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Volume 19, Number 46 Serving Durham, Middlefield and Rockfall

Student project turns out to be good for community

Photo by Diana Carr

Local photographer Jen Schulten with photographs for a student-senior project she orchestrated. By Diana Carr Special to Town Times They may have been nervous when they walked in, not knowing what to expect, but the sixth graders walked out smiling. It had been a day of hugs and open hearts and hands reaching across the years to bring two generations together. It all began last April

when Jen Schulten, of Middlefield, a portrait and freelance photographer, was taking pictures of Memorial School students for their 1830s Day (as the name implies, they live a day reminiscent of the 1830s, including dressing in the garb of that era), and was thinking how nice it would be to conSee Project, page 16

Project Graduation committee continues safe celebration tradition By Mark Dionne Town Times This June, Project Graduation will throw a celebration for graduating Coginchaug students for the 24th year in a row, thanks to the efforts of parent volunteers. Started in 1990 as a way to reduce the risks of teen drinking and driving, Project Graduation will host the CRHS 2013 senior class at Quassy Amusement Park for an all-night party combining rides, a DJ, food, games and prizes. As described by Project Graduation Committee President Cris Donovan, the celebration begins on the night of graduation when seniors gather back at CRHS. “They’re all together in the gym one last time. They come through the front door to music and a community sendoff.” The seniors are bused to the park for the substancefree party, where they will have access to the rides and a pavilion dedicated to the CRHS graduating class. The night will also be filled with activities like volleyball,

Durham to update sign regulations By Mark Dionne The Town Times

regulated. “It’s very important that we hear from all of you. What works and what doesn’t?” said P&Z’s Joe Pasquale. Both DeFelice and Town Planner Geoffrey Colegrove compared regulating signs to being on a tightrope between business and other parties. “We’re interested in what perks people’s interest in stopping,” said Colegrove, who noted that

whiffle ball in the dark, game show contests, and Texas Hold ‘Em. Late into the night or early in the morning, depending on how you look at it, prizes will be raffled off. Seniors start the night with prize tickets and earn or win more depending on their skill at things like trivia and poker. While hesitant to reveal too much about the prizes, Donovan does note that there are impressive items donated. “We carry all this stuff up in a big van,” Donovan said. To foot the bill for the party, Project Graduation runs multiple fundraising efforts throughout the school year and makes direct appeals to CRHS parents. “[T]his parent organized committee receives no funding from the school budget,” declares the letter to parents in bold type. “We’re a very small committee. We work very hard to pull this off,” Donovan said. Repeating some of the

fundraising events from the past, Project Graduation hosted comedian Dave Riley in October, held a Zumbathon in January, and will bring in hypnotist Dan LaRosa on March 22, sell Mother’s Day Flowers in the Strong School parking lot on May 11-12 and wash cars the first weekend in June.

See Graduation, page 2

Photo courtesy of Project Graduation

Some of the CRHS class of 2012 throw their hands in the air on Quassy Amusement Park’s Wooden Warrior roller coaster at last year’s party.

In this issue ... Calendar ..........................6 Government ....................8 Obituaries .....................18

Schools...........................14 Seniors...........................11 Sports.............................22

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“There’s an entire chapter of Planning and Zoning that deals with signs,” Frank DeFelice told a recent meeting of the Economic Development Commission and a handful of Main Street business owners. “There’s room for improvement,” noted DeFelice, who serves on the Planning and Zoning subcommittee that deals with signs and will make recommendations for updates.

One of the Main Street business owners at the meeting, the Core Club’s Cheryl Salva, told officials that businesses depended on their signs. “If you want us to be around, we need to be able to do some things,” Salva said. “I think people going through town would rather see businesses thriving rather than ‘For Rent,’ ‘For Sale,’ or ‘Going Out Of Business.’” The size of the signs, how signs are illuminated, and temporary (sandwich board) signs are among the issues

Friday, Februar y 22, 2013


See Sign, page 2


Town Times — Friday, February 22, 2013

Sign Continued from page 1

Durham Village’s individual signs were not necessarily legible “at 30 miles per hour.” Durham’s sign regulations are available at the Planning & Zoning page of Durham’s website ( under “zoning regulations.” The five and a half pages of current regulations cover both commercial and residential zones and provide details for things like campaign signs,

gas station signs, and sandwich boards. Brenda Eddy of Brenda’s Main Street Feed questioned the enforcement of current regulations, saying, “You haven’t enforced the ones that are already there.” The sign subcommittee was expected to hold a special meeting on Thursday, Feb. 21, at the Durham Public Library to discuss new ideas for the sign regulations. Look for an update in an upcoming issue.

Corrections We strive to bring you the most accurate information available each week, but if you see something in Town Times that is incorrect, give us a call at (203) 317-2448, and we’ll do our best to make things right.

Index of Advertisers To advertise in The Town Times, call (203) 317-2313

On Feb. 22, local magician and comedian Chris Hurlbert will perform in the CRHS auditorium. Doors open at 6:30 for the 7 p.m. performance. “His show was a huge hit last year,” said Donovan, who adds that the Magic of Christopher show is targeted to the grammar and middle school-aged, but everyone will enjoy it. Project Graduation has also constructed a decorative tree at the high school called the One Safe Night Donor Tree. For family and friends of students, Donovan said, “You can buy different leaves with a saying for your graduate.” One of the other efforts Donovan is working on this year is recruiting parents to work on the Project Graduation Committee. Given the nature of the event, most of the volunteers are parents of seniors, which makes it tricky to pass along experience. Donovan emphasized that parents of any students can join the committee, not just senior parents. “We’re looking for new parents to join our committee to carry on the tradition,” said Donovan, who welcomes questions about Project Graduation or inter-

Photo courtesy of Project Graduation

Members of the Project Graduation committee gather at last year’s country-themed celebration. Committee president Cris Donovan hopes to add new members to this year’s team. est from potential volunteers at





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Friday, February 22, 2013 — Town Times


THANKYOU A letter of appreciation from George Kyriacou, President & CEO of Gaylord Specialty Healthcare

Dear Gaylord employees, I am writing to express my appreciation for the dedication of our staff during the recent, historic storm. As impressive as this storm was, the dedication of our staff was even more impressive. 1WTGORNQ[GGU TGRQTVGF VQ YQTM QP (TKFC[ CPF OCP[ EQWNF PQV NGCXG WPVKN 5WPFC[ 6JG[ RWV VJG PGGFU QH QWT RCVKGPVU òTUV CPF worked to create a safe environment for all. They took on new roles as they helped cook, shovel, and bathe patients. Several of you battled the elements to come in having to walk in waist-high snow for a mile or more. This is truly an example of the Gaylord spirit. Gaylord and its patients are beholden to the employees who stayed throughout the storm. Thank you to each and every one.



Town Times — Friday, February 22, 2013

Snow forts ... snowmen ... snowbanks ... snow tunnels ... snowsuits

Submitted by Lynn Hettrick

Submitted by Lynn Hettrick

Deagan Hettrick, 11, and Davin Hettrick, Doug Hettrick, of Durham, digs our after 8, after playing in the snow. the recent blizzard. Submitted by Patti Checko

Submitted by Jennifer Hogan

Owen and Lea Hogan in their igloo.

Right: Brewster School kindergartners are as tall as the trees as they play outside for recess.

Submitted by Lynn Hettrick

Hellgate Road in Durham is somewhere under the snow.

Submitted by Patti Checko

Left: Kindergartners enjoy the snow at recess on their first day back at Brewster School after the blizzard. They were quick to make a slide on one of the snow banks.


Kimberly Barris’s fifth grade class at Memorial School made snowmen on Valentine’s Day. The students used their snowmen for math and writing assignments.


Friday, February 22, 2013 — Town Times

Neighbors helped neighbors survive the storm

Photos submitted by Elisabeth Kennedy

By Elisabeth Kennedy The Town Times

portantly, another spirit lifted underneath a mountain of snow. Throughout Durham and Middlefield, there are similar stories of neighbors helping neighbors, clearing driveways, roads and sidewalks. In Durham, Cloe Poisson was also snowed in, searching for someone to plow her driveway so she could get to work on Sunday. She was also “rescued” by her neighbors,

Karen and Paul Bergenholtz, who “magically appeared … shovels in hand. Four hours later, we had cleared the driveway of an obscene amount of snow,” Poisson said. “I even made it to work on time — thanks to my great neighbors!” After a few days of being snowed in, it seems all one needs is camaraderie, laughter, and chatter — while shoveling all that snow.

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Cloe Poisson’s snow-covered driveway in Durham.


