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Images of Canton: Town Honors Those Who Sacrificed Everything

May 31, 2017 Community No Comments

While Canton canceled its Memorial Day Parade due to inclement weather, it still honored American’s veterans, especially those who paid the ultimate sacrifice, during a program at Canton High School.

At the beginning of the program, David Gilchrist, due to be parade grand marshal, placed a wreath at the front of the auditorium and Canton resident and veteran Keith August served as emcee for the program.

“We are assembled here to honor all the men and women who have given their lives in the service of our country,” August said. “These services have been conducted continuously for more than 70 years. This is our humble tribute to those men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. They will never be forgotten.” … Continue Reading

Baseball field to be renamed in honor of the late Willem van Gemeren

May 25, 2017 Community, Sports No Comments

The late Willem van Gemeren

By John Fitts

Soon, the field used by Canton Little League will be renamed to honor both the life of a young player who died tragically at age 11 and his family, which has given so much to carry his legacy forward.

With selectmen approval Wednesday, the facility at 88 Simonds Ave., now Millennium Field, will soon be known as “Willem van Gemeren Memorial Field.” Dedication is tentatively set for June 10 and Canton Little League is funding the new sign.

In August of 2005 a plane crash in Lyme, New Hampshire took the lives of Niels Willem van Gemeren II, 11, along with his father, Niels Willem van Gemeren, 46.

Just days before his death, Willem, a star baseball player and Red Sox fan, had returned from the RBI Academy’s Trot Nixon summer baseball camp in Massachusetts. After his death, Willem’s mother Betsy began sending other Canton Little League players to the camp, which is now named after Dustin Pedroia. To date, Betsy van Gemeren has paved the way for 56 boys to enjoy the experience. The family has also provided temporary lighting for an annual night tournament and new scoreboards for the baseball field, as well as the softball field on Dyer Avenue.

Canton Little League Vice President Christopher LaPointe estimates the family donations for Little League efforts total more than $93,000. But more than dollars, are the joy and spirit they spread, he told selectmen.

“It’s not even about the money; It’s what they are doing for the community and the children (and Willem’s legacy),” he said. “There’s no better way to thank them and name the field after Willem.”

See more in next week’s Valley Press. 

Farmington Valley Stage Presents an American Classic

Submitted Release 

The Farmington Valley Stage Company in Collinsville concludes its season with the American classic, Morning’s at Seven by Paul Osborn (On Borrowed Time, A Bell for Adano, and The World of Suzie Wong).

Morning’s at Seven, is that rare thing – a gentle comedy about ordinary folks. The story, set in a small town in the early 1940s, revolves around four sisters, two of whom shake things up when they decide to change their lives while they still have time.

Written in 1939, Morning’s at Seven continues to be performed these many decades later, not only because it remains entertaining, but because the family relationships it portrays still have the ring of truth. Though the life style depicted may be gone, the fears and despair that accompany aging and the binding ties of family connections are timeless. … Continue Reading

Canton Electors Approve 2017-18 Budget

May 22, 2017 Budget, Government No Comments

CANTON – At the annual budget meeting May 22, electors passed, by a vote of 150-14, the town’s proposed 2017-18 spending plan of $37,767,987.

The budget represents a 0.58 percent increase in spending, and a 2.45 percent increase in taxes, costing the “average” taxpayer with a home assessed at $238,832, an extra $174. The new mill rate would be 30.49, up from 29.76.

See more in this week’s Valley Press.

Canton Police Make Stalking Arrest

May 19, 2017 Police No Comments

By John Fitts

Police arrested a 29-year-old man for stalking the afternoon of May 17, after officers learned a woman kayaking on the Farmington River in Collinsville had been the subject of lewd comments and concerning behavior.

In a social media post that has gained much traction in town, a friend of the victim relays the story of a young man, who had been fishing by the river bank and allegedly approached the woman as she pulled over to the river bank, said graphic things to her and continued to stalk her. … Continue Reading

Images of Canton: Jamboree Fun

May 18, 2017 Community No Comments

Emre Nebioglu, 7, of Canton shows off his basketball skills at the Collinsville Fire Department Inc.’s Jamboree Thursday. Behind him is dad Ahmet. At left, working for Tufano Amusements is Patrick McKay. The event continues Friday and Saturday, 6-10 p.m., at Jamboree Field, 91 Powder Mill Road, Collinsville. Every night is Bracelet Night, $25 each night, from 6-10 p.m. There will be fireworks Friday night starting at approximately 9:30 p.m. Activities will include a beer and wine garden, the dime pitch and dunk tank, comfort food, and new this year will be a larger Ferris wheel. The Collinsville Volunteer Fire Department Inc. and the Canton Memorial Ambulance is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit agency that promotes, enhances and supports community involvement and awareness for emergency services and youth groups.

