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Suggestion Box: Plan Outside the Conference Room Box

Ample space for a bike lane and other street improvements on Bartholomew Avenue

Ample space for a bike lane and other street improvements on Bartholomew Avenue. Pics in this article were all taken in the middle of a regular workday.

 

If you’ve been to one planning workshop, you’ve been to nearly them all. Typically, these are held in a meeting room with no windows. To an extent, we get why this happens. We live in a sedentary society that bristles at even temporary discomfort. That, and everyone always wants to use Powerpoint.

But is this the best way to solicit input from those who are using the streets, parks, and buildings under discussion for redesign? Barring weather extremes where participants might get heat stroke or frostbite, could we reconsider at least some of these venues? (more…)

Suggestion Box: More Comprehensive Drivers’ Education

If you spend any amount of time commuting in Greater Hartford by way of anything other than single-occupancy vehicle, you know there is a stigma to it. More than the stigma, there are countless safety issues — motorists turning right on red without stopping to look in all directions first; drivers who use no judgement about whether or not they can completely move through an intersection, who end up blocking crosswalks; bus stops that are not shoveled, forcing people to board by standing in snowbanks or the streets; motorists who choose to not remove copious amounts of snow from their vehicles before getting on the highway. (more…)

Streetscape Improvements in the Future for Bartholomew Avenue

Around this time next year, expect to see some streetscape improvements under construction along Bartholomew Avenue in Hartford’s Parkville neighborhood.

The Bartholomew Avenue Streetscape and stormwater improvement project is primarily funded by a State of Connecticut OPM TOD (Transit-Oriented Development) and Responsible Growth Incentive Fund grant of $2 million, and $1.6 million from MDC for streetscape design and construction combined with stormwater-sanitary infrastructure. The City of Hartford has kicked in $25,000 for CDM Smith — consultants with an office in East Hartford — to get the project going.

On Wednesday, the first public workshop was held at the Parkville NRZ’s monthly meeting. There were a few residents in attendance, but most participants represented nearby businesses and organizations. CDM Smith did not come in with designs, but set up the meeting to gain insight about what ideas might be desired by locals as they turn their attention to sidewalk enhancements on Hamilton Street near the signalized crossing, lighting improvements under the “Parkville” bridge, and various other changes along Bartholomew Avenue between Park Street and Hamilton Street. (more…)

Suggestion Box: Big Community Baking Events

Young children, elderly, and all ages in between participated in the Mega Challah Bake at the Emanuel Synagogue in West Hartford last weekend. Imagine: 250 girls and women, in one giant room, making bread together — many for the first time. Participants were provided with all ingredients, tools, aprons, and even bags for taking home their bread.

The event opened with a few words and an open buffet. Directions were provided in print, on an overhead projector, and over the sound system. While everyone mixed and kneaded ingredients, lively music played. More experienced bakers helped out the newbies at their tables. The challah buffet re-opened and a guest speaker took to the stage while everyone waited for their dough to rise. Challah was braided, covered in egg, and given a few extras — rainbow sprinkles were a popular topping with the younger participants. (more…)

March 2017 Events in Hartford, CT

Cirque du Soleil is in town this month! // Photo: Errisson Lawrence Costumes: Kym Barrett © 2015 Cirque du Soleil

Cirque du Soleil is in town March 15-19! // Photo: Errisson Lawrence Costumes: Kym Barrett © 2015 Cirque du Soleil

 

March 1

  • Connecticut Poetry Circuit Student Reading: Magge Nigro, Jonathan Esty, Kelia Ingraham, Ian Mentus, and Yao Ong of Trinity College, Yale University, University of Hartford, Central Connecticut State University, and Wesleyan University, respectively, will be honored at this reading. 4:30 p.m. at Trinity College in the Admissions and Career Development Center‘s Grand Room. Free and open to the public.
  • Butch Lewis Community Conversation: Join Jamal Joseph at the Hartford Public Library for a screening and discussion of 13TH, a film exploring the history of mass incarceration in the United States. Refreshments at 5:30 p.m.; program begins at 5:45. This is free and open to the public, but registration is requested.
  • Get HYPEd: This monthly casual networking event for young professionals will be held at Sidewalk Cafe (236 South Street). This is a free event. No registration required. Bring business cards! This spot is a five-minute walk from the bus stop on Franklin Avenue.
  • How to Start Your Own Small Business: Start to put your ideas into action! The University of Hartford’s Entrepreneurial Center offers a number of free workshops throughout the year, all of which are open to the general public. You do have to register. This session is from 6-8:30 p.m. at the Entrepreneurial Center (1265 Asylum Avenue).
  • Lovewhip at The Half Door (270 Sisson Ave.), 9:30 p.m. $2 at the door. $21+ only (unless accompanied by parent/guardian).

