Archive | December, 2009


Man Robs Wachovia Bank, Escapes

HARTFORD — Hartford police are still investigating a robbery that happened earlier today in Wachovia Bank downtown Hartford.

At 9:23 a.m., Hartford Police Officers responded to the Wachovia Bank at 10 State Street while the robbery was in progress.

Witnesses reported that a dark skinned black male, approximately 6’0” tall wearing a black 3/4 length Northface Jacket with a fur-trimmed hoodie, and black acid washed jeans entered the bank, displayed a silver firearm and handed the teller a note demanding money. After retrieving an undetermined amount of money, the suspect walked out of the bank toward the Market Street garage, police said.

No one was injured during the incident, police said.

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‘It’s Complicated’ Satisfies With Twists and Fun

Jonathan Smalls, Film Critic

Nancy Meyers proves her worth again as a talented muse of the romantic comedy. Her work seems to originate with questions, which we all have asked at one point. She then develops them into rich, enjoyable, feature length stories. For What Women Want she asked, “What could happen, if a man could hear women’s thoughts?” Here the question is “What could happen, if the first wife became the other woman?” The story takes several interesting twists on the way to the ending, but to sum it up: it is complicated.

Meyers clearly needs very little help. Credited as the sole writer, director, and co-producer for this film, she can take much of the credit for its success. Meyers puts her characters into seemingly common, understandable situations, which turn into laugh out loud funny moments when combined with thesincere, timely, and hilarious dialogue. Although it seems innocuous enough, she makes a crowded theatre guffaw with a line as simple as “Thanks for the coffee.”

The shots are simple, and timed well. The scenes contain exactly what they need to as far as characters, dialogue, and ideas. There are some minor issues with continuity in the film. For instance a character is still able to fork food out of an empty, tupperware container, but when you are this involved in a film, you will hardly notice.

Meryl Streep turns in another flawless performance as the Jane Adler. She successfully portrays a vulnerable, confused, and well-meaning divorcee in the most unusual circumstances. What is more, she makes it look easy. Every action, which Jane Adler takes, every line, which she speaks, just feels more genuine, and raw than like acting.

The story may have been lost, however, without a strong counterpart to Meryl Streep. Alec Baldwin fulfills that role as Jake Adler. Although his character is much closer to one-dimensional than Jane Adler, he fleshes it out very well. His performance works well with the innuendo implicit with being a married man with a mistress.

Steve Martin is the weak link of the lead actors. He has a long history with comedies like the Pink Pather2, but his style of acting is more slap stick, over the top than what this film called for. His inexperience with this style of comedy could have served him well for communicating the awkwardness of his character, but it just comes off as an awkward performance.

John Krasinski continues his brand of dry humor from The Office, although he is able to draw much more raucous laughs in this story. The rest of the supporting characters can be ranked in credibility by age with one exception. The teenagers are not too great, the young wife is OK, and the circle of middle-aged friends around Jane is pretty fun to watch.

Despite minor issues, It’s Complicated is the type of film, which young, and old audiences can enjoy. It is slightly reminiscent of intricate, Shakespearean comedies like As YouLike It, but it is also modern, and much more accessible.

So sit back and enjoy a fun foray into a fictional world where the laughs abound and the happy ending feels certain; but what form it might take is not certain at all.

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Stabbing Victim Indentified

HARTFORD — Police has identified a Hartford man who died after he was stabbed and hit by a car on Christmas Day at the corner of Garden Street and Homestead Avenue.

The victim, Barry Santiago, 22, of no known address in Hartford, died at about 12: 51 a.m. before reaching a hospital, police said.

Police said Santiago was stabbed in the stomach before he staggered into the intersection at Garden Street and Homestead Avenue. Shortly after, he was hit by one or more vehicles and pronounced dead on the scene by ambulance personnel.

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City’s ‘First Night’ Draws Near

HARTFORD — The City of Hartford will  ring in the New Year and the new decade at the family-friendly First Night 2010 festivities on New Year’s Eve, this Thursday.

The “Main Events on Main Street” are the gateway to not one, but two fireworks displays at historic Bushnell Park that will light up the sky in the area of the Carousel and the Soldiers and Sailors Arch.

Mayor Eddie A. Perez says the city will be gearing up for the 375th Anniversary of the founding of Hartford, one of America’s oldest cities.

Hartford’s historic buildings and newly renovated ones will house a long list of First Night activities that start at 3:00 p.m.  Mayor Perez will be on hand to meet and greet residents and visitors alike at the Old State House (the original City Hall), which will host the Kids Fest and Ice Carving; The Wadsworth Atheneum (the oldest public museum in the country)— the site of the ever-popular Hat and Mask Making; the main branch of the renovated Hartford Public Library that will offer storytelling at the Children’s Festival of Fun and 48 Hours of Art; and as Drummers lead the Procession from City Hall (a National Historic Landmark) to the historic Carousel in our nation’s oldest public park—Bushnell Park— for the family fireworks.

Special events continue through the Midnight fireworks display.  Event information is available at and

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Fire Displaced Dozens

HARTFORD — Fire displaced more than 25 people in Hartford on Christmas day, according to reports.