People all across the State of Connecticut found themselves snowed in on Feb. 9. Snow drifts, some nearly six feet tall around Durham and Middlefield, blocked doors of homes. Like this writer, who was so overwhelmed with the amount of snow after one pass with a shovel, many people simply waited to be “rescued” by a family member or friend who could get to their house. But something else happened, at least in Durham and Middlefield. Neighbors began helping neighbors. To the surprise of this writer, two neighborhood girls came by and cheerfully called out if they could help shovel. Are you kidding? “Oh, we’ve got this,” one yelled. This writer then began shoveling from her end of the driveway while Morgan and Julia shoveled from theirs. Meanwhile, they wouldn’t give up, enthusiastically saying, “I can’t wait to high-five you when we meet in the middle!” Both parties did eventually meet in the middle and share a high-five. Mission accomplished: another driveway shoveled. But more im-

“Snow angels” Morgan and Julia, below left, help Elisabeth Kennedy, below right, tackle the mountain of snow in her driveway.

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Feb. 22



Magic show - Project Graduation has scheduled the Magic of Christopher for Friday, Feb. 22, at 7 p.m., at Coginchaug Regional High School, 135 Pickett Lane. A fee is charged. For more information, call (860) 349-7110.

Send your calendar events to


Wine tasting - The Durham Basketball Association has scheduled its 2nd annual wine tasting event for Saturday, Feb. 23, from 7 to 9 a.m., at the Raccoon Club. A fee is charged. For more information, contact Awakening the Dreamer symposium - Coginchaug Area Transition has scheduled an Awakening the Dreamer symposium for Saturday, Feb. 23, from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., at the Durham Library. This fourhour interactive program seeks to point the way toward “an environmentally sustainable, socially just and spiritually fulfilling hu-

Notice of Public Hearing Town of Middlefield Board of Finance The Middlefield Board of Finance will hold a Public Hearing at 7:00 p.m. on February 28, 2013 in the Middlefield Community Center, 405 Main Street, Room 2, Middlefield, CT, on the Town of Middlefield 20132014 budget proposed by the First Selectman. Copies of the budget will be available in the Office of the Town Clerk, 393 Jackson Hill Rd, Middlefield, CT; the Middlefield Community Center Building Dept, 405 Main St., Middlefield, CT; and at the Levi Coe Public Library, 414 Main St., Middlefield, CT. 1276155

Lucy R. Petrella, Chair Middlefield Board of Finance

man presence on Earth.” A light lunch is included and a donation is requested. No one will be turned away for lack of funds. Please bring a donation for the local food pantries. Register by emailing Sue VanDerzee at



4C’s square dance - The 4C’s Square Dance Club has scheduled a dance for Sunday, Feb. 24, from 7 to 10:30 p.m., at the Cheshire Park and Rec Center, 559 Main St., Cheshire. The caller is Bill Mager; cuer is Sue Lucibello. For more information, call (860) 349-8084 or (203) 235-1604. Open house - The Durham Cooperative Nursery School, 16 Main St., has scheduled an open house for Sunday, Feb. 24, from 1 to 3 p.m. Meet the teachers and see the school. For more information, call (860) 349-9885 or email Blood drive - The annual CT Rugby Team blood drive is scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 24, from 9 a.m. to 1:45 p.m., at the Middlefield

Town Times Friday, February 22, 2013 Farmers market - A Winter Farmers’ Market is scheduled for Saturday, March 2, from 9 a .m. to noon, at Dudley Farm, corner of Rt. 77 and 80. Baked goods, eggs, honey, maple syrup and other handmade crafts are featured. For Monday more information, call (860) 349-3917 or visit www.dud60 Plus Club - The Durham 60 Plus Club is Fundraiser - The scheduled to meet Monday, Durham Co-op Nursery Feb. 25, at 1:30 p.m., at the Durham Activity Center, School has scheduled a Zum350 Main St. There will be a bathan fundraiser for Saturvariety table; a social hour day, March 2, from 12:30 to will follow the meeting. 1:30 p.m., at Core Club & New members are welcome. 24/7 Gym, 350 Main St. A fee is charged. Sign up at the Core Club or email Nancy at Free workshop - Come to a free “Be the Change” workshop on personal transSaturday formation: detachment from Chili contest - Church of old beliefs, pain, greed, adthe Epiphany has rescheddictions, inadequacy and uled its annual chili contest poverty to live from the for Saturday, March 2, from heart with love, joy, intu4 to 7 p.m. in the parish ition, creativity, sovereignty hall, 196 Main St. Prizes and abundance. Saturday, will be awarded. There is no March 2, from 9 to 11 a.m., at entry fee for submissions. a private Durham residence. Come and vote for your faCall (203) 535-8601 for more vorite recipe. A fee is charged to attend. For more information. Additional workshop days are Saturinformation, call (860) 3496533. days March 9, 16 and 23.

Community Center. For more information and to schedule an appointment, call Mike Meyer at (860) 3497025 or email


March 2


Best Smile In Show



William J. Witkowski, D.M.D. 360 D Main Street, Durham Allan A. Witkowski, D.M.D. (860) 349-1123 We will submit claims to all insurances



Friday, February 22, 2013 — Town Times

Town Briefs The Durham Cooperative Nursery School, 16 Main St., has scheduled an open house for Sunday, Feb. 24, from 1 to 3 p.m. Meet the teachers and see the school. The 3-year-old program meets Tuesday and Thursday from 8:45 a.m. to noon. The 4year-old program meets Monday, Wednesday, Friday from 9 a.m. to noon with an option for extended day to 2 p.m. For more information, call (860) 349-9885 or email

Chili contest rescheduled Church of the Epiphany has rescheduled its annual chili contest for Saturday, March 2, from 4 to 7 p.m., in the parish hall, 196 Main St., Durham. Prizes will be awarded for the top three winners in meatless, mild, hot and children’s (5 to 18) category. There is no entry fee but chili should be dropped off at the church at 3:45 p.m. An alternative meal for those who do not like chili will be available. Vote on your favorite recipe. A fee is charged. For more information, call (860) 349-6533.


Durham artist and art teacher Terry Oakes Bourret is participating in the Connecticut Women Artists Members Show at the ArtSpace Gallery, 555 Asylum Ave., Hartford. Information on gallery hours is available at (860) 895-6629. Bourret’s painting is of Main Street Traffic, on location in Middletown.

Local named to board Lindsay Parke, of Middlefield, was elected to the Middlesex United Way Board of Directors. Parke is a project manager in Community Programs for Northeast Utilities. She has served on several non-profit boards including Operation

Leaders welcome

Local crafters and small businesses in Middlefield, Rockfall and Durham are invited to be part of the Middlefield/Rockfall Old Home Days on June 7-8. For more information, call Crafter/Business Committee co-chairs Jean Gay at (860) 638-8833 or Louise Tosetti at (860) 349-3905, or email A letter and application will be sent. A fee is charged for booth space. Deadline for enrollment is April 1.

Girl Scouts of Durham, Middlefield and Rockfall are in need of adult leaders. Volunteers, 18 and older, who represent the community’s diversity - women, men, young adults, older girls, and people of all backgrounds, including our beloved alumnae are welcome. There are many exciting and flexible pathways through which adults can participate in Girl Scouting. Volunteers can lead a troop, but they can also develop and participate in training activities, maintain camps, manage data, design marketing pieces, and share their skills with girls in everything from running a business to exploring science careers. For more information, call Lisa Deschnow at (860) 347-5768, ext. 3751 or email


Pet fair

Free AARP Tax-Aide is available every Tuesday through April 9, by appointment, at the Middlefield Senior Center. The free tax help is for taxpayers with low and moderate income, with special attention to those age 60 and older. Bring all forms of income and all 1099 forms, as well as last year’s income tax returns. For more information and to schedule an appointment, call Antoinette at (860)

The 5th annual Help Willy’s Friends Pet Fair is scheduled for Sunday, May 19, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., at

University of Connecticut.

Crafters wanted

Coginchaug Regional High School, 135 Pickett Lane, Durham. In addition to food and live music, a variety of canine demonstrations are planned, including search and rescue, agility and husky mushing. Children’s activities are also scheduled. For pets, a variety of free services will be available. Rabies vaccinations and micro-chipping is scheduled for a fee. There will also be a “Parade of Stars”, featuring adoptable dogs. For more information, call (203) 988-1718 or visit

Rockfall Foundation receives grant

The Rockfall Foundation announced the establishment of a new major grants initiative to expand its environmental Green Grants program. The application process will be opened this fall and the first major grants

See Briefs, page 17

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A transitional program to prepare for Kindergarten Licensed, Christian program for children ages 2-5. Early drop-off and Extended Day options for ages 3-5. Summer Program for ages 3-6

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Girl Scouts of America has scheduled camp call-in night on Monday, March 18, Thursday, April 18, and Tuesday, May 14, from 5 to 9 p.m. Scouts interested in learning about summer camp or registering by phone are encouraged to call (860) 922-2770.

