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CT Announces New Health Equity Office


HARTFORD — The Connecticut Department of Public Health last Wednesday announced a new Office of Health Equity.

Officials said that the office is established to improve the health of all Connecticut residents by working to eliminate differences in disease, disability and death rates among ethnic, racial and other population groups that are known to have adverse health status or outcomes.

Such population groups may be based on race, ethnicity, age, gender, socioeconomic position, immigrant status, sexual minority status, language, disability, homelessness, mental illness or geographic area of residence.

The office’s name and mission statement was adopted by the Connecticut General Assembly as Section 5 of Public Act 14-231 “An Act Concerning The Department Of Public Health’s Recommendations Regarding Various Revisions To The Public Health Statutes,” which was signed into law by Governor Dannel P. Malloy on June 13, 2014.

The office replaces the former DPH Office of Multicultural Health.

“This office emphasizes the principle of health as a human right and social good for all people,” said Malloy. “It reflects the ongoing commitment of this administration to advance the principles of health equity and allow all Connecticut residents to be as healthy as they can be.”

The Office of Health equity will support and further recent efforts at DPH, including the department’s strategic plan, which identified “champion health equity” as one of six agency goals; and the State Health Improvement Plan, in which health equity and the social determinants of health are overarching themes for the entire plan.

“Promoting health equity is central to our mission at the Department of Public Health,” said DPH Commissioner Dr. Jewel Mullen. “This office will provide support and resources to all our programs so they can incorporate health equity into their everyday work.”

The DPH Office of Health Equity is staffed by two epidemiologists and a research analyst, and is supported by staff across the agency.

For more information, visit www.ct.gov/dph/healthequity.

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CT Voter Registration Deadline Nears


HARTFORD — Connecticut voters have one month to register to vote so they can cast ballots in the Nov. 4 general election.

Voters can register onlineor by mail. The deadline to register is Oct. 21. For in person registration, the deadline is Oct. 28.

So far in 2014, 53,940 new voters have registered, including 15, 924 Democrats and 10, 303 Republicans and 26,276 unaffliated voters, according to state officials.

Overall, there are 1, 931, 880 voters in Connecticut. The total number of registered Democrats in the state is 706, 211. The number of registered Republicans is 402, 840. The number of unaffiliated voters is 803,564.

Polls will be open on Nov. 4 from 6: 00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. To find out if you are registered, check www.sots.ct.gov/vote.

Connecticut voters with a valid driver’s license can register to vote at htpps://voterregistration.ct.gov

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Bike Week to Begin at Old State House


HARTFORD — How did a Civil War veteran become the father of the American bicycle and turn Hartford into the bicycle capital of the world?

Join Steve Goddard, author of Colonel Albert Pope and His American Dream Machines, on  Sept. 16 at noon to discover how one Hartford factory became the largest employer in New England, producing everything from high wheelers to bicycles to electric cars.

Following  Goddard’s talk, join in a panel discussion about making Connecticut more bike-friendly and promoting bike racing among Connecticut kids with Goddard, Aidan Charles, the Founder and Executive Director of the Connecticut Cycling Advancement Program, and Kelly Kennedy, Executive Director of Bike Walk Connecticut. TheConnecticut Network’s (CT-N) Diane Smith will moderate the conversation.

Following the program, enjoy Wheels for All, a temporary exhibit that showcases six bikes dating from 1869 to 1914, on loan from the Connecticut Historical Society.  This will be on display at Connecticut’s Old State House from Sept. 16-20.

General admission rates apply to this exhibit.

The American Dream Machine: Bicycles Past, Present & Future begins at Noon, attendees are encouraged to enjoy their lunches during this free event inside Connecticut’s Old State House.

For more information on admission prices, upcoming events and parking discounts nearby, visit online at http://www.ctoldstatehouse.org.

 

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Group Seeks Volunteers to Help Veterans


HARTFORD — Several agencies want to help Hartford veterans, the men and women who served in the armed forces.

Rebuilding Together and the Livable, Sustainable Neighborhood Initiative has teamed up to perform exterior home and yard clean-up aimed at renovating the homes of twelve Hartford veterans.

The group is looking for volunteers to assist in the project, which is scheduled for Sept. 13  from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The 12 homes of these honored veterans are located throughout the city.

Officials said that volunteers are needed “to help serve those who have served.”

Individuals interested in volunteering can register on-line at www.rebuildingtogetherhartford.org.c When you go to the website, click on the green box that says: “Click here to Register.”

