Darien's HamletHub https://news.hamlethub.com/darien Sat, 04 Apr 2020 12:10:53 -0400 HamletHub.com Town of Darien COVID-19 Data Tracking https://news.hamlethub.com/darien/neighbors/47515-town-of-darien-covid-19-data-tracking47515-town-of-darien-covid-19-data-tracking https://news.hamlethub.com/darien/neighbors/47515-town-of-darien-covid-19-data-tracking47515-town-of-darien-covid-19-data-tracking

The Town of Darien has compiled and reported COVID-19 data including COVID-19 timeline, and cases by age and sex. According to the report, most cases are among residents age 50-59.

View the town Data Tracking report here

Governor Lamont this evening announced another Executive Order – Executive Order 7T.

Executive Order 7T restricts the occupancy of hotels, motels, inns, bed and breakfasts, and short-term residential rentals including those arranged on-line to healthcare workers, first responders, essential workers and the homeless during the crisis. The Order modifies earlier guidance regarding bars and restaurants serving alcohol for off-premise consumption, suspends notary requirements for applications to the Connecticut Recovery Bridge Loan program and allows the Commissioner of Early Childhood to temporarily waive requirements deemed necessary to maintain a sufficient capacity of childcare services or stabilize child care providers. It also suspends certain hearing rights for healthcare providers. The Order also makes changes to affidavit requirements for an order of protection and relief.

Executive Order 7T can be read here

kerry@ducey.org (HH) Neighbors Fri, 03 Apr 2020 10:24:10 -0400
Meet RVNAhealth Men and Women on the Front Line https://news.hamlethub.com/darien/neighbors/47516-meet-the-rvnahealth-front-line47516-meet-the-rvnahealth-front-line https://news.hamlethub.com/darien/neighbors/47516-meet-the-rvnahealth-front-line47516-meet-the-rvnahealth-front-line

RVNAhealth has a team of amazing clinicians and caregivers on the front line battling COVID. They are heroes - though they don't view it that way. 

They are the clinicians and caregivers who step forward when others step back. They are also the leaders who don’t just coach from the sidelines but find their way into the field. The RVNAhealth Front Line is driven by commitment and conviction, and their unwavering belief that the difference they make in their patients’ lives is an important one. 

And never are they more correct than now.  RVNAhealth is proud to introduce you. 

Throughout the month, RVNAhealth be sharing glimpses of as many team members as possible. They will also be featuring our front line on a special web page.

Please visit the page often (we'll be updating it frequently), to meet the team. And -- if you can -- please help RVNAhealth keep them safe by Protecting a Caregiver.

Meet the RVNAhealth Front Line

Jessica Velasco, RN
Jessica has an interesting story.  In times of 'normalcy,' she is our Home Health Aide Supervisor and Chronic Care Manager.  But when COVID-19 began to take hold, Jessica elected to return to the field to help care for patients she had served in days gone by -- this time as a hospice nurse. Meet Jessica 

Joe Naber, OTR
It's funny, the course of one's life. In school, Joe studied Construction Management. But when post-graduate opportunities were limited, he took a detour to Rehabilitation. Joe is now an Occupational Therapist serving COVID-19 patients in their residences and facilities. Joe may not be managing construction, but he is building trust and hope wherever he goes. Meet Joe

Annecia Young, HHA
Annecia Young is young, but she's also wise, and a wonderful and compassionate caregiver. She learned at the hands of her mother -- a nurse -- and cares for her patients as she hopes to be cared for herself one day, with honesty and love.  The challenges of COVID-19 don't stop Annecia. Her energy runs strong. Meet Annecia

Marlene Alba, EHR Specialist
Behind every successful Front Line is a team of experts quietly keeping the wheels turning. Marlene Alba is part of that team. An Electronic Health Record expert and educator, Marlene is focused now on keeping our system in sync with the evolving COVID-19 needs so our Front Line team can focus on the patients they see. Meet Marlene


Throughout the month, RVNAhealth be sharing glimpses of as many team members as possible. They will also be featuring our front line on a special web page.


Please visit the page often (RVNAhealth be updating it frequently), to meet the team. And -- if you can -- please help RVNAhealth keep them safe by Protecting a Caregiver.


kerry@ducey.org (Nancy Rowe) Neighbors Fri, 03 Apr 2020 08:49:47 -0400
CT's Beardsley Zoo Lifts Spirits During Crisis https://news.hamlethub.com/darien/places/47517-ct-s-beardsley-zoo-lifts-spirits-during-crisis47517-ct-s-beardsley-zoo-lifts-spirits-during-crisis https://news.hamlethub.com/darien/places/47517-ct-s-beardsley-zoo-lifts-spirits-during-crisis47517-ct-s-beardsley-zoo-lifts-spirits-during-crisis

There are many inspirational stories of individuals and companies coping with the restrictions imposed by the Coronavirus crisis, but Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo has a few of its own. Although Zoo gates are closed to the public, staff members continue to care for the Zoo’s animals, carefully following CDC and State of Connecticut safety guidelines. The Zoo has more than 300 animals on grounds, many of them endangered species. The animal care staff must feed, clean, offer training and provide enrichment each day to a diverse group of animals, from tigers and alligators to monkeys and owls, along with dozens more. 

On Friday, April 3, the Zoo is launching a new interactive opportunity for children and families. “Do You Have a Zoo at Your House?” asks children to draw pictures and write letters for their favorite Zoo animals or take photos of how they’ve created a zoo of their own at home, using plush animals, blocks, Legos or costumes. The Zoo’s website (www.beardsleyzoo.org) will include a page where the children’s art, letters and photos will be posted for all to enjoy, as well as featured on the Zoo’s social media accounts. 

The Education staff has pivoted from on-grounds education programming to internet-based, Distance Learning initiatives for students of all ages. Zoo educators have filmed a variety of Next Generation Science Standards-compliant videos, making them available on the Zoo website, via social media, to broadcasting partners, and as resources for the state’s outreach to teachers. The Zoo offers Facebook Live sessions every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 2:00 p.m., with a different focus each day: Science-based learning from the Education staff, a Zookeeper Chat, or a visit with Zoo Director Gregg Dancho and an animal of his choice. 

Staff members are rising to the need of their friends and co-workers. One of the Farmyard’s Animal Care Specialists sewed colorful masks to help protect her colleagues. The Zoo’s Education Curator, in addition to overseeing on-grounds STREAM videos, is filming backyard wildlife for schoolchildren. The Peacock Café’s chef has locked the doors to the restaurant but is serving staff free meals through a side window.  Photographer volunteers have turned photos taken earlier into coloring sheets for kids, available on the Zoo website.

