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.
Leslee B. Hill
Editor’s Note: We are working to get more perspectives on this story. Please see more in next week’s Valley Press. If anyone would like to speak on the incident, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, I’d especially love to talk to people who attended the game.
By John Fitts
CANTON — Following alleged chants of “Trump, Trump, Trump” by some Canton students to an opposing team during a Tuesday evening basketball game, school officials have gone on record saying the behavior was perceived “divisive” and “disrespectful.”
The incident came during a boys game against Hartford-based Classical Magnet School when approximately 7 to 8 Canton students yelled “Trump, Trump, Trump” while the opponents were on the free-throw line, said Superintendent Kevin D. Case. On Thursday, Case said the tone of the chants was at issue, more than the exact words.
Two school administrators curtailed the activity at the game but Case acknowledged that some of the kids continued it after the game.
Some in the community are contending the students chose a patriotic theme for costume night and were reacting to an anti-Trump atmosphere in the schools. Others feel the chant clearly had racist overtones.
Following the incident that night, community members from both teams expressed their disappointment and the students were spoken to, Case said. Additionally, administrators met with the entire student body on Wednesday.
In a letter to parents, principal Andrew F. DiPippo said “many people perceived these comments to be divisive in the context of an athletic event.”
“While students’ right to free speech and forming educated opinions about politics and current events is a cornerstone of our education system, the exact point where political opinion converges with disrespect, discrimination, or hate speech must be separated,” he, in part, wrote. “We have a reputation as a welcoming community, and these students crossed this line with their comments and have damaged our reputation. As principal, I am disheartened that our message of community has not resonated with all students.” … Continue Reading
Charles A. Farnham (1851-1939) came to Collinsville in 1872 and worked for the Collins Company for 43 years, retiring in 1916. He served as president of the Collinsville savings Society from 1917 to 1938. For many years he was superintendent and treasurer of the Collinsville Water Company.
A serious-looking and dignified gentleman, Farnham was present when the bank was robbed in May 1935 by three armed gunman who made off with just over $2,000. At age 84, infirm and slightly deaf, Farnham was ordered by the thieves to get down on the floor with the other employees. Fearing his weak heart would prevent him from getting up again, he gravely shook his head “no.” Instead he sat in a chair. “Regardless of what you fellows do,” he announced defiantly, “I’m going to sit here and take one of these pills.” Pulling a small box from his pocket, Farnham opened it and swallowed the medication. The robbery was the talk of the town, but it was the elderly bank president’s resolute bravery in facing down the brazen gunmen that dominated conversation. … Continue Reading
By John Fitts
NEW HARTFORD – While the story ends sadly, a Canton police officer is being heralded for his bravery in rescuing an elderly man from the waters of the Farmington River Monday.
It was approximately 11:30 a.m. when state police spotted a 70-year-old New Hartford man in the Farmington River in New Hartford in the vicinity of the River Run complex on Route 44.
State police, New Hartford and Winsted ambulance crews, as well as volunteer fire departments from New Hartford, Nepaug and Canton, responded to the scene on the west side of the river but, due to a deep, fast-flowing channel of water, were hampered from immediately reaching the man.
Canton police officer Andrew Schiffer was asked to travel up Farmington River Turnpike on the east side of the river. A portion of that road is closed and blocked off during the winter and Schiffer had to reach the scene on foot. … Continue Reading
Canton Dollars for Scholars announces their 2017 scholarship season. Online applications will be accepted from Wednesday, March 1 through Friday, March 31. High school seniors residing in Canton may apply regardless of whether they attend Canton High School or a private, parochial or homeschool program. Scholarships are offered for a broad range of post-secondary programs including vocational and technical schools as well as two-year and four-year college degrees.
Canton Dollars for Scholars seeks the well-rounded student who is achieving his or her personal best grades while serving the school, community and the greater good. CDFS focuses on school involvement, work and community commitments. Teacher recommendations and financial information are not considered or required, however, the student may provide this info if they want to pursue certain national scholarships through our parent organization, Scholarship America.
Students and parents can find information on both local Canton scholarships and national awards by visiting the CDFS website at www.canton.dollarsforscholars.org. Anyone interested in making a donation to support the scholarship programs should visit the website as well.
