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A Fall Message: To Our Readers and Supporters

The crisp, autumnal breeze in 2004 did more than stir colorful leaves on our city’s streets. The gentle wind ushered in a revolutionary concept onto Hartford’s media-filled landscape: The Hartford Guardian.

Sixteen years ago, the Connecticut Alliance for Better Communities, a 501 c 3 nonprofit organization, gave birth to The Hartford Guardian to fulfill a mission: report and write relevant news and deliver pithy, in-depth analyses on issues that impact Hartford’s neighborhoods. Also, The Hartford Guardian set out to unify neighboring factions by sharing quality and in-depth news from each of the city’s 17 neighborhoods with one goal: Hartford will truly be one city, one people.

It was a lofty goal then. It’s a lofty goal now. But we believe this goal can be achieved if we approach it in the right way with the right people.

Today, I’m proud to say we are on our way to fulfilling our mission. We have found new friends, who believe in our mission and have pledged to support it. We have covered local, state and federal governments, as well as social issues that impact not just Hartford but the state and the nation. This approach gives us hope. That’s because we have proven to be a small news publication with big impact.

It wasn’t easy, though. At times, we almost faltered. News of The Hartford Guardian, a new paper in an already newspaper-filled town, was greeted with skepticism. But that was soon drowned out by an overwhelming show of appreciation. Subscriptions increased and readers flooded our inboxes with encouraging words.

Small Paper, Big Impact

My staff and I sincerely thank our readers, who have supported us over the years. I’m proud that you enjoy our print publication and our online news site.

The recipe for our existence is quite simple: your support from subscriptions, monetary donations, and voluntary service. So we ask our readers who support The Hartford Guardian to go to our website at and subscribe to our newsfeed, give a tax-deductible contribution, or volunteer your professional services.

In the meanwhile, keep enjoying or four-day a week postings online. And look for us in spring 2020 with a new face and a revived passion for our mission.

Take care.

Ann-Marie Adams, Ph.D., President & CEO

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Hartford Police to Investigate Rogue Cop

HARTFORD — Hartford police are investigating one of thier colleagues: Officer Jay Szepanksi.

As a result of this investigation, Szepanksi is no longer in his current role. He was assigned to the property room, pending the outcome of the investigation.

Szapanksi is accused of using social media to post profane language about Hartford residents.

Former Police Chief James Rovella speaks to journalists as Hartford CouncilmanThomas “TJ” Clarke looks on ; Photo by CTMirror

While authorities stress his alleged posts don’t represent the entire Hartford Police Department, Hartford residents are not surprised by this behavior. They want immediate action to what clearly is an affront to many hard-working individuals who live in the capital city.

William Francis Moffett Jr posted this on Facebook: “Terminate the officer immediately.”

Another Hartford dweller named Allen Freeman asked: “ Where are all the ‘Good cops” flooding the comments section standing up for residents and calling out these Bad cops publicly?”

National Unrest Sharpens CT’s Focus on Police Community Trust

Interim Chief of Hartford Police Jason Thody released a statement saying, “Public trust, faith, and police legitimacy are essential requirements to be an effective police officer. Making comments that tend to diminish officer-credibility, erode public truck (sic), and bring discredit to the Department or to the officer can lead to an inability to police in the City.”

Thody also added, “Officers should be mindful that, while the Department supports legitimate expressions of free speech, such expressions are not without restrictions.”

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin also responded to those posts saying in part, “The vast, vast majority of our officers view the chance to serve our city as a privilege, and posts like this do a disservice to all the men and women of our department who work so hard to build and maintain relationships of trust, respect, and partnership.”

There has been much criticism of Hartford Police Department for its lack of diversity. Residents over the years have made several complaints about officers who abused thier powers. Internal investigations seem inadequate to address this malfesance evident in the city. And so residents were disappointed over what seems like entrenched racism, xenophobia and sexism.

NBC: Former Hartford Police Officer Arrested After Assaulting Two People

Since 2014, there has been abuse of power reported under former Police Chief James Rovella. Rovella resigned on February 15, 2018 amidst accusations of an alleged cover up of grand larceny charges and theft of services against political operatives, including several police officers, Rovella moonlighted with during President Barack Obama and Gov. Dannel Malloy’s administrations and re-election campaigns.

The Hartford Guardian: Blumenthal, Bronin, Meet With Hartford Officials to Discuss Ways to Quiet Tensions, Police Brutality.

