Archive | July, 2012

Heat Wave Prompts Opening of Cooling Centers


HARTFORD — We’re having another heat wave. Temperatures are expected to near 100 degrees on Tuesday.

So Mayor Pedro E. Segarra and Fire Chief Edward Casares have ordered the opening of five cooling centers in the City of Hartford.

The following cooling centers will open at 9:00 a.m. and will close at 8:00 p.m.:

  • North End Senior Center, 80 Coventry Street
  • South End Wellness Center, 830 Maple Avenue
  • Parkville Senior Center, 11 New Park Avenue
  • Hispanic Health Council, 175 Main Street
  • Hispanic Senior Center, 45 Wadsworth Street
  • Colt Park Pool (36 inch height requirement)
  • Goodwin Park Pool (50 inch height requirement)
  • Keney Park Pool (36 inch height requirement)
  • Pope Park Pool (36 inch height requirement

Members of the Hartford Fire Department’s Special Services Unit will be disseminating cold water to city residents at public transportation bus stops throughout Connecticut’s Capital City during peak high temperature periods. An air quality alert will also be in effect for the Hartford area due to high levels of ozone in the air.

Residents and visitors are reminded to stay hydrated (while avoiding liquids that contain caffeine, alcohol or large amounts of sugar); avoid being out in the sun too long if it’s at all possible; have the phone number of your family doctor clearly posted next to your phone (and stored in your cellular phone); and never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle.

Additionally, the Hartford Public Library is available for residents and visitors; below please find the hours of operation for the various branches:

  • Main Street: 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
  • All Branches (except Dwight): 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
  • Goodwin & Blue Hills: 12:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

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Hartford Police ID Woodland and Albany Ave Victim


HARTFORD — Hartford Police have confirmed the identity of a victim seriously injured in a July 13  two-car accident with a civilian car and a police cruiser.

The victim, Anthony Mansfield, 50, of Hartford is in serious condition at St. Francis Hospital, police said.

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According to police, at about 12:45 a.m., on July 13, Hartford Police Officer Taikwon Dudley, operating a marked Ford Crown Victoria Hartford Police Cruiser collided with  Mansfield’s 1996 Chevy Cavalier.

According to a police spokesperson in a press release, Dudley was responding to assist other officers in an active police pursuit involving an Arthur Stanley at the intersection of Albany Avenue and Woodland Street in Hartford.

Mansfield was transported via ambulance to Saint Francis Hospital for treatment of his injuries and remains in serious condition.  Officer Dudley was also treated and medically released.

“The Hartford Police Crime Scene Division, charged with investigating all motor vehicle accidents in the city, with the assistance of the Connecticut State Police and State’s Attorney’s Office, is investigating the incident,” said Hartford Police Chief James C. Rovella.

“At this time, I extend my heartfelt wishes for Mr. Mansfield’s speedy recovery from his injuries.  He and his family remain foremost in my thoughts and prayers.”

Anyone with information that may aid in the investigation is asked the Connecticut State Police, State’s Attorney’s Office, or Hartford Police Crime Scene Detective Michael Chauvin at 860-4299.

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Statewide Primary Election Nears, Forum Scheduled


HARTFORD — Less than one month to go until the statewide primary on Aug. 14.

That means Hartford residents who wish to vote in the primary should hurry to the Hartford registrar of voters’ office and sign up as a Democrat or Republican to  join the 45, 191 new voters who registered since January 2012.

To register to vote by mail, voter registration cards must be received by the local registrar by August 9. The last day for in-person registration at the registrar’s office is August 13 at 12:00 p.m.

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According to Secretary of State Denise Merrill that brings the total number of Connecticut registered voters to 1,962,905.

The number of newly registered voters this year trails 2008 figures in the same period of time. By July 20, 2008, more than 100,000 new voters had registered.

Similar to 2008, however, young voters are the largest group of new voters to register so far in 2012 with 18,952 voters between the ages of 18-29 registering in the last seven months.

In this presidential election year, there are several hotly contested statewide primaries coming up, said Secretary Merrill, Connecticut’s chief elections official.  “I am encouraged to see thousands of eligible Connecticut residents make the decision to become registered voters, by doing so they are making the statement that they want their voice to be heard at the polls.’

Anyone who wants to vote on Tuesday August 14th who is not yet registered to vote has one month from today at noon to register with the Democrats or the Republicans at your local Registrar of Voters office.  Unaffiliated voters who want to participate also face that same deadline to enroll with either party in order to cast a primary ballot.