As a 501 (c) (3) non-profit, the Zoo relies on ticket sales, school visits, memberships, education program fees, donations and meeting and rental revenue to operate. Being closed is resulting in a significant impact on the operating budget. Any size donation to our emergency operating fund will assist in the care of our animals and team members. Donations can be sent to: https://www.beardsleyzoo.org/emergency-fund.html

About Connecticut’s Beardsley ZooLet your curiosity run wild! Connecticut's only zoo, celebrating its 98th year, features 300 animals representing primarily North and South American species. Guests won't want to miss our Amur tigers and leopards, maned wolf family, Brazilian ocelot, Mexican and Red wolves, and Golden lion tamarins. Other highlights include our new Spider Monkey Habitat, Natt Family Red Panda Habitat, South American rainforest with free-flight aviary, the prairie dog exhibit with "pop-up" viewing areas, and the Pampas Plain with Giant anteaters and Chacoan peccaries. Guests can grab a bite at the Peacock Café, eat in the Picnic Grove, and enjoy a ride on our colorful, indoor carousel. For more information, and updates on the Zoo’s closed status, visit beardsleyzoo.org.

kerry@ducey.org (Lisa Clair) Places Fri, 03 Apr 2020 06:25:06 -0400
Why Small Businesses Matter: Darien Pediatric Associates https://news.hamlethub.com/darien/places/47509-why-small-businesses-matter-in-darien-darien-pediatric-associates47509-why-small-businesses-matter-in-darien-darien-pediatric-associates https://news.hamlethub.com/darien/places/47509-why-small-businesses-matter-in-darien-darien-pediatric-associates47509-why-small-businesses-matter-in-darien-darien-pediatric-associates

Why Small Businesses Matter

Shop small, do big things for your community

Why Small Businesses Matter puts a spotlight on the local merchants who donate their time, talent, goods, and services for the betterment of our community. The shop local movement spreads virally as local businesses who are “tagged” have the opportunity to share their story!

You're IT Darien Pediatric Associates!

Three questions with Lauren Bader, founder of Darien Pediatric Associates.

Darien Pediatric Associates is a small private practice comprised of four Board Certified physicians that have been serving Darien and the surrounding communities for over forty years.

Why did you start your business?

What started as a solo-practice over forty years ago has grown into a group of four dedicated physicians who treat patients from infancy through young adulthood. At Darien Pediatric Associates our physicians get to know their patients on a personal level and pride themselves in providing excellent care to the whole family.

Finish this sentence in regard to your business. “I wish I could…”

...inform our patients how important it is that we continue to see them for their regularly scheduled well-visits and that we are here to assist them in any way during the COVID-19 crisis.

What is your best selling product/service?

We are available to our patients 24/7 for 365 days of the year. At our office, your child will always be seen by a physician and we are available to assist you with after-hour emergencies at any time.

Darien Pediatric Associates nominates Flour Water Salt bread.

Darien Pediatric Associates is located at 106 Noroton Ave in Darien. Visit Darien Pediatric Associates online here.

HamletHub thanks Fairfield County Bank for making our Why Small Businesses Matter series possible!

daliborboldis@gmail.com (Dan) Places Thu, 02 Apr 2020 11:38:14 -0400
New Virtual Art Workshops for All Age Online at Darien Arts Center https://news.hamlethub.com/darien/places/47513-new-virtual-art-workshops-for-all-ages-at-darienarts-org47513-new-virtual-art-workshops-for-all-ages-at-darienarts-org https://news.hamlethub.com/darien/places/47513-new-virtual-art-workshops-for-all-ages-at-darienarts-org47513-new-virtual-art-workshops-for-all-ages-at-darienarts-org

With its facilities closed to the public due to health and safety mandates, the Darien Arts Center has expanded its current offerings for students through online video communications. All music lessons, visual arts and dance classes are now taking place live and online while Darien schools remain closed. DAC directors and students have quickly adapted to this new way of teaching and learning, and the DAC is providing new opportunities for students of all ages.

Dance students have started attending the more than 40 dance classes offered by the DAC via Zoom. Reflecting on recent days, DAC Dance Director Bonnie Gombos commented, “It is a new way for the students to learn, but our dancers are adapting quickly. We greatly appreciate the support and involvement of all who have made our online classes come together and the patience and flexibility of students and parents as DAC faculty and staff adapt to today’s challenging realities. Online classes will continue until we are back in the studio, which can’t happen soon enough. Our teachers dearly miss all of our students and can’t wait to resume classes in person. But until then, the dance will go on!”

Juanita Bosee, DAC Music Director, was initially reluctant to the concept of remote learning. “The coronavirus forced me to do something I was uncomfortable with, but I am so happy I tried it. The kids are engaged and I’ve seen progress in all 30 of the students that I taught this past week. With more free time on their hands, kids are practicing more and they are learning that playing a musical instrument is a gift they will have for the rest of their lives. Parents of students are extremely grateful for the effort put into helping their kids continue learning. Both students and parents are happy that there is some normalcy and structure in their lives. I am proud of the students’ and my own resilience and that of my fellow colleagues in all the disciplines taught at the DAC.”

In addition to regularly scheduled classes, DAC Visual Arts Director Emily Altman, has added several upcoming virtual drawing and painting workshops for all ages that take place via Zoom, “We’ve been encouraged by positive feedback from students and parents, and are happily providing ways for the community to stay creative as we move forward.” The Afternoon Doodles Workshops, brand new for grades 3 and up, are taking place on Wednesdays, April 8, 15 and 22, from 1:30 -2:30 p.m. Artist and instructor Nancy McTague-Stock will lead classes using household items to create fun projects that include drawing, collage and more. Fee for each workshop is $10.

New live virtual art workshops for adults include Coffee and Draw with artist and DAC instructor Joel Flora, who will lead a series of drawing exercises while participants sketch objects of choice in their own homes. This workshop takes place on Thursday, April 9 from 9:30-10:30 a.m. From the Kitchen; Drawing Workshop with Nancy McTague-Stock takes place on Tuesday, April 21 from 10-11a.m. McTague-Stock will lead participants on how to draw a still life, using anything from the kitchen, whether it is a bowl of fruit or flowers, or whatever is on hand. Fee for each adult workshop is $10.

Look for updates on upcoming online classes and register at darienarts.org. For questions, call the DAC at (203) 655-8683. The Darien Arts Center is located at 2 Renshaw Road, behind Darien Town Hall. Lead sponsors of the DAC are Baywater Properties, DR Bank and Stamford Ford Lincoln.

farrellmarketingandmedia@gmail.com (Diane Farrell) Places Thu, 02 Apr 2020 11:16:28 -0400
Lamont's 20th Executive Order Includes Safe Stores Beginning Tomorrow https://news.hamlethub.com/darien/politics/47514-lamont-s-20th-executive-order-includes-safe-stores-beginning-tomorrow47514-lamont-s-20th-executive-order-includes-safe-stores-beginning-tomorrow https://news.hamlethub.com/darien/politics/47514-lamont-s-20th-executive-order-includes-safe-stores-beginning-tomorrow47514-lamont-s-20th-executive-order-includes-safe-stores-beginning-tomorrow

Governor Lamont signs 20th executive order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19

Governor Lamont today signed another executive order – the 20th since he enacted the emergency declarations – that builds upon his efforts to encourage mitigation strategies that slow down transmission of the virus.

