Canton Today Magazine • February 2019

Page 1

CANTON TODAY All Canton, All The Time

A Monthly Magazine


Seeing Wildlife with Wide-Eyed Wonder Local Photographer Captures Rare Images of Natural World


One family’s adoption story can lead to another Seeds of mother-daughter love grow into adoption advocacy By Penny Phillips Special to Canton Today


For my daughter, fortune would come her way on birthday #7. Her new sister, mother and father would appear one day, waiting to take her away from everything and everyone she knew, to a world she hadn’t seen and couldn’t understand. She would have to be brave and trust that her dreams were coming true. So Yi Chang became Joy. Today, she is my 14-year-old daughter who attends Canton Middle School. She makes us proud and happy, makes us belly laugh, gives us kisses and hugs, thanks us for making dinner and cleans up afterward — she even keeps her room neat! In school, she propels herself to the honor roll and is a multiple-sport athlete. She is a loving sister. But most of all, she is our youngest daughter, our most precious Joy-Joy, a child who brings us a singular sense of unique love that we could never imagine being without. Yet being without one more child was a constant theme when we contemplated adoption.

Photos courtesy of Penny Phillips

TO SOME, FAMILY IS a lifelong quest for a special kind of love. As it is with Kit, who awaits a family in a Chinese orphanage. As it was with my daughter in 2011 at the tender age of 6. Known in her orphanage as Yi Chang, she was indeed wise to understand the difference between a real family and a family of 100 orphans. Watching her friends leave with new moms and dads, hand in hand, passed over perhaps due to her age or her repaired cleft lip and palate, she dreamed of adoption.

Joy (above) and Kit (right) Adoption. There it was. That scary word. When you contemplate adoption, you wonder — to adopt or not to adopt, to have one more child or to be without one more child ... for the rest of your life. At our ages — 51 and 53 when we adopted Joy — conventional wisdom said we should have been preparing for college tuition and retirement, not adding to the family. But we felt a yearning. So we put aside all the concerns, spoken and unspoken, caring and loving. We brought Joy home on Dec. 4, 2011 at the age of 7. Our dream for a daughter and her dream for a family came true. Our family is comprised of Joy Shand; her sister Ella Shand (also adopted), a 16-year-old who attends Canton High School; my husband John Shand (I kept my maiden name); and me, proud Mom and wife, Penny Phillips.


Kit is a healthy, happy, sweet and charming boy. He has ambition and courage. He speaks with a tender voice. His tears are soft and quiet. He has many


caretakers’ shoulders to cry on because he has endeared himself to so many. This child is special and has overcome a difficult disability to be able to run independently, although he walks with support from a walker at this time in his growth. But unlike so many others who have been chosen for adoption, he has been passed over his whole life. He still dreams of being adopted. Joy and I are Kit’s adoption advocates after meeting him several years ago in China on a mission trip. We are advocating for him because we are certain that, despite his age and his current limitations and abilities, he will make a family happy and proud — perhaps one right here in Canton. He will excel, just as Joy has, once he has a family to love, and to love him. Time is running out for Kit. His adoption must start this year and must finish before his birthday in January 2020. It takes nearly one year to complete a China adoption, but there is still hope for the family who steps forward and says yes to Kit today. He is on China’s “shared list” and therefore can be adopted through any China adoption agency. He desperately needs more advocates and more people to know about him, and one special family to dream about adopting him. + Penny Phillips is a Canton resident. Her daughter Joy approved this report. For more info about adopting Kit — email: • www.

Call to schedule your FREE tour and 30-minute fitness consultation! 250 Albany Turnpike 860-398-1449

860.836.6172 CT Magazine 5-Star Realtor 2011-19

290 West Main Street


ted by a subsidiary of NRT LLC



Taco Bell Plaza



Personal Training — Fitness Assessments Body Fat Loss Education — Food Sensitivities Testing Yoga — Youth Sports Training + more Email –


One Wild Edition




IF YOU DO A DOUBLE TAKE and wonder if Canton Today Magazine has become National Geographic this month, that’s understandable. I’m delighted to share the wildlife photography of Canton resident Wendy Rosenberg in this February issue. Our cover story and accompanying photos are on pages 4-7. Many more of her photos are on display at the Canton Public Library through the end of the month. Meanwhile, Canton Today has rebranded as Today Publishing because we’re launching in Avon and Simsbury too — our three printand-digital magazines: Avon Today, Canton Today, Simsbury Today. As we aim for exceptional community journalism, we look forward to serving all three towns with compelling news while providing a powerful platform for local businesses. I invite you to contact me to learn how you can benefit from our print circulation of 24,500 and our digital footprint of multiple links to advertiser websites. A thank-you and shout-out to the advertising sponsors who are making possible this Canton-focused news vehicle!


