Today Magazine • May 2020

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CORONAVIRUS QUESTIONS Seeking Answers To The COVID-19 Conundrum


CURBSIDE DELIVERY A Staple For Restaurants Due To The Virus Crisis


BIRD-SIDE DELIVERY A red-bellied woodpecker (male) picks up a takeout meal at a bird feeder in a Canton backyard.

Photo by Wendy Rosenberg


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Unprecedented Virus ... With Precedents


Today Magazine has questions about the coronavirus crisis, and local government officials have offered crucial answers as we endure this crucible. HISTORY HIGHLIGHTS

9 — Displaying Care In Uncertain Times

An Avon historian explains that local residents have a robust history of caring for the sick and injured. HONORING FIRST RESPONDERS

11 — Courage On COVID-19 Front Line

Volunteer EMTs and firefighters are battling this pandemic alongside paid first responders. SPOTLIGHT ON THE ARTS

12 — More Kudos For Celebrated Book

Historical fiction with a Holocaust theme, My Real Name Is Hanna nabs another honor. BUSINESS BEAT

14 — Defending Your Identity

Canton-based defend-id and Today Magazine are partnering to provide ID theft protection at a savings.


THANKS FOR APRIL COVER STORY We are thrilled with how our cover story in the April edition of Today Magazine came out! Thank you again for this wonderful opportunity. Lauren Gardner • PR & Marketing FOCUS Center for Autism • Canton I appreciated your article about the FOCUS Center for Autism (April cover story). I had investigated them many years ago, so I was interested in how they have grown and expanded. A blessing to many! Nancy Lehman • Simsbury AD REDUX Last year, I had a huge response from my ad and April is the perfect time to run it again. Jim Volovski Stone Man Masonry • 693-4637 • Canton

UNPRECEDENTED — a friend says he first heard this word utilized to describe the coronavirus crisis while volunteering in Hartford. “It’s unprecedented,” said a newly unemployed man about the cancellation of March Madness and the cessation of the NBA and NHL seasons — but of course the pandemic has halted more than sports. Large public gatherings have stopped. Schools and businesses have closed nationwide. Simple courtesies like handshakes and close-up conversation have been replaced by a once-unfamiliar term — social distancing — because medical experts and government officials see these drastic measures as the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 … an unknown term until 2020. In media reports and in emails from business and civic leaders, the word unprecedented has been cited over and over again. The commerce shutdown has led to record layoffs — so the above man has more company. Yet while the government’s response to this medical crisis has been unprecedented, the loss suffered by many families isn’t new. At press time 20,000 Americans have died of the virus (108,000 worldwide). Such loss is a shared human reality — just ask someone who has endured 9/11 or the Vietnam War or the Holocaust ... or the death of any loved one. The world has likewise seen medical crises before: 675,000 Americans died in the 1918 flu pandemic, per the CDC, and 50 million worldwide — 500 times more than the COVID-19 toll as of early April. A recent neighborhood walk I took revealed a time-honored antidote to such trauma, written in rainbow chalk that spanned a suburban Farmington Valley roadway: BE KIND. STAY POSITIVE. Love each other. From the chalk of children to God’s ears. + Bruce Deckert — Publisher + Editor-in-Chief 860-988-1910 • Today Magazine — > Digital Edition Covering the Tri-Town Heart of the Farmington Valley Facebook — @TodayPublishingCT • LinkedIn—Today Publishing Advertising — Contact the Publisher Editorial Associate — Kayla Tyson Cover Photo — Connecticut Headshots • caption info: page 4 Today Magazine Online — Photographer — Seshu, Connecticut Headshots • 860-593-0850 • Contributing Photographer — Wendy Rosenberg • 860-305-1655

QUOTE OF THE MONTH “As front-line responders, we take every precaution to provide services that use best practices to fulfill our mission.” — Gerry Holland • Canton Volunteer Fire & EMS • Executive Officer

PHOTO FINISH Just a note to tell you how much I enjoy your magazine. Interesting local stories both current and past. I especially enjoy Wendy Rosenberg’s photos featured on the back of the magazine. The images she captures are extraordinary. Thank you for continuing to feature her work. Fran Van Linda • Canton April was another stellar issue! Great choice with the two robin photos — perfect for the start of spring! As always, love what you wrote in the cover story. I am so very honored to be part of Today Magazine, and I thank you again for giving me this opportunity to share my passion. It means the world to me. Wendy Rosenberg • Canton Wendy is a contributing photographer for Today Magazine — yes, she took the two robin photos in the April issue (pages 11 and 16) … and the honor is truly ours too! •Today’s digital editions:



Since the coronavirus crisis escalated and social-distancing mandates were enacted, restaurant owners like Michael Androw of Avon-based E&D Pizza Company have been limited to curbside service.

