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Latino Workers Dying in Job Accidents, Report Shows


As Latino workers take on more and more of the nation’s toughest and dirtiest jobs, they increasingly are paying for it with their lives.

Preliminary federal figures released last week showed that of the 4,405 U.S. workers killed on the job in 2013, 797 were Latinos. That equates to 3.8 of every 100,000 full-time Latino employees in the U.S. dying in workplace accidents during the year.

The fatality rate for Latinos was up marginally from 3.7 per 100,000 workers in 2012, and was significantly higher than the 2013 fatality rates of 3.2 for whites, 2.9 for blacks and 1.5 for Asians.

Safety experts point to reluctance among many Latino workers, particularly immigrants, to protest job hazards. They commonly attribute the reluctance to language barriers or fears that complaining about working conditions will cost them their jobs or even lead to deportation.

In addition, worker advocates blame weak federal and state regulation and a trend of employers increasingly giving dangerous jobs to temporary workers, including some with little training.

Last year’s victims included Luis Rey Rivera Pavia, a 32-year-old machine helper for a Wire Mesh Sales LLC factory in Jacksonville, Fla., where most of the workers were Latino immigrants. Federal authorities said Rivera was killed in August when he tried to retrieve a metal bar that fell into a wire mesh manufacturing machine, and wound up being struck by a piece of the equipment.

While investigating the case, U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspectors discovered that two other workers previously suffered severe injuries on the same machinery. One worker had a limb amputated, and the other suffered a crushed forearm. David Michaels, OSHA’s chief, last week highlighted the Wire Mesh case when he outlined his agency’s adoption of new rules for reporting severe injuries, a change intended to help authorities better target their inspections.

He later added that immigrant workers “are vulnerable workers, and they often have the worst jobs.”

Another Latino worker killed on the job last year was Adan Sotelo Preciado, who died in September when he fell from the roof of a building at a construction site in Northville, S.D. He was helping build an addition to a warehouse when he stepped from the metal decking onto an unsupported patch of insulation, and plunged to the concrete floor 20 feet below.

Preciado, who was working for a company named Sierra Steel Buildings Inc., found the job through an ad on the Craigslist website. He received no training and wasn’t given a safety harness to guard against the risk of falls.

An OSHA report on accident said the employer “was fully aware of the hazards associated with steel erection.” Yet even after a company supervisor was notified of a near accident involving a worker who stepped through the insulation, “no corrective action was taken.”

In most workplace fatality cases, regardless of the race or ethnicity of the employees killed, regulatory penalties are light — a factor often noted by safety advocates. While OSHA has proposed unusually high fines of $697,700 from Wire Mesh, it imposed only $19,200 in penalties against Sierra Steel after citing the company for one willful and two serious violations, along with a lesser violation.

Likewise, OSHA proposed only $14,000 in penalties against Monarch Tower Inc. of Sarasota, Fla., after citing the company for two serious violations following the deaths of two cell tower workers. The employees plunged more than 200 feet to their deaths in a July 2013 accident near Belden, N.D.

Linda McCardle of Homerville, Ga., the mother of one of the victims, 25-year-old Zach Roberts, said the accident was devastating to her family. Her husband, Matthew McCardle, was working on the same tower, and witnessed his stepson’s fall. Shaken by the tragedy, Matthew McCardle only recently returned to work.

“He couldn’t deal with it,” Linda McCardle said of her husband. “He couldn’t go back to work, or talk to anybody about it.”

Linda McCardle remains uncertain about why her son’s safety harness failed. She said her son, who was married and the father of four children, “loved his job, and he was smart at it, real smart, and safety conscious.”

The preliminary job fatality figures, overall, were roughly in line with the annual totals for more than five years running. The preliminary figure of 4,405 reported last week for 2013 was up slightly from the 2012 preliminary figure of 4,383. But, every year as new reports of fatal job accidents trickle in, the numbers are revised upward. For 2012, the final figure rose by 245, to 4,628, by the time the final numbers were released in April. Even those so-called final numbers, however, are an undercount, because they exclude deaths from illnesses linked to the workplace, such as cancers associated with exposure to toxic chemicals.

