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SPOTLIGHT on EXCELLENCE  February 2015

 

Read The Capital City News

 

 

 

February 20, 2015

 

 

 
 

Dear Friends,

I feel fortunate to have witnessed the groundbreaking of the City's future ballpark, a truly historic moment for us. This is the first time in over 60 years that the City of Hartford will have a professional baseball team.
This ceremony was also the start of the Downtown North mixed-use development that includes a brewery, businesses and a much-needed grocery store. This new neighborhood will rise in an area of mostly parking lots that has been blighted and barren for too long. This will be good for the City of Hartford today and for future generations.
Many people were involved in this project and I want to thank Rock Cats Owner Josh Solomon for having the vision to bring his team to the Capital City. I also want to thank the Hartford City Council and our Treasurer for their months of hard work in making this project happen.
The groundbreaking ceremony was alive with many people of all ages, with music and with ambiance. I know we will see more of this downtown once the project is complete. The Downtown North development and our new professional baseball team, bearing the name of our City, will be a source of pride for our residents and our neighbors. I look forward to the first pitch next spring. Play ball Hartford!
 

Regards,

Pedro E. Segarra
Mayor

 

 

 

Road Rally Viewed Around the World to Kick Off in Hartford

The Fireball Run, a road rally and reality series viewed online around the world, has chosen Hartford as the starting line.

The upcoming season, the show's 9th, adds four astronaut teams to the mix of 40 teams. Contestants will have eight days to travel 2,000 miles to Florida's Space Coast.

Show participants will arrive in Hartford on September 25, 2015. They will participate in trivia-related activities around the City during their stay before the start of the race September 27, 2015. While competing, show participants will also be raising awareness for America's missing children.

The event is expected to draw $50 million in national and international news coverage and marketing to Hartford. 

 

 

 

 

Nonprofit Works To Close Achievement Gap, Digital Divide in Hartford

Since 2008, Concepts for Adaptive Learning (CfAL), a New Haven nonprofit, has offered basic computer literacy classes to parents whose children are enrolled in Hartford Public Schools in grades K-12. 

Recently, the nonprofit added a new program to reach parents with younger children. The program, "Digital Literacy for Early Learners," is a series of four workshops for parents with children from birth to age 5. The workshops offer information about early child development, discipline, library resources and valuable websites on early learning. They take place Saturday mornings at the Albany Branch of the Hartford Public Library. Childcare and snacks are provided.

"The objective is to close the achievement gap before the child enters kindergarten," said CfAL Executive Director Curtis Hill.

Parents who complete the class are given priority registration in "Technology Cascade & Training," CfAL's class in basic computer literacy for low-income families in need of a home computer. The three-week course offers training in Windows, word-processing, e-mail use, Internet navigation and resume writing. Parents who complete the class are given a free, refurbished computer for their home and high-speed internet access for one year.

"A primary goal is to increase students' learning by extending learning beyond the classroom. Our second goal is to engage parents in their children's education and to introduce them to technology to help them achieve that goal," said Hill. "The program simultaneously helps close the digital divide."

The program is offered once a month in either English or Spanish at the Parker Memorial Community Center and at the Albany Branch of the Hartford Public Library. Catholic Charities provides childcare and dinner. 

"Over 70 percent of students whose parents participate in the TC&T program have better grades in school and over 80 percent of parents become more involved in their children's education at home," Hill said.

The program has graduated more than 500 parents in Hartford since its inception in 2008. Concepts for Adaptive Learning works closely with the Hartford Public Library, Catholic Charities, Achieve Hartford! and the Hartford Parent University. The nonprofit recently started training parents who have graduated from the Hartford Parent University.

Hill said demand for programs is high and he is seeking monetary support to help maintain them. Concepts for Adaptive Learning runs similar programs in Bridgeport, Hamden, Meriden, New Haven and Waterbury.

For more information about "Digital Literacy for Early Learners" or Technology Cascade & Training," or to register, please call 1(888)351-7667.

 

 

 

Helpful Programs for Hartford Residents

VITA centers for FREE tax filing assistance
Ten free Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) centers are open from now until April 15 to help eligible residents prepare their income tax returns. The service is available to lower-to-moderate wage-earning individuals and families with annual incomes of up to $53,000.  
For more information and to see if you qualify for tax filing assistance click here.
CHFA Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program
Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA) is accepting applications for Connecticut's Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program available for city and area homeowners who are facing foreclosure or having trouble making their mortgage payments due to temporary financial hardship.
A loan from EMAP can help cover past due, as well as a portion of current monthly mortgage payments for up to five years to eligible Connecticut home owners with temporary financial hardship beyond their control, such as job loss, health or family financial hardship. 
For more information and to see if you qualify for emergency mortgage assistance click here.
 

 

 

 

2015 Play It Safe Youth Art Contest

The Hartford Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative is holding a youth art contest to engage Hartford's adolescent community in helping to spread pregnancy/STD/HIV prevention messages among teens.

