Today Magazine • June 2022

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TODAY Covering the Heart of the Farmington Valley

100-YEAR BIZ CLUB

Spotlighting Five Valley Businesses That Have Existed For Century Or More

JUNE 2022

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HAWK-EYE • A red-tailed hawk perches — when not perching, these hawks like to soar in wide circles high over fields and plains as they look for prey • Their diet includes mammals such as mice, moles, rabbits, rats and squirrels • Red-tailed hawks attack in a slow, controlled dive with legs outstretched — much different from a falcon’s approach, according to Cornell University’s AllAboutBirds.org website

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Photo by Wendy Rosenberg

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FROM DECKERT’S DESK

Long Commercial Haul

CONTENTS COVER STORY

4 — Century Existence

We spotlight five Farmington Valley businesses that are 100 years old or older — four are headquartered in Simsbury, and all have locations along Route 202 SPOTLIGHT ON THE ARTS

10 — Nature Draws Artist

Edith Skiba LaMonica’s art is inspired by the rolling hills, woods and streams of the Farmington Valley NOTEWORTHY NONPROFITS

12 — Camp Milestone

Championing a love of nature, Winding Trails Summer Day Camp is celebrating its 75th anniversary

WHETHER THE TOPIC is the duration of a human life or a company’s existence, 100 years is a long stretch of time. In this month’s edition, we contemplate the contributions of five Farmington Valley businesses that are 100 years old or older. In chronological order, this fivesome is as follows: Ensign-Bickford Aerospace & Defense, Welden Hardware, Harvey & Lewis Opticians, Vincent Funeral Home and Mitchell Auto Group. Harvey & Lewis has Valley locations in Canton and Farmington, while the other four 100-year businesses are headquartered in Simsbury. Four of these outfits have multiple locations — Welden Hardware is the exception. All five have locations along the iconic Route 202. If you aren’t quite clear about where this route traverses the Valley, you’re not alone — and we address this question in a verbal travelogue on page 8. Our cover story on the five historic century-plus businesses begins on page 4 — BWD

ACCENT ON EDUCATORS

14 — Family Values

Simsbury educator Sara Garthwait teaches the merits of the Family and Consumer Sciences QUOTE OF THE MONTH

“My paintings are meant to offer an intimate personal experience ... a form of visual poetry for the imagination” — Edith Skiba LaMonica BY THE NUMBERS

LETTERS

Book that started her art cost $1 newsroom@TodayPublishing.net

COVER STORY KUDOS Today Magazine’s May cover story featured illustrator Zina Saunders and her eclectic career — CLICK HERE for the story Our April cover story featured the Simsbury HS Fencing Club — CLICK HERE for that story THANKS SO MUCH again for the super cover story on my career and most of all for your fabulous magazine which I look forward to seeing every month. — Zina Saunders • Canton THANK YOU FOR FEATURING the Simsbury High School Fencing Club in the April issue. You did an outstanding job capturing the sport. Let’s hope it can be raised to the sporting level it really should be so these elite athletes can achieve all they can in a sport that has been around longer than most modern-day sports! And fencing can win scholarships to many colleges and universities in this country. The value is recognized by higher ed, why not on a local level? Let’s hope your article does move the needle on this. — Terri Wilson • President • Avon Historical Society Terri is a 1978 graduate of Simsbury High School

Today Magazine • Covering the Heart of the Farmington Valley Bruce William Deckert — Publisher + Editor-in-Chief 860-988-1910 • Bruce.Deckert@TodayPublishing.net www.TodayPublishing.net > Digital Editions • Award-Winning Today Online • 24/7 news — www.TodayPublishing.net/blog 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

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GREAT JOB on the magazine as always. Thank you for using the catbird story photos in the May edition. Perfect! — Wendy Rosenberg • Canton Wendy has been a contributing photographer for Today Magazine since January 2019 THANK YOU for sharing Today Magazine! The April edition is impressive. With a soon-to-be middle schooler in my family, who loves sports like karate, fencing might serve as a good option to explore. Your magazine aptly covers the local highlights and also provides many informative reads. Keep up the good work! — Sana Syed • Simsbury SUBSCRIBE to TODAY for FREE — CLICK HERE TODAY MAGAZINE – www.TodayPublishing.net – JUNE 2022

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100-YEAR BIZ CLUB

The Simsbury-based Ensign-Bickford Aerospace & Defense Company produces satellite release mechanisms ON THE COVER — Ensign-Bickford has contributed to numerous NASA programs

Courtesy Photos

These 5 Valley Businesses Have Existed For Century Or More By Vincenzo Frosolone and Bruce Deckert Special to Today Magazine

Today Magazine has identified five Farmington Valley businesses that are 100 years old or older — if you know of others, email us at newsroom@TodayPublishing.net ——————————————————————— FIVE 100-YEAR staples represent the Farmington Valley’s rich business history. One of these businesses, Harvey & Lewis Opticians, has Valley locations in Canton and Farmington. The other four 100-year businesses are headquartered in Simsbury — Ensign-Bickford Aerospace & Defense, Mitchell Auto Group, Vincent Funeral Home and Welden Hardware. Let’s explore, in chronological order, this quintet of historic businesses: Ensign-Bickford Aerospace & Defense • Established — 1836 • Location — Simsbury

