Avon Today Magazine • May 2019

Page 1


APRIL 2019

NATURE AND NURTURE Director Jay Kaplan educates, motivates at Roaring Brook Nature Center INSIDE: SAVE NOD ROAD • WELDEN HARDWARE TURNS 130 • HISTORIC HOME IS AN AVON GEM

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5 — LEARNING TO NURTURE NATURE At Roaring Brook Nature Center, director Jay Kaplan emphasizes the essential nature of ... nature. Education is a hallmark of his career and calling. NOTEWORTHY NONPROFITS

4 — Save Nod Road observes first anniversary

The grassroots nonprofit remains resolute in its warning about the consequences of unchecked development. BUSINESS BEAT

Bruce Deckert • Publisher + Editor-in-Chief 860-988-1910 • Bruce.Deckert@TodayPublishing.net

Avon Today • Canton Today • Simsbury Today www.TodayPublishing.net – digital editions on website Facebook — @TodayPublishingCT LinkedIn — search: Today Publishing

8 — Welden Hardware Turns 130

Yes, the signature Simsbury business opened in 1889. John and Melissa Brett have run the store since ’04.

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Contributing Writer — Janet Conner • Editorial Associate — Kayla Tyson

13 — Historic home: abandoned to renovated

The earliest section of a classic Greek Revival house on West Avon Road dates to circa 1760. SPORTS REPORT

15 — Local Swimmer Makes Olympic Trials

Canton High School senior Will Gallant has qualified for the Olympic swimming trials in two events.


THE FIRST RETURNS and reviews are in ... and it appears that the debut of Avon Today and Simsbury Today has been a success. The two new magazines launched in April, joining already-established Canton Today — and giving Today Publishing three print-and-digital publications. Thank you to everyone who has voiced kudos about the debut. It’s a familiar story: After investing much time and effort in a project, it’s definitely encouraging to hear compliments and commendations. For a sample of some of the kind comments that have come our way, see the letters to the editor on the back cover. One critique I’ve heard — some readers said there were too many ads. They wanted more news. On the one hand, I hear you: I wish there were space for all the news we receive ... though that’s like wishing an entire soccer team could fit in an economy car. On the other hand, I’m grateful for our advertising sponsors. Their investment is giving you this town-focused magazine with local news that you’ll find virtually nowhere else — and in the process they’re benefiting from a print-and-digital ad package that I believe is demonstrably better than every other local option. A print circulation of 24,500. Digital editions with links to advertiser websites. Full-color glossy throughout. If someone wants to step up and sponsor an ad-free magazine, I’m all ears. But in the meantime, you’re invited to join the advertising party! Thanks again to all who have expressed enthusiasm about our debut.

Photographer — Seshu, Connecticut Headshots • 860-593-0850 www.ConnecticutHeadshots.com • info@ConnecticutHeadshots.com

Contributing Photographer — Wendy Rosenberg • 860-305-1655 Cover Photo by Connecticut Headshots

QUOTE OF THE MONTH “These continued approvals for development leave permanent scars and change our landscape forever.”


— Save Nod Road Co-President Robin Baran

Backers of nonprofit Save Nod Road hail from 7 states

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Save Nod Road marks first anniversary Today Publishing Staff

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whose priority is preserving open space in Avon and beyond. What is the most fulfilling aspect of your nonprofit’s work? The connections we have made with our supporters, which have proven our work has purpose. What is the biggest obstacle you face in your work, and how can you overcome it? To preserve Nod Road and the valley below Heublein Tower along the scenic Farmington River. Our work unites the community around the value of open spaces. What is your nonprofit’s most satisfying accomplishment so far? The recent unanimous decision by Avon’s Inland Wetlands Commission on an application which, if approved, would have amended the Town’s wetlands map and opened the door to construction along Nod Road. The public’s concern surrounding the proposal was tremendous.

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SURELY YOU’VE SEEN the roadside signs that have sprouted like spring flowers in the past year across Avon, Canton, Simsbury and beyond: SAVE NOD ROAD. Perhaps you wondered at first what the signs meant. Perhaps you still wonder, but if you pay attention to the Hartford An aerial view of a section of Nod Road. Courant, Fox 61 and WFSB 3, you likely know by now what the green signs signify. What is your nonprofit’s mission? The Courant even featured the grassroots Nod Road Preservation, Inc. (NRP) aims Save Nod Road nonprofit, which was to protect the natural beauty, country established in May 2018, on a Sunday- peacefulness and authentic charm edition front page. associated with Nod Road and the greater Still not sure? Here’s a hint: In January Farmington Valley through responsible 2018, when Simsbury-based Keystone land management. NRP’s goals include Companies proposed a development of 95 permanent land preservation, protection single-family homes on part of Blue Fox of wildlife and expanding open space areas Run Golf Course in Avon — on the southern into neighboring towns. section of Nod Road — the founding of Save Nod Road was set in motion. For the uninitiated, Nod Road begins in Avon at Route 44 (at the western base of Avon Mountain) and heads north into Simsbury, ending at Route 185. About 3 miles long, the road is just east of the Farmington River. If you’re still mystified (or not) read on... Co-President Robin Baran answered this Q-and-A on behalf of Save Nod Road. Nonprofit — Nod Road Preservation, Inc. We do business as Save Nod Road. By educating residents, working with Preview Only Location — Avon, Connecticut local government and regulatory agencies, Website — www.savenodroad.org (Layout includes a margin clear of text and graphics and implementing alternative land use Facebook — Save Nod Road solutions for the benefit of all citizens and ormation may be covered by frame and/or clips during installation) Instagram — savenodroad visitors of the area, NRP represents those

