Today Magazine • May 2022

Page 1

TODAY Covering the Heart of the Farmington Valley


Move From NYC To Valley Invigorates Illustrator MAY 2022



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CARING CATBIRDS If a picture paints a thousand words, can four photos tell a story? • Catbird mom feeds catbird babies — and proceeding clockwise: • Catbird mom looks skyward — in prayer, we can only presume, though a catbird mom surely doesn’t need to ask her Creator what to feed her babies, since that presumably is innate data • Catbird babies look skyward for food • Out of the nest, a catbird toddler surveys a brave new world Photos by Wendy Rosenberg — more photos on pages 14-15


Regarding the ongoing difference of opinion among everyday citizen-philosophers about whether there is a Creator — a question: If there is no Creator, where does a catbird’s motherly instinct come from? To quote the legendary host from “Coffee Talk” on Saturday Night Live — “Talk amongst yourselves”



To be sure, no one can know the answer to this query with 100% certainty, but I have a certain intuition — Bruce Deckert


Interior Cover Audible COVER STORY

Canton artist Zina Saunders — by way of NYC — has an impressive resumé and an aesthetic recycling program that turns raw emotion into real-life art SCHOOL SCOOP

Hands-on is the byword for an innovative UConn engineering program for Talcott middle-schoolers VALLEY INTEL

There are countless compelling reasons to bicycle during National Bike Month — and all year long

PRETEND YOU’RE THE PUBLISHER of a magazine — not Time or Sports Illustrated or National Geographic, but rather a publication covering local stories these so-called national magazines likely won’t care about. If you’re already such a publisher, no need to pretend, naturally — and if you’re considering a pub plunge, here’s your checklist, per my experience: • An ancient iMac computer, a home office and a West Simsbury PO box. Sure, two decades of journalism experience — say, as an editor for ESPN Digital Media and as an editor/reporter for the Imprint weeklies — is helpful but by no means a prerequisite, as far as I can see. But I digress … let’s return to the hypothetical: If you were a magazine publisher/editor working on a story for inside the April edition that became more fascinating as you wrote and researched, would you hold that story and run it instead on the cover of the May edition? My answer — yes! See page 4 for a true tale of an NYC artist transplanted in Canton — BWD


For safety’s sake, dogs will no longer be allowed on 10% of the hiking trails at McLean Game Refuge QUOTE OF THE MONTH

“As a child, I got my first taste of being a professional illustrator when I would ‘correct’ my father’s paintings” — Zina Saunders BY THE NUMBERS

Zina’s Overlooked NY lists — 25

Today Magazine • Covering the Heart of the Farmington Valley Bruce William Deckert — Publisher + Editor-in-Chief 860-988-1910 • > Digital Editions • Award-Winning Today Online • 24/7 news — Follow Today Magazine CT on social media > Advertising — Contact the Publisher Editorial Associate — Kayla Tyson Contributing Photographer — Wendy Rosenberg Five Towns • One Aim — Exceptional Community Journalism Farmington • Avon • Canton • Simsbury • Granby – CT • USA


COVER STORY KUDOS Today Magazine’s April cover story featured the Simsbury HS Fencing Club — only 4% of CT high schools offer the sport, and Simsbury is the lone Valley school — CLICK HERE for the story

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THANKS for everything — great job on the article about the Simsbury High School Fencing Club. You did an AWESOME job on this cover story. Thank you! — Tom Palmer • SHS Fencing Advisor + Intervention Teacher

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THANK YOU for the article on the Simsbury High School Fencing program. I also saw your post on Facebook and put it on the SHS fencing page. I know we’ve gotten great media coverage this year and hope for it to continue. Blessings and thanks again. — Jon Blume • Simsbury Jon’s daughter Sierra is on the SHS fencing team THANKS for the cover story on the Simsbury High fencing program — GREAT article! — James Q. Rice • JQR Capital • Granby THANK YOU for all of your work and time on my article about my business. I appreciate it a lot. Looking forward to working together in the future. — Elijah Livingston • Pet Stop owner • Simsbury

