Today Magazine • February 2020

Page 1





Innovative Program Enlists Local Men To Help City Youth


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A Worthy Mission




Local residents are supporting an innovative program called Men on a Mission that seeks to champion inner-city youth at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hartford. VETERAN VOICES

6 — A Civil War Soldier’s Story

Leverett Holden of Avon was among hundreds of African-Americans in the Connecticut 29th Regiment. GOVERNMENT GURUS

8-9 — Lawmakers Prep For ‘Short Session’

State Reps. Leslee Hill and John Hampton identify some key issues as the legislature convenes. HISTORY HIGHLIGHTS

10 — Charter Oak Controversy

Canton citizens were concerned in the late ’70s when the widening of Route 44 threatened a historic tree. COMMUNITY INTEL

13 — Art Imitating Life

Featuring lifelike sculptures, the Simsbury Art Trail is back to help mark the town’s 350th anniversary.


Two thumbs way up for your cover story of Robert and Dena Mandel’s journey (January cover on Mandel Vilar Press). So well done! Michael Kelly Blanchard • Unionville Quail Ministries • Thank you for running the article, “Valley’s Beauty Inspires Artist.” I have heard from several people who have read the publication and article. May you have a happy and prosperous 2020! Lori Racicot-Burrous • Simsbury Facebook: Lori Racicot Art •

FANS OF the Mission: Impossible movies might especially appreciate Today Magazine’s February cover story. The movie franchise features impossible predicaments that become possible to overcome when faced with ingenuity, grit and perseverance. Local residents and inner-city youth are together applying the same principles via a forward-looking program called Men on a Mission at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hartford. Simsbury First Selectman Eric Wellman supports the initiative. “I believe when you give [kids] positive options, they will make positive choices,” he says. You can get involved by visiting — the Men on a Mission program is in the Get Involved drop-down menu. Meanwhile, here’s a major shout-out and thank-you to our advertisers for seeing the value and catching the community vision of this print-anddigital publication. If your business wants to benefit from our award-winning news coverage and best-in-the-area advertising package, our contact info is below. Our circulation is higher and our rates are typically lower than other Valley magazines, per their data. Come join the fun! + 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 — Matthew Broderick, David Leff, John Hampton, Leslee Hill, Alyssa Richman, Terri Wilson Photographer — Seshu, Connecticut Headshots • 860-593-0850 • Contributing Photographer — Wendy Rosenberg • 860-305-1655


What a delight it was to receive another issue of the magazine! You do a beautiful job of gathering and presenting both local and international timely news. … I know from the quality of your product that all is going well with you and I cheer you on. Julian Alexander • Sarasota, Florida

“The health of the suburbs depends on the health of the capital city, and the health of Hartford’s future depends on its kids, so anything we can do to help Hartford kids prosper benefits the entire region.” Board Chair Alan Kreczko — Boys & Girls Clubs of Hartford

• Letters to the editor are welcome. Keep them brief: 100150 words max. We reserve the right to edit for style and space. Provide full name, hometown, email, phone number.

BY THE NUMBERS — 900+ African-Americans in Connecticut 29th Regiment during the Civil War



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Judges and candidates for the Young Man of the Year honor meet at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hartford.



Courtesy Photos

Innovative Program Focuses On Inner-City Youth By Matthew Broderick Special to Today Magazine

WHEN 8th-GRADER ANTHONY SIMPSON catches his school bus at 6:30 a.m. in Hartford’s Asylum Hill neighborhood, his commute to Simsbury’s Henry James Memorial School is 12 miles measured by distance, but a world away socioeconomically. “We don’t have the same resources as [kids in the suburbs],” Simpson says. What Simpson’s neighborhood does have is challenges — from financially struggling families and food insecurity to drugs and crime. Those realities present risks for Hartford youth — particularly adolescent males — that can derail their lives, says Sam Gray, president and CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hartford. “A poor decision can have severe life consequences, so our Clubs help provide an alternative to the streets and access to opportunities in neighborhoods most in need,” Gray says. He points to Centers for Disease Control (CDC) data that shows homicide is the leading cause of death among minority youth ages 15-24. “It’s important to teach the young men in our Clubs about conflict resolution and decision-making,” Gray adds, noting that research commissioned by the Boys & Girls Clubs of America has shown that regular Club attendance reduces juvenile 4


