Cheerleading Team Raises Funds
WETHERSFIELD — The Wethersfield High School Cheerleading team recently held a T-shirt fundraiser with all profits going to the Hartford Hospital Digital Mobile Mammography unit. They raised over $225.
Newington Student Chosen For All-National Honor Choral Ensemble
NEWINGTON — Newington High School junior Eric Venables was one of only 21 Connecticut students chosen to perform in 2017 NAfME All-National Honor Mixed Choir Ensemble, which took place from Nov. 26 to 29 in Orlando, Fla.
The NAfME All-National Honor Ensembles represent the top performing instrumental and choral high school students in the country. Venables is one of only 21 Connecticut vocal music students who participated in the 2017 NAfME All-National Honor Ensembles, which include 609 students from 49 states in Concert Band, Mixed Choir, Symphony Orchestra, and Jazz Ensembles.
In late November, Venables joined just 34 other singers in the Bass II section for the Mixed Choir Ensemble which will be compiled of 281 students from throughout the country. The challenging repertoire was directed by one of the nation's top conductors, Dr. Z. Randall Stroope, Professor of Music & Director of Choral and Vocal Studies at Oklahoma State University.
Although he has always had a love for music, Venables did not join a school choir until his freshman year at Newington High School. His school music experience began in 4th grade, when he started on trumpet, but then quickly moved on to play the tuba. Since then, he has expanded his instrumental involvements to include playing tuba, trombone, and bass trombone, which he taught himself to play so that he could join the NHS Jazz Band.
In just over two years, Venables has been involved in many of the music opportunities that the high school offers including: Symphonic Band, Wind Ensemble, Marching Band, Jazz Band, Pit Orchestra, Music Theory II, AP Music Theory, Men's Chorus, and Chamber Choir, all while remaining as one of the top ranked students in his class. As a sophomore, he tried out acting for the first time and landed the role of Uncle Fester in "The Addams Family" musical, and this year Eric will star as the Beast in the upcoming 2018 NHS Spring Musical "Beauty and the Beast."
His musical talents can be heard outside of the Newington stage as well. Venables auditioned and was selected for the Connecticut Music Educators Association (CMEA) Regional and All-State Choirs during the 2016-2017 school year, which was the qualifier to audition for the 2017 NAfME All-National Honor Ensemble. At the CMEA All-State Festival, Eric had the highest scoring audition for the bass section in the entire state and was selected for the featured quartet.
In this year's auditions for the CMEA Northern Regional Music Festival on Nov. 4, Eric received a near-perfect score on his adjudications for both tuba and voice.
Finding Your Jewish Ancestors
NEWINGTON — The Jewish Genealogical Society of Connecticut presents part two of a two-part genealogy program at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 17, at Temple Sinai, 41 West Hartford Rd.
Topics will include immigration and naturalization, family newsletters, newspapers, use of DNA in your genealogical search, and much more to get you going on your genealogical research. Attendees must reserve their spot by emailing email@example.com; visit www.jgsct.org for additional information.
Theatre's Scout, Homeschool Day
NEWINGTON — The Newington Children's Theatre Company is holding its second annual Scout & Homeschool Day at the Theatre, 743 North Mountain Rd., at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 16. Come watch the one-act "A 21st Century Christmas Carol," then participate in a workshop after the performance. Every participant earns a fun badge.
Tickets for the event are $15. There is one free chaperone ticket with every 15 children. Reservations are required. Space is limited. Visit www.NCTCArts.org for more information.
Raul Grande Exhibit
NEWINGTON — The Newington Senior and Disabled Center foyer gallery, 120 Cedar St., will feature an exhibit of artist Raul Grande's extensive career as a fashion illustrator, caricature artist and graphic designer. The exhibit will run throughout December, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Breakfast With Santa
NEWINGTON — The Newington Rotary will hosts its annual Breakfast with Santa on Saturday, Dec. 9, from 7:30 to 11 a.m. at the St. Mary's School Hall, 626 Willard Ave.
The all-you-can eat buffet breakfast menu includes North Pole pancakes, eggs, sausage, bagels, doughnuts, coffee, tea and orange juice. Admission is $9 for adults and $5 for seniors and children ages 3- to 12. Kids under three may eat for free.
Children and their families will have an opportunity to sit on Santa's lap to pose for professional quality photographs taken by Rotarians at a minimal cost of $10 per photo. No personal cameras are allowed. For more information visit the club's web site at http://www.newingtonrotary.org for money saving Breakfast With Santa event coupons.
