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IDEAS FOR 50 MILLION CARROT STICKS

This is a reader-submitted piece by Miguel Jose Matos, Hartford resident of twenty years. This fits in with our Suggestion Box series and addresses the recent pledge of $50 million over five years to the City of Hartford by Aetna, The Hartford, and Travelers.

by Miguel Jose Matos

by Miguel Jose Matos

 

Three of our local corporations have stepped up as committed partners to back Hartford to the tune of $50 million dollars over five years, if the City can get its financial house under control and come up with a workable plan for a viable future.

Funding the money hinges on the City putting forth a comprehensive and sustainable set of solutions for Hartford. The key piece of language in the corporate announcement was to be “part of” a plan, this was the clue. But based on media reports, the “when and how” have not been clearly spelled out, so it’s a great carrot but as yet no one is sure how long the stick is, and what will it take for our community to come together. A little over three million a year from each company is a great start.

“Push the corporate folk to drop their dime, while the City hammers out some fixes, use their dimes now to fund fixes; that without money remain unfixable”.

$10 million over 5 years is a good first step when having to climb out of a sinkhole fifty million dollars deep. But to get grounded we must back into the numbers, because the City is crippled with debt and limping with weak cash flow. It will be difficult to concoct a financial plan strong enough because of the City’s weak cash position, only making it harder to satisfy the conditional $50M Corporate Offer.

Corporate leaders are good community folks doing their part, protecting their investment and their workforce, but they understand risk and do not want to throw good money after bad. This narrative puts the City in a tricky position.

This point in time is a good opportunity to show the local corporations that the City has a plan that can be funded bit by bit with the corporate funds that are being offered. A project-by-project funding process based on a pay for performance system may mitigate some the upfront risk that has tied these moneys with a tough condition.

This tactic has relevance because it is not meant to only address the corporate funding offer, but to serve as the foundation for an annual Business Challenge Fund. Let’s get back to the corporations and be as corporate in approach as they are. Corner their attention by putting forth a recovery plan that is based on a return on their money and their participation. The approach is in many ways how corporations look at investing themselves. (more…)

2016 Holiday Giving Guide

Photo from November 2014

Right after the 9/11 attacks, the then President, George W. Bush, urged Americans to go shopping. These things do not come without a price. The reckless, mindless spending empties wallets and creates a fine distraction for us. While we work harder to have more money to spend on more things, policies are enacted with little resistance.

Distraction and complacency go a long way toward complicity.

When we have covered local protests of any kind, regular folks — not simply those being directly challenged — typically critique those carrying signs or blocking traffic. The protestors are seen as making too much fuss, seen as an other for daring to speak up. It’s never quiet enough, respectful enough, pretty enough. There’s too much inconvenience created. The strategies are always questioned, not only when the tactics are questionable, such as when people from out-of-town join in a march through a poor neighborhood chanting “WHOSE STREETS? OUR STREETS!“. Basically, if the opposition takes the form of anything more wild than wearing a rose or a designated color on the same day, it’s looked down on. The people are told to sit down, shut up, smile nicely, and go with the flow.

We did not just wake up to President-Elect Trump, as if his rise to power occurred magically. (more…)

November 2016 Events

November 1

  • Clean Safe Water in Connecticut: Challenges and Realities in a Complex World –this free event at Connecticut Historical Society (1 Elizabeth St.) from 12:30-2 p.m. They say: “Daniel C. Esty, Hillhouse Professor of Environmental Law and Policy will share his insight into the challenges and opportunities Connecticut faces in maintaining access to clean, safe water for all of its citizens.” Reserve your seat: rsvp@chs.org or (860) 236-5621 x238.
  • This is one of those rare times that we include something from the suburbs, but it’s a good cause. The Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Violence is forming a Men’s Advisory Council for a statewide sexual violence prevention campaign. They say: “Our goal is to continue to engage men as allies in our work to prevent sexual violence and to cultivate prevention leaders in our state.” This will be facilitated by Andrew Stewart. This meeting takes place from 5:30-7 p.m. at The Alliance (96 Pitkin Street, East Hartford). RSVP requested.
  • God, Faith, and Politics: Election Year Community Forums — the conversation begins at 7 p.m. at Wood-n-Tap (Capitol and Sisson Ave.)  but show up early to order dinner. Tonight’s conversation focuses on freedom of religion. They say: “Revs. Don Hamer from Trinity Episcopal Church, Rick Kremer of Grace Lutheran Church, Matt Laney of Asylum Hill Congregational Church, Kari Nicewander of Immanuel Congregational Church, Imam Sami Aziz of the Bloomfield Islamic Center and Rabbi Michael Pincus of Congregation Beth Israel  will lead a discussion of religious issues as they have been raised in this year’s election.” Free to attend.