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THANKS SO MUCH for publishing our article and for your support of the Connecticut Master Gardener Association. Everyone is very excited about the feature. — Kathye Cipes • CMGA vice president AS A LONGTIME RESIDENT of the Farmington Valley, I have truly enjoyed reading Today Magazine. I especially like the historical pieces. Keep up the great work! — David Heuschkel • Simsbury SUBSCRIBE to TODAY for FREE — CLICK HERE





Zina Saunders in her Canton studio

Artist Recycles Raw Emotions For Creative Work ————————————————————————————————— Exclusive Q&A with Artist Zina Saunders ————— PAGE 9 —————————————————————————————————

By Bruce Deckert Editor-in-Chief • Today Magazine

A NATIVE OF hustling-and-bustling New York City, Zina Saunders is savoring life in the more rustic and tranquil Farmington Valley these days. First things first: Her name is pronounced with a long-I, not a long-E — in other words, this Zina rhymes with China, not Tina. 68 years young, Saunders possesses an eclectic resumé, and by virtually any standard for a professional illustrator she has enjoyed an impressive career history to the tune of four decades of creative work. To extend the musical metaphor, Saunders has endeavored to dance to the beat of her own drum — or perhaps better yet, to a genuine human drum — grooving along on an intriguing vocational journey. Her work has encompassed both the editorial and advertising arenas — from illustration and painting and animation to reportage and political commentary. In the illustration category alone, she has produced artwork for book covers, magazines, newspapers, product packaging, Broadway play posters and more. Her political satire illustrations have spoofed and skewered Republicans and Democrats alike, from Sarah Palin and John McCain to Bill and Hillary Clinton. 4


Zina Saunders

“I’ve taken heat from both the Left and the Right,” she says in the video of her Gel Conference talk on her website, though Saunders tells Today Magazine that she has surely taken more heat from the Right. Her political artwork has appeared in high-profile newspapers (such as the San Francisco Chronicle and The Wall Street Journal) and magazines (such as Mother Jones and The New Republic). The Mother Jones website affirms: “Zina Saunders is an awardwinning illustrator whose work appears in national magazines and newspapers and whose political satires have amused or outraged her audience, depending on which side of the aisle they sit.” It makes sense that her portrayals have irritated right-wing pundits and voters more often. Zina and her husband Barry Schiffman are members of the Canton Democratic Town Committee — and they have “brought a wave of energy, insight and professionalism to the Canton DTC,” says Bob Bessel, the town’s First Selectman. “They not only understand issues, they understand how to learn what voters think about those issues,” Bessel observes. “This is the most basic

Move From NYC To Valley Energizes Pro Illustrator building block for community, and Canton has benefited greatly from it. I have always enjoyed our discussions — Zina and Barry consistently uncover angles we had not considered and provide insights that help move Canton forward. I’m so glad they’re here!” For the record — just in case it’s unclear — Bessel is a Democrat. A career PR professional and journalist, he has written an article for Today Magazine about the nonpartisan and cooperative spirit that permeates Canton’s governmental climate. In that article he pens the following: “In today’s hyper-political atmosphere, it may sound strange to hear that Canton Democrats and Republicans listen to one another and regularly agree on solutions for the town. But it’s true! Votes on the Canton Board of Selectmen, Finance and Education are largely unanimous — not because we don’t ask tough questions, but because we do! … Together we are smarter, more thorough and more effective than we could ever be on a single side of the political aisle.” Zina and Barry moved from Manhattan to Canton in July 2015. “We’ve taken the COVID pandemic seriously,” she says. “I’m 68 and Barry is 75, so we’re in a vulnerable age demographic — we love it here in Canton and we want to be here for a long time.” While she has “always drawn and painted,” she started earning a living as an artist in the 1980s. “Zina works on the edge,” says Barry, a retired journalist who worked at the Hartford Courant, the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. “Her work has also always been edgy, a word artists use to convey breaking new ground, challenging convention, creating. … Over the 34 years we’ve been together, she has proved over and over that she’s always doing something new, and it always works out.” Later in his career, Barry moved on from journalism and earned a PhD in computer science from Columbia University, working in the realm of natural language processing. “Before we met, I knew little of art,” he says. “I never took art history in college with that giant expensive book — in my