Military Program To Help Veterans Obtain Jobs
WETHERSFIELD — The Connecticut Department of Labor has teamed up with Hilton Worldwide and the National Association of State Workforce Agencies to help Connecticut's veterans with their job search efforts. The Hilton Honors Military Program, now available to eligible Connecticut veterans and their families, helps pay for necessary accommodation costs when a vet needs to travel out of state for an interview, look for housing that is closer to their new employment, or for related job search activities offered under the program guidelines.
Coordinated through the Labor Department's Office for Veterans' Workforce Development, the program provides veterans with 100,000 points that are placed into a personal rewards account. Points can be used at Hilton properties that include Hilton, Doubletree, Embassy Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Inn and Homewood Suites for approved stays related to employment or training activities.
A short application form and a veteran's military DD-214 is all that is needed for vets or their families to apply. In lieu of the DD-214, other acceptable documentation to show eligibility is a veterans' designation on a state driver's license, Form NGB-22 (National Guard), Form DD-256 (traditional Reservist), or a Military ID.
Applications are available by contacting Laffin at Daniel.Laffin@ct.gov; upon application approval, veterans' representatives at the agency will assist vets or their family members in creating a personal online Hilton Honors account so points can be deposited.
Historical Society Toy Exhibit
WETHERSFIELD —'Come Play with Us: Toys from Wethersfield's Attic' opened Nov. 30 and will run until March 23, 2018. The Wethersfield Historical Society will display some of its seldom seen collection of playthings from the town's storied past alongside favorite items from present day community's attics and toy chests.
This holiday season, the society is also having a toy drive. Bring a new, unwrapped toy to be donated to a local charity.
Favorite Victorian toys will be displayed in the period rooms of the Hurlbut-Dunham House which will be decorated for an 1890s Christmas, and toys of all periods will be on view in the Watson Gallery at the Keeney Memorial Cultural Center.
The exhibit opened at the Keeney Memorial Cultural Center, 200 Main St. The Watson Gallery exhibit opened to the public on Friday, Dec. 1. The Hurlbut-Dunham House will be open for the annual Holidays on Main Street fair from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 7, and on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 9 and 10 and 16 and 17 from 1 to 4 p.m. Regular exhibit admission is free; donations are appreciated.
For more information, visit www.wethersfieldhistory.org or call the society office at 860-529-7656.
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.
Bud And Blossom Garden Club Meetings
WETHERSFIELD — The Bud and Blossom Garden Club of Wethersfield provides its members with a forum to develop and share their creative interest in gardening and provides opportunities to serve the community through educational, environmental and beautification projects.
The club is welcoming new members. Meetings are as follows: Wednesday, March 7, 6:30 p.m., Wethersfield Community Center, room S-3; Wednesday, April 4, 6:30 p.m., Wethersfield Community Center, room S-2; and Wednesday, May 2, at 6:30 p.m., Wethersfield Community Center, room S-3.
Fife, Drum Corps Seeking New Members
WETHERSFIELD — The Col. John Chester Fife and Drum Corps is currently seeking new members. Boys and girls ages 8-18 are encouraged to stop by a rehearsal to learn more. Instruction is provided for fife, snare and bass drum as well as marching.
The Corps rehearses on Wednesday evenings from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the A. W. Hanmer Elementary School, 50 Francis St.
Dinosaur State Park's New Hours
ROCKY HILL — From Oct. 1 to Dec. 31, Dinosaur State Park, 400 West St., will be operating on a reduced schedule. The museum will be open Thursday, Friday and Saturday only. The trails will be open Tuesday through Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. There will be no public access to the park on Sunday or Monday.
Exercise The Right Choice
NEWINGTON — For the second year, the Newington Parks and Recreation Department is providing an after school program called Exercise the Right Choice. This program is geared towards helping families out on the early release days or "Teacher Tuesdays" at all four of the Newington Elementary Public Schools.
Exercise, recreation and cultural art activities are provided as well as a snack and homework help. Special entertainers such as magicians and drummers make surprise visits throughout the year. There is still room left; contact 860-665-8566 for more information.
Art Group Seeks Members
BERLIN — The Berlin Art Group is seeking new members in any level and any medium but oil. The group is facilitated by a professional instructor and is low cost. Call Mary at 860-223-7869 for information.