Local artist at exhibit



Camp call-in

The Old Home Days Parade Committee is signing up marchers and musical units for its 2013 parade scheduled for Saturday, June 8, at 10 a.m. The parade will step off at Rogers Manufacturing, continue through the center of Rockfall and Middlefield and end at Peckham Park. Any organization interested in being part of the 2013 Old Home Days Parade should contact Carrie Anderson at (860) 346-8954.

Fuel, Inc., National Fuel Fund Network, Governor’s Coalition for Youth with Disabilities, Levi Coe Library, and Coginchaug Scholarship Committee. She currently serves on Connecticut’s Low Income Energy Advisory Board and Friends of Long Hill at Wadsworth Mansion. She is a graduate of the


The Durham Co-operative Nursery School, a non-profit and non-denominational organization, has scheduled a Zumbathon fundraiser for Saturday, March 2, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m., at the Core Club, 350 Main St., Durham. The event features raffles and Mexican crafts to benefit the Oaxaca Streetchildren Grassroots program. For more information, call the Durham Co-op Nursery School at (860) 349-9885.

Old Home Days Parade


Open house

Celebrating Our 25th Year!



Town Times Friday, February 22, 2013

Letters to the Editor

Community project

To the editor: About two years ago, I began the long journey toward earning the rank of Eagle Scout. I decided to create a database and begin to catalog the holdings of the Durham Historical Society. As part of my plan, I hoped to provide the Historical Society with a computer and a digital camera, both necessary to complete the project. I had to figure out a way to obtain the funds in order to support this project. It came to my attention that the Coginchaug Valley Education Foundation offered grants to support local projects and programs that promote life-long learning through excellence, innovation and creativity. With the help of the president of the Durham Historical Society, Sarah Atwell, I submitted a grant application to CVEF and was award-

ed the funding to complete my Eagle project. I am writing to encourage community members to think of a project that you feel would benefit our towns and to submit an application to CVEF. Application forms will be available at town libraries and on A grant writing workshop will be held April 1 at the Durham Library. Samuel Gossner Durham

Successful fundraiser To the editor: P.A.L.S. thanks the many friends of the Durham Library who contributed to the success of our fundraiser. We couldn’t do this without the local businesses, restaurants and caterers that return every year and the new participants that we welcomed this year. Thanks to all the volunteers — especially to P.A.L.S. members for months

of work and to the dozens of volunteers who help with setup, decorating, safety coverage, music programs and tickets. With this support, P.A.L.S. is able to fund programs, events and startup collections for the entire community at the Durham Library. Pat Murawski P.A.L.S. president

Join the CVEF Trivia Bee To the editor: On Friday, March 8, at 7 p.m., in the Strong School gym, the Coginchaug Valley Education Foundation will host its first-ever community-wide Trivia Bee. Now is the time to gather your friends/colleagues/ family in teams of up to five people for this night of fun. Prizes will be awarded for creative team names, costumes, and of course, the “most entertaining.” Intergenerational teams are encouraged, as questions may

Applications include, but are not limited to, local history, current events, and pop culture. All proceeds and entry fees will support the mission of CVEF in our community: providing grants to citizens for projects with educational or enriching themes. I have participated in the last few CVEF bees, and have had a blast with each one. I’m excited that the trivia teams will be larger this year, and the format will allow all of us to stay in the game for the entire round of trivia questions, since there is no elimination process for incorrect answers. Entrance forms and further information can be found on the CVEF website: or by emailing an inquiry to I urge you to come join the fun. Jen Huddleston Middlefield

Government Meetings Strong School, 5:30 p.m. Durham Government Cemetery Company, Town Hall, 7 p.m. Board of Education, Strong School, 7:30 Calendar p.m. (Unless otherwise indicated, all meetings are held in the Durham Library. Check the town website at for updates.)

Monday, Feb. 25 Board of Selectmen, Town Hall, 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 26 Ethic’s Commission, library, 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 27 Board of Education Finance Committee, Strong School, 5:30 p.m. Board of Education, Brewster School, 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 4 Historic District, library, 7 p.m. Fire Department Trustees, Durham Firehouse, 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 5 Clean Energy & Sustainability Task Force, library, 6:30 p.m. Board of Education Communications Committee, Superintendent’s office, 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 6 Board of Education Finance Committee,

Town Times

Thursday, March 7 Public Safety Renovations Planning Committee, Durham Volunteer firehouse, 7 p.m.

Middlefield Government Calendar (Unless otherwise indicated, all meetings are held in the Community Center.) Wednesday, Feb. 27 Zoning Board of Appeals, 7 p.m. Monday, March 4 Board of Selectmen, 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 5 Board of Education, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, WPCA, 7 p.m. Thursday, March 7 Parks and Recreation Commission, 6:30 p.m. Economic Development Authority, 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 13 Planning & Zoning, 6:30 p.m.

Check us out:


The Durham Assessor’s Office at Town Hall is accepting new and/or renewal applications for the CT Elderly Homeowner and Totally Disabled Tax Relief Programs and the Durham Senior Tax Relief Freeze and Deferral Programs. The filing period for all Tax Relief Programs runs through May 15. Failure to re-file will result in the removal of this benefit from the July tax bill. Late filing is not acceptable. For more information, call the Assessor’s Office at (860) 343-6709 or visit www.townofdurhamct. org.

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Town Times is published every Friday by the Record-Journal Publishing Co. and delivered to all homes and businesses in Durham, Middlefield and Rockfall. Executive Vice President and Assistant Publisher - Liz White Senior Vice President of Operations and Major Accounts – Michael F. Killian Managing Editor Online/Weeklies – Carolyn Wallach News Editor – Olivia L. Lawrence Editor – Stephanie Wilcox Staff Writer – Mark Dionne Advertising Sales - Joy Boone Advertising Director - Kimberley E. Boath Contributors: Diana Carr, Trish Dynia, Elisabeth Kennedy, Karen Kean, Judy Moeckel, and Michelle P. Carter.


Friday, February 22, 2013 — Town Times



Surviving the Oscars – ‘Life of Pi’ vs. ‘The Impossible’

Law enforcement in Durham

Inspiration struck 2012 multiple times. Dueling films embodying Snow White put their magic on display (“Mirror Mirror”; “Snow White and the Huntsman”). Two films glorified the ambitions, both fictitious and real, of the 16th president of the United States (“Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”; “Lincoln”). Oscar this year has seen to acknowledge those inspirations (minus the vampire slayer) with nominations. Yet another dueling pair takes center stage — water disaster films “Life of Pi” and “The Impossible”. Based on Yann Martel’s bestselling novel, “Life of Pi” tells the story of Pi Patel, a zookeeper’s son who is the sole human survivor of a shipwreck. He miraculously finds himself stranded on a 26-foot lifeboat with a zebra, a hyena, an orangutan, and a very hungry Bengal tiger, Richard Parker. The film stands as a metaphor for man’s struggle to live in harmony with forces it cannot control. As Martel writes, ‘’It was not a question of him or me, but of him and me. We were, literally and figuratively, in the same boat.” Visually, the film is beyond stunning. The 3D (for once) did not only add another dimension, it added soul. For a film that delves into the philosophy of religion and faith, this was the essential ingredient. Unfortunately, the screenplay did flounder and the many lofty themes did

Tanya Feke, M.D.

Diagnosis: Movies not justify the length of the film. Still I was moved. “Life of Pi” strikes a particular chord when a parallel story is told in the final sequences. Did Pi truly survive 277 days in a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger? Or was Richard Parker symbolically a part of himself, one that he needed to better understand, one that he needed to set free? The answer will be different for every audience member. It had been said that the novel would be impossible to bring to the big screen. Leave it to director Ang Lee to do just that. If only he had done “The Impossible”. This latter film for me is the one that deserves the higher praise, though inexplicably it did not land a Best Picture nomination. It would have fit nicely into that 10th nominee slot. Living up to the tagline “nothing is more powerful than the human spirit”, director Juan Antonia Bayona tells the true story of one family’s survival after the 2004 tsunami. Though the family name Bennett is used in the film, the story is actually based on a Spanish family, Belon. All first names are preserved in the telling, and the mother Maria, portrayed

Letters policy - E-mail letters to; mail to Town Times, P.O. Box 265, Middlefield, CT 06455; or 11 Crown St., Meriden, CT 06450 or fax to (203) 639-0210. The Town Times will print only one letter per person each month. - Letters should be approximately 300 words. We reserve the right to edit letters for grammar and content. Letters should be on topics of general interest to the community. We do not list names of people, organizations and businesses being thanked. Names of businesses are not allowed. - Letters must be signed and names will appear in print. Include a phone number so Town Times can contact you for verification. Letters must be submitted by noon on Monday to be considered for publication that week.