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

A love of nature informs photographer Wendy Rosenberg as she seeks wild animals in her backyard and abroad — and records them exquisitely with her lens.

Find the digital edition of Canton Today Magazine at


8 — Messier: Integrity Key for Police Officers

Facebook —

“The public needs to be able to trust you, at all times,” says Canton Police Sgt. Derek Messier.

Advertising — Contact the publisher


Contributing Writers — Ali Hager, David Leff, Penny Phillips

10 — Math Chair Models Community Service

Editorial Associate — Kayla Tyson

Gabrielle Aitchison, CHS/CMS math department chair, values social outreach as well as algebraic equations.

Photographer — Seshu, Connecticut Headshots • 860-593-0850 •


News Deadline — February 1 for the March issue

12 — Snow Devotees Started Canton Ski Club

The Canton Ski Club operated on Sweetheart Mountain in Collinsville from 1948-75, writes David Leff.

Cover Photo by Wendy Rosenberg — a bald eagle takes flight in Maine



13 — Olympic Future for Canton Swimmer?

Canton High senior Will Gallant is ranked No. 1 in the nation among 17-year-olds in the 1000-yard freestyle.



“Nature was always calling to me as my focus ... Capturing the sights of nature fills my spirit.” — Canton photographer Wendy Rosenberg

Canton Ski Club had 100 adults and 500 kids at its zenith

HITCHCOCK is right around the corner


Pizza dough, breads, pastas, pastries & more

Come visit us at

The Shoppes at Farmington Valley, Route 44 in Canton The Hitchcock Chair Co., Route 20 in Riverton

860-352-2458 860-738-9958

OPEN Monday – Saturday 12-7 pm LOCATION 50 Albany Turnpike (Rt. 44), Canton 06019 860-693-1300 10% off in-store sale with coupon – cannot be combined with other discounts TODAY PUBLISHING • • FEBRUARY 2019


Canton resident Wendy Rosenberg captured this roseate spoonbill in mid-flight.

Photos by Wendy Rosenberg

Seeing wildlife with wide-eyed wonder

Canton photographer captures rare images of natural world Natural World • Photography Exhibit By Wendy Rosenberg Canton Public Library • Thru February

By Bruce Deckert Canton Today Editor-in-Chief

IF YOU HAVEN’T BEEN to the Canton Public Library in a while, this month is a timely opportunity to become reacquainted. Yes, you can find first-rate educational resources and engage in a fruitful indoor activity to beat the winter blues. But there’s much more. This February, the Natural World photography exhibit is on display at the library — and it is simply amazing. The free exhibit features exquisite nature photos by Canton resident Wendy Rosenberg. “My first exhibit was years ago ... when friends encouraged me to share my photographs after a yearlong hospitalization from a life-threatening illness,” says Rosenberg, 68, who has endured a rare gastrointestinal condition. “Capturing the sights of nature fills my spirit.” She has chronicled her struggles and triumphs in a memoir. The book — Getting Threw: A Story of Survival — encourages readers to never give up hope. Rosenberg’s photography has also been displayed at Roaring Brook Nature Center (her first showcase) and LaSalle Market in Canton, McLean Nursing Home in Simsbury, and the Farmington Library. The Canton Library exhibit was originally slated for January only but has been extended through the end of February. “I have had a passion for helping people since I was a young child,” says Rosenberg, who served as a 4

“Spending time in nature sates my soul and spirit. I find it extremely healing both mentally and


physically.” — Wendy Rosenberg


registered nurse in the operating room, psychiatric ward and hospice care before her retirement. “People have to have passions to keep them going.” Nature photography is clearly one of her passions. The self-taught photographer began taking photos with a Kodak Brownie camera as a teen in the 1960s. Her focus on nature began before that, perhaps paradoxically — she was raised in New York City, in the classic borough of the Bronx. She has lived in the classic Connecticut town of Canton since arriving in 2002. “Nature was always calling to me as my focus,” says Rosenberg, who has registered her yard as a Certified Wildlife Habitat. “In my childhood, I started bringing home stray animals that I could help, and this continues to this very day.” She says her backyard is “one of the best places for me to photograph wildlife.” When you view her photos on Canton Today’s pages or at the library, you may wonder ... how on earth does she capture wild animals in such close-up fashion? “I photograph wildlife by observing and waiting patiently, sometimes for several hours to capture the right moment,” Rosenberg says. “Spending time in nature sates my soul and spirit. I find it extremely healing both mentally and physically.” + Canton Public Library • 40 Dyer Ave. • 693-5800

