Eight Communities to Receive Funds to Support Downtown Improvement Initiatives

Connecticut Main Street Center (CMSC), the downtown revitalization and economic development non-profit, is awarding eight organizations and municipalities a total of $80,000 in 2015 Preservation of Place grants.  The grants will be used to provide Bridgeport, Canton, Hartford, New Milford, Newtown, Putnam, Torrington, and Windsor Locks with targeted resources to increase their capacity to plan for preservation and revitalization initiatives in their downtowns and neighborhood commercial districts.preservation of place The Preservation of Place grant program provides a source of funding for new initiatives that can be integrated into, and leverage, comprehensive Main Street preservation and revitalization programs.  The funds are meant to be flexible to meet individual community need.

The 2015 recipients of Preservation of Place Grant funds are:

  • Bridgeport Downtown Special Services District for a feasibility study of the creation of a regional food hub and community supported agriculture in downtown BridgeportCT Main Street LOGO
  • Town of Canton for a comprehensive market study and brand strategy for Collinsville
  • Hartford Business Improvement District for the creation of a community vision plan for a six block area of the Asylum Hill neighborhood
  • Town of New Milford for a historic downtown New Milford branding & marketing program
  • Town of Newtown for the Sandy Hook Village Signage & Wayfinding Design Plan
  • Town of Putnam for Downtown Putnam design guidelines & standards
  • City of Torrington for a Downtown Torrington market study & branding/imaging program
  • Town of Windsor Locks for the historic train station reuse studytorrington

"Historic preservation and the revitalization of our Main Streets create jobs, bring vacant buildings back on the tax rolls and add value and vitality to adjacent buildings and neighborhoods," said John Simone, CMSC President & CEO.

"The diversity of locations, from the Northwest Corner of Connecticut to New London, matched with the diversity of projects, from creative placemaking in urban open spaces to organizational and leadership development that will improve the management function in downtown, will allow each community to respond to their greatest current need, actively creating their direction of growth," he added.

Since 2008, CMSC has awarded $446,130 through the Preservation of Place grant program to twenty four Connecticut communities, leveraging over $1 million in local Main Street initiatives.  The program receives support from the State Historic Preservation Office with funds from the Community Investment Act. A year ago, a total of $70,000 in grants were awarded to Bridgeport, Canton, Essex, New London, Norwalk, the Northwest corner, and Willimantic.

The mission of Connecticut Main Street Center is to be the champion and leading resource for vibrant and sustainable Main Streets as foundations for healthy communities. CMSC is dedicated to community and economic development within the context of historic preservation, and is committed to bringing Connecticut's commercial districts back to life, socially and economically.

Playground Remembering Ana Grace Marquez-Greene Opens April 4 at Hartford’s Elizabeth Park

Early next month, Hartford will become the eighth Connecticut community to welcome a playground commemorating one of the children and educators killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown on December 14, 2012. The Hartford playground, at Elizabeth Park, will commemorate Ana Grace Marquez-Greene, who was 6 years old. The official opening of the playground on Friday, April 4 will also commemorate her birthday.Bez-nazwy-4

New Jersey-based The Sandy Ground Project: Where Angels Play has been building the playground on the East Lawn of Elizabeth Park along the Hartford-West Hartford town line, with the help of volunteers from throughout the region.

The Sandy Ground Project was founded in the wake of the Newtown shootings and the devastation of Hurricane Sandy the month before. The idea was inspired by three playgrounds the New Jersey State Firefighters Mutual Benevolent Association, the organization behind the project, had built in Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina. The New Jersey firefighters plan to build 26 playgrounds across the tri-state area, each one dedicated to the memory of a Sandy Hook student or educator lost on that day.

Ana Grace’s parents, Jimmy Greene and Nelba Marquez, both graduated from the University of Hartford, and at a brief ceremony marking the beginning of construction on a cold wintery day just a few weeks ago, they recalled good times at Eliz1979705_694808787224242_110546287_nabeth Park.

“I used to play with Ana and Isaiah right here, in this park, when they were little,” Marquez said. “We’re so incredibly grateful to this community, to embrace this here where it means so much to us.”  Ana Grace’s brother, Isaiah, played piano at the ceremony, and was joined by a chorus of children, in tribute to his sister. (watch video)

Friends and family from Hartford, Newtown, New York, New Jersey and Winnipeg, Canada, where the Marquez-Greene family lived prior to moving to Newtown, were on hand to lend a hand at the start of construction, at the corner of Elizabeth Ave. and Whitney St. in the Park.  The opening ceremony on April 4 begins at 6 PM.

