Archive | November, 2009

Dwight After-School Program Receives Grant

HARTFORD — Dwight Elementary School got a boost to its after-school program, thanks to a grant from Traveler’s Insurance Company.

Travelers awarded a $40,000 grant to the Village for Families & Children, Inc. to provide academic support services in the Dwight School at 585 Wethersfield Ave. 

This intensive Village program works in collaboration with the principal, teachers and school staff in order to provide valuable after-school academic help, according to Village officials.

The support, they say, will help students with leadership and character development skills, along with enrichment and recreational activities. The award will also provide students with backpack food donations that will supplement their nutritional needs. 

Travelers is a Fortune 100 company, has 33,000 employees and 2008 revenues of about $24 billion.

Posted in YouthComments (0)

Report: Job Diversity Suffers During Recession

The St.  Louis Post-Dispatch’s writer Steve Giegerich’s gives sobering news on the impact of the recession on minorities.

Raw numbers ultimately tell the story of the nation’s economic fortunes in good times and bad.

And in this recession, the numbers indicate diversity has been swept out of American offices, shops and factory floors — along with 15.1 million lost jobs.

“It is always African-Americans, new immigrants and poor whites that get caught up in a recession and are therefore hurt the greatest,” says Claude Brown Sr., the president of the St. Louis Chapter of the NAACP.

Data compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Data — and analyzed in a report issued by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis — suggests that the Great Recession of 2007-09 is no exception.

Not by a long shot.

African-American workers have lost jobs at a rate 50 percent higher than white employees over the last two years, according to the study prepared by Howard Wall, a St. Louis Fed economist and vice president.

Wall found the gap is even more profound when unemployment is broken down by gender:

Projecting the volume of jobs lost had recession not interrupted the trajectory of the economy, Wall determined that black women are now unemployed at a rate (10.8 percent) twice that of white women (5.4 percent).

“There are a lot of unfortunate effects of the recession, one being that many of the gains made by black women over the last 20 years have been erased,” said Wall.


Defying the odds, workers in some sectors have dodged the unemployment bullet.

Wall’s study determined, for instance, that the unemployment rate among Hispanics has dropped by less than a percentage point over the last 23 months.

“The downturn in the economy has hurt, but not as bad as we thought it would,” said Jorge Riopedre, executive director of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Greater St. Louis.


Riopedre gives credit for the relatively low numbers to the employers he says are reaching out to bilingual customers and clients.

Robyn Berkley says businesses that have watched diversity walk out the door following a layoff can trace the loss of diversity to a basic tenet of hiring economics.

“As organizations moved to become more diverse, their more recent hires have been minorities and women,” said the assistant professor of business at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

“If laying off is based on seniority, then seniority trumps.”

Kathy Osborn, executive director of the Regional Business Council, points out that many companies have, in fact, maintained a well-balanced work force over the last 23 months.

For those businesses, Osborn said, recruitment is just the first step in an overall strategy to “cultivate and promote” women and minorities.

A company that invests in the future of its employees by actively enlisting them in color- and gender-blind training and advancement programs is more likely to value that investment when decisions are made about who should stay and who should go during economic declines.

“If you’ve been doing that all along, I would not suspect you’d see any change in diversity,” said Osborn.

With the country pulling out of the recession, firms that haven’t strived to diversify middle and top management may now be forced to start the process of broadening their employment pool anew.

Forecasts of jobs lagging far behind other segments of the economic recovery, the experts say, could mean that the diversification of many businesses may be a long time coming.

“Obviously, it is going to be a slow, slow process,” said Jim Breaugh, a management professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

When it comes to hiring, Breaugh believes men will lag behind other employment groups as the effects of the recession begin to end.

The reason, he notes, is a short-term employment market that is expected to offer more positions in health care, retail services and education — jobs that traditionally attract women.

Wall, though, believes the jobless recovery will, for the most part, be indiscriminate.

