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In This Issue

• RANDOM RAVEN: (Big) ‘Game On’ at these local faves, Adele & more ....p. 3 • EAST WINDSOR: Town moving ahead on casino proposal ........................p. 4 • REGIONAL: How No. Central CT school systems rate .................................p. 7 • ELLINGTON: Board of Education wants full day kindergarten.................... p. 9 • ENFIELD: Citizens express satisfaction with town government ............. p. 14 • SOMERS: Town votes to eliminate fire commission ................................ p. 24 • STAFFORD: Help explored for crumbling home foundations..............p. 31 • SUFFIELD: Selectman moves .....p. 35

• NEXT ISSUE • DEADLINE: Feb. 24, 2016 (860) 698-0020

The Minions of Saint Bernard School

During the week of Jan. 25, Saint Bernard School in Enfield celebrated Catholic Schools Week. Minion Thursday included a waffle brunch, snacks and the showing of the “Minion Movie.”


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(Big) ‘Game On’ At These Local Faves

Random Raven


By Gary Carra

Welcome back to Random Raven, a parameter-less potpourri of hypes, gripes, universal truths and local lore. Need an example? Well, in honor of our two great presidents born in February, we begin this month's installment with the following preamble.

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When going out to the car with any more than three items in tow, the following set of circumstances is certain to occur: 1) wind, rain or any other type of unpleasant element shall reach apogee; 2) said vehicle shall be locked and 3) for whichever hand you are able to somehow wrangle remotely free - your keys will be in exactly the opposite pocket. The Raven hereby also declares that, truth be known, nobody knows when it’s "recycle day." We all look out the window on trash day and take our neighbor's cue. Don't believe him?

Bobby V’s restaurant in Windsor Locks. Here's a fun experiment. Purposefully keep track and mark on a calendar when the next double barrel day is. Then early next pick-up day, when recycling isn’t scheduled, put yours out. You'd be amazed how many follow suit!













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WANT TO SAY ‘HELLO’ TO ADELE?: Then say goodbye to $10,000 a ticket! At least that’s what one StubHub seller is valuing her VIP seats for the British pop sensation’s Sept. 14 show at Boston’s TD Garden. The show did sell out in minutes, but still… For the Raven's part, he’d rather scoff up on the $40 parking passes for the same show, tailgate in the parking lot and “listen from the other side” - of the wall.


Got a hype, gripe or cool place to hip the Raven to for next installmentE-mail him at and put ATT: Random Raven in the subject line.

February 2016 North Central News






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‘BOWLED’ OVER: While there is no shortage of local places to catch the Big Game on Sunday, Feb. 7, sheer “pixel power” must go to Bobby V’s in Windsor Locks. With a 17-foot LED big screen and more than 70 other tvs strewn across its expansive, 20,000 square foot structure, it’s no wonder North Central reader’s chose it ‘Best Place To Watch The Game’ in our annual poll. Of course, the time-tested Chicago Sam’s in Enfield - boasting more than 50 tvs of its own - is also a proven “pre-, post- and during” game local favorite. Just a short jaunt down 190, Somers folks seem to coin flip between Joannas and Italian Villa and Ellington has a fondness for the quaint Casey’s Cafe while relative newby The Hidden Still quickly continues to make a name for itself. And for the “no place like home-rs” - perennial ‘Best Pizza’ winner Danny’s in Enfield delivers and has some great coupons on page 20.

Feb2016Part1_NCN new template 2/1/16 7:39 AM Page 4

Town Moving Forward on East Windsor Casino Proposal

East Windsor By Linda Tishler Levinson

EAST WINDSOR -- “We’re moving forward.” Those are First Selectman Robert Maynard’s words on the proposal to bring a casino to town. The town sent a letter Jan. 7 to Centerplan Cos., the Middletown developer working with the Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribal nations to develop a casino north of Hartford.

Maynard said the town is proposing a site on Route 5 between exits 44 and 45, the former Showcase Cinemas property. He said the town would be following up with a request for proposal for that site, as well as the originally proposed site, which is south of exit 44 and presenting both sites as options. “A lot of the town’s residents were expecting it to be in the Showcase Cinemas area,” Maynard said of an

earlier announcement that officials were only going to present an RFP for the other site. If the tribes accept either proposal for a casino in East Windsor, Maynard said, the project would then require residents’ approval in the form of a referendum. The two Indian tribes are looking to open a casino in the area to compete with MGM Resorts International’s planned casino and resort in Springfield.

American Heritage River Commission Celebrates First Day Hike

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EAST WINDSOR - First Day Hikes are part of a nationwide initiative led by American State Parks to encourage people to get outdoors. The American Heritage River Commission hosted its sixth annual “First Day Hike” on Jan. 1, at the Scantic River State Park in East Windsor. It was a great turnout with over 160 enthusiastic hikers and over a dozen four-legged friends. Food donations

(human and pet) were collected and all proceeds were given to the local FiveCorner Food Pantry. Hikers completed the 2.5-mile loop along the Scantic River and ridge trails. Awesome community spirit was on display with folks gathered around the warming barrel after the hike, and the Democratic Town Committee served up hot chocolate and hot cider to help spread the warmth.

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Thieves and Robbers Society Celebrates 175th Anniversary

East Windsor By Julie Cotnoir

EAST WINDSOR - On Jan. 18, 1841, Joseph Bartlett became the first president for the East Windsor Society for the Detection of Thieves and Robbers. The purpose of the Society was to band business owners together when a crime took place in the community. These societies were important in a day where formal police departments were yet to be formed. The societyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s current president, Mark Simmons, says it was not uncommon for members of the group to just call out to the street, when a crime took place, to alert fellow members so the criminal could hopefully be apprehended by the members. They would work together as a posse. Pursuers were also part of the group. These were residents that were hired to travel distances to capture these thieves that often stole merchandise and horses from citizens. Gone are the days of horse thieves, but the society remains in place as a yearly social group, rather than the law enforcement organization it once was.

The group held its annual meeting last month at the Liedertafel Singing Society on Depot Road in Broad Brook, according to Simmons. Having held the office of president since 2002, Simmons says the original purpose of the group was to protect members from thieves and to recover, when possible, their horses, money, goods and/or property. Back in 1844 the group expanded its coverage to support residents in East Windsor, Enfield, East Hartford and some of Ellington. In 1850, all of Ellington was provided coverage from the group and in 1868 the coverage expanded to include all of Hartford and Tolland counties. Last year Enfieldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Society for the Detection of Thieves and Robbers, which holds its own annual meeting, celebrated its 192nd anniversary. Those who joined the East Windsor group in 1841 paid $1.06 a year to be a member. The same amount in dues is charged to this day. What started as a group of 29 members, at the first meeting in

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Windsorville, in the Jonah B. Griswold public house, has grown to a robust group of close to 100. Simmons, 67, has been a member since he was 21 years old. Due to the limited size at the Liedertafel Singing Society, which hosts the annual dinner, membership opportunities are limited. This year they offered an opportunity for five new members to join the organization. Simmons says itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a lighthearted group whose goal is to keep the history of the group alive for the next generation. He said it is a serious and passionate group that is committed to meeting each year. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We have a close-knit group,â&#x20AC;? Simmons says. The group is exploring the possibility of starting a scholarship for East Windsor High School students as a way to contribute back to the community. Simmons has given all of the groupâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s historic documents to the East Windsor Historical Society so the lore from the past can be preserved. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It is fascinating to look through the accounts,â&#x20AC;? Simmons says.

The public is invited to view the memorabilia from the group at the East Windsor Historical Society on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to noon at 115 Scantic Rd. in East Windsor. The society also has a Facebook page where the public can learn more about its group.


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Regional Suffield Rated Best Overall School System in Region By Linda Tishler Levinson

People often wonder how their schools rate. How do they compare to other local districts? How good are the schools in a town in which they are thinking of buying a home? recently released its school ratings for 2016. The website ranks schools based on statistics and test scores, but also uses parent and student surveys for comparisons. Many area school superintendents say they are unaware of niche.comâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ratings, but say it is one of many websites doing the same thing. And some superintendents say the samplings of those websites are too small to be valid and the ratings are too subjective. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It depends on how many people participate â&#x20AC;Ś I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t put much stock in it,â&#x20AC;? East Windsor Superintendent of Schools Theresa Kane said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know where they get their data,â&#x20AC;? Somers Superintendent of Schools Maynard Suffredini said. Ways to compare schools more objectively, they say, include graduation rates and standardized test scores, measures by which Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said in a Jan. 19 news release the state has a number of accomplishments to show for the last several yearsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; efforts. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We are reaching new heights and making significant progress in our schools, and itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s all geared towards building a brighter future for our state,â&#x20AC;? Malloy said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The successes we achieve today in our classrooms are critical to the future Connecticut tomorrow. The work our administrators, principals, LUNCH LUNCH SPECIAL

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Locks,â&#x20AC;? she said. She said the graduation rate in 2012 was 91.2 percent, 90.7 percent in 2013 and 97.7 percent in 2014. Kane, the East Windsor superintendent, said the survey she cares most about is the one the school system sends out to local parents. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Our parents feel that the schools are safe, caring and have academic rigor,â&#x20AC;? she said.


