Archive | January, 2010


Beyonce Cleans Up at Grammy Award Show

LOS ANGELES — — Beyonce led the 52nd Annual Grammys with five trophies including song of the year early in Sunday night’s award program, where she was the favorite with 10 nominations.

She was followed by triple winners the Black Eyed Peas and dual winners Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift.

Other early multiple winners include Detroit’s own Eminem, Jay-Z, Maxwell and Kings of Leon, who each won two Grammys.


Beyoncé won for Song of the Year, Best Female R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B Song for “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It),” Best Contemporary R&B Album for “I Am … Sasha Fierce” and Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance for “At Last.”

Pop-rap group Black Eyed Peas won awards for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocals (“I Gotta Feeling”), Best Pop Vocal Album (“The E.N.D.”) and Best Short Form Music Video (“Boom Boom Pow”).

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U.S. Census Bureau Looking For Workers

Local Census Manager Looking for Over 5,000 Qualified Job Applicants

HARTFORD — Rumors that the federal government will employ a small army to conduct the Census are false – they will employ a large army.

“About 2.5 million people by April, about the same as the number of active duty personnel with the U.S. Army. Maybe more,” said Russel Hicks, Manager of the Local Census Office in Downtown Hartford.

When the Census is in full swing this spring, Hicks said  his office will have approximately 1,500 people working in Hartford, East Hartford, West Hartford and Manchester. The bulk of that workforce, about 1,400, will be Field Enumerators who go door-to-door gathering Census information from people who did not mail in their 2010 Census questionnaire. Field Enumerators make $19.75 per hour.

To make sure his office is never short on manpower, Hicks is currently trying to build  up a pool of approximately 5,600 qualified applicants and there’s still plenty of openings.

“We need that many applicants because the attrition rate [people who leave the job before its completed] is so high, about 75 percent on average and even higher in Hartford,” said Hicks.

To work for the U.S. Census Bureau, an applicant must first pass a test (see list of local testing sites at the end of this article) and then a criminal record check. The second step is where Hicks said he is having the most difficulty. Over 800 applications out of approximately 2,375 received by his office are being held up because of the criminal record check.

“The record check is absolutely necessary. We have to do everything we can to ensure the safety of the public,” said Hicks.

If a felony arrest or other irregularity shows up on a person’s record, their application is put on hold and they are sent a letter asking them to clarify or correct the information. For instance, if a person was arrested but the charges were dropped, that person can still be hired by the Census provided they supply the necessary court documentation. Hicks also said that if a person who has committed a felony but has served his or her time, including parole and probation, that person may still be hired after a review of their particular situation.

Hicks thinks many people who get the letter asking them for clarification either don’t open it or decide it’s not worth responding.

Testing for a job with the U.S. Census has been going on for several weeks at sites throughout the city and will continue through April. Although the test can be given in 59 different languages, applicants must demonstrate proficiency in English to be hired.

Those hired by the Census as door-to-door enumerators will work from between 20 – 40 hours per week.  Hicks said the goal is to have people work as close to their homes as possible but must also be willing to go wherever they are assigned.

For more information on U.S. Census jobs, call 1-866-861-2010 or go to the website:

By Andy Hart

About the Census

The U.S. Census has been taken every 10 years since 1790. All residents of the United States, citizens as well as non-citizens, are counted. The Census is designed to be a complete count of every person, regardless of citizenship status, residing in the United States on April 1, 2010.

According to U.S. Census Bureau officials, only 46 percent of city residents responded by mail to the last census. Hicks said that Hartford’s response rate was significantly lower than both Connecticut’s overall response rate of about 63 percent and the national average of approximately 61 percent.

Persons who don’t respond by mail are then contacted by U.S. Census workers who go door-to-door with the census questionnaires, said Hicks. Even then, some people can’t be found or refuse to give information to the census takers.  A formula is then used to estimate the number of people who were not counted for one reason or another, said Hicks.

To increase response, the census form has been reduced to only 10 questions this year.

By law, the U.S. Census Bureau cannot share the information it obtains on individuals with any other government agency, including the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Immigration and Naturalization. Census information is even exempt from the Patriot Act.

