Local Round-Up: ACA Outreach and the New Minimum Wage

The deadline for enrollment in health insurance under the Affordable Care Act is March 31, and members of the Wesleyan Young Advocates have been working tirelessly since September 2013 to ensure that Middletown residents have the information and resources necessary to enroll. WYA and the Community Health Center are hosting an ACA Celebration Brunch to recognize contributions toward CT enrollment on Saturday March 29 from 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM at the CHC (675 Main Street), and then they will distribute information materials to businesses in New Britain until 3 pm. Shuttles will be provided from Usdan until 11:30, and volunteers do not need extensive knowledge of the ACA in order to participate. For more information, contact Marshal Lawler ’16 at plawler[at]wesleyan[dot]edu and Sagar Parekh at ParekhS[at]chc1[dot]com

On Thursday, Connecticut became the first state to raise its minimum wage to $10.10. Governor Malloy insists,  “No one in no state should work 40 hours a week and still live in poverty,” and he is confident that other states will soon follow suit.  The wage will increase from $8.70 to $9.15 on January 1, 2015, then to $9.60 the following year, and to $10.10 on January 1, 2017.

If you’ve ever taken a stroll past Main Street, you’ve likely found parts of town to be inconvenient or inaccessible by foot or by bike, but Middletown’s Planning and Zoning Commission has committed itself to improving the city’s “walkability” and reducing traffic and pollution. The Commission unanimously agreed on Wednesday to adopt the Complete Streets Master Plan, which will incorporate safer and more attractive bike lanes and walking routes into the Plan of Conservation and Development. This effort to “reclaim the streets for all users” could be particularly beneficial to residents of Middletown’s outer neighborhoods, where even short trips are difficult without cars.

The Woman Scream International Poetry Festival is coming to Middletown! Stop by the Buttonwood Tree on Saturday at 1:00 PM for poetry that celebrates women and non-violence. Also, mingle with Middletown’s music buffs at the WESU Spring Record Fair in Beckham Hall on Sunday March 30 from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

Folksinger, songwriter, and Middletown native Tom Callinan has prepared an album about the War of 1812 and will be performing tracks from “We Owe Allegiance to No Crown” at the Russell Library (123 Broad Street) on Tuesday April 1 at 7 pm. Callinan, who was the first official Connecticut State Troubadour, collects songs from America’s past and creates new tunes inspired by historical styles and topics.