Photo by Connecticut Headshots • 860-593-0850 •

CORONAVIRUS Q&A Today Magazine Staff

TODAY MAGAZINE has questions about the coronavirus crisis, and local government officials have answers — or at least they’ve offered responses to our questions, since definitive answers for officials and residents alike have been elusive. Today Magazine has also asked officials at the Farmington Valley Health District some questions about key medical and scientific issues related to the coronavirus and COVID-19, but FVHD is understandably inundated as the crisis unfolds. Since they didn’t have time to respond to our Q&A for this issue, we hope to publish their answers and guidance in June. 4




1 — In terms of societal impact that you’ve seen in your lifetime, what is this coronavirus crisis most comparable to? 2 — Statistics indicate that most people who contract COVID-19 have only mild symptoms, with life-threatening cases a small percentage — given this, is a plausible mitigation approach to recommend that at-risk populations (such as the elderly) self-quarantine until a vaccine is available while the rest of society operates more normally, with businesses and perhaps schools open? 3 — If state governments and the federal government continue to ban large gatherings, but reopen small businesses with social distancing guidelines, would this be a better solution given the disabling nature of Connecticut’s current executive order that has closed “non-essential businesses”?



Heather Maguire — Avon Town Council Chair (860) 409-4300 — Age: 58 — Avon resident

Bob Bessel — Canton First Selectman (860) 693-7847 — Age: 69 — Canton resident

1 — In my opinion, the September 11th tragedy is the most similar in the effects on society. Life seemed to stop on that tragic day, much the way life as we know it has stopped. After September 11th, there was a tremendous sense of community, as well as patriotism. I see that occurring now as our community comes together to support our medical teams, first responders and many of the other citizens who are on the front line of this pandemic. We are all in this together, much the way we were on that tragic day in September.

1 — The closest comparison I can make is to 9/11/2001, but even that was not as pervasive or deadly as COVID-19. With 9/11, we were under attack by a small group of terrorists from a foreign country. With COVID, we are under attack from ourselves. Literally anyone could be carrying the virus.

2 — I believe a tremendous amount of information will come out over these next few months, including how we treat and prevent the virus. I do believe that it will forever change how we interact with others; social distancing and taking extra sanitary precautions will become the new normal. That being said, the at-risk population will likely have recommendations from the medical community as to how to best protect themselves. It would make good sense for that to be followed. However, I would expect the extended period of self-quarantine to be eliminated at some point. I have concern for the emotional and mental wellbeing of people staying isolated indefinitely. A vaccine seems to be many months away and it may not be an option or choice for everyone. 3 — Yes, I believe it would. The small business owner needs every opportunity to get back to work. I believe with increased guidelines and now a community that better understands the social-distancing guidelines and benefits, this would be a great way to get the economy moving again.

2 — Because anyone could be carrying the COVID virus, it is best to treat everyone as if they have the virus. Evidence shows that young as well as old populations can be severely impacted. Why do many develop mild symptoms while others land at death’s door? We really don’t know. Until the caseload falls to near zero, we really can’t let up on social distancing. The good news is that people who have mild cases will build up immunity to the virus. The bad news is that we may be 12+ months away from an effective vaccine. Then, and only then, can we let our guard down. 3 — Social distancing, wherever it can be enforced, can help keep businesses open and people working. A good example of this is grocery stores that have wide aisles. This will be better for social distancing than stores that have tight quarters and “choked” intersections. These issues can be remedied with one-way aisles and limits on the number of people in the store at one time. Some issues are more difficult to overcome, such as activities that require groups of people to remain in one place for a long time. Even though the number may be small, the opportunity for virus transmission is too great. Better to assume that everyone has the virus and to act accordingly. In the long run, strict social distancing will result in a faster, more complete recovery than piecemeal workarounds.



COVID-19 Deaths

CDC — U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

• At press time on April 11

U.S. deaths — 20,456 Connecticut deaths — 448 Farmington Valley deaths — 2 Worldwide deaths — 108,281

Sources U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Farmington Valley Health District (FVHD) Google COVID-19 map

U.S. Flu Deaths 2018-19 flu season — U.S. estimate: 34,157 • range: 26,339 to 52,664 2017-18 flu season — U.S. estimate: 61,099 • range: 46,404 to 94,987 2016-17 flu season — U.S. estimate: 38,230 • range: 28,582 to 60,686 2009-10 Swine Flu (H1N1) Pandemic U.S. deaths — estimate: 12,469 • range: 8,868 to 18,306 Worldwide deaths — estimated range: 151,700 to 575,400 1918 Flu Pandemic (H1N1) U.S. deaths — estimate: 675,000 Worldwide deaths — estimate: 50 million

• Estimate – about 500 million (one-third of world population) became infected

coronavirus — the virus that causes the disease COVID-19 — the disease itself • COVID-19 is an acronym for coronavirus disease 2019 epidemic — national or regional outbreak of an infectious disease FVHD — Farmington Valley Health District pandemic — worldwide outbreak of an infectious disease WHO — World Health Organization TODAY MAGAZINE – – MAY 2020


