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Community News For The East Hartford Edition

Blue Star Flag Flies For Deployed Firefighters

EAST HARTFORD — Continuing a long standing tradition, the East Hartford Fire Department is flying the Blue Star Flag at each fire station to recognize the overseas service of two of its members. Lieutenant Nicholas Calsetta and Firefighter/Paramedic Darrel Hanrahan are both deployed overseas with units of the Connecticut Air National Guard.

A tradition lasting to the First World War, the Blue Star Banner and its associated flag is a federally recognized symbol indicating that a family member is serving overseas in the Armed Forces. The East Hartford Fire Department has flown the flag for each deployment of a department member since 2010. Visit https://www.legion.org/troops/bluestar for more information about the Blue Star Banner.

Mental Illness Support Groups

EAST HARTFORD — The Manchester affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness will hold a support group on the first Thursday of the month at the Crossroads Community Cathedral, 1492 Silver Lane, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. The NAMI Family Support Group is a peer-led support group for family members, caregivers and loved ones of individuals living with mental illness. Gain insight from the challenges and successes of others facing similar circumstances. Contact Dama at dayma436@gmail.com or Sandra at 860-461-6695 for more information.

Meditation Talk

EAST HARTFORD — The Practice of Meditation, a free public talk, will take place from 10:30 a.m. to noon Sunday, Sept. 10, at Odiyana Center, 36 Main St. Resident Teacher Kelsang Khyenwang will give a talk on the power and joy of the practice of meditation and then guide a brief meditation. Everyone is welcome. For more info, visit meditationinconnecticut.org or call 860-266-6041.

Students Head Back To School

EAST HARTFORD — Children across the state are heading back to school and the East Hartford Police Department wants to remind all drivers to stop when the lights on school buses are flashing red. Connecticut State law requires that drivers stop for school buses that are flashing red warning lights, on all undivided highways whether they are approaching or behind the school bus. Failure to stop can cause serious consequences. Failure to obey this law carries fines for motorists starting at $465 for the first offense.

East Hartford Police Chief Scott Sansom offers these safety tips to remember: Have a safe place to wait for your bus and enter and exit the bus away from traffic; Stay away from the bus until it comes to complete stop and the driver signals you to enter; When being dropped off, children should exit the bus and walk ahead of it before crossing in front as the bus driver can see you better; Use the handrails to enter and exit the bus; Children should be aware of their surroundings and be extra careful while crossing the street as not all drivers obey the law; Children should always look both ways before crossing any street. If children have questions regarding their safety or the behavior of other riders during their trip, they should bring their concerns to their parents, police, or school officials immediately to ensure the safety of all.

Over the next couple of weeks, officers will be stepping up enforcement in school zones and bus routes to ensure that the motoring public is obeying traffic laws so our children can stay safe.

Renters Rebate Program

EAST HARTFORD — East Hartford Social Services reminds residents that they are continuing to accept applications for the State of Connecticut, Office of Policy and Management, Renters Rebate Program. Applications are being accepted on a walk-in basis, no appointments necessary, every Tuesday in September, between 9:30 to 11 a.m. and 2 to 3 p.m.

This program may provide elderly and disabled renters with a small refund check based on the amount of rent and utilities they paid in 2016. At the time you apply, please make sure that you bring all of the following documentation with you, which applies to your situation:

Eligibility requirements are: 65 years of age or older or 100-percent disabled, age 18 or older (by 12/31/16); 2016 GROSS income (including all Social Security benefits) must not have exceeded $42,900 for a married couple or $35,200 for a single individual.

Required Income Documentation (all for calendar year 2016): Social Security Income (form SSA 1099) & SSI if applicable; Copy of 2016 Federal Income Tax Return, if filed, or 1099 forms for pensions, dividends, interest, stocks & bonds, etc.; W-2's from employment; Veterans Disability or Railroad Retirement; 100-percent disabled: Benefits Verification form from Social Security showing date disability began and proof of SSI benefit, along with other forms listed above, if applicable.

Required Expense Documentation: Rent receipts for 2016 (all 12 months); Utility bills you paid in 2016 (heat, gas, electric, only). NO telephone, cable or medical bills.

Applications cannot be processed without all of the required documentation. The 2017 application period ends on September 29, 2017. Questions can be directed to Social Services at 860-291-7248.

Mayor's Cleanup Day

EAST HARTFORD — The annual mayor's clean-up day will take place from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Sept. 16, at the Town Green on Main Street. Volunteers are needed.

The one day event is an expansion of Mayor Marcia Leclerc's townwide beautification efforts. Volunteers from local youth groups, churches, organizations, civic clubs, businesses and individuals are invited to join.

Community volunteers complete a "bridge-to-bridge" clean-up of Main Street and the gateways of East Hartford, weeding, cleaning and removing debris all along Main Street from Main and Pitkin up through Main and Burnside.

