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Small stores survive in tough retail market By Linda Tishler Levinson

As online shopping becomes increasingly popular, national retailers are shifting their business model. They are closing brick-and-mortar locations and heavily promoting their websites. Nonetheless, local business leaders feel the future of retail stores in north central Connecticut remains bright. Good shopping, some say, comes in smaller packages. “Unfortunately, Enfield has fallen victim” to a number of closings by national chains, said Mike Vezzola, executive director of the North Central Connecticut Chamber of Commerce, mentioning national chain stores like Sears, Macy’s and Bob’s. Yet, he remains positive about the future of retail, since Enfield hasn’t felt much impact otherwise. Of smaller, local retailers, he said, “We still think those are very vibrant.” “You might even see a reverse factor there,” said Candice Corcione, executive director of the Tolland County Chamber of Commerce. “You like to do business

RETAIL/page 9

Groundbreaking at Camp Hartell

Local, federal and other state dignitaries, Connecticut National Guard officials and members of the Army National Guard broke ground for the 14th Civil Support Team (CST) Readiness Center at Camp Hartell in Windsor Locks. The 23,759 square foot Ready Building will support 22 full-time personnel of the 14th Civil Support Team. The facility received $11 million in federal funding and another $500,000 in state funding. The facility, which will include an operations center, classroom, locker rooms, ready bays for vehicles, and administrative offices, is planned to be completed in the spring of 2018. From left, Windsor Locks First Selectman Chris Kervick, Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, Major General Thad Martin, Congressman Joe Courtney, State Rep. Tami Zawistowski (R-61), and State Rep. Scott Storms (R-60) dig in.

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2 North Central News May 2017

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North Central Publishing dba

P.O. Box 427, Somers, CT 06071 Tel: 860.698.0020 Fax: 860.394.4262 Email: We are a free, monthly publication that is direct mailed to just under 45,000 mailboxes in East Windsor, Ellington, En eld, Somers, Sta ord and Su eld, Conn. We are also available at more than 100 high tra c locales throughout Vernon and Windsor Locks for free pick up. The North Central News was created in June of 2002 and continues to be both family-owned and locally operated.


Gary Carra Assistant To The Publisher

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Account Executives

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‘Spilling The Beans’on Chili, Kielbasa fests

Random Raven By Gary Carra Welcome back to Random Raven, the column with aspirations no greater than an eliciting the occasional “that looks cool” or (dare to dream) prompting an entry into your Google calendar. That said...come what May? May Day, May Day! May may be for Moms and blessed with budding flowers courtesy of April’s showers. But as the Raven goes through his notes for this installment, it looks like it will once again be stuffed with...well, foodstuffs. First up, we spill the beans on one of the region’s real jewels. The 32nd annual New England Regional Chili Cookoff will have pots rattling and tastebuds overloading this Saturday, May 6. Once again, Pleasant View on 452 South Rd/RT 83 Somers will play host to the vent. Public entry starts at 11 a.m. and goes until 4:30 p.m. Entry is $7 and 2

Those riding down Rt. 83 past Pleasant View in Somers May 6 are sure to receive a ‘chili’ reception as dozens of chefs from the country over vie first place in the 32nd annual New England Regional Chili Cook Off. Photo courtesy of Michael Freedman

canned goods or $8 without canned goods. All canned goods will be donated to Champs Place, a Somers Food Pantry operated by the Somers Congregational Church. Entertainment includes everything from live music, stilt walkers, clowns, magic, great music, a DEFCON Hot Wing eating contest and so much more. For more information please contact event organizer, Michael Freedman at

Contributing Writers

Keith Gri n Linda Tishler Levinson Deborah Stau er Photographers

David Butler II Julie Cotnoir Circulation

Kathleen Pelizari Interns

Cindy Xiong Kayla Bonanno John Godleski Brittany Nutile

C Car Caribbea Caribbe Caribb Carib Caribbean Cari a Cruise Cr Cru Crui Cruis C March Ma Mar Marc M 17 1 - 28, 28 2 2018 20 201 2 12 1 Days/11 D Da Day Days Days/1 Days/ Nt Nts N 10 Nights Aboard Holland America’s Brand New ms Koningsdam 1 Night Ft Lauderdale, Welcome Dinner Ft Lauderdale-Half Moon Cay-Turks & Caicos-Amber Cove-BonaireCuracao-Aruba Fr $2399.pp Includes Air from Hartford/Bradley! Al Alask Alas Ala Alaska L La Lan Land & Cruise C Cr Cru Crui Cruis Ju Jun June J 8 - 20, 20 2 2018 201 2 20 13 1 Days/12 D Da Day Days Days/ Days/1 Nt Nts N 2 nts Fairbanks * 1 nt Denali * 1 nt Talkeetna * 1 nt Anchorage Princess Domed Train between Talkeetna & Anchorage 7 nt Cruise aboard the Coral Princess with Glacier Bay! Fr $4199.pp Includes Air from Hartford/Bradley! Your Journey Begins…

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705 Bloomfield Ave, Bloomfield, CT 06002

Send the Raven your suggestion for a fun thing to do/lesser known hidden gem for June by emailing: If he uses it, you can win a VIP pass to K-Fest!

May 2017 North Central News

Publishers Policy The information presented in the North Central News is presented for your consideration and does not neccessarily represent the views of the publisher or its advertisers. All information is checked for accuracy, but cannot be guaranteed. Liability for errors in advertising is limited to rerun of the ad. Errors in advertising should be brought to the attention of the publisher in writing, within seven days of publication for appropriate credit.

So S Sou Souther Southe South Sout Southern C Ca Car Cari Carib Caribb Caribbe Caribbea Caribbean Cr Cru Crui Cruis Cruise C January Ja Jan Janu Janua JJanuar 28-February 28 2828-F 28-Fe 28-Feb 28-Febr 28-Febru 28-Februa 28-Februar 2 9, 9 2018 201 2 20 13 1 Days/12 D Da Day Days Days/1 Days/ Nt Nts N Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas NJ-San Juan-St Marteen-Antigua-St Lucia-Barbados-St Kitts/Nevis-NJ Fr 1649.pp Includes Motorcoach to NJ Pier—No Fly!

