Town receives $125,000 worth of grants, plans Autumn in Monroe, a scarecrow contest

MONROE, CT — First Selectman Ken Kellogg shared news with the Town Council on a wide variety of topics at its meeting Tuesday night, from updates on supplies for the Monroe Food Pantry and grant awards for town programs, to the planning of Halloween celebrations.

The town will receive more products for the food pantry, including a pallet of soap and distribution of weekly fresh food boxes during the month of October through the Department of Agriculture’s Farm to Family Food Box initiative.

Kellogg said this was made possible through the Connecticut Division of Emergency Management & Homeland Security.

The first selectman also said the Save Our Stepney Task Force decided to postpone its Blue Trees project until Spring of 2022.

“The postponement is in hope that greater community engagement can be achieved after restrictions are lifted,” Kellogg said.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also sparked questions over its effect on Halloween celebrations. Kellogg said he is working with Monroe’s Emergency Management Team and reviewing ideas to safely conduct these celebrations.

“We are awaiting the release of guidelines from the state in order to finalize town plans and recommendations,” he said.

There have also been concerns over proper staffing for Election Day. At a previous council meeting, Councilwoman Jennifer Aguilar asked about volunteering. Since then, Kellogg said he discussed the issue with the registrars of voters and the town clerk.

“The Registrar of Voters Office has received numerous calls from individuals wishing to volunteer at the polling places,” Kellogg said Tuesday. “They are currently taking contact details and adding them to their list of workers as we sort through staffing. Elected officials may volunteer to assist at a polling place, but cannot be paid.”

Grants awarded

The first selectman gave a summary of grants recently awarded to the town, adding many are new awards for repeat programs. The total amount of the grants are $125,000. Among them are:

• A $9,817 Emergency Management Performance grant for Emergency Management
• An $18,030 Distracted Driving High Visibility Enforcement grant for the Monroe Police Department
• Connecticut Agency on Aging Older Americans title III grants for the Community & Social Services Department included $6,021 for the Caregiver Assistance Program and $18,000 for the Senior & Disabled Transportation Program.
• A $73,955 COVID-19 grant for the Monroe Health Department. Kellogg said the money can be used to hire nurses for contact tracing and vaccinations.

Autumn in Monroe

The Monroe Economic Development Commission has been organizing and promoting Monroe Restaurant Week in October, but in light of the pandemic, Kellogg said the EDC will offer a slightly different program: Autumn in Monroe.

The EDC will partner with the Monroe Chamber of Commerce to promote all participating Monroe businesses during the season.

Businesses will select their unique and/or special products, services, and promotions for the free program, then the EDC and the Chamber will provide marketing through social media.

A Scarecrow Contest in the Great Hollow Lake section of Wolfe Park this October will be another opportunity for local businesses to promote themselves, while helping families in need to send their children to summer camp.

Monroe’s first scarecrow contest is made possible through a partnership with the Monroe Parks & Recreation Department.

All proceeds will be used by the Community & Social Services Department to
provide need-based scholarships for Monroe children to attend Parks and Rec’s Summer Fun Days camp program.

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