Category: myth busting

Random Facts from Open Data: Zones

By , September 29, 2014 8:23 am

Until last week, zoning regulations did not permit a stadium in the B-1 district (Downtown Development District), the area the covers most of Downtown.

If City officials had met for over a year discussing the possibility of a baseball stadium when one had not been allowed where they were seeking to build it, one might ask what else is or is not allowed in different sections of Hartford.

At the Planning & Zoning Commission meeting where this matter was being discussed, there was also confusion about if a brewery — one of the proposed items for the Downtown North re-development project — would be permitted in this area.

Package stores are allowed, as evidenced by the existence of Spiritus Wines. There is no shortage of bars — see Allyn Street, Union Place, Asylum Street, and Ann Uccello Street. There are restaurants that serve beer and wine, along with the hard stuff.

But a brewery is different. There is manufacturing, not just serving or selling. This introduces the question of scale. Would the beverages brewed on site be only available for retail, or would larger, wholesale orders be filled?

The Planning & Zoning Commission defines brew pub as:

any building where beer is manufactured, stored, and bottled, with retail sale of alcoholic liquor to be consumed on the premises with or without the sale of food, with retail sale of sealed bottles or other sealed containers of beer brewed on such premises for consumption off the premises, and with wholesale sales of sealed bottles or other sealed containers of beer brewed on such premises, and as otherwise defined and regulated by the Liquor Control Act of the general statutes.

A former restriction on brew pubs in this area required that manufactured beverages be consumed on site only, and that the production area be no more than 2000SF.

This is no longer the case. What had been allowed in B-1 is also permitted in I-2 (Industrial District, mostly North Meadows and South Meadows), C-1 (Commercial District), and B-2 (Downtown Perimeter District). While a brew pub may exist in B-1, it requires a special permit.

Where, then, did the rumors come from that a brew pub would not be permitted in Downtown? Likely an outdated document found in the City website.

Get in the Zone for Economic Development

Nobody is arguing that Hartford does not need to diversify its types of employment. We can’t and shouldn’t all be working for insurance companies and nail salons. But, some have questioned if the proposed types of development in Downtown North fits Hartford’s needs. What could we have besides or instead of  a minor league baseball stadium? Continue reading 'Random Facts from Open Data: Zones'»

October 2014 Events

By , September 26, 2014 8:24 am

October 1

  • Free gallery talk with Carole P. Kunstadt whose Between the Lines exhibit is currently at Charter Oak Cultural Center. Noon.
  • AK Smith Visiting Scholars Series: “Society, Gender and Politics in Iranian Documentary Films”: The long history of the Kurdish people reveals a tangled web of geography, covering large portions
    of the modern-day Middle East. Road to Kurdistan examines the relationship between Iraqi and Iranian Kurdistan after the fall of Saddam Hussein and the subsequent opening of the Iraqi border. The film follows a group of Kurdish travelers crossing the border in search of their dreams. A young musician wants to promote his music in Kurdistan, the filmmaker’s father wants to find the grave of a famous Kurdish poet, and they all want to witness a land that has been off-limits to Iranian Kurds for many years. Of Kurdish descent, Persheng Vaziri ‘81 was born and raised in Iran and lives in New York City. She directed several personal documentaries about Iran such as Women Like Us and A Place Called Home. She is a producer for Bridge to Iran series on Link TV, and has worked on documentaries in the U.S. and Iran. A graduate of Trinity College and New York University, she is completing her PhD at Temple University in Philadelphia. For more information, contact Christina Bolio at Christina.Bolio@trincoll.edu.This will take place in the Smith House Reese Room of Cinestudio. Lecture at 4:30, reception at 6p.m.
  • Get HYPEd, the monthly networking event for younger (generally in the 25-35 range) adults, will be at Nixs on Front Street from 5:30-8:30pm. There’s no need to register. Admission is free. There are typically some complimentary snacks, but if you want other food or to drink you will have to pay for yourself or sweet-talk someone you meet into picking up the tab. This is described as “casual,” but we have learned that this really means “business casual.” (Those of us who work from home or in non-corporate careers need to have that type of warning). Bring your business cards.
  • Want another type of networking event? Come to Faculty Lounge, a free after-hours social event for educators. 5:30-7:30p.m. at the Connecticut Science Center. Pre-registration required.
  • Take a Jamming 101 class with Kelly and Caroline at the Hartford Public Library. Billings Forge describes it: “This hands on class will cover the basics of making simple jams. Kelly and Caroline will share techniques for making lower sugar jams; cover the use of pectin; introduce savory jams; and briefly review basic canning practices.” This is $45. Participants will leave with jars of jam, recipes, and an instructional booklet. 6-8p.m.
  • MakeHartford Show & Tell takes place from 6-9p.m. at 30 Arbor Street, B7. Bring something that you are working on, or just stop by to check out others’ projects. Free.
  • Edward Quinlan will discuss the new book The Justice Imperative: How Hyper-Incarceration Has Hijacked the American Dream. This free talk begins at 6p.m. in the Center for Contemporary Culture in the Hartford Public Library. Refreshments available at 5:30.
  • Trinity College Spanish Film Club will be screening La Yuma at 7p.m. in the McCook Auditorium at Trinity College. This is free and open to the general public. Post-film discussion will be in English and Spanish. Continue reading 'October 2014 Events'»

