Alternative Banks in the New Haven Area

There are a number of alternative banks in the New Haven area, and throughout Connecticut. They come in two forms:

(1) The credit union, which is a not-for-profit cooperative (you join and become a member, rather than opening an account);

(2) The Community Development Bank, that is, a bank certified as a Community Development Financial Institution, which has a mission to promote economic development by providing financial products and services to people and communities underserved by traditional financial institutions, particularly in low income communities.

There is only one Community Development Bank in the area (in fact, there are only 100 in the U.S.):  Start Community Bank, which unfortunately has only one branch, on Whalley Avenue in New Haven. I have an account there.

There are numerous local credit unions in the New Haven area, listed below (please let me know if I left any out). For credit unions elsewhere in the state, click here.

CT Federal Credit Union, North Haven
Connex CU, North Haven, Guilford, Meriden, Orange
East Haven Municipal Employees CU, East Haven
First CT CU, Wallingford
Healthcare Financial Federal CU, New Haven & Bridgeport
McKesson FCU, Stratford, Derby, Milford
Members First FCU, Meriden & Wallingford
Meriden Postal Employees FCU
New Haven County CU, North Haven
New Haven Firefighters CU
New Haven Police FCU
New Haven Teachers FCU
Regional Water Authority Employees CU, New Haven
Science Park FCU, New Haven
Sikorsky Financial CU, Stratford, Milford, Seymour et al
State Police CU, Meriden
Wepawaug-Flagg FCU, Hamden

Board and Commission Transparency

Connecticut is full of boards and commissions, elected and appointed, at the state and municipal levels, which few people know exist, even fewer people understand, and about which there is little timely information online, including descriptions and mission statements, descriptions of board members (and who nominated and approved them), minutes, and agendas of upcoming meetings.

For example, CT New Junkie reports today that the Connecticut Low Wage Employer Advisory Board is meeting today at 3:00 pm, and that the meeting is being broadcast on CT-N. The Board’s website has more historical information than those of most boards and commissions, including the language by which it was created, minutes and agendas, and testimony and reports. What it lacks is information about its members (who they are and how they came to be appointed to the Board) and information that would be necessary for any citizen to participate in (or even decide whether to watch) today’s meeting, that is, an agenda for today’s meeting, and the agenda and minutes of the Board’s most recent meeting, in June.

This is an exceptionally important policy area right now. After focusing on the state minimum wage in 2016, the Board is supposed to be considering other ways of helping the unemployed and the underemployed, including job training and workforce development, occupational licensing, reentry workforce programs, barriers to work, benefit cliffs, wage disparities, and State costs to support low-wage earners.

This board, like so many other boards and commissions, should be working hard to ensure full transparency so that citizens can provide their viewpoints and expertise. Those who are affected by this lack of transparency should contact board and commission chairs and administrators, demanding more and more timely transparency.

Get Your Employer or Organization to Participate in the goNewHavengo CarFree Competition This September

goNewHavengo‘s mission is to promote health and well-being across the region by advancing safe, cost-effective, and convenient transportation for getting into and around New Haven. It does this by collaborating with communities, government agencies, businesses, schools, and NGOs in New Haven and across Connecticut to plan outreach and awareness events, design specialized strategies to reduce car dependency, encourage local leaders to champion sustainable mobility, and advocate for a multi-modal transportation system that services everyone.

One of its principal programs is the CarFree Competition, which began in 2014. Businesses, government agencies, and organizations, as well as individuals, compete to cut their transporation emissions by telecommuting, walking, biking, car/vanpooling, or taking the bus or train in September.

The number of individuals and the amount of emissions avoided has been growing, but the number of businesses and organizations participating went down last year. Get your employer or organization in which you’re a member to participate so that everyone can see how easy and beneficial it can be to commute in more sustainable ways.

Plastic Bag Recycling

Did you know that you can recycle your plastic bags and plastic wrap at a wide range of nearby grocery stores and home-hardware stores, including stores with grocery departments, such as Wal-Mart and Target? And this includes not only the plastic bags that originate in these stores, but also the bags newspapers are delivered in (for those without dogs), dry cleaning bags, zip bags, and all sorts of plastic wrap and bubble wrap. The plastic just has to be clean and dry when you drop it off in the bins in the front of these stores.

The plastic gets recycled into products such as new grocery bags, benches, and decking.

You can find the nearest dropoff locations at the Plastic Film Recycling website. The following stores came up in a New Haven search. If the stores you shop at aren’t recycling plastic, it would be worth asking them to start.

ShopRite
Wal-Mart
Target
Lowe’s
Whole Foods
PriceRite
Adams Hometown Market

The New Haven Climate Emergency Call to Action Day Has Been Changed from Today to Thursday

The New Haven Climate Movement‘s “Climate Emergency – A Call to Action” has been delayed due to rain from today to Thursday, August 10.

The New Haven community is invited to mobilize against climate change, joining the events at any point during the day between 7:00 am and 7:00 pm to hear or even give sidewalk speeches on immediate challenges to our environment. People are especially invited to come to City Hall at 5:15. Here are the times and places throughout the day:

The Intersection of Church St & Chapel St: 7 am – 9:30 am
In Front of Wells Fargo Bank on Church St: 9:45 am – 11:30 am
In Front of Yale New Haven Hospital: 12 pm – 2:30 pm
The Intersection of Whalley Ave and Orchard St: 3 pm – 4:45
In Front of City Hall: 5:15 pm – 6 pm
Informal Gathering on the green: 6 pm 7 pm

Volunteers Sought for Quinnipiac River Cleanup Committee

The Quinnipiac River Watershed Association has formed a Quinnipiac River Cleanup Committee (QRCC) that will facilitate year-round watershed cleanup and improvements.

This could include anything from an area cleanup to a larger mitigation project.

The Quinnipiac River Cleanup Committee will establish direct access for the public to report any issues that impact the watershed.
The Goals of the QRCC:
  • Create a sustainable committee that will work to improve the entire Quinnipiac River Watershed and in turn, your local community.
  • Achieve a partnership with local volunteers in each of the watershed towns to help with any projects that are undertaken by the QRWA.
  • Establish a local contact that will assist to organize local volunteers on an “as needed bases”
  • Obtain sponsorship from local businesses to help cover the cost of projects undertaken by the QRCC
  • Initiate a process to ensure that resolutions will be prioritized and resolved in a timely manner.

Interested people wishing to volunteer should contact the Quinnipiac River Cleanup Committee Chair, Tim Cutler, at qrivercleanup@att.net

To volunteer for other committees, see the Association’s Volunteer page.

What to Do with Connecticut’s Piece of the VW Settlement

Connecticut is getting $55 million from the fund set up by VW due to its ruses regarding its “clean” diesels, which dirtied the air throughout the country. The League of Conservation Voters is recommending that CT residents tell Gov. Malloy to use the funds to help replace diesel school buses with electric school buses.

Here is the page for e-mailing Gov. Malloy, and below is my edited version of the League’s language on the page linked to above.

The Volkswagen settlement will give Connecticut $55 million for the purpose of cleaning up the air VW’s diesels dirtied over the years. Please spend it on transitioning from diesel to zero-emissions electric school buses, reducing toxic diesel pollution. This will protect the health of the 467,000 kids who ride buses to and from school in Connecticut, as well as the air of the communities they drive through every day.

This is the best use of Connecticut’s VW Mitigation Trust Fund.