The playground at Elizabeth Park is the 18th constructed to date in the tri-state region of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut as part of the Where Angels Play project.  Among the playgrounds located in Connecticut are those in memory of James Mattioli in Milford, Josephine Gay in Bridgeport, Dylan Hockley in Westport, Allison Wyatt in Norwalk, Emilie Parker in New London, Jessica Rekos in Fairfield, and Victoria Soto in Stratford.AnaGrace-logo1

The Marquez-Greene family selected Elizabeth Park as the site for the playground honoring their daughter’s memory, and it’s playscapes feature the vibrant purple color that was her favorite.

In December, the family held “Love Wins: A Conference on Promoting Love, Connection and Community for Every Child & Family” at the University of Hartford.  It was the inaugural event of the Center for Community and Connection, a transformative initiative of the Ana Grace Project of the Klingberg Family Centers, attended by more than 500 people.  Participants in the December 2 symposium represented the fields of medicine, nursing, education, mentoring, early childhood, mental health, foster care, and the faith community, as well as state and local government.

State Mental Health Budgets, Cut During Recession, Increase After Newtown Tragedy, Report Finds

State mental health budgets were gutted during the recession, according to a report issued by the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI), and are only now beginning to return to previous levels in most states, even as mental health needs are becoming better known and growing.

“With reductions totaling $4.35 billion from FY2009 to FY2012, public mental health systems struggled to meet rising demand with diminishing resourcesnami,” the report indicated. Then, the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown on December 14, 2012 provided “a major impetus for lawmakers to propose legislation which would impact children and adults living with mental illness,” the 63-page report indicated.

Nearly 60 million Americans experience a mental health condition every year, according to the organization. Regardless of race, age, religion or economic status, mental illness impacts the lives of at least one in four adults and one in 10 children across the United States.

NAMI is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization.  NAMI advocates for access to services, treatment, supports and research and is steadfast in its commitment to raise awareness and build a community for hope for all of those in need.

“Realizing the risks of failure to provide adequate public mental health services, governors and legislatures in many states began the process of restoring state mental health budgets,” according to the report, “Trends, Themes & Best Practices in State Mental Health Legislation.”

The report concludes that “Dramatic changes in American healthcare finance and delivery systems combine with an improving economy and a growing array of best practices to provide a window of opportunity in the next few years to transform the mental health system and integrate care across systems.”

In addition, NAMI recommends that “advocates and policy makers should continue the work of building the mental health system of the future, one in which mental illness is identified as it emerges and an array of proven, cost-effective services are available as needed to provide children, youth and adults with the mental health care they need to stabilize, recover and live healthy lives.”

Looking ahead to the 2014 state legislative sessions, NAMI issued a series of recommendations including: mental health budgets

  • Actively engage in outreach and enrollment
  • Increase integrated care
  • Increase the mental health workforce capacity
  • Identify mental illness and intervene early
  • Build the bridge from Medicaid to private health coverage
  • Increase access to supported employment services
  • Increase housing with supportive services
  • Increase justice system diversion strategies
  • Comply with mental health parity
  • Expand Medicaid

Most states either increased or maintained state mental health authority budgets at current levels during 2013 legislative sessions. Of special note, the report indicated, is Texas which allocated a $259 million increase over the previous biennial budget, the largest mental health budget improvement in the state’s history. South Carolina reversed previous cuts to its mental health budget while Illinois restored $32 million that had been cut in 2011 due to an administrative error. In California, an additional $143 million was allocated to create crisis and triage positions throughout the state.

The report stated that “A tipping point on the heels of several recent mass shootings, the Newtown tragedy shaped the debate about the lack of access to mental health services and the barriers that many families and individuals face in light of the nation’s fragmented and grossly inadequate mental health system.”

After the Newtown tragedy NAMI advocated for policies supporting early identification and intervention, training for school personnel, families and the public, mental health services in schools and increased access to care.

The report highlights actions by states in 2013 in areas including mental health system monitoring, early identification and mental health screening, services for transitional youth, school mental health training and services, mental health facilities and suicide prevention.  Also included are elements of state legislation in law enforcement areas such as juvenile justice, incarceration and the courts.  A final section looks at stigma reduction efforts in the states.

