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Applying for Small Business Disaster Relief Funds

Hartford—State Senator Tony Hwang (R-28) is letting his constituents know that the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved the governor’s request for disaster assistance resulting from the May 15 tornadoes that impacted Connecticut, including Newtown.

Loans of up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair real-estate, and up to $40,000 for private property. For small businesses, farmers, and non-profits, Economic Injury Disaster Loans are available.

Applications can be submitted online at disasterloan.sba.gov, or downloaded at www.sba.gov and mailed to the SBA at the following address: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, Texas, 76155.

Those who have questions about the assistance can either call the SBA Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 (1-800-877-8339 for those who are deaf or hard of hearing), or send an email to disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

In addition, the SBA will also open a Disaster Loan Outreach Center at the Southbury Training School (1461 South Britain Road, Southbury) to help people process applications and answer questions in person.  The office will be open from October 11 through the 18th during the following hours of operation:

  • Saturday, October 13: 10AM to 2PM
  • Sunday: October 14: Closed
  • Monday, October 15: 9AM to 6PM
  • Tuesday, October 16: 9AM to 6PM
  • Wednesday, October 17: 9AM to 6PM
  • Thursday, October 18: 9AM to 4PM

The deadline to return applications for physical property damage is December 10, 2018.  The deadline to return economic injury applications is July 9, 2019.

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From the Hartford Courant: Applying For SBA Disaster Loans: Here’s What You Need To Know

The federal Small Business Administration has agreed to allow homeowners, renters, businesses and non-profits organizations that suffered damage in the May 15 tornados and storms to apply for federal low-interest loans.

What kind of loans are available, and who can apply for them?

Low-interest SBA loans of up to $200,000 will be available to homeowners, businesses and non-profits that suffered real estate storm damage, possibly including removal of debris. Individual homeowners and renters will also be able to apply for up to $40,000 in SBA loans to replace or repair damaged personal property.

Can you apply for the loans online?

Yes. Applications for SBA disaster loans can be filled out and submitted online at www.disasterloan.sba.gov

Is it possible to apply for the loans by mail?

Yes. Application forms can be downloaded and mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, Texas, 76155.

What if I need help applying for the disaster loans?

SBA officials are opening a Disaster Loan Outreach Center at the Southbury Training School, 1461 S. Britain Road in Southbury, to help people fill out and submit applications for disaster loans.

When will the loan assistance center be open?

The SBA Disaster Loan Outreach Center will be open at the following times between Thursday and Oct. 18.

Thursday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Sunday, closed.

Monday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Tuesday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Thursday, Oct. 18, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

http://www.courant.com/politics/hc-news-disaster-loan-breakdown-20181010-story.html

 

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Sen. Hwang and Rep. Abercrombie Host Autism Spectrum Awareness Panel Discussion

Hartford—At the Capitol on Thursday October 4th, Sen. Hwang (R-28) and Rep. Abercrombie (D-83) hosted a panel discussion on community, productivity, and independence for people living on the autism spectrum and their loved ones.

“It was an honor to host this important series of panels focusing on community, productivity, and independence for people living on the autism spectrum in Connecticut,” said Sen. Hwang. “We heard a lot of stories from people and parents living on the spectrum. Some of the shared experiences were unbelievably uplifting. Most importantly, we began a dialogue about ways government can help this community. We want to raise awareness of the importance of this issue to everyone, including people who don’t know anyone living with autism. Again, I’d like to thank Steven Hernandez of Connecticut Commission On Women, Children, and Seniors and Shannon Knall of Autism Speaks for getting the panelists together a great and informative event.”

“The Autism spectrum is broad, and in order develop the most inclusive policy, it is critical to get the perspective of many stakeholders, like self-advocates, parents and providers, “ said Shannon Leary Knall, parent to an autistic young adult and Autism Speaks Connecticut Advocacy chair. “It is critical that we work with engaged policy makers to create legislation which represents the whole spectrum, and addresses their needs across a life span, to include employment and independence. I am thankful to Senator Hwang and Representative Abercrombie for their leadership.”

The discussion ran for three hours, divided between three topic panels: community, productivity, and independence.

“Families and self-advocates affected by Autism are no different from all families in the state in their desire for independent, productive and successful lives,” said Steven Hernandez. “Our task is to remove barriers and create opportunities to that end.”

