Seniors at Risk in Seymour: Elder Abuse at Columbus Street Senior/Handicapped Housing

by Joseph A. Luciano, Disability Rights Action Group of CT

Kimberly Dulka, owner of the All-American Valley General Store, has become principal advocate for the safety and rights of 12 handicapped seniors living in senior housing at 16 Bank Street (entrance on Columbus St.). Inaction of town officials has these seniors in harm’s way.

Architect/builder/developer Joe Migani has begun construction of more senior/handicapped housing on the very parking lot that was originally designated as parking not only for these resident seniors, but also for the proprietors of three established businesses: the General Store, an antique shop and a tea and pastry restaurant.

A picture of the construction site by author Joe Luciano

A picture of the construction site by author Joe Luciano

During construction, which is expected to last 18 months, these seniors have been advised by town safety officials to use municipal parking lots that officials deem “convenient.” However, access routes are in violation of ADA and state safety standards. Going to the nearest lot forces seniors to travel over earth and rubble and areas where sidewalks and curb cuts are absent. Then seniors have to pass over a state highway gutter between parked vehicles and fast-moving traffic. Routes to the distant (more than 1,000 feet) lots, besides being without crosswalks and curb cuts, are heaved like a roller coaster and are impassable to wheelchairs because of broken sidewalks. Also sidewalks that begin with a ramp do not have curb cuts at the other end. Town officials have sparked the ire of businesses by giving these seniors placards or stickers entitling them to park anywhere, thus using spaces needed for customers.

Questionable, if not illegal, decisions or approvals at planning and zoning meetings (some informal) have been dis-covered in Dulka’s review of minutes. State auditors have been asked to investigate whether terms of grants and loans are being followed. Many town citizens are backing Dulka’s petition to call for a special town meeting to stop construction as they believe this project is violating zoning laws and will cause inestimable damage to economic development, parking, businesses, as well as the health and well being of these senior/disabled residents. PAR readers and members: please consider signing and commenting on the petition at http://www.change.org/p/dannel-malloy-special-meeting-for-38-columbus-st-seymour-project-affecting-seniors-businesses-parking.

For updates and to get involved, contact  Joseph A. Luciano, (203) 463-8323, DRAGconnecticut@yahoo.com.

CARE (Connecticut Assembly for Reason and Ethics) Conference: April 2

by CT Humanist Society

In October, 2013, members of Connecticut’s secular community held the SANE conference (Secular Assembly for the Northeast) at the University of New Haven. It’s time to do it again.

On Saturday, April 2, the full-day 2016 CARE conference (Connecticut Assembly for Reason and Ethics) will be held at the Mark Twain House and Museum at 351 Farmington Avenue in Hartford. Registration opens at 8:30 a.m. and the conference will continue through 5 p.m.

Hemant-Mehta-friendly-atheistThe keynote speaker will be Hemant Mehta, author of several books including “I Sold My Soul on eBay: Viewing Faith Through an Atheist’s Eyes” and “The Young Atheist’s Survival Guide,” and host of the popular Friendly Atheist blog at http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/.

Additional speakers include Jason Heap, National Coordinator for the United Coalition of Reason, Amanda Knief, Legal and Public Policy Director at American Atheists, and Wendy Thomas Russell, author of Relax, It’s Just God: How and Why to Talk to Your Kids About Religion When You’re Not Religious, and host of the Natural Wonderer’s blog at http://www.patheos.com/blogs/naturalwonderers/.

Breakout sessions will cover the diverse topics of interfaith dialog, community building, and political action. This is a great opportunity to visit the Twain House, connect with friends and like-minded people, and learn more about the various secular organizations in the area!
Visit the conference website at http://www.conference.ctcor.org/.

April 15-16, Women’s Studies Conference, SCSU

by Alisha Martindale, Women’s Studies Program

Organizers of the 22nd Women’s Studies Conference “#FeministIn(ter)ventions: Women, Community, and Technology” are excited to announce our keynote speaker will be Anita Sarkeesian. A media critic and public speaker, Sarkeesian is the creator of Feminist Frequency, a video web-series that explores the representations of women in pop culture narratives. Her work focuses on exposing and deconstructing the sexist stereotypes and patterns in popular culture, and highlighting issues surrounding the targeted harassment of women in online and gaming spaces. She has received particular attention for her video series Tropes vs. Women in Video Games, which examines tropes in the depiction of female video game characters. In 2015, she was chosen as one of the Time 100, Time Magazine’s annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world.

anita-sarkeesianThe conference will be held at Southern Connecticut State University Friday, April 15th and Saturday, April 16. Conference sessions will juxtapose global, comparative, inter-ectional, interdisciplinary, and inter-generational perspectives for the collective re-thinking on women, community, and technology. Expect serious fun through meals and performance, with women, girls and their allies speaking of their struggles and power. Registration is required for attendance. Please email the Women’s Studies Program at WomenStudies@Southernct.edu or call (203) 392-6133 for more information on registering for this event or to register as a vendor for the fair.

