Archive | Hartford

Journalist to Carsey-Werner: Cease and Desist


HARTFORD — The founder of The Hartford Guardian recently sent at letter to The Carsey-Werner Company executives telling them to cease and desist in thier attempts to profit off the likeness of her and her family because they inspired The Cosby Show.

Dr. Ann-Marie Adams sent a cogent letter to Carsey-Werner Co. executives Jim Kraus and Paul Schreiber, both of whom allegedly responded with covert violence toward the family.

“The intense xenophobia that led to the cover-up of this information, including defamation, is why this matter needs world-wide attention,” said Adams, who was born in Jamaica and is a naturalized citizen. Adams, an award-winning journalist and former journalism professor, teaches U.S. history after receiving her doctoral degreein history from Howard University. “Restorative justice is not enough. Reparations now. It’s been almost 35 years of covert treachery to our family.”

Although The Cosby Show was aired from April 30, 1984 to Sept. 20, 1992, Carsey-Werner sued BBC television for copyright infringement, claiming money owed for the use of the sound track in The Cosby Show. Bill Cosby, the creator of The Cosby Show, also sued BBC television. However, they have failed to acknowledge the family that inspired The Cosby Show. Consequently, both lawsuits failed. And these companies wanted Adams and her family’s lawsuits to fail, too. They allegedly engineered a series of adverse experiences to discredit Adams’ claim, including theft of services, grand larceny, murder, and most recently, a covert operation to kill all of the family members with staged car accidents, forced intake of sugar, butter and other foods to induce diabetes and heart attacks, according to Adams who have had to witness the recent “spy-demon” death of her father, who was a healthy 70 something with a keen wit and memory.

The Carsey-Werner studios allegedly had law enforcement agents moonlighting on this covert operation in Connecticut to thwart a potential lawsuit since 2007.

For the past seven years while in her townhouse in Avon, Adams was a consultant in a secret investigation that unearthed news that she and her family was partly the inspiration behind The Cosby Show.

From research, Adams, members of Saint Ann’s Church in Avon, and others close to the White House learned that The Cosby Show was pitched by Bill Cosby. But the casting of the show and several scenes in the show was based on incidents in her life as well as other family members and our interaction with her father and siblings.

Another coincidence is that Bill Cosby’s initial pitch, included an Afro Latino family that was working class. Adams’s father had Afro Latino heritage and was middle class. In addition, the researchers have combed her family history and albums to put together a collage of pictures that match the cast of The Cosby Show family on the NBC television sitcom that aired from April 30, 1984 to September 20, 1992. 

Adams was a spelling-bee champ in elementary school and a speech and chess finalist in competition. She was also a girl scout who was watched by U.S. secret service over the years, but was covertly sabotaged to earn favors. She believes this was based on discrimination and racism meted out to the family. Someone in Reagan’s administration and Cosby, she said used her family’s likeness and she wants answers to a few more questions.

When contacted, Cosby’s spokesperson Andrew Wyatt told The Hartford Guardian that Cosby is not ready to address this matter yet.

According to Variety magazine, Carsey and Werner were former ABC programming execs who left the corporate world in the early ’80s. Their first series, “Oh Madeline,” didn’t last long, but then came “The Cosby Show.” It’s hard to understate the impact of “Cosby” on the business. The show is often credited for saving the sitcom genre in the early ’80s, and ushered in the era of big-bucks off-network syndication deals.

Adams was briefed on why the sitcom did well. She is demanding arrests for theft of identity, invasion of privacy, defamation and attempted murder for these rich people who think they should appropriate our likeness and then tried to hide it with lots of corruption across the nation.

“That’s un-adulterated greed,” Adams said.” This is still unbelievable.”

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Primary Elections Will Take Place Under New Guidelines


By Thomas Nocera, Staff Writer

WINDSOR — Connecticut Secretary of State Denise Merrill on Thursday outlined how exactly the state planned on holding primary elections during a pandemic to a virtual audience of a few dozen.

In the age of surgical masks and social distancing, officials have long been preparing for an unprecedented election season, she explained to the Windsor Democratic Town Committee over Zoom.

“We do not want people to choose between endangering their health and voting,” she told attendees.

