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MAYOR SEGARRA TESTIFIES IN SUPPORT OF HOUSE BILL TO DECREASE AUTO INSURANCE RATES

(March 5, 2015) Today, at a public hearing before the Connecticut General Assembly’s Insurance and Real Estate Committee, Mayor Pedro E. Segarra testified in support of House Bill 6866, a bill introduced by State Representative Matthew Ritter that seeks to reduce auto insurance premiums.  Currently, auto insurance rates are largely based on geographic location, credit record, age, gender, marital status, income and education but not necessarily driving history. House Bill 6866 would limit the number of factors to three categories; driving history, length of driving experience and average annual amount of miles driven. Connecticut has some of the highest rates in the country, and urban centers like Hartford, Bridgeport and New Haven have the highest premiums in the State. Similar legislation adopted in California in 1988 resulted in substantial financial savings for drivers. Adopting House Bill 6866 could achieve comparable results. 

“Some of our hardworking families in Hartford are unfairly burdened with expensive car insurance payments. It’s time for this to change,” said Mayor Segarra. “Passing this bill would make car insurance more affordable and would bring some financial relief to Hartford residents.”

“I introduced this legislation because it is increasingly unfair and a financial burden for Hartford residents to pay such high premiums on their car insurance policies, for no other reason than they live in Hartford.  I appreciate the Insurance Committee looking into this on behalf of the dozens of residents I have heard from on this issue,” said Rep. Ritter.

Hartford City Councilwoman Cynthia R. Jennings added, “Clearly, households living in poverty must have transportation to take their children to day care, school and to get to work on a daily basis.  Many of the poor would be forced to drive without automobile insurance because they would have to choose between food, clothing, rent or utilities and car insurance. We as elected officials must do whatever we can to make automobile insurance affordable and accessible to every Connecticut resident.”

Members of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters also support House Bill 6866.

“The issue of transportation is a primary obstacle for a huge percentage of inner city applicants in the construction trade. It is often an insurmountable roadblock for a job opportunity that holds the promise of a clear path to economic independence. Any help we can give this population to get into a job is a great thing for the state economy and taxpayers,” said Timothy J. Sullivan, an organizer with the New England Regional Council of Carpenters.

Below is an excerpt from Mayor Segarra’s testimony:

“Higher insurance premiums in Connecticut contribute to the nearly 10% of drivers currently uninsured in the state and increases economic hardship for all residents with a particularly heavy burden being placed on some of the state’s poorest households. Adoption of this bill would also decrease the number of uninsured drivers currently utilizing our roadways, creating a better transportation environment for us all.”

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CITY OF HARTFORD AWARDS $370,000 IN GRANTS TO LOCAL AREA ARTS AND CULTURAL ORGANIZATIONS

(March 5, 2015) Today, Mayor Pedro E. Segarra announced the recipients of the City’s annual Hartford Arts & Heritage Jobs Grants or “Jobs Grants," a program managed by the Greater Hartford Arts Council.  This year, the City awarded $370,000 to a dozen Hartford-based artists and organizations to support local cultural programming, job creation and local tourism.  Jobs Grants are awarded in three categories: up-and-coming works, facility renovations, and youth employment projects. This year’s recipients include Hartbeat Ensemble, Anne Cubberly/Nightfall, TheaterWorks, Institute for Community Research, Hartford Blooms, Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, Hartford Stage Company, Asylum Hill Neighborhood Association, Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network, Connecticut Landmarks, Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz, and Hartford Independent Chamber Orchestra.

“Many of these organizations continuously drive economic activity and tourism from across the state," said Mayor Segarra. “Artists and art organizations have a profound impact on the revitalization of our City. I’m glad to announce our support.”  

“Arts and culture are the backbone of our community,” said Cathy Malloy, Chief Executive Officer of the Arts Council. “Jobs Grants do more than help the arts; they create jobs, develop leadership skills in our youth, and ensure local organizations continue to thrive.”

“We’re very excited and appreciative that we were selected. We are looking forward to the opportunity to share the rich, cultural diversity that exists in Asylum Hill and we will create jobs for Asylum Hill and Hartford residents,” said Jennifer Cassidy, chair of the Asylum Hill Neighborhood Association’s Welcoming Committee.

The Asylum Hill Neighborhood Association, a first time Jobs Grant recipient, is planning a series of events in June, including an art show at ArtSpace Hartford, a pop-up street market and dance performances.

Jobs Grants have helped local arts organizations improve their facilities, expand programs, and provide internships to youth. Previous projects include:

 

Youth Employment: Mas Camp at the Institute for Community Research

Mas Camp Youth Employment Program brought the community’s teenagers together in Hartford’s North End to teach the cultural history and traditions of the Caribbean while hiring local educators and artists to create Carnival-style costumes for performers at Hartford’s Caribbean festivals and celebrations.

Facility Renovation: The Amistad Center for Art & Culture

After undergoing renovation of exhibition spaces over the past year, The Amistad Center for Art & Culture at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art reopened to the public during Black History Month in February 2015 with new, expanded facilities and an exhibition, This is My Story, This is My Song: Writers, Musicians and the Struggle for Black Freedom.

 

Expanded Program: Anne Cubberly/Nightfall

Artists Anne Cubberly, LB Muñoz, and Steve Mitchell have moved Nightfall, a multi-media production featuring music, dance, theatre, spoken word, and puppetry to a different City park every year in October. They have employed local artists, performers, technical and production crews in the design and performance of the work.