Local organizations, businesses and individuals interested in volunteering are asked to email mlarson@easthartfordct.gov or call 860-291-7200. Visit https://www.easthartfordct.gov/mayorscleanup/register to register online.

A celebratory lunch will be provided for all registered volunteers at noon. Community service hours can be completed during this time and certificates of participation will be provided upon request.

Walk To End Alzheimer's

EAST HARTFORD — The Alzheimer's Association Walk to End Alzheimer's will be held Sunday, Oct. 1, at Rentschler Field, 615 Silver Lane. Registration begins at 8 a.m. with the walk ceremonies starting at 9 a.m.

The Alzheimer's Association is a nonprofit organization. The Connecticut Chapter provides hundreds of help line calls, performs Care Consultations and many Educational Programs where over 150 people attended from all over the state. All of these services are provided free of charge to the community. To register a team, visit alz.org and search for the local walk.

Senior Picnic

EAST HARTFORD — The East Hartford Senior Picnic, sponsored by the Commission on Aging and Mayor Marcia A. Leclerc, will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 12, at the Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Club, 200 Clement Road.

Doors will open at 10:30 a.m. and lunch will be served at 12:15 p.m. sharp. This year's menu includes BBQ chicken, hot dogs, hamburgers, salads and dessert. Dale Griffith of Into the Groove will provide musical entertainment. Door prizes will be awarded throughout the afternoon. Tickets are $6 each or $10 for non-residents and will be sold at the South End Senior Center, 70 Canterbury St., through Sept. 8. Tickets will not be sold at the door. The theme is "Polynesian" and prizes will be awarded for best-dressed.

Bids, Bites And Beer

EAST HARTFORD — From 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 7, the CT River Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Jordan Porco Foundation will be hosting 'Bids, Bites & Beer,' at the Holiday Inn Hartford Downtown, 100 East River Drive.

The evening will include live and silent auctions. In celebration of Sept. 7 being National Beer Lover's Day, guests will enjoy a variety of tastings from craft breweries, in addition to wines, spirits and a full cash bar. Locally-sourced food pairings have been supported by Glastonbury farm Killam & Bassette.

A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Jordan Porco Foundation, founded in 2011 by Ernie and Marisa Porco after they lost their son, Jordan, to suicide when he was a freshman in college. The auction takes place during national Suicide Awareness week and the mission of the Jordan Porco Foundation is to prevent suicide, promote mental health, and create a message of hope for young adults.

Tickets are $50 and must be purchased in advance. Register at crvchamber.org and more information, to donate or sponsor, contact the Chamber at 860-659-3587.

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.

Historical Society Of East Hartford Museum

EAST HARTFORD — The East Hartford Historical Society at Martin Park is open for the 2017 summer season from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday afternoons during August. The Park location is at 307 Burnside Ave. The 1761 Makens Bemont House, also known as the Huguenot House, is restored to its original 18th century appearance with period furnishings. Also open is the 1821 Goodwin Schoolhouse and the 1850 Burnham Blacksmith Shop. Tours are free; donations are accepted. Visit www.hseh.org or call 860-528-0716 for more information.

Farmers Market

EAST HARTFORD — The East Hartford Farmers Market begins its 25th year of operation. The market will be open Fridays through Oct. 27, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Raymond Library, 840 Main St.

All Connecticut farmers markets are affiliated with the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Farmer's Market Coupon Program. They are authorized to accept their produce and vegetable vouchers.

The Farmers Market is Co-sponsored by East Hartford Health Department and the East Hartford Public Libraries. These organizations and other agencies will conduct health, education and outreach activities at the market, and representatives from the Health Department's Community Nursing Services Division, the VFW, East Hartford Childplan and First Choice Community Health Center will be there. Special events will be announced as the season progresses.

New Taxes Billing System

EAST HARTFORD — Tax Collector Iris Laurenza is reminding residents that the first installment of real estate, motor vehicle and personal property tax for the fiscal year was due effective July 1.

Residents wishing their payment to be marked as on time should complete or postmark payment on or before August 1, 2017. Late payments are subject to an interest charge of 1 1/2 percent per month from the due date of July 1, 2017, with a minimum interest payment of $2.

Residents are reminded that failure to receive a tax bill does not excuse residents from paying the tax or added penalties. Residents with questions about vehicles which were sold, stolen or destroyed should contact the East Hartford Assessor's Office at 860-291-7260. Residents requesting a receipt with mailed tax payments should include a self-addressed stamped envelope.

The Town has an online billing system, InvoiceCloud, which saves time, reduces errors, and allows paperless billing. Residents will be able to access their bill at any time, from anywhere. Residents who register can take advantage of payment scheduling and auto-pay features which save time and prevent missed bills. The new system can also send payment reminders by email or SMS text message and includes pay by text functionality for those who have set up a profile with a payment method. Residents can choose from a range of online payment options, including credit, debit, ACH and Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT). Please note that there may be fees associated with different online payment methods.

