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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. 

Images of Canton: Nature’s Bounty

These photos our by Andrew Urban, who has lived with his family on Morgan Road since 1986. Urban works at Twin MRO, an FAA repair shop in South Windsor,. He is an amateur photographer who has submitted images to Aviation Week and Smithsonian online.

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Sunrise from Morgan Road. Photo by Andrew Urban

… Continue Reading

Selectmen Delay Decision to Set Referendum Question for Public Works Project

The latest plan borrows heavily from the Barkhamsted facility, gets the facility to one level and brings the price below $4 million

The latest plan borrows heavily from the Barkhamsted facility, gets the facility to one level and brings the price below $4 million

Special Meeting to be Held Aug. 31

By John Fitts

CANTON – While it’s a near certainty that a proposal to rebuild the Public Works Facility at its current site will go to voters in November, selectmen on Wednesday deferred the decision another week.

And while selectmen briefly touched on the merits of the project and the process, the real controversy of the evening came during the public comment portion of the Board of Selectmen meeting.

The town is looking to construct a 14,140 square foot building at the 50 Old River Road site with approximately 11,500 square feet of storage space, 2,640 square feet of office space, a new generator, a new salt shed, revamped parking and relocated fueling station. The current facility consists of an old horse barn, a couple small bays and small office area.

On Monday, the Board of Finance approved forwarding a plan to voters for $3.825 million – $3.75 million for the project and $75,000 to cover the costs associated with bonding, the town’s method of borrowing for the project and paying it over time through a yearly tax levy. Selectmen now need to take final action to set a question, due in early September, for the November ballot.

There has been much discussion in town about the concept of rebuilding at the current site. Earlier this year, town staff came up with the plan for a garage that was smaller – and potentially less expensive – than previous incarnations. Most recently, in May of 2013 and November of 2014, voters defeated $5.4 million and $4.78 million plans for 325 Commerce Drive, at sizes of 19,000 feet or more.

In a public hearing earlier in the summer, numerous residents spoke against the plan to rebuild on site. Several have continued to do so and recently, the registered Political Action Committee Not On Our River  has continued to fight the idea, stating that it compromises valuable riverfront, doesn’t adequately deal with floodplain issues, is short-sighted and leaves virtually no option for future expansion.

On Wednesday some of the strongest public opinion, however, came from someone who is supporting the project and passed around a paper he feels “debunks” the arguments of NOOR, stating, for example, that the current site is actually least expensive, will meet the needs for the DPW, conforms to land-use standards and received a positive referral from the town Planning and Zoning Commission.

In his comments, Lans Perry went as far as to refer to some opponents as the “Chablis-swilling” elite” and his handouts take aim at “the river nuts,” “self-interested Satan’s Kingdom residents,” Canton Land Conservation Trust, Inc.”, “Self Interested land Speculators, developers and brokers” and more.

In his remarks, Perry referenced his family’s long history of activism and called this issue one of social justice.

“The brothers have suffered long enough,” Perry said. “They won’t complain because they are tough. But they suffer, too. We pay for it in rusting trucks and higher taxes.”

He later called the idea of those who say they will support it elsewhere a “worthless promise” and said neighborhoods will always fight if the project goes anywhere else.

“The current site is the cheapest and has a very real chance of passage with your support,” he said. “We need that support. Please help our suffering brothers now.”

David Sinish, who is treasurer of NOOR and has supported past Public Works proposals, spoke briefly at the meeting and addressed the comments, particularly ones that mentioned first names and streets.

“It’s not often that one gets attacked personally in a public meeting and I’m quite offended at that as well as I’m sure are the people I’m sitting with,” he said. “So I want to have that on the record.” … Continue Reading

Public Works Facility Plan For Current Site Is One Step Closer to November Vote

The concept of rebuilding at 50 Old River Road.

The concept of rebuilding at 50 Old River Road.

