Free One-Hour Parking
WEST HARTFORD -- The Municipal Parking office is offering everyone one hour of free parking in West Hartford Center and Blue Back Square from Dec. 11 through Dec. 31, through the mobile Passport Parking App. The discounts are compliments of the West Hartford Parking Division.
Diners, shoppers and anyone who is doing business in the central business district, can enjoy one hour of free parking by entering coupon code: 6S6IRRE on their mobile device at any of the municipal parking sites including the parking garages, on-street spaces and surface lots. Here's how it works.
First download, the PassportParking app through the Apple Store or Google Play or going to www.ppprk.com. Create an account by registering your phone number, license plate number and credit card.
Next, start your parking session by entering the Zone number. These numbers are posted on the kiosk in the area in which you parked.
Zone 860: All on-street parking spaces, Arapahoe Road municipal lot off of LaSalle Road, and the Raymond Road lot (near REI).
Zone 475: Farmington Avenue lot (Behind Toy Chest)
Zone 203: Isham Garage and Memorial Garage
Now, enter your license plate number. Select payment option and confirm your parking session. The timer will start.
Next, to discount your fee by $1.50, select DISCOUNT and enter the code 6S6IRRE. The coupon can only be used one-time and has a $1.50 value which is equivalent to one hour of parking with the mobile app.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 860-289-1971.
Storytime For Children Whose Parents Have Been Incarcerated
WEST HARTFORD — The West Hartford Public Library, 20 South Main St., is hosting a storytime that was planned to highlight the strengths and challenges of children whose family members have been incarcerated. The storytime will take place at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 26.
The books to be read are "Kofi's Mom" by Richard Dyches, "We're All Wonders" by R.J. Palacio, and "Each Kindness" by Jaqueline Woodson. Guests will also create a Kindness Card. The program is recommended for children ages five and older.
Fern Street Community Kitchen Schedule
WEST HARTFORD — The Fern Street Community Kitchen has upcoming dates for free community breakfasts, food pantry and mobile foodshare distribution for neighbors in need.
The Mobile Foodshare will be distributing food in the back parking lot of the Community Kitchen at the Universalist Church at 433 Fern St. from 9:15 to 9:45 a.m.. Breakfast is served from 9 to 10 a.m. The dates are every other Monday, Jan. 15 and 29, Feb. 12 and 26, and March 12 and 26. The Fern Street Food Pantry dates and hours are 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Jan. 20, Feb. 17 and March 17.
WEST HARTFORD — Bring your cans and bottles to ShopRite of West Hartford, 46 Kane St., for recycling and donate the nickel refund to the Park Road Parade. At the kiosk, simply push the 'donate' button. ShopRite will present a check to the Park Road Association representing a grand total of all the bottle returns donated by store patrons. The donation drive will run through December.
Winter Clothes Donation
AREA — Jewish Family Services Tara's Closet and the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford have donated hundreds of winter clothing items to the Centro de Ayuda Para Nuestros Amigos Caribeños, Help Center for our Caribbean Friends, a relief center managed by CREC and local community agencies. The relief center, located at 15 Van Dyke Ave., Hartford, opened on Nov. 1.
The relief center is dedicated to helping displaced families relocating to the Hartford region from Puerto Rico and the Caribbean islands as the result of recent hurricanes. Its goal is to help these families start their new lives in Hartford as quickly and seamlessly as possible with the aid of volunteer staff, support services, and supplies from community, state, and city partners. One basic necessity is clothing, particularly warm sweaters, coats, scarves, hats and gloves to help these families prepare for the cold winter weather in Connecticut.
In that spirit, Jewish Family Services Tara's Closet donated new and like-new winter clothing and outerwear for men, women, teens, and children. This donation is the result of a clothing drive which was organized throughout the fall. Island communities throughout the Caribbean are beginning a long road to recovery from several major hurricanes that have ravaged the Atlantic. Puerto Rico in particular is facing what local officials have described as a full-blown humanitarian crisis.
On Tuesday, Oct. 31, Jewish Family Services Tara's Closet, in partnership with the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford, orchestrated its most substantial donation yet to help Puerto Rico's hurricane victims.
Tara's Closet serves all people regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, disability, gender or sexual orientation. The mission is to help people advance along the path toward emotional well-being, self-reliance, more positive relationships, and a renewed sense of possibility. Clothing for men, women and children are provided at no cost. Tara's Closet provides clothing to individuals and families living in West Hartford, Bloomfield and the entire Greater Hartford area during temporary or long-term times of need.
