Weekly Update - Oct. 29

October 29, 2021


View this email in your browser

Dear Neighbor, 

Happy Halloween weekend! As you prepare to head out trick-or-treating or just to celebrate this weekend, here are some helpful tips to keep everyone safe:

  • Carry a flashlight to increase visibility and opt for costumes and/or trick-or-treat bags that are bright and reflective  
  • Stay out of the road - always walk on the sidewalk, or on the grass in areas without sidewalks
  • Look both ways before crossing the street (and remove any Halloween costume masks to ensure you have clear visibility of the road)
  • Leave props like guns, knives, or swords home – especially if they look real
  • Clear hazards from your property to ensure trick-or-treaters won't trip rushing from house to house
  • Drive slowly and cautiously through your neighborhoods - remember children may not look before crossing the street

For more safety tips, click here. Please report any suspicious activity immediately to the East Hartford Police Department's non-emergency line at (860) 528-4401 or Manchester's Police Department's non-emergency line at (860) 645-5500.  As always, in an emergency call 911.

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 

President Biden Announces Historic 'Build Back Better' Framework

This week, President Joe Biden unveiled the Build Back Better framework, a $1.75 trillion package that has been at the center of negotiations over the past few months. The package includes transformative generational investments in the climate, health care, and childcare to help people get back to work and grow the economy.


We know that it's time to get to work on fixing our climate, the President's framework will cut greenhouse gas emissions by well over one gigaton in 2030, reduce consumer energy costs, ensure cleaner air and water for our kids, create hundreds of thousands of high-quality jobs, and advance environmental justice by investing in a 21st century clean energy economy. If passed, this would be the biggest climate investment in U.S. history.


To reduce the costs of health care, Build Back Better will reduce premiums for more than 9 million Americans by extending the expanded Premium Tax Credit, deliver health care coverage to up to 4 million uninsured people in states that have locked them out of Medicaid, and help older Americans access affordable hearing care by expanding Medicare.


To get our kids started on the right path, the framework will support two years of free preschool for more than 6 million children – the last time the U.S. added years of free schooling was more than 100 years ago.  Additionally, 35 million families will receive a major tax cut by extending the expanded Child Tax Credit.

NBC News: Biden's Build Back Better bill: What made it in and what was stripped out
The Washington Post: New budget deal marks the biggest climate investment in U.S. history
Vox: What’s in — and what’s out of — Biden’s latest spending proposal

New Pew Report Finds CT National Leader in Budget Reserves

According to a new report from The Pew Charitable Trusts, Connecticut has now become a national leader in budget reserves. With a $3.1 billion rainy day fund, Connecticut can keep the state government operating on savings alone for nearly 70 days in the event of a fiscal downturn. The new estimate earns Connecticut the rank of fifth overall – behind Wyoming (301 days), North Dakota (105.6), West Virginia (75.8) and Alaska (73.4) according to the Pew Study.


It’s rewarding to see the strong, fiscally responsible programs that we developed in 2017 in the Finance Committee and passed as part of the bipartisan budget have such an impactful and successful result today. We continue to have a long road ahead of us, but it's good to see that we are on the right path towards progress.


I would like to know, what do you think of this issue?

The CT Mirror: Just four years after the cupboard was bare, CT is a national leader in budget reserves
Westfair Communications: Pew: CT’s rainy day fund is fifth strongest in the U.S.
NBC CT: Q&A: State Treasurer Shawn Wooden Discusses Connecticut's Rainy Day Fund

Governor Lamont Discusses Uptick in Juvenile Crimes

On Thursday, Governor Ned Lamont joined Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection Commissioner James Rovella to discuss the uptick in crimes committed by teenagers. The event followed the death of a 14-year-old boy, now identified as Will Vasquez, who was dropped off at Waterbury Hospital at 4AM on Monday after being shot in the head. The Connecticut State Police Western District Major Crimes Unit has assumed the investigation, but Lamont, Vasquez's family, and officials are calling on the judicial system to use the tools they already have to better protect children.  