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Superintendent of Schools Patricia Collin said Stafford High Schoolâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s fouryear graduation rate is greater than 95 percent, and the dropout rate is zero. She said the school has worked hard to improve its graduation rate. Sharon Cournoyer, assistant superintendent of schools in Windsor Locks, said the high school there has greatly improved its graduation rate â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s been a big goal for us in Windsor

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teachers, parents and students is so important.â&#x20AC;? Statewide, the graduation rate is rising, up 5.2 points since 2010 to 87 percent. The national average is 82 percent. Connecticut students continue to be among top readers in the nation, according to National Assessment of Educational Progress results, the governorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s office said. rated area high schools and gave them the following overall ratings: â&#x20AC;˘ East Windsor, C+; â&#x20AC;˘ Ellington, B+; â&#x20AC;˘ Enfield, C; â&#x20AC;˘ Enrico Fermi, C+; â&#x20AC;˘ Somers, B+; â&#x20AC;˘ Stafford, B-; â&#x20AC;˘ Suffield, A-; and â&#x20AC;˘ Windsor Locks, B-. The website gave area high schools the following ratings for academics: â&#x20AC;˘ East Windsor, C+; â&#x20AC;˘ Ellington, A-; â&#x20AC;˘ Enfield, C+; â&#x20AC;˘ Fermi, B-; â&#x20AC;˘ Somers, A-; â&#x20AC;˘ Stafford, B; â&#x20AC;˘ Suffield, A-; and â&#x20AC;˘ Windsor Locks, BThe website said the schoolsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; graduation rates are: East Windsor, 82 percent; Ellington, 92 percent; Enfield, 82 percent; Fermi, 93 percent; Somers, 95 percent; Stafford, 87 percent; Suffield, 94 percent; and Windsor Locks, 92 percent. Information on how Niche.comâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s data on graduation rate was determined was not spelled out on its website. Stafford

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Kindergarten Added

By Linda Tishler Levinson

ELLINGTON -- Town kindergartners will attend school full days if the adopted school budget is approved. The Board of Education, in its 201617 budget, has added all-day kindergarten, but the proposal could change if the funding is not approved when the spending plan faces scrutiny before the Board of Finance, a public hearing and the Annual Town Meeting. Superintendent of Schools Scott

Nicol said if all-day kindergarten does remain in the budget, it will be offered to all students. There will not be a half-day option, he said. The school board will have a joint meeting with the Finance Board at 7:30 p.m. March 22 at Town Hall. A public hearing on the budget will be held at 8 p.m. April 12 at Ellington High School. The Annual Town Meeting will be held at 8 p.m. May 10 at the high school.

Ellington Youth Services Programs and Auditions

ELLINGTON - Ellington Gallery Night, “For the Love of Art,” will be Saturday, Feb. 13 (snow date Feb. 20) from 6 p.m.-9 p.m. at the Ellington Senior Center, 40 Maple St., Ellington. This free event will celebrate local artists of all ages and feature musical entertainment by talented Ellington students and refreshments provided by the Ellington High School culinary program. A “Kids Corner” will also be featured with hands-on activities for youth. Contact EllingtonGalleryNight for more information.

Auditions for the fourth annual Small Town, Big Talent Community Variety Show will be held on Monday, Feb. 22, and Tuesday, Feb. 23, from 6 p.m.-8 p.m. in the Ellington High School auditorium. All kinds of talent are welcome to audition. The variety show will be held on Saturday, April 2, at 7 p.m. at Ellington High School. Proceeds from the show will go to the Jordyn Marie Engler Memorial Scholarship. For more information, email

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ELLINGTON - “National Take Your Child to the Library Day” falls on Saturday, Feb. 6, and to celebrate, Hall Memorial Library in Ellington will have a huge miniature golf course set up throughout its library at 93 Main Street. A total of 20 holes that includes a practice tee and a hole-in-one contest will take over the entire building starting when it openz at 10 a.m. and will continue all day until closing at 5 p.m. The family event is a fundraiser for the Friends of Hall Memorial Library and local business Kloter Farms is the main sponsor. More than 30 other local businesses are funding the holes and providing food and prizes for a teacup raffle. Children under 5 play for free while those ages 5-12 pay $3; adults are $5 and a family four-pack (two adults and two

children) will cost $15. A second round of play will be half price. Event coordinator Francie Berger is excited about the event and hopes families will come down and enjoy a day of entertainment while supporting their local library. She noted that you don’t have to have a child to participate. “This will be a fun-filled, familyfriendly day, with some terrific prizes,” Berger said. “We have worked hard to keep this a very affordable day of entertainment for the entire community.” Aside from the golf, there will be a strolling magician and face painter as well as other activities for the family. Raffle prizes and refreshments will be available to purchase and all proceeds will support library programs. Check out the library’s website at for more information.

Volunteers Wanted to Join CERT

ELLINGTON - Ellington CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) is a volunteer entity comprised of individuals from all walks of life. They are mothers, fathers, students, firefighters, retired persons, EMTs, secretaries, cooks, teachers and so much more. A CERT member is trained to respond in the event of a disaster. CERT provides free training to prepare individuals for disasters – specifi-

cally, how to help yourself, how to help your neighbors and how to help your community. Interested? Join CERT for its monthly meeting at Ellington Volunteer Ambulance Corps, 41 Maple St., on Thursday, Feb. 18, at 6:30 p.m. Free refreshments will be served. For more information, email John Streiber at or call 860-870-3182 or 860-918-3112.

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Ribbon Cutting Marked at Great Country Timber Frames


ELLINGTON - On Jan. 22, Great Country Timber Frames was joined by Lindy Lee Gold, senior development specialist from the CT Department of Economic & Community Development, and Lori L. Spielman, first selectman from the town of Ellington, for its ribbon cutting. Everett Skinner IV, Chris Skinner, and Everett Skinner III cut the ribbon and hosted the event for members of the media, the Chamber of Commerce, and government officials. The owners said it was exciting to visit with everyone, celebrate the ribbon cutting, and demonstrate the CNC machine, which is one of only three of its class in the country. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not every day that a ceremony such as this takes place, and when the rare piece of precision machinery was in action, cutting timbers for post and beam barns and timber frame homes, it was an awe-inspiring spectacle. The company expressed its excitement for what the future holds for Great Country Timber Frames. The ribbon cutting was a tremendous moment in the history of the company, the Skinner family, and the timber framing

From left, Lindy Lee Gold, senior development specialist from the CT Department of Economic & Community Development, Everett Skinner IV, Chris Skinner, Everett Skinner III, and Lori L. Spielman, first selectman from Ellington, at the ribbon cutting for Great Country Timber Frames. trade. its new manufacturing and design facili- Massachusetts, and New England. On Saturday, Jan. 23, Great Country ty in Ellington. The event drew over 500 Great Country Timber Frames proTimber Frames hosted an open house at people from all over Connecticut, vided demonstrations of its new CNC

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machine. The machine is used to cut joinery for timber frame structures. In groups of 20, visitors got to watch the machine demonstrate its speed and accuracy by creating a 3-foot timber with six different types of joinery — in under six minutes. Visitors also learned how Great Country Timber Frames makes post and beam buildings using wood-only connections, meaning no nails in the entire timber frame. The public got to see first hand how precise the machine is able to cut timber frame joinery for post-andbeam homes and barns. They learned that precision in wood joinery equates to a much stronger timber frame. One hundred percent wood briquettes were offered for sale to the general public at the event. Great Country Timber Frames makes these briquettes from sawdust and wood scraps from the CNC machine. Other environmentally friendly measures were also on display at the open house, including a radiant in-floor heating system that efficiently kept the entire building warm for the demonstrations and tours. A well-known family-owned business

