Archive | August, 2010

Angel Morales Lawsuit Over Primary Recount Passes First Hurdle

By Ann-Marie Adams, Staff Writer

HARTFORD —  On the Aug. 10 Democratic Primary election night, Angel Morales was ready to party. Returns from the polls indicated he was a winner in his bid to unseat  4th House District state Rep. Kelvin Roldan.

Friends congratulated him, ready to celebrate what seemed like a sure victory at 10:20 p.m., he said. But by Aug. 11 at 3:40 p.m. when the ballots were delivered to the secretary of state’s office, Morales discovered the incumbent won.

Did Morales misread the returns, or could he have won the primary that night?

That’s what a judge will sort out after testimonies from both sides.

Today a judge heard arguments from Roldan’s lawyer Christopher Drake, who attempted to get a dismissal on grounds that Morales filed his claim late. And he didn’t file the complaint electronically.

Drake asked the judge to dismiss Morales’ lawsuit. The judge denied that request.

Morales’s lawyer Robert F. Ludgin filed a lawsuit on  Aug. 24 after the city’s Aug. 16 recount. This “unsecured” recount shrank Roldan’s lead from 9 to 6, or 382 to 376,

In his complaint, Morales claims that Registrar of Voters Olga Vasquez and City Clerk John Bazzano “committed serious errors as election officials.” The alleged impropriety included failing to properly secure the absentee ballots.

The hearing will reconvene Wednesday at 10 a.m.

First House District state Rep. Kenneth Green also filed a lawsuit after a recount gave his challenger City Councilman Mathew Ritter a two vote lead. Green’s hearing reconvenes on Tuesday.

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Hartford Police Catch A Thief On Zion Street

By Fae Morgan, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — Hartford Police arrested a local man who allegedly on Friday robbed a tag sale store with a sawed-off shot gun.

Jeffery Aviles

The man, Jerry Aviles, 35, of 38 Burnham St., Hartford, was arrested  and charged with first degree robbery, possession of a sawed-off shotgun, criminal possession of a firearm, fourth degree larceny and first degree burglary.

Police said Aviles  entered the Tag Sale Store at 129 Zion St. and demanded money. He stole $260 in cash, four laptop computers and then fled.

The owner of the store then flagged down Officer Nicholas Trigila, who saw Aviles as he fled on foot. Trigila called for back up and they circled the area, police said.

Police recovered the sawed-off shot gun, 22 rounds of ammunition and four laptops on Zion Street just south of the business. And they found Aviles hiding in the bushes at the corner of Curtiss and Zion streets, police said.

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Beck’s Shameful Dishonor of King Nothing New for Conservatives

By Ofari Hutchinson, Guest Columnist

Glenn Beck is either a liar or was simply mistaken as he claims that he got the date confused. The date is August 28, the same date as the 47th anniversary of the March on Washington. This is the date that Beck picked for his “Restoring Honor” rally in Washington D.C. Beck says he had no idea the date is a sacred day for civil rights leaders, and that it was pure coincidence he’ll rally that day.

Civil rights leaders don’t buy it, and neither do I. The provocative, over the top, incendiary talk show host doesn’t do anything by accident. He always has a keen eye on anything that he does. One eye is on what will shock, grab, and infuriate the largest number of people. That always ties in to his eternal hunt for ratings, ratings, and more ratings. Ratings are the mother’s milk of cable talk shows. Beck has delivered them better than most.

His other eye is just as firmly on President Obama — or rather, on dredging up anything that can belittle, ridicule and mock an African-American president. There’s no better way to do that than mock the day that for a half century has been nearly universally recognized as the moment when the nation and the world became riveted on King and the civil rights battle in America. Beck knew what he was doing when he picked the date, and the day won’t pass without Beck and speaker after conservative speaker invoking the name of King and the civil rights movement to tout a hands-off government, unchecked free markets, non-interference in the affairs of private business, and their phony “color-blind” notion of civil rights. The day also won’t pass without Beck and other speakers making the preposterous claim that if King were alive today, he’d be quite comfortable attending their rally. There’s nothing new about this shameful distortion of King by conservatives.

Starting with Reagan, Republican presidents realized that they could wring some political mileage out of King’s legacy. They tried to recast him in their image on civil rights, and bent and twisted his oft times public religious Puritanism on morals issues to justify GOP positions in the values wars that they wage with blacks, Democrats and liberals.

