Monthly Archives: March 2007

Of SUVs and parking woes at Whole Foods

One blogger believes that Blue Back Square is already tying up traffic, at least at the Whole Foods parking lot.

Of course, there probably wouldn’t be a Whole Foods there if it werent’ for Blue Back, but that’s another story.

The blogger’s right about all the SUVs, though. You’d think driving around town that they were giving SUVs away with all the people taking them out on errands. 

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Filed under Blue Back Square, parking, traffic, Transportation, West Hartford Center, Whole Foods

I-84 exit/entrance changes

While I commend everyone involved for trying to fix an increasing mess where we get off and on to I-84, the new solution isn’t much better.

The biggest trouble at the moment, which I’ve already seen a half dozen times, is that traffic going north on Park gets tied up at the light for Trout Brook, backing it up across both the exit and entrance ramps for the highway. That just compounds the troubles, of course, since then people can’t make turns, blocking stuff up further back, too.

I’m no traffic expert, God knows, but there has to be a better way there. Perhaps it’s just the timing of the lights that need adjusting.

In the long run, the focus should be on making the other exits to and from West Hartford easier to use so that more people will shift away from Exit 43 and go somewhere else.

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Filed under Exit 43, traffic, Transportation

Useless reporting in the Courant today

This is exactly the kind of news story that makes it nearly impossible for residents of West Hartford to make informed decisions. We’re told next to nothing about what’s in the budget and given only hints about what critics have to say. There are no details, no real explanation, no nothing for any of us to make any kind of decision about who’s right and who’s wrong.

I don’t really blame the reporter. It’s just the whole thing is so truncated and short that it’s utterly without value. The Courant treats this town as an afterthought even though most of its readers and advertisers are right here in West Hartford.

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Filed under Hartford Courant, Media, News, Newspapers, town council, Town government

An encounter with the West Hartford cops

One young blogger today details his experience with a recent police encounter that is quite typical of what I hear from many people in town. The police surely do look on the younger generation as likely criminals all too often, and hassle many of them over trivial matters. This is but one small example from somebody willing to speak up. Most of the incidents are like this – hardly anything to get worked up over except that the big picture shows that there’s an unfairness to law enforcement that deserves more scrutiny than it gets.

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Filed under police, Public safety

RIP Garbage picking in West Hartford

It hit me the other day as I watched two men in a station wagon cruising slowly down the street, inspecting the assorted trash outside everybody’s house, that when the town switches over to the new barrel system this fall, one of the town’s long-standing traditions will die.

If the only stuff that trash collectors will pick up is whatever we can cram in the barrel for the one-armed trucks to lift, dump and return to the curb empty, then there’s no place anymore for putting old Playschool climbing toys on the side of the road, or aging tv sets with “IT WORKS” signs taped on the tubes, or boxes of odds and ends from the basement. They either get tossed in the can or hauled off to …. well, I’m not sure.

What I do know is that I probably won’t be trying to lug an old bookshelf home that my neighbor down the block no longer wants. I’ll just see neat rows of big trash cans, with nothing to differentiate one from the other except perhaps whether the lids are firmly closed or propped up a bit by that final bag of kitchen litter.

I imagine this change will have quite an impact on the stores throughout the area that sell used goods and for the people who take out trash to flea markets.

What it really does, I’m afraid, is to push us a little further towards becoming the throw-away society we all loathe, even as embrace its ethos day in and day out. What’s old and unwanted simply disappears. It never even makes a pit stop by the side of the road, where a hope of new life still exists. 

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Filed under Environment, garbage, garbage picking, recycling, solid waste, trash, Uncategorized

Knife fighter from West Hartford

A 28-year-old West Hartford man, Justin Wakefield, was arrested in Windsor Locks this week after he pulled a knife during a basketball game dispute and started carving up another fellow, according to a story in the fabulous  Journal Inquirer. The injured man got sliced on his face, hands and arms, the paper reported, but is expected to recover.

Wakefield was charged with first-degree assault and breach of peace before securing his release by posting a $50,000 bond, the paper said. He is scheduled to appear in Enfield Superior Court on April 10.

I’m not too thrilled to have guys like this wandering the streets of West Hartford. 

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Filed under crime, Public safety

Newsweek’s stunning new issue

Scrawled across the cover of the April 2 issue of Newsweek are a soldier’s words, in his own writing: “Any day I’m here could be the day I die.”

What follows inside is an extraordinary, deeply sad and wonderful look into the lives of our fallen troop — in their own words. It’s full of excerpts from letters, emails, instant messages, audio recordings and more that our warriors left behind after war took them from us forever.

Every reminder that so many of our soldiers are dying daily is a good thing, but this issue is a gift from Newsweek to America. It’s not particularly political in the narrow sense of bashing or bolstering President Bush, but it leaves an unmistakable impression that we’ve lost far too much.

Just looking at the pictures of men cuddling their babies breaks your heart, over and over and over.

I know the war is hell, that soldiers who perish leave gaping wounds at home, that battles grind up more than bodies. They blow up dreams. They shatter families. They leave a wreckage that goes far beyond the pieces of metal on a distant ground.

But what I realized as I read the words of these slain soldiers is that this war’s price is far too high for whatever it is that we’re getting out of it. After four years of conflict, it’s increasingly hard to see beyond the death toll, to see any vision at all for a future that isn’t just soaked in more patriots’ blood.

Bring ’em home.

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Filed under Foreign policy, Iraq, Iraq war, military, Newsweek, veterans