Governor Lamont’s Executive Order No. 7S enacts the following provisions:

  • Safe stores mandatory statewide rules: Effective upon the opening of each retail establishment for the first time on April 3, 2020, every retail establishment in the state will be required to take additional protective measures to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 between and among customers, employees, and other persons such as delivery drivers and maintenance people. The order requires the commissioner of the Economic and Community Development to issue mandatory statewide rules prescribing such additional protective measures. Such rules will be mandatory throughout the state and supersede and preempt any current or contemplated municipal order.
  • Immediately following Governor Lamont’s signing of this executive order, the Department of Economic and Community Development published the Safe Stores Rules on its website, outlining guidance for retail establishments. All stores must follow these rules beginning April 3.
  • 60-day grace period for premium payments, policy cancellations, and non-renewals of insurance policies: Beginning on April 1, 2020 for a period of 60 days, no insurer in Connecticut – including life, health, auto property, casualty, and other types – may lapse or terminate a covered insurance policy because a policyholder does not pay a premium or interest during this time. This grace period is not automatic. To be eligible, affected policyholders must provide additional information acceptable to their insurance carriers.
  • Extension of 30-day period of credit for liquor permittees: Modifies state law to permit the maximum period of credit for liquor permittees from certain creditors, including wholesalers and manufacturers, to be 90 days after the date of delivery for all permittees prohibited from engaging in on-premise sales per Executive Order No. 7D.
  • Daily payment of certain taxes changed to weekly: Modifies the tax payment requirements for Sportech, the licensee authorized to operate off-track betting in Connecticut, from daily to weekly so that its employees aren’t required to appear in person daily.
  • Flexibility to amend Medicaid waivers and state plan: In order to allow continued access to critical services for Medicaid beneficiaries, the order waives public notice and legislative hearing requirements for the duration of the declared public health and civil preparedness emergencies to allow the Department of Social Services to seek expedited approval from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to submit Medicaid waivers; amend existing Medicaid waivers; submit Medicaid State Plan Amendments that would have required a waiver but for the Affordable Care Act; and obtain relief from various other federal requirements on an emergency basis.
  • Relief from certain municipal tax deadlines and collection efforts: Requires municipalities to enact one or both of two options for providing temporary tax forbearance of property tax collection and reduced interest on delinquent tax payments to property owners under certain conditions, including that landlords agree extend commensurate forbearance to commercial, residential, or institutional tenants for the duration of the deferment.
  • Allow suspension of in-person voting requirements for critical and time sensitive municipal fiscal deadlines: Allows suspension of certain in-person votes of residents or taxpayers on certain fiscal decisions, in addition to the provisions in Executive Order No. 7I, for fiscal decisions needed to prevent property damage, protect public health and safety, or prevent significant financial loss, provided they comply with all open meeting requirements of Executive Order No. 7B.
  • Suspension of reapplication filing requirement for the homeowners’ elderly/disabled circuit breaker tax relief program and for the homeowners’ elderly/disabled freeze tax relief program: Allows recipients of this benefit to receive the benefit for the coming year without recertifying their eligibility.
  • Substitution of full inspection requirements pertaining to October 1, 2020 grand list revaluations: Allows 34 municipalities to continue with their scheduled 2020 revaluations, which are started up to a year in advance.The statute allows for Data Mailer Questionnaire to be mailed to the property owner when access is unobtainable; this eliminates having to request access, and allows for the revaluation to be completed via questionnaire.
  • Extension of deadline to file income and expense statement to August 15: Allows taxpayers additional time to complete their income and expense statements.
  • Suspension of non-judicial tax sales: Suspends foreclosures through non-judicial tax sales until 30 days after the end of the COVID-19 emergency.

Governor Lamont announces medical surge plan in collaboration with Connecticut’s long-term care facilities

Governor Lamont today announced that his administration is collaborating with Connecticut’s long-term care facilities on a medical surge plan that will involve moving some residents and the creation of dedicated spaces for residents who are COVID-19 positive.

As the number of individuals who are diagnosed with COVID-19 rises, the health care system will be stretched to extremes. Compounding this challenge is the fact that the elderly population will be at greater risk when diagnosed as being positive for COVID-19.

Nursing homes are an essential component of the medical surge plan. It includes the following options:

  1. Separation of COVID-19 positive residents: Anyone diagnosed as COVID-19 positive in a hospital and later admitted to a nursing home will be monitored and assessed for 14 days in an area that only has other COVID-19 positive residents. Anyone admitted who is negative for COVID-19 will be housed with other residents who are negative, as a mitigation measure.
  2. Dedication of space: Existing nursing homes will dedicate specific units that will group together residents who have been diagnosed as being COVID-19 positive, where applicable.
  3. Conversion of existing nursing homes: Residents of some long-term care facilities who either test negative for COVID-19 or display no symptoms will be able to voluntarily transfer to facilities where there are no COVID-19 positive residents. At the same time, some facilities will be converted to only house individuals who are COVID-19 positive and dedicate their new admissions to individuals who have been diagnosed positive. This concept also includes a facility who has a dedicated entrance to a unit within the structure that can physically isolate all care and services from normal operations. For existing nursing home conversions, individuals who are not positive for COVID-19 and/or asymptomatic will all be voluntarily transferred to the receiving destination prior to that facility accepting any individuals who are COVID-19 positive.
  4. Development of new alternate care sites: New spaces are identified that are currently vacant and in several cases have been vacated through recent nursing home closures. These sites would be licensed as chronic and convalescent nursing homes and the request would be made to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) for an 1135 waiver for rapid certification. These alternate care sites, too, would be dedicated to the care of individuals positive for COVID-19. Alternate care sites developed will be inspected and approved by the Department of Public Health (DPH). DPH can also provide support regarding access to and moving of equipment, staffing and logistics.

The Department of Social Services and the Office of Policy and Management have determined a specific payment rate for options 3 and 4. Options 3 and 4 would also require providers to submit a written proposal to DPH prior to approval that will need to address staffing patterns, equipment needs and detail system supports that will be provided such as environmental and food services, among others.

Options 3 and 4 will create additional bed space for 1,175 people. The following nursing homes have been identified as potential sites:

Option 3 (conversion of existing facilities)

  • Evergreen Health Care (Stafford Springs, 180 Beds)
  • Sharon Health Care (Sharon, 88 Beds)
  • Touchpoints of Farmington (Farmington, 120 Beds)
  • Touchpoints of Bloomfield (Bloomfield, 30 Beds)
  • Greenwich Woods (Greenwich, 217)
  • Total beds in option 3: 635

Option 4 (new alternate sites)

  • Old Greenwich Civic Center (Greenwich, 90 Beds)
  • Silver Hill Hospitals (New Caanan, 90 Beds)
  • Westfield (Meriden, 120 Beds)
  • Green Springs (East Hartford, 120 Beds)
  • Vacant Nursing Home in Region 5 (120 Beds)
  • Total beds in option 4: 540

The following is the list of nursing homes in Connecticut with residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 as of April 1, 2020 at 11:00 a.m.:


