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Blumenthal, Bronin Meet with Hartford Officials to Discuss Ways to Quiet Tensions, Police Brutality


SUBMITTED: Author wants Mayor Luke Bronin to Resign for 
Ignoring Media Suppression and Hate Crime in Hartford.

By L. Giles, Contributor

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Mayor Luke A. Bronin, Chief James C. Rovella and Hartford’s State Attorney Gail P. Hardy met at City Hall on Tuesday to discuss ways to serve the Hartford community while ensuring that police officers have adequate resources to protect and serve  residents and business owners.

Blumenthal called on President Barack Obama’s office for additional resources to fight crime after Bronin said there’s a need to have good communication with city residents and business owners to avoid similar shootings and mass protest that gripped the nation when a gunman named Micah Johnson killed five police officers during a protest in Dallas, Texas.

Johnson’s and other retaliatory acts to police brutality since then is to be avoided, state officials said, hence another round of meetings that involved a trip to Barbershop on Main and Park streets.

All four public officials realized that the city is “still wrestling with the legacy of deeply flawed criminal justice policies.” That and the lack of public trust could trigger an eruption in Hartford, never seen since 1967.

The trust needed in the community was broken for one reporter after 15 police officers were dispatched to 167 Sisson Ave. on Friday, April 4, 2014. A Hartford Guardian reporter was awoken from her sleep and taken to John Dempsey Hospital, where they kept her, so that she could not cover the President of the United States. And she could not attend a Friday church service in East Hartford and a history conference on Saturday.

the-hartford-guardian-OpinionSince then, law enforcement officials in the state have been monitoring The Hartford Guardian’s website and disrupting her writing. The systematic dismantling of a competitive publication that has won several awards and is the blue print for other publications in the Greater Hartford area is akin to the kind of racism found in the 1920s. And to date, law enforcement officials have used covert techniques to silence all the witnesses by using electronic nodes and other fancy crime fighting tools to control law abiding citizens of color.

For example, these new devices were used to control a reporter’s thinking, reading and writing, according to a black law enforcement officers who want to remain anonymous. This, he said, is “slavery by another name.” And that is why everyone in the city should be concerned about Chief Rovella asking for more money for his department. Rovella must address the lawsuit against the city for detainment, invasion of privacy, attempted murder and failure to protect a citizen under the 14th amendment before others are forced to go the the United Nations to discuss why Connecticut want to enslaved black and Latino people “in secret.”

City cameras, electronic nodes other policing tools used 24 hours a day on one reporter is why the Hartford police–and other law enforcement agencies in this state, should instead shed those police officers who have violated a public trust.

If they had that much time to have a chit-chat session with a single black woman on April 4, 2014 and almost every day since then, they do not need any extra resources.

Tuesday’s meeting came after another police office was killed in Orlando without discussion about the April 4 incident. Martin Luther King, Jr died on April 4. So many city activists say it was a symbolic move to silence them because city officials were sending a message–not just to the reporter–to anyone who wanted to start a civil rights movement in the city. There will be no civil rights movement in Hartford, they said. The mystery should be unveiled by all the officials at the meeting.

In the meanwhile, some residents are asking for Luke Bronin’s resignation because he has yet to address the police brutality directed at the only black reporter who writes for a daily publication. This clearly impacts the minority community in the telling of our stories.

L. Giles lives in New Britain.

Photo courtesy of the Associated Press.

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CT Officials to Hold Meeting on Increasing the Minimum Wage


By Fran Wilson, Staff Writer

WETHERSFIELD —  Connecticut residents on July 20 will have their say on whether there will be an increase of the minimum wage, state officials said.

The July public hearing to be held in Bridgeport at  Bridgeport City Hall’s Council Chambers, 45 Lyon Terrace from 6 to 8 p.m.

Those interested in speaking are asked to arrive at the Council Chambers by 5:30 p.m. to sign-up as a participant.

The public hearing is sponsored by Connecticut Low Wage Employer Advisory Board, established to study a variety of issues connected to low wage workers and advising the State Labor Commissioner, the Connecticut Departments of Development Services and Social Services, as well as the Office of Early Childhood on the following issues:

Those with questions about the hearing or the Connecticut Low Wage Employer Advisory Board are welcome to email inquiries to DOL.CTMinimumWagePublicHearing@ct.gov or call 203-455-2855.

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Latino Center Receives Bikes for BiCi Co


HARTFORD — The University of Connecticut recently donated 30 bikes to the Center for Latino Progress  for its BiCi Co. program.

UConn officials said the bikes had previously been abandoned by students at the Storrs campus during the Spring semester and will now be refurbished in classes and workshops, and ultimately given to Hartford teens through various programs to include, Summer Youth Employment activities, Earn-a-Bike, Bikes for Jobs Access, BIKE LIFE – Hartford!, and DIY projects for BiCi Co. members.

All of these programs put more bicycles into our community, encouraging healthy and sustainable transportation and increased mobility, officials said.

This is UConn’s second time donating bicycles to The Center and supporting Hartford’s youth.

BiCi Co. includes bicycle safety classes, teaches marketable skills, reinforces it through repetition, and provides members of the community with a cheap and reliable form of transportation.

