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Hartford Residents Offered Same Day Registration


By Gordon Henry, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — Because of the global pandemic, voters now have more options than ever to cast their ballot, some advocates said.

Additionally, Secretary of the State Denise Merrill on Wednesday reminded eligible but unregistered voters that they can register and vote on electionb day in their towns.

“Connecticut has Election Day Registration, so it is not too late for eligible voters to register and make their voice heard on election day,” Merrill said. “Every election official in Connecticut, in my office and in each of our 169 towns, are working hard to ensure that every eligible voter can register and that every registered voter votes!”

The election day registration locations can be found at myvote.ct.gov/EDR.

Also, same day registration is available for new Connecticut voters or voters, who have moved to a new town; voters who have moved within their town do not need to reregister.

More information on Election Day Registration can be found at myvote.ct.gov/EDRInfo.

Unlike previous years, eligible voters only have to be in line by 8:00 p.m. in order to register and vote, they do not have to have registered by 8:00pm.

In order to register on Nov. 3, a potential voter must provide their birth certificate, driver’s license, passport, or social security card, or in the case of college and university students a current photo identification issued by their higher education institution.

If the potential voter’s identification does not also include proof of their residential address, he or she must also submit another form of identification showing their residential address in the municipality. The additional identification may include, but is not limited to, a motor vehicle learner’s permit, a utility bill due no later than 30 days after the election, for a college or university student a current college or university registration or fee statement, a lease, a library card with residential address, a paycheck, a property tax bill, naturalization documents, or other satisfactory proof of residence.

Eligibility requirements can be found here: https://portal.ct.gov/SOTS/Election-Services/Voter-Information/Voting-Eligibility.

Additionally, Secretary of the State Denise Merrill on Wednesday reminded eligible but unregistered voters that they can register and vote on electionb day in their towns.

“Connecticut has Election Day Registration, so it is not too late for eligible voters to register and make their voice heard on election day,” Merrill said. “Every election official in Connecticut, in my office and in each of our 169 towns, are working hard to ensure that every eligible voter can register and that every registered voter votes!”

The election day registration locations can be found at myvote.ct.gov/EDR.

Also, same day registration is available for new Connecticut voters or voters, who have moved to a new town; voters who have moved within their town do not need to reregister.

More information on Election Day Registration can be found at myvote.ct.gov/EDRInfo.

Unlike previous years, eligible voters only have to be in line by 8:00 p.m. in order to register and vote, they do not have to have registered by 8:00pm.

In order to register on Nov. 3, a potential voter must provide their birth certificate, driver’s license, passport, or social security card, or in the case of college and university students a current photo identification issued by their higher education institution.

If the potential voter’s identification does not also include proof of their residential address, he or she must also submit another form of identification showing their residential address in the municipality. The additional identification may include, but is not limited to, a motor vehicle learner’s permit, a utility bill due no later than 30 days after the election, for a college or university student a current college or university registration or fee statement, a lease, a library card with residential address, a paycheck, a property tax bill, naturalization documents, or other satisfactory proof of residence.

Eligibility requirements can be found here: https://portal.ct.gov/SOTS/Election-Services/Voter-Information/Voting-Eligibility.

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Hartford HealthCare to Do COVID-19 Tests in Hartford


HARTFORD — Hartford HealthCare is relocating and expanding their testing site to the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford.

That’s because officials are planning for an uptick in the number of COVID-19 cases. And the garage will be used to accommodate 4,000 people a day, officials said. This new site will open Nov. 9 seven days a week.

The move by Hartford HealthCare will double the number of patients tested for COVID-19.

“Testing is absolutely crucial and it’s centers like this, as we now advance really to our first winter, where this testing capability becomes absolutely critical,” said Jeffrey Flaks, President, Hartford HealthCare.

“The more quickly we know who has the virus, the more we can support them,” said Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin.

Those choosing to get tested will get thier results in about 24 hours.

Since March, Hartford HealthCare performed 382,000 tests, officials said. Consequently, some Hartford residents are concerned about the flood of patients entering the small city.

Hartford Health spokesperson Tina Varone said that residents should not be concerned about the spread of the virus due to the move to increase capacity for tests at the Convention Center. The test site will be drive through only. No one will be required to exit cars and walk around.

Hartford HealthCare has 930 mobile testing sites.

