Governor Lamont, State Officials Work With Utilities to Advance a Short-Term Customer Relief Plan To Reduce the Cost of Energy Supply Prices

Public-Private Partnership Identifies Ways To Help Lower Winter Energy Prices, From Electricity to Gasoline

Governor Ned Lamont, in response to calls from his administration and other Connecticut state officials – including the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) and the Office of Consumer Counsel – to do more for customers in the state amid historically high electric prices, utility companies Eversource and United Illuminating (UI) have agreed to work with state leaders on a short-term/interim Customer Relief Plan to provide immediate relief to electric customers this winter.

Connecticut state leaders have emphasized the importance of acting quickly and advancing options to reduce bill impacts for low and middle-income customers who are struggling to pay electric bills under unprecedented economic circumstances.

The package of near-term actions developed through the combined efforts of Governor Lamont, DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes, Consumer Counsel Claire Coleman, Eversource, and UI is in part the result of benefits from the long-term clean energy power contracts signed at the direction of the Lamont administration and the Connecticut General Assembly to help secure the future of the Millstone nuclear power plant and other carbon-free generation resources. Eversource and UI have also agreed to corporate contributions for energy assistance to provide support for customers.

The Customer Relief Plan has multiple elements:

Eversource and UI will file a motion with the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) seeking approval for the establishment of bill credits to fast-track the return of long-term power contract earnings to all customers starting January 1, 2023. This proposal will provide Eversource customers with a monthly bill credit of around $10 per month – approximately 12.5% of the average customer increase this winter – for the peak winter months starting January 1, 2023, and continuing through April.

Data on how this will impact UI customers is being calculated and is expected to be available soon.

The companies will also seek approval for a discount for low-income hardship customers to accelerate the 2021 Take Back Our Grid Act provision enabling a low-income discount rate by providing a flat-rate credit to financial hardship customers starting in January 2023 until the new PURA-approved low-income discount rate goes into effect in 2024.

In order to provide additional assistance to customers struggling with unusually high energy prices this winter, the Customer Relief Plan also includes an Eversource shareholder expense of $10 million for energy assistance to customers in need, including moderate and middle-income customers who are struggling to pay their bills.

UI has agreed to pay $3 million to Operation Fuel for direct assistance for electricity and heating costs, subject to PURA’s approval of a settlement agreement with the Office of Consumer Counsel.

Governor Lamont said, “I appreciate Eversource and UI working with us to identify creative near-term actions that will help provide Connecticut residents with some relief from high energy costs and the significant impending rate increase on January 1. Keeping Millstone online has proven to be a great investment for Connecticut, and it’s important that residents feel the benefit of the net profits generated by the plant when they most need it. I also appreciate that this plan includes Eversource and UI corporate funding that will go to Operation Fuel for an energy assistance program. Complex issues call for creative solutions, and this public-private partnership paired with the energy assistance actions expected to be taken by the General Assembly in special session will provide residents with some much-needed relief and protection this winter.”

Commissioner Dykes said, “With a difficult winter ahead, every penny counts, and I’m gratified that DEEP’s clean energy procurements are generating revenues that will help lower customer bills by another $10 per month this winter. Along with Governor Lamont and Consumer Counsel Coleman, we worked with the utilities on a plan to get these proceeds into their customers’ hands quicker.

Steve Sullivan, president of Eversource Connecticut, said, “We know how challenging increased energy costs are for our customers, especially during these times, and want to do everything we can to help. As an energy delivery company, we can’t control the cost of electricity on the supply side of our customer bills, but it is critically important to us to uncover any and all options to provide relief for our customers. Although market conditions are tough, Connecticut’s decision to commit to contractual arrangements like Millstone is paying dividends for customers and is critical to help offset bill impacts for customers this winter.”

Frank Reynolds, president and CEO of United Illuminating, said, “UI has been a member of the Connecticut community for over 100 years, so when our customers are facing the burden of rising energy costs due to a volatile global market, we’re committed to doing everything we can to help provide needed relief here at home. While we don’t have the ability to control the cost of the energy generation supply, we are here to help our customers above all. As we enter the winter months, we remain committed to coming to the table with all parties to find additional solutions for hard working families across Connecticut.”

Nearly 52,000 households have already applied for CEAP this season, an increase of 17% over last year at this time. Benefits are available for households with incomes up to 60% of the state median income, which equates to roughly $76,465 for a family of four. These benefits are usually paid directly to the utility company or fuel supplier. Households that heat with deliverable fuels like oil or propane may be eligible for multiple free tank refills.

Interested households should apply online at ct.gov/heatinghelp or contact their local community action agency. Additional assistance is available by calling 2-1-1.

Follow The Money

Electric Costs in Connecticut

Source: Greenwich Times

As Eversource and United Illuminating customers come to terms with the announced sharp increases in their monthly bills starting in January, consumers and politicians alike are asking if the utilities are pumping too much money into profits that end up in the pockets of shareholders and executives.