Spectators capture the moment.

in Ellington is creating hometown opportunities with cutting-edge technology that will produce the strongest timber frame post-and-beam structures in the world. Building on a 30-year tradition of hard work and craftsmanship, The Barn Yard & Great Country Garages, wellknown for its high quality buildings, has

launched a sister company, Great Country Timber Frames, specializing in the production of large-scale, custom timber frame homes and commercial projects. Great Country Timber Frame’s brandnew, 12,000-square-foot manufacturing and design facility, which was designed, built and engineered by The Barn Yard, is already attracting much attention. The facility was recently the subject of a Beautification Award presented by the Tolland County Chamber of Commerce. Not only does the structure reflect the company’s fine workmanship, timber frame construction, and unique western inspiration, it also features many environmentally friendly elements, including reclaimed lumber, LED lighting, and an efficient radiant heat system. “We are very proud to have Great Country Timber Frames in our community and that the Skinner family has the confidence in this community to build this wonderful new manufacturing facility here. They are a community-minded company,” said Candice Corcione, Executive Director of the Tolland

County Chamber of Commerce. “Ellington is thrilled to have this new addition to our business community and with it a building that fits perfectly into the town. They have made the corner of Lower Butcher Road and Windermere Avenue into something special,” First Selectman Lori L. Spielman said. The CNC machine cuts mortise and tenon joinery with great precision. In yet another effort to maintain a “green” facility, waste from the machine, including sawdust and wood scraps, is transported via a dust collection system and compressed into bio fuel briquettes. The facility also houses a conventional framing shop for Great Country Garages, the leading garage manufacturer in New England. Like The Barn Yard, Great Country Timber Frames is owned and operated by the Skinner family. The Skinners, who started the third-generation family business in 1984, were born and raised in Ellington and can’t think of a better place to serve as the headquarters for their new company.


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Feb2016Part1_NCN new template 2/1/16 7:32 AM Page 13


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February 2016 North Central News

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Feb2016Part1_NCN new template 2/1/16 7:32 AM Page 14

Citizens Express Satisfaction with Town Government


By Linda Tishler Levinson

ENFIELD -- The results of a Citizen Satisfaction Survey are in. Michelle Carroll, an intern in the Town Manager’s Office, shared the results of the survey with the council at its Jan. 11 meeting. In each case, residents were asked to give their top five answers. The results were: • When asked what in their experience are areas in which the town is succeeding, residents answered, in order, roads/sewers, public safety/police, fleet replacement, EMS and the Enfield High School. • When asked in what areas in their experience the town is challenged, residents answered Thompsonville revitalization, economic development, planning and

zoning restrictions, infrastructure and land use boards, and parks and recreation. • When asked if there were no funding limitations, what would they want the town to accomplish within the next two years, residents said digitizing town records; hiring additional staff; addressing the heroin epidemic; school roofs, boilers and facility improvements; and tied for fifth, playscape/parks, the public safety complex and a new EMS station. • When asked if there were no funding limitations, what would they want the town to accomplish in the long term, residents answered redevelop Thompsonville, create a community center, walkable community sidewalks/crosswalks/bike lanes and a large athletic complex, and improve access to water

courses, conservation and open space and address Scantic Park. • When asked what their high-level council/town objectives were, residents’ answers included economic development; education, environment, energy and sustainability; infrastructure and facilities; planning, zoning and community development; public safety; quality of life; and technology. • When asked if they believe the town is on the right path/headed toward success, the majority answered yes. • When asked if they believe the Town Council has been successful in accomplishing its stated goals, the majority answered yes.

Enfield Adult Day Center Has Various Volunteer Openings ENFIELD - If your New Year’s resolution was to “make a difference,” then the Enfield Adult Day Center needs you. If you enjoy working with seniors and want to share your talents, please call the Enfield Adult Day Center. Volunteer opportunities include but are not limited to: • Choral direction (Mondays at 10 a.m.)

• Chaperones for monthly outings • Chair Zumba instructor • Sewing instructor • Painting and craft instructors • Cooking instructors Whether you have four hours a week to volunteer, or four hours a month, you can make a difference. Please call Lynn at 860-763-8816. The Adult Day Center provides social

and educational activities, exercise programs and entertainment options to frail elders in need of support. They also provide assistance with personal hygiene and medical treatment using a certified medical model. “Each care plan is personalized based on a client’s individual needs, and all care plans are enhanced by exercise, entertainment, and stimulating social activities,” said Paula Vaicekauskas, Director of the Adult Day Center. The Enfield Adult Day Center has been providing service to the community for over 20 years. The Adult Day Center, located at 1A Beech Rd., is open to residents from Enfield and neighboring towns includ-

ing East Windsor, Somers, Suffield, Windsor Locks, and Longmeadow. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. For additional information, please call 860-763-7537.

GOP Meeting

ENFIELD – The Enfield Republican Town Committee will hold its monthly meeting on Feb. 11 at 7 p.m. at the Enfield Town Hall, Town Council Chambers. The ERTC meets once a month and encourages dialog with members of the Council, Board of Education and Commissions. They are also seeking candidates to fill vacancies on boards and commissions.

Precision Image Landscaping Services Let us do your homework

14 North Central News February 2016

KEITH ISHAM LANDSCAPING LANDSCAPING MAINTENANCE HARDSCAPING • IRRIGATION Lawn, tree, shrub fertilizer programs, mowing & shrub trimming, slice & hydro seeding, walkways, walls, cobble stone driveways, irrigation install & repair. Design, new lawns & beds


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Feb2016Part1_NCN new template 2/1/16 7:33 AM Page 15

Enfield New Eagle Scout

Joseph Stanley from Enfield Boy Scout Troop 818 earned his Eagle Scout rank, the highest in Boy Scouts, on Jan. 30. Joseph is a resident of East Windsor. From left are Patricia Bleakney, Michael Miller, Joseph Stanley, Dean Gouse, Dan Goodstein, and Matthew Miller (Scout Master) Enfield Troop 818.

Enfield Historical Society to Host Expert on Reducing Clutter

ENFIELD - The Enfield Historical Society will host Clutter Control, presented by Dave Downs, on Monday, Feb. 22 at 7 p.m. at the Enfield American Baptist Church, 129 Post Office Rd. in Enfield. Admission to the program is free and the public is very welcome. Do you have difficulty discarding

items you no longer use or need? Do you have outdated knick-knacks or unclaimed things your grown children have left behind? Did you know that 40 percent of Americans can’t fit a car into their garage? Or that 10 percent of American households have so much stuff that they have to rent space at a storage facility?

Why do we acquire and save more possessions than we need? What happens when our stuff starts to own us? Why can’t we just throw things away? Dave Downs has taken a serious topic (clutter) and created a fun-filled humorous program loaded with personal examples of his own love/hate relationship with stuff.

After presenting several big reasons why we have so much stuff, Downs shares original thoughts, practical tips, and easy to understand strategies that anyone can use to begin the process of change. This is an innovative, upbeat program that contains useful information that will help motivate you.

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February 2016 North Central News


Feb2016Part1_NCN new template 2/1/16 7:48 AM Page 16

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16 North Central News February 2016

Open Cockpit Day on Saturday, February 13th. Get up close and personal as you climb aboard selected aircraft from our incredible collection. From helicopters to jets this is your chance to take the stick, check the instruments and create your imagination-powered adventure. Open aircraft include the Vietnam War era “Huey” helicopter; the North American F-100 Super Sabre jet fighter; the Coast Guard HH-52 rescue helicopter; the Lockheed F-104C Starfighter, and many more. Visitors can also meet a re-enactor portraying Professor Silas Brooks from 11am-3pm, Connecticut’s most famous aeronaut who fi rst flew over Hartford in a giant hot air balloon in 1854. Brooks became nationally known and made over 180 balloon flights before retiring from the skies in 1894, nine years before the Wright Brothers fi rst flight. Brook’s 1854 balloon basket is on display at the museum, and is the nation’s oldest aviation artifact. Visitors can also experience our spectral imaging mini-theater in which Brooks travels through time to observe a century of aviation innovation in Connecticut. From hot air ships to the space age, it’s all here at the New England Air Museum!

Museum’s Flight Sim Spot - High tech fl ight experience Open daily between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.

