Tag Archive | "Hartford"

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Hartford to Unveil Fitness Center

HARTFORD —  Congressman John B. Larson will join First Lady of Connecticut Cathy Malloy and Mayor of Hartford Pedro E. Segarra on Friday to unveil plans for a new Children’s Fitness/Wellness Center in Hartford.

The Center will give low-income families access to comprehensive fitness and wellness programs including child development screening, cooking demonstrations, community gardening and movement workshops, officials said. The center is part of an initiative to prevent childhood obesity in Connecticut.

This new facility comes after Hartford officials unveiled a 2012 study conducted by the University of Connecticut’s Center for Public Health and Policy that found that children living in Hartford are at high risk for becoming obese, finding that more than one-third of Hartford’s three year olds and 23 percent of kindergarteners are overweight.

Hartford is not alone. During the last 30 years, childhood obesity rates in the U.S. have tripled,  experts say.  Today, nearly one in three children in America are overweight or obese. This is also a part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s national “Let’s Move” campaign to get children to be active.

The numbers are even higher in African American and Hispanic communities, where nearly 40 percent of the children are overweight or obese.

So far, about a third of all children born in 2000 or later is expected to suffer from diabetes at some point in their lives. Many currently face chronic obesity-related health problems like heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer,and asthma.



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Free Downtown Hartford Parking For Sandy Hook Run, Spirit Fest

HARTFORD — Parking vendors in downtown Hartford will be offering free parking on Saturday for the Sandy Hook Run that’s expected to draw thousands of participants and spectators.

In addition, several thousand expected to attend the 2013 Spirit Fest National Cheerleading and Dance Championships at the Connecticut Convention Center also on Saturday.

That is why the Hartford Police Traffic Division has issued the following traffic advisory to assist event participants, spectators, and area residents and businesses with their travel plans.

Area and Streets Used for Race: TIMES CLOSED TO TRAFFIC

Trinity Street and Elm Street: 5:00AM-3:00PM
Trumbull Street (Church St to Jewell St) and Pratt Street: 6:00AM-3:00PM
Main Street (Pearl to Asylum); Pearl Street; and Asylum Street (Main to Trumbull St): 8:00AM-12:00PM Church Street (Trumbull to Main St) and Main Street (Asylum to Church St): 8:30AM-10:30AM
Jewell Street (Ford St to Trumbull St): 9:30AM-11:00AM
Main Street (Pearl St to Buckingham St); Buckingham Street; Washington St (Russ St to Capitol Ave); Capitol Avenue (Trinity St to Laurel St); Laurel St (Capitol Ave to Farmington Ave); Farmington Ave (Laurel St to Asylum Ave); Asylum Ave (Cogswell Ave to Ford St); and Ford St: 10:00 AM-12:00PM

Motorist should also anticipate traffic delays as participants and attendees of the National Cheerleading and Dance Championships converge at the Connecticut Convention Center on Columbus Boulevard. Competitors from all over New England, New York, New Jersey and Maryland are expected to attend this event at the Connecticut Convention Center, one of the Northeast’s largest all-star and scholastics cheerleading championships.

For more information about the Sandy Hook Run for the Families, please visit http://www.hartfordmarathon.com/Events/Sandy_Hook_Run_for_the_Families.htm or call 860-652-8866.

View map of locations and further information about the event which is anticipated to draw tens of thousands to Downtown Hartford.

Visit www.hartford.marathon.com for event information.

HPD Traffic Advisory.



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Much Ado about Nothing on Obama’s White Guy Appointees

By Earl Ofari Hutchinson

Politics made for strange bedfellows in those taking swipes at President Obama’s white guy appointees. Staunch GOP conservative Mike Huckabee took the first hard whack. He screamed that Obama was a hypocrite on diversity in that he used the issue of the war on women during the presidential campaign to pound the GOP and then turned around and stacked his cabinet with white males. The swing then went over the political spectrum to Harlem Democratic congressman Charles Rangel who called the president’s diversity record, “embarrassing.”

Here are the problems with the criticism. One is Obama’s actual record on diversity. It’s easy to cherry pick a picture of his four prominent white male nominees, Secretary of State John Kerry, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, CIA Director John Brennan and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel as a score of prominent national newspapers did and finger this as the supposed proof that Obama has a chronic penchant for plopping white men in high and any other places in his administration.

But  Obama has, in fact, appointed quite a few minorities and women. More than forty percent of his appointees to sub cabinet positions have been women and a significant percent of them have been minority women.

One area of appointments has flown far on the radar scope but has been tantamount to a quiet revolution has been the federal courts, and not just his appointment of two high profile women appointees to the Supreme Court. An unprecedented seven out of his ten appointees to the federal judiciary have been minorities or women or both. This is double the percent of women and minorities appointed by Clinton, and a major bump up over the number of appointees by George W. Bush. His appointments to the judiciary are equal to and in some cases more important than cabinet picks. These justices are lifetime appointments and their rulings and opinions will profoundly impact law and public policy for decades to come.

