Can Snuggling Goats Make You Happy?

2023 | By Mishika Gilfillian-Brown

SOUTHINGTON, CT. Have you ever spent an hour socializing with goats? At Bradley Mountain Farm, an event called Goat Snuggling Therapy is held twice a week where community members can spend an hour feeding, snuggling, and making connections with cute and friendly farm goats.

People drive far and near to have this experience, only 20 minutes from the capital city. Bradley Mountain Farm has plenty of options for how to spend an hour relaxing, boosting serotonin, and bonding with goats. Some include Goat Painting, Goat Yoga, Goat Snuggling, and Moonlight Goat Walks.

Reporter Mishika Gilfillian-Brown enjoying the company of the therapy goats at Bradley Mountain Farm, Southington, CT

The Bradley Mountain Farm is relatively new and was established in 2016. The farmland, however, has a long history in Southington and has been a running farm since the 1800s. Owner Anneliese got her first herd of goats and unintentionally started what was first a goat milk product store into an animal therapy space.

Farm volunteer Kailey says, “The farm was built in 1813, but when the owner bought the goats in 2016, she started making goat soaps and had the idea for goat activities where people can come and hang out with the goats.”

The first thing you notice when entering the farm is the smell, that is the one discouraging aspect of this event. After a while the smell is unnoticeable, and the baby goats become the main attraction.

Families and couples gather around to calmly integrate with the goats roaming around, children are in awe of the new animal they are meeting. Mothers and their daughters vocalize how much they needed this session after having a baby goat nap in their laps.

Goat therapy is a quiet and calming experience, and goats are more inquired about visiting and accepting a snuggle from a person in a Zen state. If you’re lucky enough, some goats bond with certain humans and stick with them the whole session. It is learned that physical and emotional contact with goats stimulates a relaxation response in the brain. It is thought that goats act as an antidepressant for people without them knowing it.

Farm volunteer Kailey says, “They definitely reduce your stress, just like dogs or cats would. It’s also just really fun, and I think that when people get to snuggle the goats, they just kind of forget their worries. It brings them into the present. We get a lot of families and kids, but more young adults than anyone; goats are for everyone though.”

Stress relief is the main reason for this event. Of course, curiosity is also a critical factor for this event’s success. Not many people think goats interact with humans like cats or dogs until they get to the Bradley Mountain Farm and participate in things like Goat Yoga or Goat Painting. Goat Yoga is also a session where goats help aid in the stress relief of participants.

Goat Yoga was a trend that started with a local farm in Oregon by Lainey Morse in 2016 that held a yoga class and introduced goats to the class as an addition after seeing how the goats interacted with people. After that, it seemed everyone wanted to offer goat activities, and farms with herds found a new way to incorporate their love for animals with helping the community and earning extra income.

Of course, the goats’ care is a big concern. Are these animals being overworked from participating in these events? It turns out that the goats enjoy and benefit from snuggling, and these events also lower stress for the animals. While at the goat snuggle event, goats were falling asleep and encouraging participants to pet them, the event leader would let participants know each goat’s favorite spots to rub. At the beginning of the event, the group leader discloses how much the goats love getting their belly rubbed.

Generally, goat snuggling may sound weird at first, but it can be great way to help fight depression and loneliness at all ages.

Newly Renovated Welles-Turner Memorial Library Celebrates “Take Your Child To The Library Day!” With Fun-Filled Day Of Activities

2023 February | By Charly Temkeng

The Welles-Turner Memorial Library in Glastonbury, Connecticut, celebrated the 12th annual “Take Your Child to the Library Day” on February 4, 2023, with a range of activities. The event provided an opportunity for families to spend quality time together while promoting literacy and the love of books.

More than one hundred participants were welcomed into the newly renovated building by the library staff who had set up various fun-filled activities for the day. These included Perfectly Purple Storytime, Crafty Kids, Playful Engineers, and Creative Contraption workshops. The workshops enabled children to explore the library’s vast collection of books while developing essential skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity.

Each family was gifted a free copy of the book “Harold and the Purple Crayon” by Crockett Johnson to take home with them. The children were thrilled to participate in a craft session where they created pin bottoms to take with them as a memento of the event.

Derek, a father of two sons who recently moved to Glastonbury, expressed his gratitude for the event, saying it was an excellent opportunity to meet other community members.

Renée Pease, Children’s Services Librarian, led the library staff and ensured everyone had a great time. She emphasized the library’s commitment to promoting literacy and the love of books in the community and invited parents and caregivers to check their events and activities calendar for future events.

Take Your Child to the Library Day” is an annual event on the first Saturday in February aimed at encouraging families to visit their local libraries and promote the love of reading and learning in children. Started in 2011 by two Connecticut librarians, Nadine Lipman and Caitlin Augusta, the initiative has since grown into a nationwide event with over 1,000 participating libraries.

