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What’s New on HartfordInfo.org

July 2010

What’s New on HartfordInfo.org is a periodic update announcing recent additions to HartfordInfo.org.  Please feel free to forward this message to others.  To be added to the distribution list send an email message through our feedback page.

HartfordInfo.org, a program of the Hartford Public Library, is a gateway to information and data on issues important to those who live and work in Hartford and the region.

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HartfordInfo.org Honored Hartford Public Library has won the 2010 Top Innovations Award in the Civic and Community Engagement category for its program, HartfordInfo.org, from the Urban Libraries Council. Click here for the press release.

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New Community Programs on HartfordInfo.org:

We have reorganized our Community Programs page! You can now search for videos using the title, date or keywords, search by topic, or by year. Check it out at http://www.hartfordinfo.org/video/default.asp

Videos of these programs have recently been added:

New Data on HartfordInfo.org:

Foreclosure Data — Updated data on residential foreclosures in Hartford from January 2006 to May 2010 is presented in this spreadsheet. Go to www.hartfordinfo.org, and click on Foreclosure Data in the center panel under Data Sets.

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New Reports on HartfordInfo.org:

  • Positive Trends in Hartford CMT Scores Indicate that Reform Measures are Working — Based on state 2010 CMT data released recently, reform efforts adopted by Hartford's Board of Education are demonstrating meaningful impacts. Go to www.hartfordinfo.org and type "positive trends" in the Google search box and then click "Search."
  • Five Years of Neighborhood Policing: The Hartford Police Department, June 2010 — In this presentation Hartford Police Chief Daryl K. Roberts discusses the effectiveness of neighborhood policing. Go to www.hartfordinfo.org and type "five years" in the Google search box and then click "Search."
  • Drifting Down: What Will Restore Connecticut's Economic Vitality? — This forecast from the Connecticut Center of Economic Analysis (CCEA) concludes that there is currently little prospect for a robust recovery in Connecticut’s economy. Go to www.hartfordinfo.org and type "drifting down" in the Google search box and then click "Search."
  • How Does Information Influence Parental Choice? — This report, by Smart Choices of Trinity College, evaluates how information influences parents’ choices of schools for their children. Go to www.hartfordinfo.org and type "parental" in the Google search box and then click "Search."
  • Hartford 2000 Neighborhood Standards — Hartford 2000, working with other groups and organizations, has developed the Neighborhood Standards as a tool to help improve the quality of life in Hartford. Go to www.hartfordinfo.org and type "neighborhood standards" in the Google search box and then click "Search."
  • The Cost of Delay: State Dental Policies Fail One in Five Children: Connecticut Fact Sheet — Connecticut is a national leader, meeting six of eight policy benchmarks aimed at addressing children's dental health needs, and ranks fourth nationwide on its Medicaid reimbursement rate to dentists. Go to www.hartfordinfo.org and type "one in five factsheet" in the Google search box and then click "Search."
  • Hartford Public Schools School Governance Councils: A Promising First Year — Overall, the implementation and performance of School Governance Councils (SGCs) in Hartford has gotten off to a strong start. Go to www.hartfordinfo.org and type "councils promising" in the Google search box and then click "Search."
  • Arts Stimulus Packages — In Fiscal Year 2009-2010, former Mayor Eddie A. Perez proposed a city-federal arts and heritage stimulus package that used more than $1 million in city funds for arts/heritage job grants as well as expected funds from the federal stimulus package. A second phase of the project is set for Fiscal Year 2010-2011. Go to www.hartfordinfo.org and type "arts packages" in the Google search box and then click "Search."
  • The 2009 Annual Homeless Assessment Report — This report provides the latest counts of homelessness nationwide—including counts of individuals, persons in families, and special populations. Go to www.hartfordinfo.org and type "homeless assessment" in the Google search box and then click "Search."
  • One City One Plan Newsletter, August 2010 — The first edition of Hartford’s One City One Plan newsletter focuses among other things on City parks, and grant applications for the Albany Avenue Street Improvement Project. Go to www.hartfordinfo.org and type "plan newsletter" in the Google search box and then click "Search."
  • States with Higher Gun Ownership and Weak Gun Laws Lead Nation in Gun Death — States with strong gun laws and low rates of gun ownership had far lower rates of firearm-related death. Ranking last for gun death was Hawaii, followed by Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York. Go to www.hartfordinfo.org and type "gun laws" in the Google search box and then click "Search."
  • 2010 Facts and Figures: How Does Your State Compare — This booklet is designed to give taxpayers and their lawmakers a simple guide to how their states rank on tax rates, collections, burdens, and spending. Go to www.hartfordinfo.org and type "2010 facts" in the Google search box and then click "Search."
  • Teaching Discipline: A Toolkit for Educators on Positive Alternatives to Out-of-School Suspensions — This report highlights the disciplinary alternatives to out-of-school suspensions that schools in Connecticut are implementing with sometimes astonishing results. Go to www.hartfordinfo.org and type "toolkit" in the Google search box and then click "Search."
  • The Racial Wealth Gap Increases Fourfold — This research brief from the Institute on Assets and Social Policy reveals that the wealth gap between white and African American families has more than quadrupled. Go to www.hartfordinfo.org and type "fourfold" in the Google search box and then click "Search."
  • Early Warning: Why Reading by the End of Third Grade Matters, A KIDS COUNT Special Report — Third graders who read on grade level are more successful in school, work, and in life, yet millions of American children – especially those from low-income families – get to 4th grade without learning to read proficiently. Go to www.hartfordinfo.org and type "reading end" in the Google search box and then click "Search."

