Today Magazine • November 2019

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Gifts of Love Celebrates 30 Years of Being There For Area Residents


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30 Years of Giving Gifts




A DICTIONARY DEFINES a gift as “something given willingly to someone without payment” and defines love as “strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties.” Gifts of Love, a nonprofit agency based in Avon, brings the two BUSINESS BEAT together — while also bringing together local residents who sense the kinship of the human race and seek to express care for other residents 7 — 5th Biz Anniversary For Pixel & Code who have been hit hard by financial crises. Vanessa and Bruce Lambert, a husband-and-wife Gifts of Love is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2019, and Today team, offer website and marketing services. Magazine spotlights the nonprofit in our cover story on page 4. HISTORY HIGHLIGHTS At Today Magazine, we remain committed to covering the tri-town (Layout includes a margin clear of text and graphics 8 — From Outhouse To Artifacts heart of the Farmington Valley and reporting the underreported upside outhouse at a one-room hasframe become and/or clips during installation) thisThe information may beschoolhouse covered by of this distinctive area. an unlikely archaeological jackpot. Ask me for details about our potent, robust advertising package — HONORING FIRST RESPONDERS our circulation is higher than other Valley magazines because Today’s 11 — Giving Back Via Fire Police print edition is mailed to every tri-town address, including businesses. Canton native John Malentacchi serves his community Meanwhile, I offer a heartfelt thank-you to our advertisers for seeing in the Volunteer Fire & EMS Department. the value of this award-winning print-and-digital magazine. Gifts of Love is celebrating 30 years of being there for residents of Greater Hartford — with food, clothing, household essentials and more.

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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

As a recent high school graduate, I am excited to step into a new chapter of my life. Like most young adults, I am ready to take on pollution with a phone in one hand and a reusable straw in the other. It is time for Connecticut to take Today Magazine Online — environmental action by becoming the next state to ban singleuse plastics. I was saddened to hear that the bill to ban foam Contributors — Melissa Brett, Janet Conner, Emmaline Howe, Kathy Taylor cups in our state failed to pass in the Senate last session. Photographer — Seshu, Connecticut Headshots • 860-593-0850 Foam is easily broken up and ingested by wildlife, and it will • stay in our environment for hundreds of years. I urge everyone Contributing Photographer — Wendy Rosenberg • 860-305-1655 to contact state Sen. Kevin Witkos and implore him to support this bill next session so it does not get cast aside again. Let’s Cover Photo — Connecticut Headshots • caption info on page 4 374 Hopmeadow Street • Simsbury, CT 06089 combat pollution in our beautiful community. Emma Buth • Avon 860-651-8236 QUOTE OF THE MONTH Today Publishing has been a great way for our young business to get its name in front ofFind the out people Canton, and value and peace“We appreciate the generosity of local residents. ... We would love howof you can getAvon improved of mind. Call or office today! Simsbury. … New customers as well asvisit oldour have let us know for more people to realize that 20% of the population in that they’ve noticed our ad. I can tell when the new month’s the Avon-Canton-Simsbury area is underemployed and needs assistance.” magazine hits mailboxes because there is a surge in both calls Executive Director Susan Pribyson — Gifts of Love and visits to the shop. Preview Lori Only Cornett • Make It GF: 693-1300 • Canton Lotsaof peopleclear told me theyand sawgraphics my ad and called for yout includes margin of text BY THE NUMBERS — 20,000 estimates. I went from 4-5 calls per day toinstallation) 10-15. on may be covered by frame and/or clips during Gifts of Love helps nearly 20,000 people a year on average Jim Volovski • Stone Man Masonry: 693-4637 • Canton

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Client Lauren Landry-Williams of Unionville and her baby daughter Aurora Madelyn-Elizabeth peruse the clothing at Avon-based Gifts of Love with volunteer Laurie Gardner, a Simsbury resident.

Photos by Connecticut Headshots • 860-593-0850 •

Gifts of Love celebrates 30 years of being there By Bruce Deckert Today Magazine Editor-in-Chief

GIFTS OF LOVE has been a presence in the community for three decades, offering practical presents to residents of Greater Hartford. Gifts of Love was initiated in September 1989 by some Simsbury citizens who sought to help families undergoing financial stress caused by corporate downsizing. The expression of kindness was simple — giving groceries to these stressed families. This generosity grew into Gifts of Love. Today, the nonprofit agency is based in Avon and continues to assist individuals and families hit hard by a financial crisis — providing food, clothing, household essentials and furniture, along with financial planning consultation. In recent years, the agency has distributed more than $300,000 worth of goods and services annually to neighbors in need in more than 30 Connecticut towns. The financial crises of Gifts of Love clients result 4


“The most important goal is to continue providing quality services to underemployed families.” —Susan Pribyson


from a variety of challenging life circumstances, such as illness, death of a spouse/mate, divorce, exiting an abusive relationship, reduced work hours or an unexpected increase in basic expenses. The goal is to help clients weather these storms and ultimately regain their financial moorings. “When times are toughest, the working poor who don’t qualify for government assistance are often hit the hardest,” says the Gifts of Love website, adding that “nearly one in four Connecticut children live in families where parents work yet struggle to afford the basics, including food, rent, utilities and medicine.” In December 2013, Gifts of Love and the Community Farm of Simsbury joined forces. The merger has facilitated the provision of fresh produce for Gifts of Love clients. A certified-organic educational farm, the Community Farm of Simsbury traces its origins to