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Secret Investigation After Adam Lanza Shooting in Newtown Prompts News Series in Hartford

HARTFORD — In December 2012, 20-year-old Adam Lanza shot 26 children and adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. The killings reverberated across the country—and most definitely here in Hartford.

Under the supervision of Lt. Paul Vance, the message one year later to journalists was clear. There was no definitive or singular reason for the Newtown massacre, according to reports by the Connecticut State Police. State police detectives investigating the Dec. 14, 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School and 36 Yogananda St. in Newtown talked to several practitioners as they pieced together Lanza’s history of mental health treatments.

In Greater Hartford, several locals, including undercover policemen, state police, secret service and the office of the chief state attorney, claimed they were concerned about whether the mental health facilities failed Lanza; and they contacted The Hartford Guardian in January 2014. After identifying themselves as authorized officials doing an investigation in secret, they also claimed they wanted to investigate medicaid fraud and hospitals.

Additionally, they wanted to observe the state of mental health facilities in Connecticut, namely in Hartford, Farmington, Middletown and New Haven. In each case a reporter was followed by undercover agents to decipher the make up of the staff, the quality of care and details that contributed to mental health disparities in the state. This wasalso undertaken by the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) in the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney.

The Hartford Guardian, an award-winning, hyper-local publication based in Hartford, was asked to participate while other journalists, gadflies, federal, state and local officials secretly watched with special microscopic devices. The Hartford Guardian was among the few journalism organizations that got to see the inside of these  facilities and can give a cogent report. There were multiple stories that came out of this five-year investigation and many firings and retirements. (Several firings or retirements in the state and federal government reportedly came out of this secret investigation: Aug. 4, 2014 with three simultaneous departures; Feb. 4, 2015 with Dan Pfeiffer, April 22, 2019 with Dan S. Cohen; Feb. 15, 2018 with Hartford Police Chief James Rovella; the March 20 announcement of David Rosado’s retirement; the August announcement of Kevin Kane’s retirement).

Adams and other reporters are eager to tell thier stories that came out of visits to these hospitals involved in this investigation: John Dempsey Hospital, Hartford Hospital, St. Francis Hospital, Yale University Hospital and Connecticut Valley Hospital.

See other related reports:

Hartford Courant: Citing Safety Concerns, Feds Move to End Medicare Funding at Connecticut Valley Hospital

CT Mirror: Prospect of Detox, psychiatric bed cuts worries hospital officials

NBC Connecticut, Len Besthoff

WFSB, Investigative Team

The Hartford Guardian would like to follow up on its 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 coverage of this secret investigation that allegedly came out of President Barack Obama, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Mayor Pedro Segarra’s administrations.

So far, we are mulling over several concerns presented to us and would like our readers input: 

The methodology proposed? Use a seasoned journalist to go inside these hospitals to see how the staff treat her as a patient—not a young white man such as Lanza.

By using a journalist that has worked in the state for more than 30 years, these secret investigators theorized, it would be established that she was not hiding the fact that she was a trained journalist. Other measures were taken to ensure her safety from threats by health employees and lobbyists.

 Here are some of the findings in these hospitals that are worth tackling:

  1. Psychiatrists and psychotherapists in hospitals and outpatient care are overwhelmingly white females. In some cases, they are culturally incompetent and erroneous in documenting cases. In some cases, workers falsify records.
  2. Psychiatrists and social workers are sometimes forced to  give a diagnoses quickly because they must produce a diagnosis for billing.
  3. If you are a Christian, the mental health facilities can allegedly be used to seemingly persecute believers. This is one of the most astonishing findings in our research. This was an allegorical case, which involved targeting Christians and claiming he or she is akin to Icarus. According to Greek mythology, Icarus is the man who escaped imprisonment by flying too close to the sun.
  4. Mental health facilities can also be used by corrupt politicians to imprison and undermine a political opponent.
  5. Forced medications can be used to silence or kill someone over time—based on their deadly side effects, especially because of wrong dosages and frequency.

If you or anyone have experienced any of the above or have been forced into a mental health hospitals on a Physician Emergency Certificate, especially using black magic or Santeria, contact us. The PEC can sometimes be used like the draconian vagrancy laws popular in the 1700s. You can reach us at to be a part of our investigative series about your experience in mental health facilities. To help sponsor this important series, donate today. See link here.