Nursing Home


Bloomfield Healthcare Center


Caleb Hitchcock Health Center


Touchpoints at Bloomfield


Jewish Living Center


Cherry Brook Health Care Center


Glen Hill Center

East Haven

Whispering Pines Rehabilitation and Nursing Center


Greenwich Woods Rehabilitation


Nathaniel Witherell


Guilford House


Golden Hill Rehab Pavilion


Glendale Center

New Haven

Grimes Center

New London

Harbor Village Health and Rehabilitation


Bel-Air Manor


Portland Care and Rehabilitation

Rocky Hill

Apple Rehab Rocky Hill


Shady Knoll Health Center


Sharon Health Care Center


Apple Rehab Shelton Lakes


Bishop Wicke Health and Rehabilitation


Gardner Heights Health Care Center

Stafford Springs

Evergreen Health Care Center


St. Camillus Center


Suffield House


RegalCare at Torrington


Wolcott Hall


Maefair Health Care Center


Abbott Terrace Health Center


RegalCare at Waterbury


Waterbury Gardens Nursing and Rehabilitation


Bayview Health Care


Wilton Meadows


Kimberly Hall North


Windsor Health and Rehabilitation


The Willows

Connecticut National Guard deploys additional medical capacity at Middlesex Hospital, SCSU, and WCSU

The Connecticut National Guard today continued efforts to deploy additional medical capacity at several sites throughout the state:

  • A Connecticut Department of Public Health mobile field hospital was set up at Middlesex Hospital in Middletown. This is the third of these units to be deployed at hospitals across the state. Last week, the Guard deployed two other of these units at Saint Francis Hospital in Hartford and Danbury Hospital.
  • The Guard today also deployed a 250-bed medical station provided by FEMA at the Moore Field House on the campus of Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven.
  • In addition, the Guard today began preparations to set-up 300 beds of additional medical capacity from the Connecticut Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security at the O’Neill Center on the campus of Western Connecticut State University in Danbury. Those beds will be assembled on Thursday.

Governor Lamont announces creation of 4-CT charitable organization to unite donors with Connecticut programs responding to COVID-19

Recognizing the considerable demand on resources the COVID-19 public health emergency is having on nearly every aspect of life across the state, a group of Connecticut-based philanthropists today announced that they have established a charitable organization to raise new support for the state’s nonprofit organizations that are serving those impacted by the pandemic.

The Connecticut COVID-19 Charity Connection – also known as 4-CT – is an independent, 501(c)3 organization with the mission of bolstering the resources available to support the state’s frontline providers who are serving all areas impacted by the crisis. 4-CT will provide financial support to ensure their services can meet increased demand and have a positive impact. In announcing its launch, the charity has already raised $10 million from generous donors and is seeking to significantly increase these efforts in the coming weeks and months to further support to the state’s nonprofit community.

Governor Ned Lamont, recognizing the urgency of addressing the impact of the crisis on communities across the state, said the creation of this charity is an example of Connecticut ingenuity and generosity, and applauded the efforts of those who sought to bring it to fruition.

“I’m grateful to our community foundations, United Way of Connecticut, and the individual donors who support the work of nonprofits that provide critical services across our state every day – and during this crisis,” Governor Lamont said. “4-CT will expand the ranks of these philanthropic partners supporting the nonprofits on the frontlines.”

For more information, read the press release issued today by Governor Lamont.

State Parks to reduce visitor capacity during COVID-19 pandemic

Pursuant to Executive Order No. 7R, which Governor Lamont signed Tuesday, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) today announced that it will be enforcing stricter measures to support safe, solitary enjoyment of outdoor spaces at all state parks in an effort to maintain social distancing. This include plans to limit parking capacity at certain parks to manage visitor levels.

While state parks remain open for solitary recreation, the agency is closely monitoring park visitorship and is closing parking lots when lots become full and lowering parking thresholds where necessary. In some locations, additional visitors have been observed parking outside of park entrances that have been closed for capacity and walking in, which undermines DEEP’s ability to maintain manageable visitor levels. The executive order Governor Lamont signed gives DEEP the authority to impose penalties on individuals who enter parks after they have reached capacity.

Those considering visiting State Parks are encouraged to take these steps:

  • Check the Connecticut State Park’s Twitter account at @CTStateParks, where real-time information on park closures is announced;
  • Stay home if you’re not feeling well; and
  • Rather than traveling to the more popular spots, discover a new place that is less traveled. Check out DEEP’s website for a list of every State Park and use the hashtag #CTTrailsLessTraveled on social media.

For more information, read the press release issued today by DEEP.

Connecticut State Colleges and University system donates PPE to facilities across the state

Higher education institutions from within the Connecticut State Colleges and University (CSCU) system have been making donations of PPE from their facilities to local hospitals to assist with emergency response.

“There are so many ways each of us can help out in some way, and I applaud these higher education institutions for utilizing their resources and giving them to our local hospitals, which are in need of this equipment at this time,” Governor Lamont said.

PPE donations from each CSCU institution to date includes:

  • Central Connecticut State University: Total Gloves Combined, 26,000; Total Masks Combined, 430
  • Eastern Connecticut State University: Total Masks Combined, 1,200
  • Western Connecticut State University: Total Gloves Combined, 400; Total Masks Combined, 1,550; Total Gowns Combined, 174
  • Charter Oak State College: Total Gloves Combined, 1,800; Total Masks Combined, 21
  • Tunxis Community College: Total Gloves Combined, 15,600; Total Masks Combined, 838; Total Eye Protection Combined, 48; Total gowns, 60
  • Middlesex Community College: Total Gloves Combined, 25,300; Total Masks Combined, 560
  • Norwalk Community College: Total Gloves Combined, 15,000; Total Masks Combined, 919; Total Gowns Combined, 130; Total Alcohol Prep Pads Combined, 1,800; Total Ventilators Combined (on loan), 3
  • Three Rivers Community College: Total Gloves Combined, 5,700; Total Masks Combined, 2,000 Total Gowns Combined, 189
  • Northwestern Connecticut Community College: Total Gloves Combined, 15,100; Total Masks Combined, 1,890; Total Gowns Combined, 211
  • Manchester Community College: Total Ventilators Combined, 6
  • Housatonic Community College: Total Gloves Combined, 300; Total Masks Combined, 200; Total Gowns Combined, 120
  • Naugatuck Valley Community College: Total Gloves Combined, 28,400; Total Masks Combined, 200; Total Gowns Combined, 510
  • Quinebaug Valley Community College: Total Gloves Combined, 23,100; Total Masks Combined, 525; Total Gowns Combined, 85
  • Capital Community College: Total Gloves Combined, 27,700; Total Masks Combined, 1,012; Total Gowns Combined, 406
  • CSCU System Totals: Gloves: 184,400; Masks: 11,345; Gowns: 1,885; Ventilators: 9

Providing information to Connecticut residents

For the most up-to-date information from the State of Connecticut on COVID-19, including an FAQ and other guidance and resources, residents are encouraged to visit ct.gov/coronavirus.

Individuals who have general questions that are not answered on the website can also call 2-1-1 for assistance. The hotline is available 24 hours a day and has multilingual assistance and TDD/TTY access. It intended to be used by individuals who are not experiencing symptoms but may have general questions related to COVID-19. Anyone experiencing symptoms is strongly urged to contact their medical provider.

kerry@ducey.org (Gov. Ned Lamont) Politics Thu, 02 Apr 2020 09:14:12 -0400
Ethan Allen Prep School Tees Up for Fall, Applications Now Accepted https://news.hamlethub.com/darien/places/47512-ethan-allen-prep-school-tees-up-for-fall-applications-now-accepted47512-ethan-allen-prep-school-tees-up-for-fall-applications-now-accepted https://news.hamlethub.com/darien/places/47512-ethan-allen-prep-school-tees-up-for-fall-applications-now-accepted47512-ethan-allen-prep-school-tees-up-for-fall-applications-now-accepted

Ethan Allen Prep: Achieve Your Greatness On the Golf Course, In the Classroom and In Life

The Golf Performance Center’s (GPC) Ethan Allen Preparatory School is teeing up for fall and offering an innovative and unique educational experience for scholar-athletes.