1883, when Amos Eno donated the 140acre property to Simsbury for the “benefit of the town poor.” Over the years, the farm has donated thousands of pounds of produce to local food pantries and social service organizations, including Granby Community Kitchen, Arc of the Farmington Valley (aka Favarh), Hartford Food System and the Hartford Public Schools. Gifts of Love depends significantly on donations of time, goods and services from many people in the community. Each year, thousands of hours of service have been donated by hundreds of volunteers. To learn more about volunteer opportunities or about how to receive help, call Gifts of Love at 860-676-2323.


Year Established — 1989 860-676 -2323 Old Avon Village 34 East Main Street • Avon, CT The number of clients who are ALICE is growing. ALICE is an acronym that stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed — these are households with income above the federal poverty level but below the basic cost of living. While these clients are increasing in numbers, funding is shrinking, and we are not able to offer the range of services

expand our donor base. As the population increases, so does our need for funding to assist our families. Our weekend food backpack program continues to increase. Our goal for this program is to find additional volunteers to assist with transporting the backpacks to schools. What volunteer opportunities are available with Gifts of Love? Gifts of Love volunteers are the lifeblood of the agency and perform essential functions on a day-to-day basis. They serve on the board of directors, stock the food pantry, sort and stock clothes and linens, assist in the holiday room, maintain donor records, organize fundraisers and food drives, provide grant writing and public relations support, and help prepare and distribute the weekend

“Gifts of Love volunteers are the lifeblood of the agency and perform essential functions on a day-to-day basis.” — Executive Director Susan Pribyson Read on for a wide-ranging interview with Gifts of Love Executive Director Susan Pribyson: What year was Gifts of Love established? 1989 – celebrating our 30th anniversary! What is your mission? Gifts of Love reduces financial crises for working individuals and families in Greater Hartford by offering short-term programs and education that support and improve sustainability. What is the most fulfilling aspect of your work? Being able to actually get to know individuals and families who participate in the program, hearing their stories and how sincerely grateful they are for the assistance they receive. What is the biggest obstacle you face, and how can you overcome it?

that we would like to. This can be very frustrating. What is your most satisfying accomplishment so far? The creation of our weekend backpack program 13 years ago. This program provides food for children identified as not having food on the weekends. We began with two children and now pack bags every week during the school year for 385 students. Your goals for the next 1-5 years? The most important goal is to continue providing quality services to underemployed families in the Farmington Valley and Greater Hartford. This population used to represent one in eight families, and now it is one in six families. Another goal is to continue to earn the respect and admiration of the community, and to maintain and

food backpacks. Volunteers also assist in maintaining and harvesting our oneacre garden at the Gifts of Love Farm in Simsbury. Whether you’re an adult, in high school or middle school or college, or retired, there is an opportunity for all who would like to participate. Gifts of Love operates with a lean paid staff, supplemented by more than 1200 volunteer hours per month from more than 135 volunteers. This significant volunteer commitment, along with the amount of goods donated, speaks volumes about the support this agency has from the community. An anecdote that provides a window into your ethos: A year ago, a Simsbury mom came to us after the sudden death of her 42-year-old husband. She was left to support herself and her three teenagers. … Through Gifts


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Gifts of Love volunteer Laurie Gardner of Simsbury assists client Lauren Landry-Williams, who holds her daughter Aurora Madelyn-Elizabeth. of Love and Simsbury Social Services, she obtained part-time employment during the school year. Over the course of her year with us, she received utility assistance, food, clothing and weekend backpacks — along with a Thanksgiving basket and brand-new holiday gifts. Today, she and her family are thriving and her oldest child will be attending college in the fall. She was so grateful for the support and assistance she received through Gifts of Love. Besides donations, how is Gifts of Love funded? We are funded through individual and corporate donations, along with a few small grants. What are the most interesting stats and numbers associated with Gifts of Love? Small but mighty! With only seven staff members and the help of close to 600 volunteers annually, we operate two 6

“When times are toughest, the working poor who don’t qualify for government assistance are often hit the hardest.” — Gifts of Love website

offices that provide services, along with an organic farm. Through all of this, we are able to make a difference in the lives of almost 20,000 people a year. What do you appreciate most about the Avon-Canton-Simsbury area? We appreciate the generosity of local residents, shown through their general support and donations. We would love


for more people to realize that 20% of the population in the Avon-Canton-Simsbury area is underemployed and needs assistance. Does Gifts of Love work closely with town organizations and/or other local nonprofits? We are a member of the Avon Chamber of Commerce and have received support from many of their members. In addition, we receive support from Avon Rotary and local town Social Services. Many other organizations have held food and/or clothing drives for us. They have also assisted us with finding valuable volunteers. Most recently a ruptured pipe flooded our basement and we lost many items for our holiday shop, and the community responded generously with donations to replace what we lost. We are so grateful for the continued support of this community. Number of employees: 6 full-time, 1 part-time +


Biz launches, anniversaries

Pixel & Code celebrates 5 years of branding wins Special to Today Magazine

Today Magazine Staff


Cherry Brook Health Care Center is celebrating its 25th anniversary this fall. Cantonbased Cherry Brook offers residents senior living care and healthcare. Cherry Brook is part of New Horizons Inc., which provides housing and support services for those with physical disabilities along with rehabilitation and inpatient nursing home care. About half of the board of directors is made up of people with physical disabilities.