With King safely gone for nearly two decades, Republicans in the mid-1980s eagerly grabbed at the famous line in his “I Have A Dream” speech at the March on Washington in August 1963, in which he called on Americans to judge individuals by the content of their character and not the color of their skin. Those sentiments prove, Republicans claimed, that King would be on their side against affirmative action. During the fierce wars over affirmative action in the 1990s, King’s words were even more shamelessly used to justify opposition to affirmative action.

Even conservative black evangelists jumped into the act, staging a march to King’s gravesite to protest gay marriage, the implication being as a good Baptist minister, King would have been on their side. Coretta Scott King dispelled that notion by repeatedly issuing statements saying that she was a staunch backer of gay rights, and so would her husband have been.

The Republicans’ distortion wouldn’t have been possible if some of King’s pronouncements on religion and the black family did not superficially parallel GOP positions on crime, marriage, the family and personal responsibility. Republicans carefully cobbled together bits and pieces from King’s speeches and writings during the 1950s and early 1960s to paint him as anti–big government, anti-welfare, and tough on black crime, as well as an advocate of thrift, hard work and temperance.

The snippets of conservative thinking in King’s early musings blended easily with the social conservatism of many blacks. And this was more than enough for Republicans to say that Kind would have been a big player on the GOP team. Beck and company merely picked up this manufactured view of King to justify their embrace of him.

Beck’s best efforts to stir his legion of Tea Party into a frenzy would come to nothing if millions didn’t genuinely loathe Obama and his policies, and firmly believe that he has turned government into a monster that will turn their taxes into endless social programs that benefit minorities at the expense of hard-working whites. This is how hate-mongers on the right stoke the anger and alienation that many whites feel toward health care and, by extension, Obama. This translates to even more fear, rage and distrust of big government.

Glenn Beck’s rally is an outrageous and cynical ploy to hammer Obama. Beck can have it both ways. He can knock everyone else for playing the race card with Obama, while playing it hard himself with the timing of his rally. Leave it to Beck to find the perfect way to dishonor King.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He hosts a nationally broadcast political affairs radio talk show on Pacifica and KTYM Radio Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter:

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‘Centurion’ Excites Legions of Roman-Era Battle Fans

By Jonathan Smalls, Film Critic

Centurion is a frenetic work of historical fiction, expanding upon the popular myth of the IX Legion of Rome. The legend goes that the IX Legion marched into Britain to battle against the Britons, was destroyed, and so our story of civilization versus barbarians begins.

Neil Marshall takes credit as writer, and director, doing a good job of moving the characters through the plot of being behind enemy lines, and taking a roundabout route to safety. In the ninety – seven minute run time though few of them develop much substance.

All of the protagonists seem to carry one character trait throughout the story, and that leads to their ultimate demise. He gets kudos for representing the Roman army as a melting pot of racial and ethnic groups, but probably could have invested less time in the chase, and more time in character development.Despite this, he manages to work in some very powerful moments of manliness, and interesting lines like, “Being a legend will get you laid.”

His direction of the actors, and cinematography is good, perhaps better than his writing. He creates an appropriate tone in each scene, whether it be a desperate duel to the death, or an intimate gathering in a cave. All of the characters are very human, and organic, but sound direction atop incomplete writing makes this film only decent, not great. Marshall may consider focusing on one or the other in the future.

Michael Fassbender stars opposite Olga Kurylenko as centurion Quintus Dias versus Pictish Etain. Kurylenko portrays an interesting antagonist, only because her strength is the deep, blank stare like some sort of female Clive Owen. Seriously, check her out in Hitman, or Quantum of Solace. Her character as Etain plays to that strength, and is wisely cast a mute to eliminate dialogue.

Fassbender carries the weight of the movie with his character, and the other characters are only vehicles for Quintus Dias to seem wiser, graver, and manlier. Fassbender personifies these qualities well, but protagonists are only as good as their secondary characters. The supporting cast is talented enough, and realistic.

Once again the Roman legionnaires are hampered by underdevelopment. None of them ever get to be any thing but their one trait. They just get too much screen time, and not enough to work with. Despite this they try their best to wring blood from a stone, even if the end result is less than satisfactory. This single mindedness works well for the Pict tribesmen because that is all bad guys ever get to be in the best of cases.

Ulrich Thomsen as Gorlacon balances his character well, and then is able to get off the screen; if only other characters were so lucky. Centurion is a pleasant, viewing experience. It demonstrates the talent of a few less popular actors, and builds a few movie moments, although all of them are predictable.

Although it will never be considered the stuff that silver screen dreams are made of, it was made on a third of the budget of similar film like Gladiator, and is still fun to watch.