Eric Wellman — Simsbury First Selectman (860) 658-3231 — Age: 37 — Simsbury resident 1 — I don’t think anyone living today has experienced anything quite like this. What is happening in our world feels scary and surreal. I am grateful to the vast majority of Simsbury residents who are taking social-distancing measures seriously. I’m also grateful for the outpouring of kindness I’ve seen from neighbors looking for ways they can help each other. I remember after 9/11, people coming together in a similar way, being generous with their time, talent and money. The generosity I’m seeing in our community through social media and emails that I get makes me think about that time. 2 — We need to leave guidance on this question to the public health professionals, not politicians. In Simsbury, we are following the advice of local and state public health officials and are in regular contact with the Farmington Valley Health District. In some cases, we have actually gone further than their guidance to reinforce social distancing. I think what is best for public health and the health of our economy in the long-term is to continue to reinforce social-distancing measures that have proven successful around the world and in U.S. cities that are ahead of us on the curve. 3 — I will continue to advocate for state and federal policies that provide meaningful relief to businesses and employees most impacted by COVID-19 — especially small and medium-size businesses that are least able to absorb a downturn. But I will always put public health and safety above the short-term health of the economy. Our country and our world will recover from this. There is no doubt in my mind. But now is not the time to discuss pulling back on social-distancing guidelines. State Sen. Kevin Witkos — R-8th District (860) 240-8800 — Age: 55 — Canton resident Represents Avon, Canton, Granby, Simsbury and seven more municipalities 1 — In my lifetime, the closest thing I can equate this situation to is 9/11 and the ensuing aftermath. Similar to the actions of so many Americans after that tragic day, however, we are seeing so many acts of kindness from random strangers all eager to help others in need and lift one another’s spirits. From individuals volunteering to make masks, people and businesses donating supplies and materials, to local public safety departments spreading some cheer to children, challenging times bring out the very best in some. Without a doubt, these are extremely challenging and troubling times for all. However, I have no doubt that we will come through it. 2 — Everyone, regardless of age or health condition, should take COVID-19 very seriously, especially when you consider how easily it can be spread to others. It seems that, for the most part, individuals have been adhering to social-distancing guidelines in order to help stop the spread and flatten the curve. I would defer to public health professionals for the best way to return to any normalcy while COVID-19 is still a serious threat to many people. 3 — Any decision made by the state or federal government must be made with the health and safety of all individuals as a priority. That being said, I am immensely concerned for the many businesses and their employees across our region who have had to shut their doors. While some businesses may be able to adequately function with social-distancing guidelines in place, the same cannot unfortunately be said for others. 6


State Rep. John Hampton — D-16th District (860) 240-8659 — Age: 53 — Simsbury resident Represents all of Simsbury 1 — I have never experienced a societal crisis of this magnitude in my lifetime. There’s nothing that I can compare it to. The response of the American people to this pandemic, however, is comparable to recent difficult times. Like post-9/11, we see the incredible heroism and bravery of our health care providers — doctors, nurses, hospital and nursing home staff — and first responders (police, fire, EMS) selflessly putting themselves in harm’s way to answer the call of duty. Also, we see an overwhelming spirit of kindness, compassion, generosity and volunteerism among our citizenry that is typical of America in the face of tragedy, uncertainty and fear. 2 — At this juncture, I believe we should follow the lead of medical experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci in terms of relaxing the current restrictions in place. This novel virus is unwieldy and has affected a wide range of individuals, not just the elderly and vulnerable. 3 — Again, given the unknowns of this virus, it would be foolhardy to reopen non-essential businesses until we have a better handle on the illness and clear direction from the medical community that such measures are appropriate. We must proceed cautiously in case there is a second wave. I would err on the side of guardedness and vigilance vs. early overconfidence. State Rep. Leslee Hill — R-17th District (860) 240-8700 — Age: 55 — Canton resident Represents all of Canton and about 75% of Avon residents 1 — I really can’t say this experience is directly comparable to anything I have experienced in my lifetime. The sense of fear and anxiety is similar to the days following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, but this is more far-reaching with its impact on every aspect of day-to-day life. 2 — We need to listen to the advice of the medical professionals; however, if this virus makes a less-aggressive reappearance in the fall, then this approach is worthy of consideration. A protracted, complete shutdown of the economy, education and nonCOVID-19 healthcare is not feasible. 3 — Again, we need to carefully consider the advice of the medical professionals. The governor, acting by executive order, has imposed the extensive shutdowns we are currently experiencing. As this health crisis slowly improves, I would hope the governor would consider a slow reopening of sectors of the economy. There is no doubt that this period of shutdown has had an extreme negative impact on the business community and on those who are now unemployed, as well as those who are unable to access healthcare for other, non-COVID-19 conditions. The governor must act in the best interests of the health of the state, and also must get our economy back to work as soon as it is safe to do so. continued on page 7