with astounding brilliance by Academy Award nominee Naomi Watts, is credited in the film for her story. Bayona adds to the authenticity of the piece by having many actual survivors, not actors, tell their tales to Ewan MacGregor’s Henry. Much of the filming was also completed on location in Thailand at the actual hotels and hospitals. As with anything, there will always be naysayers. Some have criticized the film for not emphasizing the suffering of the native inhabitants. Focusing on the point of view of a single family, however, allows the audience to center their attention on the harrowing experience of the tragedy itself — the loss, the fear, the sacrifice. The film honors the altruism of the nationals involved, without whom many survivors would not have seen another tomorrow. Watching the ferocity of water sweeping over the land made my heart skip a beat and baffles me again why this film would not be recognized for another Academy Award, visual effects. The makeup, another lost opportunity. Naomi Watts looks like death and that takes some doing. Acting, however, is the film’s strong suit. Watts was gut-wrenching in her downward spiral from vigilant mother to near-amputee, but Tom Holland who plays the oldest child Lucas is an absolute marvel. His character resonates with a sheer force of emotion that reminds you what it is to be human. “Life of Pi” and “The Impossible” are two distinct offerings, one offers a philosophical awakening while the other dramatizes one of the worst natural disasters of our time. Both are sure to add more water to the mix — your tears. Dr. Tanya Feke is a physician at Middlesex Hospital Primary Care – Durham and guest columnist.

John Szewczyk

Durham Selectman In virtually every column I have written, I have called for limited government, decreased spending, and more personal responsibility. I have maintained that government should do the things it was intended to do and do them well, while leaving most everything else to the private sector. I believe that education, infrastructure, and public safety are where the vast majority of resources at the local level of government should be spent. Accordingly, since 2007 I have continually pushed to improve local law enforcement in Durham, one of the main pillars of public safety. Unfortunately, I have been met with much resistance along the way. In fact, Durham’s Public Safety Committee, the volunteer committee which was vital in gathering law enforcement statistics and conducting an annual review of the Resident Trooper Program, was dissolved against the wishes of many of the committee members. I believe that if you are an average individual residing in Durham, your most important asset (your family) and your largest monetary investment (your home) are not properly protected. The numbers don’t lie. An examination of the communities

that border Durham show we are clearly at the far end of the spectrum in terms of police presence per resident. Middletown (454 residents/one officer) and Wallingford (554 residents/one officer) have the most police presence followed by Guilford (589 residents/one officer), North Branford (655 residents/one officer) and Madison (677 residents/one officer). The aforementioned municipalities are all much larger and two of them have an increased summertime population. It is therefore understandable that Durham is not close to having the same level of police presence. I will, however, argue that our close proximity to these larger communities should be taken into consideration when determining the level of police protection we have. The other three communities that border Durham are more similar to us in scope, however, they all have significantly more police presence. Middlefield (1,475 residents/one officer), Haddam (4,026 residents/one officer), and Killingworth (6,671/one officer) all have a rather significant greater police presence than that of Durham which is currently at 7,409 residents/one officer. Maybe more important than police presence, however, is the crime rate. I will be the first to admit that crime reporting is not an exact science. Some municipalities

See Law, page 20

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Town Times — Friday, February 22, 2013

Mealtime with friends

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Church of the Epiphany recently hosted a Community Supper. Pictured are Harriet Duval, Kerry Querns and Roberta Mather.

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Town Times Friday, February 22, 2013

CPR class The Durham Activity Center has scheduled a CPR training class for seniors on Thursday, March 21, from noon to 2 p.m. Hands-on training and booklets are provided. A fee is charged. For more information, call Amanda Pedersen at (860) 349-3153.

Tax-aide Free AARP Tax-Aide is available every Tuesday through April 9 by appointment. This free tax help is for taxpayers with low and moderate-income, with special attention to those age 60 and older. Call the center once you have received all forms of income and all 1099 forms. Also bring last year’s income tax returns. For more information and to schedule an appointment, call Antoinette at (860) 3497121.

Knitting and crocheting

Free Blood Pressure Screenings are held every first and third Wednesday of each month at noon at the Middlefield Senior Center. No appointment is necessary.

Durham senior lunches

Mystic Village and the Thimble Islands, to name a few. The bus schedule can be found at various establishments in Durham, such as the library, the Durham Activity Center, Town Hall and online at Call (860) 3475661 Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., to make a reservation.


Senior lunches are offered every Monday and Wednesday at the Durham Activity Center, 350 Main St. The Elderly Nutrition program is designed to provide nutritional meals, at a low cost to persons ages 60 and over and their spouses. To cover the cost of the meal, a suggested donation is welcomed. To make lunch reservations, call Amanda Pedersen, senior cafe manager, at (860) 3493153. Bingo is offered every Wednesday at 1 p.m. following the luncheon.

Dial-A-Ride provides curb-to-curb transportation for the elderly and disabled. This service can be used for medical appointments, shopping, banking and other places, and is available five days a week. Call (860) 3473313 for a reservation. There is a fee.

Senior exercise Senior exercise is offered Monday, Wednesday and Fri-

day at the Durham Activity Center. Two classes are offered: 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. There is no cost for Durham residents 60 and over.

St. Luke’s Eldercare St. Luke’s supports successful aging and independent living serving veterans and elders. Free services provided are friendly visiting, out-of-area medical transportation, transportation for elderly veterans to VA hospitals, grocery shopping services, minor home repair, information/resource referral, individual case management, education/advocacy, The Gatekeeper Program, Access4Care and St. Luke’s Apartments on Broad Street in Middletown. For specific information on their services, call (860) 347-5661. St.

Luke’s is located at 760 Saybrook Road in Middletown. The Middlefield Senior Center is located in the Middlefield Community Center at 405 Main Street. If you have any questions or would like to sign up for any programs or for lunch (monthly menus can be picked up at the senior center or Town Hall) in the Senior Café (serving on Monday, Wednesday and Friday), contact Antoinette Astle at (860) 349-7121. The Durham 60 Plus Club meets at the Durham Activity Center the second and fourth Monday of each month, September through June, at 1:30 p.m. The next meeting is Oct. 22 at 1:30 p.m and newcomers are most welcomed.

Senior Bus

Town Times

The Durham/Middlefield Senior Bus is available for transportation to activities on Tuesday and Wednesday. There is no fee for this service. Planned trips include: The Christmas Tree Shops in Manchester and Orange, Yankee Candle in Deerfield, Mass., IKEA, Mohegan Sun, Foxwoods, Evergreen Walk, WFSB Better Yet Connecticut, Stew Leonards, Foot Prints, Maritime Aquarium,

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Town Times — Friday, February 22, 2013

Square dancing – will it be a lost art? By Elisabeth Kennedy The Town Times

After 40 years of dancing, the Durham Cogin Chuggers merged with the Cheshire Cats in 2011 due to decreased

membership in both clubs, forming the 4C’s Square Dance Club. “It was a matter of survival. [Square dancing] is an activity that is past its prime,” opines Alicia Morse, of Durham. “There are so

Photos by Joy VanderLek

The 4C’s Square Dance Club (Cheshire and Durham) hosted about 25 square dancers at the Cheshire Youth Center on Sunday night, Feb. 17. Dancers came from as far away as Agawam, Mass. The Rockin’ Roosters came from Newtown, and one couple from Uncasville/Montville who dance for South Windsor made the drive in. Bill Mager, from Andover, was the caller; Sue Lucibello was the cuer.



many other avenues to expend leisure time now; no one wants to make the commitment of time to learn to [square] dance.” Morse, who also volunteers for the Connecticut Association of Square Dance Clubs, has watched membership in both organizations decline. “Twenty years ago, 10,000 people attended the CASDC convention,’ she said. “Last year, attendance was less than 1,000,” which Morse feels is reflective of how much interest and participation in square dancing has decreased. The number of clubs in Connecticut has dropped from 50 to about 10. “We’ve tried mightily,” shared Morse, “but people are not coming.” The club can no longer afford to offer classes, which would require hiring teachers for 20 weeks of classes, which includes square dancing, round dancing, and line dancing. Other challenges New England clubs face are “snow birds,” as nearly half of the club winters in Florida. Fortunately, square dance clubs are doing better in other parts of the country, like Florida, where weather is not a factor and there are larger, more concentrated populations of older people. “It is a perennial conversation at CASDC,” said Morse. “How do we involve young people and keep this art alive?” Morse added, “It is pretty to see, people should come out to watch!”