Currently, there are 1,962,905 active voters in Connecticut.  There are 720,161 registered Democrats, 411,062 Republicans, and 817,432 registered as unaffiliated.  Among the 45,191 newly registered voters since January 1, 2012, 13,851 registered as Democrats and 9,256 registered as Republicans and 21,091, registered as unaffiliated.

Among new voters, the largest group of new voters are some 18,952 voters between the ages of 18 and 29.  Among voters aged 30-44, there are 10,334 newly registered voters.  The age bracket of 45-59 gained 7,340 new voters while those aged 60 and over comprise 5,792 newly registered voters.

Visit www.sots.ct.gov to learn how to register to vote, find polling locations, view candidate lists, and download absentee ballot forms.

Also, there will be a community forum on for the Republican and Democratic Registrar of Voters at the Hartford Public Library on July 18.

On the Aug. 14 ballot are: Ramon Arroyo (Democrat), Sal Bramante (Republican), Nyesha McCauley (Republican), Olga Vazquez (Democrat).

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Police Cruiser Crashes Into Civilian’s Car At Woodland And Albany


Updates! July 20, 2012 @ 2.22 a.m.

HARTFORD — Hartford Police has yet to reveal details of a two-car accident after a police cruiser allegedly crashed into a civilian car early Friday morning at the corner of Woodland Street and Albany Avenue.

Witnesses said they watched as police cordoned off the area, while medics on the scene administered to the injured police officer. The civilian was unconscious and was not treated at that time, they said. However, an ambulance arrived on the scene and transported an injured police officer to a nearby hospital, witnesses said.

Police ID Woodland and Albany Ave Victim

Other witnesses said they saw the unconscious man in his car, which was smashed into the United Methodist Church. An ambulance later arrived on the scene and transported the victim to St. Francis Hospital.

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More than 24 hours after the accident, police said there was no report about the accident and referred The Hartford Guardian to police spokesperson, Nancy Mulroy.

The Guardian left a message for Mulroy at press time.

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WeekEnd Movie Review: “Ice Age: Continental Drift”


By Jonathan Smalls, Film Critic

HARTFORD — If you are old enough to read this, then you are probably old enough to remember the Land Before Time. It was a magical journey that started in 1988, and continued all of the way up to 2007 according to their Wikipedia entry. Once you were old enough to really follow the narrative, you may also remember how campy, and boring it was.

In those respects, it has a lot of parallels with the Ice Age franchise. Ice Age is ten years in at this point, and into its fourth

feature film release. They keep the little ones entertained by anthropomorphising prehistorical animals, and giving them familiar relationships, but there is not much more to it, and the kids will quickly outgrow this series.

Ice Age supercedes Land Before Time by having a much snarlier tone, and recruiting more celebrity talent than its predecessor. For instance Wanda Sykes as Granny is reasonably entertaining despite the predictability of her character, but the rest of the film is just a slow march to an ending that you see a mile away.

Just so that you can get a sense of what to expect, and why: this is a Blue Sky Studios production like Rio. It stands in stark

contrast to Pixar productions like Toy Story, Up, Shrek, and others that can be fun, and interesting for viewers of all ages. This film is far from awful, but it is also a long ways from excellent. Definitely wait for the DVD.

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Feds Indict Braddock, Claim Conspiracy Began Last Year


By Mark Pazniokas

HARTFORD – A federal indictment returned Wednesday against House Speaker Christopher G. Donovan’s former congressional campaign fundraiser describes a conspiracy to kill roll-your-own tobacco legislation that began last fall in a Waterbury smoke shop.

The three-count indictment charges Robert Braddock Jr., who was Donovan’s congressional campaign finance director until his arrest by the FBI, with conspiring to accept $27,500 in illegal campaign contributions. Donovan is described as meeting smoke shop owners, without being told of their interest in the legislation.

“This indictment details an extensive conspiracy to corrupt the electoral process,” said U.S. Attorney David B. Fein. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI continue to investigate not only this matter, but all illegal behavior that corrupts our system of government.”

The indictment leaves Donovan in political limbo less than six weeks before the Aug. 14 Democratic primary, neither accusing him of wrongdoing, nor offering assurances he will not yet be implicated. At a minimum, the indictment describes Braddock as willing to suggest to donors that Donovan could be bought.

[The indictment can be read in two parts here and here.]

Owners of roll-your-tobacco businesses are described as meeting Nov. 2, 2011, in a smoke shop to discuss potential legislation that would either tax or charge fees on their businesses. A call was made to Donovan, described in the indictment as “Public Official Number 1,” to arrange a meeting with him for Nov. 16, 2011, at a restaurant in his hometown of Meriden.