ON THE COVER — 8th-grader Anthony Simpson and Simsbury First Selectman Eric Wellman A Hartford resident, Simpson attends Henry James Memorial School in Simsbury and participates in the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hartford. Gray delinquency, high school dropout rates, teen pregnancy and youth incarceration. Those outcomes, in part, inspired Simsbury resident Alan Kreczko to get involved. The retired general counsel at The Hartford, Kreczko is the chair of the board of trustees for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hartford. He launched its Men on a Mission campaign two years ago to support the unique needs of male youth as they transition to adulthood through the curriculum-based Passport to Manhood program. The goal of the campaign, Kreczko says, is twofold: to build a network of men across Greater Hartford who will make a $250 annual investment in the Passport program and to encourage supporters to connect with the youth served by the program through Club events. More than 300 boys participated in the program last year. Kreczko “They all have compelling stories and have shown great resilience despite the challenges they face,” Kreczko says.

As an example, he points to 15-yearold Dominic, a seven-year Club member who was selected in November as the Clubs’ 2019 Young Man of the Year. Despite twice being homeless with his family, Dominic credits the Club staff and the Passport program with keeping him focused on his goals. “Without the Club mentors, I wouldn’t have been able to overcome the rough patches of my life,” says Dominic, a sophomore at Hartford’s A.I. Prince Technical High School and an aspiring chef who hopes to open his own restaurant one day. “The Club has not only given me a safe place, it’s given me hope.” Simsbury First Selectman Eric Wellman, who served as a Young Man of the Year judge, sees the Men on a Mission initiative as an important way to ensure

Local Board Members Boost Boys & Girls Clubs The following board members of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hartford live in the tri-town heart of the Farmington Valley: Dr. Karlos Boghosian — Simsbury Matt Carbray — Avon Brad Hoffman — Avon Tom Jones — Avon Alan Kreczko — Simsbury Duncan MacKay — Simsbury Shara Slattery — Avon

having the right opportunities and through sheer determination and grit overcome their challenges.” Those successes have a positive impact on the health of the suburbs, Kreczko says,

kids,” he says, “so anything we can do to help Hartford kids prosper benefits the entire region.” Wellman agrees, but he sees a value in suburban support for young men in Hartford beyond the economic upside. “The [youth at the Club] can add to our diversity of thought, of experience,” Wellman said. “They can make our lives richer through knowing them and their experience. It goes both ways.” Anthony Simpson, the Clubs’ 2018 Junior Young Man of the Year, is living proof. He says the Passport to Manhood program has helped him learn how to be a leader and grow in confidence. “I’m better able to express myself and understand right from wrong because of the Club,” he says. For more information about Men on

“The [youth] can add to our diversity of thought, of experience. They can make our lives richer. ... It goes both ways.” — Simsbury First Selectman Eric Wellman that youth like Dominic have access to mentors and opportunities. “I believe when you give [kids] positive options, they will make positive choices,” Wellman says. “The reality is that some of us start life on second or third base and some kids start life at home plate, but by

highlighting national research that shows every $1 invested in a Boys & Girls Club returns $9.60 in economic benefit to a community. “The health of the suburbs depends on the health of the capital city, and the health of Hartford’s future depends on its

a Mission or to make a donation to the campaign, visit + Simsbury resident Matthew Broderick is the vice president of development for Boys & Girls Clubs of Hartford. He has been a frequent freelance writer. 2 Forest Park Drive Farmington, CT 06032

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Avon man answered Lincoln’s call during Civil War

Holden was among 900 African-Americans in Connecticut 29th

By Terri Wilson President • Avon Historical Society

“You are pioneers of the liberty of your race.” — Frederick Douglass New Haven, Conn. • Jan. 29, 1864

IN HONOR of Black History Month, allow me to introduce you to an Avon resident who, as a common man, took an uncommon role 156 years ago in our American Civil War. Pvt. Leverett Holden was one of over 900 African-American men in Connecticut who answered the call of President Abraham Lincoln in 1864 and joined the Connecticut 29th Regiment Volunteer Infantry (Colored). He was a resident of Avon at the time of his enlistment and he returned to live out his life here. The Civil War ran from April 1861 to April 1865. The losses on both sides were overwhelming. Fresh Union troops were always needed, but the idea of enlisting African-American soldiers did not sit well with most in Congress. Lincoln introduced the Emancipation Proclamation on New Year’s Day 1863 and it was ultimately approved by Congress in 1864. By then, Connecticut


