Learn How To Use LimeBike, Hartford’s First Bike Share Program

Image result for lime bikeThe city’s first bike-share program is up and running – riding – with residents at crosswalks and bus stops gawking as LimeBike employees installed the bright green bikes at locations across Hartford.

LimeBike, the brainchild of CEO Toby Sun and a prominent Silicon Valley firm, provides affordable, dockless pedal bikes to cities and college campuses across the United States. Hartford will be the startup’s first location in Connecticut, and the program comes at no cost to the city.

Where are the bikes?
Hartford’s new fleet of 300 bikes initially will be placed at hot spots designated by the company. Rows of five to six bikes have been set up at locations such as Statehouse Square and the Bushnell Plaza sculpture garden. The bikes are locked and ready for use with just the scan of a QR code. The technology is powered by a solar panel on each bike.

Click Here for The Complete Hartford Courant Article

Don’t Forget Flint!

Lead crisis: Flint braces as Michigan shuts down free bottled water sites

“My water stinks. It still burns to take a shower. There’s no way they can say it’s safe.”

by Erik Ortiz /  / Updated 

Shawn Jones, 42, right, and Tony Price, 54, distribute bottled water at a point of distribution in Flint, Michigan on Aug. 11, 2017.Terray Sylvester /The Flint Journal-MLive.com via AP file

 

After Michigan’s governor announced the state will stop providing free bottled water to residents of Flint — afflicted four years ago by lead-tainted drinking water — churches and charities said Monday they’re bracing for a surge in people seeking help.

 “Normally we give out whatever a family wants,” said Bill Quarles, a deacon of the First Trinity Missionary Baptist Church. “But now we may have to limit that until more supplies come in.”

After Two Deaths, HPD Heeds Parents’ Demand for Crossing Guards

 

After Two Deaths, HPD Heeds Parents’ Demand for Crossing Guards

Denise Fillion, School Crossing Guard Supervisor for the Hartford Police Department (HPD) Traffic Division, sent a letter to the Milner School office dated August 22, 2017, informing the school that two crossing guard posts associated with the school would be closing. Fillion cited “low number of students” as the reason for closing the posts at the intersections of Albany Avenue and Vine Street, and Mather and Garden streets.

Adriena Baldwin, the mother of two students at Milner and secretary of its Parent Teacher Organization (PTO), thought that removing the crossing guards was a recipe for disaster and tragedy. Ms. Baldwin, the PTO, and AJ Johnson, Organizer for the Christian Activities Council, sprang into action by conducting their own survey.

The group monitored the intersection at Mather and Garden streets for two days. On November 13, forty-six children crossed, and on November 17, thirty-three children crossed. The parents were troubled to witness children, in the absence of a crossing guard, haphazardly crossing the street as cars ignored speed limits and traffic signals. Armed with their own action research, the PTO and AJ met with Ms. Fillion and Traffic Commander, Lieutenant Laureano. Unfortunately, the request was again denied due to the “stricter criteria” used by the traffic division to count the number of children crossing.

Tragedy did strike on January 16, 2018, when a speeding car hit Tina Fontanez and Catalina Melendez near 95 Vine Street, just steps away from Milner. Both women died. Although no children were injured, the two deaths alerted police to dangers flagged months prior by the organized parents. Police set up direct patrols on Vine Street the weeks following the accident that resulted in them issuing 25 citations for driving violations and making four DUI arrests. Subsequently, the HPD Traffic Division is restoring crossing guards to the sites requested thanks in large part to the power of organized parents.

With Hartford Public School Superintendent’s approved plan that includes relocating and restructuring Milner, the PTO is gearing up to launch a new safety campaign. Milner students in PK-5 will be relocated to Wish or SAND. Under the current policy, the new schools are close enough to the Milner neighborhood to render students ineligible for school bus service. However, parents are concerned about the safety of their young children having to walk long distances through neighborhoods that are unfortunately still plagued with criminal behavior. The PTO has already alerted HPS to the potential dangers, hopefully, HPS will listen to the parents on what’s best for their children and take action before tragedy strikes.  (from the Christian Activities Council)

A Return to Debtors’ Prisons

Image result for debtors prison in america

A return to debtors’ prisons: Jeff Sessions’ war on the poor

One day after President Donald Trump invited Republican lawmakers to the White House to celebrate the historic tax cuts they passed for corporations and wealthy business leaders, his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, quietly reinstated a draconian policy that effectively serves as a regressive tax on America’s poorest people.  The Supreme Court has affirmed the unconstitutionality of jailing those too poor to pay debts on three different occasions in the last century, finding that the 14th Amendment prohibits incarceration for non-payment of exorbitant court-imposed fines or fees without an assessment of a person’s ability to pay and alternatives for those who cannot. “Punishing a person for his poverty” is illegal, the Court said. Yet in recent years the modern-day equivalent of debtors’ prisons have returned, as cities have grown to rely on a punishing regime of fines and fees imposed on their own residents as a major stream of revenue.  Read more here and here and here.