Mental illnesses are medical conditions that disrupt a person's thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and daily functioning. Mental illnesses are medical conditions that often result in a diminished capacity for coping with the ordinary demands of life.  Serious mental illnesses include major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and borderline personality disorder.

Connecticut resident Marilyn Ricci, a past president of NAMI Connecticut, serves on the national NAMI Board of Directors, and is on the board of NAMI Farmington Valley in Connecticut, which she helped found in 2004.  Kevin Sullivan, a former Connecticut Lieutenant Governor currently serving as Commissioner of Revenue Services, is a past Board member of the organization. The state legislative report was issued on October 28, 2013.

Newtown High School Students Win International Public Health Education Contest

Each year, about 3.5 million children die before their 5th birthday due to preventable diseases, mainly diarrhea and acute respiratory diseases.   According to survey data from the Global School-based Student Health Survey, over 15 percent of schoolchildren in some countries say they rarely or never wash their hands before eating.

Those facts spurred a group of Newtown High School student to action.  They participated in the World Health Organization’s Touching Lives School Talent International Contest.  The onewtown highne-minute educational video they produced was selected by a jury of international experts as the winning entry in the middle/high school age category (age 10-16) and was the only United States-based entry to win its category.

The Newtown Public Health class submitted the video at the start of the school year, and it was selected this fall among the winners in various age categories.  Their video now appears on the website of the Pan American Health Organization, and has begun to appear on other public health websites, including the Connecticut Public Health Association.  It was designed, written and pan americanproduced in the opening weeks of school, just prior to  the mid-September entry deadline.

Experts point out that “just rinsing your hands is not washing.” In order for hands to be clean, soap and water must be used, for at least 20 seconds. Handwashing with soap is the most effective and inexpensivsinke way to prevent diarrheal and acute respiratory infections. Together, they are responsible for the majority of all child deaths, officials report.

Turning handwashing with soap before eating and after using the toilet into an ingrained habit could save more lives than any single vaccine or medical intervention, cutting deaths from diarrhea by almost half and deaths from acute respiratory infections by one-quarter, experts predict.  They also point out that a vast change in handwashing behavior is critical to meeting the Millennium Development Goal of reducing deaths among children under the age of five by two-thirds by 2015.

The educational video is preceded with the words “A Message from Newtown High School’s Public Health Class” filling the screen. It then begins with a male student gently singing over a strumming guitar, reminding viewers of the importance of hand-washing in rhyming lyrics, including urgintv monitorg viewers to “always think, 20 seconds at the sink.”  The video then features a variety of voices repeating “20 seconds” in nearly a dozen world languages.  It concludes by suggesting “don’t be part of the problem, be part of the solution.”

The video was edited by Amylee Anyoha.  Students in the Newtown High Public Health Class included Jess Amante, Maddie Erhardt, Enea Musaka, Sarah Craig, Kelly O’Connell, Chris Beaurline, Sydney Allen, Gabby Durkin, Tim Krapf, Amanda Paige, Taylor Strolli and Heather McKeown.

In the 2013 #TouchingLives School Talent International Contest, students could work individually or in a group, and all the countries in the Americas, were eligible and encouraged to develop songs, videos, illustrations, written compositions or any other expression of art promoting hand washing. The contest was, according to organizers, “about giving your personal touch to change the world.”

Data Emerges on $20.4 Million Raised by Charities After Sandy Hook Shootings

Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen and State Consumer Protection Commissioner William M. Rubenstein have made public information collected from dozens of charities related to the shooting deaths at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.  The data collected thus far indicates that 43 charities have collected nearly $20.4 million and have distributed nearly $2.9 million.

Among their charitable purposes, as reported by the organizations, are:  to provide direct financial support or other assistance to the 26 families who lost loved ones; to create scholarships and an endowment to support Newtown’s children and youth; to purchase memorial trees; pay for  construction of a physical memorial to those lost; and to recognize, support and inspire acts of kindness.

 The information was provided in response to a request for information by the Attorney General and Commissioner. The letter and short survey were sent March 28 to 69 charities either registered with the state Department of Consumer Protection, or publically identified as having accepted donations related to Sandy Hook Elementary, where 20 children and six adults were killed on Dec. 14, 2012. The charities were asked to respond by April 12.

 “This request was an initial step to provide information to the public, Newtown community and other charitable organizations trying to meet the needs of those affected by this tragedy,” said Attorney General George Jepsen.