Union headstone of Pvt. Leverett Holden, East Avon Cemetery, Avon

had about 40,000 white men serving in 28 regiments. The Connecticut 29th (and a smaller 30th regiment) formed in December 1863 and departed from New Haven in January 1864 after hearing a rousing speech by famed abolitionist (and

escaped slave) Frederick Douglass, who encouraged them by saying, “You are the pioneers of the liberty of your race.” The 29th took an active role in many later battles of the war, mostly in the South. They mustered out in October 1865 from Brownsville, Texas, and were honorably discharged in New Haven, Conn., in November 1865. Leverett was paid $78.40 for his clothing allowance and $6 for his arms, and he was owed $100 by the government as his bounty for joining. Who was Avon’s Leverett Holden? His enlistment papers of December 1864 state that he was born in Vernon, Conn., in 1825 (I was unable to find a definitive record of his birth). Along with many of his comrades, he was illiterate, so he gave his personal details verbally. The U.S. census of 1850 lists Holden as living in the Wadsworth household


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HAILING A HERO Descendants of the Connecticut 29th Regiment Volunteer Infantry (Colored) rededicate Pvt. Leverett Holden’s grave in East Avon Cemetery in February 2014. Holden has no recorded descendants.

on Prospect Hill in Hartford. Today that house, built in 1828, is the oldest home in the West End on the corner of Albany Avenue. It operated as an inn until 1862. The then-newly ordained Rev. James Pennington, an escaped slave and later a nationally famous African-American orator and abolitionist, spoke out against slavery in 1856 as the new minister of the Talcott Street Church in Hartford. That

speech took place in Gillette’s Grove, which is known today to be the area where Aetna and the Mark Twain House are located. Not far from the Wadsworth house, would Holden have had the opportunity to hear this speech? It is believed that Leverett left the Wadsworth employ prior to 1860 and traveled west over Talcott Mountain, settling in Avon. He does not appear in the

census of 1860. While in the Connecticut 29th, he was injured at the Battle of Petersburg (Virginia) in 1864 and treated at an X Corp Flying Hospital, which treated only African-American troops. Coincidentally, Clara Barton, who later founded the American Red Cross, was stationed at that same Flying Hospital as a nurse. Could he have been treated by continued on page 14

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State lawmakers prepare for ‘short session’ By Leslee Hill State Representative • Avon & Canton

legislation aimed at fighting the opioid crisis and increasing the availability of mental health care.

my first term that I am looking forward to continuing work on this year.

AS WE BEGIN a new legislative year, I I will continue to work with want to share some insight on what will colleagues on both sides of the aisle to As a member of the be happening at the State Capitol in the make Connecticut more affordable for Education Committee, coming months. working families and individuals, and for I will continue to This year, the General Assembly will businesses that are the lifeblood of our support policies convene for a four-month “short session” economy. helping districts that begins in February and adjourns effectively and (Layout includes a margin clear of text and graphics As a member of the Finance, Revenue in May. efficiently provide services to students. and Bonding Committee, I know we must This session differs from year’s by frame and/or clips during installation) this information may belast covered seriously tackle spending. Drawing on my experience on six-month session that ran from January Canton’s Board of Education, I helped to June. The shorter session’s time frame It is imperative that we thoroughly in the fight for local school district is intentionally condensed, forcing the audit our state agencies and hold required independence. However, the concept of legislature to make adjustments to the public hearings to properly determine

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biennium budget and narrowing the scope school consolidation remains alive at the State Capitol, and I will remain a strong of public policy it debates. opponent to mandated regionalization of Perhaps the greatest difference our schools. between the session formats is that With concern for the health of legislators directly raise individual residents of all ages, I proudly proposed legislative ideas or concepts. In a “short legislation to raise the legal age for session” a legislator must write to the purchasing vaping products in order to leadership of the relevant committee and request that specific bill concepts be raised help eliminate vaping in our schools. CT 06089 concept was ultimately rolled into by that committee. 374 Hopmeadow Street • Simsbury,This 860-651-8236 Public Act 19-13, a new law intended to Consequently, all new legislation that improve both health and the education moves forward through theout lawmaking Find how you can get improved value and peace climate. process is a committeeofbill. mind. Call or visit our office today! Currently, I am planning public forums This can make putting forth uniquely on vaping in our schools and on the new pieces of legislation difficult in the impact of the new legislation, to be held even-numbered years. Preview Only later this winter in Canton and Avon. That being said, there are many issues yout includes a margin clear of text and graphics I will also continue to support that have been progressing throughout

