environment

Beyond Hartford: Old Wethersfield

found at Antiques on Main

Not as adventurous as heading to Providence or Mystic, but much easier to get to and still enjoyable. A local bus will take you here if it’s too far to walk or bike. But proximity to Hartford is not the reason this place is being suggested. It’s surprisingly peaceful when compared to Hartford or even other parts of Wethersfield, like the Silas Deane Highway corridor. Much of that quiet is thanks to the buffer created by both the Wethersfield Cove and Folly Brook Natural Area, land that contains trees at-risk of being cut down to accommodate a small airport in Hartford.

For the average person, a few hours in Old Wethersfield ought to do it, but I can see a history buff spending a weekend here. Historical sites and plaques are everywhere! There are museum tours to be had, but if you are like me, you’d rather move at your own pace and go the self-guided route. The Wethersfield Heritage Tour is just that — a three-mile walk with 22 interpretive markers. (more…)

June 2017 Events in Hartford

June 1

  • Everyone knows it stinks when events are canceled because of funding problems. Instead of complaining, why not get creative and look at another way to fund events? Attend an information session for the new Hartford Community Access Grants program. They say: “These grants, which are designed to improve access to the arts for all citizens of Hartford, fund small, public events including concerts, celebrations and performances by local organizations with operating budgets of $100,000 or less.” Today’s session is 10-11 am at the Greater Hartford Arts Council (100 Pearl Street, 2nd floor). Register for the free event.
  • Toivo (399 Franklin Avenue) offers affordable yoga on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10-11 am. They say: “Heartfelt and explorative classes. Students will experience fluid vinyasas combined with longer holdings to build strength, flexibility and improve balance. These Hatha style classes also incorporate meditation, centering and breath work. Every student is encouraged to find their own expression of each pose.” There’s a suggested $5 donation, but nobody is turned away for lack of funds.
  • Take a free tour of the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch in Bushnell Park, 12-1:30 pm. The tours are flexible, so drop by any time. This involves climbing 96 steps. Bad weather cancels.
  • Eat, Drink & Donate: Fundraiser at The Flying Monkey Grill & Bar (20 Lindbergh Dr.) to benefit Friends of Keney Park. Food and cash bar. Live music provided by Live Music will be provided by Alvin Carter and Friends. 5-8 pm. Requested minimum donation is $10 per person. Contact Ms. Lyons at 860-729-2444 or friends_of_keney_park@yahoo.com for more info and/or to confirm your attendance.
  • Art After Dark: Mood Room. This Wadsworth Atheneum (600 Main Street) event celebrates the opening of Mika Tajima’s MATRIX 177 installation “After Life.” Music, activities, free snacks. Cash bar. Free admission for Hartford residents enrolled in the Wadsworth Welcome program. Not signed up yet? You can do that on-site. For everyone else, admission is $10 general or $5 for members. 5-8 pm. This also gets you admission to the film Mood Indigo which screens at 8 pm.
  • Greek Festival: live music, homemade Greek food, imports, authentic Greek dancing and guided church tours. 5-10 pm at St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral (433 Fairfield Avenue). Free admission.
  • Why Preserve? Digitizing Stories: CT Latinos in WWI — This free event is from 6-7:30 pm in the Hartford History Center, located inside of Hartford Public Library. They say: “Dr. Harry Franqui-Rivera of Bloomfield College, New Jersey, will discuss opportunities for CT-based Latino WWI veterans and/or their families to bring memorabilia, photographs, and their oral stories to be collected, digitized, and interviews recorded at the Hartford History Center for incorporation into the Connecticut State Library’s digital collection. He will discuss why it is important to preserve this information and offer suggestions of what to bring to the digitization day that will take place at the Hartford History Center of Saturday, June 10. This program will be bilingual (English & Spanish).
  • Nails and Wagging Tails: $5 nail trim for dogs at Naturally Dogs and Cats (10 Trumbull Street), 6-8 pm.

