September,  2017 

Your copy of the Asylum Hill Neighborhood Association 'News & Views' has arrived!   You will find that you can easily go to any subject in the table of contents by just clicking on it or just browse through the articles as you wish. Please have a look. 


Next Meeting 09/11/2017



The next meeting is Monday September 11th, 6:15 P.M. at The 224 Eco-Space, 224 Farmington Ave .  


From The Chair

Thoughts from the Chair

My hope and prayer is that everyone in the neighborhood had a beautiful and safe summer. My thought this month is "love in action". I'd like to share some acts of love that are happening in our community today. On Laurel Street, there is a mini food center, where people can find canned and dry food goods for free. People can also drop off healthy food donation as well at that location.  Grace Lutheran Church hosts a free healthy dinner for the community every Friday at 5:30pm. All are welcome to attend. AHNA's Staff Administrator Bernie is donating one of his kidneys so that Asylum Hill resident and world-renowned artist George Annan Kingsley can receive one. The surgery should be scheduled for this year. The Human Service Agencies in our community such as St. Francis Hospital-Trinity Health Care, Urban League of Greater Hartford, Our Piece of the Pie, Catholic Charities and Chrysalis Center as well as many others are offering health, workforce, education, men's clothing, healthy start, food, housing and financial literacy initiatives and programs. Most of these wonderful services are free.

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HouseFrom the House

Greetings to my friends and neighbors in Asylum Hill!

By Rep. Matt Ritter
Hartford students headed back to school August 29 for another year full of promise and potential at our local public, magnet and charter schools.
That means it's important to take extra care when driving through our neighborhoods. Watch for buses and children walking to and from school. Remember - it is the law - you must stop for school buses with flashing red lights. Failure to stop is dangerous and leads to a big fine, starting at $465 for the first offense.
For kids waiting for their school bus, police have some good advice:
*Make sure there is a safe place to wait for the bus.
*Enter and exit the bus away from traffic.
*Stay away from the bus until it comes to a complete stop and the driver says it's ok to enter.
*When exiting a bus, walk to the front before crossing so the driver can see you.
*Be extra cautious and look both ways as you cross the street.


Asylum Hill Then And Now

AH Then & Now - Saint Joseph Cathedral

Saint Joseph Cathedral has long been a major presence on Farmington Ave as this postcard image from the Hartford Public Library's Hartford History Project Mahoney collection shows. Dated 1920, it shows the original Cathedral before the fire of December 31, 1956 that destroyed the original and caused the current cathedral to be built and dedicated May 15, 1962. Just last year, The Diocese completed a three-story addition to make entrance to the building more accessible, especially from the parking area on Asylum Ave.  




Volunteer of the Month

     Volunteer of the Month - Jack McConnell

Most months we feature someone here who takes a few hours per week or month away from their day job to do some volunteer work in Asylum Hill that benefits the neighborhood and enriches their lives with the experience. However there are times when a little special help well placed, from someone who really knows what they are doing can be worth a lot. This month's volunteer is that kind of person, actually that kind of people.
It's the husband and wife team of photographer Jack McConnell and his wife Paula McNamara his agent, archivist, bookkeeper and all around support staff that made the difference.
It's often said that a picture is worth a thousand words, but a really good photo can be worth more than any words. It can say things that even words cannot. Jack has been a freelance photographer here in Hartford and around the world for the last 50 years and in that time he has amassed a collection of more than 250,000 images. Paula knows where they all are, and thanks to a twelve digit numbering system, she can find anyone of them in about a minute. Three of those were photos of the Comet Diner taken in the 1980's.

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Exploring Asylum Hill 
Back to School 


The last full week of August saw five different opportunities for school children to get a free backpack and a celebration of "Back to School" The first was on Tuesday the 22 nd when the Asylum Hill Family Center had the section of Gillett St in front of their offices blocked off for a celebration that included food, face-painting, music with a DJ, "vendors" offering services for children and parents alike and of course more that 300 free backpacks. This mix of offerings was repeated the next day at the Boys & Girls Club on Sigourney St where West Middle School held their back to school event. They even added a bouncy house and slide to the mix and there was a backpack waiting for each of the approximately 500 students expected for the first day of school. Much of this support, including uniforms and tutoring comes from The Hartford and their employees each year.

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20 Neighbors With A Heart For Asylum Hill

Since its inception 20 years ago, the Asylum Hill Neighborhood Association has enjoyed the support and involvement of hundreds of individuals and institutions.  While we can't recognize all of them, AHNA would like to celebrate the accomplishments and contributions of 20 of them at our 20 th anniversary celebration on February 12.  Please help us determine whom we should recognize by nominating one or more individuals or institutions that you feel have given their hearts to our neighborhood to make good, profound and lasting changes.  Nominations accepted through September 11. Nominate as many as you'd like!

