State Capitol Update for the Week of September 13September 13, 2021
The newsletter this week includes two videos, both initially broadcast via Facebook Live. The first is the usual weekly update (done on Wednesday), and the second (from Thursday night) is a conversation with Dr. Paul Nee, an infectious disease specialist with Nuvance Health, and Dr. Suzanne Lefebvre, a pediatrician with Nuvance Health who serves as the medical advisor to both Region One Schools and the Kent School. It was an informative conversation and I hope it helps clarify what’s happening right now at hospitals and schools with respect to COVID-19 infections, vaccines, and boosters. There are some moving pieces at the moment, particularly with respect to boosters, but one thing that was crystal clear is that vaccines not only reduce the chance of infection, they dramatically reduce the risk that you will be hospitalized or become seriously ill as a result of a COVID-19 infection. While 20-40% of current infections are of people who have been vaccinated (“breakthrough” infections), fewer than 1% of those hospitalized for COVID-19 have been vaccinated.
NOTE: for those hoping to watch the conversation with Dr. Nee and Dr. Lefebvre live on Facebook last night, I had a technical issue which caused the video to be broadcast on my personal Facebook page rather than my state page, so it was hard to find. My apologies for that inconvenience, and if you had questions that didn’t get answered, please email me at email@example.com and I will endeavor to get answers for you.
The state is kicking off a new tourism marketing campaign focusing on Connecticut as a fall destination. We all know the Northwest Corner is the best fall destination, full stop, and this year they are forecasting especially colorful fall foliage. In the budget we passed this year, we nearly tripled funding for tourism marketing, so the state’s ability to get the word out about all that we offer, particularly at a time when many travelers are choosing travel closer to home, is significantly improved. It’s clear from the data every dollar we spend in this area pays off significantly for our economy, so as a member of the Tourism Caucus I’m particularly pleased to see this effort underway.
For Connecticut’s Foliage Finder: Week-by-Week Guide, popular hiking spots and hidden gems, scenic driving loops, pick-your-own destinations, fall festivals and events, Halloween-themed fun, restaurants, lodging, and much more, check CTvisit.com
As we move through our spectacular fall season, I’m going to be organizing some local hikes on weekends. It’s hard to find times that don’t conflict with other events, but I’m going to start this Saturday, September 18, at 10:30 am at the East Kent Hamlet Nature. For some history, and maps, see https://www.kentlandtrust.org/klt-places. If that timing works for you, maybe you can join us!
There are many events taking place in an around the region this weekend. I’ve included a few of them in this newsletter. If you know of others I can include in the newsletter in the future, please let me know.
Here’s a list of today’s topics:
- COVID Data. Click here.
- Upcoming Events
- Cornwall Clean Up. Click here.
- Salisbury Family Services Art Show and Sale. Click here.
- James Mars: A Journey to Freedom - Presented by the Norfolk Historical Society. Click here.
- Sharon Hospital to Host Community Update on September 29. Click here.
- Marches to Protect Reproductive Rights in Kent and Salisbury. Click here.
- IDP Event in Norfolk. Click here.
- September is National Preparedness Month. Click here.
- Foundation for Community Health Offers Grants for Nonprofits. Click here.
- Federal Funding for Rural Healthcare Providers. Click here.
- Utility Payment Assistance Available. Click here.
- Welcoming Afghan Refugees to Connecticut. Click here.
- National Small Business Week. Click here.
- Veterans Stand Down 2021. Click here.
- Housing and Healthcare Initiative for Homeless Community. Click here.
- Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation Youth Film Challenge. Click here.
- Pavement Treatment on Route 4. Click here.
For several additional graphs and tables containing more data, including a list of cases in every municipality, visit ct.gov/coronavirus and click the link that is labeled, “Data Tracker.”
