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Litchfield Democrats ~ Happy Hour
Saturday, April 29 ~ 3:00-5:00 p.m.
@ Village Restaurant Upstairs
To welcome the rapidly growing number of new Democrats, Litchfield's Democratic Town Committee has announced that it will be holding a happy hour on April 29 at the Village Restaurant in Litchfield.
 
The event will be held from 3 pm to 5 pm upstairs at the Village. It will feature appetizers and a cash bar, and is open to any Democrats who joined the party or renewed their affiliation since April 2015. 
 
"We thought this would be a great opportunity for like-minded people to get to know one another, and share ideas," said Gayle Carr, chair of the town party's Outreach Committee. "It's a way to find other Democrats in the community and build support for the Democratic Party." For further information, contact Gayle Carr at (860) 567-3754 or Darlene Clouther at 860-480-3426, or RSVP to gaylecarr66th@yahoo.com.

Connecticut’s Cyber Security Czar to Speak 
at League of Women Voters International Luncheon
Saturday, May 6 ~ 12:00 p.m.
Litchfield Country Club 
The League of Women Voters of Litchfield County will welcome Arthur House, the state's Chief Cyber Security Risk Officer, responsible for enhancing cyber-security prevention and protection to speak at the International Luncheon on May 6 at the Litchfield Country Club.
 
House, appointed to safeguard our cyber systems and critical infrastructure in an ever-evolving threat landscape, will examine global and national cyber-security threats and how they affect Connecticut.  He will review Connecticut’s strategy and action plan to protect the state’s critical infrastructure and then discuss creation of a cyber-security strategy, with special attention on state and municipal government, private business, higher education and law enforcement.
 
Since 2012, House was Chairman of the Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA), and played an extensive role in developing the Cyber-security Action Plan, which identified solutions for enhanced cyber-security across the state, specifically within the electric, natural gas, and water sectors. House has a background in National Security, having served as Director of Communications in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and as Chief of the Communications Group for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. 
 
The luncheon will be held at the Litchfield Country Club at 12:00 p.m., 256 Old South Rd, Litchfield, CT 06759. Tickets are $35.00. RSVP: lwvoflc@gmail or call 860-491-9099. Please send check to LWV of LC, Box 899, Litchfield, CT, 06759
  
 
Litchfield Democratic Wine Tasting Fundraiser
Saturday, May 13 ~ 5:00-7:00 p.m.
17 Mike Road, Litchfield
The Litchfield Democratic Town Committee will hold a Wine Tasting Fundraiser on Saturday, May 13th from 5-7 p.m. at 17 Mike Road, Litchfield. Tickets are $30 per person and feel free to bring a dish to share. The event will also be honoring Former Litchfield Democratic Town Committee Chairman William A. Conti. For further information contact Chairman Darlene Clouther at 860-480-3426 or Vice Chairman Joe Manes at 860-482-3732.
 
 
Litchfield Democrats seeking candidates for November
The Litchfield Democratic Town Committee is looking for candidates for the upcoming municipal elections on November 7th. Candidates are being sought for the following offices: First Selectman, Board of Selectmen, Board of Finance, Board of Education, Planning & Zoning, Board of Assessment Appeals, Town Treasurer and Tax Collector. Candidates must be residents and registered voters in the Town of Litchfield.
 
A nominating convention for all candidates will be held on Wednesday, July 19th at 7:30 p.m. at La Cupola's Restaurant, 637 Bantam Road, Litchfield. For further information contact Joe Manes, Chairman of the nominating committee at 860-482-3732.
 
 
Litchfield’s Joe and Bev Manes honored at
2017 AFSCME Council 4 Conference
~ contributed
Against a backdrop of legislative, judicial and dark-money funded attacks on public employee unions and collective bargaining rights, the 2017 Council 4 Conference energized more than 250 members who gathered in New Haven March 31-April 2 to sharpen the tools needed to “resist and organize.”
 
