Thursday, July 26, 2012

Volunteers needed to help parents, families of New Haven kindergarten pupils

Volunteers from across New Haven will gather in two weeks to welcome parents and families of incoming kindergartners to the New Haven Public Schools. More than 100 volunteers are needed to make this event a success.

Read more at the Journal Register Co.'s blog supporting nonprofits,

To sign up for a canvass shift go to

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Environmental groups discuss potential dangers of 'fracking' for natural gas in Connecticut

We received this report today from Nancy Alderman of Environment and Human Health, Inc. You can contact Nancy at

Summary of the "Fracking" Meeting held by Environment and Human Health, Inc. on Tuesday, July 24, 2012 at the Yale School of Forestry for all those people in CT who were, and are, interested in the fracking issue for Connecticut.

Map of shale gas deposits from the Gasland Project.
        There were about 45 people at the meeting including 4 Legislators - Senator Len Fasano and Senator Carlo Leone's Aide, Andrew Ammirati,   and  Representatives Jonathan Steinberg and Matt Lesser .
        Many groups were represented. To name a few: CT Sierra Club, Watershed Partnership, Rivers Alliance, Citizen's Campaign for the Environment, Grassroots Environmental Education,  Middletown Conservation Commission, Middletown Garden Club, Environmental Concerns Coalition of Milford,  Environment and Human Health, Inc., New Haven Environmental Justice, Thimble Creek Research, Yale Forestry School,  Democracy for America, Old Lyme Conservation Commission, and three people hired by the Heinz Foundation in Pennsylvania working on the health issues caused by fracking in Pennsylvania.
        As well,  there was a representative from the CT Petroleum Council - Steven Guveyan


Fracking raises many areas of concern and there were many issues raised for discussion
        1. How much shale is actually in CT and do we need to be concerned?  The meeting felt the answer was yes and the unassessed shale is under Hartford and goes through the middle of the state - pretty much following the I-91 Corridor.

        2.  Fracking's damage to drinking water and underground aquifers was discussed. What chemicals are put into the deep ground in order to frack and what additional chemicals come up from the underground rock such as radon, arsenic and other toxic compounds from the "Deep."

        3. CT will need to protect itself from accepting other states' toxic fracking waste. New Jersey is already getting PA's waste without the New Jersey Legislature having acted upon it.

        4. What happens when the toxic waste from fracking is injected into the ground?  Some states have had small earth quakes where this has been allowed.

        5. Huge amount of truck traffic is generated by fracking.

        6.  The Gas Industry usually goes after farmlands as a place to frack offering farmers large amount of money.  CT has spent large sums of money trying to protect CT Farms.

        7.  David Brown, Sc.D. Public Health Toxicologist, reported what he has seen happen in PA.  He has been hired by the Heinz Foundation of PA to look at those harmed in that state  from fracking.  He has seen respiratory problems, intestinal issues and skin rashes.  Generally many people near the fracking sites are unwell as are their farm animals.

        8. Each well site needs thousands of gallons of water and that will need to come from somewhere.

        9. Vermont banned Fracking this year as well as banning any fracking waste from being disposed of in their state.  In VT's words - the ban "ensures that the state's underground sources of drinking water remain free of contamination......."

        10. Vermont like Connecticut has no fracking taking place -- or yet proposed to take place - but that state saw the potential damage fracking could have on their state and they chose to get ahead of the problem.  Should CT do the same?


1.   There should be legislation that bans accepting other states' toxic fracking wastes from coming into CT. The fracking toxic waste should not be allowed to enter our waterways or be injected into deep underground wells.

2. There should be a bi-partisan educational meeting held at the Capitol either the 2nd or 3rd week in September for all legislators.  Sen. Len Fasano, Rep. Matt Lesser and Rep. Jonathan Steinberg have kindly offered to host the meeting. Sen Fasano offered to get another Republican Representative so to have 2 Republicans and 2 Democrats.

3. CT DOH Health and CT DEEP should be invited. As well the CT petroleum Council will be invited - so to make this a balanced meeting.  As well it was suggested to have the Attorney General's Office represented. Because fracking often affects farmlands - it was suggested that the  Working Land Alliance be there as well.