For more information about the online bill payment system or to pay your bill, visit http://www.easthartfordct.gov/tax-collector.

Summer Reading

EAST HARTFORD — The East Hartford Public Schools are joining together with the East Hartford Public Library, 840 Main St., to sponsor a summer reading program.

The East Hartford Public Library has reading programs for adults, teens, school-aged children and preschoolers. Registration is open now, when participants can start logging their reading into our new mobile-friendly online system. The library summer reading program also counts towards the Governor's Summer Reading challenge, a project of the Connecticut State Library and the CT Department of Education.

To register for summer reading, visit the library's website at www.easthartfordct.gov/library and click on the "Summer Reading" menu item on the left side of our website. Click on the link for the relevant program: children's, teen, or adult. Click the "join here" link if you're signing up one person, or click the "enter family management portal" purple button to sign up multiple family members.

For the children's program, participants keep track of the time they spend reading or listening to books. All reading counts. When children enter their minutes into the mobile-friendly online system, they are automatically entered into a weekly prize drawing. The online summer reading portal also includes a game feature that allows children to earn digital badges as they read and interact with the program. Children, teens, and adults all earn chances to win weekly raffle prizes donated by local businesses.

In addition to the online summer reading program, which can be done anywhere, on any Internet-connected device, the library offers an exciting lineup of summer programs. Visit the newly renovated and expanded Raymond Library at 840 Main St. for music, movies, hula hooping, dancing, playgroup, LEGO bricks and Mindstorms, animals, craft programs, and more.

Visit the East Hartford Public Library website for more information and to register for summer reading at www.easthartfordct.gov/library or call the library at 860-290-4329.

Bulky Waste Permits

EAST HARTFORD — Residents may begin purchasing bulky waste permits for the next fiscal year of 2018. All current year permits expired on June 30.

New permits and ticket books may be purchased at the Public Works Administration Office located at 61 Ecology Drive. Permits may also be obtained by mailing a completed application, along with a check and a copy of the resident's photo ID or other document showing proof of residency, to Town of East Hartford Public Works, 740 Main Street, East Hartford, CT 06108.

Residents should be aware that, due to the popularity of the Bulky Waste program, there may be delays in purchasing permits at the DPW office. Residents are advised to visit the Public Works Office prior to their arrival to obtain pertinent information and forms to assist in processing their application and avoid delays. The office is open Monday through Friday, from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Being prepared with the proper documentation can also speed up the process. Residents are reminded that a valid Connecticut driver's license (or non-driver ID), as well as a tax bill and/or utility bill as documentation of residency is needed to complete the application. Residents can also print and fill out the Bulky Waste permit application from the Town website which will expedite the process. The application can be accessed at the following link: https://www.easthartfordct.gov/waste-services

Annual permit fees are $15 for senior residents and $35 for all others. Permit holders will receive a book of five tickets for use at the transfer station and two appointments for curbside service. Supplemental books of five tickets each may be purchased for $30 each. Supplemental tickets will not expire, but the user must have a valid permit to access the Transfer Station. Owners of 1-6 family properties and renters are eligible. Accepted forms of payment include cash, check or credit/debit card, with a $3 fee.

Residents may continue to drop off recyclables including leaves and grass, cardboard, single stream items, waste oil, textiles, Paint Care approved paint products, mattresses and electronics at the Transfer Station free of charge without a permit by showing an East Hartford photo ID.

Questions about the bulky waste program and fees may be answered by calling 860-291-7363. Information is also available on the Internet at www.easthartfordct.gov.

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.

Operation Fuel Offering Energy Assistance

HARTFORD — Operation Fuel's statewide network of fuel banks started taking energy assistance applications on Wednesday, July 5, from households that are in financial crisis and are in danger of having their utility services terminated.

Individuals who need energy assistance should call 211. The annual winter moratorium, which prevents households from having their electricity and gas shut off, ended on May 1 and will not resume until November 1, 2017.

Energy affordability is a year-round problem for more than 322,000 Connecticut households. Operation Fuel is Connecticut's only statewide nonprofit energy assistance program. For the fiscal year, which ends June 30, Operation Fuel has provided over $3.3 million in energy assistance to more than 7,830 households. This includes $2.1 million in energy assistance for the 2017 winter program and $1.2 million in energy assistance last summer.

Now in its 40th year, Operation Fuel is a statewide nonprofit program that provides emergency energy assistance year-round to lower-income working families and individuals, the elderly, and disabled individuals who are in financial crisis.

For more information on Operation Fuel or to make a donation, go to www.operationfuel.org. Donations also can be sent to Operation Fuel, 75 Charter Oak Avenue, Suite 2-240, Hartford, CT, 06106.

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