The Travel Show is NEXT WEEK! Incredible giveaways, show only deals, kid’s activities, food and beverage sampling, and so much more!

Community News For The Vernon Edition

Winter Fest Coffeehouse

ROCKVILLE — Jacob's Well Coffeehouse will feature Catherine "Cat" Leigh and Heather Adams on Friday, Dec. 1. Due to the 6:15 p.m. Winter Fest fire engine parade and subsequent festivities in Central Park, the coffeehouse will start 30 minutes later than usual, at 7:30 p.m. Winter Fest participants are welcome to walk across the street and attend the coffeehouse at Bev's Corner Drop-in Center, 3 Elm St. Admission and refreshments are free. Dress is casual. The facility is handicapped-accessible.

Leigh is the founder of Child of God Ministries. Adams is a speaker, writer and singer with a passion for Christian ministry. Both women are from Bristol. For details and directions, visit or call 860-872-3190.

Arts Center East Events

VERNON — Arts Center East, 709 Hartford Turnpike, is hosting the following events. Visit to register or call 860-871-8222 for more information. Pictured is Night Day by Pamela Flynn.

Adult Classes offered are Zentangle, pastel painting, a writing workshop, painting with acrylics and watercolors.

Sixth Annual Artist Members Exhibit: Nov. 12 through Dec. 17; Gallery Hours: Thursday through Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m.

Monthly Book Club Meeting: Wednesday, Nov. 29, at 1:30 p.m. "The Zookeeper's Wife: A War Story," by Diane Ackerman, tells the true story of Antonina and Jan Zabinski who helped rescue hundreds of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II by hiding them in the empty animal enclosures at the zoo. ACE Members: Free; Non-members: $5 suggested donation.

Call for Crafters: The Holiday Arts and Crafts Festival and Sale will take place Dec. 7 through 10 and Dec. 14 through 17. Sale hours are 1 to 5 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Sunday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Eligible merchandise includes soap, jewelry, candles, textiles, stationery, ceramics, wood, and other craft items. All items must be hand-made. No paintings.

There is no table fee and vendors need not be present during the sale. Vendor commission: 70-percent. Sales tax will be added by Arts Center East. Visit for more information or an application.

November Paint Night: Have a fun night out as artist Anna Harding guides you step-by-step in the creation of a painting you can be proud of. No experience necessary. Date: Thursday, Nov. 30, 7 to 9 p.m. Fee: $35, Includes paints, canvas, brushes and refreshments.

At 2 p.m. Dec. 10, enjoy a performance by the Rockville High School Carolers. At 2 p.m. Dec. 16, listen to the Vernon Chorale.

Warming Hands, Warming Hearts Clothing Drive

BOLTON — On Wednesday, Nov. 29, the East of the River Chamber of Commerce Association will come together for the 4th annual Warming Hands, Warming Hearts warm winter clothing drive event at Georgina's Restaurant and Banquets, 275 Boston Turnpike.

The drive collects new hats, mittens, scarves and jackets at each chamber office and at the event. Admission to the regional gathering is a donation of something to keep the kids warm or $10, which will be disbursed to the designated charities.

The five participating Chambers that make up ERCCA consist of Connecticut River Valley in Glastonbury, Greater Manchester, North Central in Enfield, South Windsor and Tolland County in Rockville, which will all be collecting new donations for children in their area until the big event on Nov. 29 when they will each present the thousands of items to their nonprofit in their respective areas.

For more information on this event or to donate, visit or contact ERCCA at 860-659-3587. To drop off donations to a Chamber nearest you, collection boxes will be placed at each Chamber until Nov. 29. NEW donations of all children's sizes are desperately needed.

Friends' Holiday Cookie Platters

TOLLAND — The Friends of the Tolland Public Library are taking orders for their holiday cookie platters. Platters are $14 for a two-pound assortment of holiday favorites. Quantities are limited and pre-ordering is recommended. Orders and payment can be made at the circulation desk at the Tolland Public Library, 21 Tolland Green.

