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Dirt Salon to Present SODALICIOUS


HARTFORD — The Dirt Salon will present the premier of SODALICIOUS! – a  Pop Art Show featuring a vast exhibit of photography by artist Beth Phillips who has photographed numerous works by Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat, both of whom have been major influences on her own art.

“I knew artists Andy Warhol and Jean Michel Basquiat from 1983-1988,” says Phillips, who worked with the artists during exciting periods of their careers, but also unfortunately near the end. ”

June Bisantz to perform at the Dirt Salon in Hartford

June Bisantz to perform at the Dirt Salon in Hartford

Andy Warhol passed away February 22, 1987. His Estate called me to photograph thousands of paintings at the new “Factory” at 22 East 33rd. The following year, when Jean Michel Basquiat passed away on August 12, 1988, his father, Gerald Basquiat, called me to photograph hundreds of his paintings and drawings.”

Years later, her own photographic work would hearken back to both Basquiat’s hip hop street life and Warhol’s repetitive collection of Campbell soup cans. On long walks around New York City, Ms. Phillips began noticing crushed soda cans. Ms. Phillips began collecting and photographing crushed soda cans and educating herself about recycling. People began sending her crushed soda cans from around the world. The resulting work draws attention to the need for recycling and recyclable packaging while commenting on the art of the soda industry.

SODALICIOUS! features nearly two hundred photographic prints.

As part of the Pop Art tribute, there will be exhibits by two emerging Connecticut artists: Thomas Radovich and Katie Fogg. Radovich’s work began as an exploration of nostalgia but has expanded into a nearly compulsive need to document every action figure, stuffed animal, and toy in his ever-growing collection.

Katie Fogg’s paintings have been displayed in numerous group exhibitions throughout NYC and Connecticut, and have been acquired by private collectors. Fogg’s KFOGG Studio is located in her hometown of New London and she also keeps a studio in Brooklyn, NY.

Phillips, an artist and photographer, attended the Hartford Art School and the Rhode Island School of Design. She lived in New York City for about 30 years and ran a business photographing fine art.

SODALICIOUS! will also include a musical treasure not to be missed – June Bisantz Jazz.
Tickets are $15 in advance (go to: thedirtsalon.com), $20 at the door.

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Endorsed Democratic Candidate Luke Bronin Talks Education, Crime with Residents


By Ann-Marie Mesquita, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — Two days after the  Hartford Democratic Town Committee endorsed Luke Bronin for mayor, he made a stop at his Albany Avenue campaign office to discuss crime, education and jobs with city residents.

“Hartford wants a Mayor who’s working every single day to make our neighborhoods stronger and safer, who’s fighting for jobs and for economic opportunity for Hartford residents, and who gets back to the basics of delivering city services on every street,” Bronin said in a release to the press. “We need a mayor who’s hands-on and who does the hard things, so that Hartford can become the great city we all know it can be.”

Bronin received 49 votes from the committee after incumbent Pedro Segarra walked out of the nominating convention before the vote Monday night, saying he “will not lend himself to a process” that selected him when he ran for mayor in 2012.

“There comes a moment in one’s life when you must stand up for what is right and walk away from what is wrong. Tonight was one of those moments,” Segarra said in a statement to the press. “I chose not to accept the nomination of the Democratic Town Committee because I am in this race for the people of Hartford and not the politics.”

Bronin and Segarra faced off at Bulkeley High School auditorium but left before the vote. And his supporters abstained from voting–shouting “four more years” for the incumbent mayor.

Segarra said he has been a resident of Hartford for 41 years.  He replaced former Mayor Eddie Perez in 2010 and was elected to a full term in 2012. Segarra said he will gather petition signatures to qualify for the Sept. 16 primary.

Bronin is a Yale Law School graduate and former legal adviser to Gov. Dannel Malloy.

A relatively new comer to the city, Bronin said he was honored to receive the nomination.

Photo courtesy of www. inagist.com.

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Hartford Lawmakers to Discuss Spike in Violence


By Fran Wilson, Staff Writer

HARTFORD —  On the heels of its 19th homicide for the year, Hartford lawmakers will meet with residents to discuss the recent spike in violence.

Rep. John B. Larson (CT-01) will be hosting a forum on July 30 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Parker Memorial Community Center.

Along with Rep. Elizabeth Esty (CT-05) and Mayor Pedro Segarra, he will meet with members of the community to hear their thoughts, answer questions, and discuss possible paths forward from these recent tragedies.

