Archive | September, 2009

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Fired Reporter Sues Courant

HARTFORD — A former columnist for The Hartford Courant is suing the paper through its parent company, saying it violated his free speech rights when it laid him off last month. 

The former coloumnist, George Gombossy, was what former colleagues called “a lifer.” He worked at the Courant for about 30 years.

Interestingly, Courant executives are responding to media inquiries about Gombossy’s lawsuit, which set blogs ablazed this summer after he was uncermoniously fired.

Courant executives focused on Gombossy’s work, said he “showed no interest in a redefined position, which would focus more on consumer questions and less on Connecticut businesses,” according to a report by the New York Times.

 Gombossy disagreed, saying he was fired because aggressively investigated some of the Courant’s top advertisers.

Read Gombossy’s complaint .

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Bob Marley Sons Come to Hartford

HARTFORD — Julian Marley, son of reggae legend Bob Marley and Barbados-born Lucy Pounder, has  awaken.

The naturally talented musician, singer, songwriter, and entertainer released his album Awake May 26 and is playing select dates on the Blazed & Confused tour with Snoop Dogg, Slightly Stoopid, and brother Stephen.
In October, he comes to Hartford. And his brother, Stephen Marley, will join him Oct. 16 at the West Indian Social Club.

The May 2009 release of Awake comes on the heels of an emotionally charged year. Awake is a call for everyone – youths and elders – to awaken to life’s joy and rewards and to live positive.

The roots-reggae sound that Julian has distinctly made his own is supported by the street-energy infusion of hip-hop, bubbling dancehall, and a smooth combination of R&B and reggae.

The first single from Awake is “Boom Draw,” an easy roots-dancehall tune that will surely have fans moving to its rock solid rhythm. More great tracks on Awake include “Little to Late” with Stephen Marley on guest vocals, “Violence in the Street” with Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley, and “Oh Girl” featuring American rapper Mr. Cheeks.

Awake is produced by Julian Marley, along with Stephen and Damian Marley.

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City Selects New Clerk

HARTFORD — The Hartford Court of Common Council wasted no time filling the vacant position left two weeks ago by former town and city clerk, Daniel Carey.

The council’s five Democractic  members  on Monday selected former council president John Bazzano as the new city clerk.

Bazzano was picked from a list of about 12 candidates, including former Democratic Town Chairman Noel McGregor; the wife of Police Chief Daryl K. Roberts, Donna Brown-Roberts; and the assistant town clerk, Winston Smith.

Bazzano was elected to the Court of Common Council in 2003 and was later elected president of the council.  He also served as Chief of Staff to former Mayor, Michael Peters.

As a political appointee, he is expected to earn betweens $89,100 to $136,640.

Two Working Party council members abstained. Republican councilperson Veronica Airey Wilson was absent.

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State Agency Stays Layoffs at CNG and SCGC

HARTFORD — There will be no layoffs for now, the state  yesterday to two gas companies.

After a two-hour hearing inquiring into planned layoffs at Connecticut Natural Gas Corporation and the Southern Connecticut Gas Company, the Department of Utility Control  ordered a temporary stay of any layoffs at both companies and suspended the hearing to a later date.

The department indicated that the paucity of details and vagueness of company responses to both written and verbal questioning regarding planned downsizing at both companies made it impossible at the present time to determine if the proposed layoffs at CNG or SCG place public safety in jeopardy.

The Department indicated that it will set a date in the very near future to re-convene the hearing and urged both CNG and SCG to be prepared for that hearing to answer the questions that the Department has provided to them.  The Department anticipates that the hearing will be re-convened in approximately two weeks.

“The inability of the company to answer questions with any specificity at today’s hearing made the suspension of the hearing and a stay on any layoffs unavoidable,” said Lead Commissioner Amalia Vazquez Bzdyra.  “The purpose of this hearing was made clear to all of the parties over two weeks ago and they have had written interrogatories for over a week.  Yet, they were unable to provide substantive answers to pertinent questions relating to safety and reliability issues at today’s hearing.  The department convened this hearing to determine if the safety of the public and company employees were being jeopardized by the proposed layoffs.  The inability of CNG and SCG to provide answers that informed the Commissioners left us with no options other than to order the stay and suspend the hearing.”

