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AVON TODAY A PRINT-AND-DIGITAL MONTHLY MAGAZINE

APRIL 2019

HEAT-SEEKING HEROES

INSIDE: FIRE CHIEF BRUCE APPELL • SCIENCE TEACHER CHRIS McKENNA • AVON HISTORY: TOWN ORIGINS


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Welcome to Avon Today

CONTENTS

FROM THE PUBLISHER’S DESK

COVER STORY

IF CANTON TODAY MAGAZINE was feeling lonely, April offers some solace — in the form of two new magazines that debut this month. Yes, Avon Today and Simsbury Today have joined the established Canton mag! Now that there are three print-and-digital monthlies under the Today Publishing banner, we’ll be fine-tuning our news coverage. Some features will be distinct to each magazine, while other features will appear in all three where that makes good sense — for instance, community and business news. If you run a business or nonprofit in Avon, would you want your news published in Avon Today only ... or in all three magazines? Me too — it’s a no-brainer. This month’s cover story is another good example. We’re offering a comprehensive package on the volunteer fire departments in Avon, Canton and Simsbury, featuring in-depth interviews with the chiefs from each town. When we spotlight high-profile town officials and the like, we figure there’s a compelling interest across town lines — especially when there’s a gripping first-responder focus. Welcome to Avon Today! +

8 — MORE THAN UNSUNG HEROES If 9/11 redefined heroism in America, volunteer firefighters redefine the term unsung hero locally. A trio of fire chiefs speak out about the power of volunteerism. HONORING FIRST RESPONDERS

6 — Ready to Roll

Bruce Deckert • Publisher + Editor-in-Chief 860-988-1910 • Bruce.Deckert@TodayPublishing.net www.TodayPublishing.net Find the digital editions of Avon Today, Canton Today and Simsbury Today at www.TodayPublishing.net

Facebook — www.facebook.com/TodayPublishingCT LinkedIn — search: Today Publishing

Avon fire chief Bruce Appell prepares his volunteers to be ready for any emergency.

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ACCENT ON EDUCATORS

Contributing Writers — Nora O. Howard, Norm Sondheimer

13 — Science Teacher Relishes Challenges

Editorial Associate — Kayla Tyson

Educators need to give students tools for managing external pressures, says Chris McKenna.

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CALENDAR

Contributing Photographer — Wendy Rosenberg • 860-305-2199

14 — Events Galore for All Ages

News Deadline — May 1 for the June issue Cover Photo by Connecticut Headshots

Dramas, movies, concerts and innovative library programs highlight a jam-packed Calendar. HIGHLIGHTS OF AVON HISTORY

15 — Avon’s Origins Trace to Farmington

Avon was founded in 1830 after a northward thrust by Farmington residents who sought land.

AVON BY THE NUMBERS

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QUOTE OF THE MONTH “My goal ... is to keep the department volunteer. ... There is a great deal of talent within the department.” — Avon fire chief Bruce Appell

The number of volunteer fire stations in town

TODAY PUBLISHING • www.TodayPublishing.net • APRIL 2019

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Baldis glad to give back to his hometown Canton Today Staff

SIMSBURY FIRE CHIEF James “Jim” Baldis became a volunteer firefighter in 1975. He has been chief of the Simsbury Volunteer Fire Company for 15 years. Born in Westport and raised in Simsbury, Baldis has lived in town since 1960. He will turn 62 in late April. Here’s his Q-and-A with Today Publishing: Today Publishing Magazines: Why did you decide to serve as a volunteer firefighter? Jim Baldis: I wanted to give to the town I grew up in and did not want to get involved in politics. A schoolmate in high school was a member and encouraged me to join, which I did right after graduating high school. TPM: What is the most satisfying aspect of your volunteer work? Baldis: Helping others when they are facing a bad life experience. TPM: What’s the most challenging aspect of your work, and how do you meet the challenge? Baldis: Having to respond to incidents and tragedies that involve members of the

community you have known a good part of your life, especially children. To meet that challenge, I remind myself that ... my response can hopefully make things better for those involved and their families. TPM: What is your most memorable fire call? Baldis: There were two — one of my first ones, which was a tobacco barn fire where I was the first to the firehouse and drove the engine to the fire. The fire ... was spectacular and made me feel a bit overwhelmed as to how we would ever get it out. We did lose that barn but saved the others, which are still standing today in the middle of the field on Hoskins Road. The other call was the more recent barn fire where there was a loss of over 20 horses at Folly Farm. I was command at that fire, and while we had an excellent response and quickly suppressed the fire, the loss of life was overwhelming. Even knowing that loss occurred well before we got the call does not make it easier to accept the impact it had on our firefighters, the farm, the farm family and our community.