In its current state, the plan focuses on modifying physical polling places while still giving voters the option to mail in their ballots. Morrill believes an injection of $5 million of federal aid into the state’s existing election budget will give cities and towns across Connecticut enough resources to carry out the two-tiered plan.

The physical modifications to polling places will vary by location but, according to her, may include moving venues to larger spaces and hiring extra staff, specifically citing the need for younger volunteers. In addition, every town in the state is required to submit a ‘safe polling plan’ that outlines any unique safety issues and addresses funding requests.

The other leg of the official strategy – voting by mail via absentee ballot – has already been universally authorized in a number of other states. However, Connecticut’s constitution is notoriously restrictive in this area. Historically, voting by mail would only be approved in extreme circumstances –  military deployment or grave illness for example.  

But Gov. Lamont sliced through convention earlier this week when he issued an executive order allowing all citizens to cast their primary votes via mail if no vaccine was widely available by the rescheduled Aug. 11 vote. Submission forms for absentee ballots will be mailed to every single household in the state well before that date, Merrill claims.

The governor’s executive order does not cover the November general election however, leaving officials unsure of what that day might look like.

“That’s another big, open question,” according to Merrill.  

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Federal Funding Will Help Schools Cope with New Reality


By Thomas Nocera, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — Hartford will receive about $11 million in funding to help cope with the coronavirus pandemic that forced school closures.

On Thursday, a week after cancelling all kindergarten to 12th grade in-person classes for the remainder of the school year, Gov. Ned Lamont announced that the state would be receiving $111 million in educational aid from the federal government.

The aid comes as part of the congressional coronavirus relief package and will be used to help schools reshape themselves to meet educational needs in a world defined by social distancing measures and facility closures.

“This global pandemic is causing unprecedented consequences that we have never experienced in our lifetimes,” the governor said, “and our school systems have been forced to respond in creative ways.” 

The funds will be distributed to individual school districts in proportion to the amount of Title 1 funding they’ve received in the past. Title 1 is a federal program that gives aid to schools based on how many low-income families with children live in their districts.

Across the country, educational institutions have had to make a sudden pivot to distance learning as the pandemic set in.

In Connecticut, individual districts have been given a great deal of latitude by the state to develop new curriculums that meet their students’ needs. According to a Board of Education spokesperson for Hartford, the transition to distance learning wasn’t always a smooth one.

“[This] is a new way of learning for many of our students, and teachers have reached out to students and families via email, phone, and Google Classroom to help them adjust,” she said. “Not being able to provide direct face-to-face instruction and student engagement in the classroom is a significant challenge.”

One glaring problem the funding will help address is an uneven access to technology. Without face-to-face interactions, computers and the internet are new educational necessities – but many families lack access to either or both. 

The money will help bolster an already existing effort by the Board of Education to mail out laptops and printed curriculums to students.As well as providing for those immediate needs, aid will also go towards cushioning budgets, fine-tuning curriculums for students with disabilities, and developing strategies for the days ahead.

Donald Williams, executive director for the Connecticut Education Association, a non-profit organization that represents teachers, students, and their families across the state believes officials are beginning to look towards the more distant future when making decisions now.

“My sense is that they needed to pivot from thinking about coming back for the last two, three weeks of school,” he said, “to planning for summer school or possible reopening in the fall. Everyone understands there are a lot of moving parts involved in bringing students and staff back into school before there is a vaccine.”

What actually happens going forward will depend on a number of important measurements. Future rates of infection, testing and contact tracing capabilities, and transportation options for students and staff will all be weighed in the coming weeks and months by health and education officials.

Though Lamont initially hoped that students might be able to attend at least some in-person classes at the end of the year, the changing reality on the ground made a return to traditional teaching an impossibility he announced last week.

“I was holding out hope, particularly for high school seniors, that we’d at least be able to complete the final few weeks,” Lamont said in a press conference last week. “But given the current circumstances – and to protect everyone’s safety – it has become clear that it’s just not possible.”

Many issues – like childcare options for parents that will be returning to work as state reopens – remain unsolved however. A spokesperson for the Board of Education says a task force composed of community based organizations and education officials will be key in addressing this issue and others in the evolving educational landscape that lies ahead.