Conference participants attended valuable workshops and panel discussions on collective bargaining challenges, legislative developments, communications and the AFSCME Strong program – a special initiative designed to maintain and build union strength, particularly in the event of a “Right-to-Work-For-Less” decision from the U.S. Supreme Court.
 
The conference concluded with a reaffirmation of the importance of political and legislative engagement, with the election of our union’s PEOPLE statewide and district committees, as well as the presentation of the Council 4 PEOPLE Person of the Year Award to Chapter 4 Retiree activists Joe and Beverly Manes and the Legislator of the Year to State Rep. Russ Morin of Wethersfield.
 
The Manes were eloquent in capturing the spirit of the conference and the challenges ahead of our union when they accepted the award.
 
Joe and Bev Manes, center, accept the PEOPLE Persons of the Year Award ~ photo contributed
 
It's not about us,” Joe Manes said. "It's about the people who came before and fought for us. We're just trying to pay it forward.
 
 
Ohler, Wilson, Case Participate in Meals on Wheels
State Representatives Brian Ohler (R-64), David Wilson (R-66), and Jay Case (R-63) volunteered their time on Tuesday morning with the Meals on Wheels program. The three legislators met at the Torrington Senior Center and were deployed to various neighborhoods and surrounding towns to make several meal deliveries. ~ contributed
 
L-R: State Representatives Brian Ohler (R-64), David Wilson (R-66), and Jay Case (R-63)
 
According to Meals on Wheels, the organization provides hundreds of meals to seniors who reside in 18 various towns throughout the Northwest Corner, while coordinating deliveries with over 5,000 locally run programs to serve 2.4 million senior nation-wide.
 
“This past Thursday I attended an elderly nutrition seminar at Geer Village in North Canaan. This event was hosted by the Northwest Corner TRIAD. Attendees left with a greater knowledge of the importance of senior nutrition overall,” explained Rep. Ohler. “This issue culminated with today’s ride-a-long with Meals on Wheels. This vital program offers a plethora of meal options to our seniors. For these reasons, and many more, we as legislators must continue the fight for sustainable funding.”  
 
“Meals-on-Wheels provides a vital service for seniors in need with mobility issues, " said Rep. Wilson. "For many, this program enables them to receive the necessary food resources and continue living independently in their homes. Not only is the daily delivery of their meals essential for good nutrition, but also, the additional well-being checks give the families an added reassurance. There have been many situations when the program drivers have been able to assist with simple tasks, like bringing in the paper, to calling 911 for more serious assistance. I was proud to be part of this initiative and deliver meals to our local residents."
 
“This program truly serves as a lifeline to our community seniors. It’s more than a meal, there is a clear relationship between the drivers and the people they stop to see on a daily basis that provides a sense of security” Rep. Case explained after delivering a few meals. “Seeing the interactions first-hand showed me how much this program is depended upon, which is why we need to support the program at the state level.”
 
Proposed budget cuts at a federal level, however, have jeopardized the ability for Meals on Wheels to continue to operate at its current capacity. Regardless, Meals on Wheels has calculated that taxpayers save $31 billion, annually, in healthcare costs as a result of the minimization of accidents within seniors’ homes. 
 
For more information on Meals on Wheels you can visit their website at www.mealsonwheelsamerica.org.
 
 
Area Legislators meet with
Charlotte Hungerford Hospital leaders at Capitol

HARTFORD – State Representatives David Wilson (R-66), Jay Case (R-63) and Bill Simanski (R-62) recently met with board members and officials from Charlotte Hungerford Hospital at the Capitol in Hartford.  Due to the governor's budget proposals regarding hospital funding, allowing for municipalities to tax hospitals, and a reduction in grants, hospital officials expressed concern regarding the fiscal impact such policies would have on their ability to deliver services.  Each representative reiterated their support for Charlotte Hungerford Hospital, as it plays a major role in their communities, both economically and in supporting community health. ~ contributed
 
 
Esty Joins Larson to Introduce Social Security 2100 Act
Legislation cuts taxes for seniors, increases benefits, and keeps the program solvent for future generations
 
Washington, D.C.– Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (CT-5) today (Wednesday, April 5, 2017) joined with Congressman John Larson (CT-1) to introduce legislation to strengthen and expand Social Security.
 
