Archive | June, 2016

East Hartford Famers Market Open for Summer

EAST HARTFORD – Area farmers will be offering Connecticut-grown fresh fruits and vegetables this summer as the East Hartford Farmer’s Market begins its 25th year of operation.

Beginning July 8, the market will be open Fridays, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Raymond Library at 840 Main St. through Oct. 28.

Many food retailers acquire their produce from distributorships and/or the regional market in Hartford.

Good health through good nutrition is the theme of this year’s market, organizers. Farmer’s markets also draw consumers to downtown areas, assist the state’s agricultural industry and help preserve open space and Connecticut’s rural community character.

All Connecticut farmers’ markets are affiliated with the Women, Infants and Children Farmer’s Market Coupon Program. They are authorized to accept their produce and vegetable vouchers.

The Farmer’s Market is co-sponsored by the East Hartford Health Department, the Parks and Recreation Department and the East Hartford Libraries. These organizations and other agencies plan to conduct health, education and outreach activities at the market. Showcased events will be announced as the season progresses.

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Local Cyclist and Organizer Receives Award

HARTFORD — Tony Cherolis, the Center for Latino Progress’ Youth Development Specialist, was awarded the 2016 Connecticut Greenways Council Award on June 3 at the James L. Goodwin Conservation Center Pavilion.

Cherolis was selected for this award for his significant contributions to the promotion, development, and enhancement of Connecticut’s Greenways.

Cherolis left his job as an engineer at Pratt & Whitney to work in youth development at the Center for Latino Progress and subsequently helped to create the BiCi Co. program. Making bicycling a large part of his life, he has not owned a car since 2010 and walks or bikes all around the city of Hartford keeping a steady eye on what’s happening and what needs to be done.

He is a member of the Safe Streets Committee in Hartford, actively involved in recent revisions to Hartford’s zoning codes, an active volunteer for cycling and safety education with Bike Walk CT, and promotes sustainable transportation through the Transport Hartford group.

BiCi Co. provides an opportunity to improve youth and adult bicycle safety, while also increasing our community’s mobility and access to jobs in the City of Hartford.

Bici is the Spanish nickname for bicicleta (bicycle) and Co. stands for comunidad (community). Located at 95-97 Park Street at the edge of downtown, BiCi Co. is a bike outlet and a safe space for bike enthusiasts and future riders.

To learn more about this impactful program, to volunteer, or to donate, please visit or call (860) 247-3227.

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Florida Police Arrest UConn Student Known for “Mac and Cheese” Video

By Fran Wilson, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — A former University of Connecticut student whose “mac and cheese” video went viral was arrested again in Florida.


Luke Gatti, 20, was charged on May 28 with battery of an officer and resisting an officer in Boca Raton, Fla.

Gatti who lives in Bayville, N.Y. was put on probation after Superior Court Judge B. Farley reviewed the obscenity-laced video about jalapeno macaroni and cheese and sentenced him to do community service.
The video showed Gatti engaged in an argument with the Student Union manager before another worker stepped in.

Gatti was also arrested at the University of Massachusetts for a similar incident.

A spokesperson said that Gatti, who was a student at Storrs when he taped the Oct. 4 video, was no longer a student at the university.



Gatti was given a $500,000 bond.

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Paula Poundstone Set to Perform at Infinity Music Hall

HARTFORD — Award-winning comedian Paula Poundstone is set to perform at the Infinity Music Hall in Hartford with her quirky performance filled with laughter.

“Laughter is the best medicine, which makes this “wellness care,” according to Poundstone said. “Technically, my show should reduce your insurance premiums.”

Heralded as one of our country’s foremost comics, Paula Poundstone is legendary for her razor-sharp wit, her self-deprecating humor and a spontaneity with a crowd that hands-down is without peer

The talents of this brilliant humorist extend beyond standup comedy, but stop short of yodeling. One of her dreams came true when she was cast as “Forgetter Paula” in Disney Pixar’s INSIDE OUT, which won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film in 2016.

