The United Ewe Association of Connecticut performing their traditional Agbadza dance
Marla Ludwig has been going to Ghana since 2005. She established Bright Star Vision and has partnered with Youth Creating Change of Ghana to establish a library in the village of Dalive. The organization has also constructed bio-sand water filters and a kindergarten schoolhouse. It has sent school supplies, bicycles, and wheelchairs.
This year, Bright Star Vision focused its fundraising efforts on sponsorships for students so that more young people in this village have the opportunity to receive an education. Sully’s hosted the annual fundraiser on Saturday.
United Ewe Association of CT brings its dancing off the stage at Sully’s
With so much talk of how the City has been spending money and plans to use bonding in relation to the proposed stadium, it’s time to take a look at how Hartford is using Capital Improvement Project funds elsewhere.
The recently re-opened George Day Park is one of those items. With new playground equipment, basketball court, garden area, and water features, this Parkville spot cost $870,000 to renovate.
In neighboring Frog Hollow, the Pope Park North/Baby Pope playground has been under construction for months. The underutilized tennis courts, broken chain link fencing, and dated playground equipment were ripped out, along with a concrete spray pool. Neighborhood kids have been, in the meantime, playing basketball and football on the first block of Putnam Street, in the roadway. Here, the City has said that the spray pool and playground construction would be completed by May, but a sign at the site says July. There is some playground equipment and picnic tables in place, but work remains to be done for the $570,000 price tag.
The Goodwin Park spray pool construction is scheduled to be completed in August: $190,000.
The carousel in Bushnell Park opened for the season at the end of June, approximately two months later than it normally does. That it has been open for more than only two days this season is an improvement over what was expected — one day in June, one day in September. The necessity of some of these renovations has been debated, but ultimately, the funds were approved. A document produced by the City lists the CIP funds for this at $900,000, yet the City Council approved $1M for it. Construction should complete in late November. Continue reading 'Speed of Capital Improvement Projects'»
Councilperson Deutsch holds a level
Councilperson Larry Deutsch held a Stanley level to demonstrate the need to keep politicians “on the level.” Then, he showed a brass union to call attention to how union jobs are a good fit for the city.
The frequently outspoken elected official said he had been promised five minutes to speak before the crowd of nearly 300, but was later told he would have to sign up and take a one- or three-minute spot like everyone who was not Mayor Segarra or Thom Deller.
Deutsch arrived prepared with hardware props and a list of seven questions:
- what, exactly, will be the full-time union or living-wage jobs for Hartford residents?
- will the mayor’s administration and team owners commit to a signed community benefits agreement regarding a fund for school and park improvements, blight remediation, community centers, and more?
- can there be a binding and secure guarantee for residents and taxpayers for full repayment of all City expenses — from consultants to construction to publicity — if the owners decide to relocate the Rock Cats before the lease is up?
- how will there be compensation for workers and small businesses that depend on the stadium games if the team leaves before the contract is up?
- who exactly will pay for police overtime and Department of Public Works sanitation?
- why haven’t Hartford taxpayers and City Council been asked what they want for downtown and he rest of the city before spending money to plan and put out proposals for a stadium?
- how will workers losing jobs in New Britain be treated?
Neither Segarra nor Deller had answers to his questions.
Few answers were provided for anyone’s questions. Continue reading 'City Officials Blow Opportunity to Inform Public, Answer Questions'»
A message sent out earlier this week by the New Britain Social Club announced that as of September, cricket games will be played at Veteran’s Stadium at Willow Brook Park in New Britain. This is already happening elsewhere in the city, but here’s the twist:
“. . .Waterbury, New Britain, Hartford, Windsor and Bloomfield currently have one or two cricket fields. Our plan is to bring the final games from these locations to New Britain.”
The message says that this is a collaboration between the New Britain Social Club and the City of New Britain’s Parks and Recreation department.
Cricket Press Release
Hartford has a reputation for its interest in cricket, with fields in Keney Park and Riverside Park.
Ray, a veteran who served in Iraq, Guantanamo, and Afghanistan, said the United States is good about sending help overseas, but when people are “in crisis” here, they are told to wait quietly. The marine said he was injured by an IED in Afghanistan. He has ongoing medical needs, he said, and was told to get on a two month wait list for treatment here.
Besides illustrating how the system is broken, he was at Saturday’s Justice for Jane Doe Rally “on behalf” of his cousin, Jenny, who he said was murdered in Brooklyn for no reason other than being who she was, a young trans woman.
Connecticut holding “Jane Doe,” a young Latina in near-solitary confinement, was the uniting issue of the event, even if protestors disagreed about which element of her case has been most outrageous or responsible for her predicament.