Cornwall Clean Up Green Up on September 18
The Cornwall Conservation Trust (CCT) has scheduled this year’s “Clean-Up” and “Green-Up” for September 18 on selected town roads, inviting Cornwallians of all ages to join in and safely pick up trash and debris along town roads. You can pick up supplies and road assignments between 9am-10am at the CCT office at 7 Railroad Square, West Cornwall. Trash should be returned to the CCT office. Face coverings are required.
If you would prefer to clean up a road on your own without coming to the CCT office first, email firstname.lastname@example.org to get an assignment so as not to duplicate efforts.
Salisbury Family Services Art Show & Sale on September 18 from 10:30-3:30
Salisbury Family Services was established in the mid 1930s with a mission to help people help themselves, counseling families and individuals and helping them navigate federal, state and regional programs for which they are eligible. Salisbury Family Services receives no state or federal funding.
Salisbury Family Services has traditionally honored local artists who calls Salisbury home. This year, they are celebrating many talented local artists and artisans. Please join for a Clothesline Art Show and Sale on Saturday, September 18, 2021, from 10:30AM – 3:30PM under tents on the White Hart lawn. The event will be free and open to the public at 10:30AM. Artists may keep all proceeds.
Please note that for everyone's safety, all artists and event guests must be masked for this event.
TO VIEW LIST OF ARTISTS
Please See Our Participating Artist List
FOR COMPLETE DETAILS
Please See Our Website
Norfolk Historical Society presents James Mars: A Journey to Freedom on September 19
On Sunday, September 19, from 1-2pm, the Norfolk Historical Society will present James Mars: A Journey to Freedom. Born in 1790, James Mars was the last known slave sold in Norfolk, Connecticut. Gaining his freedom at the age of twenty-one, his life journey is a fascinating one. Deacon, activist for equal rights, and a community leader. Join the Norfolk Historical Society at Norfolk’s Center Cemetery to learn more about this remarkable man, and the many people who helped him along his journey.
Meet at the Center Cemetery, 15 Old Colony Road, Norfolk CT 06058. From Rte 44 turn North onto Rte 272, North Street. Old Colony Road is your first left, please park along the south side of the road. Rain or shine, the tour will run for about one hour.
Sharon Hospital to host community update on September 29
Sharon Hospital and Nuvance Health announced that the organization will host a Community Update from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, September 29 via Zoom livestream video.
Members of the surrounding community are invited to join the webinar to hear from President Dr. Mark Hirko and members of the leadership team at Sharon Hospital and Nuvance Health as they share important updates regarding plans for the future.
A question-and-answer period will follow the presentation. Participants are encouraged to submit questions in advance by emailing email@example.com or calling (845) 554-1734 with their name and phone number.
Instructions on how to join the virtual meeting are posted on the hospital’s website: nuvancehealth.org/sharonforum. The event will also stream at facebook.com/sharonhospital.
The recorded session and a copy of the digital presentation will be accessible on the website following the event. For more information, call (845) 554-1734 or contact firstname.lastname@example.org (TTY/Accessibility: (800) 842-9710).
Marches in Kent and Salisbury on October 2 to protect reproductive rights
Earlier this week I had the opportunity to stand with Attorney General William Tong, Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysewicz, and many legislative colleagues to make it clear that Connecticut will fight to protect women’s reproductive health and choice. Connecticut has been acknowledged as one of the best states in the country for women in the workplace because of a variety of policies that support women and families. Among them is Connecticut’s clear support for women’s healthcare, and the fact that we have codified the protections enshrined in in Roe v. Wade regarding access to safe, legal abortion.
In light of the recent restrictive abortion legislation in Texas, WomensMarch.org is sponsoring a nationwide walk on Saturday, October 2, 2021. In connection with that nationwide effort, there will be marches that day in both Kent (beginning at 10am at Kent Town Hall) and Salisbury (beginning at 2pm on the White Hart green).
Please join us in making our voices heard on this important issue, and bring your hat, signs and masks.
