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.
Celebrate Three Centuries Of Christmas
WETHERSFIELD — Each year, using armloads of greenery and native plants, authentic decorations from days of yore, and some pretty clever food-styling tricks, the Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum's Three Centuries of Christmas tours show in fascinating detail how the American holiday season evolved over the past 300 years. Pictured is an elegant 1940s dessert Christmas reception recreated in the Webb House.
The 2017 season began with the WDS Holiday Preview Party on Friday, Dec. 8. Candlelight tours, with guides in period dress, will be on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 15 and 16, from 5 to 8 p.m. Daytime holiday tours began Dec. 9 and will run until Jan. 7, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. except Sundays, when they take place from 1 to 4 p.m. The museum is closed Tuesdays. Admission for tours is $12.
The Three Centuries of Christmas is an enchanting, historic view of holidays past and begins in the Silas Deane House, circa 1770, where New Year's Day was the main holiday, rather than Christmas, due to the Puritanical customs that lingered in New England. The house reflects the preparations for the Deane's "New Years' Day Calling," when prominent gentlemen in the community would call on the lady of the household. It was also the day when individuals who owed the family money would meet privately with the master of the house to settle their debts or make a New Year's resolution to provide goods or services to settle their accounts in the coming year.
The Isaac Stevens House is decorated to depict the holiday celebrations of a middle-class household during the early to mid-1800s, when many of the Christmas traditions known today were adopted in New England. The "best" parlor features a charming table-top tree decorated with candles, gilded eggshells and edible treats, in keeping with the era. The Stevens House also includes a special exhibit with enlarged color illustrations by Thomas Nast from the museum's rare 1888 copy of Clement Moore's "An Account of a Visit of St Nicholas."
The colorful images tell the tale of how the secular Christmas known today was created in the early 19th century, which coincides with the museum's interpretation of Christmas at the Stevens House.
At the Joseph Webb House visitors are dazzled by decorations typical of the early 20th century, a period of stunning decoration and celebration. The home is prepared for a Christmas open house that was typical of the times, including a sumptuous dessert buffet set up in the dining parlor. The culmination of several weeks' work, the lavishness of the dessert and decorations could make or break the hostess' reputation.
Decorations include three Christmas trees, evergreen roping, fresh greens, fruit, and a collection of period ornaments. Also featured are a fine collection of antique iron toys from the late 19th and early 20th century and a charming Victorian dollhouse. New in the Webb House this year will be a special exhibit of more than 200 Christmas postcards from the late 19th and early 20th century from the collection of Scott and Shea Jezek.
For more information visit: www.webb-deane-stevens.org or call 860-529-0612.
Job Opportunity: After School Program
NEWINGTON — The Town of Newington Parks and Recreation Department is seeking an individual to provide one-on-one care at our Exercise the Right Choice –After School Program, located at Elizabeth Green Elementary School, 30 Thomas St. The program meets on every Teacher Tuesday from 1:45 to 5 p.m. Any interested individuals should contact Joe Harvey at 860-665-8566 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
Letter: How Do You Build a Strong Community?
To the Editor: On Saturday, the Newington Parks and Recreation Department hosted two events. The first was "Winter Wonderland" held at the Mortensen Community Center and Mill Pond Park from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. and then the Night of Lights, held downtown from 5 to 7 p.m. The weather was perfect, just brisk enough to get family members in the holiday spirit, but yet not too cold.
The abundant entertainment captured the young people's imaginations. There were clowns, face painters, Zippy Pet rides, games, music, hayrides and more. Both events featured the opportunity to visit and meet jolly old Saint Nicholas and walk away with a candy cane and a picture together. What made the Night of Lights event so special is that many Newington residents, school groups, businesses and departments came together to provide pure happiness to all.
Newington Parks and Recreation Department wishes to thank Best Market for their very generous donation of cider, muffins and strudel. Thanks to Healthy Body Massage Therapy, Karma's Closet, Newington Rapid Recovery Rehab Center and Thomas Fahy Insurance Associates for tasty treats. Thanks also to the Chamber of Commerce and Gail Whitney. Thanks to CMI Sound for donating the sound system and thanks to Mike Bane for his DJ Services and technical genius. Thank you to the Newington Fire Department and the entire staff for decorating the four fire trucks and escorting Santa to our downtown. Thanks to the Mayor and the Town Councilors who actively sang with their melodic voices.
Thanks to the Newington Parks and Recreation Board members who helped lead some of the songs. Thanks to NCTV for filming the whole event for those that couldn't attend and Scott Greczkowski for filming the special event live on the internet. Thanks to Coach Rick Bangs and the Newington High School girls' basketball team for providing so many smiles and help handing out instruments to the little children to play.
Thanks to the Newington Knights Cheerleaders for their participation in the carol sing, but most of all in the song "The 12 Days of Christmas." Thanks to Mr. Chris Clark, Ms. Jessica Bocola and Chris Civitillo, the music teachers from the Newington HS Chamber Choir, the Martin Kellogg and John Wallace choirs, respectfully.
During a time where there is much negativity, we all witnessed good, wholesome young people representing our town and our future in fine fashion. Kudos to our young people of Newington. You made us proud and thankful Saturday night. Lastly, thanks to our Newington Parks and Recreation hard working, dedicated and caring staff. Their willingness and devotion to making every single aspect of the special event occur flawlessly.
If you missed last weekend's event, you missed something special in our town. Mark your calendars for the first Saturday in December 2018. You will be glad you did. Great job, Newington. We are building a strong community!
With warmest holiday wishes,
William A. DeMaio, CPRP, Superintendent of Parks and Recreation
Rep. Byron: Stay Vigilant & Protect Your Private Information
NEWINGTON — To a packed room at the Newington Senior Center, State Representative Gary Byron (R-27) held an informative Fraud Protection Forum last week. Rep. Byron, who is the lead Republican on the legislature's Aging committee, asked AARP to give Newington seniors a presentation to learn about the latest scams and how to protect themselves from the tactics used to gain one's personal and private information.
The issue of fraud has been highlighted recently in the news with the major breach at Equifax — in which 145.5 million consumer credit files were compromised. Hackers stole consumer names, Social Security numbers and addresses. They also got two very vital pieces of information — birth dates and driver's license numbers.
According to a survey by the Cooperative Credit Union Association (CCUA, more than two-thirds of caretakers reported that a scammer had targeted their elderly relatives.
The survey found that, most often, the attempted fraud was initiated with a telephone call. Nearly 22 percent of scam attempts were made via email or another online contact.
The survey also found that caregivers are worried about their elder relative's inability to spot a fraud. More than a quarter of respondents said that the elders under their care had fallen victim to at least one financial scam.
https://www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/info-2016/ways-to-protect-against-id-theft.html for more information.
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.
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 on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 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 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.
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.