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New CT Grants for Arts in Schools

HARTFORD — Connecticut students will now have access to more arts program, thanks to a grant from the Connecticut State Department of Education.

State officials said that this new grant program—up to $250,000, is to strengthen the arts in education by exposing young people to the arts, so that they can explore a world beyond their immediate surroundings.

The Department of Education is collaborating with the Department of Economic and Community Development and the Connecticut Office of the Arts and the Connecticut Arts Council to provide mini-grants of up to $50,000.

Officials said this money is for schools to enhance arts instruction “through partnerships with local and state arts institutions, organizations, and artists.”

“These cultural investments will directly enrich lives of students and allow us to preserve and enhance the humanities across Connecticut schools,” said Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.

The grant was announced at the state’s recent annual Back-to-School meeting for superintendents. Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor announced that the grant will be made available to schools statewide in this first round of funding.

Successful applications should include plans for how the funding will help the school deepen and sustain their arts programming in concert with a partner institution or artist. Applications that include parent and/or civic engagement will receive preference.

More information is available on the State Department of Education’s web site.

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Groups to Host Screening and Discussion on Violence

HARTFORD — A group of Hartford residents and organizations on Wednesday will continue to tackle the issues of gun violence in the city.

CT Against Gun Violence and Project Longevity will host a screening of the documentary, Shell Shocked, followed by a panel discussion with the Filmmaker John Richie; Tiana Hercules, Project Manager, Project Longevity, Hartford and other community leaders. 

Project Longevity is an exciting program that has been working successfully to curtail gun violence in the largest cities in Connecticut.”

The event is slated to begin at 3 p.m. in the Asylum Hill Congregational Church at 814 Asylum Ave. and at 7 p.m. at the Artist’s Collective, 1200 Albany Ave. 

Admission is free.

 The documentary, Shell Shocked, centers on  youth violence in New Orleans.  

For more information about the film, please visit

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CT Convention to Showcase Young Inventors

STORRS —  The Connecticut Invention Convention on Saturday will feature  770 young inventors, who are expected to compete at the Gampel Pavilion in Storrs for an opportunity to win more than 350 prizes and awards.

The event, hosted by UConn’s School of Engineering, showcases the practical solutions to everyday problems of students in grades K-8, and includes a showcase for “Next Step Inventors” in grades 9-12.

The 31st Annual Connecticut Invention Convention, open to the public, is an event that culminates a year-long program conducted in more than half of Connecticut’s towns and cities that helps foster interest in STEM careers. The program engages nearly 11,000 students in grades K-8 and is the longest-operating program of its kind in the nation.

Opening ceremonies will begin at 10:00 a.m. and feature Sally Reis, Ph.D., vice provost for academic affairs from the University of Connecticut, as the keynote speaker.

For more information about the Connecticut Invention Convention and how to make it a part of your schools, visit

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Local Women Wins Little League Congress Honor, A First

BRISTOL – At the 26th annual Little League International Congress, Little League recognized Maryellen Holden, Connecticut District 5 Administrator, with its highest honor: the Peter J. McGovern Distinguished Service Award.

This award has been presented at the past 24 Little League International Congresses, and Mrs. Holden is first woman to receive the honor for her dedicated service.

Holden has been the district administrator for the 17 local Little League programs in the Bristol, Conn., metro area, since 2010. Prior to that, she served as assistant district administrator for 13 years.

She was first a Little League mom and volunteer with Forestville Little League to her service for the district.First volunteering in 1988, Holden spent time in the concession stand at Forestville Little League in Bristol and quickly became aware of how many volunteers are needed to run a league, especially in the softball program.

While a member of the local Board of Directors, Maryellen served many roles, predominantly as league Secretary. Among her many contributions to Little League,  Holden has been a member of the Little League Baseball and Softball President’s International Advisory Board and currently serves on the Ed Beardsley Challenger Little League Fun Day Committee. She is a member of the Eastern Regional Little League Baseball and Little League Softball Tournament Committees. Last fall, she was recognized for her efforts on a local level as she was inducted into the Bristol Sports Hall of Fame.

Photo Courtesy of Little League Congress: (Left to Right) Stephen D. Keener, Little League President and CEO, with the three, “first women” of Congress: Chris McKendry, SportsCenter Anchor and first woman emcee, Maryellen Holden, Connecticut District 5 Administrator and first woman recipient of the Peter J. McGovern Award, and Dr. Davie Jane Gilmour, first female Little League International Board of Directors Chairman.

