in supporting breastfeeding WIC mothers.

The four agencies are receiving the Loving Support Award of Excellence as part of the USDA’s National WIC Breastfeeding Week, celebrated Aug. 1-7, to highlight their ongoing efforts to encourage breastfeeding among WIC participants.

The WIC program provides nutrition education, breastfeeding promotion and support and referrals to health and other social services to low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women, infants, and children up to age five.

Connecticut currently has 12 WIC agencies and 24 clinic sites.

This is the second year that USDA has awarded the Loving Support Awards of Excellence. WIC agencies across the country that utilize the USDA Loving Support Model for successful peer counseling programs are eligible to apply.

Awardees must demonstrate strong achievement of breastfeeding performance measures, effective peer counseling programs and community partnerships.

Five local WIC agencies offer peer counseling programs in Connecticut. Four of those five applied for and received the award:

 

  • Santa Marquez Center and Hispanic Health Council (Hartford)
  • Community Health Center WIC Peer Counseling Program (Fair Haven)
  • Thames Valley Council for Community Action, Inc. WIC Peer Counseling Program (Norwich)
  • Optimus Health Care Women Infants and Children Program (Bridgeport)

To learn about WIC visit www.ct.gov/dph/wic.

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U.S. Secretary of Education John King Visits Hartford to Talk Diversity


HARTFORD — U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King recently visited Hartford to talk diversity.

Very little diversity was in the room, though.

Check back later for details.

 

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German-American Comedy Comes to New Britain


NEW BRITAIN — Elizabeth Matthis will bring her German-American comedy show to the Austrian-Hungarian “Donau” Club this August.

Matthis said she will entertain her audience with German-American differences using body language and funny anecdotes that made her Intercultural training for Laughs” popular in Germany.

The event is scheduled for Aug. 19 at 8 p.m. at the Donau Club, 545 Arch St. in New Britain.

Born in the United States, Matthis has lived in several states including Connecticut. She was a high school exhange student in Austrailia and has lives and worked as a translator, teacher and personal tutr in and around Hamburg, Germany for more than 20 years.

This is her only US tour this summer. Tickets are $10 at the door and $7 for Donau members. CAll 860-229-2379 for more information.

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West Hartford Police Adopt New LGBT Policy


WEST HARTFORD — The West Hartford Police Department has adopted a new policy designed to help officers navigate cases and situations involving members of the town’s LGBT community.

Chief Tracey Gove tells The Hartford Courant that the policy offers guidance and direction to officers who may find themselves working in unfamiliar territory.

In dealing with transgender individuals, the policy states that officers should use that person’s preferred name — which might not be their legal name or name on a government-issued ID. The policy also advises that officers should honor a request by a transgender person to be searched by an officer of a specific gender.

Lt. Eric Rocheleau says the policy wasn’t enacted following a complaint or in response to any issues with the department’s prior interactions with the LGBT community.

Associated Press

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Ilhan Omar Poised to Become Nation’s First Somali American Legislator


Tom Gitaa, Mshale

MINNEAPOLIS – A multiracial coalition of African immigrants, liberals and university students helped make history in Minnesota on Tuesday when they carried Somalia-born Ilhan Omar to victory in the hotly contested Minnesota House District 60B primary and effectively ending the career of the state’s longest serving legislator, Phyliss Kahn, who has been in office uninterrupted since 1972.

The victory positions her to be the first Somali-American legislator in the country.

District 60B which includes a section of downtown Minneapolis starts south of I-94 in Minneapolis and goes north to Hennepin Avenue and terminates east at the border with the city of St. Paul.

The District which is heavily Democratic makes Omar the presumptive Minnesota House representative for 60B come November, barring any major surprises from the Republicans as historically, the Democratic nominee or endorsed candidate is a shoo-in for the seat. In the Republican side, Abdimalik Askar, also a Somali had no opposition as he won 100% of the votes or 56 votes. Ilhan Omar and Abdimalik Askar will face each other in the November general election.

In the Minnesota House, there is only one black representative, Rena Moran of District 65A who was able to stave off a primary challenge from Rashad Anthony Turner who many are familiar with as a key leader of the St. Paul Black Lives Matter. She is likely to prevail in the heavily Democratc stronghold as the DFL nominee. Omar’s victory will bring to two the number of black people in the Minnesota House. It will set up an interesting scenario where two black women are in the Minnesota House and two black men in the Minnesota Senate. The two African Americans in the Minnesota Senate, Jeff Hayden and Bobby Jo Champion handily won their primaries.

