Weekly Update - Sept. 17

September 17, 2021

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Dear Neighbor, 

I hope you are doing well and comfortably settling into the new school year or your new (almost) fall routines! As we continue to enjoy the beautiful New England late summer/early fall weather, I did want to remind the community that West Nile Virus remains a risk throughout Connecticut. Please take a minute to read these few simple measures that can help keep you and your family safe!

You can learn more by clicking here
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 

CT DOL Reports 8th Consecutive Month of Job Growth
The Connecticut Department of Labor announced that the state added 3300 jobs in August, marking eight straight months of job growth in the state. The job gains were led by the private sector – primarily in the leisure and hospitality industry, professional and businesses services, and manufacturing. The report also showed that the State has recovered 68.9 percent of pre-pandemic jobs lost during March and April 2020, with lags still being seen in the education and health care sectors.
Unemployment remained on a downward trend, dropping slightly to 7.2 percent in August. 
I would like to know, what do you think of this issue?
Fox 61: State employers added 11,000 jobs in July; unemployment continues downward trend
CT News Junkie: Eight Straight Months of Job Growth
Hartford Courant: Connecticut has recovered 7 in 10 jobs lost due to the pandemic.
Governor Lamont Set to Ask Legislature to Extend Emergency Powers
Governor Ned Lamont announced this week that he intends to ask the General Assembly to extend his emergency powers until the start of the 2022 legislative session. Currently the emergency powers are set to expire on Thursday, September 30. During the announcement, Governor Lamont cited the needed flexibility and possible rapid response for booster shots, vaccines for children, masks, and vaccines for nursing home patients and staff as reasons to extend the powers.
Even with an extension, legislative leadership retains that ability to reject any of the governor's executive orders at any time. So, as has been the case throughout the pandemic, legislative input is very much a part of the orders and decisions being made. Connecticut remains relatively healthy because the emergency powers have allowed our state to quickly and swiftly respond to the effects of the still, very much ongoing pandemic.
I would like to know, what do you think of this issue?
Hartford Business Journal: Lamont to extend emergency, keep key COVID mandates in place
NBC CT: Governor Lamont Seeks Extension of COVID-19 Emergency Powers
Newstimes: Editorial: 4 reasons CT still needs Gov. Lamont's emergency powers
After Federal Approval, Sports and Online Betting Could Begin in October
Following last week's U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs approved revisions to the gaming compacts, the Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) and the state lottery confirmed the launch of sports betting in Connecticut for Thursday, October 7.
State leaders still need to finalize some regulations and partnerships, but the tribes and CT lottery group may end up starting their operations separately. Those finalizations are largely just a few technical details to approve changes in the compacts between the state and the Mohegans and Mashantucket Pequots being published in the federal register. Once approved, DCP will being issuing licenses to Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods Resort Casino.
On Thursday, the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection certified three options the state's sports betting market: Rush Street Interactive (partnered with CT Lottery), DraftKings Sportsbook (partnered with Mashantucket Pequot Indians), and FanDuel Sportsbook (partnered with the Mohegan Indians). Additionally, the Lottery Corp. is working with Sportech, which already runs off-track-betting outlets in the state, to operate up to 15 retail gambling venues across the state.
I would like to know, what do you think of this issue?
Hartford Courant: Sports betting is set to begin in Connecticut Oct. 7
News 12: Target date set for online gaming and sports betting launch
CT News Junkie: Oct. 7, The Official Start To Sports Betting
Today in CT History: Civil War Veterans Gather to Dedicate America’s First Triumphal Arch
On September 17, 1886 — the 24th anniversary of the Battle of Antietam — thousands of spectators and Civil War veterans gathered in Hartford to partake in the dedication of the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch in Bushnell Park. Hartford’s Memorial Arch was the first permanent triumphal arch memorial in the United States – preceding later such arches such as Washington Square (New York), Roosevelt Arch ( the north entrance to Yellowstone Park in Gardner, Montana), and the Pennsylvania State Memorial (Gettysburg), –  and honored all the men from that city who served or fell during the Civil War.
Standing 116 feet high, the striking brownstone monument features two intricate friezes depicting Civil War scenes and symbols representing the city of Hartford and the four branches of military service: an anchor for the Navy, crossed cannon for the Artillery, crossed sabers for the Cavalry, and crossed rifles for the Infantry. Midway up each tower are niches containing figural statues of a farmer, a blacksmith, a mason, a student, a carpenter, and — most strikingly — an African American man breaking apart the chains of bondage.
Learn more about the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch and other interesting CT history facts by clicking here.
CGA Legislative Internship Program Now Accepting Applications
The Connecticut General Assembly (CGA) Legislative Internship Program is now accepting applications for 2022. This program is a unique opportunity to earn credit through experiential learning. Interns are assigned to individual legislators as support staff – duties may include bill analysis and tracking; research; writing testimonies, news releases and speeches; liaison work and constituent casework.
To Apply:
  • Contact your campus liaison to discuss your school’s requirements to participate in the program and the application process.
  • Ask two faculty members to complete the online reference form by Tuesday, November 5, 2021.
  • Complete the online application and upload a cover letter, resume, and college transcripts (*this must be done all at once, if you log out without uploading all of your documents, you will have to complete the form again*)
  • Email your cover letter, resume, and transcripts to your campus liaison. (It is suggested that you forward the confirmation email you receive with those documents when you submit your application)