Platters will be available for pick-up on Saturday, Dec. 9, from 10 a.m. to noon at the Tolland Senior Center, 674 Tolland Stage Road.

Tree Lighting

TOLLAND — The Town of Tolland will hold its annual holiday tree lighting on Saturday, Dec. 2, at 4 p.m. on the Tolland Green.

Sponsored by the Permanent Celebration Committee, the event will feature visitors from the North Pole and entertainment by the Tolland High School Madrigal Singers, lead by choir teacher Linda Tracy. Refreshments will be provided.

The committee will also be collecting cash and non-perishable food donations for the Tolland Food Pantry. Items in need this holiday season are snack bars, crackers, pancake mix, syrup, pasta, macaroni and cheese, cold and hot cereal, rice and side dishes, soup, canned corn, baked beans, tuna and other canned meat, canned fruit and coffee and tea.

Ornament Workshop

ELLINGTON — Hall Memorial Library, 93 Main St., will hold its annual Christmas ornament workshop on Saturday, Dec. 2. This workshop is open to children ages 3 to 12 years of age.

Children five and under should be accompanied by an adult. Several sessions are available: 10 to 10:30 a.m.; 10:40 to 11:10 a.m.; and 11:20 to 11:50 a.m. Free tickets will be available for pick up at the Children's Circulation Desk beginning Nov. 25 at 10 a.m. Each ticket entitles a child to make four or five Christmas ornaments to take home and enjoy for the holidays. All library programs are free and open to the public. For more information, call the library at 860-870-3160.

Bus Trip To NYC

VERNON — VCMS is having a bus trip on Dec. 9 to New York City. Cost is $40 per person. Make payments to: VCMS Staff Club and send it to VCMS 777 Hartford Turnpike, Vernon, CT 06066, attention of Dianne Grimaldi, as soon as possible. Enjoy all the fun of the holidays in New York, seeing all the decorated windows, Christmas Tree and sights of New York. Anyone with questions may contact Stephanie at 860-872-9046.

Seasonal Enhancements To Central Park

VERNON — Mayor Daniel A. Champagne announced seasonal enhancements to Central Park that will work in tandem to bring both celebration and tribute to Rockville's downtown year-round.

Through the joint effort of the Parks and Recreation Department and the Public Works Department, two commemorative icons of Vernon; the new Gene Pitney Memorial Bench and Santa's House, will now be seasonally located in Central Park, across from Town Hall, for residents and visitors to enjoy throughout the year.

The Town of Vernon's Winterfest celebration is set to kick off on Dec. 1. During this time, the Memorial Bench will be housed in the Town Hall lobby, where an existing commemorative display in honor of Pitney, known as the Rockville Rocket.

Christmas Fair

VERNON — Talcottville Church, 10 Elm Hill Road, will host its Christmas Country Mini Fair from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2. The fair will feature a bake shop, gift baskets, a candy shoppe and luncheon.

Vernon Parks And Recreation

VERNON — The following activities are offered by Vernon Parks and Recreation.

New York City Bus Trip: Enjoy a fun day on your own in NYC on Saturday, Dec. 9. This is a perfect time of year to view the famous tree in Rockefeller Center, see the amazing windows decorated in the stores, shop for holiday gifts, and get tickets to a show. The bus will leave from the Vernon Teen Center at 8:30 a.m. to arrive in NYC at approximately 10:45 a.m. The bus will depart from NYC at 6:30 p.m. to arrive back in Vernon at approximately 9 p.m. Fee:: $45 per resident, $55 per non-resident.

Arctic Splash: The 9th Annual Arctic Splash is on Saturday, Dec. 2 Brave the icy December waters of Valley Falls for a great cause. Monies raised will benefit the Send-A-Kid to Camp Fund which provides Summer Camp scholarships to families in Vernon. Awards are presented for the most money raised by an individual, most money raised by an organization, best individual costume and best team costume.