Winter Break Fun At The New England Air Museum! The New England Air Museum will hold family fun school vacation week programs from Feb 15th- Feb 21st. Explore three giant hangars fi lled with over 80 aircraft and experience the wonders of flight. A variety of activities will be offered daily including hands-on Build and Fly Challenges, open cockpit experiences aboard real aircraft, aircraft quests, and more! Monday, February 15th - Aeromodeling Workshop. Build and fly an AMA Delta Dart model airplane with help from our expert aeromodelers. Requires the purchase of a $5.00 Delta Dart kit. Modelers must be age 10 or older. Tuesday, February 16th - The Great Paper Airplane Contest. Put your paper airplane folding skills to the test! Using only a single sheet of paper, contestants will construct and fly a paper airplane for distance. Prizes for the greatest distance in three age categories will be awarded, and contestants need not be present to win. Wednesday, February 17th - Nose Art Design Workshop. Learn about the unique history of airplane nose art and create a custom nose art design for one of NEAM’s historic aircraft. Thursday, February 18th- Kites in Flight Workshop. Discover the science of how kites fly, construct a kite using an array of materials, and test your creation at our indoor flight station. Friday, February 19th- LEGO Flying Machine Contest. Back by popular demand! Create your own imaginative LEGO flying machine and enter to win prizes from our Wings ‘N Things Gift Shop. Prizes will be awarded in three age categories and builders need not be present to win.

Activities are included with the price of admission on the day of your visit except where noted. Each day docents will be on hand to provide information and to interact with the visitors. The New England Air Museum is open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission is $12.50 for ages 12 and up, $11.50 for seniors 65 and up and $7.00 for ages 4 to 11. New England Air Museum members and children under 3 are admitted free.

36 Perimeter Road (off Route 75) Windsor Locks, CT

For more information, visit or call (860) 623-3305. The New England Air Museum is located in Windsor Locks, Conn. adjacent to Bradley International Airport. Take I-91 north or south to CT. exit 40 (Route 20) to Route 75 north.

Feb2016Part1_NCN new template 2/1/16 7:49 AM Page 17

Asnuntuck Healthcare Careers Open House Attracts Hundreds


ENFIELD - Hundreds attended Asnuntuck Community College's Healthcare Career Open House Jan. 14. The event, held in the college’s new Freshwater Commons, allowed potential students to meet healthcare career instructors and register. For those who were unable to attend, more information on all Asnuntuck Healthcare careers and more are available in the new Asnuntuck Community College’s Spring 2016 Workforce Development and Continuing Education catalog. With affordable tuition rates, programs that can be completed in months and booming job prospects and earning potential, Asnuntuck’s Healthcare Career Certificate Programs are proven pathways into the in-demand healthcare industry. Programs range from Phlebotomy, Pharmacy Technician, Dental Assistant to Nail Technician, Esthetician and the school’s newest offering, Personal Trainer National Certification. According to the latest fitness industry salary guide, personal trainers are earning an average of $34 an hour. Employers like 24 Hour Fitness, LA Fitness and Gold’s Gyms are just a few

of the thousands of club employers that seek out Asnuntuck graduates each semester. Whether for a career move or for your own personal knowledge, get all the information you need to become a Certified Personal Trainer. This challenging course is taught over an eight-week period for better retention and hands-on skill competency. This course is formatted as a 62-hour program and consists of 16 hours of lecture, 16 hours of hands-on practical training

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program

ENFIELD - The Town of Enfield launched its free tax preparation program to assist low to moderate income families at its new site at the Family Resource Center at 110 High St. Free tax preparation will be available through April 15.

The Enfield VITA site will be open every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 6 p.m.-9 p.m. and on Saturday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Call 860-253-6395 to schedule an appointment at the Enfield VITA tax preparation site.

at a local fitness facility and a 30-hour internship that walks many graduates right into a job. The course prepares you for success with key topics that include biomechanics, exercise physiology, fitness testing, equipment usage and health assessment. Completion of the course lecture, practical training, internship and a separate CPR/AED course are required to receive a certificate. For those already thinking about


warmer days on the high seas, Asnuntuck also offers boating certificates. A noted area auctioneer can also teach you how to Pick EBay for Profit (May 24) and utilize Best Practices for Antique and Collectible Shopping (April 19-May 17). Or just relax with ACC’s Reiki, Yoga, and Aromatherapy classes. It’s all in the Spring 2016 catalog – plus much more. Visit and click on ‘Course Schedules & Catalog’ to begin your journey today.

NOW N NO W is is the the time! time!

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February 2016 North Central News

Feb2016Part1_NCN new template 2/1/16 7:49 AM Page 18

13th Annual Murder Mystery Dinner Starring Community Actors


ENFIELD - Several well-known community members will star in the 13th annual Asnuntuck Community College Foundation And Then There Was One, Murder Mystery Dinner and Auction. The event will take place on Friday, March 18 beginning at 6 p.m. at the Holiday Inn in Enfield. Proceeds benefit scholarships and student aid for students attending Asnuntuck Community College. Under the direction of Michael Helechu, Allied Community Services, And Then There Was One, a take-off of Agatha Christieâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s famous stage mystery, is all comedy filled with hilarious sight gags and dialogue. Ten people are brought together by a mysterious invitation to the â&#x20AC;&#x153;mansion.â&#x20AC;? Not one of them knows the host, who is nowhere to be found. Still he has left an ominous recording that bodes evil for the guests. Like chocolate soldiers that inexplicably disappear from the mantel one by one and guests who begin to die one by one. Among those starring in And Then There Was One are Sarah Babski, Western Mass News; Angela Taylor,

Seated from left Sarah Babski, Steve Patch, Angela Taylor, Crista Callaghan. Standing from left, Gary Carra, Ray Peabody, Kate Garvey, Suzanne Romano, Fred Hall, Andy Pappas and Mike Helechu. Mass Mutual; Gary Carra, Andy Pappas and Mike Stefanowicz, Asnuntuck Community College; Steve Patch, COCC; Suzanne Romano, First National Bank of Suffield; Crista Callaghan, Pioneer Continuing Care Providers; Fred Hall, Town of Enfield Police

Department; Kate Garvey, McCaffrey Law Firm; Ray Peabody, member of Enfield Board of Education; Rich Tkacz, Richâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Oil Service; Gary Cote, The Hangman Wallpaper & Paint; Jo Ann Walk, State Farm Insurance. Sponsorships are available, which

include a variety of marketing opportunities. For more information, please call event organizer Chris Casey of Chris Casey Concepts at 860-698-6267 or email To sponsor and/or attend the event, please go to



18 North Central News February 2016

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Feb2016Part1_NCN new template 2/1/16 7:51 AM Page 19

Why We Embrace the Romantic Ritual of Valentine’s Day By Jeffrey Alexander

Whether you’re a die-hard romantic or a callous cynic, there’s no escaping the millions of couples cozying up this Feb. 14 to celebrate Valentine’s Day. The origins of our only holiday devoted to love are somewhat murky. It is thought to have its beginnings in the Roman festival of Lupercalia, which was celebrated in mid-February. The fertility ritual included animal sacrifice, nude men, women flogged with animal hides, and a matchmaking lottery akin to a 1970s key party. Over several centuries, the Romans

executed more than one Christian martyr named Valentinus, a popular moniker derived from the Latin word “valens,” meaning strong or worthy. One account is that of Saint Valentine of Rome, who was supposedly imprisoned for performing Christian marriage ceremonies and then executed by Claudius II on Feb. 14 for trying to convert the emperor to Christianity. Sometime in the fifth century, Pope Galasius abolished Lupercalia in favor of St. Valentine’s Day, most likely to dilute carnal pagan ideas for those of a more chaste love. Our modern notion of Valentine’s


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Day began to take form in the Middle Ages as “courtly love” became fashionable. The first valentine greeting cards were exchanged in Victorian England. Today St. Valentine is the patron saint of lovers, engaged couples, and marriages, as well as beekeepers, victims of the plague, and those with epilepsy. With all its emphasis on priceless love, Valentine’s Day does come at a cost for many. According to the National Retail Federation, which conducts an annual survey each year to anticipate holiday spending, Americans will expend more than $18 billion this Feb. 14 on flowers, apparel, dinner, and jewelry. YaleNews spoke with sociologist Jeffery Alexander, the Lillian Chavenson Saden Professor of Sociology and co-director of the Center for Cultural Sociology, about the ritual of Valentine’s Day, gift giving, and celebrating romantic love. Why do we celebrate a holiday dedi-

cated to love? Let’s start with the idea of rituals. We tend to think that only backward or primitive societies have rituals — people running in circles with painted bodies, drums, and fires. The field of cultural sociology has emerged in the last couple of decades, and one of its premises is that there is a strong continuity between early and modern societies. Rituals continue to be central to us, and are perhaps even more important as societies become larger and more heterogeneous. Valentine’s Day is a ritual. It’s not as if people wake up and think, “Today’s a good day to celebrate love.” It occurs on the same day each year, and it’s a way to liven up a dark winter. It’s interesting that we think of Valentine’s Day as something for a couple, because it’s also something that the whole society celebrates. Millions of couples are doing this at the same time.