COVER STORY BUSINESS BEAT

In the early 1900s, the Ensign-Bickford Co. entered the industry of military weaponry … EBAD has contributed to the

international When William Bickford patented the safety fuse in 1831, he galvanized the foundation of Bickford, James Webb Smith & Davey in Cornwall, England, according to the Simsbury Historical Society. Bickford’s fuse firm Space Telescope exhibited its product in Weatogue in 1837, recalls the project Hartford Courant. The company has undergone various name changes. In 1836 Bacon, Bickford, Eales & Co. was founded in Simsbury. Today, nearly 190 years later, —————————————— Tale of 2 Roads the Denver-based parent company is Ensign-Bickford and 1 Route Industries Inc., while the subsidiary Ensign-Bickford ————— Aerospace & Defense Company (aka EBAD) is located PAGE 8 in Simsbury. —————————————— 4

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In the early 1900s, the Ensign-Bickford Co. entered the industry of military weaponry, also known as ordnance. By the 1960s, the corporation had launched into the sphere of aerospace, forming its Space Ordnance Division in 1965. Ensign-Bickford contributed to the early NASA programs — Mercury, Gemini and Apollo — according to the EBAD website. The company’s Space Ordnance Division officially became the Ensign-Bickford Aerospace Company in 1987, the immediate predecessor of the EnsignBickford Aerospace & Defense Company. Today, EBAD produces rocket launch and termination apparatus, satellite release mechanisms, strategic missiles and interception technology, and submarine actuator and release machinery. EBAD also trains soldiers for tactical missions and outfits vehicles with explosive reactive armor. EBAD has contributed to NASA’s Orion program and the international James Webb Space Telescope project. The global company is situated on Hopmeadow Street — aka Route 10/202 — just north of Brookside Bagels, the celebrated Simsbury eatery. EBAD president Chad Thompson and Mitchell Auto Group president Mark Mitchell were the keynote speakers at the Business Leaders Breakfast in March, an in-demand annual event sponsored by the Simsbury Chamber of Commerce. Welden Hardware • Established — 1889 • Location — Simsbury Samuel T. Welden started Welden Hardware in 1889 as the town hardware store, greenhouse and post office, per the store website. The origin of the business can be traced two years earlier, according


to the Simsbury Historical Society, when Charles B. McLean opened a hardware store in 1887. He died two years later, and his brother J.B. McLean managed the store briefly before selling the business to Welden, also in 1887 — and it remained in the Welden family for many years. A fire destroyed the original building in 1900, per the historical society, yet Welden rebuilt it. In 1949 D.P. Salvatore took over, followed by Lyman Messenger Jr. and Leland G. Holcomb in the 1950s, according to the Hartford Courant. Pat Rende purchased the store in the 1970s. In 1988 John Brett began working at Welden Hardware shortly after his ’88 graduation from Gordon College. Later he became general manager, and in 2004 John and his wife Melissa bought the business from Rende. They value their tight-knit Simsbury and Valley community as well as their store’s history. What started as a basic hardware store has blossomed into a local fixture for automotive, bicycle, cleaning, grilling and plumbing supplies among thousands of other product lines — along with power equipment, grills and other merchandise by many major brands. Downstairs, Welden Hardware offers the following services: • Repairing power equipment, window screens, locks, lamps and grills • Sharpening blades and chainsaws • Reglazing windows • Cutting keys • Mixing paint The establishment also rents out carpet cleaners, leaf blowers, pressure washers, post-hole diggers, rototillers and many other products. For overstocked items, the Welden website features an online clearance store. Harvey & Lewis Opticians • Established — 1890 • Valley Locations — Canton, Farmington • Other Locations — Hartford: Asylum Street, Hartford: Seymour Street, West Hartford, Kensington, Glastonbury, Enfield Harvey & Lewis Opticians was started in Hartford in 1890, during a serious recession, by optician Foster Harvey and haberdasher clerk Robert Lewis, according to company president James Lewis. Robert Lewis’ son took over after his father’s death, per CT Insider. Today, the business offers eight locations and is managed by the Lewis family. The Canton location is at The Shops at Farmington Valley, an open-air shopping center on Albany Turnpike (aka Route

John and Melissa Brett have owned Welden Hardware since 2004 Photo by Connecticut Headshots • 860-593-0850 • www.connecticutheadshots.com

They value their tight-knit Simsbury and Valley community as well as Welden’s history TODAY MAGAZINE – www.TodayPublishing.net – JUNE 2022

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44/202) that opened in 2004 — as The Shoppes at Farmington Valley — with Kohl’s as the first anchor store. The Canton-based Harvey & Lewis was located in between Cost Cutters and AT&T at The Shops, but moved to a larger retail space in 2021 across from Barnes & Noble. The Farmington location is at the UConn Health Center. When the company debuted, patients were referred by other optometrists to fill prescriptions, according to the Hartford Courant. Today, however, affiliated optometrists use on-location labs to personalize prescriptions. Eyeglass variations include anti-fatigue, aspheric-design, blue-light and digital-progressive lenses. Harvey & Lewis will customize eyeglass lenses, contact lenses and sunglasses using materials such as high-index, polycarbonate and Trivex plastic. Lenses are custom-ground at the company’s state-of-the-art lens grinding laboratory in East Hartford. Vincent Funeral Home • Established — 1902 • Locations — Simsbury, Canton Charles Henry Vincent started his funeral-home business 120 years ago, storing equipment in a Simsbury barn on Plank Hill Road along with his horse and carriage, per the Vincent website. A state senator for the sixth district, Vincent bought a Canton funeral home in 1942 and opened a second location there, on Maple Avenue in the town’s Collinsville section. In 1950 he purchased the Wilcox mansion on Hopmeadow Street (aka Route 10/202) in downtown Simsbury, where the Vincent headquarters remains today. His sons Charles, Henry and Elmer became licensed funeral directors and joined their father in the family business — along with daughter Catherine, who managed the office as secretary and bookkeeper. After Charles Henry Vincent died in 1959, the company purchased land in his honor on Albany Turnpike in Canton, built a new structure, and moved the Collinsville location to the brand-new building. The Vincent Funeral Home family has fostered their founder’s business plan, furnishing a nondenominational visitation space for the bereaved while personalizing services and celebratory stationery upon request. Videographers will film tributes, disbursing them to families and those who 6

