Connect with us

Connecticut

New Canaan hires new health inspector amid shortage in CT, official says

Published

on

New Canaan hires new health inspector amid shortage in CT, official says


NEW CANAAN —  The native well being division was lucky to rent a brand new sanitarian since there was a current scarcity of certified candidates in Connecticut, an official mentioned.

“There’s a main well being care scarcity in Connecticut, particularly registered sanitarians,” New Canaan Well being Director Jenn Eielson informed a committee of the Board of Finance final week.

Sanitarians examine eating places, salons, day care services and swimming pools for cleanliness and security.

Advertisement

The division just lately employed a sanitarian from Ridgefield, Geno Gagnon, who has 24 years of expertise and the required licenses to interchange registered sanitarian Chris Wegrzyn. Wegrzyn left to work in Redding as a result of he can have a shorter commute and a four-day work week, the director mentioned.

The scarcity in sanitarians and well being administrators, is “due to all of our levels, licenses and certification, we’re simply not getting one other group to maneuver up,“ Eielson mentioned. “Children these days should not going to enter a area that’s not recognized to earn money,”

Advertisement

To change into a registered sanitarian, a person wants a bachelor’s diploma, two years of labor expertise earlier than taking the required check and a number of other certifications, together with septic testing, meals, lead and water testing. 

As youthful individuals are not in search of the roles, older staff are retiring, “as a result of COVID simply type of pushed all people over the sting,” the director mentioned.

In accordance with the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention, a current examine that interviewed public well being staff discovered 40 p.c of respondents intend to depart their jobs within the subsequent 5 years and 51 p.c cited the necessity for added staff. 

An extra 80,000 well being care staff are wanted nationally, in accordance with analysis by the de Beaumont Basis and the Public Well being Nationwide Heart for Improvements, a division of the Public Well being Accreditation Board. 

On-line job websites present sanitarian positions can be found in not less than Westport, Seymour, Meriden, Hartford and South Windsor.

Advertisement

Eielson mentioned the Nationwide Affiliation of County Well being Officers has been attempting to handle the scarcity, and supported a invoice, which is able to give $30 million towards a program to assist public well being staff repay their scholar loans after three years of labor. This was a part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, which was signed by President Joe Biden in December.

The New Canaan well being division has numerous obligations, together with their most seen one in all addressing a pandemic, together with conducting testing, contact tracing and vaccinations. The division additionally licenses and inspects eating places, day care services, salons, public swimming pools and septics. It enforces public well being code and offers written feedback for Planning and Zoning Fee functions for property on septic and industrial property regulated by the well being division.

Advertisement

The duties are rising, in accordance with Eielson. Native well being departments at the moment are additionally required to supply suicide prevention coaching to the group. She and one other worker are receiving coaching to handle the rise in psychological well being considerations for “one other software within the software field,” throughout the psychological well being disaster. 

There has additionally been an uptick in lead poisoning instances because of Connecticut statute, which lowered the brink during which check outcomes will set off parental notification or residence inspection.

To this point in 2023, the division has seen 70 instances of lead poisoning, which is the quantity she normally sees in a yr.

“It’s blowing up,” she mentioned.

The state regulation was designed to regulate Connecticut’s lead poisoning laws for kids below 6 to align with federal requirements.

Advertisement



Source link

Connecticut

JewQ finalists compete in Connecticut, inspiring unity across borders

Published

on

JewQ finalists compete in Connecticut, inspiring unity across borders


The JewQ International Championship event spelling bee-style finale event took place in Stamford, Connecticut on Monday 8 April. The event took place against the backdrop of the October 7 attacks and on the Jewish traditions connected to the Holy Land, the International Jewish Knowledge Championship announced.

The competition, which transformed the Connecticut town into a vibrant hub of Jewish learning for the event, hosted the finalists, their families, and friends from various countries. During the competition, the finalists demonstrated their mastery of many topics related to Jewish tradition and culture.

Advertisement

The competition included questions from notable figures such as Chani Klein, a Chabad representative, an IDF paratrooper unit commander, and an Israeli farmer who asked questions regarding their respective fields of expertise.

As part of the event, an educational video was shown, which illustrated the historical and religious connection the Jewish people have to the Holy Land, focusing on the significance of this connection.

Another feature of the event was a game show-like competition for the finalists on topics that relate to the biblical text.

