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East Hartford Educator is ‘Teacher of the Year’


EAST HARTFORD — Cara Quinn, a sixth-grade teacher, who draws inspiration for teaching from her students, is Connecticut’s 2015 Teacher of the Year.

State and local officials joined Mrs. Quinn to deliver the good news to her students and colleagues last Wednesday at the Sunset Ridge School in East Hartford.

Throughout Quinn’s 11 years as a Connecticut educator, she has distinguished herself as a teacher who challenges her students to “shatter their individual glass ceilings” and to make a difference in the world, state officials said.

“I am grateful to have the opportunity to make a positive contribution to our world each day through the work that I so dearly love, ” Quinn said.

Besides the academic excellence, Quinn cultivates in her classrooms, she is equally focused on her students’ character development.  She also spearheaded initiatives to broaden student horizons regarding college and careers.  Working with the University of Connecticut, she created a college immersion experience for students. She also organizes an annual Career Day where students have the opportunity to interact with 30 professionals from the community

Quinn was chosen from among four finalists, 15 semifinalists, and over 100 district-level Teachers of the Year. A statewide council of former Teachers of the Year and representatives from educational organizations, businesses, and the community conducted the rigorous selection process, which includes on-site visits, candidate applications, interviews, and observations of teaching.

“The Teacher of the Year Program does not attempt to select the ‘best’ teacher in Connecticut. Rather, it seeks to identify, from among many outstanding educators, one teacher to serve as a visible and vocal representative of what is best in the profession,” said Susan Pelchat, selection committee chairperson for the Connecticut Teacher of the Year (TOY) Council.

 

“Connecticut’s teachers of the year provide an important voice on educational issues in our state,” said Commissioner Pryor. “They participate in an advisory council at the State Department of Education and, in so doing, they offer an invaluable perspective on statewide education policy and its implementation. We are deeply grateful for their contributions.”

Quinn began her career teaching a fourth-grade classroom in Bolton and has taught the last nine years in East Hartford where she focuses on bringing equity to education and closing the achievement gap. East Hartford Public School leaders praised Mrs. Quinn for her work.

“Cara inspires all of us regarding the true meaning of what it means to be a teacher—expect more, love kids and work hard to make a difference.  We are so proud to have Cara represent the great teachers of East Hartford and the entire state of Connecticut,” East Hartford Superintendent Nathan Quesnel said. “Cara will be strong ambassador of the TOY program as she is an example for all of us.”

 

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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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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

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CRT Offers Free Tax Preparation


HARTFORD— The Community Renewal Team is offering free income tax preparation services to help low- and middle-income Connecticut families capture maximum tax credits while saving them costs on tax preparation services – to the tune of millions of dollars, CRT officials said.

CRT administrators said that tax volunteers put more than $6.7 million into the pockets of Hartford and Middlesex County families through federal Earned Income Tax Credits, child care credits, tax refunds and savings on tax preparation fees. And CRT tax customers held on to more than $30 million in the past five years.

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA), offered by organizations across the nation, offers free tax preparation by IRS-certified volunteers to income-eligible families. State and federal returns are e-filed, and refund checks are direct-deposited for those who have checking accounts or issued as a pre-loaded bank card for those who cannot open a traditional bank account.

VITA aims to help working families obtain tax refunds and credits and to educate the community about refunds and opportunities to grow their assets. CRT will offer VITA services at most sites from now until April 15, 2011.

Appointments are available at three CRT Community Resource Centers in Hartford:

  • 1229 Albany Ave.
    • Monday, Wednesday, Friday 9 a.m. – noon; 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.
    • Tuesday, Thursday 9 a.m. – noon; 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.
    • Saturday 9 a.m. – noon
  • 330 Market Street, and 395 Wethersfield Ave.
    • Monday – Friday 9 a.m. – noon; 2 p.m. – 4 p.m.
      • Closed on April 6th for Good Friday
  • Contacts:
    • 1229 Albany Ave, Ana Echevarria, (860) 560-5776
    • 330 Market Street, Luis Escalera, (860) 560-5782
    • 395 Wethersfield Ave., Katiria Rivera, (860) 560-5894

 Limited Hartford appointments also are available at:

  • 555 Windsor Street (CRT): Tuesday and Thursday, 2-5 p.m. Contact (860) 560-5600
  • 443 Franklin Ave. (Hartford Municipal Employee Federal Credit Union): Thursday, 3-6 p.m. Contact Carmen Ramos, 722-8110 x3

Appointments in Middletown, East Hartford and Manchester are available at the following locations:

  • Middletown: 44 Hamlin (CRT): Monday 1-3 p.m.; Wednesday 9 a.m.-noon; Friday 1-4 p.m.; Saturdays Jan. 28, Feb. 25, March 10 and March 31 only, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.; Evening hours Feb. 7, March 10, April 6, 4-6 p.m. April 13, 16 walk-ins from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.; April 17 walk-ins from 9 a.m. – noon. Contact Michele Ryon, (860) 347-4465
  • East Hartford: 81 Woodlawn Circle (Larson Community Center): Tuesday and Wednesday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Contact Giovanna Bajonero, (860) 282-0284
  • Manchester: 479 Main St. (Manchester Human Services): Monday and Wednesday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Contact Melissa Simmons (860) 647-3095

 

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Hartford Police Identify July 1 Shooting Victim


HARTFORD — Hartford Police Department have identified the July 1 shooting victim.

The victim is Christopher Fiorentino, 21, of 35 Vernon Rd., East Hartford, police said.

Police said that on  Sunday, July 31, at about 5:00 a.m., officers responded to a report of a person shot in the vicinity of 173-175 Benton St.

On arrival, police found Fiorentino on the rear porch of the residence suffering from a gunshot would to his torso.  He was pronounced deceased by EMS personnel at 5:06 a.m., police said.

Anyone with information that could assist in the investigation of the murder of  Fiorentino is asked to contact Hartford Police Department Major Crimes Division Sergeant Brandon O’Brien, at 860-757-4089 orOBRIB001@hartford.gov.

Anonymous tips may be made by calling Hartford Crime Stoppers at 860-722-TIPS (8477), or by utilizing the Hartford Crime Stoppers on-line tip form at the following link:  On-line Crime Stoppers Tip Form.   I encourage the public to utilize the anonymous tip programs for we are committed to protecting their identity while protect our community.”

 

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Greater Hartford Mayors React to Malloy’s ‘Plan B’ Budget


By Ann-Marie Adams, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — While many have blasted Gov. Dannel Malloy’s switch to a so-called “Plan B” budget, at least two mayors have applauded this move.

That’s because so far, Plan B hasn’t shifted more tax burdens onto municipalities, as they have been accustomed to in the past, according to two mayors from Greater Hartford.

Hartford, East Hartford and West Hartford mayors on Wednesday briefly discussed the statewide debate over Malloy’s decision to begin 4,742 layoffs after talks with the state employees’ union stalled Monday night. Malloy is asking the union to concede $2 billion over two years. And he chose the to lay off employees instead “shifting the burden on municipalities. For these mayors, it’s a “wait and see situation.” But, they said, they know one thing.

Scott Slifka

“Gov. Malloy finally brought a perspective of a mayor to that office,” said West Hartford Mayor Scott Slifka at a gathering in Hartford Wednesday. “And he [proposed a budget] exactly as a mayor would.”

Republicans are calling for no more tax increases and have pointed to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cumo. Both men went against raising taxes. Slifka said they solved their budget problems by shifting the burden of tax increases onto towns.

“Those two solve their budget problems on the backs of municipalities,” he said. He added that their choices were either to decrease services or increase taxes.

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra said he was pleased with Malloy’s proposed budget and his Plan B choice, so much so that he plans to give Malloy the fourth key to the city.

“There’s just no way we could switch that kind of burden on tax payers in the city,” Segarra said.”

Marcia Leclerc

Although, Malloy had pledged not to hurt cities, East Hartford Mayor Marcia Leclerc expressed concerns about state aid to towns, especially the payment in lieu of taxes or, PILOT, which is a big chunk of most town budgets.

Mayoral candidate Edwin Vargas via phone said laying off state workers would also be hurting municipalities. Those state workers, he said, live in towns and cities. If they get laid off, they would have to tap safety net services in cities.

Up to 5,000 state workers could be laid off if the union and the governor’s administration fail to reach an agreement. Other cuts proposed in the Plan B budget include the closing the Commission on Human and Opportunities, 17 vocation technical high schools, state library and prisons.

In a New York Times report, a union spokesman, Larry Dorman, said Malloy’s $40.1 billion budget demands are too much.  He added: “like all middle class families, are already paying 10 percent of our income in state and local taxes, while millionaires are only paying 5 percent of their income and some of our largest corporations are paying little or no taxes at all.”

 

 

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Malloy, Others Celebrate Snagging Tanker Contract


HARTFORD — Cause for celebration is in the air amidst threats of statewide layoffs.