Visit Ethan Allen Prep online HERE for additional information and to fill out an application.

Ethan Allen Prepartorpatory School, a brand new residential campus for scholar-athletes and summer campers, offers a state of the art residence hall, classrooms, a dining hall, lounge and beautiful walking paths.

The Achieve Program at Ethan Allen Prep promotes curiosity and empowers the scholar-athletes to embrace their individual areas of interest. Ethan Allen Prep designs individualized curriculums for each and every student, removing barriers that keep them from reaching their true potential.

The Achieve Program offers an expansive list of 150+ courses delivered by K12 International Academy, providing students the ability to delve into areas of interest and take charge of their own education.

A private alternative to traditional high school, Ethan Allen Prep is open to a select few high-achieving student-athletes and integrates state of the art training facilities and expert coaching to help athletes reach their goals. 

Learn more about Ethan Allen Prep fall program HERE.

Ethan Allen Prep: Achieve Your Greatness On the Go...

kerry@ducey.org (HH) Places Thu, 02 Apr 2020 09:04:04 -0400
Darien Foundation Cancels Benefit and Swiftly Pivots to Support Community Initiatives https://news.hamlethub.com/darien/charities/47511-darien-foundation-cancels-benefit-and-swiftly-pivots-to-support-community-initiatives47511-darien-foundation-cancels-benefit-and-swiftly-pivots-to-support-community-initiatives https://news.hamlethub.com/darien/charities/47511-darien-foundation-cancels-benefit-and-swiftly-pivots-to-support-community-initiatives47511-darien-foundation-cancels-benefit-and-swiftly-pivots-to-support-community-initiatives

The Darien Foundation has canceled its annual fundraiser, ‘Yacht Rock On,’ originally scheduled for April 25, 2020. The event will now take place on April 24, 2021. 

“We had a great team working on Yacht Rock On and we had significant momentum,” said Byrne Pozzi, Benefit Co-Chair and Board Member of The Darien Foundation, “However, once this crisis hit, we quickly shifted our focus to helping the community.” Added Alison Muench, Benefit Co-Chair “We are offering ticket holders a full refund or the opportunity to donate some or all of the ticket purchase price.”

The Darien Foundation was grateful to the full list of corporate sponsors who had agreed to sponsor the Yacht Rock On benefit, including: Eagle Point Credit, JP Morgan Private Bank, Baywater Properties, East Coast Structures, Eileen B. Hanford Realty, First County Bank, PURE Insurance, NOLA Physical Therapy, Rand Insurance, The Residence at Selleck’s Woods, SubShots, and Moffly Media.

Shared Executive Director Sarah Woodberry, “Many of our corporate and individual sponsors have been incredibly generous in light of the cancelation and have offered to convert their sponsorship dollars to outright donations. This has enabled us to put those funds to use right away during this difficult time for our town.”

In response to the current COVID-19 crisis, The Darien Foundation immediately shifted its focus to determine where it could best serve and support the community. Sarah Woodberry and Board Chairman Ward Glassmeyer promptly contacted First Selectman Jayme Stevenson as well as other community leaders to find out how The Darien Foundation could help. 

Jayme Stevenson highlighted that one of her most pressing priorities was the senior citizens who had relied upon daily lunches at the Senior Center. “Knowing that the Senior Center was closed and that the elderly could potentially be at a loss for meals was a significant concern for me and other town officials,” she said.  

Meanwhile, Baywater Properties and PG Properties were acting quickly to form Corbin Cares—an initiative that would leverage local Darien restaurants to provide meals for the food-insecure in Darien and neighboring communities. This collaboration includes 

Bodega Taco Bar, Ten Twenty Post, Baldanza Bistro, Four Forks, Jake's Place and UCBC, and will provide ready-to-eat, healthy, safely-prepared meals to Darien seniors in need, families referred by Darien’s Department of Human Services, and nonprofits that feed the food-insecure of Fairfield County.

“Once we learned of the Corbin Cares initiative, we saw there was a natural synergy with our goal of addressing immediate needs of the Town of Darien,” said Sarah Woodberry. 

The Darien Foundation Board fast-tracked approval for a $75K grant to support Corbin Cares within Darien. The program will launch on Monday, March 30, providing 30-35 lunches each day for seniors, as well as a weekly takeout dinner for approximately 75 families, which includes about 125 students.

“While this is a bit outside the parameters of our typical grant funding, The Darien Foundation has always tried to be responsive to the needs of our community,” said Ward Glassmeyer, Chairman of the Board. 

In the past, The Darien Foundation has provided over $1.1MM in technology grants to all seven public schools and thought it might be effective to provide additional equipment, such as more Chromebooks and iPads. However, the Board of Education relayed that technology is not a crucial need at this point.

Corbin Cares, with the support of our community, has brought together The Darien Foundation, The Community Fund of Darien, The Darien Lions Club, Food Rescue US, and several local restaurants to get healthy, ready-to-eat meals delivered to those in our community who are food insecure and to our hospital and healthcare workers during this battle with COVID-19.

“We will reach out to each establishment to ensure best practices are observed in the preparation and transportation of all food,” said David Knauf, Darien’s Director of Health. “Corbin Cares is a great initiative and the Health Department is pleased to be involved.”In addition, The Board of the Darien Foundation has approved a $110K grant to fund technology that will assist The Darien Police Department in training, decision making, and critical incident safety. The Darien Foundation is also moving forward with a $50K grant to TV79, a key resource for our town government and our community. 

About The Darien Foundation
The Darien Foundation is an independent, community-based, 501(c)(3) public charity. Since 1998, The Darien Foundation has funded $4.5 million in grants for technology and capital initiatives, which create opportunity for Darien’s youth, support our town’s safety and security services, and enhance the overall quality of life in Darien. Our volunteer Board of Directors, who reflect the many constituencies of Darien, thoroughly evaluate grant requests, and assists grant recipients in achieving their goals. Public donations are directed to supporting grants awarded by The Darien Foundation, as all operating costs have been funded by Board member and Officer contributions. Most recently, The Darien Foundation has awarded grants to The Darien Nature Center, DAF Media, The Depot, The Mather Homestead, and Person-to-Person.

For more information about Corbin Cares, visit:
kerry@ducey.org (Lesley Osborn) Charities Thu, 02 Apr 2020 07:54:56 -0400
Why Small Businesses Matter in Darien: Yuen-Jong Liu, M.D. https://news.hamlethub.com/darien/places/47408-why-small-businesses-matter-in-darien-yuen-jong-liu-m-d47408-why-small-businesses-matter-in-darien-yuen-jong-liu-m-d https://news.hamlethub.com/darien/places/47408-why-small-businesses-matter-in-darien-yuen-jong-liu-m-d47408-why-small-businesses-matter-in-darien-yuen-jong-liu-m-d

Why Small Businesses Matter

Shop small, do big things for your community

Why Small Businesses Matter puts a spotlight on the local merchants who donate their time, talent, goods, and services for the betterment of our community. The shop local movement spreads virally as local businesses who are “tagged” have the opportunity to share their story!