Courtesy of Harvey & Lewis

Norman Rockwell selected the Hartford location of Harvey & Lewis as the setting for his painting “New Glasses” that appeared on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post in May 1956

could not attend memorial services. Live music and tailored floral arrangements may adorn services. The Vincent team helps write and publish obituaries, offering an online memorial journal. Families can opt for a fire truck or a horse-drawn carriage. The funeral home presents seminars to educate the community about grief. The Farmington Valley Crematory, located in the Canton facility, was founded in 1997 — and it is the only on-site crematory in the Valley, according to the Vincent website. Company president Richard J. Vincent Jr., a great-grandson of Charles Henry Vincent, grew up in Simsbury and graduated from Simsbury High. He took the leadership reins in 2018. The previous two presidents were Mary O’Keefe Vincent and Richard J. Vincent Sr. — yes, Richard Jr.’s parents. They served the company and the Valley community for a combined 100-plus years,

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Mary for four-plus decades and Richard Sr. for six-plus. Richard Jr. is now preparing the fifth generation of the Vincent family to participate in the family business. Mitchell Auto Group • Established — 1922 • Valley Locations — Simsbury, Canton • Other Locations — Hartford, Windsor Scottish native Robert Pringle rented a Canal Street cow barn in Weatogue as the site for his first business, Pringle Garage, established 100 years ago. Later, the company’s name changed to Weatogue Garage and the operation was housed in a new brick building. Pringle’s daughter Mary married Walter Mitchell and they took over the business in 1956 upon Robert Pringle’s death, according to the Simsbury Historical Society. Today, their oldest son Mark is


president of the Mitchell Auto Group, headquartered on Hopmeadow Street — aka Route 10/202 — in Simsbury. He served as one of two keynote speakers at the 2022 Business Leaders Breakfast in March, a signature program hosted by the Simsbury Chamber of Commerce. The other speaker was Chad Thompson, president of the EnsignBickford Aerospace & Defense Company, another pivotal Simsbury-based firm. Walter and Mary’s youngest son, Steven, is Mitchell’s vice president. Over the years, the Mitchell Auto Group has sold automobiles manufactured by Volvo, Volkswagen, Subaru, Saab, Land Rover, Jeep, Ford, Chrysler and Dodge. The business has six locations today, dealing in new and used vehicles, in four Connecticut municipalities — Mitchell Volkswagen and Mitchell Volvo Cars in Simsbury, Mitchell Chrysler Dodge and Mitchell Subaru in Canton, Mitchell Selig Ford in Windsor and Land Rover Hartford. Each of the six locations has a service center and a parts store. With a financing center and rewards program in tow, Mitchell assesses the vehicle market to arrive at accurate sticker prices. The company performs comprehensive inspections and offers identity theft coverage — and when customers go on vacation, the Mitchell team extends a pretrip vehicle inspection. +++ Another company with a Farmington Valley connection is celebrating its 100th anniversary. State Farm, with 19,000plus agents nationwide, was established in Illinois in 1922 and maintains its corporate headquarters in Bloomington, Illinois. Four State Farm agents are based in the Valley:

Simsbury-based Mitchell Volvo Cars is one of the Mitchell Auto Group’s six locations in Greater Hartford

Company president Richard J. Vincent Jr., a great-grandson of Charles Henry Vincent, grew up in Simsbury and graduated from Simsbury High

• Ron Huston • Avon • Route 44/202 • Dave Persa • Canton • Route 44/202 • Josh Zelem • Farmington • Route 10 • Rana Morton • Simsbury • Route 10/202 (north of Vincent Funeral Home) Since State Farm is certainly not a Valley business, this insurance titan doesn’t warrant being included with the five 100-year businesses noted above. However, given these four Valley-based agents, the company merits mention — with an asterisk. + Today Magazine covers the five core towns of Connecticut’s Farmington Valley — Avon, Canton, Farmington, Granby and Simsbury

The Vincent Funeral Home is headquartered in Simsbury and has a second location in Canton TODAY MAGAZINE – www.TodayPublishing.net – JUNE 2022

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One Route To Rule Them All?

VALLEY INTEL BUSINESS BEAT

A Tale of 2 Roads, 1 Route and 5 Businesses By Bruce Deckert Editor-in-Chief • Today Magazine

————————————————————————————————— 100-Year Biz Club — PAGE 4 —————————————————————————————————

FIVE 100-YEAR businesses in the Farmington Valley are located along two roads, yet three routes — but also along one route. Confused? Let’s unpack this counterintuitive navigationaland-commercial riddle. First things first — let’s identify that one route. Simple: Route 202. Wait, maybe this isn’t so simple. If you’re racking your brain, trying to visualize where exactly Route 202 runs through the Valley, you’re not alone. If you’re like other area residents, whether longtime or brandnew, the exact identification of Route 202 is perhaps elusive — and given the historic nature of the route, ignorance clearly is not bliss. An informal Today Magazine survey of locals confirms the paucity of knowledge regarding the existence and whereabouts of this renowned and prominent roadway.

