Weekly Update - April 5, 2024

April 5, 2024

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Dear Neighbor,

Our legislative session is well underway and I wanted to share this update on what we have been working on.

As always, please feel free to contact my office if you have any questions or concerns.

The topics covered are as follows:

  • Legislative Updates
  • Today in CT History
  • Community Resources
  • CT Foodshare
  • Manchester Community Events 
  • East Hartford Community Events
Legislative Updates
House Democrats have made it a top priority during this legislative session to address the issue of childcare affordability. HB 5002 focuses on making childcare more accessible and affordable for families through long-term strategic investments. This is a significant measure that could positively impact many families in our community.

I am proud to support this proposal, as childcare plays a crucial role in nurturing the growth and well-being of our children while also strengthening the economy by supporting parents and guardians. By improving accessibility and affordability, we are investing in our community's future and providing relief to individuals striving to balance work and family life.  

This bill is about more than just numbers; it's about making a tangible difference in the lives of families who deserve access to quality, affordable childcare.

Together, we can ensure that this legislation reflects the needs and priorities of the families it aims to serve. 

Today In CT History

Today in 1909, the last in a series of “campaign documents” aimed at mobilizing citizens to save the trees that had given New Haven its reputation as one of the world’s most beautiful cities was published in the New Haven Sunday Union. Decades before the 1936 arrival of the devastating Dutch elm disease, the “City of Elms” historic tree stock faced what George Dudley Seymour, the civic leader behind the campaign, unhesitatingly called “complete destruction.” The problem wasn’t a disease or virus, but the trees’ nearly complete neglect and abuse by a population which firmly believed the elms, as part of nature, could take care of themselves.



A Mistreated Elm Street Elm, July 1908. Defoliated by beetles, bark rubbed and burned off by electric wires, girdled by guy-wires, and ruthlessly trimmed.(Photograph by M.W. Filley)

New Haven’s elms were as historic as they were endangered. The city’s first elm trees – two of them – were planted in 1686 at what is now Temple and Elm Streets. Seventy-three years later, a row of 250 sycamore and elm trees was planted around the town green. In the late-18th century, James Hillhouse supervised the “Great Planting” of elms from Temple to Grove Street and along what is now Hillhouse Avenue.

Even before the “Great Planting,’ the effect of the graceful elms and their cathedral-like over-street canopies had made New Haven, according to the invading British General Garth in 1779, “too pretty to burn.” A half-century later, the visiting aristocrat Lady Emmeline Stuart Wortley wrote “the exceeding profusion of [New Haven’s] stately elms render it not only one of the most charming, but one of the most unique cities I ever beheld.” The popular Dinsmore travel guide of 1859 called New Haven “the handsomest city in America.”

Hillhouse Avenue, part of the “Great Planting” of elms by James Hillhouse in the late 1700s.

But as early as 1883, the trees that were the “glory and pride of the city” were already suffering from what Seymour called “the grossest neglect.” Left without trunk guards to protect the bark, the trees had been bitten to death by tethered horses, burned and broken by electric lines and guy wires, poisoned by leaky gas lines, suffocated by poorly placed sidewalks and paving, deprived of water and fertilizer, and victimized by a host of natural calamities from the canker worm to the elm leaf beetle and from the Blizzard of 1888 to the Great Wind Storm of 1893. By 1909, the elms were in crisis, and unless immediate action was taken, Seymour’s report insisted, the City of Elms would become a city of dead and dangerous relics.

The only way to save the trees, Seymour asserted, was for citizens to demand the the city hire a professional forester charged specifically with the care, management, and preservation of the tree stock. To do this, Seymour, a first-rate and persuasive patent attorney in private life, effectively mobilized both citizenry and civic elites.

Within months, the state legislature had approved changes to New Haven’s city charter that would allow it to hire a city forester. George Alexander Crombie, a recent graduate of the Yale forestry school was given the job, and supported by ample annual appropriations, he revitalized the city’s arboreal resources. By 1921, some 5000 diseased or dead trees had been removed from city streets and 10,000 trees – elms, maples, sycamores and lindens – had been planted. New Haven once again seemed worthy of its nickname –which in the spirit of the times had been modernized to “The Elm City.”

Then, in 1936, the Dutch elm virus entered Connecticut and coupled with the disastrous hurricane of 1938, the effect on the elms was devastating. By 1953, only a few of New Haven’s venerable elms were still standing. The New Haven Garden Club stepped in then, and has continued its efforts up to today, to keep the elm a vital presence in the cityscape. Thanks to seed stock from area survivors, new disease-resistant elm varieties, ongoing biogenetic research, and a still-dedicated citizenry, prospects for the Elm City’s future as a city of elms, are much brighter.