                If I left anything important out --  I  apologize.  There was much that went on.

                Thanks to all of you who were able to come - it is greatly appreciated,
                                Nancy Alderman, President
                                Environment and Human Health, Inc.

Nancy Alderman, President
Environment and Human Health, Inc.
1191 Ridge Road
North Haven, CT   06473
(phone) 203-248-6582
(Fax)     203-288-7571

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Looking for ways to tell the many exciting stories of nonprofit groups in New Haven

By Ed Stannard, Community Engagement Editor
Twitter: @edstannardnhr, @nhrvoices
Facebook: Ed Stannard-Register, Your Open Newsroom

One of my major interests is nonprofit organizations, especially those serving the poor and needy. It’s amazing how much great work they do, usually with small staffs and relying heavily—sometimes exclusively—on volunteers.

I would love to showcase their work on, in our Community MediaLab and in other ways. The Journal Register Co. in Connecticut supports the work of nonprofits in various ways, which you can see on the blog

I met Wednesday with Alison Cunningham, executive director of Columbus House, as well as development director John Brooks. Columbus House is well known as a homeless shelter on Ella T. Grasso Boulevard. What isn’t so widely known is the variety of programs the agency conducts, including helping its clients find housing and jobs and assisting those in early recovery from addictions. This week I wrote a story about a new Community Support Volunteer Program, in which volunteers will be paired with clients in supportive housing to spend time together, helping to relieve the loneliness newly independent people often feel. Contact information to volunteer is in my story.

The reason for our meeting was to talk about how Columbus House can increase its outreach on the Web by starting a blog, which the Register will promote in our media lab. We talked about the many stories Columbus House has to tell: clients successfully given housing or a job and volunteers who come from faith groups and other organizations to serve meals.

There are also numerous other organizations in Greater New Haven doing similar work, all part of the Greater New Haven Regional Alliance to End Homelessness.

When people share resources and connections, great things happen. Columbus House is in the midst of hiring a communications person (here’s the job description), who I hope to work with to launch a blog. And Alison agreed that it would be great to have a “group blog” in which many organizations can contribute.

I’m excited about these efforts. If you have any ideas or want to start a blog for yourself or your group, please let me know! Email me at or call me at 203-789-5743.

Addendum: I want to congratulate my colleague, Angi Carter (right), who has just been named a curator for our corporate parent, Digital First Media. She'll be helping to put together national and international news packages for our publications across the country (but thankfully she'll still be in our newsroom to show me the digital ropes).

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Calling all families, kayakers and canoeists: It's West River Water Festival 2012

A 'tidal wave of family fun' is coming your way Saturday, as the West River Watershed Partnership hosts its annual West River Water Festival from 1-4 p.m. at West River Memorial Park, corner of Ella T. Grasso Blvd and Route 34.

The day kicks off with a pre-festival cleanup in the park from 10 a.m. to noon; also in the West River for participants with a small watercraft.

Children and families can enjoy kiddie pools and sprinklers, mermaids reading story books, arts and crafts, pirate tales, water magic show, bike safety demonstration, games and educational activities.

"By involving young people from New Haven neighborhoods with their watershed, we hope to inspire them to pursue further education and perhaps resource conservation or scientific careers," said Doreen Abubakar, founder of the West River Watershed Partnership.

A companion event at the Barnard Nature Center will feature live sea and river animals, museum artifacts and objects such as animal skulls that kids will be able to touch.

Kayakers and canoeists are invited to bring your vessels and join in water exploration. If you love to walk, there will be a nature walk to the newly restored Duck Pond in nearby Edgewood Park.

Bird watchers  will be able to catch views of  herons, egrets, ospreys, cedar wax wings, woodpeckers and other birds.

If you go: The West River Watershed Partnership provided pictures for an online gallery from the 2011 festival, that we hope you will contribute your pictures to and help expand it to include the 2012 event.

Send your pictures in using the #waterfest hashtag on Twitter or via email to

Thank you for sharing your memories with us.

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