Today Magazine • June 2020

Page 1





Quintessential New England Town Marks 350th Anniversary 1670-2020




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Established in May 1670, Simsbury has planned a rollicking and educational celebration to observe its 350th anniversary — come join the fun! COMMUNITY INTEL

9 — Farms Recall Rural Past

Farms in Avon and across the Valley serve a pragmatic purpose today while reminding us of our rural past. HISTORY HIGHLIGHTS

11 — Pandemic Echoes: 1918 Flu Hit Hard

FIRST THINGS FIRST — did you know that Simsbury is home to a number of distinctive firsts? The first steel mill in America (1728) … the first temperance society … production of the first safety fuse in America (1836). Yes, all occurred in Simsbury. 2020 marks another first for this quintessential New England town — the first time Simsbury is celebrating its 350th anniversary! When the town was founded in May 1670, the Revolutionary War was more than a century away. Nearly 1,000 Simsbury residents served in that conflict, more than in any other war. While one magazine edition can’t record all the relevant details of Simsbury’s 350 years, we hope that this keepsake issue contributes to the celebration and education inherent in such a major milestone. By the way, do you know that Today Magazine is expanding its coverage area to include the entire Farmington Valley? Our print circulation of 42,000 will be more than double the circulation of the other magazines that cover the Valley, per their data — see details on page 14. + 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 — Eno Memorial Hall • Courtesy of Town of Simsbury Today Magazine Online —

More than 100 years ago, a worldwide flu pandemic claimed 50 million lives, and Collinsville wasn’t exempt. SPOTLIGHT ON THE ARTS

13 — SMPAC Kindles Musical Delight

Befitting its mission, Simsbury Meadows Performing Arts Center is coping with the virus crisis creatively. SPORTS REPORT

15 — Local Rower Eyes Olympic Team

A decorated Simsbury High rower reflects on her successful Olympic Development Program sojourn.


Photographer — Seshu, Connecticut Headshots • 860-593-0850 • Contributing Photographer — Wendy Rosenberg • 860-305-1655


ON BEARS AND SOCIAL DISTANCING — In the May issue of Today Magazine, in the photo caption that accompanied the below photo, we asked: Will bears observe social distancing this spring? An astute reader answered our question by sending the above photo: This photo in our Canton backyard proves that bears do in fact social distance — the answer to your question on page 15. Andrew Urban • Canton CORRECTIONS — We inadvertently omitted the photo credit for the below image: Our apologies to Canton resident Wendy Rosenberg, a contributing Today photographer … and speaking of Wendy:


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Just saw the May digital issue of Today Magazine. Great as always! Love your captions on the photos. Very appropriate! Wendy Rosenberg • Canton You can find more of her work in our past digital editions: A correction to my article “Townsfolk have History of Caring for Sick” in the May issue. The name of Wilford Woodruff’s mother was Buelah Woodruff, not Buelah Woodford. Apologies for my mistake. Nora Howard • Avon Town Historian TODAY MAGAZINE – – JUNE 2020



Built in 1892, the Old Drake Hill Flower Bridge has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1984. A stone’s throw east of Hopmeadow Street in downtown Simsbury, the one-lane bridge originally supported motor-vehicle traffic across the picturesque Farmington River. The span is a classic example of 19th-century metal-truss bridge construction. After a two-lane bridge was built in 1992, the old bridge became a pedestrian and bike way. Photos Courtesy of Town of Simsbury