Your goals for the next five years? To share and realize our vision about an exciting future for the scenic open space along Nod Road. To support similar missions in other scenic and historic areas. What volunteer opportunities are available with your nonprofit? Help us complete the strategic vision for the future of Nod Road. We need those who have expertise in the law, environment, fundraising and communications. Besides donations, how is your nonprofit funded? Donations only. What are the most interesting stats and numbers associated with your nonprofit? NRP has nearly 1,000 supporters from 25 towns across Connecticut and spanning seven states from Massachusetts to Florida. Does your nonprofit work closely with town organizations and/or other local nonprofits? Yes. The Farmington River Watershed Association, The Children’s Museum and Roaring Brook Nature Center. We are in regular communication with state and federal organizations. Please add other info as you wish: Email us at contact@savenodroad.org to keep updated on all proposed development along Nod Road. Board: 8 (Avon, Bloomfield, West Simsbury) • Officers: 4 • Employees: 0 What do you appreciate most about Avon? And what constructive change would you like to see in town? The vast open space where I am fortunate to live. Nod Road, its soaring bald eagles, great herons, ridgeline, watercourses and wetlands. I hope the town will take a step back and examine current development underway in Avon and Simsbury — the residential and commercial units that remain unoccupied. What defines us as a quaint, colonial New England town will be ruined if we are not careful and aware of the long-term consequences of our decisions. These continued approvals for development leave permanent scars and change our landscape forever. +

Photos by Connecticut Headshots • 860-593-0850 • www.connecticutheadshots.com

During the April school break, Roaring Brook Nature Center director Jay Kaplan introduced a reptilian friend to 6th-grader Ketan Badrinath and his brother Rohan, an 8th-grader. The students are Avon residents.

NURTURING AN APPRECIATION OF NATURE At Roaring Brook Nature Center, Kaplan stresses importance of environmental care By Bruce Deckert • Editor-in-Chief Avon Today • Canton Today • Simsbury Today

NEW YORK CITY seems an ironic place for a formative encounter with wildlife — but that is exactly the locale where Jay Kaplan, director of Roaring Brook Nature Center, learned to more fully appreciate nature. “I have been keenly interested in the natural world and wildlife since I was a young child,” Kaplan says. “I would visit my father’s family in the Bronx, three blocks from Yankee Stadium, and go to a park where people would feed squirrels and birds. These are early memories of being close to wildlife.” Kaplan grew up in suburban Long Island, where he and a friend would play in a wooded area that “is now a subdivision — this was my first introduction to finding toads and salamanders.” When he went to summer camp, while others played ball, he chased more salamanders. Since 1976, Kaplan has lived in a residence at the Nature Center on Gracey Road in Canton. He and his wife, Kate Simmons Kaplan, married in 1982 and have a son (Josh, 34) and a daughter (Sarah, 31). Josh and his wife Katelynn have a son (Jayden, 1). Jay Kaplan, who turns 70 in late May, began working at Roaring Brook Nature Center in October 1973 in the role of naturalist. He has served as director since 1975. Regarding his résumé before Roaring Brook: “I’ve been here 45 years — anything I did prior to that is a long time ago,” he quips. “As a child, a friend and I would observe and collect items from the natural world,” says Kaplan. “I remember having

COVER STORY a grasshopper collection, bringing home garter snakes that sometimes got loose in the house, and making a list of birds seen in our neighborhood — a list I recently uncovered.” Kaplan recalls that his mother once asked him why his love for animals didn’t lead him to become a veterinarian. “That was never my calling,” he says. “No one ever encouraged me, a kid growing up on Long Island, to continue in this field. It leads me to sometimes think that naturalists are often just born with that innate curiosity about the natural world.” A graduate of Cornell, Kaplan first heard about the Nature Center in a somewhat serendipitous way: He was “hanging around the graduate office” at Penn State University, where he earned his master’s degree in outdoor education, when he saw a job posting.


“My experience as an environmental education major at Cornell gave me a thorough background in flora and fauna,” Kaplan says. “When I went to Penn State ... I learned how to communicate this natural history knowledge to others. Thus, upon graduation, I was well-positioned to [be] an environmental educator.” His work as an educator often takes him to schools in Avon, Canton, Simsbury and elsewhere. Roaring Brook Nature Center has been affiliated with The Children’s Museum of West Hartford (formerly the Science Center of Connecticut) since 1973, and the two facilities are

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frequented by visitors from across Connecticut and beyond. Kaplan appreciates the opportunity to share his enthusiasm for nature with students: “Working with the public, especially children, remains rewarding to me after these many years. ... It is vitally important for [people] to take an interest in the world around them and develop an understanding about how their actions affect the environment in which we live.” Roaring Brook Nature Center opened in 1948, but then it was known as the Canton Children’s Nature Museum. In 1964, the adjacent 100-acre Werner Farm was given to the Nature Center as a wildlife sanctuary. A new facility was built in ’66, providing space for more programs and exhibits. In 2018, the Nature Center completed a major renovation project — “the largest since the building opened in 1966,” Kaplan notes — and was honored as the Canton Chamber of Commerce’s Business of the Year. “There is always more to do and there are numerous ways we can improve our offerings to students and to the public,” says Kaplan, who is chair of the Canton Conservation Commission and a Canton Land Trust board member. “We need to keep up with ever-changing technology in order to let people know what we have to offer. We need to increase our volunteer base as it is more difficult to attract volunteers today.”


