This tradition — trees and wreaths decorated by community members and organizations — is also one of the Wadsworth Atheneum’s biggest fundraisers.
This was the scene on Wednesday (and on many other days over the years) on Scarborough Street.
The bike lane is not where you (or your landscapers) should put the leaves. Continue reading 'Scenes from the Sidewalk: Installment 76'»
The Hartford Restoration Project was launched back in June. Breyonne Golding, Livable Sustainable Neighborhood Initiative’s Assistant to the Chief Operating Officer, says the program intends to help “local owner-occupants that need assistance with home improvements.”
The first house that has gotten some TLC is on South Whitney Street in the West End. Continue reading 'A Fresh Face'»
Want an explanation for this photo?
The abbreviated version: a document was read and misinterpreted, which is easy to do when only minimal information is provided. The person assumed to have done wrong asked to sit down and talk with the person who did the misinterpreting. An understanding was reached and opinions were changed.
That should not be an anomaly, but it seems we have a climate where the norm is for people to hold grudges and behave passive-aggressively. There are “community leaders” who, after all, model this exact kind of behavior.
Maybe it does not have to be that way. Maybe we can have grown men show a willingness to apologize and move on.
As we move into the holiday season, some see it fit not to push toward creating a more just world, but to punish those who have already been punished. This is done selectively and in ignorance, or apathy, of the larger consequences and messages being sent. The same people lamenting recidivism are actively putting up stumbling blocks to those who have made mistakes and are trying to do right.
Last week what we saw in Hartford was not concern for public safety but a witch hunt.
We can speculate over why Kennard Ray was singled out more than others to have his background checked out. Maybe it’s his party affiliation — being part of a growing third party in a city controlled by the Democrats. There’s been open hostility toward that party by those who believe it is somehow responsible for both Republicans losing their footing here and for some Democrats to lose votes. Some have suggested that those calling for this investigation with such gusto all hail from a different racial background from Ray, and that their privilege prevents them from seeing how they are contributing to institutional racism.
I asked Kennard Ray why he thinks this got the spotlight, after all, not all new hires are given so much as a second glance by the media. His telling of it is that questions arose after a press release was issued by the Mayor’s Office, with reporters from the Hartford Courant initially raising the issue. At this stage of the game, he had been appointed and was due to begin work this morning, following the Thanksgiving weekend.
He says that he has “heard several theories on why [his past] may have been brought up, but I’m not sure if any of those theories lead me in a direction where I can form a solid opinion and I am not comfortable speculating. I’m sure we’ll hear more about why this became a public issue of interest in the days to come.”
Regardless of the reasons, this push to “investigate” Ray came largely from those whose own pasts are far from perfect.
The Debt That’s Paid is Never Paid
At what point has someone paid his debt to society? Is it after he has served his jail term? Stayed out of trouble for five years? Ten years?
Kennard Ray himself, in a statement on Facebook, has said that he has “worked tirelessly in my community and communities like it over the past decade to make good on past misgivings. I have in fact done the crimes that the media has reported on, and I have also done the time. In fact, over the past decade I’ve put more time and effort to doing right, than I ever have in doing wrong.”
Do we only consider him rehabilitated on his death bed when we can all be sure that he has obeyed the law for the remaining decades of his life?
What Does the Law Say?
The fact is that Ray, nor anyone else applying for a job with the City of Hartford — with only a few exceptions — needs to be upfront about his criminal past. Hartford has an ordinance spelling out as much. A resolution states:
The court of common council by substitute resolution dated January 12, 2009 resolved that the human resources department review its current civil services processes and eliminate any barriers during an interview process that may preclude applicants with criminal records from gaining employment with the City of Hartford.
Interpretation: a person who has a criminal past can be employed with the City of Hartford. Continue reading 'Ban the Box: What does the law say?'»
Change and the resentment of it go hand-in-hand. Continue reading 'The Lights On and Around Constitution Plaza'»
There are people who appear in Hartford out of nowhere and try to reinvent the wheel; then, there are those who have been here for decades and value the history of place.
Steve Thornton has lived here since 1973. While we chat over coffee in the West End, he tells me he thinks he’s close to figuring out where Jack Kerouac lived when the writer spent time in Hartford. You aren’t alone in not knowing about this — Kerouac’s short stay here was considered insignificant by most historians, and consequently, not recorded well.
Documenting and remembering the people’s history is what Thornton has been doing, previously on days off from work, and now, more full time since he has retired. In October he opted for a book launch celebration in lieu of a retirement party.
Before he was a union activist, Thornton says he was a peace activist and had been since high school. Not having any long range goal, Thornton spent five years working as a childcare teacher, an experience he enjoyed but knew was not what he wanted to ultimately spend his life doing.
Upon moving to Hartford he became involved in Ray Adams’ fight to remain at 18 Congress Street; Adams stayed in the building for months Continue reading 'Highlighted Hartfordite: Steve Thornton'»
One day after it was announced that Kennard Ray would be filling the Deputy Chief of Staff position, he has withdrawn. He was supposed to start work on Monday.
Chances are your December is already half-filled with obligatory office parties, family engagements, and such, but just in case you have downtime, here are ideas for things you can do in Hartford (mostly) on the cheap (mostly) every day.
- The Global Lens Film Series continues this month on Sundays at 2pm. Today’s film: The Parade. In Serbo-Croatian with English subtitles. This will be shown at the Wadsworth Atheneum. It is free, co-sponsored by the Hartford Public Library and Out Film CT.
- Take a free Intro to Water Color class at StudioN111. First come, first serve — so contact Nina to reserve your space for the 2-3pm class. The studio is located on Pratt Street. Continue reading 'December 2013 Events'»