For people living paycheck to paycheck, another point of contention over the rate increase is the big paydays senior executives receive in the form of bonuses and stock compensation. With Avangrid CEO Pedro Azagra Blazquez new on the job and his Eversource counterpart Joe Nolan getting the corner office only last year, a fuller picture of their pay will emerge in spring.

In a recent Utility Dive study of CEO compensation, Eversource had the most significant dip between 2020 and 2021, but that included a portion of the compensation Nolan was paid before his promotion, replacing Jim Judge. In 2020, Judge had one of the larger pay packages in the nation in Eversource’s peer group of similar-sized utilities at $14.6 million, according to the Utility Dive study.

The question typically arises when electricity rates spike or extended outages strike after significant storms. At the most fundamental measure of earnings — profits as a percentage of revenue — Eversource’s Connecticut operations have been the least profitable of the utility’s service regions, which include Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

Over the past six years, Eversource has averaged 12.1 cents in operating profits on every dollar of revenue in Connecticut, according to annual reports on file with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission, versus 12.9 cents in New Hampshire and 14.1 cents in Massachusetts.

Against an index of nearly 40 utilities maintained by the Edison Electric Institute trade association, Eversource has outperformed many peer companies with a 91% increase in shareholder returns in the form of annual dividends between 2016 and 2021, compared to 69% for other utilities in the index on average. However, in the last couple of years, Eversource has trailed on the EEI index for profits paid to shareholders as dividends.

Avangrid, United Illuminating’s parent company, ranks in the top 10 of that group for yields on dividends, but United Illuminating accounts for only 15% of the company’s electricity delivery business alongside larger utilities in New York and Maine and separate natural gas and renewables businesses. Avangrid does not break out United Illuminating’s operating profits in its filings with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission.

Eversource and United Illuminating do not make money on electricity generation in power plants; they charge only for delivering power to customers over their lines, factoring in the cost of ongoing maintenance and repairs.

Frank Reynolds, CEO of United Illuminating and its parent entity UIL Holdings, owned by Avangrid, told CTInsider that the distribution rate increase would be the first of its kind for United Illuminating in five years.

“We’re in a heavily regulated industry, and we’re allowed to make a certain return — not a guarantee — but a certain return on investments we make,” Reynolds said. “We bring everybody to the table among our regulators and other intervenors. They have the opportunity to explore all of the investments that we’re proposing to make within our system in continuing to deliver safe and reliable service.”

At an EEI conference in mid-November, Eversource shared updated projections for its investment in its electric transmission and distribution grid, which it anticipates peaking this year above $2.6 billion before dropping annually through 2026 to below $2.1 billion, only slightly off its investment total for 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Both utilities are on the cusp of significant investments in offshore wind farms and electric vehicle charging infrastructure. In Southeastern Massachusetts, Eversource is analyzing other big investments in the grid to accommodate an expected boom in solar farms.

“There’s investments that we want to make around transmission to unlock and tap into some renewable resources that cannot get onto the grid in a way that’s meaningful for the operator,” Eversource CEO Joe Nolan said in November on a conference call. “That’s something that will only reduce customers’ cost at the end of the day if we’re able to get at some of those renewables.”

In 2019, Eversource took a $204 million hit to the bottom line after ending a multiyear effort to run power lines through New Hampshire to tap power from hydroelectric plants in Canada, with stockholders absorbing that hit rather than ratepayers. Avangrid is moving ahead with the project on an existing transmission route through Maine.

In response to the backlash in Connecticut over the sharp increase in electric rates, the state’s two largest utility companies have committed $13 million to provide relief to customers struggling to pay their utility bills this winter.

Eversource will contribute $10 million from what would have been booked as profits to help qualifying customers. United Illuminating is giving $3 million to Operation Fuel, a nonprofit that provides emergency funding for people to pay their bills.

Includes prior reporting by Julia Bergman, Ken Dixon, Alex Putterman and Luther Turmelle.

Feeling Grateful as a New Year Approaches

By: Irene Roth

There is so much promise before a brand-new year. There is so much anticipation for new things and a carryover of things from the previous year that still needs to be done in 2023. This can be such a positive time for all of us.

Unfortunately, for some of us, we put way too much pressure on ourselves by criticizing ourselves for all the failures. Therefore, an end-of-year assessment can make us feel stressed out and even overwhelmed at the thought of a brand-new year.

I am one of those people who loves a brand-new year. Not only is it a brand-new chance to do better and excel, but it is a time to be grateful for yet another possibility to live a healthier and more balanced life. There is so much hope in a new year. Further, there is a lot we should be grateful for.

Gratitude is not something we often think about at this time of year. Usually, we’re too busy reflecting on how our past year went wrong. We rarely focus on some of the good things. Instead, we are dead set on finding fault with everything that we did. For this reason, I don’t make new year’s resolutions.

