Today Magazine • January 2020

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Nonprofit Publisher Spotlights Underrepresented Literary Voices


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Publisher Robert Mandel of Simsbury-based Mandel Vilar Press has helped publish over 200 books on the Holocaust — and 2,000 books overall. COMMUNITY INTEL

8 — Deeds Not Words

Three vital Avon civic groups are sponsoring a yearlong series that explores the history of women’s suffrage. HISTORY HIGHLIGHTS

10 — Canton 201 Years Ago

In 1819, Canton’s population was 1,374 people, who had access to three churches and eight distilleries. HONORING FIRST RESPONDERS

11 — Calling All Cadets

Canton’s Volunteer Fire & EMS Department is looking for teens who want to serve and learn life skills. SPOTLIGHT ON THE ARTS

12 — Valley’s Beauty Inspires Artist

Award-winning painter Lori Racicot-Burrous is inspired by the area’s woods, fields, streams and more.


You provide a great service to our Farmington Valley community through your publications! Susan Levine • Women Reshaping Lives, Simsbury 860-810-3915 • The photos of the tree decorating at the Canton Historical Museum came out great. I happened to be there when they were shooting. Kathy Taylor • Canton Town Historian ••••••• Correction — Photo Credit A photo on page 14 of the December issue of Today Magazine was inadvertently not credited. The photo credit should have gone to: Daniel Cash • 860-833-3817 • ••••••• Letters to the editor are welcome. Keep them brief: 100150 words max. We reserve the right to edit for style and space considerations. Provide your full name, hometown, email and phone number — the phone and email won’t be published, unless you request this for promotional purposes. The publisher is a political independent, and that is the editorial stance of the magazine. Letters are welcome from across the political spectrum as long as they are civil.

HAPPY NEW YEAR — Today Magazine ushers in 2020 with a powerful cover story … we certainly believe it’s potent, and of course you can decide for yourself. By the way, you can voice your opinions by sending letters to the editor for possible publication related to our stories and other local topics: Our January cover spotlights a Simsbury publishing house that you may not have heard of — but Mandel Vilar Press is producing meaningful and award-winning books on topics ranging from diversity to conservation to the Holocaust. “I believe that we must all … do our best to educate new generations of readers, especially people born long after these heinous events, to prevent a repeat of history,” says Robert Mandel, the founder and publisher. His wife Dena is senior editor. The Simsbury residents appreciate the town’s striking beauty and first-rate library. In the new year, Today Magazine will continue to aim for community journalism at its best — as we report the underreported upside in the tri-town heart of the Farmington Valley. + Bruce Deckert — Publisher + Editor-in-Chief 860-988-1910 • Today Magazine — Avon • Canton • Simsbury – Digital Edition on website Facebook — @TodayPublishingCT LinkedIn — search: Today Publishing Advertising — Contact the publisher News Deadline —1st day of month for next month’s issue Editorial Associate — Kayla Tyson

Today Magazine Online — Contributing Writers —David Leff, Lori Racicot-Burrous, Terri Wilson Photographer — Seshu, Connecticut Headshots • 860-593-0850 • Contributing Photographer — Wendy Rosenberg • 860-305-1655 Cover Photo — Connecticut Headshots • caption info on page 4

QUOTE OF THE MONTH “Hanna’s story has familiarized a new generation of young adults with the suffering, resistance and resilience of those who were persecuted during the Holocaust.” Senior Editor Dena Mandel — on novel My Real Name Is Hanna

BY THE NUMBERS — 25 Mandel Vilar Press has published 25 books in 5 years, 10 on the Holocaust


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BY THE BOOK — Dena and Robert Mandel, the husband-and-wife team at the heart of Mandel Vilar Press, celebrated their 51st anniversary in December.

Photos by Connecticut Headshots • 860-593-0850 •

GIVING VOICE TO THE HOLOCAUST Local Publisher Focuses On Diverse Authors, Issues By Bruce Deckert Today Magazine Editor-in-Chief

THOUSANDS OF PUBLISHERS crowd the American book landscape. Among them, a seemingly minor publishing house in the Farmington Valley is making a major contribution by shining a light on sometimes-neglected societal and historical issues — and whenever a topic like the Holocaust is disregarded, each time the neglect occurs is one too many times. Mandel Vilar Press, a nonprofit publisher, has been based in Simsbury since its founding in 2014 by Robert Mandel. With four decades of experience in the publishing realm, Mandel has helped publish over 2,000 books, including 200 on the Holocaust and 300 other Jewish fiction and nonfiction books. Mandel Vilar Press (MVP) has published 25 books, including 10 on the Holocaust. “MVP is well-known nationally and abroad,” Mandel says, “but we aren’t especially well-known in Greater Hartford.” MVP might be the best-kept secret in the Farmington Valley. The publishing house seeks to foster diversity and conservation by introducing underrepresented and diverse literary voices to 4