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Program Aims to Help Long-term Unemployed


HARTFORD — Created to appeal to qualified candidates often overlooked in the hiring process, the Platform to Employment program is seeking applications from the long-term unemployed.

Connecticut residents who have exhausted their unemployment benefits are welcome to apply online to the P2E, a program offered statewide. Classes will be held in Bridgeport, Waterbury, New Haven, Norwich/New London and Hartford.

The WorkPlace is about to offer this nationally recognized program, which received $3.6 million to create the first statewide P2E program in the nation.

By partnering with the Connecticut Department of Labor and Vocational Rehabilitation and the states four other workforce investment boards (WIB), P2E will serve 500 Connecticut residents during the program yea, officials said. The program’s first statewide class of 100 is expected to begin in September.

Joseph Carbone, President and CEO of The WorkPlace, said the P2E is to provide tools and resources needed to return the long-term unemployed to work.

“The program provides hope and opportunity for workers that are frequently overlooked when hiring, and it offers employers a risk-free opportunity to consider qualified candidates to meet their needs,” Carbone said.

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10 Hartford Stereotypes That Are Completely Accurate


By Erika Zane, Movoto.com

1. In Hartford, UConn Is Not A College–It’s A Lifestyle Choice…

hartford-stereotypes-hartford-guardianSource: Flickr user JTommaselli

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everyone knows that UConn students dominate Hartford-it’s the closest city to UConn’s main campus in Storrs and also is home to UConn Hartford, UConn Business School, and UConn Law school. Plus, the UConn Huskies men’s and women’s basketball teams regularly play games at the Hartford XL Center. Basically, Hartford is UConn country, so don’t be alarmed when you hear a random person in the street yelling: “UCONN,” followed immediately by someone screaming back, “HUSKIES”.

2. Hartfordites Are Drunk, Rowdy, And Often Embarrassing Frat Boys…

Hartford Stereotypes

Source: Flickr user Clinton Steeds

Despite what you may have heard, UConn Spring Weekend is still a thing–there’s just no stopping it. Instead of taking place on the Storrs Campus, however, the party has moved 20 minutes South to Hartford. And Hartfordites (a.k.a The UConn students who overtake Hartford) know how to party.

Sometimes we’re even a bit too rowdy for our own good. And I’m not the first to say it: Dave Chappelle actually condemned the city of Hartford after having to walk off stage during a comedy routine at Hartford’s Comcast Center. The drunk, rowdy crowd just couldn’t keep it together long enough to actually hear the show. Yeah. Not our finest moment, people.

3. Or They’re Geeky Number Crunchers

Hartford Stereotypes

Source: quickmeme.com

If you live in Hartford and you’re not a rowdy UConn student, you’re probably an actuary. Hartford is the insurance capital of the world, and this stereotype defines the city. Driving through Hartford, you’re overwhelmed by the skyline of insurance buildings. Practically everyone and their mother works for an insurance company-Aetna, United, Travelers.

Basically, in Hartford, no one’s afraid to jump off a roof because they’re all 1) skilled enough in probability to know whether or not they will die from the jump and/or 2) They are covered under extremely extensive health/life/car/any-other-insurable-thing-you-can-think-of insurance plans so they simply do not care.

4. Hardfordites Never Miss A Chance To Demonstrate Their Right To Assemble

Hartford Stereotypes

Source: Flickr user ragesoss

Hartford is nicknamed the “Heartbeat” for a reason: the people of Hartford run Connecticut politically and have put on some of the largest political demonstrations in the state. It is the state capitol, after all, so the city attracts a lot of activists, hippies, politicians, and others who will not be silenced!

5. Hardfordites Like Totally Crush On Obama <3 <3 <3

Hartford Stereotypes

According to citydata.com, 95 percent of people voted for President Obama on the 2012 presidential election in Hartford. Yes, you read that correctly: 95 percent. That’s a lot of Hartford citizens voting democrat! And it definitely influences the culture of Hartford: Obama paraphernalia is pretty much everywhere you look. So if you lean right, perhaps Hartford isn’t the place for you.

6. Hardfordites Ride Or Die For The Red Sox

Hartford Stereotypes

Source: Flickr user Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Connecticut is known for being filled with pinstriped wearing, Jeter loving, straight-up diehard Yankee fans. However, while the Yankees may have the allegiance of Connecticut as a whole, the Red Sox have won the hearts of Hartfordites. A higher percentage of Red Sox fans live in Hartford compared to other Connecticut cities, making the state capitol a safe-haven for Boston fans.