Advertisement
Crowd at Stamford’s JewQ international championship event. (8/4/2024) (credit: SHOLEM SRUGO/MERKOS 302)

Celebrating Jewish heritage

Chabad Headquarters’ Rabbi Mendy Kotlarsky said “In today’s environment, where Jewish children face undue challenges, it’s critical to empower our youth with the confidence that comes from deep-rooted knowledge and understanding of their heritage,” in the report. The Rabbi added that “everyone … had a strong feeling of positivity and hopefulness for a bright Jewish future.”

The game show feature of the event was won by Team Torah, after a close match with Team Mitzvot, who were celebrated on stage and awarded with a plaque.

Advertisement

The competition, which was also broadcast online and viewed by hundreds remotely – in addition to over 50,000 in person at the event, brought communities together to cheer the finalists.

The award ceremony at the end of the competition was carried by Rabbi Mendy, who crowned the Ultimate JewQ Champions from different grade levels, some of them were Daniel Marquez from Canada, Naomi Cohen from New York, Yael Jontof-Hutter from California, Isabella Gupta from California, and Stella Tolin from Massachusetts.





Source link

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Connecticut

CT artists and scholars win prestigious Guggenheim awards

Published

on

CT artists and scholars win prestigious Guggenheim awards


Of the 188 people chosen to be Guggenheim Fellows in 2024, quite a few have ties to Connecticut. The awards have been given annually since 1925 and are considered among the most prestigious honors given to leading figures in arts, sciences and humanities.

Most of the Connecticut-related names on this year’s list are affiliated with Yale University. Yale is second only to Harvard in the number of faculty members that have received Guggenheim fellowships over the years.

The Yale-based 2024 fellows are: Elizabeth Hinton, a professor of History, African American Studies, and Law at both Yale University and Yale Law School; Douglas Rogers, professor and chair of the Yale Department of Anthropology; Marta Figlerowicz, associate professor of Comparative Literature and of English; Ned Blackhawk, professor of History and American Studies; Tavia Nyong’o, chair and professor of Theater & Performance Studies, as well as professor of American Studies and professor of African-American Studies; Travis Zadeh, professor of Religious Studies and the program in Medieval Studies who is also on the Council of Middle East Studies and the director of the Yale Program in Iranian Studies; and Ben Hagari, a lecturer at the Yale School of Art.

Other Connecticut Guggenheim fellows include:

Advertisement
  • Playwright Martyna Majok, a 2012 graduate of the Yale School of Drama (now the David Geffen School of Drama at Yale). Majok’s play “Sanctuary City” is currently playing at TheaterWorks Hartford on Pearl Street through April 25.
  • legendary jazz guitarist and composer Rodney Jones, a New Haven native and longtime Connecticut resident.
  • Julia Wolfe, who co-founded the eminent neoclassical music ensemble Bang on a Can with two Yale School of Music graduates and who has been in Connecticut many times as a member of the group (including for performances at the International Festival of Arts & Ideas).
  • Multi-faceted dancer and scholar Hari Krishnan, a Wesleyan University professor who has taught in the dance department as well as in Global South Asian Studies and Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies programs. Krishnan is currently developing a new dance piece that will premiere at Wesleyan in December.

Among the many other 2024 Guggenheim awardees are Pulitzer-winning poet (and former U.S. poet laureate) Tracy K. Smith, political journalist Jonathan Alter, photographer Sara Bennett (known for her studies of incarcerated women), social activist Jessica Blinkhorn, indigenous artist Nicholas Galanin and octogenarian multi-disciplinary Boston artist Lorraine O’Grady.

The prestigious awards awards include monetary stipends. The exact amounts given to the awardees these year have not been disclosed, but are said to average between $40,000 and $50,000. Over the 99 years it has existed the Guggenheim Foundation has bestowed over $400,000,000 on thousands of artists, scholars, historians, writers and scientists. Major 20th century figures who received Guggenheim fellowships include environmentalist Rachel Carson, Black literary icon James Baldwin, modern dance innovator Martha Graham, poet e.e. cummings and chemist/activist Linus Pauling.



Source link

Continue Reading

Connecticut

Budget Outlook Clouds Connecticut's First Year of Early Voting

Published

on

Budget Outlook Clouds Connecticut's First Year of Early Voting


This election season marks Connecticut’s first year of early voting, but registrars statewide are voicing concerns that their budgets won’t be enough to cover the costs of the fall election.

Although each town received an additional $10,500 from the state to manage the change, registrars are responsible for covering any expenses associated with an extra 14 days of voting before the Nov. 5 presidential election. Towns may also have to fund an additional seven days of early voting in August if a primary election for a state or district seat occurs.

As a result, registrars in several highly populated municipalities told CT Examiner, the ongoing budget season has felt unorthodox. Cities like Manchester, Danbury and Waterbury are considering healthy budget bumps to fund additional staff, printed ballots and locations needed for early voting, but many registrars said it’s still not enough. 