English-speaking readers. MVP has garnered multiple awards in its brief five-year existence — including a half-dozen for the novel My Real Name Is Hanna, a powerful work of historical fiction which traces the World War II story of a Ukrainian Jewish family that goes into hiding to escape the Nazis and ultimately lives in underground caves for more than a year until the war is over. January 2020 is the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the largest concentration camp. “I have always believed in the imperative that we must keep the memory and history of the Holocaust alive and real to new generations born after these events,” Mandel says. “I have tried to put my beliefs into practice by teaching about the Holocaust and publishing both historical fiction and nonfiction books about the Holocaust.” MVP’s other Holocaust-related books include The City of Light, Searching for Wallenberg and Elie Wiesel: An Extraordinary Life and Legacy. “In a recent poll, 22% of millennials said they never heard of the Holocaust,” Mandel

notes. “In Britain, one in 20 adults does not believe the Holocaust happened. ... Most Americans (58%) believe that something like the Holocaust could happen again.” Given such alarming statistics, Mandel senses a significant mandate. “As a concerned citizen, a historian and book publisher, I believe that we must all do our part to fight hatred and bigotry wherever we find it,” Mandel says, “and do our best to educate new generations of readers, especially people born long after these heinous events, to prevent a repeat of history — the possibility of another Shoah — so we can help prevent a return to the darkest period in the history of humanity.”


Before starting MVP, Mandel worked for 35 years at seven university presses, beginning in 1979 as senior editor at SUNY Press in Albany, N.Y., and culminating as director of the Texas Tech University Press. In between, he was hired to launch

Cooper attends Roaring Brook School, an elementary school in Avon. Dena says she appreciates the way the towns of Avon, Canton and Simsbury “promote local cultural events and accentuate the area’s inherent natural beauty — from the splendid public libraries with their vibrant array of programs to the endorsement of the arts through the music summer festivals at Simsbury Meadows and Talcott Mountain. ... The region’s striking beauty is on display throughout the many hiking and biking trails that are enhanced by the Drake Flower Bridge over the Farmington River and environmental resources like the Roaring Brook Nature Center.” Robert, 74, and Dena, 72, share a Jewish heritage, an undergraduate alma mater (University of Wisconsin) and a birthplace (Newark, New Jersey). Each has a doctorate — Robert in modern European history and Dena in English literature. They met in 1967 and married in December ’68.

She explains that she was reluctant to edit My Real Name Is Hanna “because I was in the unfamiliar terrain of adolescent readers.” “However, the captivating true-to-life tale of survival of a young Ukrainian Jewish girl, along with 37 friends and relatives, in a large but unexplored cave was too fascinating to refuse,” Dena says. “Tara Masih’s novel ... turned out to be a rewarding undertaking. It has won multiple literary prizes … and, best of all, Hanna’s story has familiarized a new generation of young adults with the suffering, resistance and resilience of those who were persecuted during the Holocaust.” My Real Name Is Hanna is the first novel authored by Tara Lynn Masih, an

“I have always believed ... that we must keep the memory and history of the Holocaust alive and real to new generations born after these events.” — Publisher Robert Mandel and direct the University of Alaska Press. In 2014, he ostensibly retired — until he was encouraged later that year by authors he had worked with to start a nonprofit literary trade publishing house. To most people, retirement means more time for golf and the beach, likely in warmer climes. For Mandel, however, retirement has meant establishing Mandel Vilar Press and carrying on his life calling of producing meaningful books that sustain and educate. As the publisher and founder of MVP, Mandel is the only full-time employee, and it’s an unsalaried role: “I donate my time and work to MVP’s goals and mission,” he says. He works closely with his wife, Dena Mandel, a retired university professor who is MVP’s volunteer senior editor. The Simsbury residents had a time-honored grandparent’s motivation for their move to Connecticut: Their only child, Brynn Mandel, and her son Cooper live in Avon. “When we arrived here Brynn had already been an award-winning features writer for the Waterbury Republican American for more than a decade,” Robert says. “She subsequently transitioned into high school English teaching and has been teaching English and journalism at Lewis Mills High School in Burlington for six years.”

Asked about the most vital aspect of their work with MVP, the Mandels sound a harmonic chorus. Robert’s reply: “Publishing the best fiction and nonfiction books by the best ethnic and minority writers in the Americas and throughout the world.”


