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Connecticut Journalist to Sue Halle Berry for Copyright Infringement, Media Suppression


Halle Marie Berry in a role soley based on Ann Marie Adams featured in the 1990 movie “Strictly Business.” Adams was a trained actress and a trained model, who worked as a club girl and a hostess in Manhattan and Brooklyn from 1989 to 1992. The photo was photoshopped to look like Adams. Berry, who was chubby before 1987, have been trying to cop Adams’ pretty face and slender physique since 1990, while her associates altered or distort Adams’ face with unknown devices in photographs and then stalked Adams. The photo itself does not match Berry’s actual face in the movie.
Male actor: Joseph C. Phillips. Photo Courtesy of Warner Brothers

By Gordon Henry and Jasmine Sanborn, Staff Writers

HARTFORDThe Hartford Guardian‘s Publisher Ann Marie Adams is expected to sue Halle Marie Berry for loss of revenue because of media suppression, invasion of privacy, theft of services and copyright infringement.

Consequently, Adams was forced to alert people about this kind of media suppression that has been expertly done in secret for years by Berry’s associates. A clandestine operation to suppress local journalists, therefore, demanded attention from advocates for a strong democracy and a free press, Adams said.

“Without Adams, there is no news publication called The Hartford Guardian. She founded an organization that employs dozens of local journalists, support staff and volunteers, who live in Hartford and surrounding areas. So this is not a personal issue. It is strictly business. It affects workers, who need a paycheck. If Berry and her friends disrupt Adams, they are also disrupting her business and her employees,” said David Williams, UConn-Hartford Campus Director emeritus and a board member for The Hartford Guardian.

The recent attacks by Berry and her associates allegedly first happened at the White House inaugural ball in January 2013. Afterward, Adams, who now lives in Hartford, was stalked and attacked again in 2014 at her townhouse in Avon, CT. Adams was clueless about Berry’s unorthodox methods of appropriating her likeness and theft of services until President Barack Obama intervened on Adams’ behalf.

Adams, an award-winning journalist and historian, claimed that Berry, 53, has been invading her privacy and appropriating her likeness and biography since they were both selected for the 1991 movie “Strictly Business.”

It’s a Caribbean-American look. More specifically, it’s Adams’ look and style, said Dr. Karren Dunkley, a Jamican Diaspora Northeast Representative.

Adams was a trained method-actress and model. She was featured in two scenes as Ann Marie Rose in the 1991 film, “Strictly Business.” In between takes, Berry approached the director to express her dissatisfaction about Adams presence in the movie because Adams was considered competition in New York. Also, Berry had slimmed down to look like Adams for the role that launched her career.

Above: Halle Berry before she entered the Miss Ohio pageant in 1986.

Moreover, Berry and her associates have frequently interrupted Adams’ career since Adams was editor-in-chief of The Kingsman, a newspaper at Brooklyn College. They continued to interrupt Adams, while she was at the Times Herald Record in New York and The Hartford Courant in CT, where she won a national award for first place in education reporting in 2001.

Ann Marie Adams was Ann Marie Rose in this club scene before Berry approached her on the set to express herself about Adams’ presence in the movie because Adams was competition during the 1990s acting and modeling scene in New York

And the disruption continued into 2014, Adams said. Berry and her associates, some of whom traveled to Connecticut, staged adverse experiences for six years, while Berry auditioned, rehearsed and promoted “John Wick 3, Parabellum.” The media suppression was primarily to thwart the news story about Berry’s invasion, according to Hollywood insiders, and to prevent Adams’ from promoting her accomplishments with her own facial features in pictures. Instead, Berry appropriated Adams’ likeness,and tried to change it drastically on camera at the White House in 2015.

Ann Marie Adams at the White House in 2015.

Since her first movie, Berry has been appropriating Adams’ likeness, not in all movies or all scenes, but enough times for Adams to be concerned when she saw a semblance of her face on screen.

“Berry just didn’t want to give up playing that character based on me in Strictly Business,” Adams said. “I had to wait years before someone gave Berry a reality check: The movie is based solely on me. So clearly this matter of collecting what I’m owed is strictly business.”

Sources said the scarilegious move by Berry and others was designed to disturb Adams and, of course, to gain financial success. Because Berry used Adams’ unique look, while she had others changed Adams’ perfect face and body with unorthodox methods, this was considered human rights abuse and economic oppression. According to Attorney Amal Clooney, the perpetrators of human rights abuse should face justice for thier crime.

Berry and her associates caused about $30 million in damages to Adams’ waist, breasts, perfect white teeth, legs, hands, eyes, and vocal chords to stop her from appearing on NBC’s “The Voice” in 2014.

The insanity was aided and abetted by several U.S. Secret Service agents, who the perpetrators enabled as they stealthily attacked Adams and her family during an investigation. Afterward, they were fired.

“It was also unadulterated xenophobia by people, who thought they would get away with this mess,” said Adams, who was born in Jamaica and is now a U.S. citizen. “Berry and associates were out of touch with reality and mired in avarices, a greed for wealth.”

Top Photo : Ann Marie Adams on the set of Strictly Business: Right Column: Halle Berry in 1992 movie “Bomerang”: Opposite Berry (bottom): Adams covering the White House in 2015 and Berry (bottom right) in the movie, 1998 “Bulworth” Berry invaded Adams’ privacy and appropriated Adams’ likeness for 30 years before Adams was informed about this crime of the century by a well-known celebrity billed as ” one of the world’s most beautiful women” with Adams’ face.

Berry Cops Adams’ Face

It’s an incredible story that unfolded over the last six years. The psychology of an ugly girl, who wanted to be pretty was on display, so much so President Vladimir Putin had to intervene when Berry visited Adams in her townhouse in January 2013 with unorthodox devices.