Besides Kaplan plus the volunteers and part-time staff, four Roaring Brook Nature Center employees work 30-plus hours per week: assistant director Margery Winters of Simsbury, naturalist Katelyn Stryeski of West Hartford, wildlife care manager Alecia Langlois of Simsbury and educator/volunteer coordinator Samantha Corbett of New Hartford. “All things in the natural world have fascinated me since I was a very young child — animals, plants, soil, rocks, weather and



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“I have been keenly interested in the natural world and wildlife since I was a young child.” — Jay Kaplan water,” says Winters, 65, a West Simsbury resident since 1986. A native of Canada, Winters began volunteering at Roaring Brook in 1993, joined the staff part-time in ’95 and became fulltime in 2006. “It has been a great pleasure to work at the Nature Center and to help it grow over the years,” says Winters,. “I would have loved to have had a nature center near me when I was a child, and appreciate the special role that such centers have in helping young and old develop a love and understanding of the natural world.” Langlois, 29, began working full-time at Roaring Brook in January 2017 after also having volunteer and part-time roles. “The staff here is much more like a family than a group of colleagues, comprised of ... compassionate, educated and supporting individuals,” she says. “It’s both the people and the animals that make it all worthwhile.” A Connecticut native, Langlois says she can’t trace her appreciation for nature to a single formative experience. “I can say that I have been completely overwhelmed at times by things that nature has provided to me,” she affirms. “The crisp, clean smell of a pine forest and cool dirt beneath my feet, seeing the sun rise over the ocean, captivation by the wildlife in my backyard, feeling the wind in my hair — when you learn that every little thing plays a part in making those experiences available to you, you appreciate those little things a whole lot more.” In a high-tech, fast-paced society inundated by smartphones and smart TVs and artificial intelligence, nature education can be an antidote for technology’s adverse consequences. If you’d like to counter the status quo with some natural intelligence, Roaring Brook Nature Center is at your service. “There is a famous saying by environmentalist Baba Dioum,” says Kaplan, “that goes like this: ‘In the end, we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, we will understand only what we are taught.’ Education continues to be important in that everything in the natural world is interrelated, and people must understand that their actions play a role in shaping the environment we all share and in which we all live. That is what we strive to do on a daily basis.” The classic philosophical question asks: nature or nurture? In this case, the answer is: both. +


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The Director’s Favorites

“It is vitally important for [people] to take an interest in the world around them and develop an understanding about how their actions affect the environment in which we live.” — Jay Kaplan

Editor’s Note — Borrowing from the classic “Sound of Music” song, we asked Roaring Brook Nature Center director Jay Kaplan about a few of his favorite things. What is your favorite story about an injured animal that wound up at Roaring Brook Nature Center? There are quite a few over the years. Successful and interesting rehabilitation stories include the young fisher we rehabbed and released in a state forest, the river otter that was found in an Avon backyard and eventually released into the Farmington River, and the osprey that was so tangled in fishing line that its tongue was purple. Had it not been brought in, it would have surely died, but we were able to untangle and release it. I also have a great story about a common loon that came down in a parking lot, also tangled in fishing line, and was later released at Nepaug Reservoir. Your favorite Connecticut animal, tree and flower? I don’t know if I have favorites. I like and am interested in a wide range of wildlife. I participate in bird, amphibian, butterfly and dragonfly censuses. Our state flower, mountain laurel, is a wonderful plant. I don’t know that it is my favorite. I like the early spring wildflowers like bloodroot, columbine, trillium and trout lily. There is something about being in a grove of mature hemlock trees and, of course, there is something special about sugar maple trees for obvious reasons. Your favorite animal worldwide? Oh, there are so many, including ones I will never likely see in the wild, but are fascinating. I saw a platypus as a child at the Bronx Zoo. I’ve seen pandas at the National Zoo. Animals seen in the wild that have had powerful effects on me include the California condor, the resplendent quetzal seen in Panama and Costa Rica, grizzly bears in Alaska and probably a few others. Favorite Connecticut state parks — For one, Hammonasset Beach State Park. There are many natural areas in Connecticut that I enjoy, from Canton Land Conservation Trust properties to state forests and other preserves. Favorite books about nature — Kon-Tiki by Thor Heyerdahl (read as a child) and Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey Favorite TV show about nature — Nature (PBS) Favorite spots in Canton (restaurants, recreation, etc.) — Right here on Gracey Road. Other spots include Onion Mountain, Meadow Road, Mills Pond. Restaurants: Green Papaya, Saybrook Fish House. Fill in the blank: After someone visits Roaring Brook, the biggest takeaway I want them bring home is ___: Learning something they did not know prior to coming, and having additional questions to be answered on their next visit. +