“Public Official Number 1” is described in the indictment as a member of the General Assembly who is running for Congress. His campaign’s internal investigation previously has acknowledged that Donovan met with the smoke shop owners.

According to the indictment, Braddock told a smoke shop owner at a campaign fundraiser on Nov. 15, the night before the meeting with Donovan, it would be dangerous to mention a bill with Donovan, because others might be listening.

“There is always people following this guy around, watching what he’s doing,” Braddock said.

Braddock was given a $2,500 donation by the smoke shop owner, but the indictment says the source of the money was concealed by funneling it through someone else’s checking account, which made the donation an “illegal conduit contribution.”

According to the indictment, the check was the first of 11 $2,500 conduit donations made to Donovan’s campaign by smoke shop owners or, beginning in the spring as the legislature was considering tobacco legislation, by FBI undercover agents posing as smoke-shop investors.

The first four checks were delivered Nov. 15 and 16 and Dec. 8, prior to the start of the 2012 session of the General Assembly.

The other seven were donated in April and May, with four being delivered after the legislature’s Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee approved the tobacco legislation, which was a Senate bill. The remaining three came after the session ended with no action on the bill.

The Senate never voted on the measure, so Donovan never was in a position to decide if the bill would be debated in the House.

The indictment refers to three unnamed owners of roll-your-own smoke shops, identified as RYO Owner 1, RYO Owner 2 and RYO Owner 3. There also is a reference to a co-conspirator, CC-1, who has previously been identified as Ray Soucy, a correction officer and union official who knew the smoke shop owners.

The internal investigation conducted by former U.S. Attorney Stanley Twardy for the campaign disclosed last week that Soucy had arranged Donovan’s breakfast meeting last fall with smoke shop owners.

The indictment says CC-1 met with RYO Owner 1 and 3 in the restaurant parking lot before they met with Donovan Nov. 16. He told them to plan on giving the campaign $10,000, followed by additional payments of up to $30,000 if they were “happy.”

On Nov. 16, CC-1 and the smoke shop owners agreed to complete the initial $10,000 payment by delivering two $2,500 conduit contributions at a fundraiser in Waterbury on Dec. 8. Before the fundraiser, RYO Owner 2 told the others they needed to hide their identities so no one would connect them to killing the tobacco legislation.

“Something happens, they say why the f ck did these guys donate ten thousand to this campaign,” he said.

Later that night, shortly after accepting the checks at the Waterbury fundraiser, Braddock is quoted as reassuring the owners, “You’re gonna be fine. I wouldn’t go repeating what I just said, but I think you’re gonna be fine.”

At the invitation of the Donovan campaign, Soucy attended the Democratic convention that endorsed Donovan on May 14, where he met with Donovan. He also delivered another $10,000 to the campaign in conduit checks, though apparently not in Donovan’s presence.

Soucy later told Braddock he had just “thanked the man” and that the $20,000 “was well worth it.”

Braddock replied, “You’re the man.”

The next day, Soucy called to tell Braddock to hold one check, which had inadvertently been written in the name of a smoke shop owner. Braddock was able to retrieve the check before it was deposited.

“Alright, so I’ll get that one from you and do a switch,” Soucy told him later.

“Yeah, sounds good,” Soucy said.

By this point, according to criminal complaint filed in May, Soucy was cooperating with FBI agents and recording conversations at their direction.

The indictment makes no claim that Donovan was aware of Braddock’s conversations with the smoke shop owners, and Donovan’s campaign spokesman, Gabe Rosenberg, said Wednesday night, “Nothing in this indictment is inconsistent with the findings of the independent Twardy report.”

As was detailed in the original criminal complaint that became public May 31, the indictment describes FBI undercover agents entering the picture this spring, posing as investors in a roll-your-own business. They provided another $10,000 in illegal contributions made through conduits or straw donors.

Braddock had waived his right to a probable cause hearing or a speedy indictment, an indication that plea negotiations were under way. But his lawyer, Frank Riccio II, said the talks never came close to a deal.

“We were never really there,” Riccio said.

Braddock will plead not guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court in New Haven, Riccio said.

The day Braddock’s arrest became public, Donovan fired Braddock; his campaign manager, Joshua Nassi; and a deputy campaign finance director. Swan, the executive director of the Connecticut Citizen Action Group and a longtime friend and political ally, came on board the next day as his new campaign manager.

Key unions have reaffirmed their support of Donovan, as has MoveOn.org, but the first indication of Donovan’s ability to compete financially will come no later than Sunday, when his campaign must disclose its finance report for the three-month period ending June 30.

