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In These Times, CT Journalists Demand Transparency, Free Speech and Accountability


By Ann-Marie Adams, Ph.D. 

In these times, critical information at our fingertips is crucial. So is transparency, free speech and accountability. That’s because Gov. Ned Lamont recently issued his “stay home, stay safe” order, and most of the state is on lockdown. Therefore, many residents infected by the coronavirus are quarantined. Moreover, state officials have adopted other efforts to stop the spread of the coronavirus. When the state recently sent out a CTALERT message about the COVID-19 virus, many residents did not get that message.

In fact, many residents with prepaid phones did not get an alert from the Connecticut Emergency Alerting and Notification system. Those on two-year phone contracts apparently received the text messages, however. This implies that about 30 percent of Connecticut residents, including the elderly population on fixed incomes, did not get those messages.

Dr. Ann-Marie Adams

The role of the press is, heretofore, extremely important in helping government to disseminate information. Freedom of the press is the cornerstone  of democracy. Government workers and other civilians should play a part to ensure that they are transparent and that media get unrestricted access to news and information. This can only help retard the growth of the coronavirus. Government workers, who help to suppress a journalist, must be held accountable, and perhaps be ceremoniously fired in these times of unprecedented hardship because of disruptions to many lives. That disruption includes job losses, medical emergencies, homelessness, and other social ills. The suppression of the Fourth Estate, such as refusing to send media advisories to a journalist or failing to respond to freedom of information requests, should be seen as a treasonous offense. No journalist should be persecuted and suppressed for criticizing the government, or speaking truth to power. In fact, politicians who are sensitive to criticism by the press should not enter office in these times. It’s unfortunate that some politicians are still in office covering up malfeasances in this state since 2014.

As a result, Connecticut journalists are calling on the General Assembly to pass a special resolution to protect journalists from those who harm them in the quest to hold elected officials accountable. Even if the perpetrators include other journalists, who may covertly suppress their competition.

The effort to retard the spread of the coronavirus must be dealt with from all angles. That includes an informed press. Transparency of government officials, their intent and actions, is of the utmost importance because it will help gain the confidence of many scared residents relegated to work from their homes.

The role of the press in informing the citizenry is a treasured tenet of democracy. Therefore, we are calling for special resolutions from the General Assembly to help protect the fourth estate in Connecticut—in these times and beyond—as journalists work to ensure a free and robust democracy.

Dr. Ann-Marie Adamsis the editor and publisher of The Hartford Guardian, the first award-winning, nonprofit, nonpartisan, hyperlocal news organization in Connecticut. It aims to build communities by increasing the level of civic participation in the state. Before that, she worked as a journalist for 20 years at various newspapers and television stations in New York, Connecticut and Washington, D.C.

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Bloomberg’s Campaign Coming to Hartford


HARTFORD — Presidential Candidate Michael Bloomberg’s 2020 Campaign staff will host a meet-up with newly announced Connecticut co-chairs: State
Representatives Chris Rosario and Kerry Wood, and in-state campaign staff.

Bloomberg’s team will meet up on Feb. 6 at Thomas Hooker Brewery at Colt, 140 Huyshope Avenue, Hartford, Conn. The event will be from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

The announcement of an event in Hartford comes on the heels of Mike
Bloomberg 2020 announcing that State Representatives Rosario and Wood have joined the campaign.

NORFOLK, VA – NOVEMBER 25: Newly announced Democratic presidential candidate, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks during a press conference to discuss his presidential run on November 25, 2019 in Norfolk, Virginia. The 77-year old Bloomberg joins an already crowded Democratic field and is presenting himself as a moderate and pragmatic option in contrast to the current Democratic Party’s increasingly leftward tilt. In recent years, Bloomberg has used some of his vast personal fortune to push for stronger gun safety laws and action on climate change. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

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The Hartford Guardian Celebrates 17 Years


Donate Today. Go to www.thehartfordguardian.com/donate

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NBC’s The Voice Winner Javier Colon Coming to Hartford’s Infinity Hall


HARTFORD — NBC’s The Voice season one winner Javier Colon will perform at Hartford Infinity Hall this Saturday.

One of the state’s most famous Afro Latinos, Colon stays true to his Connecticut roots. This Saturday, Dec. 21 at 8 p.m. at Infinity Hall in Hartford, Colon will have a sort of homecoming concert for Connecticut residents, he said in an interview with The Hartford Guardian.