On June 28, 2016, HighBridge, a Grammy Award winning leading publisher of spoken-word audio, will release North by Northwest, Paula’s first “double live” CD.

It was recorded at memorable performance stops in Bayfield, Wisconsin and Portland, Oregon. Says Poundstone, “It’s a joyous romp through a field of cheeseheads and hipsters.”


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CT Residents to Protest Court’s Decision on Immigration

HARTFORD — In response to the Supreme Court’s 4-4 decision on the immigration case of United States v. Texas, a group of Hartford residents will protest outside the federal Immigration & Customs Enforcement office in Hartford on June 27 at 4:00 p.m.

The event will be at 450 Main St. Hartford, CT. Groups of immigrants, workers, youth, and community members will gather to demand a moratorium on deportations, detentions and raids.

Last Thursday, the Supreme Court released an equally divided 4-4 vote on the case of United States v. Texas.

The case now returns to the lower courts for consideration, while the injunction on both DAPA and Expanded DACA programs remains in place nationwide, stalling deportation relief and work permits to 5 million undocumented people.

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YMCA to Hold Summer Scholastic Program

HARTFORD — The YMCA is now accepting applications for  its 2016 scholastic summer program in Hartford and East Hartford.

Now in its fourth year, the YMCA is tackling summer learning loss head-on with its free Y-BELL Power Scholars Academy offered at the Simpson Waverly School in Hartford and the Anna Norris School in East Hartford, organizers said. Power Scholars expands learning in the summer so young scholars can return to school ready to learn.
Scholars attend sessions five days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. for six weeks, combining enrichment activities, and field trips to make learning fun. Breakfast and lunch are included for all participants.
Studies show that without access to summer learning activities, such as camp, travel, and visits to libraries and museums, children from low-income environments can experience significant learning loss. Over time, low-income children continue to lose ground and by the fifth grade, many are two to three school years behind middle- and high-income students.
To become a Y-Bell Scholar, students must have completed grade 1, grade 2, grade 3, grade 4, grade 5 or grade 6. For enrollment information, contact Nicole Porter at 860-937-7808 or email
Certified teachers lead 90 minutes of literacy and 90 minutes of math instruction each day using Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s Summer Success reading/math curricula, as well as a leveled reader’s library of multicultural titles. Academic teachers lead literacy and math instruction, and enrichment teachers teach STEM, arts, and other hands-on courses in the afternoon. Students participate in field trips or community service projects each Friday throughout the summer, with the program culminating with a trip to Lake Compounce for scholars with at least 85 percent attendance.

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UN President Visits Cuba, Signs Peace Agreement

By Ann-Marie Adams, Staff Writer

NEW YORK, NY —  United Nations General Assembly H.E. Mogens Lykket is in Cuba to attend the signing of a bilateral ceasefire and surrender of weapons.

On Thursday, he will join the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the President of the Security Council, Ambassador François Delattre of France, to witness the signing in Havana of the bilateral ceasefire and laying down of arms agreement between the Government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

While in Havana, the President is also expected to have a number of bilateral meetings.

Lykket, who was elected by the United Nations General Assembly  to serve as the President of its seventieth session, will be accompanied by his wife Mette Holm and a number of staff from the Office of the President. Lykketoft is an economist by training and a veteran parliamentarian and government minister.

The signing of the peace agreement is a culmination of three years of talks between the two parties. The talks have resulted in the reconciling positions on issues of comprehensive rural reform, political participation, combating illicit drug trafficking and attention to victims.

Heading the ceremony will be Juan Manuel Santos, President of Colombia and other dignitaries.

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HIV Testing Day Slated for June in CT Cities

NEW HAVEN — Planned Parenthood of Southern New England will offer free rapid HIV testing services at select health centers in Connecticut this June.

National HIV Testing Day is June 27.

In the United States, more than 1.2 million people are living with HIV. In Connecticut, there are more than 10,200 people living with HIV. Almost one in seven do not know they are infected.

“You cannot tell by looking at someone if they have HIV – the only way to know is to get tested. We invite all people who do not know their status to come for a free test,” said Judy Tabar President & CEO of Planned Parenthood of Southern New England. “National HIV Testing Day is a reminder that getting tested for HIV is an important step in stopping the spread of HIV and taking care of ourselves.”