Bipartisan conversations to find a solution to best address the issue have been ongoing. During Thursday's press conference, Lamont highlighted his plans to fill several vacancies for judges and supported efforts to allow judges to detain teen criminals longer so that they may learn the suspect's full history.


I would like to know, what do you think of this issue?

Hartford Courant: 14-year-old might be alive if justice system was stricter in Connecticut, Gov. Ned Lamont says. As many as 200 juveniles should be in custody, according to state police.
The CT Mirror: CT incarcerates fewer children than other states, but some question if that’s the right call
WFSB: Gov. to fill dozens of judge vacancies as part of plan to address juvenile crime

Community Investment Board 2030 Holds First Meeting

On Wednesday, I joined fellow lawmakers and members of Governor Ned Lamont's administration for the inaugural meeting of the Community Investment Board. Through the fund, direct access to capital projects and funding will be provided to historically underserved and marginalized communities. Municipalities are encouraged to work closely with civic groups and state and federal officials to identify projects that provide significant opportunities for community development. 


The Community Investment Board could supply $875 million in financing over the next five year to nearly three dozen distressed municipalities. The first round of funding, available in the 2022-23 fiscal year, would total $175 million. The will recommend projects to the Governor who will then forward board endorsed projects to the State Bond Commission.  


I would like to know, what do you think of this issue?

The CT Mirror: CT investment panel challenges poor cities seeking economic aid to think big

Today in CT History: The Nation’s “Oldest” Newspaper’s Very First Issue

In October 1764, 29-year-old Thomas Green, a fourth-generation printer, suddenly found himself out of a job working at the Connecticut Gazette print shop in New Haven. The Gazette, Connecticut’s very first newspaper, had been established several years earlier by Benjamin Franklin, who sacked Green to install his nephew as head of the print shop. Undeterred, Green headed north to Hartford and set up a new printing press on what is now Main Street with the help of his journeyman, Ebenezer Watson.


On October 29, Green published the first issue of the Connecticut Courant, a weekly newspaper that promised readers it would be “useful, and entertaining, not only as a Channel for News, but assisting to all Those who may have Occasion to make use of it as an Advertiser.” Unbeknownst to Green at the time, his modest newspaper venture would continue publication, uninterrupted, for over 250 years, becoming one of the longest-lasting businesses in American history.

For over two and a half centuries, the Courant has reported on every single major American historical event since the mid-eighteenth century, surviving ownership turnovers, economic panics and depressions, paper shortages, and even a libel lawsuit from Thomas Jefferson. The publication has also undergone several name changes, although the word “Courant” has always been a prominent part of the newspaper’s masthead. The paper started producing daily editions in 1837, and first began publishing Sunday editions in 1913. The Courant celebrated its sestercentennial (its 250th anniversary) in 2014 with a year-long retrospective on its coverage of major events in Connecticut, national, and world history, proudly sporting the motto “Older than the nation.”


In its first issue, Green told his readers that the value of a paper such as his was that “It is the channel which conveys the history of the present times to all parts of the world.” Centuries later, as the Hartford Courant, Green’s newspaper enjoys a daily statewide circulation and is still published in the heart of Connecticut’s capital city. A humble, four-page periodical, first published today in Connecticut history, was destined to become the longest-running continuously published newspaper in American history — a very special first issue, indeed!


Learn more about the origins of the Hartford Courant and other interesting CT history facts by clicking here.

Get Out & Vote: Municipal Elections on Nov. 2

Tuesday is Election Day in Connecticut! Polls for Municipal Elections will be open 6AM-8PM. To view a sample ballot, click here for East Hartford and here for Manchester. To locate your polling place, click here for East Hartford and here for Manchester.

