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East Hartford Summer Camp Invites Applications


EAST HARTFORD — East Hartford Parks and Recreation is now accepting applications for six different summer camps.

The summer camps are open to children and teens from three-years-old to 15-years-old. The camp will be held at different sites throughout the town  and will begin the week of June 24 and run for seven weeks, except for Camp Munchkin, which is for three and four year olds.

All summer campers will participate in a variety of activities including theme weeks, arts and crafts, sports, nature activities and more. Some campers will visit pools, where they will receive free swimming instructions. There will also be off-site field trips at places such as Jump Off, CT Science Center, Dinosaur State Park, bowling, batting cages and movies.

Breakfast and lunch will be provided for all campers through the Summer Meals program.

Camp brochures are available at the Parks and Recreation office at 50 Chapman Place or online.

Registration is available on a weekly basis for all camps. Pre-registration is required for all camps at the Parks and Recreation office.

For more information, call Parks and Recreation at 860-291-7160 or visit www.easthartfordct.gov.

Posted in East Hartford, Hartford, YouthComments (0)

Hartford Agency Receives $2 Million for Reentry Programs


HARTFORD — The Community Partners in Action recently received a $2 million grant to help reintegrated ex-felons into the Greater Hartford community.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration awarded the five-year grant to the agency to offer reentry services for individuals diagnosed with substance use disorders or co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders.

Congressman John Larson applauded the award, saying that too many formerly incarcerated citizens are struggling to find the resources necessary to put them on a path to success.

“These programs are critical to helping citizens recently released from prison access basic needs, along with employment and treatment services that will help them live independently and contribute to our society,” Larson said.

This is the first SAMHSA grant for Community Partners in Action, said Beth Hines, the organization’s executive director.  The agency is a statewide organization that promotes recovery and restoration for those who have been incarcerated.

She said the award will expand the agency’s Resettlement program, which lost 80 percent of its funding in 2016 when the state eliminated its non-residential programs.

The Resettlement program, Hines said, will now be able to serve an additional 275 people returning home from prison. The program will provide pre- and post-release case management services.

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Real Art Ways Debuts Documentary on First Filmmaker


HARTFORD — When Alice Guy-Blaché completed her first film in 1896 Paris, she became the first female filmmaker. But she was erased from the history books.

Until now.

A new film directed by Pamela B. Green and narrated by Jodi Foster tells the untold story of Guy-Blaché . It’s called, Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché . It follows her rise from a Gaumont secretary to her appointment as head of production a year later, and her subsequent illustrious 20-year career in France and the United States. It also details her founding of her own studio and as a writer.

The documentary is 103 minutes long and is considered to be a “vital effort to right past wrongs and fix the messes made by men.” Be natural will open at Real Art Ways on May 24 and will run until May 30. Check her for show times here.

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Know Good Market Returns for Fourth Season in Parkville


HARTFORD — Hartford residents will have a chance to sample a variety of cuisines on Thursday at this year’s Know Good out-door market in Parkville.

The Know Good Market will be held on May 9 at 30 Bartholomew Ave. — between 1429 Park St. and the Tradehouse on Bartholomew Ave — in Hartford from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The market, now in its fourth season, is on the second Thursday of every month from May through November with a holiday bazaar on Dec. 7. The Company — Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner — sponsors the family-friendly event.

Photo: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

This year’s market will feature returning favorites like Samba Cuisine, Mercado, Craftbird, Taco Tequila and a rotating cast of greater Hartford’s best street food vendors. Hog River Brewing Co. will be open next door as well as local artisan and craft vendors purveyors.  A host of local DJ’s will be back on the loading docks stage as well.

Organizers said the market is designed to create space for a shared cultural experience in Hartford and offer an experience of raw community celebration.

The “community focused environment”, they said,  welcomes about one thousand patrons every month and seeks to engage the community’s heart and stomach.

Posted in A & E, Business, Hartford, Neighborhood, TravelComments (0)

Study: Hartford Ranks High Among Millennials As Best Place to Live


HARTFORD — Millennials like Hartford.

That’s according to a new study by real estate search portal Homes.com, which ranked the top 50 US metropolitan areas to live for Millennials (ages 20 to 34), Generation X (35-54), and Baby Boomers (55 to 74).

Hartford was ranked as the eight best city to live in after Orlando, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Boston and Washington, D.C., respectively. Hartford beat St. Louis, providence and Seattle, according to the study.

The ranking came after averaging scores on Millennial share of the local population, entry-level jobs available per 100,000 people among other factors.

Hartford’s top 10 Millennial ranking was driven by the fact that there were more than 5,500 entry-level jobs available per 100,000 residents.

For Generation Xers, the city ranked 21. And it was based on factors such as school quality, generation population share and management jobs per 100,000.

For Babyboomers, the city ranked 18. The rank came after factoring share of local population, healthcare availability and retiree tax-friendliness.

Posted in Hartford, NeighborhoodComments (0)

Agency to Host Session on Business Access to Capital


HARTFORD — This summer, small business owners will have access to training that will help them grow.