The Capitol Region Education Council (CREC) donated space for the center at its former Two Rivers High School location and is coordinating the services. Attorney Jeffrey Dressler of Dressler Law generously provided transportation, coordinated logistics and informed the Latino community about the clothing donation and the services that will available through the relief center.
Boxes and packing supplies were donated by Connecticut Packaging Materials Inc., located at 85 South Satellite Road in South Windsor. For more information on Tara's Closet and Jewish Family Services, visit www.jfshartford.org or call 860-236-1927, ext. 7129. To learn more about the Jewish Community Relations Council or Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford, visit www.jewishhartford.org or call 860-232-4483.
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.
Substance Abuse Support Group
WEST HARTFORD — Turnbridge, an addiction recovery program for young men and women, is sponsoring a new free support group for parents looking to learn more about substance misuse and receive support from other parents of similar experience.
The group meets on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the Mandell JCC Community Room, 335 West Bloomfield Ave.
This group is facilitated by nationally recognized family addiction and healing specialist, Diana Clark, JD, MA. Over Clark's 20-year career in behavioral health, she has authored and facilitated numerous workshops for family members of those struggling with substance use. She is a recognized force of clear speech, logic, and loving acceptance among her many clients and colleagues.
This group is free and open to any parent of a child with substance use concerns. To learn more, contact Diana Clark at email@example.com or 802-236-0145.
Hartford Symphony Orchestra Previews
WEST HARTFORD — Join music educator and composer Dr. Wayne Pierce for informative and interactive preview presentations of five of Hartford Symphony Orchestra's 2017-18 Masterworks Series concerts.
The previews will take place at the West Hartford Public Library, 20 South Main St. More information can be found at www.westhartfordlibrary.org or by calling 860-561-6990.
These one-hour discussions, approximately two weeks prior to the concerts, will provide historic and cultural background of the works to be performed, uncover details about the composers, explore important musical details through audio and video examples, provide Q and A and commentary on the concert repertoire from HSO musicians and prepare attendees for a more informative and immersive concert experience.
The next four previews include: Hector Berlioz's La Corsaire Overture, Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 5 and Claude Debussy's La Mer. Concert dates at The Bushnell: March 9, 11, 2018; Shostakovich's Tahiti Trot, Cello Concerto No. 1 and Symphony No. 5. Concert Dates: May 4, 6, 2018; and Samuel Barber's Knoxville: Summer of 1915 and Carl Orff's Carmina Burana (with the Hartford Chorale). Concert dates at The Bushnell: June 8, 10, 2018.
These Hartford Symphony Orchestra Masterworks Previews are free and open to the public.
Pierce is an adjunct professor of music at UConn and a member of Kingswood Oxford's Creative Arts Department. He has served as music director of Simsbury Light Opera and Manchester Symphony and guest conductor of Farmington Valley Symphony Orchestra and Hartford Symphony Orchestra. The FVSO premiered his Symphony No. 1: Psalms and Dances for orchestra, chorus and soloists during its 30th anniversary concert.
Congregation Beth Israel Events
WEST HARTFORD — Congregation Beth Israel, 701 Farmington Ave., is hosting the following events. Visit www.cbict.org for more information.
Torah Study will take place every Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m. The clergy lead a spirited exploration and discussion of the sacred text. All are welcome to attend.
Tot Shabbat: 1st and 3rd Saturdays of the month at 10:30 a.m. Tot Shabbat services precede general Shabbat morning services at 11 a.m. Young children sing along with clergy, hear stories, and receive special blessings. Services are held in the Library Children's Room.
Micro WHTY: Sundays monthly at 10 a.m. Tots under three and parents gather in the CBI Playroom for socialization and connection on one Sunday morning each month. Siblings under four can attend.
Social Justice Shabbat: Friday, Dec. 22, at 7:30 p.m. Rev. Sara Salomons, an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, is the Director of Development and Communications at Journey Home, an advocacy group for the homeless in the Hartford area. Rev. Salomans will help lead a discussion on the topic of homelessness in our community following our Shabbat service.
Annual Chinese Dinner: Friday, Dec. 29, at 7:30 p.m. Celebrate the end of the secular year with a dinner catered by Black Bamboo. Cost of $20 per adult and $10 per child under 13. Walk-ins are an additional charge of $10 per person. RSVP at cbict.org/events/Shabbat-dinner by Friday, Dec. 22.
Leaf Bag Collection
WEST HARTFORD — The Town of West Hartford's leaf bag collection service began on Monday, Oct. 23, and will continue for 10 weeks until Dec. 29.
Only 30-gallon, biodegradable leaf bags will be collected; no plastic bags. Leaf bags should be free of grass, twigs, rocks and trash, and should not weigh more than 60 lbs. There is no limit to the number of bags a resident can place at the curb. Simply place your leaf bags at the curb by 6 a.m. on your trash collection day, or sooner, and a truck will come by to pick them up. Crews will advance into other collection areas once they have completed their day's assignment and may pick-up your bags before your trash day.
Leaf bags are commonly found at hardware and grocery stores. Public Works offers a residential leaf voucher disposal program free of charge to eligible residents. The voucher program is available during the ten-week leaf collection season. Vouchers allow your contractor to dump leaves, generated from your residential property only, free of charge. Residents may use as many vouchers as needed during the ten-week collection period. Visit www.westhartfordct.gov/publicworks for the leaf voucher guidelines and documents.
Note leaf bags and leaf piles cannot be placed in the street because they pose a hazard to traffic, clog storm drains and impede snow plowing operations. The Town's Compliance Officer routinely monitors collection areas and will issue written warnings and then fines for each day that the leaves remain in the street.
Leaf bags and piles should not block pedestrian sidewalks, as well. There are other options to bagging leaves. Consider mulching your leaves with your mower. Make a couple of passes over your lawn until leaves are ground down into a fine leaf mulch. The end product is a good source of nitrogen for spring growth. Leaf compost also enriches the soil in gardens and flower beds.
If you don't want to wait for the weekly pick up, residents may bring their bagged leaves to the Yard Waste and Recycling Center at 25 Brixton Street and dispose of them there. Leaves in plastic bags will need to be emptied in the appropriate area.
Extended Saturday hours for fall yard material drop-off at the Yard Waste and Recycling Center began Saturday, Oct. 28. The facility will be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays until Dec. 16. Weekday hours are Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Yard Waste Permits may be purchased at the Recycling Center, 25 Brixton St., Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and on Saturday beginning Oct. 28, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Permit pricing is as follows: Passenger Vehicles, SUVs, CUVs & Mini-Vans w/o trailer - $10; Passenger Vehicles, SUVs, CUVs, and Mini-Vans with trailer - $15; Pick-up trucks, Full size vans, without trailer - $25; and Pick-up trucks, Full size vans w/ trailer - $ 35.
For more information on the 2017 Leaf Collection program, visit the Department of Public Works website www.westhartfordct.gov/publicworks or call the Leaf Collection hotline at 860-561-7954.
Dementia Support Group
WEST HARTFORD — Hartford HealthCare Center for Healthy Aging is presenting a free dementia support group at the West Hartford Senior Center, 15 Starkel Road. The group meets on the third Tuesday of every month, from 10 to 11 a.m. Starting in September, the group will meet on the first Tuesday of the month.
Those who care for a loved one with Alzheimer's or dementia will be able to learn useful skills while voicing their concerns. Topics include communication techniques, caregiver support, safety issues, benefits of activities and daily routine, family dynamics, stages of disease process, behavior management and more. Facilitators are Michelle Wyman, LSW, CDP, life enrichment coach with Hartford HealthCare Center for Healthy Aging, and Elaine Reid, CDP, director of client services with Companions for Living.
For more information or to register for the dementia support group, call Michelle at 860-276-5399, ext. 4404, email Michelle.Wyman@hhchealth.org; or Elaine at Ereid@companionsforliving.com or 860-712-4614.
Public Works' Web App
WEST HARTFORD — West Hartford Public Works recently launched Mobile 311, a web application designed to easily report non-emergency public work problems and concerns via the web from the Town's website. Mobile 311 is replacing the current YourGov application.
Mobile 311 is available immediately and is free-of-charge to every Town of West Hartford citizen and available on the Town's homepage under the heading "How can we help you". To use, click on the text to "Report a Problem". From there, you can create an account and report a problem either by clicking on the map or by inputting an address, and selecting "Create Work Request" at the bottom of the map. You can then select a concern from the menu, and add other important information, and submit your request.
We hope Mobile 311 will engage the public in our operations, improve customer service, and respond faster to community issues and concerns. The application has a simple interface and the ability to communicate directly work order management system, so we're confident that we'll accomplish these goals and more. Visit: https://westhartford.mobile311.com to view the application.
Environmental Educators Needed
WEST HARTFORD — Part time seasonal instructors are needed to teach outdoor nature programs at Westmoor Park and off-site locations. Westmoor Park is a 162-acre environmental education facility with a demonstration farm and gardens, located at 119 Flagg Road.
Send resume, cover letter and three references to Christy Page, Assistant Park Naturalist, Westmoor Park, 119 Flagg Road, West Hartford, CT 06117-2325.
Anyone with questions may call 860-561-8263 or email Christy.Page@westhartfordct.gov.