Weekly Update - May 4

May 5, 2023

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Dear Neighbor,
I want to share some highlights including state and local updates.
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

Today In History

Today in 1826, iconic American landscape painter Frederic Edwin Church was born in Hartford. The internationally famed artist’s Connecticut roots ran deep: he was a direct descendant of one of the original English Puritans who settled Hartford with Rev. Thomas Hooker. His father, a prominent silversmith, also became a director of Hartford’s Aetna Insurance Company.

As a young man Church’s artistic talent caught the attention of his neighbor Daniel Wadsworth, a notable patron of the arts and future founder of the Wadsworth Atheneum. Wadsworth introduced Church to Thomas Cole, then one of the most famous American landscape painters. Church became the first student to study under Cole, entering a two-year apprenticeship when he was only 18. Five years later, at 23, Church was the youngest person ever invited to join the National Academy of Design.

Hooker and Company Journeying Through the Wilderness. Wadsworth Athenaeum
Hooker and Company Journeying Through the Wilderness.
Wadsworth Athenaeum

Church quickly became one of the most famous painters of the Hudson River School, a distinctly American art movement founded by Thomas Cole, uniquely attuned to the cultural nostalgia for nature that accompanied America’s industrial revolution. Hudson River School artists sought to invoke strong feelings of emotion and awe through large, incredibly detailed, romanticized landscapes. Their paintings were extremely popular throughout 19th-century America, as inhabitants of America’s new and increasingly industrialized towns and cities yearned to reconnect with a natural world from which they felt increasingly isolated.

While Church traveled extensively to find subject matter for his art, he found plenty of inspiration in his home state: Two of his most famous works feature Hartford’s legendary Charter Oak (1846) and New Haven’s West Rock (1849). After his death in 1900, Church was buried in Spring Grove Cemetery in his hometown of Hartford.

The Charter Oak, by Frederic Edwin Church (1846)

Further Reading

Frederic Edwin Church,” U.S. National Gallery of Art

Church’s World,” Olana State Historic Site

Connecticut voters asked the legislature for more voting options through a constitutional amendment on early voting that they overwhelmingly approved, and we are answering the call. 

The House of Representatives approved H.B. 5004, a measure that will allow early voting in our state beginning in 2024.

This legislation modernizes the state's elections and allows for more convenience and fairness in the process, reflecting the realities of hectic modern-day life.

Eligible voters will be able to cast their ballots in person ahead of Election Day for both regular and special elections, as well as primaries.
Passage of this bill in the House is a step towards improving access to the ballot box for all eligible Connecticut voters.

I look forward to the next step – debate in the Senate.

We passed a number of bills. Learn more about them below:

HB6689: Makes a career in health care a realistic option for more CT students. The Nursing and Mental Health Care Professionals Loan Subsidy Program will mean lower interest rates for students looking to go into health and mental health care.

HB6632: Opens previously closed avenues for local housing authorities housing units. On to the Senate for consideration.

HB6819: Requires the DPH to provide a full list of international board-certified lactation consultants (IBCLCs) in the state on their website and will establish a taskforce to study licensure.

HB6587: This bill creates a task force to develop a plan that utilizes Medicaid funding to support health-related social needs like diaper insecurity, food insecurity, and housing instability. The task force will also seek federal approval for services, and report how the proposed coverage will impact current recommendations.

HB6479: Contains a key provision to maximize federal funds designated for state and municipal climate change resiliency projects, including coastal resiliency projects.

HB6480: Eel Grass is an important component of seagrass meadows that improve water quality and protect from erosion. This bill establishes a working group on the restoration of eel grass.

 HB5575: A necessary measure to ensure the humane treatment of animals in municipal animal shelters. We set municipal regulations establishing guidelines that maintain the health and safety of both the animals and the individuals working in the facilities.

HB6481: Prohibits the release of helium and lighter-than-air balloons, which are a hazard to wildlife and add to plastic pollution.

HB6615: Repeals the statutes authorizing dog racing and dog tracks. This will make it illegal to race greyhounds in Connecticut.

HB6569: Bans marriage under the age of 18.

Increasing Accountability Among Utility Companies
The Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) unanimously voted to begin a search for consultants to monitor the performance of the state's two electric distribution companies - Eversource and United Illuminating. This is an important step toward eventually shifting to performance-based regulation for the companies.
The framework for these changes was created in the wake of Eversource and UI's poor and slow response to issues caused by Tropical Storm Isaias in 2020. In response, the Connecticut General Assembly passed the
"Take Back Our Grid Act," a robust bill that established standards that utility companies must meet, penalties if those standards are not met, and metrics for determining progress. 

Additionally, PURA also announced that it has extended the utility shutoff moratorium for gas and electric service disconnections for residential financial hardship customers until October 31, 2023.
These changes will help hold the state's utilities accountable, protect vulnerable communities and ensures that the ratepayers are the priority moving forward.

The Department of Leisure, Family, and Recreation Summer Program and Event Guide is here! Resident registration begins May 3. Non-resident registration begins on May 5.
In honor of the town of Manchester’s Bicentennial year, there will be an open-air trolley circling the Downtown area! The trolley will visit the Manchester Historical Society, Lutz Children’s Museum, and WORK_SPACE as part of the 3-way art venue honoring 300 years of the town’s history (the Past, Present, and Future).  For more information click here.

