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The Charger Bulletin

The Game Changer

by Jenn Harrington | October 23, 2013

Candidates in West Haven’s Mayoral Race Debate on Current Issue

Elections for the office of Mayor in West Haven are less than a month away, and in preparation for polling, all three candidates took time out of their Wednesday night to meet at Carrigan Middle School to debate their ideas on the future of our city.

The line-up for November includes Edward O’Brien (D), Bart Chadderton (R), and incumbent John Picard (write-in). Each candidate sat on stage of the Carrigan Middle School auditorium, waiting for questions to be verified and attendees to find their seats. Each prepped with notes and talked to supporters to ease nerves.

The crowd was smaller, filling only a third of the room, but each West Haven resident was eager to hear what the candidates had to say. Former University of New Haven Professor, Gary Fetzer, hosted the debate leading in the evening stating that all questions were submitted by audience members and were verified for validity beforehand.

A hush fell over the auditorium and ears began to lean forward in an effort to hear which candidate chose the best response toward solving current issues that city residents find most imperative. If politics is a game, then a debate is the defining play on the field. Each candidate rotated turns in answering the proposed questions and followed with a 60 second rebuttal.

First question: What makes you qualified?

Picard started off in round one stating his experience, education, and ability to lead are qualities that make him the right fit for reelection. He went on to discuss local accomplishments in West Haven through job creation and tax revenue. O’Brien worked off his message of being born and raised in our city holding the qualities of honesty and integrity.

Chadderton, who began on a slightly different tone, referenced a recent article published in the New Haven Register regarding dirty politics and a feeling of being personally attacked. To keep in tow with tone, he also brought forward the lack of financial stability and the cities position of worst bond rating.

As questions continued each candidate stuck with a theme. Picard chose accomplishments to highlight success of the future, O’Brien pushed forward economic development on a large scale, and Chadderton ensured he would work on city finances and “get ducks lined up in a row.”

Through the debate as Chadderton worked to promote his platform ideas, a heated banter occurred through rebuttal with O’Brien and Picard. The idea of economic development was in discussion.

Picard promptly praised the planned addition of a CVS for providing 35 new jobs. O’Brien refuted that economic development is not a CVS or deli in an effort to provide examples of small-business, but what is needed is the addition of big business and large-scale developing.

Picard hit strong in his rebuttal. “Small business is the backbone of the country,” said Picard, “they account for 75% of jobs.” A round of applause resonated in the crowd.

O’Brien stood by his notion that big-business will bring in revenue, create more jobs, and provide for a friendlier city.

Chadderton resonated that “money is everything.” Finances are at the top of his priority list. “Take care of the money first.” Once that is handled then the city can work on spending in the right direction to balance the budget and get the city out of debt.

Another hot topic on the floor was Education; where funding should be placed and what changes could be made.

Don’t spend on structure; money can be used for resources. Books are old and classes are decrepit stated O’Brien. “We need to do better with what we have.”

Chadderton reminded the audience that grades and test scores are low. There isn’t a need for more money to be pumped in, but for it to be redirected and for the leadership in schools to become stronger.

Picard chose to show the positives on West Haven education. He mentioned the University’s initiative to provide scholarships for local students and said that more support through resources and lobbying can help the local education system.

Other topics in debate included zoning in Allingtown, high-end versus affordable housing, the asphalt plant, and consolidation of fire departments.

Each candidate was given the opportunity for a few final words. Chadderton’s closing remarks reiterated his fury at allegations from the Register article he mentioned in opening and stated that this is the example of a need for checks and balances.

Picard continued to delight on all of the great accomplishments the city has seen thus far. O’Brien revisited economic development and stated that the city needs to get a handle on its quality of life.

The evening closed with an overall feeling of interest in seeing the election results. Each candidate gave effort for their platforms, but the debate was one that provided for residents to hear how their political leaders think. Will our city have the right man in place? Only time will tell.