If you are voting by absentee ballot, ensure that your ballot is received quickly by dropping it off at an official ballot drop box. Ballots received after Election Day will not be counted. Drop boxes can be found at:

  • East Hartford Town Hall, 740 Main Street
  • Manchester Town Clerk's Hall, 41 Center Street (at the front southwest corner of Town Hall, at the entrance between Town Hall and the Fire Station)
  • Manchester Police Station, 239 East Middle Turnpike (in front of the main doors)

Election Day Registration permits anyone to register and vote in person on Election Day who meets the eligibility requirements for voting in this state and is not already registered OR is registered in one town but has moved to another town. Election Day Registration is not available at your polling place. EDR locations, where you will register and cast your ballot, can be found at:

  • For East Hartford: Town Council Chambers in the Town Hall
  • For Manchester: Manchester Senior Center, 549 Middle Turnpike East

If you have any questions of require additional information, contact your town's Registrars of Voters Office. Manchester's Registrars of Voters office can be reached at (860) 647-3025. East Hartford's Registrars of Voters office can be reached at (860) 291-7280.

All Connecticut Foodshare Drive-Thru Distributions Closing on Oct. 30

Connecticut Foodshare will be closing all drive-thru distribution sites, including the one located at the old Showcase Cinema, on Saturday, October 30. It's estimated that Connecticut Foodshare provided more than 14 million meals over the last 18 months through the drive-thru locations.


"We always said that these emergency distributions would not last forever and given Connecticut’s high vaccination rate and active job market, it’s time for us to shift back to our regular programming. We have nearly 700 community partners throughout the state, which means there are numerous options for people to access food after these drive-thru sites close," said Connecticut Foodshare President and CEO Jason Jakubowski.


Thank you to Connecticut Foodshare, their amazing volunteers, and all the donors that made these drive-thru distribution sites possible. Each meal served offered families in our community some piece of mind as we battled the worst of the pandemic.


If you are still in need of support, additional food resources can be found by clicking here or by calling 2-1-1.

East Hartford Social Services Accepting Applications for Holiday Assistance Program

East Hartford's Department of Health and Social Services is now accepting applications for its annual holiday assistance program. Thanksgiving and Christmas food baskets are available for families with minor children, and toy gift cards are available to children ages 10 or under.


The deadline to apply is Tuesday, November 2 – the application can be found here, and additional required documents can be found here. If you have any questions, contact Social Services at (860) 291-7248.

Mark Your Calendars: Future Workforce Opportunities Fair on Nov. 10

Launch your career in aerospace at the Future Workforce Opportunities Fair at the Connecticut Convention Center (100 Columbus Avenue, Hartford) on Wednesday, November 10 from 8:15AM-11:30AM. Featuring the Aerospace Component Manufacturers (ACM) "Aerospace Alley," the fair offers students, teachers, counselors, caretakers, and the community the chance to learn about the broad opportunities and well-paying careers available in the local aerospace industry.


For more information, contact ACM Executive Director Jessica Taylor at (860) 282-4239 or by email at JTaylor@acm-ct.org. To register for the fair, click here.

The Connecticut Mirror Seeking Applicants for Community Editorial Board

Looking to share your voice to highlight the real issues impacting Connecticut residents? The Connecticut Mirror's Community Editorial Board might be the right fit for you! A new project for the publication, the Community Editorial Board (CEB) hopes to amplify diverse voices and perspectives by inviting 8-12 community members to serve on the board for year-long terms. During a term, board members will write opinion essays on their areas of expertise or interest and provide perspective to the CT Mirror news staff.


Applications to join CEB are open now through Wednesday, December 1. Selectees will be notified on Monday, December 13. To apply, click here and learn more by clicking here.

Manchester Land Trust Conservation Conversation

On Thursday, I joined the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), State Representative Jason Doucette, Manchester Land Trust, Connecticut Land Conservation Council, and community members to celebrate Manchester's own land conservation success. During our informational walk at Bush Hill Preserve, we discussed how DEEP's Open Space and Watershed Land Acquisition (OSWA) Program, funded by the Community Investment Act and other local investments, allowed the town to preserve the large open space.


The land is a unique community asset providing residents with the large open space for activities like hiking, biking, and skiing. Especially over the last year of feeling so cooped up, an open space of this scale provides the opportunity to get outside and enjoy beautiful community gardens, wildlife, and plant habitats right in our own backyard.

