Weekly Update - Aug. 27

August 27, 2021

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Dear Neighbor, 

Welcome back East Hartford Public Schools! I hope you and your families had a great start to the school year. I enjoyed seeing everyone's bus stop and drop-off first day of school selfies as our students returned to the classroom this week! For East Hartford's Back to School '22 Plan and the return in in-person learning at East Hartford Public Schools, click here.

Manchester – you are up in a few weeks! The first day of school for Manchester's Pre-K, K-5, 7 and 9 students are Wednesday, September 8. Students is grades 6, 8, and 10-12 return on Thursday, September 9. And, Head Start will begin on Monday, September 13. For the full-year calendar click here.
Manchester Public School's draft "Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Service Plan can be found here (Spanish version available here) and submit your feedback on the plan by clicking here.

Back to school season is always a time of great anticipation and excitement as we watch our kids take on new challenges and learn new skills. Unfortunately, this year has been marred by a significant break in civility. We all want what is best for our kids. It is my hope that we can have meaningful discussions about the best way to support our students and keep them safe, rather than the shouting matches that seem to have taken place this week in several towns throughout our state. I am glad that we have not seen that happen in either Manchester or East Hartford, and hope that we can continue to set an example for other towns.

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 

Pandemic Unemployment Benefits to end in September
Some federal pandemic-related unemployment benefits are set to expire next month, including the $300 per week federal unemployment benefit. Established under the CARES Act, weekly supplements were provided to everyone receiving jobless benefits – initially $600 per week, then scaled back to $300 per week.
Interim Labor Commissioner Danté Bartolomeo and state officials have spent the week working to highlight Connecticut's job centers and available resources to support individuals looking to enter the workplace. For those who might lose these unemployment benefits, now is a great time to visit a job center for help with resume preparation, job searches, workforce development, and more.
Per the state Department of Labor, Connecticut has added an estimated 9,400 jobs in July – the largest monthly gain in 2021. And, the unemployment rate dropped to an estimated 7.3 percent in July from the 7.7 percent rate in June.
I would like to know, what do you think of this issue?
NBC Connecticut: State Officials Warn Extra Unemployment to Expire Next Week
Journal Inquirer: Jobless bonus ends next week; Bysiewicz touts state employment centers
CNBC: Pandemic unemployment benefits end in September—here’s who loses aid
UConn Center on Aging Awarded $7 Million NIH Grant
Last week, UConn's Center on Aging was designated a "Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center" for their research work on aging and geriatrics. The prestigious designation comes with a $7 million grant to advance "precision gerontology" – which is about studying individual differences in aging. UConn is one of only 14 other "Pepper Centers" of excellence nationwide.

The highly competitive designation, which began this month and will continue through 2026, is named in honor of the late U.S. senator who championed research and education aimed at helping older adults maintain their independence.
I would like to know, what do you think of this issue?