“We’re still looking at two years until overall employment returns to where it was when the recession began,” said the Federal Reserve official. ”

And that’s the optimistic story. That’s not for groups that have a much steeper hole to climb out of.”

Posted in Business, FeaturedComments (1)

State Unviels Interactive Travel Map

HARTFORD — The state has unvielded a new interactive travel information map just in time for the holiday season.

 Gov. Jodi Rell said the map has timely information about current road conditions will help reduce headaches and reduce congestion.

The Department of Transportation’s map allows users to view real-time roadway incidents.  Information from the state’s two Highway Operations Centers is used to update the map with the location and expected duration of congestion causing incidents throughout the state. 

Visitors to the site can use the left hand selection panel to choose which levels of information they wish to view at this site: CT Travel Map.

Commissioner Joseph F. Marie said hte map was built with “in-house resources.

The Department’s network of intelligent transportation infrastructure is the backbone of incident management and mitigation, consisting of more than 300 traffic cameras, dozens of variable message signs, and speed sensors in locations throughout the state, officials said.  The cameras, variable message signs, construction information, as well as other travel-related information are all accessible on the map. 

The state’s existing “E-Traffic Alert” system emails real-time incident notifications to over 11,000 subscribers.  

 Rell said that the interactive map will provide an additional resource on current traffic conditions.

Posted in Business, Neighborhood, TravelComments (1)

Tags: ,

New Fire Chief Appointed

HARTFORD —  Hartford now has its first Hispanic Fire Chief.

Mayor Eddie Perez on Friday appointed Edward Casares Jr. to replace retiring Fire Chief Charles A. Teale Sr, who was chief for nine years.

Perez said he based his decision on Teal’s recommendation. After nearly 30 years in the fire department, Teale retired Thursday.

Casares, 51, is a 28-year veteran of the department, like Teal is a “son of Hartford.” And he is the 36th chief of the Hartford Fire Department.

“He’s fair. He won’t make decisions based on someone’s skin color and he has the technical expertise,” Teale said. “He will steer the department in a positive direction.”

A tragedy 30 years ago prompted Casares to join the Hartford Fire Department.  That event was the death of Julio Lozado, a 12-year-old boy who was trapped under a collapsed building.  Neighbors had tried to tell the first responders at the scene what was happening but none of the firefighters at the time spoke Spanish.  As a result, the Hartford Fire Department agreed to increase the number of Spanish-speaking firefighters.

Upon his appointment, Casares said he is humbled by the opportunity. “I never became a firefighter to be a pioneer or a hero,” he said. “I serve out of love and compassion for the people of this great City.”

Posted in NeighborhoodComments (0)

Tags: ,

Richest Dead Celebrity: Bob Marley

Go figure. The richest dead celebrity might just be a young lass who grew up in the ghetto of Kingston, Jamaica. Check out this article from Fortune magazine.

TORONTO   — Is reggae superstar Bob Marley bigger than Jesus? That’s debatable, but the music legend who died 28 years ago is about to challenge Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson for the title of richest dead celebrity.


Toronto-based private-equity firm Hilco Consumer Capital has struck a management deal with the Marley estate, which is expected to generate worldwide annual sales in excess of $1 billion by 2012. That seems like a huge number, but by some estimates the Marley name, sound, and image already generate as much as $600 million in pirated merchandise.


“Marley is a strong global brand,” says Mickey Goodman, a professional marketer and professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business. “He enjoys a high level of awareness, and people feel positive about his music.”


Major licensing agreements for the Marley brand are about to be launched in two key areas: consumer electronics — including headphones, docking stations, and speakers — and health care, which will likely feature skin-care products and herbal supplements. Also in the works, according to Hilco, are deals for a Marley-branded calming beverage, a video game similar to Guitar Hero featuring Marley’s songs, and a chain of restaurants celebrating the music superstar.


Could this be commercial overkill for the Rastafarian whose spiritual songs about social injustice, hope, and redemption have become anthems for billions of fans, from Marrakech to Tokyo, and will it alienate them?


