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Community News For The East Hartford Edition

Meet the Authors Event

EAST HARTFORD — The Hillstown Grange is holding a literary evening called Meet the authors on Friday, Jan. 26, at 7:30 p.m. at the Hillstown Grange Hall on 617 Hills St.

The theme of the evening is "Homecoming." The authors are all local and will have copies of their works available for purchase. Each author will give a reading from one of their works followed by a Q&A session about the works. Refreshments will be served. The Grange library will be open during this event to browse for some winter reading material.

Tentatively scheduled are: Glenn Maynard, Michael F. Le Pore and Jon Hykes. For more information, contact Jon at hillstowngrange@aol.com or 860-633-7897. The snow date is Friday, Feb. 2.

Root Cellar Soups-N-Garden Event

EAST HARTFORD — The Hillstown Grange is holding a Root Cellar Soups-N-Garden event on Thursday, Jan. 25. Doors open at 6 p.m. for a homemade soup dinner, followed by a gardeners forum about getting the garden started. Some of the soups will be made from this winter's root cellar produce, featuring pumpkin and garden vegetable soup. There is no cost to attend.

The Agricultural Committee plans to announce this year's special gardening contests and when free seeds will be available. A gardening discussion with question and answer time will start at 7:30 p.m., giving all gardeners a chance to talk and dream about their 2018 gardens. Bring your favorite seed catalogs to share. The event is great for novice or first time gardeners to learn from seasoned pros.

The Hillstown Grange is located at 617 Hills St., and has been located in the Hillstown corner of East Hartford, Glastonbury, and Manchester since 1888.

For more information, email hillstowngrange@aol.com or call Frank at 860-690-2845.

Senior Center News

EAST HARTFORD — The East Hartford Senior Center, 70 Canterbury St., is hosting the following events. Visit www.easthartfordct.gov or call 860-568-4281 for more information.

Free exercise program: The center will be showing a video on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 2:45 to 3:30 p.m. On Tuesdays, the center will have a walking video and Thursdays, a chair exercise video will be shown. The walking video is simple to do but it equals a one and a half mile walk. The chair exercise video gives guests a seated workout.

The Diabetes Self-Management Program is an evidenced based workshop that educated individuals with diabetes on techniques to manage their symptoms, communicate with healthcare providers, and make informed decisions. The weekly two and a half hour workshop is held for six weeks. DSMP covers a number of topics including, hyper/hypoglycemia, anger, fear, depression, exercise, appropriate use of medication, and healthy eating habits. We are fortunate to be able to add this highly acclaimed program at no cost beginning Mondays, Jan. 22, from 1 to 3:30 p.m. Register in the Senior Center office.

AARP Tax-Aide will offer tax assistance beginning in February on Tuesdays and Fridays from 8:30 to 11 a.m. Call the Senior Center to make an appointment at 860-568-4281.

The East Hartford Senior Center is offering day trips now. The first trip is to Westchester Broadway Theatre to see "A Chorus Line" on Thursday, March 29. Westchester Dinner Theatre located in Elmsford, N.Y. and is a theater that features fine dining and full scale musical productions. Once seated at a reserved table, guests will select from a menu and enjoy a pre-show lunch. Sign up in the Senior Center office. Checks may be made payable to Friendship Tours and the cost is $110 per person. Flyers are available in the Senior Center foyer.

The East Hartford Senior Center is closed when the East Hartford Public Schools are closed due to bad weather. The East Hartford Senior Center and the New to You Thrift Shop are also closed. All Senior Center programs, activities, classes, transportation services and lunches are canceled. Senior Services staff is available by phone, however. If there is a school delay, the East Hartford Senior Center will open as scheduled. If you have any questions about weather-related closings, please call the Senior Center. Senior Center closings will be posted on local TV stations when possible.