The library provides children with an opportunity to develop essential skills that will serve them throughout their lives. By participating in these activities, children learn to think critically, solve problems, and be creative while developing a lifelong love of reading. Additionally, the library is a crucial resource for families, providing a wealth of knowledge and fostering a sense of community.

The Welles-Turner Memorial Library offers programs and events that bring people together, such as book clubs, author readings, and storytelling sessions. These activities help build relationships and strengthen community ties, which are crucial for social and emotional development.

The Glastonbury Public Library’s involvement in “Take Your Child to the Library Day” was a resounding success, providing families with an opportunity to celebrate literacy and explore the various resources offered by the library. The library remains dedicated to promoting literacy and the appreciation of books within the community.

Parents and caregivers are invited to check the events and activities calendar for upcoming happenings. Visiting the library could be an excellent way to ignite a child’s passion for books and learning. Special events provide an opportunity for families to spend quality time together while promoting the love of reading and learning in children. The Glastonbury Public Library looks forward to welcoming more families to future events and encourages the community to utilize the many resources available.

Creating Inclusive Conversations on Race and Social Justice Through the Art of Embroidery at the Stowe Center

2023 March | By Mia Lozada

HARTFORD, CT– The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center recently held its anticipated Sewing and Learning Workshop, creating an engaging virtual experience for individuals across the United States, including Florida, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Michigan, and many more who participated in the event. The Stowe Center’s mission is to guide important discussions on race and social justice in our community today.

Workshop participant shares an example of embroidery.

Harriet Beecher Stowe published her first anti-slavery novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, on April 1st, 1852. Stowe became one of the few women who stood up against racism and cruelty towards human society. Her novel was an example of protest towards American slavery and it changed history forever. Stowe became a famous public figure in her community and touched many lives with her words.

In the early 19th century, the crafting aspect of embroidery was used on multiple platforms as it was a creative way to communicate with other activists and collaborate on ideas to end enslavement in America.

Amy Hufnagel, the Director of Programs & Visitor Experience, hosted a Zoom workshop that included pre-recorded lectures from historians and artists. The workshop was educational and provided a brief history of embroidery, followed by Q&A sessions. At the end of each lesson, the participants sewed for three hours, creating their cross-stitch artistry.

Attendees registered for the online event and either received their own sewing kit in the mail or used their own materials. Upon the day of the event, the Director of Programs introduced an itinerary of how the day would go. Participants were not obligated to watch and sew at the same time.

This year’s conversationalists included Dr. Maria Kupner, an assistant professor at Penn State University, Roxana Greffen, a Stowe Center Board member, and two artists: Jordana Martin and Rebecca Donohue. This was part of a second series of workshops following the past event celebrating Martin Luther King’s birthday weekend.

Hufnagel said the purpose of this event “is to enjoy the process of being both in learning and making in a sort of modern-day online sewing circle that will create a lot of time for discussion and conversation.”

As the workshop progressed, participants shared the results of their craft on camera and discussed how it inspired them to sew life-meaning quotes into fabric that keeps them fighting for equality.

A mother from Rocky Hill said, “I read a local article in the newspaper about a restaurant that opened in Coventry, Connecticut called woke, and there was a lot of backlash on social media because people thought it was not a breakfast place. So, I decided to do a counted cross-stitch which I only did OK, but it is going to say ‘Got woke.’”

Just like Stowe receiving backlash on her novel, history repeats itself, relating to the ongoing conflict in today’s modern-day world.

As this annual series ends, change comes by having important conversations and hands-on learning workshops like what the Stowe Center provided.

“Instead of calling someone out, let’s bring them in,” says Amy Hufnagel.

Not only does it bring in safe, genuine conversations, it leads to change by listening to one another.

The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center Museum provides free tours for Hartford residents. For a guided tour of the historic Nook Farm community, located on 77 Forest Street in Hartford, Connecticut. If you have questions or would like to learn more about the museum’s history, visit their website at

HPD Public CompStat: Everything You Need to Know

2023 March
By Analisse Vega

HARTFORD, CT   A Public CompStat is when information and statistics about crimes are gathered and then a meeting is held to discuss between the different police divisions. It is used to help try and lower the crime rates happening in the city. The Hartford Police Department hosts a Public CompStat every third Thursday of the month, and it is open to the public so anyone can listen in on the meeting. They discuss with each other the statistics from each department and category and give advice to each other as well as the public. In February’s meeting, multiple Lieutenants from multiple divisions in the police discussed the drop in crime rates and compared them to the numbers from last year. Lieutenant Creter reports the Southwest divisions crime rate percentage is up at the moment. Lieutenant Reynolds reports that the Southeast division has no current homicides or shootings to date.