This is not just about money,” says Jamie Salter, Hilco’s chief executive. “We have to believe in the people and products we partner with.” Salter adds that the Marley estate will have final say on all business ventures, and that charities will figure into the overall mix of Marley branding.


Licensing of dead celebrities is an industry that has exploded in the last decade, thanks in large part to the proliferation of websites and blogs devoted to their memory. Typically, an estate receives 10% to 15% of gross proceeds from a licensing deal, which in this case will be divided between Hilco and the Marley family.


The artist who created such reggae hits as “One Love,” “No Woman, No Cry,” and “I Shot the Sheriff” fathered a total of 13 children, some out of wedlock, and it’s not clear how many are included in the estate. Salter declined to explain how proceeds will be divided between his management company — which also has an equity stake in a number of high-profile brands, including Polaroid, Sharper Image, and fashion label Halston — and the Marleys.


However, at a conservative 10%, licensing fees from $1 billion in annual sales should pull in about $100 million for Hilco and the Marleys. That tops the latest figures reported for Presley ($55 million), John Lennon ($15 million), and Jimi Hendrix ($8 million).


Michael Jackson — who is worth more dead than alive <>  with an estimated $90 million in earnings in the last 12 months — appears to be Marley’s nearest rival for the richest-dead-celebrity crown. However, much of Jackson’s reversal of fortune is due to a sharp spike in the sales of his albums and merchandise in the weeks following his death, as well as the one-time success of “This Is It,” a film documenting rehearsals for shows he never performed at London’s O2 arena.


But the danger of operating the Marley marketing machine in overdrive is that it could irreparably harm the natural mystic’s image. Some brand experts now view Elvis as more of a caricature than icon as a result of overexposure.


For Sanjay Sood, director of the Entertainment & Media Management Institute at UCLA, there’s one question to ask: If Marley were alive today, would he want his name associated with a particular product? “A lot of artists would say ‘no,'” says Sood. “Otherwise, they would have done it when they were alive.”


Presley’s estate, which is managed by New York-based CKX, launched a line of clothing that turned out to be a bust. (CKX also controls the Muhammad Ali brand and has an equity stake in the company that produces the “American Idol” television show.)


More recently, Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono has licensed her husband’s song “Real Love” to be used by JC Penny (JCP <> , Fortune 500 <> ) in television ads, and she’s given Ben & Jerry’s ice cream permission to release a Lennon-inspired flavor called “Imagine Whirled Peace.”


Salter of Hilco says the Marley brand has a long way to go before reaching saturation, noting he also considered doing business with the Dean Martin, Marilyn Monroe, and Jimi Hendrix estates, but settled on the Rastafarian from Trench Town, Jamaica, because that’s where he says he saw the biggest potential.


There has never been a better time, it seems, to be a dead celebrity — or perhaps, more precisely, the heir to a dead celebrity’s name.  <>  Picture (Device Independent Bitmap)

Posted in A & E, Featured, NationComments (107)

Tags: , , , ,


By Jonathan Smalls, FILM CRITIC

An awful lot of hype has accumulated around Precious, based on the novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire. The film debut at the Toronto Film Festival in January, but has only reached main stream audiences in November. Strategically this, positions the film well to win awards in the spring and admiration from an American audience.

The movie is an emotional tale of a poor, illiterate, teen mother in 1980s Harlem, but it is not as much of a tear-jerker as its description makes it seem. The story is littered with noteworthy moments ranging from amusing to shocking to just plain sad. Author Sapphire tells a tale true to real life where the happy ending is not guaranteed, the bad guy may not get his in the end, and every inch of progress takes painful effort, humility, and sacrifice.

There are more than enough sad tales in this world, and more than enough people are literate enough to document them. Being based upon a strong novel is not enough. There is plenty of room to lose the story in translation to the screen, or to ignore that film, and print are different media, and keep too much.


