Celebrating Black History Month & Bear Sighting

February 5, 2024

February is Black History Month, a time to honor the many accomplishments and contributions Black Americans have made to American society. It's a time to rejoice, reflect, and remember. Please keep scrolling to see how Simsbury is celebrating Black History Month.

The legislative session starts in just two days, and I want to make sure you are updated on important events and bills taking place at the Capitol. Keep scrolling to learn how you can stay informed and engaged in 2024!

While you stay up to date on everything happening in Hartford, please take a moment to go over a quick tutorial on how a bill becomes a law. Read below for a full step-by-step breakdown of that process.

Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow in front of thousands of spectators last Friday, which means spring is right around the corner! In the meantime, we continue braving the winter weather along with at least one black bear who was spotted outside of Kaps Cafe. What should bears usually be up to this time of year? I'll have the answer below along with video of this bear's coffee run.

A brand new, outdoor life-saving device is now in service in Simsbury. I'll break down how an automated external defibrillator could mean the difference between life or death for some in our community.

Here are the sections in this week's email. You can scroll down until you find the topic you are looking for:

  • Celebrating Black History Month
  • Stay Connected This Legislative Session!
  • The Legislative Process
  • Two Simsbury Police Officers Honored
  • First Outdoor AED in Simsbury
  • Winter Bear Sighting
  • Community Events
Celebrating Black History Month

February is Black History Month, a time when we celebrate the many achievements and contributions of individuals from the Black diaspora, as well as reckon with the lasting impacts that still prevail today. The theme for this year's month-long celebration is “African Americans and the Arts,” which spotlights Black Americans who excelled in various fields of creative expression, and the influence they have on our country's culture.

Connecticut was home to several notable moments in Black history. The Canterbury Female Boarding School, the first boarding school for young Black girls in the country, was in Canterbury. Abolitionist John Brown was born in Torrington. The 29th Colored Regiment, an all-Black regiment based out of Fair Haven during the Civil War, was one of the first units to enter Richmond, Virginia after it was abandoned by the Confederate Army.

CLICK HERE to read some local history maintained by the Simsbury Historical Society specifically on the history of African Americans in Simsbury from 1725-1925.

Thanks to the tireless work of the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus and other colleagues in the General Assembly in 2019, Connecticut became the first state to require public schools to include Black and Latino history in their curriculums. Black history is American history, and this law ensures that the stories and triumphs of Black Americans will be taught throughout the school year.

Students across our public schools will be studying about Black History Month including Squadron Line School. Each class there will learn about the accomplishments and contributions of an important Black American. Students will collaboratively create slides to present and share with the program-wide community. Students will not only get to appreciate the abundance of achievements of Black Americans, but also have important opportunities to teach and learn from each other across various modes and platforms.

Simsbury Public Library is hosting a special event about exploring identity, love, and being black in America in fiction writing. New York Times best-selling author Jason Mott will break down his recent novel Hell of a Book. This National Book Award Winner's work of fiction is described as deeply honest, at times electrically funny, and as a book that goes to the heart of racism, police violence, and the hidden costs exacted upon Black Americans and America as a whole.

The book discussion will take place on Tuesday, February 20 at 4:00 P.M. CLICK HERE to register!

I encourage you to take some time to celebrate and learn more about Black history, locally and throughout America. Click here to find more places in honor and support Black history and culture in our state. 

Stay Connected This Legislative Session!
With the legislative session just around the corner on Wednesday, February 7th, I am committed to keeping you informed and engaged in the democratic process.

The resources below will help you stay updated on crucial developments, events, proposed policies, and key discussions as they happen in Hartford. I urge you to please follow along and get involved.
Here's how you can stay connected and actively participate:

  • The non-partisan Office of Legislative Research (OLR) recently released the 2024 Major Issues Report. This comprehensive document summarizes key issues the legislature could take up during the upcoming session. 
  • You can view the Connecticut General Assembly's upcoming events by checking out its schedule on the CGA official website
  • Follow CT-N for live coverage of committee meetings, as well as House and Senate floor debates. 
  • You can register to monitor any bill's journey as it goes through the legislative process. By signing up, you can enter the bill number and receive real-time updates. Stay informed with email notifications whenever there's a change in the bill's progress. 
  • Visit this website for information on how to testify on a bill at a public hearing.

Together, we can make a positive impact and ensure that our community's needs are represented.

The Legislative Process

The 2024 Legislative Session is right around the corner! Don’t be intimidated -let’s break down how a bill become a law in just six steps.

Two Simsbury Police Officers Honored
Two Simsbury police officers received a special honor! Sergeant Tim May, a U.S. Coast Guard veteran, and Officer Kyle Denalsky, a U.S. Naval veteran received their Quilts of Valor! The foundation supports service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing quilts.
Thanks to people like Kathy Fallon, a long-time resident of Simsbury, a total of 373,394 Service Members and Veterans have been covered with Quilts of Valor since 2003.

Click Here To Learn More
First Outdoor AED in Simsbury

Our community has taken a huge step to help anyone who experiences a sudden cardiac arrest in a public place. The Simsbury Culture, Parks and Recreation Department installed its first outdoor, automated external defibrillator (AED) at the Simsbury Farms Recreation Complex. The AED enclosure is located near the Tennis/Pickleball Courts and Platform Tennis Courts.

All this is possible thanks to a donation from Simsbury resident Christine Boswell who understands the importance of having these devices in public spaces. She lost her husband, Brian Koscher, from a heart attack while he was playing hockey locally, and an AED was not available when needed.

NBC Connecticut spoke to Boswell about the importance of the AED and town officials discussed how to use the device. As of this writing, no one has needed to us the outdoor AED since it was installed in December. There are already plans to install a similar device at a park in the spring. CLICK HERE to watch NBC's story.

Winter Bear Sighting

Customers and employees at Kaps Cafe were in for a quite a surprise when a black bear appeared at the front door. While it is unsettling to see a disoriented bear this time of year, our friends at Bearwise say these animals sometimes  take advantage of a warmer than normal winter day to wander out while moms nurture their newborns. CLICK HERE to learn more about what bears are up to in January, February, and March.

I hope this young bear found its way safely back to its den. Click on the image below to watch a short video of this recent bear sighting.

Community Events

Last call for kids who are curious to learn more about cooking! This is their chance to explore new recipes, flavors, and skills! Classes will take place at the Apple Barn on 60 Old Farms Road. CLICK HERE to learn more and register.


Simsbury Public Library is hosting a fun Valentine's Day themed movie viewing and chocolate tasting from 12:30 P.M. - 3:30 P.M. CLICK HERE to learn more about the movie and the event!


Come and meet George Washington at Simsbury Public Library on Saturday, February 10 from 2:00 P.M. - 3:30 P.M. CLICK HERE to reserve your spot.

Part of the series, “Songs of the Baby Boom: American Post War Pop Music,” this program focuses on some of the biggest hits connected to the Brill Building on Broadway. Tickets are $8 for members and $10 for non-members. CLICK HERE to get your tickets.
Learn how to prevent an opioid overdose in a special training at Eno Memorial Hall on Monday, February 26 from 6:00 P.M. - 7:00 P.M. Participants will be trained in how to administer nasal narcan and receive information on how to obtain narcan. CLICK HERE to register.