Thanks to a partnership with the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving and the Boston-based organization, Inner City Capital Connections.

ICCC will host an information session on Wednesday, April 24 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Trinity College. The goal of the event is to inform and encourage business owners in Hartford to take advantage of the free program.

The ICCC will bring its 40-hour executive leadership program to Hartford for the first time this summer.

The program aims to help position small and medium sized businesses in economically distressed areas for long-term growth through capacity-building education, one on one coaching and access to capital.

The program will kick off with an all-day training seminar on May 29, followed by a series of online webinars where participants learn strategy, entrepreneurial finance, marketing, and capital options.

The program also offers one-on-one coaching with local and virtual mentors ranging from small business bankers to top consulting firms. The program culminates with a national conference in Boston this November where participants will connect with different capital providers.

Organizers said the program was designed for urban entrepreneurs. Businesses must have been in operation for at least two years to participate.

For those interested in attending the information session, register here.

Those who want to apply should apply here.

Posted in Business, HartfordComments (0)

Choral Group Offers Opportunities for High School Singers


HARTFORD — The New England-based choral group Voce will conduct a day-long program of intensive workshops, coaching and performance opportunities for high school singers prior to its final concert of the season.

The final concert will be on May 11, 7:30 p.m. at St. Patrick – St. Anthony Church, 285 Church St. in Hartford.

About 150 students are expected to participate in the program, which is sponsored by the Nicholas B. Mason Charitable Trust.

Organizers said this program will help students understand what it’s like to sing as a professional.

 “The program is designed to give students the opportunity to work directly with Voce Artistic Director Mark Singleton and Voce’s professional singers,” said Andrew Brochu, a choral teacher at Avon High School who sings with Voce as a tenor and serves as its Education Coordinator.

“Participating students, their choral teachers and Voce members will have a chance to hear and perform together. It is essentially a day of learning through collaboration. We hope that this festival shows students that they, their teachers and professional singers are all life-long learners.” 

The initiative, called the Voce Music Educators Festival, takes advantage of Voce’s large roster of music teachers who worked together to design the workshop. 

Voce’s concert on May 11, entitled “With OneVoice,” will close with individual performances by the student choirs and a finale featuring all of the students singing with Voce. 

Voce will perform works by Eric Whitacre, Ola Gjeilo, Paul Mealor and Ēriks Ešenvalds.  The concert will also premiere a setting of “Loch Lomond” commissioned by Voce from composer Michael Merrill. 

  Tickets can be purchased on-line at www.voceinc.org.

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Hartford Public Library Offers Security Officer Training Program


HARTFORD — Do you want another way to make money?

If so, the Hartford Public Library will be offering training for those who want to make money as a security guard.

The library will offer its popular eight-hour security officer training program on a monthly basis. The next training is on April 17 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 500 Main Street.

This is a required training to become a Certified Security Officer. The successful completion of this program will qualify candidates to apply for a Security Officer Identification Card.

The average pay for a Security Officer is $36,174 per year.

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Hartford Woman Facing Deportation Continues Fight to Stay in U.S., Court Grants Reprieve


Updated Wednesday, April 10, 2019 at 6:35 p.m.

By Christian Spencer, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — Facing deportation, Wayzaro Walton is on a quest to stay with her family in Hartford.

Walton on Monday received a reprieve. A U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ordered a stay of deportation for her while the federal Board of Immigration Appeals considers her case. However, federal officials said Walton will remain in a detention facility in Massachusetts.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said Walton, 34, is a convicted felon. So on a routine visit to check in with a private agency that works with ICE, officials arrested her on March 26 and transported her to detention.

According to ICE, the British-born immigrant was convicted of third-degree larceny and had several misdemeanor charges for shoplifting. After a judge in 2012 deemed Walton deportable, ICE moved in.

Advocates for Walton said ICE officials made the wrong move. That’s because Walton was pardoned for her past crimes on January 15. And according to a pardon waiver clause, an immigration statue, if she had a full pardon, her past conviction should no longer be used against her as they were used in her 2012 immigration case.

And there are other factors at play, said Erin O’Neil Baker, Walton’s attorney.

“We’ve been trying to reopen that case about her deportation, arguing that her crimes are not deportable crimes,” Baker said.

Walton’s is one of hundreds of individuals in Connecticut who have been detained by ICE officials. Since 2017, 436 people in Connecticut have been detained, according to a report from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Nationally, the fiscal year of 2018 was considered a successful year that aligned with President Donald Trump’s agenda for stricter border control and deportation of undocumented or unlawful immigrants, according to  ICE and Enforcement and Removal Operations. There were 158,581 arrests in 2018, the greatest number of arrests over the last two fiscal years, according to an ERO report.

Since January 2017 when Trump issued his executive order to “enhance public safety,” detention facility bookings nationwide have increased more than 22 percent.

In 2017, there were 4,019 immigration cases pending in Hartford, according to the U.S. Department of Justice report.

