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Your Silent Neighbors: Ralph Cox, Village Doctor

March 15, 2017 Community, History No Comments

By David Leff
Town Historian 

Doctor Ralph Cox (1876-1961) began practice in Collinsville in 1902 and continued seeing patients until his death.  He was drawn to Collinsville from his native Nova Scotia because his father, originally a shipwright, had found employment as a blacksmith with The Collins Company.  The boyish-looking doctor with smooth skin and dark, neatly combed hair married a Collinsville girl in 1905 and purchased the house at 2 The Green where he both lived and saw patients.

Dr. Cox practiced in the days of house calls, and his first mode of transportation was a bicycle, then a horse, and finally an automobile, of which he had only the fourth one in the village, an Overland.

During his first year of practice he rode his bike one night from Collinsville to Plainville when a desperate mother couldn’t locate another doctor to tend to her son who had a deep cut on his leg.  When the youthful Cox arrived, the woman refused to have a “boy doctor” look at her son.  He managed to talk her into examining the laceration and before she knew it, he had patched the wound.  The family was still among his patients 50 years later.

Dr. Cox was a man of courage.  When called to the old Collins mansion in 1912 where a deranged Hartford firefighter had shot his wife, he did not just retreat when his life was threatened at gunpoint.  He went back across the river for reinforcements and then endured a hail of bullets until the gunman ran out of ammunition.  Though the house was engulfed in flames, Dr. Cox, with others, assisted the wounded woman to his car.  He treated the bullet wounds and allowed her to convalesce at his house.  A man of great warmth and humanity, he would become known for bringing accident victims and sufferers from mental disorders into his home. … Continue Reading

Collinsville Resident Featured in ‘The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee’

Darrell Cookman as Mitch Mahoney Photo by Anna Zuckerman-Vdovenko

Submitted Release 

The Farmington Valley Stage Company in Collinsville’s season continues with the Tony award-winning Broadway hit musical comedy, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” the hilarious tale of six young people in the throes of puberty, overseen by grown-ups who barely managed to escape childhood themselves, competing in the spelling championship of a lifetime.  The spellers soon learn that winning isn’t everything and that losing doesn’t necessarily make you a loser.

Though the spellers are all supposed to be between the ages of 10 and 13, they are played by adults.  This unique musical comedy features a cast of many Farmington Valley audience favorites, including Collinsville’s own Darrell Cookman, making his first appearance with the FVSC as “Mitch Mahoney Comfort Counselor”.  During the day, Darrell encourages homeschooling teens to push the limits of their passion and talent at True North located in the Collins Ax Factory. … Continue Reading

Images of Canton: Finding Success on the Stage

Canton Music Theatre will present “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” March 17-19.

Shows take place at 7 p.m. Friday, March 17 and Saturday, March 18, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 19. Pre-sale tickets are $8 for seniors and students and $12 for adults. At the door, the prices are $10 and $15. The production is in conjunction with Music Theatre International. For tickets, call 860-693-7707, or log on to cantonmusictheatre.org. Also, see more in this week’s Valley Press.

Residents Air Opinions on Trump Chant to Canton Board of Education

March 8, 2017 Community, Schools No Comments

Canton plays Classical earlier this year (This is not the night of the alleged incident).

By John Fitts 

Several parents spoke out Tuesday about the “Trump” chant controversy, while superintendent Kevin D. Case disclosed that additional comments were made during the recent basketball game.

On Tuesday, Feb. 28 Hartford-based Classical Magnet School visited Canton High School and squeaked out a 48-47 win in the NCCC Tournament semifinal.

During the game, according to school administrators, a small group of student spectators chanted “Trump, Trump, Trump” while Classical players were on the free-throw line.

School administrators quickly condemned the action, and particularly the tone of the comments, as being divisive and crossing a line.