SIMSBURY: A SHORT HISTORY By Bruce Deckert Today Magazine Editor-in-Chief


ONCE UPON A TIME, in a colony called Connecticut, a town was founded. That time was May 12, 1670, and that town was Simmsbury … yes, with a double-m. If you surmise that this old colonial town has “My call to become the Simsbury of today — with one m — you are historically correct … and if you calculate that Simsbury the ministry is celebrating its 350th anniversary in 2020, you are also mathematically correct. … came about Joshua Holcomb and John Case, the region’s first in the summer constable, formally petitioned the colony to establish Simsbury — initially part of Windsor — as an official of 1944 [in entity. Simsbury’s original boundaries encompassed the present-day towns of Granby (founded 1786) and Simsbury] Canton (1806). This distinctive area — a fertile valley when I felt defined by the Farmington River after its peculiar bend north, just west of the Metacomet Ridge — was an inescapable inhabited by the Massacoe Indians when the first urge to serve English settlers arrived. Those settlers called the domain the Massacoh society.” Plantation. But the origin of Simsbury’s name isn’t exactly known since records of the town’s first decade — MLK Jr. were lost in a 1680 fire. The nomenclature might be derived from the town of Symondsbury in the county of Dorset, England — some early residents came from Dorset — or Simsbury could be the namesake of Simon “Sim” Wolcott, one of the nascent town’s notable men. For the record, there are five core towns in the Farmington Valley. Besides Simsbury, Granby and 4


Canton: Farmington (founded 1645) is the oldest and Avon (1830, a Farmington spinoff) is the youngest. In 1831, William Bickford was granted a patent for a safety fuse that revolutionized the use of explosives, and thus began the history of Simsbury as a company town that carries through to this day. The present-day Ensign-Bickford Aerospace & Defense Company on Hopmeadow Street is the ancestor of the town-based firm that has changed names over the years while maintaining a reputation for innovation. A century-plus after Bickford sowed the seeds of a fertile commercial enterprise in town, a teenager from Georgia spent two formative summers working in Simsbury in 1944 and ’47 — and seeds sown here helped shape America’s civil-rights movement, for that teenager was Martin Luther King Jr. For years, stories circulated about MLK’s visits to town, and in 2010 a group of Simsbury High students produced an award-winning documentary that presented the fruits of their investigative work which proved that King’s tenure in Simsbury not only occurred but also deeply impacted his view of equality and civil rights. On his seminary application, he wrote, “My call to the ministry … came about in the summer of 1944 [in Simsbury] when I felt an inescapable urge to serve society.” Countless Simsbury residents have likewise served society and their town with distinction and flair for 350 years. + Sources — • Google research


Like a single birthday candle marking the occasion, the Heublein Tower is an unmistakable Simsbury landmark. This is the fourth tower built on the property. The first tower, a wooden structure, was built in 1810. The first phase of the current tower was finished in 1914, and a number of additional rooms were completed in 1929. Built as a private residence by Gilbert F. Heublein, the tower is 1,000 feet above the Farmington River valley and soars 165 feet skyward. Source — Friends of Heublein Tower

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Classic Town Celebrates 350th Anniversary Special to Today Magazine

FOR MORE THAN two years, a group of volunteers has been working on big plans for the celebration of Simsbury’s 350th birthday. Simsbury was established on May 12, 1670 — so May 2020 marked the town’s 350th anniversary. Before the world was turned upside down by a pandemic, the plan was to begin the celebration with a ceremony at the First Church of Christ in Simsbury, the site where the town was incorporated 350 years ago. This ceremony was to include symbols of Simsbury’s history, such as the sycamore, the river, historical stories and music performed by residents — including an original piece composed expressly for the 350th by U.S. Army staff sergeant Dan Campolieta, a Simsbury High School graduate, performed by Simsbury High School’s select choral group and the Simsbury Singers. As a member of the U.S. Army Band, Campolieta has served as a pianist with the U.S. Army Chorus. An accomplished composer, he has collaborated on various recording projects in several musical genres. The 350th anniversary ceremony was expected to bring history alive and encourage attendees to see themselves as part of the timeline of Simsbury’s history. The ceremony was to be followed by a birthday party at the new park, Hop Brook Landing at the Flower Bridge. Unfortunately, this didn’t happen in May, but the 350th committee is

WORLD WAR I TRIUMPH Employees of the Ensign-Bickford Company celebrate the end of World War I — the local festivities included a parade, and these employees contributed this float. Photos Courtesy of Simsbury Historical Society