The debate was sponsored by the West Haven Chamber of Commerce, and updates on the West Haven Mayoral Race can be found online

Ra Ra Riot Ra Ra Rocked It

by Nicolas Weilmann | October 16, 2013

On Saturday, Oct. 12, I went to go see the Baroque Pop/Electronic Indie band Ra Ra Riot at the Center Church on The Green, located on Temple Street in downtown New Haven.

Photo by Elissa Sanci

Photo by Elissa Sanci

Having seen them twice already, I knew it would be a great show, but I had no idea how it could be any different than the other two times. As soon as I entered the church, I realize how unique the venue was. The Center Church was established in New Haven as a Puritan church in 1638, and even though it has been restored many times since then, it still looks very antique on the inside. Because of this, I was shocked when I realized that there would be a rock show right where the priest gives his sermons.It turns out that the congregation rents the church out many nights a year for various concerts. Even though the tickets are general admission, there was no standing room, and everyone had a seat in the pews. This sounds like an odd way to give a concert, but if you can imagine standing for about four hours straight, you’ll start to change your mind.

Two bands opened for Ra Ra Riot on this leg of their Fall Tour. The first band was Cayucas, an indie band that was formed by two twin brothers, Zach and Ben Yudin in Santa Monica, California. The second band was Caveman, who, regardless of their rugged stage presence, put on a fantastic show. Both bands did an amazing job at warming up the crowd and getting everyone pumped up for the headliners. By the end of both openers sets, the crowd was on their feet.

Like most churches, synagogues and temples, the Center Church had incredible acoustics. Good acoustics are needed in churches, because before the microphone was invented, it was necessary for everyone in the congregation to be able to hear the priest well. The acoustics of the church allowed the sound from all the speakers to be distributed perfectly among everyone, so the back row heard the band just as well as the front row did. Each band had their own sound engineer, which is a great advantage since every band is different, and engineers who know the band will know how to better design their sound.

Ra Ra Riot always had a great stage presence. The bassist, Mathieu Santos, always has a smile on his face. The singer, Wes Miles, hits spectacular high notes as if it was sampled straight from the album. That’s one of the things that are so great about Ra Ra Riot’s live performances. They are masters at reproducing the sound that they have on their studio albums, which is something very difficult to do when the vocals are in such a high pitch range. Most vocalists have to either change the key of their songs or just sing in a different register to be able to sound good live. Miles never disappoints the audience with his vibrant vocals.

Even though they only have three studio albums, Ra Ra Riot includes a balanced combination of songs from their first two Baroque Pop albums and their third album, Beta Love, which marked a change in direction in the band from Baroque Pop to Electronic Indie. They always do a good job in regards of pleasing both their new and old fans.

The live show has always been fun. They manage to play their music well, keep the audience captivated, and run around stage, keeping things fun all at the same time. Throughout their years of performing live this has always been a constant; however, this tour included something new.

Along with a great stage presence, they added an awesome lighting program. These last shows included lighting design that Ra Ra Riot hasn’t really implemented in previous tours. Multiple triggers such as the bass drum, snare drum, or certain vocal melodies cause certain light patterns to be seen by the audience. Instead of having regular lights hanging from the ceiling, the band had many thin cylinders surrounding the stage, which gave it a very fun yet minimalistic stage setup.

After the show was over, I stayed behind after everyone left, hoping to meet the band. One of my favorite things about Ra Ra Riot is that since they are not as well known as other artists, they are a lot more modest and down to earth. I met all of the members of the band, and I was able to talk to them both as a fan and as a musician. I talked to Mat (the bassist) about techniques that we had in common, along with ones that we didn’t share.

I’ve met many other well-known musicians and I’ve never felt like I’ve been able to connect with them on the level that I connected with the members of Ra Ra Riot. They have a great stage presence, they have a great sound, and they keep the audience entertained from the time they start, till their last song, so I would highly recommend seeing this band live to anyone interested in the indie music scene.

Community Resilience Program

by Samantha Mathewson | March 13, 2013

In wake of all the tragedies schools have faced, whether it be close to home such as Newtown, or farther and in the past like the Virginia Tech shooting, New Haven feels the effects and plans to act now to better protect themselves for the future.

