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Warming Centers Open Through Weekend

From February 12-14, 2016 various warming centers will be open during posted hours:

  • Hispanic Health Council, 175 Main Street: Friday 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
  • Hispanic Senior Center, 45 Wadsworth Street: Friday 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
  • Parker Memorial, 2621 Main Street: Saturday 9 a.m. –  4 p.m.
  • Parkville Senior Center, 11 New Park Avenue: Friday 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
  • Pope Park, 30 Pope Park Drive: Saturday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • South End Wellness Center, 830 Maple Avenue: Friday 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.

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February 2016 Events

February 1

  • Witnesses to Hunger opens at 2 p.m. today in Conference Room 1B in the Legislative Office Building. They say this is a “project that uses photographs taken by Connecticut residents to bring visibility to their everyday struggles to make ends meet. These powerful images and the stories behind them reinforce the need for substantial policy change to ensure health, success, and hope for all of our neighbors. The exhibit is comprised of over 50 photographs taken by 15 witnesses from towns across Connecticut.” Some of the witnesses will be at the opening to participate in a discussion about hunger in Connecticut, along with possible solutions. The exhibit, in the lower concourse, will be on view through February 11. Free, open to the public.

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Leadership in Transition

Carlos Hernandez Chavez reads his prepared remarks at the Youth Engagement Town Hall on Saturday // Photo courtesy of Allison Holst-Grubbe

Mayor-Elect Luke Bronin recently announced that he would forgo the glitz and expense of an inaugural ball, favoring a reception only, following the swearing-in of all other elected officials in early January. In past administrations, there have been both the light refreshments and meet and greet in City Hall, and the evening wear on display in a much larger facility. The plan is for Bronin to be sworn into office following the midnight First Night fireworks.

This weekend Bronin held a Youth Engagement Town Hall at Wilson-Gray YMCA, where Hartford’s strengths, such as already existing youth services programs, were touted. Here, a resident urged others to get involved with the dozens of municipal boards and commissions, and to support the incoming mayor and provide him with ideas of what we need, saying that if we don’t advocate for ourselves, we can’t get mad at the leader for not knowing what needs attention. The takeaway from this meeting was that many residents felt that City and community resources are disconnected from each other.

A few weeks ago, Bronin created several committees and policy working groups. Essentially, these perform as ways to add oversight and transparency, along with provide more opportunity for comment from members of the public. (more…)

Art Everywhere Weekend

“My Precious Stones” by Laurie Lemek could be viewed at Connecticut Historical Society on Elizabeth Street

Every November, venues around Hartford host artists for one weekend. Experience varies by location.

For the first time, 1429 Park Street offered up one floor for a mix of live music and dancing after hours, effectively extending the viewing time for artwork at this site. This is where dancers were painted as part of the performance, where a loud droning filled the mostly unfinished second floor. People wrote and drew in chalk on the floors. It was intended as an immersive experience; some got into it, others let this be their social hour, and kids dove into paint and what looked like fake snow, taking “immersive” literally.

Venom Vintage on Whitney Street promised to be just as edgy, but if you were hoping to see live graffiti art at the time advertised, you would have been out of luck. There was some pre-existing work on the walls in the store and in back. On one side of the space, visitors were encouraged to add doodles to a “zentangle art wall.” You could look at the secondhand clothing store as being art hanging on the racks, but hold off on getting excited about that. The store owner, Dina Brass, says the future of Venom Vintage in this location is uncertain; according to her, the building owner has a problem with the graffiti at the space. It has been approximately one year since Venom Vintage relocated to the West End from Park Street, almost on the West Hartford line. (more…)

Ladies Rising

Photo courtesy of Wildaliz Bermudez

Hartford’s Democratic Town Committee endorsed exactly zero women in 2011. That Cynthia Jennings served on City Council beginning in 2012 was thanks to her affiliation with the Working Families Party.

The last four years must have sent a message. This time around, the Democrats, Working Families, and Republicans each endorsed two women on their respective slates; ultimately, voters opted for two newcomers,Wildaliz Bermudez and Glendowlyn Thames, along with incumbent Cynthia Jennings and rJo Winch, who previously served on City Council, but not during the current term.

Of the four women, Ms. Bermudez is also coming in as the first Latina member of City Council since the previous was elected in 1999.

Though new to this position, Bermudez is not new to Hartford or City Hall. She was moved to run out of “frustration” with “fighting things from the periphery,” namely, the baseball stadium that is currently being erected in Downtown. (more…)

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