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Want to know more about beekeeping? Learn from the experts

The Eastern CT Beekeeping Association classes, held at UConn, will be a lecture and interactive series, focusing on honeybees and beekeeping, with emphasis on management for pollination and honey production.  Photo source: cals.vt.edu

The Eastern CT Beekeeping Association classes, held at UConn, will be a lecture and interactive series, focusing on honeybees and beekeeping, with emphasis on management for pollination and honey production. Photo source: cals.vt.edu

The Eastern Connecticut Beekeeping Association will lead an introductory beekeeping course for anyone with an interest in bees/beekeeping beginning Jan. 26, 2012 at the University of Connecticut Storrs campus. People who already have colonies are also invited to attend.

Classes will be held in the W.B. Young Building on Thursdays from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., with registration held at 6 p.m. at the first class.

Class dates are Jan. 26, and Feb. 2, 9, 16 – and Feb. 23 is reserved as a snow date, in the event a class is cancelled. (If UConn is closed due to weather, class will not be held.)

The class will be a lecture and interactive series, focusing on honeybees and beekeeping, with emphasis on management for pollination and honey production.

The classes will be conducted by experienced beekeepers Adam Fuller from Hampton CT, Alex Nishball from Mansfield CT and Tim Grilley from Salem CT.

There is a $75 registration fee. The fee includes the class book, “The Backyard Beekeeper,” the class and a one-year membership in the Eastern Connecticut Beekeepers Association.

To register, click on this link (form is in PDF format) http://webpages.charter.net/nectar/ECBA/Bee_School_Reg_2012.pdf, complete the registration form and return it ASAP with a $75 check to: ECBA, P.O. Box 487, Tolland, CT 06084.

If you register by mail, the deadline is Jan. 15, 2012. You may also register in person at the first class if space is still available.

Posted Jan. 3, 2012

Have a news item, event or Letter to the Editor you’d like posted on this news site? Simply send your information to editor@htnp.com and include your town in the subject line of your email. Please also include a phone number where you can be reached if there are questions. To keep up-to-date on local news, “like” us (HTNP News) on Facebook and follow us ( @HTNP) on Twitter!

Police have hectic Christmas weekend

December 27, 2011 Areawide, Local News No Comments
police_lights-500wide1

Highway safety experts say distracted driving, especially talking or sending text messages on cellular phones while driving, is one of the main causes of accidents.

While police in Willimantic and Coventry reported a relatively quiet holiday weekend, fires, drunk drivers and hazardous holiday happenings kept Connecticut State Police very busy and they expect this to continue as we greet the arrival of 2012 Saturday night.

State Police Lt. J. Paul Vance said Operation SANTA, the nationwide roadway safety effort that began before Christmas – and this year is focused on distracted driving, as well as other violations – will remain in effect through Sunday, Jan. 1.

Highway safety experts say distracted driving, especially talking or sending text messages on cellular phones while driving, is one of the main causes of accidents.

Over this holiday weekend, CT State Police cited 815 drivers for moving violations including talking/texting while driving.

“We had what we would call a hectic weekend,” said Lt. Vance. “We had a lot of accidents.”

State police respond not only to crimes and motor vehicle violations but also to fires – such as the horrific Christmas Day blaze in Stamford that claimed the lives of five people, including three children and their grandparents.

Fatal accident

A single-vehicle accident on Route 6 in Bolton at about 6:30 a.m. on Monday, in the area of Johnson Road, claimed the life of the driver.

Police say Thomas R. Farr, 54, of Berlin, was driving east on Route 6 when he lost control of his truck while negotiating a curve in the road.

Police say the 2004 Ford F350 truck crossed two lanes and struck an embankment, then rolled onto the driver’s side of the vehicle; Farr was partially ejected and trapped under the truck. Police say the airbag did not deploy.

The accident remains under investigation.

Statewide, there were two fatal accidents, 36 accidents with injuries, 502 speeding arrests, 43 arrests for not wearing seat belts and 36 arrests for driving under the influence… in addition to the aforementioned 815 hazardous moving violations.

These statistics cover the time between midnight Friday, Dec. 23, and midnight on Monday, Dec. 26.

New Year’s Day

Extra police patrols will remain on the state’s roadways through the New Year’s weekend.

And state police remind citizens that state troopers are only part of a “team effort” to keep the highways and roadways safe.

