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Rowing on the River

In late August, Amanda Aronson, a supporter of the Aurora Women & Girls Foundation, took part in a Dragon Boat race to help raise awareness and funds for the organization. Inspired by that experience, she then recruited women to row as part of a beginner Women’s Rowing Group that has been meeting since September.

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Aurora’s mission is to be a catalyst for positive change for women and girls in Hartford county, and the creation of this rowing group is proof that a “ripple effect” can be experienced when women take part in empowering activities. Two women from the original Dragon Boat team are on the Thursday morning rowing group and the other women represent mothers with flexible work schedules from around Hartford County–many of whom have long-wanted to row but couldn’t due to traditional rowing times.

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Honoring A Fallen Hero

On Tuesday, October 7, Hartford firefighter Kevin Bell answered his final alarm. He perished fighting a two-alarm blaze at a house on Blue Hills Avenue, just a block from Bell’s firehouse, Engine 16, Blue Hills Station. Monday morning, under cloudy skies, thousands of firefighters and friends gathered at First Cathedral in Bloomfield for funeral services for the fallen firefighter. He was buried at Mt. St. Benedict Cemetery in Bloomfield following the service.

“What is important to understand is that one of our own firefighters lost his life saving others,” said Hartford Fire Chief Carlos Huertas during his remarks at the service. “Firefighter Kevin Bell is a hero.”

To read the full story, click here.

BLOOMFIELD, CT -  10.13.2014  Firefighter recruits from the Connecticut Fire Academy salute the casket of Hartford firefighter Kevin Bell at First Cathedral in Bloomfield. Bell perished in a blaze on Blue Hills Avenue last Tuesday night. Patrick Raycraft |  praycraft@courant.com

BLOOMFIELD, CT – 10.13.2014 Firefighter recruits from the Connecticut Fire Academy salute the casket of Hartford firefighter Kevin Bell at First Cathedral in Bloomfield. Bell perished in a blaze on Blue Hills Avenue last Tuesday night. Patrick Raycraft | praycraft@courant.com

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Farewell Landon

The most decorated American international footballer has hung up his boots for the US national team. There has long been debate (voiced by yours truly) about what Landon Donovan could be, or could have been as a player. His club football cameos in Europe were largely disappointing (loans at Everton aside). His eagerness to return to Major League Soccer (a third tier domestic league, here in the US) was questioned. He did after all, unlike so many of his countrymen before him, possess the technique and the speed to compete at a high level in Europe. What is not up for debate however, is the fact that no other player has matched the impact on the national team that Donovan has. Skill, heart and leadership were up for display when Landon donned the US jersey.  And he was clutch. He scored goals on the biggest stages. I remember the bars in which I celebrated his goal against Portugal at Japan/South Korea 2002…his goal against Algeria at South Africa 2010. Not in good form at the time, Donovan was controversially left off the 2014 World Cup roster. Still, he finishes with an incredibly productive 57 goals in 157 international appearances for the starts and stripes. Landon made his final appearance for the US in a friendly against Ecuador Friday night in East Hartford. Following the game, Landon made a lap around the field applauding those who applauded him for so many years. Finally he made his way to the American Outlaws (a supporters club for the US national team) section of Rentschler Field and emotionally greeted them.  It was evident that he savored the moment and hated to head to the locker room. Landon Donovan, you will be missed. LD BLog

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Moving Pictures

On a recent Friday, two murals by the late Harlem Renaissance artist Romare Bearden were moved into their new home at the Hartford Public Library in a carefully executed feat of logistics and engineering carried out by Mariano Brothers Specialty Moving.  The works were commissioned by the city for the Hartford Civic Center in 1980 for $100,000. They hung in relative obscurity for three decades above concourse-level entrances to the arena. Originally visible through windows at the Civic Center, later construction of interior walls blocked their view from the general public. Buying a ticket to an event at the arena was the only way to view the murals.  Current renovations at the now XL Center necessitated that the murals be removed, cleaned and stored, until a new home was found.  Local arts activists worked to secure a home for the murals – now worth a combined $4.2 million – at the library  thereby fulfilling their intended purpose as public art.  Today the colorful and abstract works, measuring about 10X16 feet and weighing about 500 pounds each, are can now be easily viewed by the public in bright well-used rooms at the library.  To learn more about Romare Bearden and his work, click here.

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Godzilla Comes Home

 

West Hartford rescued Godzilla, the iguana missing since July 28, who was high in a tree on Lemay Street Wednesday morning. Godzilla, owned by Andrew Frazer of Riggs Avenue, was spotted in the road by neighbor Gregg Gabinelle before he scurried up a tree, Frazer said. West Hartford firefighters Matthew Lyons and Lt. Jarrad Smith worked together to get Godzilla in a cage and then reunited him with Frazer, who "couldn't be more happy." Frazer noted that the rescue was just in time as the days are turning colder -- not a good thing for an iquana.

Godzilla, the iguana missing since July 28.

West Hartford firefighters rescued Godzilla, the iguana missing since July 28, who was high in a tree on Lemay Street Wednesday morning. Godzilla, owned by Andrew Frazer of Riggs Avenue, was spotted in the road by neighbor Gregg Gabinelle before he scurried up a tree, Frazer said. West Hartford firefighters Matthew Lyons and Lt. Jarrad Smith worked together to get Godzilla in a cage and then reunited him with Frazer, who “couldn’t be more happy.” Frazer noted that the rescue was just in time as the days are turning colder — not a good thing for an iquana.

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