By John Fitts 

With Board of Finance approval Monday night, a plan to rebuild a 14,140 square foot public works facility at its current site near the Farmington River – and bond for the project –  is one step closer to a November referendum.

On Monday, in its second meeting on the issue, the finance board approved a resolution for a project not to exceed $3.825 million, First Selectman Leslee Hill said. (Canton Compass editor John Fitts was out-of-town for the meeting). The town is looking at a $3.75 million plan to build a new facility at the 50 Old River Road site. The additional $75,000 would be to cover the costs associated with bonding, essentially the town’s way to pay for the project, with interest, over time.

The project is designed to cover final design, construction and equipping of a new facility, the partial demolition of existing facilities, lowering the ball field on site for floodplain mitigation, and potentially improving the existing access road that serves as both the roadway and Farmington River Trail.

… Continue Reading

DEEP Announces Closure of Portions of West Branch Farmington and Farmington Rivers to Fishing

August 19, 2016 Environment, Outdoors No Comments

PowerPoint PresentationWarm temperatures and low stream flows impacting fish

Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) announced today that it is closing portions of the West Branch Farmington River and the Farmington River to fishing because of the impact drought conditions and extended periods of very warm temperatures are having on fish in those areas.

“High daytime temperatures with limited nighttime cooling – combined with a lack of rain and low stream flows – are causing fish in these rivers to suffer from heat stress,” said Deputy Commissioner Susan Whalen.  “The stressed fish – particularly trout –  are seeking refuge by congregating at the mouths of a number of tributary streams, where cooler water is entering the West Branch Farmington River and Farmington River.”

“Fishing for these trout would put additional stress on these fish, and could lead to increased mortalities,” Whalen said.  “To protect these fish, we are establishing refuges where fishing is prohibited on portions of the West Branch Farmington River and Farmington River around the mouths of several tributaries.”

These areas, listed from upstream to downstream tributaries, include:

  • East Mountain Brook (Hallock Brook), New Hartford
  • Cherry Brook, Canton
  • Rattlesnake Hill Brook, Canton
  • Burlington Brook, Burlington
  • Hawley Brook, Avon
  • Unionville Brook, Farmington
  • Hyde Brook, Farmington
  • Pequabuck River, Farmington

“This is the first time in memory that we have found it necessary to take action like this to protect our fisheries on these rivers, and it is not a step we are taking lightly,” Whalen said.  “The West Branch Farmington River and Farmington River are very popular and well known to anglers, who are attracted to the area from around the world to catch both wild brown trout that spawn in those waters, as well as fish stocked by DEEP.”

DEEP is posting these refuge areas with closure signs. All water within 100 feet of these signs are now closed to all fishing. This closure is scheduled to continue through September 15, but may be shortened if conditions improve sufficiently.  Violation of the closure is an infraction with a fine of $154.

High temperatures the past few weeks have had a significant impact on the waters of the two rivers.  During the past week, daytime temperatures have been well into the 90s – and nighttime temperatures have remained above 70 degrees.  These temperatures have led to some fish kills along the river.

While some portions of the West Branch Farmington River and Farmington River remain open to fishing, DEEP asks anglers to consider avoiding being out during the hottest times of day and to consider fishing upstream of the Collinsville impoundment, where the water temperatures are cooler and the fish are less stressed.  DEEP also asks the public to avoid swimming, wading, or boating in the refuge areas – as those activities would also disturb fish there.

Canton Woman Reports Being ‘Nipped’ by Bear 

IMG_8382A Canton woman told officers she was nipped by a bear on Friday afternoon, police said.

The woman, who suffered a minor bruise, told police the bear came up to her on Atwater Road while she was gardening and nipped her. She scared the bear off and was transported to the hospital for minor injuries, police said.

The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection responded to try and Locate and trap the animal. DEEP is taking over the investigation.

DEEP public information officer Cyndy Chanaca said Environmental Conservation Officers set up a trap but has not yet contained the bear. Officers will continue trying and she said generally such a bear would be relocated to a remote area. Chanaca could not  immediately confirm what would happen in this case but said she will continue to provide information as it becomes available.

