Category: mayor

Hartford Promises

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By , March 20, 2014 2:47 pm

In recent months, the entire Weaver High School community has been mobilized by the Hartford Board of Education’s poor communication about the school’s temporary move to the Lincoln Institute and the plan to eventually rehabilitate and rebuild the north end school. Tuesday night’s Board meeting once again found students, teachers, and Weaver families demanding action and answers from the Board. There were few to be found, but much talk of “due diligence.” The uncertainty and anxiety among the Weaver community was palpable, as too was the growing mistrust of the Board and its hollow words. Speakers, including Principal Tim Goodwin, admonished Mayor Segarra, who was not in attendance, for suggesting that Weaver’s low enrollment could affect the school’s reconstruction. Goodwin demanded that enrollment issues be taken off the table and not be a part of the discussion. He cited the school’s continued improvement according to multiple metrics, including decreased disciplinary referrals. Through the years, Weaver High has been especially hampered by the breaking up of Hartford’s traditional high schools and the “school choice” reform scheme. Lastly, it was clear Tuesday night that Michele Rhee’s privatization front group StudentsFirst had attempted to glom onto Weaver’s struggle, going so far as to blindly hand out as many of their unrelated t-shirts as possible to students.

Since the Board’s failed attempt to hand the Clark School to the Achievement 1st charter school corporation two months ago, Clark was entered in to the Commissioner’s Network of schools in need of “turnaround.” A “turnaround committee” of parents, teachers, and the State Department of Education has been meeting to develop a plan for Clark. Parallel to this, HART was contracted by the Board to garner support among the community for another charter takeover of the school. This time a charter school corporation called Friendship Charter School of Maryland has been identified as the favorite by the Commissioner of Education. As has been reported in Real Hartford, the Clark community is unwilling to be bullied, bought off, or threatened into this deal. During Tuesday’s meeting, Superintendent Kishimoto blamed outside interests for the problems with the committee. In her report on Clark, she warned of parents being “lobbied heavily by organizations placing pressures on parents on matters beyond the immediate and urgent needs of Clark School students.” She chided these mysterious groups and mentioned that parents were complaining to her personally about the “pressure.” Continue reading 'Hartford Promises'»

A New COO, Finally

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By , March 19, 2014 1:11 pm

Pending approval by the City Council, Hartford will finally have a new Chief Operating Officer.

Darrell Hill, who has served as Assistant City Manager for the City of Norfolk, Virginia, is the selection according to a message from the Mayor’s Office.

Mayor Segarra says that Hill is “uniquely qualified because of his strong background in public finance, economic development/redevelopment and his knowledge of the specific challenges that come with managing an urban area.” Segarra called Hill “a straight shooter.”

David Panagore had previously served as Chief Operating Officer, resigning in September 2012. The City Council has this appointment as an agenda item for its March 24th meeting.

Students Honored for Turbine Project

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By , February 24, 2014 9:25 pm

Ten students from the Academy of Engineering and Green Technology at Hartford High School were finally recognized by the City of Hartford for their role in the Nepal Wind Turbine Project.  Continue reading 'Students Honored for Turbine Project'»

Known Knowns and Unknown Unknowns: Hartford BOE Edition

By , February 7, 2014 3:39 pm

Although Tuesday night’s Hartford Board of Education special meeting had only two agenda items for public comment, you would have never known it from the hundreds of people, especially Weaver students, who packed into the Fred D. Wish Elementary School gymnasium. It was a sea of forest green hoodies. Proudly emblazed on the hoodies was the rallying cry of the night: “Weaver Strong.” In addition, Weaver students greeted every attendee with a handout celebrating the school’s achievements. Thundering drum beats in the school’s lobby foretold of a battle. Handheld placards proclaiming “Weaver Forever” were placed on every seat. Ironically, the presumed fight over the future of Weaver High School was the least contentious event of the night.

The massive turnout of Weaver students, parents, alumni, and staff was the dissatisfaction with the Board’s communication with the school’s community. The show of force was to ensure the survival of Weaver, including its traditions, history, and legacy. The issue at hand was the future move of Weaver Culinary Academy to a temporary location at the Lincoln Culinary Institute on Sigourney St. Weaver High School is slated for a $100 million rehabilitation and the entire school must be relocated to Lincoln while construction occurs.

Rumors had been swirling over the future of Weaver, but the real issue, as the school’s principal Tim Goodwin explained, was the glacial pace of the project and the numerous unanswered questions over the school’s future. The leadership of the Blue Hills Civic Association also peppered the board with questions over the developer of the Weaver site and lack of communication with the neighborhood. Continue reading 'Known Knowns and Unknown Unknowns: Hartford BOE Edition'»

Snow Protocol

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By , February 4, 2014 2:49 pm

Parking

Vehicles need to be off the street by 10pm on February 4, 2014 and remain off until 10pm on Wednesday.

Vehicles parked on-street during the ban are subject to ticket and tow.

There are multiple options for where to leave your vehicle. If friends and neighbors have no extra space in their driveways, the public school lots are options. Lots at Elizabeth and Pope Park will be available; also Colt Park (lot accessible from Wawarme) and Keney Park (lot accessible from Ridgefield). The lot at 2 Holcomb Street is another choice, as well as KDA Center Lot on Naugatuck Street and Metzner Center lot, accessible from Franklin Avenue. The Morgan Street Garage will be open, too.

If you disregard the parking ban and get towed, call the Hartford Police Department (860) 757-4000 to find out where your car is at.

Waste and Recycling Collection 

Collection will be delayed by one day. Those on a Wednesday schedule should put trash out on Thursday, those scheduled for Thursday should set barrels out on Friday, and those scheduled for Friday should place containers out on Saturday.