HOME COOKING — These creatures were captured by Wendy Rosenberg’s lens in a single place: her yard in Canton. Above: A red fox trots through. Below: A male eastern bluebird and a chipmunk feast on berries.



Above: A barred owl on the west coast of Florida. Below: A chipmunk snacks, tree swallows perch.

“I photograph wildlife by observing and waiting patiently.” — Canton photographer Wendy Rosenberg



Photos by Wendy Rosenberg

BIRD’S-EYE VIEW — A great heron in midair, a red-shouldered hawk’s high-wire act, and a snack for a hermit thrush.



Being there for the public motivates Messier Canton Today Staff

AS A KID, Sgt. Derek Messier dreamed of being a pilot, and he has been a banker and an NBC TV intern. But he found his real calling with the Canton Police Department in 2003. Born and raised in Bristol, Messier worked as an assistant branch manager at People’s Bank throughout college. He was hired by the Canton Police two months after his graduation. Messier, 39, and his wife Heather, a registered nurse, have been married for 13 years. They were high school sweethearts, so they’ve been together for 20-plus years. They have three children: Addyson (12), Oliver (10) and Ella (7). The sergeant and his family moved to Harwinton in the summer of 2017. Here is his Q-and-A with Canton Today: Canton Today Magazine: What motivated you to pursue a career as a police officer? Derek Messier: I didn’t always want to be a police officer. When I was growing up, I wanted to be a pilot. I had dreams of going into one of the service academies, but [my] eyesight ... precluded me from having a military career in aviation. My other main interest I had always had was weather, and so I actually obtained my B.S. in meteorology. I interned at NBC 30 for a while, and while I loved the weather forecasting aspect of that career field, I wasn’t a fan of the broadcast TV side. I had always admired law enforcement and the prestige it appeared to hold, so I figured I’d apply and see what happened. CTM: What is the most enjoyable part of your work with the police department? Messier: I love the people I work with. We are a small agency, and your coworkers become like family. We obviously

Sergeant sees communication as ‘valuable tool’ for residents, police

work a lot of nontraditional hours, so you end up spending a lot of time with these guys on nights/weekends/holidays. It’s good to be able to lean on them when we deal with difficult calls. To me, the most enjoyable part is when we’re able to be there for the public and have an impact on their lives. CTM: What is the most challenging aspect of your police work, and how are you able to meet that challenge? Messier: The most challenging aspect of police work today is the constant

“I love the people I work with. We are a small agency, and your co-workers become like family.” — Sgt. Derek Messier media scrutiny and the belief that law enforcement has somehow gone rogue. Most of us are family men and women who come in to work, do our jobs to the best of our abilities, and want to go home safely. We understand that there is an inherent risk to what we do, and also understand that we took this job willingly. That doesn’t mean, however, that we forfeit our right to protect ourselves or somehow become disposable “necessary evils.” Everywhere, I think the best way to meet that challenge is by talking to people. We understand that there are members of society who have a different perspective of

KELLY HARTZELL Nails of Envy Manicuring • Gel • Acrylic Spa Pedicuring • Shellac/Gelish • Facial Waxing Gift Certificates

860-805-1084 8

220 Albany Turnpike


HONORING FIRST RESPONDERS law enforcement. But it’s just as ignorant for those folks to paint all law enforcement with the same brush as it is for us to do the same to them. CTM: What are the most important attributes for a police officer to possess? Messier: Integrity. That’s the big one. The public needs to be able to trust you, at all times, and not just when someone is watching. This career field can attract people from all walks of life and backgrounds, but if you don’t have that basic tenet, it doesn’t matter what other skills you possess, you’re not going to last long. I personally find it very frustrating that it only takes one or two bad apples to spoil the perception of the rest of us. It makes the job more difficult than it already is. CTM: What are the top two or three ways residents can work together with police to enhance safety in Canton? Messier: I think first is to realize that they have a very dedicated group of people working in this town. These guys truly do the job for the right reasons and want to be there to help our residents. Communication is the most valuable tool we utilize on a daily basis, so talking to us is always helpful. People also have to realize that we’re professionals and have a job to do. That means that sometimes we will have unpopular positions or have to take actions which may seem unnecessary, but our ultimate goal is to ensure the safety of the public and ourselves. CTM: Please share an anecdote that