Each topic featured different panelists with different stories, perspectives, and expertise. Government officials, caregivers, and people living on the spectrum will all be participating. The whole discussion ran for three hours and can be seen by clicking here.

Caption: Sen. Hwang chairs the panel discussion on living with the autism spectrum in Connecticut. Pictured from left to right: Judith Ursitti, a parent and advocate, Sen. Hwang, Steven Hernandez, Executive Director of the Connecticut Commission on Women, Children, and Seniors, Rep. Cathy Abercrombie, and Darlene Borree, a parent and advocate.

Video: Sen. Hwang introduces the panel.  https://youtu.be/iet3yHmDof4

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Are You Tired of a Top-Down Approach to Education?

SO IS TONY HWANG! Unpredictable education budget cuts are a serious detriment to our schools, Connecticut's failure to protect education funding is disappointing. We need an education system that is student-first. Education Decisions are being made in Washington DC and Hartford, not where they belong - with our local teachers, parents, and administrators. Tony Hwang…
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Sen. Hwang Joins UI and CT GreenBank for the Launch of ConnectSun in Fairfield

Fairfield—At the Pequot Library in Fairfield on Tuesday September 25th, state Senator Tony Hwang (R-28th District) joined representatives from UI, the Connecticut Green Bank (CGB),  and Fairfield town officials to celebrate the opening of the ConnectSun pilot program in Fairfield.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for ratepayers who want to participate,” said Sen. Hwang. “Once again, I’m proud of the Fairfield community for being at the forefront of new innovations to make Connecticut greener. Throughout this whole process, it’s important that we always consider and respect the wishes of the neighborhoods where this infrastructure is to be installed. What’s right for one are may not be right for everyone.”

The ConnectSun program offers significant cost savings for ratepayers in Fairfield to install solar and battery storage in an effort to increase the reliability of the electric grid. The underlying rationale for the program is that through adoption of solar and battery storage, UI can defer or avoid electric distribution system upgrades that would otherwise be necessary.

“We are excited about this opportunity to learn more about how distributed energy resources, like solar and storage, and energy efficiency can provide locational value, reliability, and resiliency for homeowners and the electric grid,” said Bryan Garcia, President and CEO of the CT Green Bank.

The ConnectSun program came about as collaboration between UI and the Connecticut Green Bank. ENCON was the local contractor chosen by competitive bid to make the installations and system upgrades for the program.

“ConnectSun is a true representation of UI’s commitment to effectively integrate Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) into the electric distribution system.  Increased adoption of DERs will require a smarter, more automated distribution grid to efficiently deliver safe and reliable power to every customer,” said Roddy Diotalevi, UI’s Senior Director of Sales & External Relations.  

Participants in ConnectSun are also eligible for additional incentives.

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Sen. Hwang and Rep. Devlin Call for Information and Timing of Implementation from Metro-North re: PTC

Train SationFairfield—Standing on the platform today at the Fairfield Train Station, state Senator Tony Hwang (R-28th Senate) provided an update on Metro-North’s latest information on the implementation of Positive Train Control (PTC) for train safety.

“The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), in which Metro-North is an affiliated subagency, has received over a billion dollars in loans and grants and an extension to implement PTC technology that was mandated in 2008,” said Sen. Hwang. “I have for the past two years and will continue to demand more information and updates from Metro-North on this important train safety issue. The commuters in southwestern Connecticut who rely on Metro-North deserve a real timeline for when the life-saving PTC technology will be operational.  Safety is my priority.  I will continue to monitor this situation and if I feel Metro-North is lacking or unresponsive to keeping the commuter public and the CT General Assembly informed, I will be your voice to make sure you are heard.”

Fairfield’s state Representative on the Transportation committee Laura Devlin also lamented a lack of information for state legislators as well as members of the public.

“As a former Metro-North commuter myself, I fully understand what it means to place your safety in the hands of the railroad every day,” said Rep. Devlin. “When you commute, tragedies like the 2013 Spuyten Duyvil derailment are always in the back or your mind. That incident could have been prevented by PTC. There have been enough delays on PTC. Metro-North needs to get this done, and it needs to tell us the plan.”