Kristina E. Mozzicato is celebrating 10 years as a board-certified, licensed massage therapist. Each therapeutic massage is customized and may include Swedish and deep-tissue techniques. Kristina is a certified cupping therapist — cupping relieves aches and pains and promotes healthy circulation and lymph drainage. Part of the Avon and Simsbury Chambers of Commerce, Kristina owns Abundant Health of Farmington.


• SIMSBURY — Board & Brush Creative Studio, Huntington Learning Center, Itsy Bitsy Music & Arts Huntington opened its doors in Simsbury Commons in January and had an official grand opening in September. “Education is already a top priority with students and parents locally,” says Dr. Pasquale Cirone, owner of the learning center. “Our goal at Huntington is to help support them with subject-specific tutoring and test prep.” He says recent shifts by the College Board, which oversees SAT scoring, would add weight to certain socioeconomic factors. “A few extra points on an SAT could be critical in setting students apart from other applicants coming from a more challenged background,” Cirone says. • AVON — American Eagle Financial Credit Union (Avon branch), First World Mortgage, iDevices, Imagine Float, MAX Challenge, Pasta Vita, Raymour & Flanigan The MAX Challenge is a fast-growing fitness concept known for its 10-Week Challenge, a comprehensive body-andmind renewal program that combines a workout regimen with an easy-to-follow nutrition guide to help members achieve and sustain optimal health and fitness. Classes are led by energetic, certified instructors who provide major motivation and support. “Our goal is to make our members not only healthier people, but happier people,” says owner Maureen DeMartino. +

Bruce and Vanessa Lambert

SIMSBURY-BASED Pixel & Code Studio is celebrating five years in business this fall. Pixel & Code is a husband-and-wife partnership between Vanessa and Bruce Lambert. The duo launched their business in October 2014. Together, they offer an array of website, branding and marketing services, helping small businesses throughout the Farmington Valley grow their brand. Pixel & Code has taken all of the best experiences, tips and practices from their years in the agency world and refined them to bring their clients top-notch service and expertise with a small-town, personalized touch. Their fun, approachable dynamic has made this team a go-to for many local businesses, including Simsbury’s Flamig Farm, Farmington Valley Visiting Nurse Association, Illumina Skin Care Massage and Red Stone Pub. Pixel & Code has collaborated with small businesses across dozens of industries, including pet companies, schools, restaurants, beauty brands, tech and manufacturing companies, counseling practices, financial advisors and energy organizations. No matter what your niche is, Pixel & Code specializes in creating a solution for you that’s as unique and one-of-a-kind as your business. They boast a five-star rating across Google and Facebook. For more information on Pixel & Code and to view their portfolio, visit +


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Outhouse to artifacts: Site becomes archaeological jackpot By Janet M. Conner Avon Historical Society


ONE MIGHT NOT THINK of an old outhouse that served a one-room schoolhouse in Avon’s Third District as a place for archaeological exploration. Actually, it was examined by an archaeological team from UConn in 1982, when the school building — now almost 200 years old — was dismantled by the Avon Historical Society. The building formerly sat on the site of the present-day Avon Free Public Library. It is now located at 8 West Main Street and served more recently as the Living Museum. The artifacts found

“As archaeologists, we do not dig for the sake of digging,” says Plourde. “We always ask ourselves, is the risk of disturbing the site or structure worth the information we may or may not find?” Additional preparatory work includes funding and the formation of a team. After determining there are no impediments to the dig, they proceed. A typical archaeologist’s tools include trowels, shovels, sifters and graph paper to record site dimensions, which are marked off in grids using stakes and string. Measurements are

“Be honest with the findings ... because the truth is in the ground.” — Bonnie Plourde banner dark purple.qxp_Layout 1 9/27/19 2:02 PM Page 1

by the UConn team were displayed in the museum before it was temporarily closed in 2012. Anthropological archaeologist Bonnie Plourde was not part of the original outhouse dig, but she has provided an overview of the process of discovery that archaeologists take in examining such a site. First, the team does some preliminary research, such as determining whether the building is in its original location and (in this case) examining the history of the school, including historic photographs and maps. Before any work is done, appropriate permissions must be secured from the town and property owners. Then an assessment is made as to the risk and benefit of doing an excavation. Medical | Surgical | Cosmetic




