Canton Today Magazine • January 2019

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CANTON TODAY All Canton, All The Time

A Monthly Magazine


Photo by Connecticut Headshots

CAO Relishes Cost-Effective Creativity Town Leaders Applaud Bob Skinner’s Tactics


Canton Land Trust hosts Magical Moonlight Hike

THE CANTON LAND Conservation Trust is hosting one of its most popular events, the Magical Moonlight Hike, on Saturday, Jan. 19 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Hikers follow an illuminated Breezy Hill Trail through the woods to a neighbor’s horse barn. Hikers can warm up with chili, beverages and treats in the barn, or gather outside by the bonfire. The land trust will provide chili and beverages. Hikers are encouraged to bring water and are welcome to bring a food item to share. The event is free, although donations are appreciated; non-members welcome. Please leave dogs at home. Hikers can begin from the trailhead after 5:30 p.m. — no earlier, please. Remember to dress for the weather. In case of bad weather, check for updates. Directions: From Route 44, drive up Indian Hill Road to its end, then turn right to ascend a few hundred feet up Breezy Hill Road. Volunteers with flashlights will be there to direct parking. A nonprofit formed in 1972, the land trust manages more than 2,000 acres in Canton.

Coffeehouse at CHS Cafe

CANTON PARENTS FOR MUSIC hosts its next Coffeehouse with Live Music on Friday, Jan. 4 from 7-8:30 p.m. in the Canton High School Cafe. Tap your toes to groovin’ jazz, pop and Broadway favorites performed by student vocalists and instrumentalists while enjoying a selection of snacks and treats. A $5 donation at the door is suggested to support Canton Parents for Music and the Canton Public Schools’ award-winning music program.

Harlem Wizards bring hoop humor THE HARLEM WIZARDS are coming to Canton High School on Tuesday, Jan. 15 at 7 p.m. for a fun-filled, family-friendly event. Fans will witness amazing basketball talent combined with hilarious comedy as the Wizards face the Canton Hackers, a team of teachers from all four of Canton’s schools. The game will be full of tricks, magical ball-handling, fancy passing, aerodynamic athleticism and high-energy audience participation. Tickets are $17 per person (ages 3 and under free) for general seating, $25 for reserved and $45 for Courtside Plus, which includes a private meet-and-greet with the Wizards. Purchase tickets online: Any remaining tickets will be available at the door at 6 p.m.

Trinity Nursery School open house TRINITY NURSERY SCHOOL is hosting an open house for parents and caregivers on Wednesday, Jan. 23 at 7 p.m. (snow date: Jan. 24 at 7). Located at 55 River Road in Collinsville, Trinity Nursery School promotes school readiness and a lifetime love of learning. Come meet the team of dedicated and energetic teachers, each with 15-30 years of experience in early childhood education, and learn more about Trinity’s curriculum. Info: 693-4615. Trinity is a member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children and is NAEYC-accredited. 2



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Writer of ‘Simpsons’ to speak

THE EMMY AWARD-WINNING writer of the hit TV show The Simpsons will speak about the show and his new memoir at Canton Public Library on Saturday, Jan. 26 at 7 p.m. Mike Reiss will also share animated clips of the show while dishing the inside story about his 30 years with The Simpsons, which debuted in 1989. Admission is free. The best-selling memoir is titled Springfield Confidential: Jokes, Secrets, and Outright Lies from a Lifetime Writing for The Simpsons. Copies of the book will be available for purchase and autographing. Reiss has also written 19 children’s books. Reiss has won four Emmys and a Peabody Award. He ran the show in Season 4, which Entertainment Weekly magazine called “the greatest season of the greatest show in history.” In 2006 he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Animation Writers Caucus. Reiss has worked as a joke writer for comedy legends such as Johnny Carson, Joan Rivers and Garry Shandling — and has provided material for another source of wit, Pope Francis. For his comedic contributions to the charitable group Joke with the Pope, in 2015 Pope Francis declared Reiss “a missionary of joy.” “The good is always rare,” says talk-show host Conan O’Brien. “A truly great comic is rare. Mike Reiss, by definition, is a rarity.” Registration requested. Info: and 693-5800.

Grief group meets in Canton

THE NEW YEAR post-holiday time can be rough if you’ve lost a loved one. You’re invited to join a grief group at the Canton Community Center on certain Tuesdays at 1:30 p.m. Call 860-817-5848 for the next meeting date. This group is not for people who have lost a spouse but for those who have experienced another loss. Whether a loss occurred recently or years ago, the grieving process is different for everyone. If you want an opportunity to talk about your loved one, your grief or your memories, we welcome you to join us. Semi-therapeutic and semi-structured, the group is cofacilitated by Laura Perednia, LCSW, and Claire Cote, MSW, Canton’s Senior and Social Services Director.

New Year, New Journey




AS WE EMBARK on a new journey in this new year, Canton Today Magazine is here to be a companion along the way. We’ll keep aiming to enhance the town by conveying the underreported upside of the Canton community — telling the compelling stories of unsung heroes such as first responders, educators, town officials, nonprofit leaders and more. We’re endeavoring to achieve exceptional community journalism and to serve Canton with style. Another aim of Canton Today is to give local businesses a powerful, first-rate platform. I’m thankful for the businesses whose ads grace these pages, and I hope you seek out their expertise. Many residents have said they’re glad Canton has a town-focused news vehicle again — and our advertising sponsors are making it happen. I’ve been encouraged by the response to Canton Today on social media and around town — thank you for your kind words. Onward and upward throughout the new year!