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September 2016 Hartford Events

September 1

Shop one of Hartford’s farmers’ markets. This pic taken at the West End Farmers’ Market.

  • Farmers’ Market at Billings Forge: this market operates every Thursday, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. on the green on Broad Street between Capitol Avenue and Russ Street.
  • Take a free tour of the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch in Bushnell Park, 12-1:30 p.m.
  • Thursday Nights on the Plaza: happy hour, 4-8 p.m. on the Riverfront Plaza. Live music, food, and beer. No cover charge.
  • Connections + Collaborations: opening reception for art reception at 100 Pearl Street Gallery, 5-7 p.m. This free event will feature work from artists involved in the Art Connection Studio.
  • Yoga in the City: Free yoga in Elizabeth Park (meet on Rose Garden Lawn) begins at 5:30 p.m. Bring your own mat/towel and water.
  • Listen to The POSSM and Now For Ages play live at Peppercorns (357 Main Street), 8:30-10 p.m. No cover.

September 2

  • Bear’s is sponsoring a free outdoor screening of The Martian in Riverside Park. The movie will begin at sunset.
  • Ken Morgan’s digital abstracts go up at EBK Gallery (218 Pearl Street) until September 28, 2016.

September 3

  • Everything I Am Youth Summit: They say that this free event is “designed to enhance, engage and empower youth towards a future of achievement, fulfillment and happiness. Our programs cater to African American, Hispanic and Bi-Racial youth ages 12-19.” There is only room for eight girls, so register. This will be held at Carmen’s Events & Beauty Showroom (942 Main Street) from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Goodwin Park Clean-up: Here’s a chance to give back. Bring your own gloves and bags. Refreshments will be provided. 10 a.m. – 12 noon.
  • Yoga in the City: Free yoga in Pope Park (meet on lawn near pond) begins at 11 a.m. This will be taught in English and Spanish. Bring your own mat/towel and water.

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August 2016 Events in Hartford

August 1

  • Free yoga in Bushnell Park at 5:30 p.m. Bring your own mat and water; wear comfortable clothing. Meet on the lawn between the pond and Pump House. When that’s over. . .
  • Monday Night Jazz continues on Bushnell Park for three Mondays in August, starting with the Joshua Bruneau Quintet at 6 p.m. The Yosvany Terry Quartet headlines at 7:30. This is free. You can bring picnics, blankets, chairs, and well-behaved, leashed dogs into the park. Listen to WWUH 91.3 FM for the live broadcast or to learn if rain has moved the event indoors.
  • Masterpiece Monday: The Art of Becoming the Woman I Am Meant To Be: Today’s facilitated event at Toivo (399 Franklin Ave.) is being called an “In-Door ‘Drive-in Movie.” Showing: Fried Green Tomatoes. Visitors are encouraged to bring their own comfy chairs and healthy snacks. This is from 6:30-8 p.m. and admission is a suggested donation of $5. Email Linda llentini@advocacyunlimited.org to register.

August 2

  • Throughout August, stop by the youth-run pop up neighborhood market at 5 Corners (Garden, Westland, etc.), 3-6 p.m. on Tuesdays.
  • The West End Farmers’ Market offers produce, prepared foods, and other locally-produced goods every Tuesday, 4-7 p.m. on Clemens Green. This is near the Twain House on Farmington Avenue.
  • Free yoga in Elizabeth Park at 5:30. Bring your own yoga mat and water; wear comfortable clothing. Meet on the lawn near the rose garden.
  • World of Sounds: Caribbean Vibe Steel Drum Band. Free performance at the Hartford Public Library’s Albany Branch (1250 Albany Ave.) from 6-7 p.m.
  • Real Art Ways hosts its “Real Board Games” night in the lounge starting at 6. This is free and they supply the games, but you can also bring your own.