Sergeant Derek Messier

Photo by Connecticut Headshots • 860-593-0850 •

provides a window into your work in law enforcement: Messier: As a patrol supervisor, my job is different every day. I can start my day off reviewing case reports, going over training files, and in an instant be backing up my guys at a serious motor vehicle crash or bad domestic violence call. It may end with me speaking with Captain Lawrence Terra or Chief Christopher Arciero reviewing policy. CTM: Of the movie or TV crime dramas you’ve watched, which one best reflects police work? Messier: Probably The Wire. I wish things were as simple as some of the other TV shows make it out to be. Fill in the blank: The best thing about Canton is _______. Messier: The people. I truly love this town and the varied types of calls we respond to. Fill in the blank: The main thing I’d like to see change in Canton is _______. Messier: More proactive policing. I’d love for Canton to become more of a “leader” in the Farmington Valley. Things like a dedicated SRO (school resource officer), K-9 unit, more public outreach. These are all things that are engaging to the community and help foster more communication and thus a better understanding of what the town needs and what our limitations are. Favorite spots in Canton: I’m a hunter and love the outdoors, so I like any spot in North Canton that has woods. I frequently patrol areas that are off the beaten path that may not get much other law enforcement attention. Favorite book: My Side of the Mountain by Jean George Favorite TV show: I don’t watch a ton of TV now, but growing up it would have been Airwolf and MacGyver. My favorite movie is still Top Gun. +

“Direct Access to Your Health”

860-679-0430 Staff 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 LOCATION – 61 Maple Avenue, Canton, CT 06019 Sports Medicine | Orthopedic Medicine | Dance Medicine Vestibular Therapy | Neurological Rehab | Pilates | Massage Therapy



Aitchison values collaboration, humor, hard work Math department chair models community service, social intelligence Canton Today Staff

IF GABRIELLE AITCHISON looks at her teaching career thus far as an equation, she has an easy computation — as she says, “I have taught at Canton for half my life!” She joined the Canton High School staff in August 1996 as a math teacher. In 2003 she added the duty of math department chairperson for Canton High School and Middle School, and she has been both chair and teacher since. Before Aitchison taught in Canton, she had a yearlong internship at Great Oak Middle School in Oxford, Conn., while she earned her master’s degree. Aitchison, 46, was born on Long Island and raised (from age 2) in Woodbury, Conn., where her parents still live. She resides in the hills of Litchfield County with her husband Bill, and she has two stepsons (age 17 and 20). Her Q-and-A with Canton Today follows: Canton Today Magazine: What prompted you to pursue a career as an educator? Gabrielle Aitchison: I used to play school as a child with my older sister Nicole, who also became a math teacher. We took home extra papers and took turns being the student or teacher assigning work and helping the other. I have had many inspirational teachers along the way that made me want to be like them, and thus I pursued a career in education. CTM: Who were your favorite teachers from your school days? Aitchison: My fifth-grade teacher, Alice Kakowski (now Jones)

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

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 • 10


ACCENT ON EDUCATORS was an inspiration. She helped me gain confidence in myself and was such an advocate for strong intelligent women. In high school, Mark Linehan was my favorite teacher. He was a social studies teacher (my least favorite subject) but his passion for teaching and his curriculum was huge, and that made me want to be a dynamic teacher like him. CTM: What are the most important attributes for an educator? Aitchison: You have to love to teach. It is a very hard and demanding job. It can get overwhelming. I wake up every day