The Hartford Guardian would like to thank the International Center for Journalists for hosting the Community Health Reporting workshop for helping to fund the beginning of this investigation in June 2014. This project was inspired by an October 7, 2008 death at Sands Apartment in Hartford, CT.

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CONNPIRG to Host Voter Registration Day

HARTFORD — Trinity College students will join a massive push nationwide to register voters.

The event, scheduled for Sept. 24 from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., will be at Mather Hall at Trinity College, 300 Summit St.

Student volunteers will be encouraging others to write down the reasons why they’re voting on a banner, which will be displayed at future New Voter Registration focused events.

The voter registration drive is to encourage young people, who make up the largest and most diverse group of potential voters in the country. But youth voice is often unheard because young people don’t vote in enough numbers, organizers said.

 In 2018, 31 percent of eligible young voters cast a ballot, compared to an average of 50 percent for the entire population of voters.

The goal of this year’s National Voter Registration Day is to increase participation in democracy by registering, educating, and activating students in the campus community. CONNPIRG students are partnering with campus officials, faculty and other student groups to ensure that Trinity students have the ability to exercise their most basic right—the right to vote.

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God, The Church and Race in America

 By Ann-Marie Adams, Ph.D. | @annmarieadams

Life is full of turning points, moments when certain aspects of the human dimension hinges on a single crucial choice. April 4, 2014 was a turning point for me as a Christian.

That’s the Hartford Police Department interrupted my relationship with God, while I was attending a Catholic church and exploring other faith-based organizations in the Greater Hartford area. Those officers and others disrupted my learning about the ritual of making the sign of the cross, praying, saying penance and singing to God. This disruption was disturbing and can be seen as an act of religious persecution. Out of that kind of interruption by the police, several providential acts occurred, and this, too, can also be considered a continuation of my spiritual journey that began in 2001.

Since 2001, I have visited several other churches in the Greater Hartford area to find a church home that inspires me. I visited ones that seemingly met the criteria: Pentecostal, Protestant, Anglican and Catholic churches after I left my first home church: The African Methodist Episcopal Church, where I learned about liberation theology. It emphasizes social concern for the poor and political liberation for the oppressed. This notion is akin to Portuguese educator Paulo Freire’s pedagogy of the oppressed. When teaching, I strive to adopt this approach to reach my students.

Of course, that pedagogy and liberation theology in America hinges on the Civil Rights Movement that sees the Bible, particularly the exodus from Egyptian slavery, as a parable of the struggle for black freedom. To me, black liberation is also a spiritual journey and is fit for almost every African American who desire true freedom.

Dr. Ann-Marie Adams explains her
spiritual journey toward God.

So as a history professor and a journalist, I was interested in tracing and parsing the power of agape love, the kind of love for God, country, and family that propelled me to a comfortable place in life. So I was not restless—just looking for a church to not only worship God but to learn more about God’s second coming and his principles.

Since visiting different churches as a child, I found many pastors don’t often preach about the Holy Spirit. After much thought, I had questions: how will we know when God comes? The Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 5 verse 2 that God will come “like a thief in the night.” But those who are evil and want to persecute Christians can come just like a thief in the night, right?

This was the case in 2014. Several thieves attacked me in my home just like that. I reported the incident to the Avon and Hartford police departments. And there was no resolution. Instead, there was a series of denials and covert retributions, including media suppression. And those sequence of events led me on a spiritual journey toward being fully aware of the dangers of sharing publicly the joys of being a Christian.

The painful fact is that we live in a time when religious persecution, the systematic mistreatment of an individual or a group is rampant. These persecutions will not be televised. So how do we arm ourselves against such treachery that invades our lives while at home?

On my journey toward edification, I arrived in Hartford.  That’s because I wasn’t able to find a church elswhere that dealt directly with the daily battle for souls. I didn’t find a church that comforted me in a time of spiritual warfare instigated by outside forces, wrestling with high principalities during presidential election seasons. I believe some pastors lack sufficient knowledge about the Holy Spirit and therefore fail to impart fully the essence of the Trinity: God, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

As a historian, I was forced to trace this disconnect between these pastors and the biblical events happening in these times: spiritual warfare, diseases, heathens persecuting Christians at night by disrupting prayer time, interfering with reading the Bible, interrupting church attendance, theft and destruction of property, beatings, torture, incitement of hate and other forms of harassment.