Shown left, John Candolora and 4C’s Marcia Dean, wearing pink with white boots. Right: Mike Carr, looking dapper in blue. Carr and his wife LeAnn, not shown here, traveled down from Uncasville/Montville. If you’d like to watch the 4C’s, the club alternates its dances between Durham and Cheshire, meeting at Brewster School one week and Cheshire Parks & Rec Youth Center in Cheshire the next. Another wonderful opportunity to see the beautiful art of square, round and line dancing is at the 55th New England Square and Round Dance Convention on April 26 and 27 at the Connecticut Convention Center and the Marriot Ballroom in Hartford. More information on

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Friday, February 22, 2013 — Town Times

Freedom Riders come to Durham By Elisabeth Kennedy The Town Times

Elegance for Everyday




This Black History Month, Strong School is hosting “Freedom Riders”, an exhibition created by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and PBS’ American Experience. One of only 20 sites selected, the local community is indeed fortunate to have this museum-quality exhibit in town, and more fortunate to have talented and enthusiastic students to be the guides. Strong school students not only had the opportunity to learn this chapter of U.S. history, but have spoken before the Board of Education to obtain permission to bring the exhibit to their school and have worked on publicity — flyers, posters, press releases, designing tshirts, and some have been trained as “docents” or museum guides. Emily Delgrego teaches U.S. history and humanities at Strong School. “I was very familiar with Gilder Lehrman as they have great resources for teachers,” she said. “I applied to be an affiliate school to receive special invitations, posters, and lesson plans,” Delgrego explained. She read about the traveling exhibit and wrote a grant to cover the fee to host the exhibit. Thanks to funding from the Coginchaug Valley Education Foundation, the exhibit is here for the community’s enjoyment. I had the privilege to sit down with five Strong School students who have studied and prepared to be docents of the exhibit, which opens to the public Feb. 26 and 28 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. “The Freedom Riders took a head start on the civil rights movement,” explained eighth grader Rowan O’Connell. The exhibition combines photography and news coverage of the 1961 Freedom Rides as well as “QR codes” that can be scanned with a cell phone for audio interviews, offering different perspectives (the Riders, the Kennedy administration, and the inter-

centered, and proudly national community) of the Part of the movement. “People had shared “the students’ particFreedom Ridtremendous courage to get ipation is fantastic.” She ers exhibit on those buses,” shared Britsaid she hopes that people that will be on tany Hall. come out not only to enjoy From May until Novemdisplay at ber 1961, 400 courageous Strong School the powerful exhibit, but to support these students who Americans, black and white, Feb. 26 and men and women, from the have worked so hard. “The 28. North and South, risked 1961 Freedom Rides are an their lives to challenge seginspiring example of what regation by boarding buses ordinary individuals can acand trains in small interracomplish. The actions and cial groups, traveling the bravery of the Freedom through the deep south. This Riders provide invaluable group of brave Americans became known as the Freelessons for our young people dom Riders. Despite beattoday, and for anyone who ings, bitter racism and even hopes to make a difference in imprisonment, their comour community, country, or mitment to nonviolence laid world,” Delgrego said. the groundwork for some of O’Connell added, “it the nation’s most important would mean a lot if people civil rights legislation. Danielle Quinley wonders could come out to the exhib“how different America it. We’ve worked hard, and would be if the Freedom it’s really neat. We don’t see Rides did not happen.” The a lot of museum exhibits in docents all expressed hope Durham.” that people come out to see Freedom Riders 1961 will the exhibit. Brittany Hall Photos by Elisabeth Kennedy be open to the public Feb. 26 would like everyone to learn From left: Docents Lizzie Whitaker, Skyler Morris, Britmore about the Freedom and 28 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Riders, “and the struggle tany Hall, Danielle Quinley and Rowan O’Connell. in the Strong School Library. they went through to bring us freedom,” added Skyler Morris. Lizzie Whitacker stressed their nonviolence, “it was important that [the Riders] could not fight back. But, they made an impact.” Quinley explained that the links in the exhibit, which provide great detail and “can help us better un$ derstand the civil rights movement,” “and the roles on any order played by people like PresiCode: WINT2013 dent Kennedy and Martin Luther King,” added Rowan To order, please call or visit: O’Connell. “Today, most peo425 South Broad Street, Suite 9, Meriden ple are equal. Many people 203-440-4315 753 Wolcott Street, Lauro Crest Plaza, Waterbury do not understand the strug203-591-9463 gle it took to get here,” ex1060 West Main Street, Branford 203-483-9300 plained Morris. “We take 1920 Dixwell Avenue, Hamden 203-907-0070 our freedom for granted and 101 Washington Avenue, North Haven forget the heroic actions of 203-234-9664 676 New Haven Avenue, Derby others that helped make it 203-736-0700 935 Chapel Street, New Haven possible,” O’Connell said. 203-752-0266 Whitacker said the exhibit “is a timeline that explains how the movement started ELEGANCE PLATTER ™- SWIZZLE BERRIES ™ and moved, a chain reaction Strawberries dipped in gourmet chocolate with — one ride leading to anothswizzle arranged on a decorative platter er. This was a nonviolent movement — there was no fighting back, even if they Make life a little sweeter. were beaten.” It was Delgrego’s intent Offer valid at participating locations. Valid on arrangemnents and dipped fruit boxes. Offer expires 2/28/13. Cannot be combined with any other offers. Offer code must be used when placing order. Containers may vary. Arrangements available in a variety of sizes. Delivery not available in all areas. EDIBLE that the event be studentARRANGEMENTS & Design , and all other marks noted are trademarks of Edible Arrangements, LLC. ©2012 Edible Arrangements, LLC. All rights reserved. ®



Town Times Friday, February 22, 2013

Snow days alter school calendar By Mark Dionne The Town Times

Photo by Mark Dionne

Heavy snow altered both the school landscape and calendar.

hosted and run by the Congressional Youth Leadership Council of Washington, D.C. Elle, a student Elle Rinaldi, 13, of at Strong School, was Durham, is schednominated by her uled to attend the Nateachers for the protional Young Leaders gram. Nominations State Conference for are awarded to stuthe Northeast Redents with proven acagion, from Feb 28 to March 3, in Boston. Elle Rinaldi demic excellence who can demonstrate exThe program is

Local teen attends conference

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The strange winter weather, bookended by Hurricane Sandy and the Blizzard of 2013, changed the school calendar and pushed the last day of school into the last week of June. School days were lost in clumps, with Hurricane Sandy taking two and the recent blizzard claiming three. According to Superintendent of Schools Sue Viccaro, Regional School District 13 has lost seven days to bad weather. Turning Feb. 15 from a professional development day into a regular school day brought the num-

tracurricular involvement, community service and leadership achievement.

Scholastic achievements Xavier High School announced the local students named as Ryken Scholars as follows: The Alumni Honors Memorial Scholarship to Patrick Hocking of Middlefield; The Thomas Liello Honors Memorial Scholarship to Trevor Morris of Durham;

ber of required make-up days to six. As of this writing, the last day of school is scheduled for June 24, a Monday. That date should be considered tentative, of course, depending on future school closings. Additional missed days would be added to June. By state law, according to Viccaro, this school year cannot extend into July, meaning the last possible day of school is Friday, June 28. This still provides a four day cushion. Due to a hurricane-related power failure, John Lyman Elementary missed one educational day more than other district schools. Whether

that day has to be made up “remains to be seen,” according to Viccaro. The district is consulting with the state on the matter. Lyman could fulfill its required instructional days without a make-up day, but might have to make up the day because of the discrepancy within the district. The school calendar maintained on the district website ( reflects the current status. Next year’s calendar is also available online and follows this year’s model with a long weekend in February, weeklong April vacation, and a last day of school in midJune — for now.

Dean’s list

Denise L. Nappier. The contest will award 96 students with a $300 contribution to a CHET 529 college savings plan. The CHET Dream Big! Competition includes two categories: a picture submission and an essay submission. Students in grades k-3 are asked to draw a picture that answers the question, “What do I want to do after I go to college?” Fourth and fifth graders are asked to submit essays responding to the question, “How will I change the world after I go to

University of the Sciences, Pennsylvania - Martin Gaffey of Middlefield. Wake Forest University, North Carolina - Matthew Johnson of Durham.

CHET Dream Big! competition The fifth annual CHET Dream Big! Competition, a competition that encourages Connecticut students in grades k-5 to share their dreams about life after college, is accepting entries, according to State Treasurer

See Dream, next page

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Friday, February 22, 2013 — Town Times

Rotary student of the month The Middletown Rotary Club honored Middlefield resident Delia Ernst, a senior at Mercy High School, as Student of the Month. In addition to having a 3.85 GPA, Delia has volunteered 575 service hours at St. Colman’s Church, I Have a Friend Youth Center, World Vision (through The Middlefield Federated Church), Levi E. Coe Library, and Mercy High School. She is member of both the National Honor Society and Spanish National Honor Society, and Delia is the business captain of Mercy’s robotics team. The Middletown Rotary Club selects the Student of the Month based on a combination of high academic standards, community involvement, and extracurricular activities.

