Hartford | Connecticut Public Radio


Hartford Public High School Graduation
Tyler Russell / Connecticut Public

It’s the morning of graduation and Armani Sidik is fixing her bright blue cap over her hijab as she patiently waits for her family. At the entrance of their walk-up apartment in the North End of Hartford, the Sidik family is joyful and neighbors walk by offering congratulations. 

“We gave her all our love, all our guidance, she’s doing really well, that’s our baby,” said Charlette Sidik, Armani’s mother, beaming with pride.  

But her daughter says making it to graduation was not easy. 

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

  Some 20 families lined up to receive diapers and other essentials on a recent afternoon in Hartford. Among them was Angela Perez. 

“I’ve been [coming] here because they’ve helped me with food and diapers. Now we found out they’re closing,” Perez said in Spanish. “It’s been a huge help to me and many other moms.” 

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public

  The Puerto Rican Day parade made its way through the streets of Hartford this past Saturday. With traditional live music from the island and colorful floats, the parade honored the pandemic’s essential workers and first responders. Organizers also came with a clear message: “Let’s get the Latino community vaccinated!”  

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

Wethersfield’s police department was flagged Thursday as having significant racial disparities in traffic stops for a sixth time. The Connecticut Racial Profiling Prohibition Project has examined nearly 200,000 stops on roads bordering Wethersfield and found that Black and Hispanic motorists were more likely to get pulled over going into the town than coming out.

Out Film CT / Facebook

The 34th Connecticut LGBTQ Film Festival gets underway in Hartford later this week. After last year’s all-virtual festival due to COVID concerns, this year’s event will be a hybrid of virtual and in-person screenings at Trinity College’s Cinestudio.

Photo of Ada's headstone in Hartford, Connecticut. The inscription reads "Ada, Wife of William S. Brown, Died October 20, 1884, Age 32"
Eileen Newman

In 1884, a young Hartford woman named Ada Brown was murdered in her home.  It made national news, but Ada’s story faded into obscurity. This hour, we learn why a history class at University of Saint Joseph spent the past semester digging into her story, 136 years later.

And we learn what it meant to one of Ada’s descendants.

Sage Ross / Creative Commons

The sale of Tribune newspapers to Alden Global Capital has been voted through by Tribune’s shareholders. That means the Hartford Courant is now owned by Alden, a hedge fund notorious for severely cutting staff levels at the newspapers it buys. Rebecca Lurye, chair of the Hartford Courant Guild, joined All Things Considered to talk through what’s next for her and her colleagues. She also tells what she knows about a report that the Tribune vote went in Alden’s favor because a major stockholder failed to mark his ballot ... and the unmarked ballot got counted as a yes vote.

Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz / Facebook

The Greater Hartford Festival of Jazz will return to Bushnell Park this summer. The festival, which draws upwards of 50,000 people each year, was silenced in 2020 due to COVID safety precautions. Now, with the easing of restrictions, Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said the festival and other arts and culture events are back this summer.

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public

A New Haven firefighter who died while responding to a blaze last week was celebrated across Connecticut on Thursday.

The remembrance of Ricardo Torres Jr. started with a Funeral Mass in New Haven. It included a brave testimonial from his pregnant wife, Erica Martinez, who’s also left caring for their 11-month-old son.

Jonathan McNicol / Connecticut Public Radio

Who's afraid of the Bix bad Beiderbecke?

Hartford has an amazing jazz history, and Colin has a lot of jazz musician friends. This hour, a little onstage jazz party recorded in front of a live audience long before the pandemic put a pause on live audiences as a thing.

Colin and the panel look to make jazz accessible to mere mortals. They talk about what makes jazz jazz, invite the audience to sing, and teach the audience to scat.

New Haven Symphony Orchestra

Elementary school music programs have seen a drop in the number of students enrolling in band or orchestra. The pandemic has forced music teachers to abandon their typical recruiting methods. But now a coalition of Connecticut symphony orchestras has stepped in with a series of free online services to encourage potential musicians to sign up.

Tyler Russell / Connecticut Public

It took just a couple of seconds for a nurse to administer the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine into Sadie Sindland’s arm.

Getting vaccinated has been a hot topic lately with 14-year-old Sindland and her friends. 

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public

The Yard Goats are back in Hartford.

Image courtesy of the iQuilt Partnership.

This hour, a look into a future that might be for the city of Hartford. 

Some planners want to bury I-91 along its path between the Connecticut River and downtown Hartford.  

They would reimagine the levee underneath the highway as a green hill overlooking the river. 

They envision extensive development in nearby parts of Hartford with restored water views.

Connecticut First District Congressman John Larson is no stranger to big plans for highways in the Hartford area.  He sees a unique opportunity for the city.

Russell Shaw Higgs / Flickr

Universal Basic Income, a program popularized --by presidential candidate Andrew Yang, might be coming to a Connecticut city. 