The Social Security 2100 Act cuts taxes for Social Security recipients, provides a benefit bump for current and future beneficiaries, and ensures the system stays solvent through the next 75 years.
 
“In the state of Connecticut alone, there are more than 600,000 retired workers, disabled people, and families who depend on Social Security to pay their bills, including 135,000 in our congressional district” Esty said. “The Social Security 2100 Act is the plan we need to keep the program going strong – not only for today’s beneficiaries, but for our kids and grandkids. I’m proud to be taking on this mission with Congressman Larson. We could not ask for a more dedicated advocate for seniors or for the Social Security program, which keeps so many American seniors and families out of poverty.”
 
“Social Security is not an entitlement – it’s the insurance Americans have paid for to fund retirement, disability, and survivor benefits through a lifetime of work,” Larson said. “Seniors depend on Social Security and no one should be able retire into poverty. I am committed to taking common sense steps to expand benefits and to make the system solvent for the next 75 years and beyond. The Social Security 2100 Act, will do just that, without adding to the national debt. Social Security is the most successful program in American history, it is time to expand it for the future. This bill will secure your future, your family, and our nation.”
 
“Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) is pleased to support the Social Security 2100 Act. Representing veterans who benefit from this vital social insurance program in some way, we are keenly aware that our members, like millions of other Americans, rely on Social Security to afford them a secure retirement, protect their survivors and dependents, or enable them to manage living with a disability with dignity. The Social Security 2100 Act demonstrates that preserving and strengthening Social Security can be done without causing harm to beneficiaries,” said Carl Blake, Associate Executive Director, Paralyzed Veterans of America.
 
“The Social Security 2100 Act is not only for the people, it’s of the people. For years, beneficiaries have been telling us they are having a difficult time paying for basic needs like healthcare, housing and utilities. Most if not all of their income is from Social Security and while they are grateful to have it, an average of $1340 a month just isn’t enough. Retirees, the disabled and their surviving families desperately need a boost to their Social Security benefits. Congressman Larson’s bill smartly addresses that need while also extending the program’s long term solvency. We are pleased to endorse his bill and to commit the full weight of our millions of members and supporters towards getting this bill passed,” said Max Richtman, President and CEO, National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare.
 
The Social Security 2100 Act provides:
- A tax cut for over 10 million Social Security recipients by raising the threshold on taxation of benefits;
- A benefit bump beginning in 2018 for current and new beneficiaries ($300 annually for the typical retiree);
- Protection for low income workers by raising the minimum benefit from below the poverty line to 25% above; and
- Long term protection against inflation for cost of living adjustments (COLA) by adopting the CPI-E formula.
 
 
State Rep. Wilson Welcomes
Connecticut Home Educators to State Capitol
Hartford - State Rep. David Wilson (R-66) recently welcomed advocates and guests to the State Capitol for Connecticut Home Educators Day. During the morning activities, Rep. Wilson met and spoke with members of various groups dedicated to home education, advocacy, and providing resources to home educators and students.
 
“It is important that we support school choice for the parents and students of Connecticut, be it charter, magnet, private, or homeschooling,” said Rep. Wilson. “I have met with and spoken to a number of home educators in my district. This alternative schooling is working very well for those who have elected to make the commitment to their families. The students I've met are self-confident and well-rounded, involved in both extra-curricular and collaborative school activities, and state they are very happy with and prefer their home education.”
 
According to the US Department of Education, there were an estimated 14,000-19,000 K-12 home-educated school students in Connecticut as of the spring of 2010. Speculated by many to be the fastest-growing form of education in the United States, the number of homeschooled children has doubled in the last thirteen years, to a reported 1.8 million home-educated students in 2012.