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Court Denies Program To Hartford Police Facing Assault Charges

ENFIELD —  A Hartford police officer who was arrested for domestic violence in July was denied a special program that would dismissed his charges.

Police officer Christopher White was accused of assaulting his ex-wife and her boyfriend. Police said White also threatened to his ex.
Enfield Superior Court Judge Richard Dyer o Thursday denied White’s petition for the Family Violence Education Program because of a “wide chasm between the accounts of the parties and the police report.”

Read more here.

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‘Spiritual Rez’ Spices Up Sully’s Pub With Roots, Rock, Reggae

By Evan Lawrence, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — The crowd at Sully’s Pub is anxious and ready for more. The musicians take the stage and set up their instruments.

Toft Willingham begins on lead vocals and rhythm guitar; Van Gordon Martin on lead guitar and vocals, and Jesse Shaternick on the bass. Ian Miller set up his drum set (with no symbols save for his high-hat), while Kory Stanbury gets ready on saxophone and Bryan House on trombone.

Spiritual Rez Jams

Individually, they are all incredibly talented Berklee musicians, but at this moment they are Spritual Rez, an up-and-coming reggae horn funk band playing in Hartford on Friday.

The band formed eight years ago out of Boston and has been performing around the United States since then. This particular tour celebrates their new album “The Nexus,” which anyone who enjoys even a hint of reggae should add to their collection. Even those that don’t normally entertain the thought of this genre would be remiss if they did not sample it seeing how many different musical styles can be found in these tracks.

The band is categorized as reggae but there are hints of funk, heavy rock, rhythm and blues, and more, probably due to the bands numerous influences.

“We all grew up listening to roots reggae, but we are all into other stuff as well.” says lead guitarist Van. “Just today we were listened to Bach, Pantera, Cat Stevens, and even rap!” adds lead singer Toft. The two comprise the writing duo for the band, and compose all of the songs the band plays.

When asked about their writing process, Van states that “No song is ever written the same.” Sometimes they begin with lyrics, sometimes music, and other times they will start a song and the band takes off with it until its finished and sound completely different. But no matter how they get there they always deliver.

Spiritual Rez Jams at Sully's

“Every time we sit down to write a song- we write a song.” says Toft. However writing is only half the battle. To truly listen to Spiritual Rez, one has to see them live; just ask anyone in the crowd at Sully’s. Not one person in the diverse crowd was standing still.

From the 21 year olds to the middle aged, everyone there was at least swaying in rhythm with the music. The set began with Toft’s masterful crowd work, prompting the crowd to give a “primal scream” and the energy never faded from there.

For two, hourlong sets the band performed what could only be described as organized musical chaos, practically never taking a break and always entertaining. There were songs from “The Nexus,” jam-style musical interludes, and solos from each musician where each one got a chance to showcase their talents. All-in-all, Spiritual Rez delivers on both their album and their live performances.

In the near future the band can be found at Backwoods Pondfest in New York on Sept. 11 or at Paradise Rock Club in Boston on Sept. 17. But until them the band is just “tremendously thankful to play music for a living.

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Police Arrest Windsor Man For Magnolia Street Shooting

WINDSOR — Police yesterday arrested a Windsor man for his alleged involvement in the May shooting on Magnolia Street.

Gregory Clark

The suspect, Gregory Clark, 22,  of 40 Pepperbush Way, Windsor, was charged with first degree robbery, first degree assault, criminal possession of a firearm, criminal use of a firearm, and attempted murder.

Clark also had other outstanding warrants, police said.

According to police, on May 26 at 10: 46 p.m., Hartford police responded to the area of Mather and Magnolia streets on a report that shots were fired.

When they arrived,  officers found the shooting victim on the front door steps of 234 Mather Street suffering from multiple gunshot wounds to his left leg.  The victim was transported to St Francis Hospital for treatment and has since recovered, police said.

Police later identified Clark, a previously convicted felon, as the shooter.

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WeekEnd Movie Review: Takers

Takers Review

By Alana Wenick, Staff Writer

What Takers lacks in terms of originality, the film definitely makes up for with action-packed chase scenes and a name-dropping cast. Located in L.A., the film follows the criminal lives of five friends who conduct bank heists for a living. The crew is lead by Gordon (Idris Elba), and includes John (Paul Walker), A.J. (Hayden Christensen), Jake (Michael Ealy), and Jesse (Chris Brown). The story complicates when former posse member Ghost (rapper Tip “T-I” Harris) is thrown into the mix. Fresh out of prison, Ghost presents the team with a high-stakes challenge, an armored-car robbery.