(more…)

Deadline Approaches for School Choice Lottery

Applications for the 2017-2018 academic year lottery are due by the end of this month. The lottery is managed by the Connecticut State Department of Education.

Any families needing assistance completing applications can attend a session on February 23, 4-7 p.m., at the CREC Trude Mero Family Resource Center (444 Albany Ave.). Call (860)713-6972 with any questions about the Regional School Choice lottery.

Snow Emergency Parking Ban: February 8-10, 2017

No parking is permitted on Hartford streets from 8 p.m. on Wednesday, February 8 through 8 a.m. on Friday, February 10, 2017.

Vehicles remaining on roadways during this time are subject to ticketing and towing. Besides the general irritation of it, a towing experience will cost you around $200. Those whose vehicles get towed should call the HPD at (860) 757-4000 and check a data set to learn where the car has been towed to.

Residents in need of off-street parking have a number of options and should move vehicles to those lots before the ban begins. (more…)

February 2017 Events in Hartford

February 1

  • Origami Presentation: Paper sculptor artist Benjamin Parker will give a demonstration at the giant bench inside of Hartford Public Library. This is located near the new books on the library’s main floor. Free. 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • Get HYPEd, the monthly casual networking event for young professionals and entrepreneurs, will be at Black-Eyed Sally’s (350 Asylum St.), 5:30-8:30 p.m. Free event. Bring your business cards!
  • MakeHartford Open House with Show & Tell – check out the space, speak to makers, show what you’re doing – 6:30-9 p.m. at 30 Arbor Street, B7.

(more…)

Americans Give Messages of Welcome at BDL

Protests sprang up at airports around the country on Saturday, including Bradley International in Windsor Locks.

At the BDL arrivals gate, a few dozen people — a number of Hartford residents among them — welcomed travelers with signs supporting immigrants, refugees, and Muslims.

The airport protests popped up when Trump’s executive order signed on Friday afternoon (Holocaust Remembrance Day) created chaos for green-card holders from the predominately Muslim countries of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, as travel by nationals from those countries has been blocked
for 90 days. A green card signifies that the individual has been granted permanent resident status after being vetted by immigration or consular services to ensure that the person does not pose health, criminal, or security concerns for the United States. Trump’s order has suspended for 120 days entry into the U.S. by refugees from all countries; Syrian refugees have been singled out and blocked indefinitely.

According to PBS, the “the executive order does not restrict immigration from any of the top ten countries listed by the House of Representatives’ Homeland Security Committee in 2015 as suppliers of militants fighting for ISIS, nor does it restrict travel from countries that have been primary sources for al Qaeda operatives, like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, which was home to 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers.”

With the ink barely dry, travelers with visas were detained at airports. Among them, Hameed Khalid Darweesh, who the New York Times says worked for the United States Army and government for ten years in Iraq.

On Saturday, a federal judge blocked part of Trump’s order. It does not restore conditions, but will prevent deportations of those 100-200 people who have already been detained at airports in the United States.

With the stay in place, protestors continued to arrive at Bradley late into the evening. A few opposing perspectives were aired over several hours — including a “God Bless Trump,” a cryptic message about the Orlando shooting, and a suggestion posed at 10:45 on Saturday evening that protestors get jobs — but the sweeping majority of travelers responded with applause and other signs of support, or moved on their way without engaging. One traveler thanked her greeters profusely before breaking into tears.

While yesterday’s protest was spontaneous, CAIR Connecticut is organizing people to return to Bradley on Sunday afternoon.

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10,000 Strong

This child is just one of the estimated 10,000 individuals who peacefully rallied outside of the Connecticut State Capitol on Saturday in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington. That’s double the crowd organizers had expected. The signs alone communicate the rally’s message. (more…)