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done and cameras record the process. The team will dig until they hit “sterile ground” — meaning visual inspection to determine there is no need to proceed. They pay careful attention to the layers of soil to see if it has been previously disturbed, and they document the sedimentary layers that reflect the passage of time. Finally, the team will photograph any artifacts that are found, will sometimes clean them, and will research and catalog their findings. A report is written to quantify and assess the findings. “Be honest with the findings and with yourself,” Plourde says, “because the truth is in the ground.” She adds that archaeologists have a duty to preserve and interpret the past: “It is our moral compass for preserving the integrity of history and all its sites.” +


Town manager has scoop on new track& field By Emmaline Howe Special to Today Magazine

“We worked hard to address the legitimate concerns of the neighborhood about the potential installation of lights.” — Town Manager Brandon Robertson

AVON HIGH SCHOOL has welcomed a new eight-lane track and field this school year. Avon Town Manager Brandon Robertson offers an in-depth look at the project in this wide-ranging Q-and-A: Was there a specific event in recent years that spurred the town toward this decision? The advantages of synthetic turf have been recognized for quite some time. The state has a long history of providing grants to municipalities to fund the cost, in whole or part, for these types of facilities. We pursued funding for a number of years. However, given the state’s financial difficulties, we were advised in no uncertain terms in the spring of 2018 that no assistance would be forthcoming. The scope of the project was subsequently revised and the cost estimate finalized. At approximately the same time, we completed bidding for a new Townwide Communications System. This project also required approval at referendum. Given that both projects were ready for funding, we decided it would be best to submit them for a referendum to be held in December 2018. continued on page 14

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Family ties forged close kinship between Collins, Colt companies By Kathy Taylor Canton Town Historian


SAMUEL W. COLLINS of the Collins Company and Samuel Colt of the Colt Patent Fire-Arms Manufacturing Company of Hartford were both groundbreaking industrialists of their time. Sam Collins (1802-1870) headed up the largest edge tool company in the world. Sam Colt (1814-1862) revolutionized the manufacture of firearms by designing interchangeable parts. There are many connections between these two men — on a personal and business level. Samuel Watkinson Collins married Sarah H. Colt — Sam Colt’s cousin. Elisha King Root (1808-1865) was a machinist who was hired in 1832 by the Collins Company, and his mechanical genius helped make the company a success. Elisha’s first wife, Charlotte, died in 1838, and in 1845 he married Matilda Colt (1820-1898), the half-sister of Sarah Colt Collins. Sam Colt visited the Collins Company

to see their production process, and in 1849 he hired Elisha Root to set up Colt’s Hartford Armory at a salary of $5,000 per year. After Sam Colt died in 1862, Elisha became Colt’s president until his death in 1865. Both Elisha K. Root and Sam Colt worked in Ware, Mass., in cotton/textile mills. The story goes that Root saved a 15-year-old Colt from a beating by an angry crowd in Ware when his underwater mine experiment showered them with water and mud. Harris Colt (1817-1889) was Matilda Colt Root’s brother and Sarah Colt Collins’ half-brother. He worked for the Collins Company in their New York City office, which handled the export business of Collins products. The Collins Company manufactured bayonets during the Civil War for the Colt Patent Fire-Arms Manufacturing Company and other local companies. +

Stars of the Town

THE CANTON Chamber of Commerce has unveiled its 2019 Stars of the Town. RemedyOne is Business of the Year. ShopRite and its owners, the Joseph family, have been honored for Service to the Community. Kellee Abramczyk of America The Beautiful Country Store has been recognized for Service to the Business Community. And CycleBar is the top New Business in Canton. These Canton-based businesses are all members of the chamber.

Benefit: Food, Fuel Banks IT’S TIME to fill the banks! Trinity Episcopal Church of Collinsville will hold its annual Quality Street Fair on Saturday, Nov. 23 — with all proceeds benefiting the Canton Food Bank and Canton Fuel Bank. The church is transformed each year into a wondrous holiday marketplace filled with beautiful wreaths, homemade candies, baked goods, Christmas gift items, gently used books and more … plus a teacup auction of premium treasures. The fair runs from 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m. at the church on 55 River Rd., with a warm lunch available (11:30-2). Trinity Episcopal has donated all fair proceeds to the town food and fuel banks for more than a decade. +

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Canton native gives back by serving with Fire Police in. I also value the friendships I’ve made with fellow members. What’s the most challenging aspect of your work and how do you meet the challenge? Recruitment and retention. We’re always looking for self-motivated individuals who are good team players, able to think on their feet, and willing to learn. Your most memorable fire call? We responded to a call for elevated carbon monoxide in a home with a special-needs child. He was very upset about the new people, flashing lights and noise of the trucks. I worked with him to assure him everything was going to be OK. It was great to make him feel happy and safe. An anecdote that gives a snapshot of the importance of your work: The Fire/EMS service is founded on traditions of brotherhood/sisterhood, commitment and sacrifice for community. We especially honor members who die in the line of duty. In 1987, Fire Policeman Art Vincent was killed by a drunk driver while redirecting fire apparatus. We never forget his sacrifice. What don’t people understand about the job of Fire Police?