Be sure to visit the Women and Girls’ Fair while attending the conference. The fair features a number of local female-centric, female-owned businesses and organizations aimed to introduce you to local and regional handmade goods, gifts, crafts, and more.

People’s Action for Clean Energy Meeting February 3

by Judi Friedman, PACE

Please join us for a cozy and unusual winter meeting at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 3 (Snow date: Feb. 4) at the wonderful home of Nevin and Julie Christensen, 44 West Mountain Rd. in West Simsbury.

Agenda items include:

  • Engaging representative participation of the Muslim
    community;
  • Community shared solar (That’s REAL DEMOCRACY!);
  • Natural gas pipeline expansion through wetlands and
    reservoirs;
  • Report on Simsbury as a potential 100% renewable energy
    town!;
  • Restructuring our utilities  (Acadia report);
  • Spring tour site ideas; and
  • Report on daily radiation monitoring of Connecticut
    nuclear plants.

And we have very good food! Yum!  (Bring something special if you wish !)

For information on the meeting/weather, please call (860) 693-4813.

Stand with Planned Parenthood in New Haven! — Saturdays in New Haven.

by Deb Malatesta, WORD

Women Organized to Resist and Defend (WORD) stands with Planned Parenthood. We recognize the important role that these clinics play in making vital healthcare accessible to those who need it. In many
areas, they are one of the few places that women can receive abortions, trans people can receive inclusive care, and all people have access to cancer screenings and HIV/STI treatment. The importance of this resource is recognized by poor and working people across the country. It is not something new for the right-wing to whip up “pro-life” hysteria and aggression to attack Planned Parenthood. Intimidation and violence against clinics, staff and patients are an all too frequent occurrence.

The summer release of the highly manipulated and dishonest “undercover” video has reinvigorated the violent attacks against clinics. Several clinics were attacked by arsonists, building sites were vandalized and, as is well known, the Colorado Springs clinic was attacked by a terrorist who killed three people. Here in New Haven, the presence and boldness of anti-choice religious fanatics has increased since the Colorado Springs attacks. They have been harassing patients, workers and passersby with angry misogynistic rhetoric.

In the face of these attacks to prevent the right to abortion access, it is imperative that women and men stand up to show their support right now. Right-wing bigots are using fear-mongering tactics to take away women’s right to choose and the right to affordable healthcare. The right-wing seeks to blame the most vulnerable poor population to hide the reality that they would rather take the money for themselves than provide poor women and men with healthcare and resources. Women won the right to choose with a mass movement of women and men in the streets.

WORD stands in solidarity with Planned Parenthood and is fighting back against these attacks! We’re in New Haven every Saturday morning 8-10 a.m. at Planned Parenthood at the corner of Edwards Street and Whitney Avenue. Join us and become a part of the movement to defend women’s rights! Come out on Feb. 6 to defend the right to access healthcare and to choose when to have a child! On Feb. 6, we will have a mass action of Planned Parenthood supporters in New Haven at 9 a.m. For more information, contact http://www.defendwomensrights.org or (203) 787-8232.

Jarvis Tyner to Keynote People’s World African American History Month Celebration Feb. 28

by Joelle Fishman, CT People’s World

“The Struggle for Democracy and Equality Continues: ‘We Charge Genocide Petition 65 Years Later.’” is the theme of this year’s 42nd Annual People’s World African American History Month Celebration. The event to be held on Sunday, February 28 will feature a program highlighting guest speaker Jarvis Tyner, lifelong civil rights activist and national leader of the Communist Party USA.

Tyner is author of the preface to the newly re-published “We Charge Genocide,” the petition delivered to the United Nations in 1951 listing lynchings and other crimes against African Americans. He is also author of the pamphlet “Black Lives Matter,” issued last year.

The event will be held at 4 p.m. at Troup School, 259 Edgewood Ave. After having filled the Peoples Center to overflow for years, a larger venue was chosen which will allow for more youth performances.
The program will begin with drumming by Brian Jarawa Gray. Troup students will lead in singing “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”

Winners of the High School Arts and Writing Competition will present their essays, poems or artwork on the theme “What Lessons from the Reconstruction Era for 2016?”

Students are asked: “Express in artwork, poetry, essay or song: What lessons can we learn from that period as we approach the elections of 2016? How can we overcome divisions and build unity so we can end voter suppression, stop police killings and guarantee a future for everyone filled with jobs and opportunity?” Submissions must be received at 37 Howe Street by 5 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 18.