June 2

  • Greek Festival: live music, homemade Greek food, imports, authentic Greek dancing and guided church tours. 11 am – 11 pm at St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral (433 Fairfield Avenue). Free admission.
  • Art on the Streets is back for a few weeks at lunchtime in downtown. From 11:30-1:30, check out interactive and artistic experiences. Go to State House Square on Tuesdays and Pratt Street on Thursdays. Free.
  • Welcome New American Citizens: at 1 pm the Polish National Home (60 Charter Oak Avenue) is hosting US Federal Citizenship & Immigration Services for a naturalization ceremony for 60 new Americans. A buffet ($26.95 per person) follows the ceremony. Make reservations Call: (860) 247-1784 or email: asha@hartfordpnh.com
  • The 30th Connecticut LGBT Film Festival starts today! Center of My World screens at 7:30; opening gala reception at Trinity College follows the film. This is at Cinestudio (300 Summit Street). Admission is $20, with discounts available. A festival pass is $75.
  • CT Cage Match Finals: two improv teams — KnucklePuck and Winnipeg — compete. The audience votes to decide the winner. 8-9:30 pm at Sea Tea Comedy Theater (15 Asylum Street). Tickets: $10.

June 3

  • Free admission to Connecticut Historical Society (1 Elizabeth Street), 9-5. Today’s family program is the Hartford Symphony Orchestra’s Instrument Petting Zoo. Try out different musical instruments! Those sessions are at 10:30, 11, and 11:45.
  • Tree Walk: John Kehoe leads this walk through Cedar Hill Cemetery to feature its notable trees. 10 am- 12 pm. Free. Meet by the bridge along the entrance driveway. This is a Connecticut Trails Day event.
  • On the other side of Hartford, join walks in Keney Park for Connecticut Trails Day, 10 am – 12 pm. They say: “We will travel along the Leadership Trail through the Hemlock Gorge on former sheep paths and carriage roads, which lead to remote scenic features. See landscapes preserved since 1898 within this urban forest. Sights will include remnants of the Sylvan Court and fernery in Ten Mile Woods, sand dunes, wildlife and bird habitat. Sponsoring group leaders will share historic and contemporary images and maps to encourage discussion on the past, present and future of this extraordinary 694-acre historic park. The Project is actively working with community volunteers to restore trails. Please be prepared to walk on and off trail. Our adventure will conclude with fresh garden vegetables snacks at the greenhouse constructed by Keney Park Sustainability Project.” It can’t be said enough — this is a very wooded area, so dress appropriately to avoid bringing home ticks, etc. Rain will postpone the event. Meet up at the Keney Park House (use “183 Windsor Ave. Windsor, CT” as address for location). This is free, but call or email to pre-register– 860-333-8711 or keneyparksustainability@gmail.com.
  • The National Park Service offers free Coltsville Walking Tours at 10 am and 2 pm. Meet up with the park ranger at the monument in Colt Park inside the Wethersfield Avenue entrance. Tours do not happen if the weather is bad. Call (717) 856-9629 to have your questions answered.
  • Hartford Deportation Defense Boot Camp: This is a free event, with donations accepted. 10 am – 3 pm at 77 Huyshope Avenue. They say: “Come join neighbors in the Greater Hartford area to learn about defending our communities against deportations. Join a network of immigrants and allies working to make our communities safe for all. Information about Know Your Rights, the Hartford Rapid Response Network, accompaniment, and ways that folks can get involved in work happening locally to fight deportations. All are welcome to attend the event, immigrants and non-immigrants. Interpretation into Spanish will be provided for the event. Light lunch will be served!”
  • CPR/AED and First Aid Training: Learn to potentially save lives! This one-day training course will grant or renew certifications through the American Red Cross. Register, as there is limited space. The $65 registration fee also covers lunch. 10 am – 4:30 pm at MakeHartford (30 Arbor Street).
  • Greek Festival: live music, homemade Greek food, imports, authentic Greek dancing and guided church tours. 11 am – midnight at St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral (433 Fairfield Avenue). Free admission.
  • One World Market hosts “family day.” They say that OWM is “multi ethnic food court at the CTfastrak Parkville Station.” We say that this is a fun, authentic, and non-hipster event. Taste food from Brazil, Guatemala, India, Jamaica, Laos and Thailand. Today’s market features face-painting, Nepalese dancing, soccer & tennis coaching, and a bouncy-house. 12-4 pm. Free. This is at 24 Francis Avenue.
  • The Connecticut LGBT Film Festival continues today with A Million Happy Nows, A Date for Mad Mary, and Handsome Devil. Ticket prices vary. This is at Cinestudio (300 Summit St.).

