Weekly Update - Aug. 13

August 13, 2021

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Dear Neighbor, 

Hopefully you've been staying cool over the last few days – if you're still looking for ways to cool off this weekend, why not take a dip in one of our great community pools (just be sure to check out their end of Summer modified hours) or cool off inside by heading to The Galleries @ WORK_SPACE for 2ND Saturdays Open House. Whatever you do – be sure to stay hydrated, limit time outdoors in the sun, stick with lightweight and loose-fitting clothing and regularly check on infants and children as well as elderly or physically ill.

Did you hear? Next week is Sales Tax Free Week in Connecticut. With back to school right around the corner, this is a good opportunity to save and stock up on needed essentials for the kids. Retail purchases of most clothing and footwear priced under $100 are exempt from the sales tax from August 15 through August 21.

Stay cool and read on!

In this email you'll find updates on district resources and news. Please click the links below to read the section that corresponds with the highlighted headline.

A NOTE: If you're having trouble clicking through the following links, open this email in a browser, use a computer or scroll through this email to the relevant section. 

The topics covered are as follows:

On Legislative Business

On Community Resources 

Senate Passes $1 Trillion Bipartisan Package to Invest in Modernizing Nation's Infrastructure
On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate passed the nearly $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure deal, 69-30, to support rebuilding the nation's highways, bridges, and other infrastructure related projects.
The plan passed by the Senate includes more than $5.38 billion for Connecticut based projects over the next five years, including needed repairs to the aging Northeast rail system and efforts to protect Long Island Sound. Focused on the future, the funding for Connecticut will support projects to reduce carbon emissions, support construction of new electric vehicle charging stations, in addition to bridge and road repairs among other projects.
Additionally, the state will have an opportunity to seek a portion of the more than $100 billion in competitive, federal transportation grants – with state provided matching funds. The competitive grants included in the package would offer funding to a variety of projects ranging from efforts to reduce crashes and fatalities to eliminating railway-highway crossing hazards – as well as $30 billion in competitive grants for the Northeast Corridor Commission for rail projects, including in Connecticut.
If passed by the House, the package would be the largest infusion of federal investments into infrastructure projects in the last decade.
I would like to know, what do you think of this issue?
Associated Press: Connecticut likely to reap billions from infrastructure bill
Hartford Courant: Massive US infrastructure bill would deliver billions to Connecticut for rail, roads, bridges, broadband access. Legislation now awaits action in U.S. House.
The New York Times: The Infrastructure Plan: What’s In and What’s Out
$16 Million for Special Education Services
More than $16 million in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief II (ESSER II) funds has been made available to 170 school districts across Connecticut. This relief money will cover costs associated with providing special education services to more than 80,000 students during the upcoming school year.
The ESSER II funding is critical to supporting equitable learning opportunities for students with varying educational needs. The funding was set aside by the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) to supplement local special education COVID-19 recovery efforts through several initiatives piloted last school year by some of the recipient districts.
Where the money will go:
Addressing Delayed, Interrupted, Suspended or Inaccessible Individualized Education Plan (IEP) Supports and Services: Up to $13 million in funds will assist districts with addressing delayed, interrupted, suspended, or inaccessible IEP supports and services for students with IEPs in each school district.
Special Education Evaluations: Up to $1 million in funds will increase the capacity of state’s six Regional Educational Service Centers (RESC) to assist school districts in conducting special education evaluations, which will benefit approximately 240 students, as well as planning and placement teams.
Supplementary Tutoring and Reading Instruction: Up to $2 million in funds will assist 170 districts with supporting supplementary tutoring and reading instruction to address the needs of 3,092 students with an IEP and a primary disability category of SLD/dyslexia in alignment with the reading goals in the student’s current IEP.
Individualized In-Home Support for High Needs Students: Up to $272,000 in funds will provide for 8,000 hours of individualized in-home support through partnership with the Connecticut Department of Developmental Services to provide 1:1 in-home assistance and support for up to 200 students.
More than 50,000 students in Connecticut have already been impacted by these grants, with an emphasis and commitment on children and communities most impacted by the pandemic. I will remain committed to fighting for accessible enrichment programs and funding for all students throughout our state.
I would like to know, what do you think of this issue?
Press Release: Governor Lamont Announces Deployment of More Than $16 Million To Support Local Special Education COVID-19 Recovery Efforts
CT Insider: CT summer programs see enrollments rise, aided by millions in federal funds
Today in CT History: A Trusted Patriot Defects to the Redcoats