“We need the help of all our citizens to keep our highways safe and reduce the total number of motor vehicle accidents in the state,” Lt. Vance states. For example, if you witness someone driving erratically, potentially a driver under the influence, it is legal to call 911 and report it (take note of the license plate and the color and make of the vehicle.)

To view a list of police checkpoints planned for this weekend – organized by region (i.e Troop C, Troop K) and date, in PDF format, click here www.ct.gov/dps/site

Posted Dec. 27, 2011

Have a news item, event or Letter to the Editor you’d like posted on this news site? Simply send your information to editor@htnp.com and include your town in the subject line of your email. Please also include a phone number where you can be reached if there are questions. To keep up-to-date on local news, “like” us (HTNP News) on Facebook and follow us ( @HTNP) on Twitter!

State Police set up checkpoints now through New Year’s Day

December 26, 2011 Areawide, Local News No Comments

State Police have been on the roads since just before Christmas, setting up checkpoints in an annual safety initiative known as Project S.A.N.T.A. – an acronym for Stop Another Needless Tragic Accident. Photo: State Police Troop C in Tolland CT - photo copyright 2011 by Brenda Sullivan

State Police have been on the roads since just before Christmas, setting up checkpoints in an annual safety initiative known as Project S.A.N.T.A. – an acronym for Stop Another Needless Tragic Accident.

At these checkpoints, police will check for everything from talking on your cell phone while driving, to failure to use your seat belt, to driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.

You might also be cited for faulty equipment, such as non-working brake lights, failure to illuminate your car’s license plate and of course serious offenses such as driving an unregistered vehicle or driving with an expired license.

For a list grouped by State Police barracks of where checkpoints will be on a particular date, click here .

Project S.A.N.T.A. is part of what’s known as a Combined Accident Reduction Effort (C.A.R.E.) and it involves all State Police Departments across the U.S.

Emergency Services & Public Protection Commissioner Reuben F. Bradford said, “Our State Troopers are trying to save lives and keep all of our roads and highways safe.”

No one looks forward to spending time in a jail cell, a hospital, especially during the holidays.

Here’s some good advice: If you are planning to drink alcohol at a holiday event, make plans in advance for a designated, non-drinking driver to bring you home.

And if you spot someone driving erratically – weaving in and out of lanes or otherwise endangering others – call 911 and report it. You may save a life.

In 2010, Project S.A.N.T.A. was canceled in Connecticut because of a snowstorm. In 2009  (from 12:01 a.m. on Dec. 24 to 12 a.m. on Dec. 27): 468 tickets were issued for speeding; 55 tickets were issued for failure to wear a seat belt; 36 people were arrested for drunk driving; 814 citations were issued for a variety of “hazardous moving violations.” And in 2010, there were 281 accidents – 35 with injuries and two fatalities.

Posted Dec. 26, 2011

Have a news item, event or Letter to the Editor you’d like posted on this news site? Simply send your information to editor@htnp.com and include your town in the subject line of your email. Please also include a phone number where you can be reached if there are questions. To keep up-to-date on local news, “like” us (HTNP News) on Facebook and follow us ( @HTNP) on Twitter!

Courtney helps taxpayers recover more than $1 million

December 22, 2011 Areawide, Local News No Comments

In the cases where Congressman Courtney’s office helped recovered taxpayer money, constituents have saved anywhere from $105 in a dispute with the IRS to $124,000 – payment secured for a Vietnam veteran for service-connected disability related to Agent Orange exposure.

U.S. Congressman Joe Courtney today (Dec. 22) announced that, since the beginning of 2011, his office has helped return $1,331,686 to eastern Connecticut citizens who were owed Social Security checks, veterans’ benefits, tax refunds and other payments from the federal government.

Since Courtney’s arrival in Congress in 2007, his casework staff has helped thousands of constituents cut through bureaucratic red tape.

“Almost every day for the past five years, my office has received a call from someone in eastern Connecticut asking for help solving a problem,” said Congressman Courtney (D – 2nd CT District).

“Every dollar we are talking about today has a story – a person who was fighting an uphill battle to get the help he or she deserved. I hope their success in recovering what was owed to them inspires others to contact my office right away,” he said.

In the cases where Courtney’s office helped recovered taxpayer money, constituents have saved anywhere from $105 in a dispute with the IRS to $124,000 – payment secured for a Vietnam veteran for service-connected disability related to Agent Orange exposure.