“You can now Google any fact ... We need to focus less on factual knowledge and more on applying concepts and solving complex problems.” — Gabrielle Aitchison excited to be with my students and share my passion for the subject. Keeping that in mind makes the demands worth it. You have to be willing to change. You never know how a lesson will go and what obstacles may come up, so you have to be able to adjust on the fly. You have to like working with others. Collaboration is vital in education as you work with administrators, colleagues and students to make the school the best it can be. You have to have a sense of humor and see the joy in things. CTM: What do you see as the greatest challenge facing students today, and how can educators help students meet that challenge? Aitchison: We don’t know what the future holds, but we need to best prepare students for it anyways. Ensuring we shape students who don’t just have academic intelligence but also social and emotional intelligence is important. Ensuring students can think creatively, problem solve and work collaboratively will help them be prepared for any challenges the future may hold. CTM: What is your take on the smartphone revolution and its impact on education today? Aitchison: You can now Google any fact. Students walk around with more computing power in their phone than was in a computer when I was in school. We need to change with the times. We need to focus less on factual knowledge and more on applying concepts and solving complex problems. Phones can be a tool to use in class. I have students using their phones to access our textbook or take a photo of a concept. I can use apps like Remind to communicate with students without exchanging actual phone numbers. But we may need to show students how to communicate in person more with each passing year. I have seen two students sitting near each other at a meal and texting rather than talking. We need to make sure students can make eye contact and have actual conversations. And it is important they can communicate in other ways than with emojis and c u l8r.


Photos courtesy of Gabrielle Aitchison

Gabrielle Aitchison (second from right) has volunteered with Canton High School students at the Special Olympics. Below: Aitchison leads students each year at Canton’s Neighbors Helping Neighbors volunteer event.

CTM: Please share an anecdote that gives a snapshot of your work in education: Aitchison: While I love my time in the classroom, I am excited to model community service to students. For the past several years, I have organized a busload of students to take part in a community service event called Neighbors Helping Neighbors where we do yard work for those in Canton who are not able to perform these tasks on their own. Each year the bus of 50 students fills. That is 10% of our student body who come out on a Saturday morning to help others. This warms my heart. What they learn on these days is more important than any lesson they see in the classroom. On the ride back after our day of raking in the rain and wind this year, a senior said, “I am so sad this is my last year doing this event.” We discussed ways to give back as an adult, and I welcomed her to join me any year at any community service event I do. Students can take their understanding of

community service into their lives as there are ways to give back at any age. My parents both still volunteer in their community. Fill in the blank: The best thing about Canton is _______. Aitchison: The people who live here — such a great town: The community service of Focus on Canton and Canton Food Bank, generous shop owners who give back to the town like ShopRite and Whole Donut. Clubs: Canton Adolescents Taking Action (CATA) adviser, Leadership Experience Opportunity (LEO) Club adviser, Math Team adviser, Mu Alpha Theta adviser (math honor society), Class of 2021 adviser • District Professional Learning Community Committee, K-6 District Math Committee, H.S. Honors Celebration Committee • Organize student volunteers for annual Neighbors Helping Neighbors • Run annual school food drive Favorite spots in Canton — restaurants-plus: Mikado Asian Bistro, The Shoppes (especially Kohl’s) Favorite books: Bridge to Terabithia, The Dive from Clausen’s Pier, The Da Vinci Code Favorite TV shows: Grey’s Anatomy, Modern Family, Flea Market Flip (and any home remodeling show) Favorite hobbies: Going to the theater, cooking, kayaking Favorite activities: Going to tag sales, spending time with family and friends + Amanda Cole • Felicia Jordan • Amy McCallum


Carol Cole•Broker/Owner Licensed in CT in and Licensed CTMA

Inpatient and Outpatient Rehabilitation Physical Therapy • Speech Therapy Occupational Therapy 860-693-7777 • 102 Dyer Avenue, Canton, CT 06019

Canton, Canton, CT CT

Amanda • Renee Sturgeon • Amy McCallum AimeeCole McNally • Rania Menoutis • Renee Roche• •Aimee SashaMcNally Suto



Snow devotees established Canton Ski Club By David K. Leff Canton Town Historian

THIS MONTH IN CANTON HISTORY Above: Skiers prepared to descend Canton’s Sweetheart Mountain. Right: Skiers were pulled up the mountain by a rope tow that — no kidding — was powered by the rear drive of a jacked-up car. week when there was enough snow, as many as 50 days each season. A big barn at the base of the slope was purchased as a warming shed and for storage. In the early 1970s, a girl was injured when her long hair caught in the rope tow. Afterward, she wore a wig. Increases in insurance and competition from Ski Sundown in New Hartford with its snowmaking capacity spelled the end for the club in 1975. In 1991, the Canton Land Conservation Trust acquired the property, continuing a tradition of public access to the natural wonders of Sweetheart Mountain. Three trails are maintained by the land trust’s volunteers. Many artifacts of ski days remain, including car engines used to operate the tows, and utility poles with remnant light fixtures and wiring. Hiking the trails is not only a walk through nature’s beauty, but into a slice of Canton history.

