Brenda Leon | Connecticut Public Radio
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Brenda Leon

A Hartford HealthCare worker administers a COVID-19 vaccine
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

 


As Connecticut prepares to transition into Phase 1B of the vaccine rollout, there’s growing concern about reaching diverse communities who have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 illness and death. To address the problem, Dr. Jorge Moreno, an internist and assistant professor at the Yale School of Medicine, posted a video about his experience with the vaccine. 

Chion Wolf photo

The coronavirus has taken the lives of over 5,600 Connecticut residents. Urbano Sifuentes of West Hartford was among them. For 25 years, Sifuentes worked as a janitor at the University of Hartford.

Speaking in Spanish, his daughter Rosemary Torres remembered him as a generous man who worked hard and had a great sense of humor.

“He was a very, very loving, very tender man. It has been difficult because it was very surprising the way he left us. It was so sudden. He was always cheerful and always joking around.”

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public

President-elect Joe Biden’s pick to lead the federal Department of Education -- Miguel Cardona -- has deep roots in Connecticut public schools.

Ingmar Riveros (left) and Peruvian refugee Xiomy De la Cruz (right) serve 150 families from their food pantry in a store basement in Hartford on Nov. 19. Many of the families are undocumented and severely impacted by the pandemic.
Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

Early in the pandemic, Xiomy De la Cruz was working at a fast-food restaurant when her work hours were cut back. She is a Peruvian refugee and a single mother with two children and another on the way. Like many families, she found herself in various pantry lines to make ends meet.

Early in the pandemic, Xiomy De la Cruz was working at a fast food restaurant, but her work hours were cut back. She is a Peruvian refugee single mother with two children and another on the way. Like many families, she found herself in various pantry lines to make ends meet.

"So I said to myself one day, 'why not fill up my car with food and take it to my house?' There are so many moms who don't have access to a car for transportation," De la Cruz said. "I filled up my van and put a 'free food' sign on my door."

Asnuntuck Community College

Completion rates for low-income Black and Latinx students enrolled in Connecticut’s two-year public colleges were already low before COVID-19 hit, and the pandemic has exacerbated the challenges they face.

The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving is helping out some of those students through grants it has awarded to five community colleges.

Héctor Valdez / Bou Group

There is still time left to sign-up for this weekend’s Latino and Iberian Film Festival, at Yale.

The festival features films online from countries including Chile, Cuba and the Dominican Republic.

Contributed Photo

Nina Vázquez left her hometown of Aguada, Puerto Rico, when she was 13 years old, moving to Meriden with her family. 

“I consider my family an economic refugee,” said Vázquez. “The reason why we left was because of an economic downfall in Puerto Rico. We were planning to go back a few years later, but it never could happen.” 

danielfela/iStock / Thinkstock

When Victoria van Basten began putting together her paperwork to apply for U.S. citizenship, her plan was to have one consultation with an immigration lawyer, to keep costs as low as possible. 

“We just knew there was no way to pay for a lawyer’s time,” van Basten said. “Not with all the filing fees and things that go along with immigration.”

And those fees soon may nearly double under the Trump administration. 

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

Hartford Public Schools will continue to offer an in-person learning option for at least two more weeks. Since September, there have been 52 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the city’s schools but only one probable case of in-school transmission, officials said.

prison gate
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

Connecticut prison officials are monitoring a coronavirus outbreak in Hartford Correctional Center, where 56 incarcerated people tested positive but are not showing symptoms, according to Karen Martucci, spokeswoman for the Department of Correction.

U.S. Census Bureau

After a Supreme Court order earlier this week, the 2020 census count is set to end the night of Thursday, Oct. 15. This, after multiple changes to the deadline in the past few weeks. Ending the count earlier than expected has increased concern about ensuring an accurate count in Connecticut.

Residents register to vote and fill out the Census at Hartford Public Library's Park Street branch during an outdoor outreach event.
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

Pablo Liriano is an 85-year-old urban gardener who is voting for the first time in November’s election. After waiting more than a decade, he got his citizenship in 2018, and he then registered to vote at Hartford's Park Street Library in the heart of the city’s Latino community. 