During the Revolutionary War, British and American commanders employed various tactics to gather military intelligence that gave their armies a battlefield advantage. One common but risky method was to have a soldier pretend to “defect” to the opposing side. The phony defector would earn the enemy’s trust by offering attractive (and often false) information, then linger gather useful intelligence before returning to friendly territory.

Sergeant Daniel Bissell, born in East Windsor in 1757, employed this tactic when he answered George Washington’s 1781 request to gather intelligence on the ongoing British occupation of New York City. Bissell "defected" on August 13, 1781 and enlisted in a British regiment upon entering New York City. This was a risky move as he could be tried as a traitor by the Americans if he ever to fought against the Continental Army.

During the 13 months Bissell spent with British forces, he was hospitalized with a feverish illness that rendered him unable to fight against American forces. During this time, he gathered intelligence on British fortifications and military strength to draw maps of British forts from memory when he reintegrated into American force in September 1782.

For his efforts, Bissell became the third and final known recipient of the Badge of Military Merit, the Revolutionary War-era emblem George Washington created. This later inspired the U.S. military’s Purple Heart medal. 

Learn more about Sergeant Daniel Bissell and other interesting CT history facts by clicking here.

Summer is Coming to a Close – Changes to Outdoor Pool Schedules
As Summer ends, the East Hartford and Manchester have announced modified hours for the town pools for the remainder of the summer.

East Hartford

Drennan, Goldstar and Terry pools closed on Wednesday, August 11. Martin and Lord pools will remain open for modified hours through Wednesday, August 18:

  • Martin Pool Modified Hours: Thursday, August 12 - Wednesday, August 18
    • Public Swim: Monday – Friday: 1PM – 6PM, Saturday & Sunday: 1PM – 5PM
    • Closing Wednesday, August 18 at 6PM
  • Lord Pool Modified Hours: Thursday, August 12 - Wednesday, August 18
    • Public Swim: Monday – Friday: 1PM – 4PM & 5PM-6PM, Saturday & Sunday: 1PM – 5PM
    • Senior Swim: Monday – Thursday: 12PM – 1PM, Monday – Friday: 4PM – 5PM
    • Closing Wednesday, August 18 at 6PM

During the school year, East Hartford Parks and Recreation offers indoor public swim, adult lap swim, senior swim, and swim lessons. The 2021-2022 school year indoor pool schedule is still being finalized but should be available by the end of the month. For updates, click here.
For more information on East Hartford's pools or programs, please call Parks and Recreation at (860) 291-7160 or click here.

Globe Hollow, Marcy MacDonald, Waddell, and Salters pools will follow the below hours through Sunday, August 15:

