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First Selectman’s Corner: A Budget Update

Leslee Hill

Dear Canton Residents,

I am sure many of you have been following the news from Hartford regarding Governor Malloy’s state budget proposal and its potential impact on town budgets. There is still great uncertainty about what the final state budget will entail, and it is likely the state will not adopt a budget before June. However, given the Governor’s proposal, we are concerned about the impact of anticipated significant reductions in state funding for education, and a potential liability for one-third of the cost of the teacher pensions. The Board of Selectmen and Board of Education have worked diligently to prepare their budgets, which have been approved by each Board and delivered to the Board of Finance for their consideration. I want to explain how we considered the state budget issues as we formulated the BOS budget. … Continue Reading

Letter to the Editor: CHS graduates ‘condemn’ Trump chant

March 15, 2017 Opinion 2 Comments

To the Editor:

On March 13, 2017, members of Canton High School’s Class of 2008 wrote an open letter condemning the “Trump” chants that took place at a CHS basketball game. In less than 24 hours, over 200 CHS alumni signed the open letter, representing over 26 graduating classes. More and more signatures are being added by the hour. The overwhelming support and encouragement reiterates the CHS community’s commitment to equality. The letter (seen below) represents not just a statement of our views, but a willingness to take action. We are eager to be a part of and help facilitate more conversations moving forward to make sure Canton remains a community committed to combating racism in all forms. 

As alumni and members of the extended Canton High School community, we condemn racism in all forms.

We were dismayed to hear that a small group of Canton students taunted black and Hispanic basketball players from Hartford’s Classical Magnet School by chanting “Trump” during a game in Canton on February 28.

As a multi-racial group of Canton alums, the meaning of this chant was not lost on us. Donald Trump ran a campaign fueled by fear and anger toward immigrants and Muslims. He has filled his cabinet with appointees hostile to racial progress and has demonstrated in his first 50 days that he fully intends to put his campaign promises into action. We know there are those who would prefer to see this incident through the lens of partisanship, but that is an evasion. None of the players from Hartford, none of their parents and friends, and none of us are mistaken about what that chant meant in that context. By chanting the president’s name, Canton fans were reminding their black and brown opponents that no matter what happens on the basketball court, out in the real world, white people have the power. It was not just mean-spirited; it was cowardly.

To make matters even more clear, some Canton fans also chanted “we pay your welfare.” In doing so, they betrayed not only their racist and ignorant assumptions, but an ugly disdain for anyone on government assistance.

We wish we could say unequivocally that this is “not the Canton we remember.” But that’s not completely true. As a small, mostly white suburb in America, a certain undercurrent of white chauvinism comes with the territory. We recall wincing at the occasional racist joke or slur. We remember when our black classmates were unfairly singled out for punishment.

But we also remember a Canton community that always aspired to be tolerant and equitable. Those who expressed racist views were told to knock it off. And those who may have held hateful views privately, understood that expressing them publicly would have harmful social consequences. While many of us have moved away, Canton was a formative part of our upbringing. It was in our little town that we learned to be the accepting and understanding adults that we are today. We are proud of the Canton students who have already taken a stand against these malicious acts and we are hopeful that Canton families will continue to raise—and Canton teachers will continue to educate—kind, caring people who have the courage to speak out against injustice.

… Continue Reading

Letter to the Editor: Human rights activist forwards letter about basketball incident

March 8, 2017 Opinion 4 Comments

Dear Superintendent (Kevin) Case:

I am Dr. Aaron Lewis, human rights activist, educator, child advocate and founder of The Scribe’s Institute Inc., a dedicated literacy center in Hartford’s north end. We represent children throughout the Hartford Public School district with regards to equity, civility, and ethical treatment. After discovering such appalling and racially charged actions from Canton students during a recent basketball tournament game toward Classical Magnet School basketball players, I was deeply disturbed. Also, I believe that the way in which the Canton Board of Education and the CIAC handled the matter only proved to continue the age-old struggle of racial tensions within our communities, our state, and our country.

It has been stated by various parents and staff members in Canton that the taunting and racially charged remarks from Canton students does not reflect the sentiments and ideals of the Canton community. This cannot be true and to believe so is only gross denial. Nearly all children receive their views of life, politics, religion, and tolerance from their parents. And under most circumstances children’s views are often an offspring of their parents’ core beliefs which are openly shared in the home. This behavior is unfathomable and necessitates taking a much deeper look at the core ethics that this school district claims to embrace. Succinctly put, the students’ behavior is an open expression of what many of the parents privately believe.  … Continue Reading

Letter: Remembering Raynald Bergeron

On Aug. 6, 2009, former Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz presented a Public Service Award to several World War II veterans, including former Canton First Selectman Raynald Bergeron. Pictured from left are state Rep. Timothy LeGeyt, Bysiewicz, Bergeron, and then Canton First Selectman Richard Barlow.

