Stuff The Mini With Art Supplies
AREA — For the past three years, New Country MINI of Hartford has been making the holidays warmer for school children by sponsoring a winter clothing drive. But this year, the Hartford Public School District has asked the dealership for art supplies instead to replenish classrooms that are running low on resources. From now through Dec. 20, the New Country MINI 4th Annual 'Stuff the Mini to the Max' program will collect supplies to give city students the gift of creativity this season.
The wish list includes markers (Crayola or Sharpies), paper of all kinds (construction, drawing, cardstock, tissue, posterboard), paint (tempera, watercolor, acrylic), clay (Model Magic, Plaster of Paris), glue (liquid and sticks), pencils (colored and regular) and fibers (pipe cleaners, felt, yarn in various colors: three of each color).
Donations will be accepted at the New Country MINI showroom located at 236 Reverend Moody Overpass in Hartford. The items will then be distributed to students at the Hartford school's Welcome Center on Thursday, Dec. 21.
To make donating even easier, Staples office supply stores are serving as collection sites. MINI's will be parked at Bishop's Corner, 2550 Albany Avenue in West Hartford, Putnam Bridge Plaza 49 Putnam Blvd. in Glastonbury, Berlin Turnpike in Newington and Tri-City Plaza in Vernon, for shoppers to drop off supplies.
Pictured from last year's drive is Tim Parker, Vice President of New Country Motor Cars, Dr. Leslie Torres-Rodriguez, Hartford Public School Superintendent and others, who helped Hartford students choose a new coat collected during New Country's 3rd Annual "Stuff the MINI to the Max" campaign.
PJ Day For The Kids
STATEWIDE — On Friday, Dec. 8, students and business partners all across Connecticut will don PJs, standing together in support of patients at Connecticut Children's Medical Center who wear their PJs for days, weeks or longer while fighting cancer and serious illness. All funds raised benefit the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Connecticut Children's.
PJ Day was started by a 7-year-old boy who was forever grateful for lifesaving cancer treatment his baby sister received at Connecticut Children's. While the event was intended to be a local show of gratitude and support, it has become a viral sensation, gaining wide support throughout the state.
Students and staff at over 180 Connecticut schools will be joined by 50 plus Dunkin Donuts, Aetna, all Highland Park Market locations, Connecticut Children's Medical Center staff and numerous businesses, religious organizations and civic groups. The Helen and Harry Gray Cancer Center at Hartford Hospital has even created at team, showing support for the brave kids who often receive radiation treatments there as a part of their cancer treatment.
Led by State Representatives Tim Ackert and Christie Carpino, legislation was also proposed, naming the second Friday of each December as PJ Day. Nick Wesoloskie, now 13, who started PJ Day in 2011, spoke at the Capitol on behalf of public act 17-204 and it was passed this year. PJ Day is an official way for everyone across Connecticut to stand a stand against childhood cancer and illnesses that affect children in the state.
Donations of $1 or more will be accepted in exchange for the chance to wear PJs to school or work. Visit give.connecticutchildrens.org/pjday for online registration. Business sponsorship opportunities are also available and individuals can make donations at the above URL.
GLASTONBURY — The Federated Woman's Club of Glastonbury will be sponsoring a craft and vendor fair at the Riverfront Community Center, 300 Welles St., on Saturday, Dec. 9, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Approximately 75 crafters and vendors will be in attendance. Admission is free.
Glastonbury Author To Read at Mark Twain House
HARTFORD — Glastonbury author Susanne Davis will read from her debut collection of short stories, "The Appointed Hour," at the Mark Twain House, 351 Farmington Ave., at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 12. The collection, published by Cornerstone Press is due out Dec. 7.
Set in rural Connecticut, "The Appointed Hour" is about characters whose roots run deep in the land. In one story a woman experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder finds her voice in communion with other women and in another, a Mayflower descendant wrestles with the legacy of a controversial monument that honors his ancestor.