Wayzaro Walton’s wife, Tamika Ferguson, wipes away tears after a press conference on Tuesday with Attorney General William Tong in Hartford. Photo: Ann-Marie Adams

Walton Detained

Walton is a legal resident, who is married to an American citizen, Tamika Ferguson. They both have a 15-year-old daughter.  Nevertheless, ICE arrested Walton the night before her state pardon for felony larceny and other misdemeanors became effective.

Since Walton’s arrest, her wife has been talking to her by phone every day.

“She’s just ready to come home. She misses her daughter,” Ferguson said after wiping away tears in the aftermath of a press conference on Tuesday. “She’s just ready to be home.”

Last month, supporters rallied before the federal building in Hartford to help reunite Walton with her family. Consequently, they started a MoveOn.org petition to help keep Walton in Hartford with her family.

Hartford Deportation Defense’s community organizer Constanza Segovia said Walton’s pardon should have prevented her from being detained.

“ICE refuses to accept [Walton’s pardon]. And it’s not recognizing the power of pardon in Connecticut because of the process,” Segovia said.

Legal Question

At issue is a legal question that involves the state’s sovereignty. That’s why Attorney General William Tong has intervened. He recently filed an amicus brief with the Second Circuit Court arguing that the parole board should be viewed as a part of the state’s executive branch. And ICE should have recognized the pardon.

“We needed to step in to make clear that when we pardon someone, they are cleared. It should be recognized. ” Tong said. “The federal government needs to respect the sovereignty of Connecticut.”

The pardon process in Connecticut is different than other states in which a governor grants pardon. In Connecticut, a Parole Board approves pardons. Last month, Gov. Ned Lamont wrote to the Department of Homeland Security asking for Walton’s pardon to be recognized.

“I’m grateful to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals for recognizing the gravity of Wayzaro’s case and granting her a temporary stay of deportation. But this fight is far from over. We need to fight for permanent relief for Wayzaro,” Tong said. “This is another example of how the Trump Administration has separated children from their parents, and it doesn’t just happen at the border.”

Tong said he visited the border. And the country needs to have an honest discussion about immigration.

“The separation of children from their parents is not just happening at the border,” Tong said. “It’s happening here in Connecticut.”

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Eddie Perez Announces Bid for Mayor, Asks for A Second Chance


By Ann-Marie Adams, Staff Writer

HARTFORD –– Former Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez is asking for a second chance to lead the city.

Flanked by an energetic group of supporters at Arch Street Tavern on Thursday, Perez, 61, made his official announcement to run for mayor.

“It’s time for a change in city hall,” said Perez, a Democrat. “We need leadership that cares about the struggles in our neighborhoods. We need leadership to act and improve the lives of all our residents.”

Perez is hoping to follow Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim, who was convicted on corruption charges, served time, ran for office and won. Ganim was in prison for seven years for extorting city contractors. In 2015, he was reelected mayor.

Like Ganim, Perez was charged with corruption. The state tried Perez on five felonies for taking about $40,000 in kitchen and bathroom improvements from a Hartford developer, Carlos Costa. Costa was a city contractor on a Park Street development project.

But unlike Ganim, Perez did not serve prison time. His conviction was overturned by the Appellate Court in 2013 and upheld by the Connecticut Supreme Court in 2016. Perez pleaded guilty to taking a bribe and attempted first degree larceny by extortion in 2017 after the state moved to retry him. Since then, the state has revoked his pension.

Eddie Perez talks to reporters after he announced his bid for mayor of Hartford
Photo: Ann-Marie Adams

Perez will join a crowded field of candidates vying for the city’s top job. State Rep. Brandon McGee, Hartford Board of Education Chairman Craig Stallings, businessmen Stan McCauley and Aaron Lewis have all registered to run for mayor. And the incumbent mayor, Luke Bronin, launched his re-election campaign in January. All are Democrats.

In a 30-minute speech, Perez took his audience on a journey back to 1969 when he first arrived in North Hartford from Puerto Rico. He began as a Vista volunteer and founded ONE CHANE in North Hartford. He continued to work as a community organizer in the south end of Hartford before he became president of Southside Institutions Neighborhood Alliance.

He ran for mayor in 2001 and was elected the first Hispanic mayor in New England.

In 2010, he resigned when he was charged with corruption.

“I let many people down and for that I’m sorry,” Perez said. “The people of Hartford have every right to hold me accountable. I ask for your forgiveness. I ask the city to give me a second chance.”

Perez’s now works as a transportation coordinator for Capitol Region Education Council.

Former City Council member Cynthia Jennings was among the cheering crowd supporting Perez’s bid for a second chance. The crowd that packed the downtown tavern was ecstatic, shouting: “Yes, we can,” and “Si se puede.”

Jennings said she was there to support Perez because “Eddie works on the assumption that we’re all one family and that’s how the city is going to come together.”

Perez said money will be a factor. He already knows he will face Bronin, who is “probably getting money from outside the city.”

The primary election is Sept. 10 and the general election is Nov. 5.

There are 69,531 total registered voters in Hartford.

Posted in Featured, Hartford, Neighborhood, PoliticsComments (0)

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