To learn more about this impactful youth development program, to volunteer, or to donate, please visit www.ctprf.org or call (860) 247-3227.

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Letter : CT State Police Busted


Dear  Editor:

On Friday, September 11th, 2015, I was peacefully and legally protesting a Connecticut State Police checkpoint and openly carrying in West Hartford, CT, when four troopers, Master Sergeant Patrick Torneo, Sergeant John Jacobi, Trooper First Class John Barone, and Trooper Jeff Jalbert, illegally detained and searched me, seized my pistol, pistol permit and camera, claiming it was illegal to record them, threatened to arrest me twice, conspired to fabricate evidence against me, and falsely charged me with “creating a public disturbance” and “negligent pedestrian.”

This event was all caught on video.

This past Friday, July 15th, after 10 months of dragging out a nothing case, the state dropped all charges, failing to comply with discovery ordered by a magistrate and admitting that they never had a case. Almost a year after the incident, the troopers are still being investigated. I would like to share my story with Connecticut residents.

You can watch the video here: https://youtu.be/Aizm05nCVkE
Michael Picard
West Hartford

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Gov. Dan Malloy Talks Gun Safety in Iowa


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Gov. Dannel Malloy is one of eight Democratic governors in Iowa for the next National Governors Association.

Malloy led a discussion in Des Moines this morning — organized by Hillary Clinton’s campaign — to discuss gun safety. He called assault-style guns like the one used to shoot Dallas police last week “weapons of mass destruction.”

“That’s what they are. They killed 49 people in a very short period of time and injured 53 others in Orlando. They killed 20 children in Newtown at Sandy Hook School,” Malloy said. “They’ve done it time and time and time again.”

Connecticut lawmakers passed new state gun laws after that December 2012 mass shooting at the school. Only 10 rounds of ammunition are allowed in a magazine, armor-piercing bullets are banned and more than 100 guns were added to Connecticut’s list of banned assault-style weapons.

“Not solely because we did those things, but in part because we did those things, our violent crime rate is dropping at a rate 2.5 times the national average,” Malloy said. “…This year alone assaults and homicides with the use of a gun are down about 40 percent.”

Malloy said those stats are “proof common sense legislation does make us safer.” And Malloy argued there’s no issue that shows a clearer distinction between Clinton and Donald Trump than how each would deal with gun safety legislation as president.

Lindsay Jancek, the Republican National Committee’s Iowa communications director, says Republicans have proposed “common sense solutions” that protect Second Amendment rights.

“It’s ironic that Gov. Malloy would come to Iowa to advocate for policies when residents in his home state oppose his own efforts,” she says. “In 2014, nearly 40 percent of Connecticut residents did not support the state’s tighter gun control laws and last year, state media found resident’s owned nearly 52,000 assault rifles.”

Connecticut residents who legally owned assault-style weapons before the ban went into effect two decades ago were allowed to get permits for those guns.

Additionaly reporting by  radioiowa.com.

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CT Pastor Arrested for Raping a Minor


By Fran Wilson, Staff Writer

NEW HAVEN — A 59-year-old pastor was arrested on Monday for allegedly raping a minor.

New Haven police arrested  Walter Williams of 118 Skylark Dr. in Northford was charged with five counts of second-degree sexual assault, fourth-degree sexual assault and other related crimes, according the the New Haven Register.

According to reports, the New Haven Police interrogated Williams on July 7 and said he agreed to “five or six” sexual encounters with the victim between July 2015 and April 2016. The victim, reports said, was a member of the church’s choir.

Police say the victim’s mother contacted them after discovering text messages between her daughter and Williams on her daughter’s phone. The victim told police at least two of the assaults took place at Walk of Faith Church of Christ on Fairmount Ave. in New Haven, where Williams is the pastor.

According to police report, Williams assaulted the victim at her  relative’s birthday party at Williams’ home. Another incident occurred  a month later, when Williams summoned her to his office at the church. At least two of the incidents took place at the church, police said.

Williams is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday.  He was held in lieu of $250,000 bail until his arraignment Tuesday morning.

Williams was unavailable at press time.

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Downtown to Have New Grocery Store


HARTFORD — Downtown Hartford will have a new upscale grocery store this Wednesday: Greeway Market.

This is the second attempt in the last five years to have a grocery store in downtown Hartford. The previous grocery store, Market at Hartford 21, opened  a block from the Greenway location, opened to much fanfare but closed after just six months.

After conducting a Facebook survey as part of his market research for the store and found that those who responded on the Dwelling in Downtown, residents said they wanted a store that was more affordable.

Five years ago,  the previous store owners  receive a luke-warm reception for its upscale offerings.

The store will sell organic and natural foods alongside traditional, everyday brands.
Ankit Harpaldas, owners of the new market, said the store will feature locally-made products, such as bread from the Hartford Baking Co. and coffee for its “coffee station” from Giv Coffee, a coffee roastery and cafe, in Canton.

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Free African-Inspired Concert Set for July 30


HARTFORD — Queen Ann Nzinga Center, Inc. presents its free, family friendly Music from the African Diaspora concertat the Theater for the Performing Arts at the Learning Corridor in Hartford.

