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Rep. David Baram Garners Public Funds


BLOOMFIELD/WINDSOR – State Rep. David Baram, who serves Bloomfield and Windsor, is one of the first eight politicians to receive grant payments for the August primaries and the November election.

The State Elections Enforcement Commission announced on Friday that it will make its first public grant payments under the Citizens’ Election Program for the Aug. 12 primaries and the Nov. 4 general election.

The CEP program  is a voluntary program that gives money to those seeking public office in the General Assembly and other statewide offices.

To qualify for public campaign financing,candidates must demonstrate they have adequate support from the public. Candidates running for state representative must also raise $5,000 from at least 150 individuals living in their district.

Candidates for state senate accomplish this by raising $15,000 from at least 300 individuals residing in municipalities in their district. Participating candidates may only accept small dollar contributions from certain individuals—the maximum contribution is $100—and no contributions from state contractors or PACs.

Grant amounts vary.

Officials said that the grant program was designed, in part, to reduce the influence of special interests in state politics. In its fourth full cycle of providing public funding to General Assembly candidates, the CEP continues to provide a seawall against the rising tide of special interest money in today’s elections.

The Commission determined that state representative candidates Tim Ackert (R – 8th District), David Baram (D – 15th District), Gail Lavielle (R – 143rd District), Joseph Polletta (D – 68th District), Robert Sampson (R – 80th District), Mary Stone (D – 23rd District), Emily Wilson (R – 142nd District) and Melissa Ziobron (R – 34th District) were eligible to receive Program grants. The Commission also determined that state senate candidate Bob Duff (D – 25th District) was eligible to receive a Program grant. Baram (D – 15th District) began serving in March 2009 and is one the Judiciary and Banking committees.

The Commission will be accepting applications from candidates in primaries until July 18 and, for candidates in the general election, until Oct. 10.

The Citizens’ Election Program is a voluntary program which allows qualifying candidates for General Assembly and statewide offices to receive full public financing.

To qualify for public campaign financing,candidates must demonstrate they have adequate support from the public. Typically, primary grant amounts are $11,140 for state representative candidates and $38,990 for state senate candidates, but amounts are higher if the candidates run in districts where one major party has a large advantage in the number of electors registered with that party.

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State Offers Aid to Companies for Employment


WETHERSFIELD – Southwest Connecticut employers are invited to learn more about the Subsidized Training and Employment and Training Program (Step Up) as well as a variety of other hiring and tax incentives designed to benefit their businesses by attending a May 29 conference being held in the Westport Inn Ballroom.

Officials said that the conference aims to target companies of any size that can learn about the opportunities and benefits available to their business, including the wage reimbursement program through Step Up, low interest financing under the Small Business Express Program, assistance on recruitment and business plan development, and tax incentives for equipment upgrades and job creation initiatives.”

Taking place from 8 to 10:30 a.m., the event, begins with networking and light refreshments at 7 a.m. Employers can pre-register online for the conference by visitingwww.StepCT.com or more information can be obtained from Dolores Ryan, BridgeportAmerican Job Center by contacting her at dolores.ryan@ct.gov or (203) 455-2602.

Additional conferences, also to be held from 8 to 10:30 a.m., will be offered on the following dates:

  • June 3, Progress Square Industrial Park, 32 Valley Street, Bristol
  • June 5, Western Connecticut State University, Westside Ballroom, 43 Lake Avenue Extension, Danbury
  • June 11, Goodwin College, Main Campus – Auditorium, 1 Riverside Drive, East Hartford
  • June 12, University of Connecticut’s Torrington campus, 855 University Drive, Torrington
  • June 19, Simsbury High School Auditorium, 34 Farms Village Road, Simsbury
  • June 24, Three Rivers Community College, 574 New London Turnpike, Norwich
  • A future conference is also being planned for the town of Meriden.