Overlooked New York chronicles the stories of common New Yorkers who have lived uncommon lives — such as “Rooftop Pigeon Coop Guys” Illustration by artist Zina Saunders in her Overlooked New York series — one of the “Puerto Rican Bike Men”

youth, I was a newspaper reporter and editor, and looked at the pictures as a way to break up large expanses of type.” Since then, he has learned plenty from Zina about the art world. “As someone who can’t quite manage stick figures, I’ve always been amazed by what she does,” Barry says. “Painting is almost subconscious for her. It was something else to have seen her painting with the TV on, while talking on the phone and putting the brush on a picture that’s set to be delivered to someone on deadline.” Zina’s father, Norman Blaine Saunders (1907-1989), is a renowned

Artwork and Photos Courtesy of Zina Saunders

commercial artist who has been featured in an array of media outlets and websites — including,,,, and (aka the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction website). He is likewise listed on, the ever-popular media outlet for movie, TV and celebrity content. As asserts: “Norman Saunders lived long enough to see himself celebrated as the legendary creator of many iconic images of American popular culture.” Zina offers further vocational info:



“My father … was a pulp magazine cover illustrator [and] painted some of the most popular Topps bubblegum cards in the ’60s and ’70s, including Mars Attacks, Batman and Wacky Packages.” A Google search is virtually guaranteed to find countless more articles and collections from his storied career. “As a child,” Zina writes on her website, “I got my first taste of being a professional illustrator when I would ‘correct’ my father’s paintings when he was away from his drawing board. Many an eyelash on Norm Saunders’ damsels in distress was painted by a 9-year-old Zina.” By the way, in her political artwork Saunders has clearly satirized Sarah Palin — the Republican VP candidate on John McCain’s 2008 presidential ticket — more often than the Clintons. A recent review of the Political page on Saunders’ website reveals seven editorial illustrations of Palin, the former Alaska governor, and zero of the Bill-and-Hillary duo. To see her work depicting the twoterm president and first lady — who doubled as the Democratic presidential candidate in 2012 versus Donald Trump — you can watch Saunders’ Gel talk on the About page of her site: Meanwhile, Saunders’ human-interest series called Overlooked New York — — is a cutting-edge fusion of cogent illustration and feature reporting. A passion project that Saunders launched about two decades ago, Overlooked New York chronicles via images and written stories the experiences of so-called ordinary New Yorkers who have lived — per her compelling accounts — extraordinary lives. “Although she spent years working on assignments,” says Barry, “she always liked doing her own projects best, out of her own imagination and curiosity. Her Overlooked New York project was prompted by the frequent sight of grown Puerto Rican guys who rode around New York on extravagantly decorated vintage bicycles.” Zina and Barry were out for a walk one day when they lived in NYC, and she spotted one of these bicyclists. “She shouted, ‘There’s one!’ Off she ran to get his name and a way to reach him,” Barry says. “She did his portrait and an interview, and importantly got names of some of his pals, and they became the much bigger project about groups of people who pursued some arcane or 6

Zina Saunders satirized John McCain and Sarah Palin in 2008 for The Nation magazine

quirky passion, from amateur astronomers in the light-polluted city, to guys who met every weekend in Central Park for a drum circle.” On her Overlooked website, Saunders has 20-plus categories for these New York residents — including “Puerto Rican Bike Men” and “Rooftop Pigeon Coop Guys” who keep pigeons and enter them in races. A gentleman named Orlando told her an astounding story about a pigeon he entered in a 300-mile race. “She never made it home,” Orlando says. “I figured a hawk had got her. But about two weeks later my neighbor called me and said a pigeon was hanging around my front door. So I went out to look, and there [she] was … with a broken wing and her feet all messed up and blistered. She had walked home.” Saunders has published a related book, available on Amazon — Overlooked New York: Impassioned New Yorkers from an Artist’s Perspective. She has several other projects, reflected in her further websites: • Making Lunch profiles the people who make the typical American lunch happen.