Sources close to the White House and the Federal Bureau of Investigation said they had to reveal the depth of the depravity used on Adams and her family to hide this farce by Berry and others, including Bill Cosby. As a result of this six-year investigation, they are calling for Adams’ face not to be used on the internet with the name Halle Berry to confuse the public. This lie by Berry and her associates violates the public trust, according to Avon Police Officer Johnathan Hayes, who first broke the news to Adams, who also made a complaint to two Avon police officers on April 3, 2014: Officers Mark Vess and John O’Neill. They failed, however, to take action to arrest the suspects.

In the past, the closest, Berry got to getting an exact replica of Adams’ face was in “Boomerang” released in 1992 and “Monster’s Ball” released in 2001.

“To me, Berry and her associates were sending a message about a particular incident when I was in show business. It was disturbing to see similar incidents in other movies that featured Berry,” Adams said.

Both movies also had scenes depicting an incident with me and Tupac in “Juice,” a different movie set about another club scene. The producers, writers, and directors on that and other movie sets have some explaining to do, she said.

That disturbing trend, Adams claimed, includes Berry dating men, who look similar to at least four of Adams’ former boyfriends.

More recently, Berry allegedly used local and national allies to assault Adams’ face and body with unorthodox methods. One link to this story is Marcy Carsey, the producers of “The Cosby Show” based in part on Adams’ family. Carsey is Jewish, and so is Berry’s mother, a likely pair that has been allegedly sabotaged Adams and her family to hide the truth.

Left: Ann-Marie Adams in 1992 looks the same today and discovered that Berry was still appropriating her likeness, biography and fashion style in 2019, especially during the filming and promotion of the John Wick 3, Parabella movie in 2019. This photo, and other photos, was slightly distorted with shadows by Berry’s associates

Before becoming an award-winning journalist and scholar, Adams was a trained model and actress in New York during the 1990s. To discredit her claim, Berry and allies distorted Adams’ pictures, stole pertinent documents, albums and flyers for years. The change was mostly to Adams’ color in photographs, especially when Adams was on WFSB Channel 3 as a commentator.

Adams has a Ph.D. with distinction in U.S. History from Howard University and a Master’s degree in broadcast journalism from Quinnipiac University. She graduated with honors from Brooklyn College with a degree in journalism. She also has a paralegal certificate from Boston College. Her varied experiences and deep knowledge of city, state and federal government, as well as government and politics was used without her permission during the six-year ordeal by several intruders close to Berry–just to get a sense of how Adams look so she can appropriate the face again, as well as to “steal” her education.

Why Halle Berry Was Fired From Strictly Business…Wasn’t Reported Until Now

Halle Berry in 1986 does not look like Adams. In 1989, Berry changed her face to look similar to Adams.

Consequently, Adams is seeking justice for the many attempts by Berry and her associates to distort her face in photographs and on television, while Berry appropriated her face in movies and other promotional events since 1990. The most recent invasion of privacy in Adams’ Avon townhouse in 2014 to confiscate wardrobe used on “Strictly Business” was too egregious, said Adams, who was wants reparation.

Berry switched from her shoulder-length hairstyle to a pixie similar to Adams

Girl Interrupted!

Adams, a former English Composition professor and tutor, was confused about the motive for this kind of treachery toward her:

“One of the rules in the English language is to avoid plagiarism, copying knowledge that doesn’t belong to you. Students should always give attribution. When you mistake copying a book to copying someone’s face, you must be sued. Sometimes, Berry appropriated my face and biography like a book and without attribution,” Adams said. “That’s sinful, sacrilegious and downright sad.”

In “Strictly Business,” almost everything depicted in the movie was encapsulated about Adams’ life in Hartford and Manhattan. She was clueless until she was alerted of this appropriation by one of her former bosses in New York after he spotted Adams’ face on Halle Berry in “John Wick 3, Parabellum.”

During her rehearsals for John Wick 3, Berry used her spy devices as a real life assassin and visited Adams in her townhouse with others to attack her. Some of those individuals included friends of Meghan Markle, who also appropriated the shape of Adam’s face and Adams’ nose. Markle’s friends allegedly teamed up with Berry to use unorthodox methods to “erase” Adams’ facial features in pictures.

Berry also, through her network, arranged to have an associate, a native of Ohio–like Berry–to move to Hartford. He and others allegedly have been secretly suppressing Adams as a journalist since 2019 because Adams called out Berry and her stealth tactics to cover up her crime.

Also, former Central Intelligence Agency operatives were allegedly using unknown devices for Berry to prevent Adams from knowing this information when Adams was an intern in former Sen. Edward Kennedy’s Education Office in 2009.

When contacted, Former CIA Director and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said he did not authorize any 10-year investigation into any intern then or now.

“I did not authorize any project with CIA agents to watch anyone in Kennedy’s office,” Panetta said.” [I] unequivocally did not order such an investigation during the time you stated nor for that matter any other time.”

And those perpetrating as CIA operatives “watching” the crime for 35 years, are considered cowards and criminals for aiding and abetting thieves in government offices, officials said.

“I’m glad they were fired,” Adams said. “They are traitors to the country. They caused an international fiasco that demands the world’s attention.”

Therefore, Adams said: “George Nelson, the directors, and producers have some explaining to do.”