However screenwriter Geoffrey Fletcher, and director Lee Daniels find that elusive balance through artfully including imaginative elements, and letting each scene be a complete idea without bloating it after the punctuation mark. There is also a clear distinction between what is imagined, and actual events without ruining the pacing of the film, at times even including both elements in the same shot.

Combining the writing, and director with able performances, there is never a moment to disconnect from the story. The role of Precious introduces Gabourey Sidibe to the world, but despite her inexperience she portrays all facets of a some times strong, some times uncertain teen with a bad history, but dreams of a better life.

Mo’Nique as Mary Johnston serves as a strong counterpart to Sidibe. Success for one character equals failure for the other, and their interaction is ugly, powerful, realistic, and every thing, which acting is about. Mo’Nique especially delivers a powerful monologue at the end, which lends an emotional hint of humanity to a frighteningly cold, coarse, and inhuman character.

The supporting cast includes notable characters like Lenny Kravitz, and Mariah Carey, but unless you expect them to be there, the audience would hardly be able to recognize them on screen. They do exactly what supporting actors are supposed to do: expand upon, and develop the tale of the main characters without distracting from it. Every character in this film turns in a credible performance.

Precious is a film for the ages. All of its elements form the confluence, which too often eludes Hollywood today. It is a work of fiction, but it feels so real. It is the type of story, which every one should see, but no one will be able to describe.

Posted in A & E, FeaturedComments (1)


The Arts Come Alive In City Schools


Lights, Cameras, Cue Dancers! 

to recognized the importance of the Arts in education, tMayor Eddie A. Perez attend performances by students at the Kinsella Magnet School of Performing Arts. 

He will then recognize a dance teacher for her current contributions to the students in the Hartford Public School system and also honor her mentor for being a pioneer in Arts Education. 

The special presentation will take place at Kinsella Elementary School,  at 65 Van Block Avenue in the City’s Sheldon-Charter Oak neighborhood.

Posted in A & E, NeighborhoodComments (0)

Tags: ,

Hartford Kicks Off ‘One City, One Plan’

HARTFORD — Despite rain, wind, and raw weather, several dozen Hartford residents took part in the first of a series of community conversations that will shape how the City of Hartford grows and develops over the next 10 years. 

Mayor Eddie A. Perez, COO and Development Director David Panagore and a host of city, community, and business leaders also took part in this discussion that focused on the topic of promoting livable and sustainable neighborhoods.

 POCD stands for Hartford’s Plan of Conservation and Development.  POCD 2020 guides public and private development and policy decisions over the next decade.  It serves as a comprehensive source for information about all of Hartford’s planning and growth efforts.

Mayor Perez says, “We are building a decade of success and our future success will be determined thanks to the careful planning and participation of all of our City stakeholders.  Residents and community organizations are an essential element of this dialogue and we’re off to a strong start.” 

The discussion focused on safety and security, quality housing, quality education, open space and recreational facilities, employment, minimizing environmental impacts and continuing revitalization efforts. To further engage the community in this planning process, the remaining scheduled meetings are as follows and residents are encouraged to attend:

  • 1. Protect the City’s Natural and Built Environment: Monday, Nov. 16th 6-8:30 p.m., Boathouse, Riverside Park Road
  • 2. Enhance Mobility: Transit, Pedestrian and Bike Systems City-Wide: Saturday, Nov. 21st 9-11:30 a.m., Union Station, 1 Union Place
  • 3. Advance Downtown as Region’s Center of Commerce, Culture, and City Living: Tuesday, Dec. 1st 6-8:30 p.m., Lincoln Culinary Institute, 85 Sigourney Street
  • 4. Promote and Encourage the Integration of Sustainable Practices: Tuesday, Dec. 8th 6-8:30 p.m., CT Science Center, 250 Columbus Boulevard

Neighborhood-based listening sessions will follow in early 2010.

Posted in Featured, NeighborhoodComments (0)

Tags: ,

The Magic of Christmas: A Festive Holiday Celebration

AREAWIDE — The Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme promises triple the “magic” during this year’s celebration.