For more information on Manchester's aquatic facilities, click here.
Construction Alert: Milling and Resurfacing Project on Route 44 in East Hartford
The Connecticut Department of Transportation has begun a milling and resurfacing project on a 0.78-mile segment of Route 44 from SR 907 to the Route 5 Overlap in East Hartford. The milling portion of the project is scheduled to continue through Wednesday, August 18. The resurfacing portion of the project is anticipated to occur Friday, August 27 to Wednesday, September 1. Motorists can expect lane closures on Route 44 from SR 907 to the Route 5 overlap in East Hartford. Traffic control personnel and signing patterns will be utilized to guide motorists through the work zone. The night work schedule for this project is 7:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. (Sunday – Friday).
Motorists should be aware that modifications or extensions to this schedule may become necessary due to weather delays or other unforeseen conditions. Motorists are advised to remain alert, drive cautiously, and to maintain a safe speed when driving in this vicinity.
Access Health CT Special Enrollment Period Extended to Oct. 31
Access Health CT (AHCT) has extended the deadline for its Special Enrollment Period (SEP) to October 31, making it easier and more convenient than ever for Connecticut residents to obtain a good, quality, affordable health insurance plan.
Nearly half of all Access Health CT customers are paying less than $50 per enrollee per month for their health insurance plan thanks to newly available financial help made possible by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
Additionally, some Connecticut residents may be eligible to pay $0 for health insurance through AHCT's new Covered Connecticut Program. Those who qualify can continue to enroll after October 31st. To enroll in Covered Connecticut, call the Access Health CT Call Center at 1-855-805-4325, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
To be eligible for the Covered Connecticut Program, Connecticut residents must:
  • Have at least one dependent child in the household under age 19; Children age 18 must be a full-time student in secondary school.
  • Be eligible for Advance Premium Tax Credits (APTCs) and Cost Sharing Reductions (CSRs).
  • Use 100% of APTCs and CSRs available to them, along with the expanded American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) financial assistance.
  • Be enrolled in an eligible Silver Level Plan.
  • Have a household annual income that is greater than 160%, and up to and including 175% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL).

Access Health CT will continue to offer free help: 

  • Online: AccessHealthCT.com (Live chat: click “Live Chat” icon) 
    • Phone: 1-855-805-4325, Mon. – Fri., 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
    • If you are deaf or hearing impaired, you may use the TTY at 1-855-789-2428 or contact us with a relay operator
  • In-person help at either of AHCT’s Navigator partner locations*: 

*Please note: In-person locations are by appointment only with strict safety protocols (mask-wearing, hand sanitizing, temperature checks, social distancing, and standard health questionnaire).
If you need good, quality, affordable health insurance, sign up today through Access Health CT. Don’t delay!

COVID-19 Updates & Upcoming Vaccine Clinics
As COVID-19 cases rise, and policies to mitigate the spread of the virus change, it's easy to get overwhelmed or confused by all the incoming information. Hoping to help residents stay informed with the most up-to-date, accurate information, Hartford Healthcare has relaunched its coronavirus hotline. If you ever have any questions about the virus, safety precautions, or the vaccine, call (860) 972-8100.
As we navigate what's still to come from the ongoing pandemic, town and cities throughout the state are making changes to rules surrounding masks – this week, New Haven, Hartford, Bridgeport, Stamford, Norwalk, and Danbury moved to require masks in restaurants and businesses. Here are the current rules for our communities:
East Hartford: The Town of East Hartford has reinstituted face mask requirements for all employees and visitors, regardless of their COVID-19, vaccination status, for all town facilities.
People visiting town of East Hartford facilities must wear a facemask at all times. Remote services are available online, by phone and by drop box for those who are unable to comply with the mask requirements, according to local officials.
Information on remote services is available here or by calling the Town Hall at 860-291-7100.
The East Hartford Health Department is strongly encouraging all businesses and organizations to comply with the CDC’s universal mask mandate in public indoor settings to reduce the risk of exposure and transmission.
Manchester: Masks are mandatory in Manchester's public municipal buildings including Town Hall and Libraries. The town is not implementing a mask mandate in private establishments, however the town strongly recommends that all residents, visitors, and businesses follow CDC guidance to wear masks indoors. 
No matter what, it's so important that we continue the good practices we've used from the start of this whole thing: wear a face mask, observe social distancing, wash your hands thoroughly and regularly, get tested if you were in contact with anyone who's tested positive, etc. But, most importantly – please consider getting vaccinated if you haven't already.
And why not get rewarded for doing your part to support the public health of our communities? All summer, CT is offering so many opportunities to get rewarded for getting the vaccine – check it out: Check it out: "Make a Splash, Get Vaxxed," "CT Food On Us," and "CT Fun on Us."
The Town of East Hartford is hosting free COVID-19 clinics at Margarita's Mexican restaurant (350 Roberts Street) tonight, August 13 until 7PM. Both Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are available. All eligible first-dose recipients will receive a $20 Margarita's gift card. In addition, recipients will be entered in to the Rock the Shot! raffle for a chance to win tickets to Thomas Rhett, Brothers Osbourne and Marc Anthony concerts. For more information, click here.
With the start of school and fall sports is right around the corner, make in-person learning a priority this school year by ensuring that children aged 12 and over follow CDC recommendations, and get the vaccine! To schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment for your child, call the East Hartford Health Department at (860) 291-7324, and for Manchester, call (860) 647-5235.