Top Seventeen Scenes in “Strictly Business” that Depict Adams’ Life as an actress, model and club girl:

  1. Adams was a hostess “with the mostess” in Manhattan and Hartford.
  2. Adams was a trained method-actress and model, while she was a hostess.
  3. Adams was a club girl and was among the fly girls chauffeured in limousines to clubs like The Palladium.
  4. Adams was dating Wayne, a stockbroker and millionaire that was button-up. He thought Adams was the girl of his dreams; Waymon Tisdale played Adams’ friend.
  5. Adams had a romantic scene on the boardwalk in Manhattan with similar outfit. Almost all the scenes had similar outfits to Adams’
  6. Adams’ friend “Alfie,” who wanted to make it big, was played by Tommy Davidson.
  7. Adams was in an interlude with Tupac on the movie set of “Juice.” It was shown in the movie with another woman with Adams’ hairstyle.
  8. Adams was on a special movie set of “Malcolm X” at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
  9. Adams was with three “rude boys” from Queens and Brooklyn.
  10. Adams’ exact outfits and style during her clubbing days was copied by Halle Berry and her handlers to make Berry “come off” like Adams did at clubs in NYC. Adams was asked to wear a wig and change her top and bootie for the special club scene in which Berry was asked to dance like Adams.
  11. The character, Waymon Tisdale, was shown sitting in a business office decorated like Adams’ office at Brooklyn College’s first newspaper, The Kingsman.
  12. Adams lived and worked in Harlem, where a crucial scene was shot.
  13. Monroe, played by Samuel L. Jackson, is like one of Adams’ former bosses
  14. Natalie was the name of Adams’ first best friend.
  15. Halle Berry mimicked Adams’ walk during a fashion shoot by New York Photographer, Clifton Brett. Berry wears similar outfits to Adams, especially in the club scene. Both Adams and Berry had identical looks after Berry appropriated Adams’ beauty pageant look.
  16. The bar scene with a bartender is also about Adams who worked a week as a bartender in training for T’Bones.
  17. The picture of the promotional poster on DVD is more like Adams than Berry, even the shape of the Adams’ bodice and her favorite outfit.

“Nelson George, the directors and producers have some explaining to do.”

Dr. Ann Marie Adams

See encapsulation of Adams’ experience below:

Photos courtesy of Clifton Brett, Warner Brothers Pictures, Boomerang, John Wick 3, Parabellum and the White House. Story as recapped to Ann Marie Adams by sources, who claim they were with the FBI. Additional editing and reporting by Dawn Sparks, Anthony Zepperi and Linden Houston. Other sources include Andre Harrell and State Department employees and other government officials, including U.S. Secret Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigations, who want to remain annonymous.

Available Soon: Read the copyright infringement lawsuit against Halle Berry on SCRIBD:

Ann Marie Adams v. Halle Marie Berry 

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Hartford’s Census Rate Dismally Low, Officials Say


HARTFORD — The numbers are in.

Hartford has a dismal record for filling out the census. Consequently, it is the lowest response rate in the nation.

That’s according to U.S. Census officials on Wednesday. That’s why Hartford Public Library will be hosting events to help get city residents to fill out the U.S. Census.

The Library is offering two great incentives — free books and ice cream. The special census events will be at all of its locations from now until Sept. 30 census deadline.

Volunteers will assist with forms and voter registration.

“Voting and completing the census are two of the most fundamental – and easy – things a citizen can do to help their communities. It is our goal at HPL to encourage as many people as we can to participate in the civic process,” HPL’s President/CEO Bridget Quinn-Carey said in a statement Monday morning.

Connecticut has a 66. 7 percent response rate, compared to the national average of average of 62.9 percent. As of August, Hartford has a 44.6 percent response rate, the lowest rate of any city in the country.

There are seven Hartford Public Library census events between now and the end of September:

  • August 25 from 1 to 5 p.m. at Barbour Library, Unity Plaza, 261 Barbour St.
  • Sept. 8 and 15 from 3 to 5 p.m. at Camp Field Library, 30 Camp Field Ave.
  • Sept. 16 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Artbox Lot, 769 Park St. across the street from the Park branch library.
  • Sept. 17 at Dwight Library, 7 New Park Ave., time to be determined.
  • Sept. 18 from noon to 2 p.m. at the main downtown library, 500 Main St.
  • Sept. 23 from 1 to 3 p.m. at Park Library, 744 Park St.

For more details about the events, visit hplct.org.

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Sen. Chris Murphy Moves to Hartford, Answers Question About Permanent Residence


By Marie Stewart, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — Sen. Christopher Murphy is moving to Hartford.

Sen. Murphy and his wife, Cathy Holahan, purchased a house at Charter Oak Place in Hartford for a comfy price of $355,000. The three-bedroom, three-bathroom Victorian-era house is 3,392 square-feet and is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. The contract was finalized in June.

Murphy grew up in Wethersfield and lived in Chesire for more than a decade. He attended Williams College in Massachusetts and graduated from the University of Connecticut School of Law. Afterward, he practiced real estate and banking law with the Hartford firm of Ruben, Johnson & Morgan.

Murphy put his Chesire home on the market in June 2019.

During the 2018 senatorial run, there was a question about where Murphy lived. His primary home was in Washington, D.C. and his children were attending school in DC.

However, Murphy claimed his parents summer house in Old Lyme as his home address while he ran for office in 2018. As the record stands, Murphy ran unopposed in the Democratic primary because someone fraudulently claimed a local journalist was a challenger. That was not the case. The journalist was a victim of media suppression; and her time was used to do so-called “social issues projects.”

Murphy’s team was allegedly the instigators who wanted to glean strategic information about the 2016 presidential election. The Washington Post reported that Murphy was contemplating a run for president in 2016.

Before Murphy was elected for the U.S. Senate in 2012, he served three terms in Connecticut’s Fifth Congreesional District for the U.S. House of Representatives.

He also served for eight years in the Connecticut General Assembly.

Currently, he is serving a second term as senator.