Camp Words in Congressional Record

More to Think About: Community

Rep. John Larson came to Faith Church for many reasons. Rep. Larson has visited numerous times, bringing information and keeping us informed. On this visit, he did two important things: he presented a copy of a proclamation in conjunction with having Rev. Camp’s words read into the Congressional Record, and he made a contribution of $1000 to be used for mission through Faith Church.

 

REMARKS BY STEPHEN W. CAMP

______

HON. JOHN B. LARSON

of Connecticut in the House of Representatives

Monday, September 18, 2017

Mr. LARSON of Connecticut. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to include in
the Record remarks made by the Reverend Stephen W. Camp at the Be the
Light Interfaith Candle Lighting Vigil at Congregation Beth Israel in
West Hartford, CT on August 23, 2017.

The Reverend Stephen W. Camp, M.Div., Senior Pastor, Faith
Congregational Church of Hartford, CT

``The prophetic voice Maya Angelou once said, `I've learned
that people will forget what you have said; people will
forget what you did, but people will never forget how you
made them feel.'
America was sent a message recently, a message that America
rarely feels as deeply. As America watched the unfolding
story centered in the little sleepy college town in Virginia.
it was forced to feel, the kind of feeling that one never
forgets. It was reminiscent of Selma and ``Bloody Sunday.''
It brought to mind Birmingham with the dog and fire hoses; it
reminded America of the open hostility and defiance of a
George Wallace. As America watched in recent days, some were
stirred by the memory of ancestors and family members being
marched into ovens, reminded of some of the worst inhumanity
that our world has produced. The genie, we thought, was back
in the tightly dosed bottle, the monster was locked away in
its cage, but here it was again raring it ugly head, saying,
``I'm not dead yet! America felt pain once again.
For some I'm sure, it simply felt like a scab had been
ripped off an old wound. Still others may have thought these
days were behind us, a past just-as-soon forgotten. But lest
we forget, lest we ignore for even a moment--this pain rooted
in forced Indian reservations and the buying and selling of
human beings, lest we forget, it will surely surface and seek
to cause havoc and pain until it is faced and fixed. The
events of late teach all of us, as if any had doubt; that
America is not healed yet. The work is not done. It seems
just yesterday that Jewish cemeteries were vandalized, or
just the other day that terrorist bombed a mosque or burned
churches in the south. Were they just isolated incidents? No,
but somehow they connected us and called us to feel, to be
awake, to be alert--to mobilize for good. And here we are
again.
Charlottesville conjured up old feelings. Many who marched
in Charlottesville that day, as we watched, most of us glued
to the television, as they boldly marched, unhooded this
time, khaki wearing white men, with their contorted angry
faces, and carrying tiki torches, trying it seemed to
desperately symbolize their power, their might, but only
succeeding to pull back the scab and memory of historic
oppression, failing to offer even a flickering of light, and
of peace. We watched with sadness while they shouted hateful
words and embodied a most detestable part of the American
mosaic, frankly, only making many of us remember and feel the
acute sickness that is still a part of America. For those who
marched with counter intent, with ``never again'' etched upon
their hearts, with ``non-violent direct action'' embedded in
their spirit, many of them young people who have gotten the
lessons that many of us who are older have tried to teach. So
many counteracted and confronted, they stood tall and whether
we liked it or not, they stood their ground and they gave us
hope that one day the pain would give way to promise.
We can take heart, because through them we knew that ``we
shall indeed, overcome.'' But dearly, we have not yet reached
that Promised Land. We have not yet fully embraced the place
that Dr. King and Rabbi Hershel who marched arm in arm tried
to show and to teach us. We haven't yet felt how Malcom who
epitomized both the hope and the worry of the movement for
justice, worry that integrity in the movement would be
comprised given the times they were in, yet united with a
yearning to taste real freedom for all. All of them
understood that justice had a cost attached to it. However,
we still haven't learned yet, how to include all the voices,
sit with all the pain, open and feel all of the diverse ways
we are together, but there is hope shining through, maybe
given the Boston event, that we will get there. The beloved
community will one day be! Think of the blueprint that was
left to us, the light that was given and passed to us, as
they each in their own ways, gave their lives to pass on to
us, a real hope for a better tomorrow.
What I guess Charlottesville has challenged me to do, is to
keep singing songs of justice, keep speaking words of peace.
The challenge is to sing a new song in this often strange
land, this place where America is still striving to form a
more perfect union, this place where free speech should
always be celebrated, must always be protected, but never
allowed by any to be abused. We are called to sing together
the words of peace, the words of hope, sing so as to feel
that hope and that peace until it is never forgotten, until
it is so deeply felt that no one is left behind without voice
or value.
So we come together again, gathered by the many ways God
gathers us, we come together to sing even when we may not
feel like singing, sing even though the words may not always
be dear to us or the language understood by everyone is not
plain. We come together to share words of peace, even when it
seems the world is bent upon acts of violent expression. We
come together knowing that love trumps hate, that without
love and hope we perish, so we hope, we believe and work for
a better day.
Maya Angelou was right, people will never forget--when it
is felt. It is our work, to help each other feel the presence
of peace. It's our work to care for one another, to bind up
those who are broken, to repair the world and make the world
a just place for all. This is our work to feel, not the hate
that some would have us feel, but to offer a binding,
sustaining and enduring feeling that builds community and
opens hearts to know and feel that another world is possible.
It is there, don't you feel it, can't you see it? It is
there, just over the horizon. Let's go there together! Thank
you.''