HONORING FIRST RESPONDERS TPM: Please share an anecdote that gives a snapshot of your firefighting work: Baldis: I guess the traditional “cat in the tree” call, which does exist — yes, we have rescued a cat or two from trees. Not in all cases are we able to help, but we are willing to at least check to see if we can help in some way. We have also rescued baby ducks that had fallen into the storm sewer and were unable to get out to reunite with their mother. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the time we had to rescue pygmy goats that were placed on the Simsbury High School roof as a senior prank. While our service is not always spectacular, I can assure you it is often emotional and we do our best to help. TPM: Of the movies or TV dramas you’ve seen about fire departments, which one comes closest to the real deal? Baldis: The movie Ladder 49 — the firefighting may not be real, but the life of a firefighter, the brotherhood and sisterhood and the fire service family that exists is real.

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The best thing about Simsbury is...: The sense of community and helpfulness that seems to permeate the town. The main thing I’d like to see change in Simsbury is...: A little slower pace so we can all recognize and enjoy what we have here in this town and not wish it away by looking ahead to tomorrow. Favorite spots in Simsbury: The old Flower Bridge (I remember when it was a one-way bridge and common courtesy dictated alternating traffic across the bridge) • Heublein Tower and Talcott Mountain, and their iconic connection to Simsbury and the Farmington Valley • Simsbury Center, due to its historical roots and buildings. Further comment: The successes that I have achieved in my life are largely a result of the support of my family and the community of volunteers who also serve this town as members of the Simsbury Volunteer Fire Company. They are the reason this town benefits from the high level of emergency fire and rescue service provided by all volunteers who, like myself, want to help our neighbors who are calling for our help. The members themselves and the families who stand behind them (like my own) truly make Simsbury great! Giving of themselves to help others ... what more could you ask for? Full-time job: Facilities manager for the Simsbury Fire District Previous work history: Prior to working full time for the Fire District, I worked for the Hartford Courant for almost 20 years, and was the general manager for Greci Fuel / West Side Oil in Granby/Suffield. Family: Wife, Anne (married 42 years) • 4 grown daughters who are married — 3 live in Simsbury (including 1 son-in-law who is also a member of the Fire Company) • 12 grandchildren +

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Lockwood: Volunteering brings ‘amazing’ satisfaction Canton Today Staff

CANTON NATIVE Bruce Lockwood became chief of the Canton Volunteer Fire & EMS Department in January. He has nearly four decades of public safety experience. Lockwood, 53, served on the Canton Board of Selectmen from 2009-11. Here’s his Q-and-A with Today Publishing: Today Publishing Magazines: What year did you begin serving with the Canton Volunteer Fire & EMS Department?  Bruce Lockwood: In 1983, I joined the Collinsville Volunteer Fire Department, one of three separate fire departments in town at the time, as an EMT. I watched the fire apparatus go out on calls and watched the firefighters train. I then realized that I also wanted to become a firefighter. I remember finding myself Canton Fire & EMS chief Bruce Lockwood in awe. This group of men (at that time HONORING FIRST RESPONDERS served as the town’s director of emergency there were no women firefighters in the management from 1997-2007. department) were problem-solvers. learn just how much TV programs, such as those, can impact a They each had unique knowledge and skills, beyond their fire generation. I’ve remained a member of the department because expertise. Collectively, they usually found an answer or solution I believe I am a better person for the experiences I have had in to a wide variety of issues. Later in life, I would figure out that it the Fire & EMS service. These experiences have impacted my life, was the teamwork and the human bond that attracted me. When and I wouldn’t change anything. Both the good and the bad have you’re young, you just know you want to be a part of something. made me a more grounded and compassionate individual. Some people may define it as a calling or a pursuit, and I guess TPM: What prompted you to pursue the chief’s role? in some ways it was. But at the time, I just knew I wanted to Lockwood: The Fire & EMS Department faces several be a part of it. Note: In the late 1990s, the three separate fire challenges in the upcoming years: departments consolidated into one townwide Canton Volunteer • With volunteerism on the decline, we have to work to both Fire & EMS Department. retain our current incredibly dedicated members and do a better TPM: What year did you begin living in Canton? job attracting individuals to serve. Lockwood: I am a native of Canton. My family has deep • We will also be looking at daytime staffing issues that may roots here. My grandfather was the State of Connecticut require paid fire personnel. DOT foreman for the area during the 1955 flood. My uncle • In addition, replacing the outdated Collinsville Station is under worked for the Collins Company until it relocated. And my consideration by the town. mother was a Canton police dispatcher. I felt that my experience, which includes both my career and TPM: What motivated you to serve with the Volunteer Fire & my community service — including 17 years in the Canton Fire EMS Department? Marshal’s office and serving on the Board of Selectmen — would Lockwood: I grew up when shows like Adam 12, Emergency! be needed at this critical time. We as a department, collectively, and 240-Robert were on TV. Over the years, I have come to