God is love. Photo courtesy of

I don’t know much about theology, meaning the study of God, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. But I know this much is true: I experienced the joy of being in the moment with God on earth—a magnificent bright and white light ferociously tethered to the heart, soul and body. Pastor John McHugh authenticated that experience for me, and the uncertainty of the existence of God disappeared, especially after McHugh confirmed the encounter. And of course, I thank God for showing me his Mighty presence. That’s because my faith was strong. But I needed proof that there is a God . And God came to awaken me to his wondrous blessings.

And after that encounter with the Mighty God in 2015, I went to Good Friday service and kissed the cross. The cross shook in its wooden cradle. During the veneration of that cross, I discovered that God’s love is indeed fierce. It was a extraordinary and powerful moment. And like a tidal wave, rushing into me, God love was really fierce and forceful.  And for the first time, I felt deeply what it meant to be dating Jesus. I’m at a new church now. Let’s see what God has in store for me.

Related Articles:

What does God look like? Depends on your politics and race, study finds

Religious Persecution

All About Following Jesus

Dr. Ann-Marie Adams is an award-winning journalist and historian. She has worked for the Hartford Courant, the Washington Post, People magazine, Fox News and NBC 4 New York. She received a Ph.D. from Howard University and teaches U.S. History. @annmarieadams

Photo Courtesy of Fairmount

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Kevin Kane to Retire Nov. 1

Rose Henry, Staff Writer

HARTFORD – Chief State’s Attorney Kevin Kane will retire effective Nov. 1.

Gov. Ned Lamont announced Kane’s pending retirement on Tuesday, saying this is a “much deserved retirement” for the state’s seventh and longest serving Chief State’s Attorney since the position was created in 1973.

“Kane worked on and oversaw some of our state’s most challenging, important, and complex cases,” Lamont said in a statement released to the press. “He has worked tirelessly and dedicated his career to pursing justice and ensuring fairness in our criminal justice system. I thank Attorney Kane and wish him well in his much deserved retirement.”

Kane began his career as a prosecutor nearly 47 years ago in the Ninth Circuit in Middletown. He is responsible for all state prosecutors, including the chief state’s attorney.

Kane is the administrative head of the Division of Criminal Justice, the independent agency of the executive branch of state government that is responsible for the investigation and the prosecution of all criminal matters in the state.

Kane earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and his Juris Doctorate from the University of Connecticut School of Law.

Kane has worked closely with State Attorney Gail Hardy who oversees the Judicial District of Hartford.

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Weaver High School Reopens

By Rose Henry, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — It’s official.

Weaver High School will reopen on Tuesday. Thanks to a $133 million renovation effort to reestablish a familiar institution in the city’s North End.

The new top-tier facility will hold 900 students and include three academies: the Journalism and Media Academy, High School Inc, and the Richard J. Kinsella Performing Arts High School.

An artist rendering of the new top-tier Weaver High School, which opened on Thursday.

The academic portions of the four-story school were finished in time on Thursday for teachers and the staff arrived to prepare for the first day of school.  More renovations are slated to be done in 2020, three years after construction began in 2017.

The state-of-the-art facility offers many amenities including a black box theater, storage space and a renovated radio station.

The mission behind renovating the existing campus was to “promote a new psychology and emphasize the idea of a new start.”

Photo Courtesy of

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Wadsworth Atheneum to Present Alive!

HARTFORD — The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art is partnering with Breakfast Lunch & Dinner and Cafeteria Radio to present Alive!, a two-part music series.

The event on Sept. 15 from 3 to 7 p.m. will be held in the Wadsworth’s outdoor courtyard where a team of DJ’s will play complementary genres of music joined by a live musician.

“We are thrilled to partner with Breakfast Lunch & Dinner and Cafeteria Radio to feature local DJ’s and musicians offering a fresh performance concept and activating our courtyard as a spot to socialize on three summer nights,” says Debbie Gaudet, curator of film and theater at the Wadsworth. “We hope it becomes an annual tradition.”

Cash bar and snacks for purchase will be available. Purchase tickets online at Single tickets are $10 online, $20 at the door; table for 4 (limited): $50 online, $75 at the door.

Alive! at the Atheneum is presented in collaboration with Breakfast Lunch & Dinner and Cafeteria Radio. Rain dates are August 19, and Sept. 16.