New and Coming Soon

By , September 7, 2014 2:26 pm

Downtown’s restaurant choices have just expanded.

Tap 88 Bar & Lounge

The Tap 88 Bar & Lounge on Pratt Street: Coming Soon Continue reading 'New and Coming Soon'»

College Students Spend Day Volunteering Around Hartford

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By , September 6, 2014 5:02 pm

Members of Trinity’s Chapel Council at the Ebony Horsewomen site

Trinity College students, faculty, and alumni volunteered at various sites throughout Hartford on Saturday as part of the 16th annual “Do It Day.”

Members of Trinity’s Chapel Council got an early start to the day by adding some fresh paint at the Ebony Horsewomen site on Vine Street, next to Keney Park. Two other groups from the college worked alongside the Blue Hills Civic Association and Friends of Keney Park to clean up areas of Keney Park. Continue reading 'College Students Spend Day Volunteering Around Hartford'»

Random Facts from Open Data: Police in the Parks

By , August 29, 2014 9:39 am

Goodwin Park

The HartfordData site has been up and operational since May– don’t let yesterday’s big announcement fool you. Real Hartford has been using it regularly for months. Over the next few weeks we will be sharing some of the more interesting finds in the database. Today features a glimpse at police activity in the larger public parks. What should be obvious is that this only reflects what was reported; if you were bitten by a loose dog and never reported it to anyone, it’s not in the database.

Some city parks — you know which ones — have reputations for being hotbeds of criminal activity. As is often the case, examining the data provides a different perspective. The vast majority of incidents in Hartford’s parks fall into three categories: drinking, animal complaints, and a cornucopia of motor vehicle-related issues.

The most common incident in Keney Park reported to the police in 2014: animal complaints. Between January 1-August 17, 2014 there were 17 reports of animals presenting some trouble or another. The next most frequent problem in Keney Park involved motor vehicles. There were three motor vehicle accidents causing damage in which the motorist evaded responsibility, another instance of a vehicular accident causing damage (but driver didn’t dodge consequences this time), one instance of a vehicle operated while the driver’s license was suspended, one accident involving the a motorist following too closely, one case of reckless driving, and one motor vehicle fire. So, where does this idea come from that Keney Park is especially dangerous? For the first eight months of the year, there was exactly one report of assault and one of a street robbery involving a knife. There were two reports of items lost or stolen during the same time. Continue reading 'Random Facts from Open Data: Police in the Parks'»

Tracking and Expanding Hartford’s Orchard

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By , August 28, 2014 7:55 pm

This picture was taken in South Glastonbury. It could have, should have been taken in Hartford.

Imagine if you could pick apples or pears without having to schlep the entire family to South Glastonbury.

For some Hartford residents, this is already possible. Everyone else, you’ll have your chance soon.

The West End Community Orchard, as its name suggests, begins in that neighborhood but does not have to end there said Tiffany Glanville, one of the volunteers behind this project. Erin Sheehan, another West End resident, is the other half of the team.

In its infancy, the West End Community Orchard is asking residents of any neighborhoods who would like to participate to register fruit and nut trees already on their properties. Partnering with KNOX, the trees will be rated for health and then indexed so that the organization has an idea of who is growing what where. Those locations will not be publicized, so nobody needs to worry about premeditated raids on their trees.

