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Hartford’s ‘Trigger Happy’ Police Officer Fired


By Fran Wilson, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — A police officer who said he was “trigger happy” to a group of residents in the summer was fired on Wednesday.

Hartford Police Chief David Rosado terminated Stephen Barone’s employment after an internal investigation and a formal hearing about the two high-profile incidents in the summer.

“Our success as a police department depends on our relationship with the community we serve,” Rosada said in a statement. “Every day the men and women of the Hartford Police Department are out doing good police work with professionalism and respect, and this officer’s conduct does not reflect the values of our agency.”

Barone, a 10-year veteran, was caught on camera saying: “If anybody wants to fight or run, I’m a little trigger happy guys, I’m not going to lie, and I get paid a ton of money in overtime if I have to shoot somebody, don’t do anything stupid,” Barone said in a video that was posted on Facebook and attracted a lot of viewers.

In another incident in July, Barone failed to call off a July 9 police chase on I-91. The driver went southbound in a northbound lane at almost 60 miles an hour.

Internal Affairs investigators found that Barone violated police policies and discredited the force when he threatened a group of black and Hispanic residents. Barone was first demoted from sergeant to officer in September. And his salary went from $89,200 to $76,800. Barone is white.

“After reviewing the findings related to these two incidents, it’s clear to me that there’s no scenario in which Mr. Barone can return to his duties as a productive member of the Hartford Department. As a department, we are committed to building and rebuilding a strong relationship with residents across our city based on mutual respect, accountability, transparency, and a shared desire to live in a strong Hartford.”

Residents were outraged after hearing about the incident.  In August, residents, community organizers and city officials packed city hall and demanded that Barone be fired.

“Today we stand with Hartford Police Chief David Rosado and the City of Hartford in their decision. Officer Barone conduct and behavior as an officer was unsatisfactory. He lack professionalism, cultural competence and good decision making. This is not who we need on the streets of Hartford to protect and serve our community,” said Rev. Ronald Holmes, president of the Greater Hartford Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance. “His statement, being ‘trigger happy’ and other actions are simply disgraceful.”

About 85 percent of the city is comprised of people of color. Only 34 percent of the city’s 379 officers is nonwhite. And close to seven percent live in the city.

Hartford Councilman  T. J. Clarke at a press conference in response to the firing called for “immediate change and training” of police officers. He said it’s a “worthy and realistic goal” to increase and reflect the demographics of the city.

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Glassdoor Ranks Hartford as Top Five for Job Openings


By Fran Wilson, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — Hartford was ranked among the top five cities for job openings.

That’s according to Glassdoor, a website that list jobs. Glassdoor released the rankings on Wednesday.

When job openings and job satisfaction were factored, Hartford ranked number five, besting cities such as Boston and Washington, D.C .

In August, Hartford had 40,978 job openings.

The number one city for job openings is Pittsburg, PA with 91,849 jobs.

For more information about the list click here.

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Hartford Council to Vote on Raising Minimum Age to Buy Cigarettes


By Fran Wilson, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — Hartford City Council on Monday will vote on whether to raise the minimum age to purchase cigarettes.

Currently the minimum age to buy cigarettes and other tobacco is 18. The American Lung Association is pushing to change that age to 21.

The goal is the change the law first in Hartford and hope it spreads to other towns in the state.

After a rally at city hall on Monday, the nine-member council heard overwhelming support for the idea of raising the age for tobacco purchase in an effort to prevent nicotine addiction.

Advocates said that about 95 percent of smokers begin smoking before the age of 21 and become addicted as adults. By delaying the age when people begin using tobacco, it reduces the chance that they become lifelong tobacco users.

So far, six states and more than 350 cities have raised the age requirement to 21.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 4,900 Connecticut residents will die from smoking-related causes this year. And more than 1,000 children are expected to become new daily smokers under the current law.

Earlier this year, advocates for raising the minimum age testified before a committee in the General Assembly, saying the annual health care costs directly caused by smoking are $2.03 billion and Medicaid costs are $520.8 million.

Raising the age to 21 has been proposed before the General Assembly several times but the measure has always failed.