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Welden Hardware celebrates 130th anniversary Business model aims to serve close-knit town By Bruce Deckert • Editor-in-Chief Avon Today • Canton Today • Simsbury Today

John and Melissa Brett Photos by Connecticut Headshots • 860-593-0850 www.connecticutheadshots.com

WELCOME TO AN IMPROMPTU HISTORY QUIZ: What does Welden Hardware have in common with the following events? The inauguration of Benjamin Harrison as the 23rd U.S. president ... the opening of the Eiffel Tower... and the publication of Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. Hint: These events took place the year that Welden Hardware was established — 1889. Yes, really ... 1889! The signature Simsbury business is celebrating a dual anniversary in 2019 — the store’s 130th and John and Melissa Brett’s 15th as store owners. A Simsbury native, John began working at Welden a few months after his college graduation in 1988, starting as a sales associate before becoming the full-time power equipment mechanic and then the general manager. When the opportunity to buy the business presented itself, he found himself at a career crossroads: He could either switch gears and find a conventional 9-5 job, or take the ownership plunge. “The prospect of owning a business and working side by side with my wife was much more appealing,” he says. “So we decided to take the risk.” This risk/reward venture has been a team effort since its inception in 2004. Melissa (50) manages Welden’s business operations while John (54)

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“This is more than a business. Simsbury is unique because there are so many mom-and-pop businesses. We get to know our customers and see their kids grow up.” — Melissa Brett oversees the day-to-day hardware and power equipment needs of customers. They met at Gordon College (Mass.) and married in 1990, settling in Simsbury. “It’s neat to be part of a community,” says Melissa, who grew up in Northampton, Mass. “This is more than a business. Simsbury is unique because there are so many mom-and-pop businesses. We get to know our customers and see their kids grow up — from babies to high school graduation. We talk about the soccer games and the college hunt.” John and Melissa have two children: Tyler (22), a 2018 UConn grad who is a structural engineer in Glastonbury, and Erin (19), a UConn freshman and animal science major. “Our kids have grown up in the store — helping customers, stocking shelves, assembling power equipment and grills, ringing out sales, and learning the ups and downs of owning and running a small business,” says Melissa, who was a department team leader at Cigna in Bloomfield (1990-96) before moving to Maximus in Hartford (1996-2002) as the

systems manager and then a database design consultant. For this husband-wife team, variety is the spice of life at Welden Hardware — as John says, “Every day is different.” Melissa notes that when challenges arise for customers, “It can be a bit of a puzzle. We like to solve those puzzles.” She addresses an assortment of other topics in a Q-and-A with Today Publishing: Why did you choose this line of work? John started at Welden Hardware a few months after graduating college — over the years he learned all the many aspects of managing a small business. Melissa worked in corporate life for years but stopped working a few years after our second child was born. In 2003 the thencurrent owner approached us to see if we wanted to buy the business, and on May 1, 2004 we entered the fantastic journey of business ownership. What do you enjoy most about your work? Sounds corny, but our customers — we

have a great relationship with them, and it’s great seeing their kids grow up, grieving with them when a family member passes away, cheering on a huge accomplishment. Probably a close second is that our kids were able to grow up in the store alongside us, making it a truly family-owned and -operated business. We’re even able to bring our dog every day to work — we are a dog-friendly store, and we love to have customers bring in their pups too. What are some obstacles you face, and how do you strive to overcome them? Being a small store, some people think we don’t have certain items, but we have been creative in our display space and have over 12,000 active product lines, not counting all the nuts and bolts. We also are extremely competitive on grills and power equipment, often beating the big boxes, and we ensure that all our products go out in excellent condition, not just shoving a box in a customer’s car. Some people don’t realize that we have a full power equipment shop in our lower level,

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AT YOUR SERVICE John Brett of Welden Hardware (left) and Kyle Burkholder, owner of Burkholder’s Werkshop in Simsbury, contemplate the finer points of a chainsaw. Welden Hardware has a power equipment shop in its lower level and services all brands, whether or not the item was purchased at Welden. John began working at Welden Hardware in 1988, and he and his wife Melissa bought the store in 2004.

since it’s not visible — we service not only all the equipment we sell, but all brands. We try to tell all our customers about all the services that we offer — the list is pretty long. We keep updating our website to inform customers of this information and post regular Facebook tidbits for each season. What is your company’s most satisfying accomplishment in recent years? I think the most satisfying is just being able to help our customers when they are lost on how to do a project — we strive to help