 

Posted in Avon, Bloomfield, Business, East Hartford, Glastonbury, Hartford, Manchester, Nation/World, Neighborhood, New Britain, Simsbury, West Hartford, Wethersfield, WindsorComments Off

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Foodshare Drive Needs More Turkey


BLOOMFIELD – A steady flow of donations arrived at all of the Turkey and Thirty drives on Saturday, with nearly 2,000 turkeys and over $23,000 donated, Foodshare organizers said.

But there is still a long way to go for Foodshare to meet the goal of 20,000 turkeys.

The turkey donations are needed by Monday, as Foodshare’s biggest distribution days are Monday and Tuesday.

Turkeys will go out to local pantries on Monday and Tuesday, who in turn will distribute them to the families who signed up in advance to receive a little help this holiday season.

If Foodshare does not meet the goal, the organization will have to cut the numbers given out to local pantries and they in turn, will have to turn away families who were hoping for this assistance.

“It was great to see so many people stopping by one of the donation sites today and I thank each and every one of them from the bottom of my heart,” said Gloria McAdam, President and CEO of Foodshare.  “In the past, the Sunday before Thanksgiving has been our single largest day for donations, and we hope that people will make that hold true again.

Adams said Foodshare still needs more than 8,000 turkeys donated and have only 48 hours to do it if we are going to get these turkeys to families in need before the holiday.

She’s asking the anyone who had been thinking about donating to come out and see us at one of the many donation sites throughout the region.

Town drives will continue on Sunday in Hartford, Wethersfield, and Glastonbury, and collection sites are available across greater Hartford.

The food bank’s Bloomfield distribution center also accepts donations and offers extended hours of operation through Tuesday, November 26th.  For more information on how you can help, or for a complete list of donation sites, please visitwww.aturkeyand30.org.

Tomorrow’s Turkey and Thirty Drives:

Hartford West End: Sun, Nov. 24 from 9am-4pm @ Shop Rite (46 Kane Street)

 

Wethersfield: Sun, Nov. 24 from 10am-4pm @ Wethersfield Volunteer Ambulance (206 Prospect Street)

 

  Glastonbury: Sun, Nov. 24 from 10am-4pm @ Stop & Shop and Whole Foods locations in Glastonbury.

 And at Foodshare, 450 Woodland Avenue, Bloomfield, Sun., Nov. 24, 9am-4pm

Keep up with all of Foodshare’s latest news and updates by becoming a follower at www.twitter.com/Foodshare.

 

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Washington Redskins and Windsor Native Chris Baker Donates to Foodshare


By Ann-Marie Mesquita, Staff Writer

BLOOMFIELD – Washington Redskins defensive end and Windsor native Chris Baker thought it was time to “reach back” into the community that nurtured him and give back.

So on Tuesday, an exceptionally cold day in Bloomfield, Baker and his family toured Foodshare’s gigantic warehouse and donated $500 to Foodshare.

“We’re so grateful for this contribution,” said Foodshare President Gloria McAdam. “And we’re looking forward to a long and constructive relationship.”

Windsor Native Chris Baker donates check to Foodshare President Gloria McAdam

Windsor Native Chris Baker donates check to Foodshare President Gloria McAdam

Baker intends to continue to reach back into the community, with the aid of the Chris Baker Foundation, which aims “to foster education and literacy in the Greater Hartford area.”

Baker said he selected Foodshare because of its track record in impacting thousands of Connecticut residents. Foodshare distributes food to community partners. But on certain days make stops in Hartford and elsewhere. In Hartford, the mobile Foodshare truck stops at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School, Mt. Moriah Baptist Church and the Artist Collective.

The NFL defensive said he grew up and went to church not far from Foodshare’s location. He went to Windsor High School, where he played football before going to Penn State. And his spiritual base is at First Cathedral Church.

“It felt good to come home,” he said. “I feel really good about Foodshare and the work it’s doing, and I want to support that work.

Baker says that this is the first step in what he hopes will be an ongoing relationship with Foodshare. Baker was also visiting area schools, including Windsor High. Among other activities, the foundation will be holding a charity auction in November and hosting a summer football camp in Windsor next summer.