Please arrive early to be in line for 9am as the truck leaves promptly at 9:30am. Open to the public; Bring a sturdy grocery bag! This program is made possible by Foodshare and Winn Residential - Resident Service Program. For more information call 860-646-1280.
Squire Village, 48 Spencer Street, 06040 (1st parking lot off Imperial Drive #78).
  • Tuesday, May 09, 2023 | 09:00 AM - 09:30 AM
  • Tuesday, May 23, 2023 | 09:00 AM - 09:30 AM
Manchester Mobile Foodshare
East Hartford
The Connecticut Foodshare truck will be in the parking lot to distribute the food. Please bring your own bags and be prepared to possibly wait in line.
Mayberry Village –St. Isaac Jogues Church Parking Lot (41 Home Terrace East Hartford).
  • Monday May 15th   | 12:30 pm-1:15 pm
  • Monday June 12th   | 12:30 pm-1:15 pm
  • Monday June 26th   | 12:30 pm-1:15 pm
East Hartford Mobile Foodshare
COVID-19 Updates
The East Hartford Health Department offers regular vaccination services at the Community Cultural Center. 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).
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 White House relaunched 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.

Leaf Collection and Compost

Residents can set out paper lawn bags of leaves, grass clippings and shrubbery trimmings for curbside collection on the day of their normal refuse/recycling collection. The bags cannot exceed 40lbs and yard waste must be in paper lawn bags.

Brush can also be picked up curbside and must be cut to 4 feet or less in length, tied and bundled. The bundles must not weigh more than 40 lbs. Branches must be less than 3 inches thick.

Residents with a free Recycling Permit can drop off leaves at the Transfer Station year-round during normal transfer station hours (Tues - Sat. 7:15 am to 2:30 pm). 
For more information click here


 The Teen Center is Back!

Manchester YSB is opening the center on Wednesdays from 12:30 PM to 6:00 PM and Thursdays 2:30-6pm. Learn more here!

Attend 10 or more times to be eligible for prizes! Pizza is served after group discussion.

Read more here: TEENCENTER-incentive.pdf

Manchester Public Schools
East Hartford Parks and Rec Announces Summer Camp Program
East Hartford Parks and Recreation Summer Camps will open Monday, June 19th, 2023 and will run 7 consecutive weeks, ending on Friday, August 4th. Camps are open to East Hartford residents only and serve children and teens entering grades 1 – 9 and participants with special needs ages 6-21.  Enrichment programming continues to be a stimulating part of the programming thanks to a collaboration with East Hartford Public Library and East Hartford Youth Services.
Camps will be held at the same park locations. However, the inclement weather locations are not on site this summer due to school construction. Inclement weather days will be determined the day prior and camps will be held at the offsite designated location. Parents and caregivers will be notified directly.

  • Little Rec’ers Camp for children entering grades 1-2 will be located at Goodwin Park/ Goldstar Pool, *Pitkin School during inclement weather days.
  • Fun Days Camp for children entering grades 3-4 will be located at Gorman Park / Lord Pool, *Silver Lane School during inclement weather days.
  • Explorers Camp for children entering grades 5-6 will be located at McAuliffe Park / Drennan Pool, *East Hartford Middle School during inclement weather days.
  • Teen Camp for teens entering grades 7-9 will be located at Hockanum Park/ Terry Pool,

* ECLC School Gym during inclement weather days.

  • Camp Sunburst for participants with special needs ages 6 - 21 will be located at McAuliffe Park, Drennan Pool, * Wickham Library during inclement weather days. 

Campers will participate in a variety of activities; arts & crafts, sports, special events and more. Campers will also visit the pools, where they will have free swim and receive swim instruction from our American Red Cross Certified Lifeguards.
All campers will be registered for the East Hartford Public Library summer reading program through Readsquared and will receive prizes at camp to recognize and celebrate the time they spend reading! Campers will also participate in weekly enrichment activities sponsored by the Library, including STEM, Makerspace, puppetry, performing arts, drumming and more. For some enrichment activities campers will be bused to the Library. Breakfast and lunch are provided for all campers through the Summer Meals Program! 
In partnership with East Hartford Youth Services and LEO Clinic, each camp will be assigned an embedded social worker.
For more information about camp, join us at a Virtual Camp Open House on Tuesday, May 16th at 6:30pm, hosted via Zoom by the East Hartford Public Library. To register,
click here for the library’s online events calendar, or call the library at 860-290-4330.
Registration for camps opens Wednesday, May 17th. Register online at
www.ehparks.org or at the parks and recreation office at the CCC located at 50 Chapman Place. 
Camp brochures will distributed electronically to all students attending East Hartford Public Schools and additional copies will be available online at
East Hartford Parks and Recreation Summer Camps provide excellent opportunities for children to play and socialize in a safe and supervised environment. For more information, please call Parks and Recreation at 860-291-7160 or visit


Join East Hartford Police Officers for "Coffee with a Cop"

The East Hartford Police Department invites all for a "Coffee with a Cop" event! 

The event is on Tuesday, May 16 from 8 AM to 9 AM at Dunkin (639 Main Street). All are welcome!

Since 2016, the East Hartford Police Department has hosted a regular program designed to bring police officers and the community members they serve together – over coffee – to discuss issues and learn more about each other.  No agenda, no speeches.  Talk with police about your neighborhood, ask questions, share concerns, or stop by just to chat.

Brewer Street Closure Effective May 1, 2023


Effective Monday, May 1, a portion of Brewer Street in East Hartford will be closed through November 2023. The closure is necessary to replace the bridge over Pewterpot Brook.The road will reopen prior to Thanksgiving.
The closure is limited to the section of Brewer Street between Mill Road and Glenn Road/Contractors Road, but motorists should seek alternate routes if using Brewer Street as a through road. 

All motorists are encouraged to avoid the construction area and seek alternate routes to their intended destinations through November 2023, when the construction is expected to be complete.
For more information click here


Pulse of East Hartford Newsletter
East Hartford Public School News
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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