Caribbean Literary Festival


Just when it seemed like October could not be more packed with cultural events, one more has been added to the calendar. A Caribbean Literary Festival will take place all day at Capital Community College on October 27th. This free event will feature food, music, performances, book readings, and more.

A number of guest authors will be present:

Don NoelNear a Far Sea, Fay TaylorSteel, Andrene Bonner, author, actor, educator, Vjange Hazle-Country Gal a Foreign, Mariana, The Dark Side of Darkness, & My Father and Other Disasters, Dr. Javier Campos-Fairfield University, Joy Lindsay-Garvey, poet and artist, Janice ‘Miss Matty Lou’ Hart, poet, performer, cultural icon, Donna Aza Weir-SoleyCaribbean Erotic

Dr. Claudette Crawford-Brown, Lecturer in FSS-Sociology, Psychology & Social Work: Faculty of Social Sciences will be a special guest. There will be a panel discussion entitled Unspeakable English: Encountering Caribbean Dialects in the College Classroom. The festival goes from 10-7 and will take place on the eleventh floor of the college.

Moonlit Meanderings

As several dozen people with flashlights and glowsticks crossed Prospect into Sunrise Overlook, the people making out in the old, black SUV probably thought they were about to be set upon by a throng of angry puritans. Instead, the group of senior citizens, teenagers, children, Gen Xers, and one infant stood around listening to one man talk about how in the 1970s the rose garden in Elizabeth Park was almost bulldozed. Under normal circumstances, the park is closed from dusk until dawn. (more…)

Crude Oil: Dependence and Consequences

The Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice held their sixth annual conference at the UConn School of Business on Saturday, October 16th. There were two keynote speakers — Wilma Subra and Lisa Garcia — and eight panels within two workshop sessions: Climate Change and Global Injustice; Oil: Hazardous to Your Health at Every Stage; History of Energy and Oil; Back to the Future of Transportation; Oil and Water Just Don’t Mix; Taking a Peek at Peak Oil; Petroleum and Food Production; and Ending Dependency: Exploring Options. Due to time constraints, I was only able to stay for invocation, one keynote speaker and one workshop session.

Wilma Subra

Wilma Subra

Wilma Subra of the Subra Company dedicated her speech to discussing the recent BP disaster which began on April 20, 2010 when the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico. Subra shared with the audience a timeline of events during the oil spill, including a number that received no mainstream news coverage to speak of in this part of the country. She described the groups most affected by this disaster as Vietnamese, Laotian, Native American, and African-American populations who were living and working along the coast, many of whom are experiencing headaches, nausea, respiratory problems, and other symptoms due to their exposure to oil in aerosol form. Subra said that people living as far as one hundred miles inland are still being affected. What began in April was not just an oil spill, but a natural gas leak and consequent dispersant contamination. (more…)

Planting Trees, Shaking Hands, Kissing Babies

The stump from a white oak is still in the ground of Bushnell Park. The diseased tree, between the Pump House and the pond, was removed in recent months. At two this afternoon, a scrawnier white oak donated by the State DEP will be planted as a replacement.

A press release from the City of Hartford says:

White Oak Tree Represents Hartford’s History and Future: Mayor Pedro Segarra and Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Amey Marrella will help complete the planting of a 12-foot tall white oak tree in Hartford’s historic Bushnell Park.

Also on hand will be representatives from the Bushnell Park Foundation and the Knox Parks Foundation.[…] The celebration comes as both the State and the City mark their 375th Anniversaries.

The Mayor will remark how this event is coordinated with the City’s efforts to beautify its Open Space and Parks and showcase them as vital economic and tourist attractions. This includes this summer’s highly successful “Week of the Parks” and the ongoing discussions with the Green Ribbon Task Force and how this can all be part of the “One City, One Plan” for conservation and development.

To learn about the various trees in Bushnell Park, request a free brochure from the Hartford Welcome Center or pick one up at the entrance of the Legislative Office Building.

Progress or Missing the Point?

With its appearance in Bushnell Park just days before the marathon, the Big Belly Solar Compactor adds Hartford to the list of customers which include city parks, national parks, shopping districts, universities, and notably, around Fenway Park.