This contest is open to any youth, ages 13-19 who live in or attend schools in the City of Hartford. Parental consent is required for those under 18.

For more information and to register click here

 

 

 

 

 

 

Announcements for City Staff

February 23rd
February Lunch & Learn Employee Workshop: "Social Security Savvy"

Do you know what "Social Security" means to you?

Robert Rodriguez, Public Affairs Specialist for the Social Security Administration will EDUCATE you on Social Security programs, clarify common misconceptions and address questions on retirement.

 

SPOTLIGHT 
on 
BUSINESS

Bear's Smokehouse BBQ
Jamie 'The Bear' McDonald believes in good barbecue and in community. At the suggestion of his wife, Cheryl, he chose to open Bear's Smokehouse on Arch Street to ride the wave of development in downtown Hartford. He also staffed the Kansas City-style barbecue restaurant with mostly local residents. Of 39 staff members working at Bear's, 30 of them live in Hartford.

"So long as you work hard and have a good attitude, we will train you," said McDonald, a competitive eater who used his prize money to open his first barbecue joint in Windsor a couple of years ago.
Business has been thriving since opening this summer. Lunch time brings in employees from City Hall, local insurance companies, police officers and firefighters, McDonald said. People from outside of Hartford tend to stop by for dinner.
"Business has been fantastic!" he said, adding that part of his success is due to his wife, Cheryl, who handles anything that requires organization.
A glowing review in the New York Times has driven a lot of outside business, including many barbecue connoisseurs. McDonald said one group traveled from Long Island to sample Bear's offerings.
"Our job is to serve the highest quality food because you never know who is going to show up," McDonald said.

McDonald grew up in Kansas City, Mo. His travels while in the Navy and while working at United Technologies helped him put his own twist on the Kansas City-style barbecue. 
"It's what I grew up with. I figured if I could cook half as well as I thought I could, that it could be well received," he said.

 

 

 

CITY HAPPENINGS

Beyond Stereotypes: Police-Community Relations
Project Longevity and Hartford Action host a community youth forum featuring discussions on racial bias in law enforcement and best practices in community relations. Panelist will include youth leaders, police officers and community residents who will pose thought-provoking questions and everyday scenarios where youth commonly interact with police officers.

During the event, Hartford police officers and young residents will have the opportunity to interact positively with police officers. 

The event will take place February 28 from 12:00 to 3:30 p.m. at the Hartford Public Library, Center for Contemporary Culture, 550 Main Street.
To maintain an open, honest and safe environment for the youth and officers, The Youth Forum will not be open to the general public and, instead, will be limited to youth participants, facilitators, volunteers, and law, enforcement.
"Hartford Renaissance-
Celebrating the Art of Romare Bearden"
On Saturday, February 28, in celebration of Black History Month, the Hartford Commission on Cultural Affairs, in collaboration with the Hartford Public Library, will host "Hartford Renaissance – Celebrating the Art of Romare Bearden," the beginning in a series of community conversations on art and culture. This free event is designed to honor artist Romare Bearden and to provide a forum for public dialogue about his importance as an influential fine artist and his relationship to Hartford. The program will be held from 9:00am- 12:00 noon at the Hartford Public Library's Downtown Location.
Guests will break into small group discussions following the panel. A continental breakfast and full lunch will also be served. 
Featured Performance:
The Iron Poets
Guest Speakers:

Michael Borders, Fine Artist

Katherine Kane, Executive Director Harriet Beecher Stowe House

Joe Sam, Fine Artist

Matt Poland, CEO Hartford Public Library

and
Diedra Harris Kelley, Co-Director of the Romare Bearden Foundation

To register click here
For more information call (860) 695-6319 or e-mail 

 

Read It & Sleep
To promote a love of reading and to help build book collections for young readers, Charter Oak Cultural Center hosts a program called Read It & Sleep. On the second Friday of every month, a local volunteer from the community reads a book aloud. The first 25 families to participate take home a free copy of the featured book. This month's reader, local poet, author and social activist Tracy 'Mind Evolution' Caldwell will read "Trust me, Jack's Beanstalk Stinks!: The Story of Jack and the Beanstalk as Told by the Giant (The Other Side of the Story)" written by Eric Braun

Come in your pajamas!
7:00PM-8:00PM
March 13th
April 10th
21 Charter Oak Ave Hartford CT, 06106

Urban League of Greater Hartford
50th Anniversary Black History month Ceremony
Join Mayor Pedro E. Segarra and the Urban League of Greater Hartford  for the unveiling of the "50 Years of the Urban League of Greater Hartford Exhibit" on Wednesday, February 25 from 6:00 – 8:00pm at the City Hall Atrium, 550 Main Street.
There will also be a special tribute by the family of the league's first executive director, Mr. William "Bill" Brown.
Please RSVP no later than Monday, February 23.
Contact: Karol Jimenez at (860) 527-0147 Ext 174 or e-mail.

 

 

 

 

 

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