Naturally, Dena gives voice to the senior editor’s role. “Every new project for publication exposes me to an unexplored universe of diverse ideas expressed by talented writers,” she observes. “My role is to work with our authors to craft their respective manuscripts to showcase their distinctive style, imagination, voice and intellect. ... Because being a developmental editor is a persuasive process, an editor must earn the trust of each writer by demonstrating an understanding of the author’s subject, aesthetics, ideology and intent.” When Robert was director of the Texas Tech press, Dena was a professor of comparative literature at Texas Tech, specializing in literature of the Holocaust and Jewish American literature. Dena notes that an editor can’t single out a specific book “any more than parents can nominate a favorite among their children,” adding that “welcoming challenges has proven to be a source of satisfaction.”

award-winning writer and editor who has enjoyed an eclectic career in book and magazine publishing. “I feel lucky that this particular novel landed with MVP,” Masih says. “I’m not sure any other press would have done it justice. It needed an edit from someone like Dena Mandel, who taught Holocaust literature for 30 years. It’s so important to get the facts right in a Holocaust book, as we owe the survivors the full truth.” Hanna is being taught in high schools and middle schools nationwide.


“The MVP team did a great job with the interior and cover,” Masih observes. “As a writer, I am not too proud to say that having an arresting cover and book design helped draw in readers who appreciated the experience of reading a book that was carefully written, edited and produced.” Meanwhile, if you’re wondering about the middle name in this nonprofit’s nomenclature — Mandel Vilar Press — Irene Vilar is MVP’s associate publisher and co-founder. She says that MVP helps “open up our cultural borders” and plays “a vital role



Simsbury publisher accents diverse literary voices

Publisher Robert Mandel answered this Q&A

MANDEL VILAR PRESS 19 Oxford Court • Simsbury, CT Publisher Robert Mandel 806-790-4731 • Website — Officers — Robert Mandel, Publisher and Founder • Irene Vilar, Associate Publisher and Co-Founder • Dena Mandel, Senior Editor Employees — 1 full-time (unsalaried) 5 part-time or freelance Year established — 2014 Mission — Advancing diversity and conservation in publishing by bringing underrepresented and diverse literary voices of the Americas to a larger English-speaking readership and serving as a conduit of multicultural exchange by providing a publishing outlet for both minority writers and writers about minority issues. Most fulfilling aspect of your work? Publishing the best fiction and nonfiction books by the best ethnic and minority writers in the Americas and throughout the world; delivering these books and their ideas to the world’s English-reading audience.


& Distribution and Ingram Books — the world’s largest book distributor. Goals for the next 1-5 years? To continue to build a quality book list; expand our publishing alliances; and achieve financial success — measured by the ability to fully fund all of our operations through sales, grants and fundraising. Volunteer opportunities — MVP could not survive without its volunteers. We have regular internships where individuals and students can learn all aspects of literary publishing. Interns learn skills that can easily be transferred to larger publishing houses and other publishing and media careers. We invite applications from people interested in publishing, especially those with editing and writing skills, design skills (Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, etc.) and skills with social media promotion and websites. An anecdote that provides a window into your ethos: The Power of One: Our authors — whose books have won several major book awards and are regularly reviewed in major media

promotional design, editing, proofreading, indexing, typesetting, pre-press and printing, and public relations and promotion work — all coordinated by one person in a tiny alcove with a desk and a computer. Besides donations, how are you funded? Our operations are funded by donations; the proceeds from the sales of all books; and publication grants from foundations and other interested organizations. As the sole full-time employee, I take no salary or compensation — I donate my time and work to MVP’s goals and mission. Interesting stats and numbers: In less than four years we have published over 25 books — many in dual editions of both print and e-books. What do you appreciate most about the Avon-Canton-Simsbury area? I have a good basis for comparison as I have lived and worked in many parts of the country and other countries during my professional career: three cities in Ontario, a Canadian province (Toronto, London, St. Catharines); Paris; New York City; suburban New Jersey; Albany, N.Y.; Bloomington, Indiana; Detroit, Michigan; St.