A few years ago, I started to new tradition. Instead of criticizing how I did the previous year, I looked at the year through the lens of self-compassion and gratitude. I focused on what went right and what was good about the year instead of all that went wrong. It was difficult to do at first. However, after a while, it became easier and refreshing.

It’s not that we should be in denial about some things that went not so well that particular year. However, instead of beating ourselves up about it, we should set those issues aside as problems that need to be addressed instead of insurmountable issues. Nothing is impossible to achieve with some planning and competition.

Here is how I proceeded. First, I opened my journal to a fresh new page. I pick up a few of my favourite pens, in different colours. I write all the not so good stuff that happened during the year in black ink. I also wrote everything that I thought was nasty, mean, and awful. It felt good to get it all out on paper.

Once I cleared my mind of all the negative stuff, I turned the page and wrote all the good things that happened during the year in purple ink (my favorite color). To my amazement, I noticed something very interesting. My list of good things that happened in the year was far longer than my list of bad things! This was an unexpected realization, something that transformed how I viewed every end of the year from then on.

That was three years ago. Now I still assess the previous year with a lens of appreciation, gratitude, and self-compassion. I decided not to look only at all the bad things that happened, but to also focus on all the good. All that is required is to shift what we focus on at the end of the year. By shifting our perspective this way, we can see the approaching brand-new year as an exciting time, a blank sleight on which we can write or draw a new tapestry for a better and more balanced life.

So as the curtain closes on yet another year, may we take the time to count our blessings? May we realize that there is so much that we have in our lives that is good. Because there really are my dear friends!

Happy New Year!

Why Do I Need To Get My Teeth Cleaned At My Dentist’s Office?

by Dr Jeffery Hoos’ Dental Health
jchdmd@gmail.com

I have been asked to start a dental health column for the Stratford Crier.  My goal is to make this an interactive column.   I would love to get questions from everyone about your dental health.  You can send your questions to: jchdmd@gmail.com

I will do my best to answer everyone’s questions.

What is Biofilm?

We are going to be very scientific and ask the question What is Biofilm?

And once everyone knows that it will lead to the question:  Why do I need to get my teeth clean at my dentist’s office.

I get asked all the time………why do I need to get my teeth cleaned at my dentist’s office.   That is a great question. The answer is: because, most people can not do a good enough job on their own.

Now I am going to tell a deep family secret.  You all have to promise not to tell anyone.   I graduated from Tufts School of Dental Medicine in 1978.   One of my first patients was my mother, Esther Hoos.   She was my patient for 30 years before she passed away.   The big secret is, I NEVER HAD TO CLEAN HER TEETH.   It is very very true and the reason was that she so meticulously cleaned her teeth, there was nothing on her teeth to clean.   Most people cannot do that.   Most people even the dentists who are my patients, need professional cleanings. IF a dentist needs to have their teeth cleaned then most if not everyone, need professional cleanings.

The person that goes to school “to clean teeth” are called dental hygienists.  Hygienists do so much more than just clean teeth.   They are true professionals that are capable of detecting dental disease, taking x rays, cleaning the “biofilm” off tooth structure and treating the gingiva.  The goal is bringing gingiva back to health.   The way to get gingiva back to health is to remove  the biofilm.

What is Biofilm? This is a very scientific question, that most people do not know.  That dental biofilm starts as very small invisible bacteria.  That invisible stuff is easy to remove by just brushing and flossing.  It is biofilm that is the cause of many oral diseases such as gum diseases and tooth decay.   There is also a lot of research that biofilm can lead to stomach issues and heart disease.

If you do not remove or get biofilm removed it starts to grow.   As they grow, and there are so many different bacterial in the biofilm.  These bacteria are common and very harmful to your teeth and gums.   You can remove this bacteria yourself but most people are not skillful enough, and when not removed periodontal disease, bone loss, teeth loosening, bad breath, and bleed on gums will occur.  The bacteria is living in that biofilm and carrying on their BAD STUFF.   The biofilm is like a slime layer called dental plaque.  We have to get plaque off your teeth..

When biofilm is allowed to grow on the teeth and gums long enough, it can start to become visible as a white or yellowish substance.  That yellow stuff is called tartar and the tartar is teaming with bacteria.

So now we know about gum disease and bone loss but what about tooth decay.   Tooth decay happens because the bacteria releases an acid.  The acid attacks the tooth surface and causes cavities.

Why do some people get much more decay than other people?  This is because the biofilm is not removed daily and people who eat sugar all the time are constantly bathing their teeth in acid.

The acid that the biofilm creates by eating the sugar attacks the teeth and causes tooth decay.  When you “nurse” a sugar drink all day or eat sugar all day, the acid is attacking the teeth all the time.  You have to at least rinse your mouth.

So now you are all dental experts, having knowledge of biofilm and understanding, “why do I need to get my teeth cleaned?”