Glanville was inspired when she saw just how many apples from her own yard went to waste last year — approximately two-thirds of them. She knew about City Fruit, a non-profit from Seattle and thought it possible to “do a harvest” of excess fruits here. The produce could be given to area food pantries, she said. Continue reading 'Tracking and Expanding Hartford’s Orchard'»

September 2014 Events

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By , August 26, 2014 9:46 am

September 1

  • Shop the Park Street Farmers’ Market (161 Washington) from 9am-1pm.
  • The First Presbyterian Church (136 Capitol) will be holding its farmers’ market from 10am-1pm today.
  • Chabad Chevra is holding a Labor Day Kosher BBQ to welcome new and returning students. Free food, t-shirts, and Israeli music. They say, “stop by to get a mezuzah for your dorm room.” This event will take place at Alumni Plaza (residential side of University of Hartford campus next to University Commons. 5-6:30pm.
  • Free jazz at Black-eyed Sally’s, 350 Asylum Street. 8-11pm. There’s no cover, but don’t be stingy — if you want to hear local music, you need to keep the venues running.

September 2

  • The farmers’ market at the Old State House (800 Main) runs from 10am-1pm.
  • The West End Farmers’ Market is open on Tuesdays from 4-7pm on the Clemens Green on Farmington Avenue.
  • There is no public hearing at the Board of Education workshop meetings, but if you like to stay informed on the state of public education, it may be worth your time. This meeting will be held in the Achievement First Hartford Academy, 305 Greenfield Street, from 5-7pm.
  • For those who like to compete, tonight is Real Bored (Games) at Real Art Ways. They provide the games, but you can also bring your own. 6-10pm. Free. 56 Arbor Street. Continue reading 'September 2014 Events'»

Scrappy Small Business Spotlights Sustainable, Local Economy

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By , August 25, 2014 9:54 am

Alexander Williams interned at Built It Green! NYC while at Fordham, working on both the abstract, office end of its compost program, along with the physical collection and maintenance of food scraps. From there, he spent a few months as the compost coordinator for GrowNYC. Both non-profits taught Williams about the logistics of turning waste into a usefulness substance.

Experience alone does not pay the bills, so Williams headed out of the big city and back to his hometown of West Hartford. With his degree in Environmental Studies, Economics, and Urban Planning, he was looking for work aligned with this background. He found Blue Earth Compost. Susannah Castle, its founder, wanted to move on. Right place, right time, right background. Williams stepped in as the new owner this past spring.

Blue Earth Compost is small, with three residential clients in Hartford and 35 in West Hartford. There are a few businesses that participate, including the Kitchen at Billings Forge and reSET. Continue reading 'Scrappy Small Business Spotlights Sustainable, Local Economy'»

Tangiers Opens in West End

By , August 20, 2014 8:16 pm

Patio decor at Tangiers in Hartford

When it was announced last March that the old strip mall across the city line was going to be razed to make way for a new Walgreens, there was some premature mourning for the loss of Tangiers. Wednesday night, the market featuring Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, and other international foods held its grand opening at 550 Farmington Avenue, a space most recently used by Central Supermarket.

Tangiers quietly opened earlier this month. The Latif family has a few decades of experience doing what they do, so it was no surprise to see the constant flow of customers Wednesday night.

Tangiers is selling familiar goods, from falafel and baklava to tea and dried fruit. They are also selling fresh fruits and vegetables, along with breads. Besides the counter and tables indoors, there is an outdoor patio now.

They are open Monday through Saturday, 10am-8pm, and Sunday, 10am-6pm. Continue reading 'Tangiers Opens in West End'»

Suggestion Box: Bike to Shop

By , August 19, 2014 5:05 pm

A possible destination east of the Connecticut River

The purpose of Bike to Work is to encourage people to use bicycles more than automobiles. The intentions are good, but the event feels like a poor fit for those who work something other than first shift, work at home, or work in a direction opposite of the gathering place. It serves a purpose, but it is only one way to get butts on bike seats.

Here’s an alternative: Bike to Shop Day(s). This already exists elsewhere — California, to be exact — as an annual event. Here are ways it could work here.

Bike to Farmers’ Market Tour: Gather in Bushnell Park by carousel (1-6miles): A slow and easy ride for less experienced cyclists who can get tips on site for securing their produce. Tour should feature a farmers’ market that is hosting live music or when a festival or health screening is planned. Distance changes by which market is featured. Continue reading 'Suggestion Box: Bike to Shop'»

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