A metal detector does not provide enough security, nor does it provide the feeling of trust or safety in schools. The solution is not to have armed personnel around every corner waiting for someone to open fire; however, the community is taking a step towards stopping violence with a new Community Resilience Program for the current generation of students.

The program was announced Monday, March 4, and will be built off of already existing support programs, such as Boost! and Alive (Animating Learning by Integrating and Validating Experience) that have been rolled out through the city’s schools.

“The program seeks to screen all students for Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE), create a New Haven Trauma Coalition to oversee the strategy, a citywide campaign to educate the public on mental health and childhood trauma, and continue efforts to support families,” said Mayor John DeStefano Jr. to the New Haven Register, when the program was announced.

This “proposed expansion of set of interventions,” will be available to every public school student. Healthy development of children is necessary for them to thrive in schools. Trauma has led students to a life of violence, incarceration and or development problems.

According to an article in the New Haven Register, “City officials cited a pilot program administered to kindergarteners in the Strong School. According to the pilot, 90 percent of kindergarteners reported some kind of ACE, though only 23 percent were displaying symptoms.”

State Sen. Toni Harp, co-chairwoman of the Mental Health Working Group of the Bipartisan Task Force on Gun Violence Prevention and Children’s Safety, said that up until now, it has been ignored that violence is a public health issue. “Now is the time, and Connecticut is probably the most appropriate place to make a stand for non-violence and enhance public policy. Violence is an epidemic. It is a public health epidemic,” she said.

For this new Community Resilience Program to work, there will be annual screenings preformed on every student, numerous intervention programs, crisis teams established, advancements of mental health services, and the ultimate challenge of spreading awareness.

All the costs of the efforts made to support the new program add up. A total of $70,000 was requested to hire one new staff member, $4.7 million to expand intervention services at each school, $1.3 million for technical assistance and training, and approximately $450,000 to raise awareness through campaigns to inform the public.

Boost!, The United Way of Greater New Haven, the New Haven MOMS partnership, Clifford Beers Clinic, the Foundation for Arts and Trauma, New Haven Public Schools, the city, the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, the Comer School Development Program, the Yale Child Study Center and the New Haven Family Alliance are programs included in the entire collation.

“By addressing the needs of our children when they are young, we can ensure we have healthy happy and productive lives down the road,” Superintendent of Schools Reginald Mayo said.

However, while the schools and the community want to do all they can, a citizen commented on the article released in the New Haven Register regarding the new program and asked, “Meanwhile, what are the parents doing? Isn’t it like part of their job in raising children to install good character?”

So the question remains, will this new program work? Or is there more they can do?

 

College of Crime Fighting

by Katerina Sperl | February 14, 2013

The education level of police is constantly changing. A couple of decades ago, few police officers ever attended college. Today, the large amounts of criminal justice majors contribute to having more disciplined, obedient units. What is in the future for pushing education levels even higher?

New Haven now has the answer. The New Haven Police Department has teamed up with the University of New Haven and Yale University to create a college that will give the department even more tools to do their job. This summer, 50 police chiefs and hopeful executive officers will attend the first session of the “Command College.” While an entire department does not have time for the training, training the heads will hopefully transfer the knowledge down to other officers.

The focus of the program, funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, is to apply the academics to real-life situations. John DeCarlo, who will serve as the primary investigator, pointed out that there is “no mandatory certification program specifically for police chiefs.” Well, now there is!

Connecticut is taking the opportunity to be a role model for police departments around the country. The goal is that other states will take up similar programs, making policing even more effective with the right education. This program will also emphasize the same goal that the New Haven Police Department emphasizes: community policing.

 

Shelter Believes Help from Churches could “Rid” City of Homelessness

by Sara J Dufort | November 28, 2012

In any city, there are citizens that are homeless and looking for a place to stay warm during the coldest months of the year. It is a problem that plagues every urban area, as there is never enough space or beds to accommodate all those who are suffering from severe poverty.