YOU NEVER ‘SAUSAGE’ A FESTIVAL... ...or maybe you have, particularly if you ever attended Chicopee’s infamous Kielbasa Fest. For the last couple of years, however the event has expanded in scope and savories - morphing into more of an international food fest and occurring at The Big E (Eastern States Exposition). This will once again be the case in 2017, too, with K-Fest ‘17 promising more than 30 food stations, a Midway full of rides, music including tributes to Neil Diamond, The Beatles and more Memorial Day weekend, May 25-28. “As always, we will also have one of the best fireworks shows you can see in New England, and we do that every night,” declares event organizer Thomas Kielbania Jr. General entry, VIP and carload experience options are available. To purchase or learn more Kielbania and his Kielbasa Fest, kindly point your browser to

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East Windsor

Baskets for East Windsor Kids

East Windsor Senior Citizens Club at its April meeting made Easter baskets for the children of East Windsor. Bob Muska, owner of Broad Brook Gardens, helped tie up the baskets while all members filled them. They had a good time. They meet the first Thursday of each month above the firehouse in Broad Brook from 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. for fun and fellowship. All those 55 and over are welcome.

Town budget to be decided by residents at referendum By Linda Tishler Levinson

EAST WINDSOR- Residents will vote on the proposed $37,937,018 budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year in the May 9 referendum. The proposed budget would bring an increase of $919,927 or 2.49 percent over the current spending plan. First Selectman Robert Maynard said among the increases are $358,000 for health and life insurance and $216,000 for contractual salary hikes.

Maynard also said the proposed teachers’ retirement contribution has not been finalized by the state, so it has not been included in the proposed budget. The budget includes a town-side budget of $13,553,626, an increase of $755,350 or 5.9 percent; $761,674 for capital improvements, a decrease of $133,768 or 14.94 percent; $1,150,000 for debt service, a decrease of $44,238 or 3.7 percent; and $22,471,718 for the Board of Education, an increase of 1.55 percent.

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Support Local Agriculture by Purchasing Fresh Cut Flowers Direct From a Local Grower. For 8 weeks starƟng July 5th, we will cut a variety of field grown & greenhouse grown flowers for your bouquet. Pickup is on Wednesdays, between 4-7 pm. We grow over 30 different varie es of cut flowers and your bouquet will be different every week depending on what is in flower. We guarantee your sa sfacon, handled properly our bouquets have a long vase life.

The Cut Flower Club makes a great gi for Mother’s Day, Birthdays or Anniversaries. The Cut Flower Club is a gi that keeps on giving for eight weeks. Gi Cer ficates are available. We can also custom design a membership, based on your schedule, please inquire. Either you, a family member or a friend can pick up your flowers, even if you are on vaca on.

Call 860-623-5925 or email if you have any quesƟons.

4 North Central News May 2017

Please return this form & payment to : Syme Family Farm LLC, Jennifer Syme, 72 Windsorville Road, Broad Brook, CT 06016 “Thanks for supporƟng local agriculture”- Jennifer Syme Name: ______________________________________________________________________________

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The budget would bring a 1.16 mill rate increase, bringing the tax rate to 32.09 mills, compared to the current 30.93 mill rate. A mill represents $1 in taxes for every $1,000 of assessed property value. Last year, the budget was passed after three referendums. If the budget had been defeated a third time, it would automatically have increased 2 percent over the current budget, according to the town charter, higher than the adopted budget’s 1.82 percent increase.

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East Windsor

“Titanic - The Musical” sets sail at Broad Brook Opera House

EAST WINDSOR - Opera House Players, Inc. presents “Titanic the Musical” at the Broad Brook Opera House, 107 Main St., Broad Brook, from May 5 through May 21 (Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.). Tickets are available by calling the box office at 860-292-6068 or visiting Tickets are $21 (adults) and $17 (under 12/over 60). Discounts are available for groups of 15 or more. Peter Stone, who wrote the book for the show, says, “The musical play

‘Titanic’ examines the causes, the conditions and the characters involved in this ever-fascinating drama. This is the factual story of that ship - of her officers, crew and passengers, to be sure - but she will not, as has happened so many times before, serve as merely the background against which fictional, melodramatic narratives are recounted. The central character of our Titanic is the Titanic herself.” This production of ‘Titanic’ features a cast of over 20 actors directed by area performer/director Sharon FitzHenry.

Safe Grad Committee Tag Sale

EAST WINDSOR - The East Windsor Safe Grad Committee is holding a Spring Tag Sale in the East Windsor High School cafeteria (76 South Main St., East Windsor) on Saturday, May 6 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The group is also collecting wearable and usable clothing, shoes, belts, handbags, household linens, stuffed animals, hard toys, baby accessories, and bicycles

for its clothing drive. Proceeds from the tag sale and clothing drive will benefit the 2017 EWHS Safe Grad Party in June. Donated items for the tag sale and clothing drive should be dropped off at the high school on Friday, May 5 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Contact Karen at 860872-3844 with questions.

Youth Center needs donations to go forward

EAST WINDSOR – The all-volunteer East Windsor Youth Center was established in 2015 to assist the town’s young people in the “danger hours” of the day, between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. The Youth Center has been open for two years on donations and many fundraisers for the benefit of the town’s youth. Thanks to businesses and people who have contributed, the center has operated without using tax dollars. Its operating costs are about $16,000 per year, which includes the usual operating expenses and about $3,000 in supplies, etc. With the dire economic times facing the town, the center’s request to

have $6,000 added to the town budget was eventually turned down. A request is being made for anyone who would be willing to donate $12 ($1 for a month or more) to assist the East Windsor Youth Center in its good work in the community. A check can be made payable to East Windsor Youth Center and sent to: Town of East Windsor Treasurer 11 Rye Street Broad Brook CT 06016 For details, call Wendy Parker, EWYC chairwoman, at 860-371-0367.