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where we can find immediate savings. The delay of these public hearings, and the delay of over $1 million in state aid owed to Canton and Avon, is inexcusable. I will continue to push for state government to live within its means and keep its promises to our towns. + State Rep. Leslee Hill (Republican-17th House District) has served Avon and Canton since her election in November 2018. She is on three committees: Education; Judiciary; and Finance, Revenue and Bonding. • • 860-240-8700


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Public participation: a key part of legislature By John Hampton State Representative • Simsbury

THE CONNECTICUT General Assembly is set to convene the 2020 session on Feb. 5, and as we prepare I hope you will consider your participation to make your voice heard. The Connecticut General Assembly website ( contains a wealth of information to help you. This session is “short” with priority given to adjustments to the biennial budget. The session is scheduled to end on May 6.

the bill number. Feel free to call my office at 860-240-8568 or email me at John.Hampton@ if you need assistance or have questions.

written testimony, so summarizing the main points of your remarks is advised. If you’re asked to provide additional information, you will be allowed as much time as you need to respond.

While at the legislature, pick up a copy of the Bulletin, which outlines daily events.

You might find it frustrating waiting your turn, but legislators do want to hear from you because your opinion matters to them.

Please be patient as public hearings can be lengthy.

The Bulletin also lists the bills scheduled for committee meetings and public hearings. You can find the Bulletin on the first

In addition, I am confident you will not only find the process interesting, but will gain insight into the legislature and the importance of citizen involvement.

Public hearings are a great way to be heard. You can testify in person or submit written testimony on bills and issues of interest to you. I encourage you to get involved. “Long” sessions during odd-numbered years run from January to June. Check the General Assembly website frequently for a schedule of committee meetings, public hearings, how to look up bills, and how to track legislation. You can also view the legislative process on the Connecticut Network (CT-N) if you can’t get to Hartford. Public hearings are a great way to be heard. You can testify in person or submit written testimony on bills and issues of interest to you. I encourage you to get involved. My office is always available to assist you with this process. When preparing your remarks or written testimony, remember to include

floor of the Legislative Office Building (LOB) outside the bill room. Please note that if you wish to speak at a public hearing, you will need to sign up — usually in the LOB atrium, outside the committee room, or at the wall shelf inside the hearing room. Be prepared to provide your name, town of residence, bill number (or numbers) you’ll be commenting on, and whether you are for or against the legislation. When you are called, you will sit at a desk equipped with a microphone. Keep your remarks short as members of the public are limited to three minutes of testimony. Legislators will have a copy of your

As Simsbury’s state representative, I always want to hear from you and welcome and appreciate your comments, questions and concerns. + State Rep. John Hampton (Democrat-16th House District) has served Simsbury since his election in November 2012. He is on three committees: Aging (vice chair); Commerce; and Children. He is majority whip at large and co-chair of the Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities Caucus. • 860-240-8568


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Exploring the Charter Oak mystery

By David Leff Deputy Town Historian & Poet Laureate

A DESCENDANT of the Charter Oak growing on the Canton Green close to Albany Turnpike (Route 44) stirred controversy in the late 1970s that road widening would kill a living historic landmark. As it turned out, the road became four lanes, the tree succumbed to chainsaws and bulldozers, and not a single historic branch was harmed. This “grandchild of the Old Charter Oak in Hartford,” as described in the 1956 Canton Sesquicentennial book, was an impostor. Up to 700 people converged on the Canton Green on May 5, 1918 for the planting of a spindly, 4-foot-tall sapling descended from the Charter Oak. It was a gift of former Canton resident Frederick Hill of New Britain and his daughter Lilla, who together planted the tree. Some say the seedling came from an acorn fallen from a “child” of the Charter Oak planted in New Britain’s Walnut Hill Park. Another story is that Lilla