Get your tickets to the rock and roll dance on Friday, Jan. 19, from 6 to 8 p.m., for $5 per person. The FullKrew Dance Party is a great opportunity to warm up this winter. This local band plays fun, dancing music and keep you on the dance floor. Dessert is sponsored by Salmon Brook Center.

A 9/11 Memorial Museum trip: Wednesday, April 18. Upon arrival in NYC, grab a bite to eat at the new Brookfield Place. Your entry to the 9/11 Memorial pools and admission to the 9/11 Museum are included. There is a moderate amount of walking on this trip. The cost is $76 per person.

Harlem Tour: Thursday, June 21. $114 per person

Atlantic City & Cape May: Wednesday through Friday, Sept. 12 through 14. $339 per person double, $443 per person single.

The Bermuda Cruise on the Celebrity Summit is Aug. 19 through 26, for $1,099 per person. Mark your calendar for an Informational Trip Presentation on Friday, Feb. 9, at 1 p.m.at the Senior Center. Spend three days docked in King's Wharf/ Visit the pink sand beach at Horseshoe Bay, explore the Crystal Caves, Botanical Gardens or one of the many lighthouses. Included: Round trip transportation to New Jersey Pier, & nights aboard the Celebrity Summit, all meals on board with Celebrity's 5-star cuisine, award-winning entertainment, and a Ship Shop Cocktail Party on board.

Nature Walks

EAST HARTFORD-GLASTONBURY-ROCKY HILL-WETHERSFIELD — Free weekend winter walks are co-sponsored by the Great Meadows Conservation Trust, the Connecticut Audubon Society Center at Glastonbury and the Eleanor Buck Wolf Nature Center in Wethersfield. These events are held late in the morning or early afternoon every weekend from Jan. 7 to Feb 17 in parks and woods in Glastonbury, Wethersfield, Rocky Hill and East Hartford. Walkers should dress for the weather and ground conditions. Visit https://www.ctaudubon.org/glastonbury-programs-events for detailed information.

Meditation Classes

EAST HARTFORD — Meditation Classes at Odiyana Center, 36 Main St., will take place on ongoing Tuesdays at 10 a.m., Wednesdays at 7 p.m., Thursdays at 12:15 p.m. and Sundays at 10:30 a.m. Each class includes guided meditations, practical advice, discussion and Q & A. Classes are perfect for beginners and advanced meditators alike. Everyone is welcome.

Cost is $5 to $12 per class. No one is turned away for lack of funds. Visit meditationinconnecticut.org or call 860-266-6041 for more information.

Mobile Foodshare Schedule

EAST HARTFORD — The East Hartford Mobile Foodshare schedule for January is as follows. This program assists low income individuals/families. The Main and Burnside mobile site is now closed.

Hockanum Park Complex (75 Hamilton Road): 8:45-9:15 a.m. Monday: Jan. 22. When Town Hall is closed or East Hartford Schools have a delayed opening or are closed due to bad weather, Hockanum Park and Veterans Terrace Foodshare will be canceled that day. Also watch Channel 3 news or check their website: www.wfsb.com for cancellations.

Veterans Terrace Complex (102 Columbus Street): 10 to 10:30 a.m. Monday: Jan. 22. When Town Hall is closed or East Hartford Schools have a delayed opening or are closed due to bad weather, Hockanum Park and Veterans Terrace Foodshare will be canceled that day. Also watch Channel 3 news or check their website: www.wfsb.com for cancellations.

Summerfield Townhouses: (156 Plain Drive): 1:45 to 2:30 p.m. Wednesday: Jan. 24. When East Hartford Public Schools have an early dismissal or are closed due to bad weather, Summerfield Foodshare will be canceled that day. Also check https://www.facebook.com/#1!/SummerfieldTownhouses.

St. Isaac Jogues: (41 Home Terrace): 1:15 to 2 p.m. Monday: Jan. 29.

When East Hartford Schools are closed due to bad weather, Mayberry Foodshare will be canceled that day. Note the location change for winter distributions.