Further Reading

Bruce Fellman, “The Elm City, Then and Now,” Yale Alumni Magazine

The New Haven Green, the City’s Elms, and the Garden Club of New Haven,” Garden Club of New Haven

Thomas MacMillan, Elms Make a Comeback in the Elm City,” New Haven Independent

Town Of East Hartford
 Town Meetings
Regular Town Council Meeting
April 16th, 2024, at 7:30 PM
Community Cultural Center Auditorium (50 Chapman Place)
+1929-235-8441; ID: 565393232#    
Board of Education Meeting
April 15th, 2024, at 7:00 PM
857 Forbes Street

Town Resources
Town Newsletters
Pulse of East Hartford     
East Hartford Public Schools
East Hartford Works

Town Of Manchester
Town Meetings
Regular Board of Directors Meeting
April 9th  , 2024, 7:00 PM
Lincoln Center Hearing Room (494 Main Street)
Board of Directors

Board of Education Regular Meeting
April 22nd , 2024, at 7:00 PM
 Lincoln Center Hearing Room (494 Main Street)

Below is the list of locations in Manchester that are 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.
Get mobile pantry updates in your area by texting the word Foodshare to 85511. 
 Link to the statewide map


  • Squire Village, 48 Spencer Street, 06040 (1st parking lot off Imperial Drive #78)
  • Faith Tabernacle – Manchester 110 Utopia Rd, Manchester, CT 06042
  • New River Community Church -314 Woodbridge St, Manchester, CT 06042

East Hartford

Below is the list of locations in East Hartford that are 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) 291-7295
or (860) 291-7248

  • Hockanum Park- 75 Hamilton Park
  • Mayberry Village –St. Isaac Jogues Church Parking Lot (41 Home Terrace East Hartford)
  • Summerfield Townhouse (66 Plain Drive East Hartford, CT)
  • Veterans Terrace -102 Columbus St, East Hartford, CT 06108

Get mobile pantry updates in your area by texting the word Foodshare to 85511.

Summer Camp Online Registration
Begins April 8 at 9AM!

Summer Day Camp registration is held online beginning at 9:00 AM on April 8. In order to register online you must have an active account in our system. If you are unsure if you have an active account, please give us a call at (860) 647-3084 to find out!


Wickham Park opens for the season

Wickham Park is a non-profit, private foundation whose property extends into both Manchester and East Hartford, Connecticut. The park contains 280 acres of gardens, open fields, woodlands, ponds, picnic areas, sports facilities, and is the proud host of weddings, receptions, fundraising walks, disc golf tournaments, tree tours, garden tours, car shows, cross country races, family and friend gatherings, and Santa’s Workshop!

Solar Eclipse Storytime
Join us for an eclipse themed story and craft! Program participants will receive a pair of eclipse glasses at the end of the activity: one pair per household, while supplies last. This program is for children and their caregivers.

FY25 Budget Adoption Meeting

The Budget Adoption is scheduled for Tuesday, April 9, 2024 at 7pm in the Lincoln Center Hearing Room.

Town Of Manchester
Town Resources
Manchester Public Schools - One Manchester
Manchester Matters

The Great American Solar Eclipse

April 8, 2:00 – 5:00 PM
View the eclipse at your library!

The East Hartford Public Library is the place to be for the upcoming Great American Solar Eclipse Community Viewing Event!

We have good visibility from the lawns of both branches, so join us at whichever branch is most convenient for you! The eclipse will take place between 2:13 and 4:37 PM; we'll watch it together at the Raymond Library (840 Main St.) and the Wickham Memorial Library (656 Burnside Avenue). Register for a reminder on the library's online calendar of events. In the event of inclement weather, we will hold an indoor eclipse celebration at the Raymond Library. 

Glasses Giveaways 

Attend any library program in March to receive a free pair of eclipse viewing glasses. One pair of glasses per person please. To get up to the minute details about other glasses giveaway opportunities, keep an eye on our website (www.easthartfordct.gov/library) and Facebook page (www.facebook.com/easthartfordpubliclibrary).


East Hartford Parks & Rec April Break Camp

East Hartford Parks and Recreation is now accepting registration for our fun-filled April Break Camp for students in grades 1-6.  Camp will be held Monday, April 8th through Friday, April 12th from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.  Participants may register for the whole week or just for a day or two; the fee is just $25 per day for East Hartford residents. Daily camp activities include crafts, a variety of indoor/outdoor games, and time to play and socialize with friends.  Camp is held at the Goodwin Elementary School Gymnasium, 1235 Forbes St.  Pre-registration is required and space is limited.  Participants should dress seasonally appropriately for outside play. Please pack snacks, lunch, and a water bottle. You can register at www.ehparks.org. For more information, please call the Parks and Recreation Department at 860-291-7160. 
The Town of East Hartford in collaboration with the East Hartford Veterans Commission are excited to announce that the third annual East Hartford’s Memorial Day parade and series of events will take place Monday, May 27, 2024 at 10 AM.