McAdam said Baker’s check will go toward Foodshare’s ongoing work to increase the amount of food available, decrease the number of people who need food assistance, and engage the entire community in the effort to end hunger.

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Bloomfield Receives Money for Mental Health Programs


HARTFORD — The U.S. Department of Education recently awarded a $308,740 grant to the Bloomfield School district, one of only 35 schools nationwide, that will use the money to “establish or expand mental health” counseling programs.

According to a statement from the department,  grantees will use funds to support counseling programs in targeted elementary schools. Specifically, the new awards will aid schools in hiring qualified mental-health professionals with the goal of expanding the range, availability, quantity and quality of counseling services. Parents of participating students will have input in the design and implementation of counseling services supported by these grants.

“School counselors serve a critical role in ensuring that students are safe,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said. “These grants will enhance school-based counseling programs, which have proven to be a great source of help for students with mental-health issues.”

Grantees also will use funds to help increase the number of available and qualified counselors based on a school’s student population. Research shows that having adequate counseling services can help reduce the number of disciplinary referrals in schools, improve student attendance and academic performance, and enhance development of social skills. Funds also may be used to support parental involvement, counselor and teacher professional development, and collaboration with community-based organizations that provide mental-health and other services to students.

The other school district in Connecticut to receive a grant is Southington.

For more information on the Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Program, visit http://www2.ed.gov/programs/elseccounseling/index.html.

 

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Coleman: Take Advantage of Tax Savings


BLOOMFIELD – With Connecticut’s annual sales tax holiday less than a week away, State Senator Eric D. Coleman (D-Bloomfield) on Wednesday encouraged families to use the savings available from Sunday, Aug. 18 through Aug.24.

“Hartford, Bloomfield and Windsor families looking to make necessary back-to-school purchases should take advantage of the savings to be had during the sales tax holiday,” said Coleman. “While they save on items like jeans, sneakers and jackets, our local merchants will see more customers come through their doors. This tax relief may not be long-lasting, but it makes a world of a difference for our families and businesses.”

During the week of Aug. 24, individual items of clothing and footwear that cost less than $300 will be entirely exempt from the state’s sales tax. The Connecticut Department of Revenue Services website features a list of examples of exempt items, including: shirts, jeans, socks, gloves, hats, rain jackets and sneakers.

The week-long sales tax holiday was established in 2000, and it takes place as parents are in the process of addressing their back-to-school shopping needs.

Families looking to get the most value for their dollars can save even more by planning ahead and comparing prices between stores using sales circulars in Sunday papers and the stores’ websites. Consumers should also keep an eye out for coupons as items valued at more than, but discounted to under $300 with sales, coupons, and similar merchant promotions will also be exempt from state sales tax.

More information on the sales tax holiday can be found at the Department of Revenue Services website at www.ct.gov/drs.

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President of Hartford Negro Women’s Council Dies


BLOOMFIELD – Jean Ward, a community organizer with a “gentle spirit” and president of an historic organization that aims to uplift black women, died on Saturday. She was 58.

Ward was the president of the local chapter of the National Council of Negro Women, founded by  Mary McLeod Bethune. In the last few weeks of her life, she was busy recruiting young professionals to join the organization and also putting final touches on a Nov. 6 Founder’s Day scholarship luncheon, friends said.

Ward was also a city council staff. Most recently, she served as the executive assistant to Councilwoman Cynthia Jennings, whom she helped attain office. Jennings is the only woman on the council.

However, Ward was always willing to help anyone who needed help, friends said.

“Jean served our city for many years – both in government and in the community. In fact, she was an important part of keeping the City Council connected with the community and was instrumental in helping the City Council successfully launch the Faith-based Anti-Violence Summit,”  City Council Chairman Shawn Wooden.

