Park Saved; New Housing Plan Dropped

Thomas Breen, NH Independent, June 15, 2023

A Boston-based affordable housing developer (TCB) has dropped its plans to buy the Kensington Street public park between Chapel Street and Edgewood Avenue in the Dwight neighborhood to construct 15 new apartments in its stead — prompting the Elicker administration to move to end a related years-long lawsuit on the grounds that the contested public greenspace will remain public and green.

On Thursday afternoon, city spokesperson Lenny Speiller announced via an email press release that The Community Builders (TCB) no longer plans to build 15 new income-restricted apartments atop the Kensington Playground site.

Kishaun Jenkins celebrating “the coolest spot to be.” (Thomas Breen photo)

The upshot: After nearly three years of political and legal debates on the matter, Kensington Playground will remain a public park. TCB will not be building any new apartments atop the site. And the city will not be selling the park to any other developer.

Patricia Wallace, a long-time Dwight neighbor and the lead plaintiff in the state lawsuit, welcomed the news of TCB dropping its park-to-housing development plans and of the city moving to end the court case.”Housing can be built on other City-owned land in neighborhoods with ample green space.”

Wallace’s group,, is still raising money to cover the legal costs of pursuing the lawsuit, and also plans to fundraise for a new playscape to be built at the park.

Local attorney Keith Ainsworth, who has represented the friends group in its years-long legal challenge to the city’s sale of the park to TCB, also heralded this latest turn in the case as ending up with the right result.

Read the article in its entirety:

Why Hiroshima/Nagasaki Vigils Again This Year? 

by Henry Lowendorf, Greater New Haven Peace Council

Why is it important to commemorate the sudden slaughter of 200,000 mostly civilians in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, actions taken 78 years ago? Why do the U.S. government and corporate media generally ignore or downplay the consequences of decisions made three-quarters of a century ago?

Today, a brutal war is devastating Ukraine in central and eastern Europe, where four participating states, the U.S., Britain, France, and Russia, hold nuclear weapons arsenals on high alert, ready to throw into the fray.

Their leaders have the ability to incinerate every city around the planet and wave civilization goodbye.

At 90 seconds to midnight, the probability of nuclear cataclysm represented by the Atomic Clock is now set at its closest since the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. This threat is not what the U.S. government or its corporate media megaphones want to advertise.

Consequences of the current war in Europe, in addition to wanton death and destruction, include seismic changes in the supply of energy and food, which will have an impact on much of the world.

Citizens of poor and wealthy countries impacted by someone else’s war are unable to afford fuel and food. Giant economies are in recession as industries shut down.

The only winners in this war are the Merchants of Death—Lockheed and Raytheon, among others—and the U.S. fossil fuel industry.

We have been told that only one state caused this war. The vigils on August 6 and 9 remind us, however, that ultimately we must engineer its end, not through a Pyrrhic victory, but by demanding diplomacy and negotiations as all wars end.

The anniversary vigils on August 6 and 9 offered a variety of short presentations–history, the political moment, poetry, peace songs. New Haven Mayor Elicker spoke against the giant nuclear budget. Atomic soldier Hank Bolden, on whom the U.S. military tested the effects of nuclear radiation, told us that he was sworn to secrecy until the 1990s, unable to explain even to his family his many cancers and other illnesses associated with radiation poisoning.

Channel 8 WTNH ran a story on the Hiroshima vigil that you can find here: More photos and video here:

City Housing Plight Brought to the ‘Burbs

by Lisa Reisman, May 15, 2023, New Haven Independent

It might seem incongruous for a wealthy shoreline suburban community to pull out all the stops for a radical Catholic homelessness rights activist from the Hill.

Not at all, said Mark Colville, leader of the Amistad Catholic Worker House, as roughly 100 attendees enjoyed vegetable terrine … at a ​“Breaking Bread” fundraiser in the basement of Guilford First Congregational Church.

“Homelessness is a result of a lot of things, a lot of break-down of relationships in families, and that’s not specific to any one group or social class,” Colville said at Saturday’s event. …

Mark Coville addressing the audience. photo: Lisa Reisman

The occasion, Colville said, marked ​“the first in a series of planned public events organized by a coalition of people and organizations in the New Haven area trying to do something substantive to decriminalize homelessness in the city of New Haven and the state of Connecticut.”  …

He said Saturday’s fundraiser was part of an ongoing campaign that started in 2013 when he read a United Nations report on which U.S. cities comply with the 1948 United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The 2013 report detailed municipal laws across the country, he said, ​“making it a criminal act to take refuge on public land when the state fails to provide you with public housing, and those include New Haven.”