There were 22 organizations that have not responded to the letter of inquiry as of April 15, and Jepsen said his office will be following up with each of them. The collected information is available on the Attorney General’s and Consumer Protection websites as a service to the public, however, the postings should not be considered an endorsement of any charity by the agencies or by the Statsandy_hook_school_Sign_balloons_thg_121215_wge.

Commissioner Rubenstein said, “We see this as a good first step toward providing transparency to the activities of the various funds, and guiding future donors who may wish to make a contribution.”  Among those outlining their fundraising and spending are the United Way of Western Connecticut, Sandy Hook Promise Foundation, Newtown Pride and the University of Connecticut Foundation.

 The charities were asked about their organization, services and funds, including the dollar amount of any donations and pledges to date; and the purposes for which money was being collected.  “Our offices may reach out in the future to all the charities to determine how the donations were expended and the steps taken to prevent fraud or misuse of funds,” Rubenstein said.

 Links are available to view:

 Survey results     Survey Questions       List of charities

 In addition, the Attorney General and Commissioner also asked charities and members of the public to refer names of other organizations collecting donations for Sandy Hook-related purposes.

 The Attorney General’s Office website also notes that Connecticut law requires groups that “ask in our state for anything of value to benefit a charitable purpose or charitable organization to register, or claim an exemption from registration, with the Public Charities Unit” of the office.   Companies that are paid to solicit on behalf of charities, usually by telephone, are also required to register.  The website explains that “registration is mandatory and does not imply that the state endorses any particular organization or paid soliciting company.”

The Public Charities Unit receives annual financial reports for registered charities.  According to the website, “Information on how the charity spends its money may help you decide whether you wish to support the organization with your donations.   If you have been solicited by telephone, we will also tell you how much of your donation goes to the charity and how much will stay with the paid solicitor.”

Regardless of the charity’s location, if the group intends to ask in Connecticut for anything of value to benefit a charitable purpose or other charitable organization, it must register to solicit (or claim an exemption from registration) by filing a form with the Public Charities Unit.

Hartford’s Institute of Living Plans Research into Schizophrenia and Autism Spectrum Disorders

Last month’s tragic killing of 20 children and 6 educators at a Newtown elementary school quickly generated speculation about possible links between mental illness and autism spectrum disorder, as questions about the gunman's medical history drew attention.  Although connections between the conditions were generally dismissed as media coverage proceeded, with distinctions being made by medical professionals and others,  a scientific research study into whether a relationship exists isRounds apparently set to get underway in Connecticut. Writing in the Autumn 2012 edition of Rounds, the quarterly magazine of Hartford Hospital, Michal Assaf, M.D., director of the Autism and Functional Mapping Laboratory at the Olin Neuropsychiatry Research Center at the Institute of Living, says that “traditionally considered separate diagnoses, both schizophrenia and an autism spectrum disorder involve core social and communication deficits.  Not much is known, however, about exactly how each neurodevelopmental disorder disrupts the brain or how much they may overlap.”

“Schizophrenia and ASD are thought of as separate entities based on clinical symptoms, age of onset and the course of the illness,” says Dr. Assaf, who also is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Yale University School of Medicine.   “Recent evidence suggests a potential overlap.”

“Looking beyond clinical symptoms to the biological and genetic basis of these apparently differAssafent illnesses may someday lead to new treatments,” Assaf suggested in the article published prior to the Newtown killings.

She recently received a $2.9 million research grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) to study social cognition and brain function in schizophrenia and ASD.  The study will directly compare a matched group of schizophrenia and ASD patients using a battery of social assessment tools and several neuro-imaging tasks that assess different aspects of social cognition.

Noting the commonly recognized distinctions, Dr. Assaf said that “Schizophrenia is a psychotic illness that typically appears in early adulthood.  In contrast, children with ASD show core deficits in social and communication skills – typically without psychotic symptoms – before age three.”iol_logo_300x175

The Institute of Living has been seeking individuals to participate in the research study.  The Olin Neuropsychiatry Research Center at the Institute of Living, part of Hartford Healthcare, was founded in 2001. The mission of the Center is to be at the forefront of research in psychiatric and psychological disorders, in particular schizophrenia.


Newtown Was Rated #4 Town Among Peers, with Lowest Crime Rate

When Connecticut magazine last ranked Connecticut’s towns and cities on their quality of life, Newtown placed fourth overall among 26 communities with between 25,000 and 50,000 residents. Breaking down the individual categories in the rating, Newtown placed first with the lowest crime rate, third in the vibrancy of its economy, and sixth in the quality of education, in data compiled for the 2011 rating.