In 2014, the number of homicide was 19.  Since 2015, there has been 19.

The latest shooting happened Sunday evening and police are still looking for the gunmen.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has offered assistance with combating crime in the state’s capital city. His administration is sending in probation officers and parole officers to track down “the 1 percent” police say are responsible for most of the violent crime in the city.  Malloy also said he plans to commit resources from the departments of probation and parole, the state’s attorney’s office, the U.S. attorney’s office, the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Agency.

Additionally, state troopers teamed up with Hartford police after a surge in shootings and homicides last weekend.

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Hartford Police Arrest Shooting Suspect


HARTFORD — A Hartford man is facing charges of  attempted murder after shooting a Windsor man six times, leaving him in critical condition.

Deshawn Walton, 20, of Hartford, was charged with attempted murder, first-degree assault, criminal possession of a firearm and carrying a pistol without a permit.

Walton allegedly shot  Tequan Vail, 25, of Windsor on on July 18  at about 8 p.m. inside a building at 2006 Main St., police said. Vail suffered six gunshot wounds to his head, neck, chest, back and shoulder.

Walton, who goes by the street name of “Debo” and is a suspect in other shootings, was arrested on Thursday in Hartford.

Walton is being held on a $3.5 million bond.

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DMV to Close Offices in August, Extends Deadlines


Fran Wilson, Staff Writer

MERIDEN — Connecticut residents will soon have unnecessary waits at a DMV office, state officials said Wednesday.

That’s because the Department of Motor Vehicles will close all offices, except driver’s license services, in August while it updates its computer system.

The offices will close from Aug. 11 through Aug. 15. and reopen Aug. 18.

The new computer system will make more services available online to customers, such as reprinting registration certificates and ordering replacement plates, and customers eventually will be able to notify DMV from home of a change of address, DMV officials said.

DMV Commissioner Andres Ayala Jr. said that customers should anticipate longer lines at DMV as it prepares to shut down. But the wait will be worth it because customers “will be able to get out of line and go online for many more services.”

Also, DMV will extend the expiration date for all driver’s licenses, ID cards and vehicle registrations, with no late fee, through Oct. 10.

DMV officials are asking customers to use AAA office for license and ID renewals.

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Hartford Receives Federal Grant for Teen Pregnancy


HARTFORD — Despite a 20 percent decline in teen births over the past five years, Hartford still has a teen birth rate that is higher than the national average.

Thanks to a new grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Adolescent Health, Hartford will have financial support for a new teen pregnancy prevention program. The $4,999,995 five-year grant will support a replicated evidence-based program in Hartford within the Hartford Health and Human Services Department.

Mayor Pedro E. Segarra announced on Tuesday that Hartford is one of 50 cities across the country to be awarded a grant under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Adolescent Health  Evidence-Based Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program.

Despite a 20 percent decline in teen births over the past five years, Hartford still has a teen birth rate that is higher than the national average. The grant will focus heavily on a partnership with Hartford Public Schools, local service providers and clinics, city official said.

The funding will also focus on implementing programs in schools, clinics, and community-based settings to allow adolescents and teenagers to receive multiple medically accurate, age appropriate, evidence-based services during their adolescence. Vulnerable youth, such as those in foster care, juvenile detention, expectant and parenting teens, and older youth will be served through this initiative.

“The City of Hartford Department of Health and Human Services has played an active and successful role in Teen Pregnancy Prevention since 2010,”  said Mayor Segarra. “This funding, and partnership with key agencies, will help Hartford to continue providing the level of expertise and services to youth and those most in need throughout the city.”

The U.S. HHS Teen Pregnancy Prevention Evidence –Based Initiative provides an opportunity for a broad range of programs to have a lasting impact on reducing teen pregnancy, HIV and STI’s among middle school and high school youth across the nation. For a list of all grant winners visit U.S. HHS Office of Adolescent Health 2015 Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program Grants.

 

For questions regarding this initiative or other teen pregnancy prevention questions, please contact Carmen Chaparro at chapc001@hartford.gov or visit www.urlifeurchoice.org.

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Gov. Malloy’s Chief of Staff to Leave Office


By Ann-Marie Mesquita, Staff Writer

HARTFORD —  One of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s top aide will be leaving his post by the end of 2015.