Let’s explore the reasons why by taking a verbal journey along the pathway of Route 202 through the Valley. Routes 10 and 202 run concurrently — that is, together as the same road — from the border of Connecticut and Massachusetts, south through Granby and Simsbury and Avon, until Route 10/202 meets Route 44. Four of the 100-year businesses are headquartered in Simsbury along Route 10/202, also known as Hopmeadow Street in Simsbury — in order from north to south: Vincent Funeral Home (founded 1902), Welden Hardware (1889), EnsignBickford Aerospace & Defense (1836) and the Mitchell Auto Group (1922). Welden is officially on Station Street, a stone’s throw from Hopmeadow, aka Route 10/202. Meanwhile, Harvey & Lewis Opticians (1890) has a Canton

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location in The Shops at Farmington Valley along Route 44/202 — also known as Albany Turnpike in Canton. Overall, Harvey & Lewis has eight locations, including another Valley venue at the UConn Health Center in Farmington on Route 4, aka Farmington Avenue.

NOTABLE ROADWAY

Actually, another company with a Valley connection is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. State Farm Insurance (1922) was founded in Illinois and has its corporate headquarters there. Four State Farm agents are based in the Valley: • Ron Huston • Avon • Route 44/202 • Dave Persa • Canton • Route 44/202 • Josh Zelem • Farmington • Route 10 • Rana Morton • Simsbury • Route 10/202 (north of Vincent Funeral Home) State Farm doesn’t merit inclusion among the five 100-year businesses noted above — it’s certainly not a Farmington Valley business — but given these four Valley-based agents, the company merits mention … with the proverbial asterisk. Let’s continue on our journey, traveling south straight as an arrow — for the most part — on this notable roadway. When Route 10/202 crosses from Simsbury into Avon, Hopmeadow Street counterintuitively becomes Simsbury Road. Yes, this begs the question: Why on earth isn’t Route 10/202 in Simsbury known as Simsbury Road? Who knows? Perhaps a whimsical town planner made the decision, or maybe a muddled mapmaker sustained a disorienting blow to the brain, leading to a navigational mix-up. You may recall that there’s a Canton Road in Simsbury. Since Simsbury Road is in Avon and Canton Road is in Simsbury, a logical progression would indicate that Avon Road is in Canton. Right?

If you’re racking your brain, trying to visualize where exactly Route 202 runs through the Valley, you’re not alone Try again — West Avon Road is, in fact, an Avon thoroughfare. Alas, this makes too much sense in the face of such jumbled town-and-street nomenclature. Go figure … but our discussion digresses. Continuing our southerly direction, when Route 10/202 (aka Simsbury Road) meets Route 44 in Avon — at the familiar intersection where the iconic Avon Congregational Church stands — a right-hand turn connects Route 202 and 44 running west concurrently, while a lefthand turn joins Route 10 and 44 running east concurrently. Route 44/202 goes west about five miles from Avon into Canton, past The Shops, until Route 202 continues solo (essentially due west) toward Torrington and Route 44 continues solo (essentially northwest) toward Winsted. Meanwhile, Route 44/10 runs east about one mile until a right-hand turn at the base of Avon Mountain sends Route 10 solo going south. Route 44 continues solo going east over the mountain toward West Hartford and Hartford.

HISTORIC HIGHWAY

If few Valley residents associate Hopmeadow Street and Simsbury Road with Route 202 — instead identifying that asphalt as Route 10 — even fewer local citizens call Route 44 anything but, well, Route 44. How often have you conceived of the section of Route 44 from Avon Mountain to Canton’s Saybrook Fish House as either Route 202 or Route 10? Yet technically

that single stretch of road is a mingling of these three historic routes. The history of Route 202 — the common roadway where the above five 100-year businesses reside — dates back nearly 90 years. The federal government approved a multi-state request in June 1934 to establish U.S. Route 202 as a 671-mile highway from Bangor, Maine to just south of Wilmington, Delaware. In June 1964 and December 1984 the route’s southern endpoint migrated north, according to the Federal Highway Administration, an agency in the U.S. Department of Transportation. Route 202 is now 627 miles long, and its southernmost point is closer to Wilmington — in Basin Corner, Delaware. Lord of the Rings enthusiasts will surely remember the legendary refrain: “One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them, one ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.” Let’s paraphrase the poetry in view of an essential commercial artery featuring five iconic Valley companies: “One route to rule them all, one route to find them, one route to bring them to light — on a business-lined highway.” The next time you’re on that road, will you think of it as Route 202? + Today Magazine covers the five core towns of Connecticut’s Farmington Valley — Avon, Canton, Farmington, Granby and Simsbury Sources — Google Maps + internet outlets

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AVON TODAY

Artist Senses Nature Beckoning

SPOTLIGHT ON THE ARTS

Work reflects life informed by oceangoing, woodlands, $1 book By Edith Skiba LaMonica Special to Today Magazine

I WAS BORN in Munich, Germany in 1946. My German mother, Carola Kapfenberger, was born in 1924, living to age 87. My father, Henryk Skiba, was born in Poland in 1926 and is now 95 years young. They spent their teenage years enduring World War II, similar to what we GRANBY TODAY are seeing today on news reports showing the onslaught of Ukraine. My parents took their every breath expecting death. My mother’s father, Martin, joined the Anti-Nazi Underground Movement and was arrested and killed at Dachau Concentration Camp. My parents survived the bombings and carnage and married in 1945 — so I was born. In 1950 we escaped the past by emigrating to Sydney, Australia, sailing the Atlantic Ocean to begin our new lives. As a sensitive child, I found myself in a flat endless landscape in which I felt like a tiny dot. I was enveloped in an overwhelming space of air and light. I believe these sensations became the foundation of my creativity. We sailed again in 1955, crossing the Pacific Ocean to America. For three weeks I floated on this limitless expanse of ocean. While sitting on deck I inhaled the moist sea air and felt the breezes brush my

cheeks. The ethereal sky stretched beyond the horizon. Hanging high above the sea, calm clouds of white light or dark dense mounds determined what would happen next. I sailed around the world before the age of 9. I know that all I breathed, witnessed and felt lives embedded in my art. I started taking ballet lessons in Australia and continued dancing in New York City, where I was accepted by

