Archive | July, 2016

About 300 Head Start Programs Available This Fall

NEW HAVEN — With more than 300 seats still available for the 2016-17 school year, New Haven Public Schools’ officials are working diligently to ensure families in the district are aware of an opportunity to enroll their young children into pre-k and Head Start Programs by Sept. 1.

The District currently offers two programs — Head Start and School Readiness — for young children ages 3 to 4-years-old. Each program caters to all students  including those with special needs and offers families an opportunity to help their students prepare for kindergarten.

“Head Start provides children aged 3-4 with a high-quality pre-school experience,” said Claudia McNeil, Program Director for Head Start.  “Teaching staff create experience-rich environments where children can explore and interact with a wide range of materials. Through observation and assessment, lessons are individualized to maximize child outcomes. Children leaving Head Start transition prepared to be successful in kindergarten and as life-long learners. Just as children are provided with opportunities for growth and development during their Head Start experience, so are Parents.”

Head Start’s unique approach includes a focus on facilitating family growth and development by assisting families to set goals and connecting families to resources targeted at goal completion.  Parents are also encouraged to participate in the planning and governance of the program through Policy Council, a parent Board. All Head Start services are free to qualifying enrolled families.

School Readiness, a State funded pre-k program, works to increase the number of children who have an opportunity to attend a quality pre-k program.  New Haven Public Schools’ has several School Readiness sites throughout the district with classrooms in our elementary schools, that are in session 6 hours a day during the school year.

To enroll, parents should visit the Early Childhood Registration Office at 80 Hamilton Street. The registration office is open Monday-Friday from 9:00am – 5:00pm. To increase enrollment, the District is also offering Saturday hours for registration from 9:00am – 2:00pm. Parents are encouraged to call, 203-946-6950 or 203-9416-8446  for additional information and to schedule an appointment.

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Murphy Raises Gun Control – and his Profile – at Convention

By Ana Radelat

PHILADELPHIA — He started his speech with a standing ovation from members of the Connecticut delegation and ended it bringing the entire convention floor to its feet.

Sen. Chris Murphy’s’ impassioned, prime time speech on gun control Wednesday helped the Democratic Party showcase its commitment on the issue and helped raise a profile that has been elevated since he led a filibuster on the Senate floor to press GOP leaders to hold votes on gun legislation.

“Enough of children dying in classrooms. Enough of nightly bloodshed on our city streets. Enough of our police officers being outgunned, ambushed, and cut down in the line of duty.

“Enough,” Murphy said.

The crowd joined him in chanting “Enough.”

Murphy told the delegates, and the nation, about the horrors of the day Adam Lanza killed 20 first graders and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December of 2012.

“I am furious – furious – that in three years since Sandy Hook, three years of almost daily bloodshed in our cities, the Republican Congress has done absolutely nothing to prevent the next massacre,” he said. “It stokes inside me a sense of outrage I’ve never felt before. And that’s what drove me to stand on the floor of the United States Senate for 15 hours to demand change.”

Murphy spent 15 hours on the Senate floor talking about gun violence, joined by about 40 Democratic senators who told stories of gun violence in their states – and families.

Murphy’s speech was watched by Jackie and Mark Barden, whose son Daniel was slain in the Sandy Hook massacre. Jackie Barden called Murphy’s address “very moving” and “powerful.”

Sen. Chris Murphy addresses the convention.

Mark Pazniokas /

Sen. Chris Murphy addresses the convention.

The Bardens were in Philadelphia Wednesday for the screening of the documentary “Newtown” on the day Democrats chose to address the issue of gun violence head-on.

Murphy, who was nervous about using a teleprompter to give his speech, said Hillary Clinton shared “that same sense of outrage” that Congress fails to approve gun control legislation that would broaden FBI background checks of gun buyers and bar those on a federal terror watch list from purchasing guns.

“Hillary Clinton didn’t have to make fighting gun violence a centerpiece of her campaign. I’m sure people told her it wasn’t worth the political risk. But she held firm. She stood up to the NRA and pledged to take Washington back from the gun lobby,” Murphy said.

Murphy also took a hard swipe at Donald Trump.

“When he sees gun violence devastating our communities, he sees opportunity. Another opportunity to convince Americans that they should fear one another. Another opportunity to do the bidding of the gun lobby,” Murphy said.