Another problem is simply singling out Obama’s top gun cabinet picks to snipe at him for allegedly fumbling the ball on diversity. For decades, GOP and Democratic presidents made a few high profile picks of blacks and later Latinos and women to high visibility cabinet or administrative posts, and then stacked their appointees at the sub cabinet, agency and administrative level with white males. The media and the public generally took no note of that and that is exactly the way it was intended. But these agency heads and administrators handle the nuts and bolts of government operations from hiring to spending, and program development and implementation. Their tenures in these positions often far out ran the tenure of the president that appointed them. But because they were largely nameless and faceless they got very little attention. Obama’s appointments to the judiciary are a near textbook example of that. Few can name any of them.

The other problem is that the issue of diversity suddenly became a hot issue again solely because of Obama. The feeling is that he has a special duty and obligation to as an African-American president to stack his administration deck with high profile minority or women and if he doesn’t do that he’s somehow betrayed affirmative action. But Obama, as other presidents did, picked those for top positions who do not have to start at the rear of the learning curve and have the expertise and credentials to hit the ground running in handling touchy policy decisions. This standard would and should apply to a minority or woman that he picked to a key cabinet or administrative position.

Because he’s an African-American who’s still under more intense scrutiny from the GOP than any other president in modern times, he has almost no margin of error in how his appointees at the highest and any other level conduct the administration’s business. The history of presidential appointments is littered with picks that have proven disastrous. The blame for that always falls on the man that appointed them, and that’s the president. This is all the more reason why presidents are doubly careful to make sure that they get it right the first time in their top appointees.

The implicit and mistaken assumption of the critics is that Obama’s pick of white guys to some top posts will remain the standard for his appointments as he fills out his cabinet and other positions. There will be many more shuffles in administration posts in the next few months. And it will be important to keep a watchful eye on just who Obama picks and for what. But it’s also just as important to keep watch on the appointees that he’s made that don’t make the front page of newspapers. Judging from his first go round in the White House as many of those appointees don’t look like white males as do. This makes the current squeal about his alleged betrayal of diversity much ado about nothing.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is a frequent political commentator on MSNBC and a weekly co-host of the Al Sharpton Show on American Urban. New America Media, Commentary.

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Newtown School Shooting Prompts Renewed Call to Address Violence in Hartford, Other Cities

Updated Saturday, December 22, 2012 1:18 p.m.

By Adam Stulhman, Staff Writer

Long before the Newtown school massacre, Hartford has seen much of its own suffering from gun violence. Between 1998 and 2012, there were 700 lives lost to gun violence. And 200 homicides are left unsolved, according to the Hartford Police Department.

Some residents and officials said they hope that the Newtown tragedy prompts state and city officials to search deeper for answers and find innovative solutions for all communities in Connecticut.

City officials on Friday said one such solution is the Hartford Police Department’s Shooting Task Force, which started earlier this year. The goal of the STF is to “track down and follow 100 of the most dangerous criminals to reduce the risk of gun violence by taking away their guns and rental cars,”said Hartford Police Spokesperson Nancy Mulroy.

With a strong focus on reducing gun violence, the STF is also “focusing on roughly 700 newly released ex convicts.” officials said.

Police Chief Inspector James Rovella said he is working with Hartford Community Service officers, imploring them to work with the families of ex-convicts and victims, getting to learn more about them.

“Knock on their door,” said Rovella. “Build a relationship with their mother, their father, or their baby’s mother, whoever is in the household.”

A Compstat Report from the HPD shows that from Dec. 1, 2011 to Dec. 1, 2012, there has been a 12.5 percent decrease in shootings, from 128 to 112.

Andrew Woods, Executive Director of Communities that Care, says that the problem isn’t just about preventing gun violence, but giving youth more opportunities.

“Kids that are given opportunities are much less likely to resort to violence,” Woods said.

Also, there is also the cumulative effect of violence in the state’s capital city: the mental health of its residents, and how they cope with decades of neglect, some experts say.

Henrietta Beckman, Executive Director of Mothers United Against Violence, feels that mental health has been an issue largely ignored in Hartford, and feels that Hartford has a stigma and perception that plays into the quality of treatment.

“Hartford,” said Beckman, “has dealt with mental health for a long time, and we have been left untreated, not given enough counseling. Being an inner city, there is a difference in the quality of support that Hartford gets versus other populations, like more affluent neighborhoods.”

While Beckman feels terrible for the victims of the Newtown tragedy-and she knows personally how they feel-she wishes that Hartford could receive the same kind of support that Newtown is and will be receiving.