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Four New England States to Address Climate Change


By Anthony Zepperi, Staff Writer

HARTFORD – Recognizing the critical role that New England’s regional wholesale electricity market plays in addressing climate change, Gov. Ned Lamont and the governors of four other northeast states issued a statement calling for reforms needed to achieve their states’ respective goals for clean, affordable, and reliable electricity.

“When Connecticut deregulated our electricity sector, we were promised competition, lower risk for ratepayers, more affordable electricity, and a system that respects and accommodates our clean energy mandates,” Lamont said. “What we got is a system that has actively hindered our efforts to decarbonize the grid, and imposed burdensome costs on Connecticut ratepayers to fix market design failures…working together with our neighboring states, I’m committed to achieving a regional electricity grid that provides the affordable, clean, and reliable electricity that Connecticut families and businesses deserve.”

Lamont, Maine Gov. Janet Mills, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, and Vermont Gov. Phil Scott are calling for reform of the regional electricity market design, transmission planning process, and the governance of the ISO-New England, the independent system operator for the New England power system.

A vision document outlining specific areas for reform will be released later through the New England States Committee on Electricity (NESCOE), a nonprofit entity that represents the collective perspective of the New England states in regional electricity matters.

Governor Mills said that electricity usage must be changed to fit the current policies put in place by lawmakers.

“It is far past time that New England reforms how its electric grid is managed,” Mills said. “The wholesale electricity markets must advance and support clean energy laws and policies, as the states demand decarbonization and markets and consumers support more renewables.”

Governor Baker said that it is paramount that New England states have a working power system.

“To meet to our administration’s goal of net zero emissions in Massachusetts by 2050, the Commonwealth needs a regional electricity system that can support the delivery of clean, affordable, and reliable energy to residents and businesses,” Baker said. “My administration looks forward to working with our partner states, ISO-New England and stakeholders to build a more transparent, modern and cost-effective power system that will allow New England states to meet our ambitious climate change and clean energy goals while creating a better future for our residents.”

In the coming months, the states will convene open and accessible forums to ensure that all interested stakeholders have an opportunity to participate in further refinement of the principles of the shared vision.

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Gov. Ned Lamont Signs Property Revitalization Bill


Anthony Zepperi, Staff Writer

HARTFORD – Gov. Ned Lamont recently announced that he has signed into law a property revitalization bill that will promote the revitalization of environmentally contaminated, blighted parcels of land and put them back into good use in a way that will benefit the local economy of towns throughout Connecticut while at the same time ensuring environmental integrity.

Approved with bipartisan, unanimous support during the recent special session of the Connecticut General Assembly, the legislation sunsets the Connecticut Property Transfer Act of 1985, which both environmentalists and economic development officials agree was obsolete and ineffective and authorizes the development of a more flexible, predictable, environmentally sustainable, and socially just, release-based regulatory program commonly used in most other states.

Under this new system, rather than singling out certain properties with onerous requirements, it focuses compliance on contamination that poses the greatest risk to the environment, and creates a uniform, predictable set of standards to guide cleanups of low-risk spills without a lot of red tape.

The governor said this renewed approach will take parcels that have gone unused for generations and make them more attractive to private investors, benefiting both the environment and economic development. It is estimated that there are about 4,200 properties in Connecticut that fall under the Transfer Act, and only about a quarter of them have been cleaned up since the program began 35 years ago.

“In today’s challenging times, we are doing everything we can to build a stronger Connecticut economy that is safer and healthier environment for our children,” Lamont said. “This new law will streamline cleanups of contaminated properties, bring properties back to life and there’s never been a more important time to fix regulations that aren’t working, and adopt solutions for the greater good and benefit of our great state.”

The legislation was built through the robust participation of a diverse multitude of stakeholders and with the technical inputs of the professional staff at the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) and the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD).

In particular, Lamont thanked the co-chairs of the legislature’s Environment Committee, State Senator Christine Cohen (D-Guilford) and State Representative Mike Demicco (D-Farmington) as well as the co-chairs of the Commerce Committee State Senator Joan Hartley (D-Waterbury) and State Representative Caroline Simmons (D-Stamford) for their advocacy in getting the bill approved by both chambers of the General Assembly.

Connecticut Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Katie Dykes said that she is working hard with business people to help create a more efficient clean-up system.

“This year, with strong legislative leadership and bipartisan support, we are responding to that call, and will finally move to a more effective release-based cleanup framework that matches the rest of the country,” Dykes said. “This new approach will protect our environment and our communities while incentivizing smart, sustainable, and environmentally informed development. DEEP looks forward to working collaboratively with stakeholders on the regulatory framework in the months ahead.”