In total, the casework breakdown of savings is as follows:

Social Security: $950,698

Veterans’ benefits: $160,543

Housing: $143,400

Pensions: $34,725

FEMA: $23,870

IRS: $18,450

Congressman Courtney’s office can assist constituents with a range of issues including: Social Security, Medicare, veterans’ benefits, immigration/visas, passports, loan modifications, requests for flags and commendations, service academy nominations, and more.

He has two offices in eastern Connecticut: Norwich District Office, 101 Water Street, Suite 301, Norwich, CT 06360, 860.886.0139; Enfield District Office, 77 Hazard Ave, Unit J, Enfield, CT 06082, 860.741.6011

Posted Dec. 22, 2011

Have a news item, event or Letter to the Editor you’d like posted on this news site? Simply send your information to editor@htnp.com and include your town in the subject line of your email. Please also include a phone number where you can be reached if there are questions. To keep up-to-date on local news, “like” us (HTNP News) on Facebook and follow us ( @HTNP) on Twitter!

DMV office hours change during Christmas holiday

December 22, 2011 Areawide, Business, Local News No Comments

ct-dmv-bannerDepartment of Motor Vehicles customer service centers will close for the Christmas holiday on Friday, Dec. 23, 2011 at 12:30 p.m. and reopen Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2011 at 7:45 a.m.

Major DMV service offices will be open on Thursday until 5:30 p.m.

AAA offices will be open to process driver’s license renewals during their normal business hours on Friday and Saturday.

All AAA offices will be closed on Monday, Dec. 26.

DMV photo licensing centers and satellite offices will have the following adjusted hours around the Christmas holiday:

  • Derby – Railroad Station, 12 Main Street, Friday, Dec. 23 from 8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.;
  • Putnam, 165 Kennedy Drive, Friday, Dec. 23 from 7:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. and closed on Saturday, Dec. 24;
  • Middletown- Main Street Market, Friday, Dec. 23 from 8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.;
  • Winsted, 151 Torrington Road, Friday, Dec. 23 from 7:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and closed on Saturday, Dec. 24.

More information about DMV services is available online at ct.gov/dmv or through the DMV telephone center at 860-263-5700 in the Greater Hartford area and 800-842-8222 for the remainder of the state.

Through the web site and phone center, customers can find specific information 24 hours a day on non-driver identification, change of address and change of name as well as

  • vehicle tax questions,
  • records information,
  • forms,
  • emissions testing and inspections,
  • operator’s licenses,
  • titles and registrations
  • and directions to DMV branch offices and photo license centers.

The site also has details on boating registrations, handicapped driver training, commercial vehicle safety, and instructions on how to file a complaint against a dealer or repairer.

Posted Dec. 22, 2011

Have a news item, event or Letter to the Editor you’d like posted on this news site? Simply send your information to editor@htnp.com and include your town in the subject line of your email. Please also include a phone number where you can be reached if there are questions. To keep up-to-date on local news, “like” us (HTNP News) on Facebook and follow us ( @HTNP) on Twitter!

State Rep. Hurlburt announces funding to keep Willington highway rest stops open

December 16, 2011 Areawide, Local News No Comments

State Rep. Bryan Hurlburt, who represents Ashford, Tolland and Willington, announced that funding for infrastructure work at Willington’s two highway rest stops along I-84 has been approved by the State Bond Commission.

State Rep. Bryan Hurlburt, who represents Ashford, Tolland and Willington, announced that funding for infrastructure work at Willington’s two highway rest stops along I-84 has been approved by the State Bond Commission.

A total of $102,204 has been designated for the design of an upgraded septic system that serves the rest stops – part of necessary work to keep the stops open.

“This funding will not only go toward much needed work at the stops, but also reflects the state’s commitment to keep them open long-term,” Rep. Hurlburt said in a prepared statement.

“These rest stops serve thousands of motorists and it is important to maintain the facilities. In many ways, rest stops serve as a welcome mat for the state,” he said.

In June 2011, Rep. Hurlburt helped secure an agreement with Gov.  Dannel P. Malloy to keep the stops open after the Department of Transportation announced their closing, effective July 1, in order to cut an estimated $400,000 in maintenance costs.

State Rep. Bryan Hurlburt, 53rd House District

Rep. Hurlburt argued that public safety and community concerns outweighed the estimated savings.

“We are always telling drivers to pull over and take a break if they are tired, so it’s a total contradictory message,” he said.

Rep. Hurlburt also noted that charitable organizations, such as the Boys Scouts and Willington Historical Society, often offer “coffee breaks” at the rest areas as fundraisers.