You're IT Yuen-Jong Liu, M.D.!

Three questions with plastic surgeon, Yuen-Jong Liu, M.D.

Why did you start your business?

I am a board-certified plastic surgeon, and I perform the entire spectrum of cosmetic and reconstructive surgery, including facial rejuvenation, facial reconstruction after cancer or trauma, breast augmentation, breast reduction, breast reconstruction, abdominoplasty, liposuction, body contouring, and complex reconstruction including microsurgical free flap surgery. I am also fellowship-trained in hand and wrist surgery, microsurgery, and peripheral nerve surgery. I started my surgical practice in Darien to bring the most advanced cosmetic and reconstructive techniques from Harvard, Yale, and UNC to Fairfield County. I am committed to making patients whole again by restoring them to their peak form and function.

What is your best selling product/service?

My patients love me, especially after abdominoplasty, liposuction, and breast reduction. I perform safe, efficient surgery in the comfort and privacy of the fully licensed and certified operating room at The Aesthetic Center (722 Post Road, Darien). I am also a master of the wide-awake local anesthesia no tourniquet (WALANT) technique for hand and wrist surgery, which maintains patient comfort and hastens recovery without general anesthesia. I use this technique often for carpal tunnel release, trigger finger release, ganglion cyst excision, and tendon repair with excellent surgical results and high patient satisfaction.

How many local businesses do you use to support your business (products and services), and can you name them?

In addition to working at The Aesthetic Center, I take care of patients and perform surgeries at local hospitals: Greenwich Hospital, Stamford Hospital, Norwalk Hospital, Bridgeport Hospital, and St. Vincent's Medical Center. I work closely with Dr. Andrew Grose at HSS Orthopedic Surgery / Stamford Hospital to reconstruct severely mangled fractures. I also work closely with Dr. Louis Cuzzone at the Neurology Associates of Norwalk to treat patients with nerve compression syndromes, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, and Dr. Andrew Herbst at the Skin Cancer Center of Fairfield County to reconstruct defects caused by advanced skin cancers in cosmetically sensitive areas. As a humanitarian service to the local community, I perform reconstructive surgery for the uninsured at the Stamford Hospital Free Plastic Surgery Clinic. On most days, I enjoy a burger for lunch at the Burger Shakes & Fries in Darien. The Goose is also a favorite meeting place for meals and drinks.

Dr. Yuen-Jong Liu is a plastic surgeon and hand surgeon based in Darien, CT, and serves all of Fairfield County in Western Connecticut. He is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. He completed a hand and microsurgery fellowship at Yale University, a plastic surgery residency at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and general surgery residency at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, a major teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School. Dr. Liu graduated with an M.D. from Yale Medical School and a B.A. summa cum laude from Harvard University in computer science and biochemical sciences.

Dr. Liu was selected for 2019 Best of Darien Award in the Hand Surgeon category by the Darien Award Program.

He has published his research in the top plastic surgery journals, such as Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and Annals of Plastic Surgery. He authored multiple chapters in Operative Techniques in Pediatric Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and Operative Techniques in Plastic Surgery.

If you would like any additional info, my CV is available here

Dr. Yuen-Jong Liu's office is located at The Aesthetic Center, 722 Post Road, Darien, next to Fairfield County Bank. Please call (203) 656-9999 for a consultation. Visit Yuen-Jong Liu, M.D. online here.

HamletHub thanks Fairfield County Bank for making our Why Small Businesses Matter series possible!

daliborboldis@gmail.com (Dan) Places Thu, 02 Apr 2020 06:14:06 -0400
Fairfield County Bank Commits $100,000 to Help Feed the Community https://news.hamlethub.com/darien/charities/47508-fairfield-county-bank-commits-100-000-to-help-feed-the-community47508-fairfield-county-bank-commits-100-000-to-help-feed-the-community https://news.hamlethub.com/darien/charities/47508-fairfield-county-bank-commits-100-000-to-help-feed-the-community47508-fairfield-county-bank-commits-100-000-to-help-feed-the-community

In response to the COVID-19 national health crisis, Fairfield County Bank announced today its new program, Feeding Fairfield County, and a $100,000 commitment to help feed the community.

“As a result of the outbreak, many of our community members are struggling to feed their families.  As we tirelessly work to help our impacted business and consumer clients overcome their financial challenges, it is also important for us to take a leadership position to help community members with the urgent need of putting food on the table,” says Dan Berta, President of Fairfield County Bank.

Feeding Fairfield County, Fairfield County Bank’s COVID-19 food security response program, is a multi-faceted program designed to improve access to food for community members suddenly impacted by the national health crisis.  The program includes direct contributions to local food banks as well as purchasing gift cards from local restaurants that will be donated to help feed at-risk communities and our heroic healthcare workers and first responders.

“We want to contribute not only money but also create a program to bring together our local businesses, clients, and the overall community to further feed people in need.  We encourage everyone who can to join us in supporting the community through this program,” adds David Schneider, Fairfield County Bank CEO.

Dan Berta goes on to say, “The Bank’s restaurant clients are some of our most notable community leaders.  This is an opportunity for us to also help them during this crisis by purchasing gift cards that we then donate to people in need and using them to bring food to our front-line healthcare workers and first responders.”

Additionally, Fairfield County Bank will be directing some of its on-going community-focused efforts towards food-related causes, including the Bank’s Charity of the Month program, the Bank’s Coins for a Cause program, employee gift matching program, and volunteer efforts.

In the coming days, Fairfield County Bank will be providing details on how community members can join the effort.  For more information, please follow Fairfield County Bank on Facebook and check for routine updates on our dedicated Feeding Fairfield County webpage.  Charities or businesses interested in participating in the Feeding Fairfield County program can email Stephen Wooters at Stephen.Wooters@FairfieldCountyBank.com.

Stephen Wooters, Executive Vice President, further emphasizes, “We are a community bank, and we are here for our community.  It’s not just a tagline when we say ‘We Are Fairfield County.’”

Founded in 1871, Fairfield County Bank is a $1.5 billion community bank with locations throughout Fairfield County. In 2019 alone, Fairfield County Bank donated over $1 million to 415 local non-profit organizations with over 5,000 hours of volunteerism from their employees – a true testament to strengthening our communities. Visit www.fairfieldcountybank.com to find out more about the Bank. #WeAreFairfieldCounty              

kerry@ducey.org (Ryan Arconti) Charities Wed, 01 Apr 2020 14:42:13 -0400
Connecticut COVID-19 Update: 3,557 Cases, First Pediatric Death https://news.hamlethub.com/darien/neighbors/47507-connecticut-covid-19-update-3-557-cases-first-pediatic-death-in-connecticut47507-connecticut-covid-19-update-3-557-cases-first-pediatic-death-in-connecticut https://news.hamlethub.com/darien/neighbors/47507-connecticut-covid-19-update-3-557-cases-first-pediatic-death-in-connecticut47507-connecticut-covid-19-update-3-557-cases-first-pediatic-death-in-connecticut

As of April 1, 2020, a total of 3557 laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported among Connecticut residents. Seven hundred and sixty-six patients are currently hospitalized. Eighty-five residents have died. 

