Taxes Shouldn’t Have to Hurt

A few weeks ago I realized that the City of Hartford had not sent me my tax bill. I had received one at this address before, as well as at my previous residence in the city. I investigated my problem on the City’s website and found it to be the very first question on the page:

Q: What if I never received a tax bill?

A: Connecticut General Statutes (CGS) Section 12-130 states “…failure to send out any… tax bill shall not invalidate the tax….” You are not exempt from payment of all taxes and all interest charges.  If you do not receive a bill for which you are responsible, call the Tax Collectors Office at (860) 757-9630

Personally, I don’t agree with that policy, but there’s nothing I can do about it, so I called the number to find out what was up with my lack of bill.  Continue reading “Taxes Shouldn’t Have to Hurt”

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A Vegetarian’s Guide to the Taste of Hartford

I still lament that the days of the true Taste of Hartford have gone. It used to be that you could exchange money for tickets, and then walk along Constitution Plaza, listening to live music and sampling food from a variety of restaurants. You could grab a samosa, slice of chocolate cheesecake, and pierogi, even in that order if you wanted to. Now, the Taste of Hartford is a week-long Prix Fixe menu at over thirty restaurants. This remains a good chance to sample food from restaurants you may have considered too pricey, but really, the experience of a mad dash through adventurous culinary combinations is gone.

Unless you’re a vegetarian, which means that the adventure is merely finding a place that meets your needs. Here are the restaurants with their respective veggie options as advertised especial for the Taste of Hartford. This does not mean that other participating restaurants are completely devoid of meat-free foods, just that they are not offering them at a special price. But vegetarians know that usually, our foodstuffs are cheaper than $20.09 anyway, so it’s not like we’re getting a major meal discount. Continue reading “A Vegetarian’s Guide to the Taste of Hartford”

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Mid-Week Volunteer Opportunities

On Wednesday, July 22nd, the West End Civic Association Beautification & Planting Committee will be planting greenery in front of the Fire House in Sisson Avenue. Interested parties can meet on the corner of Girard and Farmington at 6:30 pm. They will also be planting and beautifying on August 15th beginning at 9 am.

The LGH Corridor of Hope II project (area along Capitol Avenue under the railroad bridge) went on a rain delay. Some mural work is slated to also happen Wednesday evening.

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Whose Guardians?

It’s been reported that the Guardian Angels had been contacted after a series of murders; on Sunday, a group of the Guardian Angels walked the Garden Street area. This “patrol” was designed to assess the situation. The Hartford Courant reports that Guardian Angels will begin weekly patrols, and that the group’s founder wants there to be a Hartford chapter; an earlier attempt to do just that failed in the 80s. For those who do not remember, there was controversy about the group then. Recent news about the GA’s visit to Hartford reference controversy, without really spelling out what the issues are.

According to their own website, they have won presidential praise, are global, and are a way for people to do community service.

In the recent Courant article, someone questioning the group was described as a thug:

“That’s for show,” said one bystander, a young man with a mouthful of gold-capped teeth and dressed in a matching yellow shirt that read “Born Killers.” “They can’t stop nothing. We’re out there every day. When they leave, there’s gonna be a shooting.” The man would not give his name.

His comments — which might have been construed differently had he been described as an elderly man or a shop owner — only echo a critique of the Guardian Angels that has been made elsewhere. In a discussion about the GA’s presence in New Bedford, one person commented:

They came to Brockton, and are hardly seen… ** ONLY ** when a news camera is around, they come out!

Continue reading “Whose Guardians?”

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Cheaper than a Margarita: Gimme Five Dance Party for GHAC

I generally ignore events that have a price tag; it’s not just because I’m cheap, but because there are so many awesome things happening that are free. Well, someone has to pay the bill, and often it’s the Greater Hartford Arts Council absorbing part of the cost. This Thursday, you can throw $5 their way if you’ve been appreciating what they’ve been helping to provide us with — First Thursday (some venues/events are free, others have a fee), Black-Eyed and Blues Fest, Grand Band Slam, and the Festival of Light, to name a few.

They’ve announced a Dance Party fundraiser on Facebook:

Support the Greater Hartford Arts Council
Gimme Five Dance Party !
DJ Forty Five Jon Eastman will keep you moving and grooving

Join us at
45 Church St. 3rd floor (across from Hartford Stage)
Thursday, July 23 from 7-10 pm

5.00 cover and the opportunities to give keep on coming………….

For 5 more dollars you can……..

Be the DJ for 5 minutes or
Buy a dance with Councilperson Luis Cotto or
Receive an unwanted opinion from Jacques Lamarre (withering remarks cost 10.00)
Continue reading “Cheaper than a Margarita: Gimme Five Dance Party for GHAC”

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Hope They Remove the Toilet

I don’t know how to not be snarky about this. It’s well-intended. It’s an area in dire need to love and care. Yet, I have my doubts about how thorough this section will be shined up, and how this effort will be maintained. After all, the small bank that had been “cleaned” a few weeks ago already contains litter; this visible spot with bright yellow flowers seems the easiest to maintain, but it’s openly neglected. It’s below a banner that declares “Hartford Cares.”