“Simsbury is one of the most beautiful places I have ever lived.” — Publisher Robert Mandel Biggest obstacle you face, and how you overcome it? As a small nonprofit publisher competing for the same audiences ... as larger and betterfunded commercial and literary publishing houses, you need to employ guerrilla marketing tactics using the latest social and print media outlets to promote your books and authors to the world at large. Most satisfying accomplishment? Within five years we have successfully established our brand. Our books have won numerous book awards and prizes and have secured national and international reviews and attention. We have established publishing alliances with several other like-minded presses and our books are represented by Consortium Book Sales

outlets (Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Kirkus, Library Journal, Publishers Weekly) — are always amazed when they learn that MVP’s office is actually an alcove on the third floor of our home with a desk, a computer and a single full-time worker (me, the publisher). As the former director of several major publishing houses, I have published 2,000 books in a 40-year career. Based on what we have accomplished in five years, they all expect to see a suite of offices with a half-dozen or more staff working away on publications. Most of MVP’s staff are volunteers and students, who come to our home to work or we meet at Starbucks, and numerous professional publication freelancers who live all over the country and provide book, art and


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Before starting his publishing career, Robert Mandel was a history professor.

in maintaining a healthy and vibrant democracy and cultural literacy ... ignorance breeds bigotry and prejudice. It is clear that publishing translations is one urgent mandate for the making of an empathic, global citizen.” Besides the goal of promoting diverse and underrepresented literary voices, Mandel Vilar Press is the publishing arm of the nonprofit Americas for Conservation + the Arts. And in 2019, MVP launched a Jewish trade book imprint, MomentBooks, a joint venture with Moment Magazine. Simsbury has been in the news nationally for fostering diversity vis-à-vis the iconic history of the civil rights movement. In 2010 a group of Simsbury High students undertook investigative historical work and demonstrated that Martin Luther King Jr. spent two teenage summers in town in the 1940s. These dedicated students produced a nationally acclaimed documentary about MLK’s visits to Simsbury, and today another student group has taken the baton and paved the way for a dream to be fulfilled: an MLK memorial in town that is slated to be unveiled this year. Nonetheless, census stats indicate that Simsbury isn’t as ethnically diverse as Connecticut or the United States, so perhaps it’s ironic that a publishing house advancing diversity resides here. Yet it appears that the ethos of Mandel Vilar Press will continue to enhance not only the broader publishing domain but also the town it calls home. After five years, this powerhouse Lilliputian publisher — a “Little Engine That Could” amidst giants like HarperCollins, Macmillan and Penguin Random House — is apparently still picking up steam. + Today Magazine Editor-in-Chief Bruce Deckert is an awardwinning journalist • Digital edition of Today Magazine’s MLK cover story (August 2019):

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Dollars for Scholars: Deeds Not Wo funding college dreams Dollars for Scholars president Joanne Beers answered this Q&A Avon Dollars for Scholars Website — Facebook — AvonDollarsForScholars Employees — 1 part-time administrator Year established — 1978 Mission — To mobilize the Avon community through scholarships and educational support and to help make post-secondary education possible for our students. Administered by a volunteer Board of Directors, the foundation is comprised of local residents, educators and businesspeople who are dedicated to the value of education. Most fulfilling aspect of your work? Awarding scholarships to deserving high school seniors at the annual Awards Night. Your biggest obstacle, and how can you overcome it? We are always challenged to raise funds and find volunteers committed to our mission. In a relatively wealthy town like


Avon, many assume there are no students who need scholarships to make college possible. About two-thirds of the dollars we award go to students with need. Most satisfying accomplishment? Awarding about $578,000 in scholarships since 2013 and well over $1 million since our founding. Avon residents are eligible for scholarships, whether students attend Avon High or a private school. Your goals for the next 1-5 years? Raise money through private donations in order to continue awarding scholarships; raise awareness about the need for scholarships for Avon’s seniors, to help with their expenses and reduce their college debt; continue to attract committed and talented volunteers and board members. Volunteer opportunities: Board members and/or volunteers — particularly people with computer skills, continued on page 14

FOR TOO LONG the knowledge of how women in this country won the right to vote has been lost to time. But now, 100 years later, that is changing. As 2020 begins, the Avon Historical Society along with partners Avon Free Public Library and Avon Senior Center invite the public to spend this year with them to attend, listen, learn, read, debate and find out who was behind this immense social reform in America. The team has created a series — Deeds Not Words: 100 Years of the Vote for Women — which runs through October 2020. It is sponsored by CT Humanities. The series is designed to offer the public a chance to peer back in time to 1848-1920, when the hard work of women and men on the national, state and local level — many right here in the Farmington Valley — made it all happen. Our forebears worked hard for 72 years lobbying Congress, writing letters to the editors, hosting national leaders of both

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Connecticut Woman’s Suffrage Association – State Archives – Connecticut State Library

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(Layout includes a margin clear of text and graphics AVON TODAY as this information may be covered by frame and/or clips during installation)