That means, he said, ​“if you’re homeless in New Haven tonight, and you’re not able to access a shelter bed — and, as far as I know, there are literally hundreds who can’t — then anywhere you take refuge, you’re subject to either arrest or some kind of sanction.”

The report was an eye-opener. ​“We came to realize that no matter how many people that we took in, the people outside the door were still considered criminals.” …

Then, in early 2020, came the pandemic, shelters being closed by the city, and an Amistad House worker talking with people who had taken to sleeping in the side stairwells around City Hall.

“From those conversations, we convinced about six of those people to take a chance on a plan we had to offer hospitality on public lands, to set up a tent city, and to do it in a public way,” Colville said.

The larger problem is a shelter system that ​“mimics the criminal justice system,” he said. ​“When you walk into a shelter after you get patted down, you have to give up your privacy, your agency, autonomy, your property, all the things you give up when you go to jail.”

He compared the human right to shelter to health care. ​“If you don’t have health care, you’re going to go outside the system, whether it’s a faith healer, herbal medicine, or a drug not approved by the FDA,” he said.

Criminalizing homelessness is tantamount to ​“making it a crime to make herbal tea to cure yourself,” he said.

The new strategy, to set up tiny houses on the property as Rosette Neighborhood Village, ​“a model tent city in our own backyard,” has as its ultimate goal ​“to change the policy away from criminalization so that people can have legal status as neighbors and not criminals.”

Read the complete article at

New Haven-León Sister City Project News: A Report from Eréndira

Hello from León, Nicaragua dear friends,

We are pleased to share our first updates from 2023. Over the next few weeks, we will share many good stories and progress from our programs. Despite these successes, there are also many challenges we continue to face in supporting the rural communities of the city of León.

Señora Petrona with her EcoStove

We always want to offer our most sincere thanks to our network of friends, our donors, our Board of Directors, and our co-workers in New Haven. Your hard work, empathy, and commitment to a more equitable society make it possible for us to reach the communities of Goyena and Troilo with programs that support people’s basic needs: food security, quality education, public health, care and preservation of the environment, and economic empowerment of women.

With this support, we continue to contribute our grain of sand toward a more just, respectful and empathetic society. So, thanks for all the support!

¡La lucha sigue! Much love, Eréndira

Less Cost, Better Health: Ecostoves in León
“My name is Petrona Muñoz Centeno and I am 58 years old. I am a housewife and I live in the Troilo community in the Nueva Esperanza neighborhood (El Polvoncito). I have benefited from an ecological stove, and this has helped me a lot at home, since today I can cook my food in a safer place. I have been able to see that this kitchen helps me save firewood. Before, I spent 200 córdobas a month buying firewood. Today I only spend half of this.”

Wanted: New Home For Compost Trailblazer

by Allan Appel, New Haven Independent, May 5, 2023

“Now I feel I’m more like a waste hauler than a visionary composter,” said New Haven’s pioneering organic-scraps-repurposer and eco-idealist Domingo Medina.

That’s because Medina now has to find a new place to make mulch thanks to the pending sale of the Fair Haven farm site that he and his pedal-powered composting colleagues have long called home.

Medina’s Peels & Wheels Composting charges subscribers $7.50 per week to help them divert food waste from the landfill and the incinerator and repurpose it as nutrient-rich soil.

He expressed that sober yet still optimistic assessment on a crystalline bright Wednesday morning as he surveyed the Phoenix Press Farm site, at the end of James Street across from Criscuolo Park. Medina, who founded his composting business in 2014, is now in final preparations to leave that site as the press is in the concluding stages of selling the property.

Eco-idealist Domingo Medina of Peels & Wheels, photo: Thomas Breen

Although Peels & Wheels is thriving now and will continue, Medina is able to process into mulch only two of the four tons of organic scraps he and his fast-pedaling employees collect from 470 customers every week.

For growth to continue, however, and for Medina’s vision of a kind of perfect circle of environmental development and environmental justice to evolve, he urgently needs to find a new site to accelerate his capacity.