Children's Holiday Workshop: Enjoy a morning of shopping and errand running while your child enjoys a fun filled morning of holiday craft and gift making, cookie decorating, games, and more. Ages 5-10; Saturday, Dec. 2, from 9 a.m. to noon. Vernon Teen Center. Fee: $15 per resident, $25 per non-resident. Unwrapped toy donations are accepted for the Toy for Tikes collection. Participants must be registered by Wednesday, Nov. 30. Space is limited.

Risley Pond Hike

VERNON — The Manchester Land Conservation Trust will lead a challenging hike at 1 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 26, starting at Risley Pond, the Trust's largest parcel of protected land, encompassing 155 acres of former farmland, meadow, and forest.

The strenuous 3.3-mile hike to a ridge has scenic views and interesting geological features along the way. The hike has rough and steep terrain with some wet spots. This free hike is part of the Connecticut Forest & Park ramble program. Hikers should wear sturdy shoes or boots, bring water, and expect to be on the trail for about two and a half hours. Extreme weather cancels. Visit for more information. Park in the Lake Street lot across from Amy Drive on the east side of Risley Pond; additional parking is available along Amy Drive.

Free To Be A Reader

TOLLAND — Renata Bowers, author of the Frieda B. series of children's books, will lead a "Free to Be a Reader" story time at Tolland Public Library, 21 Tolland Green, on Wednesday, Nov. 29, at 10:15 a.m. The event is free and open to all ages.

Renata will read from her book Frieda B. and the Zillabeast, focusing on Frieda B.'s love of reading, which is one of the main themes of the story. Each book is masterfully illustrated by revered children's book illustrator Michael Chesworth, best known for his illustrations of the Pippi Longstocking series.

To register for this story time, stop by the library desk or call 860-871-3620. Frieda B. books will be available for purchase and signing at the event.

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 or contact the Connecticut Association for Community Action (CAFCA), 144 Clinton Street, New Britain, CT, 06053, 860-832-9438.

Friends Of Bolton Lakes Event

VERNON — At 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 30, the Friends of Bolton Lakes will sponsor a forum at Camp Newhoca Lodge, 195 Grier Road, where Professor Timothy Ku and his Wesleyan University Environmental Geochemistry class will present their research on plant and sediment samples collected from Middle and Lower Bolton Lakes.

Their findings will highlight nutrient cycling and historical records of the lake environment, perhaps going back hundreds of years. The Friends of Bolton Lakes is an organization dedicated to protecting the Bolton Lakes, which are located in Bolton, Coventry, Tolland and Vernon. Email with questions.

Library Holiday Programs

ELLINGTON — Prepare for the holidays at Hall Memorial Library, 93 Main St., with the following programs.

At 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 5, join author and Happy Eating advocate Alissa Monteleone for mousse and chocolate-dipped fruit. Registration for this program is required and will close on Dec. 1.

The programs listed above are free unless otherwise noted, but pre-registration at is required or call the library at 860-870-3160 for assistance.

November movies are as follows: Wind River (rated R) on Wednesday, Nov. 29, at 6:30 p.m., and Thursday, Nov. 30, at 1 p.m.

Donations Needed

VERNON — The Vernon Historical Society will be having its annual Holiday Craft Fair and Sale on Saturday, Nov. 25, and Sunday, Nov. 26. In addition to the work of local crafters, the craft fair offers the popular "Nearly New" table with treasures and holiday items at reasonable prices.

Any donations are appreciated and the proceeds from the sale of the "Nearly New" items go to support the work of the Vernon Historical Society. Donated items can be dropped off at the Historical Society's Museum at 734 Hartford Turnpike on any Tuesday morning, 10 a.m. to noon, Thursday between 10 a.m. and noon and 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., as well as on the second and fourth Sundays of the month between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. To make other arrangements for bringing items to the museum or for further information, call the Society at 860-875-4326.

Leaf Collection Program

VERNON — Leaf collection will begin on Monday, Nov. 6. All leaves should be raked to the curb by this date to ensure collection. Do not be alarmed if you see DPW crews out the week before this date. They are testing the vacuum equipment and training our temporary leaf laborers.