As the crew prepares for the heist, police officers Jack Welles (Matt Dillon) and Eddie Hatcher (Jay Hernandez) are always just one step behind. The whole plot comes together during the actual heist, when new facts come to light and things don’t necessarily go as planned.

Although this is an action movie, the relationship development between the characters is intense and real. From Gordon’s drug addicted sister Naomi (Marianne Jean-Baptiste) to Jake’s relationship with brother Jesse, the chemistry is definitely there. This emotional investment leads to an edge-of-your-seat feel, which is compounded by the action scenes in the film.

This is where the film really shines. Chris Brown (yes, hip-hop singer Chris Brown) takes off in one of the most intense action sequences imaginable. This isn’t your typical “explosions and fire” scene, and overall the movie delivers some fairly unique chase scenes. The action sequences do not disappoint and these high impact moments move the story along where the plotline lacks.

There are a few twists and turns in the storyline, but it’s certainly nothing new or unusual. Takers combines elements from Oceans 11, The Bourne Identity, and a number of other action flicks. The film is your overall action plot, tense and dramatic, with a few knock-out action scenes. With an all-star cast listing, including a few scenes with Zoe Saldana, this movie is not to be missed. Even if the plot isn’t fantastic, the action scenes are sure to get your blood pumping.

Rating: ***/*****

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Rep. Ken Green Challenges Primary Vote Recount

Updated: Aug. 27. 2010.

HARTFORD — As The Hartford Guardian indicated, a recount would not suffice for an election so close in the city’s 1st House District primary, where the incumbent won by two votes on election day.

After a recount, the registrar of voters in Hartford and Bloomfield announced City Councilman Matt Ritter the winner by two votes. The 15-year incumbent, through his attorney Steven L. Seligman, said not so fast.

After examining the ballots, state Rep. Kenneth Green on Tuesday filed a lawsuit in Hartford Superior Court, challenging the vote recount. Green names Ritter and Hartford and Bloomfield’s Democratic registrar of voters as defendants. But Ritter was not accused of any impropriety. The city and town registrars of voters were.

The recount is reminiscent of another recount about 20 years ago when then State Rep. Thirman Milner, a candidate for Hartford mayor, challenged then five-year incumbent George Athanson, his Democratic primary opponent’s victory when it was discovered that ballots of comatose patients were counted.

Green in his lawsuit challenges the legitimacy of an absentee ballot of a person who died on election day.

Ritter’s lawyer Daniel J. Krisch said Green’s challenge is baseless because a military personnel who mailed a ballot in before he dies is considered legitimate. Besides, he said, Green has a high burden of proof to meet in his challenge.

On Friday, the court will decide whether to approve the re-count result or order a new election.

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Colleges to Offer Free Green Jobs Program

CBIA Teams Up With Community Colleges to Offer Free Training Programs to Prepare Workers for New Careers in Fast-Growing Green Industries

HARTFORD — The Connecticut Business & Industry Association (CBIA), in conjunction with three Connecticut community colleges, is offering free training programs to help workers expand their skills and knowledge and prepare them for new careers in one of the fastest-growing green industries— solar photovoltaics (PV). The program is available free of charge to eligible participants under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) federal grant.

During the month of September, six 44–hour solar PV training programs will be offered to TANF-eligible individuals. The courses will be held at Gateway Community College in North Haven, Middlesex Community College in Middletown, and Naugatuck Valley Community College in Waterbury.

“Over the past several years, concerns about the environment and effective use of resources have led to an explosion of green processes, products, and services,” says Judith K. Resnick, CBIA’s director of workforce development and training and the executive director of CBIA’s Education Foundation. “As more investments are made in sustainable, green industries, we must have a workforce equipped with the skills to compete and succeed in this fast-growing field,” says Resnick. “This program is one step toward meeting that need.”

Eligible individuals can participate in an entry-level course and/or a technical sales program. The solar PV entry level program is designed for entry level workers or individuals working in the electrical or construction trades who would like to become solar PV installation assistants. The solar PV technical sales course is aimed at individuals with strong math and communication skills who would like to enhance their current skills or begin new careers as technical salespeople.

The program is funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) TANF Emergency Contingency Fund and administered through the State of Connecticut Department of Social Services. Matching funds are provided by the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund.

To be eligible for this free training, participants must have dependent children and meet TANF income eligibility and U.S. citizenship requirements. For complete eligibility guidelines, course descriptions, dates and locations, or to download application and registration materials, visit A mandatory math assessment for interested students will be held the week of Aug. 23, 2010, at participating colleges. For more information, contact Deb Presbie, CBIA project consultant, at 860-244-1932 or email

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