Woods agreed to a point with Beckman that Newtown is going to be getting a lot of resources, but overall he feels that “white people have more resources than people of color.”

“We need an increase in funding and capacity,” Woods said. “We struggle with follow up because of a lack of funds, and it is very frustrating and discouraging.”

Woods also says that Hartford youth that have been victims of violence aren’t getting the help they need, but they have been able to develop survival mechanisms, and believes that if there is a will to move forward, bureaucracies will be able to help effectively.

“Our children have found a way of coping in this environment,” Woods said. “If the will exists, then bureaucracies know how to move.” 

Rev. Henry Brown, who also works with MUAV, got involved with gun violence after he lost someone close to him, seven-year old Takira Gaston. Gaston was shot in the face on July 4, 2001.

Brown spoke about suggestions the community could make to  stop gun violence:

“We are never going to stop the sale of guns, and we need more mental health resources to commit to our children,” Brown said. “We must be more aware of the problem, taking a look into the movies, music, and video games we sell to children and young adults.”

Brown also supported Woods’ belief, saying that there needs to be increased access to mental health care.

“Mental Health is a number one player in gun violence because children at an early age get oppressed by broken homes, and suffering communities,” Brown said. “Kids suffer through an educational system and other community settings that are not as strong as they are in other parts of the state.”

Some community activists are organizing a forum about unresolved homicides: Seeking Closure and Justice. It is slated for Jan. 29, 2013 and will be at the Phillips Metropolitan C.M.E. Church Community Room, 2550 Main St., Hartford, at 5 p.m.


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Hartford Gets $10 Million Transportation Grant

HARTFORD — Hartford officials are expected to hold a press conference today with Deputy Administrator Greg Nadeau of the Federal Highway Administration to announce the city’s receipt of a $10 million federal grant to improve Hartford’s transportation.

Nadeau will be joined by Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra, Congressman John B. Larson (CT-01) will join Senator Richard Blumenthal, and other state officials, to discuss thel TIGER IV (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) Grant.

The press conference will be held at 1 p.m. at the Bushnell Park Entrance at the corner of Trumbull and Jewell streets in Hartford.

The grant will be used to fund the Intermodal Triangle Project, a major transportation investment designed to create a seamless connection between Union Station and the rest of downtown Hartford.

Key elements of the project include renovation of Union Station, special signal and lane treatment for CTfastrak terminus, major bus stop enhancements around the station, and enhanced signage for pedestrians and vehicles, among other intended improvements.

Additionally the funding will benefit the, “iQuilt Plan” to create a sustainable, green walkway that will connect all of the city’s cultural and historical attractions.



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Hartford Library Kicks Off Immigrant Education, Outreach

By Simone Tyrell, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — The Hartford Public Library on Thursday kicked off its “Creating a Vibrant Hartford: Adult Learning as a Pathway to Change” series, a pilot conversation that focuses on adult education and immigration.

The series is a follow up to a low-key meeting held on Feb. 18 to inaugurate a series of community dialogues. Many in attendance were optimistic about the pilot conversation about this form of education with an emphasis on immigration. Organizers said that the series promises to be both “thought provoking and enlightening.”

Participants in Hartford Library's Community Dialogue Series

Director of Community Development and Civic Engagement at the Hartford Public Library Richard Frieder last month pointed out the main theme of the discussion, which was the importance of having a place to conduct a serious and open discussion on adult immigrant education. He said he hopes the series hosted by the library on the issue of adult  immigrant education will be a community building exercise, where people from diverse backgrounds are able to actively participate.

The program was made possible by a grant from Everyday Democracy, a public interest group, based in East Hartford. Carolyne Miller Abdullah, Director of Community Assistance and Sarah Eisele-Dyrli, Research and Education Officer facilitated the pilot conversation, which were limited in its outreach.

Organizers said the two major goals for this program were to develop community brokers, which is a  person who works one on one with new immigrants to get them settled and to encourage Community Development, where immigrant and nonimmigrant populations come together and engage about important issues throughout the community.

For more information or to sign up, call 860-695-6365 or email:


What is a Community Dialogue and how does it work?
• It’s a series of small group discussions in April and May focusing on Adult Learning as a Pathway to Change
• Dialogues are guided by trained facilitators from the community
• This is not just talk. The dialogues lead to an action agenda.

Why should you participate?
• To partner with neighbors, friends, and community leaders
• To take an active role in identifying needs and actions
• To strengthen your community
• To create better opportunities for Hartford residents and new arrivals.

By participating you will:
• Find out where to turn for your learning needs
• Advocate for your rights and develop leadership skills
• Meet your neighbors and make new friends.

