Announcing New Haven’s Energy Task Force and Environmental Advisory Council

by Paula Panzarella, Energy Task Force

Since this past March, a number of New Haven residents and representatives of environmental organizations have been meeting once a month to develop an Energy Task Force (ETF). On Sept. 21, the New Haven Board of Alders unanimously approved the creation of an Environmental Advisory Council (EAC). Once the EAC is developed, it is hoped the ETF will be empowered to 1) become the expert on all aspects of the production, use and conservation of energy in New Haven, 2) evaluate the best methods for all segments of the city to become energy efficient and carbon neutral as quickly as possible, 3) inform the administration, Board of Alders and residents on these issues and 4) propose, encourage and evaluate actions to achieve the goals of energy efficiency and end our reliance on fossil fuels as quickly as possible.

Until then, programs that ETF members have been working on include popularizing solar power and the different programs that make it affordable for low-income communities and others; working with the City and State legislature to have more clean energy and energy-efficient programs in place; and networking with Energy Task Forces in other CT towns and businesses and organizations that promote clean energy to discuss how their successes may work in New Haven.

For more information, you can e-mail newhavenenergytaskforce@gmail.com, or phone Annie Harper at (203) 668-1213, or Paula and Frank Panzarella at (203) 562-2798.

A Doorbell Would Be a Nice Touch | Joe Luciano

by Joe Luciano, Founder, Disability Rights Action Group of CT

Seymour’s inaccessible post office continues to be unresponsive to its customers with disabilities unable to climb the mountainous steps to its public lobby.

Channel 8 News and the New Haven Register covered the May 13 rally to bring attention to the postmaster’s refusal to provide equal access to customers with disabilities. (The post office facility at 91 Main St. has a long steep staircase at its entrance with no ramp, lift, or other means for persons with limited mobility to get inside. For years, customers with disabilities used a service ramp at the rear of the building but the postmaster suddenly shut it down.)

The USPS valley supervisor established only one way for handicapped customers to obtain service: customers must telephone a “dedicated” number to request sidewalk service. This is unacceptable: there is no sign with instructions visible to arriving customers; the number is not publicized; this does not work for people without cell phones or unable to use one; the sidewalk area is hazardous; and the dedicated number is not dedicated; it’s the general number, often busy.

“The Postmaster is hiding behind the letter of the ADA, ignoring the fact that the USPS is required by Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act to make its services accessible to customers with disabilities,” said Marc Anthony Gallucci, Executive Director of the Center for Disability Rights.

Disability Rights Action Group  has sent multiple requests to local and federal USPS officials asking, in the very least, for a door bell and signage telling the handicapped how to obtain service. No USPS official has responded to DRAG’s requests, in keeping with their customer service attitude.

PAR readers interested in joining our next rally should email their contact information to DRAGconnecticut@yahoo.com.

Standing Up for Women’s Health and Women’s Lives Sept. 30

by Megan Fountain, NH León Sister City Project

Join us for a conversation with Erendira Vanegas, who is visiting from León, Nicaragua, and Gretchen Raffa, advocacy director at Planned Parenthood of Southern New England. This is a critical time to stand up for women’s health and women’s lives. In 2008, Nicaragua made abortion a crime punishable by jail, even in the case of rape or of risk to a woman’s life.

In 2015, Connecticut marks the 50th anniversary of Griswold v. Connecticut, the Supreme Court decision that legalized birth control after Planned Parenthood director Estelle Griswold was jailed for providing birth control. Yet women’s lives are at risk now more than ever because of attacks on women’s health, like the recent vote to defund Planned Parenthood.

Join New Haven León Sister City Project and Planned Parenthood to hear the untold stories of an international movement and find out how you can get involved locally and internationally!

For more info, contact Megan at (203) 479-2959 or mfountain@newhavenleon.org.

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