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‘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

Your Silent Neighbors: Charles A. Farnham, Heroic Banker

March 1, 2017 Community, History No Comments

By David Leff 
Town Historian 

Charles A. Farnham (1851-1939) came to Collinsville in 1872 and worked for the Collins Company for 43 years, retiring in 1916.  He served as president of the Collinsville savings Society from 1917 to 1938.  For many years he was superintendent and treasurer of the Collinsville Water Company.

A serious-looking and dignified gentleman, Farnham was present when the bank was robbed in May 1935 by three armed gunman who made off with just over $2,000.  At age 84, infirm and slightly deaf, Farnham was ordered by the thieves to get down on the floor with the other employees.  Fearing his weak heart would prevent him from getting up again, he gravely shook his head “no.”  Instead he sat in a chair.  “Regardless of what you fellows do,” he announced defiantly, “I’m going to sit here and take one of these pills.”  Pulling a small box from his pocket, Farnham opened it and swallowed the medication.  The robbery was the talk of the town, but it was the elderly bank president’s resolute bravery in facing down the brazen gunmen that dominated conversation. … Continue Reading

Canton Officer Praised for New Hartford water rescue

February 28, 2017 Community, Police No Comments

Officer Andrew Schiffer

By John Fitts 

NEW HARTFORD – While the story ends sadly, a Canton police officer is being heralded for his bravery in rescuing an elderly man from the waters of the Farmington River Monday.

It was approximately 11:30 a.m. when state police spotted a 70-year-old New Hartford man in the Farmington River in New Hartford in the vicinity of the River Run complex on Route 44.

State police, New Hartford and Winsted ambulance crews, as well as volunteer fire departments from New Hartford, Nepaug and Canton, responded to the scene on the west side of the river but, due to a deep, fast-flowing channel of water, were hampered from immediately reaching the man.

Canton police officer Andrew Schiffer was asked to travel up Farmington River Turnpike on the east side of the river. A portion of that road is closed and blocked off during the winter and Schiffer had to reach the scene on foot. … Continue Reading

Canton Dollars for Scholars announces 2017 season

February 28, 2017 Community, Schools No Comments

Print

Submitted Release 

Canton Dollars for Scholars announces their 2017 scholarship season. Online applications will be accepted from Wednesday, March 1 through Friday, March 31. High school seniors residing in Canton may apply regardless of whether they attend Canton High School or a private, parochial or homeschool program. Scholarships are offered for a broad range of post-secondary programs including vocational and technical schools as well as two-year and four-year college degrees.

Canton Dollars for Scholars seeks the well-rounded student who is achieving his or her personal best grades while serving the school, community and the greater good. CDFS focuses on school involvement, work and community commitments.  Teacher recommendations and financial information are not considered or required, however, the student may provide this info if they want to pursue certain national scholarships through our parent organization, Scholarship America.

Students and parents can find information on both local Canton scholarships and national awards by visiting the CDFS website at www.canton.dollarsforscholars.org. Anyone interested in making a donation to support the scholarship programs should visit the website as well.

Images of Canton: CrownAid2017


Photos by John Fitts 

This past weekend, two events were held to benefit Crown and Hammer Pub and Restaurant employees, who have had limited economic opportunities following the fatal Jan. 23 accident, in which a vehicle crashed into the kitchen of the building, causing extensive damage.

On Feb. 25, fellow Collinsville businesses Wilson’s Pub and LaSalle Market hosted fundraisers for the employees. At Wilson’s, CrownAid2017 was spearheaded by local musician Corey Michael Rieman with the help of other area artisans and owner Esther Witkos. That event featured numerous musicians and generated $3,000, a total which was then matched by a private individual.

At LaSalle, Jean-Claude Trans/Am played a special Give Back Series event, which raised more than $900.

With some additional donations on Monday, the funds collectively raised had reached approximately $7,000.

Crown owner Lisa Maurer is targeting mid March for re-opening the 3 Depot St. restaurant.

See a full-sized gallery at https://johnfitts.smugmug.com.

Canton Boys Win Conference Title

February 17, 2017 Community, Schools No Comments

Canton junior Ryan Enns drives to the hoop.
Photo by Dave Heuschkel

By Dave Heuschkel

For the first time in 35 years, the Canton High boys basketball team are conference champions. The Warriors clinched the North Central Connecticut Conference regular season title Thursday night with a 55-33 win over East Granby.

Junior Ryan Enns led the Warriors with 14 points and senior Ethan Burke scored 12 as Canton won its first conference title since 1982. The Warriors went 17-3 overall, 15-1 in the conference.

The 17 regular season wins are the most by Canton since Craig Archambault took over in 2012. Of his five teams, he said this is the youngest. With the exception of Burke and junior Luke Brown, most of the players saw little or no varsity action on the team that went 14-6 in the regular season a year ago.

But Burke, the only returning starter, doesn’t think the Warriors overachieved. He said something occurred a year ago that made him truly believe this team could win a conference title. Read the story in the Feb. 23 edition of the Valley Press.

… Continue Reading

Canton Commission Continues Public Hearing on 5 River Road

February 16, 2017 Business, Community No Comments

A file photo of 5 River Road.

By John Fitts

On Wednesday, Feb. 15, the Canton Planning and Zoning Commission heard varying opinions on a proposal to add a used car dealership to the list of permitted uses at 5 River Road in Collinsville but ultimately continued a public hearing on the matter.

The half-acre, “v-shaped” property sits on the corner of Maple Avenue (state Route 565) and state route 179.

Resident Stephen Roberto purchased the property, formerly home to a gas station, in 2011, and in 2014 was successful in getting it re-zoned from “non-conforming” residential to business.

The proposal before the commission now looks to get permission for used car dealership with 30 spaces for “inventory,” 7 parking spaces, dark-sky compliant lighting for use during business hours and use of existing bays for limited repair.

While some businesses uses are allowed “by right,” a dealership would require several special permits and a site-plan modification.

Various criteria and standards come with the special permits and much of the debate on the proposal centers around intensity of use on the property, the character of the neighborhood and the town’s economic viability.

The commission is slated to continue the hearing at its March 15 meeting, which would take place at 7:30 p.m. in the Canton Community Center.

See more in next week’s edition of the Valley Press.  

Musical Events to Benefit Crown and Hammer Employees

February 15, 2017 Business, Community No Comments

Hand-drawn and watercolored image by Kate McAllister of KMcA Fine Art.

By John Fitts

COLLINSVILLE – On the last Saturday in February, two local establishments will host musical fundraisers to benefit employees of the Crown and Hammer Pub and Restaurant.

Many of the 17 people who work at the Crown have had limited economic opportunities since the restaurant had to temporarily shut its doors after the Jan. 23 accident in which a vehicle crashed into the building, which resulted in the death of passenger Margaret Stoppani, 86, of Canton. Police said the investigation is ongoing.

While the death has certainly been the most tragic outcome, employees at the restaurant have also struggled to keep up financially.

On Feb. 25, there will be two efforts to lend them a hand.

From 1 p.m. to 1 a.m. on that day, Wilson’s Pub, 3 River St., will host CrownAid 2017, featuring numerous acts. There will be a $10 suggested donation.

Additionally, from 7 to 10 p.m. that same evening, LaSalle Market and Deli, 104 Main St., will host its monthly Give Back Series, also to benefit Crown employees. The night will feature Jean Claude Trans Am, which plays “Space Rock and beyond” and people will have the chance to donate to the effort.

See more in this week’s Valley Press. To view updates search LaSalle Give Back Series on facebook and visit https://www.facebook.com/CrownAid2017/.

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