7. Hardfordites Are Still In Mourning Over The Hartford Whalers

Hartford Stereotypes

Source: quickmeme.com

Everyone remembers going to see the Hartford Whalers as a kid-it was epic. And now they’re gone. And none of us can let it go. Sigh. The Hartford Whalers used to be an NHL team based in Hartford (and CT’s only professional sports team), but they left the state several years ago. People have petitioned and rallied and started FB pages called, “Bring back the Whalers”-but, to no avail. Most cities would let it go. But Hardford never will. I guess that makes them Hartford …. OK, moving on.

8. Hardfordites Live On A Steady And Oh-So-Tasty Diet Of Paella And Pasteles

Hartford Stereotypes

Source: Flickr user bluepoppy6

Approximately 44 percent of Hartfordites are Puerto Rican, making Hartford the city with the second largest Puerto Rican population in the Northeast. The culture of Hartford is definitely influenced by Puerto Rican food, music, and dance. So if you don’t like paella and pasteles, you should probably move.

9. Hardfordites Are Your Worst Nightmare Behind The Wheel

Hartford Stereotypes

Driving through Hartford is every Connecticut resident’s worst fear. It has been theorized that, when designing I-84 through Hartford, the city management wanted it to closely resemble hell. Not an exaggeration. And, let’s be honest with ourselves, Hartford has some crazy drivers. Because the state is sandwiched between New York and Massachusetts, we really are a mixture of the worst of both stereotypical drivers. They drive 60 mph in the left lane and Will. Not. Let. You. Pass. But they also will not hesitate to run you over–“pedestrian right of way”? Pssh, ain’t nobody got time for that.

10. Hartford Is Tougher Than Any Other Connecticut City–If You Have A Problem With It, We Can Take It Outside

Hartford Stereotypes

Source: Flickr user Ninja M.

Hartford is full of people who don’t take “no” for an answer, who will stand up for their beliefs at all cost, and who won’t put up with any crap. While it’s true that CT is the wealthiest state in the country, it’s important to note that not everyone is rolling in dough here. Connecticut has immense economic diversity with many of its residents living below the poverty line, particularly in the big cities, and Hartford is no exception to this.

This hasn’t brought the city down: we’ve withstood a lot of hardship, and we pride ourselves as a “come-up” city. We are the heartbeat of Connecticut, after all–the UConn-yelling, statistics-analyzing, Obama-lovin’, Paella-eating, butt-kicking, heartbeat.

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Hartford Awards After-School Grants


HARTFORD –  Some 1,100 Hartford students at 19 schools will have access to imaginative and diverse after-school enrichment activities this school year thanks to state funds awarded through the Hartford Public Schools.

Fifteen community-based organizations will receive a total of $375,000 through the 2013-2014 Extended School Hours Grant competition.

The individual grants range from $24,000 to the Ebony Horsewomen, an African-American equestrian group based at Keney Park, for a program at Noah Webster MicroSociety Magnet School to $10,000 for Hartford Stage, a local theater, to use at Great Path Academy.  Multi-school awards went to groups such as the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hartford, ConnectiKids and Youth United for Survival.

These programs are intended to provide opportunities for academic improvement, including instructional services to help students meet state and local performance standards, according to the school district’s announcement Friday. The activities also are expected to spark students’ imagination and promote self-discovery through the arts, recreation and fun, socialization, cultural enrichment, service learning, character education, and leadership development.

“ESH grants are an integral part of our district’s reform strategy,” said Superintendent  Christina M. Kishimoto.

Extended School Hours grants are funded by the Connecticut Department of  Education and awarded by Hartford Public Schools through a competitive Request for Proposals (RFP) process that began in October.

The grants cover from Jan. 2 through June 30. A review committee made the awards based on criteria approved by the state Commissioner of Education.