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need to work on smart solutions for these and other issues. TPM: What has been the most rewarding aspect of your Fire & EMS work? Lockwood: There are two things that I find especially rewarding: The first is when we can be proactive vs. reactive. During my time as Canton’s Fire Marshal, we worked hard to promote sound fire safety messages — specifically [in] our schools. Over the years, during the aftermath of a fire or other emergency incident, we heard that a child had been the voice of reason or the stabilizing factor during a crisis. Their parents told us it was the work we had done with the kids throughout each school year that made a difference. The second is when we are able to share in milestone events, or other moments of success, with department members and their families, knowing we may have played a small part. The impact we all have on others, I believe, is how we should measure self-reward and success. TPM: What is the most challenging aspect of your Fire & EMS work, and how are you able to address that challenge?  Lockwood: There is an amazing feeling of satisfaction when you have the opportunity to serve. That feeling,

however, comes with an incredible window into tragedy and sorrow. In general, people don’t call for our services because they’re having a good day. We see people when they are in crisis and most vulnerable. Dealing with that challenge requires a strong sense of family with other department members and, just as important, a strong and loving family at home. Volunteering is a commitment in and of itself, and many people do it in many different ways. Our department’s volunteers commit their time, on a nonotice basis, in austere conditions and environments, leaving family dinners, school concerts and more. Our families sacrifice so that we can serve. They are also our strength. Without family support, we could hardly exist.  TPM: What do you see as the greatest strength of the Volunteer Fire & EMS Department? Lockwood: I have a favorite quote: “Turnout gear is the most valuable and vital piece of equipment in the fire service. But without a firefighter to fill it, it’s nothing more than a coat and a helmet sitting on a truck.” So the answer is simple: It’s the dedicated men and women — in our Fire, EMS, Fire Police Divisions and Cadet Program — who make

up the department. Their individuality and experiences are what, collectively, make the department what it is. TPM: Where can the department improve? Lockwood: We will do a better job of using data to support our planning processes, as we look not only at investment justification for our annual budget but also for the future of the department. We need to use the data we’ve already collected but have not leveraged in the past. We also need to look at the bigger picture, and not just in Canton. Are there areas where we can partner or work together to improve services? TPM: Please share a brief anecdote that provides a snapshot of your Volunteer Fire & EMS work: Lockwood: Throughout my career, I’ve had the opportunity to be an active participant in the delivery of several babies. A “field delivery” of a baby is a scary event. If we as first responders are there, it is because something in the expected delivery plan has gone wrong. But when you get to be witness to such a happy event in a family’s life, it’s very uplifting in a profession that mostly focuses on stress and tragedy. +

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BEATING THE HEAT “There is an amazing feeling of satisfaction when you have the opportunity to serve. That feeling, however, comes with an incredible window into tragedy and sorrow.” — Canton Fire & EMS chief Bruce Lockwood 8