Special to Today Magazine

FIRE POLICE CAPTAIN John Malentacchi has served not just with one or two volunteer fire departments, but with three. His current tenure with the Canton Volunteer Fire & EMS Department began in 2010, but his first service role was in 1977 with the Pleasant Valley Fire Department. “They, like all volunteer fire departments, needed daytime personnel,” he says. “My job [with the Town of Barkhamsted] gave me flexibility to respond during the day.” He stepped down in 2001 as assistant chief. Malentacchi has also served as a volunteer firefighter and pump operator for the New Hartford Fire Department. Plus, he is certified as an emergency medical responder. Malentacchi, 60, was raised in North Canton. Not sure what the Fire Police do? Read on and find the answer in Malentacchi’s Q-and-A: What is the most satisfying aspect of your volunteer work? You never know who you’re going to help or what type of incident you’ll be involved



Fire Police are responsible for scene safety. We are certified in traffic control, so we have authority to close roads and redirect traffic and department apparatus to block off access. We create the landing zone for the Life Star helicopter. We also attend annual classes in CPR, blood-borne pathogens and hazardous materials awareness. Of the movies or TV dramas you’ve seen about fire departments, which one comes closest to the real deal? Chicago Fire. The best thing about Canton is… Canton Historical Museum. The main thing I’d like to see change in Canton is… For people to consider the many unique volunteer and training opportunities in our department. Favorite spots in town — Local restaurants with live music. Family — I’ve been married to Tori since 1995. We have teenage twins, Larry and Melinda, who are joining our cadet program. My mother and brother live in Canton. I have a sister in New Hartford and another in Winsted. +

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Recalling the October nor’easter By Melissa Brett Special to Today Magazine


Simsbury residents John and Melissa Brett own Simsbury-based Welden Hardware THE BIG OCTOBER 2011 nor’easter is one of our favorite business stories. Our business, like most in the area, had no power for many days. After the storm hit, we had to dig out the store, and no one really knew how bad the town had been hit at first. Most businesses were closed due to no power, but we made the decision to stay open as long as customers needed help. We knew that many people in town would need batteries, flashlights, firewood and other storm-related items. Only five of us were working at the store, and we all basically ignored our own personal needs and stayed at work for 12-plus hours for 10 days straight. We were walking customers through our store with flashlights and pads of paper writing down prices of items that people were coming in for. We were able to get truckloads of chainsaws, generators and storm-related products twice during those 10plus days. We had a small generator running in front of our store to run a register and charge our cellphones, but phones and

internet were down the entire time. With only a name and a handshake, we would let customers take whatever they needed and either come back and pay us, or write down their credit card information that we would eventually be able to run once we had power. The staff of the Simsbury Public Works Department was so grateful we were open, and we serviced their chainsaws daily to help them reopen the roads in town. We had lines of customers on our sidewalk, waiting for chainsaws to be assembled and for batteries, flashlights, roof rakes and shovels to be unloaded from trucks. We would let customers charge their cellphones off our generator. Customers were wonderful and so neighborly, hearing of another person in our store in need of help clearing snow or downed trees, and they would go and lend them a hand, a chainsaw, or any help. We had offers of hot coffee and lunches from a lot of grateful customers. By the end of the 10 days, we helped over 3,000 customers recover from the storm. We had decided right away to never inflate our prices just because a storm hit — that is not the right way to do business. +

With only a name and a handshake, we would let customers take whatever they needed and ... come back and pay us.




Foundation sustains families battling blood cancer Special to Today Magazine


THE ROB BRANHAM FOUNDATION was established in memory of Rob Branham, a Simsbury resident who passed away in 1993 at the age of 43 due to complications after a successful bone marrow transplant that cured his leukemia. In keeping with Rob’s spirit of helping others less fortunate — and his gratitude for having two potential donors matched through the National Marrow Donor Program (now called Be The Match) — RBF was formed. Our dedication to help people learn how blood cancers and their treatments are different, and how to make a difference for families fighting blood cancer, never wavers. President Linette Branham has answered this Q-and-A on behalf of RBF. Linette and Rob were married for 15 years. What is your nonprofit’s mission? The mission of the Rob Branham Foundation is to provide financial and emotional support, educational information, and other pertinent resources for families fighting leukemia or other blood cancers to allow them to live as normally as possible while proceeding with their treatment. The most fulfilling aspect of your work? Knowing that families we help experience

What is your most satisfying accomplishment in recent years? Continued work with CT families, and knowing that we’ve helped them avoid things like foreclosure on their home, being evicted, giving up their car because they can’t afford the car insurance or car payments, etc. Your goals for the next five years? Increase public awareness of this issue and how the public can help families; increase fundraising to support CT families; build closer relationships with business and community groups that can provide support to the foundation so we, in turn, can help families more. What volunteer opportunities are available with your nonprofit? Help with RBF fundraising events; help RBF connect to business and community organizations for educational purposes; donate business skills (graphic design, photography, use of social media, etc.) An anecdote that provides a window into your nonprofit’s ethos: RBF had an application for assistance from a family in which the father was the patient; 4-5 people lived in their apartment. He was self-employed, his wife worked part-time,

The Rob Branham Foundation West Simsbury, CT Year Established — 1994 Employees — no full-time employees (860) 519-9116 less financial stress in a critical time, and don’t have to worry about how basic monthly bills will be paid when the family has a significant income loss due to the blood cancer they’re fighting and the treatment. What is the biggest obstacle you face, and how can you overcome it? The biggest obstacle is helping the public understand how lengthy treatment for blood cancer can be, how it often results in a family losing a significant portion of income due to loss of work, and the tough choices the family has to make about meeting their financial obligations. We try to overcome this by talking with people about the issue and having them meet families who have been in this situation.