At the Board of Education Tuesday, several parents continued the debate over the context of such comments.  … Continue Reading

Images of Canton: Songs of the Continents

The Canton Public Schools Music Department recently presented “Songs of the Continent.” The March 2 concert, held at Canton High School, featured the freshman chorus, concert choir and chamber singers. Brett Gottheimer directed the performances with Diana Lawler as accompanist. See http://www.cantonmusic.org for upcoming concerts

‘Substance Abuse Prevention and the Opioid/Heroin Epidemic’ Program Takes Place March 9

March 6, 2017 Community, Health No Comments

By John Fitts 

CANTON — On Thursday, March 9, Canton’s year of “Shining the Spotlight on Mental Wellness” kicks into high gear with an educational presentation, forum and resource fair on substance abuse prevention and the opioid/heroin epidemic. People from any town are encouraged to attend the free event.

Opioids, according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, bind to the “opioid receptors, on cells found in many areas of the brain,” particularly those than control pain and pleasure.

Breathing, arousal and blood pressure are controlled by such receptors and overdoses of opioids generally result in slowed or zero breathing.

Heroin, derived from the morphine gathered from Asian poppy plants, is readily available, inexpensive and often becomes a substitute for other opioids.

Approximately 20 different organizations, including state departments, hospital, recovery networks, legal experts, policy advocates, emergency personnel and others will host booths at the March 9 “Substance Abuse Prevention and the Opioid/Heroin Epidemic” program.

It will include remarks from a recovering addict, as well as speakers Miriam E. Delphin-Rittmon, commissioner of the state department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and Canton resident Maria Coutant Skinner, executive director at the McCall Center for Behavioral Health.

People can come and learn about the signs of addiction, common pathways to it, most affected age groups, risk factors, ways to help those affected and much more.  … Continue Reading

Town to Relinquish Ownership of Grange Building

The grange building in North Canton.

By John Fitts 

CANTON – Calling it unfortunate, Canton selectmen nonetheless have decided to let go of the North Canton Grange building.

The board recently voted to authorize Chief Administrative Officer Robert Skinner to make arrangements to give the building to the state grange association.

In September of 2013, the town accepted the building as a gift from members of the dissolved Cherry Brook Patrons of Husbandry Grange #210.

In the fall of 2016, Boy Scout Troop 177 came forward with an offer to perform some of the necessary repairs, which town officials estimate to be nearly $145,000, a much higher figure than repair estimates a few years ago.

Even with the Scouts’ offer, officials said the town would still be responsible for approximately $100,000 in upgrades. Additionally the $4,500 in annual costs would rise to $11,600 once the building was refurbished, officials said.

Selectmen said it was unfortunate but felt the town could not take on the project, particularly in this economic climate.

See more in this week’s Valley Press.

‘Modified’ Code Yellow at Two Canton Schools Friday

March 3, 2017 Community, Schools No Comments

Two Canton schools have been placed on a “Modified Code Yellow” Friday. The issue is related to the controversy – and fallout – following a controversial incident at a Canton High School basketball game earlier this week when some students yelled “Trump, Trump, Trump” while an opposing team was on the foul line.

School officials said the tone used in the comments made it inappropriate. The incident, and reaction to it, have stirred much controversy in town and well beyond.

The incident also resulted in social media posts some parents took as threatening to Canton schools and case said outdoor recess was canceled at Cherry Brook and Canton Intermediate to allay fears.

“With the concern many parents have, I want to be sure all students are in a safe environment,” Case told Canton Compass in a message.

For more on the incident, see our previous story and next week’s Valley Press, which will include other perspectives.

Following is Case’s email to parents.

“I am writing this message to you as a follow-up to my message to you last evening. As I wrote last evening, there are no credible threats against any of our schools. As a safety precaution, however, I wanted you to know that I placed Cherry Brook Primary School and Canton Intermediate School in a modified Code Yellow status this afternoon which means that there is no outdoor recess.

Parents are free to enter and leave the building as normal.

As always, we want our students to feel safe and secure in our schools. Student safety is our top priority.