Free Braille Calendars

AREA — The Community Outreach Office of the National Federation of the Blind of Connecticut has 2018 Braille calendars, free of charge. For more information, contact info@nfbct.org or 860-289-1971.

Winter Concert Schedule

EAST HARTFORD — The community is invited to attend one or more of the East Hartford Public Schools' winter concerts that will take place in January and February. The elementary schools will feature the grade five chorus and the instrumental programs at the school. All events are free. Space is limited in the daytime concerts.

The East Hartford High School concert will feature the orchestra and all the choirs during the evening. Holiday selections from a variety of cultures and musical styles will be performed. Any questions about the events can be directed to Tracy Kane, Supervisor of the Fine and Performing Arts at 860-622-5971. Visit easthartford.org for specific school locations and snow dates.

Community Action Agencies Accepting Energy Assistance Applications

AREA — The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services just released $67,255,113 in Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funding. This amount is 90-percent of LIHEAP funds allocated for the State of Connecticut.

Connecticut residents struggling to pay their utility bills this winter can apply for home heating assistance through Connecticut's Community Action Agency Network. The Community Action Agencies (CAAs) are the only nonprofit agencies administering LIHEAP, which provides home heating assistance to Connecticut's most vulnerable residents. Each CAA has application intake sites throughout their service regions. Some sites may include local town halls, and customers should check with their local CAA for a complete site listing.

In Connecticut this program is called the Connecticut Energy Assistance Program (CEAP) and is housed under the Department of Social Services (DSS). The state's Community Action Agencies administer the $74M+ program locally in all 169 cities and towns. CAAs are now accepting CEAP applications for the 2017-2018 winter season and expect more applications in the coming weeks, especially as temperatures begin to drop. Homeowners and/or renters may apply, and funds may be used to pay for whatever source of heating residents have in their homes. This includes wood, electric, oil, kerosene, or natural gas.

CAAs will certify oil deliveries. They began Wednesday, Nov. 15, for those who heat with oil, propane, and deliverable fuels. May 1, 2018, is the last day households can apply for benefits unless the household is utility heated and has a shut off notice for its primary source of heat. May 15, 2018 is the last day a utility heated household with a shut off notice for its primary source of heat can apply for benefits.

Another protection for Connecticut's struggling families is the utility moratorium, or winter hardship, which provides protection for eligible households against heat source shut-offs between November 1st and May 1st. Gas and electric utilities cannot be shut off (summer or winter) if lack of the utility creates a life-threatening situation. If a customer is having trouble paying their utility bills during the winter moratorium period,

Community Action Agencies will work with them on affordable utility payment programs, including the Matching Payment Program (MPP) and Below Budget Payment Plans. MPP is a payment incentive program that allows eligible utility customers to maintain year-round electric and gas service and pay an agreed-upon amount each month to pay down the balance on their heating bill. If customers cannot afford the utility payment plan, CAAs work with the customer and can submit a Below Budget Payment Plan based on the household income and expenses.

A CEAP benefit to a household automatically makes that household eligible for weatherization services. So, in addition to heating assistance, CAAs will refer customers to those agencies providing weatherization services, which helps minimize energy-related costs and fuel usage in homes through retrofits and home improvement measures. Additionally, there are funds available this year through the CAA for heating system repair and replacement if such services are deemed necessary and as the amount of funds allocated allow. Lastly, when a customer comes to a CAA for energy assistance, the agency will also assist customers in accessing other benefits for which they may be eligible including SNAP and other food programs, financial counseling, child care, and case management.

Connecticut's poorest families struggle each and every year to heat their homes in this a state with one of the highest utility rates in the country; customers many times having to choose between heating and eating or heating and paying for their medicines. CEAP allows them to not only cover high home energy costs and keep warm during the cold winter months, but gives low-income families the opportunity to address other critical, basic needs, rather than having to choose between them. Any resident who needs help paying their heating bill this winter should contact their Community Action Agency immediately.