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committed to celebrating with diverse events during our new timeline. The committee anticipates a timeline that crosses into 2021, and a celebration Simsbury’s past, present and future will go on! River Day, a celebration of the Farmington River and its importance to Simsbury, was originally slated for this June but has been rescheduled for June 2021. This event will include canoes and kayaks available free of charge on the river, a Huck Finn raft race, food trucks, demonstrations and craft projects at the new park, and a Native American interactive exhibit at Curtiss Park. Meanwhile, 350 Day at Septemberfest on Sept. 12 and the celebration Gala at the Riverview on Nov. 13 are still on the calendar for the fall of 2020. In addition to the large events, the committee has partnered with numerous organizations in Simsbury to showcase the anniversary in partner events: • The Simsbury Historical Society has tentatively scheduled Heritage Day for Sept. 26, which will include Revolutionary War re-enactors, costumed historical figures and family activities. The society will also hold a Historic House Tour in the spring of 2021. • The Simsbury Land Trust will hold anniversary-themed walks, and the Simsbury Theater Company has

/\ Circa 1930s — Looking north up Hopmeadow Street

in Simsbury … the Landmark Building is on the right. Avon resident Dave Richman of the Deal Team, who lived in Simsbury for many years, owns the building today.

produced an original play called “Our Town Simsbury.” • For All Ages, a Simsbury-based nonprofit that aims to connect the generations, has painted special rocks and placed them around town for a family-friendly scavenger hunt. • The Simsbury Chamber of Commerce has brought back the Simsbury Art Trail, featuring renowned Seward Johnson sculptures for all to enjoy starting on June 5. • Simsbury Community Television (SCTV) will air historical video footage and interviews with Simsbury residents conducted by Simsbury students, under the direction of teen librarian Sara Ray. • The Simsbury Public Library will hold a series of events to join in the celebration. • The Simsbury Garden Club will hold


\/ Circa 1900 — North of West Street, looking north up North Main Street … which today is known as, yes, Hopmeadow Street. Near the future location of Eno Memorial Hall, which was built in 1932.

a Beyond the Garden Gate Tour in June 2021. • The Simsbury Camera Club will take pictures at all of the events. The 350th committee was appointed by the Board of Selectmen and has the support of two town staff members — Lisa Karim, director of the Simsbury Public Library, and Tom Tyburski, director of Culture, Parks and Recreation. The committee is led by chair Cheryl Cook and co-chair Kris Barnett. A steering committee includes resident volunteers and members from various town organizations, with subcommittees working on events, marketing, merchandise and social media. Residents interested in volunteering for an event can find information on the 350th anniversary website (www. and Facebook page ( The committee’s goal has been to provide all events at no cost to the public, with the exception of the Gala. The support of local businesses and residents has been tremendous. Presenting sponsors are Simsbury-based Ensign-Bickford Aerospace & Defense Company, Simsbury-based Vincent Funeral Home, Dornenburg Kallenbach Advertising and Big Y. Visit the 350th website for a complete list of local businesses that have generously given to our celebration. We look forward to seeing you at the many events celebrating our history in our special community of Simsbury. + • •





Students see perks of hydroponics By Sia Reddy Special to Today Magazine

An Avon resident, Sia is a student at Talcott Mountain Academy in Avon. A GROUP OF 4th- and 5th-graders at Talcott Mountain Academy came together earlier this school year for a greenhouse enrichment led by parent volunteer Theresa Velendzas and assisted by teacher Kieran Hyland. With a few brainstorming sessions, the group pinned down an enrichment topic: hydroponics — growing plants without soil. You read it right … without soil. If this has raised your curiosity, read on to learn more about their journey. Hydroponics is a method of growing plants with no soil, instead using mineral nutrient solutions in a water solvent. The Greenhouse Crew — consisting of Ms. Velendzas, Mr. Hyland and students Nicolaas Koontz, Nathaniel Lee, Alonzo Reader, Caroline Slepinin and Melanie White — utilized seeds as starters in existing hydroponic towers in the lunch room and in the greenhouse at the academy. They planted an assortment of

