Weekly Update - December 30

December 30, 2022


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Dear Neighbor, 

Happy New Year to you and your family! As the year ends, I want to take a moment to reflect on the past year and be thankful for the support of the community near and far. Cheers to another great year, as I wish much happiness, health, and wealth to you all.

Please note that state and local offices will be closed on Monday, January 2 in observance of New Year's Day.

In both East Hartford and Manchester, all town offices will be closed Monday and reopen for regularly scheduled hours of operation on Tuesday, January 3. Curbside trash pickup in both towns will not be affected by the closings.

For more information, East Hartford residents can click here, and Manchester residents can click 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 

The 2023 Legislative Session Begins Next Week!

Once we ring in the new year, the Connecticut General Assembly will quickly get back to business! The 2023 legislative session is set to begin on Wednesday, January 4. You can stay a part of the process from opening day to our conclusion in June - every legislative session and committee meeting will be streamed live on CT-N.


In addition to watching session and public hearings, there are numerous ways for you to stay engaged in our state's democracy. Below are just some of the resources available to you as the 2023 legislative session gets underway:

  • Visit the CGA website to view a daily schedule of events, access committee information, find your State Senator or State Representative, and more.
  • Read the Bulletin to find out when committees are meeting, how to provide public hearing testimony, and more.
  • Register for the CGA's Bill Tracking system to follow any bill as it moves through the legislative process. You will receive notifications when the bill's status changes.
  • For information on how to testify on a bill that is up for a public hearing, click here.
  • Access the CGA's Citizen's Guide for more on how you can become part of the process
  • Are you curious about how your tax dollars are spent? The State Comptroller's OpenConnecticut web portal allows residents to track state government spending in real time

Your concerns and opinions are fundamental to the legislative process. Please continue to reach out to me to share your thoughts, ideas, and questions. 

Press Release: Governor Lamont and Lt. Governor Bysiewicz Announce 2023 Inaugural Events
The CT Mirror: Lawmakers outline health policy priorities for upcoming session
Hartford Business Journal: Gov. Lamont eyes income tax cut, end to corporate tax surcharge

Today in CT History: A Timely Move in a Great Depression — Preserving America’s Golden Age of Sail

The village of Mystic, Connecticut — which is not its own town, but a borough straddling the two towns of Groton and Stonington — has been associated with sailing, fishing, and shipbuilding for hundreds of years. The village’s earliest shipbuilding enterprises date to the late 17th century, when English settlers set up shop along the banks of the Mystic River in southeastern Connecticut. Mystic became a bustling hub of shipbuilding, commercial fishing, and trade that thrived during America’s Golden Age of Sail, from the late 18th through the early 20th century. Transportation advances in the late 19th century, however — the rise of steamships, railroads, and gas-powered engines — rendered sail-powered wooden ships increasingly obsolete, and the village of Mystic experienced a slow but steady decline in its fortunes.

Sensing that the Age of Sail was coming to an end, three forward-thinking men in Mystic came together in the early days of the Great Depression to try and preserve the history and memories of Mystic and the maritime way of life it embodied. On December 29, 1929, these three men — a local lawyer, a physician, and an industrialist — created the Marine Historical Association with the goal of commemorating America’s maritime history and culture by collecting and preserving whatever objects and records they could obtain. Their timing was fortuitous; as family businesses closed shop and old wooden sailing ships were rotated out of service during the Depression years, the Marine Historical Association received donations of records, ship logs, family heirlooms, and even entire vessels, amassing a formidable collection.


After acquiring the Charles W. Morgan in 1941, which now stands as the last remaining wooden whaleship in the world, the Marine Historical Association rebranded itself as Mystic Seaport, and focused its efforts on building a recreated 19th century seaport along the banks of the Mystic River to serve as a museum and educational campus. Mystic Seaport was one of the first living history museums in the country, aiming to provide an immersive and educational experience by recreating the sights and sounds of a historical place, complete with costumed interpreters. Today, the Mystic Seaport Museum is one of the world’s foremost maritime museums, with a 19-acre campus housing a collection of over two million maritime artifacts, 1.3 million historic photographs, and over 500 boats, attracting more than a quarter million visitors every year. Big dreams of preserving America’s maritime history were first launched in a dark time, today in Connecticut history.


If you'd like to learn more about the Marine Historical Association and other interesting CT historical facts, click here.

Public Hearing: East Hartford Planning and Zoning Commission

The East Hartford Planning and Zoning Commission has completed its Comprehensive Zoning Regulations Rewrite and Reorganization and will hold a public hearing for adoption of the revised regulations on Wednesday, January 11 at 7PM in the Community Cultural Center Auditorium (50 Chapman Place).