Posted Dec. 16, 2011

Have a news item, event or Letter to the Editor you’d like posted on this news site? Simply send your information to editor@htnp.com and include your town in the subject line of your email. Please also include a phone number where you can be reached if there are questions. To keep up-to-date on local news, “like” us (HTNP News) on Facebook and follow us ( @HTNP) on Twitter!

Regional Farmers Market trying to establish a new home

December 14, 2011 Areawide, Business, Local News No Comments
Many residents and farmers spoke in favor of the special permit for the new location for the Coventry Regional Farmer's Market at the Dec. 12, 2011 public hearing, while others asked the PZC to take a careful look at the proposal and cited concerns about road maintenance, traffic, gravel dust and noise.  Photo by Sarah L. Hamby

Many residents and farmers spoke in favor of the special permit for the new location for the Coventry Regional Farmer's Market at the Dec. 12, 2011 public hearing, while others asked the PZC to take a careful look at the proposal and cited concerns about road maintenance, traffic, gravel dust and noise. Photo by Sarah L. Hamby

The Coventry Farmers Market will live to fight another day, but its future is still uncertain.

A crowded planning and zoning commission public hearing Monday night at Coventry High School did not conclude with a decision.

Market organizers need a special permit in order to relocate to a site on Silver Street.

At the close of Monday’s hearing, the PZC decided to keep the hearing open tentatively until a January 2012 meeting.

For the last few years, the market has been located at the Nathan Hale Homestead but after not being able to negotiate a workable deal with the agency that governs the property, Connecticut Landmarks, the market’s organizers began looking for a new site.

The special permit would allow the Bridges Healthy Cooking School/Coventry Regional Farmers Market to operate from a privately owned site at 307 Silver St. in Coventry.

According to Jonathon DeHoyos, parking facilities manager with the farmers market, the new site will allow for more than 500 parking spaces, more than two additional acres of market space, and significantly more event space, as well. Street parking would not be necessary or authorized.

Coventry Farmers Market director Winter Caplanson pointed out that for some local farmers,  the market represents 80 percent of their income. Photo by Sarah L. Hamby

Coventry Farmers Market director Winter Caplanson pointed out that for some local farmers, the market represents 80 percent of their income. Photo by Sarah L. Hamby

Market organizers tried at Monday’s meeting to convince the PZC that establishing the market at the new site should not require a traffic study, which could cost upwards of $20,000.

Former Hebron Harvest Fair manager Peter Cafazzo, who was attending the hearing on behalf of the market, addressed the possible traffic concerns on Silver Street and Route 44. “With my background,” he said, “I don’t see any major problems.”

The Hebron Harvest Fair draws several thousand motorists from all over New England each September, with traffic on Route 85 in Hebron packed with fair visitors.

Engineer Peter Henry of Holmes & Henry Associates also described the design for the drive that would be created to access the market site. He said the approximately 600- foot driveway will begin as a paved access road and then transition to gravel after about 100 feet.

At 24 feet wide, it will meet the requirements of local emergency, medical and fire personnel who may need to access the site, Henry said.

Many residents and farmers spoke in favor of the special permit’s approval last night, while others asked the PZC to take a careful look at the proposal and cited concerns about road maintenance, traffic, gravel dust and noise.

Bill Glenney, a Silver Street resident, addressed the commission to oppose the project. He said traffic issues associated with motorists leaving the market had not been addressed.

He also wondered who would foot the bill for the maintenance and repair of Silver Street, a road that he said would see an additional 4,000 to 5,000 cars each month during the market season.

“We are not against farmers or farming,” he said, “(but) I strongly recommend that you disapprove this special permit.”

Supporters expressed a need to maintain the small business economy provided by the local farming community.

Market executive director Winter Caplanson pointed out that the Coventry Regional Farmers market represents 20 to 80 percent of some farmers’ entire farm sales.

This was confirmed by Scotland’s Erica Andrews of Hurricane Farm, who said at least 80 percent of her income is earned in Coventry.

Coventry Town Planner Eric Trott said the PZC simply needs more time to make an informed decision regarding the special permit after receiving significant public input, both in favor and opposed.

Trott said “the applicant did a good job in providing a litany of detail that helped to clarify the issues between the Hale Homestead and the new market.”

In a Facebook posting on Tuesday, Caplanson said that the town will not require a traffic study.

Trott said whether the state will require a traffic study is up to the State Traffic Commission.”We don’t have any bearing on that,” he said.

