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Mental Health, Opioid Addiction to Be Year-Long Discussion in Canton

January 25, 2017 Community, Health No Comments

Jennifer C. Kertanis, director of Farmington Valley Health District, speaks at the annual town meeting.
Photo by John Fitts

By John Fitts 

CANTON – When one is struggling with mental health or addiction, it is often kept quiet. 

Family members often don’t talk of it and neighbors and friends, if they are even aware, hesitate to bring it up. 

But those leading a recent discussion on mental wellness and the opioid epidemic had a surprising suggestion. If you know someone going through such a struggle, break the ice by bringing the family a casserole, just as you would for a cancer patient. 

“Addiction thrives in isolation and we know that connectedness extinguishes it,” said Maria Coutant Skinner, Canton resident and executive director of the Torrington-based McCall Center for Behavioral Health.  … Continue Reading

Canton Annual Report Dedicated to Late, Activist Couple

January 25, 2017 Community, Government No Comments

By John Fitts 

The late Lou and Judi Friedman at Roaring Brook Nature Center.
Photo courtesy of Roaring Brook Nature Center

Assistant Editor

CANTON — The late Judi and Lou Friedman were known throughout the world for their activism but the couple also strongly believed that it started locally. 

Their actions at home included building a trend-setting energy-efficient home, instilling a love for the environment in generations of children, speaking and writing about local issues, fighting local polluters and pitching in at Roaring Brook Nature Center. 

Now, the town of Canton has dedicated its 2015-2016 annual report to the couple. The dedication was announced by First Selectman Leslee Hill at the Canton Annual town meeting Jan. 18, 2017. 

“Our sincere thanks and appreciation go out to the Friedmans for their years of continuous contributions to the Canton community – their passing has been deeply felt in the town of Canton and we appreciate and honor them through this annual report dedication,” Hill said. 

Please see more in this week’s edition of The Valley Press

 

Canton School District Retirees, Students Work Together to Make an Impact

January 19, 2017 Community, Schools No Comments

CANTON –  Joan Reiskin and Heidi Zacchera retired from the Canton School District in 2007 and 2013, respectively, but that hasn’t stopped the two from continuing to lead ESTEEM, a team of high school students that teach fifth-graders about making good choices.   

“We started it and we love it,” said Reiskin, a 35-year social worker for the town and school district. “We see the results in play year after year. We hear from the teachers and the principals of those schools that this was such a positive influence on these kids.” 

Each year, the group visits approximately a half dozen schools, generally presenting to fifth graders. That included a recent trip to Canton Intermediate School. 

Please see this week’s Valley Press for the complete story. 

Images of Canton: Wizards Come to Town

By John Fitts 

Assistant Editor

CANTON — With a host of antics, slam dunks, dancing and even a little football, the Harlem Wizards and local teachers took to the court and helped raise $7,500 toward an effort for permanent lights at the Canton High School track and field facility. 

The committee is working to raise some $250,000 for permanent lights at Canton High School track and field facility. Next up is a Snowshoe Scramble, sponsored by Lights on Canton and Canton Parks & Recreation Department, and set for 1 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 29. It is designed to be a gentle snowshoe, or walking event through the woods with refreshments at the end. Cost is $25 per person or $75 for a family of four.  More details, updated course information and online registration can be found at the Canton Parks & Recreation website, www.cantonrec.org/info/activities. (NOTE EVENT CANCELED) 

The committee has also announced several other initiatives. Please see this week’s Valley Press for the complete story. 

Your Silent Neighbors: John Felter, ‘Died by Murderer’s Hand’

January 15, 2017 Community, History No Comments

By David K. Leff
Town Historian 

“Died by Murderer’s Hand” reads the lichen-encrusted brownstone pillar erected to John Felter (1825-1875).  Felter was of German extraction and operated a boarding house just over the Canton line in Burlington with his wife Caroline, who owned the building.  Killed in his own home, he was one of three who would die from stabbings received on the night of April 16, 1875 in one of the most grisly episodes ever witnessed in Collinsville.

“Crazed with liquor,” as The Hartford Courant reported, Collins Company grinder Anton Linburg entered the room in Felter’s house where fellow worker Andre Johnson boarded.  Johnson had been sick in bed several days.  Brandishing a knife hidden under his coat, Linburg fatally stabbed the bedridden man.  On hearing a noise, Felter entered the room and was knifed so many times by the infuriated Linburg that he died almost instantly.  At the sound of her husband’s cries, Caroline Felter went to the room only to be cut severely in the hip.  The murderer then stabbed himself and went to his own room where he slit his throat.  Linburg lay in bed for some time with his wounds when a doctor from Winsted arrived to examine him.  With “great effort” the dying man “raised himself up” and “grasped the knife lying on the floor beside him and threw it with as much strength as he could command at the doctor, but missed his aim and fell back dead.” … Continue Reading

Images of Canton: Canton Parents for Music Coffee House

January 13, 2017 Community, Photos, Schools No Comments

Photos by John Fitts

Canton Parents for Music sponsored a coffee house in the cafeteria of Canton High School Jan. 6. Fourteen different student acts performed. Attendance was free, but the organization raised nearly $300 from selling refreshments and accepting donations. The organization is looking to host additional coffee houses , potentially at other locations. Canton Parents for Music funds initiatives not covered in the Board of Education budget. Examples include artists in residence and music trip transportation costs. See more at www.cantonparentsformusic.org. … Continue Reading

First Selectman’s Corner: Two Important Topics at Annual Town Meeting

January 12, 2017 Community, Government No Comments

Leslee Hill

Dear Canton Residents,

Please consider this a personal invitation to attend the 2017 Annual Town Meeting. It will be held on Wednesday, January 18, 2017 at 7:00 pm at the Town Hall Auditorium. Two topics will be presented that evening.