Pictured, from left: Middletown Rotary Club President Jeff Walter, Delia Ernst, and Middletown Rotarian Joseph Marino.

Energize Connecticut contest Energize Connecticut, in partnership with Connecticut Light & Power and United Illuminating, has announced the 9th annual eesmarts contest for students in grades k-12. The eesmarts program is a energy efficiency and clean, renewable energy education initiative that invites students to showcase their “energy smarts” about saving energy, efficient and renewable energy technologies, and sustainability through various media forms. Students answer grade-level specific prompts regarding energy efficient and renewable energy technologies and sustainability in the form of a poster, limerick, news article, song lyrics, persuasive essay, public service announcement script, speech and a small business proposal for energy efficiency. Finalists for each grade level will be honored at a special awards ceremony June 11. Winners in grades k-11 will be awarded prizes. The contest is open to all students in Connecticut. Deadline for entries is April 26. For more information, visit

Dream Continued from page 14

The Pupil Services Office of Regional School District 13 is scheduled to destroy the confidential special education records of all former students from the class of 2006. This action is allowed by state regulations per authority of the State Office of Public Records Administration and Federal Regulation 34 CFR 200.573. Copies of these records are available following submission of a written request by the student before May 31. Letters should be sent to Amy Emory, Director of Pupil Personnel Services, regional School District 13, P.O. Box 190, 135A Pickett Lane, Durham, CT 06422.

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college?” Entries are judged on five criteria: creativity, originality, portrayal of theme, spelling and grammar. One girl and one boy from each grade from each of the state’s eight counties will be selected as winners. The winners will receive a $300 contribution to a CHET account. In addition, the first 100 teachers to submit entries on behalf of their students will receive a $50 gift card for school supplies. The competition runs through March 22. For info, visit or CHETcollegesavings.

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Town Times — Friday, February 22, 2013


Local senior Ed Estarity and student Bobby Huscher were photographed by Jen Schulten. Photos became part of an intergenerational project.

Continued from page 1

More photos can be viewed on Jen Schulten’s website,

nect the generations in this community. Teacher Martha Swanson agreed, and with the help of Amanda Pedersen, director of Durham Human Services, they arranged for 25 seniors from Durham, Middlefield and Rockfall to have their pictures taken by Schulten. These would match the 25 pictures taken of students on 1830s Day. “We wanted to make it a full experience,” Schulten said. “We wanted three centuries represented — the 1830s, the seniors from the 1900s, and the kids from this century. We wanted to know the students’ hopes and dreams. And we wanted the students to learn about the seniors’ life experiences.” So at the beginning of this school year, after learning interview skills, students went to the Durham Senior Center to eat lunch with seniors and conduct interviews. Back at school, they drew



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pictures of their hopes and dreams, wrote about the person they had interviewed, and wrote about 1830s Day. This was then put with sideby-side portraits of the student and the senior he or she had interviewed. The project was displayed at last year’s Durham Fair, and Schulten plans to create a bound book, to be on display at the Durham Public Library. It was, by all accounts, a smashing success, with the seniors regaling the youngsters with fascinating stories. One woman had made an afghan that was sent to General Macarthur, who gave it to his son. Another talked about the 5,000 chickens she had on her farm. One man was a singer and a songwriter who had worked with Frankie Avalon, the Drifters, and Aretha Franklin. One man had been a medic at the Battle of Normandy. Someone spoke of getting running water when he was in the third grade. One senior had been a champion bowler. One had been a past first selectman of Durham. Almost all remembered walking home for lunch during the school day, and milk being delivered to their doorstep. “The kids had a blast,” said Schulten, who noted that one classroom mother in particular, Leslie Lower, was instrumental in the project.

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“They were nervous going into it because they didn’t know what to expect. This is a texting age, and they’re not used to one-on-one interviews. But they left with hugs. They learned not to be afraid of reaching out to people, and they learned that we may have more in common with people we have never met than we would have thought. And the seniors loved it. It made them feel really special. Schulten added, “So many of us don’t know about our family histories and our grandparents’ stories. The stories are gone when they’re gone, and that is sad. “There is nothing better,” she continued, “than connecting generations to make a community feel like it’s a better place to live. What’s important is what we can learn from each other. We learn from people’s histories. That’s how people are connected.” Schulten said seeing kids interview seniors was a heartwarming experirence. “You just knew it was good for everybody. Good for the kids, good for the seniors, and in the long run, good for the community,” she said.

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Friday, February 22, 2013 — Town Times

February birthday festivities

New Citizen

Submitted by Amanda Pedersen

Lacee Rose Lonergan Shannon and Justin Lonergan are proud to announce the arrival of their daughter Lacee Rose Lonergan. Lacee was born on Friday, Feb. 1, 2013 at 4:14 p.m. at Midstate Medical Center. Lacee weighed 7 pounds 4 ounces, and was 19.5 inches in length. Lacee joins her sister, Chloe Lonergan, 2 years old. Lacee’s maternal grandparents are Cynthia Gash, of New Milford, and Stephen Tucker, of Ancram, NY. Her great-grandmother is Gertrude Gornie, of Davenport, Fla. Lacee’s parental grandparents are William and Cheryl Lonergan, of Durham. Her great-grandmother is Mary LaRose, of Port St. Lucie, Fla.


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Continued from page 7 awarded in spring 2014. The Foundation plans to make one or two larger grants, up to a total of $25,000, every other year. The foundation has given smaller grants to organizations and towns throughout the county since 1972, providing critical seed money and support for innovative grassroots environmental education, conservation and planning initiatives. These grants have ranged from $500 to $5,000 and been a w a r d e d to 10 - 12 groups per year, totaling up to $20,000 annually. For these new grants, awards will be given exclusively to innovative approaches to environmental education in Middlesex County. Education will range from pre-school to coll e g e level and be broadly defined, i.e., not limited to school curricula.

The Durham Activity Center celebrated February birthdays recently. Pictured from left: Evelyn Dean, Mary Rubendunst and Joe Hall. Not pictured: Barbara Quinley, Lainy Melvin and Paula Hulings.



Steven Gary Geromin

On Jan. 8, 1998, God blessed us with an angel, Steven Gary Geromin, and allowed him to be with us for 15 years, 1 Geromin month and 1 day. He was born on Elvis Presley’s and his brother Paul “PJ” Suchoski’s birthday to Nancy Joy Geromin and Raymond C. Lapollo. Steven was a student of Regional District 17 from pre-K on. He attended Burr School from age 3 to 6 and ACES Village School in North Haven from age 6 to 14 ½. For a brief time he also attended Whitney Hamden High School East. Steven loved school

and everything that went with it including Boy Scouts, friends, girls, concerts, field trips, dances, bus rides, peprallies, musicals etc. He graduated from ACES Village School in June 2012 and also received his Arrow of Light from Boy Scout Pack 813. He was a confirmed member of Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church in Middletown, where he also attended Sunday School. He also enjoyed community service and would help people whenever he could. He was a 2007 Make-a-Wish child for NRF of CT visiting Graceland. Steven is wellknown for his Kites for Kidneys event in Haddam Meadows each spring for the NRF of CT. He helped to open two handicapped playgrounds, one in Haddam and one in Waterford at Camp Hark-

ness. Steven loved NASCAR races and his favorite driver was #24, Jeff Gordan. He enjoyed watching girls Huskies and HK TV events. He was an enthusiastic fan of HKHS Cougar football where he loved watching his brother Paul (#67) play most of all. Steven adored his animals, especially his cats, Sid and Fluffy. Besides his parents, Steven is survived by his brother Paul J. Suchoski; auntie Veronica Kleinschmidt; uncle Hugh Geromin, cousin, Gary and several cousins and loving friends who are just like family, and his best friend Adam Wozniak. He was predeceased by his aunt Donna, his maternal grandparents, Jennie and Hugo Geromin and his paternal grandfather,

Town Times Friday, February 22, 2013

Carlo Lapollo. Steven’s family would like to thank the Grasso’s at Higganum Physical Therapy who always made visits special for Steven. They would also like to thank all his special caregivers and teachers at ACES Schools and BESB who helped to open up Steven’s world. They are especially grateful to Pastor Mark Clow for his help with Steven’s Christian Education and Home visits. A special thank you is extended to the exceptional caregivers DebDeb, Ragina, Karen, Lynn and Arleen and also to Valentine the Clown. A celebration of Steven’s life was held Feb. 14, 2013 at Biega Funeral. Burial will be held in the spring at Pine Grove Cemetery. Those who wish may make donations to the following in

Town Times Service Directory

Steven’s name: CT Children’s Medical Center Foundation, Haddam Public Nurses Association, Haddam Lions Club, Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church Handicapped Ramp Fund, Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church Hugo Geromin, Sr. preschool scholarship fund, HK Youth and Family Services, National Kidney Foundation serving CT, the CT Make a Wish Foundation at, Epilepsy foundation of CT, Brain Injury Association of CT at Let us all continue what Steven has started by treating each other with love and respect, enjoying each moment to its fullest and having as much fun as possible.