APRIL 2019 • www.TodayPublishing.net • TODAY PUBLISHING


COVER STORY + HONORING FIRST RESPONDERS

Volunteer Firefighters

Much More Than Unsung Heroes

supplied fire protection from the 1800s until the company closed in 1966. In 1950, company employees formed the Canton 9/11 — THESE TWO NUMERALS, Memorial Ambulance, which merged with severed by that slash, are seared into the Collins Company Fire Department in America’s psyche. 1963. When the company shut its doors These numerals rouse images of in ’66, the Collinsville Volunteer Fire terrorist-controlled airliners colliding Department was established. Today, the with Twin Towers. These numerals Canton Volunteer Fire & EMS Department recall stories of eyewitnesses who vividly serves 10,000-plus residents. recollect where they were when those The Avon Volunteer Fire Department burning skyscrapers imploded. celebrated its 75th anniversary last year. And yes, these numerals evoke Formed in 1943, the department protects Will you be ready to make accounts a life change? of extreme heroism ... of so many 18,000-plus citizens via its four fire firefighters who rescued lives — and lost stations. Simsbury has six stations, while their lives — on that fateful day. Canton has three. The three departments With over 70 locations across the country, THE MAX firefighters Challenge in the tri-town area While provide mutual aid as needed. is the fastest-growing fitness concept thatofisAvon, provenCanton to transform and Simsbury don’t Avon fire chief Bruce Appell observes RESULTS lives. Built on teamwork and support, this have 10-week body and NUTRITION MOTIVATION FITNESS to contend with vertically soaring that such mutual support heightens the mind renewal system is designed to make long-lasting changes buildings, there’s another difference impact Getthat to isknow us. of a tragedy like 9/11: “The lives to your physical appearance and overall well-being through a perhaps more significant: They volunteer lost on that day can never be replaced or combination of fitness, nutrition, and motivation. www.THEMAXChallenge.com THEMAXChallenge.com to put themselves in harm’s way for their forgotten. Firefighters are a large family <Phone#> 860-269-0636 fellow citizens. [and] 9/11 brought to light the dangers of <Address> #THEMAXCHALLENGE 315 West Main Street • Rt. 44 — next to Marshalls @maxofavon “We’re glad to do it,” says Simsbury the job that we face when someone wants <City>, <State> <ZIP> Avon, CT 06001 fire chief James “Jim” Baldis, who notes to harm others.” that the most difficult aspect of his job Canton chief Bruce Lockwood shares MA60-110315_PrintAdTemplate_V7_HalfPageHorizontal_Phase1_Editable.indd 1 12/23/16 4:56 PM is “having to respond to incidents and not only a first name with Appell but also a tragedies that involve members of the start date — both took on the chief’s role in community you have known a good part of January 2019. your life.” “There is an amazing feeling The fire departments in Avon, Canton of satisfaction when you have the and Simsbury maintain a volunteer opportunity to serve,” Lockwood says. model that has served these towns well “That feeling, however, comes with an for decades. The Simsbury Volunteer incredible window into tragedy and Fire Company marks a milestone this sorrow. ... We see people when they are in year — its 75th anniversary. Founded in crisis and most vulnerable. Dealing with 1944, the fire company serves 23,000-plus that challenge requires a strong sense of residents. Before ’44, Simsbury-based family with other department members Ensign Bickford provided fire protection and, just as important, a strong and loving for the town. family at home.” In Canton, the Collins Company Baldis, who will turn 62 in late April, By Bruce Deckert Today Publishing Editor-in-Chief

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was born in Westport and raised in Simsbury. “9/11 brought to light “9/11 was the tipping point where the the dangers of the job ... when firefighter became recognized as a first Preview Only someone wants to harm others.” responder on a broad basis,” he notes. (Layout includes a margin clear of text and graphics “When the planes dropped from the skies — Bruce on 9/11installation) ... as part of a terror plot, that ormation may be covered by Appell frame and/or clips during certainly changed me — and I believe the entire fire services perspective on the scope and potential of our response. As time and circumstances evolve, we continue to expand our training, which involves working in partnership with law enforcement and EMS in response to potential domestic events.” Baldis has served as chief for 15 years. He has been a volunteer firefighter since 1975. Appell, 50, has lived in Avon his entire life and has been a firefighter for 23 years. Lockwood, 53, has lived in Canton his whole life and became a volunteer firefighter in 1983. The family theme resonates with this Noris Christensen trio of chiefs. 374 Hopmeadow Street • Simsbury, CT 06089 “Our families sacrifice so that we can 860-651-8236 serve,” Lockwood says. “They are also www.Insuranceagentswhocare.com Find out how you can get improved value and peace our strength. Without family support, we of mind. Call or visit our office today! could hardly exist.” Lockwood’s granddaughter, daughter and son-in-law live in Simsbury — under the careful watch of Baldis and his