Connecticut delegates rose to their feet and booed when Murphy said Trump “said that by the end of his first day in office, he’ll mandate that every school in America allow guns in their classrooms.”

Delegate Mike Cacace said Murphy gave a “passionate display of the intensity he feels about the issue.”

Murphy who represented Newtown in the U.S. House of Representatives before he was elected to the Senate in 2012, spend the week here talking about gun violence on a number of networks, including Fox, ABC and NBC.

Ronald Schurin, professor of political science at the University of Connecticut, said Murphy “is more positioned to get media attention that any other freshman in the Senate this year,” because of his attention-grabbing filibuster.

Murphy’s speech at the convention wasn’t nearly as powerful as the political springboard that was Barack Obama’s keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, Schurin said, “but certainly it raised his visibility.”

Erica Smegielski, the daughter of slain Sandy Hook Elementary School principal Dawn Hochsprung, followed Murphy on the DNC stage with another powerful address.

But before she spoke, a video entitled “My Mother” was shown in which Erica describes the devastating experience of finding out about her mother’s murder.

She recalls receiving the phone call, rushing to the elementary school, and waiting for answers — experiences common to too many American families.

Smegielski began her speech saying she did not want to be there Wednesday night.
“I should be home with my mother as we nominate the first woman president of the United States,” she said.

She praised Clinton’s commitment to toughening federal gun control laws, and slammed Trump “for not standing with American families.”

“What we need is a mother who is willing to do what’s right,” Smegielski said.

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Historic Old State House to Close for Renovation

By Fran Wilson, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — The historic Old State House will close for a year because of deep cuts to the state’s budget.

The Old State House on Main Street is Connecticut’s first town hall and is  famous for Amistad trial.

The brick building will be stripped of its Gilbert Stuart portrait of George Washington and hundreds of other artifacts, state officials said.

Local historians said the museum might not reopen if its collections are removed and stored in several institutions such as the Connecticut State Library, the Wadsworth Atheneum and the Connecticut Historical Society.

In the meanwhile, workers will continue to empty the contents in the museum. The content is worth about $40 million.  of the building on Sept. 1 — as mandated by the state legislature this year — but says it will not do that until the historic structure is emptied of its contents, worth about $40 million.

In 2008, the state took over the Old State House. And it was managed by the Office of Legislative Management, which maintains and provides security for the Capitol and the Legislative Office Building.

State lawmakers said the Old State House will have new management on Sept. 1, a mandate by the state legislature. The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is to managed the renovation because it is best suited under an agency that manages parks.

The legislature also cut the Old State House’s budget from $100,000 to $400,000.

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Hartford Police Investigate Bomb Threat

By Rose Mendes, Staff Writer

HARTFORD  — Hartford police is still investigating a bomb threat to several public buildings on Wednesday.

Deputy Chief Brian Foley said that detectives are still working at the scenes and, there was no evidence of any bombs.

According to reports, threat was consistent with other bomb threats in the past toward the Hartford Police Department and the Hartford Fire Department headquarters.

There was no need to interrupt or evacuate the buildings, police said.

Police said that the threats are connected to another investigation of a bank robbery in Bristol.

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Gov. Dannel Malloy and Sandy Hook Advocate to Speak at the Democratic National Convention

Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy speaks during the first day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)
Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy speaks during the first day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia (J. Scott Applewhite/AP).

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is Chairman of the Democratic Governors Association and co-chair of the Democratic Convention’s platform Committee. On Tuesday’s WBUR 90.9 radio show, Malloy advocated for Hilary Clinton, saying she should be elected president because she has the guts to take on the National Rifle Association.

Other notable Connecticut residents on tonight’s list of speakers is  Erica Smegielski, the daughter of Sandy Hook Elementary School principal Dawn Hochsprung. Hochsprung was a victim of the 2012 massacre in Newtown, Connecticut.

The Sandy Hook shooting is used to fuel the gun control debate since December 2012.

After the shooting, Connecticut passed one of the strongest gun control laws in the nation.

Malloy has one of the lowest poll numbers among the nation’s governors. He said governors had to make hard choices, after he raised taxes on the rich.

He rebuffed the idea that Hilary will face a backlash from corporate America because of the Democrats move to tax the rich.


Dannel Malloy, governor of Connecticut, chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, and co-chair of the Democratic Convention’s platform committee. He spoke at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia last night. He tweets @govmalloyoffice.