The first will be an overview of economic development initiatives presented by the Town of Canton’s Economic Development Agency.

The second topic will be mental health issues in Canton, with a focus on the opioid epidemic in our area. This will be presented by Jennifer Kertanis, Director of the Farmington Valley Health District; Claire Cote, Canton’s Director of Senior and Social Services; and Maria Coutant Skinner, Executive Director at the McCall Center for Behavioral Health. These are topics that should be of interest to everyone in Canton, and I encourage you to come and learn more about them. That evening, the town will also honor, with the dedication of the 2016 Annual Report, the late Louis and Judith Friedman, who were well-known and highly respected members of the Canton community.  … Continue Reading

Canton Looks to Make Town Green More of a Showcase

January 12, 2017 Community, Government No Comments

CANTON – This winter the town’s Public Works Department will begin some improvements on the town green designed to make the area more visually pleasing and welcoming.

“It’s a very prominent, iconic spot for the town to welcome people to the community by having a nice, attractive green,” said Public Works Director Robert J. Martin.

For the past several years, the department, the Canton Lions Club and Cherry Brook Garden Club have made numerous improvements on the green and to the bandstand.

Now the department is looking to replace the aging, deteriorated “Welcome to Canton, Town of Champion” sign, remove some diseased and invasive trees and plant some new specimens. For the later, the department is working with town historian David K. Leff to plant specimens that most closely resemble some historic trees that once stood on the green.

“I love the approach you’ve taken,” First Selectman Leslee Hill told Public Works Director Robert J. Martin at a Board of Selectman meeting Wednesday. “There’s reasons for everything you’ve taken out and there’s reasons for everything you’re putting in . . . It would be a nice welcome into town.”

Please look out for the complete story, written by John Fitts, in the Jan. 19, 2017 edition of the Valley Press.

John Fitts joins staff of The Valley Press

January 10, 2017 Business, Community 1 Comment

John Fitts

The Valley Press, an award-winning weekly newspaper, is pleased to announce that John Fitts has joined its staff as assistant editor.

Best known locally as the owner and editor of the news website Canton Compass, Fitts has more than 20 years experience in the journalism industry.

“We’re excited to have John join our team and look forward to the ways in which we know he will enhance our publications with his strong reporting and photojournalism skills,” said Abigail Albair, executive editor of TurleyCT Community Publications, the parent company of The Valley Press. “He is a truly dynamic individual, and we are lucky to have him on board.”

Details are still being finalized, but the plan is to incorporate the Canton Compass into existing TurleyCT digital offerings. Currently, TurleyCT provides online flipbooks of all its print publications, which include a weekly West Hartford newspaper and the monthly LIFE publications.

Fitts and Albair will work together to reinvigorate the Compass as a digital element that will complement the Farmington Valley’s weekly newspaper of record and best serve the readership of The Valley Press.

“The opportunity to work with The Valley Press was a unique one that seemed the perfect fit for me and the Compass, which has become an important part of the Canton community since I founded it in 2014,” Fitts said. “I’m happy the Compass will continue to thrive and am thankful to the residents who supported me in this venture over the past few years. The Valley Press is truly the best newspaper through which to reach the Farmington Valley, and loyal Compass readers will be well-served by this joining of forces.”

Canton Residents Named to Dean’s Lists at Champlain College, Keene State

January 7, 2017 Community, Schools No Comments

Courtesy of readMedia Newswire

Lindsay Sugar named to the Champlain College Dean’s List for the Fall 2016 semester

BURLINGTON, VT — Lindsay Sugar of Canton has been named to the Champlain College Dean’s List for the Fall 2016 semester.

Students on the Dean’s List have achieved a grade point average of 3.5 or higher during the semester. Sugar is majoring in Secondary Education-Social Studies.

Keene State College Student Kimberly Bastan Earns Place on Dean’s List 

KEENE, NH — Congratulations to Kimberly Bastan of Canton, who was recently named to the fall 2016 dean’s list at Keene State College. Bastan was among 1,400 students who were honored for academic excellence in the fall 2016 semester.

To qualify for the dean’s list, Keene State undergraduates must be enrolled in a degree program and must have completed a minimum of six credit hours in the semester, receiving no failing or incomplete grades. Students must achieve a 3.5 or higher grade point average on a 4.0 scale to earn dean’s list honors.

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