got it from her uncle Marcus Holcomb, then Connecticut’s governor. The ceremony included prayers by clergy, speeches by politicians and music from a band and choir. “Charter Oak Day Song” was composed for the Frederick Hill (left, with shovel) and his daughter Lilla plant occasion, and the first a Charter Oak descendant on Canton Green in 1918. verse reads: “Oh, come come today / In Canton we’re rejoicing / of the Baptist Church across the street An OAK we’ll plant / And then we’ll chant one Sunday in 1919 or 1920, she noticed / All Hail! the CHARTER OAK.” the broken tree had been replaced, Decades passed. It’s said that another presumably by the Hills, she told the ceremony was held for the tree in 1939 Hartford Courant a few years before when a plaque was unveiled. But as the her death in 1981. She concluded that road widening project drew near years someone gave them the wrong species. later, it was discovered that this now tall Fortunately, Canton has a true tree was a red oak, not a white oak like descendant of the Charter Oak, planted in the legendary one in which Connecticut’s front of the Collinsville post office by Boy colonial charter was hidden. Scout Troop 77 in 1964. After attending the tree planting in It’s a magnificent tree over seven her late teens, Hazel Bradley remembered stories tall whose muscular limbs spread that the original sapling soon had its broadly in a manner reminiscent of its top broken. Looking out the window glorious ancestor. +

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SHS grad pursues doctorate in biomedical science By Alyssa Richman Special to Today Magazine

WHEN I GRADUATED from Simsbury High School in May 2013, I had little idea of where my future would lead me. I enrolled at the University of New Hampshire because the school is in New England, has excellent academic programs, and is pretty, even when my parents and I conducted our own walking tour in the middle of mud season. It ended up being the perfect choice. While I was a student there, I transformed into an independent adult and learned what motivates me. I studied biomedical science and worked in a laboratory on campus that investigated how plants form a certain type of root. After graduating summa cum laude in 2017, I secured a job in the Suva Lab at Massachusetts General Hospital because of my unique lab experience and the connections it provided. So I moved to Boston to start my job as a research technician. In the Suva Lab, we characterized brain tumors using a new technology called single-cell RNA sequencing.

Had research stint at prestigious Mass General I was promoted to lab manager and took on a significant amount of responsibility in the lab. I collected patient samples, performed the whole sequencing workflow, and even got to do some data work, all while making sure Richman the lab ran smoothly. The people I was surrounded by during that time influenced the next step in my life. I was at one of the top hospitals and research centers in the United States. Everyone was very smart, yet little old me was working with, and managing, them. This gave me a boost of confidence in my abilities as a scientist. I had also worked in the lab long enough to foster some scientific logic. I made the decision to pursue graduate school and just stuck to it. As I went through a significant application process with some of the

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top schools in the nation, my confidence wavered, especially during the graduate school interview weekends. I chose a program at the University of Vermont in Burlington, a setting that is the perfect fit for my active lifestyle. I said goodbye to Boston and moved to upstate Vermont to start the program in September 2019. I am now a graduate student in the Cellular, Molecular and Biomedical Sciences doctoral program. I will most likely be over 30 years old by the time I graduate. It is daunting; however, it is necessary to become the scientist I want to be. So far in my time here, I have learned a lot about science and a lot about myself. Moving to a new city away from friends, family and my significant other is a test all on its own. The Vermont culture has embraced me, though, and I am trying to take in all the nature and fresh air it has to offer. +

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SIMSBURY TODAY Simsbury Art Trail helps celebrate town’s 350th Today Magazine Staff

There, Now You Can Grow

by Seward Johnson ©1993 The Seward Johnson Atelier, Inc.

This year, 37 sculptures will be on display.

Out of Sight

by Seward Johnson ©1991 The Seward Johnson Atelier, Inc.