A copy of the draft regulations and zoning map can be on the Planning and Zoning Commission webpage, and more information on the zoning regulations rewrite can be found here.

East Hartford Town Hall Renovation & Relocation: Phase Two

East Hartford Town departments have begun relocation to the Community Cultural Center and, as the Town enters "Phase Two" of the relocation, please note the following closures and changes:

  • Engineering, Building Department, Development, Grants, Mayor's Office, Human Resources, and Corporation Council will be closed to the public Thursday, January 5 at 4:30PM through Monday, January 9 at 12PM.  
  • Probate Court will relocate to the Community Cultural Center on Friday, January 6. For specific service changes and hours of operation, please call (860) 291-7278.
  • Starting in January, Town Council meetings will move to the Community Cultural Center. Meetings will remain available in person or virtual via Microsoft teams. Zoning Board of Appeals, Planning and Zoning Commission, and the Inlands Wetlands commission will also move – check meeting dates for individual commissions here.

For more information on relocations and the renovations, click here.

Now Hiring: Towns of East Hartford & Manchester

Looking for a new career for the new year? The Town of East Hartford has several open positions and a new promotional video to highlight the opportunity that comes with working for the Town:

Current job opportunities include:

To apply, click any of the above links. After viewing the Job Description, click the ‘Apply’ tab. If this is the first time you are applying using our online job application, you will need to create an account and select a Username and Password. After your account has been established, you can upload your resume from a saved document on your computer, or manually enter your personal information. This application will be saved and used to apply for future job openings.


For more information, click here.

The Town of Manchester is also looking to hire for several positions:

Applications should be downloaded and completed using any of the above links. Once completed, applications can be submitted by mail (Human Resource Department, 41 Center Street, P.O. Box 191, Manchester, CT 06045-0191) or by using the black drop-box behind Town Hall. No faxed or email applications will be accepted.


For more information, click here.

Town Guidelines for Tree Disposal

In East Hartford, All American Waste crews will be picking up Christmas trees from Monday, January 2 through Friday, January 13, weather-permitting. Collection of the trees generally occurs on the same day as trash collection. Trees should be placed on the curb near trash bins with no plastic bags or decorations.


For more information click here or call the East Hartford Public Works at (860) 291-7374.

In Manchester, residents are reminded that Christmas trees can be left out for curbside pickup through Friday, January 13 only.


After January 13, trees must be brought to the Transfer Station. Note that trees contaminated with plastic bags, ornaments, lights or stands will not be collected. Transfer Station hours of operation are Tuesday-Saturday, 7:15AM-2:30PM.


Manchester residents can bring recyclables to the Transfer Station after applying online for the free Residential Recycling Permit and can also purchase punch cards to pay for the disposal of other eligible items. More information can be found here.

Save the Date – Spruce Street Farmers Market: Love Your Local Market

The Manchester Neighborhoods & Families Division will host the Spruce Street Farmers Markets: Love Your Local Market on Saturday, February 11 from 9AM-1PM at the Nathan Hale Activity Center (160 Spruce Street).


Vendor selections are thoughtfully curated to include diverse Connecticut business owners and products, including meats, maple syrup, baked goods, coffee, vegan offerings, guacamole, jewelry, clothing and more.

In addition to serving as a source for local foods, the market accepts SNAP/EBT and will double the value of SNAP purchases up to $20.00 (spend $20.00 using your EBT card to receive an additional $20 to spend on SNAP-eligible items). This program is sponsored by End Hunger CT! and CT Fresh Match.


If you have questions or require additional information, contact Market Coordinator Cynde Acanto at cacanto@manchesterct.gov or (860) 647-3089.

COVID-19 Updates & Upcoming Vaccine Clinics

The East Hartford Health Department will now be offering regular vaccination services at the Community Cultural Center beginning Tuesday, January 10. Both the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 bivalent boosters, as well as Flu, will be offered for all ages 12+. Appointments are required and will be offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10AM-2PM. To schedule an appointment, call (860) 291-7324 (option 1).

Free COVID-19 test kits are also available at the East Hartford Health Department's new location in Room B09 of the Community Cultural Center. Especially with holiday travel and gatherings taking place, testing is recommended for any individual currently experiencing symptoms or think they have been exposed to COVID-19 (i.e., fever, dry cough, and tiredness). For guidance on how to use the kits, click here.


For any questions regarding pediatric COVID-19 vaccines, booster dose eligibility, or to schedule an appointment at an upcoming clinic, contact the East Hartford Health Department at (860) 291-7324. If transportation is needed to get to and from a clinic site, please contact the Health Department for assistance. 

