Kent Newsletter
Friends and Neighbors,

I don't usually use this important piece of digital real estate to post a photo, but this struck me. I was walking by the Golden Falcon on Friday, coming back from JP Gifford's, where I had picked up a quick lunch to bring back to the office (in the spectacular weather), and noticed a wonderful picnic going on, so went over to ask their permission to take a few photos. It was the daughter of Jan and Marc Bornn, Jessica, her husband Theron McCollough and their children Theron IV and Aston. We chatted for a few minutes about her adorable children, and ambulance call we likely met on, and how she was glad to be back in Kent with her young family. I snapped a few photos and went on my way.

As I was walking back to Town Hall, I suddenly said in my head, "Life is beginning to look a little more familiar" and a wave of gratitude came over me.

We're all still getting used to being around each other, so let's remember,

...take a breath,
...give folks a minute,
...assume some positive intent.

Stay well,
COVID-19 Updates
I'm happy to write that this will be my final COVID19 update included in the newsletter.

Connecticut continues to lead the country with 61.1% of adults 18+ fully vaccinated!
Easing of restrictions: As we know by now, Connecticut lifted all COVID-19 restrictions, including capacity limits for businesses and mask requirements for vaccinated individuals. These changes are contingent upon sufficiently low rates of infections and increasing vaccination rates. Click here for more information on COVID-19 guidance and restrictions in Connecticut. Read and print out these helpful guidelines.

Please keep in mind that businesses and organizations can mandate their own guidelines. Let's continue to support and respect each other and be mindful of varying guidelines. 
How is Kent doing?
Kent continues to rank 5th in the State with +80% of its population having had at least one dose of the vaccine.
What about the "Delta" variant? The CDC is still learning about how this strain behaves, but vaccination does work against this variant. This reminds us to continue to stay safe, and be prepared.

Emergency Broadband Benefit: The FCC is offering a program to help families and households struggling to afford internet service during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Emergency Broadband Benefit will provide a discounts towards broadband service for eligible households Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount to purchase a computer or tablet. More information and to apply, visit the Emergency Broadband Benefit page on the FCC website.
Upcoming Dates of Interest
Thursday, July 8 | Planning & Zoning Meeting | 7:00p | TBA
Tuesday, July 13 | Board of Selectmen Meeting | 6:3op | TBA
Wednesday, July 21 | Board of Finance Meeting | 6:3op | TBA
Wednesday, July 21| Conservation Commission Meeting | 7:00p | TBA
Always visit the Town website calendar for a complete schedule of meetings
Your Town Government
Safety message from Trooper Fisher: With summer in full swing, please keep these safety messages in mind:
  • always lock your vehicle, even in your driveway
  • if you see something, say something
  • stay alert to increased pedestrian traffic on all roads, especially Main Street

Job Opportunities: There are often opportunities for employment with Kent Town governments. All openings are posted to our website. www.townofkentct.org

Social Services: Kent Social Services is seeking donations to support the Kent Back to School Program. Prior to the beginning of the new academic year, registered children receive a back pack full of school supplies, a gift card to purchase clothing and a winter coat, and an additional gift card for shoes. If you are interested in donating or would like further information, please contact Kent Social Services 860-927-1586 or socialservices@townofkentct.org.
Throughout the pandemic, Kent Social Services has continued to support Kent residents with financial assistance, reducing food insecurity, applications for COVID related assistance, and meeting household basic needs. None of this could have been completed without the support of the greater Kent Community, both local businesses and individuals. The Kent Community Fund, in particular, has long been a steadfast supporter of the work completed by Kent Social Services. This fund really “stepped up to the plate” during the height of the pandemic by meeting the economic needs of individual Kent households as well as supporting the ever-changing landscape of food distribution.

Park & Recreation: While The Park & Rec Commission did not want to cancel Camp Kent this year, the pandemic made it quite difficult to pull together, but Interim Park & Rec Director Miranda Lovato has hit the ground running. Here are some upcoming events, camps and clinics:
  • Summer 2021 Concert Series: Thursdays through August 5th, 6:3op - 7:3op at the Kent Land Trust Field. Bring your blankets and chairs, and a picnic! Please bring a non-perishable food items to donate to Kent Food Bank. Presented through a partnership between The Kent Land Trust and Kent Park & Recreation.
  • Slamma Jamma Basketball Camp: July 26-30 from 9:oo - 2:oop Please visit www.kentparkandrecreation.com for more information and to register.
  • Youth Beginner Tennis Clinics: July 13 and 15 from 4:oop to 5:oop. Visit the www.kentparkandrecreation.com website for more information and to register.

Public Works: Rick and the Town Crew will be sweeping the following chip-sealed roads beginning Tuesday July 6th*:
  • Brown Road
  • Flat Rock Road
  • Jennings Road
  • Maple Street Extension
  • South Road
  • Ten Rod Road
  • Treasure Hill Road
*Please note: timing of work is always weather-dependent. Let's all work together to keep our crews safe by obeying posted speed limits.

Transitions: Please welcome Interim Park and Rec Director Miranda Lovato. Her office hours will be from 9:ooa to 1:oop Monday through Friday.