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New Articles on HartfordInfo.org:

Through agreements with the Hartford Courant, the Hartford Business Journal, the Hartford News, the Hartford Advocate, and the Northend Agent's, and with the Capital Region Report, Cityline, Real Hartford, Urban Compass, and 40-Year Plan blogs, HartfordInfo.org continues to offer selected articles as permanent additions to the Web site.  Some recent additions include:

Good News in Hartford

  • Three Top Schools Came Calling, And Hartford's Jennifer Ky Picked Yale — A recent graduate of University High School of Science and Engineering was admitted to MIT, Harvard and Yale. Click here for the article.
  • Coalition Director Advocates Tirelessly For The Homeless — As executive director of the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness, Carol Walter travels between two worlds — one inhabited by the homeless and another one populated by people with power. Click here for the article.
  • Connecticut Science Center Sees First Year As Success, Despite Budget Hits — After a decade of planning, fundraising and construction, the doors opened in June 2009 at the Connecticut Science Center, the crown jewel of the downtown redevelopment project. As the Science Center celebrated its first anniversary, it has been a success. Click here for the article.
  • Happy To Call Hartford Home — The author expresses the opinion that she is happy to call Hartford home. Hartford is full of distinct and proud neighborhoods, each bordered by the paths of immigrants and the lovely embedded detritus of cultures long gone. Click here for the article.
  • From Drug Dealer to College Graduate — Cesar Allende, a recent University of Hartford graduate, used to like selling drugs. Getting arrested and threatened with doing prison time didn’t stop him. What finally changed his life was a chance encounter at a gas station with the Reverend Patrice Smith. Click here for the article.
  • So Wise to Save the Lyric — Helen Ubiñas writes that everything seems to be coming together to save the remaining portion of the historic Lyric Theater. Click here for the article.
  • Hartford Students Thrive in Law Academy — As the Hartford schools implement educational reforms, students at the Law Academy at Hartford High are benefitting from partnerships that offer valuable experience and guidance. Click here for the article.
  • My Sons Want to be Police Officers When They Grow Up — The author writes about her experience growing up in the North End of Hartford, and the negative image of the police she developed as a child. In contrast, her children want to be police officers when they grow up. Click here for the article.
  • South Ender Starts Anti-Litter Campaign — Like many people, Donna Swarr used to complain about the litter in Hartford. Now, unlike many people, she’s doing something about it. Click here for the article.
  • Hartford Officials Expect To Save $100,000 With Single-Stream Recycling — City officials estimate that the single-stream recycling program launched in Hartford last October will save the City about $100,000 in tipping fees when this fiscal year ends June 30, 2010. Click here for the article.