Multifaceted life: veteran, immigrant, volunteer By Bruce Deckert Today Magazine Editor-in-Chief

CONSIDER this wide-ranging life résumé: math teacher, Irish immigrant, army veteran, Rotary member and full-time realtor for almost five decades. Actually, Vince Tully’s military service is something of a riddle: When he served in the U.S. Army, he wasn’t a U.S. citizen. Come again? “It was not unusual,” says Tully, who was a paratrooper in the 101st Airborne Division. “I wasn’t a citizen when I got out either. There are people now in the U.S. Army who aren’t citizens.” When Tully served from 1957-59, the Korean War (1950-53) was over and the Vietnam War (1954-75) was in its early stages, but he didn’t see active combat. Stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, he made 25 jumps from a C-130 aircraft. “Most of the jumps were routine and uneventful,” says Tully, “but in 1958 there was one serious accident. … I suffered only minor scratches.”


Treacherous wind gusts resulted in a tragedy that killed five paratroopers and hospitalized 137. Major General William Westmoreland jumped with his 101st troops that day and was dragged 300 feet upon landing: “I just couldn’t run as fast as my chute was going,” he told the AP. Westmoreland, who later became a general, commanded U.S. forces in Vietnam from 1964-68. Tully became a U.S. citizen in Detroit in 1962 while he was a student at Central

Tully’s journey began in thatched-roof Irish house He has taught real estate courses at UConn and Northwestern Connecticut Community College. Tully, 82, was 18 years old when he immigrated, by himself, from Ireland to New York City in December 1955. “As I entered New York for the first time, the customs man asked me to open my suitcase,” says Tully. “It was a very small cardboard suitcase weighing 20 to 30 pounds. He said, ‘Is that all you have?’ I said yes. My belongings could have easily fit in a brown paper grocery bag — two changes of underwear, a brush to polish shoes, a toothbrush, a couple pairs of socks.”

Vince Tully

Michigan University (Class of ’63, B.A. math). He isn’t a dual citizen, though. “At that time you had to renounce citizenship,” says Tully, who taught high school math for three years in California after graduating. “My intent was to live and work in America for the rest of my life. I could regain my Irish citizenship now, but there’s no reason to — it would be cosmetic. I wanted to vote and to have the other benefits of being a citizen, so I reluctantly gave up my Irish citizenship.” A Farmington resident today, Tully moved from Greater L.A. to Connecticut in ’66 and taught for five years at Avon High School (and part-time for three years at CCSU). In ’71 he became a full-time realtor — currently with Coldwell Banker — and he has been honored three times as a five-star agent.

State Rep. Tammy Exum — D-19th District (860) 240-8585 — Age: 53 — West Hartford resident Represents about 25% of Avon residents and parts of Farmington and West Hartford 1 — While there have been significant events such as the AIDS crisis, the devastation of September 11, 2001, and the Great Recession of 2007-09, I have never lived through anything that compares in scope and scale to what we are experiencing due to the COVID-19 crisis. It has touched every aspect of our lives, leaving little undisrupted, causing many illnesses, deaths and job losses. It has given us, however, time to reflect and pay homage to everyday heroes who are often overlooked, such as our healthcare workers, teachers, police, firefighters and individuals who show up every day so that we can purchase food and medications. It also reveals how much we mean to each other. While we must physically distance, most desire to take the time to socially connect in a way that many of us were too busy to do a short


Born in 1937 in Ruskey, a small town in the Republic of Ireland, Tully says he grew up in “primitive conditions” — his family lived in a thatched-roof house with no running water and no electricity. “All my school friends and neighbors for miles in every direction were living in the same circumstances,” he notes. “In New York City, I met up with a thermostat on the wall and a flush toilet.” Three of Tully’s brothers followed him to the U.S. and enjoyed successful careers. One retired as a 747 captain after flying across Europe and the U.S. for UPS. Vince has returned about 50 times to visit Ireland, which is nearly the geographic size of Maine. On his first trip, in June 1957, the small four-engine plane continued on page 14

while ago. As a country, we’ve faced immense challenges before and overcame them by working together. I am hopeful that our generation of Americans will meet the moment. 2 — While I certainly understand the yearning to ease the selfquarantine guidelines, they are currently in place to save lives. We need to trust our public health officials and scientists who are studying the data and forming our public policy, keeping our community safe. The stronger we adhere to the physicaldistancing rules, the quicker our society will be able to return to more normal times. 3 — I realize how disruptive this crisis is to the economy. It is impacting employers, both large and small, along with families and individuals. We are in the midst of an extraordinary crisis and therefore the response must be too. These decisions, made by experts, were not made lightly, especially considering the effect they would have on our business climate. If the data warrants our public health officials to re-examine the rules we have put in place, such as the closing of non-essential businesses, the policies should evolve. + TODAY MAGAZINE – – MAY 2020