• The Fearies site is a series of illustrated portraits and rhymes about a band of fairies who spook kids with childhood fears — but there’s an antidote to chase each Fearie away. • Africa Closeup is a true story about an African AIDS orphan named Faith from Zimbabwe. “What excites me most,” Saunders says, “is my current work — abstract paintings that are the truest expression of who I am inside … which show my spirits lifting after a long, difficult haul in this country over the past five years.” Barry adds: “Now she’s painting abstract pictures on wood panels. They present narratives reflecting her emotions and views. There’s usually one at the Gallery on the Green in Canton, and often one at other galleries around the area.” Saunders was a featured speaker at the 2009 Gel Conference — aka GEL, for Good Experience Live — in New York City. The annual symposium began in 2003 with a goal of spotlighting ideas and innovators in diverse fields. On her website, she playfully captions the video of her talk

Quick Questions for Zina Saunders

————————————————————————————— Editor’s Note — Borrowing from the classic “Sound of Music” song, we asked Canton artist Zina Saunders about a few of her favorite things ————————————————————— Your three favorite artists: Philip Guston, Willem de Kooning, Joan Mitchell Your favorite book/story as a child: Wild Animals I Have Known — by Ernest Thompson Seton Your favorite TV show as a child: The Man from U.N.C.L.E. — I had a serious crush on Illya Kuryakin! Your favorite book as an adult: It’s a toss-up between: • I, Claudius — by Robert Graves • Butcher’s Crossing — by John Williams Your favorite TV show as an adult: The Wire — which is the best TV series, movie, play, drama… the best anything I have ever seen!

Cover illustration by Norman Saunders

this way: “Me yakking it up at the Gel Conference.” Saunders begins her talk by offering some refreshing honesty in a signature NYC accent: “My show-and-tell today is ... about how anger, fear and disappointment have proved to be the spark for my most creative and most exciting and most

gratifying work — and I know that in our culture we’re all supposed to, you know, let it go, be good, be happy, be joyful. Well … I never let anything go.” Her never-let-anything-go comment elicits telling laughter — via a collective guffaw, the audience apparently communicates with gusto that her candor resonates a shared human crucible: Yes, Zina, we’ve been there too. After sharing a variety of stories, with visuals of her artwork, she closes her talk as follows: “Fear, anger, disappointment — these were the things that wound up sparking for me movement into [new] territory … I would never have traveled these paths had my road been paved and smooth before me — I’ve found it’s the potholes in the road that force me to take detours that bring me into territory that’s exciting and new, and gives me a new way of looking at the world and participating in the world.” Given this, she offers the audience a counterintuitive wish: “I hope for all of you lots of potholes in your future.” + CLICK HERE for the Today Magazine article by First Selectman Bob Bessel about political cooperation in Canton

Your favorite restaurant/eatery in the Farmington Valley: It used to be Reno’s Hot Dogs in Canton, which is now Beau’s Burger Shack — my husband and I have not had a chance to eat there under the new management, so I’ll have to check out their hot dogs and see if they measure up to Reno’s. Other favorite Valley businesses: • To feed my body, Applegate Farm Market, which has moved from their farm stand location on Lawton Road in Canton to the Canton Village shopping mall on Route 44. • To feed my soul, the Dick Blick Art Materials store in Plainville, which isn’t technically in the Farmington Valley, but it’s very close! • And to keep myself well-shod, Dave’s Shoe Repair in Unionville, which is where my shoes and leather jackets get spiffed up — his store has a great vibe and he does fab work. Your websites: • • • • •

Zina Saunders





FIRSTHAND LEARNING Middle-Schoolers Study Advanced Robotics Via Novel UConn Program Special to Today Magazine

HANDS-ON ENGINEERING isn’t just for college students! This school year, middle-schoolers at Talcott Mountain Academy have assembled and programmed robotic prosthetic hands via a six-week course co-developed by Talcott and faculty from the UConn biomedical engineering department. Hands-on experimental classes are the norm at Talcott Mountain Academy, an Avon-based independent school focusing on gifted and talented children in kindergarten through 8th grade. Many programs introduce K-12 students to the basics of device design and 3D-printing, but this new course goes beyond that, says Talcott development director Christine Buhler — by directly applying those skills to a pressing set of

challenges in engineering and healthcare. This middle-school class incorporates college-level concepts in physiology, anatomy, engineering and technology while cultivating a community-centric approach to how technology and science can contribute to society. Students who participated in this