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One Million Lives Lost in the Covid-19 Pandemic


HARTFORDThe Hartford Editor and Publisher Ann Marie Adams thanks God, family and friends for blessing us with our lives to carry on during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We pray for world peace and health, our staff, our freelancers, our support staff and volunteers to endure this coronavirus epidemic that’s taking the lives of our loved ones. Therefore, we will resume publishing on Oct. 24, 2020.

We also call for a hearing to learn about the underlying theological causes of this recent phenomenon that affects all of us, not just some of us. We want all who are concerned about the current calamatiy to contact us at editor@thehartfordguardian.com to discuss this sobering reality in these times.

Here’s a letter from the United Nations to address this sobering milestone in the pandemic.

Remarks by H.E. Mr. Volkan Bozkir,

PRESIDENT OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY

5th MICs MINISTERIAL MEETING OF THE LIKE-MINDED GROUP OF COUNTRIES, SUPPORTERS OF MIDDLE-INCOME COUNTRIES

Excellencies,

Thank you for the opportunity to address today’s Ministerial Meeting.

I only wish we could be together, in the same room.

The loss of contact, however, is only one of the many casualties of the global pandemic, which this week hit the sobering mark of one million lives lost.

COVID-19 has shaken our world. In addition to the many who have suffered and suffer, many countries are now facing severe challenges to their economies and social systems. 

Even the finest of healthcare systems and social safety nets have been tried and tested by this pandemic. Where does this leave those who were already behind?

Unfortunately, as is so often the case, it is the most vulnerable that are hit hardest.

Middle-income countries are no exception and have the unique challenge of being caught somewhere in the middle – excuse the pun. They are both economic powerhouses and struggling with inequality; they are home to abundant resources and innovation, and yet must fight their way through global financial and economic systems that are not always designed in their favor.

MICs made remarkable progress against the Sustainable Development Goals. COVID-19, however, is setting back these gains.

In addition to health and well-being, the pandemic is exacerbating poverty, limiting economic growth, elevating debt levels, and limiting access to education, to name but a few.

Coupled with multidimensional poverty, vulnerability to shocks, and significant debt burdens, COVID has reinforced the prospect of a ‘middle-income trap’, exacerbating already formidable development challenges.

In this context, I encourage the IFIs to consider factors other than GDP per capita for assessing access to finance.

I am confident that we can seize this moment to convert crisis into opportunity; to accelerate progress on the SDGs throughout the Decade of Action; and to adopt innovative policies and strategies that properly and adequately address the needs of MICs.

I am confident that together, at the High-Level Meeting on Middle-Income Countries, which I am mandated to host during the session, you will present practical proposals to this effect.

Excellencies, there is no linear path to sustainable development – no one size fits all – we must endeavor to make flexible and adaptable the international systems and tools that support countries in their development goals. Particularly now, in their time of need.

I look forward to working with you on this and I thank you very much for having me in this meeting.

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State Arrests Avon Man For Identity Theft, Forgery


AVON — An Avon man was accused of stealing someone’s identity and forging her signature, a blatant repeat of a similar incident in 2014 for the real Olivia Pope.

Michael J. Cronin, 57, of 24 Kingsbridge, Avon, was arrested by Inspectors from the Division of Criminal Justice and charged with 26 counts of forgery in the second degree, and 12 counts of identity theft in the third degree involving various real estate and refinancing documents pertaining to the divorce from his first wife, according to one arrest warrant affidavit. 

A second arrest warrant affidavit alleges that Cronin forged the name of an attorney on a financial affidavit related to Cronin’s divorce from his second wife, and that he did so while on release from an earlier criminal case that is pending in Hartford Superior Court. 

Cronin was the former treasurer of the state Senate Republican Leadership Committee, a political action committee (PAC), and previously had been arrested and charged with allegedly stealing approximately $267, 800 from the committee for his personal use. 

Cronin appeared on Thursday in Hartford Superior Court where a judge set bond at $200,000.

All three cases are being prosecuted by the Statewide Prosecution Bureau of the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney.

Forgery in the second degree is a class D felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine up to $5,000. Identity Theft in the second degree is also a class D felony.