Josephine Bennett, a suffrage activist and Connecticut resident, with her daughters Frances and Katherine in Hartford (circa 1916)

the pro- and anti-movement in Avon and Simsbury, and holding rallies on the main streets of America as well as in salons and places where women gathered. Many of the state and local suffragists in Connecticut took strong leadership roles, on both sides, making Connecticut a player front and center to this debate. For example, Simsbury resident Josephine Jewell Dodge was the president of the National Association Opposed to Women Suffrage. Just 2 miles away, another Simsbury resident, Antoinette Eno Wood, was the leader of the Simsbury Equal Suffrage League. At her home — currently the Simsbury 1820 House — she hosted several state and national pro-suffrage leaders, such 374 Hopmeadow Street • Simsbury, CT 06089 Hartford’s own Katharine Houghton 860-651-8236 as Hepburn (mother of the actress), who was president Connecticut Woman Find out how you can get improved valueof andthe peace of mind. Call or visit ourSuffrage office today! Association. Activists also held rallies, letter-writing campaigns, open meetings and gatherings at homes in Simsbury and Avon. Corrine Alsop Cole, a prominent Avon

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Words: 100 Years of the Vote for Women resident and cousin of Eleanor Roosevelt, initially opposed suffrage on a municipal level. But within a year she joined the prosuffrage movement nationally. The Farmington Valley hosted many famous suffragists of the time, such as American Elizabeth Cady Stanton and British suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst, who both visited Simsbury and Farmington, respectively, to meet with supporters. In fact, architect Theodate Pope—a rare profession for a woman in those days— hosted Pankhurst in 1913 at Pope’s HillStead home (now the Hill-Stead Museum). These little-known facts are the focus of the Deeds Not Words events and exhibits. By attending the book talks, listening to distinguished lecturers, viewing the exhibits, participating in roundtable discussions and debates, and having your picture taken as a suffragist, attendees can enjoy a deeper understanding of the 72-year struggle for what became the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution on Aug. 18, 1920. +

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Canton 201 years ago: 3 churches, 8 distilleries By David Leff Deputy Town Historian & Poet Laureate


THREE CHURCHES, eight distilleries and seven school districts — that was Canton in 1819, according to a gazetteer published that year in Hartford. It was little more than a dozen years since Canton became a town and about half that before the founding of the Collins Company would change life here forever. The fragile book, whose pages are spotted and sepia with age, was recently gifted to me by a friend. Inasmuch as New Year’s Day is a time for both reflection on the 12 months gone by and those yet to come, I thought I’d take a deep dive into the past to see if the dry facts of 1819 might enliven the holiday with some history. Canton was described as “considerably broken, being hilly and mountainous,” the soil “coarse gravel, which is hard, dry and stoney.” Oaks were the typical natural growth, and the land “best adapted to grazing.” Rye, corn, oats and flax were common crops, though “the lands are well adapted

to orcharding, and considerable attention has been paid to the subject, so cider has become one of the most important agricultural interests of the town.” In those days, of course, cider meant hard cider. Albany Turnpike was the principal street. The Farmington River was said to run “rapidly” and had one bridge across it. There were 1,374 people living in town, only 180 of whom were electors. The grand list was $27,540. Besides the ubiquitous distilleries, Canton had three tanneries, three grain mills, four saw mills, two fulling mills, a powder mill and a tin factory. There were also several wheelwrights, smiths and “other mechanics” as well as three physicians and two clergymen. Clearly, Canton was a much smaller place 201 years ago, and no doubt life was tougher without all the modern conveniences we now enjoy. But hard cider and distilled liquors must have kept at least some Cantonites in high spirits. +

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Fire & EMS seeking teens who want to learn life skills Special to Today Magazine

registry and state practical exams, cadets work alongside the department’s volunteer EMTs as part of a duty crew. They may train to drive the ambulance at age 21. “From ages 14 to 18, I had the opportunity to serve my community in ways that most people will never experience,” says firefighter Rob Weed, a cadet advisor and ex-cadet. When cadets turn 18, they may apply for membership to the department. As a member, they become eligible to attend the state fire academy to become certified as an interior firefighter, or they can remain an exterior firefighter. “It’s always a challenge,” Weed says, “because you’re never dispatched to the same type of emergency twice — which is what makes the Cadet Program so memorable and valuable. The hands-on training, alongside department EMTs and firefighters, really pays off when there’s an incident in town and you’re in the middle