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program assembled 3D-printed hands, designed by e-NABLE, a nonprofit that makes prosthetic hands accessible to children. Once assembled, students added electronic control of the hand with the use of Arduino boards and servomotors. continued on page 13


NYC Artist Values Rural Beauty of Valley —————————————————————————— Cover story on Zina Saunders ————— PAGE 4 ——————————————————————————

Special to Today Magazine

Following is an exclusive interview with Canton-based commercial artist and professional illustrator Zina Saunders

Most challenging aspect of being an artist?

—————————————————————————————— Where were you born and raised?

Ha! Same answer: making pictures, of course!

Manhattan, New York City Where do you reside now?

What do you appreciate most about the Farmington Valley?

My husband and I moved from Manhattan in 2015 to the lovely town of Canton — we closed on our house on July 31st and have been happily ensconced in Canton ever since!

Having grown up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, I’d never appreciated the beauty of nature until I moved here. Plus, I really like the people I’ve met — there’s a smart, friendly, helpful and considerate vibe in the folks around here. And I love the vibrant arts community I’ve been lucky enough to meet and join.

Is art your full-time career? Yes, I’ve been an illustrator and fine artist all my life. My illustration clients have included The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times and The New Republic as well as Broadway theater posters and all kinds of book and advertising stuff. At what age did you become interested in art? What sparked your interest? My father, Norman Saunders, was an illustrator and as soon as I could hold a pencil I began drawing at a table in his studio as he worked. My first subjects were horses and pretty ladies with long eyelashes! What is your primary medium? Secondary mediums?

What constructive change would you like to see in the Valley? To be honest, I can’t think of a thing I’d change … except maybe a shorter winter? Zina Saunders — self-portrait

SPOTLIGHT ON THE ARTS What is the inspiration for your art? My work is always an expression of how I feel. I try to convey the emotions roiling around inside me, lately through abstract works.

I began my illustration career painting in gouache, and then switched to painting digitally — and now I paint the oldfashioned way, with acrylic paints on wood panels.

While not everyone has an evident artistic gift, do you believe anyone can create art at a certain level?

Editor’s Note — The term gouache refers to a method of painting with watercolors ground in water and thickened with a glue-like substance

Most satisfying aspect of being an artist?

Yes, anyone can create art at a certain level.

Why, making pictures, of course!

An anecdote that provides a glimpse of your work as an artist: Back in the early 2000s I began a project called Overlooked New York, where I painted and interviewed people I’d seen around NYC all my life — folks like the guys who raise pigeons on their rooftops, Puerto Rican bicycle men, subway musicians and bike messengers. I discovered that these off-the-grid communities were every bit as passionate about their fascinating obsessions as I am about painting. I created a website featuring more than 100 people I’ve painted and interviewed on the Overlooked New York website: I also published an Overlooked New continued on page 14

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Bike Month: Celebrate for Transit, Fun By Debbie Thibodeau Special to Today Magazine

IT’S A GREAT TIME to ride a bike. Whether you’re looking to improve your health, protect the environment, save money on gas or just have fun, biking can get you on your way. May is National Bike Month and the formal opening of the cycling season in the Farmington Valley. National Bike Month celebrates all the reasons people ride — for fun, fitness, transportation and health — and all the ways bicycling makes communities stronger, like boosting the local economy and community spirit. Throughout Bike Month, Farmington Valley communities are offering a variety of fun events, rides, classes and safety campaigns. New riders are urged to join the fun. National events include Bike and Roll to School Day on Wednesday, May 4, and Bike to Work Day on Friday, May

20. Local cycling clubs will offer rides throughout the month. Other activities include: Avon • May 4 — Annual Cinco de Mayo Town Council Ride • May 14 — Kids Bike Rodeo • May 15 — Governor’s Guard Round-Up Spring MTB Collinsville • May 21 — World Fish Migration Day Bicycle Parade