For more information on receiving the COVID-19 vaccine or to locate an appointment near you, click here. Those without access to the internet can call the Connecticut’s Vaccine Appointment Assist Line, available seven days a week from 8 AM to 8 PM, at 877-918-2224.
For East Hartford-based COVID-19 updates and resources, click here. And, for Manchester-based COVID-19 updates and resources, click here.

Congratulations to the Manchester Little League! Following a 7-4 win over Peabody (Mass.), the team is headed to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. This is the first team in town history to make it to the Series - a huge congrats to the whole team for their success! We can’t wait to see what they do in Williamsport. Read more about this great accomplishment here.
The Galleries @ WORK_SPACE are open every 2nd Saturday, often with live art demonstrations and craft projects for aspiring artists of all ages. On Saturday, August 14, 10AM – 2PM check out a live painting by Josh Vieriea. Or, check out 2 new exhibits, Art in Action and Staycation (open now through Friday, September 24, 10AM – 4PM).

And mark your calendars for September's 2ND Saturday, September 11, 10AM – 2PM, a gathering of artists for a creative conversation. For more information, call (860) 647-3168 or click here.

It's another great Tremendous Tuesday Family Program at Manchester Public Library on Tuesday, August 17 at 6:30PM as Talewise presents Dragons: Return of the Ice Sorceress. Throughout the fun, interactive adventure, you'll learn all about the states of matter and physical forces through amazing Next Generation Science experiments, many of them featuring the coolest thing in science: DRY ICE! Bring blankets or chairs and meet us outside near the Howroyd Room patio for this entertaining and educational show. For more information, call (860) 645-0577.
Do spiders, snakes, crickets, cockroaches or millipedes give you the shivers? Join Manchester Public Library on Wednesday, August 18 at 3PM to learn all about amazing creepy carwlies – and see some up close – with Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center. Teens in grades 6-12 can register by calling 860-645-0821 or visiting the Reference Desk at Manchester Public Library.
East Hartford Senior Services invites you to enjoy a peachy treat on Thursday, August 19, 1PM – 2PM at East Harford Senior Center (15 Milbrook Drive). This is a drive-through event for residents 55 or older, registration is required. Please call the Senior Center at (860) 291-7460 no later than Monday, August 16 to register, as space is limited. The event is sponsored by The Residence at South Windsor Farms.
Get ready to head back-to-school with a fresh haircut! East Hartford Police Department and Elexio's Barbershop (918 Main Street) will be offering FREE haircuts to elementary and middle school students Tuesday, August 17 through Monday, August 23, 8AM – 11AM. Walk-ins are welcome, no appointments required – participants will receive school supplies and backpacks, while supplies last. Current health and safety guidelines will be in place.
The Connecticut Department of Transportation will be offering an informational session for the ongoing Route 2 construction project on Thursday, August 19 at 6PM. To participate in the meeting, please dial (+1) 929-235-8441 and use access code 579 43 128 on Thursday. The meeting will be televised on East Hartford Community Television: Comcast Channels 96 and 1090, Frontier Channel 6018, and can be found live online here.

For construction updates, traffic impacts, and more, click here. For questions and comments please contact Kimberli Owens at kimberli.owens@ct.gov.

My office is always open if you or your family are in need of assistance. Please do not hesitate to contact me by email at Jason.Rojas@cga.ct.gov or by phone at 860-240-8541.


Jason Rojas


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