For more information call 860-278-2670 or visit

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CT Tax Week Begins Aug 18

HARTFORD — Gov. Ned Lamont is reminding consumers in Connecticut that the state’s sales tax-free week begins Aug. 18 and runs through Aug. 24.

During this one-week sales tax holiday, retail purchases of most clothing and footwear items priced under $100 are exempt from the sales and use tax. This exemption applies to each eligible item under $100, regardless of how many of those items are sold to a customer on the same invoice.

Sales tax free week was included as part of the biennial budget that was supported by House and Senate Democrats and signed into law this summer by Governor Lamont. It is estimated that Connecticut shoppers will benefit from approximately $4.9 million in savings during the sales tax holiday, which coincides with the busy back-to-school shopping season.

“Having this tax-free holiday helps working families stretch their dollar a little bit more during the busy back-to-school season while giving businesses an extra boost to their bottom line,” Governor Lamont said. “I also encourage residents during this busy shopping week to consider locally-owned retailers and supporting Connecticut’s small business community.”

“Sales tax-free week offers real savings at an opportune time, when families are planning for the school year and shopping for new clothing and footwear,” Department of Revenue Services Commissioner Scott D. Jackson said. “In addition to promoting Connecticut’s retail sector, the sales tax holiday helps stretch shopping budgets – something we can all appreciate and look forward to.”

“Connecticut retailers work diligently throughout the year to be responsive to their customers and provide outstanding customer service,” Timothy G. Phelan, president of the Connecticut Retail Merchants Association, said. “Retailers are also actively involved in their communities and play a pivotal role in the strength and vibrancy of the Connecticut economy. Connecticut sales tax free week provides an opportunity for customers to shop at local retail businesses and save money on their purchases, which can be especially helpful for families preparing for the upcoming school year.”

Many retailers in Connecticut frequently offer additional clothing and footwear discounts during sales tax free weeks, resulting in even more savings for shoppers.

Additional information on Connecticut’s sales tax free week, including examples of individual items that are exempt or taxable as well as specific statutory information, can be found by visiting the DRS website at and clicking the “2019 Sales Tax Free Week” link.

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Hartford Residents Get Relocation Assistance

By Fran Wilson, Staff Writer

Hundreds of Hartford residents will be able to move from poor housing conditions in the North End of the city. Thanks to a grant from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving.

The foundation awarded a $220,000 grant to the Christian Activities Council, which is starting a new project that will help residents get safe and decent housing leaving Barbour Gardens and Infill, two subsidized apartments in the North End of the city. The two complexes were closed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The Council’s program, billed “Empowering Choice” will provide technical, bilingual, legal and relocation information and assistance to residents.

“We are grateful for this support from the Hartford Foundation at a critical time in our No More Slumlords campaign,” said Christian Activities Council Executive Director Cori Mackey. “Helping residents organize for decent, safe, and sanitary living conditions was the first goal. When we realized the owners were unwilling to make needed investments, relocation become the only option.”

She continued: “Many residents want to stay in Hartford, in the neighborhoods they love, and others want to move to other neighborhoods outside of Hartford or outside of Connecticut. Unfortunately, the relocation process is ripe with discriminatory practices and residents face one obstacle after another as a result of the very intentional barriers put before them by a legacy of housing discrimination and systemic racism.”

The affected families were given access to relocation assistance and housing vouchers, which can be used anywhere in Connecticut. Families in disadvantaged areas have faced significant barriers to mobility that confront them when they try to move out of subsidized housing in high-poverty, resource-poor areas of racially and economically segregated metropolitan regions. The Council will provide leadership training and ongoing support and outreach to affected residents. The Open Communities Alliance, a nonprofit civil rights organization that addresses racial segregation through housing policy, will collaborate with the Council. The OCA will provide legal expertise, consultation with residents, and national civil rights experience.

OCA Executive Director Erin Boggs thanks the Foundation for recognizing the extent of the structural barriers faced by residents in Hartford’s North End.

“This generous support enables us, in collaboration with our highly skilled and courageous partners at the Council, to provide vital guidance and advocacy services for residents on a continuous basis and in real-time as they contend with the many challenges of relocating under tight time constraints in a voucher program and rental market that for many are unfamiliar.”

Other organizations that will lend support are The Yale Law School Housing Clinic, the Greater Hartford Legal Aid and the Connecticut Fair Housing Center.

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