volunteers. Lockwood also has relatives in Avon under Appell’s watch. “The successes that I have achieved in my life,” Baldis says, “are largely a result of the support of my family and the community of volunteers who also serve this town.” We call them unsung heroes — and while that’s an apt description, maybe it isn’t enough. Volunteer firefighters are unsung heroes, yes, but they’re more than that. Perhaps we need a new nomenclature. Action sports — aka extreme sports — are defined as high-risk activities that often involve speed, height, serious physical effort and specialized gear. Sound familiar? Firefighters encompass all the above — and when we consider that firefighters in Avon, Canton and Simsbury put their lives on the line as volunteers, the following might be a better designation: extreme unsung heroes. + Today Publishing editor-in-chief Bruce Deckert is an award-winning journalist. For a Q-and-A with each chief, see page 11 (Avon’s Bruce Appell), page 6 (Canton’s Bruce Lockwood) and page 4 (Simsbury’s Jim Baldis) “Direct Access to Your Health”

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Appell’s career arc has taken him from cadet to chief Today Publishing Staff

HONORING FIRST RESPONDERS

BRUCE APPELL began serving with the Avon Volunteer Fire Department in 1986. Since then, he has risen in the ranks — from cadet all the way to chief. He took on the chief’s role in January. Appell, 50, is an Avon native who has lived in town his whole life. A 1990 graduate of SUNY Delhi, Appell has taken advanced courses in arson investigation at the University of New Haven. He has served as a firefighter in Meriden. Following is his Q-and-A with Today Publishing: Today Publishing Magazines: Why did you decide to serve as a volunteer firefighter? Bruce Appell: I enjoy helping people. TPM: What is the most satisfying aspect of your volunteer work? Appell: Being able to help someone in their time of need. TPM: What’s the most challenging aspect of your work, and how do you meet the challenge? Appell: Maintaining the department as a

volunteer [organization], and being able to recruit new members. TPM: Your most memorable fire call? Appell: The truck crash at the base of the mountain in 2005 [on Route 44]. TPM: Please share an anecdote that gives a snapshot of your firefighting work: Appell: In my last 33 years with the department, I have been a chief officer for 22 years. Since 1960 there have been eight other chiefs. I have worked for four of them. There is a great deal of talent within the department. TPM: What is your full-time job? Appell: I’m a career firefighter. I have been on the job for the past 23 years. The best thing about Avon is...: It’s a small town that is close to everything you need. The main thing I’d like to see change in Avon is...: The town needs to invest in its infrastructure. Favorite spots in Avon: Being able to drive around town and see the old barns and farms that are still undeveloped. Further comment: My goal along

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with the Board of Directors is to keep the department volunteer. We need to think outside the box as we move forward. We will be actively recruiting people to join the department. We need firefighters, Fire Police, and headquarters staff for data entry, accounting, photographers and more. If interested, you can stop by any of the firehouses on Mondays from 7-9 p.m. or any day at Company 1 on Darling Drive. Family: Wife, Nancy Frodermann; Daughter, Kirsten Appell (19); Son, Jamison Appell (16) +

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ACCENT ON EDUCATORS

Teaching tough science concepts? Bring it on!