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Gov. Ned Lamont: Some Businesses to Reopen


By Thomas Nocera, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — Three months after the global pandemic of the coronavirus, Gov. Ned Lamont on Monday scheduled several type of businesses to reopen.

According to Lamont’s office, barbershops, beauty salons and several kinds of retail stories will be opened in phase one of the plan, but they will follow specific rules as described to stave off the spread of COVID-19.

The first phase – which includes restaurants; offices; hair salons and barbershops; retail stores; and outdoor museums and zoos – is currently planned to take effect beginning May 20.

The governor stressed that the decision to reopen during this phase rests with each individual business owner – they are not required to open if they do not choose.

The protocols were developed by Lamont, members of his office, and the Department of Economic and Community Development, in consultation with legislators and recommendations made by the Reopen Connecticut Advisory Group, which consists of several of the state’s leading medical experts and representatives of several business and industry groups.

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CABC, Inc Hires Andrea Mesquita As New Program Director


By Fran Wilson, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — West End Resident Andrea Mesquita was recently promoted to the position of Program Director for the Connecticut Alliance for Better Communities, Inc.—effective July 20, 2020.

In her new executive role, Mesquita will coordinate effective community conversations in the Greater Hartford communities and CABC Inc.’s Summer Journalism Workshop programs that began in 2004. Her role in the community-based organization will encompass marketing and other crucial administrative duties to help provide residents with basic needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

West End Resident Andrea Mesquita is the new Program Director at CABC, Inc.

“CABC, Inc. is happy to promote Andrea Mesquita to this crucial role in our organization,” said CABC, Inc. Board Chairman David Williams. “She has deep knowledge of the city and state; and that is an asset to our organization.”

Mesquita was recently a program director at the Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Hartford, where her role included organizing a popular community feature in the Asylum Hill neighborhood: “Dinner and a Movie.” She has also worked in various roles at Trinity College and the Hartford Public Library.

Mesquita, a longtime Hartford resident, graduated from Capital Community College with honors and two scholarships to attend Smith College in Northhampton, MA and Trinity College in Hartford.  Her route to become an English professor at Smith College was derailed by political operatives, who worked on the 2004 presidential campaign, however. More importantly, Mesquita was previously a generous volunteer for The Hartford Guardian.

The longtime writer, wife and mother of three was known to insiders in Hollywood as Vanessa on The Cosby Show, the popular NBC sitcom that aired between 1984 and 1992.

The youngest of six children by her middle-class mother and father, Mesquita wanted to be empowered by a college degree after she moved to Hartford in 1989.

“My mother always encouraged me to put the books before the boys,” Mesquita said in a 2000 Hartford Courant article that featured the former president of Capital Community College Alumni Association.

Mesquita brings with her a wealth of experiences to CABC, Inc., which publishes The Hartford Guardian, the first nonprofit, hyperlocal news publication in Connecticut.

“I look forward to employing my wealth of experience as a community organizer, executive and volunteer for almost 20 years in Hartford, so I can diligently work for the greater good,” Mesquita said.

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Most Americans Want to Reopen–Not


By Dr. Juan Andrade, Jr.

Anyone who says that most Americans want to lift restrictions and reopen the economy is simply not following the data; much like the President is ignoring scientific and medical data on COVID-19. If you think the states should reopen and everybody you know agrees, well, think about this. An overwhelming majority of Americans disagree with you and with everybody you know.

This is where we are today. We have approximately 1,250,000 COVID-19 cases today and roughly 75,000 have died. Three months ago, we had 15 cases and one death. Still want to reopen?

A very recent Washington Post/University of Maryland poll found that 67 percent of Americans said they would feel uncomfortable shopping at a retail clothing store, and 78 percent would be uncomfortable at a sit-down restaurant. These were just two of eight places a big majority of Americans said restrictions should not be lifted. The other six were gun stores (70 percent), nail salons (74 percent), barbershops and hair salons (69 percent), gyms (78 percent), golf courses (59 percent), and movie theaters (82 percent). Grocery stores, whether well stocked or not, have remained open throughout the pandemic.