The following grants have been awarded:

Artists Collective, Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary, $24,000

Blue Hills Civic Association, Culinary Arts Academy at Weaver, $24,000

Boys & Girls Clubs, Expeditionary Learning Academy at Moylan School, $24,000;  Global Communications Academy, $20,000

Catholic Charities, Jumoke Academy at Milner, $15,000

COMPASS Youth Collective, Nalor/CCSU Leadership Academy, $24,000

ConnectiKids, M.D. Fox School, $20,000; West Middle-Middle Grades Academy, $24,000

Ebony Horsewomen, Noah Webster, $24,000

Hartford Stage, Great Path Academy, $10,000

Hispanic Health Council, Maria C. Colon Sanchez Elementary, $24,000

Organized Parents Make a Difference, Montessori Magnet School at Moylan, $18,500

Village for Families and Children, Alfred E. Burr Elementary, $15,000

Urban League of Greater Hartford, Bulkeley High School, HPHS-Law and Government, HPHS-Academy of Nursing and HPHS-Academy of Engineering, $24,000

YMCA, Simpson-Waverly School, $24,000

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AAA Racks Up Calls in 2014 Winter Storm


HARTFORD –  Although weather and road conditions are expected to improve Thursday, AAA expects its already heavy volume of emergency calls to increase with more drivers venturing out.

For those who take to the road, AAA  advises extra care to avoid adding to the more than 43,000 call it has received this winter.

On Wednesday, AAA’s Roadside Rescue Team received 572 calls for emergency road service by  late afternoon in Greater Hartford and eastern Connecticut. Many calls were for towing and to extricate vehicles who went off the road into the snow.

AAA Travel agents have also been busy assisting clients whose travel plans have been affected by the weather.

AAA offers the following tips to drivers who must venture out:

  • See and be seen. Clear any snow and ice from your vehicle and keep headlights on at all times.
  • Always wear your safety belt.
  • Avoid distractions. Don’t talk on your cell phone while driving.
  • Keep a safe distance. If you are driving in wet or snowy conditions, give yourself at least three times more space than usual between you and the car in front of you.
  • Brake gently to avoid skidding, and use low gears to avoid losing traction. Gentle pressure on the accelerator when starting is the best way to retain traction and avoid skids.  If your wheels start to spin, let up on the accelerator until traction returns.
  • Avoid passing plows, unless necessary.
  • Use major routes that have been cleared and salted whenever possible.
  • Do not engage your vehicle’s cruise control. Using cruise control on slick roads can cause you to lose control of your vehicle.
  • If you are involved in a crash, either stay in your vehicle, or get far away from traffic.

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Hartford Declares Snow Emergency Parking Ban, Malloy’s State of the State Address Postponed


Fran Wilson, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — Brace yourself.

About 12 inches of snow was predicted to arrive in Southern New England late Tuesday and into Wednesday morning, according to the National Weather Service. But in the Greater Hartford area, up to 4 inches is expected—mostly after midnight.

Temperatures will be in the lows to mid 20s. Light and variable winds…becoming northeast around 5 mile per hour after midnight, according to the weather service.

The city of Hartford has announced a snow emergency parking ban for Hartford, beginning at 10 p.m. on Tuesday and ending at 10 p.m. on Feb. 5.

“This heaviest precipitation from the storm is projected to hit during the morning rush hour, and brings considerable potential for icy conditions,” said Mayor Pedro Segarra. “I’m encouraging all Hartford residents to stay home if at all possible tomorrow. Keeping the streets clear will increase safety for everyone and make it easier for DPW and emergency responders to do their jobs.”

Officials said all Hartford Public Schools and the administrative office will be closed. The Emergency Operating Center (EOC) will be open throughout the ban to monitor the storm, and the Hartford Fire Department will have increased staff on hand.

Also Gov. Dannel Malloy’s State of the State address, scheduled for Feb. 5,  has been postponed until Feb. 6 at noon. Malloy’s address was to signal the start of the legislative session for 2014. The state as partially activated the state emergency operation to “to better coordinate a rapid response to any problems that may arise during the height of the storm.”

“Given the forecast over the next couple of days, I’ve asked legislative leaders to postpone the start of session until February 6,” Malloy said.   “While I hope the storm is not as bad as the predictions suggest, I also don’t want to put anyone in harm’s way.  I want to thank the leaders for accommodating this request.”

Senate President Donald E. Williams, Jr. (D-Brooklyn) agreed.

“Safety is first and foremost,” William said .  “It makes sense to exercise caution and move opening day to Thursday given the blizzard-like conditions being predicted for tomorrow.”