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THE CANTON Volunteer Fire & EMS Department is holding an open recruitment drive for its Cadet Program. Young people (ages 14-18) are encouraged to apply for this free training. “Young people who join the Cadet Program can get hands-on experience in both fire and emergency medical services,” says Chief Bruce Lockwood. “Cadets attend program and department meetings, skills drills, and respond to 911 dispatches.” Since the 1980s, the department has mentored over 100 young men and women through its Cadet Program. Many have gone on to careers in the medical field, law enforcement or paid fire service. Depending on their areas of interest, cadets can learn how the ambulance and fire trucks work, the location of equipment, how to use it and their role in deploying it. At age 16, cadets are eligible to become certified as emergency medical technicians. Once they pass the national

of it, assisting versus just watching from the sidelines. As a cadet, you’ll find a firehouse full of trusted mentors.” Veteran firefighter Scott Goeben, also a cadet advisor, says, “The cadet benefits by learning valuable life skills such as teamwork, responsibility and leadership. Cadets, in turn, drive new energy into the department. The program has proven to be an important pathway to long-term department membership.” + Email:




Local artist inspired by Farmington Valley The title, penned by my father, elicits various reactions — many people laugh, and others want to know the story behind the title, which causes them to pause, reflect and share their stories … so many individuals are touched by dementia. The first painting in the series was featured on the cover of the Michigan Quarterly Review literary magazine in fall 2018, a special issue on caregiving. My award-winning work has been juried in many shows, is included in collections across the U.S., and has been featured in national publications. In addition to painting, I share my love of painting at schools and local arts organizations, and teach painting workshops in my studio. I am a member of Simsbury Open Studios, Avon Art Association and the Women Artists Collective, and an elected member of the West Hartford Art League. To see more of my work and learn about upcoming shows and events, visit my website and/or Facebook page. +

Standing Alone

ALTHOUGH I HAVE BEEN painting for a long time, I wake up every day excited to paint. Since moving to Simsbury in 2008, I have been creating artwork inspired by nature and my surroundings, the beautiful Farmington River Valley. Hiking trails through the woods, lush fields, farms, streams, ponds, marshes and the Farmington River are incredible subjects where I can find endless inspiration for my representational and abstract paintings. In addition to finding inspiration from nature, I paint with individuals, many with dementia, at local skilled nursing and rehabilitation facilities. I know firsthand how creating art can promote healing and relieve stress. Based on my experiences working with these individuals as well as my experiences caring for my father, who is living with dementia, I created a series of abstract paintings titled Where the Hell Did My Memory Go?

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Start off your new year with a move to Anthology of Simsbury, a boutique-inspired senior living community offering options for Independent Living, Assisted Living and Memory Care. ANTHOLOGY OF SIMSBURY / 142 Cooper Ave / Simsbury, CT 06089 TODAY MAGAZINE – – JANUARY 2020



A fox pauses to rest in the Canton backyard of photographer Wendy Rosenberg.

Photo by Wendy Rosenberg


Beginning with a compassionate welcome, we work with residents, families, area hospitals and physicians to achieve the highest levels of care possible. We create the best plan for wellness and recovery for people who can return home—and a warm, safe and comfortable home for long term residents. Family owned and operated, our two affiliated locations provide the personalized care that makes all the difference. Let us tell you more.

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Medicare 5 Star Rated Facilities 14


DOLLARS — continued from page 8 marketing and public relations expertise, and fundraising ideas. An anecdote that provides a window into your nonprofit’s ethos: We invite our donors to participate in Awards Night each year so they can meet the students benefiting from their generosity. Donors and students are encouraged to take a few minutes to chat. We hope this demonstrates the value of philanthropy to the students. We also require scholarship recipients to write thank-you letters to donors. One recent letter said: “I am the first in my family to attend a university in the United States ... Thank you again for your thoughtful and generous gift.” Besides donations, how is your nonprofit funded? We rely solely on private donations. Interesting stats and numbers: • $578,000 awarded since 2013: Scholarships are awarded based on merit, need or both from $500 to $5,000. • 40% of scholarships are $1,000 or more, and 67% of total dollars are awarded to this 40% of recipients. • 12% of scholarships are $2,000 or more, and 36% of total dollars are awarded to this 12% of recipients. What do you appreciate most about the Avon-Canton-Simsbury area? This is a lovely area to live in and raise a family in — the communities value education and maintain a high-quality living environment. Does your nonprofit work closely with town organizations and/or other local nonprofits? • We work closely with Avon High School in administering the scholarship program. • We were founded by leaders of the Rotary Club of Avon-Canton in 1978, and they continue to be a donor. • We have scholarships funded by Avon Girl Scouts, Avon Lions Charities, Avon Little League, Friends of Avon Music Education (FAME), the Garden Club of Avon, the Avon Historical Society and Prince Thomas of Savoy Society. • We are a member of the Avon Chamber of Commerce so we can connect with area businesses and nonprofits. • We are a chapter of Scholarship America, the nation’s largest nonprofit, private scholarship organization. Additional info: • We have achieved the Silver Seal of Transparency from GuideStar, which provides information on 2.5 million nonprofits. • We have 28 endowed scholarships. +