In New Haven, one shelter is trying to change this by encouraging local churches to increase their support of shelters, and perhaps incorporate their own shelter as a part of their mission.

Emergency Shelter Management Services Inc., previously known as Immanuel Baptist Shelter, is the oldest and largest black church in New Haven and believes that it is their spiritual and moral duty to lend a giving hand to those who are poor and disadvantaged.

“Our shelter is the only black shelter in the city, and at last count, there are 44 shelters in the state,” executive director Holmes said. “We have to raise $30,000 each year to keep our contract with the city to make sure we do our part with assisting the homeless population.”

The problem is that one shelter is not going to be able to house all those that are homeless. In 2011, New Haven had more than 600 people who identified themselves as homeless, including 251 school-aged children. While there is another overflow shelter operated by the Columbus House, it still only has a capacity of 75 people.

While Emergency Shelter Management Services believes that churches need to do more to address the problem of homelessness in New Haven, other churches, including mosques and Islamic centers, are acting within their means to address the crisis.

“This time of year we do collect food and we donate to the local food banks, and because we are so visible within the community, folk come to our church and we provide whatever food or assistance we can,” said Jean Bowen, chairperson of the Deacon Board at Dixwell Congregation United Church of Christ. While they are seriously thinking about opening their own shelter, they said that sometimes finances do not permit them to do so.

Other churches and mosques are also having these problems. President of the board at Masjid Al-Islam on George Street said that they have been working with the Columbus House for over 25 years by donating coats, hats and gloves, but he also stated that they do not have the resources to provide shelter. This mosque is not the only one that is suffering from a financial burden, and many other churches also indicated that while they try to provide for the homeless, they do not have the means to give them shelter.

However, due the mounting problem of homelessness in New Haven, the city has collaborated with more than 12 churches to start a program called “Abraham’s Tent.” This will allow the churches to host up to 25 people for a week instead of indefinitely. This will be less of a financial burden on the churches, but still allow them to help those who are homeless. In addition, one church leader said, “I’m open to make that connection with the shelter and provide any assistance that’s needed.” He added, “Awareness and open dialogue is key for all of us to aid the needs of the entire community life.”

In the coming winter months, Marshall Brooks stated that three city-funded shelters would be operational. This includes Emergency Management System, Life Haven, and Martha’s Place. Life Haven is a shelter for homeless, pregnant women and women with young children. They have the capacity to serve 20 families at a time. In addition, Martha’s place is a shelter for 24 single women with children under the age of 18. They have a minimum 60-day initial stay that can be extended up to five months if needed.

In addition to the homeless adults, the 251 schoolchildren that are homeless also need help. Susan Weisselberg, director of wraparound services for the school district, said support services that address needs of homeless children are offered through a partnership with New Haven Home Recovery. Those services include making sure they have access to meals, school supplies, clothing or a school uniform. “No child should have to experience what it’s like to be without a home or to come to school hungry,” she said.

While homelessness is a serious problem in New Haven, local churches and organizations are doing all that they can to rid the city of this problem. With additional churches doing their best to help others, there is no doubt that this goal could one day be accomplished.

 

New Haven Fed Up With Violence in the City

by Lesha Daley | October 24, 2012

New Haven residents are outraged with the escalating violent activity that is happening in their neighborhoods every day.

The recent shooting of a toddler in the middle of the afternoon has infuriated the city’s citizens, especially those living in the neighborhood of Edgewood and Kensington Avenue. Fortunately, 18-month-old Tramire Miller survived the shooting and is currently doing better.

Violence in New Haven has not just become an issue, however the drive-by shooting that almost cost a child his life has put the city in a recent state of panic. Miller’s shooting is a prime example of how the innocent can be unnecessarily affected gang violence. Area residents have also complained of other fowl play which they believe leads to the large homicide count.

Residents are happy that Miller’s shooters have been arrested, but are still furious about how the violence has gotten out of control and want to take measures to improve safety their neighborhoods. Communities reach out to the police, anti-violence groups such as Ice the Beef, and public officials such as Mayor John DeStefano and Alderman Frank Douglas for support in helping to keep their city safe. Alderman Frank Douglas suggests that a community center should be opened, such as the former Dixwell Q House, as place that gives the youth refuge from the streets.

