Author Archives: Vanessa de la Torre

Photo: ‘Slacklining’ At Elizabeth Park

by Categorized: Parks Date:

Zach McCulloch, 22, of Bloomfield walks a slackline between two trees Tuesday afternoon at Hartford's Elizabeth Park. RICK HARTFORD photo.

Courant photojournalist Rick Hartford brings us this photo and summary: Zach McCulloch, 22, of Bloomfield walks a slackline between two trees Tuesday afternoon at Hartford’s Elizabeth Park. “We’re always out here,” he said. The two-inch wide line was stretched between two trees for a distance of about 60 feet. Slacklining has been compared to being on a skinny trampoline, with enough slack to bounce and do tricks. McCulloch put a tarp between the line and the tree trunks to protect both the bark and the slackline, he said. He got on the line by sitting on it and bouncing up and down until he had the height and rhythm to leap into the air and land gently upon the line.

Free Tax Preparation Offered Saturday

by Categorized: City Activities, Events, Finance, Hartford Public Library Date:

Haven’t filed your taxes yet? IRS-certified volunteers will provide free assistance from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday during Dollars and Sense Day at the downtown Hartford Public Library.

The event, open to the public, is sponsored by the city of Hartford, the Village for Families and Children, and the United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut.

Dollars and Sense Day

UPDATE: Weaver Plays For CCC Title

by Categorized: City Activities, Schools, Sports Date:

Need something to do tonight? The Weaver boys’ basketball team will play Maloney-Meriden for the CCC championship after defeating Hartford Public High School in the semifinal Tuesday.

The title game starts at 7 p.m. in Central Connecticut State University’s Detrick Gymnasium in New Britain.

UPDATE: Congrats to Weaver, the CCC tournament champions. Read Tom Yantz’s story here.

Weaver High School guard KeAndre Fair, 3, draws a foul during the fourth quarter of Tuesday's CCC semifinal against Hartford Public High School. Weaver won 72-52. RICHARD MESSINA photo.

Weaver High School guard KeAndre Fair, 3, draws a foul from Richard Jernigan, 24, during the fourth quarter of Tuesday’s CCC semifinal against Hartford Public High School. Weaver won 72-52. RICHARD MESSINA photo.

‘No Freeze’ Shelter Closes On Sub-Freezing Morning

by Categorized: Weather Date:

At times during this brutal winter, the city of Hartford has notified the public about four shelters that are open all day as long as the temperatures are below 25 degrees.

But on this morning, a homeless man named Anthony Bardliving called Cityline to report that the “no-freeze” Immaculate Conception Shelter ordered out dozens of men who slept at the Park Street shelter overnight.

Immaculate typically closes its shelter from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., but under the city’s guidelines, it’s supposed to be open during the coldest winter days.

Cityline confirmed that it was about 19 degrees in Hartford, not including the wind chill factor, when Bardliving called at 8:30 a.m. to say it was “inhumane” that the men were left to roam the streets in subfreezing conditions. The Hartford Public Library’s downtown headquarters does not open until 10 a.m., and there are fast-food establishments that don’t want homeless men taking up seats, he said. 

Immaculate’s executive director, Louis Gilbert, told Cityline this afternoon that the shelter’s policy has been to close during the day whenever the temperature was above 20 degrees. This morning, “front-line staff” saw on the news that it was 21 degrees in Hartford and decided to close the shelter, Gilbert said.

“They’re supposed to be calling a supervisor when it’s marginal and they didn’t,” Gilbert said. “It’s being dealt with as we speak. It’s a personnel issue … It’s not expected to happen again.”

Immaculate also plans to raise its no-freeze threshold to 25 degrees, he said.

Bardliving admits to have fallen on hard times in his life, including being diagnosed with type-2 diabetes, he said. He added that he used to work as a chef at the XL Center.

“I’ve been homeless over a year,” said Bardliving, 52, who estimates he has been a client at Immaculate since last fall. “I don’t see it as a curse that I’m in a shelter … Things happen.”

The city advises people in need of shelter to call 211.

Photo: Classic G. Fox On Main Street

by Categorized: Business Date:
The marquee over the entrance to the G. Fox department store in downtown Hartford before the store's 1993 closing. Photo by Stephen Dunn.

The marquee over the entrance to the G. Fox department store in downtown Hartford before the store’s 1993 closing. Photo by Stephen Dunn.

The Courant’s 250th anniversary this year has brought numerous stories on the history of Greater Hartford institutions, events and major players. Today, writer Korky Vann takes readers down memory lane — specifically, downtown Hartford when it was a bustling shopping haven anchored by the G. Fox department store. Read her story here.

New Scholarship Named For Doc Hurley

by Categorized: Schools Date:

The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving told us today that they have raised enough money to fund a new annual scholarship this year in honor of Walter “Doc” Hurley, a former Weaver High School administrator who mentored countless students in Hartford and started his own scholarship program in the mid-1970s.

As we’ve reported, state officials accuse Doc’s daughter, Muriel Hurley, of draining the Doc Hurley Scholarship Foundation’s funds. The state is moving to dissolve the organization.

Linda Kelly, president of the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, said the new scholarship fund will continue Doc Hurley’s legacy. He died Feb. 9 at age 91.

Read the full story here.

Doc Hurley sits at the Parker Memorial Community Center last fall. Photo by Vanessa de la Torre.

School Choice Fair Planned For Saturday

by Categorized: City Activities, Events, Schools Date:

The state has organized another regional school choice fair in Hartford that will outline magnet options for students entering grades 6 to 12 in the 2014-15 year.

Hartford and Bloomfield public schools, Capitol Region Education Council, Goodwin College and representatives from the Regional School Choice Office are expected at the fair, which is set for 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Learning Corridor, 43 Vernon St. Visitors can park in the Washington Street garage, organizers said.

Families interested in applying for Open Choice or a seat in a Sheff magnet school have until next Friday, Feb. 28, to submit an application for the lottery.

DUI Checkpoint Set For Friday Night

by Categorized: Police, Traffic Date:

Designated driver alert: The Hartford Police Department has announced it will conduct an 8-hour-long DUI enforcement checkpoint starting at 5 p.m. Friday in the city’s North End.

The traffic division will set up near 110 Barbour St. Hartford police funds the checkpoint through a state grant.

Cityline occasionally receives these DUI enforcement announcements a day or two before they happen.

In case you’re wondering why the checkpoints are not a surprise, here’s a good explanation from the Valley Independent Sentinel, which explored the question in 2012: Click here for that post.

hartford police patrol 1912

A Hartford police patrol in 1912. Courant archives.