Also on exhibit will be drawings from the Martin Luther King celebration at the Peabody Museum created at the People’s World table on the theme, “What can make our country great for everyone?”
Refreshments will be served.

Donation is $5 or what you can afford.

For more information e-mail to: ct-pww@pobox.com or call (203) 624-4254.

Jewish Voice for Peace Film Series

Shelly Altman, JVPNH

Jewish Voice for Peace New Haven (JVPNH) is presenting a Film Series “From the Jordan River to the Sea: Israel-Palestine in Film,” starting Sunday, Jan. 24 and continuing to Friday April 1. Films will be screened on Sundays at 1 p.m. at the Guilford Free Library, 67 Park St, Guilford and on Fridays at 7:30 p.m. at the Whitney Center Cultural Arts Center, 200 Leeder Hill Drive, Hamden. See film details at http://www.jvpnh.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/JVPNHFF1.pdf.

These films offer a human face to the news we hear about the contentious and often violent relationship between Israelis and Palestinians in the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. The films may shatter some myths and open a candid discussion about the reality of the Middle East.

  • The Other Son – Guilford Jan. 24 and Hamden Feb. 12
  • Salt of this Sea – Guilford Feb. 14 and Hamden Feb. 19
  • The Wanted 18 – Guilford Feb. 28 and Hamden March 4
  • Roadmap to Apartheid – Guilford March 6 and Hamden April 1

Last month, JVPNH conducted anti-Islamophobia vigils and lit the menorah in downtown New Haven on the fifth and eighth nights of Chanukah. This was part of an event echoed nationwide by over 15 chapters of JVP. The New Haven Register published an editorial the following week praising our action. See it at http://www.nhregister.com/opinion/20151216/editorial-some-jews-leading-the-charge-against-islamophobia. JVPNH will be continuing its work countering Islamophobia. If you are interested in participating in this work, please contact us at newhaven@jewishvoiceforpeace.org.
You can reach JVP New Haven on the web: http://www.jvpnh.org, by e-mail: newhaven@jewishvoiceforpeace.org, or Facebook: jvpnewhaven, or twitter: @jvpnewhaven.

In Remembrance of Sara Gregory

Susan Klein, NH Sunday Vigil and GNH Peace Council

Sara Kane Gregory, 58 years old, died at her home in New Haven on Jan. 4, 2016. She was born in Baltimore, MD, spent her teenage years in Naples, Fla, and earned a Masters of Education from the University of New Hampshire.

sara-kane-gregory-small

Sara with OccupyNH on the Green (Paula Panzarella photo)

Confined to a wheelchair after a car accident 25 years ago, Sara was known to hundreds here as a friend, a fellow activist, and an inspiration. In fact, she refused to be confined, going wherever she chose via public transportation, van, bus and train, despite difficulties with access. She even swam 3-4 times every week, in every season. Sara could recall choosing to live while in a coma after the accident, and live she did, to the utmost, with fierce independence and determination; she wanted no one to feel sorry for her.

Sara was an enthusiastic participant in political meetings, marches and rallies, in CT, in NY, in DC, and was particularly involved with Occupy New Haven in 2011 and 2012 visiting the encampment on the Green almost every day. She was passionate about peace, justice and equality, and never hesitated to speak her mind for all to hear. She voted in every election.

A great reader, Sara’s favorite authors included Dickens, Hardy, George Eliot and Jane Austen. She indulged in incisive, thoughtful literary and philosophical discussions at every opportunity. She also loved cats, drinking tea and baking bread. Sara had a deep and lasting influence on those lucky enough to know her; this vibrant and feisty woman will be sorely missed. Her family asks that you kindly donate a book to your local library in remembrance of Sara.

Want to Be on a Delegation to Nicaragua?

Chris Schweitzer, Director, NHLSCP

New Haven/León Sister City Project has sent over 1,200 area residents to Nicaragua since 1984 to learn about development efforts there and support social justice. We are now organizing two new trips including an Educators Delegation, which will focus on education challenges in rural Nicaragua; strategies for improving quality; teacher training and curriculum support; and a cooperative project with the community, set for July 2016. Contact Chris at  cscschweitzer@newhavenleon.org, (203) 259-5760.

Also there will be a Women Rights Delegation in 2016. The focus will be on domestic violence; legal responses; community based advocacy; self help groups and building individual and collective power; sexual and reproductive rights; national realities, challenges and movements in Nicaragua; and will include a cooperative project with the community.  We will set the dates  (7 to 9 days) based on your availability. Contact Megan at mfountain@newhavenleon.org or (203) 562-1607.

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