Since 2009, the Hartford Arts & Heritage Jobs Grant program has become nationally recognized for using the arts to stimulate the local economy and create short- and long-term job opportunities. The Jobs Grant program received a 2011 Audrey Nelson Award from the National Community Development Association.

For a full list of grant programs and funded projects, visit: https://letsgoarts.org/Grants.

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CITY OF HARTFORD SELECTED AS KICK OFF SITE FOR REALITY SERIES

(February 24, 2015) Today, Mayor Pedro E. Segarra announced that the City of Hartford has been chosen as the starting point for “Fireball Run: Space Race,” a contest modeled after Trivial Pursuit that is viewed online by approximately 1.7 million people world-wide. Production scouts from the series visited Hartford recently, looking for locations to highlight in the show. Filming will begin in Hartford on September 25, 2015 as contestants arrive for registration and it will be streamed live, Saturday, September 26, 2015. Filming will continue as teams tackle Hartford-based trivia ‘missions’ covering history, entertainment, music, academics, nature, geography and other categories that showcase the area and notable community achievements.  Contestants in the upcoming season include four teams of international astronauts, as well as teams of business owners, senior level executives, industry celebrities and elected officials. Their names will be announced in the coming weeks. Some contestants will be Hartford-based. Spectators will have opportunities to see the vehicles in the competition, greet drivers and receive autographs from the astronauts while they are in Hartford. The race kicks off Sept. 27, 2015.

“It’s exciting that Hartford was chosen as the starting point for the show and I encourage all of our residents and businesses to turn out for the filming," said Mayor Segarra. “I also encourage anyone who wants to participate locally to let us know. I would love to see a Hartford native win the race.”

“This is a wonderful opportunity for people from around the world to learn about Hartford’s history and culture and to see it as a destination, a City with much to offer,” said Mayor Segarra.

“We look forward to being the starting line for The Fireball Run 9th season. This event will celebrate the Capital City and bring national and international attention to Hartford with the city benefiting from over $50 million in media coverage. Let’s get in gear Hartford,” said Kristina Newman-Scott, Director of Marketing, Events and Cultural Affairs. 

This is Fireball Run's 9th Season. Forty driving teams will have eight days to complete the game while traveling 2,000 miles from Hartford to Florida’s Space Coast.  Filming for the live production will end October 3, 2015 at a citywide parade with over 30,000 spectators at Cocoa Beach, Florida. While competing against one another, show participants will also raise awareness for America’s missing children. The series has aided in the recovery of 44 missing children for the Child Rescue Network, a Florida-based nonprofit. 

“Fireball Run: Space Race” premieres June 2016. The series is available on GooglePlay, Roku, AmazonfireTV, SmartTV, NEO-TV, and Chromecast. Past seasons and episodes are available online at www.fireballrun.com. Several private events will also take place during the live production dates.

Any local companies or individuals interested in sponsoring their own vehicle for $10,000 should inquire about the selection criteria by calling the City’s Marketing, Events and Cultural Affairs Division at (860)757-9016.

 

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MAYOR SEGARRA ENCOURAGES PARENTS TO ENROLL IN DIGITAL LITERACY PROGRAMS

(February 20, 2015) - Parents Who Complete Program Receive a Free Refurbished Computer and High-Speed Internet Access for a Year 

Mayor Pedro E. Segarra encourages parents to enroll in programs by Concepts forAdaptive Learning (CfAL), a nonprofit from New Haven that offers basic computer literacy training to Hartford parents. In “Digital Literacy for Early Learners,” parents with children from birth to age 5 learn about early child development, discipline, library resources and valuable websites on early learning. This is a newer program that aims to close any achievement gap before a child enters kindergarten. It is held Saturday mornings at the Albany Branch of the Hartford Public Library. Childcare and snacks are provided. Parents who complete the class are given priority registration in “Technology Cascade & Training,”CfAL’s class in basic computer literacy for low-income families in need of a home computer. The three-week course offers training in Windows, word-processing, e-mail use, Internet navigation and resume writing. Parents who complete the class receive a freerefurbished computer for their home and high-speed internet access for one year.

“Concepts for Adaptive Learning helps children succeed in school by reaching the place that impacts young lives the most, the home. I’m so very grateful for the work the group has done and for broadening their efforts to help Hartford children during those critical early years before they start school. I encourage parents to take advantage of these opportunities to help themselves and their children,” Mayor Segarra said.

Concepts for Adaptive Learning established “Technology Cascade & Training” in Hartford in 2008. The course is offered every month in English or Spanish at the Parker Memorial Community Center and at the Albany Branch of the Hartford Public Library. Catholic Charities provides childcare and dinner. Only parents with children enrolled in Hartford Public Schools, grades K-12, qualify.  The program has graduated more than 500 parents in Hartford since its inception.

“A primary goal is to increase students’ learning by extending learning beyond the classroom. Our second goal is to engage parents in their children’s education and to introduce them to technology to help them achieve that goal. The program simultaneously helps close the digital divide,” said Curtis Hill, Executive Director of CfAL.

“Over 70 percent of students whose parents participate in the TC&T program have better grades in school and over 80 percent of parents become more involved in their children’s education at home,” Hill said.

Concepts for Adaptive Learning works closely with the Hartford Public Library, Catholic Charities, Achieve Hartford! And the Hartford Parent University. The nonprofit recently started training parents who have graduated from the Hartford Parent University.  Concepts for Adaptive Learning is based in New Haven and runs similar programs in Bridgeport, Hamden, Meriden, New Haven and Waterbury.

For more information about or to register in “Digital Literacy for Early Learners” or “Technology Cascade & Training,” please call: 1(888)351-7667.

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