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May 2017 Events in Hartford

Latin Grammy-award-winning artists Gilvan de Oliveira, right, and Ivan Correa da Costa will perform at Samba Fest 2017 on May 6, 2017

Latin Grammy-award-winning artists Gilvan de Oliveira, right, and Ivan Correa da Costa will perform at Samba Fest 2017 on May 6, 2017

 

May 1

  • It’s industry night at Little River Restoratives (405 Capitol Avenue), but those not in the food business can show up too. All night happy hour, DJ, and more. 6 pm – 1 am. No cover.
  • Spring Dance Fest: See a performance featuring the choreography of Trinity College students. This will be at The Performance Lab, Trinity Commons (240 New Britain Avenue). 7:30 pm.
  • Hartford Jazz Orchestra performs on Mondays at Arch Street Tavern at 8 pm. Free.

May 2

  • Bike Commuting 101: Take a free class to learn tips and get advice from Sandy Fry, Hartford’s Bike and Pedestrian Coordinator and a Certified Cycling Instructor. This is from 12-1 pm at the iQuilt Innovation Center (22 Central Row). Contact Sandy.Fry@hartford.gov with questions.
  • Stop by the Hartford History Center (located inside of the Hartford Public Library) from 5:30-7 pm for an Author Talk featuring military historian and author, Andrew Carroll, founder of The Center for American War Letters. Carroll will talk about his new book My Fellow Soldiers: General John Pershing and the Americans Who Helped Win the Great War. Free.
  • Free screening of Gen Silent, a documentary about an aging LGBTA community. This is at the Hartford Gay & Lesbian Health Collective (1841 Broad Street), 6:30-8:30 pm. RSVP to Dan Millett at (860) 278-4163 x118 or danm@hglhc.org as a light dinner will be provided.
  • Michael Palin’s Other Orchestra, an 18-piece band, jams every Tuesday night at Back-Eyed Sally’s (350 Asylum Street), starting at 8 pm. Free.

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March for Science Connecticut Demands Evidence-Based Policies

With rain coming down for the first hour of the event, protestors packed Mortensen Riverfront Plaza in Hartford on Earth Day to rally on behalf of science because we are now in a time when information about climate change is disappeared from the White House website. (more…)

IDEAS FOR 50 MILLION CARROT STICKS

This is a reader-submitted piece by Miguel Jose Matos, Hartford resident of twenty years. This fits in with our Suggestion Box series and addresses the recent pledge of $50 million over five years to the City of Hartford by Aetna, The Hartford, and Travelers.

by Miguel Jose Matos

by Miguel Jose Matos

 

Three of our local corporations have stepped up as committed partners to back Hartford to the tune of $50 million dollars over five years, if the City can get its financial house under control and come up with a workable plan for a viable future.

Funding the money hinges on the City putting forth a comprehensive and sustainable set of solutions for Hartford. The key piece of language in the corporate announcement was to be “part of” a plan, this was the clue. But based on media reports, the “when and how” have not been clearly spelled out, so it’s a great carrot but as yet no one is sure how long the stick is, and what will it take for our community to come together. A little over three million a year from each company is a great start.

“Push the corporate folk to drop their dime, while the City hammers out some fixes, use their dimes now to fund fixes; that without money remain unfixable”.

$10 million over 5 years is a good first step when having to climb out of a sinkhole fifty million dollars deep. But to get grounded we must back into the numbers, because the City is crippled with debt and limping with weak cash flow. It will be difficult to concoct a financial plan strong enough because of the City’s weak cash position, only making it harder to satisfy the conditional $50M Corporate Offer.

Corporate leaders are good community folks doing their part, protecting their investment and their workforce, but they understand risk and do not want to throw good money after bad. This narrative puts the City in a tricky position.

This point in time is a good opportunity to show the local corporations that the City has a plan that can be funded bit by bit with the corporate funds that are being offered. A project-by-project funding process based on a pay for performance system may mitigate some the upfront risk that has tied these moneys with a tough condition.