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every customer out, even if it doesn’t mean we make a sale. AT YOUR SERVICE is truly our way of doing business. What are your goals for the next five years? Expand our services offering, and get the word out. We offer so many in-house services from power equipment repair, lamp repair and knife sharpening — we have signs in our windows and post information online, but several times a week we get asked if we service lawn mowers or repair screens. We strive to do everything to help all our customers ... from the contractor to the first-time homeowner, even if it doesn’t always end up with a sale. What sets your business apart? Service! When you walk in the door, we expect every staff member and ourselves as owners to immediately greet a customer with a smile, and hopefully an answer to their needs. We don’t have cashiers, but each valued employee walks customers to the areas where they need items, helps with advice, and will even load up their car. What do you appreciate most about the local business climate? Again, we have to say our customers. Being in such a tight-knit community, we feel it’s important that we know our customers and that they feel appreciated. Helping others out is something that we truly love about owning our business in Simsbury. Some examples: We have run items over to another business when they had pipes freeze in their business; an order of batteries to the high school theater a few hours before opening night; and delivering and spreading ice melt for several homeowners when they were frozen in. We are all neighbors and need to look out for each other. It shouldn’t always be about making money, but doing the right thing. What constructive change would you like to see regarding the local business climate? Honestly, having local mom-and-pop businesses being recognized as the backbone of this state. Business retention is very important to having a town and a state succeed, and we feel that Hartford puts a lot of tax burden on small business owners without any assistance. Simsbury businesses and residents are very loyal to this town, and that is very unique. Our town is great for small businesses, but the state should reward businesses that have been around for many generations — not drive them out with unreasonable regulations and taxes. +

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BUSINESS BEAT Send your milestone business news to newsroom@TodayPublishing.net

Simsbury residents Marc and Lori Lubetkin have established the Small Business Education and Reference Collection in the Simsbury Public Library’s business resource center. “After years of being an entrepreneur and professor,” Marc says, “I have found that a more concise and focused selection of books can be more effective for small business owners and entrepreneurs than searching through a large library.” Marc and Lori moved to Simsbury in 2003 and have operated Red Stone Pub in town since 2010. Lori works for the Simsbury Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center. They have volunteered with the Simsbury Historic District Commission, Simsbury Culture, Parks & Rec Commission, Farmington Valley Trails Council, PAW Meadows Dog Park, BSA Troop 76 and Tariffville School.


THE MAX Challenge, a fast-growing fitness concept known for its 10-Week Challenge, is opening a new location in Avon in May. A comprehensive 10-week body-and-mind renewal program, the Challenge combines a varying workout regimen with an easy-tofollow nutrition guide to help members achieve and sustain optimal health and fitness. Classes led by energetic instructors provide a high level of motivation and support.“Our goal is to make our members not only healthier people, but happier people,” says Avon franchise owner Maureen DeMartino. 860-269-0636 • Rt. 44, Avon – by Marshalls

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The Simsbury Chamber of Commerce moved to a new office in April. Incorporated in 1961, the chamber had been in its previous location, in the lower level of the Simsbury Free Library on Hopmeadow Street, since May 1992. The chamber’s new home is in the Cannon Building at 720 Hopmeadow St. • Info: 651-7307

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Lori and Marc Lubetkin and son Joshua


Lifelong friends Sarah Lavoie and Michael Russo have combined their efforts and expertise by creating Aire Salon, a boutique salon for men and women designed to offer clients a look-good, feel-good outcome. Lavoie and Russo offer a fresh approach and attitude for their full-service luxury salon, which provides precision haircuts and styling, hair extensions and airbrush makeup. They are committed to sharing their “world of beauty” with professionalism, dedication and passion. Lavoie and Russo are excited not only to bring

Leigh E. King has been named to Forbes magazine’s list of Best-in-State Wealth Advisors. The list recognizes financial advisors who have demonstrated exemplary ethics, professionalism and success. The rankings are based on data provided by over 11,000 of the nation’s most productive advisors. A Central Connecticut State grad, King was chosen based on assets under management, industry experience, regulatory and compliance record, and revenue produced over a three-year period. He is part of Simsbury-based King, Prell & Associates, a private wealth advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. 651-5969 • 963 Hopmeadow St., Simsbury

Dr. Elena Bielawski – DDS, FICOI, FMIII


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Dance Camp & Intensives Summer Intensives Ages 7 and Up

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AVON TODAY • CANTON TODAY • SIMSBURY TODAY – www.TodayPublishing.net – MAY 2019


How to deal with volatile markets as you approach retirement Special to Today Publishing King, Prell & Associates RETIREMENT is an important milestone that often comes after years (or decades) of careful planning. For those who’ve saved diligently and are nearing the end of their careers, the mere thought of market volatility can send shivers down their spines. Will a sudden drop in the value of their portfolios impact their ability to retire? Should they put their retirement plans on hold so they can maintain a steady paycheck? If you are in this situation, now’s a good time to assess whether you have the right plan in place to help you transition confidently into retirement, no matter what happens in the broader market. Here are some tips. 1. Pick your retirement date If you haven’t already, take time now to decide the year and month when you want to retire. You may find it is closer than you think, just a few years away. Or you may decide you want to extend your time in the workforce — whether it’s continuing your current career or moving into a new full- or part-time role. Either way, your answer can have a big impact on your investment decisions from this point forward.

2. Ensure your investments are diversified Various parts of the market react to headlines and economic drivers differently. For those nearing retirement, the recent spike in volatility is a reminder of how having a broadly diversified portfolio can help reduce your investing risk. The goal of diversification is that if some of your investments lose value, those losses could be offset by gains with other investments.