CALENDAR Watercolor Landscapes Workshop with Collette Hurst Canton Senior Center 1/6-1/13-1/27-2/3 – 10 am-12 All welcome • Register 693-5811 B-Well Festival Shop Rite of Canton Saturday 1/11 – 10 am-2 pm Health expo by Avon Chamber Meet practitioners, vie for prize Sundays at Three Music Series Avon Public Library Sunday 1/19 – 3 pm Free • Info: 673-9712 Pianist Tamila Azadaliyeva MLK Day in Simsbury First Church of Christ, Simsbury Monday 1/20 – 2 pm Honoring Martin Luther King Jr. Hilda’s Yard Farmington Valley Stage Company, Collinsville (Canton Town Hall) 1/25-1/31-2/1 – 8 pm 1/24-2/2 – 2 pm Comedy/Norm Foster • Simsbury Garden Club Varied World of Hydrangeas Apple Barn, West Simsbury Monday 1/27 – 11:30 am $10 • Guests welcome Gardeners of Simsbury: Stone Walls & Their Stories Simsbury Public Library 1/28 – 7-8:30 pm Free • with Barbara Austin Info: 658-7663 x2 +++ JOYful Happenings Journey of Yoga, Simsbury 860-680-1482 • Yoga for Healthy Bones Wednesdays – 5-6 pm Seva Saturday Morning Yoga–$7 Alternate Saturdays – 10:30-11:30 Kid or Family Yoga Alternate Sundays – 3-4 pm Yoga for Osteoporosis–$30 Sunday 1/26 – 11-12:30 +++ Canton Public Library lineup These events free • 693-5800

Our digital edition is posted well before the month begins Get an early peek at the Calendar –

Friday Family Movie Matinee Fridays – 3 pm • Free G or PG film January Art Display: Jennifer Knaus1/2-1/31 Free • On display Jan.-Feb. Portraits conjoined with nature Early Childhood Community Fair Saturday 1/11 – 10 am -12:30 pm Free • Info on services, fun for kids Motor Control Building Group by NextGen SmartyPants Saturday 1/11 – 1 pm Free • Ages 6-11 • 3-week class Build remote-control cars Budget Tips for Travelers With Matt Cadorette Saturday 1/11 – 2 pm Free • World traveler’s tips, stories Decluttering and Organizing Your Life with Jan Baltrush Tuesday 1/14 – 6:30 pm Free • Organizing pro returns for National Get Organized Month Preschool Submissions for February Art Show Due Tuesday 1/28 Free • Deadline for submitted art Be Creative with Sue T: Grade 4+ Mondays – 3 pm Drop-In Storytime: Age 3+ Tuesdays – 10:30 am Teen Crafternoon: Grade 4+ Tuesdays – 3 pm Games Unplugged: Grade 4+ Wednesdays – 3 pm Toddler Storytime- Ages 1-3 Thursdays – 10:30 am Art in Afternoon: STEAM Age 3+ Thursdays – 1:30-3 pm Baby & Me Storytime: birth-1 Fridays – 10:30 am +++ Storyteller’s Cottage events Simsbury • 860-877-6099 Creative Writing: Homeschoolers Thursdays – 2:30 pm $15 • Age 7-9, games + prompts Winter Board Game Cafe Saturday 1/4 – 7 pm $5 • Family-friendly fantasy games Snacks available for purchase

Sen. Witkos continues Business Spotlight Tour

State Sen. Kevin Witkos (R-8th District) is continuing his Local Business Spotlight Tour in 2020. The goal of the tour is to meet with local business owners and showcase the diverse business community in the towns he represents, and to receive feedback from business owners. “The 8th District is home to so many unique businesses that are locally owned and operated,” says Witkos. “It’s so important to highlight the value of shopping locally throughout the entire year, and I am looking forward to meeting with business owners across the district to highlight their good work.” Any business owner in the 8th District can arrange a visit by contacting Chris Diorio at or 860-240-8801. The first visit of the