Gifts of Love seeks 7th-grader wins award for inventive project food intervention Special to Today Magazine Virus-related unemployment makes need even greater Special to Today Magazine

GIFTS OF LOVE is calling upon the community to meet a growing need for food donations to help area families hit hard by coronavirus-related layoffs. For 20-plus years, the Avon-based social service agency has supported underemployed residents in the Farmington Valley and beyond — with basics such as food, toiletries, clothing and household necessities. Gifts of Love is now distributing food in pre-packed bags because clients aren’t permitted to enter the building due to social-distancing mandates. The customary approach has allowed clients to select what they’ve needed from store-like shelves via a shopping format, but COVID-19 restrictions have halted this practice. Please donate by knocking on the door and leaving the donation outside to comply with social distancing. + 34 East Main Street • Avon • 860-676-2323

CAN A 7TH-GRADER change the tech world? Ariana Pourkavoos of Avon has answered emphatically with an awardwinning project: Yes! She won six awards — including a first-place honor — that came with cash prizes ($1200 total) at the 2020 Connecticut Science & Engineering Fair. A student at Talcott Mountain Academy, Pourkavoos has designed a glove device that helps dampen, measure and record clinical tremors associated with Parkinson’s disease. “There is currently nothing like this on the market,” says a Talcott official. “Many people, especially among the elderly, suffer from tremors, which can prevent them from performing basic daily tasks and cause embarrassing accidents,” says Pourkavoos. “I wanted to create an apparatus that could dampen this tremor [and] create a method to document and quantify it, and to easily track it over time. ... This method could help doctors quickly and reliably quantify patients’ tremors.” Pourkavoos has also been invited to attend the Broadcom MASTERS, a prestigious national competition for

Courtesy Photo

middle schoolers (MASTERS = Math, Applied Science, Technology and Engineering for Rising Stars). Jasper Southam of Shelton, a Talcott 8th-grader, received two first-place awards ($600 total) for devising the Pathfinder, a mobile navigation system for safely evacuating large buildings. +

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Townsfolk have history of caring for sick

Avon has surely faced uncertain times before

By Nora O. Howard Avon Town Historian

Historic Rufus Hawley Home 281 Old Farms Road • Avon

Courtesy Photo

DURING THIS COVID-19 pandemic, I turned to the Avon journals of Rev. Rufus Hawley (1760s-1820s). Avon, he documented, has been in similar places — not exactly, of course, but places of fearful illness, devastating injury, sudden disruption and grinding uncertainty. Smallpox threatened Avon at least three times. The first was from 1774-82, when smallpox was a threat to the entire country during the American Revolution. A decade after this subsided, the threat returned. Dr. Eli Todd of Farmington worked at a smallpox hospital (1792-94) at the farm of Josiah Kilbourn Jr., site of today’s Hospital Rock with patients’ carved initials. After being inoculated at the farm, people isolated there for a few weeks until they were no longer infectious. In 1800 Hawley’s son Orestes, 21, was in quarantine. After being inoculated for smallpox, he stayed at Thomas and Hannah Ford’s Avon house. When Orestes was ready to go home, Hawley brought him clothes; the old clothes were likely burned. In 1798, dysentery raged in Avon.

Hawley’s son Zerah, 17, recovered. Other families lost one or more children. Hawley lost two young grandsons, Imri and Ruggles. Their infant brother had died the year before. In the summer of 1808, scarlet fever slammed Avon. It must have seemed that the world turned upside down. On June 6, Hawley visited and prayed with 20 sick people. He attended the funeral of a young mother, Buelah Woodford, whose son Wilford became president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Two weeks later Hawley participated in a Farmington Society fast for “sore sickness.” He prayed with “feeble people,” including Rev. Noah Porter of Farmington. Dr. Noah Porter Jr. said Dr. Solomon Everest of Avon and Dr. Todd did all they

could in the panic; healthy people could barely take care of the sick. Roads were empty and fearful travelers stayed away. The church bell fell silent, for the ringing sound at every funeral was unbearable. The epidemic lasted one year, striking about 700 people in Farmington/Avon. On Dec. 6, 1808, Hawley wrote to his son Timothy in Ohio about the scarlet fever outbreak. Half of Avon’s population (about 1,100 people) had been sick. During one month, nine Avon residents died, almost 1% of the population. A 1% loss today would mean over 180 residents. Avon townsfolk have been called on again and again to do their best for the sick and injured. During World War I, the Spanish flu took 8,500 lives in Connecticut; in October 1918 the Farmington Valley Herald reported 100 cases in Avon. In 1918 a freight train crashed in a massive pileup near Avon center. We are facing a crisis in 2020 we never imagined. Our worlds have also been turned upside down. +