Statford native Javier Colon

A Stratford native, Colon was a musician when he appeared on the first season of NBC’s hit show, “The Voice.” His coach was Maroon 5’s Adam Levine, who helped him win the competition.

Colon, 41, has also released several albums and continues to share his “acoustic soul” with the world.

He is an alumnus of the University of Hartford’s Hartt School of Music.

DATE: Dec. 21, 2019 8 p.m.

VENUE: Infinity Music Hall, 32 Front St. Hartford.

COST: $29-$54.

TICKETS: https://www.infinityhall.com; 866-666-6306.

Javier Colon

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MDC to Hold Meeting Tonight On Rate Increase


GREATER HARTFORD — The Metropolitan District Commission is scheduled to meet Monday to proposed a water rate increase of almost 15 percent for metropolitan area.

The MDC meeting is scheduled for 5 p.m. on Monday at the District Headquaters board room at 555 Main Street in Hartford.

The regional water and sewer authority’s proposed budget for 2020 includes raising the water rate from $3.50 per hundred cubic feet to $4.0, at 14.57 percent increase, MDC officials said.

Sewer rates will also increase by $1 per month, increasing from $6 to $7.

Some officials believe the rate will be a burden to most residents in the area and there is a need for greater oversight to ensure residents are not fleeced.

The suggested oversight committee would be through the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA), a state agency.

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Gov. Lamont Directs Flag Lowered for Sandy Hook Victims


HARTFORD — Seven years ago, the world witnessed one of the deadliest mass shooting in the nation’s history.

A 20-year-old named Adam Lanza shot and killed twenty children and six adults, including his mother, in the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. His weapon of choice were a Bushmaster XM15 and a Glock 20SF. Before driving to the school, Lanza killed his mother at their Newtown home. After the shooting, he committed suicide by shooting himself in the head, police said.

On Friday, Gov. Ned Lamont announced that he is directing U.S. and State of Connecticut flags to be lowered to half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Saturday, Dec. 14 in remembrance of the victims.

Nelba Marquez, Ana Márquez-Greene , and Jimmy Greene

Accordingly, since no flag should fly higher than the U.S. flag, all other flags – including state, municipal, corporate, or otherwise – should also be lowered during this same duration of time.

“We will never forget the twenty innocent, gentle children and six devoted educators whose lives were taken all too soon that terrible morning seven years ago,” Lamont said. “The tragedy that occurred that day is one of the worst in our history, but in its aftermath, we witnessed an unprecedented outpouring of humanity, hope, and kindness cascading into our state from over the entire world, spreading a message of love that we must proactively protect.”

One of the victims, six-year-old Ana Márquez-Greene, was the daughter of former Hartford residents: Nelba Marquez and Jimmy Greene.

Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz also shared condolences the families of the victims.

“Seven years ago, Connecticut was forever changed when 26 innocent people—six courageous educators and twenty loving children—were taken from their families and friends far too soon,” Bysiewicz said. “We will never forget the victims of the Sandy Hook shooting and today we send the love and prayers of the state to the Newtown community as it continues to heal from this painful wound.”

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State Police Arrest Hartford Woman for Overdosing Man


HARTFORD — A Hartford woman was arrested by the Connecticut State Police after a two-year investigation found she allegedly provided “acute heroin and cocaine intoxication” to a man who died of overdose.

Teresa Ann Derison

Teresa Ann Deriso, 38, of 820 Wethersfield Ave. Hartford was arrested for first degree manslaughter, after police discovered that Troop K in Colchester responded to an unresponsive 49-year-old man, who died on the scene of apparent overdose on Oct. 4 at about 6:25 p.m.

The unidentified man had a hypodermic needle in his hand when police found him in an apartment on Plains Road in Windham.

The office of the Chief Medical Examiner later determined the cause of death was “acute heroin and cocain intoxication.”

Police said Derison injected the man with a syringe containing narcotics because he was unable to do so himself.

Derison is currently serving time in York Correction facility. She was arraigned in Danielson Superior Court on Dec. 10 for $250,000.

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Former Gov. Dannel Malloy to Join Historians and Others to Discuss Education in Connecticut


By Josh Leventhal, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — Former Gov. Dannel P. Malloy will join historians, legal professionals, journalists, parents and others to discuss the issue of education reform at Yale University Law School on April 22, 2020.

The event, co-sponsored by Yale’s Black Law Student Association, will be from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and will include discussions about the academic achievement gap, the role of governors in the state’s education debate, the challenges of school segregation and its impact on the academic achievement gap. Malloy confirmed his acceptance again on Wednesday, saying he agreed because it was a good debate to have in the state.