Since the shooting, the violence has only gotten worse with retaliation attempts. New Haven police officers are patrolling the area as a safety precaution in hopes to help de-escalate the hostility. Volunteers and outreach workers have gone through the high-crime activity neighborhood and encourage residents not to react violently.

Keeping the neighborhoods safe is an ongoing process that requires all community occupants’ participation. Residents must report any seen violent activity that could possibly lead to other shootings and homicides, as a step to fight against violence.

Walking For a Cure

by Cara Petitti | October 10, 2012

Thousands arrived at Lighthouse Point Park in New Haven last Sunday, Sept. 30, to participate in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s Disease. The New Haven walk, along with numerous other walks throughout Connecticut, marked the close of Alzheimer’s disease Awareness month.

Walkers were encouraged to plant artificial flowers in the sand, with the color of each flower corresponding to the walker’s relationship to Alzheimer’s disease.

The mission of the Alzheimer’s Association is to “eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health.”

The Alzheimer’s walks began in 1989 when nine chapters around the United States raised $149,000 for the cause. Last year, 650 walks took place, raising over $4.5 million dollars. Numbers were expected to improve for the 2012 walk season.

The New Haven event opened at 9 a.m. for team and participant registration. Starbucks, in addition to other local organizations, donated refreshments. Raffle tickets were also sold for a variety of themed prize baskets. However, despite the excitement seen in the faces of walker’s and Alzheimer’s Association volunteers alike, no one could forget why they were all there: to find a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease.

Through the building of the “Promise Garden,” a staple for the Alzheimer’s walk, it was clear that many participants had different reasons for being there. To build the “Promise Garden,” walkers were encouraged to plant artificial flowers in the sand, with the color of each flower corresponding to the walker’s relationship to Alzheimer’s disease. Blue flowers indicated that the walker was living with the disease. Orange flowers represented those who were caregivers to a person with Alzheimer’s. Purple stood for those who had lost someone to the illness, and yellow symbolized those there to give their support to the cause. Their promise? To find a cure.

Brittany Langer, a participant in New Haven’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s Disease, planted her purple flower in the sand near the waterfront. Langer, 21, is a native to the southern Connecticut area and an active volunteer with the Alzheimer’s Association. “Both of my grandmothers had it,” she explains, “and they both lost their battle.”

She explained the debilitating disease not only affects the people suffering with it, but their families as well. This experience drove her to get involved with the Connecticut chapter headquartered in Hartford.

As a volunteer, Langer gained valuable experience in planning and advertising the event. “People think that it magically all comes together, but in reality we have to make a lot of sponsorship phone calls. We have to recruit team members, and get people to register team captains and put out flyers.”

The New Haven Walk to End Alzheimer’s Disease raised nearly $185,000 dollars in donations, but the association expects that number to keep growing. “People can keep donating until November 30,” Langer stated. She hopes the next two months will bring the New Haven Walk over its goal of $202,000 dollars.

Although the New Haven event has passed, there are still opportunities for those interested to lend their support for the cause. The Southport Racquet Club will be hosting a 5k race on Nov. 3, with all of the proceeds going to the Alzheimer’s Association. More information can be obtained at www.southportracquetclub.com.

Nearly 5.4 million Americans are living with Alzheimer ’s disease. It is the “sixth-leading cause of death,” and cannot be “prevented, cured, or even slowed.” As seen in the “Promise Garden,” not all people affected by the disease suffer from it. Many have lost a family member, or currently care for those affected. The aim of The Walk to End Alzheimer’s is to end the suffering. The organization encourages people to get involved, as volunteers, like Langer, are the backbone of this effort.

“I wanted to be active in an organization that would be working to find a cure. That was the Alzheimer’s Association,” she said.

For more information about events and volunteer opportunities, please visit www.alz.org.