Trust your dentist and their professional hygienists to keep your mouth healthy and clean.  They will also show you how to brush and floss properly.

Until next time……..BRUSH & FLOSS

VAX Facts

As of Friday, December 30th, Fairfield County has been identified by the Center for Disease Control as being in the “orange” zone with “high” COVID levels where masks are currently recommended indoors.

The Stratford Health Department has scheduled Covid 19/flu clinics for the new year at Birdseye School, 468 Birdseye Street, 3rd Floor.

Get free Covid tests.  Every U.S. household is eligible to order 4 free at-home COVID-⁠19 tests.  Order Free At-Home Tests at: https://www.covid.gov/tests

Need help placing an order for your at-⁠home tests?

Call 1-800-232-0233 (TTY 1-888-720-7489).

 

CONFIRMED CASES OF COVID-19 IN STRATFORD

This information was published in the December 23rd Crier.  No new numbers have been reported:

Number of Cases for the Past Seven Days: 61

Percent Positivity for the Past Seven Days: 16.3%

Total Cumulative Cases: 16,193

There have been 213 deaths to date.

BIVALENT BOOSTER FACTS *UPDATE

The FDA expanded the age authorization for both Modern and Pfizer bivalent boosters. The CDC is now recommending that everyone aged 5 and older receive one dose of the updated bivalent booster.

Moderna bivalent:Individuals 6 years of age and older are eligible for a single booster dose of the Moderna bivalent COVID-19 vaccine if it has been at least two months since they have completed primary vaccination or have received the most recent booster dose with any authorized or approved monovalent COVID-19 vaccine.

Pfizer bivalent:Individuals 5 years of age and older are eligible for a single booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech bivalent COVID-19 vaccine if it has been at least two months since they have completed primary vaccination or have received the most recent booster dose with any authorized or approved monovalent COVID-19 vaccine.

The FDA expanded the age authorization for both Modern and Pfizer bivalent boosters. The CDC is now recommending that everyone aged 5 and older receive one dose of the updated bivalent booster.

Pfizer bivalent:  Individuals 5 years of age and older are eligible for a single booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech bivalent COVID-19 vaccine if it has been at least two months since they have completed primary vaccination or have received the most recent booster dose with any authorized or approved monovalent COVID-19 vaccine.

 

BIVALENT BOOSTER FACTS

The FDA authorized both the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech bivalent boosters. The bivalent boosters combine the original vaccine with protection against the newest omicron versions to increase cross-protection against multiple COVID-19 variants. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) met and issued the below recommendation:

-Individuals 18 years of age and older are eligible for a single booster dose of the Moderna bivalent COVID-19 vaccine if it has been at least two months since they completed primary vaccination or received the most recent booster dose.

-Individuals 12 years of age and older are eligible for a single booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNtech bivalent COVID-19 vaccine if it has been at least two months since they have completed primary vaccination or have received the most recent booster dose.

Where to Go for Information

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Prevention includes hand washing, as well as covering up when coughing and sneezing. For more information visit: www.townofstratford.com/coronavirus.

Please email questions regarding COVID-19 to:health@townofstratford.com

The Stratford Health Department continues to host vaccination clinics for those seeking first, second and booster doses of the Moderna vaccine. Flyers included below highlight clinic details. Please call our office for more information – 203-385-4090

CDC Recommends Moderna for those Aged 6-17

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) endorsed  the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ (ACIP) recommendation that Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine be used as an option for children ages 6 through 17 years, in addition to its already recommended use in children 6 months through 5 years and adults 18 years and older. The ACIP recommendation comes after a thorough review of the scientific evidence demonstrating safety and efficacy and supports the use of the vaccine among those 6 through 17 years of age. CDC recommends that Moderna COVID-19 vaccine be used for individuals 6 through 17 years of age to better protect them from COVID-19.

COVID-19 Vaccine Update

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted to recommend children 6 months through 5 years of age receive a COVID-19 vaccine. The CDC now recommends that all children 6 months through 5 years of age receive either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to better protect them from COVID-19.

All children, including those who have already had COVID-19, should get vaccinated. Although most children have only mild symptoms when infected, COVID-19 can cause some children to become very sick, even to the point of requiring hospitalization or even death.

The approval of COVID-19 vaccines for children as young as 6-months old is another major step forward in the overall COVID-19 vaccine roll-out. Parents have many options for where to get a COVID-19 vaccine for their child including:

Pediatricians’ offices: Hundreds of pediatricians will be administering COVID-19 vaccines across Connecticut.

Pharmacies: There will be hundreds of pharmacy locations that offer the COVID-19 vaccine to children. Pharmacies provide a safe, convenient, and easy location to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

DPH Yellow Van Clinics: The updated clinic schedule can be found at ct.gov/coronavirus

VAX Facts

Get free Covid tests.  Every U.S. household is eligible to order 4 free at-home COVID-⁠19 tests.