He faces former state Rep. Elizabeth Esty of Cheshire, who recently went on television with her first television commercial, and Dan Roberti in the primary. Rosenberg said the campaign continues.

“As Chris said last week, we are ready to start talking about the issues that matter to the families of the district,” Rosenberg said. “He has always fought to reduce the influence of special interest and lobbyist money in politics, and he always will. Chris is the only candidate in the race that has a record of fighting for working families, and the only candidate that those families can trust to never sell them out.”

This article was first reported on ctmirror.org

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Wadsworth Invites Families To ‘Free Saturdays’


HARTFORD — This and every second Saturday, city residents can visit the Wadsworth Museum for free.

From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Families can play with light like MATRIX 164 artist Jan Tichy and explore how other artists use light and shadow, or make a pastel lightscape and listen to the meditative sounds of Jordan Critchley and Aman Herron from String Theorie throughout the morning.

Here are other activities for Wadsworth Second Tuesdays:

10:30 am – 11:00 am: ABCs: Art, Books, Connections Tour
Listen to stories and make connections to art during this docent-led tour for young children and accompanying adults. Meet at Information Desk

11:00 am – 12:00 pm: Ask About Art
Talk with a docent in the exhibition Jan Tichy/MATRIX 164. Avery III

11:30 am – 12:00 pm: Eyes on Art Family Tour
Explore the concept of light in art in this docent-led tour for all ages. Meet at Information Desk

12:00 pm – 12:30 pm: Soundscape
Play with sound like you play with light. Pick up a Nigerian udu drum, Tibetan singing bowl, African djembe, a conga, or a Latin cajon and create a soundscape with Jordan Critchley and Aman Herron. Avery Court

Public Tours meet at Information Desk
1:00 pm Highlights Tour
2:30 pm Tour of Andrew Wyeth: Looking Beyond and James Welling: “Wyeth”

Each program includes hands-on art projects, tours for families, live music, and engaging fun through film, theater and dance. And it’s every month of the year.

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Bushnell Park To House Cool Jazz, Hot Latin Rhythms


HARTFORD — From cool straight ahead jazz to hot Latin rhythms, the 21stAnnual Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz will showcase a full spectrum of international jazz styles in the capital city’s own back lawn – Bushnell Park – during the weekend of July 20-22, 2012.

The Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz is the largest FREE ADMISSION outdoor jazz festival in New England. The festival attracts over 45,000 music lovers to Downtown Hartford’s Bushnell Park throughout the weekend.

Organizers have lined up three days of free live music to celebrate the eclecticism of today’s jazz.  The festival boasts a history of presenting   notable performers  including the Count Basie Orchestra, The Duke Ellington Orchestra, Dave Brubeck, Chuck Mangione, Herbie Mann, and in recent years Gerald Albright, Bobby Lyle, and The Rippingtons.

In addition to presenting some of the world’s finest international performers, the festival is also dedicated to showcasing local artists and aspiring young performers from the Greater Hartford area.

Besides offering great music, the festival also hosts a wonderful food court with over dozen delicious food and beverage vendors, and more than forty arts-and-crafts and merchant marketplace vendors from local and New York City areas.  ATMs on-site.

This year the event will host a ‘Kid’s Zone’ near the carousel that will include a bouncy house, face painting, children’s crafts, Hartford Symphony Orchestra instrument petting zoo, and Hartford Stage will have information on children’s classes and studio workshops.

The historic Bushnell Park Carousel, one of the few remaining antique wooden carousels in the US, will be open. Rides are only $1.

Hours are Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.  A playground is located directly next to the carousel. Nearby arch tours on Trinity Street in the park will be open to the public.

Explore the extraordinary art and architecture of the Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Arch and the history of Bushnell Park.  Drop by for a free arch tour by volunteer tour guides onSaturday from 4-6 p.m. and Sunday 3-5 p.m.  Explore from the ground or climb the 96 steps to the top.

On Friday, July 20 gates open at 5:00 p.m. The festival begins with the Opening Ceremony at 6:30 p.m. at the Main Stage also known as the Thomas D. Harris IV Performance Pavilion.   At 7:00 p.m. the festival kicks off with Latin jazz first by powerful saxophonist Layla Angulo followed by the Steven Oquendo Latin Jazz Orchestra. Led by distinguished trumpet player and music educator, Steve Oqendo, the orchestra is made up of 10 superbly talented guardians of the jazz tradition.

Steven Oquendo, the orchestra is made up of 18 superbly talented guardians of the jazz tradition. All well established musicians in their own right.