Omar was one of two high-profile Somali candidates that were seeking to dislodge Kahn in 60B. Omar has been the Democratic Party favorite, having come close to clinching the nomination at the DFL nominating convention in April (in Minnesota, the Democratic Party in the state is referred to as the DFL – Democratic Farmer Labor). At the convention, Omar fell short by 11 votes to clinch the nomination outright, forcing the party to hold Tuesday’s primary. The nominating convention outcome embittered many in the community with most of the anger directed at fellow Somali Mohamud Noor who many opined should have thrown his support to Omar to enable her to avoid the primary.

Her father two weeks ago at a fundraiser organized by the African business community said the primary could be a blessing “as it will make her tougher and she will appreciate it Omar.”

On Tuesday Omar garnered a convincing 41% of the votes cast while her two challengers received 29% each.

Prefacing her remarks with “Yes we did,” an emotional Omar who wiped away tears said “Tonight we made history.”

She went on “Tonight marks the beginning of the future of our district, a new era of representation. Tonight is about the power of you.”

Ahmed Ismail Yusuf, author of the much acclaimed book “Somalis in Minnesota” was among those at the victory party for Omar. “I don’t even know why we have this primary, it should not have come to this,” he complained loudly as he awaited results. Located later after the results were announced, he smiled broadly, not uttering a word.

Omar and her family fled Somalia when she was 8 and they spent four years in a Kenyan refugee camp before finally finding their way to Minnesota.

She was policy Aide to Minneapolis City Council Member Andrew Johnson, one of her early backers when she announced her candidacy.

“This is history,” Habon Abdulle, executive director of Women Organizing Women (WOW) said during an interview at the Omar victory party after the results were announced. Abdulle decried the misogyny directed at Omar. “They kept diminishing her like she cannot do it, well the people have spoken,” she said.

(Important Disclaimer: Mshale Founder and Publisher and author of this story is one of Ilhan Omar’s campaign fundraisers with the last fundraising event organized by him being hosted at the law offices of Paschal Nwokocha co-hosted in tandem with the latter, former Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak and Godson Sowah. The Ilhan Omar campaign Field Director, Stacy Rosana, has a family relation to Tom.)

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Police Seek Help with Missing West Hartford Woman


WEST HARTFORD —  West Hartford Police Department is seeking the public’s assistance in locating a woman who went missing on Aug. 8.

The woman, Mame Alemu Zegeye.  Zegeye, 38, was born in Ethiopia and has lived in the country of Qatar.

Zegeye, a home owner, has been mission since Monday at 2 p.m.

Zegeye was described as being 5’5” in height and weighing approximately 170 pounds.

Police said Zegeye was last seen wearing a brown blouse, black leggings, and brown house shoes.

Please call the West Hartford Police Department at (860) 523-5203, if you have contact with Zegeye or have any information regarding her current whereabouts.

 

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Trump, Clinton Kick off Battle for Connecticut


Washington – Donald Trump’s plans to hold a rally in Connecticut this weekend will rev up the campaign season in Connecticut, sharpening the state’s focus on the race for the White House.

Connecticut is not a swing state, having last voted for a Republican in 1988 for former state resident George H. W. Bush. But both parties say spending time and resources in Connecticut will help their presidential candidates in what’s become a bruising national fight.

J.R. Romano, the head of the Connecticut Republican Party, said Trump’s visit to Sacred Heart University in Fairfield on Saturday is aimed at linking Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s “failed” economic policies to those of Hillary Clinton.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at rally at Crosby High School in Waterbury on Saturday.

Kyle Constable / CTMirror.org

Donald Trump speaks at a rally at Crosby High School in Waterbury in April.

“The state of Connecticut is the biggest warning of what Hillary Clinton economic policies will look like,” Romano said.

Connecticut Democrats used a midday press conference Friday to challenge Republican candidates in the state to repudiate Trump, and they made clear they would press the issue during the campaign.

Calling it a “crisis for the Republican Party,” Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said it was time for Republicans to “stand up and let their voices be counted.”

“If they stay silent, they are backing Donald Trump,” said state Rep. Matt Lesser of Middletown, one of several Democratic legislators to speak.

Meanwhile, a Clinton campaign official said Connecticut’s proximity to other battleground states, including New Hampshire and Pennsylvania, and the possibility to tap young supporters and union loyalists to help in other places makes the state an asset.

“Volunteers from Connecticut can go to other (swing) states if we need them,” she said.

The Clinton campaign official said the former first lady and secretary of state is committed to a “50 state campaign” with a presence in each one.

She also said there are political synergies in the state, with the Clinton campaign benefiting from the races of popular Democrats running for re-election, like Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who in turn could be helped by Clinton’s name at the top of the ballot.

“We already have our top surrogates on the ground,” said Michael Mandell, executive director of the Connecticut Democratic Party, referring to members of the state’s all-Democratic congressional delegation.

Setting up the campaigns

The  Clinton-Trump battle for the White House began in earnest in Connecticut right after the parties held their conventions in Cleveland and Philadelphia last month.