The breakdown of the deaths by category also resembled the pattern of previous years. Transportation accounted for 40 percent of the deaths, followed by violence, including homicides, at 17 percent. Next came falls, slips and trips, at 16 percent, and contact with objects and equipment, also at 16 percent.

“There hasn’t been much change, which means that we’re not making the kind of progress that we need and, for some groups, things have gotten more hazardous,” said Peg Seminario, safety and health director for the AFL-CIO labor federation.

Myron Levin contributed to this story.

FairWarning
is a Los Angeles-based nonprofit investigative news organization focused on public health, safety and environmental issues.

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Greater Hartford Y Receives Grant


HARTFORD — The YMCA of Greater Hartford received grants totaling $7,000 from the Berkshire Bank Foundation in support of the Wilson-Gray YMCA’s Teen Incentive Program and YMCA Celebrates Champions.

 The goal of Y-TIP is to break the cycle of poverty for as many teens as possible by saving lives, building dreams, inspiring learning, and providing impoverished teens with the skills needed to compete in the global marketplace.

The program benefits underserved teenagers from Hartford’s Clay-Arsenal and Upper Albany neighborhoods. 

 

 

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Foodshare Partners with Center Church


HARTFORD –Foodshare is making efforts to reach more people in need for food.

Thanks to a generous capacity-building grant from the BJ’s Charitable Foundation, Foodshare has worked with Center Church—Meal Programs to help them purchase a commercial reach-in freezer and a commercial reach-in refrigerator, much-needed items that would otherwise be beyond their budget.

The new units will let them provide more perishable food to people in need. In addition to this recent collaboration, Foodshare provided 2,898 pounds of food to Center Church – Meal Programs in the past year to support its work to feed those individuals and families experiencing food insecurity in Hartford.

Center Church – Meal Programs provides several meals to the community throughout the week.  They serve a wide range of people, most of whom have lower income and more of whom are homeless or face housing instability.

This purchase was made possible through a grant awarded to Foodshare by the BJ’s Charitable Foundation. With this funding, Foodshare is able to help several food pantries, soup kitchens, and other partner programs in the greater Hartford area purchase new equipment to store and handle perishable food items, such as freezers, refrigerators, prep tables, and shelving. This increased capacity means that together we will be able to distribute more wholesome food, such as produce, meat, and dairy, to our food insecure neighbors.

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

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Haunted History Tour on Fairfield Ave


HARTFORD — Get ready for a spectacular Halloween tour right here in Hartford.

The Haunted History Lantern Tour at Cedar Hill Cemetery  will take place on the Friday before Halloween at 453 Fairfield Ave. It’s the only night the Cemetery is open to the public after dark.

Led by lantern light, attendees will visit the final resting places of some of Cedar Hill’s notable and not-so-notable residents. Character actors will share their true-yet-darker-tales. To ensure your participation in this tour, reservations are required for specific time slots.

Book your reservations are required for specific time slots. Book your reservations early by Organizers of the tour said this event may not be suitable for children under 13.

Wear appropriate walking shoes and bring a flashlight.

Refreshments will be available for purchase. The tour are from 6-9:30 p.m. and admission is $15.

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LGBT Ball Set for Oct. 24


HARTFORD — Greater Connecticut Gay & Lesbian Chamber will host its first LGBT Masquerade Ball on Oct. 24 from 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

This grand event will take place in the atrium of historic Hartford City, 550 Main Street, downtown Hartford and is co-sponsored by the office of Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra.

The event will feature dancing vendors, appetizers, raffles, a best mask contest and more $10 Suggested Donation; cash bar.

For more information, please call the CTGLC office at 860-612-8351.

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Obama to Host Tribal Nations Conference


WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama will host the 2014 White House Tribal Nations Conference at the Capital Hilton in Washington, DC on Dec. 3.

The conference will provide leaders from the 566 federally recognized tribes the opportunity to interact directly with the President and members of the White House Council on Native American Affairs.