vegetables, including cherry tomatoes, lettuce and spinach. Each member of the Greenhouse Crew had a daily regimen, and everyone successfully followed through! Ms. Velendzas explains that through this program students learned about plant stages, transferring plants to bigger pots safely, maintaining optimal temperature for growth, watering requirements and pruning for a bountiful harvest. Before the coronavirus crisis closed schools, all of the students and teachers at the academy came together for lunch to enjoy freshly harvested veggies grown by their own Greenhouse Crew. And the students’ verdict is out — there is nothing yummier than organically grown fresh vegetables! Students also got to hear directly from Greenhouse Crew members about their experiences and challenges during the process. 5th-grader Nathanial Lee of Avon was inspired by this enrichment class and decided to grow more of his favorite fruits and vegetables. “I planted an orange tree, which was

VERTICAL GARDEN VARIETY Clearly, a hydroponic garden isn’t your typical garden — for starters, most gardens are horizontal by nature.

Courtesy Photo

successful,” says Lee, “and I planted two avocado trees. … I also grew Genovese basil and green arrow peas.” The Greenhouse Crew grew plants throughout the school year, and students enjoyed tasting each harvest. +

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By Jeannie Parker and Norm Sondheimer Avon Historical Society

JUST AFTER the town of Avon was created in 1830, it was described by author John Barber as being “for the most part a level and fertile tract of land in the valley of the Farmington River.” Barber got that right. Avon farmers raised tobacco, corn, potatoes, rye, oats, buckwheat and hay, and produced large quantities of butter. As recently as 1950, the 700-acre farm of First Selectman Joseph Wright Alsop had the highest milkproducing Ayrshire herd in America. Bulls were sold as far away as Columbia, South America. By the 1960s, farming in Avon was declining. Avon rapidly became the suburban community it is today. The Blue Fox Run Golf Course occupies much of the land that was once the site of Alsop’s farm. Fortunately, the working farms that did survive provide Avon with a taste of the rural flavor of years past. The Woodford Farm on Nod Road, one of Connecticut’s oldest family farms, has been run by members of the same family

Once part of Avon Old Farms School, Sub Edge Farm grows certified organic crops.

since 1666. Today it operates The Pickin’ Patch farm stand, which sells bedding plants, flower baskets and fresh fruits and veggies. Peas, asparagus and spinach are typically the first crops available. Woodford Farm also operates the venerable Avon Cider Mill, selling native apples and custom-pressed cider. Sub Edge Farm on Town Farm Road is a certified organic family farm that features fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers as well as pasture-raised poultry, eggs and grass-fed beef. On the Avon-Farmington border, and partly in both towns, Sub Edge markets its products through Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and a farm shop.

Courtesy Photo

Every spring Sub Edge has a popular plant sale and sells its own certified organic seedlings for home gardeners. The Smith Farm on West Avon Road has orchards with 31 varieties of apples on 12 acres, plus peaches, honey, berries and vegetables. Over 50 unique varieties of homemade jams and jellies are available in the Smith store. Sunrise Farm on West Avon Road has replaced its dairy herd, poultry, tobacco and potatoes with crops of hay that are used for animal feed and bedding and sold to landscapers and construction companies. Avon’s bountiful past continues into the present. +

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PANDEMIC ECHOES By David K. Leff Canton Poet Laureate + Deputy Town Historian