4 — OUTSIDE-THE-BOX IDEAS SUIT CAO SKINNER Canton Chief Administrative Officer Bob Skinner’s solution to a historic storm cleanup saved the town millions. Such solutions mark his CAO tenure. GOVERNMENT GURUS

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8 — Tech, Property Taxes Are Pivotal Issues

As Connecticut cuts funding to towns, Canton must balance the budget creatively, writes CAO Bob Skinner. ACCENT ON EDUCATORS

9 — Innovation, Humor Aid School Success

Principal Jeffrey Moore on Canton Middle School: “I couldn’t imagine working in a more ideal setting.” HONORING FIRST RESPONDERS

10 — For Kyle Murphy, Helping Others Is Key

“Every week I look forward to being able to help people in their greatest times of need,” says the volunteer EMT. THIS MONTH IN CANTON HISTORY

Contributing Writers — Michael Chadwick, David Leff, Bob Skinner Editorial Associate — Kayla Tyson Photographer — Seshu, Connecticut Headshots • 860-593-0850 • News Deadline — February 1 for the March issue

QUOTE OF THE MONTH “I am very blessed to work with a talented and dedicated staff ... who give 100% to make sure the needs of the residents are being met. This is also true of the town’s

11 — End of an Era for Collins Company

In January 1966, the Collins Company announced it would close operations in Canton, writes David Leff.


Bruce Deckert • Publisher + Editor-in-Chief 860-988-1910 •


volunteers who tirelessly work on Canton’s boards and commissions, which are truly the heartbeat of the town.” — Canton CAO Bob Skinner

Number of local workers at Collins Co. when it closed


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CAO Skinner favors outside-the-box approach

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Before entering the government realm, Bob Skinner was a private-practice attorney in Canton.

Response to historic storm gives glimpse of CAO’s creative cost-saving By Bruce Deckert Canton Today Editor-in-Chief

IN LATE OCTOBER 2011, a freak nor’easter assaulted Connecticut. As the snow descended on trees that were still leafladen, those leaves became snow-laden and weighty, and those trees — including 100-foot oaks — began snapping like twigs, closing roads and bringing down power lines statewide. Farmington Valley residents were without power for up to 11 days. Facing the state’s most significant weather disaster in recent memory, municipalities faced the daunting task of a massive cleanup that was sure to strain already-stretched budgets. Some Connecticut towns spent millions of dollars on the cleanup effort — but not Canton. Robert Skinner, Canton’s Chief Administrative Officer, says that disaster cleanup firms contacted him to offer their services within a day of the storm— at a significant cost. Skinner, however, went with an outside-the-box alternative: He hired some workers who were locked in a box. 4


See page 8 for Bob Skinner’s column on how Canton can face its budget challenges

“I consider him our chief of staff and nobody does it better.” — Selectman Tom Sevigny on CAO Bob Skinner


“While many municipalities hired outside contractors and spent millions to clean up the debris, Canton came up with a cost-effective and unique way of addressing the emergency situation,” says Skinner, whose CAO role is similar to a town manager. “With the approval of the Board of Selectmen and Department of Public Works, the town brought in [three] inmates from Somers state prison to work side by side with DPW employees to clean up all the debris.” If your knee-jerk response is to question this solution from a safety standpoint, Skinner assures that these concerns were raised — and fully answered — back in 2011. “The inmates who are part of the program go through a selective process to mitigate these concerns,” says Skinner, whose tenure as CAO began in 2008. “Only certain prisoners are allowed to participate in the program. They must be nonviolent prisoners who are near the end of their sentence. Working outside the gate is considered a privilege. ... There are very strict

rules they must follow and any violation results in an extension of their sentence ... [so] the inmates have a significant incentive to not violate the rules.” The inmate work program has been an asset to a number of towns, Skinner notes, especially those near prisons. In Somers, inmates have done custodial work in Town Hall. In Suffield, a part-time employee has supervised inmates who work for the town. Skinner, 54, has lived in West Suffield since 1993. “Although obviously there was a reason they were in prison, most all appreciate the opportunity to work,” Skinner says, adding that during the storm cleanup the prisoners “were very respectful of town staff, including the CAO.”

BOTTOM LINE: SAVINGS FOR CANTON In 2011, the bottom line for the Town of Canton was easy to compute: The cost of paying the inmates was minuscule compared to the contractors hired by many municipalities, and when disaster grant funds were factored in, Canton had no outof-pocket costs for the cleanup — saving the town and taxpayers millions of dollars. “Bob works hard and is always willing to go the extra mile to do what is in the town’s best interests,” says state Rep. Leslee Hill, who represents Canton and Avon. “He thinks outside the box, always looking for creative solutions that will save the town money while improving services and quality of life for residents.” Hill first worked with Skinner in her role as Canton’s Board of Education chair, and then of course as First Selectman. “I was impressed with Bob’s depth of knowledge and willingness to collaborate with the BOE on issues impacting the town,” she says. “I quickly saw the level of professionalism Bob brings to his work. ... I look forward to continuing to work with him in my new role as state representative.” Selectman Tom Sevigny offers similar kudos for Skinner. “As a member of the Board of Selectmen for the past seven years, I have worked with Bob on a range of issues,” Sevigny says. “He keeps the board organized, informed, and always gives us a detailed and honest assessment of all our options when we need to make a decision. I consider him our chief of staff and nobody does it better.” By the way, are you wondering how the inmates got to Canton for the cleanup work? No, they didn’t hitchhike, but they did hitch a ride — with Skinner. Yes, the CAO was on the front line of the storm response effort. Since the prison doesn’t allow prisoners to be picked up in a personal vehicle, Skinner would drive a police SUV to Somers at 6:30 each morning to pick up the inmates, and then drove them back at the end of the day. “Then I usually drove back to Canton for evening meetings,” says Skinner, who was born and raised in East Granby. “This went on for about eight weeks until most of the debris had been cleaned up. ... It would be myself and the three inmates in the vehicle. The inmates were always well-behaved, although sometimes they could be a little talkative.”

