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Additional Benches, Bike Fix-It Station Coming to Collinsville Trail

These 8-foot benches were recently installed along the Farmington River Trail in Collinsville. Photo by John Fitts, via instagram

These 8-foot benches were recently installed along the Farmington River Trail in Collinsville.
Photo by John Fitts, via instagram

By John Fitts 

The recent installation of two eight-foot benches along the Farmington River Trail in downtown Collinsville signify just part of what is to come to the area.

The two galvanized steel benches, installed along the trail in front of the Crown and Hammer Pub and Restaurant, were crafted by New London artist Jesse Maxwell Good.

Good also crafted four additional four-foot benches that were also recently delivered to the town. Those are due to be placed along the trail near the information kiosk but weren’t immediately installed because of the sideways slope to the trail. Good is now investigating ways to level the benches without sacrificing their structural integrity.

The benches were part of the first phase of Streetscape improvements for downtown Collinsville. Most of that work was done last year at an approximate cost of $500,000, from which $387,000 was from a Connecticut Main Street grant.  … Continue Reading

Until a Developer is In Place, Tax Increment Financing Plan for Collins Company Complex Re-Development Would be ‘Preliminary’

A portion of the Collins Co. complex. Photo by John Fitts

A portion of the Collins Co. complex.
Photo by John Fitts

By John Fitts 

While a specific proposal will be necessary to complete a Tax Increment Financing master plan for re-development of Collins Company factory complex, a consultant can help develop the basic framework before that happens, town officials said.

Tax Increment Financing, or TIF, is the concept of taking some of the future tax revenues from a project and investing them back into a project – or related improvements.

Following a recent state law that revamped and clarified the scope of the TIF in Connecticut, Canton received a $10,000 Preservation of Place grant from Connecticut Main Street Center to help develop a TIF district and Master Plan that would set the parameters on an option for the factory and downtown Collinsville. The plan is expected to cost as much as $25,000 and the additional funds would  come from the Canton Economic Development Agency’s marketing budget.

On Wednesday, the Canton Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Steering Committee met briefly to talk about its next steps and past actions.

On March 17, the committee Saratoga-Springs based Camoin Associates and Columbia, MD–based MuniCap, Inc. – the two companies interested in helping the town develop a master plan. … Continue Reading

Night of Friends and Fun to Benefit Canton High Class of 2016 Substance Free Graduation Party

PowerPoint PresentationBy John Fitts

Planning for the 2016 Canton High School Substance Free Graduation Party is well underway with a major fundraiser scheduled this weekend.

For nearly 30 years, parents have raised funds for the safe post-graduation party, which involves a trip to Cherry Brook Primary school for dinner and a class film, followed by a trip to an offsite venue for overnight activities that include a hypnotist, sporting activities, a roving magician, cash cube, raffle prizes and much more.

On Saturday, April 2, 2016, the Substance Free Graduation Party committee is hosting a Night of Friends and Fun at the Canton Indoor Golf Center. The $50 per person price includes appetizers, a buffet dinner, dessert, golf competitions, live music from the Humeleons, and numerous raffle prizes that include vacation getaways and Patriots tickets. There will be a cash bar, 50-50 raffle and, yes, final four games will be broadcast. … Continue Reading

Realty Works Merges with William Raveis

March 29, 2016 Business No Comments
PJ Louis, vice president of sales at William Raveis and Julius Fialkiewicz, co-founder of Realty Works. Photo by John Fitts

PJ Louis, vice president of sales at William Raveis, and Julius Fialkiewicz, co-founder of Realty Works.
Photo by John Fitts

By John Fitts

COLLINSVILLE — Realty Works, a fixture in Collinsville since the turn of the century, has merged with Connecticut-based William Raveis Real Estate, Mortgage & Insurance.

The new entity, known as The Realty Works Group at William Raveis, will remain in Collinsville, according to PJ Louis, vice president of sales at Raveis.

“The Realty Works Group will remain in Collinsville and we’re looking to grow the business exponentially,” Louis said.

Realty Works co-founder Julius Fialkiewicz, who has stayed on as an agent and team leader, said the decision to merge with a larger company has been in the works for some time now, following the death of business partner L. Gardner Graves, Jr., who passed away in June of 2011. … Continue Reading

Eversource Trimming Trees Along 52 Miles of Roadway in Canton

Students at Stepping Stones try and save some trees that were being cut along Route 44. Submitted Photo

Students at Stepping Stones try and save some trees that were being cut along Route 44.
Submitted Photo

By John Fitts 

CANTON — Crews working for Eversource, which transmits and delivers electricity to 149 cities and towns, are in the process of trimming trees along 52 miles of roadway in Canton.

It is part of a larger initiative that involves trimming along 4,000 miles of roadway in 132 communities – at a cost of $68 million – in 2016.

Through regular pruning, the company said it has reduced tree-caused outages 40 percent since 2011, according to a recent release.

“This work is crucial to protect our electric system, reducing the number and severity of power outages,” said company spokesman Mitch Gross. “We’re working hard to strike that right balance between aesthetics and reliable electric service.”

The trimming, which sometimes involves removal, sometimes generates the public’s attention. After the October 2011 snowstorm, many accused the company of not doing enough to clear its power lines. Since then, some say crews go too far.

At Stepping Stones Educational Center on Route 44 in Canton, young students recently participated in what was perhaps their first protest, waiving signs and saying, “Save Our Trees, Please.”

A crew trims and cuts further down along Route 44 in Canton. Submitted Photo

A crew trims and cuts further down along Route 44 in Canton.
Submitted Photo

“It’s heartbreaking to hear the children talk of all the animals that will be displaced because they continue to cut tress down each spring since that October storm a few years back,” said director LaNelle Stanhope. “One of the boys looked at me after our protest with tears in his eyes and said ‘Mrs. Stanhope they aren’t listening.’ What am I to say to that?”