Two weeks ago Governor Malloy issued a statement that Jane Doe should be moved from the adult correctional facility to another setting. Several speakers at the rally, which began in front of DCF’s Central Office on Hudson Street, said they wanted to make sure that Malloy would make good on his promises. Continue reading 'Rally for Jane Doe Outside DCF Headquarters and State Capitol'»
City Council’s monthly public hearing did not even reach twenty minutes on Monday.
Nobody signed up to speak.
There were two items up for discussion.
One (an ordinance creating a Commission on the Homeless) received no comments from the public, nor explanation from the five (Alexander Aponte, Joel Cruz, Jr., Raul De Jesùs Jr., Cynthia Jennings, and Larry Deutsch) present members of the Council.
The other — a move to allocate a chunk of change from the Parks and Playground Enhancements account in the Capital Improvement Fund to an account for renovation and expansion of the carousel building in Bushnell Park — garnered a whopping five comments from the public after some awkward attempts on behalf of the Council to get those folks out of their seats and to the microphone.
None of those individuals speaking in favor of this identified themselves as living in Hartford. Continue reading 'Public Support for Funding Carousel Renovation'»
Without enough grain growing locally, Markham Starr said, the remaining family-owned dairy farms in North Stonington have it trucked in from outside of Albany. Is that sustainable?
Markham Starr, photographer and author of Down on the Farm: The Last Dairy Farmers of North Stonington, spoke at the Dairy Farms in Connecticut: Change and Continuity gallery opening last week. Knowing only this obstacle in feeding many head of cattle may bring into question the future of farming in Connecticut, but in fact, it is hard to leave the exhibit feeling pessimistic.
This is the first exhibit of occupation-based art hosted by the Institute for Community Research. Most of the walls are covered by Starr’s stunning photographs taken over the span of one year in his hometown. During this time he also interviewed the farmers. Their words serve as the labels below each photograph, adding more dimension to their lives and work. Here are two of the many:
Continue reading 'Lactose Tolerance: Dairy Farms in Connecticut'»
A colleague confides that another employee has been making inappropriate comments toward her. The perpetrator drops creepy notes under her office door and shows up in the lounge when she’s there. He stares while she eats her lunch. She asked him to stop, but this behavior has continued and it seems to be getting worse. Now, he is sending emails and hanging around where she parks in the lot. She’s distraught, so you offer to help by looking for the handbook. Surely, it will explain how to manage this uninvited and unceasing behavior. You scour the college website only to come up empty-handed. The student handbook contains some language, but it’s unclear if this applies to faculty too. It’s late at night and you are desperate to help this friend feel safe. Another institution in the college system does have its student and faculty guidelines posted online, and while incomplete, it gives a momentary sense of hope. But then, we agree, it’s possible that none of those policies apply to where she works. Reporting this to Human Resources seems more and more like a hassle to her, what with no apparent policy.
“An Act Concerning Sexual Assault, Stalking, and Intimate Partner Violence on Campus,” promises to add consistency across colleges and universities in Connecticut. It may not require colleges to publish its guidelines, but once a victim discloses or reports, he or she will be informed of that institution’s obligations moving forward.
Though it’s been described as a “sexual assault bill,” it covers far more ground. For those who work in higher education, this is one more measure that helps to ensure safety in the workplace, as the policies cover all college and university employees, not only students. Continue reading 'A Safer Workplace'»
The “Choice Watch: Diversity and Access in Connecticut’s School Choice Programs” report released last week suggests ways that “open choice” schools in Connecticut should work to reduce segregation across racial, linguistic, and ability lines. The report finds that most school choice programs are actually integrated as far as socioeconomic status is concerned, with integration defined quite broadly: enrollment between 25-75% minority students. Continue reading 'How to Make Schools More Integrated'»
Every Sunday for the past eight years, Hartford Food Not Bombs has received donations of produce from the Whole Foods in West Hartford Center. This is food that is suitable for human consumption, but often not aesthetically appealing enough to get top dollar from consumers. Instead of dumping it, the company has been generously gifting it to this grassroots organization, which has been serving it as part of the free, vegetarian meals distributed near the carousel in Bushnell Park on Sunday afternoons.
This month, that arrangement came to a halt.
On March 2, when volunteers arrived for the weekly pickup, they were told that Whole Foods would be changing how it donates food that would otherwise land in the dumpster. The organization tried to set up a meeting with the manager, but to date, the only discussion between these parties has been through email.
The grocery store is now working with Food Donation Connection to coordinate how and where it gives. Before, groups like Food Not Bombs were able to work directly with the corporation known for its high quality food. That relationship appears to have dissolved overnight, with the community organization having to work with a third party that says Food Not Bombs in its current state does not qualify as a charitable organization and is now unable to receive the food donations as it had been for almost a decade. Continue reading 'Hartford Food Distribution Group Loses Fresh Produce Source'»