Indigenous Peoples’ Day (IDP) Event in Norfolk on October 12
On Monday, Oct 11th, at 12 Norfolk will host its second annual Indigenous Peoples’ Day event on Norfolk Town Green, to honor, celebrate, and support indigenous peoples of our region and worldwide. We will assemble and then walk together for climate leadership to “speaker's rock” in nearby Barbour Woods for songs, poems, prayers, and remarks closing the event around 1:30 pm.
Questions/contact: email@example.com; sign-up: www.healingnestnorfolk.com Sponsors for the event include: Healing Nest, Norfolk Climate Coalition, Norfolk Foundation/Hub, Norfolk Land Trust, Norfolk Library, Norfolk United Church of Christ.
September is National Preparedness Month
Are you and your family properly prepared for an emergency? Don't wait until it's too late. Head to ready.gov for resources that will keep you safe when disaster strikes.
Foundation for Community Health grants for nonprofits
This grant program will accept applications twice a year, from nonprofits serving our community the first deadline is September 30th, 2021. The purpose of this program is to support the organizational health of nonprofits through general operating support, infrastructure needs, needs related to the scaling of a program or initiative, or needs related to the stabilization of a program or department that is going through significant change. More information about the Capacity Building Grant Program can be found here. We also have an upcoming informational webinar scheduled for September 13th (follow the link to register).
Please visit our online grant portal to apply. Applicants may request up to $15,000.
Federal funding for rural healthcare providers
The Health Resources and Services Administration at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) is making $25.5 billion in new funding available for health care providers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This funding includes:
- $8.5 billion from the American Rescue Plan (ARP) for providers who serve rural Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), or Medicare patients. ARP rural payments to providers will be based on the amount of Medicaid/CHIP and Medicare services provided to patients living in rural areas as defined by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy; and
- $17 billion for Provider Relief Fund (PRF) Phase 4 payments for a broad range of providers who can document revenue loss and expenses associated with the pandemic. For these Phase 4 payments, smaller providers—who tend to operate on thin margins and often serve vulnerable or isolated communities—will receive reimbursements for lost revenues and COVID-19 expenses at a higher rate compared to larger providers.
Providers may apply for both programs with a single application, and the application portal will open on September 29, 2021.
For more information about eligibility requirements, the documents and information providers will need to complete their application, and the application process for Phase 4 and ARP Rural payments, visit: https://www.hrsa.gov/provider-relief/future-payments. See the HHS press release for more information.
Utility payment assistance available
Connecticut’s protection against utility shutoffs has ended, effective September 15, 2021. Operation Fuel is working to spread the word that help and resources are available.
If you or someone you know are struggling to pay your electric, water, or other utilities, you can apply for help through Operation Fuel, contact agencies below about help and payment plans, or get coded for Hardship or Winter Protection through your utility company.
Click here to learn about emergency assistance from Operation Fuel, apply online, chat live online with a specialist, or find a Fuel Bank near you. Spread the word to others about help available at operationfuel.org/gethelp.
Welcoming Afghan refugees to Connecticut
I have heard from so many of you concerned about the welfare of Afghan refugees and looking for ways to help. This week we learned that our state will soon be asked to accept as many as 310 Afghan refugees for resettlement in Connecticut. In connection with that, Governor Lamont released the following statement:
“I welcome these individuals with open arms into our wonderful state. In anticipation of this moment, I directed the Connecticut Department of Social Services, under the leadership of Commissioner Deidre Gifford, to work with our partners across state government, the federal government, and at the local level to ensure all of the necessary resources are available and ready to provide support to these men, women, and children making the long trip to Connecticut from Afghanistan. It is our obligation and our duty to ensure these Afghan refugees feel welcome in our state, and we will work to ensure they have everything they need from food and shelter to education and job training.
“The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has ensured Connecticut that these individuals will have all been vetted, in addition to having all necessary vaccinations, including for COVID-19. These evacuees are our allies and have supported our country for years, and it is our turn to return the favor. Connecticut has a legacy of being there for those in need, and we are proud to answer the call.”