Author Talk with Janet Elsbach Sunday 1/5 – 2 pm $5 • “Extra Helping: Recipes” book Fantasy Gaming Club Sunday 1/5 – 2 pm $20 • Various games “Les Deux Magots” Literary Cafe Sunday 1/5 – 3:30 pm $10 • Sip tea, talk literature Friday Night Art Sampler: Drawing the Face Friday 1/10 – 7 pm $25 • Bring friends + bottle of wine, learn basics of illustration Free Storytime with Katie Mockler Saturday 1/11 – 1 pm Free • “Magnets & Glue” The Bard’s Bistro: Gathering of Songwriters Sunday 1/12 – 3:30 pm $7 • Bring your songs + instruments for a jam & feedback Children’s Cozy “Hygge” Storytime & Wool Spinning Saturday 1/18 – 2 pm $20 • Enjoy story about cozy sheep; learn how to spin wool Adult Cozy “Hygge” Day Saturday 1/18 – 3:30 pm $25 • Winter-themed book dialogue; learn how to spin wool Japanese Anime Club Sunday 1/19 – 1:30 pm $20 • Discuss graphic novels, sample authentic Japanese snacks MLK Music Diversity Celebration Sunday 1/19 – 2 pm $25 • Lost Acres String Duo: fiddle, guitar music from many cultures Murder in the Library Sunday 1/19 – 3:30 pm $7 • Mystery author discusses latest enigmatic novel Friday Night Art Sampler: Drawing Pop Art Cartoon Face Friday 1/24 – 7 pm $25 • Bring friends + bottle of wine, learn basics of illustration

BUSINESS BEAT tour was conducted at BeanZ & Co. in Avon. A Canton resident, Witkos serves Connecticut’s 8th District, which includes Avon, Canton and Simsbury. “I feel strongly that as a state Senator it is incumbent upon me to be proactive in garnering feedback and hearing the concerns of our small businesses,” Witkos says. Video highlights of the business visits are available on Witkos’ website and Facebook page. facebookcom/senatorwitkos

Raimie Weber Jewelry marks milestone

Raimie Weber Jewelry celebrated its first anniversary at Riverdale Farms in 2018. Owner Raimie Weber has been in business in the Farmington Valley since 1983, first with her father at George Fillmore

Send Events: Author Talk with Dave Robbins Sunday 1/26 – 1 pm $5 • “The Tu-Tone DeSoto” Grand Adventure: Mystery Game & Tea Party for Grandparents & Grandchildren Sunday 1/26 – 2 pm $20 • Solve mystery, enjoy treats+ Fictional Feasts Sunday 1/26 – 3:30 pm $10 • Enjoy sampler of foods from classic works of literature +++ Veterans Coffee Houses • Simsbury Senior Center 1st Monday each month – 10 am • Canton Community Center 2nd Monday each month – 9 am Free • Talk about issues, resources Wednesday Morning Book Club Avon Public Library 1x per month Free • Info: 673-9712 Friday Flicks Simsbury Public Library Fridays – 1-3 pm Info: 658-7663 x2 Open Mic Night LaSalle Market, Collinsville Fridays – 6-10:30 pm • Free Singers: call 693-8010 or come at 5 Learn To Skate Classes International Skating Center, Sims. Saturdays 11:50 – Sundays 2:20 Wednesdays 9:30 • +++ Red Stone Pub events Red Stone Pub, Simsbury Trivia Tuesdays – 7-8:30 pm Eat. Drink. Think. Prizes! Acoustic Wed.: John Mayock Live music • 7-9 pm Thirsty Thursdays Dollar dogs • Darts 7-9 pm Saturday Night Out Dinner entrees • Yappy Hour on the patio: 3-6 pm • DJ + music: 6-9 pm Happy Hour – every day until 6 pm All drinks $2 off + app specials!

Goldsmiths & Jewelers in Canton (which is now closed) until 2007. She opened Raimie Weber Jewelry in 2008 in Avon at the former Ensign Bickford campus, and moved to Riverdale Farms in September 2018. “I am loving being here,” she says. “My business has evolved from traditional retail, design and repair into a specialty studio of design and repurpose, repair and estate evaluation appraisals and sales. I have become a jewelry concierge.” She also still sells from inventory — some is on consignment, some is estate, some is her own design, she says. “I have the privilege of working on both sides of the bench,” Weber observes. “Great clients allow me to bring their vision to fruition. … Having been trained on the bench, I speak the language so I can specify exactly what is needed. I love what I do.” She also sits on two bank boards: Collinsville Bank and the Connecticut Mutual Holding Company.




A male bluebird perches on a greens-and-berry decoration in the backyard of Canton photographer Wendy Rosenberg.

Photo by Wendy Rosenberg

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