Editor’s Note — When World War I ended on Nov. 11, 1918, the world was in the throes of another crisis: The flu pandemic of 1918-19 claimed about 675,000 American lives and 50 million worldwide, per the CDC. About 500 million people became infected, one-third of the world’s population then. “IT IS POSSIBLE that Collinsville was as hard hit with the epidemic of influenza last week and the first part of this as any village in Connecticut,” read the Oct. 10, 1918 edition of the Farmington Valley Herald. Less than half of Collins Company employees reported to work at the end of the previous week, and out of 30 in the grind room only two showed up. A week later, some company departments were empty and only about a third of employees came to work. Schools were hard hit. Out of a registration of 447 students, there were 121 absences on Oct. 4, the next day 160. After 265 reported sick on Oct. 7, children were sent home at noon and school was canceled for at least the remainder of that week. A big Liberty Loan celebration for Oct. 12 was cancelled and public gatherings of any kind were prohibited “until the epidemic has run its course.” Meetings of all sorts were scrapped and even the local company of the Connecticut Home Guard (a volunteer military organization supporting the war effort) canceled drills between Oct. 14 and Nov. 4, 1918. Early in the month, Joseph McNamara shut down his pharmacy’s soda fountain because all of his time was absorbed in


Flu hit Collinsville hard in 1918 “There has developed a community spirit and a desire to help each other … that is very encouraging.” — Farmington Valley Herald • 1918 filling prescriptions. Undertaker Harold O. Hugins reported he’d buried 30 people between Oct. 2 and 15. In some years “not so many deaths occurred in a whole year as have taken place in the last thirteen days,” the Herald observed. The virus killed both workmen and town leaders in Canton. Among the victims was 34-year-old probate judge Carleton B. Jones. An emergency hospital was established in the Collinsville Congregational Church, where about 20 people were cared for at a time. With a shortage of doctors and nurses, members of the Home Guard served as orderlies. They also spent two nights visiting every house in the village to check on residents and move the critically ill to the hospital. Despite all the death and hardship, a “neighborly and helpful feeling” emerged during the heart of the epidemic, according to the newspaper. “There has developed a community spirit and a desire to help each other, that has marked the people as having been educated along lines of humanitarianism, that is very encouraging.” +

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COVID-19 in the eyes of a 9-year-old By Shayaan Khan Special to Today Magazine

A 4th-grader at Central School, Shayaan Khan lives in Simsbury with his parents, Sana Syed and Anwar Khan EVERYONE HEARS ABOUT how COVID-19 lockdown feels for adults and firsthand workers, but not a lot of people know how it feels for an elementary school-goer. Adults always have an answer. But this is big and important. When I ask my parents when this will end, they don’t have an answer because they don’t know. Every day, I hear about all the deaths. Adults are usually calm and resourceful, but what scares me the most is that adults are scared about COVID-19. Every time I close my eyes there is a battle in my mind. I try to tell my head that everything is going to be alright, but my mind says it may not be alright. I think, this started so quickly and it feels like it will never end. The rates of the cases just keep increasing and increasing. When I am doing my favorite things it is always in the back of my mind. I have never seen the whole world crumbling in front of my eyes. All that we have built is going into hibernation. It makes me sad, confused and filled with awe. We think that we are really powerful, but a microscopic germ is harming us so much.

“We are not as strong as we thought we were.”

We are not as strong as we thought we were. There is a pause sign in our life. I love to socialize, and so do a lot of kids. I sometimes have Google Meets but that is not the same as talking in person. I don’t play video games, but my friends do. I think at this time it is more important to bond with family than resort to the virtual land of video games. Every day I do something with my family: sports, just talking or going out on scenic drives. On our drives, we’ve seen ducks, a fox, a bear in a trash can, and numerous American robins, our state bird. Sometimes, when the weather is nice, I stargaze in a nearby field. For a time, I am enjoying it. I can zone out and go somewhere else in the world where this isn’t a threat. COVID-19 is scary and depressing but it teaches us a lot. It teaches me to be patient and wait for the hibernation to end. Everyone’s life has changed because of COVID-19, but especially for kids. I think there should be a makeup for all this time we have lost. Distance learning is not the same as the seven hours we spend at school enriching our young minds. All this time is never going to come back. Dr. Fauci says COVID-19 might come back in the fall. When will this end? The world is troubled, the world is in grief, the world is in anguish, but to survive we must unite and fight. +