 

Faith Church and CENCAP

Faith Church and CENCAP

Faith Church raised approximately $1500 for hurricane relief in Puerto Rico. We sent the money through CENCAP Federal Credit Union, a neighborhood financial institution.  CENCAP is one of the few neighborhood financial institutions on Hartford’s North End.  The branch nearest Faith is in a building formerly occupied by Bank of America. CENCAP matched the dollars we sent and forwarded them to relief efforts on the island.  Wendy, the manager of the Terry Square branch, is accepting the check from Faith Church.

 

Environmental Racism Is the New Jim Crow

 7 videos   Video by The Atlantic

African Americans face disproportionate rates of lead poisoning, asthma, and environmental harm. Staff writer Vann R. Newkirk II argues that discrimination in public planning is to blame. “Pollution and the risk of disaster are assigned to black and brown communities through generations of discrimination and political neglect,” says Newkirk II. The environment is a system controlled and designed by people—“and people can be racist.”

Watch the videos here.

Another prison facility closes as CT inmate population shrinks

Another prison facility closes as CT inmate population shrinks

The administration of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced Wednesday the closure of the 254-bed Radgowski annex at the Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Center in Montville, saving about $3 million in annual operating costs.

“As crime in Connecticut has dropped to its lowest level in two generations and the prison population has subsequently declined to its lowest level in 23 years, we’ve been able to create efficiencies by closing outdated prisons and portions of facilities, and reallocating these resources toward efforts that will further enhance public safety initiatives and keep our neighborhoods even safer,” Malloy said.

The closure and budget savings are the dividend the state is collecting on the falling crime rate and prison population. The inmate population is now 14,560, down from a peak of 19,894 in 2008.

With Integrated Schools Out Of Reach, Segregated Options Gain Favor

Imperfect Choices: With Integrated Schools Out Of Reach, Segregated Options Gain Favor

Connecticut’s network of regional magnet schools, long hailed as a national model for voluntary integration, still serve only a fraction of Hartford students a generation after their racial isolation was deemed unconstitutional. And those magnets, slipping in their effort to meet racial quotas after the 1996 Sheff v. O’Neill ruling, are now quietly tilting admission preferences to favor white suburbanites, even as thousands of black and Latino students are left out.

That leaves two public-school options for families desperate for a way out: Open Choice, a $35 million-a-year Sheff program that buses Hartford students to predominantly white suburban schools, and taxpayer-funded charters that are the most segregated schools in the state.

Neither option meets the ideals of integrated education, where robust numbers of blacks, whites and Latinos learn side-by-side. But in a world of imperfect solutions, Hartford families are flocking to choices where integration is absent — or actively spurned.  Read more here.

 

WHEN POVERTY PERMEATES THE CLASSROOM

TROUBLED SCHOOLS ON TRIAL: FIRST OF SEVEN STORIES

WHEN POVERTY PERMEATES THE CLASSROOM

Struggling to cope with past sexual abuse and a mother who works long hours at a low-wage job, Alex regularly breaks down while at school.

The screaming, crawling and crying of this 5-year-old at North Windham Elementary School – and the arrival of an ambulance when he sometimes begins to hurt himself – are disruptions that make it hard to keep other students focused.

“It’s a continued struggle to survive emotionally,” said Catina Cabán-Owen, the only social worker at her school of 466 students. “This child does not have the support, because the mother cannot provide it.”

Alex, whose name has been changed to protect his privacy, is watched by a neighbor while his mother works. His father is not around.

A student walks by one of the many boarded up houses in an impoverished neighborhood in Hartford on the way to school.

While Alex’s struggle is extreme, his basic story – a student living in poverty who needs help coping with trauma – is common. He is among many students for whom poverty creates or exacerbates obstacles to learning. Read more here.