Press Release: UConn Center on Aging Awarded $7 Million NIH Grant to Support Older Adults Initiative
Hartford Business Journal: UConn Center on Aging awarded $7 million grant
Ginnie-Rae Clay Named Interim Director of Social Equity Council
On Wednesday, Governor Lamont announced his appointment of President of the Greater Waterbury NAACP, Ginnie-Rae Clay to serve as the interim Executive Director of the state's Social Equity Council. Clay has had an extensive career, offering more than 35 years of expertise in government, organizational management, education, community action, and community engagement.
The Council is tasked with supporting the participation of individuals from communities disproportionately harmed in the state's forthcoming adult-use cannabis market. I'm looking forward to working with Ginnie and the entire Social Equity Council to ensure a successful and smooth roll-out of our adult-use cannabis marketplace.
The Social Equity Council's next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, September 2. For more information on the council and their work, click here.
I would like to know, what do you think of this issue?
Press Release: Governor Lamont Appoints Ginne-Rae Clay as Interim Executive Director of the Social Equity Council
Hartford Business Journal: Clay picked as inaugural executive director of cannabis industry’s Social Equity Council
Westfair Communications: Former Bridgeport official named interim executive director of state’s Social Equity Council
Today in CT History: “Substance X” Leads to the Nation’s First Chemotherapy Treatment
Today in 1942, following top-secret research on the effects of the war-poison mustard gas, physicians at Yale University made medical history as they administered the first use of intravenous chemotherapy as a cancer treatment in the United States. This medical milestone was the culmination of experiments aimed at defending against the horrors of mustard gas conducted by a handful of Yale doctors for the U.S. military during World War I and World War II.
In doing their research on mice, scientists realized the mustard gas that had been so devastating in World War I trenches had cytotoxic –- that is, cell-destroying -– effects that could make it a powerful anti-cancer therapy, especially for patients with cancers involving the lymph nodes. For security reasons and to avoid bad publicity they were not allowed to use words like “mustard gas” when talking about their work, so these experimental drugs were disguised in letters and medical records with vague names like “substance X.”
In 1941, a patient known to history only as “J.D.” was admitted to Yale Medical Center in New Haven with a severe case of lymphosarcoma and began undergoing standard cancer treatments, which then consisted of surgical removal and radiation therapy. While the patient initially showed signs of improvement, the cancer quickly staged an aggressive comeback. When J.D. was readmitted in August of the following year, he could barely move his head owing to the size of his tumors. With a grim prognosis, the 47-year-old J.D. agreed to undergo a new, experimental treatment, that would test the Yale researchers’ new chemical therapy.
On August 27, 1942, Yale physicians began the first chemotherapy regimen for a cancer patient in the United States. J.D. received ten injections of the “lymphocidal chemical” derived from mustard gas, and by the end of the month, he told his doctors that he felt cautiously better –– he had been able to sleep more than usual, and even eat a little. His cancer soon returned, however, and though the chemotherapy treatments helped extend his life by almost three months, J.D. died in December 1942.
Learn more about "substance X" and other interesting CT history facts by clicking here.
Free Storm Debris Drop Off at the East Hartford Transfer Station
Dealing with debris from last weekends weather? The East Hartford Transfer Station is open through Saturday for FREE debris drop-off for town residents with a valid ID. Please be advised that the schedule and operations may be subject to change based on the volume of debris, click here for more information.
Weekend Lane Closure Alert: Route 5/15 Southbound in East Hartford
The Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) announced that one lane on Route 5/15 southbound in East Hartford will be closed for the upcoming weekend from Friday night, August 27, at 9PM, until Monday morning, August 30, at 6AM. Only one travel lane will remain open during the scheduled closure. The closure is necessary to facilitate ongoing construction activities associated with the I-91 Charter Oak Bridge project.

More information about the project, including weekly lane closures, and closures and detours may be found by clicking here.

Hartford Athletic & CT Dept. of Labor Hosting Veterans & Diversity Hiring Expo
Hartford Athletic, in partnership with the Connecticut Department of Labor, will host the 2021 Veterans and Diversity Hiring Expo at Dillion Stadium in Hartford on Tuesday, September 7, 1:30PM-5PM. Meet with more than 40 organizations who are looking to support a diverse workforce by providing opportunities for veterans, people of color, women, and those with disabilities. Job seekers will also be able to participate in resume review, mock interviews, and more
To attend, please complete the registration form here. Each registrant will also receive a FREE ticket to the Hartford Athletic Veterans and Military Appreciation Night match vs. Louisville City FC following the Expo at 7PM.
Just Announced: September Emergency Drive-Thru Food Distribution Schedule
Foodshare and Connecticut Food Bank will continue the emergency drive-thru food distribution at Old Showcase Cinemas (936 Silver Lane) in East Hartford through September. The distribution is offered Tuesdays, 8AM-12PM. Additionally, they've announced that fresh, Connecticut Grown produce will be available at all distribution locations. Each site is estimated to serve up to 1000 households each week.
To view the full schedule of mobile distributions available across the state, click here or here. To find more food resources, click here or call 2-1-1.
East Hartford Coats for Kids Program Accepting Applications NOW
Believe it or not – colder temperatures are near! It's not too early to be thinking about coat for the kids, and East Harford residents with children 1-16 have an opportunity to apply for this year's Coats for Kids program. Applications are open now through Thursday, October 7. Applications can be found here and should be returned to the East Hartford Department of Social Services. In addition to the signed application, copies of the following documents are requested:
  • Photo ID and proof of current address (i.e. valid lease, current bill, mail or rent receipt dated within the past 4 weeks)
  • Proof of current household monthly gross income
  • Current budget sheet from DSS for cash assistance only
  • Dates of birth for all household members AND long form birth certificates for all household member under 18
  • Proof of guardianship/custody, if applicable.

Applications may also be submitted by contacting the department at (860) 291-7248. For more information click here.