What will happen at the Kick-Off event on March 22?
• Learn more about the community dialogue and how you can get involved
• Get a chance to participate in a mini-dialogue
• Hear from Mayor Segarra and other community leaders
• Free refreshments will be served!

What’s next? 
• Come join us! Get your questions answered or sign up for the Kick-Off Event or for the Dialogues! 
Call 860-695-6365 or email hartfordlistens@hplct.org.

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Hartford’s iQuilt Report To Be Unveiled

HARTFORD — The City of Hartford Planning & Zoning Commission will be hosting a public forum on the iQuilt plan today, Jan. 10.

What exactly is the iQuilt? It’s a five-mile area downtown that has museums, restaurants, theaters and shops. The concept entails linking these businesses and cultural attractions together to form a more vibrant experience for people who live,work and play in the city, officials said.

The event will begin at 5:00pm, where officials and stakeholders will gather for an informative meeting on a final report produced by the iQuilt Design Team.

The public forum will be followed by the formal public hearing and regular meeting of the Planning and Zoning Commission beginning at 6:30pm.

The meeting will be held at the main branch of the Hartford Public Library
in the Atrium located at 500 Main St., Hartford.


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Boys & Girls Clubs CEO Marks Historic Day in Hartford

By Ann-Marie Adams, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — Who knew? The first Boys and Girls Club began in Hartford, Connecticut more than 150 years ago.

Back then in 1860, it was called the Dashaway Club. No known record of the club’s founding year exists. And it was disbanded during the Civil War between 1860 and 1865. Today, it still lives up to its main mission: to build character and help young people on the path to “bright futures.”

So said Boys and Girls Clubs of America’s new President and CEO Jim Clark on Monday. Clark visited the Greater Hartford Boys and Girls Club on Sigourney Street to begin his first official day on the job and mark the organization’s 151th day since its founding. Clark is the organization’s 11th president and CEO.

That’s because Hartford “holds a very special place in Boys and Girls Clubs’ history” and Clark’s decision to visit the Asylum Hill campus was particularly appropriate, local officials said.

In the early twentieth century, Mary Hall, a feisty independent woman, founded and helped grow the Good Will Club as “one of the most useful factors in starting boys on their way to manhood.”  The Good Will Club, with its first permanent building at 96 Pratt St., began programs for girls in 1986. Then in 1992, the club’s board voted to change its names to The Boys and Girls Club of Hartford, Inc.

Today, 16-year old Martha Olang is the 2011 Boys and Girls Club Youth of the Year. Now a poised junior at the Greater Hartford Academy of Math and Science, Olang joined the club when she was 11 years old. She said she keeps returning because it’s fun and she feels she’s getting “real help” and guidance with her plans for college and beyond.

At the helm of this local and historic organization today is Sam Gray who has helped shepherd the club to one of the innovative clubs among its 4,000 cohorts.

“The Boys & Girls Clubs of Hartford and nationwide share both a rich history and strong mission of encouraging young people’s growth and success. We’re so honored that Jim Clark chose to spend his very first day as President and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of America with us, at the place where our whole Movement began. Great Futures do indeed start here,” said Samuel S. Gray, Jr., President and CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hartford.

To mark the significance of the club’s place in history, other special guests also included Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Mayor Pedro Segarra.

Boys and Girls Club

170 Sigourney Street

Hartford, CT


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Pew Report: U.S. Deportees Increase, Latinos Vexed

HARTFORD — The number of deportees from the United States has been on the rise and many of these unauthorized removals by President Barack Obama’s administration have been Latinos, according to a report by the Pew Research Center.

By a ratio of more than two-to-one (59 percent versus 27 percent), Latinos disapprove of the way the Obama administration is handling deportations of unauthorized immigrants, according to a new national survey of Latino adults by the Pew Hispanic Center, a project of the Pew Research Center.

Deportations have reached record levels under President Obama, rising to an annual average of nearly 400,000 since 2009, about 30 percent higher than the annual average during the second term of the Bush administration and about double the annual average during George W. Bush’s first term, according to a press release by the center.

More than eight-in-ten (81 percent) of the nation’s estimated 11.2 million unauthorized immigrants are of Hispanic origin, according to Pew Hispanic Center estimates. Hispanics accounted for an even larger share of deportees in 2010—-97 percent.



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Hartford Police To Begin “Click It” Stops

HARTFORD — Beginning Nov. 14 the Hartford Police Department will once again participate in the National “Click it or Ticket” campaign.

During the holiday season, the Hartford Police Department will conduct increased enforcement through daily checkpoints in order to raise awareness that wearing your seatbelt saves lives.

For more information please contact the Hartford Police Department’s Traffic Division Commander, Lieutenant Christopher Mefferd, at 860-757-4411, or visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website at: http://www.nhtsa.gov/CIOT.


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