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Black and Puerto Rican Caucus Fights for ‘agenda for equity’


By KELAN LYONS and KEITH M. PHANEUF

Members of the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus added their voices Tuesday to the growing calls for systemic reforms that would make life safer and more equitable for Connecticut’s residents of color.

Recognizing that “no single bill can right centuries of wrongs, let alone a few summer days in the Capitol,” Rep. Brandon McGee, D-Hartford and caucus chair, said the proposals were “a table-setting moment for what we hope will be viewed as a years-spanning commitment to racial equity in Connecticut.”

The proposals are similar to Senate Democrats’ Juneteenth agenda released last month. McGee said the measures are not in conflict with the ideas raised by his legislative colleagues, several of whom joined him Tuesday on the Capitol steps.

“Together they emphasize a growing commitment to systemic change among members of this legislature,” McGee said. “What we’ve done as a caucus, however, is honed in just a little bit more on some of those very, I would say, low-hanging fruit opportunities that would provide again, a larger conversation for policies that we’ve been working on so long, to be able to be passed, supported by our governor.”

Caucus members identified six pillars for reform: voting rights, economic justice, police accountability, education and housing equity and environmental justice. They called for more personal protective equipment for those on the pandemic’s frontlines, closing opportunity and resource gaps for children living in under-resourced school districts and expanding “no-strings-attached homeownership” opportunities. And they proposed updating environmental laws to account for the disproportionate impacts of poor air quality and industrial pollution on communities of color, especially important in the COVID-19 era.

“An individual with underlying health conditions attributed to poor air quality [and] industrial pollution are more susceptible to the detrimental effects of the virus,” said Rep. Geraldo Reyes Jr. , D-Waterbury, vice chair of the caucus.

McGee said caucus members are working with Sen. Gary Winfield, a New Haven Democrat and co-chair of the Judiciary Committee, on a police accountability bill for the upcoming special session. It isn’t clear whether those bills will be separate proposals or a part of the same measure, but they have similar themes: ending discriminatory policing that leads to a disproportionate number of minorities behind bars, expanding community oversight of police officers and creating an independent entity to investigate and hold cops accountable for breaking the law.

The particulars of the proposals are still being negotiated. McGee suggested parts of the agenda, like police accountability measures and new laws that would make it easier to vote, could be floated in the upcoming special session later this month, but others could be dealt with in a second special session later in the summer or fall.

A notable absence: tax reform

Absent from the caucus’ agenda were any proposals to redistribute wealth through tax reform.

Over the past few years, various progressive groups have advocated for higher income tax rates on Connecticut’s wealthiest residents, new and expanded credits to provide state income tax relief to poor and middle-income households, and increased municipal aid to the state’s urban centers.

The Black and Puerto Rican and House Democratic Progressive caucuses, which share many members, pushed for many of these initiatives as recently as last January, when the regular 2020 General Assembly session began.

“True economic justice cannot be achieved until we end the criminalization of poverty and level the playing field for all,” McGee said.

Democrats advocating for a more progressive state and local tax system know one major obstacle to sweeping reforms lies at the head of their party — Gov. Ned Lamont.

The governor, a wealthy Greenwich businessman, defeated a Democratic proposal during his first year in office to impose an income tax surcharge on the capital gains earnings of the state’s wealthiest people, and consistently has argued that higher taxes on top earners would drive them to move out of state.

Connecticut ranks above nearly all states in terms of both income and wealth inequality. Wealth, which takes into account stocks, other investment holdings, property and debt, is even more concentrated at the top here than income.

Critics say Connecticut’s tax system, with its heavy reliance on municipal property taxes and a state sales tax, exacerbates this inequality. These levies are largely regressive, meaning the rates are the same regardless of the taxpayers’ wealth. And many businesses can transfer their tax burdens onto consumers, also disproportionately harming the low-income households.

The working poor in Connecticut pay nearly one-quarter of their earnings to cover state and local taxes, or to cover business taxes shifted onto their households, according to a 2014 state tax analysis. The middle class pay about 13%, while the top 10% of earners pay 10% and the top 1% pay almost 7.5%.

Advocates for progressive state and local tax reform argue increased public sensitivity toward systemic racism make now the right time for legislative action. They attribute this awareness both to the disproportionate toll the coronavirus pandemic has taken on communities of color as well as the May 25 killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police.

But McGee said that while his caucus is committed to mobilize “a growing commitment to systemic change” among legislators, leaders also realize the planned July special session offers a limited “window of opportunity” for change.

After the news conference, McGee said the caucus was still discussing potential progressive tax proposals they could float in a special session, perhaps after the July session, which will be focused on policing and voting access.

“As you can imagine, there are a lot of moving pieces to this,” McGee said. “I really believe that we will have ‘Part Two’ of special session, and (tax reform ) is a part of our long list of items that we want to support.”

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Opening the Economy: Data-Driven and Public Health Approaches


By Jagdish Khubchandani

Policymakers around the world are in a triangular tug of war between fighting COVID-19, economic rehabilitation, and ensuring societal normalcy, well-being, and health. There are no easy answers or cookbook recipes and each question among the how, why, and when to open the economy is more daunting to answer than the other one. However, it is becoming increasingly evident that we cannot make decisions based on social, cultural, religious, or economic preferences alone. Also, decision making cannot be an absolute top-down approach, but a regionally driven strategy with citizen engagement. A few suggestions for our leaders and the public:

*        Analyzing regional data on COVID-19 such as number of cases and deaths, racial/ethnic distribution of the disease, age and gender groups most affected, and social and medical history of those who are affected will help define the unique nature and extent of disease spread among communities and to strategize for customized prevention priorities. We need more testing based on population density so that the maximum number of infected people can be quarantined to break the chain of spread (the 3 T model= trace, test, treat).