On Monday, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy will join Connecticut lawmakers and employees from Pratt & Whitney at a rally in celebration of obtaining the contract of the next generation tanker project, the continued successes of the F-35 Project, and to stress the general importance that defense contracting plays in the state’s manufacturing economy.

They will be joined by U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks (WA-06), the ranking member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense.

WHO: Gov. Malloy, Sen. Lieberman, Congressman Larson, Congressman Courtney, Congresswoman DeLauro, Congressman Dicks, East Hartford Mayor Leclerc, Everett Corey (International Association of Machinists District 26), UTC Executives.
WHAT: Pratt & Whitney rally in support of state manufacturing
WHEN: Monday, May 9, 2011; 11:30 a.m.
WHERE: Pratt & Whitney Museum Hanger; Aircraft Avenue, East Hartford

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Hartford School To Hold Model UN Session


HARTFORD — About 800 students from 28 high schools throughout Connecticut are expected to convene at Hartford Public High School on Feb. 11 through 12 to participate in the annual Model United Nations Plenary Session.

The Model U.N., sponsored by the World Affairs Council of Connecticut, is  simulated meeting of the United Nations General Assembly in which student teams, each representing a member nation, meet to discuss pressing issues and how to  resolve those issues.

Hartford Public Schools Superintendent Steven J. Adamowski said the model conference “is one of the best ways of widening our students’ perspective on the world.”

Not all countries are represented, however. Students will represent selected countries from each hemisphere.

In addition, they will research a country, take on roles as diplomats of that country, investigate international issues, debate within parliamentary rules and procedures, consult and then develop solutions to world problems.

Among Hartford public schools, for example, a team from the Law and Government Academy will represent the Democratic Republic of the Congo; a Bulkeley High School team will represent Vietnam and teams from the University High School of Science and Engineering will represent Nigeria and Djibouti.

Preparations for the Model U.N. begin in late September, when representatives from the participating schools meet to choose the topics that could be discussed, school officials said.

A variety of topics were designated to one of four committees: the political committee, the economic committee, the environmental committee and the humanitarian committee. Student delegates in each committee then choose a topic that will engender debate and foster increased understanding of each committee focus.

Once the committees selected their topics, the school teams picked the countries they wanted to represent by lot and began researching their country’s geography, history, economy and political structure as well as its position on issues.

This year, the political committee will debate nuclear proliferation; the economic committee will discuss worldwide economic stability; the environmental committee will discuss ocean pollution, urban growth and environmental sustainability; and the humanitarian committee will talk about refugee camps in Darfur, Somalia, and Congo.

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Malloy Taps East Hartford Mayor To Head DMV


EAST HARTFORD — Governor-Elect Dan Malloy selected East Hartford Mayor Melody Currey to lead the Department of Motor Vehicles.
“I got to know Melody when she was in the House of Representatives, and I’ve admired her work as Mayor. She is exactly the type of person we need at the Department of Motor Vehicles,” Malloy said. “She’s smart, innovative, and she’s always made a point to seek out new ways to serve the people she represents more efficiently and effectively.”

Mayor Currey pledged to come up with ways in which the DMV can be more efficient.

“Governor-Elect Malloy has put a premium on reducing waste, duplication, and trimming our spending wherever possible. The DMV is a prime place to find those savings and I look forward to working with the staff there to get our ideas together,” Currey said.

Currey was elected as East Hartford’s mayor in 2005. In that role, she managed a budget in excess of $155 million, while downsizing town government without a loss of services.

She serves as the Vice President of the Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding, the President of the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, and as the Chairperson of the Capitol Region Council of Governments.

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Rell Appoints Gaines To Mental Health Board


EAST HARTFORD — Gov. M. Jodi Rell has appointed Andrea Gaines of East Hartford as a member of the Board of Mental Health and Addiction Services.

The Board meets monthly with the Commissioner of Mental Health and Addiction Services to review with and advise the commissioner on programs, policies and plans of the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (www.ct.gov/DMHAS).

Gaines is a volunteer coordinator for the Hartford-based Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery (www.ccar.us).  She has also helped support the Surrogate Parent Program for Underprivileged Children at the State of Connecticut’s Department of Education.

Gaines is a graduate of Hartford Public High School and the Hartford Secretarial School.

“Andrea is a very focused and outgoing person who has a desire to improve the quality of life in our state,” Rell said. “Her participation on this panel will help individuals in communities across Connecticut.”

Gaines will serve for a term ending Sept.  23, 2014 or until a successor has been appointed and has qualified, whichever is longer.

Those interested in serving on a state board or commission can visit www.ct.gov/governorrell and click “Online Forms.”

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