doable for 7th- and 8th-graders is fun to take on. Michio Kaku), The Killer Angels (by TPM: What are the most important attributes Michael Shaara), various nonfiction for an educator? science books FOR SOME PEOPLE, the task of teaching McKenna: Patience and understanding are Favorite TV shows: Breaking Bad, middle school students about difficult the two biggest for me. Students come from Impractical Jokers, Friends + scientific topics isn’t high on the list of different backgrounds and possess different agreeable activities. But for Chris McKenna, tools, so not every student is going to be at the this very task is right in his wheelhouse. same place at the same time or do it the same A Simsbury resident, McKenna is a way. It’s important for an educator to realize that science teacher at Canton Middle School. in a class of 22, you have 22 different stories, and He began his role as Team Hybrid Science sometimes school isn’t the most important thing Teacher in August 2016. Before arriving in on a student’s mind that day. Canton, he served as a substitute teacher in TPM: What is the greatest challenge facing the Torrington Public Schools from 2013-15. students today, and how can educators help McKenna, 28, was born students meet that challenge? in Torrington and raised in McKenna: The external pressures on Harwinton. He lived in Harwinton students have to be very hard. They’re (with his mother Delfina, father growing up in a world that’s heavily Chris Sr. and brother Brian) from influenced by social media, technology age 4 through his college years. and more exposure of the world than McKenna moved to Simsbury ever before. I think this must be very in May 2017. His favorite difficult. It’s important for educators, restaurants include DaCapo of especially counselors and guidance Avon and Table 570 Asian Fusion staff, to provide the tools necessary for in Simsbury. students to maintain a healthy mental McKenna He enjoys hiking up Talcott state in these times. Mountain to Heublein Tower in Simsbury. TPM: What is your take on the smartphone Talcott Mountain State Park straddles Avon revolution and its impact on education? and Simsbury as well as Bloomfield. McKenna: Like anything else, there’s a right By the way, McKenna knows something and a wrong way to utilize technology. I think about another mountain pastime — he the smartphone can might be able to give you a few tips about be an incredibly skiing ... and the physics thereof. From powerful tool if used 2006-16, he worked at Ski Sundown in right. ... However, the New Hartford as a lift attendant and temptation is there parking supervisor. McKenna addressed an (in any human being, assortment of topics in his Q-and-A with not just students) Today Publishing: to use technology Today Publishing Magazines: Why did inappropriately or at you decide to become an educator? inappropriate times, Chris McKenna: I enjoy teaching, and and I think that’s a with our SAT or ACT prep programs the satisfaction for both the students and balance that is going myself when something “clicks” is extremely to be an issue ... for a Huntington has the best SAT rewarding. I teach what I deem to be while to come. $ or ACT prep programs for WHEN YOU CALL BEFORE 06/30/19* students seeking improved test difficult concepts in terms of difficulty and Favorite books: Personalized Attention. Proven Results. scores and better college choices. workload, so the personal challenge that Physics of the Our Premier, 32-Hour, and 14I deal with in packaging it into something Impossible (by Dr. By Bruce Deckert Today Publishing Editor-in-Chief

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Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner Theatre Guild of Simsbury Eno Memorial Hall, Simsbury Saturday 3/30 – 7 pm Sunday 3/31 – 2 pm Saturday 4/6 – 2 + 7 pm Talkback with cast after matinee on 4/6 • Sidney Poitier, Kate Hepburn were in ‘67 movie Community Blood Drive Covenant Pres. Church, Simsbury Tuesday 4/2 – 1-6 pm American Red Cross drive Info: 800-RED-CROSS www.redcross.org Chronic Pain Self-Management Simsbury Senior Center Wednesdays 4/3-5/8 – 1-3:30 pm Learn nutrition, exercise+ Register – 658-3273 Changing Ways: YA Author Talk Canton Public Library Wednesday 4/3 -- 7 pm Julia Tannenbaum’s debut book on mental illness, recovery • Free A Matter of Balance Canton Senior Center Starts Thursday 4/4 – 10 am-12 Free • Award-winning program of FV Health District • 8-week class Ben & Jerry’s Benefit for Trinity Nursery School Ben & Jerry’s, Canton Thursday 4/4 – 4-9:30 pm School receives some proceeds Katharine Hepburn: From Hartford to Hollywood Canton Public Library Saturday 4/6 – 2 pm Free • Register at 693-5800 Talk on Hepburn’s career 7 Bridges Road: A Tribute to the Eagles Bridge Street Live, Collinsville Saturday 4/6 – 8 pm $23-$30 • 5 vocalists, 3 guitarists, keyboards, bass, drums — all you expect in an Eagles song Beer Snob: National Beer Day Avon Public Library Sunday, 4/7 – 2 pm Author Will Siss (The Beer Snob) on history of beer in CT Panel Talk: School Shootings Tunxis Com. College, Farmington Monday 4/8 – 1:15 pm Free • Wheeler Clinic experts on mental health strategies for those impacted by school shootings Why We Care about Ruth Ware Avon Public Library Monday 4/8 – 6:30 pm Discuss bestselling British author, stories by women about women Cherry Brook Garden Club Canton Community Center Tuesday 4/9 – 11 am Secrets of the cutting garden, guests welcome 14