Farmington • May 7 — CCAP Breakaway Benefit Cycling Festival supporting CT youth cycling Simsbury • May 12 — Fixing Flat Tire Workshop • May 21 — Pedaling Bikes and Books — Annual Board of Selectmen Community Ride — Mountain Biking Classes: — Squadron Line Bike Club continued on page 15

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Game Refuge Enacts New Dog Policy By Connor Hogan Special to Today Magazine

Connor Hogan is the director of the McLean Game Refuge, a wildlife sanctuary located mostly in Granby and Simsbury with a smaller section in Canton ——————————————————————————— The Game Refuge was established in 1932 by George P. McLean, the renowned senator and governor of Connecticut who was born in Simsbury ——————————————————————————————— THE MCLEAN Game Refuge has enacted a new dog recreation policy in order to ensure adherence to the will of George McLean. Beginning June 1, three miles of trails that stretch between County Road and Firetown Road will no longer be open to dogs at any time. The trails included in this closure are Firetown Trail, Knollside Trail, Spur Trail and South Trail — 10% of the trail system. The closure of these four trails to dogs is an initial step toward addressing the problem of dogs at the Game Refuge and improving wildlife safety and peaceful recreation for visitors.

Dogs no longer allowed on certain trails These trails were selected for closure to dogs because of their history of dog-bear conflict, their high wildlife density (including ground-nesting hermit thrushes) and their lower visitor population than many other trails. Game Refuge staff will monitor recreation on these trails and strictly enforce the banning of dogs with the help of local animal control officers. McLean’s trustees have decided to restrict access to dogs at the Game Refuge after years of issues with dogs — especially off-leash dogs. The trustees have concluded that the presence of dogs at the Game Refuge has, at times, been inconsistent with the management mandates in Sen. McLean’s will. Specifically, dogs have prevented the managers of the Game Refuge from protecting our wild animals and have also prevented visitors from finding peace in nature. The biggest struggle with dogs is that many people disregard our leash requirement and allow their dogs to roam freely on our trails and in our forests.

VALLEY INTEL We conducted an extensive visitor-use analysis in 2020 and discovered that nearly 50% of dog owners allowed them off-leash within the Game Refuge. During a typical year, we have experienced about 3000 off-leash dog incidents. During the huge volume of visitors in 2020, we estimate that dogs ran off-leash more than 7000 times. These off-leash dogs can have serious consequences for our wildlife. Our staff have witnessed countless incidents of dogs chasing squirrels, rabbits, woodchucks, deer, bears and waterfowl. Some of these incidents were even encouraged by their owners. We have also seen dogs dig up chipmunk burrows, buried turtle eggs and the nests of ground-nesting birds — disrupting their nesting, hunting, breeding and young-rearing. This can pose short and long-term challenges for these wildlife populations. Even leashed dogs can negatively impact continued on page 16

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May is National Bike Month ——————————————————— Story PAGE 10

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HANDS — continued from page 8

to 3D printers, basic electronics and computers. UConn graduate student Jenna Bridges assisted in the Talcott classroom throughout the process. “I’m genuinely impressed at how quickly the students were able to pick up the material and run with it,” says Bridges. “They were learning engineering concepts that aren’t usually taught until high school or even college. Their drive to learn and constant curiosity helped them thrive in the course, and they can come away with lessons they’ll always remember. Having a strong understanding of problem-solving and teamwork will help set them up for success in the future.” The course finished with a demonstration for Talcott peers, teachers and outside audiences — including a feature on the evening TV news. +

Talcott 6th and 7th graders created sensing gloves using flex sensors to enable the hands to grasp when they made a fist, while 8th graders added electromyogram (EMG) sensors to actuate the hands when they flexed their muscles. Throughout this process, students learned how muscles contract, how bones move and articulate, and how the brain sends signals through the body. “You can see how your brain signals are moving your hand,” 8th-grader Sia Reddy says, “and then you can see that connection between the EMG sensor and the prosthetic, which is super-cool.” This pilot course and program, now in its second year of implementation in the classroom, was conceived by Dr. Insoo Kim of the Biodynamics Laboratory at UConn Health. The course was designed to be adaptable so that it can be easily implemented at educational institutions throughout Connecticut that have access