Order Free At-Home Tests at: https://www.covid.gov/tests

Need help placing an order for your at-⁠home tests?

Call 1-800-232-0233 (TTY 1-888-720-7489).

Confirmed Cases Of Covid-19 In Stratford As Of Today

Number of Cases for the Past Seven Days: 61

Percent Positivity for the Past Seven Days: 16.3%

Total Cumulative Cases: 16,193

There have been 213 deaths to date.

Bivalent Booster Facts *Update

The FDA expanded the age authorization for both Modern and Pfizer bivalent boosters. The CDC is now recommending that everyone aged 5 and older receive one dose of the updated bivalent booster.

Moderna bivalent:Individuals 6 years of age and older are eligible for a single booster dose of the Moderna bivalent COVID-19 vaccine if it has been at least two months since they have completed primary vaccination or have received the most recent booster dose with any authorized or approved monovalent COVID-19 vaccine.

Pfizer bivalent:Individuals 5 years of age and older are eligible for a single booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech bivalent COVID-19 vaccine if it has been at least two months since they have completed primary vaccination or have received the most recent booster dose with any authorized or approved monovalent COVID-19 vaccine.

The FDA expanded the age authorization for both Modern and Pfizer bivalent boosters. The CDC is now recommending that everyone aged 5 and older receive one dose of the updated bivalent booster.

Pfizer bivalent:  Individuals 5 years of age and older are eligible for a single booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech bivalent COVID-19 vaccine if it has been at least two months since they have completed primary vaccination or have received the most recent booster dose with any authorized or approved monovalent COVID-19 vaccine.

Bivalent Booster Facts

The FDA authorized both the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech bivalent boosters. The bivalent boosters combine the original vaccine with protection against the newest omicron versions to increase cross-protection against multiple COVID-19 variants. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) met and issued the below recommendation:

-Individuals 18 years of age and older are eligible for a single booster dose of the Moderna bivalent COVID-19 vaccine if it has been at least two months since they completed primary vaccination or received the most recent booster dose.

-Individuals 12 years of age and older are eligible for a single booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNtech bivalent COVID-19 vaccine if it has been at least two months since they have completed primary vaccination or have received the most recent booster dose.

Where to Go for Information

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Prevention includes hand washing, as well as covering up when coughing and sneezing. For more information visit: www.townofstratford.com/coronavirus.

Please email questions regarding COVID-19 to:health@townofstratford.com

The Stratford Health Department continues to host vaccination clinics for those seeking first, second and booster doses of the Moderna vaccine. Flyers included below highlight clinic details. Please call our office for more information – 203-385-4090

CDC Recommends Moderna for those Aged 6-17

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) endorsed  the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ (ACIP) recommendation that Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine be used as an option for children ages 6 through 17 years, in addition to its already recommended use in children 6 months through 5 years and adults 18 years and older. The ACIP recommendation comes after a thorough review of the scientific evidence demonstrating safety and efficacy and supports the use of the vaccine among those 6 through 17 years of age. CDC recommends that Moderna COVID-19 vaccine be used for individuals 6 through 17 years of age to better protect them from COVID-19.

COVID-19 Vaccine Update

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted to recommend children 6 months through 5 years of age receive a COVID-19 vaccine. The CDC now recommends that all children 6 months through 5 years of age receive either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to better protect them from COVID-19.

All children, including those who have already had COVID-19, should get vaccinated. Although most children have only mild symptoms when infected, COVID-19 can cause some children to become very sick, even to the point of requiring hospitalization or even death.

The approval of COVID-19 vaccines for children as young as 6-months old is another major step forward in the overall COVID-19 vaccine roll-out. Parents have many options for where to get a COVID-19 vaccine for their child including:

Pediatricians’ offices: Hundreds of pediatricians will be administering COVID-19 vaccines across Connecticut.

Pharmacies: There will be hundreds of pharmacy locations that offer the COVID-19 vaccine to children. Pharmacies provide a safe, convenient, and easy location to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

DPH Yellow Van Clinics: The updated clinic schedule can be found at ct.gov/coronavirus

VAX Facts

Get free Covid tests. Every U.S. household is eligible to order 4 free at-home COVID-⁠19 tests.

Order Free At-Home Tests at: https://www.covid.gov/tests
Need help placing an order for your at-⁠home tests?
Call 1-800-232-0233 (TTY 1-888-720-7489).

Stratford Health Department will be conducting Flu-Covid Clinics from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. December 20th. Reservations required.

Confirmed Cases Of Covid-19 In Stratford As Of Today
Number of Cases for the Past Seven Days: 57
Percent Positivity for the Past Seven Days: 11.5%
Total Cumulative Cases: 16,014
There have been 212 deaths to date

Bivalent Booster Facts *Update
The FDA expanded the age authorization for both Modern and Pfizer bivalent boosters. The CDC is now recommending that everyone aged 5 and older receive one dose of the updated bivalent booster.