EAST WINDSOR – The Connecticut Trolley Museum in East Windsor will hold its second annual Fire Truck Show on Saturday, May 20. The Fire Truck Show will give visitors the opportunity to get up close and personal with all aspects of the firefighting industry including over 20 firetrucks to view. During your visit you will also learn more about the Fire Truck Museum collection along with local Fire Departments’ equipment and vehicles.

Don’t miss your opportunity to sit in a real firetruck, try on firemen’s turnout gear, watch fire hose demonstrations and take home a souvenir kids fire hat. Shaker Pines Fire Department will have on property its “Kid’s Smoke Trailer Simulator.” Shaker Pines will teach simulation drills of how to handle a fire in the home. NY Life will be on hand facilitating their child identification program for children.

Trolley Museum to hold Fire Truck Show

The Connecticut Trolley Museum 58 North Road, East Windsor, CT 06088 More info: 860-627-6540

Mother’s Day May 14th 10am - 4:30pm Moms and Grandmoms enter Free!

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HOMESCHOOLERS DAY June 1st from 10am - 3pm SPECIAL ACTIVITIES Trolley Rides Scavenger hunt while exploring the Museum Meeting Motorman Build your own Motorman Hat

May 2017 North Central News

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‘Around the Worlds, Around the World’ going strong


13 countries across four continents. Around the Worlds, Around the World (“Around the Worlds” is a soccer move) is now a recognized 501(c)(3) charity, and to Schirra it is much more than a tax-deduction incentive. While teaching the sport of soccer, Schirra has learned so much more himself. It has moved from a story about soccer to a story about humanity and one young man’s quest to make a mark in some way. “Soccer has been the focus, but I have tried to do more for the kids in terms of mentoring, tutoring, and just overall trying to show them that they matter,” Schirra said. He had seen stories of the plight of youth across the world, but never really understood it all until he was face to face with them. “I see these children who have been

By Deborah Stauffer

ELLINGTON - It has been well over a year since the first report on Ellington’s Stephen Schirra and his dream to bring soccer balls and his soccer program to children around the globe. When he first formed Around the Worlds, Around the World in 2015, Schirra set a goal to give out 1,000 soccer balls. He placed collection boxes around town, dealt with some resistance and criticism, but forged ahead to reach and surpass that goal in his first year. Schirra’s first soccer workshop was in Lima, Peru on Aug. 27, 2015. Since then, he has hand delivered 1,090 soccer balls along with countless shirts, jerseys, goal sets and other equipment and has taught soccer to over 3,200 children from 66 different organizations spanning

given absolutely nothing in life, kids who have been dealt the most unfair hands I’ve ever seen, yet they still manage to approach life with such optimism and joy, dreaming far greater than their circumstances dictate they can or should,” he said. Traveling around the world has given Schirra a different perspective. It’s hard for him to complain when children play soccer in their bare feet on a makeshift field covered with sharp rocks and glass only so they won’t damage the one nice pair of dress shoes they own for their school uniform. He’s seen students give their last cookie or cracker to another youth when he knew they were just as hungry. “It humbles you. You carry those lessons of humanity back with you into your life and your routine,” Schirra said. “How can we ever complain about our own problems when there are others out there struggling to barely survive day after day?” After the goal of 1,000 soccer balls

given away was reached, Schirra took a step back to see what was next. After a break that made him anxious to get back to work, he set a new goal of teaching soccer to 10,000 children from 25 different countries. He also has expanded from instruction to “construction” and dreams of building soccer fields at orphanages, schools and shelters. To donate to the Around the Worlds, Around the World organization or to the scholarship, or to see what Stephen has been doing, visit the website at
     (860) 871‐3064 

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Annual town meeting will decide $57.1 million budget


By Linda Tishler Levinson

ELLINGTON -- The proposed $57,110,601 budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year will be discussed at the May 9 Annual Town Meeting. The proposed budget is an increase of $1.748,299 or 3.16 percent over the current budget. It would bring a tax rate of 31.7 mills, a 1.2 mill or 3.95 percent increase. A mill represents $1 in tax for every $1,000 of assessed property value. The budget includes $18,819,428 for general government, an increase of $942,517 or 5.27 percent over the current spending plan; $1,419,204 for capital outlay, an increase of $33,562 or 2.24 percent; and $38,871,969, an increase of $772,220 or 2.14 percent. “We’ve made a lot of cuts,” First Selectman Lori Spielman said, adding she does not want to jeopardize the qual-

ity of the town’s roads or other town facilities or services. The Annual Town Meeting will be held at 8 p.m. May 9 at Ellington High School. The budget referendum is scheduled for 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. May 16.

High school art show

ELLINGTON - Join Ellington High School at its EHS Art Show featuring art from Ellington High School students. This event runs from May 5 to May 30 at the Hall Memorial Library in Ellington. On Thursday, May 25 there will be an induction of the newest members of the National Art Honor Society from 6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., with a reception before from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Both are open to the public. Come enjoy what Ellington High has to offer and support budding artists.