In an effort to promote early detection and a healthy community, PPSNE will be offering free rapid HIV tests at select health centers during normal business hours on Monday, June 27.

Appointments are not necessary, but encouraged. Everyone who gets tested on June 27 will receive a free information bag that includes fun giveaways, educational brochures and safe sex supplies. The following health centers in Connecticut will be providing free rapid tests:

Bridgeport Health Center

211 State Street

Bridgeport, CT 06604

8 AM – 3:30 PM

Hartford Health Center

1229 Albany Avenue

Hartford, CT 06112

11 AM – 6:45 PM

New Haven Health Center

345 Whitney Avenue

New Haven, CT 06511

9 AM – 6:30 PM

“Our health centers are open to everyone and we are here to answer any questions or concerns anyone may have. Once you know your status, there is a lot you can do to protect your health, including practicing safer sex,” said Tabar. “The sooner you know your status, the sooner you can get any treatment and information you might need. Early treatment can help prevent serious health problems in the future.”

To make an appointment or for more information, call 1 (800) 230-PLAN (7526) or visit

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Senate Rejects Murphy Background-check Provision and ‘terror gap’ Bill

WASHINGTON – For the second time since the slaughter at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the U.S. Senate has rejected an effort to expand FBI background checks of gun purchasers.

Lawmakers also killed an effort to bar those on the terrorist watch list from purchasing weapons, as well as two competing GOP proposals.

The 44-56 vote on the legislation that would expand FBI background checks, sponsored by Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., was scheduled after Murphy held a nearly 15-hour filibuster last week to press GOP Senate leadership to allow votes on gun legislation. Sixty votes were needed for approval.

The effort to bar those on the terrorist watch list from purchasing guns, called the “terror-gap” provision, failed on a 47-53 vote.

“Today’s votes would never have occurred were it not for the loud voices of the American people echoing through the halls of the Capitol last week,” Murphy said. “After the deadliest shooting in American history, Senate Republicans weren’t even going to discuss, let alone vote on, measures to stop this endless mass murder enveloping our country.

Murphy, who gave the last speech before the Senate began to vote on the gun legislation – amendments to a spending bill that would fund the Commerce and Justice Departments – said it was likely all measures would fail, given the deep partisanship in Congress over gun control. But he said it was a test that put senators on the record on the issue. “We are going to see where people stand,” he said.

Murphy lost the support of three Democrats on the background-check vote, Sens. Heidi Heitcamp of North Dakota, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Jon Tester of Montana. He picked up support from only one Republican, Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois.

The Murphy amendment was a modification of legislation rejected by the Senate a few months after the Sandy Hook shooting that claimed the lives of 20 first graders and six educators. It would have expanded FBI background checks to sales at gun shows and by individuals over the Internet. It also would have stripped federal policing grants from states that do not fully report felons and those involuntarily committed to mental institutions to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

At a press conference after the defeat of proposed gun legislation are, left to right, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada, Sen. Chris Murphy and New York's Sen. Chuck Schumer.

Ana Radelat /

At a press conference after the defeat of proposed gun legislation are, left to right, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada, Sen. Chris Murphy and New York Sen. Chuck Schumer.

Before the vote, several Republicans criticized Murphy’s efforts.

“To hear my colleague discuss it, you would think these gun shows are lawless free-for-alls that sell guns to felons and terrorists,” said Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa.

The Senate also rejected, on a 53-47 vote, a Republican proposal sponsored by Grassley that also would have added funding to the FBI background check system. But the GOP proposal would have allowed some of the people now barred from purchasing a gun because they have been involuntarily committed to a mental institution to purchase a gun.

Also rejected was a rival proposal sponsored by Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, that would have allowed the U.S. attorney general to block a gun sale to someone on the terrorist list, but only after going to court to obtain permission.

“They aren’t even half measures,” Murphy said of the GOP proposals. “They are just shields for members who don’t want to do the right thing.”

