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Meet Your City: Instead of Brunch

Venue for a dance party and happy hour

It’s an unpopular opinion, I know. But everything — from the overpriced meals that could be easily made at home, to the stomach-turning portmanteau itself — is irksome.

This isn’t really about brunch, but what this activity shares with various others: a trendy experience that typically tries too hard to be polished while failing to deliver half the fun that could be had if everyone allowed for more rough edges.

So, instead of fretting over whether or not the kids-these-days will be entertained without rows of nightclubs downtown or bi-weekly parades, we could look at what Hartford does have. Namely: (more…)

Meet Your City: Small Parks

Charter Oak Landing

Why should Hartford’s large parks get all the glory? We have numerous playscapes and green areas with places to sit down.

Columbus Park: On Franklin Avenue between Bolton and Victoria Streets, there are tennis courts, a baseball diamond, a space for soccer games. Playground, water playground, and a rec center, plus, the Italian flag. (more…)

Meet Your City: (Almost) Free Love

A friend recently cited expense as a reason to refrain from dating; there are many legitimate reasons for this choice — unwillingness to compromise, lack of interest in other people, enjoying one’s own company — but money is not one of them. Not when with some creativity, people can go out without having to empty their wallets.

Free — Always or Sometimes (more…)

Rally Against White Supremacy at Capitol

With little notice, a few hundred people came together on Thursday morning to unequivocally oppose white supremacy following last week’s violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Hartford’s Mayor Luke Bronin started the rally by saying that “It’s become difficult over the last year and a half to be shocked by the man who now sits in the Oval Office. But this past week was shocking.

A number of elected politicians followed with speeches on the north side of the Connecticut State Capitol. The rally was peaceful and without incident.

Besides this rally, at least eight vigils were held in Connecticut since Heather Heyer was killed in Charlottesville while speaking out against the racism. (more…)

Beyond Hartford: Providence

You probably don’t remember the Beyond Hartford series because the last one of these happened in 2013. Beyond Hartford provides some day trip options for people on a budget. We will be bringing back this series, sporadically. If you have suggestions for places to check out within 200 miles, send an email.

Elsewhere, I’ve written about how it may not be easy to get to Providence from Hartford, but once you’re there, it’s fairly accessible without a car. A trip automatically becomes more enjoyable when getting from place-to-place is not a pain in the ass. This fits the bill. It’s a place where you can do research and plan everything out, or just show up and wander, finding treasures without direction or intention. (more…)

Pratt Street Opened for People

Go ahead and walk right down the middle of Pratt Street. Bring your lunch and sit at a table. For a few hours, every weekday through November 1, 2017, this one block street in Downtown will be opened for people. Instead of being a place to park cars, Pratt Street becomes a park. On Fridays, there will be music at lunchtime.  (more…)

Former Hartford ACO Teaches Self-Defense

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Sherry DeGenova of Kenway’s Cause and Bob Marshall of Naturally Dogs and Cats

In March, two loose Pit Bulls attacked a Labradoodle being walked by Kate Molloy, one of the Downtown dog-walkers. With this happening in Bushnell Park at a time when food was being distributed to those in need, the incident had dozens of witnesses, several of whom stepped in to separate the animals and call 911. The owner of the pit bulls, during the attack, yelled at his dogs but according to witnesses, “did nothing.” The unleashed dogs — one male, one female —  were unlicensed and unregistered; their owner claimed to have had them in his possession for only a few days. He was issued a $606 infraction and allowed to take the dogs home.

The victim in this had to go to an emergency vet — not an inexpensive endeavor — but was lucky to make it out of the experience alive. A smaller dog, or a child, would not have.

Just a few days later, a different person was knocked over in Bushnell Park by a loose dog; her own dog got nipped. She contacted the police, but they did failed to enforce the law. (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…)

Suggestion Box: More Comprehensive Drivers’ Education

If you spend any amount of time commuting in Greater Hartford by way of anything other than single-occupancy vehicle, you know there is a stigma to it. More than the stigma, there are countless safety issues — motorists turning right on red without stopping to look in all directions first; drivers who use no judgement about whether or not they can completely move through an intersection, who end up blocking crosswalks; bus stops that are not shoveled, forcing people to board by standing in snowbanks or the streets; motorists who choose to not remove copious amounts of snow from their vehicles before getting on the highway. (more…)

Snow Parking Ban: March 13-15, 2017

Pic taken on March 13, 2017. Someone might want to update that

Pic taken on March 13, 2017. Someone might want to update that “remove by” date

No parking is permitted on Hartford streets from 8 p.m. on Monday, March 13 through 8 a.m. on Wednesday, March 15, 2017.

Vehicles remaining on roadways during this time are subject to ticketing and towing. A towing experience will cost you around $200, for the towing and the ticketing. Those whose vehicles get towed should call the HPD at (860) 757-4000 to learn where to retrieve their vehicles.

Residents in need of off-street parking have a number of options and should move vehicles to those lots before the ban begins. You can use any of the Hartford district school lots and park lots (Colt, Elizabeth, Pope, Keney, Goodwin, Foster Heights, Hyland, and Rocky Ridge), along with the following: (more…)