Big Ideas

  • New Mayor Urges Hartford Forward — New Mayor Pedro E. Segarra assures residents, employees, and visitors of Hartford that he will accept the challenge and step into this unique situation with dedication, compassion, and responsibility. Click here for the article.
  • A Portland Perspective On Hartford Hopes —Since 1996, Earl Blumenauer has represented Portland, Oregon in Congress and tried to bring its green message to the rest of the country. Blumenauer was in Hartford recently to speak at a program concerning Hartford's iQuilt project, a plan to connect Hartford's cultural institutions with pedestrian and bicycling routes. Click here for the article.
  • In Its First Year, Achieve Hartford Makes An Impact — Jim Starr, executive director of Achieve Hartford!, answers questions from the Hartford Business Journal. Click here for the article.
  • Move UConn Medical Schools To Hartford — Physician and former Hartford City Councilman Dr. Robert Painter, suggests that before the state builds a $236 million hospital tower at the University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington, it should evaluate the additional space that would be made available by moving the medical and dental schools to downtown Hartford. Click here for the article.
  • Can Hartford Developer Get Funding? — For the past 18 months, developer Abul A. Islam has been trying to assemble financing for the 11-story, 296,000-square-foot, “green” LEED Platinum office/retail building proposed for Constitution Plaza. It is the most promising building project on Hartford's drawing board. Click here for the article.
  • Proposal Recreates, Reunites Hartford Parks And Rec — The Hartford City Council is considering a proposal to revive the defunct Parks and Recreation Department that was disbanded more than a decade ago. Click here for the article.
  • Violence: Laying Blame In Right Places — Helen Ubiñas writes about the realities of violence in the City of Hartford, and the sources for solutions. Click here for the article.
  • Hartford's iQuilt Needs a Main Street Component — Tom Condon comments on iQuilt, which capitalizes on the unrealized potential of Hartford's compact, rich downtown. He advocates for the linking of transportation and land use as the key to smart growth and livable communities. Click here for the article.

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  • Corinne Clark Is Hartford's Teacher Of The Year — Corinne Clark said keeping humor and an open dialogue are keys to her teaching style and ability to get through to her class. That style has brought her the honor of 2010 teacher of the year. Click here for the article.
  • Hartford Designs Superintendent Succession Policy — With the 2011 departure of Superintendent Steven Adamowski imminent, the board of education has begun formulating a new policy on leadership succession. Click here for the article.
  • Hartford, Meriden Moms Push For Stronger Parent Voice In Failing Schools — Earlier this year, two mothers formed a friendship over a shared concern: Both were working hard to break a pattern of perennially failing schools serving poor or minority students. Click here for the article.
  • Teachers Throughout State Being Asked To Give Back — Throughout Connecticut, towns are scrounging for ways to limit tax increases as they pull together their budgets, and many have been asking teachers to consider giving up raises and benefits. Click here for the article.
  • Hartford Dreamers Reunite — Years ago a group of 71 SAND Elementary School sixth-graders were promised that if they finished high school, their college educations would be paid for. Many of them got together for a reunion recently. Click here for the article.

Downtown Development

  • Hartford Club Reinventing Itself — When two amateur boxers recently squared off in The Hartford Club’s ballroom, some spectators wondered if the Club’s legendary mystique had finally vanished. Click here for the article.
  • Hartford's Front Street Rises, Empty — For years, supporters of Front Street in Hartford worried that the downtown retail and entertainment district would never even get built. Now, construction of the district is nearly complete. But, a huge challenge remains. Click here for the article.
  • Banner On Capitol West Building A Temporary Fix — Each year, the Capitol West building — a familiar sight to motorists passing through Hartford on I-84 west — looks more decrepit. While city officials are pleased that the largest "Portrait of America" banner was unfurled over the eyesore last week, they know it's only a temporary fix. Click here for the article.
  • The Emperor In Hartford Is Now In Foreclosure — The long and bitter struggle between club and restaurant owner Shawn Eddy and the residents of the building where he built his upscale Emperor at the Linden is nearing an end, and it looks like Eddy has lost big. Click here for the article.
  • 1161 Main: Only One Part of the Downtown Blight Problem — Real Hartford blogger Kerri Provost writes that the demolition of the “Butt Ugly Building” at 1161 Main Street will only be a success if what happens afterward is meaningful, expedient, and future-thinking. Click here for the article.

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  • More Progress For Hartford Public Housing — For the past decade or so, a bright spot in Hartford has been the evolution of public housing. All but one of the City's old, decaying, drug-infested housing projects have been torn down or extensively renovated and replaced with handsome new rental and ownership housing. Click here for the article.
  • Wilson-Gray YMCA Seeks To Curb Area Gang Activity — City police Officer Steve Kessler, speaking to a community group recently, said that gang violence was a problem around the brand-new, $10.9 million, Wilson-Gray YMCA building in the City's North End. Click here for the article.
  • Brushing Away Crime — Janina Spears has a theory: A brushstroke of paint can help reduce crime in the City. Click here for the article.
  • The Ongoing Effort To Clean Up Hartford Blight — The City of Hartford struggles to deal with abandoned buildings. Click here for the article.
  • Park Street Life — It's been well known for years that Park Street has the retail vibrancy missing from downtown Hartford. But what's surprising is how much more vibrant it is. Click here for the article.
  • Stereo Shop Owner Says Neighborhood Is Hurting Business — The Stereo Shop has been at 505 Farmington Ave. in Hartford since 1970. But, the owner says that Hartford’s reputation and some changes in the neighborhood have made doing business in that location more difficult. Click here for the article.
  • Thriving On New Models For City Housing — The key to Billings Forge, a self-contained complex with 98 apartments, artists' studios, a community center, an upscale restaurant, community gardens and a bakery, is a model of philanthropy that could emerge as a force in the search for workable housing answers. Click here for the article.