A TOWN’S TEAM EFFORT Skinner notes that this cost-saving, outside-the-box solution was a total team effort. “There are not too many DPW unions that would agree to work with inmates,” he says. “Not only did Canton DPW agree to the proposal, they also went to the prison to receive specialized training. I believe by the end of the cleanup period, the staff and the inmates got along very well. I also received very few concerns

THE BOB SKINNER FILE Title Chief Administrative Officer • Town of Canton Career History Canton CAO • July 2008-present Town Administrator • Columbia, CT First Selectman • Suffield, CT Attorney • Private Practice Staff Sergeant • Connecticut Air National Guard Community Service Chairperson • Board of Directors Capital Area Substance Abuse Council Chairman • Board of Directors Bradley Development League Board of Directors Eastern Highlands Health District

Municipal Services Committee Capitol Region Council of Governments Route 6 Regional Economic Development Council Bradley Airport Commission Education Western New England College School of Law Central Connecticut State University Major – History / Secondary Education Minor – Political Science Family Wife – Karen Three sons – Will and Matthew are both in college, and Jeff just finished Marine basic training Favorite Books The Dreams of Ada Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power Favorite TV Shows “I don’t watch a lot of TV — my favorite shows are mostly sports and news.”

from residents, who generally just appeared appreciative of having their roads opened and all the tree limbs removed.” The shelter at the Canton Community Center housed 100plus residents during the power outage, according to Skinner. Meanwhile, Martel Transportation on Powder Mill Road allowed the town to temporarily dump fallen trees and other storm debris in a large parking lot next to a bus garage until the debris could be ground up and hauled away. “The response to the October 2011 snowstorm was a huge effort by everyone from the police to social services,” he notes, adding that this is “just one example of town staff and a local business working together to solve a major problem.” Skinner’s creative solution to the 2011 storm misfortune CANTON TODAY • • JANUARY 2019


VETERAN TOWN HALL VOICE Canton CAO Bob Skinner’s first foray into town government was as First Selectman of Suffield. After that, he served as the Town Administrator in Columbia, Connecticut.

was par for the course for the CAO, says Bob Bessel, chair of the town’s Economic Development Agency. “It’s one thing for people in public life to dream up an idea,” says Bessel. “It’s quite another to see that idea become reality. For the Town of Canton, Bob Skinner has been and continues to be the force that drives ideas to the hoop and makes the basket. ... He’s a practical guy, always on the lookout for saving money, and willing to entertain any realistic idea that can enhance the town.” Bessel began serving as EDA chair in 2014. “Bob’s not known for mincing words,” Bessel says, “or shying away from difficult discussions or considering facts that undercut a beloved premise. From an EDA perspective, Bob has found ways to implement every plan that made sense, has been quick to point out when a plan did not, and has always provided wise counsel on finding better alternatives.” Gary Miller, executive director of the Canton Chamber of Commerce, notes that Skinner regularly attends the chamber’s monthly Board of Directors meetings to exchange information on business developments in town.

“He is always available to discuss matters pertinent to the chamber’s advocacy for member businesses,” Miller says. The 2011 nor’easter narrative is only one facet of Canton Today’s wide-ranging interview with the CAO. Here’s the rest of his Q-and-A: Canton Today Magazine: Why did you pursue a career in town government? Bob Skinner: I have been involved in government most of my life. I studied political science in undergraduate school. In my mid-20s I served on the East Granby Planning & Zoning Commission. After moving to West Suffield, I served on the Board of Finance and the Planning & Zoning Commission, and then in 1997 I was elected as Suffield’s First Selectman. After serving for two terms, I stepped down as First Selectman and served on the Board of Education. I got involved in government because I wanted to have a positive impact in my community. I enjoyed being in a position where I could build a consensus to accomplish goals and thereby help people in the community. In 2003 I decided to put my legal career on hold and work in government full time. I have never regretted that decision.



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“Bob works hard and is always willing to go the extra mile to do what is in the town’s best interests. He thinks outside the box, always looking for creative solutions.” — State Rep. Leslee Hill CTM: What do you enjoy most about being Canton CAO? Skinner: There are many aspects of the position I find rewarding. I am very blessed to work with a talented and dedicated staff. Every day the people who work for the Town of Canton give 100% to make sure the needs of the residents are being met. This is also true of the town’s volunteers who tirelessly work on Canton’s boards and commissions, which are truly the heartbeat of the town. CTM: What aspects of Canton’s town government are you most proud of? Skinner: In the past several years Canton has completed substantial capital projects. These projects include the track field and parking lot improvements at the high school, the Collinsville Streetscape project, the construction of the new Department of Public Works facility, and road improvements through the pavement management program. These projects are accomplished through a collaborative team approach that includes volunteer town agencies and town staff. It has been a pleasure to assist and provide oversight on these projects and rewarding to see them through to completion. CTM: Which aspect of Canton’s town government would you like to see improve? Skinner: Even as a government bureaucrat, I still get frustrated with the speed at which government completes tasks. Amazon can get a toaster to my house overnight, but it may take two

weeks to approve a relatively simple application. This is not adequate. We must all strive to find ways that we can be more responsive and provide a better service. CTM: What is your favorite thing about Canton? Skinner: One of my favorite things about Canton is its diverse geography. The town starts in Collinsville, a quirky mill village that sits on the banks of the scenic Farmington River. The town then transitions to a suburban, heavily traveled retail area, with shops and restaurants. Then eventually transitions into the hills and back roads of North Canton, which essentially is the foothills to the Berkshires. It is not uncommon to leave Collinsville in rain only to reach North Canton and find it snowing. CTM: Fill in the blank: I hope _____ never changes about Canton. Skinner: I hope the spirit of originality and the small-town feel never changes about Canton. CTM: If time travel were possible, which government official would you like to meet from history, and why? Skinner: I have always been impressed with President Ronald Reagan’s leadership and ability to communicate. ... He is probably the government official I would like to meet most. CTM: Favorite spots in Canton? Skinner: Seeing the view to the west from the top of Case Street. A close second would be anywhere along the Farmington River. +