Trott confirmed this morning that the public hearing will reconvene in January, but said the Jan. 4 date and meeting place are tentative. To confirm the date and time, visit the town’s web site at www.coventryct.org or call the PZC office at (860) 742-4062 during office hours.

Posted Dec. 14, 2011 as edited and added to by HTNP.com Editor Brenda Sullivan

Have a news item, event or Letter to the Editor you’d like posted on this news site? Simply send your information to editor@htnp.com and include your town in the subject line of your email. Please also include a phone number where you can be reached if there are questions. To keep up-to-date on local news, “like” us (HTNP News) on Facebook and follow us ( @HTNP) on Twitter!

US Postal Service will postpone move that would put 100,000 out of work

December 14, 2011 Areawide, Business No Comments
The USPS has forecast a $14.1 billion loss in fiscal 2012, due to declining mail volume – the result of email communication significantly replacing “snail mail” messages, as well as the growth of competing package shipping services. Photo source: US Postal Service

The USPS has forecast a $14.1 billion loss in fiscal 2012, due to declining mail volume – the result of email communication significantly replacing “snail mail," as well as the growth of competing package shipping services. Photo source: US Postal Service

The U.S. Postal Service, in response to a request made by multiple U.S. Senators, has agreed to delay the closing or consolidation of any Post Office or mail processing facility until May 15, 2012.

In a statement released today, a USPS spokesman said, “The Postal Service will continue all necessary steps required for the review of these facilities during the interim period, including public input meetings.”

In the meantime, legislators expect to take up the issue of the postal service’s financial troubles when Congress reconvenes in January.

As noted in the statement, “The Postal Service hopes this period will help facilitate the enactment of comprehensive postal (reform) legislation. Given the Postal Service’s financial situation and the loss of mail volume, the Postal Service must continue to take all steps necessary to reduce costs and increase revenue.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) led the request made by 21 legislators for the USPS to agree to a “moratorium” on closures.

“Over the last few months, I have heard concerns from local officials, residents and postal service employees about the original proposal from the Postal Service,” Sen. Durbin said today.

“There is no doubt that the Postal Service as we know it today has to adapt, but I think a better solution exists,” he said. “It’s now up to us to move forward with comprehensive legislation that does not jeopardize the best postal service in the world.”

His comments follow a meeting yesterday (Dec. 12) between several Senators and the U.S. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe and the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors Chair Thurgood Marshall, Jr.

The USPS has forecast a $14.1 billion loss in fiscal 2012, due to declining mail volume – the result of email communication significantly replacing “snail mail” as well as the growth of competing package shipping services.

As reported today in Time online, the USPS also is expected to default Friday on a $5.5 billion payment to the Treasury.

Earlier this month, the USPS announced plans to close more than half of its 461 mail-processing plants – which would mean the end of one-day delivery of First Class mail – as well as thousands of local post offices throughout the country.

The USPS plans to close 252 mail processing centers and 3,700 local post offices.

Upwards of 100,000 postal employees would lose their jobs.

The USPS needs congressional approval to defer retiree benefits payments and to end Saturday delivery.

The USPS also noted that many people don’t realize that the Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.

Posted Dec. 13, 2011

Have a news item, event or Letter to the Editor you’d like posted on this news site? Simply send your information to editor@htnp.com and include your town in the subject line of your email. Please also include a phone number where you can be reached if there are questions. To keep up-to-date on local news, “like” us (HTNP News) on Facebook and follow us ( @HTNP) on Twitter!

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Connecticut Water refutes criticisms of UConn water plan

Connecticut Water Eric Thornburg from Town Talk

Connecticut Water is well positioned to provide the water necessary to meet the needs identified for the University and the community over the 50 year planning horizon. The EIE considered the projected demands for the University’s Tech Park and the Next Generation initiative, as well as the Town of Mansfield’s plans for redevelopment of the Four Corners, the proposed managed care facility, and other potential development in the community consistent with their local plans.

Future of local water supply is topic of public forum July 29

water - drinking water - water faucet

Questions about water sources, usage and quality have come into focus recently in light of the Storrs Center development, UConn’s plans to bring in water to support a new Tech Park and the concurrent needs of the towns in this region, particularly in terms of their own development plans.

Coventry Farmers Market invites you to a ‘wellness’ swap

SWAPPERS logo Coventry Farmers Market 2013

As always, anything handmade, handcrafted or homegrown is swappable. But remember – you must sign up and bring something to get something in return!

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