UNH Freshmen Help Stranded Student

by Liana Teixeira | September 26, 2012

Taking care of a grossly intoxicated college student stranded in New Haven isn’t exactly what freshmen Dylan Rupprecht, Samantha MacDaniel and Luke McHugh expected when they ventured downtown for the first time at the start of the school year.

Three UNH students assist an intoxicated college student in downtown New Haven.

That evening, the trio had decided to visit the local club scene. At the end of the night, a young man stumbled (quite literally) out of a different club and into the group as they waited for the UNH shuttle to arrive. That’s when Rupprecht noticed something was not right.

“I had never seen anyone this intoxicated before in my life,” Rupprecht said, recalling the encounter.

The individual appeared to be a college student, but it became clear that his state of intoxication would make it difficult to obtain any identifying information.

“If you’ve ever been in driver’s ed and watched those videos where people try to say words after an accident, but they mumble—he kind of sounded like that,” Rupprecht said. “You could not understand a word he said.”

The students proceeded to ask the individual’s name, but to no avail. While trying to communicate with the young man, MacDaniel noticed something even more alarming: “He was completely alone,” she said.

Minutes passed before a group of five guys and girls approached, claiming to be the friends of the clearly drunk male. However, their arrival was not the blessing Rupprecht, MacDaniel and McHugh had been hoping for. One of the girls had apparently driven, and refused to take her friend back, fearing that he would damage the inside of the car.

“They said ‘take him, we don’t want him. He’s going to throw up in our car,’” Rupprecht said.

This comment made MacDaniel uneasy.

“At that point we were really annoyed that they just wanted to leave him,” MacDaniel said. “We were like, ‘we’ll take care of him.’”

According to Rupprecht, the girl did not ask for their names, where they were from or who they were. “They just walked away after that,” Rupprecht said. The well-being and safety of the stranger now lay in the hands of the three UNH students.

Finally, the individual mumbled that he was from Sacred Heart University (SHU) in Fairfield, Conn. At this point, the three did not know how valid the information was, but they figured that Sacred Heart would be a safe place to take him.

They then got a cab, got in with the student and paid for the entire ride to Fairfield. On the ride, the individual passed out, and the group became worried. However, when they arrived on the Sacred Heart security gate, he was able to speak, and public safety and the Director on Duty were immediately contacted.

When he was explaining his story to the security guard, Rupprecht said, the individual said that it was his first night in Connecticut. “I think that was his first night at college, and he went to downtown New Haven with a whole bunch of people that at the time he considered his friends. And even as he restated his story he’s like, ‘I guess they’re not my friends.’”

An hour and $140 later, the three students returned to UNH.

Leonora P. Campbell, Assistant Dean for Student Conduct & Community Standards at SHU, contacted the UNH Dean of Students Rebecca Johnson and Associate Dean of Students Ric Baker the next day and commended the three students for their actions, calling them “good Samaritans.”

Reflecting back on the course of events, Rupprecht said he knew that he just had to help. “I just knew right away that this guy was in a whole bunch of trouble. He was by himself in New Haven late at night. I just knew that wasn’t good,” he said.

“We’re all really caring people, we didn’t want to see him sit there or hurt himself,” MacDaniel said.

McHugh was unavailable for comment.

The students are in the process of receiving a taxi credit for the money they spent getting the student back to his university.

 

Greater New Haven Pride Network

by The Charger Bulletin | September 26, 2012

By Donovan Linder

The greater New Haven area is full of life for the members of the LGBT community and its allies. For those who might not be familiar with the LGBT community, here is some background. The acronym stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, but often times you might see the ‘A’ tagged onto as well which means ‘allies’ (straight or heterosexual individuals who are in support of the LGBT community).

Here on campus, UNH Pride is thriving with members of the community and they are in the process of planning exciting events for the semester. The organization may be young, but they are definitely full of energy and always participate in community service activities that relate to the community.

Within the greater New Haven region, there is a New Haven Pride center that is open to the general public to stop by and help out. Whether you are out of the closest or just want to give a helping hand, they are sure to have something for you to get involved in. The center has committees in which prospective or current members can be part of, ranging from fundraising to operations to programming and communications.

