Hey, what’s up for the next couple of days? Can you believe September’s here?
I’m still fighting woodpeckers, bats, wasps and rodents, although my cat Stinky’s pretty good at mauling mice. Speaking of shrews (okay, I know that’s a bit much) but John McCain’s selection of the ice lady from Alaska reminds me of the golfer trying to drive the green on a short, tantalizing par four surrounded by water and sand traps. It’s one of those risk-reward shots. We’ll see how ice baby does on the stump and in her debate against Joe Biden. So far easy-on-the-eyes Sarah Palin looks pretty good on her feet. I’m wondering how she responds when asked who’s the leader of Pakistan. Something tells me she’s digesting white papers on international leaders while breastfeeding her baby.
If you haven’t, put CT Post Managing Editor Michael Daly’s feature on Bridgeport-born John Mayer on your long weekend reading list. It’s a keeper. Poor John stepped into Father Daly’s confessional to puke up life after Jennifer Aniston. I love Mayer’s music, but as I told Mikey, the deeply sensitive guitar wizard needs to spend time with a mustachioed Sicilian mountain woman or be interrogated by six stone-faced federal agents to gain some perspective. Yes, my wife Mo just reminded me that I’m being mean to one of my favorite performers because he refuses my interview requests. Gravity…
Don’t forget, mark your calendars, September 25, 5:30 p.m., Captain’s Cove Seaport, for our next OIB blog party. Several candidates have already committed their attendance. First cocktail on OIB, plus we’ll have munchies. We’re setting up a special mud-wrestling tub in case Cougie and Yahooy show up.
I’m a few days late on the following press releases but they’re worthy reads. The first is from Mayor Finch, second from Senate Republicans.
Mayor Bill Finch today announced that the city’s School Building Committee has unanimously approved the site design plans for Bridgeport’s fourth high school, an inter-district magnet school with a science focus. The site of the new high school will be in Fairchild Wheeler Park on the Bridgeport-Trumbull town lines, adjacent to Route 25. “While I would prefer not to disturb any of our public park lands, there is no better way to decrease our carbon footprint and improve the earth’s ecology than to educate young people in a green environment with a curriculum focused on science,” said Mayor Finch.
The high school, to be designed by JCJ Architecture, would be a LEEDS building, meaning it will be built with the most environmentally sensitive materials and techniques, something Mayor Finch demanded from the architects. It will be three-stories high and will be designed to have minimal impact on the park; in fact this project will enable the city to open this currently inaccessible parkland for public use.
As an inter-district magnet school, up to 80 percent of the 1,500 students at the school will come from Bridgeport, while the remainder will come from Stratford, Easton, Monroe, Trumbull, and Fairfield.
New release from Senate Republicans
Senate Republicans Roll-Out Energy Awareness Campaign
Constituent Services to Include Local Energy Forums and New Web-Site
Hartford, CT – State Senate Republican Leaders John McKinney (R-Fairfield) and Len Fasano (R-North Haven) today announced the details of a new public awareness campaign to educate constituents about energy assistance programs and tax breaks that can help reduce the rising cost of home heating bills this winter.
The centerpiece of the awareness campaign is a new easy-to-use website, www.senaterepublicans.ct.gov/energy, that provides “one stop shopping” for information and application materials for the multitude of state and federal energy assistance programs and tax incentives available to Connecticut residents and businesses. In addition, members of the Senate Republican Caucus are hosting a series of Energy Forums at community centers throughout the state to discuss fuel assistance and conservation programs that can help consumers save money on their energy bills.
“The General Assembly recently expanded assistance programs and tax incentives to help people struggling with skyrocketing energy costs. But, that’s just the first half of the battle. Creating awareness for these programs and ensuring that qualified applicants get the assistance they need is even more important. What we have tried to create with this website, is a user-friendly resource that people can access to identify fuel assistance programs and tax breaks that may be available to them,” said Senator McKinney.
The Senate Republican Caucus has trained its staff to use the web-site to help constituents without Internet access get the answers they need.
The General Assembly passed a $44 million energy relief package that expands home heating assistance programs and energy conservation tax breaks for low and middle-income families and small businesses. Highlights of the new law include:
$8.5 million to Operation Fuel to help low income residents;
$5 million to Operation Fuel for expanded eligibility for heating assistance;
$7 million to conduct energy audits of homes;
$6.5 million to help cover heating bills for public schools;
$4 million to help income eligible elderly residents make payments on their utilities;
$3.5 million to help human service and public health non-profits (daycares, homeless centers, etc.) cover heating expenses;
$3 million to provide $500 rebates to families purchasing fuel efficient furnaces;
$2 million to weatherize low income families households; and
$2 million to increase eligibility and provide additional loans to families who make energy efficient improvements to their homes.
Under the new law, a family of four whose bank accounts and annual incomes total less than $94,000 may qualify to receive a one time benefit of up to $400 for heating their homes this winter. Families of four with incomes and bank accounts totaling less than $31,800 could receive a basic benefit of $635 under the Connecticut Energy Assistance Program (CEAP) and may qualify for additional help in an emergency.
In addition to the new laws, the Senators highlighted several existing benefits constituents may not be aware of, including:
Low interest loans for homeowners and businesses to use renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind or fuel cells;
Loans for Connecticut residents of up to $25,000 to install energy efficient windows, roofs, siding, heating systems, insulation and more.
The Senate Republican Caucus has scheduled the following energy forum:
Sept. 12 11am Bridgeport-North End Senior Ctr. 20 Thorne Street