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Feb2016Part1_NCN new template 2/1/16 7:55 AM Page 20

Valentine’s Day and its Rich, Romantic History (continued from page 19)

It’s a way for society to say that romantic love is good and coupling is important. Our contemporary idea of paying tribute to a loved one on Valentine’s Day seems to be rooted in medieval courtly love. Has it changed much in 800 years? Courtly love wasn’t about courtship in the sense that we think courtship leads to marriage. It was what happened in royal courts among the aristocracy and was about ideals of romantic love, femininity, and manly virtue. Love and marriage only started coming together in the 19th century. I think today it’s much like it was in earlier times in that romantic love is much less connected to marriage. More and more men and women are choosing not to be married. “Will you be my valentine?” doesn’t mean “Will you be my husband or wife or partner?” I imag-

ine that Valentine’s Day is celebrated a lot more by people who aren’t married. Those who have been married for a long time can get into the spirit of Valentine’s Day to revive feelings of romantic love. Rituals can help renew a flagging sense of solidarity. Why do we exchange gifts to demonstrate love? Gift giving was one of the main ways that early societies created peace and reciprocity, and was always part of marriage ceremonies. I think gifts can be thought of as materializations of meanings and emotions, rather than as commercial or financial exchanges. Let’s take the idea of a heart, which was a symbol people used long before Valentine’s Day. The gifts we exchange on Valentine’s Day are supposed to symbolize the emotions that come out of the heart. Of course, today when everything is commodified, people feel there is a correlation between the emotion com-

municated in the gift and how much money you spend. Some people feel down this time of year if they’re not in a romantic relationship. How do external messages influence our expectations for Valentine’s Day? Not being able to participate in a collective ritual can create feelings of isolation. It’s the same feeling as not having a group to celebrate with at Thanksgiving or Christmas. That being said, I don’t think Valentine’s Day is something people dwell on much in advance. They begin thinking about it when they see it on their calendar, hear advertisements, or read a column in the paper. That’s when they say, “I really need to make a dinner reservation.” I don’t think we feel overly manipulated the way we do when we start seeing Christmas trees in early November.

Valentine’s Dance Benefits Jack O’Lantern Festival

The Enfield Jack O’Lantern Festival committee will be hosting a Valentine’s Dance Fundraiser on Feb. 13 to raise money to support next year’s Enfield Jack O’Lantern Fest. The dance will be held at Joanna’s at 145 Main St. in Somers, and will run from 7 p.m. to midnight. Take part in a night with great friends, dancing to music by the one and only John Rozz and enjoy desserts galore. There will be a cash bar and a pizza/grinder menu available for food purchases. Feel free to bring along your favorite appetizer to share with your table. Tickets can be purchased in advance by Feb. 7 by contacting Terri Regan or Kelly Fisher on Facebook or by emailing Limited tickets will be available at the door. Tickets cost $15 per person or save $20 by reserving a table of eight for just $100. Any questions, please email

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Festive & Family Friendly Valentineâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Options, Too!

Fun and romance abound at the Fire & Ice Valentine's Festival (Feb. 13), Putnam, with ice sculptures, horse and carriage rides, music, food and entertainment, and more. Head to Febtoberfest Craft Beer Festival at the Mattatuck Museum in Waterbury (Feb. 11) and celebrate local breweries while enjoying the art and history of the museum. Bring your appetite to the Old Saybrook Chili Fest (Feb. 27)! Chefs set up booths along Main Street for chili tasters who then vote for their favorites. Ski enthusiasts wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want to miss the ski jumping competition at Jumpfest Winter Festival - Eastern States Ski Jumping Championship in Salisbury (Feb. 12 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 14) â&#x20AC;&#x201C; where thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s also a chili cook-off, ice carving, Snow Ball Dance and more. Join in for Winter Carnivale in Chester (Feb. 21) and enjoy great community fun including an ice carving competition, chili cook-off, street performers, a tractor parade, and special events offered by area restaurants, shops and galleries. With so many kid-friendly activities around the state, youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re sure to find something the kids will love this month too.

Putnamâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Fire & Iceâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Valentineâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Festival. Take the family for breakfast at â&#x20AC;&#x153;Feeding Time!â&#x20AC;? at The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk (Feb. 27), and make the rounds with Aquarium staff as they feed turtles, horseshoe crabs and seals. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a day of fun at Winter Carnival & Cardboard Box Race, Mount Southington Ski Area, Southington, with Valentine the Clown, balloon animals and face painting (Feb. 20). Join in a family-style celebration at Valentineâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Day Family Overnight at Mystic Aquarium (Feb. 14 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 15) for an outdoor tour in the dark, scavenger hunt and Valentineâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Day craft. Delight in an afternoon with â&#x20AC;&#x153;James and the Giant Peachâ&#x20AC;? at Downtown Cabaret Theatre, Bridgeport, and enjoy

this story of magic, friendship and adventure (Feb 27 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; April 3). Gather the family and lace up your ice skates for a fun outdoor outing at Foxwoods Rink &

Winter Patio at Foxwoods Resort Casino, Mashantucket (through March 6). After skating, enjoy hot chocolate on the outdoor patio.


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February2015NCNpart2_NCN new template 2/1/16 8:24 AM Page 23

Chili for Life Benefited Two Fighting Cancer


SOMERS - All have been affected by cancer in some way. Some have battled it themselves and others have relatives and friends who have faced this horrible disease. Many have lost the battle, and many still fight. The Chili for Life cook off was organized to help two people who are fighting the battle now. One is an assistant chief with the Somers Fire Department, and the other is a 5-yearold girl. Along with the cook off, there were raffles with some pretty awesome prizes. Many thanks to all who donated for those, including Roxanne Ballachino, who made a gorgeous heart-shaped cake filled with strawberries, and George Ryan who hand-crafted a most beautiful electric guitar from 100-year-old wood. It was stunning, with the design inspired by Abigail, the 5-year-old. And, the man who won the guitar gave it to her, which was so great of him! Thanks also to the bake sale table, where there were many

A color guard does the national anthem at the Chili for Life event on Jan. 16. Photo by Gary Carra yummy treats. Also a thank you to Mike and Kat Freedman, who put in all the work to organize and run these events. I know you both were exhausted, and we all appreciate what you do. And, as always, thanks to the cooks, judges, and the public who came to support this cause. Without you, there would be no cook off.

Charlie Brown Is Coming To Town

SOMERS - SRO Productions is pleased to announce its upcoming winter production of “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown.” This show is the fulllength, two-act, live Broadway musical. The show will be performed at Somers High School, 5 Vision Blvd., Somers. Show dates: Friday, Feb. 12, 7 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 13, 7 p.m., and Sunday, Feb. 14, 2 p.m. Cast includes: Matthew Rafala (Charlie Brown), Aimee Meunier (Snoopy), Sarah Jo Schon (Lucy),

Shaelyn Killoh (Sally), Travis Karas (Schroeder) and Justin Guglielmetti (Linus). Tickets are $12 for general admission, $10 for senior citizens (62 plus) and $8 for kids through grade 12. Tickets can be purchased online at or at the Somers Pharmacy. If available, tickets will also be sold on show days one hour before curtain.

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Somers Introducing Kids to Cops

On Jan. 6, a South Windsor police officer visited classes and talked to the students about kids wearing helmets and seat belts, when to call 911, how police officers work along with firemen to help people, and how they keep roads safe. The Somers Coop Preschool students received a "badge" at the end. It was a wonderful visit to introduce the youngsters to the role of law enforcement in a friendly, educational setting.