The other incident that may be tied to Cronin’s identity theft and forgery involves an Avon woman who inspired the ABC show, “Scandal,” She was also the victim theft of services and larceny after she was identified by Avon Officer Jonathan Haynes in 2014. aHaynes and other Avon police officers revealed her identity as the real Olivia Pope.

The suspect in the crime for theAvon woman, Judy Smith, was interrogated. No word yet on when Avon police will make an arrest. Smith allegedly worked in tandem with Cronin.

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Lamont Issues New Fines for Wearing No Mask


By Anthony Zepperi, Staff Writer

HARTFORD – Gov. Ned Lamont announces Monday that there are new fines aimed at residents, who undermine the state’s masking and gathering mandates during the novel Coronavirus.

Based on these new rules, residents could be fined $100 for violating the mask mandate, $250 for attending a large event and $500 for organizing a large, unsanctioned event.

Currently, the state has capped events at 25 people indoors or 100 people outdoors.

According to Josh Geballe, the state’s chief operating officer, the order was issued on Tuesday and went into effect at midnight on Thursday.

According to Geballe, the new fines were created out of a collaboration between state and local officials, including local law enforcement and health departments.

While Connecticut was able to flatten the curve, the state’s positivity rate has climbed over one percent again to 1.2 percent in recent days as more colleges and schools reopened, a fact that Lamont said figured in his decision to sign the new executive order.

“I think the numbers are still trending in the right direction,” Lamont said

Municipalities have struggled with enforcement of the state’s coronavirus-related mandates since the pandemic began.

Geballe said that it is a challenge to enforce these rules in a realistic sense.

“There wasn’t really much that was being done, because many people viewed[a misdemeanor charge as excessively harsh for failing to wear a mask if you couldn’t socially distance,” Geballe said. “So they asked for this new tool, an infraction that was a bit of a step-down enforcement.”

Geballe said that decisions to make stricter rules were always on past discussions.

“It’s come up over and over again, to the point where we felt it was an appropriate thing to do,” Geballe said.

As of Sept. 19, 2020, there have been 55,527 positive cases of the virus and 4,492 deaths with 77 patients currently hospitalized, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Dozens of Schools Shut Down in September


Anthony Zepperi, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — As the new school year recently commenced, more than a dozen public schools across Connecticut have temporarily shut down classroom learning due to Coronavirus cases among students and staff, as administrators ask for transparency in school closure recommendations from the state.

Gov. Ned Lamont said that schools should not shut down just because of a single case, particularly at the K through 8 level where most districts are cohorting students.

“I think it’s worth remembering that of all the schools that have been opened, some full-time, some part-time, we have had 32 infections,” Lamont said. “That’s 32 out of six or seven hundred thousand students and teachers and administrators so it’s a much lower positivity rate than we’re used to seeing in the general population right now.”

Lamont said that confusion is warranted during the pandemic.

 “There will be some confusion, but generally that means a class is being quarantined if there happens to be an infection,” Lamont said.

As of Monday afternoon, at least 11 schools had closed for at least a day due to a coronavirus case, in addition to the entire New Milford school district, which includes five schools and the Litchfield Hills Transition Center for young adults with disabilities.

High schools around the state closed due to positive cases, including schools in West Haven, Westbrook and Killingly, Dag Hammarskjold Middle School in Wallingford and the Tisdale School in Bridgeport.

West Haven Superintendent of Schools Neil Cavallaro said that schools must cooperate with the proper buildings to help prevent the spread of the virus.

“In accordance with the CDC recommendations, Connecticut public schools are not conducting widespread or regular testing of students and staff,” Cavallaro said. “When a student or staff member decides to get tested and tests positive, school administrators and local health officials must conduct contact tracing.”

Cavallaro said that he is thinking of all options available in any case schools have to be shut down.

“There’s going to be positive cases,” Cavallaro said. “ I think what’s going to happen is, as we move into the school year, we will refine our process of when we will decide to close schools or what’s going to be the ultimate factor in us closing schools.”

All decisions to close down schools will be decided from other pertinent officials, according to Lamont.

“If we think people are getting too remissive or too restrictive, maybe Deidre Gifford, acting commissioner of the state Department of Public Health or Miguel Cardona, state education commissioner, will reach out to them,” he said.

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Connecticut Schools Ranked Among the Best


By Anthony Zepperi, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — Connecticut’s schools made the grade, according to a national education report.

Gov. Ned Lamont and State Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona on Friday announced that Connecticut’s K-12 schools have been ranked as the third best in the nation by Education Week in the annual education of its “Quality Counts 2020: Grading the States’ report.