By Bill Volovski
 
With all the hustle and bustle of the holidays this past week a lot of folks probably missed the passing of Raynald Bergeron. This may not be a familiar name to newer or younger residents of Canton, but you probably experience or benefit from something that Ray did for Canton every day. Ray served on the Board of Selectmen beginning in the late 1960’s and was First Selectman for ten years during the 1970’s and early 1980’s. Ray may very well have been the most influential First Selectman in the town’s history.
 
Raised in Collinsville, Ray served our country proudly during World War Two. Like many of his peers, he came home and worked at the Collins Company until it closed in 1966. When the Company closed and no longer provided fire protection to the town Ray became a founding member of the new Collinsville Volunteer Fire Department, later serving  as Captain of the Canton Memorial Ambulance division.

… Continue Reading

BOE Brief December 2016: A Project of Teamwork, Collaboration, Creativity and Kindness

December 20, 2016 Community, Opinion, Schools No Comments
Students work on the Community Circle Project.  Submitted Photo

Students work on the Community Circle Project.
Submitted Photo

Dear Canton Public Schools Community,

It is hard to believe it is December and we will begin the Winter recess in just a few more days. Over the past two months, the Board of Education has been busy working on new initiatives and hearing reports from various departments about the great work being done in our schools. Topics included the student-centered learning framework, technology, STEM initiatives in our schools, and an update on our Open Choice program. All of these reports can be found on our website at → http://www.cantonschools.org under “Latest News” on the homepage. You can also view our new Board of Education video on the values statement and how these values are demonstrated in our school. Be sure to check it out!

As we reflect on the spirit of the holiday season, I would like to share a story of an experience I had at Canton Intermediate School in early December. I volunteered to help with the 5th grade Community Circles project, where the 5th grade made Rose Windows to display in different locations around town. The project began on an early morning in the Canton Intermediate School gym, with the students gathered to hear a presentation about the project and learn about the process of making stained glass art. … Continue Reading

Letter to the Editor: Congratulations to BOS, DPW

To the Editor:

I offer my congratulations to the Board of Selectmen and the members of the DPW on the successful passage of the Canton DPW Facility referendum.

There is finally a plan that produced a resoundingly clear approval from our citizens and now town officials must deliver the advertised project within the allotted budget. … Continue Reading

Letter to the Editor: How Canton Finally Proposed A DPW Facility Voters Liked

To the Editor:

What appears below is a brief political history of the recently-approved garage proposal that is based upon available source documents and conversations. It may be inaccurate in some details but arguably presents an accurate take on the feelings of many of those cited.

… Continue Reading

Letter to the Editor: The Garage by the River

To the Editor:

There have been many strong arguments and opinions presented regarding the upcoming Canton Department of Public Works Facility replacement referendum. Regardless of which side of the issue people choose to support, my hope is that everyone who votes has done their homework, read the proposals, and has considered the many thoughtful letters both for and against the proposal. This is an issue that has been ongoing for numerous years and multiple referendums, and it would be nice to arrive with a solution that is reinforced by voters who are well informed. The information about this proposal is plentiful, and with good voter turnout, should give us an accurate idea about how the public truly feels. That said I’d like to offer a few observations. … Continue Reading

Letter to the Editor: Vote No on a Sketchy Project

To the Editor:

What are we being asked to vote for on Election Day? To approve spending $3.8 million to construct a facility with only a conceptual layout – not final blueprints.  The plan calls for a building that just meets current needs, on a site with no room for expansion. The way the question is worded, if $3.8 million is not enough, Selectmen can make any alterations to keep the project within that budget. This would necessitate reducing the size of a building that is already barely adequate to accommodate present needs. … Continue Reading

Letter to the Editor: Riverfront Recapture or Riverfront Disaster?

To the Editor:

Remember all the excitement, fireworks, and jubilation in 1999, as Hartford’s Riverfront Recapture celebrated opening night on the city’s new bridge not over – but to – the Connecticut River?  Can you remember that in 1999, we too were excitedly looking at our own Riverfront Recapture initiative towards removing our crumbling garage off the Farmington River at a fraction of today’s cost? Today Hartford’s Riverfront Recapture generates millions in business and tax revenue as their Riverfront Recapture also benefits the city in so many additional ways that can’t be measured simply by money.  … Continue Reading

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