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Valley Delegation Meets with DOT Commissioner Regarding Waterbury Branch Rail Line

HARTFORD – State Representatives Rosa C. Rebimbas (R-70), Themis Klarides (R-114), Teresa Conroy (D-105), and State Senators Kevin Kelly (R-21) and Joe Crisco (D-17) met with Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redeker to discuss the future of the Waterbury Branch of the Metro North Rail line.

During the meeting the legislative delegation impressed on Commissioner Redeker the need for increased communication from the DOT and MTA regarding scheduled and emergency maintenance and repairs, or delays in service to alert commuters who depend on train service.

“Many people in Naugatuck, and the Greater Waterbury area, rely on public transportation to travel around the state and I am pleased Commissioner Redeker understands the importance of improving the service and amenities on the Waterbury Branch line,” Rep. Rebimbas said. “The entire delegation looks forward to continue working closely with the Commissioner and DOT to make necessary changes to improve the reliability and service on the Waterbury Branch line.”

“I continue to hear concerns from my constituents about the everyday challenges they face as passengers of Metro North railroad,” Rep. Klarides added.  “They are understandably upset as they feel their voices are not being heard by DOT. I’m encouraged by Commissioner Redeker’s pledge to improve service on the Waterbury Branch line, and I look forward to further discussions and work toward that end.”

“The Waterbury Branch is a transportation lifeline for the Valley, and I am encouraged to see a strong group of lawmakers and state leaders working together to improve service and safety.  It’s not fair that the line has been neglected for so long, but I think we are finally making some important first steps. I hope that we can continue building on this momentum to improve capacity, enhance safety and increase the quality of transportation that our families deserve,” Sen. Kelly said.

The DOT has been holding local information forums and events for riders and commuters to get their feedback and to answer questions. Commissioner Redeker said commuters have voiced important concerns and that the DOT is continually working on improving service on the line. Some commuter concerns included increased weekend service schedules, providing text alerts with information regarding delays in scheduled service, increasing reliability and providing a direct train to New York City among others.

The Commissioner also said they are working on immediate goals of increasing reliability and improving the cleanliness of the trains, with mid-term goals of implementing an improved signal system that would allow more trains to be run.  He also said the DOT has a long-term goal of continuing to replace aging rail cars.

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Back-to-School Resources for Students and Families

As students, parents, teachers, administrators, and staff adjust to the start of a new school year, it is important that all are aware of the various helpful resources available to assist with academic success.

Many discussions, both formal and informal, will be had over the coming weeks and months regarding opportunities to further support the educational goals of students.

One resource you may consider is the state’s Department of Education website, www.sde.ct.gov, which provides information on various resources and programs available to support families, students, teachers, and school communities alike.

There is a vast amount of information on Special Education Resources available for students of all ages.  Important topics, such as navigating the PPT/IEP process, in addition to advocacy and academic resources such as Connecticut Parent and Advocacy Center (CPAC) and State Education Resource Center (SERC) are available.

Links to information on new and updated laws for students with disabilities are also featured.  For example, a new special education law passed this year that I proudly supported (Public Act 14-39) calls for the inclusion of dyslexia on the individualized education program (IEP) form.

In order to focus on their learning, students need to feel safe not only physically in their environment, but also mentally and emotionally.  A section of the website contains information dedicated to the topics of social and emotional health and well-being, and promoting a safe learning environment in schools.  Resources on bullying (including cyberbullying) and harassment, including prevention, early warning signs and responses are available.  An updated section on teen dating violence and promoting healthy relationships includes a factsheet, crisis hotline information, and links to community supports.

High School students may benefit from the information on planning and continuing their education.  From PSAT/SAT prep to information on Connecticut universities, and technical schools, the student section of the website contains resources to help students and their families plan for the future.

These are just some of the resources available to help individuals, families and school communities make this a successful year of academic achievement.  Your local school district websites also serve as great resources for further, more detailed information.

For further information, please visit:
CT Department of Education: www.sde.ct.gov
Woodbridge Board of Education: www.woodbridge.k12.ct.us
Orange Board of Education:  www.oess.org
Derby Board of Education:  www.derbyps.org

I hope this information is helpful and I wish everyone a successful academic year!

If you would like to contact me regarding this or any legislative issue, please call 800-842-1423 or email themis.klarides@housegop.ct.gov.

Source: Connecticut State Department of Education

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Klarides joins Woodbridge citizens in questioning DOT’s plans to change the intersection of Routes 67 & 63

State Representative Themis Klarides (R-114) is raising concerns about the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) proposed changes to the intersection of Routes 67 and 63 in Woodbridge following public outcry that the project will diminish road safety.

Earlier this month Rep. Klarides met with DOT Commissioner James Redeker for an update on the project, which was conceived of almost a decade ago following only one traffic study performed in January 2004.

Rep Klarides’ concerns were heightened by the issuance of a report created by a group of concerned community representatives, titled Analysis, Facts and The Truth Behind the 63/67 Intersection Construction, in which the decade-old study performed by the DOT for a 24 hour period in January of 2004 was analyzed.

