Community News For The Glastonbury Edition

Job Workshop

WATERFORD — HR expert Carol Kardas of Avon will conduct a workshop for The Alliance targeted to individuals starting their first job with a nonprofit organization or newly graduating individuals taking on their first job.

The workshop will be held at The Alliance, 1055 Hartford Turnpike, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, Dec. 15. Kardas is co-founder of KardasLarson, a leading HR consulting firm based in Glastonbury.

The title of the workshop is "Nonprofit Onboarding: How do you work in the workplace?" To learn more about the workshop, visit ctnonprofitalliance.org or call The Alliance at 860-525-5080.

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.

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 cubscouts@pack241.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.

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