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CTNOW

Community News For The Vernon Edition

Christmas Eve Services

ROCKVILLE — Christmas Eve Services at Rockville United Methodist Church, 142 Grove St., will take place at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 24. The 4 p.m. service is a candlelight service. Visit www.rockumchurch.com/home for more information.

Animal Embassy

ELLINGTON — Come to the Hall Memorial Library, 93 Main St., at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 26, to learn about and meet, up close and personal, some wonderful animals from Animal Embassy of Stamford. The program, appropriate for children ages 4 and up, will last about one hour. Preparing for Winter will teach children how a variety of animals prepare for the challenges of the winter season. Families will meet various Animal Ambassadors such as a rabbit, an African bullfrog, an Axolotl, a duck and more. Free tickets for this program are available at the Children's Circulation Desk on a first come- first serve basis. For more information, call the library at 860-870-3160.

Arts Center East Events

VERNON — Arts Center East, 709 Hartford Turnpike, is hosting the following events.

December Paint Night: Matisse's Cat with Goldfish. No experience necessary. Date: Thursday, Dec, 28, from 7 to 9 p.m. Fee: $35. Includes paints, canvas, brushes and refreshments.

Winter Classes: Zentangle. Create beautiful artwork using intricate patterns on paper tiles. Repeat students are welcome. Instructor: Elizabeth Krall. Dates: Monday, Feb. 5 to March 19. No class Feb. 12. Time: 10 a.m. to noon. Fee: $125, plus $10 for materials. Make check payable to Arts Center or pay online at artscentereast.org. 10-percent discount for ACE members.

Pastel Painting – All Levels Welcome. Topics will include building a strong composition, understanding values, creating light and shadow, and developing a cohesive color harmony. All levels of experience are welcome. Instructor: Jane Penfield. Dates: Tuesday, Jan. 9 through Feb. 20. No Class on Feb. 13. Six classes. Time: 1 to 3:30 p.m. Fee: $175. Make check payable to Arts Center East or pay online at artscentereast.org. 10-percent discount for members.

Writing Workshop: Through in-class prompts and instructor-led discussions, you'll learn to create engaging characters, develop a compelling plot and hone your personal voice. You will write stories based on your life experiences, your imagination, or a combination of both. The workshop will also explore the many paths to publishing. Instructor: C. Flanagan Flynn

Dates: Wednesdays, Jan. 17 through Feb. 28. No Class Feb. 14. Six classes. Time: 10 a.m. to noon. Fee: $125. Make checks payable to Arts Center East or pay online at artscentereast.org. 10-percent discount for members.

Weekly Ongoing Watercolor Class: Ongoing watercolor classes are taught using a step by step paint-along method which students of all levels, including beginners, find fun and easy to follow.

Instructor Beth Parys has enjoyed teaching watercolor classes and workshops in the Connecticut/ Massachusetts area for the past 15 years. Dates: Thursday mornings

Time: 9:30 a.m. to noon. To register or for more information, visit www.artscentereast.org or call Beth Parys at 413-245-3295.

Vernon Parks & Recreation Events

VERNON — Vernon Parks & Recreation is offering the following events. For more information, visit www.vernonrec.org or call 860-870-3520.

Move N' Groove: This parent/child class will be sure to get your child up and dancing to the beat, moving to the music and having fun. Ms Jess with Beyond Dance will be instructing the class. This program is for children ages 18 to 36 months. Parent participation is required. Classes will be held continuously in four-week sessions and participants are welcome to start at any point. Thursdays: 10:30 to 11:15 a.m. Vernon Teen Center Fitness Room. Fee: $40 for four-week session increments, beginning Jan. 4. Drop-in fee: $12 per class.

Preschool Fitness: Get your little ones on their feet and ready to have some fun. This program is a for children ages 3 to 5 years old. Participants will play fun games with hula hoops, parachutes, sing songs, skip, jump and much more. This class will help your child develop motor, listening and social skills. Tuesdays, Jan. 9 to 30; 5:30 to 6:15 p.m. Fridays, Jan. 12 to Feb. 2; 9:30 to 10:15 a.m. Vernon Teen Center Fitness Room. Fee: Residents, $35; Non-Residents, $45.

Youth Wrestling: Jan. 5 to Feb. 23, Ages 5 to 7, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.; Ages 8 to 12; 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Rockville High School Wrestling Room. Fee: Residents, $45; Non-residents, $55.

Snowman/Snow Sculpture Contest: The Vernon Parks and Recreation Department is holding the annual snowman/snow sculpture contest for all residents in Vernon. To enter in the contest, email parksandrec@vernon-ct.gov with a picture of your snowman or sculpture to the Vernon Parks & Recreation Dept. Include the photo, your name, address and phone number in the email. If you do not have access to email, you must take a picture and bring a copy of the photo to the Parks & Rec office at 120 South Street. Judging will take place as entries are submitted. Entries must be submitted by March 2. Winners will be announced in mid-March.

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.

MOMS Club Open House

BOLTON-VERNON — Join the MOMS Club of Vernon and Bolton at an open house. Local mothers and children are invited to drop in to the children's program room at the Rockville Public Library, 52 Union St., on Thursday, Jan. 18, from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Meet club members and share in story time and an activity. The MOMS Club is all about offering support to mothers of young children in Vernon and Bolton. They host weekly activities for moms and children, seasonal events and parties, and a monthly MOMS night out. For questions, email vbmomsclub@gmail.com or visit MomsClubOfVernonAndBolton on Facebook.

Membership Night

ELLINGTON — The Ellington Lions Club will be holding a membership night on Thursday, Dec. 21, at 6:30 p.m. at the Ellington Senior Center, 40 Maple St. All are invited to attend. The speaker will be District Governor Hilary Kumnich, who will present how Lions embrace their roles as "Global Leaders in Community and Humanitarian Service." Pizza, salad and dessert will be available. A small donation will be asked to cover expenses.

Movies At The Library

ELLINGTON — Escape the holiday madness with popcorn and a movie at Hall Memorial Library, 93 Main St. The schedule is as follows: All Saints (rated PG-13) on Thursday, Dec. 21, at 1 p.m.; and Stronger (rated R) on Wednesday, Dec. 27, at 6:30 p.m. and Thursday, Dec. 28, at 1 p.m. Visit www.library.ellington-ct.gov for more information.

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. 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. Dates to read to the dogs are Jan. 13 and 27 and Feb. 10 and 24.

Online registration is recommended and is ongoing. To register, visit www.library.ellington-ct.gov 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.

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.

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.

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 newenglandcivilwarmuseum.com 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 jgauthier@vernon-ct.gov 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.

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.

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