More obituaries on page 19


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Friday, February 22, 2013 — Town Times

John T Kleczkowski

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Submitted by Carolyn Rinaldi

This painting by Elle Rinaldi was done at “The Art of Nature” summer camp at the Yale Peabody Museum when she was 11. Elle worked with Yale art professors. This piece won first prize at the Durham Fair. Elle is 13 now and an eighth grader at Strong School.

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John T. Kleczkowski, 81, husband of Claudette (LaQuerre) and son of Bruno and Ida Kleczkowski, died peacefully on Feb, 13, 2013 surrounded by his family. Besides his wife, he leaves three children, Celia Peacock and her husband Grant of Garrett Park, Md; Justine Couvares of Windsor Locks and John G Kleczkowski and his wife Dana, of North Attleboro, Mass. He also leaves eight grandchildren, Ryan Lancia, Conor, Maggie and Elena Hayes, JT, Brian and Julia Kleczkowski, and Sean Kleczkowski. He leaves two brothers, Dan Kleckowski and his wife Louise, of Canton and George “Ted” Kleczkowski, of Rockfall. He was predeceased by his son, Jim; sisters, Adele Sennik and Sally Oszurek, and brothers, Bruno, Stanley, Al and Steve. John was a Korean War veteran where he served in the U.S. Army from 1952 to1954. Stationed in London, he spent the majority of his military service entertaining U.S. troops in the United Kingdom and at bases in Europe. A talented and passionate musician, John “Johnny K” was a beloved music teacher, who brought delight to many with his musical trio and warmed the hearts of seniors in long-term care facilities. A composer and performer of polka, big band, and jazz music, he played the accordion, piano, drums, and guitar. A lifelong resident of Rockfall, John would spend hours in his garden and took delight in sharing his vegetables with family, friends and the coveted prize of winning ribbons at the Durham Fair for over 25 years. He was happiest when he was

with his family, in his garden and entertaining for others. He touched the lives of so many with his deep spiritual strength, kindness, compassion and humility. His family prays that he is delivered from his sufferings, and that God may treat him kindly when he is received. The Funeral Liturgy was held at St. Colman Church, Middlefield, and burial with military honors was in the State Veterans’ Cemetery. Those who wish may send memorial contributions to the Middlefield Volunteer Fire Department, 406 Jackson Hill Rd., Middlefield, CT 06455 or Middlesex Hospital Weiss Hospice Unit, c/o Dept. of Philanthropy, 28 Crescent St., Middletown, CT 06457. To share memories or express condolences online, please visit

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Town Times — Friday, February 22, 2013

Law Continued from page 9

might report crime differently, code investigations in a various manner, or emphasize one type of policing over another. That being said, an examination of the Connecticut Economic Resource Center, Inc. town profiles show the crime rate per 100,000 residents in Durham to be at 44 in 2009, the last available reporting year. In North Branford, however, the same statistic shows that

their crime rate per 100,000 residents is only 35. In Madison, the number is 33, and in Haddam only 14. (Middletown-132, Guilford-90, Wallingford-49, Middlefield and Killingworth-no report). Although some would like to think that crime does not exist in our community, the fact of the matter is that it does. We unfortunately have drugs in our town, houses have been broken into, traffic issues occur, and domestic incidents transpire. Of course there are al-

ways budgetary constraints when adding personnel to town government. Durham joined the Connecticut Resident State Trooper Program in 1998 and we have been very fortunate to have only one trooper this entire time. Trooper Peter DiGioia has been the town’s resident trooper for the past 15 years and has established positive relationships with many residents. However, the state has significantly increased the cost of the resident trooper program over the

past few years and has even eliminated the 30 percent reimbursement to the towns. The cost of participating in the trooper program, which was under $70,000 just a few years ago, has swelled to over $115,000 this past year. Additionally, many towns have not been as fortunate with keeping one trooper in town for such an extended period of time (retirements, promotions, transfers, etc.) so he or she can build a positive rapport with its citizens. In fact, the Town of Stafford

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once had a three year stretch where six different resident troopers rotated through the town. In 2009, the Town of Kent decided to withdraw from the resident trooper program over its high cost. Even as recent as last year, the Town of Montville had a review conducted of its public safety agencies by an outof-state independent firm, and the findings emphasized that they should no longer partake in the resident trooper program. Other, more cost effective policing models are available. For instance a local police officer whose first responsibility would be to the Town of Durham and not the State of Connecticut would be approximately $83,000/per year (salary and benefits), a savings of approximately $32,000/year to the taxpayers. The town would have much more control over their own employee and we could be guaranteed coverage at times when it is most needed, such as weekends and evenings. The town could also determine its own hiring standards, such as college education, military and/or experience. Although this would ultimately save taxpayers’ money long term and in our operating budget, the drawback is the capital expense needed to start this endeavor. Finally, there are other solutions that are available. A hybrid approach is a common one that some municipalities have had success with. The town of Deep River has one resident state trooper and three local police officers. The Town of Lebanon has perhaps one of the most cost effective models of policing with one resident trooper and three fully sworn, fully trained parttime police officers. Models similar to this allow the residents to have additional coverage when needed, like during weekends and storms, while at the same time eliminating the need for costly personnel items, like medical benefits, pensions, etc. I have personally always advocated for a hybrid approach with the Town of Middlefield, with which we

See Law, page 23


Friday, February 22, 2013 — Town Times

Library Briefs Feb. 18 for Presidents Day.

Durham Library

Levi E. Coe Library

Hours: Regular library hours are Mondays through Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visit to search the catalog, review your account, register for a program or renew your materials online. For information or to register for a program by phone, call (860) 349-9544. The Durham Library is a drop-off location for Toys of Hope, which is providing toys to the victims of Hurricane Sandy. Please leave new, unwrapped toys for children of any age in the Toys of Hope box in the library hallway.

414 Main Street, Middlefield, (860) 349-3857 or Hours: Mondays-Thursdays 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturdays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Closed Fridays. Holiday closing - The Levi E. Coe Library is scheduled to be closed Monday,

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What’s Cookin’ - A Book Club for Foodies: Informal discussion on Wednesday, Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. Choose a recipe, cook it and share it (or just come for discussion.) Cuban Cooking by Rachel Roque is scheduled to be discussed. Copies are available at the library.

The Middlefield Volunteer Fire Company has scheduled its golf tournament for Friday, May 17, at Lyman Orchards Golf Course. The event is a 9 a.m. shotgun start. A fee is charged. For more information, email

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Town Times Service Directory

Pre-School Story Times: Mother Goose Storytime (18 to 30 months) Mondays at 10:15 a.m. Bedtime Storytime (2-4 years) Mondays at 7 p.m. Wear your PJs! Time for Tots (2 1/2 to 3 1/2 years) Wednesdays at 10:15 a.m. Preschool Storytime (3 1/2 to 5 years) Tuesdays at 10:15 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. To register, call the library at 860 349-9544

Russell Library, located at 123 Broad St. in Middletown,


Pre-School: Mother Goose (18 to 30 months) Mondays at 10:15 a.m. Time for Tots (2 1/2 to 3 1/2) Wednesdays at 10:15 a.m. Preschool Storytime (3 1/2 to 5) Tuesdays at 10:15 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Bedtime Storytime (2 to 4) Mondays at 7 p.m. (wear pajamas)

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Durham Thunder

The Durham Thunder fifth grade boys travel basketball team lost a heartbreaker on the road at Valley 36-31. The Thunder had no answer for Valley’s big man who dominated the inside with 20 points. Durham did another good job pressing and forcing turnovers to keep the game close, and in the second half Nico Kulpik and Del Cade held the big man to just six points. Chris Onofrio paced the Thunder with seven points, while Derek Grant added six, and Hugh Barrett contributed five. The Thunder will travel to Wallingford Saturday, Feb. 23, for a 3 p.m. matchup. They return home for their last regular season game on Sunday, Feb. 24, at 9 a.m., in a rematch with Old Saybrook.