Fleet vehicles outside Hartford Police Department.

All police divisions reported a recent increase in car thefts. There were 115 auto thefts YTD (year to date) compared to the 78 from last year. The police departments are working on catching the thieves and stated in the meeting they have already caught two of them, one of whom was responsible for 15 car thefts and the other responsible for 5 thefts.  They advised that Kia and Hyundai owners be vigilant on watching their cars because they are being targeted the most at the moment due to easy access for the thieves. Running cars are also being targeted since the owners are leaving them running due to the cold, the police advise residents not leave cars running. Also shown to the right is a table with the weekly crime report from the Northeast division with a comparison to the prior week, the last 4 weeks and the YTD.

Hartford crime statistics are shared on the screen during virtual CompStat meeting hosted by Hartford Police Department.

Tuning in to the Public CompStat is a good way to find out what is going on in the city as well as the neighborhood around you. Attending these events can give more perspective about the reason for police activity in local neighborhoods. People may see things such as police cars at a specific home or a store closed for reasons unknown and wonder what is happening. When the Lieutenants speak about certain crimes, they give specifics of what happened and where in the neighborhood it happened so if you live in that neighborhood, you can be more aware of your surroundings. For example, the Dunkin’ Donuts on 754 Maple Ave was robbed in early February, which is a fact that was stated in the meeting.

CompStat meetings are also venues to talk about public events going on around the area and happening soon such as sports events and parades, as well as special programs of interest to the public.

Sergeant Siewicz shared information about the PALS program which has opportunities for kids ages 6-18 to find activities to help lower the rate of kids involved in violence. This is a good program for kids who have nothing else to do after school and in the summer, keeping them safe and off the streets. More information can be found on the Police Activities League (PALS) website at

To attend the next CompStat, find information here

Tuition Increase Rally Sparked at Capital Community College

2022 November | By Jessica Jones

Attendees of the rally at Capital Community College, 950 Main St. Hartford (Photo by Jessica Jones)

Students, staff, faculty, and others from the Hartford community gathered to protest the proposed tuition increase for Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU). The protest took place in front of Capital Community College (CCC) on Thursday, October 20. Signs, chants, and speakers voiced student’s concerns. Many students from diverse backgrounds took to the floor to share their grievances. Connecticut State Senator Rick Lopes and State Representative Josh Elliot of Hamden, CT were present at the rally and added their thoughts.

Representative Josh Elliot says, “Record rates of inflation…it’s getting harder and harder for people to not only go to college because the cost of living is so expensive, but it is getting harder and harder to simply live. And the worst thing that we can do is make it more expensive for people. We have the wealthy people in our state getting richer and richer before this pandemic. You should be able to support yourselves and you should [be] able to live a good life while you are going to school.”

Student Government leader Chienye C. Emenyonu took the floor.

Chienye C. Emenyonu addresses the crowd
(Photo by Jessica Jones)

“Amazing and bright students are leaving community college because of the costs…and have to spend most of their time working. [Many] things are happening to students on this campus, and they are not taking it into consideration. The increase in tuition will also widen the educational gap between marginalized groups in the middle and lower class and those who can afford it. Community colleges are already seeing a decline in admissions since the beginning of the pandemic.”

Yazmine Goodlett, President of the International Students Club, and an international student herself, powerfully voiced her story at the rally.

“The tuition fee hike is like really important to me because as an international student I am limited to so many stuff. I cannot work unless it is on campus which hardly even pays us anything. I cannot do certain things that most people can do. They’re basically telling me I should go back to Jamaica I should go back to a place where I can get killed. So basically raising tuition fees will drop me out of school because I cannot afford it. I am already struggling to pay $7,000 here.”

Michael Sawyer, a CCC student of Afro-Latino descent, the President of Black Student Union (BSU), and Vice President of SGA, also voiced his concerns at the event. During a one-on-one interview, Sawyer was asked about his feelings on the rally turnout.

“It was a great turnout. We had a lot of students come in and participate. You know… spread awareness for what is really going on. I thought we did a phenomenal job, everyone seemed engaged and we even got the news involved, which is always really cool. I felt like a lot of us had a lot of passion.

When posed the question of how potential students can begin their own activism, Sawyer says, “Honestly just do it. Like even if it feels…like oh I am nervous… you will never know unless you take that leap and just do it.”

The 4Cs Union, who took part in the rally, has a petition to oppose the proposed increase available to be signed on their website. Their mission is to support higher education opportunities for cities and rural communities.