Retail changing for large malls (continued from page 1)

with people that you know.” Corcione said smaller, local businesses have a following, since people like to shop where they live and work. “People like to get out of their homes,” said Patrick McMahon, Suffield director of economic development. “People like the personal contact. Mom and pops will always be around.” Mark Pellegrini, Windsor Locks economic development coordinator, agreed, saying most retailers in Windsor Locks are small and those businesses are not as affected by competition from online shopping. “I don’t think they’re as dependent on large markets to support their businesses,” he said. Jim Richards, executive director of the East Windsor Chamber of Commerce, said the town’s largest retailer is Wal Mart, and that seems to be doing well, as are the town’s other chain businesses around the airport. He said the town is working to develop the Warehouse Point area and looking at ways to take advantage of development around the Windsor Locks train


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Week 1: June 26-30 Hooray for Summer Good Old Fashioned Fun Featuring: Music, Art Education, Week 2: July 3-7 Closed July 4 AMERICAN MUSEUM WEEK A time to Creative Movement, Literature, celebrate American artists and composers Discovery, Drama, Outdoor Week 3: July 10-14 Amazing Animals Learn about some of your favorite Activities, Field Trips animals - past and present, while we share adventures in story, song and art Field Trip, July 12 - Southwick Zoo Week 4: July 17-21 Messy Art A time to explore different ways to create the next masterpiece! Week 5: July 24-28 Once Upon a Time Fairytales to explore and act Field Trip, July28 to Stafford for a play - The Return of the Glass Slipper Week 6: July 31-August 4 Wonderful Wings Butterflies to birds Week 7: August 7-11 Junior Scientist Week Exploring and Experimenting Week 8: August 14-18 Jurassic Park A time to explore fossils, rocks and dinosaurs Field Trip, August 16 - Nevers Park Week 9: August 21-25 Island Week (all Week) at Early Beginnings August 21-23 (Mon. through Wed.) only at Tolland and Ellington PSA The culmination of our summer fun will be a: Thursday, August 24 FAMILY LUAU at 684 Tolland Stage Rd., Tolland



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station. He added the proposed East Windsor casino would help retailers as well. “My hope is that the state would approve the casino,” he said, adding it would be an incubator for businesses, not only for East Windsor but for the region. While business leaders say small businesses are surviving online competition, shopping malls have been affected. “Certainly, we’ve had our challenges,” said Marty Pelosi, general manager of the Enfield Square mall, but they are working to find new ways to attract people to the mall, he said. In the last year, Enfield Square has spent a lot on mall improvements, including heating and cooling systems, interior and exterior upgrades and landscaping. Also, while the mall has felt the effects of losing a couple of anchor stores, “We’ve been surprised by the level of interest,” Pelosi said. He noted they are beginning construction for Party City. Pelosi said the future of retail, particularly for indoor malls, is best described as “changing.”

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MAY 20, 2017 10:00 AM


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12 North Central News May 2017

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May2017NCN13-20.qxp_NCN new template 5/1/17 6:30 AM Page 13


ACC Hosts Female Pakistani Educators

Representatives from the Community College Administrator's Pakistan Project joined together in a photo with Asnuntuck Community College President James Lombella and Dean of Continuing Education and Workforce Development Eileen Peltier during a recent visit to the college. Photo by Julie Cotnoir Delivery Locally Loc o ally & World Wide

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Protect Your Privacy

ENFIELD - The Enfield Public Library on Monday, May 8, presents Techo Topic-Protecting Your Privacy Online. The Internet is an amazing place filled with predators who will try just about anything to steal your information. Reference Librarian Sam will give you the basic information and tools on how to protect your privacy online. Drop by Monday, May 8, at 7 p.m. for this informative class.

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Saturday, May 6 • 7:30-10:30 PM MY OLD SCHOOL BAND

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including the under construction 27,000 square foot Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center, and received an overview of the Connecticut community college system, from ACC’s President and Deans. The group visited an advertising class and also learned about the college's medical assisting and esthetics programs. This is the fourth and final delegation of higher education administrators from Pakistan to participate in this program. This time, uniquely, the group of 20-21 administrators was all women.

May 2017 North Central News

• Complete Spring & Fall Clean Ups • Thatching • Lawn Cutting • Edging & Weeding • Pruning of Shrubs • Specializing in Overseeding/Slitseeding


ENFIELD - The Community College Administrator's Pakistan Project, in which Holyoke Community College, the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and the Institute for Training and Development in Amherst work to orient Pakistani higher education administrators to the United States community college system, brought a Pakistani delegation, largely from technical institutes, to Asnuntuck Community College (ACC) this month. As an enhancement to the program, the U.S. State Department suggested that the group, who visited Holyoke Community College, Springfield Technical Community College, Greenfield Community College, Berkshire Community College, Roxbury Community College, Bunker Hill Community College, as well as UMass Amherst and City College of New York, visit another New England community college, to learn about the differences in the state systems. Asnuntuck was selected to be the college included in the tour. The group toured the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center,

May2017NCN13-20.qxp_NCN new template 5/1/17 6:30 AM Page 14

We believe that dentistry is all about

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Solid Retirement and Estate Planning by a Registered and Accredited Investment Fiduciary. 14 North Central News May 2017

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Securities and Investment Advisory Services offered through National Planning Corporation. NPC is a Member of FINRA & SIPC and a Registered Investment Adviser. Kent Retirement Planning Services, LLC and NPC are separate and unrelated companies.

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Anniversary Appreciation Sale! Celebrating 5 Years in Business! Buy One Blind or Shade & Get One 50% off!!* Locally Owned and Operated

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16 North Central News May 2017

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860.265.3900 Visit our Showroom: 21A South Road (Route 83), Somers, CT Open Monday-Friday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. • Saturday’s by Appt.

May2017NCN13-20.qxp_NCN new template 5/1/17 6:30 AM Page 17

Create a perfect outdoor escape in your yard Home Improvement Guide

Less is more, sometimes As fun as it is to design for new things, subtraction is often where the real opportunity is hiding. Make a tired space feel new again by donating, repurposing or storing items that simply don’t serve a purpose or add anything visually. Rethinking arrangements There’s more to design than placing chairs around a table or fire pit. Striking the right balance takes some thought. Incorporating strong elements of symmetry and repetition can do as much toward establishing a relaxing, inviting tone as an eclectic playlist or perfectly plated appetizers. Identifying the focal point is a key early step. Often in backyard settings, it’s a permanent feature, such as a particular view, landscape design or fire pit. When this isn’t an option, or if the area serves a specific purpose such as Adding flourishes of color to outdoor furnishing sets can be a great way of helping dining, furniture can be used to create to create a perfect outdoor escape right in your own backyard. the same conversational effect. (StatePoint) — If there’s anything better than heating up the grill and chilling drinks with close friends late into a summer evening, it’s decorating the space in which it all takes place. As with

all things summer, refreshing your outdoor space calls for a simple, relaxed approach. Here are a few ideas for making a quick splash.