File Photo: Gov. Dannel P. Malloy/ AP

Many other experts and professionals have been invited to speak on the subject of school segregation and the overall impact that it has on the achievement gap. Other topics will include why the gap still exists, and what can be done to close it.

“The discussion will certainly be an educational, informative, and entertaining debate,” said Ann-Marie Adams, editor and publisher of The Hartford Guardian.

In essence, the discussion will center on Adams theory about school segregation and the supplementary achievement gap that occurs in the state of Connecticut.

Dr. Adams is a leading expert in race and education in American. She is also a U.S. History Professor, an award wining journalist, and the founder of The Hartford Guardian. During the discussion, Dr. Adams will explain her theory in detail. She will also share the research that went into her book about the African American struggle for full citizenship including a quality education in CT, which in essence is the book’s innermost theme. It is also the very first published work that chronicles the full arc of the African American experience in Connecticut from the colonial period to the twentieth century.

Dr. Adams graduated with distinction from Howard University after completing her dissertation about the African American experience and their fight for a quality education in Connecticut.

In addition, Dr. Adams has been covering the topic of education for more than 20 years at many prominent publications such as The Hartford Courant, the Norwich Bulletin, the Times-Herald Record and The Washington Post

There will be a short question and answer session after the debate, so participants are asked to bring questions. Please email editor@thehartfordguardian.com for sponsorship details.

The Hartford Guardian is published by the Connecticut Alliance for Better Communities, Inc., a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization founded in 2004. Early bird tickets are $35 each. After Feb. 15, 2020, tickets will be $40. Please note that the cost of tickets and other donations are tax deductible.

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Hartford Offers Fee Waiver for Delinquent Taxes


HARTFORD — There’s a fee waiver for Hartford residents who owe taxes.

Beginning Dec. 15, 2019, all the collection fees will be waived. But all the owed taxes on personal property or motor vehicle must be paid to get this special waiver.

It’s a catch 22 situation, however. 

Hartford City Hall

You will have to pay the outstanding taxes and interest in full to get those fees waived.

The program will end Jan. 31, 2020. If residents fail to take advantage of this waiver, the city tax collector will impose a 15 percent collection fee on all bills.

“This Fee Relief Program will make it easier for residents to pay back taxes they owe,” said Mayor Luke Bronin.  “Last year we ran a Fee Relief Program for personal property taxes only, and this year we are expanding it to motor vehicle taxes as well.  We hope as many people take advantage as possible, so they can stay current with their taxes and the city receives the revenue we need to serve all of our residents.”

Residents can make payment online at www.hartford.gov<http://www.hartford.gov  by clicking on the “$” symbol or in the Tax Office at City Hall, 550 Main St., Room 106, Hartford, CT 06103.  

Residents can call (860) 757-9630 if they have questions.

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Former Achievement First Teacher Arrested


HARTFORD — Hartford Police on Thursday arrested the Hartford teacher who allegedly sexually assaulted an Achievement First student.

Patrick Dodds, 30, of Enfield was arrested and was being held on $50,000 bond in Hartford. Hartford Police charged Dodd with second second-degree sexual assault, according to police report.

Patrick Dodds

Police launched an investigation into a sexual relationship between Dodds and a 16-year-old student at Achievement First Academy after reports that the teacher had engaged in sexual relations in both the town of Bloomfield and the city of Hartford.

Police said that Dodds had a sexual encounter with the teen at least two times in two locations in Hartford. The affair began when the student was 15 years-old, according to The Hartford Courant.

Dodd is a former ninth-grade math teacher at Achievement First High School and was arrested on a fugitive from justice charges while he was in New Hampshire for Thanksgiving with family, police said. He turned himself in on fugitive charges.

According to police reports, the Connecticut Department of Children and Families contacted local police on Sept. 20 and a warrant was issued for Dodds’s arrest on Nov. 27.

Dodds no longer works for Achivement First, said a spokesman for the school.

“We care deeply about the safety and well-being of all students in our schools and these allegations are extremely upsetting,” Amanda Pinto, spokesman for Achievement First said in a statement. “Immediately after the police investigation began, we launched an independent internal investigation. At the end of that investigation we took appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including termination.”

Dodds was also held Monday on $100,000 bond at the Grafton County Department of Correction in North Haverhill, according to Bloomfield Police Capt. Steven Hajdasz. Dodds waived his extradition rights and was brought to Connecticut Wednesday, according to the New Hampshire Union Leader.

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