Children's Theatre Season 55
NEWINGTON — The Newington Children's Theatre Company's 55th season was recently announced. Act Out classes for children 8-16 leads participants through rehearsals culminating in a fully-produced one act. No audition is required to enroll. Everyone enrolled is cast in the production.
Session two: Mondays, 6 to 7:30 p.m.; A 21st Century Christmas Carol, Oct. 2 to Dec. 11, with performances Dec. 15 and 16.
Session three: Mondays, 6 to 7:30 p.m., The Fairy Tale Network, Jan. 29 through April 16, with performances April 20 and 21.
For ages 8 to 18, take to the NCTC stage in one of their school-year musicals. All shows are double cast, with rehearsal one to two nights a week and some Saturdays. Every cast member receives a free show T-shirt. A Year with Frog and Toad Kids: auditions are Jan. 5 and 6, with performances March 16 to 25. Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka Jr. auditions are March 21 and 22, with performances June 1 through 10.
Not quite 8-years-old? In Performance gives kids the opportunity to learn and strengthen their musical theatre skills, while becoming more comfortable with being on stage. Throughout the class, children learn blocking, music and choreography in preparation to become part of the upcoming production. Every cast member receives a free show T-shirt. There are three sessions to choose from.
Take your musical theatre skills to the next level with NCTC's NEW program just for teens, ages 13 to 18. Teen Scene meets Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 7 to 9 p.m., and selected Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Participants must be 13 by the start of the program. Every cast member receives a free show T-shirt. The first production will by "13! The Musical." Auditions are Jan. 9 and 10, with performances May 4 to 12.
Classes, rehearsals and performances are held at NCTC, 743 North Mountain Road. Space is limited and registration is required for all programs. Visit www.NCTCArts.org for fees and registration.
Berlin Recreation Offerings
BERLIN — The Berlin Parks and Recreation Department is accepting registration for the following programs. Guests can register online through the Web-Trac program or in person at 230 Kensington Road. Visit www.town.berlin.ct.us for more information.
Power Yoga : Tuesdays through Dec. 19, from 7 to 8:15 p.m. Can register for full session or two shorter sessions available.
Introduction to Yoga: Thursdays through Dec. 21, from, 7 to 8:15 p.m. Can register for full session or two shorter sessions available.
Basic Dog Obedience: Session two runs from Nov. 7 through Dec. 19. Dogs should be at least six-months-old.
Better Basic Dog Obedience: Wednesdays through Dec. 13, from 6 to 7 p.m. Must have completed Basic Dog Obedience class.
Woman's Club Donation Drive
NEWINGTON-WETHERSFIELD — The GFWC Newington/Wethersfield Woman's Club is currently collecting soft goods, including clothing, bedding, linens, shoes, pocketbooks and more, for its 2nd annual Savers Donation Fundraiser to benefit community programs and donations
No donation is too small and the club will pick-up items. For more information, call Donna at 860-986-9707 or Pat at 860-310-7015.
Children's Theatre Company
NEWINGTON — The Newington Children's Theatre Company, 743 North Mountain Road, has opened enrollment for Explore-A-Story classes for ages 5-7, on Tuesdays, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Call 860-666-NCTC for details.
Belden Library Programs
ROCKY HILL — The Cora J. Belden Library, 33 Church St., will host the following programs: Career One-on-One: Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to noon, call for an appointment; Knitting Group: Tuesdays from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; English as a Second Language: Thursdays from 10:30 a.m. to noon. Call 860-258-7621 for additional information.
Preschool Volunteers Sought
NEWINGTON — Volunteer with the Newington Parks and Recreation Department's Creative Playtime Preschool in Congregational Church, 1075 Main St., where children ages 3 and 4, read, make puzzles, and play. Visit newingtonct.gov/parksandrec or call 860-665-8666.
MS Support Group
NEWINGTON — The Newington MS Support Group meets in the Newington Senior and Disabled Center, 120 Cedar St., from noon to 2 p.m., on the second Thursday of each month. Call Charlie at 860-667-1314 or Tom at 860-236-2751 for details.
Psoriasis Support Group
NEWINGTON — The Newington Psoriasis Support Group meets for free on the second Thursday of the month from 7 to 8:45 p.m., at the Lucy Robbins Wells Library, 95 Cedar St. Call Marjorie at 860-888-6669 for details.