24 North Central News February 2016

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No More Fire Commission

By Linda Tishler Levinson

SOMERS — The town no longer has a Fire Commission. The Board of Selectmen voted Jan. 21 to dissolve the commission, completing an action put into place in the charter revision residents approved in November. The approved referendum question asked if the town charter should be revised as proposed by the Charter Revision Commission and approved by the Board of Selectmen to eliminate Section 5-10. Section 5-10 called for a Board of Fire Commissioners, describes its duties and dictated how a fire chief was to be chosen. The charter panel decided to remove that section in response to the change from a volunteer to a paid fire chief for the town, which became necessary with no volunteer stepping forward to take the position when current Fire Chief Gary Schiessl’s term ended. Fire Chief John Roache, the town’s first paid chief, started Jan. 1.

February2015NCNpart2_NCN new template 2/1/16 8:24 AM Page 25

Best of Buddies Pet Care Celebrates 5th Anniversary


SOMERS - February 2016 marks the fifth anniversary of Best of Buddies Pet Care. A local family business, Best of Buddies Pet Care was established in 2011 in response to the growing need for professional pet sitting services, and commemorates this milestone by adding a new service to its existing service menu. This service will offer a solution to a common problem: too few hours in the day. Best of Buddies Pet Care will be offering personal assistance and errand services to residents in the local area. “In the hustle and bustle of modern life, many Americans are busier than ever. Often, people find themselves caring for their elders and children at the same time, trying daily to balance their work and family life. The one thing that all Americans seem to have in common is being rushed. People are forced to spend their precious time doing household tasks and running errands, when they

would much rather be spending time with friends and family,” said Donna LaVallee, owner and operator. In addition, Best of Buddies Pet Care would like to thank the community by offering 10 percent off services booked throughout February. Pet services include pet sitting, dog walking, pet taxi services to and from the vet or groomer, and house sitting. Errand services offered include grocery shopping, trips to the post office, dry cleaners, pharmacy, and library, in home waiting for a repairman, fast food meal delivery, gift shopping and returns. Personal assistance includes elder well checks, home organizing assistance and light housekeeping. For more information, please contact Donna LaVallee of Best of Buddies Pet Care in Somers at 860-558-4864. Email: bestofbuddiespetcare@ Website:

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Church Valentine’s, St. Patrick’s Day Suppers

SOMERS - The Congregational Church of Somersville will be putting on a Valentine Supper on Saturday, Feb. 13, with sittings at 5 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. Menu includes three baked stuffed shrimp, baked potato, mixed vegetables, tossed salad, homemade rolls and breads, beverage and chocolate torte. Reservations should be made by calling 860-749-7741 or emailing Cost is $15 for adults and $8 (two shrimp) for children ages 510. Take-out orders should also be

reserved in advance and will be available for pickup between 5:15 p.m.-7 p.m. A tantalizing bake sale will also be offered during the dinner. And, looking ahead to March, the ever popular Corned Beef and Cabbage Dinner at the Congregational Church of Somersville will be held Saturday, March 12, with sittings at 5 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. Reservations for that dinner will be accepted beginning Feb. 27 (two weeks prior to the dinner). Cost for this dinner is $14 for adults and $5 for children.

Somers Spring Soccer - Registration is Now Open!! Registration for all rec Registration for the Travel Soccer Program is open until programs - Kindergarten February 15th. Late registration for the travel program Kickers, Instructional, and will run from February 16th to March 1st. Mid Rec, will be open until An addition $20 fee will be charged for all late travel March 30th. registrations after February 15th. Please register on-line at CELEBRATING OUR 20TH YEAR !

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Blair Manor of Enfield hosted breakfast at the Somers Senior Center on Battle Street on Jan. 7. Blair Manor hosts a meal once a month at the Somers Senior Center. Next meal is lunch on Tuesday, Feb. 16. Sign up at the Somers Senior Center. Pictured, from left, Blair Manor staff Jenifer Koblosh, Administrator Valerie Romano, cook Donna Jasmin and Susan Ashe.

February 2016 North Central News

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Life is short, get the whole family to the lake fast! E-Z-GO® EXPRESS™ SERIES Ready to break out of your routine? An E-Z-GO Express will carry you and up to five accomplices in comfort and style, whether you’re buzzing around the neighborhood or venturing down a trail less traveled. Four distinctive models let you choose the vehicle that fits your family’s desire to get out and go. Get a best-in-class 13.5-hp gas-powered engine or whisper-quiet, zero-emissions 48-volt electric drivetrain. A rugged welded tubular steel frame with powder-coat protection. And, an optional limited slip differential for a firm grip on the trail.




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February 2016 North Central News

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February2015NCNpart2_NCN new template 2/1/16 8:27 AM Page 28

Welcome to our g growing g world. Saint Francis Care and Mercy Medical Center are proud to welcome Johnson Memorial Medical Center to the Trinity Health – New England family.

Strength Strength iin nN Numbers. umbers.

T Together, ogetherr, B Better. etterr.

A Aligned. ligned. En Engaged. gaged.

Trinit y Health is a major healthcare system that is dramatically reshaping the deliver y of

Through our af filiation, and the creation of the New England Regional Health Ministr y, Saint Francis, Mercy Medical, and Johnson Memorial

This is all possible thanks to the mutual strengths of Trinit y Health and our three local healthcare systems, rooted in a commitment

will enhance our abilit y to provide the right care, at the right time, and in the right places thanks

to providing superior care, compassionately delivered. Together, we will provide a healthier future for the New England communit y that we

people - centered care. Nationally, its 21- state, 119,0 0 0 - employee net work includes: •

92 acute care hospitals

51 home care and hospice agencies

14 PACE Centers (Programs of All - inclusive Care for the Elderly)

61 other continuing care facilities

to integrated resources that will enable program expansions, per formance improvements, and strengthened continuit y of care.

now jointly ser ve.

28 North Central News February 2016

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February2015NCNpart2_NCN new template 2/1/16 8:29 AM Page 29

Public Hearing on Sites for a State Police Firearms Facility


HARTFORD â&#x20AC;&#x201C; State Sens. Tim Larson (D-East Hartford) and Tony Guglielmo (R-Stafford) announced a bipartisan public hearing on the proposed sites for a new Connecticut State Police Firearms Training Facility. Larson and Guglielmo called for the hearing to determine how and why the Department of Administrative Services chose the two sites in Willington and one site in East Windsor as the only options for the new facility. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We all recognize the need for our state police officers to be fully trained

and prepared for their incredibly important and dangerous jobs protecting the people of Connecticut,â&#x20AC;? said Larson. â&#x20AC;&#x153;However, I have yet to see a reasoned argument for the need for a new firing range and training facility. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Moreover, there have been no explanations as to why Willington and East Windsor were chosen as the only spots for this facility. The public needs more information on the process so far and how and why we got to this point. I have serious concerns about using valuable open space in East Windsor for this pur-

VERNON - The Vernon Historical Society is requesting donations of books for its 2016 book sale to be held during the last weekend of April and the first weekend of May. Donations are now being accepted at the museum at 734 Hartford Turnpike in Vernon on Thursday afternoons from 2 p.m.-4 p.m. or on the second Sunday of every month from 2 p.m.-4 p.m. Also, books may be

dropped off during business hours at Crystal Blueprint, 21 West Main St., in the Rockville section of Vernon. If necessary, you may call 860-8754326 to arrange for pick-ups. All books, new or used, including childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s books, will be accepted. DVDs, music CDs, videotapes and books on CD are welcomed. No encyclopedias or records, please.

Historical Society Seeks Donations for Book Sale




sites through the legislative process. There must be better places in Connecticut than a location that is one mile from 800 homes, several churches, parks, and a school.â&#x20AC;? The hearing will be held on a date to be announced in February at the Legislative Office Building.