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NONPROFITS (Layout includesNOTEWORTHY a margin clear of text and gra SIMSBURY TODAY

SMPAC kindles joy of live music

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nd Sanitizing Billboard Simsbury Meadows Performing Arts Center Simsbury, CT • 860-651-4052 Year Established — 2012

See the Calendar (page 15) for 2020 schedule

sponsors and donors, to whom we are accompaniment. We were thrilled to see eternally grateful. They help us keep live young folks excelling this way. Board Chair Linda Schofield and performance alive in Simsbury! Another satisfying experience has been Executive Director Missy DiNunno In addition, when we took over the showcasing Circus Smirkus, composed of answered this Q&A management of the facility from the town, terrific teen performers from Vermont. Their the facility was really not fully built out. For Officers — Board Chair Linda Schofield 2020 show has been canceled, but we hope example, there are no dressing rooms. We • Vice Chairs Martin Geitz and Jeff to have them back! have had to rent chairs, equipment, sound Dornenburg • Secretary Cathy Barnard • Goals for the next 1-5 years? towers and lighting at great cost. Treasurer Andy Estell We plan to continue to bring great The parking lot has yet to be paved. So Employees — 1 full-time: Executive Director performances and community events we have endeavored to slowly raise funds Missy DiNunno + summer seasonal help to the Simsbury Meadows, and to grow to make this a fully functional venue without Mission — Simsbury Meadows Performing our offerings to include more events. Our the enormous overhead of renting all that Arts Center (SMPAC) will enrich community goals also include continuing our efforts is missing. However, raising the amount spirit, quality of life, and economic to improve the physical facility so we can of capital needed for some of these larger development in Simsbury and the enhance our patrons’ and performers’ projects is quite a daunting prospect. surrounding area. experiences. 374 Hopmeadow Street • Simsbury, CT 06089 Most satisfying accomplishment so far? Most fulfilling aspect of your work? The COVID-19 impact on SMPAC? 860-651-8236 A few years ago we started a Teen Talent Bringing people together from Greater Like all arts organizations, SMPAC is Showcase at our annual Septemberfest Hartford and the Farmington Valley to share profoundly byimproved the social distancing Find out howaffected you can get value and peace event. We attracted amazingly talented of mind. or visit our office today! and enjoy cultural events. that theCall COVID-19 response requires. teen performers from Simsbury and Greater The biggest obstacle you face, and how Our first concern, of course, is the health Hartford who had a blast performing on you can overcome it? and safety of our audience, artists, the big stage before an audience that Fundraising is our biggest challenge. Like volunteers and community. As an Preview Only staff, embraced them. One young soloist from all arts organizations, we cannot make it on outdoor venue, SMPAC does allow for (Layout includes margin andsocial graphics Hartford literally elicited tearsa with a clear of text income from ticket and concession sales. more distancing and fresh air. The and moving with just About a third of our revenue comes from asbeautiful this information maysong be covered bypiano frame and/or clips during installation) continued on page 15

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Studio A’s show goes online

WITH COVID-19 closing schools, parents are turning to at-home options for their children. Before the shutdown, Studio A Dance & Performing Arts was inspiring 135 students per week at its Avon studio. Only days after the statewide closure, owner and artistic director Ann Schwenzer launched Studio A’s Virtual Classroom with a diverse lineup designed to bring the delight of dance to students from afar. “During a time that is uncertain, our job as arts educators is to keep the arts alive and support one another like a family ... and maintain the connection and joy that dance brings,” she says. Studio A’s online lineup includes live and recorded classes plus Tea & Talk Tutu Tuesday, Wacky Wednesday, Throwback Thursday, Open Family Dance and more—