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and due to his blood cancer and treatment, he reached a point where he was unable to work. He had to be out of work for 6 months before he was eligible for Social Security disability, so the family had a significant loss of income. They quickly went through their savings to pay monthly bills and fell behind on paying their rent, electricity and more. On the Thursday before Easter that year, due to our organization’s quick and persistent intervention, and our assurance to the creditors that their overdue bills would be paid by us, we were able to assure that the family wouldn’t have to appear in court the next day for an eviction hearing and their electricity wouldn’t be shut off. No family should have to face what that family faced when they’re fighting a lifethreatening illness. Besides donations, how is your nonprofit funded? Currently, solely through donations and fundraising events. The most interesting stats and numbers associated with your nonprofit: • About every 3 minutes, someone in the U.S. is diagnosed with a blood cancer. • Leukemia strikes 10 times as many adults as children each year. • Almost 1.5 million people are living with, or in remission from, a blood cancer. • 10% of new U.S. cancer cases in 2018 were blood cancers. Do you work closely with town organizations or other local nonprofits? We work mostly with hospital social workers, but in Simsbury we work with the Simsbury Meadows Performing Arts Center to hold an annual dog event. We have had

support from local businesses when it comes to fundraising, and have coordinated some support for the families we serve with other nonprofits (e.g., Amy’s Angels, Lea’s Foundation, CT Cancer Foundation) What do you appreciate most about the tri-town area? And what constructive change would you like to see? Regarding all the Valley towns, I appreciate the willingness of so many local businesses to help small nonprofit organizations, whether it’s through sponsorship of events, donating items for prize drawings, or volunteering time and skills. One thing I’d like to see, however, which is important for any small nonprofit, is a greater willingness on the part of town officials — and hence, more flexibility in town regulations — to help small nonprofits publicize events. People passing through town do read signs they see at traffic lights, intersections, stop signs, etc., and this increases support for nonprofit events. Towns, however, often don’t allow signage in the areas where it’s most likely to be seen by people passing through town, and where it is allowed, the town regulations make it difficult to get approval for signage. As a result, people are likely to ignore the regulations, take their chance of being “caught” and having to remove their signs, and from my perspective, enforcement by towns is very inconsistent. Small nonprofits, especially, that don’t have deep pockets for publicizing events would benefit from greater flexibility, and would gladly take on the responsibility of removing their signs after their events. +

TRACK — continued from page 9

design development effort was completed prior to advancing the project for funding. This allowed us to have a much higher degree of confidence in the budget estimate that would ultimately be submitted to referendum. It also allowed the committee to give extensive consideration to issues that are normally addressed after funding has been approved. The bottom line is that the pre-referendum planning effort facilitated a thorough presentation to the public. Does the long-term plan include installing lights at the new field? If so, how will the town address concerns expressed by nearby residents regarding permanent lights? The project includes the installation of conduit and bases for lighting in the future. Buffering along the site’s boundaries with Sudbury Way and West Avon Road will also be installed. A private fundraising group, ACORN, is advancing a plan to raise money to install lighting. The town’s goal is to be a good neighbor. We worked hard to address the legitimate concerns of the neighborhood about the potential installation of lights as we proceeded through the planning process. As a result, a policy governing the use of lights, should they be installed, was

Can the town implement something in addition to acrylic-coated sand to keep on-field temperatures down? There is a water connection provided at the edge of the field to facilitate irrigation of the field prior to games or practices if needed. Additionally, scheduling practices and games later in the day based on some sort of heat index threshold is an option. Do fewer injuries occur on synthetic turf than on grass? Are different types of injuries more likely to occur on turf? Synthetic turf offers a more consistent playing surface and level of performance over time. The architect has advised that the literature suggests that injury rates and types on synthetic turf are similar to rates and types experienced on natural grass. Why did plans for this project take five years to be approved, since planning and development had been talked about since 2013? Is that a typical time frame for a project of this scale? Every project is different. The first location considered was on Thompson Road and preliminary design work began in 2014. The focus later changed to AHS. What was atypical about this project is that most of the 14



Perhaps this catbird at the window of Canton photographer Wendy Rosenberg wants to come in for a visit.

Photo by Wendy Rosenberg

developed and discussed with the public leading up to the referendum. It is a policy, so it’s subject to change, but we need to get some experience under our belt with the facility before any modifications are made. The policy would remain in place for at least a year if and when lighting is installed. What do you see as the main benefits of the new track & field for the high school and community? The field offers significantly increased functionality and puts athletes on an equal footing with their competition. Also, keep in mind that the AHS property is relatively small and there is only room for one premier field. The grass field was subject to the hazards of overuse, which leads to excessive wear. In addition, grass fields are more likely to be closed due to poor playing conditions due to weather. Synthetic turf eliminates those issues. As a result, it will be possible to hold more games and practices, which will provide an advantage to our athletes and drive school spirit, fostering an even more cohesive sense of community. Clearly, the community agreed with the need for this facility. + A junior at Avon High, Emmaline Howe was an intern at Today Magazine this past summer.

