Community News for the West Hartford Edition

Thru-Hiking the Appalachian Trail

WEST HARTFORD — In March of last year, Sam Ducharme set out on a 2,180-mile, 14-state backpacking trip from Springer Mountain, Georgia to Mt. Katahdin in Maine. During his six month journey, he documented the rugged beauty of the Appalachian Mountains, the wildlife, the hardships encountered on the trail, as well as the people, culture and humanity at its finest. Come join him at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 25, at the Noah Webster Library, 20 South Main St., as he takes you through the trail towns, over the mountaintops and through the backcountry.

Those who attend this program will see his gear, how he cooked, and hear what it is like sleeping in a hammock for six months through three seasons. You will also hear how Sam returned to the trail the following year, connecting with aspiring Thru-Hikers, paying it forward, and his return to the summit of Katahdin one year later.

Sam Ducharme is a retired K9 officer and is a lifelong resident of Connecticut. He has two adult sons, both serving in the United States Air Force.Visit for parking information.

Understanding Hoarding

BLOOMFIELD — Duncaster Retirement Community will host a free program about hoarding at 3 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 9, at 40 Loeffler Road.

The talk will feature, Janet G. Ragno, LCSW, Lead Primary Therapist at Windham Hospital's Older Adult Program. The event, which is part of Duncaster's ongoing Art & Science of Graceful Aging series, is open to the public with preregistration.

The session will help participants define and understand hoarding and explain the steps that can be taken to overcome the condition. Sufferers of this condition are overwhelmed by the amount of clutter they have accumulated, and as they age their ability to manage it declines. In many cases, the clutter is so severe that rooms in their homes can no longer be used for their intended purpose, leading to isolation and problems with hygiene, safety and nutrition.

"Lincoln and Booth" Concert Version

WEST HARTFORD — The West Hartford Symphony Orchestra will present a concert version of Richard Chiarappa's musical "Lincoln and Booth" at 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 22, at Kingswood Oxford School's Roberts Theater, 170 Kingswood Road.

Michael Dunn will serve as narrator and Brad Davis will make a guest appearance. Originally written for a 10-piece orchestra, the two-hour musical has been re-orchestrated for a full symphony orchestra and condensed to 45 minutes.

In keeping with the historical theme of this concert, the WHSO will perform Aaron Copland's "Lincoln Portrait," as well as "Ashokan Farewell" from the Ken Burn's movie "The Civil War."

Tickets are available at or at the door, for $20 for general admission and $15 for seniors/students.

Music University

WEST HARTFORD — Cantor Joseph Ness of Beth El Temple will be presenting a series of three seminars called Music University 2917. Cantor Ness will teach on how words and music work together. He will discuss what lyrics mean and how the music changes their meaning. Each class will begin at 7:30 p.m.

The first lecture will be presented on Wednesday, Nov. 1, and discuss cantatas and oratorios. The second lecture will be presented on Wednesday, Nov. 8, and discuss the language of revolution in baroque choral music. The third lecture will be presented on Thursday, Nov. 16, and discuss opera libretti. There is no charge and no registration is required.

Phantom Of The First Church Crypt

WEST HARTFORD — The Phantom of the First Church Crypt will return for one night to engage in musical treats for Halloween. In addition to some favorites, this year will include organ recitations of some symphonic treasures for the season, including Danse Macabre, In the Hall of the Mountain King, and Pictures at an Exhibition. Some of the Phantom's cohorts will come along for the ride as they explore some music from the Harry Potter movies. The Phantom will appear at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 27, at First Church, 12 South Main St.

There is free parking in the lot when you enter from Farmington Avenue. Cost to attend is a suggested donation of $10. Come dressed for the occasion and have your picture taken with the Phantom of the First Church Crypt.

Jewish Book Festival

WEST HARTFORD — Drama and romance take center stage with actress-turned-author Alexandra Silber's new novel "After Anatevka" on Monday, Oct. 23 at 7:30 p.m., part of the Mandell JCC's 25th Annual Jewish Book Festival at the Mandell JCC, Zachs Campus, 335 Bloomfield Ave.

The Mandell JCC Signature Book Festival event will include a lively discussion featuring Alexandra Silber and moderated by Darko Tresnjak, Artistic Director of the Hartford Stage. Tickets to "After Anatevka" are $20 per person. Tickets to this event, as well as full festival tickets, are on sale at the Mandell JCC Box Office, 860-231-6316,; visit for more information.

Motor Vehicle Tax Bills Update

WEST HARTFORD — Motor vehicle tax bills were mailed on Oct. 6, 2017. The following notice was issued by the Town of West Hartford.

"As you may know, the Town of West Hartford delayed mailing the motor vehicle bills due to the uncertainty concerning possible legislation which could result in a change to the uniform statewide motor vehicle mill rate.

Unfortunately, the State budget is still uncertain and the Town can no longer postpone the issuance of motor vehicle tax bills.

Motor vehicle tax bills are based on the current State legislation of 32 mills. Should this change when the final State budget is adopted, it may be necessary to adjust the tax levy and issue a supplemental tax bill at a later date.

As soon as any new information is available, the Town will be posted it on the West Hartford home page, Residents may also call the West Hartford Tax Office at (860) 561-7474 x4 for more information.

Motor vehicle tax bills are due November 1, 2017. The last day to pay without penalty is Friday, December 1, 2017.

The tax office will be open on Friday, Dec. 1, from 8:30 a.m.. to 4:30 p.m. We greatly appreciate your understanding and cooperation regarding the timing of this bill."

A Passion For Daffodils

WEST HARTFORD — Jason Delaney began breeding daffodils and daylilies, lilies and crinums in the late 1990s and will share his love of bulbs, especially daffodils, at the Connecticut Horticultural Society meeting.

The CHS will meet at the Emanuel Synagogue Auditorium, 160 Mohegan Drive, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 19. The talk begins at 7:30 p.m. but social time begins at 7 p.m. A drop-in fee of $10 is collected at the door from non-members.

The annual bulb sale will also take place, organized by the society and the wisdom and support of White Flower Farm. The evening's proceeds fund the Society's expense to participate at the CT Flower & Garden Show each year.

Art Museum Celebrates Past Donors

WEST HARTFORD — The Art Museum at University of Saint Joseph, 1678 Asylum Ave., will celebrate past donors and launch a new planned giving society for works of art named for the Reverend John J. Kelley during a free reception, open to the public, on Thursday, Oct. 19, at 7:30 p.m.

The planned giving society is in honor of a man who gave the first bequest of art to the University in 1966. Reverend John J. Kelley's bequest, along with art donated by the Reverend Andrew J. Kelly in 1937, formed the foundation of the Art Museum's collection. Those attending the reception will witness the unveiling of two new donated works of art, to be announced at the event.

The new gifts will join the current exhibition of recent acquisitions and promised gifts, titled Past Progressive//Future Perfect. This multi-cultural exhibition, which runs through Dec. 17, consists of more than 50 works of art, including the first German Expressionist works to enter the Art Museum's collection, including prints by Max Pechstein, Max Kaus, and Max Beckmann; Latin American woodcuts by Antonio Martorell, and Aliosky Garcia Sosa; works in watercolor and photography by African-American artists Richard Yarde, and Hank Willis Thomas, and drawings and prints by Connecticut's own sculptor Carol Kreeger Davidson, and painter/printmaker Robert Kirschbaum.

The Art Museum will host a Family Day on Sunday, Nov. 5, from 1 to 3 p.m. The Family Day will include museum-based games and activities for families with children from preschool through fifth grade. This event is free and open to the public. The Art Museum at University of Saint Joseph is part of the Connecticut Art Trail.

For more information, visit or call 860-231-5743.

Clothing/Book Drive Benefits Never Going Back to Abuse Project

WEST HARTFORD — The Never Going Back to Abuse Project of CT-ALIVE will benefit from the proceeds of a clothing and book drive on Saturday, Oct. 21 and 28, to mark April as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. In cooperation with Charities of Hope of Hartford, the Connecticut Alliance for Victims of Violence and Their Families, Inc. (CT-ALIVE) will hold the drive both days from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the parking lot of Price Rite Shopping Plaza, 983 New Britain Ave., near Shield Street Post Office.

CT-ALIVE and Charities of Hope will accept gently used clothing as well as shoes, boots, coats, linens and comforters as well as jewelry, purses and small household goods. Also accepted will be books including hardcovers and paperbacks, CDs, DVDs, audio books and textbooks. Please no magazines, VHS tapes, catalogs or encyclopedias.

The Never Going Back to Abuse Project helps women who have experienced sexual assault, domestic violence or other abuse, move from victim to survivor to thriver. Through this project, CT-ALIVE, a non-profit organization, supports the award-winning My Avenging Angel Workshops. The workshops, provided free of charge, are based on the idea that "living well is the best revenge." Visit for more information.

For more information about the clothing drive, contact Susan Omilian at or 860-236-2401.

Once Upon A Mattress

WEST HARTFORD — West Hartford Community Theater's actors and production team members are busy rehearsing and eager to present Once Upon a Mattress this November.

The play will take place at Hall High School, with four performance dates scheduled: Nov. 11 and 18 at 7 p.m. and Nov. 12 and 19 at 1:30 p.m. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at or by calling 860-992-9428.

45th School Reunion

WEST HARTFORD — The William H. Hall High Class of 1972 is hosting its 45th high school reunion from 7 to 11 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 25, at Wampanoag Country Club, 60 Wampanoag Drive.

Cost per person by Oct. 15 is $60. Cost per person after Oct. 15 is $70. Ticket price includes a full buffet dinner with dessert and a cash bar. Organizers ask that former students share this information with classmates. Email with questions. RSVP by Nov. 10.

Congregation Beth Israel Events

WEST HARTFORD — Congregation Beth Israel, 701 Farmington Ave., is hosting the following events. All events are at the congregation, unless otherwise noted. For more information, call 860-233-8215 or visit

Torah Study will take place every Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m. Clergy will lead a spirited exploration and discussion of the sacred text. All are welcome.

Tot Shabbat will take place the first and third Saturdays of each 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.

Diabetes Self-Management Workshop

BLOOMFIELD — A seven-week workshop on diabetes self-management workshop with registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator Paula Kellogg Leibovitz will take place from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Nov. 2, Nov. 9, and Nov. 16, at the Prosser Public Library, 1 Tunxis Ave.

Topics covered include meal planning and holiday food choices, label reading, glucose monitoring and target blood glucose levels, medications and exercising safely. The sessions are interactive and questions from the audience will be answered.

There is no class the week of Oct. 23. Registration is required; call West Hartford-Bloomfield Health District at 860-561-7900, ext. 0.

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; or Elaine at or 860-712-4614.

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, Oct. 23; Nov. 6 and 20; Dec. 4 and 18. The Fern Street Food Pantry dates and hours are 10 to 11:30 a.m., on Oct. 21, Nov. 18 and Dec. 16.

For more information, contact:,, or 860-233-3669.

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.

To access the application, visit:

Kids Can Compost Program

WEST HARTFORD — The Children's Museum, 950 Trout Brook Drive, presents the Kids Can Compost program, an interactive and constantly growing exhibit emphasizing the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle principles in a new and exciting way.

By building and maintaining an aerobic compost bin this summer, The Children's Museum is providing a lesson about sustainable waste reduction as well as teaching biology, chemistry, and environmental science in a hands-on format. Visitors can attend demonstrations every Tuesday and Thursday at 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Looking forward, The Children's Museum will create an indoor vermicomposting, or worm composting, station. For more information, visit

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 Rd.

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

Energy Assistance

HARTFORD — Operation Fuel's statewide network of fuel banks started taking energy assistance applications on Wednesday, July 5, from households that are in financial crisis and are in danger of having their utility services terminated.

Individuals who need energy assistance should call 211. The annual winter moratorium, which prevents households from having their electricity and gas shut off, ended on May 1 and will not resume until November 1, 2017.

Energy affordability is a year-round problem for more than 322,000 Connecticut households. Operation Fuel is Connecticut's only statewide nonprofit energy assistance program. For the fiscal year, which ends June 30, Operation Fuel has provided over $3.3 million in energy assistance to more than 7,830 households. This includes $2.1 million in energy assistance for the 2017 winter program and $1.2 million in energy assistance last summer.

Now in its 40th year, Operation Fuel is a statewide nonprofit program that provides emergency energy assistance year-round to lower-income working families and individuals, the elderly, and disabled individuals who are in financial crisis.

For more information on Operation Fuel or to make a donation, go to Donations also can be sent to Operation Fuel, 75 Charter Oak Avenue, Suite 2-240, Hartford, CT, 06106.

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