Economic Development

  • Front Row Seat: Chief Of State's Largest Community Lending Agency — Donna Wertenbach, who took over the Community Economic Development Fund in 1998, speaks about the economy and her clients with a passion not usually associated with bankers. Click here for the article.
  • Cutting Tourism Budget Pulls Rug Out From Industry — Mike McGarry suggests that politicians say they want to create jobs, but Connecticut has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in visitor facilities and then cut the funds needed to market them. This is a classic example of being penny-wise and pound-stupid. Click here for the article.
  • Workers Deserve A Busing Solution — Helen Ubiñas writes that casino workers living in Hartford who thought they'd be out of a job when their bus service was slated to end last month were relieved to learn that it would continue through December 2010. Click here for the article.
  • PGA Tournament Has Ripple Effect On Sales — For Connecticut’s golf courses and retailers, the days and weeks following the Travelers Championship are some of the busiest of the year. Click here for the article.

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Other Major Developments

  • Hartford’s Democratic Unwritten Rule — Now that Pedro Segarra is Hartford’s mayor, the City’s Democrats have begun the process of picking a successor to fill his now-vacant seat on the City Council. Click here for the article.
  • City Streets, Sidewalks: New Turf For Skateboarders — Skateboarders are now legally able to roll along the City's streets and sidewalks. The City Council voted recently to repeal a 33-year-old ordinance that banned skateboarding in those areas. Click here for the article.
  • Now Employers Can't Ask You If You've Been Convicted of a Crime — A new Connecticut law no longer requires a convicted felon to reveal his/her history to prospective public employers. Click here for the article.

Arts and Culture

  • Hats Off To TheaterWorks — Hartford is particularly blessed to have TheaterWorks, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary. Click here for the article.
  • Maurice D. Robertson's Photos Capture City's Vibrant Jazz Scene — In a 40-piece sampler of Maurice D. Robertson's work, the Artists Collective is presenting Mr. Robertson’s photos as part of its " Jackie McLean International Arts Festival.”  Click here for the article.
  • Wadsworth Atheneum Renovation Work Continues — When the fences went up outside the façade of the nation's oldest public art museum, you might have thought it was a conceptual piece. But the additions around the Wadsworth Atheneum are instead signs of the $16 million renovation project. Click here for the article.
  • Hartford Stage Maestro Heeding A Call To Move On — It was always in the cards that Michael Wilson, with his extraordinary talent, vision, energy, engaging personality, and connections in the theater world would move on. It was just a question of when. Click here for the article.

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Hartford History

  • Testifying To Coltsville's Promise — Tom Condon testified recently before the House subcommittee in favor of Congressman John Larson's bill that would make Hartford's Coltsville a National Park. Click here for the article.
  • Preservation Fiasco: Smart Plan For Hartford Public Safety Complex Crumbles — The countdown to demolition ticks away for the Second North District School on High Street near downtown Hartford. It is bewildering how it came to this. Click here for the article.
  • The Hartford Marks Its 200th Anniversary — The property-casualty and life insurer now called The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. recently celebrated 200 years since its creation. Click here for the article.
  • Cemetery Tours To Die For — There are many odd and often fascinating things you can learn during a guided tour of Cedar Hill Cemetery. The tours are scheduled regularly, and the themes change. Click here for the article.

Notable Transitions

  • George Ritter Dead; Longtime Politician — George J. Ritter, who was on Hartford City Council from 1959 to 1968, and who served in the General Assembly from 1968 to 1980, died Sunday, July 18, 2010 at the age of 90. Click here for the article.
  • Bruce Fraser : A Champion Of History — Bruce Fraser knew that history is not the study of the dead, but of the living, at an earlier point in time. Mr. Fraser, 63, executive director of the Connecticut Humanities Council since 1982, died Sunday, June 13. Click here for the article.
  • A Pied Piper Of Children's Stories — Librarian Spencer Shaw, the first African-American librarian at the Hartford Public Library and in the US, became a pioneer in storytelling and collecting folk tales. He died recently at the age of 93. Click here for the article.
  • In Memory: Hipolito Cuevas, 1966 – 2010 — Hipolito Cuevas, one of Connecticut 's best know Spanish-language radio personalities, died on July 7, 2010. Click here for the article.

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