Top Twelve Articles of 2012

The year-end lists are a little bit phoning it in, but looking through the archives is great for perspective. Originally, this was going to be a Top Twelve list: the top article from each month. Stories are more complicated and ongoing than that. So, this is a gathering of articles that fall into one of three categories: received a lot of attention, deemed by Real Hartford to be somehow more important than others, or were especially interesting or fun to write.

I ended up with more than twelve:

In January Real Hartford got a sneak preview of some oddities at the Connecticut Historical Society and then wrote about that in “What’s Behind the Mantel?” Also in January, we looked closely at the next phase of the iQuilt plan while going on a walking tour of Bushnell Park.

There was much deciphering of the education bill…the one that was built on the myth that all teachers do is show up, get tenure, and do nothing to deserve respect from society. Not completely unrelated, the Hartford Public Schools attempted to ban media from public meetings; not all members of the media played nicely. The attitude toward parents, community, teachers, and the media would have repercussions.

November: Activists at a solidarity rally for retail workers who walked out after being told they would have to work on Thanksgiving.

In February, a local college began to build its case for more security measures by overstating the amount of crime occurring in the area.  Then, in March, it was misreported that a Trinity student was attacked by “Hartford locals.” After receiving sharp criticism from the community for allowing this false information to disseminate, the college administration gave little more than lip service, holding small meetings that were not widely advertised to the average member of the Hartford community. Meanwhile, many students on campus found their voices and made an effort to improve their campus and connect with the community.

And this city does some interesting, positive stuff. In April there was a rally for gender equity. The Connecticut Science Center had a dinosaur exhibit which involved construction of one creature outside where all could see it.

Tibetan nuns visited Hartford and created a sand mandala. The West Indian Day Parade happened once more. ConnectiCon brought steampunks and others to the Connecticut Convention Center.

It’s never all fun and games. Blight — with the quick implosion of LSNIremained an issue. A message released from the mayor’s office on Thursday announced that the Livable and Sustainable Neighborhoods Initiative now has a new Standard Operating Procedure for the remediation of private properties. In the same press release there was cheering of the installation of forty new solar-powered trash compactors, but a walk down Park Street earlier in the day revealed few changes in this respect. Litter continued to be spread over a few blocks of sidewalk.

Looking at construction of the New Britain-Hartford Busway from Broad Street
December: Looking at construction of the New Britain-Hartford Busway from Broad Street

Transportation could not get out of its own way this year, what with the controversial attempt to close a street to all traffic and with a separate attempt to reroute the East Coast Greenway.

Many of these issues point back to one: who is entitled to use public space, and how? We saw this with the attempt to block pedestrians and cyclists from having a safe north-south route and we saw this when certain games were temporarily shut down in Bushnell Park. Those restrictions were lifted after the city looked petty far and wide. In that same park, children were able to use the water features again after years without the equipment working.

Another return? UConn announced its plans to move its West Hartford campus downtown. After the big news was shared, UConn’s president stated on a radio show that she was shocked when she initially saw that the Greater Hartford campus was isolated in a suburban setting.

Election Day, offering few surprises this time around, is always a highlight for the political junkie. All those numbers. All those infographics. All those goofy people posing with their stickers.

The annual holiday shopping guide has become a tradition. It is written for my readers, most of whom are not the type to get caught up in buying whatever the most popular toy of that season happens to be.

Place this Place, the Monday morning game, continues to gather a lot of attention…mostly from people who are too timid to leave their guesses in the comments.

Bonus: Nichole Guerra joined Real Hartford as a contributing writer.

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