This area along Capitol Avenue has been one that has long caused me to bristle with resentment toward the mostly unhelpful 311 service, the irresponsible State of Connecticut, and various folks in the City of Hartford who are ready to pass the blame. Why should anyone want to address an area that reeks of urine and is so neglected that an abandoned sofa sat in plain view on the sidewalk for nearly two weeks before being moved, not to mention the numerous tires and other large trashed items that remain — for years — dumped behind a fence that is in remarkable disrepair? Why should anyone want to address a stretch of road that contains no street lighting, so that anyone trying to walk it at night has legitimate reason to worry? After writing about the iQuilt presentation, I find this matter even more infuriating. Bushnell Park is well-lit at night. An area of town that would be used more by residents than by visitors is dangerously dark, and seemingly not a priority to address. And I should know because I’ve often stumbled along the sidewalk here, unable to see what was underfoot, nevermind if someone was hanging out under the bridge. True, I could use Park Street instead, but I don’t think I’m being unreasonable by expecting a major thoroughfare to be usable after sunset. Continue reading “Hope They Remove the Toilet”

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The Black List

There will be a free screening of The Black List (volumes one and two) at the Wadsworth Atheneum on July 15th at 7pm.  The project is described as:

the brainchild of renowned portrait photographer/filmmaker Timothy Greenfield-Sanders and acclaimed KCRW public radio host, journalist and former New York Times film critic Elvis Mitchell, with Greenfield-Sanders directing and Mitchell conducting the interviews. […] The actual title of the film itself, The Black List, was first conceived by Mitchell as an answer to the persistent taint that western culture has applied to the word “black.”

Greenfield-Sanders will be present for a post-film discussion. The Black List contains interviews with:

Slash, former Guns N’ Roses guitarist; Toni Morrison, author and Nobel laureate; Keenen Ivory Wayans, film writer/director, creator of TV’s In Living Color; Vernon Jordan, lawyer and former president of the National Urban League; Faye Wattleton, current President of the Center for the Advancement of Women and former President of Planned Parenthood; Marc Morial, former Mayor of New Orleans and current National Urban League president; Serena Williams, eight-time Grand Slam tennis champion; Lou Gossett Jr., Oscar®-winning actor; Lorna Simpson, artist and photographer; Mahlon Duckett, former Negro League Baseball star; Zane, best-selling erotic author and publisher; Al Sharpton, pastor, activist and 2004 Presidential candidate; Kareem Abdul- Jabbar, Hall of Fame basketball great; Thelma Golden, art curator at the Whitney Museum and now the Studio Museum in Harlem; Sean Combs, mogul, actor and music producer; Susan Rice, former Assistant Secretary of State and Barack Obama’s senior campaign advisor; Chris Rock, comedian, producer and director; Suzan-Lori Parks, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright; Richard Parsons, former Time Warner CEO; Dawn Staley, 3- time Olympic gold medalist, WNBA All-Star and current Temple University women’s basketball head coach; and Bill T. Jones, Tony Award-winning dancer and director of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company; [and] activist and artist Majora Carter; activist and academic Angela Davis; producer Suzanne de Passe; actor Laurence Fishburne; Anglican Bishop Barbara Harris; Mass. Gov. Deval Patrick; pastor T.D. Jakes; physician and academic Valerie Montgomery-Rice, M.D.; filmmaker Tyler Perry; singer Charley Pride; fashion designer Patrick Robinson; actress Maya Rudolph; musician RZA; filmmaker Melvin Van Peebles; and artist Kara Walker.

The Black List Project is presented by the Amistad Center for Art & Culture and the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art.

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Summer Fun is Brewin’

City Steam Brewery has been my safety net for where to take non-adventurous friends out when in town, since their American cuisine is consistent and reasonably priced. They’ve recently added free movie night (Mondays) to their menu; They are showing Stand By Me on 7/20 and Dirty Dancing on 7/27.

If that weren’t enough to get you to check out the restaurant, this Sunday (7/19) at 7pm, the Sea Tea Improv troupe will be giving a free performance. The troupe consists of:

“School’s Out 4” Summar Elguindy
“Stand-Up Joe” Leonardo
Greg “Pipes” Ludovici
Matt Neufeld AKA MC St. Louis
“Master Julia” Pistell
Dan “Bearded Fury” Russell
Kate “The Cleveland City Steamer” Sidley

The performance will be in the Richardson Room of City Steam Brewery, located at 942 Main Street in Hartford.

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Free Music at Capital Community College

This Thursday (July 16th, 6-8pm) the Curtis Brothers will be playing in the Centinel Hill Hall Auditorium, which is located on the 11th floor of the former G. Fox building at 950 Main Street. Mike Rodriguez will be playing trumpet with the band that evening. Parking will be free in the Columbus Boulevard lot.

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