THE SIMSBURY Chamber of Commerce Art Trail has returned in 2020 to help commemorate Simsbury’s 350th anniversary. The art trail again features the sculptures of worldrenowned artist Seward Johnson. The art trail first visited Simsbury in 2018. Town residents Ferg and Linda Jansen initiated the process after visiting a small town in Indiana that was graced by numerous Johnson sculptures. Impressed with their unique quality, the Jansens spoke with the curator of The Seward Johnson Atelier, Paula Stoeke, about the possibility of bringing sculptures to Simsbury. “She said: I graduated from Simsbury High School and my mother still lives in Simsbury,” Ferg notes. “And I think it’s very possible.” Lisa Gray, executive director of the Simsbury Chamber of Commerce, and other local officials backed the project. People from New Jersey to Maine — and as far away as California — visited town to view 32 sculptures in 2018, says Ferg, a past Chamber president. This year, 37 sculptures will be on display. The first 2020 sculpture was unveiled in Big Sister January at Fitzgerald’s Foods. The rest of the by Seward Johnson sculptures will be revealed in May, the month ©1987 when Simsbury was established in 1670. + The Seward • Johnson Atelier, Inc.


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HOLDEN — continued from page 7 her, or did he know her? By the census of 1870, Holden is listed as living with Martha Williams in Avon in a small house on West Avon Road. In November 1869, he is listed in the ledger of the Avon Congregational Church as being paid $1.75 for cleaning bricks from the church chimney. As it turns out, the minister of the church from 1869-1871 was Rev. Henry G. Marshall, captain of the Connecticut 29th, so Holden probably received that job through that relationship. We also know he cut wood for Mrs. Hadsell, who owned a home and a store on East Main Street (Route 44).

at Criscuolo Park, on the corner of James and Chapel Streets in New Haven, near where the regiment left to join the Civil War. The monument contains the engraved names of all 900 men of color, by their town of enlistment, on black granite stones. Erected in 2008, it is the most recent monument in Connecticut to the Civil War. Included is a center stone with images of soldiers and a list of their battles. Two other men enlisted in Avon, but they were not residents. The Connecticut 29th and Massachusetts 54th are the only African-American regiments that retained their identity upon

SYMBOL OF FREEDOM A bald eagle perches in Canton.

The Connecticut 29th and Massachusetts 54th are the only African-American regiments that retained their identity upon returning from the war. Pvt. Leverett Holden died on Oct. 10, 1877 at age 56. He is buried in the East Avon Cemetery in a grave segregated from the others. In honor of his service, the Avon Historical Society rededicated his grave in February 2014, using the GAR (Grand Army of the Republic) ceremony of 1919. Descendants of the Connecticut 29th brought their replica regimental flag and participated in the ceremony. In honor of Holden’s service in the 29th, I place a U.S. flag and GAR medallion on his grave every May. The GAR, a veterans group formed right after the Civil War, was the precursor of the American Legion. The story of the 29th is a generally unknown story in Connecticut. It is worth learning more, especially during Black History Month. It is also worth a visit to a dramatic monument dedicated to the 29th

returning from the war. All others were incorporated into combined federal military units. The story of the Massachusetts 54th is told in the award-winning movie Glory. The descendants of the 29th actively participate in parades and give talks in schools and public gatherings about their ancestors’ service. The remnants of the original Connecticut 29th regimental flag have been removed from storage in the State Capitol’s cellar and hold a place of honor encased in the underground walkway to the Legislative Office Building. + Thanks to these sources for providing detailed info: Avon Free Public Library’s Local History Room; “Avon, Connecticut: An Historical Story” by M. Francis MacKie; Hartford Preservation Alliance Magazine, 2/2009; CT State Library; U.S. census data online; National Archives


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.

652 West Avon Road, Avon, CT 06001 860-673-2521

130 Loomis Drive, West Hartford, CT 06017 860-521-8700

Medicare 5 Star Rated Facilities 14


Photo by Wendy Rosenberg


Runner combats cancer, honored at Patriots game

TRACY SAPERSTEIN of Simsbury has been recognized at a New England Patriots game for her fundraising work to combat cancer. She’s raised over $200,000 in just five years for Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. She began running in 2014 and joined the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team to run the Boston Marathon and fundraise for innovative cancer research. She has run Boston four times, and five of the six major world marathons. Saperstein ran her 10th marathon in Tokyo in March 2019. At a Patriots pregame ceremony in December, she received the Crown Royal “That Deserves a Crown” honor as a Pats fan who’s made major contributions to the New England community, via her marathon challenges and other fundraising events. In 2017, she ran Boston in memory of a cancer patient and teen artist, Tatyana. Using Tatyana’s artwork, Saperstein had an image custom-printed on some socks — and founded TatySocks. The nonprofit’s slogan: “DeFeeting Cancer Two Socks at a Time.” All proceeds are donated to cancer research. The original order sold out fast, and subsequent orders with designs by other cancer patients have sold well too. +