The Trump campaign picked Stratford attorney Ben Proto to head its efforts in the state. Proto is no political novice, having worked in Connecticut on Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign and volunteered in New Hampshire on former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s campaign.

Heading up the Clinton campaign in Connecticut is Tommy Hyde, who has worked as a Democratic field director in the state and been involved in local campaigns.

Both the Trump and Clinton campaigns said they are scouting for locations to open campaign offices and say those will be up and running soon.

The Trump campaign’s effort to win Connecticut’s 7 electoral votes is part of a plan to expand the electoral map by competing in states like New York, Oregon, Washington and Michigan that Republicans have not carried for decades.

This strategy was fashioned by campaign manager and New Britain native Paul Manafort before Trump began to slip in the polls, even in rock-ribbed GOP states like Georgia and Arizona and in the swing states of Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida.

The slide in the polls has been linked to a series of post-convention missteps by Trump, including feuding with top Republicans and with the parents of a slain Muslim-American soldier, and a comment about gun enthusiasts that was widely interpreted as a threat against Clinton or a joke gone bad.

The Trump campaign is pressed to reallocate more resources to right its campaign in those states, even as it spends time and money visiting Connecticut on Saturday.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks during a rally at the University of Bridgeport on Sunday.

Kyle Constable / CTMirror.org

Hillary Clinton speaks at a rally at the University of Bridgeport in April.

Gary Rose, head of Sacred Heart University’s political science department said he will be among those at the rally.

He said it makes sense for Trump to visit the state because “there’s a very restless electorate here willing to give him a look.”

Rose said Connecticut’s weak economy makes it fertile territory for an outsider candidate like Trump who appeals to disaffected working-class and independent voters.

But, unlike other politicians who have used Connecticut as a campaign cash machine, Trump has raised very little money in the state.

The latest Federal Elections Commission reports show that as of June 30, Clinton had raised more than $4 million in the state while Trump had raised little more than $132,000.

Rose said Trump’s visit to Connecticut, even if it’s not linked to a fundraiser, could provide him an opportunity to meet some new, deep-pocketed donors.

Romano said Trump’s poor fundraising performance in the state means “there’s growth opportunities here.”

Meanwhile, Clinton has scheduled a fundraiser in Fairfield County on Monday, but no public events.

Rose said her campaign should focus on the state’s Democratic base, which includes union members and a Hispanic population that is growing, especially in the state’s larger cities, like Hartford and Bridgeport.

“She needs to have an urban message and show her support for the unions,” Rose said.

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State Troopers ReOpen I-84 After Shooting Incident


By Fran Wilson, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — State police reopened Interstate-84 after a shooting incident earlier today near exit 46 on Sisson Avenue.

Police said they were notified of a car fire on I-84 eastbound at about 10:30 a.m. when witnesses saw a man walking away from his car.

Two Hartford Fire Department officers and  three Connecticut State Troopers arrived on scene and saw the owner of a vehicle with a gun.

According to reports, the troopers tried to speak to the man, who was apparently distraught, before he shot himself.

Troopers and fire personnel provided first aid and the white male, who  was later transported via ambulance to St. Francis hospital.

The unidentified man is still alive but is being treated for the self-inflicted gunshot wound.

At the time of the initial incident there were also reports of suspected gunfire in the area.

Police said an explosives ordinance robot was used to clear the vehicle before firefighters approached to extinguish the fire.

The Central District Major Crime Squad responded to the scene and will be conducting a thorough investigation.

Police is asking anyone who witnessed the incident or believes they may know something about it to call Troop H at 860-534-1000 or text “TIP711 w/ info” to 274637.

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Connecticut Tax Office Moves to New Location Downtown


HARTFORD — Connecticut’s local walk-in tax center has a new location.

The Department of Revenue Services main office taxpayer walk-in center at 25 Sigourney St. will be moving to 450 Columbus Boulevard in downtown Hartford.

 

However, the Hartford walk-in center will remain open on Sigourney Street through Thursday Aug. 18 until 4:30 p.m. and reopen on Tuesday Aug. 23 at 8:30 a.m. at 450 Columbus Boulevard.

 

Public parking will be available for a fee at the Morgan Street Garage (get directions).

 

Taxpayers seeking assistance during the Hartford office move can visit the walk-in centers at the DRS regional offices in Bridgeport, Norwich and Waterbury. Walk-in centers provide assistance to taxpayers with filing their Connecticut tax return and accept non-cash payments as well as register new businesses. In addition, licensed Connecticut cigarette distributors can purchase tax stamps at those locations.

 

State officials said the this will be a more central and accessible location between I-84 and I-91 and to public transportation into downtown Hartford.

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