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February 2016 North Central News


pose and this hearing will get the public some much needed answers.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;On behalf of the town of East Windsor, we sincerely appreciate Senator Larsonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s concern about the potential siting of this facility in our community,â&#x20AC;? said Selectman Jason Bowsza (D-East Windsor). â&#x20AC;&#x153;We look forward to learning about alternative

February2015NCNpart2_NCN new template 2/1/16 8:24 AM Page 30

Somers Education Foundation Awards Series of Grants


SOMERS - Somers Education Foundation (SEF) recently awarded $24,277 to the Somers Public School system. Grants ranged from $375 to $3,375 and were awarded to teachers throughout the district. Consistent with SEF’s goal of having an impact on every student, the grants covered a wide range of topics including reading literacy, music, auto body, and STEM – (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). For the first time, SEF awarded grants from its named funds with $3,375 for a collaborative project

between the high school music and tech departments from the Helen & S. Prestley Blake Fund and $1,000 to support a reading literacy program for students with disabilities from the Dan & Jane Roulier Fund. “Over the past 11 years the SEF has provided tremendous support to the Somers Public Schools. Their financial assistance has been outstanding and greatly appreciated,” said Maynard Suffredini Ed.D., superintendent of the Somers Public School system. “This makes it 23 consecutive semesters that the

SEF has provided grants to the school system. I want to thank the teachers for their efforts and the SEF Grant Review Committee for doing a great job,” said Paul Salva, SEF President. Founded in 2004, SEF has given the Somers Public School system $278,000 while building a sustaining endowment of over $400,000. As it has 501c3 status, donations are 100 percent tax-deductible. To learn more about SEF, please visit or

DAR Chapter Honors Five from Region for their Service

30 North Central News February 2016

ENFIELD - The Penelope Terry Abbey Chapter of the National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution held its annual awards night ceremony at the Enfield Public Library on Dec. 3. Awards were given in three categories: Outstanding Veteran Volunteer, Good Citizens, and Outstanding Teacher of American History. Rick Gorman was named this year’s Outstanding Veteran Volunteer. Gorman joined the Navy in March 1967 and served at Brunswick, Maine and Sigonella, Sicily. After being discharged from active duty, he served in the reserves for 25 years. He retired as a

Chief Petty Officer. Gorman is a member of the Tanguay-Magill American Legion Post 80 and currently serves as the Service Officer. The chapter’s award winner for Outstanding American History Teacher is Leigh Scordato. She is a social studies teacher at John F. Kennedy Middle School. She grew up in Enfield and graduated from the University of Vermont. In addition to her classroom teaching, she is involved with Youth Vote, Rachel’s Challenge, Student Council, Flag Football, Safe School climate, Capturing Kids Hearts, Student Leadership Program and several others. Three local high school seniors were

recognized for their qualities of dependability, service, leadership and patriotism. Sarah Pawlowski, daughter of Mike and Diane Pawlowski, from Enfield High School. Sarah has won numerous academic awards and is known for giving back to the community with participation in Rachel’s Challenge, Community Pancake Breakfast, children’s movie night and visiting the senior center. She is involved in two national honor societies, soccer and tennis. She is interested in biotechnology and molecular biology as field of study. Alex Smithline, son of Ellen and

Howard Smithline, from Somers High School. Alex is involved in a peer group in which he assists people dealing with serious issues from autism to depression. He is a member of the Drama Club and has been the class president for four years as well as the School Newspaper editor. He aspires to be a filmmaker. Paul Desmond, son of Mark Desmond, from East Windsor High School. Paul is a member of the Army National Guard. In addition, he works on the Safe School Climate Committee, the local soup kitchen and teaching at his local church. He has been a member of the Leo Club, Gasoline Alley and the Chess Club.

February2015NCNpart2_NCN new template 2/1/16 8:24 AM Page 31

Possible Assistance Sought for Crumbling Foundations


By Linda Tishler Levinson

STAFFORD â&#x20AC;&#x201D; The town is working with the state to find a way to assist homeowners dealing with crumbling cement foundations. A community meeting on the problem was held Jan. 20 at the Community Center. The homeowners involved said their foundations were poured by the J.J. Mottes Co. of Stafford from the early 1980s to 1998. The state Department of Consumer Protection is collecting information from affected homeowners and has convened a task force to investigate the issue, First Selectman Anthony Frassinelli said. The state is working to

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assess the exact nature of the issue, where it came from and how many homeowners are affected. Frassinelli also said they are working to determine how to help homeowners, whether through state or federal funding or with the help of the state Insurance Department. A citizen group is forming in town to work on the issue, he said. The group, which is as yet unnamed, plans to meet once a month. Links to the form and additional information on the state consumer protections website are available on the town website, In a statement to NBC Connecticut,


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J.J. Mottes Co. spokesman John Patton said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;The current ownership of the Joseph J. Mottes Company has been in place for 15 years. During this time, it has produced ready mix concrete for approximately 10,000 different residential, commercial, municipal and state

jobs. We are aware of no project, not one, that has had the recently discovered phenomenon of pyrrhotite reaction and we have not been notified by either state regulators or industry sources of this alleged problem.â&#x20AC;?

STAFFORD - The Stafford Public Library, located at 10 Levinthal Run, Stafford Springs is hosting the following programs in February. All events are free and open to the public, but pre-registration is necessary. Call 860-684-2852 or visit Monday: Rhymetime will be held on Feb. 8, 22, and 29 at 10 a.m. for children 0-2 years old. Tuesday: Teddy Bear Time will be held on Feb. 9, 16, 23, for children 2 years and up. Wednesday: Animal Storytime will be held on Feb. 3, 10, 17, and 24 at 3:30 p.m. with an animal guest. Bring Your Child To The Library Day on Feb. 6 for Special Activities from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Free coffee and hot chocolate. 10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m., Sensory Storytimes will be held for all ages and families, with special guest musical therapist Renee Coro, with music, movement, finger plays, and stories. Noon to 1 p.m.: Lego Club (all ages). Bring your Legos or use the libraryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Legos and build on a theme. Creations will be on display for the month.

1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.: Game Club; Feb. 6 and 20 at 1 p.m. Bring your Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh, Magic the Gathering or something else. For ages 12+ (younger children welcome if accompanied by a parent or guardian). 2:30 p.m.: Movie â&#x20AC;&#x153;Hotel Transylvania 2â&#x20AC;? (rated PG). Popcorn will be served. Runtime is 1 hour and 29 minutes. Mother-to-Mother at 11 a.m. every Friday. A group where moms can support one another, share information and enjoy their company. Moms with children of all ages are welcome, as are pregnant moms-to-be. Children are welcome. Chinese New Year Program (all ages) at 4 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 8. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the Year of the Monkey. What does that mean in the Chinese culture? You are invited to come and find out. Movie: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Goosebumpsâ&#x20AC;? with Jack Black (rated PG). Feb. 16 at 4 p.m. and again Feb. 20 at 2:30 p.m. Popcorn served. You may bring your own snacks. Open Art Studio for Teens and Adults 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Mondays, Feb. 8 and 22.

Stafford Library February Events

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February 2016 North Central News

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32 North Central News February 2016

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From Staffordville, With Love

Big Y has partnered with the USO to send Valentine's Day cards to the troops overseas and here in the U.S. At left, students at Staffordville School worked hard to decorate beautiful cards to send to the troops!

In other school news, kindergarten registration for the 2016-2017 year will be held at the Family Resource Center office at the West Stafford School Feb. 4 from 8:30 a.m. noon, then 1-3 p.m. All children wo will be 5years-old on or before Dec. 31, 2016 are eligible.

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February2015NCNpart2_NCN new template 2/1/16 8:24 AM Page 34

Johnson Memorial Medical Center Announces Scholarship


STAFFORD SPRINGS - Johnson Memorial Medical Center (JMMC), the parent company of Home & Community Health Services (H&CHS), is accepting scholarship applications for its Jewel Epstein Scholarship Program. Applications can be obtained by contacting Kate Sullivan Vaghini, Development Associate, at 860-684-8162 or at The required documents can also be downloaded at The $1,000 scholarships provide financial support to students pursuing nursing or an affiliated health care field. The Jewell Epstein Fund was established in 1952 as a scholarship opportu-

nity for young women of the highest academic standing who were graduating Enfield High School and entering the field of nursing. It has since expanded to include men and graduates of Fermi High School. High school students may apply if they will graduate in 2016 and are attending either Enfield High School or Fermi High School in Enfield. Two scholarships will be awarded. The deadline for submitting applications is March 14. About JMMC Johnson Memorial Medical Center (JMMC) is the non-profit parent company of Johnson Memorial Hospital and Home and Community Health Services,

ENFIELD - The Tobacco Valley Teachers Federal Credit Union (TVTFCU) has once again received a 5-star Superior rating from Bauer Financial, Inc., which reports on the financial performance of the nation’s financial industry since 1983 and has the reputation of being “the nation’s bank rating service”. TVTFCU has earned the placement of being on Bauer Financials “Recommended Credit Union Report.” “We are very proud of this accomplishment,” said Myrijam Meserve, Manager/CEO of the Tobacco Valley Teachers Federal Credit Union. “This is

the result of the hard work and dedication of our staff, our volunteer Board of Directors and Committee Members. Our focus has always been on providing a variety of services to meet our member’s needs. We are honored to receive this rating.” For more information about the credit union, visit its website:, find it on Facebook, visit its YouTube channel: tvtfcuinenfield, call it at 860-253-4780 or stop by its office, which is located at 182 South Rd. in Enfield.