Governors in 30 states have begun to reopen at some level, possibly ignoring the fact that the U.S. has already surpassed 1.2 million cases, more than Spain, Italy, France, England, and Germany combined. The following are three highly reliable models of what Americans could expect, which hopefully will make those states reconsider.

In an article in USA Today, Jorge Ortiz reported that the U.S. has had an increase of at least 20,000 COVID-19 cases each day since mid-March. According to the New York Times, a CDC (Center for Disease Control) model projects the number could rise to 200,000 cases with 3,000 deaths per day.

The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation projected 134, 475 deaths in the U.S. by Aug. 4.

A new model from Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania projected that 117,000 Americans would be dead by June 30 and if states fully reopened, the number of Americans dead would hit 466,000 by the same date.

The obvious is that many more people will die. The question is how many and whether you will be one of them. I hope not.

Dr. Juan Andrade, Jr. is president of United States Hispanic Leadership Institute, Inc.

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CT Officials Plan For Surge Hospitalizations


By Thomas Nocera, Staff Writer

To date, Hartford county has confirmed more than 9,000 cases of COVID-19 hospitalizations. The state collectively has reported 29, 973 confirmed cases and 2,556 deaths.

Source: https://news.google.com/covid19/map?hl=en-US&mid=/m

Those numbers are only expected to grow over the next month, with a peak in cases and deaths projected for late April and early May, according to Gov. Ned Lamont.

While those numbers indicate that infection and deaths have increased steadily, a continued drop in daily hospitalizations provided an encouraging sign that lockdown measures had been effective. Mayor Luke Bronin was cautiously optimistic in highlighting this at a tele-town hall meeting on Thursday, making sure to stress that the city was still not clear of danger.

“It’s something that should be encouraging to some extent,” he said of the drop in hospitalizations. “But if you think back to a month ago, the number of people getting this and being hospitalized [now] would have been really scary to us. We’re going to have to continue to do everything we can to make sure that that trend continues down rather than reverse.”

While Bronin stressed caution, Gov. Ned Lamont held a press conference the same day to outline his phased reopening strategy for Connecticut. The four-stage plan of cascading re-openings and lifting of lockdown measures follows on the heels of similar efforts in states across the country in recent days.

The plan, designed to be slow and methodical, will rely on a constant and close analysis of infection rates county by county. According to Lamont, it will begin on May 20 if the state has recorded a 14-day drop in hospitalizations by that time.

Source: DATA HAVEN

Those first unease steps forward will include the reopening of ‘personal service’ businesses, like hair and nail salons, outdoor museums and zoos, and outdoor recreational areas.

However, the momentum of reopening will be informed from start to finish by a long list of considerations. This includes the amount personal protective equipment available at any given time, the status of high-risk populations, and – perhaps most importantly – widespread access to testing.

Throughout the press conference, the governor was keen to highlight the necessity of high-volume testing in ensuring consumer safety and confidence.

“This is not something for me to take lightly,” the governor said. “This is not something for the business community to take lightly. It is absolutely vital.”

Looking to the successes and failures of governments across the world, Lamont stressed that testing is key to preventing a resurgence of cases. As infection numbers are likely to re-increase as more people emerge from their homes, testing gives officials the ability to identify and isolate potential hotspots before they flare up.

“Testing is on track,” he said of the state’s efforts. “We’re expanding that, and that’s a real priority for me and a real priority for our team.”

Additional testing facilities have opened across towns and counties statewide. In Hartford, a number of mobile test facilities, meant to fill gaps in the city’s current capabilities, have begun operating. Vans managed by Hartford HealthCare in coordination with the government have been ferrying doctors and testing equipment to neighborhoods that have little or no access to existing medical infrastructure.

As Connecticut cautiously moves forward in its plans to reopen, it does so in conjunction with a coalition of states including New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Delaware.

Officials believe that by coordinating reopening phases, they can avoid flare ups and cross-border infections surges across the Northeast.

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Hartford HealthCare and City to Erect Mobile Test Sites


HARTFORD — Hartford will be the first site for HealthCare mobile coronavirus testing soon to reach the city’s most vulnerable and underserved populations, according to hospital officials on Thursday.

The mobile testing will focus on nursing homes first because they have been the site of numerous outbreaks. The next hot spots will be hotels housing hundreds of people relocated from homeless shelters, Mayor Luke Bronin said.

