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Meet Your City: Our Sharing Economy

Artwork by Miguel Jose Matos

 

Call it what you want — sharing, gifting, being neighborly — increasingly Hartford residents are showing interest in no-strings-attached giving, the kind you might not be able to write off on your taxes.

There are at least seven Little Free Libraries throughout the city that facilitate the giving and taking of books without time limits, late fees, or proof of identification. On Laurel Street (a few houses north of the intersection with Hawthorne Street) there’s a food pantry that operates similarly; anyone can donate food items and anyone can pick up, day or night, without any kind of hassle. It’s becoming less rare to find knit scarves and mittens tied to trees and fences downtown with messages encouraging people to go ahead and take them. Keep Hartford Warm collects and distributes winter clothing items to those in need.

Now, residents of some Hartford neighborhoods have another way to give and receive. The Buy Nothing Project, with its new group currently open to those living in Downtown, Frog Hollow, South Green, and the Sheldon/Charter Oak neighborhoods, provides the opportunity for people to ask with no obligation to give. Jane Macy-Painter, the admin of this hyper-local group, says she learned about the Buy Nothing Project’s larger network “and realized there wasn’t one local to the city.”

On the surface it may seem like the group has a million rules, but what it comes down to is be local, be an adult, and give without expectation of anything in return — whether that means money or barter. Continue reading “Meet Your City: Our Sharing Economy”

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January 2018 Events in Hartford

January 1

  • Free ice skating in Bushnell Park, 11 am – 8 pm. You could start the new year off at the gym, but why? This is free, outdoors, and not surrounded by screens.
  • Tonight is the last chance this season to see Holiday Light Fantasia in Goodwin Park. 5-9 pm. $15 per car.

January 2

  • Go twirl on them haters at the rink downtown. Free ice skating in Bushnell Park, 11 am – 8 pm.

January 3

  • Free ice skating in Bushnell Park, 11 am – 8 pm.
  • Get HYPEd: the monthly casual networking event for young professionals will be at Hooker Brewery (140 Huyshope Ave.), 5:30-8:30 pm. Where is that? Look for the Colt Dome (see pic above). Bring your business cards. Free.
  • Mindfulness Meditation After Work: Free meditation class at Hartford Mindfulness Center (645 Farmington Avenue, ground floor), 6:15-7:45 pm. They say this “class is open to people who are at all levels of meditation practice, whether you’ve never meditated or have years of experience. Join us for this fun and uplifting class Wednesday evening. Meet others who are looking for more clarity and peace through mindfulness. Experience the myriad benefits of mindfulness meditation, including lower stress and anxiety, a clear, more focused mind and better sleep. Beginners are more than welcome and will enjoy this supportive environment.
  • MakeHartford Open House: check out the space, meet other makers, ask questions, and learn about upcoming classes & events. Free at MakeHartford (30 Arbor Street, #B7), 6:30-8:30 pm.
  • X-Files season 11 is scheduled to air tonight at 8 on FOX. Find a bar that’ll give you a channel change.

Continue reading “January 2018 Events in Hartford”

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Best Most Awesome Superlatives 2017

It’s a new era. This calls for new categories and a new format.

Here it is: 2017, judged.

Killing It

 

The Resistance: When life hands you a shitshow, make lemonade?

On a national and local level, we have witnessed people affirming humanity in a time when behaving badly is rewarded. There have been numerous rallies and marches calling for inclusivity and speaking against fascism. Hartford stood by immigrants in our community. People even gathered in airports to support immigrants, refugees, and Muslims. The Connecticut State Capitol lawn overflowed with an estimated 10,000 activists supporting women’s rights. A smaller contingent marched and rallied for reproductive rights on a much colder day. The community called out the Trump administration’s backlash against science by gathering in the rain, holding signs that read “Science. Because you can’t just make shit up!” In April, when people might have preferred to mark the tax deadline by hitting the bar, folks showed up to demand Trump release his tax returns.

In all of this, we have seen displays of creativityresilience, and hope. Continue reading “Best Most Awesome Superlatives 2017”

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Meet Your City: Worse Than Panhandling

As a native New Englander, I understand why anyone ever trying to talk to another person is alarming. Leave me alone, let me do my own thing, definitely do not make eye contact, and you might hear from me if I need help getting my tractor out of a ditch.

But seriously, it can be annoying to be approached by random strangers, whether they are trying to scrape together money for whatever or they are handing out booklets promising hellfire to those who don’t repent. The latter, for some reason, do not inspire so much anger from the peanut gallery. The calls to “do something about panhandlers,” almost never means addressing the root causes of poverty or addiction. These are attempts to get police involved in nuisance crimes when their talents could be better used elsewhere, such as enforcing traffic laws which when broken, are likely to cause personal injury. Continue reading “Meet Your City: Worse Than Panhandling”

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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.  Continue reading “Pratt Street Opened for People”

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Former Hartford ACO Teaches Self-Defense

caption
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. Continue reading “Former Hartford ACO Teaches Self-Defense”

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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. Continue reading “Suggestion Box: More Comprehensive Drivers’ Education”

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February 2017 Events in Hartford

February 1

  • Origami Presentation: Paper sculptor artist Benjamin Parker will give a demonstration at the giant bench inside of Hartford Public Library. This is located near the new books on the library’s main floor. Free. 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • Get HYPEd, the monthly casual networking event for young professionals and entrepreneurs, will be at Black-Eyed Sally’s (350 Asylum St.), 5:30-8:30 p.m. Free event. Bring your business cards!
  • MakeHartford Open House with Show & Tell – check out the space, speak to makers, show what you’re doing – 6:30-9 p.m. at 30 Arbor Street, B7.

Continue reading “February 2017 Events in Hartford”

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10,000 Strong

This child is just one of the estimated 10,000 individuals who peacefully rallied outside of the Connecticut State Capitol on Saturday in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington. That’s double the crowd organizers had expected. The signs alone communicate the rally’s message. Continue reading “10,000 Strong”

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Reproductive Freedom Day of Action

With the Affordable Care Act under attack, approximately 300 people marched from the Legislative Office Building to the Connecticut State Capitol on Wednesday, following an afternoon of lobbying legislators. Continue reading “Reproductive Freedom Day of Action”

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