CALENDAR Send your events to — newsroom@TodayPublishing.net 14th Annual Free Cone Day Ben & Jerry’s, Canton Tuesday 4/9 – 12-8 pm Donations for Canton Fire & EMS Fire truck and ambulance tours Book Discussion: Canada Avon Public Library Tuesday 4/9 – 7 pm Consumption Tuesday 5/7 – 7 pm The Home for Unwanted Girls (copies at reference desk) Live-Animal Program with Animal Embassy Canton Public Library Wednesday 4/10 – 1:30 pm Free • Register at 693-5800 Learn about world wildlife Author Talk & Book Signing Avon Public Library Wednesday 4/10 – 2 pm Deborah Levison’s award-winning book – true crime narrative that deals with Holocaust issues Bodytalk Book Signing Bodytalk, Avon Wednesday 4/10 – 4-8 pm Defining You by Kathy McAfee, hosted at Bodytalk, 51 E Main St. Nic+Zoe In store Pop Up Shop Bodytalk, Avon Thursday-Sunday 4/11-4/14 10% off • Bodytalk, 51 E Main St. Dolley Madison Squeeze Avon Public Library Thursday 4/11 – 2 pm Once-in-a-lifetime chance to “meet” first lady Dolley Madison (presented by History at Play) Anthony Gomes Bridge Street Live, Collinsville Thursday 4/11 – 8 pm $20-$30 • Bluesman, rocker and songwriter has played with Heart, B.B. King and Robert Plant AARP Safe Driving Program Canton Community Center Friday 4/12 – 9 am-1 pm $15-$20 • Register – 693-5811 Intro to Calligraphy Canton Public Library Saturday 4/13 – 2:30 pm Free • Learn Gothic-like lettering Register – 693-5800 The Garden Tourist: Destination Gardens in the Northeast Canton Public Library Saturday 4/13 – 2:30 pm Free • With Jana Milbocker, author of The Garden Tourist Photography of Wild Alaska Avon Public Library Monday 4/15 – 6:30 pm Award-winning photographer offers stunning look at Alaska

APRIL 2019 • www.TodayPublishing.net • TODAY PUBLISHING

Afternoon with Zora Neale Hurston Avon Public Library Tuesday 4/16 – 2 pm Gwendolyn Quezaire-Presutti to present dramatic performance celebrating African-American life Canton Senior Center Trips Wednesday 4/17: Casino Day Sunday 5/5: Mamma Mia! Wednesday 5/29: Broadway Info • 693-5811 Outstanding Film Series Avon Public Library Thursday 4/18 – 6:30 pm The Intouchables Thursday 5/16 – 6:30 pm Whiplash Thursday 6/13 – 6:30 pm Paper Clips Bodytalk Spring Fashion Show Bodytalk, Avon Thursday 4/18 – 7 pm Plus after-hours shopping until 9 Teen Writing Contest: Deadline Sponsored by Canton Library Thursday 4/18 – by midnight Call library for info • 693-5800 10th Annual Blood Drive Avon Volunteer Fire Department • Company 1 Fire Station Friday 4/19 – 11 am-4:45 pm American Red Cross drive Info • 800-RED-CROSS www.redcross.org Landscapes and Still Life Gallery on the Green, Canton Friday 4/19-Sunday 5/19 Maxwell Shepherd Memorial Invitational Exhibition • Paintings and drawings by Margaret Grimes and Ruth Miller Earth Day Poetry Celebration Canton Public Library Monday 4/22 – 7 pm Free • Register at 693-5800 Hear, share natural world poems Avon Historical Society 45th Annual Meeting Avon Public Library Wednesday 3/24 – 7 pm Open to public • Presentation of Apollo 11 exhibit at 6:30 pm Make It GF: Exhibit at Gluten-Free N.E. Expo Oakdale Theatre, Wallingford Sunday 4/28 – 9:30-3:30 pm Canton-based Make It GF offers free samples • Info: 693-1300 www.makeitgf.com 24th Annual River Run Simsbury Meadows Sunday 4/28 – various times USATF 5K, 10K + kids’ run; all funds go to college scholarships www.SimsburyRiverRun.com