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Live2Lead Leadership Seminar Simsbury Inn Friday 11/1 – 8 am-2 pm Featuring John C. Maxwell, others First Friday Dinner Avon Congregational Church Friday 11/1 – 5:30-7 pm $7-$15 • Some proceeds to charity Neighbors Helping Neighbors Day Meet: Canton Com. Baptist Church 11/9 – 8:30 am-2 pm • 23rd annual Volunteers needed • 860-352-8048 Sponsor: Empowered Women’s Circle Simsbury Chiropractic + Wellness Saturday 11/9 – 10 am-12 Overwhelm-Proof Your Holidays Simsbury Veterans Day Ceremony Eno Memorial Hall, Hopmeadow St Monday 11/11 – 11 am Free • Patriotic music, speaker+ Clothing Drive for Veterans in Need Simsbury drop-off boxes: Simsbury Fire Dept on Hopmeadow, Library, Eno Memorial Hall, Police Dispatch 11/11-12/11 New clothing, coats, gloves+ Donations used as holiday gifts Handcrafts Around the World Hurley Building, New Hartford Saturday 11/16 – 10 am-7 pm Sunday 11/17 – 10 am-3 pm Free entry • Handcrafted gifts, incl. local artisans; benefits nonprofits Flora Hike of Swan Preserve Starts: 25 Case St, Canton Sunday 11/17 – 1:30 pm Info: Holiday Wreath Making + Lunch Apple Barn, West Simsbury Monday 11/8 – 10 am $10 • Assemble wreath for town building, enjoy corn chowder Avon Arts Assoc. Demo/Wkshp Avon Town Hall – Building #1 • Demo: Tuesday 11/19 – 7 pm Free • $5 donation suggested • Workshop: Saturday 11/23–9:30-2 $45 members • $55 guests Jack Bannan Mem. Turkey Drive Supermarkets + Schools in Avon, Canton, Simsbury, Granby Wednesday 11/20 – 8 am-8 pm Donate frozen turkeys, canned food Quality Street Fair Trinity Episcopal, Collinsville Saturday 11/23 – 9:30 am-3 pm All proceeds: Canton Food + Fuel Banks • Boar’s Head lunch 11:30-2 Simsbury Artists Holiday Show & Sale Simsbury Free Library Saturday 11/23 – 10 am-4 pm Celebrating 10 years! Bottoms Up Organization 5K Run Thompson Brook School, Avon Thursday 11/28 – 9 am Registration 7:30 am • $25-$40 Journey thru Amazing Gardens Apple Barn, West Simsbury Monday 12/16 – 11:30 am Slide show set to music Canton Senior Center trips Info: 693-5811 Thursday 12/19: Holiday Show

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

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 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 • +++ Concerts + Comedy Bridge Street Live 41 Bridge St, Collinsville • 693-9762 Comedy Night: John Fugelsang & Frank Conniff Friday 11/1 – 8 pm • $15-$25 Concert: Anthony Gomes Saturday 11/2 – 8 pm • $20-$30 Concert: Kinky Friedman Tour Sunday 11/3 – 7 pm • $30-$35 Good Acoustics: Tribute to Simon & Garfunkel, James Taylor Friday 11/8 – 8 pm • $22-$30 Sacred Fire: Santana Tribute Saturday 11/9 – 8 pm • $15-$25 Comedy Night: Nick Griffin Friday 11/15 – 8 pm • $15-$25 Ricky Nelson Remembered: With Matthew & Gunnar Nelson Saturday 11/16 – 8 pm • $35-$45 Comedy Night: NY vs. Boston Saturday 11/30 – 8 pm • $15-$25 Concert: The 70’s Project Friday 12/6 – 8 pm • $15-$25 Ticket to Ride: Beatles Tribute Friday 12/13 – 8 pm • $20-$30 Ca$h Only: Johnny Cash Tribute Saturday 12/14 – 8 pm • $20-$30 Comedy Night: Jay Black Friday 12/20 – 8 pm • $15-$25 Concert: Matt Nakoa Saturday 12/21 – 8 pm • $15-$25 +++ Avon Public Library lineup These events free • 673-9712 Free Blood Sugar Testing & Blood Pressure Screening Thursdays – 12:15-1:45 pm 11/7-11/21-12/5-12/19 Courtesy: FV Visiting Nurse Assoc. North Korea Book Discussions Tuesday 11/12 – 7 pm Orphan Master’s Son 100 Years of the Vote for Women Saturday 11/16 – 3 pm >>> Lecture:suffrage author Susan Ware Wednesday Morning Book Club 11/29-12/18 – 10:30 am Discuss various compelling books Luscious Liqueurs with Hartford Flavor Company Sunday 12/1–2 pm (snow date 12/8) Free • Sample locally made liqueurs Must be 21+ to sample 100 Years of the Vote for Women Monday 12/9 – 6:30 pm Lecture by suffrage professor +++ Canton Public Library lineup These events free • 693-5800 Friday Family Movie Matinee Fridays – 3 pm • Free G or PG film Art Display: John Raye Photos 11/1-11/30 Free • Striking B+W photos Teen Photo Contest Display 2.0 11/1-11/30 Free • 7-12 students display photos