Connecticut received a grade of “B” with an overall score of 84.1 out of 100 points. The nation as a whole received a grade of “C.”

The report, based on an analysis by the Education Week Research Center, reviews how well the nation and the states do on assuring bright prospects for success over the course of a lifetime, how much they spend on schools and how fairly that money is distributed as well as the outcomes reflected by indicators such as test scores and graduation rates.

A state’s overall grade is the average of its scores on the three separate indices tracked by the report, which are school finance, chance-for-success, and K-12 achievement.

Lamont said that he appreciates the instructors who work diligently to help teach students.

“The strength of a state is dependent upon the health of its education system, and Connecticut’s schools are once again being recognized as among the best in the nation,” Lamont said. “We have the best teachers of any state and they are delivering results that are having positive impacts on students’ lives.

Lamont said that the flourishing of businesses depends on a good and efficient education system.

“The ability to attract businesses and encourage them to expand here is directly tied to the quality of education our workforce receives,” Lamont said.

Commissioner Cardona said that even as the state is battling a pandemic, it still is being recognized as a state with a great education climate.

“Thanks to our collective efforts as one educational community, Connecticut has again ranked third in the nation,” Cardona said. “While this pandemic has thrown unprecedented challenges our way, we are inspired by the heightened sense of commitment and innovation demonstrated by our teachers, families, and school staff to meet the needs of our learners.”

Cardona assures that as students enter the new school year, they will notice the efficiency of the education system.

“We enter 2020-21 in the same spirit of collaboration, and with strengthened resolve, to deliver a reimagined PK-12 that ensures equity, access, and excellence for all students anytime, anywhere,” Cardona said.

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Connecticut to Provide Food Boxes to Residents


By Anthony Zepperi, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — Gov. Ned Lamont announced that state agencies, private businesses and nonprofits are working together to help provide state residents affected by the COVID-19 pandemic with food boxes

The Salvation Army and United Way have partnered with DoorDash, a company known for their door-to-door delivery services with restaurants, to expand the delivery of food boxes to three communities, including Bridgeport, Torrington and Waterbury.

With this program,  people in need of food can call United Way 2-1-1 and express their need.

Lamont said that the state is trying to come up with unique ways to help those affected by the Coronavirus.

This pandemic forced our state to think outside the box when it has come to the delivery of services, and even the delivery of food to those who need it,” Lamont said. “This collaboration is critical to making sure families across our state do not go hungry, and it’s a creative use of resources to help so many of our residents get through this crisis, which has impacted both our public health and our economy.”

United Way communicates their request to the local Salvation Army pantries to prepare food boxes. With a pre-arranged delivery date, DoorDash picks up the food boxes at the Salvation Army for delivery to the individuals in need.

Overseen by Connecticut Agriculture Commissioner Bryan P. Hurlburt, the project has evolved since the start of the pandemic to assist those in need of food. What began with a focus on prepared meals has shifted to other food boxes, providing recipients with a  greater variety of food over a longer duration.

Commissioner Bryan Hurlburt said that this program is one example of how the state is helping those in need.

“This is an example of individual organizations stepping up and coming together, being creative, and utilizing existing systems to meet the needs of our residents during the pandemic,” Hurlburt said. “I commend our partners for their flexibility, dedication, and collaboration to ensure that high-risk individuals have access to food during their time of need.”

Now in its third week,  the program has more than quadrupled the number of boxes delivered since the start. Food boxes are filled with non-perishable foods, including canned goods, apple sauce, rice, beans, peanut butter, tuna, and granola.

Recipients are those identified as homebound, high-risk individuals, typically over 65 years of age.

The effort is one of many being undertaken to support emergency feeding in order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

It is serving as a pilot project for a larger, soon-to-be-executed effort between the Connecticut Department of Social Services and The Salvation Army that will enable ConneCT Resource Coordinators to have a referral service for individuals who test positive for COVID.

Major Gregory Hartshorn, Divisional Commander for The Salvation Army Southern New England Division, said that this program makes food accessible as residents are currently in quarantine.

“While The Salvation Army has been actively serving food boxes to families in Connecticut since last March, we are especially grateful for this new partnership with the State of Connecticut, United Way 2-1-1, and Door Dash, where we can ensure people in quarantine may continue to have meals delivered to their place of residence,” Hartshorn said.

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