The report raised questions about the construction project, including the use of outdated data. Many residents believe the traffic signal will increase congestion and pollution, reduce the accessibility of driveways and side streets and increase the number of accidents. They also anticipate that leveling of the road will encourage speeding, and believe the walk signal is unneeded given there are no sidewalks at the location.

A recent traffic count announced by the DOT and performed during the ongoing construction, indicates there has been a 10% increase in traffic in the area, but the public is still waiting for a new report to be released by DOT that would justify and explain the need for overhauling the intersection.

“The community has not been adequately informed or given the opportunity for feedback by the DOT, and people are understandably upset,” Rep. Klarides said. “Many residents are telling me their concerns are not being addressed by the DOT and the project is moving forward in spite of significant community opposition. Safety is paramount, and I am alarmed that folks believe so strongly that these changes will in fact compromise road safety; I think now that the plan must be reevaluated.”

Longtime Woodbridge resident Peter Aaronson, who has been a vocal advocate for a group of concerned citizens, states “The community feels strongly that the State did not communicate nor include our community in a decision that has adversely affected our homes and wellbeing.”

Rep. Klarides added “Given the public outcry and questions, the DOT should pause and reassess the project before moving forward.”

To obtain a copy of Analysis, Fact and The Truth Behind the 63/67 Intersection Construction detailing the information on the complaints of Woodbridge residents, send a request to phaaronson@hotmail.com. There is currently a petition being circulated in an effort to stop the plans from moving forward.

If the project moves forward as scheduled, it will be completed by October 2015.

Rep. Klarides, Gov. Malloy tour Numet in Orange

On October 2, State Rep. Themis Klarides (R-114) and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy toured Orange manufacturer Numet to learn more about the company’s hiring and expansion made possible in part by the Insurance Reinvestment Fund (IRF). The fund is a public-private partnership that incentivizes insurance companies to invest in Connecticut small businesses, giving them the assistance needed to create jobs and grow within the community. The tour was coordinated through Advantage Capital Partners, a national firm that seeks to invest in entrepreneurial small businesses and has worked with Numet to help them expand.

State Rep. Themis Klarides (R-114) tours Orange Manufacturer Numet on October 2 to learn more about how the company will be hiring more employees – a decision made possible, in part, by the state’s Insurance Reinvestment Fund.

State Rep. Themis Klarides (R-114) tours Orange Manufacturer Numet on October 2 to learn more about how the company will be hiring more employees – a decision made possible, in part, by the state’s Insurance Reinvestment Fund.

(L to R) State Rep. Themis Klarides (R-114), Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, State Sen. Gayle Slossberg (D-14), Numet President Andrew Gale and State Rep. James Maroney (D-119) toured Orange manufacturer Numet on Oct. 2 to learn about their planned expansion.

(L to R) State Rep. Themis Klarides (R-114), Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, State Sen. Gayle Slossberg (D-14), Numet President Andrew Gale and State Rep. James Maroney (D-119) toured Orange manufacturer Numet on Oct. 2 to learn about their planned expansion.

Klarides honors “Valley Women Making a Difference”

Today State Rep. Themis Klarides (R-114) participated in the thirteenth annual Valley Women Making a Difference Luncheon at Grassy Hill Lodge in Derby, where she joined more than 200 people in recognizing local women who have made positive contributions to the community. Rep. Klarides and Sen. Joseph Crisco presented the following eight women with legislative citations in honor of their accomplishments and contributions to the Naugatuck Valley: Celeste Beattie, Susan DeLeon, Linda Gorel, Maureen Helgren, Joan McTaggart Kayser, Barbara O’Neil, Michelle Pagliaro-Haywood and Donna Skurat.

Proceeds from the fundraiser benefit Griffin Hospital’s Valley Breast Care Fund which helps provide uninsured women with mammograms and diagnostic testing for breast cancer. Contributions to the fund can be sent to Hewitt Breast Wellness Center at Griffin Hospital, c/o M. Vallillo, 350 Seymour Avenue, Derby, CT 06418.

State Rep. Themis Klarides (R-Derby) presents Joan McTaggart Kayser with a legislative citation in honor of her contributions to the Valley community.

State Rep. Themis Klarides (R-Derby) presents Joan McTaggart Kayser with a legislative citation in honor of her contributions to the Valley community.

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State Rep. Themis Klarides (R-Derby) – far right – and State Sen. Joseph Crisco (D-Woodbridge) – second from right – congratulate the “2013 Valley Women Making a Difference” honorees at Grassy Hill Lodge in Derby.

Klarides: new laws effective October 1

To keep you informed about new legislation affecting our state, I would like to bring your attention to the list of soon-to-be state laws and regulations taking effect this Tuesday, October 1, 2013.

Some of the measures include new penalties for failing to report child abuse, the implementation of labels for genetically engineered food, increasing the safety of workers in work zones and addressing the medical needs of children.

Below is a link to the Public Acts with the sections that will take effect, along with links to summaries for each Act:

http://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/Content/AEArchives/ActsEffective1013.asp

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