Nappy’s Puppets Performance Tuesday 11/5 – 2 pm Free • Ages 3+ • Exciting stories Herman Melville Performance Saturday 11/9 – 2 pm Free • 1-man show portrays author Peace Corps Adventures Tuesday 11/12 Free • Volunteer tells Africa stories 19th Amend. w/ Marianne Millard Saturday 11/16 – 1:30 pm Free • Fascinating suffrage stories +++ Simsbury Public Library lineup Most events free • 658-7663 x2 Friday Flicks Fridays – 1-3 pm Simsbury Camera Club Speaker Monday 11/4 – 6:30 pm Self-Publish Your Book Tuesday 11/5 – 6:30 pm Business Night: Survey Data Wednesday 11/6 – 6 pm Introduction to Virtual Reality Thursday 11/7 – 1 pm Nutritious Fall Cooking w/ Twist Thursday 11/7 – 6:30 pm Book Talk: Where Crawdads Sing Tuesday 11/12 – 6:30 pm Nepalese Author: Dorje Dolma Wednesday 11/13 – 6:30 pm Armchair Traveler Series: China Thursday 11/14 – 6:30 pm FSPL Coffeehouse:Grayson Hugh Friday 11/15 – 7:30 pm Afternoon Music: Mihai Tetel Sunday 11/17 – 2 pm AARP Safe Driving Class Tuesday 11/19 – 1 pm • $15-$20 Cookbook Club Thursday 11/21 – 1 pm Author Visit: Matthew Dicks Thursday 11/21 – 6:30 pm +++ Storyteller’s Cottage events Simsbury • 860-877-6099 Tea Party Club for Kids Sundays – 2 pm Storytime, crafts, snacks and tea 11/3 – Snow White 12/1 – Lion, Witch and Wardrobe $15, $75 for any six months NaNoWriMo Writing Retreat Saturday 11/2 – 1 pm $60 • Authors offer NaNoWriMo head start with games, contests+

Send Events: Snow White Tea Party for Kids Sunday 11/3 – 2 pm $15 • Storytime, crafts, tea, snacks Homeschoolers Creative Writing Thursdays – 2:30 pm $15 • Games, prompts (ages 7-9) Veteran’s Day Author Event: A Time for Shadows w/ TJ Banks Saturday 11/9 – 2 pm $5 • Book talk, signing, reception Jazz Supper Club Saturday 11/9 – 6:30 pm $60 • Live music, great food+ Fantasy Drawing: Wizards+Castles Friday 11/15 – 5:30 pm $45 • w/graphic designer (ages 10+) Literary Dinner Party: Last Night on the Titanic 11/15 – 7 pm $60 • Great food, live music, games Tea & Tips: How to Get Published Sunday 11/17 – 1 pm Free • Published author shares secrets Grand Adventure: Mystery Game & Tea Party for Grandparents & Grandchildren Sunday 11/17 – 2 pm • $20 Frozen Fairytale Day Saturday 11/23 – 1:00 pm $25 • Celebrate new Frozen film Tellebration: Live Storytelling w/ Gwendolyn Quezaire-Presutti Saturday 10/12 – 7:30 pm $20 • Based on Zora Neale Hurston Magical Pencraft: Harry Potter Writing Workshop Sunday 11/24 – 1 pm • $20 Author Talk: Sherlock Holmes & Lucy James Mysteries Sunday 11/24 – 3 pm $5 • w/ Charles Veley & Anne Elliot +++ Red Stone Pub happenings 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!

DEEDS NOT WORDS: 100 Years of the Vote for Women

Avon’s Historical Society, Library and Senior Center have received a $4,030 grant from Connecticut Humanities to help fund a yearlong series — DEEDS NOT WORDS: 100 Years of the Vote for Women. The series will focus on events that contributed to the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution — which gave women the right to vote — and will run from November 2019 to November 2020, with events at the Library and Senior Center. The grant funds the first six months of events. The goal of the DEEDS series is to have the audience consider what Connecticut was doing in the mid-19th to early 20th centuries and how those moving forces shaped the dialogue leading up to the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1919 and its ratification in 1920. The notion of voting equality started in 1848 but was quickly dismissed. It took the organizing of several national Progressive Suffrage groups, with state chapters, to move the needle in every corner of the country. By 1869 Connecticut had an active state chapter in favor of suffrage, and in 1910 another chapter formed to oppose it. But what was the suffrage movement and who were these women who took charge to change their world? “In our research we found quite a detailed story of how the suffrage movement in Connecticut took shape and the women who were both for and against it,” says Historical Society president Terri Wilson. – AHS TODAY MAGAZINE – – NOVEMBER 2019



Three frogs rest on a rock and a lone great horned owl (below) gazes straight ahead with piercing eyes.

Photos by Wendy Rosenberg

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