Category Archives: Uncategorized

99th Commemoration of Armenian Genocide at State Capitol Next Week

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The historic House of Representatives chamber will be the site of the 99th commemoration of the Armenian Genocide next week.

Historian Ruth Thomasian, who is known for her work as a photo archivist, is scheduled to be the keynote speaker in the chamber at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 26.

State Rep. Christopher Wright, a Bristol Democrat who serves as the event chairman, said, “The April 26 ceremony will be held to remember our martyrs and honor our survivors.”

Armenians mark April 24, 1915, as the day when Turkish authorities began arresting Armenians in a systematic program of annihilation. The Turkish government has denied that genocide occurred.

Between 1915 and 1923, about 1.5 million Armenians were killed by the government of the Ottoman Turkish Empire. Another 500,000 were deported. But news of the genocide was not widely known until after World War I. Continue reading

Group Launches Radio Campaign For Two Charter Schools In Bridgeport

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In the ongoing battle over charter schools, a group of parents and school-reform supporters has launched a new radio campaign in Bridgeport.

The group, known as Families for Excellent Schools, supports the state school board’s decision of April 2 to create four new public charter schools, including two in Bridgeport that are known as the Great Oaks and Capitol Preparatory Harbor schools.

The radio spots can be heard in Bridgeport on English and Spanish-language radio stations.

“Two new public charter schools are due to open and hundreds of families who’ve been stuck on waiting lists will finally have access to a great neighborhood school,” the radio spot says. “It’s a new day in Bridgeport.” Continue reading

Bill Bans Whole Milk For Kids At Day Care

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Here’s part of Senate Bill No. 48, which made it through the Committee on Children by a 10-2 vote:

No child day care center, group day care home or family day care home shall provide milk with a milk fat content greater than one per cent to any child two years of age or older under the care of such facility unless milk with a higher milk fat content is medically required for an individual child, as documented by such child’s medical provider. The provisions of this subsection shall not apply to a facility providing human breast milk to a child under the care of such facility if such facility has received such breast milk from the parent or guardian of such child.

Here’s part of the Office of Legislative Research analysis:

The bill prohibits these facilities from providing milk with more than 1% milk fat to a child age two or older in their care unless a higher fat content is medically required for a child as documented by the child’s medical provider.

The prohibitions do not apply to beverages, juice, or milk (including human breast milk) that a facility receives for a child in its care from the child’s parent or guardian.

McKinney Refunds $400 In Contributions From Contractors And Spouses; Democratic Party Chief Calls Him Hypocritical

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Republican gubernatorial candidate John McKinney has returned $400 in donations to four people who fell under the state law that bans campaign contributions by state contractors and their spouses, according to his latest financing report to state election regulators.

The four people, who gave $100 each to McKinney’s campaign committee last October, were sent refunds less than two weeks after they were mentioned in a Feb. 15 Courant Government Watch column as potentially ineligible to contribute. They are: Jonathan Gavin of Durham, president of United Concrete Products Inc. in Wallingford, and his wife, Lorene Gavin; and William Valus of Fairfield, owner/sales at Encon Inc., a heating, air-conditioning and energy-efficiency company with offices in a main office in Stratford, and Maureen Valus, his wife.

The companies of Gavin and Valus appear on the State Election Enforcement Commission’s list of state contractors, or prospective contractors whose “principals” — that is, top managers or owners — are banned by law from contributing to candidates for Connecticut statewide office and state political committees.

State Democratic Party Chair Nancy DiNardo blasted McKinney in a statement this week over the returned contributions and two more recent donations that she claims he should return for the same reason. DiNardo provided a link to an online video of McKinney saying at a candidates’ debate this past Friday that “I won’t take a penny from state contractors into our campaign.” DiNardo said he “owes the voters an apology for his blatant hypocrisy.”

McKinney spokesman Michael Fox said the campaign did not wish to comment on DiNardo’s statement, but he did provide some explanation for how the campaign committee evaluates contributions to assure that they are legal.

“Given the large number of total contributions it is an incredibly small number that have not self identified themselves [as banned contractors] but we intend to continue to be vigilant and operate by the highest ethical standards,” Fox said. Continue reading

Sen. Schumer Invokes Sandy Hook, Calls For Increased School Security Funding

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A U.S. Senator from New York is calling for increased funding for school security, saying that federal spending on school safety has declined in recent years and local budgets carry the burden of keeping their campuses secure.

U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer on Monday pointed to several recent school shootings, which he said “remind us that we simply must invest more, not less, to keep our children safe at school.”

“Sadly, federal support for school safety initiatives has declined steeply over the past few years, putting a strain on local school budgets and leaving important safety projects unfunded,” Schumer said. “We must do everything in our power to allow our schools to bolster their safety programs to make sure we have the tools at our disposal to better prevent the next Sandy Hook.”

Schumer also wrote a letter to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan asking that the Department of Education “also do its part and create a national plan that will provide necessary resources to our already financially strained schools so that they may plan for emergencies, best equip their school environment and address instances of violence when they occur.”

