Thursday’s actions in Hartford and New Haven were portrayed by organizers in a press release as a “walk off,” but that term does not seem to fit with what actually went on. At noon on Airport Road in Hartford, there was no dramatic exit of employees from the Dunkin’ Donuts as had been implied; instead, there was one employee from that location present at the rally, who had simply not gone in to work.
A few minutes before the announced start time of noon, protestors were actually across the street, on the sidewalk near Burger King. Two police cruisers were on the south side of the street, with officers telling activists repeatedly to get out of the drive-thru area.
The group, before the announced noon start time, apparently attempted to enter the Dunkin’ Donuts. I was informed that the door had been locked. America might run on Dunkin’, but this one was willing to cut off that fuel supply in Hartford as long as a few dozen people with a drums and a megaphone were nearby. The door was seen opening to allow a patron out, only to be immediately locked again. Continue reading 'BK Keeps Doors Open, Dunkin’ Cuts the Caffeine Supply'»
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'»
For its preschool-through-eighth grade, the Kinsella Magnet School for the Performing Arts has a permanent location on Van Block Avenue, in the Sheldon-Charter Oak neighborhood. It has expanded to create a high school, currently located temporarily on Locust Street, one mile away in the South Meadows, a predominately industrial area of Hartford.
The Hartford Board of Education had planned to vote Monday evening on a permanent site for this high school but the vote on this and approval of a lease agreement for the Weaver Culinary Arts Academy with Lincoln Culinary Institute were tabled until the meeting next week. City Council already approved $33 million for construction of a new Kinsella high school facility.
The Superintendent’s suggestion that the Kinsella Magnet School for the Performing Arts High School be built on City-owned property adjacent to SAND Elementary School (America’s Choice at SAND) on Main Street did not go over well. Continue reading 'Superintendent’s Pick for Kinsella Site Opposed'»
Now that we have completed our three trips to each neighborhood, we wanted to share our absolute favorite pictures from this series.
(Blue Hills) This one was taken at the Watkinson Community Garden on Bloomfield Avenue, behind the Unitarian meetinghouse. This is more like a farm than a community garden. We have no idea why this wheelbarrow was perched in a tree; on other trips here, all equipment was stored in places one would expect it to be. The weather was changing from “vaguely Autumn” to “there’s frost”.
(Clay Arsenal) A friend tipped us off to some artwork in an area we were about to visit, but did not give an exact location. We do not even know if this was where he found the painting of a peacock. What we found — portraits — were more interesting than the simple scribbles that are common.
Continue reading 'Best of Your Neighborhoods'»
This marks the final set in the final round of In Your Neighborhood. We were stalled by the snow and extreme cold. Then we were stalled by a cold. We were not stalled like this Blazer. Continue reading 'In Your Neighborhood: South Meadows (last round)'»
Participants in Saturday’s Quality of Life Community Conversation were told by moderator Alice Leibowitz to “listen to understand” and that “no one needs to promote or defend their opinions,” but old habits die hard. Some people left early, others kvetched about the meeting model, and others ignored the process entirely. Even with resistance, there were residents who moved out of Debbie Downerville and into action. Continue reading 'Residents Guided Toward Solving Problems Through Community Conversations'»
The Community Conversations aspect of the Quality of Life Initiative will begin this Saturday, later than was originally announced.
There will be three meetings for different segments of the city; this follows how the police department has divided Hartford into districts.
The first meeting is this Saturday, August 24th from 10a.m. until 2p.m. at Parker Memorial Community Center (2621 Main Street). This is for residents and stakeholders (churches, educational institutions, business owners, etc.) of the following neighborhoods, being considered “North District”: Blue Hills, Clay Arsenal, North East, North Meadows, and Upper Albany.
The meeting for what is considered the “Southern District” will be on September 7th, also from 10a.m. until 2p.m. This will be at the Pope Park Rec Center in Pope Park for the following neighborhoods: Barry Square, Behind the Rocks, Frog Hollow, Parkville, Sheldon-Charter Oak, South End, South Green, South Meadows, and South West. Continue reading 'Quality of Life Initiative Community Conversations to Begin'»
The In Your Neighborhood photo series is a response to the two extremes seen in how Hartford is portrayed — either as a hell-on-Earth war zone or as an absolute paradise where everyone is always excited about something. Continue reading 'In Your Neighborhood: South Meadows (round two)'»