Chanaca also said it is unusual for a bear to nip a person.

See more about black bears in Connecticut at http://www.ct.gov/deep/cwp/view.asp?a=2723&q=325968&depNav_GID=1655

Town to Further Investigate ‘Satan’s Kingdom’ Site, Consider Surveying Residents About Town Garage Options

Some selectmen are intrigued with the idea of placing a town garage at this Route 44 site but want further information on cost, options for the entire parcel and other factors.

Some selectmen are intrigued with the idea of placing a town garage at this Route 44 site but want further information on cost, options for the entire parcel and other factors.

By John Fitts

Before deciding on a final direction for the next iteration of a proposed public works facility, the Board of Selectmen is seeking further information for the “Satan’s Kingdom” property and strongly considering a public survey.

For years the town has looked to replace its aging, rapidly deteriorating facility along the Farmington River at 50 Old River Road. Since 2010, three town garage related referendums have failed and a fourth plan never quite made it to voters. Earlier this year, the town developed a concept to rebuild at its current location and incorporate river access and amenities. But the idea of rebuilding near the river at the current site has met with some resistance from residents – many of whom spoke out a recent hearing on garage options.

While that recent hearing opened up discussion on several sites, selectmen on Wednesday essentially narrowed their focus to two – the current one and the “Satan’s Kingdom” parcels.

In 2014, the “Satan’s Kingdom” property, consisting of 40 acres over two lots at 674 and 684 Albany Turnpike (Route 44), was the subject of bitter controversy after developer Allan Borghesi proposed it for an industrial park, a plan he eventually withdrew. He later sold the property to an LLC run by members of the Bahre Family.

But in its multi-year search, the town has also long mulled the idea of a project on the Albany Turnpike property.

Before Borghesi purchased it in late 2013, town officials and the Permanent Municipal Building Committee discussed a project that could include a garage and recreation fields. More recently, the building committee suggested looking at it again and the town says the parcels are available for $1.2 million.

Selectmen are intrigued with the idea of building in the front, eastern portion of the property but have a myriad of question on how the plan would fare in comparison to rebuilding at the river, which the town is approximating as a $4.5 million project. … Continue Reading

Following Sightings at and Near Canton Middle/High School Campus, Police Remind Residents to Be Educated on Bear Behavior

One of the Thursday bear sightings. Photo by Connor Clement

One of the Thursday bear sightings.
Photo by Connor Clement

Following a sighting of a bear on the Canton Middle/High School property and elsewhere in the area Thursday afternoon, Canton police said they want to remind residents to educate themselves on bear behavior.  … Continue Reading

Public Works Department, Cherry Brook Garden Club Begin Tree Planting Tradition

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Submitted Release 

On Friday morning, the Public Works Department. with the help of town officials and the Cherry Brook Garden Club, began a tradition of plating a tree for Earth Day. A Paperback Maple was planted and is designed as a replacement to a Norway Maple that had to be removed from the bike rack area at the Community Center/Library Complex.

Public Works Director Robert Martin read “Earth Day,” a poem by Jane Yolen.

On Saturday, public works Department, the Parks & Recreation Department, with support of several local merchants will be sponsoring the 1st Annual Spring Clean Up Day on Saturday, from 9 a.m. to noon.

Images of Canton: Main Street Volunteer Fair

More than 20 organization participated in Canton Main Street's Volunteer Fair on Feb. 6. Photo by Shawn Cole

More than 20 organization participated in Canton Main Street’s Volunteer Fair on Feb. 6.
Photo by Shawn Cole

Submitted

Canton Main Street recently hosted its Volunteer Fair at the Canton Community Center. More than 20 community and town organizations participated. Canton Main Street is already preparing to organize another fair. For now, people can also find volunteer opportunities and more information at www.cantonctmainstreet.org… Continue Reading

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Daily Mass @ St. Patrick Church
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