“I spend more time in the truck,” he lamented, as he pointed to his grey pick-up, hauling the waste to a composting site at the Common Ground High School (which operation he was instrumental in developing); to West Haven’s com-posting operation (on which he also consulted); and, soon to the transfer station in Hamden, where the load will then be transported to an anaerobic digester in Southington.

“So my cost is doubled to take care of moving this material out of the city and every week I have to rent a trailer. That goes counter to my model of recycling within our community. I don’t know where it’s [ultimately] going, and I have to pay tipping fees [for it to get there],” he said.

The problem is that for the past year or so Medina has not been able to find a permanent site where he can invest in equipment and increase his own capacity.

Read the article in its entirety at

Latest Legislative News from

Gov. Ned Lamont Pressures Lawmakers to Include Debt Cancellation Provision in Budget by Hugh McQuaid
Lamont wants funding in the budget to help people by canceling their medical debt. Connecticut would be the first state in the country to do that. His budget proposal called for using $20 million in pandemic relief in a plan that … could eliminate $1 billion in medical debt.

Coalition Presses for Early Voting Funding For Municipalities by Hugh McQuaid
A coalition of advocates and Connecticut mayors called Thursday on the legislature to provide adequate funding for towns and cities to implement the early voting policy that lawmakers expect to approve in the coming weeks.

House Votes in Favor of Decriminalizing Psilocybin
By Hugh McQuaid
Possession of small amounts of psilocybin would become a ticketable infraction in Connecticut rather than a crime carrying potential prison time under a bill passed Wednesday on a divided vote of the House.

State Senate Passes Financial Literacy Bill By Julie Banks
The state Senate on Tuesday night passed a bill that will make financial literacy education a graduation requirement for all Connecticut high schools.

Inventory Crisis Creates Housing Shortage By Mike Savino
As families took advantage of remote work and flocked to the suburbs during the height of the pandemic, CT’s housing market was one of the big winners. But that momentum came to a halt last year, with the state’s population growing by only 2,850, or 0.08%, according to the U.S. Census Bureau

Group Home Workers Strike For Higher Wages by Christine Stuart
Over 1,700 group home and day program workers who provide care for individuals with disabilities in Medicaid-funded agencies across Connecticut launched an indefinite strike Wednesday. They are demanding higher wages, affordable healthcare, adequate retirement funding and … a pathway to a minimum wage of $25 per hour, a significant increase from their current entry-level wages of $17.25 per hour.

Director of Christian Community Action Praises work-ready program STRIVE

Excerpts from Rev. Grubb’s speech at recent STRIVE (a work-ready program) Graduation, of which three CCA residents took part.

I’m here because I believe in the opportunity that all of us have to grow, to develop, to find purpose, to try new things, to be excited about life and to think about that better future. Each and every day, all of us make choices—large ones and small ones. Small ones like “What am I going to have for breakfast?” Large ones, “Ok. I’m going someplace special today so I need to dress up.” Significant choices and even insignificant choices. Life-changing and life-sustain-ing. Sometimes, those choices are temporary—like a living situation—and sometimes they are permanent. Sometimes, the choices are “the best under the circumstances.” Sometimes positive. And sometimes, not so positive. We even make choices that are based on selfishness. And sometimes, particularly parents, make choices that are selfless, for the betterment of their children, their growth and development, opportunities and their best future.

left to right: Sandra Plessinger, Dir. of Workforce Development CRI; Dawn Staton, STRIVE Trainer CRI; Tirra Jones, Graduate; Wanda Lary, Sr. VP of Workforce Development CRI; Rev. Bonita Grubbs

Aspirations—all of us have them. But unless they move to action, they are simply things in the cloud. Our choices are [not only] to live…but to be alive. You know what it means to feel alive—you’ve got purpose and meaning…To work and to prepare for work—in many ways that is what the STRIVE Program has attempted to do and will continue to do.

To be a person of hope even in the midst of challenges. Because all of us have our ups and downs in life. But, to hold on to that hope is critical to taking any future step, whatever that step may be, especially one that is in a positive direction. To play for fun…but also, to play to win—that takes determination. To work to win. That requires aspiration—you gotta want it. If there’s something right in front of you that you really want and it’s yours to possess, the only required [thing] is the action to receive that which is in front of you.

And all of the graduates today and graduates of STRIVE in the past—who have been able to make it through to the end—had a plan, had a purpose, had a desire, and yes, were encouraged to take the step, knowing full well that you are not walking this road alone. The evidence for me is here today.