Fairfield County currently has the most cases in Connecticut with 1986 positive COVID-19 cases. There have been 49 deaths in Fairfield County.

Earlier today, Governor Ned Lamont reported the first pediatric fatality in Connecticut linked to COVID-19. "A 6-week old newborn from the Hartford area was brought unresponsive to a hospital last week and could not be revived," he said.

View cases by Town and County here.

National COVID-19 statistics and information about preventing spread of COVID-19 are available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A weekly report on seasonal influenza activity can be found on the DPH website.

The map you see here shows the number of patients currently hospitalized with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 by county based on data collected by the Connecticut Hospital Association. The distribution is by location of hospital, not patient residence. The labels indicate the number of patients currently hospitalized with the change since yesterday in parentheses.

Additional details can be found here.


kerry@ducey.org (State of CT) Neighbors Wed, 01 Apr 2020 13:54:57 -0400
Community is not Canceled: Maritime Aquarium Free Virtual Programs https://news.hamlethub.com/darien/places/47506-community-is-not-canceled-maritime-aquarium-free-virtual-programs47506-community-is-not-canceled-maritime-aquarium-free-virtual-programs https://news.hamlethub.com/darien/places/47506-community-is-not-canceled-maritime-aquarium-free-virtual-programs47506-community-is-not-canceled-maritime-aquarium-free-virtual-programs


Community is not Canceled 


Neighbors helping neighbors, community members reaching out to our local senior citizens, residents supporting our heroic first responders -the inspiring stories and acts of kindness brought forth by our current crisis are extraordinary. What's more, small businesses, local nonprofits, and civic organizations are innovating to stay connected and serve the community. 


Community is not Canceled, a series made possible by LIFEWTR will showcase Connecticut's awesome response to this unprecedented situation. We are in this together. Stay strong. 

Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk Offers 2 FREE Virtual Sessions Weekly

In response to the COVID-19 closures, The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk will be streaming two of its popular educational programs for free each week, while also making a selection of paid marine-science classes available to Norwalk schools.

Students, families and individuals can take part in a virtual “citizen science” class on Wednesdays at 4 p.m., while a story-time program for younger children will go online at 10 a.m. each Friday. Both of the 40-minute live-streaming programs are free but do require advance reservations to receive a needed link.

Additionally, The Maritime Aquarium has adapted its educational programming for schools into live streamable sessions available to any online Norwalk classroom beginning next week. There are options for students ranging from early childhood through high school.

Learn more about these virtual educational programs here.


Community is not Canceled! We are thankful to LIFEWTR for helping us to connect and stay strong.


The views and opinions expressed above are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of HamletHub or LIFEWTR. 



kerry@ducey.org (HH) Places Wed, 01 Apr 2020 13:09:50 -0400
Darien Police Officers Deliver Food Items and Supplies to Locals in Need https://news.hamlethub.com/darien/neighbors/47505-darien-police-officers-deliver-food-items-and-supplies-to-locals-in-need47505-darien-police-officers-deliver-food-items-and-supplies-to-locals-in-need https://news.hamlethub.com/darien/neighbors/47505-darien-police-officers-deliver-food-items-and-supplies-to-locals-in-need47505-darien-police-officers-deliver-food-items-and-supplies-to-locals-in-need

This week, Darien Police Officers volunteered to deliver essential food items and supplies to homebound Darien seniors who simply should not be out and about during the COVID-19 threat.

In collaboration with Palmer’s Market, Darien Human Services, and the Mather Center, Darien officers are taking time during their shifts to pick up phoned in orders from Palmer’s Market, and to deliver to those in need.

Marcy Rand of the Mather Center released the following statement:

Palmer’s Market (203-655-2077) is offering grocery delivery to frail seniors in advanced age, homebound, or residents who are quarantined.

We need volunteers to help with “picking” to fill the orders and delivery. Please contact Marcy Rand from the Darien Senior Programs at mrand@darienct.gov if you would like to help in this effort. Volunteer times are 11:00 am - 1:00 pm and 1:00 pm- 3:00 pm.

Those individuals who may be interested in receiving delivery please be cognizant that this service is being offered to the above-compromised group. We do not want those with a strong need to be unable to receive groceries. Thank you for your cooperation!

Spearheaded by Darien Police Sergeant Keri Isaac, numerous Darien Officers have volunteered to assist with this program.

The Darien Police Department would like to ensure the community that measures have been taken to make certain that our officers and those receiving deliveries remain safe, and that the customary high level of public service that our agency provides will continue and not be compromised.  

*Image courtesy Darien Police Facebook Page

kerry@ducey.org (Ofc. Chris Jimenez) Neighbors Wed, 01 Apr 2020 10:01:55 -0400
Connecticut COVID Update: 3,128 Confirmed Cases, 69 Deaths https://news.hamlethub.com/darien/neighbors/47504-connecticut-covid-update-3-128-confirmed-cases-69-deaths47504-connecticut-covid-update-3-128-confirmed-cases-69-deaths https://news.hamlethub.com/darien/neighbors/47504-connecticut-covid-update-3-128-confirmed-cases-69-deaths47504-connecticut-covid-update-3-128-confirmed-cases-69-deaths

As of March 31, 2020, a total of 3128 laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported among Connecticut residents. Six hundred and eight patients are currently hospitalized. Sixty-nine residents have died. In addition to the deaths related to COVID-19 that have been reported to the Department of Public Health (DPH), this update contains information on the number of deaths that have been reported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME).

Today, the OCME provided information on 14 additional COVID-19 related deaths that occurred during March 17-29. There were 16 COVID-19 related deaths on March 30, and 3 on March 31. Moving forward, deaths reported to either the OCME or DPH will be included in the daily COVID-19 update.

Fairfield County currently has the most cases in the state with 1870 COVID-19 confirmed positives 1870. View the data per county and town here.


Laboratory-Confirmed COVID-19 Cases 3128 (+557)

COVID-19 Associated Deaths 69 (+33)

Patients Currently Hospitalized with COVID-19 608 (+91)

Patients tested for COVID-19 15600 (+1000)

The Dr. Katherine A. Kelley State Public Health Laboratory has tested a total of 2008 patients for COVID19; 359 (18%) patients tested positive. The graph (image #2) shows the number of patients tested by date specimens were received. Hospital and commercial laboratories also are offering testing for COVID19 in Connecticut; in total, more than 15600 tests have been reported to date.

kerry@ducey.org (State of CT) Neighbors Tue, 31 Mar 2020 13:34:13 -0400
Governor Lamont Announces Mortgage Payment Relief During COVID-19 Crisis https://news.hamlethub.com/darien/politics/47503-governor-lamont-announces-mortgage-payment-relief-during-covid-19-crisis47503-governor-lamont-announces-mortgage-payment-relief-during-covid-19-crisis https://news.hamlethub.com/darien/politics/47503-governor-lamont-announces-mortgage-payment-relief-during-covid-19-crisis47503-governor-lamont-announces-mortgage-payment-relief-during-covid-19-crisis

Governor Ned Lamont today announced that his administration has reached an agreement with over 50 credit unions and banks in Connecticut to offer mortgage relief to the state’s residents and businesses who continue to face hardship caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic. Under the agreement, the following relief policies are being offered by participating financial institutions:

  • 90-day grace period for all mortgage payments: Participating financial institutions are now offering mortgage-payment forbearances of up to 90 days, which will allow homeowners to reduce or delay monthly mortgage payments. In addition, the institutions will:
  • Provide a streamlined process for requesting forbearance for COVID-19-related reasons, supported with available documentation;
  • Confirm approval and terms of forbearance program; and
  • Provide the opportunity to extend forbearance agreements if faced with continued hardship resulting from COVID-19.
  • Relief from fees and charges for 90 days: For at least 90 days, participating financial institutions will waive or refund mortgage-related late fees and other fees including early CD withdrawals.
  • No new foreclosures for 60 days: Financial institutions will not start any foreclosure sales or evictions.
  • No credit score changes for accessing relief: For those taking advantage of this COVID-19-related relief, late or missed payments will not be shared with credit reporting agencies.