A fire broke out at a third floor apartment building at 28 Babcock St. around 8 p.m. Information about other fires are forthcoming, officials said.

The Red Cross is providing them with temporary lodging and money for emergency clothing and food.

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Heightened Security at Bradley Airport After Foiled Attack

After a foiled attack on a Northwest Airlines plane in Detroit on Friday, Bradley Airport has reportedly increased the security level.

WTNH Channel 8 news website reports that  passengers at Bradley International Airport  say they embrace and welcome the heightened security despite the heavy holiday travel.

“I think it’s a terrible day to do something like that. Every day is a terrible day to do something like that,” said Noah Stapleton, an airline passenger. “I was in New York on 9/11 and I think it’s an awful thing to have happen.”

Some say they noticed security heightened even more Christmas day.

The threat level around the country was orange.

The Associated Press has reported that a Nigerian man tried to blow up a Northwest Airlines plane on Friday as it was preparing to land in Detroit, but travelers who smelled smoke and heard what sounded subdued him.

Flight 253 with 278 passengers and 11 crew members aboard was about 20 minutes from the airport when passengers heard popping noises, witnesses said. At least one personclimbed over others and jumped on the man.

Shortly afterward, the suspect was taken to the front of the plane with his pants cut off and his legs burned, a passenger said. Law enforcement officials said the burns indicated the explosive was strapped to his legs.

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Would You Wait Five Years for a Doctor’s Appointment?

If you are a legal immigrant in the United States, you might have to.

As the debate over how to reform our current health care system moves forward, the issue of whether we should allow legal immigrants to access health care reform continues to raise red.  Under the health care reform bill currently before the Senate, legally-present immigrants remain barred from Medicaid for five years, even if they meet all other qualifications.

At the same time, they are required to purchase insurance just like every other American.  This means that immigrants of moderate means may not have access to any other form of affordable health insurance.  Many legal immigrants will have to rely on measures of last resort, such as emergency rooms.

This restriction has been in place for more than 13 years, but the Senate now has the chance to eliminate this harsh measure.  Earlier this year, Congress took a major step toward immigrant equity in health care by giving states the option to remove the waiting period for immigrant children and pregnant women who enter the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

But many legal immigrants remain excluded from these options.

Read more here

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Seven Arrested for Prostitution

HARTFORD — Responding to complaints from residents, Hartford Police conducted an undercover  prostitution sting in the area of Wethersfield Avenue and Stonington Street and arrested seven men, most of whom live in the suburbs.

The seven men arrested and charged for allegedly  patronizing a prostitute from a motor vehicle were

Edwin Colon, 42, of 413 Mary Shepard’s Pl., Hartford

John Gardiner, 63, of 51 Stage Harbor Rd., Marlborough

Antonio Niro, 73, of 124 Goodwin Park Rd., Wethersfield

Angel Palacios, 66, of 7 Sisson Ave., Hartford

Gabriel Guzman, 30, of 7 Sisson Ave., Hartford

Jorge Escriba, 42, of 33 Roxbury St., Hartford

Hajeudin Mujanovic, 59, of 267 Market St., New Britain.

Each bail bond  was set at $10,000.

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Real Arts Way Features John Woo’s Epic “Red Cliff”

HARTFORD —  James Cameron’s film Avatar soaked up the spotlight at the movie theaters over the weekend, so it was easy to miss another great film director’s masterpiece, Red Cliff.

John Woo’s film has been at Real Arts Way in Hartford, and the last day to see the film at Real Arts is today!

Here are just a few of the critics’ remarks:

“With some of the best battle scenes since Peter Jackson’s The Two Towers, a smattering of 1980s love scenes and all the far eastern promise of a Twinings advert, you can’t really beat Red Cliff as the classiest and most fabulous blockbuster of the summer.”
-Jason Solomons, The Observer (UK)

“As old-fashioned mythic entertainment, Red Cliff succeeds in solid, sometimes magnificent fashion.”
-Tom Huddlestone, Time Out London

“The best thing John Woo has made in years.”
-Ian Nathan, Empire Magazine

(China, 148 mins) in Mandarin w/ English subtitles

Weds 12/23: 6:30 P.M.

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Court: Cuts to Medical Benefits for Legal Immigrants IIlegal

HARTFORD — Hartford Superior Court has ruled that the state may not terminate the State Medical Assistance for Non-Citizens program.

The ruling was made by Judge Grant H. Miller late Friday.

The SMANC program provides medical assistance to low-income legal immigrants who have lived in the United States less than five years. As a result of Judge Miller’s decision, 4,800 lawfully present immigrants who are aged, blind, disabled, or parents of needy dependent children will again be able to get medical treatment for their chronic conditions, according to lawyers who filed  a class action lawsuit for these legal residents.

The Greater Hartford Legal Aid on Nov. 30th filed the lawsuit to stop the Department of Social Services from implementing a new state law, which the agency claimed would have denied the plaintiffs any medical coverage except for emergency care.

The lawsuit, brought by East Haven resident Hong Pham on behalf of herself and approximately 4,800 others like her, alleged that Public Act 09-5 violated the equal protection guarantees of the Connecticut and the United States constitutions.

The Department of Social Services has not announced whether it intends to appeal the decision or attempt to stay the decision pending appeal.

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