First, a group of talented designers and artists lavishly decorate Fantasy Trees inspired by the exhibition Call of the Coast. Then, new painted palettes added this year to Miss Florence’s Artist Tree, brings the number to over 100 pieces of artwork donated by artists from all over the country. And finally, the main floor of the house evokes the homespun preparations for a festive 1910 Christmas in a boardinghouse for artists.  It’s no wonder the celebration has become a favorite for locals and travelers alike.

In the Museum’s Krieble Gallery, four elaborate Fantasy Trees evoke the magic of the current exhibition, Call of the Coast.  “A team of talented artists and designers work year round to plan and design the trees,” explains David Rau, Director of Education and Outreach.  “They work their ‘magic’ by taking an intriguing theme to dynamic heights. You never quite know what to expect!”

Miss Florence’s Artist Tree is back this year with additional painted palettes, bringing the count to over 100 artists from across the country who have donated works to this one-of-a-kind tradition. The 12-foot tree has become a holiday icon for the region.  The idea of artists painting on palettes relates directly to the Museum’s history as the center for the Lyme Art Colony, and alludes to the doors and wooden wall panels the artists painted throughout Miss Florence’s house over a hundred years ago. The palette artists’ styles and subject matter are as varied as the individuals. Oils, acrylics, watercolors, ceramics, and collage (and this year, glass) are used to transform the palettes into traditional holiday scenes, delightful landscapes, and more than a few surprises!

In the historic rooms of the Griswold House visitors can see how families celebrated Christmas in 1910, as historically accurate decorations reveal homespun creativity and the use of surprising materials. The 1910 time period was an important era for the Griswold House, as it was the heyday of its use as boardinghouse for the artists of the Lyme Art Colony. Christmas was also Miss Florence’s birthday! She would have been 60 in 1910.

Museum Shop

Open Museum hours (Tuesday – Saturday 10am to 5pm and Sunday 1pm to 5pm) with unique holiday ornaments, the latest, most lavish art books, unusual items for kids, artful jewelry, giftworthy art supplies, and fun stocking stuffers.

Holiday Hours

The Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday 10am to 5pm and Sunday 1pm to 5pm. The Museum will be closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.  Admission is $9 for adults, $8 for seniors, $7 for students, and free to children 12 and under. This includes admission to the Museum’s other exhibition. The Museum is located at 96 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, CT, exit 70 off I-95.

For additional information and a list of Holiday programming, contact the Museum at 860/434-5542 or


Check for details or to register for holiday programming.


Friday, Nov. 27, 11am-3pm

Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides with Santa

$2 per rider

Climb aboard Foxglove Farm’s charming wagonette for a horse-drawn ride on the Museum’s grounds with Santa and Mrs. Claus.  Candy canes offered to all riders! Afterwards, make a holiday craft in the Education Center.

Posted in A & E, FeaturedComments (1)

Tags: ,

Judge Sets $3 Million Bond For Rape Suspect

HARTFORD — A Hartford man is being held on  a $3 million bond after he was arrested for allegedly committing three felonies and one misdemeanor, including a sexual assault that happened in July.

The man, William Waden, 51, of 531 Garden St. was arrested for first degree sexual assault, second degree strangulation, first degree robbery and third degree assault on Oct. 15 after neighbors  called the police, police said.

Police responded  to calls about a suspicious person  at 135 Nelson St. Waden’s next scheduled court date is Nov. 24.

According to police, Waden on July 3, 2009 at  2:14 a.m., Warden a allegedly sexual assaulted and robbed a female in the Garden Ave. and Westland St. area.

The victim reported that she was beaten, sexually assaulted and robbed by Waden, who was an acquaintance later identified.

The victim was treated and released from St Francis Hospital for her injuries.

Detective James Mcgillivray of the Hartford Police Department’s Major Crimes Division investigated the incident and obtained an arrest warrant charging Waden

Posted in NeighborhoodComments (0)

  • Latest News
  • Tags
  • Subscribe
Advertise Here