Technology, property-tax alleviation key for Canton By Robert Skinner Canton Chief Administrative Officer

Editor’s Note — In Canton Today’s inaugural Government Gurus feature, Canton CAO Robert Skinner addresses these dual questions: What is the greatest challenge facing Canton today? And how can town officials help meet that challenge? LIKE MANY TOWNS in Connecticut, Canton must learn to do more with less. Due to the slow economic recovery in Connecticut, coupled with the state fiscal crisis, municipalities cannot rely on the same level of funding they have received in the past. At the same time, residents want the same level of services. Exacerbating the situation is that Connecticut is the “land of steady habits” and is historically not comfortable with change. While most states have regionalized many services, for the most

As state cuts funding, towns must get creative with budgets, services GOVERNMENT GURUS Canton will shortly be rolling out an online permit system that will allow residents and contractors to apply for building permits online. There is no reason that eventually the same system couldn’t be used for everything from dog licenses to transfer station permits. Even with regionalization and the use of technology, at the end of the day, towns need revenue to pave the streets, teach our kids and provide basic services. As state funds are reduced, more pressure will be put on property taxes.

The Town of Canton will need to maximize the use of its limited commercial areas and redevelop areas that could support more businesses. part Connecticut still maintains 169 individual service centers for the 169 towns in the state. For example, in Pennsylvania, the average dispatch center handles over 200,000 residents, while Canton maintains its own dispatch center for 10,000. The lack of regionalism also puts pressure on services. Partially because of a change in workforce, towns are finding it increasingly difficult to maintain staffing for local volunteer fire and ambulance services. But despite the decrease in available volunteers (especially during weekday, daytime shifts) each municipality maintains its own fully equipped department. The towns have mutual aid agreements, but the thought of sharing a ladder truck or performing personnel and back-office functions on a regional basis is usually met with resistance. Costs can also be reduced through technology. Providing more capabilities online, such as applying for permits or paying fees, would reduce staff responsibilities and provide easier access for residents.



In order to reduce the reliance on property taxes, municipalities should be given opportunities for additional revenue sources, including a possible local sales tax, hotel tax, etc. These additional revenues would reduce the tax burden on residents through lower property taxes. Diversifying the tax base by increasing commercial development would also help bring in revenues. In order to accomplish this, Canton will need to maximize the use of its limited commercial areas and redevelop areas that could support more businesses. Although it’s expensive, the Town of Canton must work with developers to extend utilities to additional areas to promote development. Finally, the town must continue to explore avenues for developing the former Collins Axe Factory in a way that increases the tax base, preserves most of the historical buildings, and maintains the character of Collinsville. + CAO contact info: 693-7837 •

New CMS principal values ‘caring community’ From climbing rock walls to taking on principal’s role, Moore aims for the top By Bruce Deckert Canton Today Editor-in-Chief


Photo courtesy of Jeffrey Moore

CTM: Which aspect of Canton Middle NEW YORK CITY AND CANTON are School would you like to see improve? perhaps as far apart on the American Moore: Like all schools, we can focus on spectrum as two locales can be. At ensuring that learning is student-led and this juncture, Jeffrey Moore’s résumé rooted in real-world inquiry. begins and ends at these two disparate CTM: What is the greatest challenge municipalities. facing middle school youth today? How Moore began his tenure as Canton can the staff of Canton Middle School help Middle School principal in December. students meet that challenge? He commenced his career as an educator Moore: We are preparing students for a in August 2006 at a New York charter rapidly changing world. Many jobs that school, Urban Assembly School of Music our students will hold do not even exist and Art in Brooklyn, where he was a yet. That’s why we must focus on teaching ninth-grade global history teacher. skills that can transfer to any situation From August 2007 to December that they come across in the future. 2011 he was a social studies teacher at CTM: Who were your favorite teachers East Windsor High and, for his last 2.5 from your school days? years there, the team leader for the social Moore: I had many great teachers, but studies department. my science teacher, Ms. Radziewicz, His administrative duties increased taught me to be myself, and my social when he moved to the Academy of studies teacher, Mr. Gowdy, taught me to Aerospace and Engineering, a magnet ask “why.” school for grades 6-12 in Windsor, CTM: Please share a brief anecdote where Moore served as an assistant from your career that provides a window principal from January 2012 to Noveminto your work in education. Jeffrey Moore ber 2018 — at first for grades 6-8 and Moore: At my previous school, where Canton Middle School Principal then for grades 6-12. I was the assistant principal, I went to Moore, 36, is a native of Suffield, observe a gym class one day. They were climbing the rock wall, Connecticut. He lives in West Hartford with his wife Kim and and the students invited me to try. I was in my suit and dress daughters Jillian and Natalie. shoes. But I’m not one to back down from a challenge, and at Here is his Q-and-A with Canton Today: Canton Today Magazine: During your interview process, what the very least the attempt would provide the students with some entertainment. So, in my slippery dress shoes, I climbed, and appealed to you about Canton Middle School? And why did you I’m happy to report I successfully reached the top. I believe that ultimately decide to accept the offer to become CMS principal? educators should be positive, involved, respectful and have a Jeffrey Moore: CMS, and the town of Canton, immediately sense of humor at school, and if we accomplish that, it helps us came across as a caring community that valued strong hold very high standards for all and achieve great success. + relationships, strong schools and innovative teaching practices. I couldn’t imagine working in a more ideal setting. CTM: How did you find out about the principal opening at Canton Middle School? Moore: Last spring, I began to watch for principal opportunities that would be a good fit, and learned about the Canton Middle School position online. CTM: Why did you pursue a career as an educator? Moore: I believe that public education is the best way that my life can make a positive impact on the world. I have fun every day and enjoy getting to know students and their families. CTM: What aspect of Canton Middle School are you most impressed with? Moore: I am impressed with the curiosity that our students bring to school each day.