Photos by John Fitts
This past weekend, two events were held to benefit Crown and Hammer Pub and Restaurant employees, who have had limited economic opportunities following the fatal Jan. 23 accident, in which a vehicle crashed into the kitchen of the building, causing extensive damage.
On Feb. 25, fellow Collinsville businesses Wilson’s Pub and LaSalle Market hosted fundraisers for the employees. At Wilson’s, CrownAid2017 was spearheaded by local musician Corey Michael Rieman with the help of other area artisans and owner Esther Witkos. That event featured numerous musicians and generated $3,000, a total which was then matched by a private individual.
At LaSalle, Jean-Claude Trans/Am played a special Give Back Series event, which raised more than $900.
With some additional donations on Monday, the funds collectively raised had reached approximately $7,000.
Crown owner Lisa Maurer is targeting mid March for re-opening the 3 Depot St. restaurant.
See a full-sized gallery at https://johnfitts.smugmug.com.
It was at approximately 12:24 p.m. on Feb. 22 when police responded to a 9-1-1 call about a bus vs. car accident on Dowd Avenue, near Dunham, police said.
Arriving emergency personnel found a vehicle driven by Helen Ricard, 79, of Canton, off the roadway, police said. She was the lone occupant of the vehicle and had to be extricated from the vehicle by town of Canton Volunteer Fire and EMS Department, according to a police department press release.
She was transported from the scene to an area hospital for treatment and police were later notified that she had passed away. Eugene Rivers, 42, of Enfield, the driver and lone occupant of the bus, also found off the roadway, sustained minor injuries.
The incident remains under investigation and any witnesses are asked to contact the Canton Police Department at (860)693-0221.
By John Fitts
CANTON — On Wednesday, Rotary of Avon-Canton formally announced a $150,000 commitment to Favarh to help the Canton-based non-profit construct a new 7,500 square-foot Day Program and Transportation Hub at 100 Commerce Drive.
Wednesday morning, joined by leaders of Favarh, Rotary members announced the initiative, which commits to the funding over a 5-year period.
In 2016, Favarh received a $1.5 million grant from the state office of Policy and Management for the building and the rotary funding augments that funding. The Rotary club has also committed to a full partnership with the organization. It is one of many projects in the works at Favarh, which supports people with intellectual, physical and developmental disabilities.
Construction of the Rotary of Avon-Canton building is expected to commence this year and be completed by late 2018.
Rotary president Don Bonner said it’s been a club goal for many years to fund a major initiative.
“We actually talked to many different non profits in the area and came up with a variety of ideas on what we could do,” he said. “Without question, Favarh came to the top.”
See more in next week’s edition of the Valley Press.
CANTON — There will be several relevant meetings this week as local officials continue to grapple with how to refine their 2017-18 budget plans in light of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s budget proposal that includes steep cuts in state aid.
With recent budget proposals by Schools superintendent Kevin D. Case and Chief Administrative Officer Robert H. Skinner, the town, under normal circumstances, would be looking at a very preliminary budget of $38,264,351, an increase of 1.87 percent, which would result in a .22 mill rate increase, impacting the “average” taxpayer $53. And those numbers would likely be trimmed even more after further scrutiny by the boards of education, selectman and finance.
However, this year is much different from most. The boards of education and selectmen are still reviewing the respective proposals but more importantly, the town is grappling with how to prepare for cuts proposed by the governor and whether the state legislature will restore some or all of the funding. At a recent “super board” meeting, Skinner told town officials from various boards that the governor’s reductions in state aid, combined with some additional expenses and other changes, would result in a revenue reduction of $2,117,067 for the fiscal year.If everything else were to stay the same, that average taxpayer, whose home is assessed at some $238,000, would be looking at an increase more along the lines of $707 under the governor’s plan.
Officials are hopeful that the state legislature will take action and, this week, will receive an update from state Sen. Kevin Witkos and state Rep. Tim LeGeyt. Both officials will be in town Wednesday night to provide updates – first at a Board of Education budget hearing and then to the Board of Selectmen. … Continue Reading