Meanwhile, registrars in Fairfield are facing a budget cut ahead of an unfamiliar election season. 

Advertisement

“The concern is we’re headed for disaster and the public should be aware of it so there’s no questions afterwards,” Fairfield’s Republican registrar Cathy Politi said.

Democratic First Selectman Bill Gerber’s proposed budget allocated an additional $27,000 to finance early voting staffing and ballots and $8,848 for temporary staff, but it also removed a longstanding secretary position from the office, reducing its current budget by 22%. The Board of Selectmen and Board of Finance have since voted to increase seasonal payroll by $42,000, lessening the decrease to about 8%.

Regardless of the part-time and seasonal budgets, Politi said, office operations will be “crippled” without a full-time employee.

During a Representative Town Meeting on Monday, however, Gerber said he’s not too worried about the personnel cut. 

“The administration does not think that this change will have any impact on the service provided,” he said.

Advertisement

According to Gerber and Interim Chief Financial Officer David Becker, the secretary was underutilized in the registrar’s office and will instead be moved to the Engineering Department. But if the registrars express that they need more help, Gerber said, the town can add more part-time staffing for them.

Democratic registrar Matthew Waggner also expressed concerns about the cut, telling CT Examiner in a statement on Wednesday that the registrars would be responsible for more administrative work.

“I think between the budget reduction and the introduction of early voting, I’d say that the types of communication, voter education, and outreach efforts we might deploy in a Presidential election year … would be constrained, as the Registrars will be more directly engaged in conducting routine administrative functions and individual service requests,” Waggner wrote.

Educated guesses

Meanwhile, Danbury officials have backed an unprecedented increase to the registrar budget, with Mayor Roberto Alves adding a requested $73,779 bump to his proposal.  Election worker salaries accounted for $41,518 of the increase. 

Republican Registrar ​​Mary Ann Doran said on Thursday that the hike is almost entirely driven by early voting, but added that she’s not entirely confident in the budget plan. 

Advertisement

Early voter turnout for the presidential primary election was low last month, but Doran said there’s no way to predict the turnout for early voting in the general election. 

“We did put in a significant request to increase our budget for personnel for the early voting, but we’re not even sure if we put in enough,” she said.

Although she appreciated the mayor’s proposal, Doran said it is unfortunate that the unknown costs of early voting will primarily come from taxpayers.  

On Thursday, West Hartford Democratic registrar Elizabeth Rousseau expressed support for her estimated early voting costs. Her confidence, however, came with a considerable caveat.

The budget for the West Hartford registrar’s office proposes a 16.5% increase to cover staffing expenses for the extra voting days. Rousseau, noting that all personnel in the town’s Office of the Registrar of Voters, including herself, are part-time workers, emphasized their dependence on poll workers for early voting. Wages and salaries for election workers went up 23.6%, but Rousseau said the two registrars and two deputy registrars haven’t received pay bumps in over a decade.

Advertisement

In 2015, registrars reportedly earned about $30,000 per year, while the deputy registrars earned about $15,500, totalling approximately $91,000. Under the latest budget request, the town has proposed a total budget of $91,350 for the four officials.

West Hartford’s town code stipulates that annual compensation for officials like registrars of voters, deputy registrars of voters and the town clerk are set by the Town Council, not through department budget requests. 

“I don’t think that those salaries are sustainable in the long term,” Rousseau said. “I don’t know if they’re sustainable this year given the changes in the responsibilities of our office. Especially with early voting, we have a huge amount of work.”

Waterbury’s Democratic registrar Teresa Begnal similarly expressed confidence with her proposed budget, as long as the election season goes as planned. 

With election worker compensation making up 66% of the $75,480 request, Begnal explained that she padded her budget with extra staff as she remains uncertain about the demands come November.

Advertisement

In March, Waterbury designated its City Hall as the sole location for the four days of early voting. But according to Begnal, the Board of Aldermen is considering opening additional locations, which she estimates could cost $20,000 each, for the general election.

“If we have to, then I definitely feel like we’ll have a shortfall in our budget,” she said.

Elsewhere in the state, two New Britain registrars said they feel reasonably confident in their proposed budget hike requests — Democrat Lucian Pawlak requested a 15.9%, or $45,108, increase, while Republican Peter Gostin asked for a 3.2%, or $9,791, bump. And Timothy Becker, the Republican registrar of Manchester, said he and his Democratic counterpart are pleased with their 9.2% proposed budget increase.





Source link

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Trending