Having a broadly diversified portfolio can help reduce your investing risk. How do you know if you’re properly diversified? Make sure your portfolio contains a mix of stocks, bonds, mutual funds, short-term cash investments, savings and other investing vehicles that take into account your goals and comfort with risk. Further, ensure you understand how each asset or investment in your portfolio is helping you reach your financial goals. If you’re unsure or want a second opinion, consider consulting a financial advisor for guidance. 3. Balance protection with growth Protecting your portfolio from current or future market downturns becomes more

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MAY 2019 – www.TodayPublishing.net – AVON TODAY • CANTON TODAY • SIMSBURY TODAY

FOCUS ON FINANCE important as you approach the day when you start living off your savings. Consider investing money you plan to use for income in the first years of retirement more conservatively in liquid vehicles that are easy to access. This can give you peace of mind that you are prepared to handle upcoming expenses if the markets swing. Remember, your retirement could last 20, 30 or even 40 years. Balance your need for protection with continuing to grow your nest egg. Assets you won’t need for some time could be more aggressively positioned. At a minimum, ensure your assets can keep pace with rising inflation. When the market moves, it’s an opportunity to compare your investment strategy to your goals. Are you on track? No matter the answer, there are steps you can take to feel more confident about your ability to retire when and how you want to. For additional help, talk to a financial advisor who will provide guidance on how to manage your money for today’s market. +

King, Prell & Associates is a private wealth advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services • www.KingPrell.com • 651-5969 963 Hopmeadow St., Simsbury

Investment advisory products and services are made available through Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc., a registered investment adviser. Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. Member FINRA and SIPC. © 2019 Ameriprise Financial, Inc. All rights reserved.


Once abandoned, historic home is an Avon gem By Janet M. Conner Avon Historical Society

Courtesy Photo

THIS DIAMOND in the rough was the home of Daniel D. Derrin, whose ancestors were early settlers of Avon. The current owners, John and Chrissie Desopo, saw potential in this blighted old house with overgrown landscape. John is a professional home builder and Chrissie a talented artist. The home was abandoned when they purchased it over 30 years ago. These owners were up to the challenge to bring this wreck back from obscurity with vision, sweat equity and financial investment. Not only did they salvage the house, they created a spectacular garden landscape! A 1997 architectural survey by the Connecticut Historical Commission noted: “This house is one of the bestpreserved examples of Greek Revival architecture in Avon, highly unusual for completely retaining appropriate sash exterior siding, brick chimney and all its characteristic Greek Revival features. The corner pilasters, doorway treatment and cornice return are all typical of the way that rural house carpenters sought

289 West Avon Road: before and after to make a farmhouse convey the sense of an ancient Greek temple … the house was the home of Daniel Derrin, a farmer and one-time Whig representative to the State legislature.” In addition, Mr. Derrin was a grand juror for Avon in 1846, and in 1888 he was on the Board of Education. His two brothers, Ammi and Jarius, lived on either side of him on their respective farms. An authentic letter written by Daniel and Ammi to their parents, dated 1841,

has been found online. In it, the brothers discuss helping their father Timothy remodel the house when they return from Missouri. The house is comprised of three sections — the oldest dates to circa 1760, the rear section was formerly part of a school, and the Greek Revival part is circa 1810. This home is a prime example of historic preservation and an Avon gem. + Janet M. Conner is a member of the Avon Historical Society. www.AvonHistoricalSociety.org

HITCHCOCK is right around the corner

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The Shoppes at Farmington Valley, Route 44 in Canton The Hitchcock Chair Co., Route 20 in Riverton Amanda Cole • Felicia Jordan • Amy McCallum

Carol Cole•Broker/Owner Licensed in CT


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Bodytalk•(860) 678-7855 51 East Main St., Avon, CT

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AVON TODAY • CANTON TODAY • SIMSBURY TODAY – www.TodayPublishing.net – MAY 2019


CALENDAR Concerts + Comedy at Bridge Street Live 41 Bridge Street, Collinsville • The Bandits of Comedy • $25-$35 Friday 5/3 – 8 pm • Comedy Night: Joey Kola: $15-$25 Friday 5/10 – 8 pm • Running on Empty: $25-$30 Saturday 5/11 – 8 pm • Mud Morganfield: $30-$40 Friday 5/17 – 8 pm • Comedy Night: Tony V: $20-$30 Friday 5/24 – 8 pm • Christine Ohlman & Rebel Montez with Lovelace/Lesiw: $18-$25 Saturday 5/25 – 8 pm • Strat-Masters Reborn: Tribute to Hendrix, Stevie Ray and Chicago Blues Band: $18-$25 Friday 5/31 – 8 pm Nutmeg Book Award Party Canton Public Library Wednesday 5/1 – 6:30 pm Free • Grades 4+, first look at 2020 Nutmeg Books, food served Exact Digital Media Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony Avon Old Farms Hotel Thursday 5/2 – 10-11:30 am Win 1-month digital marketing campaign, donate to Gifts of Love First Friday Dinner Avon Congregational Church Friday 5/3 – 5:30-7:30 Friday 6/7 – 5:30-7:30 $7-$13 • Some proceeds to charity Shrek the Musical Jr. Canton High School Friday 5/3 + Saturday 5/4 – 7 pm Canton Middle School production $10 adults, $5 kids