UNICO Citizens of Year

THE AVON CHAPTER of UNICO National has given volunteers Karen Finocchio and Marybeth Twohig the 2019 Avon Citizen of the Year Award. Since 1986, they have led efforts at the Church of Saint Ann in Avon to prepare meals for Hartford’s ImmaCare Emergency Shelter. To volunteer, call 860-675-4882. +

CALENDAR Hairspray (the musical) Simsbury High School Friday 1/31 + Saturday 2/1 – 7 pm Sunday 2/2 – 2 pm Friday 2/7 + Saturday 2/8 – 7 pm Sunday 2/9 – 2 pm $12-$15 • Art at the Simsbury 1820 House

Show thru 2/15 Featuring Suzanne Roz Magoon Watercolor Landscapes Workshop with Collette Hurst Canton Senior Center Monday 2/3 – 10-12 All welcome • Register 693-5811 Nutmeg Symphony Orchestra Trinity Episcopal Church, Torrington • Sunday 2/9 – 3 pm Bristol Eastern High School • Saturday 3/21 – 7:30 pm Lewis Mills High School, Burlington • Saturday 5/9 – 7:30 pm ‘First Friday’ Dinner Avon Congregational Church Friday 2/14 – 5:30-7 pm $7-$15 • Takeout available Avon Arts Association Artist Demo and Workshop Avon Town Hall, Building #1 • Demo: Tue 2/18 – 7-8:30 • Free • Workshop: Sat 1/22 – 9:30-2 $45 members, $55 guests Seminar – Health, Wealth & A Confident Retirement Simsbury Public Library Wednesday 2/19 – 6:30-8 pm Free • Refreshments served Songs of Woman Suffrage Movement Avon Senior Center Friday 2/21 – 2 pm (snow date: Friday 2/28) Dawn Indermuehle and Rick Spencer perform Simsbury Garden Club Apple Barn, West Simsbury Monday 2/24 – 11:30 am $10 • Containing invasive species Trade Secrets: Plant Selection & Organic Lawn Care Simsbury Public Library 2/25 – 7-8:30 pm Free • Host: Gardeners of Simsbury Simsbury Garden Club Simsbury Public Library Monday 3/6 – 6:30 pm Foundation plantings, native plants Community Health Expo Anthology of Simsbury Saturday 3/28 –10 am-2 pm Host: Simsbury Chamber–651-7307 Simsbury Light Opera Company The Pirates of Penzance

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

Eno Memorial Hall, Simsbury Saturday 3/28 – 2 pm + 7:30 pm Saturday 4/4 – 7:30 pm Sunday 4/5 – 2 pm $10-$30 • Discount: +++ JOYful Happenings Journey of Yoga, Simsbury 860-680-1482 • Call ahead to confirm 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 +++ Avon Public Library lineup These events free • 673-9712 Afternoon with Historian/Author Tom Shachtman Saturday 2/1 – 1:30 pm (snow date: Saturday 2/8) Famed Revolutionary War scholar Movie: Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton & Susan B. Anthony Wednesday 2/5 – 1:30 pm Two women, one allegiance Filling Our Hearts With Love Through Meditation Tuesday 2/11 – 6:30 pm How meditation can improve life Meet Connecticut Suffragette Isabella Beecher Hooker Wednesday 2/26 – 6:30 pm With Susan Campbell, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist +++ Canton Public Library lineup These events free • 693-5800 Art Display: Jennifer Knaus Thru February Portraits conjoined with nature 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 Friday Family Movie Matinee Fridays – 3 pm • Free G or PG film +++ Simsbury Public Library lineup Most events free • 658-7663 x2 Friday Flicks Fridays – 1 pm Story of Immigration As Told Through Maps Monday 2/3 – 6 pm Simsbury Camera Club: Images From South Africa Monday 2/3 – 6:30 pm Introduction to Microsoft Word Tuesday 2/4 – 1 pm How to Navigate the World of Assisted Living & Memory Care Tuesday 2/4 – 6:30 pm History of Valentine’s Day Monday, 2/10 – 1:30 pm Computer Use 101 Tuesday 2/11 – 1 pm Introduction to Virtual Reality Thursday 2/13 – 6, 6:30, 7, 7:30 pm Exploring the Founding of U.S. Tuesday 2/18 – 6 pm