For more information on the internship program, click here. Applications must be submitted by November 1, 2021 for consideration.

Veterans Stand Down 2021
The Connecticut Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) will hold Veterans Stand Down 2021 Wednesday, September 22 – Friday, September 24, 9AM-4PM at the Rocky Hill Campus. While the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way agencies and organizations operate, the DVA continues their commitment to serving Connecticut’s Veterans by providing this “one stop” access to a range of programs and services offered by state and federal agencies, Veterans organizations, and community based non-profits through online webinars and at five regional sites across the State.
Informational sessions begin with a kick-off ceremony on Wednesday, September 22 at 9AM broadcasted live via social media from the DVA Auditorium at our Rocky Hill Campus. Informational sessions will feature:
  • CT Department of Labor Veterans Services & Unemployment Services
  • CT Department of Housing/ UniteCT
  • CT Department of Veterans Affairs Programs & Services
  • Social Security Administration
  • CT Department of Social Services
  • CT Department of Motor Vehicles
  • VA CT

On Friday, September 24, veterans will have access to a variety of in-person services at five regional locations.
For more information, including a transportation schedule, click here. To register click here.

Ribbon Cutting at East Hartford's All-New, State-of-the-Art Senior Center
East Hartford is home to an all-new, state-of-the-art senior center! The newly constructed senior center is a true investment in our community, featuring everything from an art room to group fitness rooms to demonstration kitchens, and so much more. A huge thank you to Mayor Marcia Leclerc, those involved in this project, and the community partners that made this endeavor possible.
The East Hartford Senior Center will be open to the public on Wednesday, September 22, following the Annual Senior Picnic. There’s still time to join the fun, learn more and register for next week’s grand opening activities here.
Welcome Verplanck Elementary School's New Principal!
A huge welcome to Verplanck Elementary School's new principal, Omaris Journet! Born in Puerto Rico, her family moved to New York when she two – she moved to Connecticut to attend college at Central Connecticut State University, where she earned a bachelor's, master's, and 6th year degree. Principal Journet began her career as a PE teacher before moving on to become dean of students at Middletown High School and most recently, principal of Parkville School in Harford. I'm so excited to welcome Principal Journet to our community and know that she'll make a great addition to our talented staff of school leaders!
Learn more about Principal Journet by click here.
East Hartford Approves Sale of Former Showcase Cinema Site
On Monday, East Hartford's town council approved a deal to sell the former Showcase Cinema to a New Britain-based developer planning to use the space for an $80 million apartment complex. Based upon this agreement, the developer, Jasko Development, must return to the council in six months with detailed plans, cost analysis, and proof of financing.
Expected to be built in 2022, this would be the first new apartment complex development in East Hartford in 50 years – making this agreement not only a significant commitment to attracting younger residents to our community, but a needed boost to our community's foot traffic for local businesses.

If you missed the hearing, click here to watch the hearing or check out the presentation here.

Manchester Parks, Recreation and Facilities Master Plan is Here!
After a year of work, on Tuesday, the Town of Manchester made publicly available the completed Parks, Recreation and Facilities Master Plan. The plan will help the town to establish comprehensive priorities for the future development and delivery of parks, trails, recreation facilities, programs, and services within our community, and serve as a long-term roadmap to help guide investment in these essential services.
You can view the plan and the entire project by clicking here.
Mark Your Calendars: East Hartford Parks & Rec Invites you to the Annual Fall Festival
Get ready for fall fun! East Hartford Parks and Recreation will be hosting their Annual Fall Festival on Saturday, October 9, 11AM-3PM at the East Hartford Town Green (1047 Main Street). Fall Fest is one of the Town’s largest events, averaging over 2,000 participants the past few years and there is always loads of fun activities for the entire family to keep you busy celebrating the autumn season all afternoon.
If you are a vendor interested in participating in the event, please fill out the following forms or call Parks and Recreation at (860) 291-7160 – vendor applications are due by October 4:

Admission is free, but wristbands for children's activities will be available for $5 (wristbands provide unlimited access to activities, attractions, games and one pumpkin decorating activity). In the case of inclement weather, the festival will move to Sunday, October 10, 11AM-3PM.
For more information, click here.