*        The key data points to consider in making a decision on opening the economy should be: number of COVID-19 cases, deaths, and recoveries mapped by the smallest geographic unit; the total population of the region with sociodemographic distribution; the number of primary care and emergency services; the number of hospitals and healthcare facilities, COVID-19 testing capacity, and healthcare-related assets available (i.e. materials, devices, and human resources).  Throughout the process, ensure protection of frontline healthcare workers.

Photo Credit: Yahoo Finance

*        The rates of increase or decrease in COVID-19 cases play a major role in estimating regional transmission patterns. If a geographic region does not witness a case for more than a week, that’s positive news. Once the 2-week mark is crossed without a positive case, plans to allow many essential human activities should be formulated and implemented. Additionally, regions should be classified as high risk, moderate risk, and low risk. Those regions that should qualify as high risk should exhibit high numbers and rates of cases or deaths that remain the same or increase over time (call them “hotspots”).

*        We should categorize and redefine services as: highly essential, needed, and wanted. Based on relative importance, we should use a staggered time-phased opening approach. These classifications should keep in view, for each service, the amount of human to human contact, needs and capacities, the potential for large gatherings, demand versus supply of the service, the cost versus benefit of these services, and preparedness at service facilities as it relates to practicing aggressive hygiene and sanitation measures and social distancing for the clientele served. There should be ways to enforce the use of temperature screening devices, masks, sanitizers, and social distancing for all clients.

Photo Credit: New York Post, Dow Jones

*        Increasing the base of health prepared and health trained people in the communities would be another asset. Rapid and swift measures to educate and train lay health workers, non-physician professionals, and accelerating volunteer health services could be a priority. Academic-community partnerships and the use of professional organizations to provide data and scientific services should be done as soon as possible. All of this can be done remotely by data transfer and coordination between regional healthcare facilities, health departments, and state or federal agencies. Existing data are assets that must be utilized.

*        The last strategy is to remain prepared for shutting services again based on real-time regional evidence on COVID-19. We must also estimate, how long after we open the economy will business and industries flourish and how much time it will take to bring normalcy to life (that would create another lag in reaching our full potential). Despite phased openings, we will still see fewer workers, fewer service demands, and lesser clientele.

It is time to utilize these strategies and aggressively prepare for the next phase- opening the economy and looking into the future. We have saved millions of lives by avoiding the disease and cannot lose our gains. However, we also have to be mindful not to lose lives due to other diseases, poverty, and psychological upheaval. Based on regional data and the unique nature of COVID-19 in a community, decisions should be left to counties and local governments on opening the economy. Such decisions should also engage regional healthcare providers, scientists, business owners, and representatives of the general public. We need to reappraise the values of our democracy- of the people, for the people, and by the people. Finally, it is high time, we think global and act local.

Jagdish Khubchandani, MBBS, PhD is a Professor of Health Science at Ball State University and has a doctorate in both Medicine and Public health.

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Hartford Hits Grim Reality With COVID-19, First Infant Death


By Thomas Nocera, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — Hartford has likely set a grim and new global record as it struggles to contain its own Coronavirus outbreak –  the youngest victim to die from the illness passed away in the city in April.

It is reportedly the first around the world.

Just shy of seven-weeks old, the infant girl was reported to be in an unresponsive state when rushed to St. Francis Hospital, according to officials. Though doctors and nurses tried desperately to resuscitate her, Chief State Medical Examiner James Gill confirmed the child’s death on Thursday in an email.

“The infant did test positive for the COVID-19 virus and an autopsy was done at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner,” Gill wrote.

While medical officials say they can’t confirm the final cause of death until a necessary battery of tests is performed, the news has already rippled throughout the state. With the death of someone so young from the illness a rarity, Gov. Ned Lamont addressed the “tragic milestone” in a press conference.

“Probably the youngest person, ever, to die of COVID,” he recently informed viewers, “has died here in Connecticut.”

Urging people to continue practicing social distancing, Lamont joined an increasingly loud chorus of elected officials asking for the public’s help – including Mayor Luke Bronin. In a press conference Friday, Bronin announced a troubling new statistic: the 120 now-confirmed COVID cases in Hartford marks a 50 percent increase from just two days ago. In response, he said, his administration would be enforcing new, stricter measures.

“We are stepping up enforcement efforts to require social distancing,” he said. Specifically, inspectors will be “assessing compliance with social distancing requirements” at many stores still open throughout the city.

As the virus slowly burns its way through communities across the country, Hartford’s steady increase in cases has been thoroughly tracked and documented. While cases are spread widely throughout, pinpointed statistics on everything from the number of cases and deaths, to changes in the rate of infection, have been essential in informing the government’s response. Those statistics aren’t compiled in Hartford however. Instead they make their way through a web of hospitals and state officials before hitting the Mayor’s desk. Hartford’s Director of Health, Liany Arroyo, explained how that network functions in a statement:

“We receive information about cases and fatalities from the State Department of Public Health, which receives data from hospitals and laboratories. The numbers we get are directly from the State, which compiles information and inputs it into a statewide database which our local Health Department accesses multiple times a day.”

Analysis of that database has led city officials to embrace more stringent rules, concluding that the outbreak will get worse before it gets better. While Bronin hopes his new measures will eventually help decrease the number of cases, he struck a somber tone about the near future.

“We’re going to be in this for a while,” he said Friday. “We’re going to be seeing increases for a while.”

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COVID-19 Local, Resources for Hartford


The Hartford Guardian is working to keep you up to date about daily breaking news that educate and inform Hartford residents. Please check back as we continue to alert you of ways to cope with the corona virus epidemic.