These may be the only public, or at least visible, recycling containers in town. Before these arrived, people had few options: throw recyclables in garbage bins, carry items home to recycle later, or throw items on the ground. Now, garbage is contained better, discouraging rodents. This seems like one more positive step for the city.

Yet, one has to wonder if this container is really a sign of progress. Of all places that it could go, it was placed under trees in the park. The company website indicates that while it does not need direct sunlight to work, it should not be placed “under a roof or tree.” (more…)

Casa Linda: October 12, 2010

Just last week I assigned bonus points because that home lacked a chain link fence. As you can see, this house does have that dreaded accessory, but since it’s in good repair and the only negative, I am letting it slide.

This is a great front yard. Instead of saying “this is my personal sports field,” it says “here is a place to explore.” One is vastly more interesting than the other. The flowers add color to what would otherwise be a colorless home. As for making it friendlier, removing the bars from the front door would help with that.


Volunteers from Hartford, West Hartford, South Windsor, and elsewhere pitched in to help clean a bike path yesterday. This path, which is part of the East Coast Greenway, runs from Bushnell Park to behind the Legislative Office Building parking garage and does not seem to be maintained by anyone. It’s often covered with broken glass and it is not unusual to watch litter wear away, rather than actually be removed. By the end of the afternoon, volunteers removed about the equivalent of a dozen municipal trash cans filled with garbage and carted away one full recycling barrel. As a result, the path has an extra three feet of usable surface and is a bit less dangerous now that the sand pit has been removed. Unfortunately, that sand trap is destined to return due to erosion problems that could be easily remedied if whomever owns the land (Amtrak? City of Hartford? State of Connecticut? State Armory? The possibilities are endless.) took the initiative to install either fencing or, better, plant some vegetation with root structure. Sunday’s event was part of the 10/10/10 Work Party. Events of various sizes with small-to-very ambitious actions happened all over the globe and can be read about on the site.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

According to the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence, “on average, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends in this country every day.”  Just this week a Connecticut man was convicted of killing his ex-girlfriend; this story was overshadowed by another court case, though women are at a much greater risk of being killed by their partners than by strangers. After the news broke of that other horrific crime, there was an increase in gun sales and security systems. When women are kidnapped by estranged husbands or stabbed to death by ex-boyfriends, no such security culture arises. These are still treated as isolated issues between a couple. A different type of alarm system, however, should be activated. The CCADV has compiled a list of warning signs which may indicate that a partner is being abusive:

Does your partner:

  • constantly criticize you and your abilities as a spouse or partner, parent or employee?
  • behave in an over-protective manner or become extremely jealous?
  • threaten to hurt you, your children, pets, family members, friends or himself?
  • prevent you from seeing family or friends?
  • get suddenly angry or “lose his temper”?
  • destroy personal property or throw things around?
  • deny you access to family assets like bank accounts, credit cards, or the car, or control all finances and force you to account for what you spend?
  • use intimidation or manipulation to control you or your children?
  • hit, punch, slap, kick, shove, choke or bite you?
  • prevent you from going where you want to, when you want to, and with whomever you want to?
  • make you have sex when you don’t want to or do things sexually that you don’t want to do?
  • humiliate or embarrass you in front of other people?

They say that if you have answered ‘yes’ to any of those questions, then you may be at risk. Another list on WebMD included threats of deportation as an abusive behavior. Abusive relationships may begin normal, but become increasingly violent over time. Although domestic violence typically appears as male violence against females, it can also be caused by women against men, men against other men, and women against other women.

For help, call 1-888-774-2900 and/or visit their website for more information. Hartford Hospital has also compiled a list of resources for victims of domestic violence. The list includes resources in Hartford and in other Connecticut locations.

Free Self Defense

True Colors — a Hartford-based organization — is sponsoring a free self defense class for LGBT youth. This program runs for six weeks and will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Church on Fern Street in West Hartford. The session begins on October 9 and runs on Saturdays October 16 and 23, November 6 and 20, and December 4, 2010. For more information about exact times or what participants should wear/bring, call 860-232-0050 ext. 306.

Update: Due to the Hartford Marathon, the class scheduled for 10/9/10 will be postponed.

To learn more about True Colors or what LGBT youth struggle with, check out this clip: