Bethel's HamletHub https://news.hamlethub.com/bethel Tue, 03 Aug 2021 17:32:29 -0400 HamletHub.com Filosa Welcomes Its 5th Administrator Since 1947 https://news.hamlethub.com/bethel/places/48999-filosa-welcomes-its-5th-administrator-since-194748999-filosa-welcomes-its-5th-administrator-since-1947 https://news.hamlethub.com/bethel/places/48999-filosa-welcomes-its-5th-administrator-since-194748999-filosa-welcomes-its-5th-administrator-since-1947

The Filosa Family is proud to welcome our new administrator, Stephanie Vitko-Aniolek. Stephanie joins the Filosa Family as our 5th Administrator since 1947, demonstrating Filosa’s dedication to stability and consistency of leadership. Stephanie is excited to be a part of this family-owned and operated facility and deeply respects the rich history of Filosa.  

Stephanie comes to us with over a decade of professional experience as an Administrator. Since 2009, she has played a part in the successes of various skilled nursing facilities. Stephanie looks forward to utilizing her plethora of experience to help Filosa uphold their high level of care and dedication to the community. In addition, she is excited to maintain a 5 star Medicare rating at Filosa for years to come. 

We have the utmost confidence, respect, and gratitude for Stephanie’s willingness and enthusiasm to continue her administrative journey at Filosa. We welcome her with warm, loving arms, as we do with every team member and resident that works and lives at Filosa. As our 5th administrator since 1947, we hope Stephanie feels as at home with us as we will with her. 

Learn more here

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kerry@ducey.org (Filosa ) Places Tue, 03 Aug 2021 12:00:37 -0400
Bethel First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker Issues COVID-19 and DELTA Variant Community Update https://news.hamlethub.com/bethel/neighbors/48996-bethel-first-selectman-matt-knickerbocker-issues-covid-19-and-delta-variant-community-update48996-bethel-first-selectman-matt-knickerbocker-issues-covid-19-and-delta-variant-community-update https://news.hamlethub.com/bethel/neighbors/48996-bethel-first-selectman-matt-knickerbocker-issues-covid-19-and-delta-variant-community-update48996-bethel-first-selectman-matt-knickerbocker-issues-covid-19-and-delta-variant-community-update

Please read the important message below regarding COVID-19 and the Delta Variant from Matt Knickerbocker

It’s been quite a while since I issued the last Community Update on the COVID pandemic, anticipating it would be the last. However, as you may know from recent news reports, there is some cause for concern about the spread of the so-called Delta Cov-2 variant, and it would be irresponsible of me if I did not share that information with our community.

Simply put, as good as things have been going, the rate of infection in Bethel is climbing again. In the past few months, we’ve seen the weekly COVID infection rate drop to a low of 0.2%, but recently began climbing back, to 0.5%, then 0.9% and is now up to 1.2%. This is far better than where we were last year, but the direction it’s headed is concerning.

Here is what is known about the Delta variant:

  • It is more transmissible (meaning easier to catch) than the common cold or flu. It spreads twice as easily compared with earlier strains of the virus.
  • The variant is prevalent in our area.
  • Current COVID vaccines are highly effective against the variant.
  • Nearly all new COVID cases that result in severe symptoms or deaths are among unvaccinated people.

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO PROTECT YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY

The Centers for Disease Control and Connecticut Department of Public Health are recommending two basic steps to reduce the risk of a COVID infection:

  1. Wear a mask when indoors in any part of the state that is experiencing “substantial” to “high” rates of infection, even if you are fully vaccinated (note: the transmission level in Fairfield County was recently elevated from “moderate” to “substantial”).Vaccinated people are very unlikely to catch the virus, but it is possible that vaccinated people can carry the bug without symptoms and spread it unknowingly to family members who are not vaccinated.
  2. Get the vaccine. Billions of US tax dollars have been spent on an accelerated and highly successful vaccine development and testing program. Vaccines have been shown to be safe and effective, and they are still completely free of charge. We are well aware that this may be a touchy subject for some. Nonetheless, it is very clear that your chances of becoming severely ill or dying of COVID are reduced to almost zero when fully vaccinated. If you have any concerns, we urge you to speak with your doctor. For information on where you can get the vaccine, click here: https://portal.ct.gov/vaccine-portal/summer?language=en_US

VISTING TOWN HALL

The Clifford J. Hurgin Municipal Center is fully open and following all CDC and public health guidelines, as follows:

  • Use of a face covering is MANDATORY for all UNVACCINATED visitors.
  • Face coverings are OPTIONAL for all FULLY VACCINATED individuals. However, fully vaccinated visitors are encouraged to continue to wear a face mask when indoors for the reasons outlined above.

For more information on COVID and the Delta variant, please click here to see the most recent research information from the Yale School of Medicine.

 

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kerry@ducey.org (Bethel First Selectman, Matt Knickerbocker) Neighbors Tue, 03 Aug 2021 08:25:14 -0400
Lamont Administration Reaches Revised Telework Agreement With State Employee Unions https://news.hamlethub.com/bethel/politics/48998-lamont-administration-reaches-revised-telework-agreement-with-state-employee-unions48998-lamont-administration-reaches-revised-telework-agreement-with-state-employee-unions https://news.hamlethub.com/bethel/politics/48998-lamont-administration-reaches-revised-telework-agreement-with-state-employee-unions48998-lamont-administration-reaches-revised-telework-agreement-with-state-employee-unions

The Lamont administration and leadership of the State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition (SEBAC), which represents several Connecticut state employees unions, have reached an agreement resolving disputes related to telework and its role in transitioning state employees back into the workplace following the initial outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

When the pandemic first emerged in the United States in early 2020, Governor Ned Lamont acted quickly and directed all executive branch state employees who were able to telework to do so. This revised agreement settles some concerns regarding the transition back to the workplace and the role that telework will have in the work of state employees moving forward. The governor maintains discretion to return to higher levels of telework consistent with his emergency powers as set forth in legislation approved by the Connecticut General Assembly.

Highlights of the major provisions included in the revised agreement include:

  • For 60 days following the execution of the revised agreement (the reset period) employees who were teleworking prior to Governor Ned Lamont’s May 13 email have the choice of returning to their pre-July 1 schedule (i.e. the one that was in effect during the approximate period of March 2020 through July 1, 2021), or they can continue with whatever is in place today.
  • The 60-day period is August 3, 2021 to October 2, 2021.
  • This choice to return to the pre-July 1 schedule does not apply to hazardous duty employees, or “those whose consistent presence at the work site or in the field is now required because of the reopening of in-person operations which were suspended during the pre-July 1, 2021, period.”
  • If operations have reopened at an employee’s worksite or in the field and those operations can’t be performed by teleworking at a 50% schedule, the employee will only be approved for the amount of telework, if any, that can be performed from the employee’s home.
  • Following the 60-day period through December 31, 2021, eligible employees (covered under the “reset period”) will be eligible to apply to telework at as high a percentage of their scheduled hours as they believe is consistent with operational needs and job duties. These applications will be submitted during the reset period so that there will be time for review prior to the expiration of the 60 days.
  • A request of 50% of scheduled work hours or less by these employees will be granted. Requests above the 50% cap may be approved “if, in the opinion of the agency head, following review of such request and the input of the employee’s supervisors or managers, job duties and operational needs support such action.”
  • Management’s decisions regarding telework greater than 50% during the post-reset period are not subject to challenge.
  • COVID-fragile employees (due to their own or a family member’s serious medical condition) may telework up to 100% of the scheduled hours through December 31, 2021.
  • The revised agreement incorporates a structure for negotiation, and if necessary, arbitration of a final agreement which we expect to be effective by December 31, 2021. The parties have agreed to immediate implementation of that new agreement or award.
  • If a particular provision requires a legislative appropriation and approval, it could not be implemented before mid-March of 2022.
  • Unless the parties reach an agreement, the issue of “what, if any, cap shall be imposed on the number of days or percentage of the scheduled work hours, during the biweekly pay period, an eligible employee may telework” is one that will be arbitrated this fall.

**DownloadRevised agreement between the Lamont administration and SEBAC on telework
**DownloadMemo from the Connecticut Office of Policy and Management to all state agency heads on the revised agreement

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commandercarey@gmail.com (Office of the Governor. ) Politics Tue, 03 Aug 2021 03:40:59 -0400
Bethel home heating oil business keeping community warm for over 30 years https://news.hamlethub.com/bethel/places/48988-local-home-heating-oil-business-keeping-community-warm-over-30-years48988-local-home-heating-oil-business-keeping-community-warm-over-30-years https://news.hamlethub.com/bethel/places/48988-local-home-heating-oil-business-keeping-community-warm-over-30-years48988-local-home-heating-oil-business-keeping-community-warm-over-30-years

Fiorilla is a family-owned and operated heating oil supplier based in Bethel. We take pride in the fact that for over 30 years, the local community has trusted us to keep their homes and businesses worry free when it comes to their heating needs.

We service both commercial and residential properties, ensuring the local community stays warm during the notoriously cold northeastern winter season.

Please visit our website to learn more -Fiorilla Heating Oil

Fiorilla Heating Oil Truck

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jim@fiorillaheatingoil.com (James M. Fiorilla) Places Mon, 02 Aug 2021 13:32:46 -0400
Local Charity Announces $6 Million in Grant Awards https://news.hamlethub.com/bethel/charities/48995-local-charity-announces-6-million-in-grant-awards48995-local-charity-announces-6-million-in-grant-awards https://news.hamlethub.com/bethel/charities/48995-local-charity-announces-6-million-in-grant-awards48995-local-charity-announces-6-million-in-grant-awards

The Inner-City Foundation for Charity & Education will award $6 million in grants, the charity announced today, providing grants to 43 local Fairfield County programs. The charity announced its plans to dissolve and to distribute its considerable 

“We wish we could have gone back and given funds to everyone we have supported over the years – about 200 grantees over 30 years,” said Executive Director Karen Barry Schwarz, “but that was not feasible. We looked at those grantees that we regularly supported over the last 10 years or so and chose carefully from a large group of proposals. We’re delighted that our donors’ funds will be doing good in Fairfield County for many years to come, and in some cases, in perpetuity.”

 The Fairfield County programs that will each receive a portion of the $6 million in funds from The Inner-City Foundation for Charity & Education in its dissolution include the following:

All Saints Catholic School
Bridgeport Caribe Youth Leaders
Bridgeport Neighborhoods Together
Bridgeport Rescue Mission
Building One Community
Cardinal Shehan Center
Caroline House
Carver Foundation of Norwalk
Catholic Academy of Bridgeport
Catholic Academy of Stamford
Catholic Charities of Fairfield County Immigration Services
Catholic Charities of Fairfield County Morning Glory Kitchen
Center for Family Justice
Circle of Care for Families of Children with Cancer
Domestic Violence Crisis Center
Domus Foundation
Emerge
Family ReEntry
Foundations in Education
Future 5
HomeFront
Homes with Hope
Inspirica
Junior Achievement of Greater Fairfield County
Kids in Crisis
Kolbe Cathedral High School
Malta House
Mercy Learning Center
New Covenant Center
Open Door Shelter
Pacific House
Person-to-Person
Sacred Heart University
Shelter of the Cross/Renewal House
Shepherds 
St. Catherine Center for Special Needs
St. Joseph Parenting Center
Stamford Public Education Foundation
Sterling House Community Center
Thomas Merton Center
Tiny Miracles Foundation
Today's Students Tomorrow's Teachers
Women's Center of Greater Danbury

In a closing statement to donors, Executive Director Karen Barry Schwarz added, “For almost three decades, The Inner-City Foundation, with your help, has helped to feed the hungry, house the homeless, and educate those living in poverty in Fairfield County, granting $38 million to 200 local programs over the last 30 years. It has been our distinct honor, and our mission, to help families in need, helping to construct with them a path to a better future.  Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for supporting us, and our friends in need, over all these years. We hope you will continue the good work we began together.”

 

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kerry@ducey.org (KBSchwarz) Charities Mon, 02 Aug 2021 11:17:02 -0400
Bethel singer/songwriter John Fazio Jr. performs National Anthem at Step OUT for the Brave Challenge https://news.hamlethub.com/bethel/neighbors/48993-this-week-support-our-veterans48993-this-week-support-our-veterans https://news.hamlethub.com/bethel/neighbors/48993-this-week-support-our-veterans48993-this-week-support-our-veterans

Beginning on Saturday, August 7th those interested in helping Veterans experiencing homelessness can take a step forward by joining the Step OUT For The Brave 40,000 Step Challenge, presented by the Homes for the Brave organization. From Saturday, August 7 through Sunday, August 15, participants can take one step, or 40,000 or more for each of the Veterans who are homeless across our country on any given night.

The challenge, which is the organization’s signature fundraiser, allows participants to take their steps wherever they reside during the nine-day period. Through August 7 the cost is just $40 to register, after that it rises to $50. Each participant will receive a commemorative Drifit event shirt. Click here to sign up today, or to become a sponsor.

Participants can compete for prizes. Those who take the most steps, go the furthest distance, raise the most funds, post the most photos, and receive the most individual donations are just a few of the prize categories.

“While the event is a fun way to safely make a difference, the collective impact is enormous. Those who served our country and now need our assistance will be able to return to meaningful and productive lives thanks to the funds this effort will raise,” said Vince Santilli, CEO and Executive Director of ABRI/Homes for the Brave.

A festive kickoff event will take place on Saturday, August 7th at the Pedestrian Mall accessible via Park and University Avenues on the University of Bridgeport's beautiful oceanfront campus beginning at 9:00AM. Singer, songwriter and musician John Fazio Jr. of Bethel, Connecticut will perform the National Anthem. The event is part of BPT200, a citywide celebration of Bridgeport's history and modern-day culture, cuisine, and colors. 

Since 2002, Homes for the Brave has helped over 1,400 homeless individuals, almost all of whom are Veterans, to secure income, find safe and affordable housing, and make meaningful contributions to our community.

To register, click here and for information on sponsorship opportunities please contact Vince Santilli at vsantilli@homesforthebrave.org or call 203-338-0669.

“The challenge begins in just a matter of days, we ask that you help end Veteran homelessness by joining in as an individual, a team, or as a sponsor. Every dollar raised will make a tremendous difference,” said Santilli.

Homes for the Brave would like to thank its current sponsors, including the Bridgeport Islanders; Friend of HFTB; Haynes Construction & Haynes Group; Webster Bank Arena; AT&T; BTX Global; PSEG; People's United Bank; Albertus Magnus College; Bernadette Baldino; Deadlocked Escape Rooms; King Industries; Knights of Columbus Park City Council #16; Microboard Processing; Newtown Savings Bank; T. Arduini Co. Inc.; The Original Vazzy's; Webster Bank; Liberty Printing; Tito's Handmade Vodka/Hartley & Parker Distributors; Turner Construction; Connecticare; Connecticut Community Bank; Fairfield County Bank; IPG; Mutual Security Credit Union; Petit Family Foundation; Bigelow Tea; Hirsch, Levy & Fountain, LLC; and Port 5 Women's Auxiliary. 

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kerry@ducey.org (Kerry Anne Ducey) Neighbors Mon, 02 Aug 2021 10:06:16 -0400
Fairfield County Bank held its 150th Annual Meeting https://news.hamlethub.com/bethel/life/48994-fairfield-county-bank-held-its-150th-annual-meeting48994-fairfield-county-bank-held-its-150th-annual-meeting https://news.hamlethub.com/bethel/life/48994-fairfield-county-bank-held-its-150th-annual-meeting48994-fairfield-county-bank-held-its-150th-annual-meeting

Fairfield County Bank held its 150th Annual Meeting at the Silver Spring County Club. The attendees included the Board of Directors, The Board of Incorporators, and the Senior Management of the Bank. The Annual Meeting is held to inform the Incorporators on the financial well-being of the Bank, success and growth over the past year and strategic plans of the coming year.

The Annual Meeting was opened with remarks from Ralph L. DePanfilis, Chairman of the Board, welcoming the attendees. David A. Schneider, CEO, and Daniel L. Berta, President, presented on the financials of the Bank, the product and service offering, innovation across the organization, and Community engagement. Presentation highlights included a review of the strong financial position of the Bank through 2020 from Mr. Schneider.

Mr. Berta touched on several topics, including the Bank’s commitment to Fairfield County throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic. Fairfield County Bank processed 100% of the 1,850 Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans that were requested of the Bank. The $240 million in PPP loans, in turn, supported 20,000 local jobs throughout the pandemic.

President Daniel Berta highlighted key facets of what makes Fairfield County Bank, and how those core values were upheld during 2020.  During his discussion, Mr. Berta also brought one of the Bank’s clients into the spotlight, Astacio Plumbing and Heating, whose owner, Richard Astacio, has been banking with Fairfield County Bank since 2014.

Richard, in his client spotlight video, focused on the ways in which the personal relationship he developed with Lisa Bancroft helped him expand his growing business. Astacio Plumbing and Heating was also one of the local businesses that received a PPP loan through the Bank.

Mr. Berta announced that the Bank donated $10,000 to SPHERE on behalf of the corporators. SPHERE of CT helps adults with developmental disabilities achieve their dreams. SPHERE’s programs improve quality of life by providing rich experiences and a strong community, which the Bank is proud to support. 

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kerry@ducey.org (Jillian Fernandez) Life Mon, 02 Aug 2021 10:03:06 -0400
Mass Food Distribution in Danbury Every Saturday in August https://news.hamlethub.com/bethel/neighbors/48992-mass-food-distribution-coming-to-danbury-this-summer48992-mass-food-distribution-coming-to-danbury-this-summer https://news.hamlethub.com/bethel/neighbors/48992-mass-food-distribution-coming-to-danbury-this-summer48992-mass-food-distribution-coming-to-danbury-this-summer

United Way of Western Connecticut and the Connecticut Food Bank partner with the City of Danbury and Danbury Public Schools to host mass food drive-thru distribution every Saturday in August from 10 am to 1 pm at Danbury High School.

Danbury High School (43 Clapboard Ridge Road) will host a drive-thru food distribution every Saturday in August beginning on August 7. Area residents can drive-up from 10 am – 1 pm to receive a box of fresh produce from the CT Food Bank/Foodshare program.

This food distribution is spearheaded by United Way of Western CT who has partnered with the CT Food Bank/Foodshare to bring this drive-thru opportunity to Danbury residents. The CT Food Bank is committed to providing nutritious food to people in need throughout the state. To learn more about where to find CT Food Bank pantries and drive-thru distributions, click here.

Walnut Hill Community Church has generously provided logistical and volunteer support for this event.

In addition to the food drive, Danbury High will also host mobile vaccination clinics to provide residents the opportunity to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Clinics will be provided throughout the month by Griffin Health, RVNAhealth, and CHC, Inc.

Interested in volunteering? Sign-up to help out this August by clicking here

This food distribution is not limited to Danbury residents. This is a free program. No registration or documentation is required. Walk-ups will also be accepted.

Visit www.danbury-ct.gov/fooddistribution for more information.

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kerry@ducey.org (City of Danbury) Neighbors Mon, 02 Aug 2021 06:47:00 -0400
Phillip Phillips returns to The Ridgefield Playhouse with two outdoor shows on August 7! https://news.hamlethub.com/bethel/events/48991-phillip-phillips-returns-to-the-ridgefield-playhouse-with-two-outdoor-shows-on-august-748991-phillip-phillips-returns-to-the-ridgefield-playhouse-with-two-outdoor-shows-on-august-7 https://news.hamlethub.com/bethel/events/48991-phillip-phillips-returns-to-the-ridgefield-playhouse-with-two-outdoor-shows-on-august-748991-phillip-phillips-returns-to-the-ridgefield-playhouse-with-two-outdoor-shows-on-august-7

Phillip Phillips, the winner of the 11th season of American Idol in 2012 and singer of widely-acclaimed songs including “Home”, “Gone, Gone, Gone", and “Magnetic", is performing outdoors under the Tent at  The Ridgefield Playhouse on August 7th at 4:00 and 7:30 PM. Tickets for the 4:00 PM show are on sale by phone [203-438-5797] and reservations for the 7:30 PM concert are purchased by phone and online here.

Playing some of his hit songs, hidden gems, and newest tracks alongside him are guitarist Errol Cooney and cello player Dave Eggar. “We have such a blast playing with one another, it's just really free and easy,” Phillip told me on a Zoom interview last week. “We just have fun. It’s live music!” 

Born on September 20th, 1990 in Albany, Georgia, Phillip Phillips fell in love with writing and playing music early at the age of 14. “I would just constantly play guitar. I took my guitar to school almost every day on the bus and I would play,” he explained. “Musically, Angus Young from AC/DC was my hero,” he said, citing Dave Matthews and Damien Rice as idols as well.

In 2009, it was evident that Phillip’s interest in music was taking a turn into becoming a blooming career when he appeared in local Georgian venues and contests, eventually winning a singing competition called “Albany Star” in 2010. 

As Phillip Phillips walked in front of American Idol judges Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez, and Steven Tyler for his initial audition on the show in 2012, Steven Tyler whispered to Jennifer Lopez, “I got a funny feeling about this.” It turns out that he was right with Phillip wowing the judges with songs “Superstition” and “Thriller,” catapulting him forward in the competition. Many spectacular performances later, Phillip found himself in the Top 3. Singing “We’ve Got Tonight” by Bob Seger, Phillip Phillips sealed himself as the indisputable winner of the show. “It was crazy and it changed my life completely. I didn’t know what to expect, I just loved playing music,” he reminisced. “I am just very blessed and a very lucky person.” 

When I asked him how other people can accomplish their goals like he did, he told me, “You really have to work hard and you can’t get lazy.” He says, “It’s all about learning.” Before finishing his answer, he delighted me by adding, “You have to stay humble as well.”

Two albums and many songs later, Phillip Phillips is still very much enthusiastic about living his dream of being a musician. “What inspires me to write music is just real life, you know, good, bad, sad, and happy,” Phillip voiced to me in our discussion. “These new songs that I have been writing have become some of my favorites. “The song called  Rescue You I really love… I think it’s a step forward in my career.” Now a dad, Phillip laughed and said, “[My son] likes them so I am taking that as a win.” 

If you are near Ridgefield, Connecticut, available, and looking for a great time on Saturday, August 7th, get your tickets to Phillip Phillips’ shows at the Ridgefield Playhouse at 4:00 and 7:30 PM. 

“The show is going to be great, everybody come on down,” Phillip says.

 I will be in attendance that day and I as well hope to see you all there for what will become two fantastic shows.

 

Phillip Phillips - Magnetic

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kerry@ducey.org (Max Porter) Events Sun, 01 Aug 2021 11:55:48 -0400
José Feliciano Headlines Concert Celebrating Connecticut's New, Tougher Human Trafficking Law at Ridgefield Playhouse on Aug. 14 https://news.hamlethub.com/bethel/charities/48990-jose-feliciano-headlines-concert-celebrating-connecticut-s-new-tougher-human-trafficking-law-at-ridgefield-playhouse-on-aug-1448990-jose-feliciano-headlines-concert-celebrating-connecticut-s-new-tougher-human-trafficking-law-at-ridgefield-playhouse-on-aug-14 https://news.hamlethub.com/bethel/charities/48990-jose-feliciano-headlines-concert-celebrating-connecticut-s-new-tougher-human-trafficking-law-at-ridgefield-playhouse-on-aug-1448990-jose-feliciano-headlines-concert-celebrating-connecticut-s-new-tougher-human-trafficking-law-at-ridgefield-playhouse-on-aug-14

Celebratory Concert Headlining José Feliciano on August 14 at The Ridgefield Playhouse

To mark the passage of the new state law that better protects victims of human trafficking in Connecticut, as well as highlight continued efforts by organizations around the state to focus greater attention to this pervasive problem, Traffick Jam Live, a Connecticut-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is hosting a special concert featuring Grammy Award-winning singer/guitarist José Feliciano of Weston and special guest Vaneese Thomas at the Ridgefield Playhouse on Saturday, Aug. 14.

The concert will work to raise money -- and awareness -- about human trafficking, which affects communities large and small, including many here in Connecticut. Since 2008, more than 1,000 children have been referred to the Department of Children and Families in Connecticut as possible victims of child trafficking.

Between the two performances several Connecticut based anti-human trafficking nonprofits (PEHT, LOVE 146 and TJL) will share some vital information about human sex trafficking right here in our own communities. The presentation takeaways include: tips on “Red Flags” to look for to spot early indications of “grooming” techniques of traffickers; a protective look at how social media can provide traffickers access to our young daughters.

State Sen. Will Haskell will join them on stage and comment about the importance of the recently signed anti-human trafficking law.

Traffick Jam Live is a Connecticut-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit aimed at collaboratively disrupting human trafficking, specifically sex trafficking of girls under the age of 18, in the United States. It was launched by Ridgefield resident Bo Beatty in 2016.

Traffick Jam Live shines a spotlight on the shadows of human trafficking through concert and event productions that inform audiences on vital human trafficking awareness information.  For starters, if you see something, say something by calling the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or text 233733. Traffick Jam Live is also collaboratively developing a tactical hand signal for girls to alert “trained eyes” when they are with their trafficker on an airplane, a hotel lobby or any public facility with monitored security cameras. 

"Sadly, most Americans have no idea how prevalent sex trafficking is right here in our own communities," states Beatty.

The new law, which passed earlier this summer, has been hailed by advocates working to end human trafficking. Traffickers charged in Connecticut will find it harder to avoid prosecution and victims of trafficking will now have an easier time getting their convictions vacated if the crimes they committed were done while being trafficked.

Advocates say these measures, and others included in the law, reflect a greater understanding and awareness of the problem, as well as the long-term consequences trafficking has on its victims. On a recent online zoom presentation hosted by Greenwich-based Partnership to End Human Trafficking (PEHT), the group praised the new law and the significant efforts of advocates over several years to get it passed and signed. 

“This new Connecticut State law is a major accomplishment,” said Erin Williamson, vice president of Global Programs and Strategy at New Haven-based LOVE146.

One of Williamson's and LOVE146's concerns are the predatory traffickers' enhanced social media access to vulnerable young girls anywhere in Connecticut.

The average age of entry into human sex trafficking is 12 to 14 years old, according to many anti-trafficking agencies. And the U.S. Department of State, in its "2021 Trafficking In Persons Report,” indicates that 28 percent of sex trafficking victims in the United States (more than 1 in 4) are girls under the age of 18.

Concert organizers are hoping the community comes out to enjoy some great music and do their part in disrupting human trafficking. The concert opens at 7 p.m. with a performance by Thomas and her ensemble.

"I'm honored to be a part of it. It's such an important issue," said Thomas, who has sung with Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, and Celine Dion, to name a few.  "I don't think people really know ... they know the large picture, the big picture of what human trafficking is about. But they don't see it in a personal sense. That it could be right next door to them. That it could be right in their neighborhood. I'd like to draw attention to that aspect and have people be aware of what is going on around them."

She will be followed by the presentation and then the headliner -- Jose Feliciano -- will take the stage. Feliciano, a longtime Weston resident, headlined the Grand Opening of the Ridgefield Playhouse in 2000 and is returning once again to lend his talents to a worthy cause. 

In a joint statement, both José and wife Susan Feliciano stated, “Unless we, as a people, are really aware of this perversion —  a thing as diabolical as Human Trafficking — it will continue to permeate the underbelly of our society. I must admit, not until I was invited to perform this concert in support of Traffick Jam Live,  did we, Susan and I, grasp the scope of the dilemma. We need to become more fully aware and dedicated to do whatever we can, whatever it takes, to rid this scourge in order to protect the most vulnerable among us. Together, let’s work towards eradicating Human Trafficking in all its forms.”  The venues Gold Circle tickets also include post event VIP “meet and greet” with Feliciano after the concert.

To help provide complimentary concert tickets to Connecticut human trafficking survivors and employees and volunteers of CT’s anti-trafficking nonprofits, visit traffickjamlive.org “donate” page, make a donation, and enter “Comp Tix” in the comments field.  Join in and let’s JAM human trafficking together.

Tickets are available at RidgefieldPlayhouse.org and here

-- For more information about Traffick Jam Live, please visit https://traffickjamlive.org/

Vaneese Thomas opens the Traffick Jam Live Aug 14 ...

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kerry@ducey.org (Bo Beatty) Charities Fri, 30 Jul 2021 07:07:30 -0400
Connecticut’s Minimum Wage Is Scheduled To Increase on Sunday https://news.hamlethub.com/bethel/politics/48989-connecticut-s-minimum-wage-is-scheduled-to-increase-on-sunday48989-connecticut-s-minimum-wage-is-scheduled-to-increase-on-sunday https://news.hamlethub.com/bethel/politics/48989-connecticut-s-minimum-wage-is-scheduled-to-increase-on-sunday48989-connecticut-s-minimum-wage-is-scheduled-to-increase-on-sunday

Governor Ned Lamont is reminding Connecticut residents that – as a result of legislation he enacted two years ago scheduling several increases in the minimum wage over a five-year period – the minimum wage in the state will increase from the current rate of $12.00 per hour to $13.00 per hour beginning on Sunday, August 1, 2021.

“Nobody working a full-time job should live in poverty,” Governor Lamont said. “For too long, while the nation’s economy grew, the income of the lowest earning workers has stayed flat, making already existing pay disparities even worse and preventing hardworking families from obtaining financial security. This is a fair, modest increase, and the money earned by workers will go right back into our own economy, supporting local businesses and our communities.”

“Every single worker in Connecticut deserves dignity,” Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz said. “This progress towards Connecticut’s $15 an hour minimum wage will lift our state up and ensure that nobody working a full-time job lives in poverty. I join Governor Lamont in applauding this milestone for working families in Connecticut, and I share his continued commitment to the hardworking women and men of our state.”

Signed into law by Governor Lamont in 2019, Public Act 19-4 requires the minimum wage to increase five times over a five-year period, from the then-rate of $10.10 to:

  • $11.00 on October 1, 2019;
  • $12.00 on September 1, 2020;
  • $13.00 on August 1, 2021;
  • $14.00 on July 1, 2022; and
  • $15.00 on June 1, 2023.

Ultimately, beginning on January 1, 2024, that same public act requires the minimum wage to become indexed to the employment cost index, which is calculated by the U.S. Department of Labor, and for the first time in Connecticut the rate will grow according to economic indicators.

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kerry@ducey.org (Gov. Ned Lamont) Politics Thu, 29 Jul 2021 09:43:58 -0400
Bethel Residents Named to University of Hartford Honors Lists https://news.hamlethub.com/bethel/neighbors/48986-bethel-residents-named-to-university-of-hartford-honors-lists48986-bethel-residents-named-to-university-of-hartford-honors-lists https://news.hamlethub.com/bethel/neighbors/48986-bethel-residents-named-to-university-of-hartford-honors-lists48986-bethel-residents-named-to-university-of-hartford-honors-lists

The University of Hartford is pleased to announce the students who have been named to the President's Honors List and/or the Dean's List for Spring 2021. Congratulations to the following Bethel residents:

Michael Chittem - Dean's List

Donovan Eaton -Dean's List

Juliet Finn - Dean's List

Gregory Zanchelli - President's Honors List and the Dean's List

Spread across seven dynamic schools and colleges, the University of Hartford has been guiding the purpose and passion of students for over six decades.

For more information, visit hartford.edu.

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kerry@ducey.org (U Hartford) Neighbors Wed, 28 Jul 2021 10:02:57 -0400
Bethel’s Byrd’s Books hosts student friendly discussion about Sept 11th https://news.hamlethub.com/bethel/life/48985-bethel-s-byrd-s-books-hosts-student-friendly-discussion-about-sept-11th48985-bethel-s-byrd-s-books-hosts-student-friendly-discussion-about-sept-11th https://news.hamlethub.com/bethel/life/48985-bethel-s-byrd-s-books-hosts-student-friendly-discussion-about-sept-11th48985-bethel-s-byrd-s-books-hosts-student-friendly-discussion-about-sept-11th

Nine, Ten: A  Story by Nora Raleigh Baskin is a “tense...and thought-provoking” read for a young audience (Kirkus Reviews), a book that’s been assigned to incoming sixth-graders at the Bethel Middle School. , Bethel’s Byrd’s Books will host a student-friendly informal discussion about the award-winning author’s new novel with Kara DiBartolo, the current Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Innovation for the Sherman School and Bethel’s former "Book Fairy” extraordinaire. 