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Judge Orders Anti-Obama Filmmaker D’Souza to Seek Mental Health Treatment

President Barack Obama is serious about how he handles those, who think they should slander him and his legacy without punishment.

One filmmaker is feeling his wrath after his quest to demystify Obama, the first black president.

On Monday, a Manhattan judge ordered Dinesh D’ Souza to continue his community service and get psychological counseling.

Obama’s staff will have some explaining to do about this approach to journalists and Christians before  he ends his second term.

To be fair,  D’Souza’s critique of Obama is sometimes ridiculous. But it’s worth parsing.

Obama is a 1.9 immigrant, according to some scholars like me, who study immigrants and thier children. (I agree after covering Obama at the White House).  Many immigrants are looking to him to confront the rising racism and xenophobia during his tenure at the White House.  The hate is palpable. And it is affecting thier bottomline as immigrants on the job or in school.

Perhaps D’Souza should bone up on United States history before he critiques the black president and the black experience in America. I think that’s where there’s a gap in his education and why the judge had a difficult time in his logic about the first black president.

According to Newsweek, D’Souza was sentenced to eight months in a work-release center, five years of probation, a $30,000 fine and community service after pleading guilty to campaign finance violations in May 2014.

The conservative critic had arranged “straw donors” to contribute $10,000 to the failed 2012 U.S. Senate campaign of his college friend Wendy Long.

Psychiatrists found no signs of depression, but U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman overruled their findings and ordered D’Souza see a new psychological counselor weekly.

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Newtown Officials to Unveil New School

By Rose Mendes, Staff Writer

NEWTOWN — Newtown residents will honor those who died in the December 2012 mass school shooting with a memorial and will build a new school to replace the old.

That’s why First Selectman E. Patricia Llodra and Dr. Joseph V. Erardi, Jr., Superintendent of Newtown Schools on Friday will unveil its new Sandy Hook Elementary School built to honor the memory of the 20 children killed on Dec. 14, 2012.

The town’s legislative council decided to have a memorial and construction of  a new school on the same property where the elementary school stood. That building was demolished at the end of 2013.

The 86,800-square-foot school will welcome prekindergarten to fourth grade this fall, and the $50 million cost was covered by the state

Almost four winters ago, Adam Lanza opened fire on 26 people, including 20 elementary school children, killed his mother and then himself.

In a previous article in Newsweek, one resident said the property was “a constant reminder of the evil that resided there.”

Now, residents said, it’s time to move on.

“We are very grateful to the taxpayers of Connecticut for giving our town the funding to build this school,” said First Selectman Llodra. “Our goal was to create a place of community and learning, a place that would honor those we lost and allow those who were left behind the chance to move forward. I

Dr. Erardi states that “Sandy Hook will have a quiet, respectful, and appropriate opening” when teachers and students begin the new school year this fall.


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Hartford Opens Cooling Centers for Summer Heat Wave

HARTFORD —  For residents who want relief from extreme summer heat this week, they can look to the Hartford’s cooling centers located

From July 25 to July 29, Hartford Fire Department Chief Reggie Freeman stated that the HFD Special Services Unit is giving out cold water to people at bus stops citywide while at peak times today.

HFD Chief Freeman also warned residents that opening fire hydrants without spray caps is wasteful and dangerous.

Illegally opened fire hydrants can put children at serious risk, because the powerful force of an open hydrant without a spray cap can push them into oncoming traffic.

List of Cooling Centers:
* North End Senior Center, 80 Coventry Street, Time: 8:30am-5:00pm
* South End Wellness Center, 830 Maple Avenue, Time: 8:30am-5:00pm
* Parkville Senior Center, 11 New Park Avenue, Time: 8:30am-3:30pm

Public Pools will be open to families at the following locations:
* Colt Park Pool, 106 Wethersfield Avenue, Time: 12:00pm-6:00pm
* Goodwin Pool, 1130 Maple Avenue, Time: 12:00pm-6:00pm
* Keney Park Pool, Woodland Street entrance, Time: 12:00pm-6:00pm