Gross said crews did cut pear trees along a stretch of Route 44 between East Hill and Dyer.

“Pear trees that are not regularly trimmed can grow to heights of 40 feet and that is what happened here – the trees were growing into the lines, putting the electric system at risk,” Gross said. … Continue Reading

Portraits of Canton: Shelby York Barnhart – Blacksmith, Welder, Business Owner

By John Fitts 

Shelby York Barnhart is a fine artist but don’t expect a priceless piece to hang on the wall.

But if you need a fireplace screen, handrail, boot butter or a badass way to hold and display your wine vessels, she can deliver.

“I’ve always been more into functional art,” said Barnhart, who runs Arc and Hammer and Fat Maverick from her Canton home. “I just loved that you can make something pretty that didn’t just have to be something you stare at – that actually had a purpose.”

… Continue Reading

Canton Selectmen Defer Decision on New Town Seal, Marketing Plan

The proposed seal that selectmen could potentially adopt at its next meeting.

The proposed seal that selectmen could potentially adopt at its next meeting.

Canton selectmen on Wednesday deferred a decision on whether to adopt a new town seal and endorse related marketing materials.

In a brief presentation to selectmen, Economic Development Agency chairman Bob Bessel reviewed the results of a marketing and branding study recently conducted by Arnett Muldrow & Associates. The study was partially funded through a $10,000 Preservation of Place grant from the Connecticut Main Street Center.

As part of that plan is a proposed new town seal that would incrementally find its way to town documents, vehicles, signs and other materials. Town marketing would also involve related materials, such as advertising and signage with similar branding.

The new seal denotes the state’s charter oak with underlying colored lines that represent the historic Collins Company, nature trails and the Farmington River.

The seal gets away from the current theme that distinguishes separate parts of town.

“The idea is to have a unifying logo and seal that celebrates who we are and what we are,” Bessel said.  … Continue Reading

Free Cone Day to Benefit town of Canton Volunteer Fire and EMS Department.

March 22, 2016 Business, Community, Fire No Comments

Submitted Release 

From noon to 8 p.m. on April 12, Ben & Jerry’s of Canton will be celebrating Free Cone Day to thank their customers for their patronage, and to raise money and awareness in support of the Town of Canton Volunteer Fire & EMS Department.

Volunteer fire and EMS members will be scooping ice cream, giving fire truck and ambulance tours and providing information about opportunities in the fire & emergency medical services. Sparky the celebrity firedog will make appearances throughout the day. … Continue Reading

Canton’s Hickory Ledges Featured in Yankee Magazine

March 22, 2016 Business, Community No Comments

Photo by John Fitts

Submitted Release 

DUBLIN, NH — Just in time for sugaring season, several of New England’s best maple experiences are featured in the newest issue of Yankee Magazine (March/April) in the story “Maple Mania Destinations.” Contributing Editor Kim Knox Beckius writes, “One of our region’s true treasures, maple syrup is as complex and subtly variable as fine wine.”

Among the top places to add to your “sap bucket” list, Beckius recommends a visit to Hickory Ledges Farm in Canton, to sample “Full Moonshine/Pete’s Maple 80.” The 80 proof corn liquor is handmade and bottled by owners Bill and Lynne Olson, and sweetened with locally sourced maple. It’s also named after Lynn’s late father Andrew ‘Pete’ Bouchard.

The other top maple experiences featured in “Maple Mania Destinations” include:

Gelato Fiasco – Brunswick & Portland, ME
Maple Adventure Ride – Woodstock, VT
Strawbale Café – Westhampton, MA
Manon on Golden Pond – Holderness, NH

The full story can be read here:
http://www.yankeemagazine.com/article/food/best-new-england-maple-experiences

Images of Canton: Bridge Street Live Kicks off 2016 Season

Bridge Street Live kicked off its seventh season last Saturday night with a special St. Patrick’s themed edition of its New York vs. Boston comedy series, a show headlined by Tom Briscoe and Sean Lynch. Comedians Mark Riccadonna and Dr. Jay Sutay, the stand up Pediatrician, also entertained.

The Tipperary Knights, a popular Irish band, opened the evening.

This week, the venue kicks off its Homegrown Thursday series with Nate Ginnetty and his friend Daniel Amedee of New Orleans. On Saturday, it’s a night of string band music with Switch Factory and The Collinsville String Band. Tickets for both shows start at just $10.

The venue is located at 41 Bridge Street in Collinsville. See more details and a full schedule at http://www.41bridgestreet.com/calendar/index.php?id=573

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Upcoming Events

Mar
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7:30 am Rotary Club of Avon-Canton @ Avon Old Farms Hotel
Rotary Club of Avon-Canton @ Avon Old Farms Hotel
Mar 24 @ 7:30 am
The Rotary Club Meets Fridays at 7:30 AM Avon Old Farms Hotel 279 Avon Mountain Rd. Avon, CT  06001 United States – See more at: http://portal.clubrunner.ca/5482#sthash.qE3T9Hoe.dpuf
6:00 pm Open Mic @ LaSalle Market
Open Mic @ LaSalle Market
Mar 24 @ 6:00 pm – 10:30 pm
Open Mic every week. Limited sign-ups available by calling at 1:30 p.m. the day of event (860) 693-8010
7:00 pm Friday Night Jazz @ La Trattoria
Friday Night Jazz @ La Trattoria
Mar 24 @ 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm
 Every Friday night, entertainment in the Lounge