Since the 90s, New Haven Pride center has been a major support to members of the community. Their website says it all: “What’s easy to see from your first visit to the Center is that it fills a real need in the community.”

The center is a hub of activities catering to the needs of Connecticut’s LGBT community. It is becoming a “beacon” for those looking to understand their identity and place within the community and in history.

What is so great about the LGBT network in New Haven is the abundant amount of resources they have for students, whether they be graduating high school or in college, both undergraduates and graduates. Every year, the organization gives thousands of dollars to students pursuing an education.

Connecticut is one of the leading states in LGBT movement, having same-sex marriage signed into law in 2007, making it the third state in the U.S to have a legislative body in favor of same-sex marriage. Since then, it has continued to surprise the nation.

According to Wikipedia, on April 22, 2009, lawmakers of Connecticut both in the House (vote 100-44) and in the Senate (vote 28-7) agreed to repeal all the old marriage laws and fully replace them with genderless quotes, and all references to marriage will be fully gender-neutral. Most resident voters in the state are supporters of same-sex marriage.

And with the 2012 presidential elections in November plus a president who already is in full support of same-sex marriage, the LGBT community is going in strong.

So if you are a student, faculty or staff member and want to build a positive LGBT community on campus, come to the UNH Pride meetings held every Thursday at 9 p.m.

For more information about UNH Pride contact the organization at unhpride@newhaven.edu. To reach New Haven Pride Center visit their website at www.newhavenpridecenter.org

 

 

Amtrak High-Speed Rail Could Bypass CT Shoreline Under New Plan

by Elizabeth Field | September 19, 2012

Planning has recently begun regarding Amtrak’s new high-speed rail, proposed to extend from Washington D.C., through Philadelphia, Manhattan, Hartford, and Boston. The Connecticut section would include stops in Danbury, Waterbury and Hartford, bypassing major shoreline cities such as Stamford and New Haven and leaving many commuters displeased.

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, has just entered the early planning stage for Amtrak’s heavily-traveled 457-mile Northeast Corridor in a document titled, “NEC Future: A Rail Investment Plan for the Northeast Corridor.”

Amtrak’s 30- year “NextGen High-Speed Rail Alignment” will cost a proposed $151 billion to build and would bypass nearly all of the existing Amtrak/Metro-North line.

Amtrak’s 30- year “NextGen High-Speed Rail Alignment” will cost a proposed $151 billion to build and would bypass nearly all of the existing Amtrak/Metro-North line.

A separate plan, developed and endorsed by the University of Pennsylvania’s high-speed rail studio proposed a plan costing approximately $100 billion to build a new rail line that would head from Manhattan to Long Island, then through an 18-mile tunnel beneath the Long Island Sound to reach a Milford stop before continuing on to New Haven, Meriden and Hartford. This plan, along with the first, does not provide a Stamford stop, a critical point on the New Haven line.

New Haven residents and representatives are outraged by the proposed plan and have been urging citizens to contact local and federal legislators in order to demonstrate the importance a New Haven stop serves to riders and commuters, alike.

“I think that we need to be included. We’re a major city in this state and for it to circumvent New Haven just doesn’t make sense,” said Anthony Rescigno, president of the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce. “This is an economic development issue. This will impact us from an economic development point of view.”

Chairman of New Haven’s Economic Development Commission, David Silverstone, agreed with Rescigno’s sentiments.

“I think you have to remember that rail service to New Haven is critical,” Silverstone said. “If we don’t have high-quality, high-speed rail service, that’s a real problem for the region. The airport…clearly doesn’t provide the kind of service that we need. Therefore we’re relying on high-quality, high-speed rail service.”

A major issue with Connecticut’s existing stretch of shoreline Amtrak line is that it covers a winding pathway littered with aging bridges that already prevent Amtrak’s fastest train, the Acela, from reaching top speeds in Connecticut.

Ultimately, the decision is up to the FRA, which is the funding body for all rail transportation service. They are currently in the early planning stages, which will take up to 38 months to complete.

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