U.S. Census Bureau

The deadline to complete the decennial census has changed yet again. Counting is now expected to continue through Oct. 31. Connecticut leads the country as one of the best-counted states in the nation with a 99.9% enumeration rate, close to a perfect count. 

U.S. Census Bureau

Hartford currently sits in last place among cities in the nation in responding to the 2020 census. Last week a federal judge ordered the deadline extended through Oct. 31, giving the city a few more weeks to target hard-to-count areas. But now the White House is appealing that order and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has announced that data collection will wrap up on October 5th.

Brenda Leon / Connecticut Public Radio

After an uptick in positive COVID-19 cases, Hartford Public Schools announced they will provide coronavirus testing for students and staff. School nurses have been trained to administer the tests to symptomatic students and will work in partnership with Hartford HealthCare and Trinity Health of New England. 

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public Radio


Back in August, families with children in Hartford Public Schools responded to an online survey aimed at finding out the reasons behind their decision to send their kids back to school.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

As in-person learning continues throughout Connecticut, at least eight schools have closed their doors temporarily or imposed restrictions after confirmed cases of COVID-19. 

Brenda Leon / Connecticut Public

Tuesday’s planned opening of Hartford Public Schools was postponed after officials reported that a ransomware virus caused an outage of critical computer systems. The district announced on its website that school for both online and in-person learning will begin Wednesday, Sept. 9. 

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

At CREC’s Academy of Science and Innovation in New Britain, school principal Karen Mooney has been preparing for the return of 457 students to in-person learning on Sept. 9. 

But the logistics will look a little different from those of past school years in this time of coronavirus.

File Photo, July 30, 2020: Mirtha N. Aldave, a Hartford HS bilingual teacher showing support as the Connecticut Education Association (CEA) and AFT Connecticut organized a car caravan past the Governor's Residence.
Joe Amon / New England News Collaborative

Parents and relatives got to see what life will look like for socially distanced students at Bridgeport’s Central High School Monday. Superintendent Michael Testani led a group through sparsely furnished classrooms and into a cafeteria marked with caution tape. 

Brenda Leon / Connecticut Public Radio

Chants, speeches and a public art installation took over the state Capitol building Wednesday as educators, parents and students called on the state to delay in-person instruction for the coming school year.

Joshua Moses (7) holds his backpack in front of Bellizzi Middle School.
Brenda Leon / Connecticut Public

Marlin Johnson is getting her 7-year-old son Joshua ready to go back to school -- a mix of remote and in-person learning to start. Part of that preparation takes the pandemic into account, like reminding him to remember to keep his mask on and to maintain a healthy distance. 

Bonnie-Brown / Creative Commons

When Jennifer Perez Caraballo decided to keep her 4-year-old child at home for the school year, she had a lot to think about, with two parents at home working full time, her own preexisting health conditions, and back-to-school plans from Hartford public schools that seemed unclear. 

Brenda Leon / Connecticut Public Radio

For the past five years, the Capitol Region Education Council, or CREC, has handed out about 1,200 book bags to Hartford public school students in preparation for the new school year, but this year the annual block party became a drive-thru.

glegorly/iStock / Thinkstock

Elogia More finished her final shift at the Aetna building in Hartford at 1:30 a.m. on March 19.  The next day, the cleaning company she spent the last four years working for sent a layoff notice.

DavidsonScott15 / Creative Commons

Hartford Police have identified a man who was killed in a shooting as city resident Kennedy Burgess, 28. He was shot during the second of two incidents in the city Monday night. Mayor Luke Bronin said Tuesday that he thinks the coronavirus crisis is playing a role in the uptick in violence in Hartford.

Courtesy: Hartford Public Library

By way of mural design, performance, storytelling and photo documentation, a group of Hartford artists is embarking on a new project that celebrates the stories of Black, Latinx and Indigenous changemakers in Hartford. 

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

Antonio Lopez drives his Mexican Food Truck every morning from Holyoke to Hartford, where he has been selling food for three years on the corner of Putnam and Park streets. But customer traffic has been scarce, and he says a second wave of the coronavirus could put him out of business.