The event will be on at 7 p.m. on July 30 at 359 Washington St. from 6 p.m.

Nzinga’s Daughters, whose members are from Plainville, Bristol and Hartford, headlines the annual show.  Also performing are the world-renowned soul singer Betty Harris; Changes, from Plainville and East Haven; Crystal Blue Project, from Hartford; VOICES, LLC, from Hartford, East Hartford and Bloomfield; Nzinga’s Daughters R&B Band, from Farmington, East Hartford, Hartford, Plainville and Bristol; Orice Jenkins Band, from East Hartford; Toni Ligoin, from West Haven; and Laticia Lewis, from Plainfield, N.J.

David Mayes, of Plainville, and Harris, of Middletown, who each mentor young vocalists in the Queen Ann Nzinga Center programs, will each perform a solo. The free concert is geared to all ages, and children are welcome.

Teens from the program who have received vocal training will also be performing solos. They are: Sabrina Jones, of East Hartford; Dillyn Caruso,
of Plainville; Taylor Rose, of Portland; and Aaleya Hardy, of Bristol.

Prior to the start of the concert, long-time performers, including Harris and bass player Gail Williams, will talk with the audience about the history
of music, which has its roots in Africa. The artists will share what the audience can expect and what to listen for. The elder performers will lead a
question and answer session with the audience.

“If you like Prince, Natalie Cole, Mick Jagger, Beyoncé, Rihanna and Michael Jackson, you’ll enjoy this show,” says Dayna R. Snell, executive director of
the Queen Ann Nzinga Center. “All kinds of music have been influenced by music from the African Diaspora. The beats and the rhythms of the music you hear are a contribution from those of African descent.”

The show is designed to appeal to children and adults alike. For example, Nzinga’s Daughters will perform a calypso-style version of “Itsy Bitsy
Spider,” and Harry Belafonte’s “Banana Boat Song (Day O.)”

The concert will include jazz, Latin, reggae, rock ’n roll and interactive songs, she said. This is not the kind of concert where the audience is a
passive observer; the show sparks audience participation.

“It is the synergy between the audience and the performers,” she said. “You come and you feel like you should join. The music brings you in.  The stage, the artists, bring you in and pull you close. We transform barriers. So when you come to the music, you’re not black or white, you’re not young or old, you’re not rich or poor.”

For information, contact Queen Ann Nzinga Center at qancinc@gmail.com or 860-229-8389.

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Urban League to Revisit ‘The State of Black Hartford’


HARTFORD —  The Urban League will once again examine the state of black Hartford.

Thanks to a $36,000 grant  it recently received from the Hartford Foundation.

In 1994 the Urban League of Greater Hartford produced the book “The State of Black Hartford” which, for the first time, provided comprehensive information on the history of African and Caribbean-Americans in Hartford.

The Urban League will provide an update to this work.

The 1994 publication was a 228-page book that included chapters on education, economic conditions, politics, criminal justice, culture, family and housing, with a focus on the black community’s economic resources.

The “State of Black Hartford 2016” will provide insight into areas such as assessing social health, the black church, black and brown men of Hartford, the Hartford Promise Zone, the criminal justice system, and education. The new book will include issue briefs, opinion contributions and traditional manuscripts.

“The first “State of Black Hartford” was published 22 years ago and provided vision and a voice in greater Hartford, said Adrienne Cochrane, Urban League of Great Hartford’s president and CEO. “The State of Black Hartford 2016 takes a more scholarly approach to addressing the challenges that African Americans face at both the national and local levels through a series of briefs and chapters.”

This publication is intended to be a Greater Hartford-centric version of the National the National Urban League’s “State of Black America 2016,” the 40th Anniversary Edition of an annual publication which has been widely recognized for its commentary and analysis around racial equality in America across economics, employment, education, health, housing, criminal justice and civic participation.

The Foundation’s grant will support the copyediting, printing and marketing of the new volume. This grant will fully fund the binding of 300 black and white copies and 100 color copies for limited distribution.  A digital version will also be available.

Sharon O’Meara, the Hartford Foundation’s director of community investments said the publication is expected to highlight several of “the most salient issues affecting the Black community in Hartford.”

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New Electricity Rate for Eversource and United Customers


By Fran Wilson, Staff Writer

HARTFORD —  Beginning July 1,  Eversource and United Illuminating customers might receive a savings on thier next bill, according to company officials.

Officials said that because of a new agreement that changes the current rates to 6.61 cents per kilowatt and hour, there may be a lower price for consumers.

The rate change was a possible after the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority approved the new Generation Service Charge rates on Tuesday.

The new rates will affect residential and business customers who get standard service generation

The average user will save about $21 per month. This is the lowest rate since 2004, officials said.

“We are very excited to share such positive news with our customers,” Penni Conner, senior vice president and Chief Customer Officer at Eversource, said in a statement. “These are the lowest generation prices in over a decade and are coming at the time of year when customers are increasingly using more energy to cool their homes and businesses.”

 To compare UI and Eversource Standard Service generation rates to that of licensed suppliers,  click here: Connecticut’s official generation rate board.

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