The book is available for pre-order on the Cornerstone Press website at www.uwsp.edu/english/cornerstone and will also be available on Amazon. Davis is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and she teaches creative writing at Trinity College and the University of Connecticut. Her stories have been featured in the Notre Dame Review and American Short Fiction, and she is a past winner of the Hemingway First Novel Competition, a finalist for the Reynolds Price Short Fiction Award, and the runner-up in the University of Kentucky Press New Poetry and Prose Series competition. She offers private writing workshops in Glastonbury.
Tickets for the reading are $5 and benefit the Mark Twain House and Perception Programs. To purchase tickets call the Mark Twain House at 860-247-0998. Visit www.susannedavis.com for more information on Davis.
GLASTONBURY — A poetry reading by Sarah Giragosian will take place from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 8, at the CT Audubon Society Center, 1361 Main St.
Tickets are $5 per person. Register online at www.ctaudubon.org/poetry or by calling 860-633-8402.
Giragosian will read poems from her book, "Queer Fish," a winner of the American Poetry Journal Book Prize. Sarah is a former Connecticut Audubon Society volunteer and her poetry has been inspired by her experiences with the animals in the center.
Focus On Nature
GLASTONBURY — The Focus On Nature photography will take place at the CT Audubon Society Center, 1361 Main St. For more information, call 860-633-8402.
Local photographers Jennifer Prat and Bill Canosa are the artists. Canosa has been juried in the Guilford CT Shoreline Arts Alliances Images contest as well as having several of his photos published in Animal Planet Magazine. Prat is a Fairﬁeld based photographer and writer who grew up hiking in the White Mountains, skiing wherever anyone would let her, and sailing around Long Island Sound. Register online at www.ctaudubon.org/focus or call 860-633-8402.
The show and sale will continue during normal Center hours, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday through Dec. 28.
Cub Scout Pack 241's 2017 Ornament
GLASTONBURY — Cub Scout Pack 241 has been honoring Glastonbury heritage for 27 years by introducing 100-percent pewter ornaments that are made in Connecticut. Each year features a different Glastonbury theme. As its only fundraiser, all proceeds support Pack 241 Cub Scouts activities.
This year the Scouts are trying to raise funds to sleep in the USS Massachusetts Battleship in Fall River, Mass. This year's ornament features The Glastonbury Trolley. The new 2017 ornament and all past 26 years are available at Emmy Lou's, 17 Hebron Ave., in the heart of central Glastonbury. Ornaments can also be ordered by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org; each ornament is $9 and the entire set can be purchased at the discounted price of $207.
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 starting 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.
Special Needs Hockey Team Recruiting New Players
AREA — The Connecticut Chasers, an ice hockey team for individuals with physical and intellectual disabilities, is recruiting new players for the 2017-18 season, running from Nov. 4, through March 10, 2018.
Weekly practices are at Simsbury Farms Skating Rink in Simsbury from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
The team is looking for players of all abilities and skill levels ages 8 and up. "Learn to Skate" sessions are offered for those new to the ice.
Prospective players and their families are invited to attend a practice to see the fun for themselves. Some equipment is available to borrow for anyone who wants to try a practice session before joining.
Athletes from throughout the Greater Hartford Area and beyond are welcome. Current players are from Avon, Canton, Ellington, Farmington, Glastonbury, Simsbury, South Windsor, and Windsor.
The Chasers were founded in 1997 by former Hartford Whaler Kelly Chase and the Connecticut Down Syndrome Congress to provide a team experience for the players while helping them improve their self-esteem, social skills, gross motor skills and coordination. The team is a proud member of the American Special Hockey Association and Special Hockey International.
Last season, the Chasers had the honor of serving as "Blue Line Buddies" for the Hartford Wolf Pack, standing on the ice with the team during the National Anthem before a game at the XL Center. The Chasers are looking for similar opportunities this season.
The team also has scrimmages with the Southern Connecticut Storm of Bridgeport and the East Coast Jumbos of Hopkinton, Massachusetts. Email Ctchasershockey@gmail.com for more information.