Can’t get be at a hospital to test for the coronavirus? Take a telehealth test and find out if you have the virus. Click here: TELEHEALTH TEST FOR CORONAVIRUS.

FREE RIDES TO COVID-19 TEST SITES: Call 311 for more information or 860-757-9311.

Feel isolated at home? Lonely? Get together online for a virtual social soiree: Click here.

CLICK HERE FOR : HEALTH GUIDE ON THE CORONA VIRUS

Find out more about the city of Hartford’s effort to educate the public about the Coronavirus: See link here: https://coronavirus.hartford.gov/

MOBILE FOODSHARE: Foodshare.org/mobile

FOODSHARE 24 HOUR HOTLINE: 860-856-4321

UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS : filectui.org

Check on Gov. Ned Lamont’s effort to help Connecticut residents stay up to date: https://portal.ct.gov/coronavirus

COVID-19 RESOURCES:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Updates

Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) Updates

Covid-19 in Connecticut, Latest Data

Hartford Healthcare Updates

WHO daily report

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Former Gov. Dannel Malloy to Join Historians and Others to Discuss Education in Connecticut


By Josh Leventhal, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — Former Gov. Dannel P. Malloy will join historians, legal professionals, journalists, parents and others to discuss the issue of education reform at Yale University Law School on April 22, 2020.

The event, co-sponsored by Yale’s Black Law Student Association, will be from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and will include discussions about the academic achievement gap, the role of governors in the state’s education debate, the challenges of school segregation and its impact on the academic achievement gap. Malloy confirmed his acceptance again on Wednesday, saying he agreed because it was a good debate to have in the state.

File Photo: Gov. Dannel P. Malloy/ AP

Many other experts and professionals have been invited to speak on the subject of school segregation and the overall impact that it has on the achievement gap. Other topics will include why the gap still exists, and what can be done to close it.

“The discussion will certainly be an educational, informative, and entertaining debate,” said Ann-Marie Adams, editor and publisher of The Hartford Guardian.

In essence, the discussion will center on Adams theory about school segregation and the supplementary achievement gap that occurs in the state of Connecticut.

Dr. Adams is a leading expert in race and education in American. She is also a U.S. History Professor, an award wining journalist, and the founder of The Hartford Guardian. During the discussion, Dr. Adams will explain her theory in detail. She will also share the research that went into her book about the African American struggle for full citizenship including a quality education in CT, which in essence is the book’s innermost theme. It is also the very first published work that chronicles the full arc of the African American experience in Connecticut from the colonial period to the twentieth century.

Dr. Adams graduated with distinction from Howard University after completing her dissertation about the African American experience and their fight for a quality education in Connecticut.

In addition, Dr. Adams has been covering the topic of education for more than 20 years at many prominent publications such as The Hartford Courant, the Norwich Bulletin, the Times-Herald Record and The Washington Post

There will be a short question and answer session after the debate, so participants are asked to bring questions. Please email editor@thehartfordguardian.com for sponsorship details.

The Hartford Guardian is published by the Connecticut Alliance for Better Communities, Inc., a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization founded in 2004. Early bird tickets are $35 each. After Feb. 15, 2020, tickets will be $40. Please note that the cost of tickets and other donations are tax deductible.

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Lighting the way to safe, permanent homes for kids


By Josiah Brown

November is National Adoption Month.  Amid the opioid epidemicwith the number of Connecticut children in foster care increasing past 4,300 (after having earlier dropped below 4,000)— and with the total number of children under the juvenile court’s jurisdiction due to abuse or neglect exceeding 10,000 per year— let’s consider ways to help these young people secure safe, permanent homes.

All children deserve this, whether with their biological families, extended kin, or adoptive families.  Let’s also recognize people who open their homes as foster parents, during traumatic periods of transition.

Public consciousness around adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) is growing. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study found six in 10 Americans experience at least one adverse experience such as household violence, drug or alcohol or sexual abuse, or incarceration of a family member— during childhood.  Nearly one in six endure four or more different types of such experiences, with women and African Americans among those at greater risk.

According to the CDC’s Dr. Anne Schuchat, “Preventing ACEs can help children and adults…. The more types of ACEs a person has, the higher their risk for negative outcomes, which will limit their opportunities.”  Dangers range from health conditions like diabetes, depression, and hypertension to struggles with school, work, and relationships.

Progress, but serious challenges remain

Connecticut is making progress in caring for children at particular riskthe fraction who, after investigation by the Department of Children and Families (DCF, which decides to keep children at home in over 90% of cases), are placed under protection.  Especially encouraging was the move, as former DCF Commissioner Joette Katz notes, from institutions to families; the percentage of children protected in residential facilities fell from about 30% to 8% between January 2011 and 2019.  She observes, “of those who remained there, many have complex medical needs.”

Such progress is bolstered by public and nonprofit actorsfrom the Governor’s Task Force on Justice for Abused ChildrenOffice of the Child Advocate, and Connecticut Alliance of Adoptive and Foster Families, to the Center for Children’s Advocacy and Children’s Law Center.  (New Haven alone has, for example, Connecticut Voices for ChildrenClifford Beers‘r kids, and various school, university, faith-based, and hospital resources.)  Other things being equal, the aim is to return children to their families.  But if that’s not safe or wise in a specific case, having foster care and adoption available is crucial.

Judges play a fundamental role in determining a child’s best interest in such cases.  The process also includes professional attorneys and social workers, to protect children from birth to adolescence.  But these professionals often have large caseloads.  In this process, another valuable role is that of a court-appointed special advocate (CASA).