Hartford U.S. Census Employment Testing Sites

For more information, call 1-866-861-2010 or go to the website:

Asylum Hill Cong. Church, 814 Asylum Ave. 10:00 amFeb. 2, 9, 16, 23

Addiction Recovery Ctr., 198 Wethersfield Ave. 4:00 pm, Feb. 1, 8, 15, 22; March 1, 8, 15, 22

Albany Library Branch, 1250 Albany Ave. 1:00 pm, Feb. 6, 13, 20, 27

March 6, 13, 20, 27  5:00 pm Feb. 4, 11, 18, 25; March 4, 11, 18, 25

Campfield Library, 30 Campfield Ave. 1:00 pm Feb. 6, 13, 20, 27

March 6, 13, 20 27   5:00 pm Feb. 4, 11, 18, 25; March 4, 11, 18, 25.

Park Street Library, 744 Park St.9:30 am Feb. 1, 3, 8, 10, 15, 17, 22, 24.

Library, Main Branch, 500 Main St. 10:30 am Feb. 6, 13, 20, 27; March 6, 13, 20, 27

Mary Shepherd Place, 15 Pavilion St. 10:30 am Feb. 1, 3, 5, 8, 10, 12, 15, 17,19, 22, 24, 26; March 1, 3, 5, 8, 10, 12, 15, 17,19, 22, 24, 26, 29, 31.

Our Lady of Sorrows, 79 New Park Ave. 9:30 a, Feb. 2, 9, 16, 23; March 2, 9, 16, 23, 30; 2:30 pm Feb. 2, 9, 16, 23; March 2, 9, 16, 23, 30.

Pope Park Center, 30 Pope Park Dr. 12 noon,Feb. 4, 9, 13, 16, 18, 27; March 4, 6, 11, 18, 20, 23, 25, 27, 30.

Rawson School, 260 Holcomb St. 4:30 pm  Feb. 1, 3, 5, 8, 10, 12, 17, 19,22, 24, 26;

March 1,3, 5, 8, 10, 12, 15, 17,19, 22, 24, 26.

Redeemed Church of God, 400 Park St. 5:00 pm, Feb. 5, 12, 19, 26; March 5, 12, 19, 26

St. Lawrence Church, 494 New Britain Ave.            1:00 pm            Feb.1

Ukrainian Home, 961 Wethersfield Ave.   6:00 pm            Feb. 3

Urban League, 140 Woodland St. 5:30 pm Feb. 3, 10, 17, 24; March 3, 10, 17, 24, 31

West End Comm. Center, 461 Farmington Ave. 5:30 pm; Feb. 1, 8, 15, 22, 29


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Mayor Praises School District’s Focus on Science

HARTFORD — There’s a special connection between the month when Sir Isaac Newton’s birthday is celebrated and the year Hartford kicks-off its 375th Anniversary:  paying homage to history and looking ahead to a promising future that includes science.

In addition, today six Hartford Public High Schools were presented the Sir Isaac Newton Science Award— plaques complete with a symbolic apple— for their high science test scores and for their national recognition for overall academic achievement.

Staff and students from Capital Prep, Classical Magnet, Hartford Magnet Middle, Pathways to Technology, Sport and Medical Sciences Academy, and University High school of Science and Engineering were recognized. At the gathering some shared science projects and dreams of careers in math and technology fields.

Mayor Eddie A. Perez, who also serves on Hartford’s Board of Education, reemphasized a City priority— education and commended students for their achievements.

Research shows that in 10 years the biggest job growth areas will be in health, green technology and construction, and computer and scientific industries and urban communities will supply 30 percent of the State’s future workforce, according to the city’s press release.

That is why it is “essential that our students are prepared to contribute to the scientific discoveries of tomorrow,” Perez said.

Matt Fleury, President and CEO of the Connecticut Science Center on behalf of the staff also praised the achievements of Hartford students, saying “Yours are the bright minds and the shining faces of the future of our community.”

Abul Islam, President and CEO of AI Engineers, who is building an engineering firm on Constitution Plaza and creating “Science Row” on Columbus Boulevard also shared praises for the city and its people. He said many in Hartford have “helped set the City on the course of choosing the right road to take into the future,” and urged others to build on success that already exist.

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The Year of Obama – Scaling Back High Expectations

Pakistan Link, Commentary, Anila Ali, Posted: Jan 22, 2010 Review it on NewsTrust

One year has passed since the electrifying event at Green Park where President Obama delivered his victory speech to the accompaniment of a highly charged crowd’s roar, “Change has come to America.”