L-R: HSLDA Attorney Peter Kamakawiwoole, Jr., TEACH-CT Board Member, Carolyn Morin, State Rep. David Wilson, Homeschool student, Emily Hudak , TEACH-CT Board Member, Donna Person, Lynne Wilson, Homeschool teacher, Maureen Dobos. ~ contributed
 
 
Esty Statement on President Trump’s
Opioid Crisis Commission
WASHINGTON, D.C.– Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (CT-5) today (Wednesday, March 29, 2017) issued the following statement after the launch of President Trump’s commission to combat the opioid addiction epidemic:
 
“Everywhere I go in Connecticut, I meet people whose families have been destroyed by addiction. We need a comprehensive strategy to address this crisis – one that includes federal investment in prevention, treatment, and recovery. Given the terrible toll that addiction has taken throughout the country, it is imperative that we find common ground on this issue. I will gladly partner with this commission as well as with my colleagues in Congress to prevent more lives from being taken by the opioid epidemic, and to help those suffering from addiction to recover and move forward.”
 
Esty serves on the House Bipartisan Task Force to Combat the Heroin Epidemic. Last year, she served on the conference committee that crafted the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), a bipartisan legislative package to respond to the nationwide opioid epidemic. CARA, which former President Barack Obama signed into law in July, included provisions of the Prevent Drug Addiction Act, an Esty-authored bill focusing on addiction prevention.
 
 
U.S. Rep. Esty pays a visit to officials in Goshen
Litchfield.bz (03-26-17)
 
U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty holds a town hall meeting in Goshen on Saturday. BZ photos

Some of the most pressing issues facing the country were discussed during a town hall meeting U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty hosted at Goshen Town Hall on Saturday.

The Goshen Public Library organized the meeting, which drew the likes of First Selectman Robert P. Valentine, library director Lynn Steinmayer, library board of directors Chairman Patrick Reilly, Amy Tobin of the Goshen Business Circle, and Janet Hooper of the Goshen Community Garden.

Issues discussed included health care, transportation infrastructure, renewable energy, and immigration policy. Reilly expressed concern about a loss of federal funding for the arts and humanities, as well as for nonprofit organizations like ones serving Goshen.

"If that money dries up, there's no way the town can fund the services those organizations provide," Reilly said.

Esty agreed and said a bipartisan approach by Congress is the only way the major issues afftecting the country like health care and immigration can be resolved. She said she believes President Trump's temporary travel ban affecting six Muslim countries will have to be decided by the Supreme Court.

"We have to be vigilant about who we're letting into the country, but the ban was framed in a way that incites anger in certain countries and resentment towards the U.S.," Esty said. "That's the way it is perceived."

Discussion also touched on tourism in the northwest corner and its importance to towns like Goshen.

"How do we grow on what we have here?" asked Tobin.

Esty said towns have to figure out ways to increase awareness of the area's offerings so more tourists would be drawn here. More tourists would benefit local businesses.

"There is a real opportunity for the northwest corner to do some branding," she said. "It's one of the most beautiful parts of the country, so it's important for towns to collectively looks at ways to prompote what is here."

Below, Goshen First Selectman Robert P. Valentine comments during the town hall meeting. Looking on is Janet Hooper of the Goshen Community Garden.

 
 
State Rep. Wilson gains insight on maple syrup
Litchfield.bz (03-26-17)
 
 
State Rep. David T. Wilson, R-Litchfield, center, listens as Mark Harran, left, owner of Brookside Farm II in Litchfield, talks about his maple syrup-producing operation at the farm on Saturday. To the right is John Langer of Bantam, who works at the farm.

Below, Wilson and Langer check out the farm's new bourbon maple syrup product. Wilson visited the farm to learn about maple syrup production and to express support for small business. BZ photos

 
 
Esty, Katko Introduce Bipartisan Bill
to Preserve Brownfields Program at EPA
Reps. Elizabeth Esty (D-CT) and John Katko (R-NY) today (Tuesday, March 28, 2017) introduced bipartisan legislation to help communities revitalize neighborhoods and spur economic development through brownfields assessment and remediation. Both Esty and Katko serve on the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, of which Esty is the Vice Ranking Member.
 