The event will consist of three parts, including a parade, program at the Fallen Star Memorial and celebration of East Hartford. The parade will begin promptly at 10 AM, proceeding from 9 Riverside Drive to the Fallen Star Memorial located at Goodwin University.

“It was the Town's priority to bring back the Memorial Day parade 3 years ago and it has now become a tradition that the community looks forward to every year," said Mayor Connor Martin. "I have a lot of respect for our Veterans and the Memorial Day Parade is a small gesture in which we honor their service and sacrifice." 




  • To make the event possible, the town would like to extend sponsorship opportunities to local businesses and organizations. Those who wish to sponsor the event or offer in-kind services, please fill out the electronic form below by Wednesday, May 1, 2024.
  • *2024 East Hartford Memorial Day Sponsorship Registration*


  • East Hartford is also accepting applications from vendors who wish to participate in the Memorial Day event. Vendors will have to set up and disassemble their own tables, tents and chairs. Vendors who wish to participate are asked to register Wednesday, May 1, 2024.
  • *2024 East Hartford Memorial Day Vendor Registration*

The parade will be followed by a program at the Fallen Star Memorial and a family-friendly celebration of East Hartford with food trucks, music and activities.

To receive the latest updates on the Town’s news and events, visit www.easthartfordct.gov and subscribe at www.easthartfordct.gov/subscribe.

Summer Youth Employment Program
is Accepting Applications

East Hartford Works invites youth to participate in the Summer Youth Employment and Learning Program (SYELP) and gain valuable experience.


The SYELP is a youth employment program, connecting Connecticut youth living in the North Central Region between the ages of 14 and 24 with career exploration opportunities and paid work experience each summer. Participants must qualify by income and other designated categories. Deadline to apply is May 10, 2024.

Participants have the opportunity to explore their interests and career pathways, develop workplace skills, and engage in learning experiences that help in developing their social, civic, and leadership skills. By participating in structured project- and work-based opportunities, Connecticut youth are better prepared for careers of the future.

The program runs in July and August. Participants are eligible for up to 120 hours of paid work across a variety of fields.

For more information or to apply online, visit this page SYELP | Capital Workforce Partners.

East Hartford Public Library Spring Vacation Program
Spring vacation programs at East Hartford Public Library
Job Prep for Teens
Monday – Friday, April 8 - 12, 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Are you between the ages of 14 - 24 and looking for help finding a job? Join us at Raymond Library for a series of in-person workshops sponsored in partnership with East Hartford Works! Participants MUST attend at least one session to receive an invitation for Friday's Job Fair. Registration required. For complete program descriptions and a link to the registration form, visit our online calendar of events.

Monday: Resume Prep and Customer Service/Personal Branding Training
Tuesday: Red Cross Babysitters Training (9am-4:30pm) OR Adult & Pediatric First Aid (9am2pm) [lunch provided]
Wednesday: Credit for Life Fair with Liberty Bank
Thursday: Communication and Teamwork

East Hartford Public Library
East Hartford's 3rd Annual Juneteenth
Community Celebration

The Town of East Hartford in collaboration with East Hartford Parks and Recreation, the East Hartford Black Caucus, the Commission on Culture and Fine Arts, and the East Hartford Public Library, invites you to attend the town’s third annual Juneteenth Celebration. Juneteenth, officially known as Juneteenth National Independence Day, is also known as Jubilee Day, Emancipation Day, Freedom Day, and Black Independence Day is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the emancipation of enslaved African-Americans.

The event will take place on Saturday, June 15th from 11:00 am - 4:00 pm, at Alumni Park. Admission is FREE.

A family-friendly stage lineup will honor Juneteenth through a diverse array of performances. Enjoy music, dance, spoken word, and historical interpretation! Bring a chair or a picnic blanket and stay all afternoon.

The Juneteenth Fest is the perfect family-friendly, community event that offers fun activities for children and adults alike. Among many activities, there will be a variety of vendors, food, entertainment, bounce house, face painting, powerful storytelling and so much more. 

In case of inclement weather, this event will be held inside at Community Cultural Center (50 Chapman Place).


East Hartford is accepting applications from vendors who wish to participate in the Juneteenth celebration. Vendors who wish to participate must submit the applicable form to East Hartford Parks and Recreation.

*2024 East Hartford Juneteenth Food Vendor Application*

*2024 East Hartford Juneteenth Non-Profit Application*

*2024 East Hartford Juneteenth Vendor and Crafter Application*

Vendors are asked to apply by May 31, 2024. 

For more information, please call Parks and Recreation at 860-291-7160 or visit www.easthartfordct.gov/parks-recreation.

Town Of East Hartford
Town Resources
Pulse of East Hartford Newsletter
East Hartford Public School News
East Hartford Works
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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