All streets in the town of Vernon have been divided into three groups. Group A streets will be collected first and completed before leaf crews move on to Group B streets and so on. This program is dependent on weather. Under good conditions, the town expects to complete a group of streets in one to two weeks. Rain, snow or freezing temperatures will delay the program. All streets are guaranteed at least one pass. If time permits, DPW crews will make a second pass. However, residents are at their own risk whether to wait for a second pass or bag their leaves.

Do not rake leaves into the street or onto the sidewalk. This is a safety and flooding hazard as well as a violation of Ordinance No. 235, Sec. 7-20 and is punishable by a fine of $100.

Leaf bins will be open by mid-October. They are located at the Nye Street Firehouse (off West Street), the Church Street parking lot and at Legion Field (off Regan Road at rear of parking lot). Deposit leaves in the areas provided. Bins are for leaves only – no grass clippings or brush. Contamination caused by disposal of any other type of yard waste will result in leaf bin being shut down. Remove the container used to transport leaves. Plastic bags can be left in the trash barrel. Lawn-sized paper bags are recyclable and do not need to be emptied.

Bagged leaves cannot be put out for collection with regular trash. A pickup for bagged leaves may be scheduled for the first two Fridays in December; call the Public Works Office at 860-870-3500 to schedule. Both biodegradable paper bags and plastic lawn and leaf bags will be collected.

Read To The Dogs

ELLINGTON — Children ages 5 to 12 years have an opportunity to practice their reading skills by reading aloud to a very eager listener, who just happens to have four legs and a wagging tail. Healers with Halos, formerly Allen's Angels Therapy Dogs, will be at the Hall Memorial Library, 93 Main St., on Dec. 16. These therapy dogs are specially trained for this and other service events. Children are asked to choose a favorite story or perhaps, a chapter of a favorite book from home, to bring with them on these Saturday mornings between 10:30 and 11:30 a.m.

Online registration is recommended and is ongoing. To register, visit and click on the library event calendar. Choose the date you are interested in then, click on the sign-up hand. Children will get 10 to 15 minutes to read to one of the dogs. Parents will be asked to wait in the children's area of the library during the program. This and all children's programs are free and open to the public. For more information, call the library at 860-870-3160.

Parks And Rec Activities

VERNON — Vernon Parks and Recreation is offering the following events.

Zumba: Mondays & Wednesdays, 7 to 8 p.m., Center 375 Gym, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Vernon Teen Center Dance Room, Drop-in rate: $8 per class.

New York City Bus Trip: Enjoy a fun day on your own in NYC on Sat, Dec. 9. This is a perfect time of year to view the famous tree in Rockefeller Center, see the amazing windows decorated in the stores, shop for holiday gifts, and get tickets to a show. The bus will leave from the Vernon Teen Center at 8:30 a.m. to arrive in NYC at approximately 10:45 a.m.The bus will depart from NYC at 6:30 p.m. to arrive back in Vernon at approximately 9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9. Fee: $45 per resident; $55 per non-resident.

CPR Classes

VERNON — A Heartsaver CPR/AED course will take place at the Public Safety Complex, 280 West Road, on the following Wednesdays from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Dec. 13.

The price is $35 per person. Seating is limited. Email for more information or to register. The class is facilitated by certified American Heart Association Basic Life Support Instructors in the Vernon Fire Department.

Mattie's Togs

TOLLAND — Mattie's Togs, a thrift shop at St. Matthew Church, 111 Tolland Green, is open Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The shop features clothing for infants, boys and girls, as well as baptismal outfits, Halloween costumes, first communion dresses, flower dresses and more.

Strong Farm Seeks Volunteers

VERNON — On Saturdays from 9 to 11 a.m., Strong Family Farm welcomes volunteers to help do different projects at the farm such are weeding, raking, painting and more. There is no need to register ahead of time. Strong Family Farm is located at 274 West St. Email for more information.