Legislators from New York have also been critical of Metro-North’s delayed implementation of PTC.  In July, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) said:

“The MTA has had ample time and ample money to get this job done so there is simply no excuse for Metro-North and LIRR not to fully implement Positive Train Control by the end of this year. Enough excuses: the technology is available and the money is in place, including a billion dollar federal loan that I supported.”

Background: After a series of accidents a few years ago, Metro-North committed to installing PTC to improve safety on the railroad. Metro-North has stated that PTC will be installed by the Decwmber 31, 2018 deadline. However, the railroad says the system will not be “fully operational.” Metro-North has also stated it has the right to submit “an alternative schedule for up to two additional years to have PTC fully activated across all parts of the railroad upon filing the paperwork with Federal regulators.”

Dismayed at this potential for a two-year delay, Sen. Hwang sent a letter to the president of Metro-North and copied southwestern Connecticut’s federal delegation and Connecticut DOT Commissioner James Redeker. The letter was sent on August 29th and resent September 12th. After nearly three weeks, Sen. Hwang finally received a response from Metro-North president Catherine Rinaldi and CT Transportation Commissioner James Redeker at 8:33 a.m. on the morning of his press avail. Sen. Hwang believes that public pressure is the only way to keep Metro-North accountable and responsive on this vital public safety project.

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“Metro-North officials must explain…”

Please read and share the attached Danbury News Times editorial on train safety delays.

I wholeheartedly agree with the editorial’s concluding statement:

Metro-North officials must explain to legislators and the public why two more years are needed to make the potentially life-saving equipment fully operational. And tell us why we could we trust that deadline when all others have been missed.”

https://www.newstimes.com/opinion/article/Editorial-Another-delay-on-train-safety-appalling-13221543.php

You can read my recent op-ed on this topic here:

http://ctsenaterepublicans.com/2018/09/state-sen-tony-hwang-metro-north-rail-safety-cannot-wait/#.W5k9iYKotjo

Please send me your comments at Tony.Hwang@cga.ct.gov and include your name and town.

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State Sen. Tony Hwang: Metro-North, rail safety cannot wait

Printed in the News-Times

Metro-North Railroad is part of the way of life in southwestern Connecticut. Every day, hundreds of thousands of residents rumble over its tracks for work, school, or to head into the city for a show or a ballgame. Like the other parts of our daily lives, we want Metro-North to be efficient and, most importantly, safe. We don’t want to have to worry when we travel.

A couple of years ago, a series of accidents caused by human error made something very clear: Metro-North needs Positive Train Control (PTC). PTC is a system for monitoring and controlling train operation to vastly reduce the risk of accidents caused by operator error. As the state Senator representing Fairfield and surrounding towns, I’ve made it a priority to follow up on Metro-North’s PTC implementation.

Unfortunately, we learned recently that although Metro-North’s PTC system will be installed by the Dec. 31, 2018 deadline, the system will not be “fully operational.”

Metro-North has also stated it has the right to submit “an alternative schedule for up to two additional years to have PTC fully activated across all parts of the railroad upon filing the paperwork with Federal regulators.”

A two-year delay? That is unacceptable.

This potential delay on activating this life-saving technology is deeply troubling. Passenger and worker safety should be Metro-North’s top priority. We know PTC will improve railway safety. Metro-North needs to seize this opportunity to communicate clearly and frequently with the public.

This is why I wrote a letter to Catherine Rinaldi, the president of Metro-North, urging her to be as transparent as possible and tell commuters and workers exactly what is going on. I copied our federal delegation and state Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redeker. Hopefully we can work together to get some answers.

Among my questions to the Metro-North president were:

What is the plan to get PTC fully operational as quickly as possible?

Does Metro-North plan to shut down any rail line, as New Jersey Transit is doing with the Atlantic City Line? If so, what alternatives will riders have to reach their destinations in a safe and timely manner?

If Metro-North is granted an extension for full implementation, could it still be fined?

No excuses. No more delays. The federal government gave the Metropolitan Transportation Authority $1 billion to get this done. It’s about our money, our safety, and our rail line. We want accountability.

State Sen. Tony Hwang is a Republican representing the 28th District, which is comprised of Newtown, Easton, Fairfield, Weston and Westport. He is seeking reelection for a third term.

 

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