Color and pattern Most permanent fixtures and large outdoor furniture pieces trend traditional. Adding flourishes with vibrant contrasting seat cushions and boldly patterned throw pillows is a quick way to express personality. Lighten up One of the easiest ways to dramatically enhance an outdoor setting is often overlooked — lighting. Good lighting boosts safety and security. And a thoughtful approach can be transformative — from illuminating paths through the backyard to setting a relaxing tone for a patio. Many solutions, such as higher-voltage lighting systems, call for a contractor’s expertise. To keep it simple, solar is the way to go. Just make sure the photovoltaic cell is positioned to collect maximum sunlight during the day so it’s ready to shine through the night.




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May2017NCN13-20.qxp_NCN new template 5/1/17 6:30 AM Page 19

Home Improvement Guide Prepare your home for wicked weather (StatePoint) — Wicked weather can happen anytime, anywhere. Being prepared will offer you, your family and your home greater protection. Here is what to know. Take shelter Oftentimes, the safest place to be during a storm is at home or in a designated shelter, depending on the storm’s severity. That said, it’s important to know more about how your home was constructed. Keep in mind that new homes are subject to regional safety standards to help ensure they can stand up to extreme conditions likely to occur in the area. So, if you live in an older home, consider retrofitting it with newer products that are more resistant to

high winds. If you live in a manufactured home, you can rest easier knowing that your home was subject to robust compliance and quality assurance regulations enacted by the federal government in 1976, and was engineered for wind safety and energy efficiency based on the geographic region in which you bought it. Even so, proper installation is crucial for maximum safety, including additional structures added by the homeowner, such as an awning, deck, carport or sunroom. Indeed, a 2014 Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety test found that newer manufactured homes performed better at high winds than traditional-built homes when attached structures are properly installed.

The Manufactured Housing Institute says the building design criteria and anchoring systems for modern manufactured homes allow them to perform better in a storm than ones built before 1976, and that federal wind standards became even stronger in 1994. It’s also a good idea to have a professional check the anchoring system on an older manufactured home, especially one built prior to 1976. If you live in a manufactured home land-lease community, contact your community manager for assistance with identifying a qualified inspector. If your manufactured home is located on private property, a local licensed manufactured home installer can be hired to inspect the home’s anchoring and tie-down system.

May 2017 North Central News


May2017NCN13-20.qxp_NCN new template 5/1/17 6:30 AM Page 20

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MAY2017NCN21-28.qxp_NCN new template 5/1/17 6:16 AM Page 21

Some shortcuts to a better lawn Home Improvement Guide

For homeowners looking to create a more inviting outdoor living space, it all starts with a beautiful, lush lawn. But without the right routines and tools, achieving and maintaining a topquality yard can be time consuming. One of the best ways to save time and get the lawn you want is to invest in better lawn care tools.

Now is a great time to take stock of the tools in your garage. “If you’re spending more time than you’d like maintaining your lawn, you might consider some key equipment upgrades,” says Jamie Briggs, product manager at Exmark, a manufacturer of mowers and other lawn care equipment. “Choosing the right mower is more

than just an investment to beautify your property,” Briggs said. “A newer, faster mower will give you more free time to enjoy the outdoor living space you’ve worked so hard to create.” Here are some insights about what to look for when replacing an older mower with a newer, more efficient model.

• Maneuverability: The ability to easily maneuver between flowerbeds, trees and other landscape features allows you to mow closer to these features. By being able to do that, you’ll spend less time with a string trimmer.

• Cut quality: Some mowers deliver a better quality of cut than others. It’s one factor to consider when upgrading your mower, especially with respect to

Your Next Sweep Exp. 8/31/17


the type of grass of your lawn.

• Durability: Look for features with increased durability, such as welded, fabricated cutting decks, commercial engines, hydro drive systems and heavy-duty welded, tubular steel unibody frames. Briggs recommends homeowners take a look at the equipment used by the professionals.

“Landscape professionals earn their living efficiently maintaining beautiful properties. It’s safe to say the zero-turn riding mower has become their tool of choice,” he says. This season, give yourself more time and energy to enjoy the outdoor living space you’ve created, with an upgrade to newer, faster tools.

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24 North Central News May 2017

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HARRY A. STARR AND SON Siding • Roofing • Windows Since 1920 80 Billings Rd, Somers, CT



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*Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) effective as of the date of this publication and are subject to change. Available for Connecticut and Massachusetts owner-occupied 1-4 family houses and condos with combined loan-to-values up to 80%. Repayment Example based on loan amount of $25,000: 3 Year Home Equity Loan–36 monthly payments of $713.00. Property insurance required. Minimum amount of $10,000. Loans over $200,000 subject to closing costs. Subject to credit approval. NMLS ID 472578

May 2017 North Central News

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MAY2017NCN21-28.qxp_NCN new template 5/1/17 6:16 AM Page 26

Pr Precisio Precisi Precis Preci Prec Pre Precision I Im Ima Imag Image Landscaping L Lands Land Lan a Services Landscapin Landscapi Landscap Landsca Landsc S Se Ser Serv Servi Servic Service Let us do your homework


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26 North Central News May 2017

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MAY2017NCN21-28.qxp_NCN new template 5/1/17 6:16 AM Page 27