COVID-19 Updates & Upcoming Vaccine Clinics

This week, the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) independent advisory group recommended approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech application for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for its COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 5 through 11. In anticipation of a final recommendation for the new age group from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Connecticut has begun preparing for nearly 100,000 kid-size doses of the Pfizer vaccine to begin vaccinating children as early as Thursday, November 4. In addition to ensuring the additional doses are ready for the roll out, officials are working with pediatricians, pharmacies, and schools to offer vaccine clinics for younger children.

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 East Hartford Health Department and First Choice Health Centers is offering a free Flu and COVID-19 Booster Clinic for East Hartford Residents on Tuesday, November 2 from 10AM-2PM at East Hartford Senior Center (15 Milbrook Drive). Booster doses will be given if you received a Pfizer or Moderna series, are 6+ months after the second dose, and meet one of the following criteria:

  • Anyone age 65 years and older
  • Age 18 years and older; AND
  • Live in long-term care settings;
  • Have underlying medical conditions that increase your risk of severe illness due to COVID-19; OR
  • Work high-risk settings (healthcare staff, congregate care staff, first responders, education, childcare, public transit, grocery store workers, manufacturing, food and agriculture, corrections, and postal service workers).

To schedule an appointment, please contact the East Hartford Health Department at (860) 291-7324.

The Town of Manchester has worked with the Manchester Road Race to sponsor a free vaccine clinic on Saturday, November 6 in the cafeteria of Illing Middle School (225 East Middle Turnpike) from 9AM-2PM. The clinic is free, open to all, and will offer the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. First and second vaccinations, and Pfizer booster shots for those who qualify under current guidelines to receive them, will be available. For information on obtaining the vaccine, please contact the Manchester Health Department at (860) 647-3173 or healthdept@manchesterct.gov.

Griffin Hospital and Connecticut Department of Public Health will offer a free vaccine clinic on Tuesday, November 9 from 9AM-2PM at Whiton Library (100 North Main Street). First and second doses will be offered, in addition to booster shots. No appointment or insurance required. For more information call 2-1-1, or 7-1-1 for those who are deaf or hard of hearing.

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.

Grab a new book at The Friends of the Manchester Public Library Book Sale on Saturday, October 30 from 9AM-2PM. Find the sale at the south patio entrance of the library. Masks are required inside the library building. If you have any questions, call (860) 645-0577.

Paint a creepy haunted house votive holder with Manchester Public Library in-person on Saturday, October 30 at 2:30PM. All materials will be provided for this free craft, best suited for adults. Registration is required and limited to 20 people; masks are required inside the library building. Register by calling the Reference Room at (860) 645-0821.

Manchester Community College is opening its Culinary Arts Center kitchen for dinner for community members to help students learn and improve their culinary and hospitality skills. Upcoming dinners are scheduled for Wednesdays, November 10 and December 1, at 7PM. The cost is $15 per person. Reservations are required, and fees must be paid when the reservation is made; there is a limit of eight reservations per person per meal. To learn more and see the upcoming menus, click here.

Join East Hartford Public Library via Zoom on Tuesday November 2 at 2PM to learn how to make a simple fleece hat to keep and one to give away. Kits with everything you need (fleece, needles, and thread) will be available for pick-up prior to Tuesday's Zoom – you will need a pair of scissors. Best suited for ages 8+, adults welcome! To register, click here.

East Hartford CONNects is hosting a virtual Financial Literacy Workshop Series on Wednesdays November 3, 10, and 17 from 5:30PM-6:30PM. Over the three innovating sessions you will learn the basics of credit and budgeting, debt management, and tax preparation and employment forms. Participate in all three sessions to earn $50! Space is limited and available to East Hartford residents only. Register by contact Yadira Rivera at (860) 622-5507 or at rivera.y@easthartford.org.  

Looking for support and understanding as you care for a child? East Hartford Youth Services is offering a space for adults caring for children to talk about how development stages affect behavior and an opportunity to share struggles and success with others facing the same challenges. The group will meet virtually on Wednesday nights from 6PM-7PM starting this Wednesday (Nov. 3). Register by clicking 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


Forward to a friend | Unsubscribe from this list | Update subscription preferences