Cherry Brook Primary School to Hold 56th Annual Children’s Fair

May 18, 2017 Community, Schools No Comments

Submitted Release 

On Friday, June 2, 2017 the grounds of Cherry Brook Primary School will be alive with the sounds of children and families as they host their Annual Children’s Fair.

According to Cherry Brook Primary Principal Andy Robbin, “The CBPS Children’s fair is a time honored event that our entire community looks forward to.  It’s wonderful to watch the joyful exuberance of the children and their families.”

New this year the Fair will be featuring the HydroBlaster! Fairgoers will have the chance to HydroBlast each other and teachers and administration who do their part to support the Cherry Brook Primary School PTO.  Another exciting new feature are an obstacle course and an America Ninja Warrior course. … Continue Reading

Jamboree Kicks Off May 17

May 16, 2017 Community, Fire No Comments

A past jamboree. Photo by John Fitts

The Collinsville Fire Department’s Jamboree will take place Wednesday-Saturday, May 17-20 from 6-10 p.m., at Jamboree Field, 91 Powder Mill Road, Collinsville. Every night is Bracelet Night, $25 each night, from 6-10 p.m. There will be fireworks Friday night starting at approximately 9:30 p.m. Activities will include a beer and wine garden, the dime pitch and dunk tank, comfort food, and new this year will be a larger Ferris wheel. The Collinsville Volunteer Fire Department Inc. and the Canton Memorial Ambulance is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit agency that promotes, enhances and supports community involvement and awareness for emergency services and youth groups.

Town Looks to Grant in Hopes of Improving Greater Dowd Avenue, Route 44 Corridor

By John Fitts

CANTON – The town is hoping a state grant could help it complete some long-overdue improvements in the greater Dowd Avenue, Route 44 area.

The funding provides up to $2 million under the Responsible Growth and Transit-Oriented Development Program, facilitated by the state Office of Policy and Management. At a recent meeting, selectmen opted to have town staff development a grant application, which would be due in June.

In broad terms, the town will now look at several areas – including Route 44 in the vicinity of Canton Village, Dowd Avenue from Route 44 to Commerce Drive and portions of Canton Springs Road and Commerce – and look improve the area for motorists, trail users, business visitors and area residents. Safety and connectivity are major concerns.

Guiding town officials will be a Route 44 corridor study, sponsored by the Capital Region Council of Governments, and a 2016 Road Safety Audit, funded by the state Department of Transportation, at a cost of approximately $6,000.

Even $2 million would not cover all the work that could be done in the area, officials said, but the hope is to also have design work done for future improvements.

At a recent meeting selectmen did acknowledge the state’s financial crisis but most members felt the application would be appropriate.

“When you’re talking about safety issues that we deal with here in town on state roads, I’m fine with having the state pay to help us solve that problem,” said First Selectman Leslee Hill.

See more in a future issue of the Valley Press. 

 

Your Silent Neighbors: John C. Meconkey, Mr. Canton

May 15, 2017 Community, History No Comments

John C. Meconkey is buried in the Village Cemetery, Collinsville.

By David K. Leff 
Town Historian 

 Canton has been blessed with many civic minded residents.  But perhaps none has been more dedicated to this community than John C. Meconkey (1901- 1978).  He came to Collinsville as a boy of ten from Weston, Connecticut a couple of years before the start of World War I, his father having gotten a job with the company as a laborer.

Meconkey was college trained in engineering and went to work for Collins, eventually rising to purchasing agent, responsible for buying everything from coal and steel, to paint and cutting oil, lathes and office paper.

Meconkey didn’t just bury himself in business.  He threw himself into the life of the community.  He served on the school board from 1949 to 1962.  He was a member of the library board, including two terms as chairman.  When the old Center Street library didn’t have a children’s section, he was instrumental in getting space cleared in the basement for the purpose.  Eventually, an addition built to house the children’s collection was named for him.  The children’s wing in the current library is also dedicated to Meconkey, and his picture hangs in the entryway.  It depicts a bespectacled older man with a high domed forehead and kindly eyes.

Named as town auditor in 1928, Meconkey served until 1940, authoring the annual town report for years.  From 1928 to until 1940 he was deputy Republican registrar.  Afterward he served as registrar until 1964.  He was on the planning commission, and a member of the Republican Town Committee for 43 years.  A man of deep and abiding faith, Meconkey served as a deacon of the Collinsville Congregational Church for 20 years and afterward was named deacon emeritus.  He served as a board member of the Visiting Nurses Association.  He helped found the Canton Camera Club.

… Continue Reading

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