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FROM THE FLOOD OF ’55 TO COVID-19 Life in Collinsville through two intense events

By Anne Raftery Special to Today Magazine

Courtesy Photo

WITH A WIFE and three children during the Flood of 1955, my father did what he had to do and “got out of the house with the kids and the car” — our home, I unglamorously say to people, was where Canton’s water treatment plant now sits. When I first came back to Collinsville after moving away, I was working on a committee looking at river use and my mother said, “Annie, if they do any of that dredging, maybe they can look for my wedding dress and ring.” Lots of the early part of our family’s life went over that waterfall by the Collins Company. My “baby” pictures start at 3 years old. My parents (Ed and Jane) began our temporary relocation process at Pettibone Tavern in Simsbury where, if you could prove you had relatives who would pick you up, they (not sure who the “they” was) would put you on a boat and take you to them on the other side. My mother’s family lived at 943 Asylum Avenue in Hartford, so her parents were our ticket to the boat ride.

My mother’s heart never left Collinsville. Her 2013 funeral showed our family she had stayed in many Collinsville hearts too. Young Anne Raftery and her dad Ed

I do not have a clear timetable after that, but my next memories are of Allen Place and Dyer Avenue locations in Canton. Our permanent move was made when my father’s employer (“Mother Aetna”) paid off the mortgage of the house that was lost. He took all his money ($7,000) and by January 1956 we were in the Collinsville hills — Center and Main. Now it is 2020 and I am sitting in my apartment, where I can see the house I grew up in from my bedroom window. I remember my mother crying when she and my father came to see my new digs

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in 2010. West Hartford made sense for my parents on so many levels — but my mother’s heart never left Collinsville. Her 2013 funeral showed our family she had stayed in many Collinsville hearts too. Now I am going through another life-changing Collinsville event — the COVID-19 crisis — as the only Raftery in town. This is humorous to those who know I left as soon as I could. My life was faster-paced, more lucrative, more exciting as I traveled from Connecticut to Ecuador, Ohio, Kansas, Texas, North Carolina and back to Connecticut, but I cannot think of anywhere I would rather be going through this particular time in our country’s life. continued on page 14

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Volunteer EMTs on coronavirus front line By Sylvia Cancela Public Relations Officer • Canton Volunteer Fire & EMS

WE’VE READ AND VIEWED the media’s special reporting focused on the courageous and unprecedented work of first responders — Connecticut’s nurses, doctors, police officers — as the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds. A well-deserved salute and appreciation. We need to see that same amount of attention and respect paid Courtesy Pho to another group of individuals responding on the front line of the Gerry Holland, executive officer for Canton Volunteer Fire includes a margin of text graphics pandemic who(Layout have not yet been as fully recognized.clear These are the andfirefighter & EMS. “We rely on our training to protect us and to provide the professionals operating side by side and in concert with as well-trained this information may be covered by frame and/or clips during installation) highest standard of care for our community. ... Nothing will stand in other first responders, at an equal level of risk and commitment. the way of our responding to our neighbor’s needs.” I’m talking about volunteer EMTs, firefighters and fire police. An invitation: Volunteer departments are always looking for Most have full-time jobs, across the economic spectrum. But their new members — and are willing to train, drill and mentor anyone commitment to community places them on the front line of the interested in serving their community in this exceptional way. It’s a healthcare supply chain. challenging experience. And now, even more so. In the small towns that make up the Farmington Valley, the fire “As front-line responders, we take every precaution to provide service and, in many cases, emergency medical services are a largely services that use best practices to fulfill our mission,” says Holland. volunteer force. At a time when it’s important to isolate, close down, “Knowledge is a way to feel less vulnerable. Our response is a way to socially distance and stay near home, volunteer EMTs and firefighters move beyond ourselves, to a higher calling to serve beyond our own are usually first on the scene. Their volunteer work has never been interests — and that’s a powerful thing to to be part of.” more important and is even more challenging now, with the added Few volunteer posts offer the same sense of purpose, diverse skills peril of COVID-19. Their commitment, skill and devotion deserves training, unique leadership experiences and flexible hours. With extra recognition when reporting on the work of the other first responders. protocols and precautions, these highly trained volunteers will always People may ask: Who would volunteer to put themselves in the endeavor to keep their patients and the public safe during this everdirect line of fire with this virus? Why? changing and extraordinary time in our history. + “Our department responds without question,” says EMT and

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Real-time honors for My Real Name Is Hanna Accolades multiply for Mandel Vilar Press