Moderna bivalent:Individuals 6 years of age and older are eligible for a single booster dose of the Moderna bivalent COVID-19 vaccine if it has been at least two months since they have completed primary vaccination or have received the most recent booster dose with any authorized or approved monovalent COVID-19 vaccine.

Pfizer bivalent:Individuals 5 years of age and older are eligible for a single booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech bivalent COVID-19 vaccine if it has been at least two months since they have completed primary vaccination or have received the most recent booster dose with any authorized or approved monovalent COVID-19 vaccine.

The FDA expanded the age authorization for both Modern and Pfizer bivalent boosters. The CDC is now recommending that everyone aged 5 and older receive one dose of the updated bivalent booster.

Pfizer bivalent: Individuals 5 years of age and older are eligible for a single booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech bivalent COVID-19 vaccine if it has been at least two months since they have completed primary vaccination or have received the most recent booster dose with any authorized or approved monovalent COVID-19 vaccine.

Bivalent Booster Facts
The FDA authorized both the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech bivalent boosters. The bivalent boosters combine the original vaccine with protection against the newest omicron versions to increase cross-protection against multiple COVID-19 variants. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) met and issued the below recommendation:

-Individuals 18 years of age and older are eligible for a single booster dose of the Moderna bivalent COVID-19 vaccine if it has been at least two months since they completed primary vaccination or received the most recent booster dose.

-Individuals 12 years of age and older are eligible for a single booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNtech bivalent COVID-19 vaccine if it has been at least two months since they have completed primary vaccination or have received the most recent booster dose.

Where to Go for Information
Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Prevention includes hand washing, as well as covering up when coughing and sneezing. For more information visit: www.townofstratford.com/coronavirus.
Please email questions regarding COVID-19 to:health@townofstratford.com
The Stratford Health Department continues to host vaccination clinics for those seeking first, second and booster doses of the Moderna vaccine. Flyers included below highlight clinic details. Please call our office for more information – 203-385-4090

CDC Recommends Moderna for those Aged 6-17
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) endorsed the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ (ACIP) recommendation that Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine be used as an option for children ages 6 through 17 years, in addition to its already recommended use in children 6 months through 5 years and adults 18 years and older. The ACIP recommendation comes after a thorough review of the scientific evidence demonstrating safety and efficacy and supports the use of the vaccine among those 6 through 17 years of age. CDC recommends that Moderna COVID-19 vaccine be used for individuals 6 through 17 years of age to better protect them from COVID-19.

COVID-19 Vaccine Update
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted to recommend children 6 months through 5 years of age receive a COVID-19 vaccine. The CDC now recommends that all children 6 months through 5 years of age receive either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to better protect them from COVID-19.

All children, including those who have already had COVID-19, should get vaccinated. Although most children have only mild symptoms when infected, COVID-19 can cause some children to become very sick, even to the point of requiring hospitalization or even death.

The approval of COVID-19 vaccines for children as young as 6-months old is another major step forward in the overall COVID-19 vaccine roll-out. Parents have many options for where to get a COVID-19 vaccine for their child including:

Pediatricians’ offices: Hundreds of pediatricians will be administering COVID-19 vaccines across Connecticut.

Pharmacies: There will be hundreds of pharmacy locations that offer the COVID-19 vaccine to children. Pharmacies provide a safe, convenient, and easy location to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

DPH Yellow Van Clinics: The updated clinic schedule can be found at ct.gov/coronavirus

Stratford State Delegation Spearheads Funding for Contract Plating Remediation

Representatives Joe Gresko, Phil Young, and Ben McGorty, Senator Kevin Kelly

Future Fuel Cell Development

The Stratford legislative delegation, including Representatives Joe Gresko, Phil Young, and Ben McGorty, Senator Kevin Kelly, and Stratford Mayor Laura Hoydick applauded the announcement that the Town of Stratford will receive a $973,000 grant to complete the remediation of the 10.5-acre site of the former Contract Plating Company property located at 540 Longbrook Avenue.

The grant funding will be provided through the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development’s (DECD) Brownfield Remediation and Development Program. Remediation of the property will make way for the immediate redevelopment plans which include the installation of a fuel cell on a portion of the property.

“With this grant, we can make the necessary investment to redevelop unused space and truly revitalize our neighborhoods. Remediation of blighted properties plays a pivotal role in not just our town’s economic health, but the health of our environment,” said Gresko. “As House Chair of the Environment Committee, I’m particularly excited that remediation will clear the way for the installation of a fuel cell – ensuring that we are cleaning up a space and preparing it for future environmentally friendly uses.”

“The infusion of this grant funding allows the Town to turn a brownfield property into an opportunity,” said Rep. Young. “Through this remediation, the Town will prosper from the clear environmental benefits of a cleanup and the redevelopment of the space. I’m grateful to Governor Ned Lamont and DECD for their continued commitment to seeing Stratford and our State progress.”