On Saturday, July 16 gates open at 1:00 PM, the Main Stage will heat up again beginning at 4:30 p.m. through midnight.  The music will begin at 4:30 p.m. with contemporary jazz guitarist, Matt Marshak. Known for his lively, fun, energetic original guitar licks.  AT 6:00 p.m. saxophonist Elan Trotman will perform his smooth jazz compositions.  Next up at 7:30 is contemporary jazz guitarist, Jeff Golub.  At 9:00 p.m. our headliner “Sax Pack” takes the stage; a class act consisting of three signature sax players featuring Jeff Kashiwa, Steve Cole, and Marcus Anderson.  Backed by a tight rhythm section, the talented trio combine their life-long love of music and their passion for performance, to make an impact on audiences that love music as much as they do.

Then on Saturday night at 10:30 p.m. our famous Jazz Dance Party happens at the Main Stage too with the Motown sounds of ‘Jus Us‘. Everyone is invited to have a party and dance until 12 a.m. midnight.  Vendors will stay open late for late night shopping, eating and beverages.

On Sunday, July 17, Christ Church Cathedral at 45 Church Street will have a Jazz Mass at 10:00 a.m., featuring Ross Tucker’s Hot Cat Jazz Band. All are welcome to attend.

On Sunday, July 17 gates open at 1:00 p.m. The festival closes out with music appealing to all jazz lovers.  At 4:30 jazz vocalist Dana Lauren will start off the last evening. Dana is a gifted young singer with hints of Ella Fitzgerald.  At 6:00 p.m. we will present local band, Afro-Semitic Experience, co-founded by African-American jazz pianist Warren Byrd, and Jewish-American jazz bassist David Chevan. Closing out the festival at 7:30 p.m. is Hartford’s own Hartford Symphony Orchestra Jazz and Strings featuring Hartford native Jimmy Greene!

The second stage by Trinity Street will be closed again this year but jazz music will be played all day in the park prior to the live music performances in the early evening.

The festival is an affordable way to spend an enjoyable weekend especially during these difficult economic times.

More information about the Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz can be found at www.hartfordjazz.org or by calling 860.727.0050.

Featured Photo of Jazz vocalist Cynthia Holliday is by allaboutjazz.com

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Keney Park Suspect Nabbed in New York


By Francine Henry, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — Hartford police recently nabbed a suspect wanted for the June 11 shooting of a man in Keney Park.

Brian Gooden, 24, of Windsor Avenue, Windsor, was arrested by Hartford police on June 25 after he was extradited from New York.

Investigators of the Hartford Police Department’s Major Crimes Division had obtained an arrest warrant for Gooden in late June charging him with first degree assault, unlawful discharge of a gun, criminal use of a firearm and reckless endangerment in connection with a serious assault with a firearm that occurred at the Keney Park Cricket Field on June 11.

The unnamed victim suffered gunshot wounds to his legs.

Gooden remains in custody on $500,000 bond pending arraignment in Hartford Superior Court.

 

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Hartford Students To Receive Aid


HARTFORD — Hartford Public Schools will be receiving help from the federal government this year in its efforts to increase the city’s college enrollment rate.

The U.S. Department of Education has selected Hartford as the only district in Connecticut to have access to individualized data that will help more students accurately complete the Free Application For Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Under a pilot program administered by the department, city high schools will receive regular reports on which students completed the form and which students completed it incorrectly. The information will then enable each school to target students for special counseling services who are having difficulty submitting the application.

“Many students in Hartford don’t enroll in college because they think they can’t afford it and many financial packages are inadequate due to missing, incomplete or incorrectly completed FAFSA applications,” said Sonia Dinall, the district’s Director of College and Career Readiness. “The FAFSA Completion Project will increase access to college by ensuring that each senior has relevant, accurate, and current data on file, which often results in additional financial support for college.”

The significance of submitting a properly completed FAFSA cannot be understated. All income based financial aid, including Pell grants, work-study opportunities, college based scholarships and subsidized government loans, is based on the information contained in the FAFSA application.

“Several students will greatly benefit from our participation in this project,” Ms. Dinnall said, explaining that the project aligns perfectly with Superintendent Christina M. Kishimoto’s College Readiness goal of the Hartford Public School Strategic Operating Plan.

Until now, completing and submitting the form online relied on each student’s own initiative.

The FAFSA application period begins on Jan. 1 of each year. Connecticut students are encouraged to file their applications electronically by February 15th because many colleges and universities begin the process of examining the applications to make determinations on financial aid in late March.

Department of Education officials said they would phase in the project over two years to evaluate the project’s effectiveness. Half of the city’s high schools will have access to the data in 2012-2013 and the rest will be included in the second year. A total of 122 districts nationwide have been selected for the project.

 

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