Hartford Stage Returns With A Murder Mystery

2022 November | By Mia Lozada

Hartford Stage kicks off their new 2022-2023 season with The Mousetrap. If you are a fan of clue or detective fiction, this anticipated well-known play written by Agatha Christie is the show for you. It is a freezing evening in 1947 and imagine being stranded in a motel with a group of strangers with nowhere to go. As the show continues one of the guests “mysteriously” gets killed. Who did it? One way or another, you must see the play to find out the answer. As the set design and music takes you on a journey, you will be able to experience a show that will make you critically think. With its humorous jokes and twisting end, this version of The Mousetrap directed by Jackson Gay will leave you speechless. Students at Capital Community College, are able to watch the show for just five dollars and meet the actors on Nov 2 from 12-1pm in the community room located on the 2nd floor. The show runs through November 6th, 2022.

Hartford’s Annual Pride Celebration Ends the Summer on a High Note

2021 September | By Joy Lee

On Saturday, September 10, 2022, Hartford’s annual Pride celebration was celebrated on Trumbull Street. The first of Hartford’s annual pride events were held thirteen years ago in Bushnell Park. These celebrations are held yearly, to promote visibility, respect, and pride in the LGBTQ+ community in Hartford. That Saturday more than 6,000 guests came to celebrate with Senator Richard Blumenthal, Governor Ned Lamont, Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz, and Mayor Luke Bronin. 

The festival and concert were held from noon to 6 pm and featured performances from the Hartford Gay Men’s Chorus, multiple drag performers, DJs, and more. The drag performances were hosted by Robin Fierce and featured Lady Tatiana, Kenya Mone Heart, Mia E Z’Lay, Miss Rozzz, Natalia Fierce, Samantha Chanel, Sasha Montenegro, and Xiomarie LaBeija. Local companies and organizations such as Lego, North United Methodists Church, and Caroline’s Art Studio to name a few, set up tents for information about their organizations and support for the LGBTQ+ community. They also passed out candy and gave out fans, stickers, and other odds and ends.  

Drag performers delight the crowd at the Pride celebration. Photo credit Joy Lee.

B. Lee, a member of the community who attended the event says: “It was so much fun. I really loved the drag shows and all of the different tents and activities.” 

Stanley Black and Decker hosted a nail hammering competition at their booth. Photo credit Joy Lee.

The event was hosted by Hartford Pride and CLARO (Connecticut Latinos Achieving Rights and Opportunities).

Hartford Pride’s website dictates, “Hartford Pride brings events and news to New England’s LGBTQ+ community and celebrates…the LGBTQ+ community.” Out in CT is a magazine and online community that works with Hartford Pride and strives to guide the people of CT to business and events that focus on supporting and including the LGBTQ+ community.  

CLARO is located in the heart of Connecticut and leads LGBTQ+ cultural organizations in the state. CLARO presents Hartford pride week every second Saturday in September.

According to Hartford Pride website, “The annual Hartford Pride Fest and Concert is a family-centered event showcasing entertainment, food, local businesses, giveaways, activities, and numerous community organizations. Hartford Pride provides New England’s LGTBQ+ community with a series of events throughout the year to celebrate the achievements, foster inclusion, educate, and create awareness on issues impacting the LGTBQ+.” 

Voting Registration Efforts Underway, Deadline Approaching Fast

2022 October | By Jessica Jones

Voting season is making its way back around. The deadline to register in Connecticut is November 1.

On Tuesday September 20, 2022 the League of Women Voters (LWV) of Connecticut set camp right outside the Connecticut Old State House in downtown Hartford to help people register to vote.  

LWV members assist the public with registering to vote (Photo credit Jessica Jones)

Nicole Sousa (pictured on the left) and Elizabeth “Libby” Sweiteck (pictured on the right) are a part of the LWV.

“We are out here in Hartford, checking to see if people are registered to vote.” Sousa says.

After registering participants into the system, “they get a ‘I’m Vote Ready’ sticker and a magnetized voting checklist to put on their fridge” Sweiteck says. 

Both women expressed that their whole mission, along with the program itself, is to get people informed and out to the ballots. However, getting the community voter ready isn’t the only topic LWV tackles, they shed light on Health Care Reform, Immigration, Environment, Census and Voter Suppression.  

The LWV organization also focuses their attention on women and people of color (POC) being voter-ready. This women-led group built their entire foundation back in 1920 merely months before the 19th Amendment to allow women to vote was ratified in the United States. The logo and iconic name would come right in 1945. Members of LWV recently celebrated their 100 year anniversary in June 2020. The LWV team is filled with diverse activists, lawyers, and other professionals that helped over 20 million people. If you would like to know more, the League of Women Voters of Connecticut maintains an official website as well as YouTube channel and all socials like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Tiktok.  

If you are unsure how to vote, you can find information on the LWV website or VOTE411.