This tactic has relevance because it is not meant to only address the corporate funding offer, but to serve as the foundation for an annual Business Challenge Fund. Let’s get back to the corporations and be as corporate in approach as they are. Corner their attention by putting forth a recovery plan that is based on a return on their money and their participation. The approach is in many ways how corporations look at investing themselves. (more…)

April 2017 Events in Hartford, CT

April 6-9, 2017

April 6-9, 2017

April 1

  • Volunteer Income Tax Assistance provides free tax help at Jumoke Academy’s middle school (339 Blue Hills Ave.), 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. for people who earned less than $54,000 in 2016. Book an appointment through 211.
  • Free First Saturday at Connecticut Historical Society (1 Elizabeth Street). Free admission to all museum galleries, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. There will be “traditional Finnish kid-friendly crafts” from 10-1.
  • Spring Greenhouse Sale: Purchase plants from the greenhouse at Elizabeth Park, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Cash or check only. Bring your own trays to carry out your purchases.
  • Qigong and Tea Ceremony: The qigong starts at 9:30 a.m.; tea and conversation at 10:30. They say: “Qigong is a 2,000-year-old practice from China which helps your body to heal itself naturally. Qigong can provide relief from anxiety, depression, and chronic fatigue. It can also improve balance and endurance. The practice involves gentle movement, breathing techniques, and focused intention. According to Chinese medicine, tea clears the mind and circulates the energy of the body. Scientists have found that tea strengthens the immune system.” Deron Drumm will be the instructor for this. They say that he, “has reshaped his life by incorporating intentional living practices. After years of struggling, he found peace and health when he stopped seeing himself as a victim and started to take ownership of his past and present actions. Qigong, yoga, meditation, healthy relationships, positive habits, and nutritious foods have allowed him to live his life free of the destructive behaviors he once engaged in.” This is at Toivo (399 Franklin Avenue). There is a suggested $5 donation. Nobody is turned away for lack of funds.
  • Next to Normal: If you are a student with a valid ID, get free admission today to the 2:30 p.m. performance at TheaterWorks (233 Pearl St.). They describe this play as: “The dad’s an architect; Mom rushes to pack lunches and pour cereal; their daughter and son are bright, wise-cracking teens. The Goodmans appear to be a typical American family, yet their lives are anything but normal. This brave and breathtaking contemporary musical takes an unflinching look at a family’s struggle with mental illness. Winner of three Tony Awards including Best Musical Score.” Call the box office to secure your seat!
  • Rally to Support Trans Youth: Gather at the Connecticut Supreme Court (231 Capitol Avenue) for this youth-led effort to protect and support transgender, gender-nonconforming, and queer youth. There are a number of organizations serving as host for this event: ACLU-CT, CT TransAdvocacy Coalition, GLSEN Connecticut, New Haven Pride Center, Norwich Free Academy GSA, OutCT, PFLAG Hartford, Triangle Community Center, and True Colors, Inc. This is from 2:30-4 p.m. If you have questions, contact connecticut@chapters.glsen.org 
  • Fools Fall in Love: A Musical Cabaret in Support of Nightfall 2017 — If you were wondering how to do a fundraiser, this is it. One performance after another, featuring: Greg & Julia Ludovici Pistell, Lindsey Fyfe, Keila Myles, Chion Wolf, John Gale, Tangsauce, Joey Batts, Daryl Sullivan, Kate Callahan, Mac Cherny, Gabrielle Witt & The Grace Girls, Greg Garcia, Robin Zaleski, and Matt Fleury. Tickets start at $40. This is at Christ Church Cathedral (45 Church Street), 7:30-10 p.m.
  • April Fools Day Massacre Show: Hanging Hills (150 Ledyard St.) will host The Island of Doubt and The Miths. $5 at the door. 8-11 p.m.

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March, Equality March

About five dozen people rallied at Hartford’s State House Square on Saturday afternoon before marching to the Connecticut State Capitol. Participants carried signs promoting love, justice, animal welfare, and environmentalism. The peaceful march and rally did not result in any arrests. (more…)

TORUK’s Futuristic World Comes to Hartford

Cirque du Soleil performers practice a balancing act on the Thanator skeleton sculpture.

If you perused Trump’s proposed budget released yesterday, then you already know that among other things, all funding for the National Endowment for the Arts would be eliminated and the Environmental Protection Agency would have its funding cut 31%. Nineteen agencies in all would have their funding completely eliminated.

Eating that news for breakfast, it felt like the opening night of Cirque du Soleil’s TORUK — The First Flight, inspired by James Cameron’s Avatar, could not arrive soon enough as a temporary escape. (more…)