The Manchester Health Department has a limited supply of free COVID-19 test kits for distribution. Residents may stop by the Manchester Customer Service Information Center (41 Center Street – open Monday-Friday 8:30AM-5PM) or the Senior Center (549 Middle Turnpike E – open Monday-Friday 8:30AM-4:30PM) during regular business hours to pick up kits (2 per household, while supplies last).


This week, the White House released their "COVID-19 Winter Preparedness Plan" which will relaunch the program making free at-home, rapid COVID-19 tests available to every U.S. household. Just as before, you can order tests through COVIDTests.gov and enter your shipping information. Every U.S. household is eligible to order 4 free at-home COVID-⁠19 tests.


The Administration will also make tests available to individuals who are blind or have low vision through this program. People who have difficulty accessing the internet or need additional support placing an order can call +1 (800) 232-0233 (TTY 1-888-720-7489) to get help in English, Spanish, and more than 150 other languages – 8AM-8PM E.T., Monday to Friday and 8AM-5PM E.T. on weekends.

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.

Join high energy musical duo BenAnna Band at Manchester Public Library on Saturday, December 31 at 11:30AM to celebrate New Year’s Eve by making music and moving and grooving to the sound! Call (860) 645-0577 for more information, no registration required.

The Manchester Aquatics Division will be offering an American Red Cross Lifeguard Training class in January! The classes will take place on Fridays, January 13, 20, and 27 from 5:30PM-9:30PM and on Saturdays, January 14 and 21 from 8:30AM-1PM. Participants must be at least 15 years of age and pass certain swimming requirements. Attendance is mandatory for every class.


This is a hybrid training – classes are offered online and in-person. The session is $50 for residents and $250 for non-residents. Registration closes Friday, January 6, and can be completed at any of Manchester Recreation Facilities, over the phone or online. Call (860) 647-3164 for more information.

January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month. Kyle Forrest, a HART (Human Anti-trafficking Response Team) certified trainer, will be at Whiton Memorial Library on Wednesday, January 18 at 6PM to assist participants in identifying victims of child trafficking as well as receiving tips on how best to respond and support identified trafficking victims.


Participants will learn definitions, federal and state legislation related to human trafficking, prevalence of child sex and labor trafficking in CT, pathways to victimization, warning signs, impact to the victims and who are the buyers/exploiters of this crime.

Join East Hartford Public Library for a special evening story time on Thursday, January 19, and February 9, at 6:30PM! You’re invited to wear your pajamas and bring a cozy blanket and stuffed animal friend to enjoy bedtime stories, songs, and rhymes! Program is best suited for children ages 8 and under and their caregivers – older siblings are welcome. Register now by clicking here.

Join the community for an inspiring series of concerts organized by East Hartford Public Schools music teacher Dan O’Brien on Thursday, January 19 from 7PM-8PM at the Community Cultural Center. The Intersections Concert Series will feature performances by professional musicians as well as student ensembles.


For the second concert, Dan O’Brien’s Standards of Dysfunction, a 15-piece improvising orchestra, will be joined by the East Hartford High School jazz band (Greg Hoyt & Chris Siegel, directors) and the East Hartford Middle School Global Jazz & Creative Music Ensemble (Dan O’Brien, director).


Suited for all ages - register for a reminder. Funding support for the Intersections Concert Series is provided by the East Hartford Commission on Culture and Fine Arts and the East Hartford Alumni Association and Education Foundation.

The East Hartford Youth Services Department will continue to offer virtual and in-person services and programming in the new year! Upcoming groups and programs include:

  • Zentangle, Tuesdays from 6PM-7PM via Zoom (January 24 - May 30): an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns. Appropriate for almost all ages, younger folks will need more hands-on help/guidance – great for families and individuals. Register by clicking here.
  • Boys Council Group, Wednesdays 6:30PM-7:45PM in-person (January 24-April 19; no groups on March 15 and April 12): Boys Council is a group approach to help boys ages 10-12 explore and learn about themselves, others, and the world. The group facilitator is bilingual (Spanish and English); group limited to 12 participants. Register by clicking hereregistration closes February 24.
  • Girls Circle Group, Wednesdays 6:30PM-7:45PM in-person (January 24-April 19; no groups on March 15 and April 12): Girls Circle is a group approach to help girls ages 10-12 explore and learn about themselves, others, and the world. Group limited to 12 participants. Register by clicking hereregistration closes February 24.

Additionally, the department’s professional staff and interns offer confidential counseling to youth and their families in a wide variety of areas by appointment only. Call to schedule an appointment at (860) 291-7179 or do complete the online referral form 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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