A CELEBRATED BOOK has garnered another honor — My Real Name Is Hanna is a finalist for a National Jewish Book Award in the Young Adult Literature category. This is the seventh award for Hanna, which is printed by Mandel Vilar Press (MVP), a Simsbury-based nonprofit publisher. My Real Name Is Hanna is the first novel authored by Tara Lynn Masih, an accomplished writer and editor with a diverse career in book and magazine publishing. A powerful work of historical fiction, Hanna tells the poignant yet triumphant World War II story of a Ukrainian Jewish family that goes into hiding to escape the Nazis and ultimately lives in underground caves for over a year. “I feel lucky that this particular novel landed with MVP,” Masih says. “I’m not sure any other press would have done it justice.” MVP was founded in 2014 by Robert Mandel, who has four decades of experience in book publishing. He has helped publish over 2000 books, including


Photo by Connecticut Headshots

Special to Today Magazine

Dena and Robert Mandel

200-plus on the Holocaust — MVP has published 29 books, including 12 on the Holocaust. His wife Dena, a retired university professor, is MVP’s senior editor. They reside in Simsbury. “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,” says Robert Mandel. In addition to the National Jewish


Book Award honor, Hanna has received the following awards: Florida Book Award, Gold Medal • Florence Ward Howe Prize • Foreword Reviews Gold Medal Winner for Historical Fiction • Skipping Stones Honor Award • Goodreads Best Book of the Month in Young Adult Literature • Foreword Reviews Finalist: Best Indie Book in Young Adult Fiction. Three other MVP books have been named finalists for Foreword Reviews’ Best Indie Press Books of the Year — The City of Light (by Theodore Bikel and Aimee Bikel) for Juvenile Nonfiction • Immigration Reform: The Corpse That Will Not Die (by Charles Kamasaki) for Adult Nonfiction History • and Have I Got A Cartoon For You: The Moment Magazine Book of Jewish Cartoons (edited by Bob Mankoff) for Adult Nonfiction Humor. Winners for the above awards are expected to be announced by July. + Today Magazine featured Mandel Vilar Press in a January cover story • Digital editions:


Memorial Day celebrations have been canceled statewide due to Connecticut’s “Stay Safe, Stay Home” coronavirus initiative — but here’s a taste of last year’s parade in Tariffville as photographically chronicled by Simsbury VFW Post 1926. The VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) and American Legion Post 84 have historically held two parades in town — in downtown Simsbury and Tariffville.


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CANTON-BASED defend-id, a leader in identity theft protection, and Today Magazine are partnering to provide ID theft protection — at a 15% lifetime discount for Today readers who use the promo code below. “With the increased criminal activity related to COVID-19,” says defend-id CEO Brian Thompson, “we are in a unique time where we need to be vigilant about protecting our identities — defend-id is in a fortunate position to help and we are grateful to do so.” • Lifetime 15% Today discount At a time in U.S. history when the Go to — https://defend-id-personal. coronavirus crisis has resulted in record numbers of employees working remotely Promo code — today15 — and thus exposing themselves more Located in Collinsville, defend-id is an frequently to identity theft — Thompson affiliate of Merchants Information Services, underscores the value of a vigorous a data-protection company that safeguards cyber defense. over 15 million clients across the U.S. “Identity theft continues to expand • 860-406-7961 at an exponential rate,” Thompson says. “Peace of Mind with a Place to Turn” “This growing threat has resulted in an

Max Challenge of Avon offers 25% discount

LOOKING FOR somewhere to exercise? You don’t need to look farther than your own home. When the coronavirus pandemic hit hard and businesses closed nationwide, the Max Challenge recognized it’s more important than ever for people to stay healthy during this uncertain time. Franchisees quickly moved to offer online fitness classes — providing home workouts to maintain a sense of stability and community

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TULLY — continued from page 7 left NYC’s Idlewild Airport (now JFK Airport) and had to land en route to refuel in Newfoundland. The flight stats — time: about 13 hours • altitude: 12,000 feet • airspeed: 350 mph. When Tully flew to Ireland two years later on a jet airliner? Decidedly different flight stats — time: under 7 hours • altitude: 32,000 feet • airspeed: 600 mph. A member of the Simsbury-Granby Rotary since 1990, Tully has volunteered for many years — serving at Interval House (a Hartford-based domestic violence agency), reading to students at Hartford’s Milner Elementary School, and giving blood to the American Red Cross … but the latter ceased over a decade ago. “The Red Cross doesn’t accept people over 70,” he explains. However, the U.S. Army accepted this Irishman 60-plus years ago — followed by the United States. Yes, in that order. Tully recalls a tongue-in-cheek exchange when he was in the army: “I went up to a captain and said, ‘I want to be a U.S. citizen — I’m in the army to defend America. If we go to war against Ireland, I want to be sure where my allegiance is.’ He replied, ‘Does Ireland have an army?’ I said no. ‘Does Ireland have a navy?’ I said no. ‘Does Ireland have an air force?’ I said no. And he said: ‘Then you don’t have anything to worry about.’ “He was toying with me too,” Tully notes. “He knew damn well that Ireland doesn’t have an army, navy or air force.” +