The daughter of Alice Ward and the late Johnnie Ward was born in Chatham County, Savannah, GA on September 21, 1954. Friends and family said she was a daughter, mother, sister, aunt, grandmother and devoted friend is survived by her mother, Alice Ward; five children and nine grandchildren.

Her calling home ceremony will be held on Oct. 19, at the Phillips Metropolitan CME Church located at 2500 Main St., in Hartford.
Viewing hours from 9-11 a.m. with the funeral following at 11 a.m. In lieu of flowers, those wishing to contribute to a memorial fund set up to assist her son who has just started college may send donations to the Ahmad Jamal Jordan Scholarship Fund, c/o Hartford Municipal Credit Union,443 Franklin Avenue, Hartford, CT 06114.
For online condolences, please visit www.carmonfuneralhome.com.

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Foreclosure Fraud Settlement Forms Mailed


HARTFORD — Attorney General George Jepsen said on Monday that payment claim forms are going out to thousands of Connecticut borrowers whose homes were lost to foreclosure between Jan. 1, 2008 and Dec. 31, 2011, and who may be eligible for payment under the $25 billion National Mortgage Foreclosure settlement.

Eligible borrowers were foreclosed upon during that period and had mortgages with Ally/GMAC, Bank of America, Citi, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo, the nation’s five largest mortgage servicers who agreed to the settlement with the federal government and attorneys general for 49 states and the District of Columbia.

The settlement, which took effect in April, earmarked $1.5 billion in payments for 1.75 million borrowers who lost their homes to foreclosure during that period. The payments will be at least $840, and will very likely be higher, depending upon the number of borrowers who decide to participate.

“This payment is intended as partial compensation for the illegal conduct of the mortgage servicers,” said Attorney General Jepsen, who helped to negotiate the settlement agreement. “Unfortunately it will not help everyone, nor restore homes that were lost to foreclosure. But it represents help that otherwise would not have been available to borrowers, who can still pursue any legal claims they have against the servicers,” Jepsen said.

Nearly 9,000 notices are going out in Connecticut based on 7,600 eligible loans. Co-borrowers with different addresses will each be sent a notice package.  If both return forms, they will split the payment amount.

Attorney General Jepsen said the one-page claim forms are simple to complete.  Connecticut borrowers should  fill out and return them as soon as possible in the envelope provided, or file their claims online at www.nationalmortgagesettlement.com.

The deadline for all claims is Jan. 18, 2013. Payment checks are expected to be mailed in 2013.

Last week, the national settlement administrator mailed notification postcards to the eligible borrowers nationwide. Beginning today and continuing through Oct. 12, packets containing a letter from the Attorney General, claim forms, instructions and other explanatory information are being mailed to eligible borrowers in Connecticut.

Borrowers who believe they are eligible, but did not receive notification should e-mail administrator@nationalmortgagesettlement.com or call a toll-free number: 1-866-430-8358. The same contacts may be used by borrowers who have questions or need help filing their claim. The information line is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET.

Eligible borrowers do not need to prove financial harm, or pay anyone, to file their claim, Jepsen said. Nor do they give up their rights to pursue a lawsuit against their mortgage servicer, or to participate in a separate program called the Independent Foreclosure Review Process being conducted by federal bank regulators.

That separate program is available to borrowers of more than two dozen lenders who were part of a foreclosure action on their primary residence between Jan. 1, 2009 and Dec. 31, 2010. If the review finds that the borrower suffered financial injury because of errors or other problems during their home foreclosure process, the borrower may receive compensation or another remedy. The review is being conducted by the federal Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. (OCC) A review form request and other information about that program is available at www.independentforclosurereview.com.

Jepsen said the settlement claim payment is available to eligible borrowers even if they participate in another foreclosure claims process. However, any amount they receive may be credited against a future payment that may result from another foreclosure claim process or legal proceeding.

The national settlement followed state and federal investigations, which claimed that the five companies routinely signed foreclosure-related documents outside the presence of a notary public and without personal knowledge that the facts contained in the documents were correct. They also claimed that the mortgage servicers committed various errors and abuses in their mortgage processes.