Anti-Fracking Waste Bill Clears Judiciary Committee

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Lawmakers worried about toxic byproducts from natural gas drilling wells in other states convinced the legislature’s Judiciary Committee Monday to approve a ban on “fracking” waste coming into Connecticut for storage or treatment.

Fracking diagram courtesy of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Fracking diagram courtesy of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

The bill has yet to go through the state House or Senate, and faces competition from other legislation backed by Gov. Dannel Malloy for more state regulation of fracking waste. A third bill would put a two-year moratorium on allowing natural gas drilling byproducts to enter this state.

While it was clear the anti-fracking waste easily passed the committee, a final vote total won’t be available until later this afternoon.

Malloy has been promoting natural gas as a cheaper, cleaner alternative fuel for Connecticut than oil or gas. Continue reading

Malloy: Private Donors Pony Up $70,000 For UConn Basketball Parade

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From the governor’s office:

Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced that Connecticut’s business community has once again stepped up with the funding needed to produce this Sunday’s April 13 Victory Parade and Rally to congratulate the University of Connecticut’s Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams – both NCAA National Champions.

“In less than two days, the Hartford Business Improvement District (HBID) has organized nearly $70,000 from donors to help pay for a wide range of costs that include physical operations, public safety personnel, staging equipment, insurance, vehicles, transportation and clean-up,” said Governor Malloy. “I commend Connecticut’s business community for its continued support of the UConn Huskies and I want to thank the Hartford Business Improvement District – in particular Mike Zaleski – and all of the volunteers for again organizing a successful event that will allow residents to celebrate another dual national championship in our state.”

The 2014 Victory Parade will step off at 4 p.m. and start and end at the Connecticut State Capitol Building. It will be immediately followed by a rally on the North portico of the Capitol building. Continue reading

Sexy Photo Draws More Criticism Of Back9Network; Back9 Defends Shot, Pointing At ESPN’s Provocative Pix

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Back9Network photo, posted on Instagram by Jennifer Bosworth

Back9Network photo, posted on Instagram by Jennifer Bosworth, who is second from left.

The Back9Network, a new cable golf network that issued a public apology last November for a video on its website that contained sexual references and vulgar language, again has drawn criticism in recent days for a photo of four scantily clad women that’s been posted on Instagram, a popular photo-sharing social media service on the Internet.

The photo was put up a few days ago on the Instagram page of Back9 personality Jennifer Bosworth, one of the four women pictured. Her Instagram posting said the picture was taken in conjunction with the “Back9Network Spring Fling photo shoot” at Augusta National Golf Club, where the Masters tournament started Thursday. Continue reading

Willis Will Receive National Honor for Sex Assault Prevention Efforts

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roberta_willis_-_connecticut-webState Rep. Roberta Willis will receive a national award for her work to end sexual violence on college campuses.

The Visionary Voice Award, presented annually by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, recognizes individuals across the nation that have taken steps to help sexual assault victims and educate the public at the state and local levels.

Willis, a Democrat from the Lakeville section of Salisbury, is championing a bill this year that aims to strengthen colleges’ response to sexual assault victims. It would mandate that schools provide victims with a clear and concise written description of their rights and options as soon as an incident is reported. Under House Bill 5029, colleges would also be required to provide resources for students assaulted off campus.

Willis “has been a leader in advancing public policy to address campus sexual violence,” said Laura Cordes, executive director of Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services, which nominated Willis for the Visionary Voice Award.

In a press release announcing the award, Willis said she was honored. “Students and parents should expect a safe learning environment at college,” Willis said. “Preventing sexual assault on college campuses will take more than passing a law, it takes a community-wide commitment to changing the culture and conditions that allow violence to occur. And if a sexual assault does occur, students need to know that there is compassionate support available to them on campus.”

Willis will be presented with the award on April 17, at the annual meeting of Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services.



House Honors Former Majority Leader Johnny Groppo, Who Died At 92

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The state House of Representatives on Wednesday honored the memory of the late John G. Groppo, a former state legislator who served from 1959 to 1985.

Groppo, who died at the age of 92 in June 2013, served as the House majority leader and then later as state tax commissioner from 1985 to 1987 during the tenure of his friend, Gov. William A. O’Neill. A multi-faceted public servant with decades of service, Groppo also served as mayor of his hometown of Winsted from 1965 to 1967 and as a member of the influential Judicial Selection Commission, which screens candidates to be judges.

Born on August 14, 1921 in Winsted, Groppo was instrumental in the construction of Route 8, said state Rep. Christopher Wright, a Democrat who as a young child knew Groppo because his father was serving in the legislature.

“I consider him one of my role models,” Wright told his colleagues on the House floor Wednesday. “I was honored to know him.”

House Republican leader Larry Cafero of Norwalk said he did not know Groppo personally but had heard many stories about him.

“He was a legend,” Cafero said. “He was a giant.” Continue reading