CASA volunteers can help

CASAs are volunteers from all walks of life whom judges appoint to collaborate in discerning and defending the best interests of children who have experienced abuse or neglect.  These volunteers meet with children at least monthly, getting to know them and their circumstancesincluding teachers and social workers, foster parents and families.  Carefully screened and trained through a systematic curriculum and part of a national network recognized for improving outcomes for kids, CASAs make evidence-based recommendations to judges.  At the center: these caring, consistent volunteers’ relationships with the children themselves—with whom these adults can make a lifelong difference through one-on-one interactions at a difficult time.

The CASA network has an established affiliate in Fairfield County and a new statewide association.  This work is expanding as a result of a 2016 state law.  Until now, only 1 percent of Connecticut’s children in foster care had CASAs, reflecting an unmet need and an enormous opportunity for volunteers to get involved.  In 2019, CASA of Southern Connecticut and CASA of Northern Connecticut started up, received 501(c)(3) status, and began welcoming applications from prospective volunteers.  The first cohort will train in December and begin volunteer advocacy in juvenile courts early in the new year.  Engaging as a CASA is one proven way to help change a child’s story.  Ultimately the goal is to identify a safe, permanent home where the child can thrive.

“Help … light the way”

As Marian Wright Edelman, founder of the Children’s Defense Fund, says: “Keeping children safe must be everybody’s business.  CASA volunteers play a unique role on behalf of some of our most vulnerable children.  Their commitment, vigilance and persistence offer hope where there has been little.  They help to light the way for these children—and for all of us.”

November is Adoption Month.  This holiday, as we cherish blessings of family and friends, let’s also think of children whose family ties have frayed or fractured.  Whether through adoption, fostering, volunteering in some other way —including as a CASA— or supporting organizations advancing such efforts, there is much we can do— as well as much to be thankful for.

Josiah H. Brown is executive director of CASA of Southern Connecticut (New Haven, New London, and Middlesex counties). Twitter: @JosiahBrownCT

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No Bail, No Justice: How Politics and Poverty Trap People in Prisons


By Christian Spencer and Ann-Marie Adams, Staff Writers

HARTFORD — For Wayne Francis, the wait to get out of prison was a bit much.

Francis, a Hartford-based attorney, was charged with first-degree larceny in 2017 and had to wait more than two years before he could cobble up about $200, 000 of his $2 million bail bond to get out of maximum security prison. Some observers felt his pre-trial detention bond and delay in prison was excessive and racist when compared to other individuals in similar situations. Francis was charged with bilking clients money, up to $250,000.

Francis, now freed by his friend Barbara Frankson, was placed in a level five correctional facility, the highest and most stringent form of prison security. Francis spent 27 months in a prison surrounded by some of the most violent offenders in the state. 

“Level five is when you have lifers, murders, and Wayne was put in there with them,” Frankson said. “Innocent until proven guilty, is that what they say? He was guilty before proven innocent.”
According to Frankson, Wayne was assigned an ankle-monitor for 30 days and offered curfew after he was bailed out.

“But guess what, he still has an ankle bracelet and he didn’t get curfew. He is still [technically] in jail because he can’t get a curfew. It took him forever to get to his doctor’s appointment.”

Every year, more than 11 million people move through America’s 3,100 local jails and prisons, many on low-level, non-violent misdemeanors, costing local governments about $22 billion a year, according to a 2016 White House initiative. In local jails and prisons in Connecticut, about 550 people were in pre-trial detention.

Some of these pre-trial detentions are because of the politics of race or dire poverty. In both cases, the detainee has to stay in prison until he can afford bail.

To break the cycle of incarceration and wealth-based jailing, President Barack Obama’s administration launched the Data-Driven Justice Initiative with a bipartisan coalition of 67 city, county, and state governments, who have committed to using data-driven strategies to divert low-level offenders with mental illness out of the criminal justice system and change approaches to pre-trial incarceration, so that low-risk offenders no longer stay in jail simply because they cannot afford a bond.

These innovative strategies, which have measurably reduced jail populations in several communities, help stabilize individuals and families, better serve communities, and often save money in the process, White House officials said.

Second Chance Society

Connecticut joined in on the DDJ initiative. Former Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s administration launched its Second Chance Society initiative, signed into law in 2016, to decrease both incarceration and crime rates; a second set of proposals targeted bail and pretrial detention. But it did not pass into law. It’s unclear whether Gov. Ned Lammont will continue with this initiative.

Often, what greets a person entering the criminal justice system is a bail amount they cannot hope to pay. Francis’s bail was excessive and way above the $5,000 that the bill covers but is necessary to consider, observers said.

While prison rates have stalled and begun to decrease slightly for people convicted of and sentenced for crimes, a high—and increasing — number of people are detained in jails without conviction, according to Camille Seaberry of DataHaven. Many of these people have cycled repeatedly in and out of jail and prisons. Some are being charged only with nonviolent misdemeanors. African-Americans and Latinos are held in pretrial detention at much higher rates than white people.

In New Haven, African Americans make up 33 percent of the population but 56 percent of custodial arrests—and similar disparities exist in Bridgeport and Hartford.

Courtesy of shutterstock.com

There is even evidence that the length of time spent in detention before trial may predict whether a person is sentenced to prison and for how long. There is also a growing movement toward more data-driven practices within criminal justice systems, such as risk assessments, though this is not without its concerns of bias, according to Seaberry.

While the Second Chance 2.0 bill failed to pass in 2016, Connecticut has built momentum toward some degree of bail reform. One promising new example, the Connecticut Bail Fund.

As a result of move, Connecticut could be the next state to reform the issue of bail bonds, a problem that continues to disadvantage thousands, who cannot afford bail sentences.

For low-income defendants with minimal bonds, a judicial committee of Superior Court judges is considering the prospect of releasing defendants while their criminal court cases are ongoing.