FLOOD — continued from page 10 There are people I see who were around “back in the day” and there are new people who have added a new dimension to our town’s personality and vitality. There are places that bring me great peace and places that drive me nuts. I will politely keep the latter to myself. Places that bring me peace as I walk around town: Nepaug Reservoir (in my mind, “the road to Torrington”), the old Canton Pool site, the view of the river from the upside of Town Bridge Road, the view of the town from Cemetery Road where my parents currently “reside” with so many of their Collinsville neighbors, and all the stores along Main Street and the Collins Company that have memories deep in every wall. And was it a coincidence that the rails-to-trails was finished in 2006, right when I came home? No coincidence to me — Collinsville was just saying “welcome home. I also think back to my time in Ecuador when I was taking the bus from Quito to my town, and looked off to the right to see a billboard — Compania Collins. I never did investigate if the factory was still active, but one town’s tobacco is another town’s bananas. I am not sure where Connecticut is sitting on the “curve” of COVID-19 acceleration, but I feel very taken care of here in Collinsville. It happened in 1955 and it is happening in 2020. +

CALENDAR Event info is accurate to our knowledge — but be sure to confirm for updates. National Day of Prayer Various locations Thursday 5/7 Info: Check with local churches+ +++ Canton Land Trust events Nesting Bird + New Growth Hike 200 Breezy Hill Rd, Canton Sunday 5/3 -– 7 am Dir. Jay Kaplan • bring binoculars Family-Friendly Vernal Pool Hike End of Westwood Dr, Canton Saturday 5/9 – 10 am Botanical Hike 144 Indian Hill Rd, Canton Sunday 5/17 – 10 am Pollinator Planting Hike, Explore Historic Gristmill Behind 172 Cherry Brook Rd, Canton Sunday 6/7 – 1:30-3 pm +++ 50th Reunion: Simsbury High ’70 • Postponed – new date TBD Info: Empowered Women’s Circle Webinar – Let Daughters Grow Up Saturday 5/16 — 10-11:30 am

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

40th Anniversary MOPAR Expo Farmington Polo Club • 677-7341 Saturday-Sunday 5/16-5/17 FV Stage Company, Collinsville Funny Thing … on Way to Forum Sat 5/16 – 8 pm • Sun 5/17 – 2 pm Fri-Sat 5/22-5/23 – 8 • Sun 5/24 – 2 $19.50-$23.00 • Simsbury Garden Club Apple Barn, West Simsbury Monday 5/18 – 11:30 am Guests $10 • Night Insects Sing Simsbury Rocks! Scavenger Hunt Throughout Simsbury Friday 5/22 – 1 pm+ Host: For All Ages Simsbury Duck Race Flower Bridge, Simsbury Friday 5/22 – 4-7 pm Free • Tootin’ Hills PTO: sponsor Birdies & Horsepower Fundraiser for Hometown Foundation Farmington Polo Club • 677-7341 Thursday 5/28 Golf, polo, dinner, live music+ Gifts of Love Charity Golf Tournament Golf Club of Avon Tuesday 6/2 – 8:30 am-6 pm Seeking sponsors+ • 676-2323

Send Events: Simsbury Meadows Performing Arts Center

Talcott Mountain Music Festival Hartford Symphony Orchestra Simsbury Meadows Performing Arts Center Friday 6/26 – HSO #1 Friday 7/3 – HSO #2 + fireworks Friday 7/10 – HSO #3 Friday 7/17 - HSO #4 Friday 7/24 – HSO #5 Simsbury Meadows Performing Arts Center events Tue-Wed 7/28-29 – Circus Smirkus Sat-Sun 8/1-2 – CT Volley Tourney Sat 8/15 – Iron Horse 10K & 5K Sat 8/29 – Darius Rucker Sat 8/31 - Mainly Marathon Fri-Sat 9/11-12 – Septemberfest Sunday 9/27 – Try Simsbury Saturday 10/3 – River Run +++ Simsbury Garden Club Saturday 6/20 – 10 am-4 pm Guests $10 • Beyond Garden Gate

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 International Skating Center, Sims. Saturdays 12:40 – Sundays 1:30 Info: Concerts + Comedy Bridge Street Live Fridays + Saturdays 41 Bridge St, Collinsville 693-9762

BEAR-LY DISTANCING Sitting in the bird-feed diner — actually, lying down — this rather large bear apparently hasn’t gotten the memo about restaurants offering takeout only. Will bears observe social distancing this spring?



MYSTERY MEAL A cedar waxwing enjoys a berry — it’s unclear whether this meal came from a grocery store or a takeout order.

Photo by Wendy Rosenberg

GOOD MOURNING Two mourning doves greet each other warmly — let’s safely suppose they’re family members … so social-distancing mandates don’t apply.


Photo by Wendy Rosenberg



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