Brenda Leon

With signs and chants of support, a small group of Colombians living in Connecticut gathered in front of Hartford’s City Hall on Thursday to denounce the violent response by Colombia’s security forces against demonstrators.

Hartford resident Alina Zúñiga, who moved to Connecticut from Cali, Colombia, 30 years ago, organized the rally. She said ongoing corruption and abuse have been a decadeslong reality for the people in her native country. Zúñiga said young adults are responding on the streets, and she wanted to show her support.

Charter Oak Cultural Center / Facebook

Poetry by young Hartford-area writers is reaching a wider readership -- on a CTtransit Bus.

The “Poetry Bus” will inspire riders for the next few weeks with excerpts of poems written by students who participate in creative writing classes at the Charter Oak Cultural Center’s Youth Arts Institute. The poems form a graphic display on the outside of the bus.

Juneteenth, Middletown CT
Tyler Russell / Connecticut Public

Almost two weeks ago today, two children in Hartford were shot and killed within hours of each other. This week, on the heels of the Derek Chauvin verdict, a sixteen year old black girl was shot and killed by the police in Columbus, Ohio. 

This hour, we discuss what happens after gun violence.

Representative Brandon McGee and Kelvin Lovejoy from Hartford Communities That Care join us.

Tyler Russell / Connecticut Public

One day after the guilty verdicts against Derek Chauvin came down in the murder of George Floyd, Connecticut activists took to the streets looking to address people in the suburbs.

Nicole Leonard / Connecticut Public Radio

Pharrell Bright sat in a plastic folding chair in the middle of a gym auditorium at Saint Francis Hospital in Hartford.

The Capital Preparatory Magnet School senior had just received his first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

"I saw a lot of the commercials that the hospital has been posting on TV and through the news and it’s saying, 'get vaccinated, it could save some lives,'" he said. "And I felt like I just heard it enough times that I was like, you know what, maybe it isn’t such a bad thing to do." 

Brenda Leon / Connecticut Public

Hartford police have arrested a teenager in the recent shooting death of a 3-year-old boy in the city’s North End. Jaziah Smith, 19, was charged in the killing of Randell Jones.

Tony Spinelli / Connecticut Public

Alexander Amado started working with Community Health Center Inc. nearly a year ago. He took a job at the health center’s Hartford COVID-19 testing sites when they were newly constructed last spring.

It was a slow start, he said, but everything quickly escalated.

“People would come like four to six people in a car, and people would wait like three hours to get tested. It was pretty insane,” Amado said. “It was a little rough, but we got the rhythm going. And there were two lanes, because that was the volume of cars, and that would wrap around the building.”

Brenda Leon / Connecticut Public

Balloons, teddy bears and candles decorated the corner of a Hartford street where 3-year-old Randell Jones was shot and killed on Saturday afternoon. 

Families and friends gathered Monday in a vigil organized by Mothers United Against Violence.

As friends and families consoled the boy’s mother, Solmary Cruz, her sister Johanna Vazquez said the family is raising funds to bury her nephew, whom she remembers as a happy child. His family affectionately called the toddler “Jun Jun.” 


Hartford police have confirmed that a 3-year-old boy died of gunshot injuries suffered in a drive-by shooting in the city Saturday afternoon. Rondell Jones was in a car with his mother and two older siblings when he was shot.

About two hours later, a 16-year-old was killed and another person injured in a shooting about a mile from the first. Investigators do not believe the two incidents are linked. The 16-year-old was later named by police as Jamari Preston of New Britain.

Tim Rasmussen / Connecticut Public

Twice this week, unionized workers have shut down streets around the capitol in protest of Gov. Ned Lamont’s state budget plans.

Most recently, long-term care workers and members of New England Health Care Employees Union District 1199, SEIU staged a picket Thursday afternoon outside the state Office of Policy and Management in Hartford. 

Chris Rakoczy / Hartford Hospital

Cliff O’Connell’s future was once pretty murky. By 2019, he’d had kidney disease for 14 years.

As she was raising children with mental health needs, Milagros Vega learned how to access multiple services in Hartford. She moved to the city from Puerto Rico 25 years ago. Now she’s caring for a grandson with similar needs. 

Sage Ross / Creative Commons

The Hartford Courant is America’s oldest continuously published newspaper. But the proposed acquisition of the paper’s parent company Tribune Publishing by hedge fund Alden Global Capital has reporters worried about the newspaper’s future.

This hour, we look at the future of the Courant.  In a changing world, how will newspapers and other media companies survive?

Tony Spinelli / Connecticut Public

Insurance giant Chubb has broken its silence over The Hartford’s rejection of its takeover offer, but the company did not make clear whether it intends to return with a sweetened bid.

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

In March 2020, Connecticut and the nation went into lockdown as the coronavirus began to spread. A year later, the state is commemorating sad milestones from those early pandemic days.