Highlights from CT Green Energy News, May, 2023

Newsletter about clean energy, energy efficiency, and climate action, focusing on Connecticut. To subscribe, send an email to [email protected]. To find out more about People’s Action for Clean Energy (PACE), go to

Mix of progress and lags in CT environmental goals, report shows, Connecticut Public.
​A new report assessing the state of Connecticut’s environment says solar installations rose in 2022, which is helping to lower carbon emissions. But the report found those same solar installations are also complicating some efforts to conserve agricultural land.

Southern Connecticut State University completes $52.4M first CT-owned, net zero building, New Haven Register.
​Southern Connecticut State University is in the final construction stage of its $52.4 million new building, ready for the faculty to move in [soon]. The four-story, 64,000-square-foot School of Business will use a 500-foot-deep geothermal system for air conditioning and green power.

Coventry farm begins producing electricity from biogas, Hartford Business Journal.
​A ​new biogas facility in Coventry has been commissioned to begin producing renewable electricity. The facility at Hytone Farm converts dairy manure and food waste into power using an anaerobic digester. The project is expected to produce up to 4.4 million kWh per year. Ag-Grid, based in Kennett Square, PA, develops and operates small-scale renewable electricity projects and has five projects in Connecticut and Massachusetts.

Enko Chem begins clean-energy project projected to save $10M over 20 years, Hartford Business Journal.
​​​An agricultural company in Mystic that develops products for farmers to protect their crops from pests and diseases has begun a clean-energy project that is expected to save more than $10 million over 20 years. Enko Chem Inc. is installing energy-efficient lighting on two floors of the interior office, lab and greenhouse of its facility on Maritime Drive. The projected energy savings includes utility incentives, tax credits and operational energy savings. The energy efficiency project is financed with a long-term, fixed-rate C-PACE loan totaling $3.6 million. C-PACE is administered by the Connecticut Green Bank.

Connecticut, other northeastern states will seek over $1 billion in federal funding for hydrogen fuel projects. CT Insider.
​Connecticut will join six other northeastern states in competing for over $1 billion in federal funding to create a regional “hub” for clean hydrogen fuel, Gov. Ned Lamont announced last week…Many environmental advocates have expressed skepticism about turning toward hydrogen as a way of combating climate change and lowering traditional emissions.​..The Northeast Regional Clean Hydrogen Hub will focus its efforts on other, cleaner methods of producing hydrogen fuel, such as water electrolysis that can be powered by solar and wind turbines.

Kali Akuno Given the 2023 Gandhi Peace Award

by Laura Schleifer, Program Director, PEP

Over the years, Promoting Enduring Peace has realized that creating enduring peace requires social justice. Decades ago, the Board voted to give the peace award to Martin Luther King Jr., Rev. Lucius Walker, Jr., Cesar Chavez, Daniel Ellsberg, and recent recipients, including the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement founder Omar Barghouti and peace activist Kathy Kelly.

Today, we have realized that not only does peace require justice, but the time for waiting for those in power to provide that justice has passed. It is time for people to create and implement ways of addressing the current social, economic and ecological crises ourselves. We need strategies that put the power directly into people’s hands–especially those most severely impacted, disenfranchised and disempowered.

In recognition of that paradigm shift, this year’s Gandhi Peace Award recipient has been chosen for creating an innovative way of addressing these issues through collective action on the local level combined with a broader long-term strategy for regional, national, and global change. This year, Promoting Enduring Peace gave its Gandhi Peace Award to Kali Akuno and Cooperation Jackson.

In Kali Akuno and Cooperation Jackson, we have found a community of activists who exemplify our organization’s mission of creating, “peace on earth, peace with earth.” Kali and his fellow members of Cooperation Jackson are creating a model for how the rest of us might be able to achieve that goal by transforming our communities on the local level and then linking them together to create a new system that provides for human and ecological needs, and also recognizes the interdependence between the two.

Based in Jackson, Mississippi, one of the nation’s poorest cities, Cooperation Jackson is a Black-led semi-autonomous community with a visionary “Jackson-Kush Plan” to build Black autonomy throughout the U.S. South and eventually challenge and replace the current political and economic systems with a new system rooted in mutual aid, food sovereignty, community care, ecological regeneration, collective self-governance, land reclamation, community-controlled production, and cooperative and solidarity economics through its People’s Network for Land and Liberation.

Read the article in its entirety at

1 3 4 5 6 7 125