The Hartford Public Library is available for residents and visitors. Below are hours of operation:
* Hartford Downtown Public Library, 500 Main Street, Time: Wed-Thurs 10:00am-8:00pm, Fri 10:00am-5:00pm
* Albany Library Branch, 1250 Albany Avenue, Time: Wed-Thurs 11:00am-6:00pm, Fri 12:30pm-5:00pm
* Barbour Branch, 281 Barbour Street, Time: Wed-Thurs 11:00am-6:00pm, Fri 12:00pm-5:00pm
* Camp Field Branch, 30 Campfield Avenue, Time: Wed-Thurs 11:00am-6:00pm, Fri 12:00pm-5:00pm
* Dwight Branch, 7 New Park Avenue, Time: Wed-Thurs 11:00am-6:00pm, Fri 12:00pm-5:00pm
* Mark Twain Branch, 55 Forest Street, Time: Wed-Fri 1:00pm-5:00pm
* Park Branch, 744 Park Street, Time: Wed-Thurs 11:00am-6:00pm, Fri 12:00pm-5:00pm
* SANDS/Ropkins, 1750 Main Street, Time: Wed-Thurs 11:00am-6:00pm, Fri 12:30pm-5:00pm
* Goodwin, 460 New Britain Avenue, Time: Wed-Thurs 11:00am-6:00pm, Fri 12:00pm-5:00pm
* Blue Hills Branch, 649 Blue Hills Avenue, Time: Wed-Thurs 11:00am-6:00pm, Fri 12:00pm-5:00pm

Helpful tips to beat the heat include:
* Drink water regularly and often, avoid large amounts of caffeine and alcohol as it causes dehydration.
* Wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing.
* Stay indoors as much as possible. Avoid the sun and use an SPF of 30 or more if you have to be outdoors.
* Go somewhere to get relief from the heat such as libraries, malls, movie theaters, or places with air conditioning during the hottest parts of the day.
* Never leave children or pets inside a closed vehicle. Do not leave pets outside for long periods of time.
* Cover windows that get direct sunlight.
* Take time to check on neighbors and friends who may be homebound.

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Gov. Malloy, Health Chief Announce Zika Detection Protocol

NEW HAVEN — Gov. Dannel Malloy joined the state’s public health chief and a local scientist Thursday in announcing the state will launch a system that will potentially detect new Zika cases as part of its prevention efforts.

State Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Raul Pino said Thursday the state has tested 472 people for Zika, confirming 31 cases, three of whom are pregnant women. The disease is especially concerning to pregnant women, as infection during pregnancy could lead to birth defects. Results are pending for several other female patients, Pino said. No child in Connecticut has been born with a birth defect related to a possible infection, Pino added.

“The Department of Public Health has decided to establish a sentinel system in the southern part of the state,” Pino said. “We are basically coordinating with community health centers, hospitals and emergency rooms.”

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DOJ Blocks Merger with Anthem and Aetna

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Justice blocked another mega merger in the health industry with a new lawsuit against two healthcare giants.

The DOJ on Thursday announced it will file lawsuits to block the Anthem-Cigna and Aetna-Humana health-insurer mergers, which largely represents anti-competitive behavior.

These Wall Street driven deals would have had on our health care system, health advocates said.

Nine states and the District of Columbia have also joined the U.S. action against the Anthem-Cigna deal, including Connecticut, New York and California.

Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut, Connecticut Citizen Action Group, and the Connecticut Medical Society, a coalition opposing the mergers, applaud the DOJ for putting the interest of the consumer first and for acknowledging the harm these mega-mergers will cause the public.

“The people of Connecticut and the nation now have a major ally in the fight against these mergers,” said Frances Padilla, president of Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut. “While these mega-mergers once seemed inevitable, when the facts surfaced, it became very clear to the Department of Justice just how harmful these deals will be to everyday people.”

The insurance companies can now choose to go to court and fight the federal government’s lawsuit, or they can decide to settle with the DOJ outside of court or terminate the deals all together.

These mergers would transform the health insurance market by turning its five biggest companies into three.

The Anthem-Cigna merger, in particular, would be the largest health insurance merger in U.S. history and impact 1.5 million Connecticut residents.

“This is an important first step in highlighting the significant deficiencies in these proposed mergers, and their negative impact on patient access to care in Connecticut and throughout the county,” said Matthew Katz, chief executive officer at the Connecticut Medical Society. “CSMS has expressed major concerns with giant health insurers becoming goliaths with exclusive or near-exclusive power to dictate price and care delivery to the detriment of patient medical care.”

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