Town manager seeks 3.4 percent increase for town budget


By Linda Tishler Levinson

ENFIELD -- The town manager is seeking a $133,406,554 budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year. Town Manager Bryan Chodkowski presented his budget to the Town Council March 31. The budget proposal represents an increase of $4,382,441 or 3.4 percent. The proposed spending plan would bring a mill rate of 31.86, an increase of

1 mill. A mill represents $1 in tax for every $1,000 of assessed property value. The budget proposal includes $63,717,369 for the town, an increase of $2,319,351 or 3.78 percent, and $69,689,185 for the Board of Education, an increase of 2,063,090 or 3.05 percent. The council is scheduled to adopt a budget on May 15. New school superintendent The Board of Education voted April 5

to name Christopher Drezek superintendent of schools beginning July. Superintendent of Schools Jeffrey Schumann plans to retire on that date. Drezek’s career with the Enfield Public Schools began as the district’s business manager in 2004, according to a written release. He left briefly to become director of human resources and operations for the Wethersfield Board of Education, returning to Enfield in 2010 to serve as the district’s director of human resources. In 2012, he became deputy superintendent of schools. Drezek earned his superintendent of schools advanced certificate and sixth year in educational leadership from Central Connecticut State University, master’s of education degree from the

University of Bridgeport, and a bachelor of science degree from Post University. Drezek and his wife, Alisa, are lifelong state residents and have two daughters, Olivia and Samantha. Andrew Longey, who currently is the principal of Enfield High School, will be promoted to deputy superintendent on July 1 Erin Clark, who has served as an assistant principal at Enfield High School since 2014, will be promoted to principal.

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Barrows Chimney Cleaning & Masonry The highest of quality at an affordable price

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May 2017 North Central News

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28 North Central News May 2017

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May2017NCN29-40.qxp_NCN new template 5/1/17 7:11 AM Page 30


TURN TUR TU YOUR YOU YO Y TRASH T TR TRA TRAS INTO I IN INT CASH! C CA CAS CASH Highest High Hig Hi Highes Highe P Pr Pri Pric Price Prices P Pa Pai Paid F Fo For Junk Cars And Scrap Metal SA SAM SAME DAY D PICK DA P PI PIC UP U FOR F YOUR FO Y YO YOU JUNK J JU JUN CAR C CA , We Sell Motors uto Glass, Etc... ,A Transmissions

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May2017NCN29-40.qxp_NCN new template 5/1/17 7:11 AM Page 31

Board of Education appoints new superintendent of schools


SOMERS - At its April 4 meeting, the Somers Board of Education unanimously appointed Brian P. Czapla as the new Superintendent of Schools starting July 1. He will be replacing Dr. Maynard Suffredini, who is retiring after 10 years of service as the Somers Superintendent. Czapla emerged as the top candidate from a strong field of 25 applicants. Somers Board of Education Chairman Bruce Devlin said, “Out of all the candidates, Brian was the clear choice to lead Somers Public Schools. He has extensive leadership experience, the ability to develop collaborative relationships in a kind and thoughtful manner, and a student-focused philosophy that will ensure Somers Public Schools

continues to build on all its successes while providing our students with a high-quality education.” Czapla has been a successful administrator at Glastonbury Public Schools for 18 years, serving as the Director of Educational Technology for the past 12. In this role, he has been responsible for coordinating the development of the district budget, fiscal management, technology integration, policy and governance, curriculum, professional development, program administration, strategic planning, data analytics, and community programming. He has facilitated numerous impactful instructional strategies including one of the first one-to-one technology initiatives in Connecticut.


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He is known as an effective leader who establishes respectful partnerships with staff and the community in support of student learning. Glastonbury Superintendent Alan B. Bookman has high praise for Czapla, saying, “Brian has been instrumental and influential in numerous academic and operational projects. He has been performing the duties of an assistant superintendent the past 12 years without the formal title. Somers is very fortunate to have such a dynamic superintendent. We will miss him terribly.” Czapla said he is “honored, excited and humbled” to be joining Somers Public Schools. “Somers has a rich history of excellence, innovation, high standards and public support,” he said. “I eagerly look forward to working with this exceptional team of students, staff, parents, Board of Education and community members as we continue the Somers tradition of excellence.” Czapla received his Bachelors Degree from Providence College and his Masters and advanced degrees from

Central Connecticut State University. He started his career as a high school math teacher in Region 8 and taught in Hartford and Bristol. His first administrative role was in Windsor Locks as a middle school assistant principal. Czapla has received numerous awards and recognition including the National Districts of Distinction Award, Connecticut Assistant Principal of the Year, an Central Connecticut State University Outstanding Alumni Leadership Award.

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May2017NCN29-40.qxp_NCN new template 5/1/17 7:11 AM Page 32

Library displaying the best artwork of Somers students


By John Godleski

SOMERS - The Somers Public Library will be hosting artwork from some of the best and brightest that Somers Public Schools has to offer as they host the District Art Show. The show will feature a wide variety of samplings from Somers students, grades K12, in an even wider variety of mediums. Speaking with Paul Dailey, who teaches art at Somers Elementary School, he said that those who attend can expect to see those mediums range from two dimensional drawings, paintings, and collages to three dimensional sculptures, wire art, ceramics, computer

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designs, and weavings. Spanning across multiple rooms in the Somers Public Library, the pieces being exhibited were selected to celebrate student achievements in the arts. According to Dailey, the students “followed the Somers Art curriculum including making connections with other cultures� and all the pieces “emphasized the elements of art and design.� Last year the turnout was high, with 400 people signing the guest book over the period of a week, an achievement made possible with the help of Jessica Miller, the new director of the Somers Public Library. 

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SOMERS - The Friends of the Somers Library and the Library Board invite you to meet Library Director Jessica Miller, Wednesday, May 31, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Somers

Public Library Blake Room. Light refreshments will be served. The library is located at 2 Vision Boulevard in the education complex in Somers.