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Christians Celebrate the Hope we have in the Easter Message

By Glenn Mollette, Contributor

Unfortunately, millions of Americans are faintly holding on. They are holding on to the instilled American dream they saw in grandpa or even mom and dad. It’s about the attainable dream of living securely with a job, a house, a car and trips to the grocery store. Don’t forget a trip to the doctor when necessary. Many Americans can remember people in their family retiring at 55 – 65 years old. Those ages seemed old then but not so old today.

glen mollettIn the middle of today’s political chaos, government shutdowns and the national finger-pointing blame game, many Americans keep hoping. Years ago many of us were instilled with belief, faith, hope and dreams. We were taught that you don’t give up. We heard, “When the the-hartford-guardian-Opiniongoing gets tough, the tough get going.” We heard about independence, liberty and that eventually with enough work, faith and focus life would settle in and work out.

We heard about the power of people helping people, the great United States of America and that all things with God are possible. Today, many see our country as a place of “me-ism.” Fewer people are confident that we can count on our government leaders to make wise choices and to look out for the people. While mega churches are flourishing thousands of churches have closed their doors due to lack of interest.

America is more desperate today than we’ve been in a long time. Overall, America is desperate for government leadership to stop fighting and do something. We’re tired of hearing about the evil Democrats and the hypocritical Republicans. We’re tired of the unemployment numbers and hungry Americans living in the streets. We’re weary of worrying if there is any future for our children. We don’t want another ten- year trillion dollar war that we can’t afford and takes the lives of our innocent children and parents. We just want to get past all of this mess, but it never ends and is ever growing.

This week there is a shining example of someone who taught us about hope and making a real difference. He went more than the second mile, helped others, cared for the sick and the poor and actually had some very wealthy friends. His name is Jesus. He was a friend of sinners, loved people and humbled himself even unto death. His life changed our world. He was a problem solver and a grave conqueror.

Sadly, America must hope and pray this Easter that our political leaders might become what we elected them to be – servants of the people. They are not servants but they are supposed to be. Our entire planet, from Vladimir Putin, President Barack Obama, Kim Young-Un, Hassan Rouhani to all of us caught in the crossfire, could turn our planet around if we would all become more like the one man who Easter is about.

Glenn Mollette is an American columnist and author.  Contact him at   Like his facebook page

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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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New Haven Man to Be Honored at White House

HARTFORD – A New Haven man, who devotes time to communicating the impacts of climate change, will be honored as a champion of change on Tuesday morning at the White House.

Parker Liautaud, a polar adventurer and climate change campaigner, is a student at Yale University. He studies Geology and Geophysics and is an ambassador of One Young World, a charity organization that develops young leaders through dialogue and interactions with world leaders.

To watch the ceremony, go to at 9:00 am EST on March 18.

Parker has been on three expeditions to the North Pole and the South Pole, which has “inspired people across generations to take action on climate change.”

He led the Willis Resilience Expedition, an Antarctic expedition that involved a 350-mile trek to the South Pole. He set two world records in the process.

The project included a 16-episode live show, dedicated to communicating the impacts and science of climate change. It featured debates and discussions with experts from various fields and live video from Antarctica.

Liautaud is from Palo Alto, California.




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Largest LGBT Conference Comes to CT

HARTFORD —  Get ready for the “largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth conference” in Connecticut.

Planned Parenthood of Southern New England  is partnering with True Colors, to host the conference at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, Conn on March 21 and March 22. The conference is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. and end at 7:30 p.m. on March 21 and continues the following morning  at 8 a.m. It ends at midnight following a student-only dance.

The theme of this year’s True Colors Conference is “leveling the playing field.”

In addition to co-sponsoring and having an educational table at the event, the PPSNE STARS (Students Teaching About Responsible Sexuality), a high school peer education group, will host various workshops on both days and on different topics, including Safer Sex is Smarter Sex, Communicate Before You Fornicate, Sex, Drugs and In Control and Media, Sexuality, Propaganda.

Open to both youth and adults, participants at the True Colors Conference can choose from hundreds of workshops from various tracks: professional, youth only, college only, spiritual institute, general audience, family and caregivers and the activist institute.

In addition to educational and personal growth, participants can enjoy entertainment by special guests, such as Kit Yan, slam poet; Danny Moreno, singer, dancer and entertainer; Robin Cloud, comedian and Brianna Scurry, ESPN commentator.

For more information on True Colors or the conference, visit

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