On Thursday, the city announced another program that will make coronavirus testing more accessible to the wider community: free rides for those who have an appointment at Hartford Hospital or Saint Francis Medical Center.

More than 30 percent of households in Hartford don’t have access to a car, according to the Census Bureau.

Hartford residents can now call 860-757-9311 and the city will arrange a ride to the site, Bronin said in a press conference on Thursday.

Both hospitals are also accepting people on foot. However, health officials said, driving through is safest, as it limits potential exposure to other people.

City officials urged city residents to practice social distancing and to wear masks.

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Hartford Police Seize Bags of Heroine


Hartford are still investigating a recent drug best that includes a discovery of more than 1,200 bags of heroin.

Last Friday, Police seized 1,397 bags of heroin after a recovering a stolen car from Massachusetts. Before the bust, police chased the suspects on foot. 

The suspects include two 18 year-olds, who were arrested.

Also, officers seized 14 grams of crack cocaine and $4,740. 

Hartford Police Drug Raid

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News Analysis: COVID Data Presents Blind-Spots


By Thomas Nocera, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — Across the country, combating the spread of coronavirus has increasingly relied on data zeroing on each zip code in urban, rural and suburban towns. With such tight focus, local and state governments have been more effective at tracking trends, pivoting to new needs, and allocating resources where most needed.

Here in Connecticut, however, information that detailed is simply not available. Currently coronavirus numbers that make their way to local authorities from the state are not refined any further than the county and town level.

This lack may leave the most vulnerable and hard hit communities without the proper resources and, according to James Trostle, Professor of Anthropology at Trinity College and author of ‘Epidemiology and Culture,’ can hinder overall response efforts.

“This kind of information is called geo-located data,” Trostle says. “It provides an important way to look at the spatial distribution of both risks and infections. In fact, ‘place’ is one of the three core organizing principles in epidemiology, along with person and time.”

Thomas Nocera

Trostle, whose expertise is in medical anthropology and public health, believes that sharing of highly specified data can be one of the keys to successfully combating pandemics. Currently, the Connecticut Department of Public Health acts as a central corral point for COVID-19 data it receives from hospitals and other health facilitates. From there, numbers are input into a frequently updated database for relevant authorities on the ground to use as they develop strategies. But the lack of more detail may create a blind-spot of sorts for local health officials.

In Hartford, for example, Vasishth Srivastava, Mayor Bronin’s chief-of-staff, confirmed that the database does not allow them to see detailed demographic or geographic information, though they’ve been attempting to work out a plan to receive such data. In cities and states outside of Connecticut, however, access to that information has allowed officials to fine-tune responses.

In New York, like in Connecticut, analysis of geo-located data revealed that poor and minority neighborhoods had far higher rates of infection. That initiated a quick and forceful response which included the opening of new clinics and testing facilities in these areas. The worrying revelation that vulnerable communities were bearing the brunt of the virus’s effects is by no means isolated.

Illinois and North Carolina have also dug deeper into their data and identified higher rates of infection linked to ethnicity and income in particular areas or neighborhoods. By scaling down the data, authorities in these states hope to have a better chance at staying a step ahead of the ever-changing patterns of infection. Not doing so though can seriously hinder responses.

“Ignoring, or failing to collect, place-based data like zip code or census tract or latitude/longitude,” Trostle claims, “makes it difficult – if not impossible – to see how important location might be in the growth or distribution of any particular epidemic infection.”

Strategies that meticulously map out infections are nothing new when it comes to combating diseases. In one well known effort, the father of modern epidemiology – John Snow – painstakingly traced the source of a cholera outbreak in London in 1854. According to Trostle, Snow did this by walking “door-to-door and counting cholera cases house-by-house.”

Snow’s efforts were groundbreaking at the time. Today though, the precedent for tracing cases as locally as possible is a well-proven method in the fight against pandemics.

By responding to small scale hotspots, authorities better their chances of avoiding larger pools of infection in the future. As of now, cities across Connecticut will have to wait for that level of information as no plans currently exist to refine data and provide deeper location information, according to a spokesperson in an email from the state’s Department of Public Health. 

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