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Helping people in need drives Kyle Murphy


Volunteer EMT service is perfect blend of his passion for medical field and helping others Canton Today Staff

Photo courtesy of Kyle Murphy

CANTON NATIVE Kyle Murphy is only 23 years old but already has an eclectic resume: He serves as an emergency medical technician for the Canton Volunteer Fire & EMS Department, volunteers with a literacy nonprofit in Hartford, and is an adjunct college instructor. On top of that, he’s preparing to go to medical school. Murphy, who will turn 24 in late January, has lived his entire life in North Canton, near Route 179. He began serving with the Fire & EMS Department in April 2018. Following is his Q-and-A with Canton Today: Role with Canton Volunteer Fire & EMS Department: Emergency Medical Technician Canton Today Magazine: What motivated you to serve with the Volunteer Fire & EMS Department? Kyle Murphy: I have always wanted to be a part of emergency medical services, as I have a passion for the medical field and enjoy helping others in need. It was always a matter of timing, since I was planning a gap year between graduating from college and applying to medical schools. I got my EMT certification in my senior year of college and began volunteering during my gap year. CTM: What is the most satisfying aspect of your work with the department?

Volunteer EMT Kyle Murphy that come about occasionally. Having great co-workers and partners makes it that much easier to deal with tough situations. CTM: What is your most memorable call with the department? Murphy: My most memorable call was for a male with severe lower back pain — so much so that he could not walk. The man was an avid athlete and kept putting off his back pain for fear that it would require surgery and lead to him being unable to continue sports. I shared with him my experience of having significant reconstructive surgery on my knee that led to me being unable to play sports for more than two years, while I went through rehab. I shared how I can play sports again, and if he gets definitive care and perseveres he can continue playing sports. ... I volunteer for a

“The most satisfying aspect of the job is when you are able to have a positive effect on someone else’s life.” — EMT Kyle Murphy Murphy: The most satisfying aspect of the job is when you are able to have a positive effect on someone else’s life. When you get them to the hospital and you know that they will be OK because they called just in time. Or the calls when you first meet a patient who is potentially going through one of the toughest moments of their life, but when you finally part ways they have a smile on their face and thank you for all the help. In those moments, not only are you happy for your patient, but you know the patient is feeling better too. CTM: What is the most challenging aspect of your work with the department, and how do you meet that challenge? Murphy: The most challenging aspect of the work occurs when you get the 911 call that you always hope never happens. The call where you show up on scene, get to work, do everything you can to the best of your ability, and it still does not have a happy ending. I meet that challenge by cherishing the happy endings 10


12-hour shift every Saturday. Every week I look forward to being able to help people in their greatest times of need. CTM: What is your full-time job? Murphy: I am an adjunct faculty member at the University of Hartford, where I teach an anatomy and physiology lab and a microbiology lab, and conduct research on osteoarthritis. CTM: Of the movies or TV dramas you’ve seen about fire/EMS departments, which one comes closest to the real deal? Murphy: My favorite medical show, and the most accurate, based on my current medical knowledge, is Scrubs. Even though it is a funny show, it took great effort in getting most details right. CTM: Other volunteer experience? Murphy: I also volunteer in Hartford for the Literacy Volunteers of Greater Harford, where I’ve taught a class for adults who want to get their GED. ... Currently, I teach a citizenship class so individuals can receive their citizenship in the U.S. +

Collins Company announced end of the line By David K. Leff — Canton Town Historian

“I have a great deal of faith in the Canton community

Photo courtesy of Canton Historical Society

CANTON HISTORY: JANUARY 14, 1966 — On Friday, January 14, 1966, the Collins Company announced to workers that it would close local operations in May or June. At the time, the company had about 140 employees, roughly a quarter of the workforce of a century earlier. Company president Clair M. Elston told the Hartford Courant that the main reason was the increasing shift of business to Latin American operations. There were four such plants, the first opening 13 years earlier in Mexico and the most recent just months before in Guatemala. “Each plant we open there takes a little more business away from this plant,” Elston said. He maintained that tariff barriers imposed by these countries made it more profitable to set up operations within their borders. Terming the Canton mill “old-fashioned,” H. Bissell Carey, chairman of the company’s finance committee and the largest stockholder, told the Courant: “We can’t manufacture successfully in Collinsville.” To some extent, it was a self-fulfilling prophecy caused by lack of investment and innovation by the very board on which Carey served. Even 20 years earlier, a 1946 Fortune magazine article found “typical forge-shop and small machine-shop