In an announcement to the press on Monday, Malloy said the departure of his longtime Chief of Staff, Mark Ojakian is necessary. Ojakian has served in one of the state’s most powerful position for almost four years. Known as OJ inside the state capitol, Malloy’s top advisor works long hours and serves as his confidante on many issues.  He  has  “a reputation for working people pretty hard.”

“I will miss working with Mark on a daily basis, but I understand it is time for him to turn the page to a different chapter in his life.  Mark has been one of my most trusted friends and advisors,” Governor Malloy said.  “Through his efforts, we have been able to make an agreement with labor that allowed the state to cut billions in long-term debt, passed an increase in the minimum wage, implemented paid sick leave, made record investments in transportation, and passed a sweeping reforms to our criminal justice system.”

Before joining Malloy’s office, Ojakian, 61, served as Deputy Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management and served as Deputy Comptroller under then-State Comptroller Nancy Wyman for 16 years.

In his role as Deputy Comptroller, he acted as senior policy advisor, oversaw over 250 employees, and had fiscal responsibility for over $1 billion in state accounts.

Malloy said Ojakian, who is openly gay, agreed to move on to another chapter in his life.

“It has been an honor to serve Governor Malloy.  He is not only a dedicated, hardworking public servant who has put our state on the path of progress, but he has also been a great friend,” Ojakian said.  “I will miss working with Governor Malloy.”

Ojakian lives in West Hartford with his husband, his two sons and two grandchildren.

Malloy is expected to announce Ojakian’s replacement in the coming weeks.

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African Diaspora Concert Comes to Hartford


By Fran Wilson, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — World-renowned soul singer Betty Harris and Nzinga’s Daughters will headline the annual Music from the African Diaspora concert at the Learning Corridor in Hartford on July 25.

Concertgoers will enjoy a the soulful sound of Betty Harris and her backup singers, which  she has mentored from the Queen Ann Nzinga Center’s Watoto program. The other performers are Third Tabernacle Choir, Nzinga’s Daughters R&B Band, Changes, Relentless, Crystal Blue Project and world-renowned soul singer Betty Harris.

David Mayes of Plainville, who mentors young vocalists in the Queen Ann Nzinga Center programs, will also perform a solo.

Aaleya Hardy, 18, of Bristol, Sabrina Jones, 12, of East Hartford, and Dillyn Caruso, 18, of Plainville, will perform at the Music from the African Diaspora concert with Harris; and Hardy and Savannah Freitas, 16, of Plainville, will join Harris  on stage at the four-day festival, along with Snell, executive director of the Queen Ann Nzinga Center.

Doors  at 359 Washington St. will open at 6 p.m.  Artwork and photography will be sold at a silent auction to benefit the Queen Ann Nzinga Center’s youth arts and enrichment programs before the concert.

The free concert is geared to all ages, and children are welcome.

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

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FoodShare Offers Free Meals for Kids Out of School


By Ann-Marie Mesquita, Staff Writer

EAST WINDSOR — During the summer school break, children can now get free meals in East Windsor.

Thanks to a new program sponsored by members of the East Windsor Hunger Action Team and Foodshare. The group joined State Rep. Christopher Davis (R-East Windsor) to celebrate the opening day of the “Free Summer Meals for Kids and Teens” program.

The program is for children 18 and under.

Rep. Davis said he was excited to have the program in his district.  In the past, children who are qualified for free and reduced lunch had to look elsewhere for free meals during the summer break.

more than xx Connecticut children are eligible for free meals.

“A lot of times we know that when kids are not in school they are not eating, which is terribly unfortunate,” Davis said to the crowd. “We need to get as many kids that need this service as possible, get them fed and get them on the right track for the summer. That is what this project is about and I am so happy to get it started and watch it continue to grow.”

The program will provide these meals from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. every week day until Aug. 21 at the East Windsor Town Hall Annex.

Meals will be provided to children completely free of charge and are funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

More information on “Free Meals” can be found by visiting www.CTSummerMeals.org, calling 2-1-1, or texting CTMeals to 877877.

 

 

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Hartford Police Seize Illegal Fireworks


HARTFORD — Hartford Police seized about $5,000 in illegal fireworks from a van in the North End on Friday night.

According to media reports, 179 items were seized and kept by department’s bomb squad because of the volume of explosives.

Deputy Chief Brian Foley said officers responded to Garden Street after witnesses called to report a man selling fireworks out of a van.

Police have since identified a 35-year-old man from East Hartford.

Foley said police will soon make an arrest warrant application in the case.

 

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