Museum and Islip Art Museum on Long Island. I completed my bachelor of arts in drawing and painting at SUNY Empire State College in 1993 and joined the faculty as an adjunct professor. I also taught at Suffolk Community College. I then completed my master of arts, in art history and criticism, at Stony Brook University in New York. After graduation in 1997, I moved to New Hope, Pennsylvania and joined the art community. I wrote press for the

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I sailed around the world before the age of 9 — I know that all I breathed, witnessed and felt lives embedded in my art audition to the drama department of the High School of Performing Arts. Practicing both disciplines — art and ballet — made me aware of the rhythmic movement and the emotional power paintings could express. My life as an artist began while raising my family on Long Island, adjacent to NYC. A friend gave me a $1 “How To Paint” book and a few supplies. I was immediately captured and painted anything in sight. I used pastel, watercolors, collage and acrylics. Oil paints became and remain my preferred medium. My paintings were soon included in gallery exhibits and at the Heckscher

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Lambertville Art League. I taught art at the Doylestown-based Conservatory of Music and Art. I also taught the history of design at Rutgers University and the College of New Jersey. My art was represented by galleries in New Hope and Philadelphia. The Artworks Gallery of the Philadelphia Museum of Art exhibited and sold my paintings from 2003 to its closing in 2009. Arriving in Avon in 2006, I found a welcoming community here in Connecticut. My first exhibit was at the Ethel Walker School in Simsbury. I was invited to join the Gallery on the Green in Canton and the Art League of New Britain, and became a member of the Art Advisory Committee of UConn Health. Consistent with my lifelong awareness of my surroundings, my art is now inspired by the atmosphere of rolling hills, woodlands and streams in the Farmington Valley. My recent paintings reflect my study of the woodland pond near my studio. I paint my reactions to this environment where plant and animal life are subject to the whims of weather and seasons. To compose these fleeting scenes, I combine realistic and abstract techniques to suggest movement and choose specific colors to convey moods. My paintings are meant to offer an intimate personal experience. Each painting presents an environment to explore. I consider these images a form of visual poetry for the imagination. Overall, I enjoy the challenge of bringing subjects to life on canvas. Portraits, landscapes, still life and pets are continued on page 16

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CANTON TODAY

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FARMINGTON TODAY

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Camp Celebrates 75th Anniversary By Lily Kunkel Special to Today Magazine

WINDING TRAILS Inc., a nonprofit recreational facility, is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. Since 1947, Winding Trails has provided year-round fun for families in the Farmington Valley and beyond. As the Farmington-based nonprofit gets ready to celebrate this milestone, let’s look back on how it all began and learn about some of its big plans for the future.

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Winding Trails fosters love of nature in community

When Winding Trails opened more than seven decades ago, the organization served fewer than 100 youth campers each day from the town of Farmington. Today the beautiful 380-acre facility averages more than 600 kids each day from Connecticut and beyond in its summer camp program, according to executive director Scott Brown.

“Members who attended the first Winding Trails now have greatgrandchildren coming to camp” — director Scott Brown

continued on page 17

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GRANBY TODAY

Hot Pub Started Spontaneously Four Dads Pub debuted during COVID pandemic By Ethan Guo Special to Today Magazine

“THE IDEA wasn’t planned,” explains Mike Garbeck, recounting the events that eventually unfolded into the opening of Four Dads Pub in September 2020. “It came in a car ride in the fall of 2019 to go watch Sunday football at a Buffalo Wild Wings out of town.” Sharing a common sentiment that Granby was lacking a hangout spot with wings and beer, Dante Boffi, Eugene Smyth and Garbeck originally came up with the idea to start that pub and give Granby a place “For Dads,” a name Garbeck suggested. However, as conversation continued that day, the idea shifted from a spot just for dads to creating a hub for the entire Granby community. After much deliberation, and some furious texting to Mario Fino, who wasn’t present, Four Dads Pub was born and the process of turning this dream into a reality had begun. Since Planning & Zoning meetings were continually delayed due to COVID and the pandemic reached staggering numbers, there was much uncertainty between the four dads about expectations for the establishment.

“When we started this pub, nobody believed in us,” says Garbeck. They decided to set up shop in the historic 18R Hartford Avenue building, reflecting the caution with which the four dads approached this precarious situation. The venue they purchased was large enough to be functional, but small enough for the dads to more easily manage themselves in case they had little traction. “COVID was tough — we had a restricted number of indoor and outdoor seats,” says Garbeck. “But it was a nice test run for us. It taught us a lot to be frugal on what we do.” Despite these challenges, the dads remained optimistic. “If we’re able to survive during the thick of COVID, then think about how well we would be able to do once we return to normalcy,” says Garbeck. The eventual success of Four Dads Pub comes from a combination of multiple aspects. Starting from the origins, continued on page 19

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SIMSBURY TODAY

Teaching value of family, consumer science By Bruce Deckert Editor-in-Chief • Today Magazine