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Hartford State Senator and State Rep Candidates to Meet


HARTFORD — Candidates for State Senator and State Representative in Hartford will meet at an interactive forum on Oct. 18 at the Hartford Public Library.

They will meet and talk with Hartford residents in small groups about how they will represent the people of Hartford in the State Legislature and what issues are most
important to them, the neighborhood, and the Hartford community.

All candidates who will be on the Nov. 6 ballot have been invited. The interactive forum will begin at 5:30 p.m.

Incumbent Senator John Fonfara, a Democrat who represents Senate District 1, faces Republican Challenger Barbara Rhue and Green Party Challenger Barbara Barry.

Incumbent Senator Doug McCrory is unopposed.

Incumbent State Representatives and their challengers are also invited. They include Matt Ritter, Minnie Gonzalez, Julio Concepcion, Bryan Nelson, Kennard Rey, Mary Sanders, Brandon McGee, Charles Jackson, Edwin Vargas, Michael Barlowski, Joshua Hall and Giselle Jacobs.

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Hartford Police Identify Man Struck on Wethersfield Avenue


Fran Wilson, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — Hartford Police has identified the victim of a hit and run accident on Wethersfield Avenue Wednesday.

The man, Stanislaw Gnatek, 80, of Hartford, died at Hartford Hospital after being hit in the area of 521 Wethersfield Ave., at about 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, police said.

Police responded and found a single male victim suffering from critical injuries after he was hit by a green pick-up truck as he crossed Wethersfield Avenue. They rushed him to Hartford Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

Traffic was diverted through rush hour as police investigated the scene.

Police said they will be looking at whether speed was a factor or whether there was alcohol or narcotics involved.

Three months ago, there was another person struck and killed while crossing the street in that area on Wethersfield Avenue.

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U.S. News Report: Hartford Among Top 100 Places to Retire


By Fran Wilson, Staff Writer

Hartford is among the nation’s top 100 best places to retire, according to a U.S. News and World Report released Wednesday.

Hartford ranked 73 on the list with an overall score of 6.35. Among New England cities, Boston and Springfield scored higher. The place ranked number one is Lancaster, Pennsylvania with an overall score of 7.5.

U.S. News evaluated the country’s 100 largest metropolitan areas based on how well they meet Americans’ retirement needs and expectations, which includes six factors: housing affordability, desirability, retiree taxes, the happiness index, job market and health care quality. The happiness index quantifies how content residents were based on Gallup Healthways State of American Well-Being: 2017 Community Well-Being Rankings report published in March.

The U.S. News report noted that the historic architecture of Hartford and said: “Don’t let the historic architecture fool you—even as one of the oldest metro areas in America, Hartford, Connecticut, has a lot to offer, both old and new.” Located in the Connecticut River Valley, Hartford has many cultural gems hidden amidst rolling hills and wooded neighborhoods. It’s home to a number of historic attractions and entertainment venues, nearby vineyards, state parks and ski slopes provide plenty of recreational opportunities throughout the year.

Hartford scored 5.3 in Housing Affordability and 8.5 in Healthcare, the two components of the overall score.

The top ranked New England city was Boston ranked at 25, Springfield, MA ranked 69, Worcester ranked at 77 and Providence ranked at 85. The top 10 places to retire according to the report are Lancaster; Fort Myers; Sarasota; Austin, Pittsburgh, Grand Rapids; Nashville; San Antonio; Dallas-Fort Worth; and Lakeland, Florida.

The rankings offer a comprehensive evaluation of the country’s 100 largest metropolitan areas based on how well they meet Americans’ expectations for retirement, with measures including housing affordability, desirability, health care and overall happiness,” according to U.S. News.

Data sources include the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as well as U.S. News rankings of the Best Hospitals.

“Deciding where to retire is a big decision,” Senior Editor for Retirement at U.S. News Emily Brandon said in a statement accompanying the results. “The Best Places to Retire offers a way for future retirees to make a more informed decision based on what matters the most to them. Whether that be housing affordability, access to quality hospitals or the desirability of a place in general, the rankings offer a comprehensive list that can point people in the best direction for their needs.”

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Hartford Sex Offender Safety Tips for Halloween


HARTFORD — It’s that time of the year again when kids go door to door for trick or treat.