Send your events to — newsroom@TodayPublishing.net Grief Support Weekend Retreat Our Lady of Calvary, Farmington Friday-Sunday – 5/3-5/5 Spouse loss: death, divorce, sep. www.BeginningExperience-ct.org Momtography Photog Class Little Green Tambourine, Canton Saturday 5/4 – 10 am-2 pm For cost and more info: MomtographyCTWest@gmail.com Jewelry Hospital: DIY Workshop Canton Public Library Saturday 5/4 – 11 am Free • Register 693-5800 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 Canton Senior Center Trips Sunday 5/5 – Mamma Mia! Wednesday 5/29 – Broadway Info: 693-5811 Book Discussion: Canada Avon Public Library Tuesday 5/7 – 7 pm The Home for Unwanted Girls (copies at reference desk) Make it GF at Celiac Kids Event Boston Children’s Hosp., Waltham Saturday 5/11 – 9:30-2:30 Canton-based Make It GF to have booth with Celiac Kids Connection Info: 693-1300 • www.makeitgf.com Botanical Hike Swan Preserve • 25 Case Street, Canton Saturday 5/11 – 10 am Led by Canton Land Trust

50 Hikes in Connecticut Canton Public Library Saturday 5/11 – 11 am Free • Book talk by author Mary Ann Hardy about great hikes in CT Outstanding Film Series Avon Public Library Whiplash • Thu 5/16 – 6:30 pm Paper Clips • Thu 6/13 – 6:30 pm Swedish Death Cleaning Canton Public Library Saturday 5/18 – 2:30 pm Free • Reduce your possessions and the burden on family Landscapes and Still Life Gallery on the Green, Canton Thru Sunday 5/19 Maxwell Shepherd Memorial Exhibit Art by Margaret Grimes, Ruth Miller Woman in the Iron Coffin Canton Historical Museum Sunday 5/19 – 2 pm With archaeologist Scott Warnasch, who led post-9/11 WTC analysis Teen Writing Contest Winners Canton Public Library Monday 5/20 – 6:30 pm Free • Top teen writers share work in garden reading (bring blanket/chair) Planning and Paying for College: What Every Parent Should Know Abigail’s Grille, Weatogue Wednesday 5/22 – 6:30 pm Free • RSVP 651-5969 • Hosted by King, Prell & Assoc. of Ameriprise Pooch Photography Workshop Canton Community Center Wednesday 5/22 – 6:30-8:30 pm $25-$30 • Benefit for Friends of Canton Dog Park • Info: Eventbrite


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Red Stone Pub Happenings Red Stone Pub, Simsbury • Tuesday Trivia – 7-9 pm Eat. Drink. Think. Prizes! • Wednesday with John Mayock Live music — Americana at its best • Thirsty Thursdays Dollar dogs — Darts 7-9 pm • Saturday Nights Dinner entrees • Yappy Hour, 3-6 on the patio • DJ and music, 6-9 • Happy Hour — every day till 6 pm All drinks $2 off, app specials! A Matter of Balance Canton Senior Center Thursdays thru 5/23 – 10 am-12 Free • Award-winning program Simsbury Duck Race Simsbury Flower Bridge Friday 5/24 – 4-7 pm Free • Family event: carnival games, food trucks, music! CT Trails Day Hike Starts at Capen Cabin • 270 Breezy Hill Road, Canton Sunday 6/2 – 2 pm Ratlum Mt. with Canton Land Trust Canton Land Trust Picnic Capen Cabin, Canton Sunday 6/2 – 4 pm Info: www.cantonlandtrust.org Photo Art Reception Avon Senior Center Sunday 6/9 – 5-7 pm $15-$20 benefit Register 673-3887 Palette to Palate Farmington Valley Arts Center, Avon Tuesday 6/11 – 6-9 pm $50-$55 • FVAC fundraiser Enjoy food and art together

MAY 2019 – www.TodayPublishing.net – AVON TODAY • CANTON TODAY • SIMSBURY TODAY

Operated by a subsidiary of NRT LLC

Our digital editions are posted well before the month begins. Get an early peek at the Calendar next month – www.TodayPublishing.net Storyteller’s Cottage Events Simsbury • 860-877-6099 Tea Party Club for Kids Sundays – 2 pm 5/5 – Peter Rabbit 6/2 – James and the Giant Peach 7/7 – Pippi Longstocking 8/4 – The Wizard of Oz 9/8 – Beauty and the Beast 10/6 – The Witches 11/3 – Snow White 12/1 – Lion, Witch and Wardrobe $15, $75 for any six months Storytime, crafts and tea party Book Odyssey: Sci-Fi Author Night Thursday 5/9 – 7 pm $5 • Readings by four top authors, plus discussion and reception Storytime: Joyce Lapin Saturday 5/11 – 12 noon Free • If You Had Your Birthday Party on the Moon Mother’s Day Storytelling Sunday 5/12 – 1 pm $20 • Medley of moving mom tales Author Salon Thursdays – 7 pm 5/16 – Anne Howard 5/23 – Sharon Farber 6/27 – Chuck Radda $5 • Book signing, discussion with author plus reception Gilmore Girlish Day Sunday 5/19 – 12 noon $15 • Focus on Gilmore Girls TV show: trivia, tote making, more Alice in Wonderland Dinner Saturday 5/25 – 11 pm $60 • Midnight dinner + tea, dessert