Deadline Approaching to Give Public Input on American Rescue Plan Funding for Manchester
The deadline to provide input on Manchester's plan for funding provided through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) is this Sunday, September 19! Manchester is set to receive approximately $25 million in direct funding because of ARPA – funds must be obligated by 2024 and spent by 2026. The Manchester Board of Directors is beginning to work on the Town’s funding plan but would like to hear from you! What are your recommendations/suggestions/ideas for this significant investment to address town needs?
To take the survey and share your input, click here. For Spanish, click here. The link will be open until Sunday, September 19.
COVID-19 Updates & Upcoming Vaccine Clinics
To finally turn the corner, 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.
The Town of East Hartford will be offering free COVID-19 vaccine clinics from 9AM -1PM at All Saints' Parish (444 Hill Street) and from 11:30AM-1PM at East Harford Public Library's lawn (840 Main Street) on Saturday, September 18. No appointment or insurance required. For more information, contact the East Hartford Health Department at (860) 291-7324.
The Manchester Health Department will be hosting a free mobile vaccine clinic at Charter Oak Park on Saturday, September 25, 10AM-2PM. No appointment or insurance required.
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.
Enjoy outdoor yoga under the harvest moon TONIGHT, September 17, 8PM-9PM at Charter Oak Park. This is a free event; participants should bring their own mats.
CT Author Steve Leshin will be stopping by the Manchester Public Library on Monday, September 20 at 7PM to talk about the newest book in his Joshua Oates Adventure series, The Killer's Code. The series follows Oates, a private eye with friends like Wyatt Earp, Harry Houdini, and other famous folks. Copies of Leshin's books will be available for purchase and signing.
Check out Woodbridge Farmstead on Sunday, September 26 at 12PM for an exciting open house with activities for all ages! Enjoy the 18th century barn, grounds, gardens, and old farmhouse. This is a free event but donations are welcome, for more information and future open house dates, click here.
Bring a picnic for a lunchtime show on the East Hartford Library lawn on Saturday, September 18 at 12PM. Based in East Hartford, the Hartford Steel Symphony has been providing musical enjoyment to audiences since 1989, featuring soca, calypso, reggae, pop, classical, gospel and jazz tunes: all with an island rhythm. Appropriate for all ages, plan to bring chairs or a picnic blanket. Registration is not required, but you can register by clicking here.
The East Hartford Parks and Recreation Department will be taking their most popular fitness programs outdoors at the Great River Park Amphitheater (301 Great River Drive) beginning the week of September 20.
FREE Grounding Yoga Class – use mindfulness to enhance your connection to the earth, which will revive the way you think, feel, and communicate.
Wednesday, September 22, 5PM-5:45PM
*Pre-registration required

Cardio, Strength and Balance
– designed to improve coordination, agility, muscular strength, mental focus, and breath awareness which calms the mind to reduce stress. Participants should bring a mat.
Tuesdays, September 21 – November 9, 10AM-10:45AM
Fee: $40 for adults/ $30 for participants 60+
*Pre-registration required

Yogalates – you will learn yoga poses, mindful breathing, and pilates exercises to improve concentration, increase strength and flexibility.
Tuesdays, September 21 – November 9, 5:30PM-6:15PM
Fee: $50
*Pre-registration required

Zumba – a fusion of Latin and International music and dance movements that creates a dynamic, exciting, effective fitness workout
Thursdays, September 23 – November 11
Fee: $50
*Pre-registration required

In case of inclement weather, live Zoom classes will be offered.  Participants who can’t attend the live Zoom class will be sent a recording of the class to use at their convenience. To get more information or to register, click here or call the Parks and Recreation Office at (860) 291-7160.
Believe 208: Run for the Brave & Finest, a 5k race in memory of East Hartford Police Officer Paul Buchanan, will be held on Sunday, September 26 at the East Hartford Knights of Columbus (1831 Main Street). The race day schedule is as follows:
7AM: On-site Registration/ Participant Check-In
8AM: Kids Fun Run Start
8:30AM: 5K Run Start
Pre-registration before Saturday, September 18 guarantees technical race t-shirt, online registration closes Friday, September 24 at 11:59AM. To register, click here.
The run helps to support "Believe 208", an initiative in collaboration with the Connecticut Alliance to Benefit Law Enforcement (CABLE). More information on Believe 208 can be found 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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