Donations Needed

VERNON — The Vernon Historical Society will be having its annual holiday craft fair and sale on Saturday, Nov. 25, and Sunday, Nov. 26. In addition to the work of local crafters, the craft fair offers the popular Nearly New table with treasures and holiday items at reasonable prices.

Any donations are appreciated and the proceeds from the sale of the Nearly New items go to support the work of the Vernon Historical Society. Donated items can be dropped off at the Historical Society's Museum at 734 Hartford Turnpike on any Tuesday morning, 10 a.m. to noon; Thursday between 10 a.m. and noon and 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.; and the second and fourth Sundays of the month between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.

To make other arrangements for bringing items to the museum or for further information, call the Society at 860-875-4326.

Holiday Craft Fair

ELLINGTON — Local crafters and vendors are sought for the Ellington Senior Center Holiday Craft and Vendor Fair, taking place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2, at the Senior Center 40 Maple St.

Contact Samantha Baer at 860 870 3133 or with any questions or to register.

Civil War Museum Hours

ROCKVILLE — The New England Civil War Museum and Research Center is now open every Sunday, excluding holidays, from noon to 3 p.m. The museum is located on the second floor of the Vernon Town Hall at 14 Park Place. Visit for more information. There is no admission charge; donations are greatly appreciated.

Ellington Singers Seeking New Members

ELLINGTON — The Ellington Singers are looking for some new voices. Practice takes place at 10 a.m. Wednesdays at the Ellington Senior Center, 40 Maple St.

Members must be over the age of 55. No audition is necessary. Call the Ellington Senior Center at 860-870-3133 for more information.

Fire Dept. Seeking Former Members

VERNON — The Town of Vernon Fire Department is seeking retired and prior members from fire and EMS divisions to participate in a Recognition Walkway that will soon be constructed at the Public Safety Building on West Road.

They are hoping to connect with members that served prior to consolidation as well as those who have since left the department. Contact Jean Gauthier at 860-871-7468, option 2, or email for more information.

Historical Society Memorabilia

VERNON — Come to the Rockville Public Library, 52 Union St., and enjoy a trip down memory lane. In the library's main reading room, the Vernon Historical Society is displaying its collection of memorabilia from popular businesses, eateries and gathering places that served and entertained generations of people who lived, worked and played in the Rockville/Vernon community.

The Vernon Historical Society exhibit includes artifacts donated to the society from community members who want to preserve their memories of life in this town. For more information, call the Rockville Public Library at 860-875-5892, ext. 100.

Tolland Recycling Collection Changes

TOLLAND — The Town of Tolland is switching to every other week recycling collection services.

As of Friday, July 28, Tolland households began receiving a new 95 gallon blue recycling cart in order to hold enough recyclables for every other week collection services. Currently, most households have a 65 gallon blue recycling cart (some have 32 or 95). The new 95 gallon cart is similar in size to your green trash cart.

Options: You may keep your current sized gallon blue recycling cart and new 95 gallon blue recycling cart and can place both containers out for collection every other week. If you choose to keep both carts, you do not need to do anything.

If you feel your current sized gallon blue recycling cart is adequate to hold your recyclables for two weeks and do not want to receive a larger one, call or email Willimantic Waste or 1-800-286-5335.

If you wish to keep your new 95 gallon blue recycling cart and not keep your current sized gallon blue recycling cart, you will need to make arrangements to have the container picked up, call or email Willimantic Waste at or 1-800-286-5335.

Grief Support Group

VERNON — An ongoing grief support group is being held at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesdays at the First Congregational Church, 695 Hartford Turnpike. Anyone who has lost a loved one is welcome. Anyone with questions may call 860-875-7580.

MS Support Group

VERNON — The Vernon MS Support Group meets at the Trinity Lutheran Church, 20 Meadowlark Road, from 6 to 8 p.m., on the second Friday of each month. For more information contact Patty at 860-874-3220.

Copyright © 2018, CT Now