“The approval of this necessary funding for the town of Stratford to put a bow on these impressive renovations is great news for our community,” Rep. McGorty said. “Years and decades of improvements through partnerships with local, state, and federal leaders have prioritized our natural resources and served as a vehicle of growing our economy. This investment will pay dividends many times over. I am grateful for the state’s assistance and proud to support this initiative.”

“Thank you to our state for recognizing the importance of investing in this revitalization project,” said Sen. Kelly. “These funds will assist Stratford in our continued efforts to remediate industrial property and enhance our town to best support our families today and for future generations. Every family deserves a clean and safe environment. Stratford has taken great strides to provide that to each and every resident by prioritizing the clean up of sites including the Raymark superfund site, and repurposing property that has been remediated to meet the needs of our community. Thank you to Mayor Hoydick, our legislative delegation, our local officials and community members, and state officials for working together, all hands on deck, to advance impactful brownfield remediation projects.”

“We are appreciative of Governor Lamont’s acknowledgement that the Town of Stratford is working very hard on various remediation projects and Contract Plating is near the top of our list. The state’s investment assists us in helping us to provide a cleaner place to live and work. Addressing problem areas enables the town to maximize all available space and this near $1 million grant will greatly bolster our efforts, and we are very appreciative of DECD’s – especially new Commissioner Alexandra Daum’s – partnership.” said Mayor Hoydick.

Thumbs Up to the Stratford Health Department

Granted National Accreditation Status

The Stratford Health Department successfully completed a review process to maintain national accreditation status through the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB).

“We are so pleased to again be acknowledged by PHAB and hope this announcement of our reaccreditation, coming on the heels of the ever-evolving public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic, will reassure our community, our partner organizations, our funders and our elected officials that the services we provide are as responsive as possible to the needs of our community” said Andrea Boissevain, the Health Director for the Town of Stratford.

The nonprofit PHAB works to advance and transform public health practice by championing performance improvement, strong infrastructure, and innovation. In maintaining its accreditation status for another five years, the Stratford Health Department has demonstrated that it meets PHAB’s quality standards and measures and can continue to evolve, improve and advance, thereby becoming increasingly effective at improving the health of the residents of Stratford.

PHAB’s accreditation program, which receives support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, sets standards against which the nation’s governmental public health departments can continuously improve the quality of their services and performance.

“It is no surprise that our Health Department, even following several years of unimaginable challenges of keeping residents informed and safe, continues to maintain a high standard of performance. Congratulations to the entire department on this national recognition and thank you for all your hard work,” said Stratford Mayor Laura Hoydick.

The Stratford Health Department achieved national initial accreditation status through PHAB in May of 2016, after undergoing a rigorous, multi-faceted, peer-reviewed assessment process to ensure it met a set of quality standards and measures. Today’s announcement goes a step further by demonstrating that the Stratford Health Department continues its efforts in being a standard-bearer of the community.

The Stratford Health Department is committed to improving the quality of life for the Stratford community by promoting health and well-being, prevention of disease, and by assuring a clean and safe environment. The department is made up of several divisions including environmental health, public health nursing, community health, public health emergency preparedness, and school-based health services.

“We are extremely pleased to be at the point in the accreditation program where the Stratford Health Department, along with many others, are successfully maintaining their five-year accreditation status through PHAB,” said PHAB President and CEO Paul Kuehnert, DNP, RN, FAAN. “In so doing, these health departments are assuring their communities that the value of accreditation is long-term — not a one-time recognition — and that continual improvement is the hallmark of a 21st-century organization.”

Often called the “backbone” of the public health system, public health departments are on the front lines of communities’ efforts to protect and promote health and prevent disease and injury. PHAB-accredited health departments demonstrate great leadership by placing their work for peer review, to using the feedback obtained during the process to improve the services they provide to their communities.

The Stratford Health Department, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote, and improve the health of all people in Stratford. Learn more about the Stratford Health Department at www.stratfordct.gov/health. For more information, please contact Greta Broneill at gbroneill@townofstratford.com or via phone at 203-385-4058.

The Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) was created to serve as the national public health accrediting body and is jointly funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The development of national public health department accreditation has involved, and is supported by, public health leaders and practitioners from the national, state, local, Tribal, and territorial levels. For more information, contact PHAB Communications Manager Janalle Goosby at jgoosby@phaboard.org. Learn more about PHAB and accreditation at www.phaboard.org, and by signing up for the PHAB e-newsletter

“Nature Is Only Sleeping”

On Overwintering Pollinators

By Marca Leigh

A couple years ago I had noticed that the Eastern Black Swallowtail caterpillars covering my fennel were disappearing one by one, most likely as bird food. While this is the sign of a healthy, normal ecosystem, my yard is an island amongst a sea of lawns, and heaven for lunching birds. I knew if I didn’t bring a few of them indoors, they’d all be gone in a few days. So I decided to raise Eastern Black Swallowtails that summer.