CT Wine Trail Thursday 2/20 – 6 pm Coffeehouse: Cold Chocolate Friday 2/21 – 7:30 pm UConn Women’s Basketball Tailgate Party – 3rd Annual Saturday 2/22 – 12:30 pm Author Visit: Joanna Schaffhausen Monday 2/24 – 6:30 pm Introduction to Google Suite Tuesday 2/25 – 6:30 pm Arm Knit a Scarf Wednesday 2/26 – 6 pm CT’s African-American Heroines Thursday 2/27 – 6 pm Introduction to Virtual Reality Thursday 2/27 – 6, 6:30, 7, 7:30 pm +++ Simsbury Free Library events 860-408-1336 Drop In Book Club Tuesday 2/11 – 11:15 am Drop In Genealogy Saturday 2/8 + 2/22 – 10 am-2 pm Members free Non-members $5 World War II Talk: Band of Brothers Travel Guide to WWII Germany Thursday 2/27 – 6:30 pm +++ Storyteller’s Cottage happenings Simsbury • 860-877-6099 An Outlander Evening: All Things Scots Saturday 2/1 – 7 pm $30, ages 21+ • Classic Scots party with music, poetry, games+ • BYOB Fantasy Gaming Club Sunday 2/2 – 2 pm $20 • Dungeons & Dragons, Pokemon, YuGiOh Author Talk with Joel Samberg Sunday 2/2 – 3:30 pm $5 • “Blowin’ in the Wind” “Les Deux Magots” Literary Cafe Sunday 2/2 – 3:30 pm $10 • Chat with literary enthusiasts The Bard’s Bistro: A Gathering of Songwriters Sunday 2/9 – 3:30 pm $7 • Bring your songs and instruments for a jam and feedback “Galentine” Pink Paris Party Thursday 2/13 – 6:30 pm $25 • Girls’ Night Out with desserts, jewelry-making, purse swap, poetry generator and photo booth • BYOB Friday Night Art Sampler: Valentine’s Night Art Romantic Live Figure Drawing Friday 2/14 – 7 pm $25 • Learn basics of illustration Cafe de Paris: Chocolate Tasting Saturday 2/15 – 7 pm $30 • Savor three-course variety of delicious chocolate treats Japanese Anime Club Sunday 2/16 – 1:30 pm $20 • Discuss graphic novels, sample authentic Japanese snacks Author Talk with Amla Mehta Sunday 2/16 – 2 pm $5 • “Eye with a View” Author Talk with David Hartshorn Sunday 2/23 – 1 pm $5 • “More Than Halfway There”

Send Events: Mysterious Pendragon Society Sunday 2/23 – 1 pm $20 • Solve mysteries, learn secret codes, write fantasy stories Grand Adventure: Mystery Game & Tea Party for Grandparents & Grandchildren Sunday 2/23 – 2 pm $20 • Solve mystery, enjoy treats+ Fictional Feasts: Book & Food Pairing Club Sunday 2/23 – 3:30 pm $10 • Enjoy sampler of foods from classic works of literature Friday Night Art Sampler: Drawing Cartoon Hands Friday 2/28 – 7 pm $25 • Learn basics of illustration A Leap into the Unknown: A Mysterious Evening Saturday 2/29 – 7 pm $30 • Celebrate Leap Year with uncommon foods, enigmatic activities, obscure games +++ Art at the Simsbury 1820 House

Opening Reception: Friday, 2/21 – 5:30-7 pm Show Dates: 2/16-3/16 Free • Featuring April Aldighieri, award-winning photographer Anthology Open House Anthology of Simsbury Saturdays thru February Free • Tours, food • 860-457-1043 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 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 Intl. Skating Center, Simsbury 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!




A dynamic dolphin duo practices some dance moves in the Gulf of Mexico near Marco Island, Florida. The smooch apparently indicates that the dolphin on the right is pleased with their progress.

Photo by Wendy Rosenberg


A chorus of 30-plus singers from Squadron Line Elementary School (Simsbury) — led by director Miriam Schreiber — performed holiday classics and singalongs for residents of Belden Forest Court in Simsbury.

Courtesy Photo




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