Leadership in Transition

Carlos Hernandez Chavez reads his prepared remarks at the Youth Engagement Town Hall on Saturday // Photo courtesy of Allison Holst-Grubbe

Mayor-Elect Luke Bronin recently announced that he would forgo the glitz and expense of an inaugural ball, favoring a reception only, following the swearing-in of all other elected officials in early January. In past administrations, there have been both the light refreshments and meet and greet in City Hall, and the evening wear on display in a much larger facility. The plan is for Bronin to be sworn into office following the midnight First Night fireworks.

This weekend Bronin held a Youth Engagement Town Hall at Wilson-Gray YMCA, where Hartford’s strengths, such as already existing youth services programs, were touted. Here, a resident urged others to get involved with the dozens of municipal boards and commissions, and to support the incoming mayor and provide him with ideas of what we need, saying that if we don’t advocate for ourselves, we can’t get mad at the leader for not knowing what needs attention. The takeaway from this meeting was that many residents felt that City and community resources are disconnected from each other.

A few weeks ago, Bronin created several committees and policy working groups. Essentially, these perform as ways to add oversight and transparency, along with provide more opportunity for comment from members of the public. (more…)

Community Bicycle Shop Coming to Park Street

After a few months of riding a bicycle from Connecticut to Indiana, and back, it is only natural for one to launch a membership and fundraiser campaign for a community bicycle shop days after returning home.

Natural, that is, if you’re Tony Cherolis, who has been instrumental in getting BiCi Co., located at the Center for Latino Progress, up and moving.

BiCi Co. may not be the easiest concept to understand. but if you know what a maker space is, then it’s like that, but with bicycles and the ability to buy them.

Bike education classes were provided for youth there over this past summer, as a first step and as part of a summer youth employment service learning project. Thirty teens were paid for learning some safety and repair basics; they went on to fix up bikes for CRT’s Generations program. (more…)

Conversations with the Candidates: Impressions

“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. (more…)

Social Entrepreneurs Awarded

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.” (more…)

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