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May2017NCN29-40.qxp_NCN new template 5/1/17 7:11 AM Page 33

Residents will vote on the proposed $32.2M town budget


By Linda Tishler Levinson

SOMERS - Residents will vote on the proposed $32,232,993 budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year in the May 9 budget referendum. The proposed budget represents an increase of 2.67 percent or $836,952 over the current spending plan. “Both the Boards of Selectmen and Education have done their best to maintain essential service levels while dealing with significant cuts in town and educa-

tion aid from the State,” the Board of Finance said in the town budget flyer. The proposed budget would bring an increase of 1.25 mills to the current mill rate of 24.22, bringing the new mill rate to 25.47. A mill represents $1 in tax for every $1,000 of assessed property value. The Finance Board said its members feel the cuts to municipal aid proposed by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy shift the state’s financial burden to the cities and towns.

The proposed budget includes $22,558,627 for the Board of Education, an increase of $543,768 or 2.47 percent; $7,756,421 for town government, an increase of $345,572 or 4.66 percent; $250,000 for capital improvements, the same as the current year; and $1,667,945 for debt service, a decrease of $52,388 or 3.05 percent. The budget referendum will be from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. May 9 in the Town Hall auditorium.

Budget Blinds of Enfield celebrates fifth anniversary in business SOMERS - Budget Blinds of Enfield is proud to celebrate five years in business, bringing shop-at-home services to Enfield and surrounding towns. The company, which has been in business since May 2012, offers a wide range of custom window treatments including blinds, plantation shutters, shades and drapes. Budget Blinds also offers window coverings for the commercial space. The opening of the Showroom in

2014 on Route 83 in Somers has made it convenient for customers to come in and see over 30 window treatments in one place. Laurie Mongillo, owner, says, “Budget Blinds has always been a leader in providing window covering solutions for every homeowners’ needs, such as child safety, motorization and energy efficiency. Owning a company that helps transform and enhance a person’s home and their life is a very rewarding job.” The Budget Blinds concept is unique



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in that consumers can schedule free inhome consultations. Using a comprehensive collection of sample books, Budget Blinds Style Consultants bring the showroom into a consumer’s home so they can better determine what works best with their existing decor. They also provide complete measuring and installation services backed by a no questions asked product warranty. This complete approach creates a one-stop shop for everything window coverings. An additional element that makes the Budget Blinds franchise system unique is that it serves national and local commercial clients through its commercial division, BB Commercial Solutions (BBCS). BBCS is uniquely attuned to specific industry needs – from restaurants to retail stores, hotels to schools –

the division and its network of franchisees provide quality window treatments to any type of business or institution. “With brands like BBCS and the Inspired Drapes Collection, Budget Blinds is able to meet the window covering needs of any client, whether they are a home or business owner,” Mongillo says. “It’s all about helping customers improve and beautify their homes and places of business by providing quality window treatments in a most convenient manner and backed by exceptional service.” To learn more about Budget Blinds serving Enfield and surrounding towns and to schedule your free consultation, please call 860-265-3900 or visit

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May2017NCN29-40.qxp_NCN new template 5/1/17 7:11 AM Page 34

Stafford Library plans varied programs, displays in May


STAFFORD – The following programs are taking place at Stafford Public Library, 10 Levinthal Run, Stafford Springs. All events are free and open to the publc, but it request pre-registration by by calling 860-684-2852 or visiting Stafford school children will have their artwork on display throughout the library during the month of May. Stop in and enjoy the students’ art. Rhyme Time - Mondays at 10 a.m. for children 0-2 years old. Enjoy rhymes, songs, finger plays & board books followed by a short playtime. Families welcome. Teddy Bear Time - Tuesdays at 10 a.m. for children 2 years and up. Enjoy rhymes, songs, finger plays & stories followed by a short craft. Families welcome.

Animal Story Time - Wednesdays at 3:30 p.m. Enjoy stories, rhymes, songs, finger plays, and puppets. You may have a visit from an animal friend! Families welcome. Sensory Story Time - First Saturday of each month at 10:30 a.m. On May 6, special guest musical therapist, Renee Coro: with music, movement, finger plays, & stories. Families welcome. Lego Club - First Saturday of each month at 1 p.m. for all ages. Legos provided. Come and create! Mother-to-Mother - Fridays at 11 a.m. A group where moms can support each other, share information and enjoy one another’s company. Moms with children of all ages are welcome and also pregnant moms-to-be. Children are welcome. Saturday @ the Movies - Saturday, May 6 at 2 p.m. “A Dog’s Purpose” Rated

PG-13. Open Artist Studio - Monday, May 8 from 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. Make a special artwork for a mom in your life. This program is for teens and adults. Call to register. Mad Science - Monday, May 15 at 6 p.m. Science of Super Heroes-Discover superpowers: flight, invisibility and how to walk up walls. Call to register. Discover Stafford through Photography Class – Saturday, May 13 from 1 p.m.-3 p.m. This class is taught by Kitty Schooley and made possible by a FY2017 Regional Initiative Grant. Community Event-end-of-life-education-Doula Level 1 Training – Saturday, May 20 from 12-4 p.m. Presented by My Last Gift and led by Doulagivers Trainer

Dawn Whelan, Certified End-of-Life Doula. This End-of-Life caregiver training is free. For additional information please contact Dawn M. Whelan at 860-3929540 or at Please pre-register. Container Gardening – Thursday, May 25 at 7 p.m. Presentation will be given by Charlie Guinipero. Sponsored by the Stafford Garden Club and the Friends of the Stafford Library. Saturday @ the Movies - May 27 at 11 a.m. “Arrival” Rated PG-13. Memorial Day - Library is closed Monday, May 29. Library Book Club - Wednesday, May 31 at 6:30 p.m., we will discuss “The Devil’s Rooming House” by M. William Phelps.