Today’s hearing was convened as the result of an investigation opened by Department Chairman Kevin M. DelGobbo on Sept. 10 to obtain additional details regarding statements by CNG and SCG regarding their planned layoffs.

DPUC initiated the investigation to inquire into the scope of the proposed employee reductions, to determine if those reductions negatively impact the adequacy and the suitability of CNG and SCG to accomplish the duties imposed on them by law and to determine the effect of those reductions on the safety of the public and of their own employees.

Chairman DelGobbo, Commissioner Bzdyra and Commissioner Anthony J. Palermino are the three department commissioners assigned to the panel reviewing this matter.

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Library Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

HARTFORD — The Hartford Public Library is hosting a showcase of the “rich and diverse traditions of Hispanic literature and art this Saturday.

The event will be in the Artium from 12 to 5 p.m. at 500 Main St.

Some events include a Mexican dance presentation by el Grupo Folklorico el Tapeyec from New Haven, Music and poetry interpret in the voices of loacal and regional poets area-wide.

The Exhbit will also showcase loal artisans from Chile, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Guatemala, Nicaradua, Mexico, Perut and the Caribbean.

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Changes Announced for Upcoming Election

HARTFORD — Hartford Registrars of Voters office will be open between 8:00am and 5:00pm on Tuesday September 29, 2009 for the purpose of completing the preliminary registry list of electors who will be entitled to vote in the Municipal Election on Nov. 3.

During such time, electors of the City of Hartford are encouraged to call or visit the office of the Registrars of Voters to request and complete a new voter registration application or to make changes to their voter registration record.

Voters may call the registrars of Voters at (869) 757-9830 or visit the office located in Room 2 on the ground floor of the Municipal Building, 550 Main Street, Hartford, CT.

All changes to voter registration must now be done in writing by completing a new voter registration application.

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Black Caucus Kicks Off Annual Conference

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation kicked off its annual meeting yesterday and continues today with a national town hall meeting, which aims to focus on “a renewed sense of responsibility and purpose.”

The town hall forum  begins today at 8:30-11:45 a.m., and leads a host of sessions planned for the Caucus’ 39th Annual Legislative Conference at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

Under the title “Economic Recovery and Opportunity,” the panel will feature policy makers and experts from the corporate and business world who will discuss methods on how to survive and thrive in these financially turbulent times. The panel is a reflection of the conference overall theme Reinvest…Rebuild…Renew, organizers said.

Ed Gordon, host of Our World with Black Enterprise, and Renee Chenault Fattah, anchor for NBC 10 News in Philadelphia will moderate the panel discussion. Melody Barnes, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council; John Bryant, founder of Hope Economic Development in Minority Communities; George Burrell, executive vice president of PRWT Services; Alfred Liggins, chief executive officer for Radio One; Julianne Malveaux, president of Bennett College and Reps. JamesClyburn of South Carolina; Charles Rangel of New York; Maxine Waters of California; Chaka Fattah of Pennsylvania and Yvette Clarke of New York will join in the discussion.

“The town hall meeting brings together a diverse group of African Americans who have come from across the country to collectively discuss common issues and concerns,” said Elsie L. Scott,  president and chief executive officer for CBCF. “There is hope in the midst of America’s economic crisis. It is critical to remember that as we move forward in facing and defeating the many obstacles Americans are facing today.”

Overall, more than 15,000 people focusing on issues impacting African Americans and the African Diaspora attend ALC each year. The four-day conference features dozens of policy forums, general sessions, exhibits, a job fair, book signings and networking opportunities. It ends with a star-studded awards dinner. Registrants include elected officials, business and industry leaders, celebrities, media, emerging leaders and everyday Americans.