The State of Connecticut has also joined Welcome.US, a bipartisan organization committed to helping Afghan refugees resettle.
Shop Local During National Small Business Week
It's National Small Business Week, the perfect opportunity for us to recognize the hard work and accomplishments of our state’s and nation's small business owners and leaders. More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and they create roughly 66% of jobs in our country each year.
At a time when small businesses matter more than ever for the local economies, and remembering the hard challenges faced by business owners during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, please take time this week to shop at local small businesses and restaurants and support those in your community. Find a list – by category – of local businesses in our district by clicking the button below and searching the Connecticut Magazine database.
If you are a local business owner, please also remember that Connecticut offers a number of programs to ensure your success. Please click the button below to access resources available to you.
Veterans Stand Down 2021
Veterans STAND DOWN 2021 is right around the corner. Held annually, this free event provides Connecticut's Veterans with one stop access to various programs and services offered by local, state, and federal agencies. STAND DOWN will be held from September 22-24. To comply with COVID-19 guidelines, part of the ceremony will be held virtually. In-person services will be provided at the following satellite locations:
- Bridgeport: Port 5 National Association of Navy Veterans, 69 Brewster Street
- Danbury: Danbury War Memorial, 1 Memorial Drive
- Danielson: Quinebaug Valley Community College, 742 Upper Maple Street
- Norwich: Easter Seals Veterans Rally Point, 24 Stott Avenue
- Rocky Hill: CT DVA Rocky Hill Campus 287 West Street
In addition to in-person resources, such as medical screenings, there will also be a series of informational webinars. STAND UP is an excellent way for veterans to get the assistance they need, as well as learn about the services that are available to them. To register, click here or the image below.
New CT Housing and Healthcare Initiative for Homeless Community
This week saw another step forward in assuring everyone has access to quality healthcare. The State has received federal approval to provide healthcare to our homeless community. This approval will significantly bolster our state efforts to uplift homeless individuals across Connecticut.
The state’s housing programs will partner with state agencies and local nonprofits to provide Medicaid and HUSKY Health coverage. This program will be known as the Connecticut Housing Engagement and Support Services Initiative (CHESS).
This coordinated housing and health assistance effort will guarantee that individuals have access to all basic human rights- housing, meals and healthcare. This health coverage will also ensure that everyone has the access to mental health and substance abuse support that they may need.
This program will create lasting change for the homeless community in our state as housing instability and serious health concerns often go hand in hand. CHESS will help promote community engagement and improve overall quality of life.
For more information or to apply, please call 2-1-1 or visit www.ctchessdss.com.
I am very proud to see this development in ensuring that everyone has access to quality healthcare.
Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation Youth Film Challenge
Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation has partnered with the Civic Life Project and the Berkshire Film & Media Collaborative on a Youth Film Challenge that gives young storytellers the opportunity to make their voices heard, and compete for $3,500 in cash prizes and the chance to have their films screened at local theaters this fall.
Films must be submitted by Nov. 1. Learn more and apply at: www.YouthFilmChallenge.com.
Pavement Treatment on Route 4 in Sharon
A thin surface pavement treatment project will occur on Route 4 in Sharon from Old Sharon Road No. 1 to Route 7. Work is scheduled to occur on Monday, September 27, 2021, through Thursday, September 30, 2021.
Providing information to Connecticut residents
For the most up-to-date information from the State of Connecticut on COVID-19, residents are encouraged to visit ct.gov/coronavirus. Residents can also subscribe to text message alerts from the state by texting the keyword COVIDCT to 888-777.
Individuals who have general questions that are not answered on the website can call 2-1-1 for assistance. The hotline is available 24 hours a day and has multilingual assistance. Anyone who is out-of-state or requires a toll-free number can connect to Connecticut 2-1-1 by dialing 1-800-203-1234. This is intended to be used by individuals who are not experiencing symptoms but may have general questions related to COVID-19. Anyone who is experiencing symptoms are strongly urged to contact their medical provider.