UConn’s Jenna Bridges




Talcott Mountain Academy and Talcott Mountain Science Center are located on Montevideo Road in Avon
















ARTIST — continued from page 9 York book — Overlooked New York: Impassioned New Yorkers from an Artist’s Perspective — and it’s on Amazon. Arts organizations + other organizations you’re part of: I’m a member of the Canton Artists’ Guild and regularly exhibit with my fellow members in the frequent exhibits at the

Gallery on the Green in Canton: Family — I’m married to the greatest guy in the world, Barry Schiffman, and am lucky to be stepmom to his three wonderful daughters, Jennifer, Maryanne and Elizabeth, and Grammy to six of the best grandkids known to humanity! Email —

ZINA SAUNDERS Red Black and Blue (Yellow) Acrylic on wood panel — 27” x 48” ——————————————————————————— Websites: • • • • • +

Photos by Wendy Rosenberg • More catbird photos on page 2 14


BIKE — continued from page 10 There’s a new event this year — Simsbury is hosting the Bike-To-It Pledge, a community program to encourage people of all ages to bike for transportation during Bike Month. Make the pledge, and then keep track of your bike trips to shops, restaurants, work, school, parks — anywhere you go by bike instead of by car, bus, etc. Report how you did at the end of the pledge period for a chance to win prizes and awards. Participating individuals and groups — e.g., household, club, troop, workplace, school — will help to make the Valley healthier and more sustainable, one short trip at a time. For adult and teen riders interested in tracking bike trips and mileage online, join the 7th annual Simsbury Bike Challenge. Riders set personal goals, participate in an online community, and log rides via the Love to Ride platform or a fitness app like Strava. Both the Bike-To-It Pledge and Simsbury Bike Challenge are free and open to riders who live, work, volunteer or regularly ride in Simsbury. The aim is to encourage biking, build community and contribute useful data to support bike advocacy and funding opportunities. To learn more about these programs and sign up — www. As we roll into Bike Month, cyclists and motorists need to remember that lawful, predictable and courteous behavior help keep us safe on our roadways and trails. We hope you will join the 2022 celebration of National Bike Month and will also pledge to Bike-To-It. + Debbie Thibodeau is a Simsbury resident and a member of the Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee



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Trails Included: Firetown Trail Knollside Trail Spur Trail South Trail DOGS — continued from page 11 wildlife. At least twice in recent years leashed dogs have harassed and chased bears, resulting in injury to the dog (and possibly the bear). One dog-bear incident led to the injury of the dog owner when he tried to pull his dog away from the bear. Other animals, especially birds, can suffer by the mere presence of dogs. Abundant research worldwide has shown that animals exposed to dogs develop stress responses — which can lead to health deterioration, breeding failure, etc. — and eventually leave areas frequented by dogs. People are also negatively affected by dogs. Sen. McLean expressed in his will that the Game Refuge must be a place where people can find a “peace of mind and body” — yet we have repeatedly found that dogs prevent visitors from realizing that peace. 16






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5 Miles

CT State Plane NAD83 (feet)


Other Hiking Trails Main Roads

Service Layer Credits: Source: Esri, Maxar, GeoEye, Earthstar Geographics, CNES/Airbus DS, USDA, USGS, AeroGRID, IGN, and the GIS User Community

Unleashed dogs regularly follow and jump up on other hikers. While this may be playful, it is certainly not universally appreciated. Some dogs bark at and menace hikers. This may be the case even if they are leashed. Some of our visitors are survivors of dog attacks and experience serious anxiety around dogs, especially uncontrolled dogs. Recreation at the Game Refuge is not designed to be dependent upon a visitor’s comfort with dogs. If dog issues remain a problem, McLean’s trustees may decide to enact further limits. New signage will be installed on the affected trails and at primary parking areas to notify visitors of this change. Thank you in advance for your support of this important new policy at the McLean Game Refuge. +

Trails Closed to Dogs

Game Refuge Boundary

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