FOR MANY STUDENTS, education is a calculation connected to a practicality sieve — if a student deems the information or principle being taught as pointless and irrelevant or (perhaps worse yet) inaccurate and detrimental, the result is predictable: The student will tune out the teacher, ignore the principle, and seek what is believed to be better and more reliable information. Actually, the practicality-sieve approach needs to be the approach of all students, hands-down and without question — what’s the point of learning anything if what one learns has no relevance to everyday life? For Sara Garthwait, a teacher and department coordinator in the Simsbury school system, this is less of an issue — at least, as long as students have the sense to realize the value of the content she

Perseverance and enthusiasm are two of Garthwait’s goals

teaches, practicality is the proverbial low-hanging fruit. A student need not be Einstein or a rocket scientist to see the merit of her subject matter, known today as the Family and Consumer Sciences. If you’re unclear about this, it will become evident as you continue reading this story — indeed, if you’re skeptical, hang in there. The reality is this: All school subjects and disciplines have practicality and relevance to everyday life — yes, literally every single one. One of the challenges for educators is to help students see the value of the various subjects and disciplines encountered throughout one’s school day and school years — and yes, besides being a challenge, this is also perhaps the greatest privilege of being an educator.

ACCENT ON EDUCATORS Here’s a further perhaps — perhaps the field of Family and Consumer Science is the ideal discipline in terms of convincing students of the importance and relevance of the material being taught. Yet “convincing” is too strong a word: How much convincing needs to occur for a student to discern the significance of Family and Consumer Sciences? Yet some readers might be unsure what this field entails. If you find yourself in the dark about the meaning of this discipline, let’s shed some light — and for an earlier generation of students, two words will likely suffice: home economics. “The field of Family and Consumer Sciences, founded as home economics, is the comprehensive body of skills, research and knowledge that helps people make informed decisions about their well-being, relationships and resources to achieve optimal quality of life,” says the website

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of the American Association of Family & Consumer Sciences. The field encompasses a wide diversity of the human experience, per the website — from human development to food science and nutrition and wellness … from personal and family finance to consumer issues … from housing and interior design to textiles and apparel. Speaking of practicality vis-à-vis a career track, Family and Consumer Science professionals “practice in multiple settings and address the issues most important to our quality of life,” per the website. Related occupations include administrators and managers in the public and private sector, human service professionals, consultants and researchers, and educators — from early childhood to elementary to secondary to college. Garthwait began working at Simsbury’s middle school — Henry James Memorial School for grades 7-8 — in August 2004 as a teacher and department coordinator, but the latter supervisory role is for the Family and Consumer Sciences department at both Henry James and Simsbury High School. Before taking the education plunge, she served as a recruiter, a quality assurance specialist and a dietetic intern. 42 years young, Garthwait is a native of Connecticut — she was raised in Enfield and resides there today. She holds a bachelor of science degree in general dietetics from the University of New Haven (2001 graduate) and a master’s in library science from Southern Connecticut State University (2010). She has also earned a second master’s degree — an M.Ed. in educational technology from the American College of Education (2021). In an exclusive interview with Today Magazine, Garthwait addresses some key education topics: Why did you decide to become an educator — in other words, what motivated you to go into education? I’ve always loved learning and educating others, and I enjoy working with kids. My passion for food and nutrition, and a love for all things sewing and crafting, fits well with the area of Family and Consumer Science education. Your favorite teachers from your school days? I am not a history fan at all, but my high school Russian history teacher was so passionate and engaging that I remember

While I love the small-town feel, it would be helpful to have at least one or two more “big box” shopping options for those who can’t travel. Favorite spots in the Valley — restaurants, recreation, et al:

that class fondly. I adore music and had a band teacher in middle school who was moved to tears by our work. He too was so passionate about what he did and always challenged us to be better. These memories have stuck with me over the years. Most essential attributes for an educator? Passion, enthusiasm, being a good listener and connecting with kids. Most fulfilling aspect of your work in education? The excitement students have when they have persevered and created something they are proud of. Your take on the smartphone revolution and its impact on education: The ease of communication, connection and information at your fingertips has been great, but I think it often gets misused and it is a challenge to find a balance in the classroom. The greatest obstacle students face today, and how we can help them overcome it: Social media — teach them digital citizenship skills and help them understand how to use technology for good. Anecdote offering a snapshot of your work in education: I have spent my entire career in Simsbury in Family and Consumer Science education, and every day is a new adventure with students in foods, sewing, gardening and more! Follow us on Instagram @hjmsgardens and @fcs.forlife

Millwright’s Restaurant & Tavern, LaSalle Market & Deli, Tiger Belly Noodle Bar, McLean Game Refuge, Simsbury Meadows Performing Arts Center and Talcott Mountain State Park. More on the outskirts of the Farmington Valley, I enjoy Penwood State Park and Peak Mountain. Favorite books — up to three: I am an avid reader, so it’s tough, but I will narrow it down to a few of my toprated: the Silo series by Hugh Howey, “My Sister’s Keeper” by Jodi Picoult and “Still Alice” by Lisa Genova. Favorite TV shows — up to three: Not a big TV watcher, but I love documentaries, especially crime ones, game shows and many of the Law & Order shows. Family — Happily married to my husband Mike since 2005. We have two kids: Madelyn (Maddy), who is 14, and Samuel (Sam) who is 10. We also have a rescue dog, a Persian cat and a tortoise! Further comment — as you wish: Teaching is one of the most challenging professions, especially in today’s world, but I love the kids and have trouble imagining myself anywhere else. +

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Edith Skiba LaMonica — Oil on Canvas Paintings