Americans had made history by electing the first African-American president. People around the world were expecting a changed America, a changed world that he promised, a changed role of America as a world leader. Americans looked on and believed things would be different with a visionary world leader: Barack Hussein Obama.

Their hopes of the two wars ending and Guantanamo Bay closing were appreciably high. They had also hoped that Iran would shake hands with Obama by signing the uranium enrichment deal, Israel and Palestine would sit together and feast on olives and hummus, as opposed to just extending an olive branch, that the economy would be rescued and lifted to the Clinton era glory, that Wall Street would be duly punished and its powers curtailed, that the basic need of every human being – healthcare – would be available to all Americans, and that the climate change agenda would become a world priority.

A year on, these expectations appear to be a distant dream. The US is deeply embroiled in Afghanistan, Guantanamo remains open and the Congress has ruled that none of its detainees could enter the US, Iran continues to threaten the world with its uranium enrichment program, peace in the Middle East appears far-fetched, the US economy trudges a messy course, healthcare for all Americans is being sabotaged by lobbyists, while the environmental agenda remains uncertain!

As far as the American opinion goes, 48% of the people endorse the way the President is handling the issues (CNN poll). That breeds some hope. And another contention on a positive note is that if it weren’t for the speedily passed stimulus of $787 billion, 640,000 or so jobs would have been either lost or not created at all.

Another positive development is the induction of the accomplished Sonia Sotomayor, a Hispanic woman, who now sits comfortably on the Supreme Court bench. In fairness to the President one could say that even though the presidency appears the most powerful position in the United States, the real power lies with the Congress. President Obama’s sincerity for healthcare was all too evident in his words and in his eyes but it’s the handful of US senators whose votes would decide if the millions of deserving Americans could get healthcare to bring the US at par with the rest of the developed world.

President Obama’s plans for change still resonate but what has become obvious to Americans is that only a little of the big change could take place.

As for reaching out to the other side, he has tried to woo the Republicans and, in the opinion of some analysts, even bent backwards to win their support. For example, the stimulus package has seen many tax cuts, the troop surge has pleased them, but the bi-partisan support the President is looking for remains elusive. They have not hesitated in labeling him as a socialist, a Nazi, a Muslim (insinuating, as being a Muslim is tantamount to being a terrorist). They do have the powerful corporate world, cable TV, and several talk radios on their side. For these very reasons, they have made it impossible for President Obama to get bipartisan support that he so keenly desires.

President Obama may have disappointed Americans whose hopes he had raised but change is still very much possible. Healthcare for all Americans is still possible. The Afghan war has a timeline for withdrawal, and perhaps he can persuade Iran to sign a uranium enrichment deal. We know for a fact that he deliberates and listens to all sides before making a decision. In stark contrast to Bush’s temerity, Barack Hussein Obama is thoughtful about the decisions he makes. He should know that the deadline for change to be achieved fully is 2012.

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Man Arrested For Attempted Murder

HARTFORD — Hartford Police recently arrested a local man for an October shooting on Jackson Bolevard.

The man, Kory Edmonds, 36, of 28 Jackson Blvd., Hartford, was arrested on Friday and charged with attempted murder, first degree assault and possession of a firearm. He is being held in custody on $1 million bond.

Police said that on Oct. 8, officers responded to 13 Jackson Blvd on a report of shots being fired.

When they arrived, they learned that the victim, who was shot once in the stomach, had been driven to the hospital in a private car to St. Francis Hospital. The victim survived, police said.

After investigation, detectives identified Kory Edmonds, aka Cory Edmonds and Corey Edmonds, a convicted felon as the shooter.

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Another Convict Moves to Hartford

HARTFORD — Every year, when prisons release convicted felons to finish serving time out of prison, some move into Hartford, which has almost all of the state’s half-way houses.

Another convict just moved in, but this one was once a big politician: former Bridgeport Mayor Joseph Ganim.

Ganim has been released early from federal prison and is now living at a halfway house on Collins Street in Hartford. In 2003, Ganim was sentenced to nine years in prison for steering city contracts in exchange for hundreds of thousands of dollars in gift. He was released for good behavior after serving six years. He will be in the half-way house for six months.

More than 1,500 residents are in the state’s Department of Corrections’ halfway houses. Parolees can leave the premises only for work, treatment or religious services. There are three half-way houses in the city.

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CT Unemployment Rate Up

WETHERSFIELD — The state lost 4,800 jobs in December, pushing the unemployment rate to 8.9 percent, according to an Associated Press report.