August 3

  • Stowe Salons at Lunch meets at noon. Discuss the social justice issues currently in the news. This is free. Bring your own lunch. The Stowe Center loves reservations: 860.522.9258, ext. 317.
  • The Mercado food truck is going to be at Little River Restoratives (405 Capitol Avenue) starting at 3 p.m.
  • Free yoga in Bushnell Park at 5:30 p.m. Bring your own mat and water; wear comfortable clothing. Meet on the lawn between the pond and Pump House.
  • GET HYPEd, a casual networking event for young professionals and entrepreneurs, will be at the Rocking Horse Saloon (181 Ann Street), 5:30-8:30. Check out a bar you might not normally visit, meet new people, and have some snacks. Free to attend, but bring cash/card for beverages. Don’t forget your business cards.
  • Experience the final Carillon concert of the season at Trinity College, today at 7 p.m. Andy Zhang of Oregon will be supplying the music. You supply a lawn chair or blanket, and your picnic. If you arrive early, you can take a tour of the Trinity College Chapel at 6 p.m. The event is free. Seating is on the lawn by the Chapel. . . look for all the other people.
  • Beatles Forever concert on the Rose Garden Lawn of Elizabeth Park, 6:30-8 p.m. Bring a blanket, lawn chair, and picnic. Get there early! The easiest way to access the park during the Summer Concert Series is via bicycle or foot. If it rains, this will be rescheduled to August 4.
  • MakeHartford Open House with Show & Tell: see what’s new at the makerspace in Parkville. You won’t get a hard sell to become a member if you really are just someone who is curious about the space. Wander in from 6:30-9 p.m. at 30 Arbor. The space(s) are on the basement level. Free to attend.

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Goodbye, Garbage

Friday, June 24, 2016 was the last day that the MIRA Trash Museum (previously, CRRA Trash Museum) was open to the public. The Trash Museum on Murphy Road opened its doors in 1992.

As you would expect, the museum provided information about recycling, upcycling, composting, recovering energy, reducing food waste, along with descriptions of the different types of landfills. The Temple of Trash gave visitors the chance to be grossed out, or to get nostalgic over relics like AOL discs, old cleaning products, toys, and board games. Trashion Fashion outfits were displayed in the gift shop.

Visitors had the chance to go on a scavenger hunt or make arts and crafts. The upper floor included views into the working recycling area; visitors were encouraged to wave at the workers, who would wave right back.

Staying true to the mission, parts of the museum will be packed up and sent to other institutions to be kept in use.

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HTFD BIKE LIFE

Saturday’s BIKE LIFE festival at Heaven did not start until noon, but kids were at the park hours in advance awaiting their new-to-them bikes.

Youth who took a bike maintenance and safety class at BiCi Co. over April vacation were eligible to receive free upcycled bicycles, along with new helmets and lights. (more…)

March 2016 Events

March 1

Alejandro Zambra will be at Trinity College on March 1 to give a reading and book signing.

  • Drawings by David Borawski will be on view at EBK Gallery (218 Pearl Street) starting today!
  • Alejandro Zambra,Chilean novelist and poet, is giving a reading at Trinity College at 4:30 p.m. This event is free and open to the public. A reception and book-signing will follow in Smith House, 123 Vernon Street.
  • The public is invited to attend a workshop meeting of the Hartford Board of Education, 5:30 p.m., at Kinsella Magnet School of Performing Arts, 65 Van Block Avenue. The discussion topic for board members is “student success.” While the public may attend, there is no comment period during workshop meetings.
  • Real Art Ways is hosting its monthly game night at 6 p.m. in the lounge. Bring your own or play the games provided. Free.
  • The Life & Song of Nina Simone: A Tertulia— 6 p.m. in the Hartford History Center at the Hartford Public Library. Free. They say: “Join us for conversation and music with artist and performer Margaux Hayes and Trinity Professor of Music Gail H. Woldu. Light refreshments will be served.”
  • The Zoning Board of Appeals meets at 7 p.m. in the plaza level conference room at 260 Constitution Plaza. Agenda items include: adult establishment at 330 Ledyard Street, coverage of a building lot at 929 Park Street, variances for 981 Park Street, and adoption of bylaws.

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