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Eighth Annual Samba Fest at Hartford Riverfront

HARTFORD – Brazilian and Connecticut artists join forces with Trinity College students at the eighth annual Samba Fest on May 3 at Mortensen Riverfront Plaza.

The event, which will happen rain or shine at 300 Columbus Blvd. is free. 

“The Samba Fest brings together thousands of people from the Greater Hartford region to celebrate many different aspects of Brazilian music and dance,” says Trinity College professor Eric Galm, who conceived and produces Samba Fest. “We have a great mix of artists new to Samba Fest this year, and their music will serve as an introduction to the cultural events surrounding the 2014 World Cup, which will be held in Brazil in June.”

The family-friendly event begins with drum-making and face-painting for children and families. Those who make a drum on-site or bring one from home are invited to participate in the opening parade at noon

Performers include the Hartford Steel Symphony, co-directed by Curtis Greenidge and Kelvin Griffith, the Trinity Steel Band, led by Curtis Greenidge, and the Interdistrict Steel Pan Ensemble.

Samba Fest is free and open to the public. For directions and parking information, visit<>. For general information, call 860-297-2199.

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Marijuana Center Now Available in Hartford

HARTFORD – Hartford now has its own Medical Marijuana Program.

Arrow Alternative Care, Inc has been authorized by the state’s Department of Consumer Protection to  legally dispense Connecticut-produced marijuana products to seriously ill patients, Commissioner William M. Rubenstein said.

He announced the list of names and locations of the first six dispensary facilities on Thursday

Patients must have been certified by their physicians as potentially benefiting from the use of medical marijuana, and who have registered with the state’s Medical Marijuana Program.

Like the four producers that were awarded licenses in January, the six dispensary facilities were chosen through a competitive process, from 27 applicants that responded to a Request for Applications in November 2013.

The selected dispensary facilities are:

Arrow Alternative Care, Inc. 92 Weston StreetHartford, CT
Bluepoint Apothecary, LLC 469 East Main StreetBranford, CT
D & B Wellness, LLC 2181 Main StreetBridgeport, CT
Prime Wellness of Connecticut, LLC 75 John Fitch BoulevardSouth Windsor, CT
Thames Valley Apothecary, LLC 1100 Norwich-New London Turnpike (Route 32)Uncasville, CT
The Healing Corner, Inc. 159 East Main StreetBristol, CT


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Hartford Police Arrest West Hartford Man for Rape

HARTFORD —  A West Hartford man was arrested for sexual assault after luring a woman to a mutual assistance agency under pretense of helping her with citizenship, police said.

Hartford Police arrested Le Nghi, 56, of 46 Brace Road, West Hartford on Friday for first degree sexual assault and second-degree unlawful restraints.

Police said Nghi allegedly lured  the woman to The Connecticut Coalition of Mutual Assistance at 143 Madison Ave. in Hartford, saying he could help her with getting her citizenship.

Nghi allegedly the woman his services in exchange for sex. He then raped the woman and held her captive without her consent.

Hartford Police Department detectives believe that if the alleged allegations  prove to be true, that there may be other victims who have yet to come forward.

Any person with a similar experience or information is encouraged to come forward and call Sergeant Sonia Watson at (860) 757-4041. All victims will remain confidential, police said.

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Author and Activist Kevin Powell to Keynote Luncheon

HARTFORD — Author and activist Kevin Powell will be the guest speaker at Passing the Torch Luncheon: Faith vs. Fear event at Central Connecticut State University on May 17.

The Brooklyn native is one of the most acclaimed political, cultural, literary, and hip-hop voices in America today. He was born and raised by a single mother in Jersey City, New Jersey and is a long-time resident of Brooklyn, New York.

thHe is the author of 11 books, including Barack Obama, Ronald Reagan, and the Ghost of Dr. King: Blogs and Essays. A fixture on the pop culture landscape the past several years, Kevin was a cast member on the first season of MTV’s “The Real World”; has hosted and produced programming for HBO and BET; written a screenplay; hosted and wrote an award-winning MTV documentary about post-riot Los Angeles (“Straight From The ‘Hood”).

Walk Worthy Brands was founded by Daemond Benjamin, a native of Hartford, CT to promote positivity and empowerment among men of color in the Greater Hartford community. The premise for Walk Worthy Brands derives from Ephesians 4:1 “I, therefore, prisoner of the Lord, beseech thee to walk worthy of the vocation of which you were called.”