ARTIST — continued from page 10 equally appealing. I’m currently teaching acrylic painting at the Farmington Valley Arts Center in Avon. As a young woman I discovered a unique space in which I could practice a skill that became the channel for my voice. Art allows the imagination to explore. For beginning and practiced painters in my classes, art becomes an adventure. My solo exhibitions in Connecticut include Five Points Gallery in Torrington, Tunxis Community College in Farmington, Northwest Community College in Winsted, The Underground Gallery in Collinsville, The Loft Gallery in New Preston and Gallery on the Green in Canton. My work has likewise been featured in Newsday, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Trenton Times, the New Britain Museum of American Art Bulletin and various other media outlets. + www.EdithSkibaFineArt.com www.EdithSkibaStudioArt.com Email – eslamonica@icloud.com Facebook > Edith Skiba LaMonica 16

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/\ Impressionist Garden – 20x24 inches ——— Hydrangea – 12x12 inches \/


Sunrays pierce a canopy of clouds over Dunning Lake at Winding Trails in Farmington

Courtesy Photos

CAMP — continued from page 12 Despite this immense growth, one thing remains the same: Nearly 290 Winding Trails employees — 13 full-time and 275 seasonal and part-time staff — continue to uphold their commitment to building fun and educational programs that promote the organization’s three guiding principles. Those principles are: providing a sense of community, teaching leadership and life skills, and (most importantly) fostering a love and appreciation for nature and the outdoors. One major program at the heart of the nonprofit is the Winding Trails Summer Day Camp, held each year from late June to early August. The summer camp was also initiated in 1947. “It is hard to believe we are going on our fourth generation of children to attend our program,” says Brown. “Members who attended the first Winding Trails now have great-grandchildren coming to camp.” He adds: “The other highlight is the staff who have worked here each summer

————————————————————————— Exclusive interview with Winding Trails director Scott Brown ————— PAGE 18 ————————————————————————— helping to build these kids to be more resilient, empathetic and responsible — they are really the reason we have been so successful.” The nonprofit’s Campership Fund was established in ’47 when the camp initially opened. This scholarship program started with each board member financially sponsoring two children so they could go to camp. Since then, the program has expanded significantly, offering free or discounted camp tuition. The Campership Fund helped 70 children attend camp during the summer of 2020, according to the Winding Trails website. Much of the scholarship support comes from Winding Trials’ annual giving program, known as the Trails Fund, that is boosted by several fundraising events

Campers sing a song at the Winding Trails amphitheater

throughout the year — one example is the Drive “fore” Campership Golf Tournament. Over the years, the success of the summer day camp has given Winding Trails the necessary resources to execute large projects that have added to the beauty and opportunities available at the facility. Early examples include the development of Dunning Lake — which serves as the facility’s main body of water for members to relax, enjoy nature and spend time with friends and family — but also newer projects like the construction of Nature’s Porch to support fun educational programs relating to wildlife and the environment. In the summer of 2017, Winding Trails completed the Boathouse Pavilion, providing picnic and program space for up to 200 people. The recently completed Staff Appreciation Walk highlights over 400 summer staff members who have worked at Winding Trails for at least five years. However, the progress doesn’t stop there — this summer the organization plans to carry out more exciting projects and events to honor the 75th anniversary. Brown notes that the nonprofit will hold a staff alumni event on July 9, inviting employees from past summers to return to Winding Trails. “The search is on,” he says, “to find people to bring back to camp this summer to share their memories.” + Contributing writer Lily Kunkel is in the Class of 2022 at Avon High School — she has been both a camper and counselor at Winding Trails Summer Day Camp

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NOTEWORTHY NONPROFITS

For 75 Years, Winding Trails has served Valley Special to Today Magazine

Executive director Scott Brown answered this Q&A on behalf of Winding Trails —————————————————————————————— Mission:

Winding Trails Inc.

50 Winding Trails Drive • Farmington Scott Brown • Executive Director (860) 677-8458 scott@windingtrails.org

Winding Trails Inc. is a nonprofit organization serving people from Farmington and surrounding communities providing year-round recreational and educational activities for the enjoyment and growth of families and individuals of all ages.

time. Although a lot has changed in the world since the 1940s, camp in many ways has remained the same.

Winding Trails is dedicated to the conservation and stewardship of natural woodlands and waterways that allow outdoor programming, character development and other activities that strengthen the lives of those we serve.

Camp provides kids the opportunity to meet new friends and take risks in a supportive, caring atmosphere. In many ways camp is more important than ever for the growth and health of our children today.

Guiding principles:

What are some highlights from the past 75 years?

• Love for the outdoors — We instill a love for the outdoors and an appreciation for nature. We recognize the importance of the outdoors to our quality of life and health. We are committed to the conservation of the natural environment. • Sense of community — Providing opportunities for families and friends to spend quality time together and share outdoor adventures, in welcoming and safe surroundings, is at the core of everything we do. We also understand we are a unique regional resource and recognize the importance of working collaboratively with our local and regional neighbors. • Leadership and life skills — Through our recreational and educational programming we provide opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds to learn and to demonstrate leadership skills, cooperation, responsibility, communication and sportsmanship. We encourage participants to utilize these skills in all aspects of their lives. Winding Trails Inc. founded — 1947 Winding Trails Summer Day Camp founded — 1947 Number of employees: 13 full-time • 275 part-time What are your thoughts about the 75th anniversary of the camp? We are very excited about this summer and hitting the milestone of 75 camp seasons. It is hard to believe that our program has benefited over 80,000 youth during this 18