The proposal would require defendants to have 10 percent of the cash needed for court or a police department under a surety bond of $20,000 or less.

What is supposed to be a collateral exchange, intended to reduce the likelihood that the presumed to be innocent accused do not commit more crimes or skip their pretrial, is now the reason most inmates in jail have not been convicted.

Even if people were to be convicted of their alleged crimes, our due process system states that these individuals that cannot be punished in advance; this then raises the question: why is there a monetary policy that determines one’s freedom?

Oddly enough, holding a presumably innocent person in a jail cell does more harm than good in ensuring that the person does go to trial.

Possible Solutions

According to Dr. Christopher Lowenkamp’s research, The Hidden Costs of Pretrial Detention, that short-term pretrial detention for low- and medium-risk defendants may be ineffective or even counterproductive as a way to secure court appearance and prevent re-arrest.

Although the move has been embraced by the state’s Sentencing Commission, Chief Public Defender, and the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut, many bond agencies have rallied against the potential plan, saying it would cause havoc to the legal justice system, including affecting the employment of bondsman.

“It would affect us in a bad way. It definitely puts a dent in our income. It will affect us from paying our employees,” Edward Angelillo, co-owner of Afford-A-Bail Bail Bonds, said. “New Jersey is failing. Ever since [the state has reformed it bond policies], it’s been failing. The cops don’t look for these people. How many people are wanted and were let go for free?

Bondsman like Afford-A-Bail Bail Bonds do more than offer payment plans, they force their clients, who might otherwise miss or skip due dates, into court.

“Legislators were unclear on what extent of bond enforcement. We apprehend hundreds each year, and if [our company] didn’t pick these people up, the police department are not capable of picking those people,” Brian, a colleague of Angelillo, who wish to leave his last name anonymous, said.

“Some of these people don’t comply. They don’t do what they’re supposed to do, and that’s a high risk,” Brian said.

Contrary to what Afford-A-Bail Bond said, crime in New Jersey has plunged in the past two years since the elimination of cash bail bonds, according to WNYC.

There were similar concerns about New Jersey’s initial Criminal Justice Reform Act that mostly did away with cash bail. On October 2019, California was the latest state to outlaw cash bail bonds with a referendum called Senate Bill 10 (SB-10), or California Money Bail Reform Act. The SB-10 initiative’s biggest critics are bondsmen who decry that this bill will nullify their industry, allowing suspects to leave jail before trial in between 24 and 36 hours.

However, after a steady decline in crime such as homicide and robbery by thirty percent, advocates like Brett Davidson, the Co-Director of Connecticut Bail Fund, are pushing to end cash bail bonds because they unfairly target minorities.

“The community members who suffer most as a result of the money bail system are poor people, people of color -particularly Black people, immigrants, queer and trans people, people with disabilities and chronic illness, and people with histories of violence and trauma,” Davidson said.

“The harms of pretrial detention are too many to name: eviction/ loss of housing, arrest by ICE and deportation, impoverishment, loss of healthcare, coerced plea bargains, the list goes on. A major reason why so many of our community members are being held on bail is that judges and prosecutors leverage wealth-based pretrial detention to coerce people who can’t afford bail into accepting guilty plea bargains,” Davidson said.

The result of being in a pretrial detention can cause job loss, financial hardship and the loss of child custody. The state of being in a pretrial detention can cause presumably innocent person to plead guilty and increases the risk of conviction.

According to the research in “The Heavy Costs of High Bail: Evidence from Judge Randomization,” it was discovered that defendants who are detained pending trial are much more likely to receive a custodial sentence, and to be incarcerated for a longer period, than similarly situated defendants who await the disposition of the cases in the community.

Local advocates, many of whom are broadly associated with progressive movements established around the 2016 election, have voiced their concerns about pretrial detention.

“There is no arguing whether or not person’s wealth determines their incarceration. It’s a simple fact: if you can pay, you go free; if you can’t pay, you stay in jail — and, as a result, you are at risk of losing everything,” Davidson said.

“We absolutely need to abolish this system of wealth-based jailing, but we also need to be careful not to replace it with an equally violent, racist system of mass pretrial incarceration (for example, mass preventive detention as determined by pseudo-scientific risk assessment algorithms claiming to predict likelihood of future crimes.) We want to see the abolition of money bail within a transformative program of mass liberation, community re-investment, and reparations.”

On Nov. 5, 2015, Governor Dannel P. Malloy asked the Connecticut Sentencing Commission to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of Connecticut’s pretrial justice system and investigate potentially reforming it.

The governor requested that the Commission prioritize non-violent, low-level pretrial detainees. These individuals are most likely detained because they do not have the financial resources to post bond.

Compared to New Jersey that already conducted this experiment, New Jersey pretrial jail population is in decline as of 2019, and defendants are still showing up for court appearances at about the same rate, according to NewJersey.com.

Malloy wanted the Commission to provide “an analysis of potential ways Connecticut can focus pretrial incarceration efforts on individuals who are dangerous and/or a flight risk,” according to resolution from 2015-2016.

The Director of the Connecticut Sentencing Commission Alex Tsarkov, who practices law in the Hartford area, states that, although he believes the bail bond system is one that relies on wealth, most of Connecticut’s legal proceedings are some of the best nationwide.

“We have a pretrial justice agency, there’s treatment available, validated risk assessment, uniformed state court system, and we have a culture of release, meaning we relatively release more [inmates] compared to the average state,” Tsarkov said.

Full disclosure: Wayne Francis was an acquaintance of a regular writer at The Hartford Guardian. Email editor@thehartfordguardian.com if you have questions about this article or leave a comment below:

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