Collins Company workers pause for a photo in the early 1960s. of their largest taxpayer and employer,” he told the Courant, “but they have overcome their loss. I have a great deal of faith in the Canton community and feel strongly we will overcome this loss.” U.S. HISTORY: JANUARY 1, 1966 — A 12-day transit worker strike begins in New York City, shutting down the subway. WORLD HISTORY: JANUARY 8, 1966 — Georges Pompidou is reappointed French Prime Minister and forms a new government. + David K. Leff is an award-winning author of 10 books, including “The Last Undiscovered Place,” which is about Collinsville. See his work at

and feel strongly we will overcome this loss.” — then-Board of Finance chair Donald Rudder Dr. Elena Bielawski – DDS, FICOI, FMIII

equipment, much of it very old.” It was clear that “no money is wasted on unnecessary modernization.” Ironically, it was Samuel Collins’ passion for the latest equipment and newest techniques that rocketed the company to world prominence in the 1800s. Although they felt tariffs partly responsible, some employees saw the end coming when the company sold off its houses in the early 1960s, showing lack of community commitment. “I think the most important reason is the fact that the company just didn’t want to pay to have all the homes and the business equipped by the new sewer,” one worker told the Courant. Some employees blamed Collins for keeping out other new industry. The company’s dissolution was a serious blow to workers and their families, as well as to local merchants. It also damaged town finances. With an assessment of $744,260 ($5.8 million in 2018 dollars) the company was by far the town’s largest taxpayer, contributing about $60,000 annually (roughly $468,000 in 2018 dollars). Over the years, Collins also contributed time, talent and money in other ways. Among those contributions was fire protection to the Collinsville area by the Collins Company Fire Department. Although the future looked grim in January 1966, optimism by Canton Board of Finance chairman Donald Rudder proved prescient. “Other communities in the state have been faced with the loss


66 Maple Avenue Collinsville, CT

All Ages Welcome • Quality, Personalized Dentistry Conservative Treatment Plans • Teeth Whitening Insurance & Financing • Same-Day Emergency Visits CANTON TODAY • • JANUARY 2019


Lifetime Family Dentistry marks 5th anniversary

Photo courtesy of Lifetime Family Dentistry

FAMILY ATMOSPHERE — The staff of Lifetime Family Dentistry • Back, from left: Merita and Germania • Middle, from left: Debbie and Dr. Elena Bielawski • Front: Alecia

Practice offers high-tech care with dental microscope, laser and more Special to Canton Today Magazine


AS THE NEW YEAR smiles on Canton residents, Lifetime Family Dentistry is marking its sixth year in town. Dr. Elena Bielawski celebrated the fifth anniversary of her practice in 2018. She opened her doors at 66 Maple Avenue in Collinsville in November 2013 — before her arrival, another dentist was at this location for 37 years. Dr. Bielawski underscores that she values the Family aspect of her practice’s name — both the opportunity to serve families with quality dentistry and the close bonds shared by her team. “There is a lot of laughter,” she says of the relationships among the five staff members (including her) of Lifetime Family Dentistry. “We enjoy being together.” Besides Dr. Bielawski, the staff is comprised of Alecia (registered dental hygienist), Germania (certified dental assistant), Debbie (insurance coordinator) and Merita (financial coordinator). Last names withheld for the sake of privacy. The practice serves children and adults of all ages. A key hallmark of Dr. Bielawski’s approach is old-school care coupled with innovative technology. The dental microscope is “the most important tool in her

technological arsenal,” according to her website. This microscope gives Dr. Bielawski far better magnification than dentists who use only dental magnification glasses, which provide limited levels of magnification compared to microscope-enhanced dentistry. “Less than 1% of dentists nationwide use dental microscopes,” says Dr. Bielawski, who is a Canton resident. The dental microscope, which is similar to those used by medical specialists and surgeons, provides greatly enhanced magnification levels — and thus higher-quality care for patients. Dr. Bielawski can see teeth and gums at different levels of magnification from 2 to 18 times normal size, simply by turning a knob. Without a microscope, small problems are too easily missed ... and can turn into much bigger problems requiring extensive and expensive treatment. Thanks to her use of the dental microscope, Dr. Bielawski can help her patients experience less postoperative discomfort, faster healing and better long-term results. A headline on her website says: To See or Not to See — yes, that is the question, and she answers it definitively via her use



of the dental microscope. Utilizing the best available technology helps Dr. Bielawski fulfill her three key philosophies: prevention, early diagnosis and minimally invasive intervention. Another key technology is the dental laser, which makes restorative, preventative and cosmetic care easier and nearly pain-free. This FDA-approved laser almost negates the need for scalpels and incisions. A high-tech and minimally invasive tool, the dental laser reduces recovery time and post-op discomfort. A commitment to care for children is another hallmark of Lifetime Family Dentistry. The practice provides numerous amenities for children’s enjoyment: coloring books, pillows, a stuffed animal, toys and balloon animals. “We want them to feel comfortable, relaxed and glad to be at our office,” says Dr. Bielawski. In the kids’ treatment sphere, Dr. Bielawski employs no-shot, no-drill dental fillings. Further, she minimizes the brightness of lights and strives for gentle and caring interaction with children to give them a secure feeling during their dental appointment. For patients without dental insurance, Lifetime Family Dentistry offers an in-house financing plan. Nocost and no-obligation consultations are available by calling 860-605-2075. Dr. Bielawski has two dental degrees — one from the New York University College of Dentistry, with honors in Oral Surgery. After graduation, she

“Less than 1% of dentists nationwide use dental microscopes.” — Dr. Elena Bielawski

completed a general dentistry residency at Saint Francis Hospital in Hartford, where she received advanced training in restorative dentistry, periodontics, prosthodontics, dental implants and sedation. Dr. Bielawski was awarded the hospital’s E. Gerard Keen DDS Award for demonstrating the highest motivational and clinical skills. Dr. Bielawski earned her first dental degree from the School of Dental Medicine in Russia and worked for 10 years as a maxillofacial surgeon in a hospital setting and in private practice. She has an eclectic list of hobbies: organic gardening, cooking, knitting, listening to classical music, working out at the gym and learning more about American history. To keep up to date on the latest dental advancements, Dr. Bielawski fulfills 100-140 continuing education hours per year with dentistry experts nationwide, surpassing the 25 hours required by the State of Connecticut. She is a member of the Academy of General Dentistry, a fellow of the International Congress of Oral Implantologists, and a fellow of the Misch International Implant Institute — and she is working toward diplomate status in those fields. + Lifetime Family Dentistry 860-605-2075 • 66 Maple Ave., Collinsville

