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Canton Shines Spotlight on Opioid Crisis

The town of Canton Mental Health Task Force officially kicked off its Year of Mental Wellness programming on March 9 with a special presentation on the opioid crisis.

The event featured remarks from recovering addict Laura Shafer as well as a presentation from Miriam E. Delphin-Rittmon, commissioner of the state department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and remarks from Canton resident Maria Coutant Skinner, executive director at the McCall Center for Behavioral Health.

See more on the program in this week’s Valley Press. Additionally the presentations from the meeting can be seen below and the program can be viewed on Nutmeg Television via http://nutmegtv.org/video-on-demand/single/?id=34342. … Continue Reading

‘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

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

Images of Canton: Focus Wine Tasting

February 3, 2017 Community, Health No Comments

More than three dozen people came out to Cherry Brook Health Care Center for the Focus on Canton Winter Wine Tasting Thursday, Jan. 26. 

The event benefited Focus on Canton, an organization which supports several initiatives in town, including the Canton Fuel and Food banks. 

See more in this week’s edition of the Valley Press

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

Clinical Trial Credited with Saving Canton Man From Stage IV Lung Cancer

December 8, 2016 Community, Health No Comments

Story by Lauren Woods at UConn Health

Michel Gueret with Dr. Wasser. Photo by Janine Gelineau

Michel Gueret with Dr. Wasser.
Photo by Janine Gelineau

A leading edge immunotherapy clinical trial at UConn Health’s Carole and Ray Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center has packed a one-two punch successfully controlling a patient’s advanced lung cancer using the combined power of two immunotherapy drugs.

For 50 years Michel Gueret, 67, of Canton was a heavy smoker. That is until May 2012 when he received the devastating news that he had advanced lung cancer while hospitalized for a collapsed lung at UConn John Dempsey Hospital.

“I remember Michel in his hospital bed following discovery of his large lung cancer tumor,” recalls his oncologist, Dr. Jeffrey Wasser. “He was very thin, barely able to walk and was having trouble breathing. I was afraid that his lifespan would be severely reduced as his large tumor consumed a large portion of his lung which impaired his ability to walk and making surgery to remove it impossible.”

… Continue Reading

A Scary Halloween: High School Custodian Survives Cardiac Arrest

November 2, 2016 Community, Health No Comments
Clyde Livingston with Dr Juyong Lee and Dr Kai Chen.  Submitted Photo

Clyde Livingston with Dr Juyong Lee and Dr Kai Chen.
Submitted Photo

Courtesy of UConn Health 

On Halloween at 9 a.m., Clyde Livingston, the custodian at Canton High School for more than 30 years, started to experience a severe, burning pain in his chest.

“I thought the pain would go away, but then it started going down my arm,” says Livingston, 59. “Then I knew exactly what was going on.”

Livingston was having a heart attack. His fellow employees in the kitchen at the school called 9-1-1 immediately, and the school’s health department got involved to help.

Within minutes, the Town of Canton Fire & EMS Department’s ambulance arrived, and an EKG test by paramedics on the scene confirmed that the patient was indeed having a heart attack – of a type known as an ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI) that is caused by a blocked artery.

Read the full story at http://today.uconn.edu/2016/11/scary-halloween-high-school-custodian-survives-cardiac-arrest/

Cherry Brook Health Care Center Residents Stitch to Fundraise

September 15, 2016 Community, Health No Comments
From left to right are, Gail Stecewicz, Karen Oteri and Yolanda Rascati. Submitted Photo

From left to right are, Gail Stecewicz, Karen Oteri and Yolanda Rascati.
Submitted Photo

Submitted Release 

A group of residents at Cherry Brook Health Care Center known as the Stab Stitchers recently completed a whole cloth quilt under the direction and dedication of a former employee, Karen Oteri. Karen worked as a registered nurse at Cherry Brook for five years and retired in January of 2016. In May of 2014 she decided she wanted to volunteer her time quilting with our Cherry Brook residents.  So Oteri got in touch with two representatives of the resident council, Yolanda Rascati and Gail Stecewicz. Together they came up with the name, Stab Stitchers. Oteri also explained the many different quilting options.

As a group they decided on the whole cloth, the front is one piece, the back is one piece and in-between is all padding. So Karen went on a mission to buy some fabric. Funding the project on her own she stopped into Colchester Mill Fabrics located in Colchester. Karen explained how she was volunteering her time with the Stab Stitchers and they offered fifty percent off all her purchases. … Continue Reading

Cherry Brook Health Care Center Welcomes New Director of Dining Services

August 23, 2016 Community, Health No Comments
Laquita Trapp

Laquita Trapp

Submitted Release 

New to Cherry Brook Health Care Center is Director of Dining Services, Laquita Trapp.  Laquita comes to Cherry Brook Health Care Center from Duncaster Retirement Community in Bloomfield.  She has an extensive background in food services, where she has served in the role of dining services supervisor while overseeing the daily operations of the nutritional services department.  We are excited to have Laquita and her years of long term care experience.  She will certainly be an asset to the Cherry Brook Team.

Laquita remarked, “I’m very excited to be a part of the Cherry Brook team, food is what brings us all together.”

Jacob Bompastore, administrator said, “Laquita has already made a positive impact with our food quality and made a connection with our residents.  Welcome Laquita!” … Continue Reading

Favarh, Regan Development Hope to Bring Integrated Housing Unit to Commerce Drive

IMG_3193By John Fitts

CANTON – A local non-profit and a New York based development company are hoping to bring an integrated apartment project to Commerce Drive.

The Arc of the Farmington Valley, commonly known Favarh, a Canton based organization that supports people with intellectual, physical and developmental disabilities and Regan Development Corporation have approach town officials with the idea of an apartment complex at 300 and 350 Commerce, near the 55-plus Boulder Ridge complex. At this point, there is no formal application for the project.

The initial concept for the building is an integrated environment with approximately 36 units, nine of which would be set aside and specially designed for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, with the rest of the units open to general population – at a reasonable price point. The building would include common areas and an on-site superintendent.

“It would provide additional affordable housing for young people, perhaps older people looking to downside – all in the setting of an integrated space for people with intellectual disabilities,” said Stephen Morris, executive director of Favarh

“The desire is to help people locally be able to stay local,” said Ken Regan, vice president of Regan Development. “This is a technique we’ve put together to try and build community but at the same time provide rentals, of good quality, that people can afford.”

Regan said the project is in its infancy but said the one-bedroom units could fall in the 700 to 750 square-foot range and two bedrooms approximately 900 to 1,050 square feet.

Rents for the Simsbury project fall between $986 and $1,415 and while Regan said it’s too early for any hard numbers, Canton prices could be lower.

In 2011, Regan Development debuted Kershaw Commons in Freehold Township, N.J., the first East Coast project designed specifically for those with Multiple Sclerosis.

The company has launched several projects for those with special needs and in September of 2015 opened Ojakian Commons in Simsbury, a 48-unit complex also designed for MS patients. At the request of Simsbury officials, the facility set aside 7 apartments for those with other disabilities, a move that led to the relationship with Favarh, Morris said. The facility has specially designed features for those with disabilities, such as automated doors, wide doors, hard-surface flooring, accessably placed light switches and more. There are also several common areas for social gatherings and additional amenities.

“It’s just a great social environment,” Morris said of the Simsbury facility. “I said ‘gosh we really need to do something like this but for people with intellectual abilities.’ We started talking to the developer about possibly doing something in Canton.” … Continue Reading

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