The top eight communities were Westport, Farmington, Glastonbury, Newtown, Cheshire, Wallingford, Mansfield and New Milford. The categories included were education, crime, economy, cost, and leisure.

The crime category is based on major crimes (murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, motor-vehicle theft) committed in 2007, 2008 and 2009 per 1,000 population, using figures available from the state Department of Public Safety.  The education category combines five elements: the 2009, 2010 and 2011 Mastery Test results for 4th, 6th and 7th grades; results of the 2009, 2010 and 2011 Connecticut Academic Performance Test (CAPT); local SAT scores for 2008, 2009 and 2010, and the percentage of 2010 public high school graduates who went on to two- or four-year colleges. Test scores were weighted more heavily.

The strength of the local economy was determined by the 2011 Public Investment Community score, compiled by the Office of Policy and Management, which rates all Connecticut towns under a formula based on population, per capita income, the adjusted equalized grand list per capita, the unemployment rate, the equalized mill rate and per capita aid to children.

Newtown was in the middle of the pack in leisure/culture, placing 13th, and among the lowest in cost of living, placing 25th out of 26 communities evaluated. The cost of living category weighs most heavily the median price of a single-family house purchased in the first six months of 2011.   Leisure includes local library expenditures per capita in 2010, the number of theaters, museums, festivals, concert venues, historic sites, colleges and universities, golf courses, local newspapers, radio stations, state parks and forests, voter turnout in the 2008 election and good local restaurants.

New Haven Gun Buyback Program Set for Saturday

Just one week after the tragic killings of 20 elementary school children and six educators in Newtown, the New Haven Police Department will be conducting a gun buy back program on Saturday, December 22.  The event comes three weeks after a similar event in Hartford. The unofficial count for the gun buyback in Hartford on December 1, 2012 was 179 working firearms collected, 145 handguns and 34 rifles/shotguns.  Over $10,000 in retail gift cards were given to those turning in unwanted firearms.  This single day Gun Buyback program in Connecticut’s Capitol City has collected 464 firearms over the last four years.  Stepped up gun buyback programs were mentioned earlier this week by Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra as a possible component in a comprehensive approach to the Newtown tragedy.

The New Haven gun buyback event is sponsored by the Injury Free Coalition for Kids of New Haven and Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital’s Injury Prevention Program.  The goal is to get guns off the street, out of cars, out of basements and out of bedrooms. It has been estimated that a gun in the home is 22 times more likely to kill a family member or friend than to kill an intruder.

Gun Buyback programs have a history in Connecticut that began almost two decades ago with an overwhelming response in 1994, when then-Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, with the support of the Connecticut Retail Merchants Association and the Connecticut Police Chiefs Association, launched the nation’s first statewide program.  The response to the new initiative was far beyond all predictions – more than 4,200 guns, including 210 assault weapons, were turned in within less than a week.  That brought the statewide initiative to an end and required some state support by then-Gov. Lowell P. Weicker to fill in the gaps left by retailers and corporations that stepped up to support the initiative.

The approach, however, has continued.  Gun buyback programs in Connecticut municipalities – including Hartford, Waterbury, Bridgeport (55 weapons including rifles and handguns in 2010) and New Haven ( a total of 81 weapons in 2011 and 2012) -  have been more limited but continue to be successful, taking into account the lessons of the state’s initial effort in 1994 and the need to take a varying approaches to limit gun violence.

Said Chief State’s Attorney John M. Bailey in 1994: “I think it brought reality to the people of Connecticut. That 4,000 guns, including 210 assault weapons, could be turned in in four and a half days made people think how many guns could be out there.”

The annual Hartford gun buyback program was a collaboration between Hartford Hospital, Connecticut Children's Medical Center, St. Francis Hospital, CRT, the City of Hartford, the Hartford Police Department, the Office of the Hartford State's Attorney, and the Emergency Nurses Association.

Saturday’s New Haven buyback will be held at the New Haven Police Academy, 710 Sherman Parkway from 10:00am to 4:00pm, and is open to all Connecticut residents.  The department’s policy of “no questions asked” will be in effect allowing individuals to anonymously dispose of firearms without fear of charges for illegal possession when turning in the weapon. Non-operational guns, antiques, BB guns and holsters will be accepted but do not qualify for a gift card.

