Puerto Rico Devastated! Again!

Excerpts from flyer of GNH Peace Council, Jan. 24, 2020

Twenty-eight months after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, the federal government continues in its failure to adequately take care of the island’s needs. The latest indignity to residents who have yet to fully recover from damages caused by the hurricanes and now the earthquakes is the government’s continued pathetic responses and a sudden cut to food stamp benefits. Congressional neglect and animus from the administration are responsible for hardships that would never be tolerated if the American citizens being harmed lived on the mainland and not in a U.S. territory that lacks voting representation in Washington.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined calls on Jan. 9, 2020, for the Trump administration to release $18 billion in disaster aid to the island more than two years after the money was appropriated.

The funds were meant to go to the U.S. territory after Hurricanes Irma and Maria caused nearly $150 billion in damages to Puerto Rico. Maria killed nearly 3,000 people and left 1.5 million Puerto Ricans without power, including hundreds whose electricity wasn’t restored for nearly a year. On Jan. 7, 2020, about two-thirds of the island once again had no power and hundreds of thousands of people were without running water following back-to-back earthquakes and aftershocks.

“We call upon the White House to stop its unlawful withholding of funds from Puerto Rico,” Pelosi said at a press conference on Jan. 9, “There are needs that need to be met, there has been a disaster designated, but the ongoing withholding of funds appropriated by Congress to Puerto Rico is illegal.”

“Puerto Rico has been through too much already. We should forgive their debt, make them a state and rebuild in earnest,” presidential candidate Andrew Yang tweeted in one of the bolder responses from the candidates.

Meanwhile, thousands of Puerto Rican families remain in makeshift dwellings following these recent quakes. grnhpeacecouncil@gmail.com.

Winter Gardening Workshops at Neighborhood Housing Services

Advanced Certified Master Gardener Rachel Ziesk will teach classes that will help you prepare your garden for the upcoming season. The perfect gift for any gardener (or wanna-be gardener) in your life! 6 sessions for just $100! Scholarships available! Find out more at: NHSWinterWorkshops2020.EventBrite.com.

All classes take place on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon at Neighborhood Housing Services, 333 Sherman Ave., Building #3.

Jan. 25: Soils and Composting – The most important component for a successful garden is soil health. Learn how to make your own compost and everything else you need to keep your soil healthy for the most productive garden.

February 8: Garden Planning & Season Extenders – Ensure a long and productive growing year with row covers, organic mulch, cold frames and more! Get the most out of even a small garden space.

February 22: Cool Weather Crops – Start your garden as soon as the soil thaws, even in mid-March! This class covers how and when to plant cool weather crops and manage their pests and diseases.

February 29: Warm Weather Crops – Learn how to make the best of our growing season including which warm-weather crops are best started indoors, which can be direct-seeded, what conditions and fertilizers each crop prefers and how to fight their pests and diseases organically.

March 14: Seed Starting – Start your own seedlings! Learn about when to start indoor seedlings, watering, using lights, and dealing with common problems. Everyone will get to plant a six-pack of seedlings to take home. We will also review which crops can be planted directly outdoors and when.

March 28: Weeds: the Good, the Bad, and the Tasty – Some weeds are actually native wildflowers benefitting your vegetable garden’s pollinators. Some are invasive horrors with plans to take over your garden. And some are edible, delicious little morsels that can be harvested and enjoyed.

Scholarships available. Please contact Kathy at (203) 562-0598, Ext. 225, or at kfay@nhsofnewhaven.org for details.

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Join the statewide Rapid Response Network in Connecticut

With the government threatening deportation raids, Unidad Latina en Acción is operating a 24-hour hotline and coordinating with groups across Connecticut to mobilize in the event of raids and deportations. Please indicate your town or city so that we can connect you to the Rapid Response Network in your region. Rapid Response means that you are ready to rally immediately during and after immigration raids and possibly take on volunteer roles. We also seek volunteers now to accompany immigrants during their court hearings. For accompaniment, you must be available some weekdays between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. Training will be provided. Go to www.ulanewhaven.org/volunteer.

Coalition for People Updates and Plans for a Medicare for All Workshop

Many PAR readers who were at Coalition for People events through the years have come to know Geraldine Poole. She always greeted everyone and made them feel at home within the group. Geraldine was on the Board of Directors of Coalition for People for many years and passed away on June 19. We miss her smile, encouragement, and enthusiasm for working with as many people as possible for a world of justice and peace. CFP made two donations in Geraldine’s memory: one to the building fund of the new Stetson Library on Dixwell Avenue and the other to the African-American Historical and Cultural Society of the Ethnic Heritage Center. She was a gentle, loving, determined woman who was a true inspiration to all who knew her and worked with her.

At our August board meeting, we discussed having workshops on universal, single-payer, comprehensive healthcare followed by a conference. We recently learned of the group Medicare for All CT and some CFP members attended its conference the previous week. We are looking forward to continuing our networking with them to organize for an effective healthcare policy for everybody: universal, single-payer, comprehensive healthcare. Our next board meeting is on Wednesday, Sept. 18, 3-5 p.m. on the lower level of the Fair Haven Library, 182 Grand Ave. All are welcome to attend.

Annual membership dues for Coalition for People are $5. We not only would like more people to become members but would like members to consider joining our board. For more information, please call (203) 468-2541 or e-mail coalitionforpeople@hotmail.com.

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