Veterans Coffee Houses • Simsbury Senior Center 1st Monday each month – 10 am • Canton Community Center 2nd Monday each month – 9 am Connect with area veterans, talk about issues, resources • Free Library Programs Canton Public Library • Technology Help Drop-In Mondays – 3 pm • Drop-In Story Time: Age 3+ Tuesdays – 10:30 am • Crafternoon: Grade 4+ Tuesdays – 3 pm • Strategy Games: Grade 4+ Wednesdays – 3 pm Little Artists: Ages 3+ Thursdays – 1:30 pm • NHS Homework Help Thursdays – 3 pm • Toddler Story Time Fridays – 10:30 am • Family Movie Matinee Fridays – 3 pm • Free Board Game Cafe Storyteller’s Cottage, Simsbury Fridays – 4-9 pm $5 • Play fantasy-themed games in secret hidden castle room (snacks, drinks $1 each) Open Mic Night LaSalle Market, Collinsville Fridays – 6-10:30 pm To perform, call ahead or come at 5 • 693-8010 Grief Support Weekend Retreat Our Lady of Calvary, Farmington Friday-Sunday – 5/3-5/5 For those who’ve lost spouse via death, divorce or separation www.BeginningExperience-ct.org Bird & New Growth Hike Sun, Wind & Woodland Preserve • 200 Breezy Hill Road, Canton Sunday 5/5 – 7 am Look for new bird species with Canton Land Trust’s Jay Kaplan Botanical Hike Swan Preserve • 25 Case Street, Canton Saturday 5/11 – 10 am See growth in forest with Canton Land Trust’s Sarah Faulkner CT Trails Day Hike Starts at Capen Cabin • 270 Breezy Hill Road, Canton Sunday 6/2 – 2 pm Hike Ratlum Mountain with Canton Land Trust directors Canton Land Trust Picnic Capen Cabin • 270 Breezy Hill Road, Canton Sunday 6/2 – 4 pm Info • www.cantonlandtrust.org Palette to Palate FV Arts Center, Avon Tuesday 6/11 $50-$55 • FVAC fundraiser Enjoy food and art together


Avon’s origins trace to move north by Farmington folk By Nora O. Howard and Norm Sondheimer Avon Historical Society

Welcome to a monthly column featuring the rich history of Avon. The text for this first column comes from a series of 13 seven-foot-tall pop-up banners called Moments in Avon’s History. Each has a different story of our town’s history, and each is available for free on loan for display in public places such as business lobbies, entrances to restaurants, etc. Contact the Avon Historical Society at 678-7621 for details.

Nora O. Howard is Avon’s Town Historian. Norm Sondheimer is a member of the Avon Historical Society. www.AvonHistoricalSociety.org

Courtesy images

IN THE LATE 1600s, a small number of Farmington residents moved north to the “land att Nod” for farming and grazing land. In 1750, the Connecticut General Assembly recognized the area as a parish of Farmington called Northington. The name changed again when the Town of Avon was incorporated on May 5, 1830 by decree of the General Assembly. The “Eastern View of Avon” (right column) was sketched by John Warner Barber on Oct. 7, 1834 as he stood on the mountain looking west. His book with views of Connecticut towns, Connecticut Historical Collections, was published in 1836. Look carefully and you can see (L-to-R) the Farmington Canal Warehouse, the Baptist church, the canal administration building and the Avon Congregational Church. The town at this time also had the Farmington Canal connecting New Haven, Conn., to Northampton, Mass.; the Albany Turnpike (Route 44) connecting Hartford to Albany, N.Y.; the West Avon Congregational Church; mills, a hotel, several inns and six one-room schoolhouses. There were 192 families and 1,025 residents. Schoolhouse #3 (top right) is Avon’s oldest public building. It operated from 1823-1938 and was located on Country Club Road near the Avon Free Public Library. The Avon Historical Society moved the schoolhouse to East Main Street in 1982 and operates the building as its headquarters. The map of Avon in 1830 is by Dorothy Anderson, based on research by Gladys Thompson August, Marian M. Hunter, MaryFrances MacKie and Betty Morton, for Mrs. MacKie’s book, Avon, Connecticut: An Historical Story (1988). +

HIGHLIGHTS OF AVON HISTORY

Schoolhouse #3 is Avon’s oldest public building. ... The Avon Historical Society moved the schoolhouse to East Main Street in 1982 and operates the building as its headquarters.

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FOX NON-TROT This fox visited the backyard of Canton residents Jeff and Wendy Rosenberg after a March snowstorm. Wendy has had photo exhibits at McLean in Simsbury and Roaring Brook Nature Center in Canton. Wendy’s Natural World photo exhibit adorned the Canton Library in January and February.

Photo by Wendy Rosenberg

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Avon Today Magazine • April 2019  

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NOTE: A clickable icon (bottom right of mag box) enlarges the magazine • Send news: newsroom@TodayPublishing.net • Advertising info: 860-988...

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