It was fascinating watching them eat the fennel l had grown and brought in for them, watching them pupate and eventually eclose from their chrysalis after a few weeks. Once their wings had dried I brought them outdoors and set them free into my pollinator garden which is free from pesticides and other chemicals.

This all went smoothly until about September, when I noticed one chrysalis hadn’t opened. It looked like a tiny petrified owl cemented to the small twig I had provided in the enclosure. My friends were sure it was dead, and I too wasn’t sure why it hadn’t emerged. I googled and found that some species do something called “overwintering”, they wait until the following spring to come out and be their “butterfly self”.

Others were skeptical, but I decided to keep the twig: I placed it in a vase in a north facing window in my dining room where it wouldn’t be disturbed by anyone or anything. The winter holidays came and went. I would glance over occasionally to check on it without too much thought. The month of May eventually rolled back around and I found myself once again taking in a couple of the swallowtail caterpillars indoors. I came down to check on those chrysalises early one morning and to my amazement, there she was, Aurora ( I named her after Sleeping Beauty) gently dangling from the twig in the vase, drying her wings. I had a slight moment of panic as I wondered how I’d get her outside without flying all around the house, but luckily she calmly crawled onto my warm hand and I just casually walked her out of the house into my garden. She sat a while on some flowers before finally taking flight, as if to say “thanks for the stay, it’s been nice”. Her iridescent black and azure wings shining in the sunlight, up and up she went into my patch of sky.

This was what all the native plant and pollinator garden sites and groups have been talking about, the fact that the world outside our homes does not die, and not all take off for warmer places. Much of our local wildlife is asleep in the brown brush and under layers of snow, transforming into their spring clothes.

In late September when the colorful foliage starts to fall on the grass and on the walks, some leaves may hold a passenger or two, clinging to an oak in a tiny patch of webbing, or curled up in a corner of a maple like a tiny astronaut in cryosleep. As the autumnal spaceships turn brown and drift with the wind in late October,  human minds have traditionally practiced “tidying up” the outside world according to our own aesthetic…Fastidiously chopping leaves to bits with the blades of a mower, or blasting them into bags with noisy fume-emitting power blowers, only for them to be taken away to be shredded elsewhere.

Might we consider a kinder approach, one that would protect most sleeping cocoons by gently moving them with an electric powered blower that would mimic only the power of a windy day, into piles around trees and onto garden beds as a mulch blanket.

The piles can look intentional; so as to satisfy our neatness gene, and as the leaves slowly break down into soil in the rain and snow, the nutrients feed the roots of trees, bushes and garden beds.

The other option, of course, is to just let the leaves lie where they have fallen, if it’s possible where you live.

Leaves are a part of the cycle of nature.  The same goes for dried hollow stems- they become insulated tubular homes for native bees and pollinating wasps. If one piece of the puzzle is taken away, the whole system – the ECO system- falls apart. Insect populations decline: impacted by leaf shredding or removal, pesticides and general habitat loss. Birds and small mammals, losing the large part of their diet, follow suit. Predators such as  hawks, owls and fox also suffer.

If we could just change our minds a LITTLE about what is beautiful, by simply knowing more of the story, we can start healing the damage already done to our planet  by starting in our own yard.

The joy of discovering caterpillars I’ve never seen before, like the Sycamore Tussock, of watching tiny fairies like plume moths flutter by, of the sea of lightning bugs putting on their sparkling midsummer display, and a landscape of colorful birds enjoying the bounty, and knowing that they all need the leaves and stems as part of their survival, makes it a no brainer.  They are the nutrients, they are protection, they are home.  If you love the beautiful, fragile web of nature in your space.. “leave the leaves and stems.”

Luna moth cocoon in leaf casing. (They love especially black walnut trees in the northeast )

A Common Buckeye at Short Beach, November 26th. They are staying longer as climate change warms our area

My Aurora…”my Sleeping Beauty” overwintering Eastern Black Swallowtail. I do not recommend taking these chrysalises indoors over the winter as they may come out early, mistakenly thinking it’s spring! I got lucky! instead, give them some protection outside if you can, and leave the dry sticks and stems until after they begin emerging.

Suggested Reading/Viewing For Becoming Your Best Planet Self:

“Leave the leaves ”

https://xerces.org/blog/leave-leaves-to-benefit-wildlife

https://www.purduelandscapereport.org/article/hidden-in-the-leaf-pile-luna-moths-woolly-bears-and-swallowtails-all-need-a-safe-place-to-hibernate/

Watch a caterpillar make a leaf into a sleeping bag

https://xerces.org/blog/5-ways-to-increase-nesting-habitat-for-bee

Create firefly habitat

Don’t put all your fallen leaves out for curbside pickup; build a firefly habitat instead!

“Leave the stems”

https://xerces.org/blog/5-ways-to-increase-nesting-habitat-for-bee