Photos courtesy of Canton Historical Society

CANTON HISTORY February 1948 — Formed by a small group of enthusiasts, the Canton Ski Club operated trails and rope tows on Collinsville’s Sweetheart Mountain from February 1948 until 1975. The club first used a rough trail off Cherry Brook Road north of Canton Center, but soon moved to Collinsville, renting land from the Dunne family for a dollar per year. Not long after their initial winter, the ski club fabricated the first of two rope tows powered by the rear drive wheel of a jacked-up car. A small wooden jump and lights were also installed. During the 1950s membership increased gradually. Almost all the construction and mechanical work was done by volunteers, and a ski patrol was formed. When Mrs. Dunne died in 1960, her home and the Canton Ski Club land was sold. The purchasers conveyed about 20 acres to the Club for $5,000, and shares at $50 each were sold to members in order to pay for the acquisition. In the 1960s, a new tow house was constructed, improvements were made to the tow, and a second tow was added. The slope was regraded to improve skiing and more lights were installed. New trails were cut, providing a variety of skiing experiences that could satisfy both experienced and novice individuals. The club grew to 100 adult members and 500 children. It operated seven days a

U.S. HISTORY February 2, 1948 — President Harry Truman urges Congress to adopt a civil rights program. WORLD HISTORY February 24-25, 1948 — The Communists seize control of Czechoslovakia. + David K. Leff is an award-winning author of 10 books, including “The Last Undiscovered Place,” which is about Collinsville • • Some details in this story relied on an article by Phil Griggs from the December 2000 issue of Canton Life.

SUBURBAN SANITATION SERVICE Family Owned and Operated Since 1955

860-674-0300 860-693-2876 Office 860-593-9826 Cell 860-676-1400 Fax


290 West Main Street Avon, CT 06001

GAIL FIALKIEWICZ Realtor® Operated by a subsidiary of NRT LLC

Septic Tanks Cleaned Leaching Fields Repaired & Installed Portable Restrooms for All Occasions Real Estate Septic Inspections

860-673-3078 • 860-693-2737 18 Colonial Road, Canton, CT



Ranked #1 nationally, Canton swimmer eyes Olympics By Bruce Deckert Canton Today Editor-in-Chief

ESPN’s SPORTSCENTER used to have a segment called Did You Know — let’s borrow the concept for this sports report: Did you know that a Canton swimmer is ranked No. 1 in the nation in the 1000-yard freestyle? And another is ranked in the top 15? Canton High School senior Will Gallant is the top-ranked swimmer in the 1000-yard free among 17-year-olds in the United States. Freshman Charles Perks is No. 13 in the same event among 15-year-olds in the U.S. Which begs a follow-up question: Is this the best-kept secret in the Canton sports scene today? Gallant and Perks are members of the West Hartford Aquatic Team, also known as WHAT Swimming, which is affiliated with USA Swimming. Canton High doesn’t have a swim team, but even when a swimmer’s high school does have a team, the best swimmers sometimes Gallant opt to compete with a USA club instead. Gallant is eyeing the 2020 Olympics, though coach Rob Riccobon has told Canton Today that it’s “too soon to tell” whether Gallant can secure a qualifying time for the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in June 2020 in Omaha, Nebraska. “He is going to try and attain [a qualifying time] this spring,” says Riccobon, WHAT Swimming co-founder. “He is close.” Canton resident Peg Berry is a swim mom and is thus familiar with the commitment and hard work required of competitive swimmers. She notes that club teams practice virtually yearround, typically with a short summer break of a month or less. “High school-aged swimmers practice two to three hours a day, six days a week, often in the wee hours of the morning or

The WILL GALLANT File SPORTS REPORT Ranks among U.S. 17-year-olds #1 — 1000-yard freestyle Will’s Times #6 — 1650-yard freestyle 1500m free–15:49.18 #27 — 500-yard freestyle Olympic Trial cut–15:44.89 #41 — 800-meter freestyle 800m free–8:15.99 #45 — 1500-meter freestyle Olympic Trial cut–8:12.99 • 2018 Connecticut Swimming Scholar 400m free–3:59.90 Athlete • 2018 USA Swimming Olympic Trial cut–3:57.29 Scholastic All-America Team • Verbally committed to Indiana University • Joined WHAT Swimming in 2012 The CHARLES PERKS File Ranks among U.S. 15-year-olds #13 — 1000-yard freestyle #23 — 1650-yard freestyle #29 — 500-yard freestyle #78 — 200-yard freestyle #79 — 200-yard butterfly Perks • 2018 CT Swimming Long Course Age Group Champ in 1500m, 800m, 400m freestyle events and 400 IM • Connecticut Swimming Distance Individual High Point Champion for 2017-18 Short Course and 2018 Long Course Season — only swimmer to capture both awards • Joined WHAT Swimming in 2013 Bruce Deckert is an award-winning journalist who served as an editor at for 17 years. A lifeguard in college, he is impressed by the flawless strokes of competitive swimmers.