Barrios unveils children’s book with ‘sweet story’

Dogology offers Pet Food Pantry

Local business owner Eduardo Barrios has written a children’s book, Wake Up Little Sunim! “It’s a simple but sweet story,” Barrios says, “perfect for parents with small children just learning to read.” He is the owner of Eduardo Barrios Advertising & Graphic Design, which is based in the former Axe Factory in Collinsville. An ordained Zen Buddhist monk,

Dogology offers a free Pet Food Pantry for dog and cat owners. The pantry is open Mondays and Tuesdays during regular business hours. Individuals must be referred to Dogology by a local food bank. The store is based in Canton at 166 Albany Turnpike (Route 44). Dogology is accepting cash donations from customers to ensure that the shelves of the Pet Food Pantry stay stocked. The pantry is not accepting donations of pet food at this time. • 860-352-2352


Barrios wrote the book under the pen name Bo Gak Sunim, which is his monastic name. The text of the book is in English and Korean. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Buddhist Global Relief. Go to for more information or to order the book. 860-352-2457 50 Depot Street, Collinsville

Sunday Brunch 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. Weds.- Sat. 11:30 a.m. - 9:30 p.m.

Expires 12-25-18

Expires 12-25-18




Sportsmanship honor for CHS

New Year’s Eve Party Send your events to: 41 Bridge Street, Collinsville Monday, 12/31 — 7 pm $125 dinner + party, $75 party+ Performers: Christine Ohlman, SAT & ACT Practice Testing James Montgomery • 693-9762 Canton Public Library Saturday 1/19 — 1-4 pm Friday Family Movie Matinee Free • Run by C2 Education Canton Public Library Registration required: 693-5800 Fridays — 3 pm Free • Recent G or PG movie, Magical Moonlight Hike for movie title call 693-5800 Breezy Hill Trail, Canton Saturday 1/19 — 5:30-8:30 pm Open Mic Night Lighted woods trail, no dogs LaSalle Market, Collinsville Fridays — 6-10:30 pm To perform, call ahead or Concert: Bill Staines come at 5 • 693-8010 Roaring Brook Nature Center, Canton Tubing & Hot Chocolate Saturday 1/19 — 7:30 pm Soup and Snowmen $20-$25 • Innovative troubadour Mills Pond Park, Canton $20 advance • 693-5800 Hosted by Canton Parks & Rec Dates depend on the weather Night Hike Under Wolf Moon Info: Check Facebook page or Roaring Brook Nature Center, call 693-5808 Canton Monday 1/21 — 7-8:15 pm Café Coffeehouse Registration required: 693-5800 Canton High School Guided hike under full moon Friday 1/4 — 7-8:30 pm $5 suggested • Students offer Trinity Nursery Open House jazz, pop, Broadway favorites Trinity Nursery School, Collinsville Wednesday 1/23 — 7 pm Winter Survival Meet dedicated teachers+ Roaring Brook Nature Center, 693-4615 • Snow date: 1/24 Canton Saturday 1/5 — 2-4 pm Incendiary Registration required: 693-0263 Farmington Valley Stage, Includes shelter & fire building Collinsville Friday 1/25 — 8 pm Town Historian Office Hours Saturday 1/26 — 8 pm Canton Public Library Sunday 1/27 — 2 pm Tuesday 1/8 — 4-6 pm Friday 2/1 — 8 pm Free • David Leff available to Saturday 2/2 — 8 pm answer questions, talk history+ By Adam Szymkowicz Directed by Anthony Urillo The Scholarly Hour Canton Senior Center Evening with Mike Reiss: Brief History of World: Part 1 The Simpsons screenwriter Fridays 1/11-2/15 — 10 am Canton Public Library Brief History of World: Part II Saturday 1/26 — 7 pm Fridays 3/8-4/12 — 10 am Emmy-winner to discuss show Free • anyone 55+ • 693-5811 and sign books • 693-5800


Harlem Wizards Basketball Canton High School Tuesday 1/15 — 7 pm $17-$45 • vs. teachers • tickets: Meeting: Friends of Canton Public Library Canton Public Library Tuesday 1/15 — 7 pm Visitors welcome, learn about volunteering+ • 693-5800 Maple Sugaring 101 Roaring Brook Nature Center, Canton Thursday 1/17 — 7 pm Registration required: 693-0263 14

CANTON HIGH SCHOOL has been honored with a Michaels Achievement Cup, given by the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference as part of the CIAC’s Class Act Sportsmanship program. CHS is one of 19 state high schools to be recognized for stellar sportsmanship during the 2017-18 season. This marks the third time in the last four years that Canton has been so honored. Canton High and Simsbury High are the only two Farmington Valley schools to be recognized for 2017-18. “The essence of the Class Act program is for the students to try and take ownership of sportsmanship at their schools — and that is exactly what these 19 schools have done,” said Glenn Lungarini, CAS-CIAC executive director.

LB Joey Fitzgerald sets sack mark

JOEY FITZGERALD, a senior linebacker for Canton High School, set a single-season school record with 18.5 sacks in 2018. Fitzgerald also forced four fumbles, recovering two, and ran for a team-high four 2-point conversions. “He conditioned his butt off in the offseason,” Canton High coach Dante Boffi told The Collinsville Press website. “He studied film and played incredibly disciplined football. ... His motor never stops, and despite being up against much bigger competition on the edge, he used his speed and smarts to make things happen.”