www.windingtrails.org

The greatest highlight of the past 75 years must be the children. Camp started with less than 100 kids per day attending from the town of Farmington. Today, we average over 600 kids per day coming from dozens of towns and several different states. It is hard to believe that we are now going on our fourth generation of children to attend our program. Campers who attended the first season of Winding Trails now have greatgrandchildren coming to camp. The other highlight is the staff who have worked here each summer helping to build these kids to be more resilient, empathetic and responsible. They are really the reason we have been so successful. Camp is the foundation of Winding Trails, and its success has provided the resources to add numerous programs and facilities over the years. These include large projects such as the construction of Dunning Lake, the Sportsplex, Nature’s Porch and more. How do you plan to honor the camp’s 75th year? Our Winding Trails spring/summer newsletter highlights our 75 years with six articles talking about our beginnings, growth and achievements. We will be celebrating the 75th anniversary throughout the summer. We recently completed a Staff Appreciation Walk with bricks from over 400 staff who have worked at least five years at Winding Trails. We will also hold a staff alumni event on July 9 with staff from over the years.

JUNE 2022 – www.TodayPublishing.net – TODAY MAGAZINE

————————————————————————— Feature on 75th Anniversary of Winding Trails ————— PAGE 12 —————————————————————————

The search is on to find people to bring back to camp this summer to share their memories. Most fulfilling aspect of your work? The people we meet through our programs. Whether it is the summer camp program, a special event or program, or just a family enjoying Dunning Lake, the enjoyment you see on people’s faces and comments they make are heartwarming. Winding Trails is a beautiful 380-acre facility that is the perfect setting for people to relax, recharge and enjoy the outdoors, family and friends. Your biggest challenge, and how do you overcome it? The biggest challenge for Winding Trails right now is the demand for our programs — our Summer Day Camp has averaged over 600 campers per day, and each year we fill many age groups within one month of registration opening. For the 2022 camp season, over 500 children are on the waitlist hoping for a spot to open. Membership for Winding Trails is even more popular, with a waitlist of six years on average. There is a similar demand for many of our other 30-plus programs. Addressing this demand is problematic as we try to strike a balance between serving our constituents, protecting our natural resources, and providing quality programs. What year was the Campership Fund established — and how does one qualify for the Campership Fund? The Winding Trails Campership Fund is our scholarship program for children. It was started back in 1947 when each board member would sponsor two kids to go to camp. Today the program has expanded dramatically and is supported by our Trails Fund and several fundraising events, such as our Drive “fore” Campership Golf Tournament — the Trails Fund is Winding Trails’ annual giving program. Children qualify by completing an application and verifying need. +


PUB — continued from page 13 the four dads themselves played a large role, allowing the pub to hit the ground running. While all of the dads were new to the food industry and continued their regular full-time jobs, they were able to self-learn the skills required for them to fulfill their roles at the pub. Boffi focuses on the menu, weekly specials, events, catering and kitchen oversight. Fino is the spirits expert, oversees the bar, manages ordering from distributors, and is the audio and digital technology expert. Smyth takes charge of the finances. Garbeck is in charge of the social media presence, staff hiring and scheduling, and booking the bands that perform live music at the pub. “We try to give a dash of rock and roll to everything we do,” says Garbeck. “Subtle is not something we go for.” Much credit must also be diverted to the dedication of their employees, says Garbeck: “They are some of the most talented folks around and have become extended members of our families.” Of course, Four Dads Pub couldn’t possibly be successful without high-caliber food and drink. A monthly bourbon-tasting event with a paired dinner epitomizes the care and thought that goes into the pub’s menu. Every month, Fino chooses a spirit, bourbon, beer or another type of alcohol to serve as the guiding

theme for that month’s special menu. Then Boffi and the chef team research the history of the spirit and the foods typically served with it. “All these dishes are different and all these dishes are unique,” says Garbeck. “They contain the story of the old foods that they were typically served with and the spirits back then.” The menu is designed to reflect the traditional presentation of that spirit while adding some innovations of their own to modernize the dishes. These monthly events have typically sold out at the pub, along with the wine dinners the four dads have been invited to host at local breweries. The Granby community has played a monumental role in shaping the success of Four Dads Pub. “We have been overwhelmed by the support of local businesses and local residents,” says Garbeck. “Everyone has gone out of the way to make us feel welcome and supported the pub throughout the pandemic.” The dads have made it their mission to return the support the community has given them. “We take the Dad in our name very seriously,” says Boffi. “We are all coaches in town. We all lead community events on our own. And now that we’re all together, it just makes natural sense to support schools, or someone in town who is having a rough stretch, or a local restaurant that is in trouble.” Four Dads Pub partners with Granby-based food pantry Waste Not Want Not and sponsors the Farmington Valley YMCA. This community work hasn’t gone unnoticed. In 2021 the pub was voted the best neighborhood bar by the Hartford Courant’s Best Of campaign. Besides donation and volunteer work, the four dads support local rock-and-roll bands. “We have live music six nights a week from April to October, weather permitting,” says Garbeck. “We try to give up-andcoming new bands an opportunity to perform.” The pub also hosts bigger-name bands. As the man in charge of the tunes, Garbeck says the live music and the vibe make Four Dads Pub “different than any other pub you’ll go to.” The success of Four Dads Pub comes from a combination of good music, good food and drink, a dedicated staff, and a mission to create a hub of support and belonging within the community. The dads are working to expand this experience beyond Granby. A new Four Dads location opened earlier this year on Asylum Street in Hartford. + TODAY MAGAZINE – www.TodayPublishing.net – JUNE 2022

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