commentary/editorial

In Your Neighborhood: Asylum Hill

This was the rare week and change that brought me into Asylum Hill on multiple days. I was lucky to see the progression of a community mural at the 224 EcoSpace. In a time of seemingly non-stop bad news, this creation was needed. (more…)

Pay to Play

It used to be highly controversial to ask families to pay for their children to participate in public school sports, but the visceral anger has more or less dwindled as practicality has won out. In the same way, some of the “freebies” in Hartford that have become traditions — parades, summer movie nights, ice skating — have been revealed as costing more than is fair to pass along to the taxpayer in a time when important services have been slashed.

The reactions have varied. Some did little more than create a hashtag. Others have taken more vocal and fruitful actions.

In April, Real Hartford suggested that events like Envisionfest and Winterfest charge a modest admission fee for out-of-town users. No word on if anyone will take up that suggestion, but it stands. Meanwhile, those hoping to hang on to Winterfest activities, like ice skating in Bushnell Park, have started a crowdfunding campaign. As of publication, it has collected $200 toward its $200,000 goal.

Cops: Don’t Dish if You Can’t Take It

The horses make an appearance at the ribbon-cutting ceremony at Garden and Ashley on May 11, 2016

It’s been a tough few weeks for the police, perhaps tougher for those who have made questionable moves.

Budget cuts have eliminated the Mounted Police, effective at the beginning of July. A few mounted police made an appearance at the Zunner Building opening ceremony on Wednesday, where the governor, mayor, and other elected City and State politicians were present. Though well attended, the need for crowd control at this event was not apparent.

The Animal Control Unit has been significantly reduced; ACO Sherry DeGenova, who has earned the reputation of being valuable for her non-stop passion and commitment to her work, was among those cut. Responding to this decision, the community — including many people from beyond Hartford’s borders who adopted dogs that would have otherwise been killed — has marched, petitioned, filled City Hall during a Council meeting, and gone very public with its discontent over a budget cut that some are claiming will actually cost the City of Hartford more money in the long run. (more…)

Suggestion Box: Patching the Budget Hole

How we got here

The City of Hartford’s economic problems did not just happen. They did not spring up when Mayor Bronin was sworn into office. They did not emerge last year or even the year before that. (more…)

Gary Shteyngart Lights Up Charter Oak

Gary Shteyngart reads from Little Failure at Charter Oak Cultural Center, February 25, 2016

Sasha Senderovich pressed for Gary Shteyngart to “blurb” on the spot about the Republican candidates. After a few false starts, the award-winning author instead gave us something he tweeted earlier in the day: “Hartford, the Paris of Connecticut.”

This seemingly lavish praise was followed by Shteyngart’s rimshot: he has seen the rest of Connecticut.

Gary Shteyngart, the author of multiple books including Absurdistan, was at Charter Oak Cultural Center on Thursday night to chat, take questions, and read from his latest, Little Failure. If you entered the sanctuary without knowing what was going on, you might have thought this was a comedy act instead of a book signing. (more…)

Best Most Awesome Superlatives 2015

Best Low-Expense Improvements Award

Best New Dining: Little River Restoratives, 405 Capitol Avenue

PARK(ing) Day: Forget, for a moment, that these improvements were temporary. Pavement, usually reserved for parked cars, was covered with sod for a few hours. These tiny parks were populated with musicians, improv performers, and artists. In some cases, these were simply places to sit. The appearance of these spots changed the mood of passersby on their lunch breaks. No need to construct stadiums or monuments. A few square feet of green can be enough to make a difference, if not financial, at least emotional.

Reducing the thing people seem to believe there is not enough of actually boosted the quality of street life in downtown Hartford for part of one work day.

Sweetest Under-the-Radar Event Award

This is a tie between Cranksgiving and Sharing the Warmth.

The former is the local edition of a widespread event that is basically a scavenger hunt and food drive combined. It engages children and cyclists of all levels, and the benefits go right back to a food pantry in our community. Given its start at Trinity College, it also acts as a way of encouraging positive interaction between students and the community.

Sharing the Warmth was a one-day clothing drive and giveaway, but done in a way that allowed those in need to gather up what they need while maintaining dignity. Coats, gloves, hats, and scarves were brought to where those who’d benefit from having them could be found. (more…)

2015 Holiday Anti-Shopping Guide

GIVING

Venom Vintage, Whitney Street

I hate Giving Tuesday. It goes: Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday. What? So, only after you have shelled out money everywhere else should you consider charitable giving? False. For this reason, we list giving first.

 

  • ImmaCare — emergency shelter, permanent supportive housing, outreach, education and employment.

(more…)

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