Dr. Elena Bielawski – DDS, FICOI, FMIII

“Will is WHAT Swimming’s most decorated swimmer. His work ethic has laid the foundation for future WHAT swimmers.” — WHAT Swimming coach Rob Riccobon evening,” Berry says. “They are dedicated, hard-working and used to not getting the limelight. ... I would just love to see these amazing athletes get a little well-deserved attention.” Berry’s son Brian, who competed for WHAT Swimming, is a sophomore swimmer at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania, and her daughter Delany is a senior swimmer at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts. Gallant and Perks were instrumental in WHAT Swimming’s accomplishments in 2018, according to Riccobon. The club won the 2018 Connecticut Open Water Championship (men’s division and overall team division) and received the Bronze Medal Club honor in the USA Swimming Club Excellence program. “Will is WHAT Swimming’s most decorated swimmer. His work ethic has laid the foundation for future WHAT swimmers,” Riccobon says. “Charles has an enormous amount of talent and his success could elevate WHAT Swimming to new heights.” WHAT Swimming was founded in 2007. +


66 Maple Avenue Collinsville, CT

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


CALENDAR Natural World Photo Exhibit Send your events to: Canton Public Library Thru end of February Free • Amazing nature images by Friday Family Movie Matinee photographer Wendy Rosenberg Canton Public Library • See pages 4-7 for photos Fridays — 3 pm Free • Recent G or PG movie, for Incendiary movie title call 693-5800 Farmington Valley Stage, Collinsville Open Mic Night Friday 2/1 — 8 pm LaSalle Market, Collinsville Saturday 2/2 — 8 pm Fridays — 6-10:30 pm By Adam Szymkowicz To perform, call ahead or come Directed by Anthony Urillo at 5 • 693-8010 The Scholarly Hour Canton Senior Center Fridays 2/1-3/8 — 10 am Brief History of the World Free • anyone 55+ • 693-5811

Love Your Neighbor Luncheon Canton Senior Center Friday 2/8 — 11:30-1:30 $5 by 2/1 • Nursery school show plus a hearty meal • 693-5811 Paint by Fire Flatbread Pizza Company, Shoppes, Canton Mondays 2/11-2/25 — 7 pm $25 incl. meal • Some proceeds to Roaring Brook Nature Center Town Historian Office Hours Canton Public Library Tuesday 2/12 — 4-6 pm Free • David Leff available to answer questions, talk history+ SAT & ACT Practice Testing Canton Public Library Saturday 2/16 — 1-4 pm Free • Run by C2 Education Registration required: 693-5800 Meeting: Friends of Library Canton Public Library Tuesday 2/19 — 7 pm Visitors welcome, learn about volunteering+ • 693-5800 Senior Center Day Trips Canton Senior Center: 693-5811 Thursday 2/21: CT Flower Show Thursday 3/7: VT Sleigh Ride Homework Help Canton Public Library Thursdays — 3-4:30 pm NHS students offer help


Resident honors Civil War graves of African-American soldiers By Ali Hager Special to Canton Today

Tubing & Hot Chocolate Soup and Snowmen Mills Pond Park, Canton Hosted by Canton Parks & Rec Dates depend on weather Info: Check Facebook page or call 693-5808 Comedy Night: Vic Henley Bridge Street Live, Collinsville Saturday 3/16 — 8 pm $18-$27 • 30-year comedy vet, co-author of best-selling book 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 Straight Shooter: Bad Company Tribute Bridge Street Live, Collinsville Saturday 3/30 — 8 pm $20-$27 • High-energy show with faithful song renditions Library Programs: February Canton Public Library: 693-5800 Art in the Afternoon: Grade 4+ Mondays 2/4-2/25 — 3 pm Technology Help Drop-In Mondays 2/4-2/25 — 3 pm Drop-In Story Time: Age 3+ Tuesdays 2/5-2/26 — 10:30 am Little Builders: Age 3+ Tuesdays 2/5-26 — 1:30 pm Teen Crafternoon: Grade 4+ Tuesdays 2/5-2/26 — 3 pm Fairy Tale Fun: Age 3+ Wednesdays 2/6-2/27—1:30 pm Strategy Games: Grade 4+ Wednesdays 2/6-2/27 — 3 pm Little Artists: Ages 3+ Thursdays 2/7-2/28 — 1:30 pm Toddler Story Time Fridays 2/1-2/29 — 10:30 am