The state Department of Labor says Connecticut has lost 94,500 jobs since March 2008, although recent declines have been much slower than the pace earlier in 2009.

The December figure was an increase from 8.2 percent in November. One year earlier, it was 6.6 percent.

The biggest declines were reported in retail, leisure and hospitality jobs. The only sector to add jobs was educational and health services, which had 1,300 new positions.

The national unemployment rate in December was 10 percent.

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CT Labor Commissioner Set to Retire

HARTFORD –Gov. M. Jodi Rell today announced that Department of Labor Commissioner Patricia H. Mayfield, who returned to state service from retirement in 2006 at the request of Rell, will retire again, effective February 1.

“I want to offer my deepest thanks to Commissioner Mayfield, who has literally served the people of our state above and beyond the call of duty,”  Rell said. “

Mayfield served the state for 35 years, beginning as an employment agent and rising through the ranks to become Operational Support Manager. She  retired in 2003. But when Rell asked her in May 2006 to return — irst as interim Labor Commissioner and then as the agency’s permanent Commissioner – she did.

“Pat has devoted her professional life to both the employees and employers of Connecticut,” Rell said. “That dedication has never been as critical as in the last few years, when a global recession has taken a terrible toll on the hard-working people of our state. Her ability to develop and expand the partnerships between our businesses, their work force and the state and federal governments have made her a vital element of my effort to keep and grow jobs, build a skilled pool of workers and improve our state.”

A lifelong resident of Waterbury, Mayfield attended Crosby High School and Howard University in Washington, D.C. She held a variety of employment and job training positions at the Labor Department from 1968 to 2003. Her roles included Employment Advisor, Employment Security Interviewer, employment and training Specialist, planning analyst and grants and contracts manager.

She has also served on numerous boards and commissions dedicated to improving the community. A founding member of the Greater Waterbury Chapter, National Congress of Black Women, Inc., Mayfield has also served on the Board of Directors of New Opportunities, Inc. and the Waterbury Opportunities Industrialization Center.

Rell in a press release today said that Deputy Commissioner Linda L. Agnew will serve as Acting Commissioner, effective February 1.

Agnew joined the Department of Labor in 1999 and helped to establish its Office of Business Enterprises. She served from 2004-2006 as executive director of the governor’s residence before returning to the labor department.

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Temporary Protection for Haitians: A first step

New America Media, Opinion, Shaina Aber & Christian Fuchs

The decision by the United States last week to grant Haitians in the United States permission to stay, work and send remittances home under a Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program is welcome news. This move was an essential first step in response to the catastrophic earthquake that struck Haiti on Jan. 12.

Temporary Protected Status will give Haitians who are stranded on our shores the ability to remain here during the crisis, and to work and live in the United States legally. Their remittances will allow more than $1 billion in aid to be sent to family members still suffering in the shattered island nation, thus playing a much needed role in the present relief effort. As the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, Haiti already depends significantly on remittances. By allowing some 130,000 Haitians to legally work in the U.S. and send remittances home to their loved ones in Haiti, the despair of the entire country will be reduced.

Despite this positive news, no timeline has been set for the release of Haitians who are currently being held in our immigration detention centers. This should be a priority. Now that TPS has been approved and deportations have ceased, those held in detention facilities should be discharged quickly and given the opportunity to work and reconnect with their families.

Haitians, though a resilient people, are facing pressing needs. The earthquake directly affected more than three million people out of a population of only nine million. Hundreds of thousands of Haitians have been forced from their homes and lack basic services and supplies. People in towns and villages unaffected by the quake itself have begun to feel concrete repercussions of the devastation as supply lines they’ve come to rely on from the capital city have begun to fail.

While offering TPS to the Haitians stranded within our borders will not solve all of Haiti’s problems, it serves as a critical part of a comprehensive plan that will address the current humanitarian emergency and reduce the international aid burden.

It should be noted that TPS applies only to Haitians who were in the United States as of Jan. 12, the day of the earthquake. It is possible, however, that individuals fleeing the chaos that has gripped Haiti since the earthquake may feel compelled to escape the destruction of their homeland, risking perilous ocean crossings to reach the United States or other countries. These environmental refugees should be treated with compassion and should not be dropped off without support or assistance on the shores of a nation that is unable to offer them safety. Instead, Haitians intercepted at sea should be taken to the U.S. mainland or other safe environments until adequate displaced-persons facilities can be established within Haiti itself.