Walk Worthy Brands encourages individuals to live a life of purpose, determination and upliftment. The Passing the Torch Luncheon is an effort to encourage young people to be the best they can be, by celebrating exemplary models of the best of our tradition.

Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. For tickets contact: Daemond Benjamin and/or 860.881.8594. Tickets are also available at:


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White House to Honor Two Local Champs

WASHINGTON — The White House on April 3 will honor two Connecticut residents for their grassroots effort to help reduce gun violence.

Sarah Clements, Founder and Chairwoman, Jr. Newtown Action Alliance and Mark Barden, Director of Advocacy, Sandy Hook Promise in Newtown, CT are among nine grassroots leaders from around the country.

Clements is a senior at Newtown High School in Newtown, CT. On December 14th, 2012 her mother survived the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. After the shooting, Sarah began using gun violence prevention advocacy to transform her painful experience into positive action.

Barden leads policy and outreach efforts for Sandy Hook Promise and frequently serves as a spokesperson for the organization.  Since the tragic loss of his son Daniel at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Mark has dedicated himself to bringing people together to prevent future tragedies and spare other families the pain of losing a child to gun violence.

President Obama’s Administration officials said the Obama administration “is continuing to take key steps to reduce gun violence by implementing more than 23 executive actions and elevating successful local efforts.”

This week, the Administration will highlight the critical work some of these local leaders have spearheaded to make their neighborhoods safer and to keep firearms out of the wrong hands.

In his State of the Union Address, President Obama declared, “Citizenship means standing up for the lives that gun violence steals from us each day. I have seen the courage of parents, students, pastors, and police officers all over this country who say ‘we are not afraid,’ and I intend to keep trying, with or without Congress, to help stop more tragedies from visiting innocent Americans in our movie theaters, shopping malls, or schools like Sandy Hook.”

The White House created the Champions of Change program to feature individuals doing extraordinary things to empower, inspire and support members of their communities.

The event will be live streamed on the White House website. To watch this event live, visit at 10:00 am ET on April 3rd.  To learn more about the White House Champions of Change program and nominate a Champion, visit


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Play Features Trinidadian Activist Gene Miles

HARTFORD — Direct from Port-of-Spain in Trinidad, Lordstreet Theatre Company’s production of Miss Miles: The Woman of the World will be performed at the Austin Arts Center at Trinity College.

Performances of Miss Miles are free and open to the public. Curtain time is 7:30 p.m. from April 24 through 26.

Written and directed by Tony Hall, Miss Miles is a dramatization of the brief life of Gene Miles, a flamboyant fashionista and conscientious civil servant in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, who caused a court inquiry into that government’s “gas station racket” in the 1960s. The whistleblower lost her job. For some, she has become a symbol of integrity in the civic life of Trinidad.

The one-person play stars Cecilia Salazar as Gene, summoned “from the world beyond” by the audience. Salazar has won nine Cacique Awards from the National Drama Association of Trinidad and Tobago, a record for an actor. She holds a B.A. in Theatre from Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada.

Miss Miles, which opened to critical and popular acclaim in October 2011 in Port-of-Spain, marks the third Lordstreet Theatre production to be presented at Trinity College. In spring 1998, Lordstreet brought Jean and Dinah… Speak Their Minds Publicly by Tony Hall, and that fall, The Dragon Can’t Dance by Trinidadian author Earl Lovelace.

Running time is approximately two hours. For information, call 860-297-2199 or visit

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Hartford Moves Closer to Open Government

HARTFORD -- Hartford is moving closer to being an open government.

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra on Thursday released an executive order mandating all city departments to publish raw government data on the city’s website.

Under this order the Chief Information Officer is charged with managing and updating the information regularly. To kick off the effort, twenty data sets will be released in the next several months including financial, budget, assessors, tax, grand list, and health and human services information, Segarra said.

In the past, uninformed city workers would stall access to data by asking for a FOIA request and charging excessive fees.

“This is about far more than transparency,” Segarra said. “Opening the door to public information makes our services easier to access, our city departments more efficient, and our collaborations with strategic partners more effective. Sharing data allows residents to understand how government works and gives them a chance to play a more active role in it.”

Read the Executive Order No. 2014-1 .

“Mayor Segarra has made this such a priority, and I’m excited to play a role in modernizing the way our information is shared,” said Sabina Sitaru, Director of MetroHartford Information Services. “Open data exponentially increases the resources available to study how the City works, it encourages public engagement but it also drastically decreases the time it takes to gather information internally.”