Tobacco Valley Teachers Federal Credit Union Receives 5-Star Rating

a home health care and hospice agency. JMMC provides a continuum of health services to living and working in north central Connecticut and western Massachusetts. For more information visit About Trinity Health - New England Trinity Health - New England is an integrated health care delivery system formed in 2015 and is a member of Trinity Health, Livonia, Michigan, one of the nation’s largest multi-institutional Catholic health care delivery systems in the nation. Trinity Health - New England is comprised of Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center, an anchor institution in north central Connecticut since 1897. Licensed for 617 beds and 62

bassinets, it is a major teaching hospital and the largest Catholic hospital in New England. Other major entities include Mount Sinai Rehabilitation Hospital, the Connecticut Joint Replacement Institute, the Hoffman Heart and Vascular Institute of Connecticut, Smilow Cancer Hospital Yale-New Haven at Saint Francis, the Joyce D. and Andrew J. Mandell Center for Comprehensive Multiple Sclerosis Care and Neuroscience Research, and Saint Francis HealthCare Partners, along with Johnson Memorial Hospital, and Home and Community Health Services. For more information, visit

Church Thanks Community for Support

STAFFORD - First United Methodist Church (the big white church next to CVS) of Stafford Springs would like to thank everyone in the community for supporting the 2015 Memory Tree on the front lawn. Thank you to all who honored a loved one with a bulb for our memory tree. We raised $1,000 towards Mission Shares.

The church is looking forward to adding even more white bulbs in 2016. Look for the order forms during the Advent Season. The church is located at 8 Church St., Stafford Springs. Call 860-684-2468 or log onto for more information about future events.

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34 North Central News February 2016


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Town Offices are Moving Prior to Scheduled Renovations


SUFFIELD â&#x20AC;&#x201D; The First Selectmanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Office and town Human Resources Department are settled into their new home at 230C Mountain Road. The two offices have been moved to the Land Use Building, where Planning and Zoning is located, according to First

Selectman Melissa Mack. The moves are part of the preparations to renovate the Town Hall at 83 Mountain Road. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re trying to do it in a very organized fashion,â&#x20AC;? Mack said. She added the offices will keep their existing phone numbers, so for most res-

SUFFIELD - For now, in our â&#x20AC;&#x153;inbetween stateâ&#x20AC;?, we are posting tentative dates for programs. The programs could be at Ffyler Place or 50 North Main St., depending on our status. We urge you to register for the programs on the libraryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s website or by calling the library at 860668-3896. If the program date or venue has to change, we will be able to contact you directly. ADULT PROGRAMS Funded by The Friends of the Kent Memorial Library HEAT WAVE! Winter Reading Program for Adults runs now through March 12 In addition to raffle baskets (which

make everything a little more fun), we have the following: B.J. Smith will lead two book discussions. Saturday, Feb. 13 at 2 p.m., â&#x20AC;&#x153;The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agencyâ&#x20AC;? by Alexander McCall Smith; and Saturday, March 5 at 2 p.m., â&#x20AC;&#x153;Devil in a Blue Dressâ&#x20AC;? by Walter Mosley. EdanSe of Enfield will give (free!) salsa dance lessons: Saturday, Feb. 20, 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. and Saturday, March 5, 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Author Suzanne Strempek Shea will wrap up the Winter Reading Program on Saturday, March 12, at 1 p.m. followed by a party and, of course, basket winners will be announced.

By Linda Tishler Levinson

Adult Programs Scheduled at Library

idents nothing will change. Next to move will be the Finance Department. The Assessorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s, Tax Collectorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s and Town Clerkâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s offices eventually will be moved to 61 Ffyler Place, the Kent Memorial Library building. The last department, scheduled to

move in June, will be IT, Mack said. The moves are being made to accommodate the environmental remediation, redesign and renovations of Town Hall. The plan is to make it more customer friendly, Mack said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re going to be planning for the potential growth of the town,â&#x20AC;? she said.

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February2015NCNpart2_NCN new template 2/1/16 8:24 AM Page 36

Montessori School Celebrates New Location with a Gala


ENFIELD - Parents, grandparents, faculty and staff, alumni, members of the community and distinguished guests came to acclaim the move of the Enfield Montessori School from its current location at 1370 Enfield St. to its new location across the street in the former Felician Sisters Heritage Center on the Our Lady of the Angels Convent complex. The completely renovated building was unveiled for an impressive number of guests. Tours were available, food stations were set up, and a champagne toast highlighted the evening. The grand ambiance provided a wonderful opportunity to socialize and enjoy the camaraderie. SM Bernardine Mucha said, “Under the competent and dedicated leadership of Julie James, chief administrative officer of the Enfield Feliciansponsored ministries and Cliona Beaulieu, EMS head of school, months of preparation by many groups and individuals resulted in an on-schedule completion of a job very well done.” She continued, “This was an evening to relax and to be amazed at how the building was transformed into a new and larger environment for the mission of the Enfield Montessori School to continue and grow with an expanding enrollment.” Because of the expansion, the toddler program is a new addition.

The mission of the Felician Sisters continues in the spirit of the founding sisters. Under the capable direction of Cliona Beaulieu, head of school, the program moves forward. Sr. Carol Marie Saladin and Sr. Francine Mary Sousa continue to be part of the dedicated staff. SM Anastasia Holak, who initiated the Montessori program along with the late SM Aniela Urbanek in 1965, participated in the festivities and affirmed that

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the new school expansion will surely be child-oriented. Name tags indicated proud parents, proud grandparents, and grateful alumni.

Sister Carol and Sister Francine said they were very impressed with the number of alumni who came to support the school moving forward into the future.


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Five Insider Tips for Test Driving Your Next New Vehicle

Automotive By Keith Griffin

In the course of a year, it’s possible to review more than 75 new cars, trucks, and crossovers when you’re an automotive journalist. That’s not put forth as some kind of bragging. It’s just to demonstrate that driving more than six new vehicles a month gives one an insider’s view on test-driving new cars. Let’s look beyond all the things you need to do before going to a dealership. That’s been handled well here and in other articles at CarGurus. Instead, here are five insider tips to keep in mind for test-driving a new or new-to-you car. Park the Car You’ll have to do this probably twice a day, 365 days a year. How easy is it to pull into and back out of a space? People hate parking and parking lots. That’s one reason behind the development of selfparking cars (still an inexact science at best) and rear cross-traffic alerts, a great feature. Sure, parking a vehicle gets easier the more you do it, but if it’s difficult the first couple of times you try it, consider another vehicle. Test-Drive Your Driveway Does the vehicle fit in your garage? Don’t laugh. A friend’s sister bought a Ford Expedition but found it didn’t fit in her garage. She had to park it outside for

the six years she owned it. Taking the car to your house will help you evaluate it on familiar roads and in familiar spaces. Load the Groceries OK, you’re not going to bring a week’s worth of groceries with you. However, you could bring something like a bag of kitty litter. See how easy it is to load things in the trunk or rear storage space. What’s it like to close the hatch with your hands full? Your goal is to replicate something you do over and over again that you never get to do on a test drive. Get In and Out Five Times This is an effective way to determine how comfortable a vehicle is for you. It should be just as easy the fifth time as it was the first time. If it’s not, you’re not going to like this car after a long day at work. It’s called your hip point, and it becomes especially important as you age. Older drivers will find car seats above or below their hips (when standing) uncomfortable as joints age. It’s one of the reasons people like crossovers — the seats are the right height. Go in the Worst Weather Possible Granted, this tip works only if you can be patient about buying a new car. It’s easy to drive a new car on a sunny day. Driving it when it’s pouring buckets will let you see how well the defroster

Interested in a new car? The 2017 Chevrolet Cruze hatchback is a stunning vehicle to consider. Photo (c) GM and wipers work. How is the visibility? Does the car handle well? Does the car stop well? One big advantage to test-driving in bad weather is that the dealership will probably not be crowded. Bonus tip: Adjust the controls Sure, after you buy the car, you will get some kind of tutorial, but that’s when the car is standing still. Take the car to a wide-open parking lot and see how easy

it is to tune the radio or adjust the air conditioning while under way. Throw a couple of voice commands at the system if it includes that feature. In effect, the five best tips for test-driving a car have to do with testing it like you’re going to live with it. Short dealership drives just aren’t enough for something you are going to live with for years to come.


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