Stay safe, but don’t distance physical therapy By Dr. Brian A. Magna, DPT

all in the comfort of your home. Classes are offered for ages 18 months to adult in ballet, tap, jazz, hip-hop, modern and acro. A private webpage for the online program gives students access to their class folder and all of Studio A’s Virtual Classroom resources. While the stage has shifted away from the theater for now, the show must go on, much to the delight of students and their families. Locally-owned and family-friendly, Studio A Dance & Performing Arts has offered dance instruction in a supportive environment for seven years. Now Studio A’s Virtual Classroom is bringing dance into the homes of more families. + 860-674-9089 •

I HAVE BEEN a physical therapist for 30 years and have had challenges as a healthcare provider, yet I have never experienced a pandemic. COVID-19 has caused a dramatic decrease in patient visits due to stay-athome mandates, business and gym closings, and fear of being within 6 feet of others. Yet we continue to see patients in telehealth sessions and at our clinics. During these times, it is important to have gratitude, get proper rest, drink plenty of fluids, and exercise to maintain a healthy immune system. Physical therapists are trained to treat injuries and

Today Magazine expanding reach to entire Valley

TODAY MAGAZINE is expanding its coverage area to include the entire Farmington Valley — and thus will become the only true Valley newsmagazine, based on local media data. Until now, Today Magazine has reached the tri-town heart of the Valley — Avon, Canton and Simsbury — while the other two Valley magazines mail to those towns plus Farmington … but not Granby. So Today Magazine will be the only newsmagazine to be mailed to all five core towns in the Valley, including Granby. Our print circulation of 42,000 will be more than double the circulation offered by the other two Valley magazines, per their data. + disease and to help people maintain healthy lifestyles, including at-home fitness programs. I recommend proper social distancing, but don’t distance yourself from visiting your physical therapist online or, if you choose, in person. Our doctors of physical therapy are here to help you get through these tough times. If you need PT for a chronic or new condition, referrals in most cases are not required and are paid for by insurance. + • Avon + Canton • 860-679-0430

Bridal Boutique Specializing in Gowns for Brides, Bridesmaids, Mothers, Flower Girls, Quinceañera, Proms + Other Special Occasions

(860) 752-4348 Simsbury, CT


Funeral Home & Family Center Funerals • Cremation • PrePlanning

Still enrolling for the 2020-21 school year.

Owned & Operated by the Carmon Family

Founded in 1970, The Master’s School is an independent, Christian day school enrolling children in preschool through grade 12.

“Some people think that a school is just a school, but to me, it’s a home.” ~ Lexie, grade 6

Come see what Home feels like at The Master’s School, a leader in Christian Education, where students are well known, well taught, and well loved.

36 Westledge Road, West Simsbury | 860.651.9361 |




Assuring that every detail of your final wishes will be fulfilled. With many years of experience, our knowledgeable staff is here to help you through this process. 301 Country Club Road, Avon


CALENDAR Event info is accurate to our knowledge — but be sure to confirm for updates Free Fitness Classes for Kids! Access online at home Mondays – 4:45 pm Free – all ages • Pre-register at +++ Beginner Pilates Thursdays – 6-7 pm Intermediate Pilates Mon 9-10 am – Wed 8:30-9:30 am • Virtual access during COVID-19 Magna Physical Therapy, Avon Register — call 860-679-0430

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

Send Events:

Sat 8/31 - Mainly Marathon Fri-Sat 9/11-9/12 – Septemberfest Sunday 9/27 – Try Simsbury Saturday 10/3 – River Run • Canceled: Hartford Symphony Orchestra Talcott Mountain Music Festival +++ 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 +++ Concerts + Comedy Bridge Street Live Fridays + Saturdays 41 Bridge St, Collinsville • 693-972

+++ Canton Land Trust: 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: +++ Simsbury Meadows Performing Arts Center events Sat-Sun 8/1-8/2 – CT Volley Tourn. Sat 8/29 – Darius Rucker

+++ Gifts of Love Charity Golf Tournament Golf Club of Avon Tuesday 10/13 – 10 am Seeking sponsors • 676-2323 • Rescheduled from June