The Brownfields Reauthorization Act of 2017 would reauthorize and improve the Brownfields program at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Reps. Pete DeFazio (D-OR), Ranking Member of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and Grace Napolitano (D-CA), the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment, are also original cosponsors of the legislation.
 
“Passing this bipartisan bill will empower our communities to turn blighted properties into livable, workable spaces that create good-paying jobs, boost local economies, and provide new opportunities for outdoor recreation,” Rep. Elizabeth Esty said. “Cities and towns throughout central and northwest Connecticut have Brownfields sites in need of redevelopment – from Waterbury to New Milford to Torrington to Meriden. On average, every dollar of federal funding awarded through the Brownfields program leverages $18 in other public and private financing. Transforming these abandoned spaces into economic assets is truly one of the best investments we can make.”
 
“With Onondaga Lake in our backyard, Central New Yorkers know all too well the impact of industrial pollution.  Our local and state leaders have done tremendous work in our community to clean up Onondaga Lake and to restore and revitalize the surrounding neighborhoods through environmental remediation and economic development.  Towns across my district, including Auburn, Wolcott, Fulton, Oswego, Syracuse, and others have benefited from the brownfields program,” Rep. John Katko said.  “I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation today with Rep. Esty to preserve and enhance the EPA Brownfields Program so that Central New York and communities nationwide can continue to restore and develop Brownfields sites.”
 
Brownfields are segments of land that were once used for industrial purposes or commercial use. Many times, this land becomes contaminated with hazardous waste or pollution, and requires environmental remediation. Originally authorized in 2002, the EPA’s Brownfield Program empowers states, communities, and stakeholders to assess, clean up, and redevelop these sites. However, the program was allowed to expire in 2006, though it has continued to receive nominal funding.
 
The Brownfields Reauthorization Act would reauthorize the EPA Brownfields program through Fiscal Year 2022, at a rate of $250 million per year. It would also increase the cleanup grant amount from $200,000 to $600,000, as well as expand eligibility requirements to certain nonprofits, limited liability corporations, limited partnerships, and community development entities.
 
“Once again, Congresswoman Esty is demonstrating her commitment to the citizens of Waterbury and the region by re-introducing this bill.  While proud of our industrial past, every remediated brownfield provides another opportunity for economic development, bringing good jobs to Waterbury and growing our Grand List,” Waterbury Mayor Neil O’Leary said.
 
"The City of Meriden has worked in close partnership with the EPA, as well other state and federal agencies, for more than 15 years to complete community wide environmental assessments and cleanup activities in our community. To date, 35 properties of concern have been identified and 10 sites have been fully or partially remediated.  The sites of concern are often located within our residential neighborhoods potentially exposing residents to contamination while at the same time inhibiting economic development,” Meriden Mayor Kevin Scarpati said. “Federal funding provided by the EPA and other agencies has been key to helping us achieve our goal to transform these brownfield sites and make them a vital part of a vibrant, Transit Oriented Development (TOD) District that includes a new downtown park, retail, and mixed income housing.  Today, over $100 million is being invested in our downtown.  This investment is a direct result of our persistent efforts to reclaim and remediate brownfield sites with assistance provided by the EPA and other partners. We commend Congresswoman Esty's efforts to support the continuation and expansion of the EPA brownfield program."
 
“Brownfields represent challenges and opportunities in nearly every community in Connecticut, and Congresswoman Esty’s bill would make it easier for these longstanding eyesores to be cleaned up and returned to productive reuse,” Tim Sullivan, the Deputy Commissioner at the State of Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, said. “Successful brownfield redevelopment requires a strong partnership between the private sector and every level of government – municipal, state and federal – and a strengthened federal brownfields program will enable significant investment and job creation throughout Connecticut.”