Each federally recognized tribe will be invited to send one representative to the conference.

This will be the sixth White House Tribal Nations Conference for the Obama Administration, and continues to build upon the President’s commitment to strengthen the government-to-government relationship with Indian Country and to improve the lives of Native Americans, White House officials said.

Additional details about the conference will be released at a later date.

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African Americans to Hold Flag Raising Event


The Daughter of Eve and in collaboration with North Hartford Women’s Leadership, and Hartford Area Rally Together, will host an African American flag raising ceremony at City Hall on Oct. 22.

Their ceremony, set for 5 p.m., is being held in honor and memory of community.

Isabel Mendes-Blake founder of the African-American Day Parade.  Participants are asked to wear the Black Liberation colors of red, black and green, as they join Mayor Pedro Segarra and other city, state and community leaders as we celebrate the legacy of Mrs Blake.

For additional information, contact Evelyn Richardson at erichardson@yahoo.com, erichardson@hartofhartford.org, or at 860-888-8906.

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Hartford Honors Fallen Firefighter


HARTFORD — Hartford recently lost a hero: Firefighter Kevin Bell. And now the community is preparing to honor him by preserving his memory.

A memorial fund has been established to benefit his family.

Bell was buried with full honors on  Oct. 13. Bell perished while fighting a fire on Blue Hills Avenue on Oct. 7.

Donations can be sent to Kevin L. Bell Memorial Family Fund c/o Hartford Fire Fighter’s Survivor’s Fund Farmington Bank, 669 Hebron Avenue, Glastonbury CT 06033.

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Hartford Guardian to Celebrate 10th Year Anniversary


HARTFORD —  The Hartford Guardian will kick off its 10th Year Anniversary celebration on Friday, Oct. 24, 2014 at Aetna Insurance Building on Farmington Ave. in Hartford, CT.

The Luncheon under the theme, Building to Empower and Engage, will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. to mark this significant milestone in the new media organization, which began in 2004 as a print publication.

Over the past decade, The Guardian has served individuals and families throughout the Greater Hartford area and beyond—disseminating untold stories, news and information that effect change on a local and national level.

The Guardian has won several notable recognitions and awards for its reporting, including the International Center for Journalists, Patch/AOL, Knight Center for Journalism New Media institute and the Hartford Magazine.

The Guardian was founded by Dr. Ann-Marie Adams, an award-winning journalist and historian. She has worked as a reporter and writer for The Hartford Courant, The Norwich Bulletin, Times Herald Record, People magazine, The Washington Post and other local and national publications. She teaches journalism and history, most recently at Quinnipiac University, Howard University and Rutgers University.

The Hartford Guardian was founded in 2004 to build communities through civic journalism. It is one of three programs by the Connecticut Alliance for Better Communities, Inc. CABC, Inc is a nonprofit organization established to encourage and increase civic engagement in Greater Hartford by (i) educating  residents about various social issues and services in Hartford, (ii) educating them about how government and media work, and (iii) offering opportunities to explore and engage in civic journalism.

For more information on how to become a sponsor or purchase tickets, email theguardian@thehartfordguardian.com. RSVP is required for seating and validated parking information.

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MARG and SouthWest NRZs to Meet


HARTFORD –The Maple Avenue Revitalization Group will meet on Oct. 9 in the lower level of Saint Augustine’s Church.

The church is at 10 Campfield Avenue in Hartford.

Daniel Loos from the City of Hartford’s Department of Licenses and Inspections and Sara Bronin from Planning and Zoning Commission are scheduled to speak and answer questions from the audience.

MARG respresentatives will also give reports on public safetly and other neighborhood concerns.

For more information, call MARG president Hyacinth Yennie at 860-296-5543. The meeting is open to all city residents.

Southwest Behind the Rocks 

Southwest Behind the Rocks NRZ will meet on Oct. 14 at Broadview Community Church.

The church is at 45 Oliver Street.

For more information, call Capucine at 860-978-0379.

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