Town of Kent Newsletter
Friends and neighbors,

It's hard to believe we are into Autumn already. The summer sped by in the blink of an eye, yet seemed to slow with the anticipation of school coming back into session. Time has moved at a unique pace in 2020.

Over the last few weeks, we have seen an uptick in the number of positive COVID19 cases in our community. These are community-spread cases and there is no indication that they are related to any facility, school or activity.

While this increase is concerning, we continue to be in regular contact with Torrington Area Health Department for regular updates; Executive Director Rob Rubbo and his team are always responsive to any questions we have. The most important takeaway is that COVID19 is continuing to spread at the community level, and the three keys to lowering community spread remain critical:
  1. Wear a mask
  2. Maintain six foot social distancing
  3. Stay home if you are not feeling well.

Personal responsibility leads to community responsibility. The best way to keep our whole community safe is for each of us to be responsible for ourselves first (think "put your oxygen mask on yourself first, then your loved one"). This means not getting comfortable when visiting friends or loved ones, complying with the Governor's Travel advisory, and reminding those around us to wear a mask/watch our distance/stay home.

As stewards of this concept, the four schools in our community - Kent Center School, Kent School, Marvelwood School, and South Kent School - have all taken this responsibility very seriously. Early in the summer, I called a joint meeting with all four schools to discuss their plans, and we have been meeting regularly. These discussions have been open, productive and filled with a shared goal of keeping everyone on their campuses and in the larger community safe. Much community concern surrounds the independent schools and their large populations coming back to live and learn. To that end, here are the basic guidelines they are all following:

  • campuses are "closed", meaning students will not be allowed into town;
  • no visitors (including parents) are allowed on campus;
  • students had to arrive on campus with a negative COVID19 test
  • students and faculty continue to have regular COVID19 testing

To date, almost 2,000 tests have been conducted in the three schools, and only one student and one faculty/staff have tested positive.

There is more and more data that is becoming available as we navigate the pandemic. More information helps drive better decisions and more informed public policy. As a reminder, social media is not considered a reliable source for news. Here are some links to interesting ways of looking at COVID19-related data that have been shared through our State and local partners:


Even though the Town Hall building remains closed to public access, the work of town government and delivery of services continues.  Please do not hesitate to call any office or department with questions or requests - accommodations will be made while keeping the health of the public and our staff our priority.
This year has been unique, uncommon, unforgiving. In spite of the challenges that face our community every day, I continue to hear stories of neighbors helping neighbors and random acts of kindness. Unfortunately, I have also recently had a number of calls from residents reporting political signs being removed from their property. An important component that makes up the character of our community has always been one of fair play. In that spirit, I have created a petition on change.org to pledge to never steal political signs. Our voices are all worthy of being heard. Here's the link to share: http://chng.it/4vhDHs6r
I couldn't end this note to you all and not remark on the recent passing of SCOTUS Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg.
She was one of the fiercest defenders of gender equality. She saw through the fog of inequality, worked hard and persevered, achieving a seat on the Supreme Court, and helped steer the course on so many important issues that are critical to the rights of so many today. The tributes from so many - from her clerks, her personal trainer, and even right here on Main Street (thank you Georgeann Gowan for your tribute to RBG's iconic lace collar) are a testament to the respect she earned.

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

Step outside to enjoy the amazing beauty of the changing leaves, crisp air, and very active wildlife. I promise, it will have a positive affect.

Stay well,

Jean
Important Dates
October 3rd: Household Hazardous Waste event in New Milford (see details below)
October 7th: Drive-thru Flu Vaccination Clinic | 10am - 3pm |Town Hall parking lot (see details below)
November 3rd: Presidential Election | 6am - 8pm | Town Hall |

visit the events page on our website for a full schedule of all meetings
News From Town Hall
Department, Board and Commission Updates
Cell Tower Application to the CT Siting Council: The public hearings wrapped up last week. The Siting Council requested an extension to their deadline to render a decision from October 25th, 2020 to January 25th, 2021 (pursuant to CT General Statutes, the CSC may request an extension of up to 180 days beyond the statutory deadline, with consent of the applicant, which was granted.)

Household Hazardous Waste event: While we cannot accept any household hazardous waste at the Transfer Station, we do participate in HHW events around the region. New Milford is hosting the next event on Saturday October 3rd from 9:00am-3:00pm at the John Pettibone School. Click this link to view the flyer for details. 

Park & Rec: We are currently seeking to fill a part time position in the After School Program. email Director Lesly Ferris to inquire.

Public Works: With the weather changing, we are seeing an increase in deer strikes on our roadways. If you come upon a dead deer that needs clearing from a road, please call the First Selectman's office and leave a message with your name, phone number, and the location of the deer. We'll make sure Rick and his team are alerted.
There are a number of long-length (8'-10') in various diameters, available to residents from the two storm clean-ups. Please contact Rick or Joyce at 860-927-4627 to inquire and arrange pickup.

Seasonal Flu Clinic: A drive-thru seasonal flu vaccine clinic is scheduled for Wednesday October 7th in the parking lot of Town Hall. Visit our website for details. Registration is required!

Social Services: The team is busy supporting families through the Kent Foodbank and assisting with Energy Assistance applications. Please click here to view the most recent edition of the SeniorTimes newsletter. For more information about the programs and services, visit the Social Services page on our website. Prescription Drug Discount Card Program: through the Town's association with the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, we are able to offer this program, which provides discounts to prescription drugs not covered by insurance. Click here for more information.

Streetscape Building Committee: The committee continues to meet regularly and move the project forward. Visit the Streetscape Building Committee page on our website for meeting minutes and recordings to catch up.

Swift House Task Force: Work to seal up the building from the squirrel invasion continues. The Task Force has created a survey for the public to weigh in on what the future of Swift House should look like.
Please take this brief survey and have your voice heard: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/SwiftHouse

Transfer Station: We continue to get areas of the Transfer Station cleaned up and improve the services provided. Please note: the drop-off area outside of the Swap Shop has been cleared out. If you have household items and furniture, these items should be placed in the proper compactor (MSW/Bulky/Metal), or better yet take them to your favorite dropoff donation center like Goodwill in New Milford. We are still accepting applications for parttime Transfer Station Attendants - visit our website for details and to download an application.
2020 Presidential Election
With a mere 35 days to go till the 2020 Presidential Election, our Town Clerk and Registrars of Voters are working diligently to process voter registrations, absentee ballot applications, and answer questions for residents.
Town Clerk Darlene Brady has been sending out frequent email blasts with the latest information from the Secretary of State.
Through a collaborative effort with the Town Clerk and the Registrars of Voters, a team of Marvelwood School students have produced a series of short videos answering questions about absentee ballots, registering to vote, and the election. Find them on our Facebook page!

Still have a question?
Contact Town Clerk Darlene Brady with absentee ballot applications and ballots questions.

Contact Registrars of Voters Karen Chase & Sal Lillienthal with election and voter registration questions.
In and About Town
Did You Know?
...The Census is used to help direct billions of dollars in federal funding to support public schools and local services?

As you can see, Kent's response rate is well below the State average - but there's still time to complete the 2020 Census!

Visit my2020census.gov to complete the Census.

Deadline is October 5th!!
coming in the next newsletter...
  • Kent is participating in the CT Coalition for Sustainable Materials Management - what does that mean for how we recycle?
  • Bringing an Organics Composting pilot program to the Transfer Station
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visit our website: www.townofkentct.org