Calling all High School Students - Explore STEM at the CT Science Center!
The Connecticut Science Center is offering two great STEM Program for high school students this fall! Both programs are FREE, complete with lunch and bus passes available for participating students.
This fall, the Science Center will host two separate on-site "Investigate!" sessions for high school students. Each Saturday of the session will offer a hands-on workshop that provides an opportunity for students to explore multiple areas and increase enthusiasm for STEM. Additionally, students who complete an "Investigate!" session are then eligible to apply for the Science Center's Teen Summer Internship Innovation Program. To apply, click hereapplications for the first session are due by Sunday, October 3 and for the second session, application are due by Sunday, November 14.
High School students are also encouraged to apply to the Science Center's Teen Advisory Council. The Teen Advisory Council brings together twelve open-minded, creative, and motivated teens with diverse interests and backgrounds across the Hartford region. In addition, teen council members provide valuable feedback, insight, and a voice on current and upcoming science center youth-focused programs. To apply, click hereapplications are due by Sunday, October 10.
ICYMI: CT Route 2 Project Presentation
In case you missed it, the Connecticut Department of Transportation hosted a virtual presentation on the ongoing Connecticut Route 2 construction project last week. If you missed out, don't worry, you can view the presentation here. The Route 2 project consists of resurfacing, bridge, and safety improvements on State Route 2 from Hartford to Glastonbury, including the towns of East Hartford and Wethersfield. Major construction began this summer, and the project is expected to reach completion in August 2024.
To stay up to date on the project – including real time project updates and detailed traffic impacts, click here.
COVID-19 Updates & Upcoming Vaccine Clinics
On Tuesday, the Town of East Hartford instituted a town-wide indoor mask mandate until further notice. Everyone over 2 years of age should return to wearing masks when in indoor public spaces, regardless of vaccination status. Individuals can be exempt from the mask mandate while eating or drinking, when spaced at least six feet apart or due to a medical condition, behavioral condition, or a disability. Persons who decline to wear a mask or face covering due to these circumstances shall provide a written documentation to qualify them from exemption. Individuals who fail to wear a face mask or face covering will be subject to a $100 fine. For more information, click here.
As I noted last week, Manchester updated their mask policy last week to: requiring masks in public indoor spaces, regardless of vaccination status, except when people are eating, drinking or have a written medical exemption. All private businesses are required to have all employees wear masks.
On Monday, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) announced that they have approved the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for individuals 16 years of age and older. The vaccine, which previously had emergency-use authorization, is the first FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine and will now be marketed as Comirnaty. The FDA’s approval of this vaccine is a milestone as we continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. While this and other vaccines have met the FDA’s rigorous, scientific standards for emergency use authorization, as the first FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine, the public can be very confident that this vaccine meets the high standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality the FDA requires of an approved product. For more about the announcement, click here.
With the start of school and fall sports 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 or locate a DPH Mobile COVID-19 Vaccination clinic by clicking 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.

To finally beat this pandemic, it's so important that we continue the precautions that have worked: 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.

Silk City Fest 2021 is here on Saturday, August 28 2PM-10PM to bring family-friendly live music all day, a vendor village of artists/crafters/makers, interactive art activities, games, food trucks, and a beer tent offering local craft beers and cider! Located in downtown Manchester on Purnell Place, this FREE event was organized by the non-profit ArtFüd. For more info and updated, click here.
Manchester Public Library's Walking Book Club will be meeting up on Thursday, September 2 to discuss “Harry's Trees” by John Cohen – two discussion time slots will be available at 1PM and 6:30PM. Attendees will enjoy a socially distanced two-mile walk starting in the Mary Cheney Library Building and stopping for discussion. This is a free program, but registration is required, and slots are limited. For more information or to register, please call Jenn Bartlett at (860) 645-0821 or click here.
Celebrate our 12U Little League All-Stars District 8, Section 4 Champs on Thursday, September 2 at 6:30PM at Northwest Park (Ed Dettore Little League Field, 448 Tolland Turnpike). A team procession from Town Hall to the park will begin at 6:15PM and the congratulatory celebration will begin at 6:30PM.
This week's Sounds of Summer concert series on Thursday, September 2, 5:30PM – 7:30PM at Great River Park (301 East River Drive) is bringing you Reggae Fusion group, Sound Pipers.
Concerts will be cancelled in the event of inclement weather; cancellations will be posted on the Town of East Hartford website and Facebook page. Any cancelled concert will attempt to be rescheduled. 
Town of East Hartford, The East Hartford Black Caucus, RiseUP, and other community organizations will be unveiling the East Hartford MLK39: Racial Equity Mural on Main Street on Friday, September 3 at 4:30PM. The mural has been painted by artist Michael Rice and local East Hartford artists, Joshua Morgan and Tiyah Thompson in collaboration with the community. For more information, click here.
Mark your calendars! The East Hartford Senior Picnic is back on Wednesday, September 22 at 10:30AM. Tickets are $10 and are on sale now through Thursday, September 16. You can purchase tickets at the East Hartford Senior Center (15 Milbrook Drive) Monday through Friday, 8:30AM-4:30PM. For more information, click here.
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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