 

 

 

 

During a snow emergency parking ban, all on-street parking is prohibited throughout the City of Hartford. While the ban does not begin until 10pm today, City residents are encouraged to begin parking in snow emergency lots any time after 6pm. Any vehicles not removed from City streets by the start of the parking ban will be ticketed and towed. Residents without access to off-street parking should move their vehicles to one of the following authorized parking areas before the start of the parking ban:

 

  • 2 Holcomb Street Lot
  • Keney Park Entrance Lot—Ridgefield Street
  • KDA Center Lot—Naugatuck Street
  • Pope Park Center Lot—Park Terrace
  • Metzner Center Lot—Franklin Avenue
  • Colt Park Lot—Wawarme Avenue
  • Elizabeth Park Lots
  • Morgan Street Garage—155 Morgan Street
  • All Hartford Schools Parking Lots

 

Residents should remove their vehicles from these lots promptly following the end of the parking ban. All vehicles remaining in Hartford Schools lots past the end of the ban will be subject to ticketing and towing.

 

“Given the forecast over the next couple of days, I’ve asked legislative leaders to postpone the start of session until February 6,” said Governor Malloy.   “While I hope the storm is not as bad as the predictions suggest, I also don’t want to put anyone in harm’s way.  I want to thank the leaders for accommodating this request.”

 

“Safety is first and foremost,” said Senate President Donald E. Williams, Jr. (D-Brooklyn).  “It makes sense to exercise caution and move opening day to Thursday given the blizzard-like conditions being predicted for tomorrow.”

 

“In consideration of the safety of everyone who will be participating and visiting, we have decided to delay the joint legislative session of the General Assembly by one day to Thursday, February 6,” said Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey (D-Hamden).  “This decision was based on the latest forecast for a serious winter storm Wednesday, and is the prudent thing to do for the safety of all concerned.”

 

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A Month After Signing Up for Health Care, Customers Are Still Waiting for Anthem Bill


Updated January 24, 2014 9:33 a.m.

By Ann-Marie Adams, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — Thirty days after many people signed up for Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield on health exchanges, they are still waiting for a bill.

Without the bill, they cannot get an account identification number, which is needed before payment can be made and be recorded with their account.

Anthem Spokesperson Sarah Yeager said that Anthem has hired more than 1,000 associates for its call centers to handle the crush of applicants who signed up during open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act, the most significant health care reform since the advent of Medicaid and Medicare in 1965.

“It is important to keep in mind that his is an unprecedented time of change for everyone in health care,” Yeager said. “While we expect the high call volumes to continue through the open enrollment period, Anthem is committed to getting our members the assistance they need.”

However, the process is taking longer than expected for people who signed up on or by Dec. 23, the deadline for insurance to be effective on Jan.1, 2014.

Anthem Blue Cross Earlier this month, Anthem extended its deadline from Jan. 15 to January 31, 2014 for enrollees to make payment and paperwork to be processed so that insurance can be effective Jan. 1.

But that doesn’t make sense to at least one individual who on Jan. 23 has yet to get a bill. When she called the given customer number, an Anthem customer service representative said her information was “not in the system.”

After she inquired about that at the health exchange she signed up with, which took less than 30 minutes online, they told her the information was processed and sent over to Anthem on Dec. 23.

Yeager said Anthem is processing payments through the government exchange, Access HealthCT.

But there are other exchanges that have moved into the Connecticut insurance market: e-Health, a California-based insurance exchange company and Cross Exchange, which recently acquired the Stamford health insurance exchange: The Insurance Market.

It’s unclear whether Anthem is also processing applicants who signed up with other exchanges.

But customers can go to Anthem.com, Yeager said, to send an email: (help@anthem.com). Once they are on the site, they can look for “Attention Members” and click “contact us” then select send us your questions and comments.”

They can also call 1-888-556-9929, she said.

Anthem is reminding customers that it is “an extraordinary moment of opportunity for the uninsured and a transformational moment for the industry.” And they want customers to be patient.

Earlier on Thursday in a White House Call to the press, Deputy Senior Advisor David Simas was joined by representatives from the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Diabetes Association and American Heart Association to emphasize the dramatic and historic shift in the health care industry.

People with pre-existing conditions such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease will no longer be discriminated against by health care companies or pay higher premiums, he said.

Nationwide, almost more than 2 million people have signed up for the ACA, also known as Obamacare. As of Jan. 15, 85,001 people signed up in Connecticut.

Most of the uninsured are people who don’t have access to group health insurance, including the unemployed, the under-employed and self-employed.

A single person who earn between $11,500 and $46,000 is eligible for a government subsidy.

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