Broad reform of the mortgage servicing process resulted from the settlement, as well as financial relief for borrowers still in their homes through direct loan modification relief, including principal reduction.

Jepsen is a member of the executive committee monitoring the banks’ compliance with the settlement terms. Assistant Attorneys General Joseph Chambers and Matthew Budzik, Finance department head, are assisting the Attorney General in this effort.

For more information about eligibility and filing a claim:

www.NationalMortgageSettlement.com

Email: Administrator@nationalmortgagesettlement.com

Call toll-free: 1-866-430-8358; (hearing impaired: 1-866-494-8281)

More information about the national settlement is available on the Attorney General’s website:

http://www.ct.gov/ag/cwp/view.asp?a=2105&q=498966

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U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis Should Seek Answers from DECD, Others


U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis’ meeting today with elected officials, political candidates, community activists and residents in the Greater Hartford region should tackle this burning question: Why is there $12 million for minority businesses sitting at the Department of Economic and Community Development in a time when these businesses are bruising from a deep economic recession and a long recovery?

In a region where Latino and black jobless rates dwarf the state’s recently reported jobless rate of 9 percent, DECD has yet to distribute the allocated money to small and minority business owners, who are likely job creators for many Hartford residents.  We hope that besides her roundtable discussion, press conference and other meetings around the state today, she makes a beeline to DECD.

Hartford has the highest jobless rate in the state. The overall unemployment rate for the city is reportedly 17 percent. The Latino jobless rate is 25 percent. The black jobless rate is 27 percent. These figures do not factor in the number of people who have stopped looking for work after one or two years of unemployment or underemployment.

Moreover, Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra added 14 people to the unemployment line this week, in an effort to balance the city budget.

Besides pontification from pundits and politicians, we need to see leaders taking actions to create conditions that promote economic growth, so that businesses can hire more city residents. Distributing the money to Hartford’s small businesses would allow at least two hires by each company and at the same time help build capacity to provide better services to city residents. It all seems elementary. Yet there is so much malaise in all sections of the city. And the biggest obstacle seems to be the very people who are purportedly community leaders.

Solis must question these community leaders and local officials about their seemingly inability to coordinate efforts to create conditions that help businesses grow so that they can provide jobs.

The $12 million can provide many jobs. News that that much money allocated specifically for minority businesses was just sitting at DECD met puzzled participants at a small business summit for urban business sponsored by the state National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and other entities. The irony was that the summit provided possible answers to this predicament. It was clear that summit organizers failed to inform local business owners of the summit within a one-mile radius of the Artist Collective on Albany Avenue, where the event was held. The  auditorium was packed with mostly business owners, who traveled from New Haven and Bridgeport. And the few Hartford business owners present heard the news from friends in other parts of the state—not in Hartford.

The one-day summit had so many key people present to help these businesses. It was also unbelievable that more effort was clearly not made to inform business owners about this economic-boosting opportunity right in thier backyard.

How unfortunate.

 

Posted in Bloomfield, Business, East Hartford, Editoral, Featured, Glastonbury, Hartford, Manchester, Nation/World, New Britain, Simsbury, West HartfordComments Off

Hartford Police Crack 2007 Cold Case


HARTFORD — Hartford Police cracked a cold case that happened on Wethersfield Avenue in 2007.

Police Chief James C. Rovella on Monday announced the arrest of  Shanoah Walcott, 31, of Deer Meadow Lane in Bloomfield for the murder of Jepther White.

On Aug. 28, 2007, police found White in his vehicle behind 356 Wethersfield Avenue suffering from multiple gunshot wounds, police said.

Police obtained an arrest warrant for Walcott on July 19 and took her into custody without incident at 121 Huntington St., Hartford on July 20. Walcott is in custody on a $1 million  bond.

She is scheduled for arraignment on July 30 in Hartford Superior Court.

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