Headlining ALC will once again be the 42 members of the CBC. They will lead forums on education, health care, the environment, economic development, criminal justice, housing, transportation and international affairs throughout the conference. On Sept. 26, thousands of people will join the CBCF and CBC in honoring the contributions of outstanding individuals for their contributions to the community and the nation at the awards dinner.

Other ALC ’09 highlights will include:

Emerging Leaders Series

CBCF will present its popular Emerging Leaders Series from September 24-26. The series will include strategies for community and personal development throughout the conference. Topics will include higher education funding, entrepreneurialism in urban communities, mental health and wellness, a networking luncheon and the premier of BPX 1.0 – The Black Party Xperience – a soulful fusion of music, art, culture and performance.

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Decline in Immigration From Mexico

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Facing a variety of national problems, Mexicans are overwhelmingly dissatisfied with the direction of their country. But they are staying, according to a recent report by the Hispanic Pew Center.

Most describe crime, illegal drugs, economic issues, and political corruption as very big problems. Nearly six-in-ten Mexicans say those who leave their country for the United States enjoy a better life there. One-in-three would move to the U.S. if they had the opportunity and most of those would do so without authorization, the report says.

Nonetheless, the U.S. Census Bureau reported yesterday that immigration from Mexico to the United States is on the decline. The current Pew Global Attitudes survey finds that four-in-ten Mexicans say they know someone who left for the U.S. but returned because they could not find a job.  Even more , 47 percent, report knowing someone who returned because they were turned back by the border patrol.

Nearly all Mexicans see illegal drugs as a major problem, and there is strong support for a tough stance against drug traffickers.  Fully 83 percent  support using the army to fight drug traffickers and most believe the army is making progress in this campaign.

Face-to-face interviews were conducted with 1,000 adults in Mexico between May 26 and June 2, 2009.  The sample is representative of the country’s adult population. The full report, released at 11 am EDT, is available online at:

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Keith Carr Corner Approved

HARTFORD —  The Hartford City Council last night approved  a resolution to name the corner of Main Street and Albany Ave.  Keith Carr Corner.

The vote was by consent, meaning it was lumped into a bunch of resolutions and voted on as something already consented to.

No debate, considering the run up period consisted of wranglings over why that corner was being named after someone, supposedly not associated with that community. Larry Deutsch, one of two councilpersons who didn’t vote to approve the resolution, wanted to add another name to the corner, in the interest of giving “other deserving individuals” their recognition.

About a dozen members of the West Indian Social Club showed up last night to urge the council to approve the resolution.  But that push was not necessary because there were already five committed votes on the panel to ensure its passage and a throng of West Indians packed city hall two weeks ago to “make their voices” heard and to combat opposition to the resolution.

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“Community Day” Begins At Wadsworth

HARTFORD — The Wadsworth is collaborating with the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts to present programming inspired by Hartford artist Sol LeWitt’s Whirls and Twirls wall drawing, on view in the museum.

The museum is inviting the public to enjoy live jazz and dance performances by students from the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts, choreographed by Deborah Goffe, Artistic Director of Scapegoat Garden, and hands on art activities.

Visitors can also take part in docent-led explorations of works in the galleries and a tour of the recent installation of the Hudson River School collection. More family fun will be available with a Storybook Time and a game of Twister for young children.

The museum is also offering several showings of the 30-minute film, “The Way Things Go,” by Swiss artists Peter Fischli and David Weiss. The film documents a 100-foot long chain link assemblage of ordinary objects including tires, ladders, trash bags, and soap that resembles a Rube Goldberg Machine. The movie, a work of art itself, has been on display at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C., the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, and at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebæk, Denmark.
Family box lunches available through The Russell at the Wadsworth Atheneum.

This Community Day launches the museum’s monthly program of Last Saturdays for Families with free admission from 10:00 am to 1:00 p.m. and will happen every last Saturday for a morning of art-filled fun!

Last Saturdays for Families is sponsored, in part, by the Aetna Foundation.

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