Tax Bills: Tax bills went out last week and are due by the end of July. More information is available in the Legal Notice posted on the town website. Please note: all tax bills included a document titled "Where Your Tax Dollars Go" - this document was sent out with last year's numbers in error. This is being corrected and will be distributed when available.
Transfer Station: 2021-2022 permits are now valid and should be visible from your rear view mirror of your vehicle.
Glass Recycling: Residents are doing a great job separating their glass for the new glass recycling program. A reminder that candles and drinking glasses cannot be included.
Swap Shop: We've had lots of requests to reopen the Swap Shop and that is the plan! We are working to make sure we will comply with State regulations once opened.
Civic Engagement
We are looking for a few good volunteers! We have a number of committees that will be exploring various issues that come before the Board of Selectmen, and we would love to have you volunteer. Please contact First Selectman Jean Speck if you are interested in joining these committees:
  • Broadband Working Group: This committee will work with the NorthWest Connects group to assess needs for broadband for all and make recommendations
  • ARPA Needs Assessment Committee: this is in very early stages but will develop a townwide needs assessment.
  • Kent Sustainability Team: The Town of Kent is enrolled in the Sustainable CT program, which will guide the work of the Team. In the coming months, the team will use the Sustainable CT framework to develop a plan for Kent.

Are you an organization in Kent looking for volunteers? We are working to compile a list to make available to the residents of the Town looking to get involved. Please email the First Selectman with the name of your organization and a contact person.  

The 2021 Legislative Session was a busy one, with many important bills becoming law. Of note were these new Public Acts:

  • PA 21-1 | An Act Concerning Responsible and Equitable Regulation of Adult-Use Cannabis
  • PA 21-2 | The State Implementer bill, includes language to allow remote meetings to continue, and allows 'no-excuse' absentee voting for the next election.
  • PA 21-58 | Better known as the "Bottle Bill", this will enact a number of new provisions:
  1. As of 1.1.23, expands the types of beverages that would be included such as hard cider, juice, tea, coffee, and sports/energy drinks;
  2. As of 1.1.2024, increases the beverage container deposit amount from 5 cents to 10 at least cents;
  3. Requires certain retailers to have at least two revers vending achine at their place of business.
  • PA 21-159 | An act concerning equitable access to broadband.

There will be much more information coming out about these and many other bills that have passed this session - we'll share new information in future newsletters.

If you see a Public Act you are passionate about, take some time to read the language and feel free to contact me or one of our legislators if you have questions.
Happenings Around Town
Community Dedication of The Birdsey Grant Northrop Memorial Gazebo: Sunday July 18 at 4:oop, please join the community for a dedication of the Birdsey Grant Northrop Memorial Gazebo on the green (between Sophie's Bakery and Cozzy Pizza). Many of you remember Jill Zinzi from Kent Coffee and Chocolate. She led an effort many years ago to memorialize local legend Birdsey Grant Northrop. Mr. Northrop, born on July 18th,1817, became a world-renowned lecturer, teacher, and lover of nature. His greatest and most enduring work is detailed in an article on the Kent Historical Society website by Wendy Murphy titled: Birdsey Grant Northrop, Tree Hugger Extraordinaire. Jill is looking forward to being back in Kent for this very special event. Click this link to view the flyer.
Second Saturdays At Kent Barns: Art exhibits, refreshments, live music and the famous Flower Market will continue the 2nd Saturday throughout the summer. 10:ooa - 3:oop. Visit the Kent Barns website for details.
Sidewalk Sale Days: They are BACK!! Scheduled for August 5-8, Kent merchants will offer special sales outside and within their stores. Visit their website for more information.
Kent Volunteer Department Firemen's Ball: Mark your calendars for June 11, 2022 for the return of the KVFD's largest, most iconic fundraiser! An evening of dinner and dancing, all for a good cause.
Kent Farmer's Market: Every Friday from 3:oop-6:oop just south of the Monument (in the same lot as the Fish truck and Chris the Hot Dog Guy). They offer everything from fresh produce and meats to beautiful handmade crafts.

Visit the Kent Chamber of Commerce website for details and vendors.
Did You Know?
It was great to see so many faces stop by Town Hall to purchase Transfer Station Permits and Dog Licenses, or just stop in to ask a question. It has been a hoppin' (sorry about the pun) place since opening back up after 15 months. As I left that night, there was one more customer wanting to come inside...
Town Updates
Birch Hill: There are no updates regarding the proposed 85-bed substance use disorder treatment facility on the property at 46 Maple Street. The Town of Kent continues to monitor developments.  

Cell Tower: The cell tower on Richards Road, approved by the Connecticut Siting Council, is currently going through the judicial appeal process, filed by a local citizen action group.

Primary Care Office: The loss of the sole primary care practice in Kent is of great concern to many of our residents. Families and seniors have depended on this traditional model of healthcare delivery for decades. The delivery of rural primary care is difficult, especially when juxtaposed with the business needs of a healthcare system. We know the costs of healthcare in the US are extremely high, and social and racial disparities and access to healthcare are real. 
The solution may lie in the life we have all had to live over the past 15 months during the pandemic. The disruptions caused by the global COVID19 pandemic forced the healthcare industry to think outside the traditional four walls of a doctor’s office, and condensed acceleration in innovative delivery of care models. We should be open to less traditional models and support the concept alternatives like telehealth and community paramedicine. The Town has been meeting with health care organizations in the state to explore some solutions. 

Streetscape: All of the temporary easement documents from affected residents and businesses have been signed and sent in to Town Hall. This brings us closer to sending out the RFP bid packages. The committee will continue to meet as the summer progresses.

Tribal Recognition: Currently, there are no updates to report.   
Quick Links
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visit our website: www.townofkentct.org