Nine, Ten, authored by the critically acclaimed writer of Anything But Typical, follows the days leading up to the tragic events of September 11, 2001, and how that day impacted the lives of four middle schoolers - four of who don’t know one another, but whose lives are about to intersect in ways they never could have imagined. If the weather’s fine, the bookstore, located at 178 Greenwood Avenue, across from the Bethel Public Library, will host the event outside, though masks are still encouraged. To purchase a copy of the book and to reserve a seat, go to  https://conta.cc/2V5QZf4.

Author discussions and Book Group gatherings are regularly added to Byrd’s Books’ calendar of events at ByrdsBooks.com  Open Tuesdays through Saturdays, Sundays, for browsing, touch-free purchasing and pick-up, Byrd’s Books also welcomes private shopping by appointment. Byrd’s Books requires masks and provides a hand sanitizer for everyone’s safety.

 

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kerry@ducey.org (Ted Killmer) Life Wed, 28 Jul 2021 04:36:29 -0400
The Ridgefield Playhouse Adds Two New Shows with Colin Jost on Sunday, August 15 https://news.hamlethub.com/bethel/events/48987-the-ridgefield-playhouse-adds-two-new-shows-with-colin-jost-on-sunday-august-1548987-the-ridgefield-playhouse-adds-two-new-shows-with-colin-jost-on-sunday-august-15 https://news.hamlethub.com/bethel/events/48987-the-ridgefield-playhouse-adds-two-new-shows-with-colin-jost-on-sunday-august-1548987-the-ridgefield-playhouse-adds-two-new-shows-with-colin-jost-on-sunday-august-15

Colin Jost new show at The Ridgefield Playhouse on Sunday, August 15 is on sale for Playhouse members NOW

Show times 4:30PM and 7:30PM

Public on-sale Friday, July 30 at 10am!

Purchase tickets HERE.

Don’t miss this evening of stand-up from the award-winning, co-anchor of “Weekend Update” on Saturday Night Live!

Please note that the 7:30 pm show is a rescheduled performance - tickets from Colin Jost's April 20, 2020 show will be honored. The 4:30 pm performance is a brand new show. Tickets are available for both shows.

Back after a sold out show in 2019, the “SNL Weekend Update” host is back with an all new show! Jost serves as a head writer for “Saturday Night Live.” He started writing for “SNL” in 2005 and has been co-anchor of “Weekend Update” since 2014.

Jost co-hosted the special editions of “Weekend Update” that aired on MSNBC during the 2016 Republican and Democratic National Conventions as well as the primetime “Weekend Update Summer Edition” in 2017. In 2018, Jost and co-anchor Michael Che hosted the Primetime Emmy Awards.

Additionally, Jost wrote and starred in the Paramount/Netflix film “Staten Island Summer,” based on his days as a lifeguard. He has won four Writers Guild Awards, a Peabody Award and has been nominated for multiple Emmy Awards for his writing on “SNL.” Jost graduated from Harvard University and is from Staten Island, N.Y.

Purchase tickets HERE.

Colin Jost - One Star Review

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kerry@ducey.org (The Ridgefield Playhouse) Events Tue, 27 Jul 2021 10:22:56 -0400
Bethel resident Tara Donohue named to Dean's List at Tufts University https://news.hamlethub.com/bethel/neighbors/48984-bethel-resident-tara-donohue-named-to-dean-s-list-at-tufts-university48984-bethel-resident-tara-donohue-named-to-dean-s-list-at-tufts-university https://news.hamlethub.com/bethel/neighbors/48984-bethel-resident-tara-donohue-named-to-dean-s-list-at-tufts-university48984-bethel-resident-tara-donohue-named-to-dean-s-list-at-tufts-university

Tufts University recently announced the dean's list for the Spring 2021 semester.

Among students earning dean's list honors is Tara Donohue of Bethel, class of 2023. Dean's list honors at Tufts University require a semester grade point average of 3.4 or greater.

Tufts University, located on campuses in Boston, Medford/Somerville and Grafton, Massachusetts, and in Talloires, France, is recognized among the premier research universities in the United States. Tufts enjoys a global reputation for academic excellence and for the preparation of students as leaders in a wide range of professions. A growing number of innovative teaching and research initiatives span all Tufts campuses, and collaboration among the faculty and students in the undergraduate, graduate and professional programs across the university's schools is widely encouraged.

 

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kerry@ducey.org (Tufts University) Neighbors Tue, 27 Jul 2021 09:20:30 -0400