Local athlete eyes Olympic rowing team WHEN YOU THINK of school sports, what comes to mind? Probably soccer, baseball, basketball or football. But how about rowing? To these athletes, rowing rarely leaves their minds. In fact, some leave other sports and become yearround rowers. Senior Madelyn “Maddie” Dempsey is a decorated rower for Simsbury High School. “I started rowing in the spring of my freshman year and continued until my junior year, when I stopped playing soccer so I could row in the fall as well,” says Maddie, who will row in college at Penn of the Ivy League. Her commitment to rowing has paid off. The statewide coronavirus shutdown canceled the spring season, but last spring Maddie was placed in Simsbury High’s first varsity boat, which finished first in the Connecticut Public Schools Rowing Association Championships. She was also part of the first Simsbury women’s boat to qualify for the Grand Final of the New England Interscholastic Rowing Association (NEIRA) Championships, placing 6th in New England. “I enjoy crew because it takes a lot of finesse,” she says, “and it doesn’t matter how tall or strong you are until you master the technique aspect.” Simsbury High crew coach Ann Carabillo recommended Maddie for a national team event last summer — the U.S. Rowing U19 Olympic Development Program camp. With other top rowers from the Northeast, Maddie trained for a month-plus in upstate New York and Florida, culminating in a two-day regatta versus teams from across the country. She rowed in the stroke seat for the Northeast, winning a silver medal.

SMPAC — continued from page 13 Hartford Symphony Orchestra’s beloved Talcott Mountain Music Festival has been cancelled, but the Darius Rucker concert is slated for Aug. 29. To lessen the financial impact of potential cancellations, we took immediate steps to reduce expenses and worked with vendors on contingency plans. As a nonprofit, we rely on the generosity of sponsors and individual donors to sustain our work. Their

Here is her Q&A with Today Magazine: Why do you enjoy crew? I love how in bigger boats like the eight and quad you have to work together with everyone in your boat, and there has to be a really powerful connection in order to go faster and move the boat instead of the water. The boat I raced in at NEIRA is a great example because everyone had complete trust in each other to pull hard, and when everyone’s so synchronized and disciplined you can beat people on the water who are much faster than you on the Maddie Dempsey erg [a unit of energy]. Your thoughts on the U.S. Rowing silver medal? Winning the silver medal in the eight at the ODP Summer Cup was a really great experience because I got to compete with top athletes from all over the country, and even though we were only off first place by about three seconds, I was really proud of how we placed because it’s hard to make a cohesive boat with people who have never rowed with each other before. And your thoughts on Simsbury’s crew success? Our crew team’s placement at NEIRA shows that our program is still growing, and the fact that we’re competitive with private schools who row year-round demonstrates how hard-working and focused our team is. +


Courtesy Photo

By Emmaline Howe Special to Today Magazine

Reporter Emmaline Howe is a junior at Avon High.

support is hugely appreciated in these challenging times as we work to ensure short- and long-term financial viability. We hope the government’s COVID-19 measures result in progress so we can revive the joy of live music and community events. Volunteer opportunities — We couldn’t survive without the many volunteers who park cars, take tickets at the door, usher patrons, set up tables and chairs, serve beverages and more. See website for info.

Besides donations, how are you funded? We gain revenue from a small share of ticket sales (most of the ticket money goes to promoters and performers), from selling beverages and parking, and from rental fees from groups that use our facility. Interesting stats and numbers — 30% of our revenue is from sponsors and donors • We see about 45,000 patrons at our events per year • In 2020 we had 22 events planned • We have over 100 volunteers. +




These tree swallows aren’t exactly shy about being vocal — see page 11 for another photo of this duo.

Photo by Wendy Rosenberg

MANDEL VILAR PRESS — Nonprofit Publisher in Simsbury — SALUTES THE TOWN’S 350th BIRTHDAY!



Read a Good Book and Help a Nonprofit Survive the Pandemic!





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