October 28 - November 4, 1998

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La Casa Gala Ball Dedicated To Councilman Ayala

by Juan Fuentes Vizcarrondo

La Casa de Puerto Rico, Inc. announced plans for its 11th annual gala celebration to be held this year at the Wadsworth Atheneum on Saturday, November 7.

At a press conference last Friday, Oct. 16, Ivette Servera, Chair of La Casa, introduced John Meehan, President and CEO of Hartford Hospital who is the honorary chair for the ball and Councilman Luis A. Ayala to whom the banquet will be dedicated. Ayala is currently serving his second term on the Hartford City Council.

As chair of the Parks and Recreation Committee, Councilman Ayala has spearheaded a new era of investment in Hartford's historic park system, and an expansion of recreation programs benefitting all Hartford residents. He has supported merchants, programs to increase investment and create jobs in Hartford neighborhoods. He was instrumental in the installation of the Roberto Clemente monument and naming Colt Park Baseball Diamond in memory of the Puerto Rican baseball legend.

Councilman Ayala is past president of the Connecticut Puerto Rican Parade Committee and has received numerous accolades from several organizations around the state.

At the ball Juan Daniel Brito, Editor and Publisher of El Extra News newspaper will be recognized for his more than 20 years of service to the community.

The keynote speaker for the ball will be Marty Petty, Publisher and Chief Executive Officer of The Hartford Courant, a Pulitzer Prize-winner and the oldest continuously published newspaper in the nation.

Petty has held several administrative positions with The Courant and has won several awards in photojournalism. She is a member of several professional newspaper organizations including the Newspaper Association of America's Partner 2000 Committee, has served as Pulitzer Prize juror, 1989 and chaired the Pulitzer photography jury in 1990.

Petty is member of several boards and committees, among which are the Downtown Council, Greater Hartford Chamber of Commerce, Greater Hartford Arts Council, connecticut Public Television and she is board president of Hartford's Camp Courant.

La Casa de Puerto Rico, Inc. has always advocated for better access to resources and services for their constituents, according to Carmen M. Rodríguez, its executive director. She stated that "La Casa de Puerto Rico has always served as the fulcrum for Puerto Rican activism from which educational, health, housing, economic development and other successful endeavors have sprung." But the task is greater now than before "due to the present socio-economic situation that is seriously affecting the Puerto Rican community," indicated Rodríguez. "La Casa de Puerto Rico is needed more than ever to assist in the inevitable transition that the surrounding economic environment requires," she concluded.

Persons interested in attending the La Casa de Puerto Rico Ball may contact: Ms. Maritza Newton-Falcón, La Casa de Puerto Rico, Inc., 48 Main St., Hartford, CT 06106, Tel (860) 522-7296.

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