The Durham Thunder fifth grade boys travel basketball team came up short during a rematch against Portland, 2822. The Thunder played great, hustling on both ends of the floor, but couldn’t hold off the Portland offense down the stretch. Onofrio led the way with five points, Noah Kleczkowski and Barrett chipped in with four each, and Cade added three. Kulpik did a great job on the boards. Submitted by Scott Penney

Coginchaug hoops Three days, three losses for boys In a quirk of snowstorms and make-up games, the Coginchaug boys basket ball team played games on three consecutive days, unfortu-

Town Times Friday, February 22, 2013

nately losing all three. Morgan In the last part of the Valentine’s Day double header at Morgan, on Thursday, Feb. 14, the Devils trailed by only two at the end of one period, 8-10. A 20-6 run in the second period saw the Huskies ahead at 30-14 at the half, and while Coginchaug made a mini-comeback in the third period to draw within 11 at 38-27, the home team pulled away for a final score of 51-33. Jack Granger and Alex Kotrady each scored six points, with Kotrady taking rebounding honors with six, and adding two steals, and Granger grabbing four rebounds and two each of steals and assists. Jackson Doyle scored five, adding three assists, two rebounds, a block and an steal. Devin Ro-

drigue had four each of points and rebounds, and had a steal, and Mike Bongiorno had a rebound and an assist. Jeff Grumm was the leading scorer for the team off the bench with eight, adding four rebounds and a steal. Alex Markoski scored four and had two rebounds, and Conor Doyle had a rebound and an assist. H-K On Friday, Feb. 15, the boys hosted the Cougars of H-K, falling behind 16-10 after one period, but coming back to tie the game at 22 all at the half. A very low scoring third period saw the visitors pull ahead of Coginchaug 27-26 after three periods. To start the final period, the Cougars went on a 7-0 run, and the Devils could not recover, losing 43-34 at the end. Jackson Doyle led the Dev-

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ils in scoring with 10, adding a rebound and a steal. Alex Kotrady led the team in steals, with seven, and rebounds, with six. Kotrady also scored seven and assisted once. Devin Rodrigue and Mike Bongiorno each scored eight points, with Devin adding five rebounds, two steals and an assist, and Mike adding a rebound and a steal. Off the bench, Jeff Grumm had three rebounds, a block and an assist, and Josh Smith and Conor Doyle each contributed a rebound. Cromwell On Saturday, Feb. 16, the Devils hosted the Panthers of Cromwell. Coginchaug kept the game tight early on, trailing by a single point, 12-13 after one period, and by eight, 25-33 at the half. Baskets from Granger and Rodrigue, then a trey from Bongiorno, then a charity try by Kotrady tied the game at 33 all half-way through the third period. But Cromwell want on a 10-3 run at the end to lead 43-36 entering the final period, and a 12 of 14 performance from the line by the Panthers propelled them to a 64-50 victory in the end. Bongiorno led the Devils with 18 points, adding four rebounds and three assists. Jackson Doyle led the team in rebounding with eight, adding 10 points, two assists and a steal. Rodrigue grabbed seven rebounds, adding five points and two assists. Jack Granger led the team in steals with four, adding six rebounds, five points, and three assists. Kotrady pulled in six rebounds, adding two points and an assist. Off the bench, Jeff Grumm had another good showing with six points, two rebounds, a block and a steal. Conor Doyle and Taylor Sapia each scored two points, with Conor Doyle adding a rebound, and Josh Smith pulled in a rebound. Coginchaug is 6-12, 6-11 in the Shoreline conference Coginchaug girls lose two In a week of snow and rescheduled games, the Lady Blue Devils finished the regular season on a down note,

See Sports, next page


Friday, February 22, 2013 — Town Times

Law Continued from page 20

Continued from page 22 losing their last two regular season games to HaddamKillingworth and Morgan. In a quirk of the schedule, Coginchaug faced the top three teams in the conference in the last three games. Last week, the team lost to undefeated Cromwell, and this week faced off against Haddam-Killingworth and Morgan, the second and third place teams in the conference, and ended the regular season on a three-game skid. H-K On Wednesday, Feb. 13, the girls hosted the Lady Cougars of H-K. Coginchaug managed to take an eight point lead (33-25) into the final period, and leading by as much as 10 points early in that final period, they dropped a close 39-43 decision to the visiting Cougars. After surrendering only nine, and eight points in the first three periods, they allowed 18 points in the fourth period to allow the game to get away. Kim Romanoff led Coginchaug with 14 points, with Audrey Arcari scoring eight, Olivia Corazzini seven, Morgan Kuehnle six, and Jessica Solomon four. Morgan On Thursday, Feb. 14, in the first half of a Valentine’s Day double header with the boys team at Morgan, the Lady Devils stayed close through the middle of the third period, trailing by “only” 14, the Huskies finished the half on a 12-0 run to

take a 61-35 lead after three periods. Morgan Kuehnle coasted home through the third period, and came away with a 73-44 victory over the Devils. Kuehnle and Audrey Arcari shared scoring honors for the Devils with 10, with Kuehnle adding five rebounds and one each of blocks, steals and assists, and Arcari adding two rebounds and a steal. Kim Romanoff was the leading rebounder with seven, and thief with three steals, adding eight points, a block and an assist. Olivia Corazzini scored six, and also had a rebound, a steal and an assist, while Jessica Solomon grabbed four rebounds and scored two. Mikayla Wyskiel had a strong showing off the bench with six points, four blocks, two rebounds and an assist. Caryn Sibiskie scored two, Sydney Trusty had a rebound and an assist, and both Larissa Cade and Naomi Rinaldo grabbed a rebound. Coginchaug finished the regular season with a 13-7 record, 12-6 in conference. They finished in fourth place in the Shoreline conference, and will have upcoming games in both the Shoreline tournament and in the state class M tournament. Submitted by Alan Pease

Nicole Thody. The clinics are scheduled for Sundays, March 10, 17, 24 and April 7 at Lake Grove Gym. Experienced (pitched at majors level) are scheduled from 8:30 to 9:15 a.m.; experience/intermediate (pitched at major or minors level) from 9:15 to10 a.m.; beginner from 10 to 10:45 a.m. A fee is charged. Girls must be registered for the 2013 little league season to participate in the pitching clinic. All players must register in advance at A parent/adult is required to catch when their daughter is participating in the clinic. For more information, contact Michele Rulnick at

Pitching Clinic Registration is now open for Coginchaug Little League’s four-week baseball pitching clinic from March 9April 6. The clinic, instructed by

CLL softball clinic Coginchaug Little League has scheduled pitching clinics for softball players, league age 8-12 for the 2013 season. Instruction will be provided by Ashley and

To submit sports information Town Time welcomes news and scores from all sports leagues in Durham and Middlefield. Information and photos can be sent to: Town Times, P.O. Box 265, Middlefield, 06455. Information also can be faxed to (203) 639-0210, or emailed to:

Sal Santanello, is open to all Farm, Minors, Majors and Intermediate players from league age 8-13. Three separate skill levels are available to help group players by ability so that they get the most from the instruction. The clinic runs four Saturdays (clinic not held during Easter weekend) for 30 minutes per week at the gym at Lake Grove/Rushford School on Route 68 in Durham. A family member is required to come and catch for the player. Both should bring a glove. Baseballs are provided. This clinic is for first-time pitchers to start off with good fundamentals, and for more experienced pitchers to improve technique. To register your son, visit, and click on “Register Online”. Contact Scott Strang at for further questions. There is a fee.

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already share so much in common. Middlefield’s yearly operating expenses would go down dramatically and Durham’s start-up capital expenses would be decreased dramatically. With so much regionalization already between these two towns, this partnership would seem to make logical sense. In fact just this legislative session, Rep. Miner (Litchfield) has introduced HB 5751, which would allow towns to share a resident state trooper. Regardless of the approach Durham takes in the future to provide law enforcement for its residents, it is important to remember that the Connecticut State Police are always available for major investigations. When these major incidents occur, no town is left to fend for itself, regardless of the type of police coverage that may exist in that town. For instance, when the horrific incident happened in Cheshire in 2007, it was the State Police who professionally handled the investigation. One thing, however, is clear. Some form of additional law enforcement is needed — and not to pester motorists and give rolling stop sign tickets — but instead to become an integral part of this community, to be proactive with our youth, to become partners with our residents, to provide quick response to emergencies, to conduct thorough investigations, and to make our community a safer place to live, work and play. Let’s be proactive in this regard and not reactive. Let’s start planning for the future. As always, I can be reached at or (860) 349-0003. Selectman John Szewczyk has been a member of the Hartford Police Department for the past 11 years and is also a Connecticut State Certified Police Academy Instructor.



Town Times — Friday, February 22, 2013

Paws Place: Shayna Shayna is about two years old. Shayna has had a horrible life and desperately needs someone to love her and give her a forever home. She is miserable at the shelter because she dislikes other cats and is very overwhelmed, so she does not show well. As the only cat, Shayna is very devoted, loving and loyal. She will sit with you and listen to you talk, cuddle with you, and sleep with you. She is full of love and affection and just needs someone to love her back. She has been waiting for a forever home for a long time. For more information, contact CATALES at (860) 344-9043 or

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Town Times Feb. 22, 2013  

Town Times Feb. 22, 2013