“Why isn’t the mayor here?”
That was the first question asked by an audience member, before the official time for questions began — before anything really began — at the Business for Downtown Hartford’s “Candid Conversations” event. Continue reading 'Conversations with the Candidates: Impressions'»
Hartford joined around 1600 other locations in protesting against Walmart today, Black Friday. Continue reading 'Black Friday: Picketing for a Living Wage at Walmart'»
Kryptonite? Rock candy? Who can know?!
With all seats in The Society Room filled, Mayor Segarra greeted the crowd with remarks about a woman at a previous event unrelated to social enterprise, doing “Reggaeton perreando.” That comment extinguished anything that may have seemed too zany about the superhero-themed Social Enterprise Awards.
For those not fully indoctrinated, “social enterprise” sounds jargony. All it means is that instead of only seeking to fatten their wallets, business owners first strive to improve conditions for humans and the environment.
On Tuesday, reSET — a social enterprise trust on Pratt Street — presented seven such companies with awards for their vision.
Will Haughey — one of the co-founders of Tegu Corp. — gave the keynote about how he and his brother decided to work with Honduran cooperatives certified by the Forest Stewardship Council to make the toys from mature trees. When getting started, they considered what to make, observing that most of the major exports from Honduras were “low quality.” Continue reading 'Social Entrepreneurs Awarded'»
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'»
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'»
Audience watches as Alicia Chiang, Owusu Darko, Raykwon Kerr, and Sean McCarthy unveil the app they created for TheaterWorks
The Mobile Apps for Hartford Program, Professor Ralph Morelli said, was about “getting students to see their power when they learn to code.”
Those twenty students from across Connecticut also earned stipends this summer.
Five teams created six apps (a fancy term for program) during a six-week session at Trinity College. At the end of the program, students learned that they would be able to keep the tablets that were on loan to them during July and August.
One team created a mobile version of the TheaterWorks website, consulting with the client to figure out which information needed to be included. This app provides details on the current schedule, information on how to reserve seats, driving directions, and even recommended restaurants within six blocks of the Pearl Street venue. Freddie McInerney, the Communications Director for TheaterWorks, said she was “awesomely impressed” by the students and the process.
A team working with the Old State House developed a Hartford Area Tour app designed to help visitors learn about and find forty sites they have designated as “iconic.” The students explained that they learned a little about copyright law in the process, finding that they actually are not able to just take photographs that they find on Google. This forced them to go out to each site and take photographs so that they would have images to use. Continue reading 'Students Create Apps for City of Hartford and Cultural Institutions'»
from 21 July 2014 march
From the moment Mayor Segarra stood in front of City Hall to announce his plan to relocate the New Britain Rock Cats to Hartford on the public dime, there have been unanswered questions:
How exactly would this (fully or partially) publicly-funded private business provide true economic development for the city? How many full time, living wage jobs would this create for residents of Hartford? Why were Hartford voters and residents excluded from the conversation until this was declared a “done deal” by the mayor? Why build in this location instead of at the existing Dillon Stadium near Colt Park? Why were key stakeholders in this area omitted from the secret dealings, finding out only after word of the deal reached the media? Why was a stadium not included in the Downtown North Plan and why is this able to displace the types of developments, like mixed-use residential, that had been discussed with residents for months? What kind of environmental studies have been done and how would the expected increase in traffic of this area impact Hartford’s already high asthma rates? Why did the mayor in his press release announcing that he wanted the stadium relocation agreement item withdrawn from the City Council agenda, fail to indicate that he would be making no effort to withdraw the related resolution for City purchase of 271 and 273 Windsor Street, a 2.08 acre vacant parcel considered necessary for the stadium development, a parcel that would cost the City of Hartford $1.7M?
Mary Sanders of Hartford
The meetings of people in opposition to the so-called “done deal” began back in June, with various groups gathering across Hartford. These smaller discussions merged after the first round of meetings happening over one weekend. Residents went from private living rooms to a centrally-located cultural space. Meetings went on during World Cup games, during the Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz, during a time of year when many are away on vacation. Those who are baseball fans have said they do not appreciate games being played when it comes to politics and tax dollars. Continue reading 'Alienated Public Demands a Voice in City Hall'»
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'»
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'»