It has even been suggested that Haitians fleeing their devastated homeland may be “warehoused” in a 25,000-bed facility at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba. Such a drastic action should be undertaken only as a last resort. Warehousing displaced Haitians will isolate them from the family and community support they need at this time of crisis.

Hopefully Haitians will not risk their lives by fleeing across the ocean, and the international response to the disaster will provide enough aid and continued assistance to allow earthquake victims to remain in their homeland and rebuild their lives.

What has been apparent over the last week — from U.S. citizens making donations to the U.S. government granting TPS — is the generosity of the American spirit. The outpouring of support from people the world over is heartfelt. This veritable deluge of compassion is a testament to our shared humanity.

Jesuit Refugee Service is an international Catholic organization that serves, accompanies and defends the rights of refugees and displaced people in over 55 countries around the world including Haiti. Shaina Aber is the Associate Advocacy Director at Jesuit Refugee Service, USA and the organizations’ liaison with the Latin American and Caribbean region. Christian Fuchs is the Communications Director at Jesuit Refugee Service, USA. JRS/USA is a member of the Detention Watch Network, a national coalition working to reform the U.S. immigration, detention, and deportation system.

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Latinos and the Political Earthquake in Massachusetts

National Institute for Latino Policy, Commentary, Angelo Falcón

There was that horrible earthquake that devastated Haiti. Last night, Massachusetts and the United States experienced a political earthquake that could be as in many ways as profound with the election of Republican Scott Brown over Democrat Martha Coakley to the U.S. Senate. And today is the first anniversary of the inauguration of President Barack Obama, which means that the Massachusetts debacle will be magnified by media assessments of the President’s first year.

The immediate debate in Washington, D.C., among Democrats is how to tactically address the fate of the health insurance reform bill now that the filibuster-proof Senate is gone. Some want to push it through quickly before Scott Brown is seated, others want to wait, and some think the bill is dead. Word is that the White House prefers passing the Senate version of the health bill, which is the weaker of the two versions, but which they see as politically the most viable. The Republicans for the most part seem interested in killing the bill.

But whatever happens, two things seem clear. First, the Democratic Party and the president are now in the most defensive position they have been so far during this administration. Second, the Latino community is going to get screwed on health care . . . and immigration reform.

Both the House and Senate versions of the health insurance reform bills were highly flawed, raising serious questions that their description as “reform” applies. In both versions Latinos are disproportionately handicapped in our access to affordable health care, but more so in the Senate version. Part of the rumored White House strategy of supporting passage of the Senate version is that the president will fix it in the future. But this was a promise that then President Bill Clinton made in 1996 and broke about his welfare reform bill that created so many problems for Latino immigrants, including creating the five-year waiting period for legal permanent residents eligibility for federal health care programs that is such a problem today, despite being taxpayers.

The other strategy some pro-health reform advocates are promoting is to withdraw this comprehensive bill and come back to the Congress with a set of narrower bills that will address specific reforms, like eliminating pre-existing conditions exclusions in health insurance and so on. This, of course, is as exhausting as it sounds and it is not clear that the health reform fatigue being experienced by the Democrats in the Congress will make this doable.

This is a set of circumstances that do not augur well for the prospects of comprehensive immigration reform in the immediate future. But this will need to be the subject of future analysis on these pages.

It is also clear that the political earthquake in Massachusetts has broader political implications. This and other developments this year have pointed to the reality that President Obama was elected in large part because of divisions within the leaderships of the Democratic and Republican parties, and the weakening of the country’s party system. After winning in November and starting to govern, the President has found himself with a formal party apparatus that is in disarray (Blue Dog v. Progressive Democrats) and an independent virtual-grassroots constituency that hasn’t emerged as the strong movement for change that many anticipated last year. On top of that, the president seems to be losing support among the growing ranks of independent voters.

The big question is: Where do Latino needs and issues fit within all this? How are Latino leaders strategizing to make the Democratic Party, which the majority of Latinos consistently support, more responsive to their community? Are Latino leaders developing strategies to organize independent Latino voters in new ways by finding ways to organize beyond the two-party system? Do, in other words, the weaknesses in the current political system represent opportunities for the Latino community? Let’s see what happens as this sure to be eventful year unfolds.

Angelo Falcón is president of the National Institute for Latino Policy (NiLP) and editor of the Latino Policy eNewsletter.

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