BONELLI EYE CARE Celebrating 45 Years of Serving Canton and the Farmington Valley with Comprehensive Family Eye Care

Concert: Frank Vignola Hot Trio Roaring Brook Nature Center, Canton Saturday 1/26 — 7:30 pm $22-$25 • Blends fun, virtuosity $22 advance • 693-5800 Trip to Bountiful Farmington Valley Stage, Collinsville Saturday 3/23 — 8 pm Sunday 3/24 — 2 pm Friday 3/29 — 8 pm Saturday 3/30 — 8 pm Sunday 3/31 — 2 pm By Horton Foote Directed by Chris Bushey


CHARLES BONELLI, O.D. and CHRISTOPHER BONELLI, O.D. A Father-Son Team Dedicated to Your Optimal Eye Health Eye Disease Treatment • Fashion Eye Wear • Contact Lenses Canton Village • 220 Albany Turnpike (Route 44) • Canton, CT

860-693-2289 •

Be wary of chasing performance in new year Investing in 2019: Buy the dip or short the rip?


By Michael E. Chadwick Special to Canton Today Magazine

Editor’s Note — A veteran financial advisor, Michael E. Chadwick has regularly appeared as an analyst on Fox News and other media outlets. His office is moving soon to Canton. A NEW YEAR IS UPON US — boy does time fly! Along with all of the customary resolutions we tend to have each January, including working out, eating well and quitting some bad habit, we have to deal with how to invest our hard-earned savings moving forward. We’ve had an amazing run in financial markets from the depth of the Great Recession in 2009 to 2018. “Buy the dip” has been a winning strategy for most of the past decade. How 2019 will play out is the big question, perhaps the priceless question. Although we can never truly predict the future, we can certainly compare the past to the present and try to find similar times and then try to come up with reasonable assumptions moving forward. When the global central banks decided to print money for years on end in an effort to inflate asset prices, they certainly accomplished their mission. We now must ask ourselves: Was that asset inflation built on a solid foundation or a house of sand?

results” is there for a reason, and we should heed that notice today with extreme caution. We find that most people chase performance, which means they buy what just did well over the past year, three years, five years or even 10 years. This is a very dangerous game today. Automation, passivity and everyone chasing the same things have resulted in a market led by a very thin select group of “leaders.” These leaders have begun to break down. Leaders tend to lead markets up, as well as down. As value investors, we’re not interested in that process

We have a hot economy and wonderful economic numbers — in fact, the best numbers we’ve had since 1966. ... We find these ideal number scenarios to be indicators of the high water mark in financial markets, not the beginnings of new trends. I have to say it’s likely the latter in many ways. We have a hot economy and wonderful economic numbers — in fact, the best numbers we’ve had since 1966. We had only four months of unemployment lower than 4% in 1966 and again in 2018. We find these ideal number scenarios to be indicators of the high water mark in financial markets, not the beginnings of new trends. From a valuation perspective, stocks in America as measured by the CAPE P/E ratio are not trading at 31 times earnings. History tells us the average CAPE P/E is 15. Average equity trading for double the normal levels — Houston, we have a problem! Who is paying attention is the big question. A lot of what is going on today has the same speculative froth that once permeated markets in 1999. Remember,, Not many do, but they were the darlings of the dot-com bubble. What has worked very well for the past decade will not likely work well for the next decade. The big disclosure always plastered on any investment of “past performance is no guarantee of future

of chasing performance. Rather, we want to buy what has done poorly for the past year, three, five or 10 and get it cheap, giving us a discount to intrinsic value and a margin of safety. As long as nothing is wrong with the thing that has done poorly for so long, it’s a wonderful opportunity. One must be careful not to buy a “value trap” — that is, a cheap thing about to go out of business. From a 40,000-foot view, we’re extremely cautious on domestic stocks today as well as corporate bonds and real estate; each asset class is in a bubble. Where should the average investor turn? We do find value in the commodity complex, precious metals, managed futures and foreign equities, as well as the short side of the market. Rather than “buy the dip,” it may be time to “short the rip” for the next year or two. Which darlings of today may not exist in a few years? + Contact info: 860-673-1942 or Registered Represtentative, securities offered through Cambridge Investment Research, Inc. a Broker/Dealer, member FINRA/SIPC. Investment Advisor Representative, Cambridge Investment Research Advisors, Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor. Chadwick Financial Advisors and Cambridge are not affiliated.



DEER DINER COVER STORY KUDOS Editor’s Note — Canton Today’s December cover story featured Collinsville resident Kathy Taylor and her lead role in organizing Christmas in Collinsville. We also highlighted her Service to the Business Community award, given by the Canton Chamber of Commerce. Thank you for the very nice article in Canton Today. I never thought I would be a Cover Girl. Kathy Taylor • Collinsville

ENJOYING CANTON TODAY Just a quick note to say how much I am enjoying the publication. I have enjoyed each issue and have learned numerous


Before winter’s arrival, the cemetery on Canton Springs Road proved to be a great place for a deer to dine on an apple feast. • Photo by Canton resident Penny Phillips

LETTERS things about our wonderful town. Your writing is so good, every article is so interesting. I wish you only success. Looking forward to January! Carol Storey • Canton

SOCIAL MEDIA TRIBUTES • Well-written and stylish layout • Helpful and entertaining • I love the focus on people Check out Canton Today Magazine on Facebook:


LETTERS POLICY Letters to the editor are welcome. Keep them brief: 150-200 words max. Canton Today reserves the right to edit for style and space issues, and may choose to not print a letter at the publisher’s sole discretion. Letter writers need to provide: full name, hometown, email address and phone number — the number and email won’t be published, unless you request this for promotional purposes. Political Note — The publisher of Canton Today Magazine is an independent, and that is the editorial stance of the magazine. Letters are welcome from across the political spectrum as long as they are civil and tasteful.


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