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May2017NCN29-40.qxp_NCN new template 5/1/17 7:18 AM Page 35

New budget doesn’t add programs


By Linda Tishler Levinson

STAFFORD — Town officials say the proposed budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year concentrates on maintaining town services at the current level, not adding new programs. “This year’s budget concentrates on continuing basic services, maintaining infrastructure and continuing to fund road maintenance. There are no new initiatives in town services because we recognize this is not the economic time to add any new spending and we need to make do mostly with what we have,” officials said in a letter to taxpayers. The proposed $40,820,229 budget is an increase of $902,995 or 2.26 percent over the current spending plan. The budget would bring a mill rate of

34.49 mills, a tax increase of 0.98 mills over the current 33.51 mill rate. A mill represents $1 in tax for every $1,000 of assessed property value. For a house assessed at $130,000, taxes would rise $127 from $4,356 per year to $4,484 per year. The proposed budget includes $10,291,896 for the Board of Selectmen, an increase of $464,585 or 4.73 percent; $538,183 for the Stafford Public Library, an increase of $3,748 or 0.7 percent; $2,184,150 for debt service, an increase of $2,086 or 0.1 percent; and $27,806,000 for the Board of Education, an increase of $432,576 or 1.58 percent. The budget referendum will be held from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. May 10 at the library.

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SHS principal waxes legs in challenge Devon LaBua pictured with Stafford High School principal Marco Pelliccia. STAFFORD - Principal Marco Pelliccia challenged the students in the Class of 2018 at Stafford High School to beat the Class of 2009 on its Connecticut Academic Performance Test scores, which previously had held a record for the best scores in school history. The class accepted his challenge and the result was that Stafford’s scores on the 2015-2016 Connecticut Academic Performance Test put Stafford scoring well above the state average, ranking Stafford High School No. 1 in its District Reference Group. In the spring of 2016, Pelliccia met

with students prior to the testing and they brainstormed reward ideas for success. One student, Devon LaBua, suggested a waxing of Pelliccia’s legs if the students did well. Pelliccia agreed to the challenge as well as a class field trip. So during a class assembly on March 30, Pelliccia held true to his word and allowed Karine, owner of C’est La Vie Day Spa in Glastonbury, to smooth hot wax on his legs as the class watched with excitement. Fortunately for Pelliccia, the waxing was not as painful as everyone anticipated it would be.



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36 North Central News May 2017

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May2017NCN29-40.qxp_NCN new template 5/1/17 7:11 AM Page 37

Voters will decide fate of proposed $55.6M town budget


By Linda Tishler Levinson

SUFFIELD — Voters will decide on a proposed $55,669,264 town budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year at the May 10 town meeting. The proposed budget is a decrease of 3.09 percent or $1,776,406 less than the current year’s spending plan. The proposal includes $34,611,844 for the Board of Education, an increase of 1.11 percent or $381,601; $2,809,804 for debt service, an increase of 8.73 percent or $225,629; $2,516,024 for capital expenditures, a decrease of 43.18 percent or $1,911,832; $360,000 for contingency, which remains unchanged; $178,771 for transfer to other post-employment benefits, a decrease

Ask George About Tech Issues

SUFFIELD - Ask George is taking appointments for tech issues on Saturdays, May 6 and 20 at the Kent Memorial Library. Please register for the appointments at 10, 10:45 or 11:30 a.m. George, a whiz at solving computer and smartphone problems, is a middle school student in Suffield. If you have trouble with viruses, gaming issues, email, browsers and even how to download e-books, George will be here to answer questions for adults and kids. To register, call the library at 860668-3896 or register online at

of 67.41 percent or $369,827; no expenditure for transfer to the open space fund, a decrease of 100 percent or $250,000; $15,192,821 for general government operations, an increase of 0.98 percent or $148,023. According to the town budget handout, the spending plan was proposed based on the latest available information on state funding. “There are many changes in the State Aid as presented in the proposed State budget by Governor Malloy. These changes include requiring the town to pay towards the pension payments for Teachers Retirement, the amount allocated to Suffield is $1,860,799. There are also proposals to change the Special Education Grant Funding and the Education Cost Sharing.The funding for the Payment in Lieu of

Taxes (PILOT) and the Pequot/Mohegan Grants have also been reduced,” the handout states. The proposed budget would bring a mill rate of 28.89 mills an increase of 0.69 mills. A mill represents $1 in tax for every $1,000 of assessed property value. There was a decrease in the net collectible grand list of 0.22 percent during the current tax year. The taxes on a home with a market value of $300,000 and assessed value of $210,000 are $5,922. With the proposed budget, the taxes on a home with a market value of $300,000 and an assessed value of $210,000 would have taxes of $6,067, an increase of $145. The public hearing on the budget was held April 26. The town meeting on the budget will be held at 7 p.m. May 10 at Suffield High School.

SUFFIELD - Spring is a busy time for all of us, but the Suffield Garden Club is especially busy this spring. Members are getting ready for their annual May Market fundraiser at the Hatheway Barn on Saturday of Mother’s Day weekend. Many local vendors will return this year, and new vendors from theregion will be set up in the barn and barnyard. All sorts of peren-

nials, herbs, shrubs, flower baskets, and garden ornaments, crafts, collectibles and baked goods will be offered. This popular event attracts people from all over the region. Don’t miss it. It’s at Phelps-Hatheway Barn, 55 South Main St., Suffield on  Saturday, May 13, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Suffield Garden Club plans May Market

May 2017 North Central News


May2017NCN29-40.qxp_NCN new template 5/1/17 7:11 AM Page 38

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All classified ads are 30 words or less, no logos. Price is $24.95 for text only or $29.95 boxed. Checks and classified copy can be sent to North Central News, P.O. Box 427, Somers, CT 06072. Email: for more info. DEADLINE for JUNE is Weds, May 31, 2017

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May2017 North Central News  

Future of regional retail pondered; budget updates, home improvement guide, Chili Fest, Kielbasa Fest. Town, school, parks and rec, senior,...

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