Have a good afternoon and a good weekend.

Sincerely,

Kevin D. Case

Superintendent of Schools”

First Selectman’s Corner: ‘Substance Abuse Prevention and the Opioid Epidemic’ is Topic of March 9 Forum

Leslee Hill

This is the first of what will be an ongoing series of communications from me regarding Canton’s Year of Mental Wellness. Canton’s Mental Health Task Force has been working hard to develop a year-long Call to Action, which we will be sharing with you soon. This calendar will set forth various themes and focus areas for the coming months, along with suggested actions designed to improve your own mental wellness, or support someone else’s.

As a follow-up to the Annual Town Meeting presentation on the opioid crisis in our area, I am pleased to invite you to attend a special event on Thursday evening, March 9th, in the Canton Community Center. “Shining the Spotlight on Mental Wellness: Substance Abuse Prevention and the Opioid Epidemic” will be an informative evening for all. We will hear from featured speakers, including the State Commissioner of the Dept. of Mental Health and Addiction Services, Dr. Miriam E. Delphin-Rittmon.

I am especially pleased to welcome our special guest speaker, Ms. Laura Shafer, PhD. Ms. Shafer grew up in the Farmington Valley, and will share her candid story of heroin addiction and recovery. This will be a compelling presentation that I urge you not to miss. This portion of the evening will be in Room F of the Community Center, beginning at 6pm. Another important feature of the event will be a Resource Fair, in the lower level multi-purpose room, beginning at 5:30. A wide variety of state agencies, local groups, advocacy organizations, and service providers, will be present and able to answer your questions about their services. Our hope is that you will leave this event with a better understanding of how the opioid crisis is affecting your friends and neighbors in Canton and the Farmington Valley, how to recognize signs of addiction in someone you care about, and where to turn for help. The speaker portion of the evening will be taped for later broadcast on Nutmeg TV, and will also be available for viewing on the Town website.    Click here to view the flyer for more information.

I hope to see you on March 9th, and I look forward to continuing our community conversation about mental wellness throughout the coming months.

Best regards,
Leslee B. Hill
First Selectman

School officials: In context, ‘Trump,Trump, Trump’ chant perceived as ‘divisive’

March 1, 2017 Community, Schools 10 Comments

Editor’s Note: We are working to get more perspectives on this story. Please see more in next week’s Valley Press. If anyone would like to speak on the incident, please email jfitts@turleyct.com, I’d especially love to talk to people who attended the game. 

By John Fitts 

CANTON — Following alleged chants of “Trump, Trump, Trump” by some Canton students to an opposing team during a Tuesday evening basketball game, school officials have gone on record saying the behavior was perceived “divisive” and “disrespectful.”

The incident came during a boys game against Hartford-based Classical Magnet School when approximately 7 to 8 Canton students  yelled “Trump, Trump, Trump” while the opponents were on the free-throw line, said Superintendent Kevin  D. Case. On Thursday, Case said the tone of the chants was at issue, more than the exact words.

Two school administrators curtailed the activity at the game but Case acknowledged that some of the kids continued it after the game.

Some in the community are contending the students chose a patriotic theme for costume night and were reacting to an anti-Trump atmosphere in the schools. Others feel the chant clearly had racist overtones.

Following the incident that night, community members from both teams expressed their disappointment and the students were spoken to, Case said. Additionally, administrators met with the entire student body on Wednesday.

In a letter to parents, principal Andrew F. DiPippo said “many people perceived these comments to be divisive in the context of an athletic event.”

“While students’ right to free speech and forming educated opinions about politics and current events is a cornerstone of our education system, the exact point where political opinion converges with disrespect, discrimination, or hate speech must be separated,” he, in part, wrote. “We have a reputation as a welcoming community, and these students crossed this line with their comments and have damaged our reputation. As principal, I am disheartened that our message of community has not resonated with all students.” … Continue Reading

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