Reason(s) for the nomination:
Email to or drop off at 174 Sigourney St 

Nomination Form



Hartford Public Schools Convocation

Hartford Public Schools Teachers, Principals, support staff, administrators, nonprofit partners and well wishers like myself gathered the day before classes were to begin at Dunkin' Donuts Park for a convocation/pep rally that included encouraging words by Mayor Bronin, School Board Chairman Craig Stallings, Teacher of the year Sonia Turner and of course Superintendent Dr. Leslie Torres-Rodriguez.
Dr. Torres-Rodriguez was introduced by one of the students to later perform as part of the one-hour program.   She then introduced Mayor Bronin who after asking for a moment of silence to remember the residents of Houston, spoke of the challenges but also the opportunities ahead including the newly opened UCONN downtown branch and that the leadership of CREC was there side by side with HPS.
In each speech, the speaker included a realistic acknowledgement of the challenges ahead.

Community Collections

By Michelle McFarland
Hartford Public Library is hosting Community Collections in the city's North End neighborhoods.
The purpose of this initiative is to place books in strategic places and to get them into the hands of people of all ages.
HPL's tagline "A Place Like No Other" is expanding from traditional libraries into public spaces in the North End to begin with. Books can be found in barber shops, laundromats, daycares and community centers.


'Woonerf' To Park

We don't have that many parking meters in Asylum Hill, in fact I can't think of any, but we're not that far from downtown, and anyone who goes there regularly probably has needed to use on-street parking with a meter.
In rather short order, the Hartford Parking Authority has gone from the long familiar single spot - change only parking meters to today's "Woonerf" a Dutch word that means something like "living street".
It's hard to say if this iteration of parking payment & collection will last as long as the coin machines, we can only hope; but at least it seems we're going in the right direction.
So now instead of cruising around looking for a meter with a few minutes left on it because you forgot to put change in your pocket, you can pull into the first available spot. Instead of having to run up to the kiosk and feed it quarters, then put the little receipt on your dash board, only to have to return an hour and ten minutes later to find a ticket because your meeting ran over, or leave your meeting to run back to your car and print a new ticket, you can now take care of the whole transaction from your car before you leave it, or at your meeting from the privacy of your own smart phone.


I-84 Hartord Project Updates

The I-84 Hartford Project Team has been working with communities to identify the best solution for fixing I-84. After exploring four different alternatives, or options, we're close to deciding on the future of the highway. 

The project team recommended, and the Federal Highway Administration has agreed, to remove the Elevated and Tunnel Highway Alternatives from further consideration. These options do not meet the project Purpose and Need. The best option seems to be the Lowered Highway Alternative, which would bring the highway down to ground level and below most of the local streets, like Asylum, Broad and Sigourney Streets, and Capitol Avenue. 

The Lowered Highway Alternative, and the No-build Alternative will continue to be analyzed. A formal decision, on the recommended highway and ramp options, is expected in spring 2020.


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The Money Conference for Women

YWCA's Money Conference for Women will be held on Saturday October 28th at the Connecticut Convention Center from 7:30 AM - 2:30 PM. This FREE conference focuses on money management, investment strategies and retirement planning for women of all ages, economic backgrounds, and levels of financial knowledge. The Money Conference is designed to address the financial challenges women face in their work and personal lives. It will feature honorary chair Connecticut State Treasurer Denise L. Nappier along with financial expert and author Michelle Singletary as the keynote speaker. A financial expert and author, Michelle's topic will be: Wonder Woman: How to Become a Wealth Warrior. Discover within you your power to be rich. You can be a fierce money manager by tapping into your strength. Michelle will focus on the 5 strongholds that keep women from being wealthy.

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Arts and Music on the Hill



Hartford News AHNA Supplement

As part of our communications efforts we publish our newsletter 'AHNA News and Views' as a supplement in the Hartford News monthly.  To cover the printing costs we need to secure ads generating $500.00 dollars each month.  This provides us with four pages with color.  If you, an organization you work for or belong to would like to help support this effort please see the order form below.  Please contact the editor at  if you know of anyone or business you think we might reach out to for support.  Thank you.


Ad Order Form

Events Calendar


Please click on the following link to go to our online Events Calendar.

From The Editor
If you have any comments, suggestions or submissions please contact me via email at 
Paul O'Mara Communications Committee Chair
Contact Us
Send emails directly to AHNA at

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