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Your Silent Neighbors: Charles Blair

December 15, 2016 Community, History No Comments

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By David K. Leff

On a blustery March day in 1857, Charles Blair, then head of the Collins Company forge shop, stepped into a local store on Main Street in Collinsville and was suddenly and unexpectedly caught up in the most divisive moment of American history—the Civil War.  In George Polk’s drug store Blair met militant abolitionist John Brown who had spoken in town the night before.  The encounter would lead to the Collins Company making pikes for Brown that, to everyone’s surprise, he would later use in a raid on the federal arsenal in Harpers Ferry,Virginia, an attempt to start a slave revolt.  In 1859, Brown would hang for his efforts.  Blair would be subpoenaed by Congress not long afterward.  Suspicious senators harshly questioned his relationship with Brown and his intentions in producing arms to aid in an insurrection against the government of the United States.

Amherst, Massachusetts born in 1812, Charles Blair came to work at the Collins Company in 1832 as a “helper.”  He retired from Collins in 1876, having long been superintendent of the works.  An ardent supporter of Lincoln, he worked hard to produce material for the Union war effort, including swords and bayonets.   A civic-minded individual, he held various offices, including state representative.  The Hartford Courant called him “a man thoroughly trusted by all who know him” and “a public spirited man and useful citizen.”  Nevertheless, despite long service with the Collins Company and many good works, Charles Blair went to his grave knowing he would be best remembered for his dealings with John Brown, a chapter in his life he thought best forgotten. … Continue Reading

More than 300 Benefit from Gifts for Canton

December 14, 2016 Business, Community No Comments
The annual Gifts for Canton distribution took place Tuesday. Seen here are some of the volunteers and chamber members involved in the effort. Submitted Photo

The annual Gifts for Canton distribution took place Tuesday. Seen here are some of the volunteers and chamber members involved in the effort.
Submitted Photo

CANTON — More than 300 people benefitted from the Chamber of Commerce’s annual Gifts for Canton effort, organizers said.

After a weeks-long toy, clothing and gift card drive, the items were distributed from Trinity Episcopal Church on Tuesday morning.

Jill Brandon, who chaired this year’s effort, said 47 people came out and picked out items. In all 305 people will benefit, she said.

“Canton residents and the Canton business community donated gifts, funds and their time for another successful year,” Brandon said.

Brandon said she especially want to thank ShopRite of Canton, the Rotary Club of Avon-Canton, The Canton Lions Club, Larsen Ace Hardware and Jeannine fund Raisers for donations. Additionally, the Canton Police Department and Community Emergency Response Team held gift drives at the Shoppes at Farmington Valley and Ocean State Job Lot. Numerous businesses displayed collection boxes many chamber and community members volunteered their time. … Continue Reading

Canton BOE Recognizes Kevin D. Case’s 10 Years as Superintendent

December 14, 2016 Community, Schools No Comments

The Board of Education held a special recognition Tuesday to honor Kevin D. Case for 10 years of service as Superintendent of Canton Schools.

In addition to current board members, several administrators, a few teachers and former board members gathered for a brief celebration.

In honoring Case, board chair Julie Auseré referenced a press release sent out in October 2006 when Case was hired to lead Canton schools. … Continue Reading

The Village Sweet Shoppe To Close Its Doors Early Next Year

December 13, 2016 Business, Community No Comments

COLLINSVILLE — For 30 years, The Village Sweet Shoppe has been an integral part of Shirley Scarpino’s life. Now, Scarpino has decided this will be the last holiday season at the popular River Street business.

At age 65, she’s ready to retire, Scarpino said.

“It’s time,” Scarpino said. “It’s not going to be an easy go. It’s been great here.”

After working as a health and fitness director at the YMCA in Torrington, Scarpino first opened Village Sweet Shoppe in Riverton. In 2004, spurred by some major changes in Riverton, notably the fact that world-famous Hitchcock Chair Co. was closing its doors (It’s now re-open under new ownership), Scarpino decided to move. The search brought her to Collinsville. … Continue Reading

Sip and Shop Scheduled at ‘Antiques Row’

December 13, 2016 Business No Comments

Shops in Canton’s “Antiques Row” on Route 44 (161-175 Albany Turnpike) will host a ‘Sip and Shop’ on Thursday, Dec. 15 from 5 to 7 p.m. Park and shop as 6 of the shops will be open late for holiday shoppers. Store owners are asking shoppers to bring a non-perishable food item for animals or humans, benefiting Dogology and the Canton Food Bank.

Images of Canton: Christmas in Collinsville 2016

December 10, 2016 Community, Photos No Comments

The Christmas in Collinsville festivities, including a champagne walk, tree lighting, and horse-drawn carriage rides, proved popular Friday night. The event continues Saturday with activities that include visits from Santa and Mrs. Claus, face painting, a Gallery of Trees and the annual Collinsville Charity Craft Fair.  … Continue Reading

Canton Real Estate Notes: Dec. 1, 2016

December 10, 2016 Community, Real Estate No Comments
David Sinish

David Sinish

By David Sinish

How did the Canton market fare in the past twelve months compared with the previous twelve months?

  1. Number of single family homes sold increased slightly from 126 to 127.
  2. The median sales price increase 4% to $315,000.
  3. The median sales price per square foot also increased slightly .4% from $141.02 to $141.55.
  4. The “days on market” increased from 45 to 48.

It is important to remember that these are the “median” numbers with half of sales above this number and half below.  There are different numbers for different homes reflecting different price ranges, various sizes, features and locations.  The number of homes listed as of December 1, reduced to 44 from the 58 as of November 1.   Should you require more detailed information, please let me know.   … 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

It’s Not Too Late to Help The Less Fortunate Among Us

December 7, 2016 Business, Community, Police No Comments
Some of the gifts that were given out to families Tuesday morning. Photo by John Fitts

Seen here are some of the gifts that were made available to needy Canton families in 2015.

Gifts for Canton Collection Runs Through Dec. 11

By John Fitts

CANTON – There might be just a few days left in the annual Gifts for Canton effort but there’s still many ways to pitch in.

Since 1995 the Canton Chamber of Commerce has led the effort, which involves collecting items such as holiday gifts, everyday essentials and gift cards to help struggling Canton residents. Last year, the effort helped some 60 families, which collectively represented 388 people.

The effort relies on donations from local residents as well as the help of partners such as ShopRite of Canton, The Canton Lions Club, the Rotary Club of Avon-canton, Larsen ACE Hardware and Jeannine Fund Raisers. The chamber also holds other fundraisers during the holiday season.

“The community is extremely involved,” said Jill Brandon, who is chairing this year’s drive. … Continue Reading

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