Before they do, it’s good to know who the neighbors are.

There are more than 600 registered sex offenders in Hartford, according to the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection.

The registry can only play a limited role in preventing child sexual abuse, law enforcement officials said. Officials have not considered or assessed the specific risk of re-offense of individuals prior to inclusion within the registry.

About 60 percent of perpetrators of child abuse are known to the child and are not family members but rather family friends, babysitters, child care providers and others. About 30 percent of child victims are abused by family members, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Find out where these sex offenders are by clicking on Connecticut Sex Offenders Registry.

For a national search of sex offenders, click on National Sex Offender Public Website.

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CT Launches New Initiative to Recruit Teachers


HARTFORD — The state has launched a new initiative to attract diverse people into the teaching profession.

TEACH Connecticut is a new approach to diversifying teachers in public schools with large population of black and Hispanic students. The program will partner with TEACH.org to attract candidates through advertising. The site dedicated to Connecticut is www.connecticut.teach.org.

State officials said TEACH Connecticut is the first statewide initiative of its kind in the nation and will help the state fill vacancies in certification shortage areas such as math, science, bilingual and special education.

“Our education system is stronger when our teacher workforce is as diverse as the communities they serve, and the launch of TEACH Connecticut will only strengthen our schools,” Gov. Dannel Malloy said. “We should be proud that Connecticut’s education system is moving in the right direction.”

The state will invest in television and radio advertising with public service announcements to promote the initiative and raise the image of teaching.

“Effective teachers are critical to student success which is why the State Board of Education has prioritized making sure that every student is supported by high-quality teachers and leaders,” Department of Education Commissioner Dianna R. Wentzell said. “Yet, as the 2018-19 school year begins, some school districts are still struggling to fill vacancies. Through TEACH Connecticut, we want to not only promote and elevate the image of the teaching profession but make progress towards filling Connecticut’s persistent certification shortage areas by recruiting and retaining a diverse educator workforce that mirrors the racial, ethnic and linguistic diversity of our students.”

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Displaced Hurricane Victims to Receive Mental Health Support


HARTFORD — Displaced children and families of Hurricane Maria will now have access to mental health support services in Connecticut.

Thanks to a $750,000 federal grant released by the Department of Health and Human Services to help those who were evacuated from their homes in Puerto Rico in last September’s hurricane.

About 135,000 people evacuated Puerto Rico to the mainland in the first six months after the hurricane. And about 10 percent, or 13,500, relocated to Connecticut, according to the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College.

The grant will be administered by the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and the Department of Children and Families in Hartford, New Haven, Bridgeport, Waterbury and New Britain. The services will include mobile crisis, outpatient counseling, medication management and school outreach.

“Many of the children and families who were evacuated to Connecticut after Hurricane Maria experienced severe trauma, enduring the powerful storm itself, the devastation of losing their homes and then having to acculturate to a new community,” DMHAS Commissioner Miriam Delphin-Rittmon said. “ We know that addressing trauma early leads to improved mental health outcomes, so providing this support is critical in ensuring families will thrive.”

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West Hartford Magnet School Awarded Blue Ribbon


By Fran Wilson, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — A West Hartford school was awarded a 2018 National Blue Ribbon by the U.S. Department of Education.

The University of Hartford Magnet School was one of five schools recently awarded blue ribbons for their high academic performance or progress in closing the achievement gap between white and black, wealthy and poor.

“We congratulate these schools and their teachers, students and families for their collective efforts to nurture positive school communities,” said Gov. Dan Malloy. “They are all helping to shift the growing possibilities for our next generation in a positive direction.”

The University of Hartford Magnet School is operated by the Capitol Region Education Council. It serves pre-kindergartner through grade 5 students from more than 30 Connecticut towns. The school’s theme is “Learning through Multiple Intelligences.”

University of Hartford Magnet School Principal Tim Barber attributes the school’s success to the “close relationships among teachers, staff and families.”

The other schools awarded a blue ribbon were Forest School in West Haven, West School in New Canaan, Haddam-Killingworth High School in Regional School District 17 and St. Mary’s School in Simsbury.

Posted in West Hartford, YouthComments (0)

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