Since The Kitchen Café at the Hartford Public Library opened two summers ago, it has been critiqued for two things: limited hours and pricing. With the exception of opening for special events, the hours have not expanded. A new initiative, however, will begin to address the feeling that coffee at this location is off limits to some of the library’s most dedicated patrons.
The Kitchen, part of Billings Forge Community Works, is joining the “suspended coffee” movement, or caffè sospeso. This means that people who can afford to may purchase extra coffee for those who can not. Patrons who can not afford to purchase their own will be given a free cup of coffee during business hours, Monday-Friday, 8-4. Continue reading 'Hartford to Offer Suspended Coffee'»
There were few surprises in the mayor’s State of the City address, from the nod to deceased firefighter Kevin Bell to the praise for the baseball stadium.
In his speech, Segarra claimed that the $700,000 spent renovating the previously neglected Goodwin Park Golf Course “drives local tourism.” This claim was unsubstantiated with evidence. Noting money spent to improve Keney Park, Segarra said that $4M of CIP funds would go toward club house improvements.
He said there would be 80 new units at Nelton Court “after many delays,” but did not indicate the cause of those delays. Work on that was supposed to have been completed in April 2013, putting this over 2.5 years behind schedule if these complete by the new deadline in October. (Spoiler: Continue reading 'Various Omissions and Unsubstantiated Claims in the State of the City Address'»
As dirt was piled on top of frozen ground, destined to be “broken” for a project that had been declared done before any consultation with the public, and as distraction-upon-distraction was thrown at residents on an evening utterly overloaded with City meetings, a group of young(ish) professionals were told they do not belong here.
Without an inspection being conducted, residents of 68 Scarborough Street received a cease-and-desist order last year because their definition of family does not mesh with that of those living around them. Continue reading 'Hartford’s Plan to Make City Attractive for Young People'»
Photo by Christopher Brown
People from Hartford and beyond attended a two hour vigil at Center Church in Hartford on Tuesday night. Community leaders, residents, and visitors spoke at the lectern, sharing their thoughts on race, justice, and other issues in Ferguson, Hartford, and beyond. Attendees filed outside for closing words by candlelight on the church’s front steps. Continue reading 'Hartford Speaks About Justice'»
Unemployment has not been a new topic of conversation in the city, but on the day of the big vote, there was a lot of talk about what might give Hartford a much-needed economic boost. Too many people struggle to provide for their basic needs, for their families.
Meanwhile, on that same day, ten individuals were arrested for doing their jobs. Continue reading 'Crackdown on Jobs'»
Exactly one person spoke favorably about the stadium deal during Monday’s public hearing, yet members of City Council went ahead and approved the three Downtown North land purchases anyway, two of which are directly connected — either in print or geographically — to the proposed stadium.
Raquel, the one voice overtly supporting the stadium, said that “Hartford is a dead city” and that if people are out of work, it is nobody’s fault but their own. It’s not the City’s responsibility to get people to work, she said. That was the message in between her continued support for the stadium. No statistics, no research. The City is here to provide entertainment, she implied, but not jobs.
Ten individuals — eight residents, one former resident, and one individual moving into Hartford soon — spoke against the stadium plan. One woman did not speak directly about the stadium, but said that the “city looks like crap” and that it is a “dead land.” Continue reading 'Land Purchases Approved for Downtown North Area'»
The area of State House Square that had been proposed to change into a lane for buses.
With so little useful information traveling between City Hall and the general public, it is easy to get the impression that projects have stalled when that’s hardly the case. Continue reading 'Proposed Crosswalks, Sharrows, and Bike Lanes That May Happen During Your Lifetime'»
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'»
Photo by Josh Blanchfield
Decades have passed since neighborhood organizations in Hartford made city leaders nervous. At one time, these once legendary community organizations took over city council meetings, worked to bring better housing conditions to city renters, and held sway over local elections. Now Hartford Areas Rally Together (HART), Asylum Hill Organizing Project (AHOP), and ONE/CHANE are long gone or husks of their former self. These once vital groups used classic, Alinsky-style neighborhood organizing to keep City Hall and other Hartford powerbrokers in check. Today we see groups like HART simply cashing checks written by powerbrokers. Community organizing that has been dormant for too long in our city. Now, a new group is rising and working to fill the void.
The John C. Clark School in Hartford’s north end has been the site of many skirmishes in recent months over the direction of school reform in the city. But from these battles a new community organization and coalition of residents and neighborhood leaders has emerged. The group, called Hartford Rising!, has grown into a multi-issue community group that just this past weekend established a Community Bill of Rights to “ensure and protect each and every Hartford citizen’s most basic needs.”
Beginning with a city-wide canvas, Hartford Rising! worked to identify key areas of concern for city residents. With nearly 3,000 doors knocked on, the group was able to Continue reading 'Rising Tide: A Community Bill of Rights'»
Mille Soto and Rob Harrison speak at the Hartford Rising Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Rally at the Clark School in Hartford
A school is determined to be in need of help; instead of consulting with the community about how improvements should be made, there is an attempt to turn it over to a quasi-public management company. When parents and community members speak out, this is dropped– for the time being — only for another school in a different neighborhood to be told it should be given away. Again, parents and community members speak out. The matter is not settled entirely, but it appears that the people will retain some control over their own schools.
In the neighborhoods where these schools are located, it is sometimes easier to get a beer than affordable, nutritional foods. Continue reading 'Hartford Rising to Create a Community Bill of Rights'»