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Ray of hope for Bridgeport’s Lighthouse program

Photo: Linda Conner Lambeck / Linda Conner Lambeck

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Bridgeport school board meeting was filled with Lighthouse supporters on Monday

Bridgeport school board meeting was filled with Lighthouse supporters on Monday

Photo: Linda Conner Lambeck / Linda Conner Lambeck

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Marlene Siegel

Marlene Siegel

Photo: Hearst Connecticut Media File Photo

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Supporters behind her, Lighthouse Director Tammy Pappa speaks to Bridgeport Board of Education. June 13, 2016

Supporters behind her, Lighthouse Director Tammy Pappa speaks to Bridgeport Board of Education. June 13, 2016

Photo: Linda Conner Lambeck / Linda Conner Lambeck

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Lighthouse students said teachers made the signs they carried to try and win support for the afterschool program staying in city schools rent free. Lighthouse students said teachers made the signs they carried to try and win support for the afterschool program staying in city schools rent free.

Photo: Linda Conner Lambeck / Linda Conner Lambeck

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Students speak out for city’s Lighthouse program

Students speak out for city’s Lighthouse program

Photo: Linda Conner Lambeck / Linda Conner Lambeck

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Shawn Davis, a first grade student at Hallen Elementary School, gets a new backpack Thursday, July 16, 2015, during the annual Connecticut Higher Education Trust (CHET) backpack distribution at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport, Conn. CHET and State Treasurer Denise L. Nappier partnered with the Summer Lighthouse Program to supply more than 1,200 kids from Bridgeport with backpacks stuffed with school supplies. Myra Viatil, a first grade student at Hallen Elementary School, gets a new backpack Thursday, July 16, 2015, during the annual Connecticut Higher Education Trust (CHET) backpack distribution at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport, Conn. CHET and State Treasurer Denise L. Nappier partnered with the Summer Lighthouse Program to supply more than 1,200 kids from Bridgeport with backpacks stuffed with school supplies. Hallen Elementary School kindergarten students Jamaya Irby and Travis Dyer check out the back-to-school supplies in their new backpacks Thursday, July 16, 2015, at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport, Conn. Connecticut Higher Education Trust (CHET) and State Treasurer Denise L. Nappier partnered with the Summer Lighthouse Program to supply more than 1,200 kids from Bridgeport with backpacks stuffed with school supplies.

Ray of hope for Bridgeport s Lighthouse program

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BRIDGEPORT Talks are under way to keep 2,600 school children from being locked out of the city s threatened summer Lighthouse program, set to start July 5. District representatives have finally met face to face with a team from Mayor Joseph Ganim[7] s office over a rental dispute, said Howard Gardner[8], chair of the school board s finance committee.

The school board voted last year to kick the city s after school and summer program out of city schools unless it started paying $500,000 a year to cover security, custodial and utility costs. A May 15, 2017 deadline to make the payment came and went. The program eventually paid the district $50,000 not enough to satisfy a 5-4 majority of the school board, which voted last month to demand full payment. Freshman member Annette Segarra Negron[9] cast the deciding vote, saying the board needed something to bring to the table as it attempts to shift refuse pick up, snow removal and crossing guard costs from the school board budget to the city side of the ledgers.

Last year, the district reimbursed the city $394,393 a year for snow and trash removal and $876,898 for crossing guards. All according to the school board city responsibilities. Gardner would not say the nature of the negotiations or who specifically, besides himself, was at the table. He did characterize the meetings as spirited. City officials, meanwhile, say the city s offer is generous and fair without going into details.

This is not about the City and the Board of Education[10], Ganim said in a written statement. This is about the children and parents of Bridgeport. We are very concerned for the safety and welfare of our youth, and the families who are relying on the Lighthouse Program on a daily basis to provide educational and recreational activities for our children throughout the summer months. We are hopeful that the city and the board will come to an agreement soon.

Gardner said he wants an arrangement that is forward-looking and will forever settle the issue for both sides.

Everything is on the table, Gardner said. I am hoping we can come to a universal, long-term agreement. Gardner s committee heard bids for garbage pick up contracts this week, but put off a decision pending a conclusion of talks with the city. During the summer, the Lighthouse program uses 18 schools for five weeks. Children who use it get two meals and a host of recreational and academic activities. Most Lighthouse counselors are also school board staff.

Director Tammy Papa[11] has said the program has no where else to go. During the school year, her program operates after school in 23 schools. It s annual $4.2 million budget comes from city, state and federal sources. Another $900,000 is collected in parent fees. School board members maintain the program should generate enough revenue to pay expenses borne by a district that is potentially facing $11.4 million in program cuts in the 2017-18 school year.

The district s proposed operating budget for the year totals $244.8 million.

Last year, the district cut kindergarten aides, middle school counselors, home school coordinators and teacher interns to make ends meet. Next year, it could be cutting math and reading coaches.

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Man stabbed with watermelon knife in Giant Food on Connecticut …

An argument between two employees in a storage room of a Giant grocery store near the Van Ness Metro station on Thursday ended with one worker stabbing the other with a large knife used to cut watermelons, D.C. police said. The injured employee, in his 40s, was hospitalized in serious condition with three stab wounds, according to police, including one in the abdomen that fractured his ribs and caused extensive internal injuries. Fred Allen Irby, 28, of Southeast Washington, was arrested at the store and charged with assault with intent to kill. A D.C. police officer working overtime as a store security guard was at the store in uniform. The store in the 4300 block of Connecticut Avenue NW across the street from the University of the District of Columbia closed for several hours after the stabbing, which occurred out of view of customers.

An arrest affidavit filed in D.C. Superior Court on Friday says Irby and the other man began arguing about 5 p.m., with the employee alleging that Irby rarely did any work. At least one worker tried to intervene by getting between the two men, but police said the suspect retrieved the knife from a cooler and attacked the victim.

I hope he dies, witnesses told police that Irby said as he walked out of the store with the knife in his hand, according to the court affidavit. Police said they found the knife in grass outside the store.

Man stabbed with watermelon knife in Giant Food on Connecticut Avenue in NW

An argument between two employees in a storage room of a Giant grocery store near the Van Ness Metro station on Thursday ended with one worker stabbing the other with a large knife used to cut watermelons, D.C. police said. The injured employee, in his 40s, was hospitalized in serious condition with three stab wounds, according to police, including one in the abdomen that fractured his ribs and caused extensive internal injuries. Fred Allen Irby, 28, of Southeast Washington, was arrested at the store and charged with assault with intent to kill. A D.C. police officer working overtime as a store security guard was at the store in uniform. The store in the 4300 block of Connecticut Avenue NW across the street from the University of the District of Columbia closed for several hours after the stabbing, which occurred out of view of customers.

An arrest affidavit filed in D.C. Superior Court on Friday says Irby and the other man began arguing about 5 p.m., with the employee alleging that Irby rarely did any work. At least one worker tried to intervene by getting between the two men, but police said the suspect retrieved the knife from a cooler and attacked the victim.

I hope he dies, witnesses told police that Irby said as he walked out of the store with the knife in his hand, according to the court affidavit. Police said they found the knife in grass outside the store.

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