To implement the online portal the City of Hartford has signed a contract with Socrata, Inc. The open data will include maps, charts, graphs and it will integrate with the City’s enterprise Geographic Information System (GIS). The data will not include any personal or private records or any other personally identifiable information.

The Open Data Management Team will present its first report to the Mayor within 6 months and then yearly progress reports thereafter. Aligning with the State of Connecticut, Hartford is the first municipality to establish an Open Data Portal.

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First Black Elected State Treasurer Dies

HARTFORD — Gerald Lamb, the nation’s first black state treasurer, has died. He was 89.

A native of Waterbury, CT, Lamb served two terms as Connecticut’s treasurer from 1963 to 1970. And he later served as Banking Commissioner.

He was also in the US Navy for more than three years, became General Manager of Waterbury Dental Laboratories, Vice President and Secretary of Meadow Homes, INC., and Senior Vice President of Connecticut Bank & Trust Company, Bank of New England Corp.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy released this statement:

WV0095107-image-2_20140325“He broke barriers not only in our state, but also in our nation at a time when civil rights were being heavily debated in communities across the country,” Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said in a statement. “Our condolences go out to his family and friends.”

Other state officials echoed this sentiment.

“We are grateful for his service to the people of Connecticut, and for his leadership that helped make us a stronger and more diverse state and nation,” said Lt. Governor Wyman.  “My thoughts are with his family and friends during this sad time.”

A funeral service will be held at 10 a.m., Friday, March 28, at Hollomon-Brown Funeral Home, Kempsville Chapel in Virginia. He will be buried atOak Bluffs Cemetery in Oak Bluffs, MA at a later date.

Photo Courtesy of the Lamb family.



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Scholarships Available for Migrant Students

WASHINGTON, DC —  Five migrant/seasonal farmworker college students will be selected to live and work in D.C. for an intensive eight week internship and professional mentoring program. The goal is to provide life altering experiences and networks to help students make the intellectual, cognitive, and emotional transition from agricultural life to that of a professional.

Instead of youth working in the fields harvesting fruits or vegetables in the sweltering summer heat, they will live with host families, be placed in positions from the Department of Agriculture or the National Education Association, to the Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs, or Farmworker Justice. They will all be overseen by the National Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Association.

The goal of Migrant Seasonal Head Start is to prepare children to enter school ready to learn. Born 49 years ago from a desire to remove as many obstacles to academic success as possible, President Johnson created Head Start in 1965, as part of his War on Poverty. In 2014, President Obama reaffirmed the value of Head Start by providing 8.8 billon dollars to extend Head Start opportunities for America’s vulnerable children. This internship is a capstone to those investments.


“Every child needs a helping hand and a mentor. Professionally, we all had someone help us get where we are today,” states Cleo Rodriguez, Jr., Executive Director of NMSHSA. “NMSHSA is proud to continue extending our hand to students from across our great nation. We hope our investment will impact the lives, goals, and dreams of our interns and in turn we hope these new professionals will impact the lives of countless other migrant and seasonal youth in years to come!”


The selected farmworker students must be former Migrant/Seasonal Head Start children (The Office of Head Start serves three divergent populations: Regional Head Start, Native American Head Start, and Migrant/Seasonal Head Start.), be enrolled in college, and come from a family that is, or has, worked the agricultural fields of America.


We recognize the many obstacles of being both a migrant/seasonal farmworker and a college student. Therefore, the youth we are targeting are those who will benefit the greatest from the structure and potential of this opportunity. Our paid internship offers: stipends, on-the-job training, networking opportunities, professional skills development, leadership development and personal/professional mentoring from consummate D.C. professionals, many of whom are also former farm workers.


Despite entering our third program year, we already count great success as donations and sponsorships have increased to double the possible number of interns, and previous participants have earned year long fellowships, and continued toward both master and PhD’s.


2014 applications are available at and are due no later than 5 pm EST on March 31, 2014.

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Obama Nominates CT Lawyer to Serve as U.S. Attorney

WASHINGTON, DC – President Obama recently nominated Deirdre M. Daly  to serve as U.S. Attorney.

Daly has served as the First Assistant United States Attorney in the District of Connecticut since 2010 and as the Acting United States Attorney since May 2013.

Previously, Daly was a partner with the Connecticut law firm Daly & Pavlis LLC from 2001 to 2010 and with the New York law firm Gage & Pavlis from 1997 to 2001.

She also served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York from 1985 to 1997.

Obama’s nominations are subject to confirmation by the Senate.



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