Shelter

The McKinney Shelter, Immaculate Conception Shelter, and South Park Inn will be open 24 hours during the storm.

U.S. Secretary of Education to Stop in Blue Hills Neighborhood

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By , January 19, 2014 8:34 pm

Photo courtesy of U.S. Department of Education

UPDATE 1/21: Due to the expectation of inclement weather, this event is being rescheduled.

Arne Duncan, the U.S. Secretary of Education who has on more than one occasion given praise to South Korea’s education system, will be visiting the University High School of Science and Engineering on Mark Twain Drive.

He will be one of the participants in what is being called a student-centered town hall meeting on access to higher education. Also expected at Tuesday’s event: State Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, Governor Malloy, Mayor Segarra, and Hartford Public Schools’ Superintendent Dr. Kishimoto.

Some of this discussion will focus on recent release of the 2014 FAFSA. The federal student aid form has been redesigned to more accurately record a student’s family’s income. For those adults who are shacking up, there will be the option of filing as “unmarried and both parents living together.” The FAFSA is due February 15th and this event will have juniors and seniors from the high school in attendance.

The town hall event will be held in the school’s atrium at 1:30pm.

Mayor Says ‘No’ to Clark Giveaway

By , November 15, 2013 12:13 pm

After numerous parents, teachers, and community speakers have voiced dissent, Mayor Segarra has come forward with the promise of not supporting the proposal to give the Clark School (public) over to Achievement First (charter).

In a statement issued late this morning, Segarra acknowledged that there are other ways to improve Clark School without resorting to drastic measures. He says:

At the last Board of Education meeting on October 29, I indicated clearly that any decision regarding a redesign of Clark Elementary would be predicated upon parental involvement and support. I’ve listened to the concerns and given parents’ profound opposition I will not support the conversion of Clark Elementary to an Achievement First Charter School.   I am committed to identifying an alternate solution that meets our objective of accelerating student learning and closing Hartford’s achievement gap. I encourage all those invested in this issue to stay involved. We have an obligation to prepare students for the future and to do that requires collaboration from all stakeholders including parents, educators, residents and businesses. We should continue to focus on our common goal of improving Hartford schools so that every student has access to the education they deserve.

While this is something that the Board of Education can still weigh in on, it’s understood that with five of the nine BOE members appointed by the mayor, it’s unlikely that a vote would go in any other direction.

Hartford Board of Ed: Out of Order

By , September 3, 2013 9:00 am

The abuse of power by some on the Hartford Board of Education was called into question after politicking and bullying behaviors ruled and dissenting voices were silenced at last week’s regular public meeting.

Selectively enforced guidelines for conduct

Continue reading 'Hartford Board of Ed: Out of Order'»

A Tasty New Chapter for Library

By , August 28, 2013 4:22 pm

Practically invisible at a glance, a door to the far right of the patio gives entrance to the Kitchen at Hartford Public Library, a small café and bakery that provides a welcome alternative to Dunkin Donuts.

Pre-packaged salads and parfaits filled a refrigeration case. Another display held small pies. The chalkboard promised sandwiches ranging from a white bean hummus with spinach and roasted tomatoes on caramelized onion focaccia, to a turkey with apple mayonnaise and cheddar cheese on ciabatta roll. Quiche and scones are some of the breakfast options.

Before the speeches and ribbon cutting this morning, café staff stayed in motion, replenishing the complimentary coffee, tea, fruit, and tray of walnut scones and cheese danishes. Continue reading 'A Tasty New Chapter for Library'»

Creating Sense of Urgency about Hartford’s Nutrition Problem

By , July 18, 2013 4:12 pm

Farmers’ Market at Billings Forge

The little girl hesitantly holds a container of greens out to one of the farmers at the weekly market. She asks to return them. The farmer questions her. The girl says her mother does not want her to have them. The farmer will not take them back, but offers her a cucumber in their place. A minute later, the girl’s grandmother approaches the table, thrusting the greens out. The girl’s mother does not want her to have them, the woman says. Pushed for why, the grandmother changes the story. She says the child is allergic. The farmer calls her bluff; the girl was eating the greens before buying any. The greens will go to waste, the girl won’t eat them, the grandmother says. The farmer does not take them back, but offers a cash refund. The grandmother storms off.

This is not the first or even second time this has happened, the farmer tells me. Children are curious about fresh, wholesome foods, and for whatever reason, the parents do not let them partake.

A sad scene on any day, this unfolded minutes after “How Hartford is Eating: A 2013 Report on Nutrition in Hartford” was released by The Connecticut Forum just yards away from that farmer’s booth at the Billings Forge Farmers’ Market.

Tim Cole

Tim Cole — who serves as Principal of West Wind Consulting and compiled the report — said that he was not surprised by the findings, but remains “disturbed” that “Hartford is as badly off as any place in the country” in terms of food scarcity and obesity.

The report released today grew from a request made during the “Our Fragile Earth” panel at the Connecticut Forum.

Mayor Segarra said, “the report is clear” and its “call to action” is “inspiring.”

One of the issues Hartford faces, according to the report, is that:

unhealthy options — fast food outlets including both big name franchises and somewhat less visible corner convenience stores — are in many parts of the community more readily accessible than venues that offer healthy food, including large and medium sized grocery stores and especially farmers’ markets, which are seasonal and typically open only a few hours a week.

The Billings Forge Farmers’ Market is currently the only one in Hartford that is open year round, with reduced selection during colder months.

The report states that 13.7% of residents in Hartford County are considered “food insecure,” meaning that not all members of the household have consistent access to food.

Segarra recounted his own history, saying: “I have a little bit of experience with hunger.” Continue reading 'Creating Sense of Urgency about Hartford’s Nutrition Problem'»

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