For more information on Connecticut's Energy Assistance Program, how to find your local CAA to apply, or to make a donation, visit www.cafca.org or contact the Connecticut Association for Community Action (CAFCA), 144 Clinton Street, New Britain, CT, 06053, 860-832-9438.

Fiber Crafts

EAST HARTFORD — Fiber crafters are invited to gather together at the East Hartford Public Library in an upcoming series of programs at 840 Main St.

The library will welcome quilters on Monday nights and other fiber crafters -- knitting, crochet, tatting -- on Wednesday nights, every other week. No experience is necessary. The program will run from 6 to 7:30 p.m. and no registration is required.

These informal gatherings will be a fun and safe space to practice your craft with other crafters, to learn from each other, meet new friends, and find your common thread with others. Facilitating the program will be Elizabeth Morin and Effie Dibenedetto, librarians who enjoy fiber crafts.

For dates and more information, visit www.easthartfordct.gov/library or call the library at 860-290-4329.

Working Cities Challenge

EAST HARTFORD — East Hartford has been selected to participate, competing with nine other towns and cities across Connecticut, in the Working Cities Challenge. Developed by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, this Challenge is a multiyear, multistate funding initiative that is designed to foster economic growth in smaller industrial cities in New England, with community based efforts to tackle social and economic challenges.

The East Hartford Working Cities Challenge Team has been working on a design to meet the specific economic and social challenges of the Silver Lane Community. Key partners have been the Town of East Hartford, the United Way of Central and Northeastern CT, CT Center for Advanced Technology (CCAT), the Department of Labor, Goodwin College, Hall Keen Management of Summerfield Townhomes, and other key industry leaders and residents.

Residents may visit https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/working_cities_community_2017_2018 to take a community survey about employment and education experiences.

For more information, contact Paul Mainuli, Director of Business Services for the East Hartford Public Schools at 860-622-5135.

Donations Sought: Back-To-School Program

EAST HARTFORD — The East Hartford Social Services Division will be transitioning their Back-to-School Supplies Program to a Back-to-School Shoe Program.

Donations are currently being sought for the newly established "Payless Back-to-School Shoe Program." These funds will be used to purchase discounted Payless Shoe gift cards to distribute to the students previously served by the "Back-to-School Supplies Program."

The goal of the program is to provide parents with a $25 one time use gift card to Payless ShoeSource. Any individual, organization or group wishing to find out more about this program or make a donation are encouraged to contact Social Services at 860-291-7248. Checks should be made payable to: Payless Back-to-School Shoe Program and are fully tax deductible.

Smoke Alarm Installations

EAST HARTFORD — The Connecticut American Red Cross and the East Hartford Fire Department are offering free smoke alarms and installation to residents in East Hartford. Installations took place on Friday, Aug. 4. Residents can schedule a visit on the Connecticut Chapter of the American Red Cross's website or by calling 877-287-3327 and choosing option 1 on the menu to request a smoke alarm installation.

Visit http://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/fire/prevent-home-fire for fire safety tips.

Thrift Store Volunteer Opportunities

EAST HARTFORD — The East Hartford Senior Center's 'New to You' thrift store is seeking volunteers to help with two positions. The first is testing a variety of donated electronics, everything from flashlights to computers.

The store is also looking for someone to manage Craigslist postings: photography, descriptions, pricing, and meeting buyers will be done by staff. For information about volunteering, contact Kathy Kane at 860-569-5659. Proceeds directly benefit Seniors through the East Hartford Senior Center, 70 Canterbury St.

CoDA Meets Tuesdays

EAST HARTFORD — Co-Dependents Anonymous, CoDA, is a 12-step fellowship of men and women whose common purpose is recovery from co-dependence and the development and maintenance of healthy relationships. The local CoDA meetings are on Tuesdays, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Faith Lutheran Church, 1120 Silver Lane. Call Dan at 860-836-6566 for details.

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