According to the New Haven Police Department, in order to receive amnesty for illegal possession at the time you turn in the weapon, protocol MUST be precisely followed.  The protocol includes:

  1. Firearms MUST be delivered unloaded;
  2. Firearms MUST be put in a clear plastic bag and put into another container (gym bag, backpack, etc);
  3. If depositing ammunition in addition to a firearm, ammunition must be delivered in  separate bag;
  4. If transporting the firearm by car, the firearm must be transported in the trunk of the car;
  5. After the firearm is screened by officers and determined to be a working firearm, a $50.00 gift card will be given;
  6. An additional $50.00 gift card will be exchanged for those firearms identified as assault weapons and/or saw-off shotguns(does not include newly sawed off for the purpose to receive extra gift cards);
  7. Non-operational guns, antiques firearms, BB guns and holsters will be accepted but do not qualify for a gift card;

CT's Mental Health Services Ranking is Good, But "Citizens Deserve Better"

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), in its ranking of states in 2009, placed Connecticut as among the top six states in the nation, along with Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York and Oklahoma.  However, it described Connecticut as “a state of paradoxes” in mental health care and treatment, stressing that “Connecticut’s citizens deserve far better.” The state ranked 31st in the prevalence of mental illness, with 108,730 individuals, according to the organization, which pointed out that even in states with solid grades, “there is no doubt that many of their residents living with serious mental illnesses are not receiving the services and supports they need.”

Connecticut’s overall grade was “B,” according to the report, “Grading the States 2009.”  The Alliance graded states in four categories:  

  • Health Promotion and Measurement,
  • Financing & Core Treatment/Recovery Services,
  • Consumer & Family Empowerment, and
  • Community Integration and Social Inclusion.

Connecticut received a “C” in Community Integration and Social Inclusion, an “A” in Consumer and Family Empowerment – the only state in the nation to receive the top grade – and a “B” in the other two categories.

Three “urgent needs” were noted for Connecticut:  Increase community-based services, housing as an alternative to more restrictive placements, and ending nursing home warehousing.

In the days after the mass killings of 20 first-graders and six adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, questions have been raised about the role of mental health services as part of a state and national response to the tragedy.

Overall, NAMI gave the United States a grade of “D.”  In the 2009 report, NAMI reviewed progress made since the organization’s previous state-by-state report in 2006, and found state mental health agencies “making valiant efforts to improve systems and promote recovery despite rising demand for services, serious workforce shortages, and inadequate resources.  Many states are adopting better policies and plans, promoting evidence-based practices, and encouraging more peer-run and peer-delivered services.”

However, NAMI reported that “these improvements are neither deep nor widespread enough to improve the national average. The grades for almost half the states (23) remain unchanged since 2006, and 12 states have fallen behind.”

Nearly 60 million Americans experience a mental health condition every year, according to data cited by NAMI, which  is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for Americans affected by mental illness.

The 2009 report concluded that “Without a significant commitment from our nation’s leaders—in Washington, among governors, and in state legislatures—state mental health agencies will continue to struggle to provide even minimally adequate services to people living with serious mental illnesses.”

Specifically, the report noted that as a nation, “We have too few psychiatric beds, treatment services, and community-based supports for those who need them; people with mental illnesses are neglected until they reach the point of crisis, and are then dumped onto other systems. Across the nation, people with mental illnesses are unnecessarily incarcerated, homeless, out of work, and unable to access needed medicines. On top of it all, we have an extremely limited capacity to monitor and measure our own efforts—the very foundation of effective reform.”

See NAMI video 








Bozrah is #13; Mashantucket #170: Towns by the Numbers

Every town in Connecticut has a tax code number, issued by the state and used in a variety of official reports across state agencies.  How are the numbers determined?  The towns are listed alphabetically, and given their appropriate number, in order.   Which means that:

  • Bozrah is lucky #13
  • Andover is #1
  • Woodstock is #169
  • Middletown may be at the state’s center geographically, but Monroe is half-way down the list at #85
  • Towns that begin with “New” start with New Britain at #89 and run through Newtown at #97
  • The first double digit town is Bethlehem at #10; the first triple digit town is North Canaan at #100
  • The final locale on the list hasn’t been considered a town through the years:  at #170 in a state with 169 towns is “Mashantucket

If you’d like to know your town’s number, take a look at the full list.