The agreement, which was negotiated on behalf of the Lamont administration by Commissioner Jorge Perez at the Connecticut Department of Banking, builds upon similar initiatives that have been enacted in recent days in California and New Jersey, and has been endorsed by the Connecticut Bankers Association and the Credit Union League of Connecticut. More than 50 credit unions and banks statewide are participating, including Webster Bank, American Eagle Financial Credit Union, Liberty Bank, Charter Oak Federal Credit Union, Bank of America, Nutmeg State Financial Credit Union, and Peoples United Bank. Additional financial institutions are expected to join the initiative in the coming days. The Department of Banking will maintain updated list of participating institutions on its website.

“This agreement with our financial institutions will allow Connecticut residents to obtain some relief as this public health emergency has had an impact on thousands of people in our state,” Governor Lamont said. “I thank each of these financial institutions that will provide this relief and applaud their participation in this agreement. The way we are going to get through this crisis is by working together, and this is an example of how we are going to get that done.”

The Department of Banking, along with the state’s banks and credit unions, is reminding residents that their money remains safe during the COVID-19 crisis and protected by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). No deposits have ever been lost under the protection of the FDIC and NCUA.

“This is a time when we need our entire financial services industry to come together to work tirelessly for the people of Connecticut, which is why I have asked the banks and credit unions to join forces and present one united approach which tells all of Connecticut, ‘We are in this together,’” Commissioner Perez said. “I am pleased to see that these efforts are well underway and that they are helping Connecticut residents work through this challenge.”

Leadership at Connecticut’s credit unions and banks said that they are flexibly meeting member and customer needs everyday on a case-by-case basis in a number of ways that may include fee waivers, access to short-term loans, loan deferrals and uninterrupted access to digital services, even though some credit unions and banks have temporarily limited physical access to their lobbies.

Bruce Adams, president and CEO of the Credit Union League of Connecticut, said, “We view ourselves as the financial first responders in this crisis, and I applaud Governor Lamont and Commissioner Perez for their leadership in partnering with us to provide even more financial solutions for the people of Connecticut.”

Tom Mongellow, president and CEO of the Connecticut Bankers Association, said, “Connecticut banks and credit unions are open for business, and statewide we have quickly and voluntarily responded to Governor Lamont’s and Commissioner Perez’s directives. Our financial institutions continue to ensure the financial well-being of the people and businesses they serve across the state, while protecting the health of their team members and customers.”

Adams and Mongellow are stressing that customers with loans should stay in close contact with their financial institution to identify their particular needs and work on customized solutions. They are also reminding customers that measures to protect people's health and safety continue to be available:

  • Drive-through services are available at numerous branches;
  • Individual appointments for in-person meetings are available at many financial institutions;
  • Call centers employees stand ready to assist customers and members;
  • Technology platforms give ready access to online services like bill pay, transfers, remote depositing of checks and ATMs for cash needs; and
  • People can use mobile payment channels and debit cards or credit cards to make purchases.

Questions and Answers on Connecticut’s COVID-19 Mortgage Relief Agreement

How do I get mortgage relief and/or forbearance?

You should contact and work directly with your mortgage servicer to learn about and apply for available relief. Please note that financial institutions and their servicers are experiencing high volumes of inquiries.

How long will the forbearance last?

 Participating financial institutions are now offering mortgage-payment forbearances of up to 90 days, which will allow homeowners to reduce or delay monthly mortgage payments.

What effect will this have on my credit report?

Financial institutions will not report derogatory information (e.g., late payments) to credit reporting agencies but may report a forbearance, which typically does not alone negatively affect a credit score.

How long will these programs last?

It is still unclear how severe or how long the COVID-19 impacts will be. Financial institutions have committed to necessary relief and will be assessing the ongoing conditions and necessity of continuing relief.

What if my financial institution isn’t offering this relief?

At this time, Webster Bank, American Eagle Financial Credit Union, Liberty Bank, Charter Oak Federal Credit Union, Bank of America, Nutmeg State Financial Credit Union, and Peoples United Bank, in addition to over 50 other federal and state-chartered banks, credit unions, and servicers are supporting these commitments. The state will welcome any other institution that would like to meet the moment and provide much-needed financial relief to Connecticut residents. The Department of Banking will publish a list of participating financial institutions on its website in the coming days.

What if I already made a payment or was hit with a fee because of COVID-19?

These measures go into effect as of March 31, 2020.

Is the mortgage relief available to businesses?

The relief is currently only available for residential mortgages.

What if my mortgage servicer is not communicative or cooperative?

You can file a complaint with the Department of Banking through the complaint form on the department website or by contacting the department at 860-240-8299 or 1-800-831-7225 (9:00 am to 5:00 pm EST Monday through Friday).

What impact does the CARES Act have?

The CARES Act has important protections for renters and homeowners. In particular, homeowners with mortgage loans that are backed by the federal government through the FHA, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, or other agencies can receive significant forbearance.

How about commercial loans and commercial mortgages?

Commercial loan or commercial mortgage customers should know that all financial institutions are working proactively with each commercial borrower experiencing challenges. Any bank or credit union commercial customer having financial difficulty, whether for-profit or nonprofit, should call their financial institution as soon as possible. Several important governmental actions have and will provide relief to businesses.

The Lamont administration’s quick actions resulted in Connecticut being one of the first states where businesses can access the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) economic injury disaster loan program for up to $2 million dollars. In addition, the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development quickly created the Connecticut Recovery Bridge Loan program, which will provide up to $50 million of loans to small businesses and nonprofits

Importantly, last week Congress passed the important CARES Act, which includes the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and will provide loans and grants of up to $10 million, for companies of up to 500 employees. A wide variety of businesses will be eligible for the PPP as soon as next week and they include but are not limited to: private and public businesses, self-employed and independent contractors, nonprofits, veterans’ organizations, and tribal business concerns. Additional information on the PPP should be available from the SBA early next week.

In addition to the PPP, banks and credit unions continue to work with their commercial customers on a case by case basis to address the financial needs of their impacted business. We encourage any impacted commercial customers to contact their financial institution.

kerry@ducey.org (Gov. Ned Lamont) Politics Tue, 31 Mar 2020 13:18:35 -0400