All-Access Authors: One Nation, One Flag Thursday 5/30 – 7 pm $5 • Book signing, discussion with three authors plus reception Storytime: Amanda Bannikov Saturday 6/1 – 12 noon Free • Reading of The Smelly Pirate Tales from Beyond the (Travel) Ban Thursday 6/6 – 7 pm $20 • Live storytelling of oral tales from seven Muslim countries Connecticut Open House Day Saturday 6/8 – 10 am-4 pm Free • Meet local authors, take a tour, enjoy literary-themed treats Live Murder Mystery: Murder at the Timeless Cottage Saturday 6/15 – 8 pm $50, $60 w/drinks • Murder mystery party includes food + drinks Literary Dinner Party: Fried Green Tomatoes Friday 6/28 – 7 pm $60 • Three-course dinner, themed decor, discussion, games Board Game Cafe Fridays – 4-9 pm $5 • Play fantasy-themed games in secret castle room • Snacks $1 each ——————— Open Mic Night LaSalle Market, Collinsville Fridays – 6-10:30 pm Singers: call 693-8010 or come at 5 Veterans Coffee Houses • Simsbury Senior Center 1st Monday each month – 10 am • Canton Community Center 2nd Monday each month – 9 am


Gallant attains Olympic trials

CANTON HIGH SCHOOL senior Will Gallant has qualified for the Olympic swimming trials in the 800-meter and 1500-meter freestyle. His time in the 800m was 8:10.63 (the qualifying cut was 8:12.99) and his time in the 1500m was 15:39.74 (the qualifying cut was 15:44.89). Gallant is the top-ranked swimmer in the 1000-yard free among 17-year-olds in the United States. Meanwhile, Canton High freshman Charles Perks has been selected to attend the 2019 Eastern Zone Select Camp at the University of Pittsburgh from May 30 to June 2. Perks is ranked in the top 10 nationally among 15-year-olds in the U.S. Gallant and Perks are members of the West Hartford Aquatic Team (WHAT Swimming), an affiliate of USA Swimming. Canton Today featured them in the February issue — visit www.TodayPublishing.net to find the digital edition. +

WELDEN HARDWARE Your hometown hardware store serving all your seasonal needs Serving Simsbury and the Farmington Valley since 1889 10 Station St., Simsbury • 860-658-4078 • weldenhardware.com

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We are dedicated to the rehabilitation and well-being of our patients in a professional and supportive environment. 302 West Main Street, Suite 204, Avon, CT 06001 NEW 2ND LOCATION – 61 Maple Avenue, Canton, CT 06019 Sports Medicine • Orthopedic Medicine • Dance Medicine Vestibular Therapy • Neurological Rehab • Pilates • Massage Therapy

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HOUSE CALL A male house finch perches — with precision — on a limelight hydrangea in a local backyard in April. Tiny buds on the hydrangea signal the advent of spring.

Photo by Wendy Rosenberg

COVER STORY + DEBUT KUDOS AVON TODAY is wonderful! I am so happy to receive my first copy. The photographs are really quite something, and I loved reading the profiles of all three fire chiefs (April cover story). It’s a terrific balance of Local and Next Towns Over news and features. I am delighted Avon Historical Society can be part of this effort. Congratulations on a great launch and I look forward to more and more! Nora O. Howard • Avon Town Historian I am truly humbled by the wonderful article you wrote about my company (March cover story, Canton Today). After my youngest, Jessica, read the article, she sent me a text that read “U r an empowered women empowering women!” That meant the world to me. I can only hope that this is true and that this article about a mother and a daughter and about women having the courage to take a leap of faith and grow their own business has an impact on at least one person who will now be inspired to take a risk. Nothing would make me happier. Thank you so much for sharing our story. I will be forever grateful. Carol Cole • Canton www.CarolColeRealEstate.com


LETTERS Thanks for your continued interest in Canton history. The magazine provides a very valuable service to our community which is most appreciated. David K. Leff Canton Deputy Town Historian What a nice job you and your team do! Every magazine is so unique, interesting and informative. Each issue helps us to know people of our community better. It is the first magazine our patients gravitate to while in our reception area. Their comments are always so positive. All of us admire the wonderful articles and content along with your ability to seek, find and present people’s life stories to enjoy. We look forward to every issue to learn something new and see your amazing photography. You are all so talented. You have such a great vision and imagination. Great job! Dr. Elena Bielawski • Collinsville www.LifetimeFamilyDentistryCT.com The photos are GREAT. Unbelievable! Nice job! Tony Uanino • Simsbury www.BeldenForestCourt.com


I just wanted to drop you a note to say congratulations for the [April] launch of Avon and Simsbury Today. I’ve been following the launch of Canton Today online, so it’s nice to get a physical product in my mailbox. I think these publications will be successful because there’s a real need for something like this in the area — and, judging by the ads, they already are! Keep up the good work. Paul Grant • Avon You are doing a great job with Canton Today! I am a board member of Canton Community Health Fund and I want to thank you for publishing the CCHF feature (March issue). Articles like that help us spread the word that we have funds to donate to town organizations. Richard Albrecht • Canton I love both the content and the journalistic quality of this magazine. Keep it up. Julian Alexander • Sarasota, Fla.


• Photographer Wendy Rosenberg is a creative genius! (February cover story) Her talent is patiently waiting (sometimes for hours) to capture nature/wildlife at that perfect moment in time and the results are amazing! • Great wildlife photos! • Exceptional writing and layout.


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