First Selectman’s Update

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Melissa Mack

Happy and healthy 2021! I hope the holidays proved a time to connect, relax and recharge. 2020 ended on some high notes worth sharing.

The enthusiastically received Suffield Alight spread holiday cheer and provided a needed respite from the pandemic. I am grateful the community shared my enthusiasm, and for the collaboration of our Main Street neighbors, local businesses, non-profits and Town departments that dazzled in all-out effort to transform the street into a magical wonderland.

The renovated Remington Street Bridge opened on December 11. Guest of honor, Town Engineer Gerry Turbet, retiring after 32 years of service, enjoyed a police escort and the maiden voyage across the bridge. In an informal and socially distanced ceremony, Turbet assumed ribbon-cutting privileges on his final project.

The Board of Selectmen (BOS) approved renaming the bridge the “Dustin L. Doyon Memorial Bridge” in honor of Suffield native Dustin Louis Doyon, Electronics Technician Third Class Petty Officer, United States Navy, who tragically died on August 21, 2017 while serving aboard the USS John S. McCain. We will never forget the ultimate sacrifice Dustin made serving his country. An official ribbon-cutting and dedication ceremony is planned for spring.

Together with Suffield Public Schools, a ten-member committee representing Town stakeholders selected Tecton Architects to complete the Town’s first ever comprehensive Municipal Facilities Master Plan. The goal: to establish a priority, schedule, and budget for most effective use, modernization, replacement, or expansion that will create a framework for the Town’s Capital Plan for the next ten years.

At press time, 100% of Suffield’s medical first responders received or are scheduled for their first COVID-19 vaccination. Phase 1b commenced with residents’ age 75+. Regardless of vaccine status, wearing of face masks, social distancing, hand washing and avoiding large gatherings is strongly encouraged. Please note:

• Patience is essential.

• Vaccine supply is limited. Phase 1b includes 1.3 million Connecticut residents. Demand will outpace supply with only 46,000 doses received by CT weekly. I continue to advocate for vaccine distribution equity between towns.

• Information is changing rapidly.

• Resources:

• As of 1/18, Community Vaccination Clinics are not offered by the North Central District Health Department though I’ve strongly expressed Suffield’s desire to host one when available. Residents may travel to any clinic displayed as part of the vaccine registration process. The Suffield Minibus can transport some to clinics with advance notice (860)668-3884.

• Residents 75+

• For information:—75-and-older

• Register at:

• For those without internet access: call 877-918-2224

Phase 1b vaccine distribution and prioritization, following 75+, includes these groups phased in with “a focus on addressing issues of equity and risk of poor outcomes from COVID-19,” according to the State:

• Front line essential workers

• Ages 65 – 74

• Ages 16 – 64 with comorbidities

• Individuals and staff in congregate settings

 Phase 1b Essential Workers include:

• Remaining healthcare personnel and first responders

• Workers in: agriculture, U.S. Postal, manufacturing, grocery store, pharmacy, food service, restaurants, food banks, elderly meal delivery services, education, child-care, solid waste and wastewater

• Inspectors working on site in above locations

• Frontline public and social service

The BOS formed a Veterans Appreciation Committee (VAC) open to those interested in supporting Suffield’s veterans initiatives. Tasks include:

• Expansion of the Veterans Memorial in Veterans Park

• Identifying new Municipal Veterans Representative

• Planning Veterans and Memorial Day Observances

• Managing the Field of Flags Exhibit

• Developing contact list of more than 600 Suffield veterans to share information

• Identify content for the Veterans Resource Page on the Town Website

The first meeting of the VAC will be on February 16 at 7:00 pm via Zoom.

Be well and stay safe.

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