Photo courtesy of Ali and Chris Hager

Ballet Canton Senior Center Wednesdays thru 2/20—2-3 pm $7/session • Increase strength, balance • Info: 693-5811 x4


MY HUSBAND AND I LIVE in Collinsville with our two small kids. We love getting Canton Today Magazine every month. Neither of us is originally from the Northeast, so it’s nice to get a greater sense of community in this wonderful little town. I’m writing to tell you about an act of kindness that is almost invisible, but beyond worthy of mention. In the cemetery on Simonds Avenue, tucked way back on the far edge of the lot near the woods, are the graves of Civil War soldiers. Most of the gravestones are close to Simonds Avenue, but a couple are set back from the others because these soldiers were African-American. The gravestones are humble. You’d likely never see them unless you knew they were there. Our neighbor, Davi Greacan, placed Christmas wreaths on their graves during the holiday season. For the first time, I could see them from the road. Every time I drove by I felt gratitude for the sacrifice of these men who served. A simple wreath with a bright red bow helped me remember. Davi didn’t tell us about the wreaths. It’s not her style. She discovered the gravestones many years ago in a research project for the Canton Public Library about Civil War soldiers from Canton. She told my husband Chris and me about the graves. When I first noticed the wreaths as I drove by, I thought, for sure, Davi had something to do with that. Sure enough, it was her. She didn’t think a soul would notice. I would be delighted if more of us had the chance to notice. Editor’s Note — February is Black History Month. For resources, see the Canton Public Library • 693-5800

Downright Music educates and inspires students By Mckenzie Campbell Canton Middle School Correspondent

Photo courtesy of Downright Music

NESTLED IN THE SCENIC CENTER of Collinsville, Downright Music is much more than just music lessons. While taking music lessons may seem a burden, students at Downright are typically eager for their coming lesson. In an inspiring and comfortable atmosphere, co-owner Andrew Decker sees teaching music as a two-way street. “I have learned,” he says, “that when you show someone music, you are rewarded by learning as well ... thanks to all the people who have shared their music with me.” Downright is considerably unconventional when compared to your standard music lesson. Students not only receive the lessons and experience they need but also gain a sense of community. “Andrew is an amazing teacher, and he has taught me so much on the guitar,” says an eighth-grader from Canton who has attended Downright for four years. “When I first came to Downright, I knew very few basics, and through private lessons and jam groups I was able to learn so much more. Downright is a very relaxed and fun environment, and it has helped me immensely.” Encouraged to learn many skills and instruments while playing with others, students consequently branch out to those with similar musical interests. Downright is a special place where people, no matter the age, can do what they love, learn something, jam with old friends or even meet new ones. +


“When you show someone music, you are rewarded by learning as well.” — Downright Music co-owner Andrew Decker Mckenzie Campbell is an eighth-grader at Canton Middle School. She studies piano, voice and songwriting at Downright Music in Collinsville. Info •



Photo by Wendy Rosenberg

BEAR NECESSITIES Photographer Wendy Rosenberg captured this bear as it ate acorns in her yard in Canton. The bear had climbed a large oak and pulled the acorns down. For more of Rosenberg’s photos, see pages 4-7 and the magazine cover. Her work is on display at the Canton Library in February.

Natural World • Photography Exhibit By Wendy Rosenberg Canton Public Library • Thru February


LETTERS 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. Canton Today Magazine on Facebook:



My husband and I live in Collinsville with our two small kids. We love getting the magazine every month. Neither of us is originally from the Northeast, so it’s nice to get a greater sense of community in this wonderful little town. Ali Hager • Collinsville


Just finished reading the latest issue [January]. Great articles on Bob Skinner and Jeff Moore! Peg Berry • Canton


• The magazine looks great. You’re filling a real niche in the community. Keep up the good work.


Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.