The Senate visitors’ galleries, usually empty at that time of the evening, were filled with people, some wearing orange “Enough is Enough” tee shirts in commemoration of the victims or the Orlando shooting.

After the failed votes, several Democrats vowed to continue the fight.

“We are not giving up or going away,” Blumenthal said.

Blumenthal said his reaction to the failure of the background check and “terror gap” legislation was the same as it was when the Senate three years ago failed to approve new gun restrictions.

“Shame on you,” he said.

Blumenthal also said the Orlando shootings have altered “the political dynamics” regarding gun safety. “It is a sea change,” he said.

Sen. Corey Booker, D-N.J., said, “If we do nothing, more people in this country will likely die.”

Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla,. asked “what am I going to tell 49 grieving families” in Florida? “Sadly, I’m going to have to tell them the (National Rifle Association) won again,” he said.

A compromise?

Like the legislation that would expand FBI background checks, the amendment that would bar people on the terrorist list from purchasing weapons has failed before. It was rejected the day after the mass shooting in San Bernardino in December.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal urges the Senate to support expanding background checks Monday.


Sen. Richard Blumenthal urges the Senate to support expanding background checks Monday.

Sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the amendment would have allowed the U.S. attorney general to ban anyone on the FBI’s various terrorist watch lists from purchasing a weapon, leaving the discretion on whom to bar to the Justice Department because there might be times the move would tip off a suspect that they are on the watch list.

“The amendment gives the Justice Department an important additional tool to prevent the sale of guns to suspected terrorists while ensuring protection of the department’s operational and investigative sensitivities,” the Justice Department said in a statement.

Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy is also trying to use the terrorist list to bar the sale of guns in Connecticut, but for six months has said he’s been negotiating with the White House counsel’s office.

“There has been no official decision,” said Malloy spokesman Devon Puglia. “If the request is approved, we will sign the executive order right away.”

Right after the vote, Malloy blasted the GOP-controlled Congress for failing to act on gun control.

“The senators who voted against this legislation tonight should be ashamed,” he said. “Not only for voting against the vast majority of Americans who overwhelmingly support these common-sense policies, but also for putting their own interest before safety.”

Republicans argued the list of people affected by the “terror gap bill” would be too broad and strip those banned of a constitutional right to own a firearm without due process.

To try to brook the divide, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, is trying to fashion a compromise that would prevent people on the “no-fly list” and a “selectee list,” a roster of people who are subject to additional screening before boarding a plane, from purchasing weapons.

The federal terrorist contains about 1 million names, but all but about 5,000 of these people live overseas. There are about 1,000 people on the “no-fly” list and about 1,700 on the “selectee list” who are living in the United States.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., was supportive of Collins’ efforts, “everybody likes Susan,” he said. But he was skeptical enough Republicans would vote for the compromise.

Murphy said Collins’ effort “could be something that works,” but also said the Maine senator has not released details of her plan.

Contributor: and crooks and liars.

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Insurance Commissioner to Face Ethics Board

By Fran Wilson, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — Connecticut residents will have their say on whether the state’s commissioner’s participation in an insurance merger was a lapse in judgment.

The Connecticut Office of State Ethics on Tuesday will begin  a 30-day comment period in connection with a declaratory ruling petition from Common Cause CT.

The group is bringing this before the ethics board because they questioned Insurance Commissioner Katharine Wade’s participation in the Cigna/Anthem merger.  The deadline for submitting comments is 5 p.m. on July 20, 2016.

At its regular meeting held on June 16,  the Board voted unanimously to grant the petition to issue a declaratory ruling submitted by Cheri Quickmire, Executive Director of Common Cause of Connecticut.  By law, a declaratory ruling constitutes a binding statement of agency law.

The 30-day comment period is an opportunity for comments from those interested in this issue.

Comments may be sent by email to or mailed or otherwise delivered to the Office of State Ethics at 18-20 Trinity Street, 2nd Floor, Hartford, CT 06106.

Submissions must be marked Proposed Declaratory Ruling 2016-A.  All comments are “public records” and will be posted at

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