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Potter Looks to Spread Love of Art Form at New Studio

By John Fitts

CANTON — Early on, Laura Brees’ nomadic spirit was infused with a love of pottery.

As a young girl of 9 or 10 she was in the Utah with her family when her dad found some clay, demonstrated the art of molding a simple “pinch pot,” later strengthened by some time in the fire pit.

There might not have been an epiphany right there in the desert but the seeds of a life passion were sown.

Today, Brees is looking to share that love of pottery with others and recently opened Stoneware Alchemy in the Historic 44 Marketplace in Canton.

“I love the idea of taking nothing –  just a ball of clay, dirt essentially – and forming it into something beautiful that you can use in your everyday life,” Brees said. “I love art of all kinds. I experiment with and play with all kinds of different things but I’m mostly drawn to pottery. I like the idea of a piece of art that has a story of its own – from the hands that created it –  to all the stories and memories infused in it by people using it every day. It’s just a transference of energy.” … Continue Reading

An Open Letter to the Wonderful People of Canton

Diane and Joe Eisenberg

Diane and Joe Eisenberg

To the Editor

It is with mixed emotions that I need to tell you that after 21 plus years, Diane and I have sold Canton Mobil.

We have been there with you through good times and bad. We have watched some be born, some pass on and the rest grow up.

We have laughed with you and cried with you, hugged you and shaken your hands.

Our two children grew up with you and our employees, who were like family to us, treated you like we did!

We have been through many holidays, heat waves and blizzards with you.

We have listen to your problems and issues and you listened to ours. Diane and I honestly considered our employee and loyal customers – extended family. … Continue Reading

Collinsville Hot Organizers Excited about Expanded Summer Festival

July 15, 2016 Business, Community No Comments
Matica Arts will perform a fire show at this year's Collinsville Hot. Pictured in foreground is Matica's Heidi Kirchofer at last year's event. Photo by John Fitts

Matica Arts will perform a fire show at this year’s Collinsville Hot. Pictured in foreground is Matica’s Heidi Kirchofer at last year’s event.
Photo by John Fitts

This site’s Collinsville Hot coverage has been graciously sponsored by Carol and Co., D.A.N.C.E. by Kristin and Ward Kilduff Mortgage.

By John Fitts

When visitors dismount the shuttle bus at River and North streets for Collinsville Hot this Saturday, they’ll be immediately immersed in the second annual event.

“They’ll see the artists, they’ll see the stage, they’ll hear the music and they’ll know they’ve come a real street fair,” said event co-organizer Bob Bessel. “It’s a really great entrance to the whole festival.”

The second annual downtown festival, sponsored by Canton Main Street with the help of numerous other businesses and organizations, takes place from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday July 16.

Set throughout the downtown area, mainly on Main and River streets, the festivities will include two musical stages, two artisan fairs, a community canvas art project, business and community vendors and displays, food, a family chill zone and a fire show in the parking lot off Main Street. Evening activities across Bridge Street, also include a show with long-time Saturday Night Live band vocalist Christine Ohlman and Rebel Montez at Bridge Street Live and a moonlight paddle at Collinsville Canoe and Kayak. … Continue Reading

There’s Still Time to Sign Up as a Vendor, Sponsor of Collinsville Hot

June 30, 2016 Business, Community No Comments

A scene from the 2015 Collinsville Hot. Photo by John Fitts

COLLINSVILLE – While the second annual Collinsville Hot is just a little more than two weeks away, organizers said there are still opportunities for those wishing to display their wares at the festival or simply support it financially.

The Canton Main Street-sponsored event takes place in downtown Collinsville from 9 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. on July 16. To provide additional parking capacity for the free activities, a shuttle bus will run between downtown Collinsville and Canton High School from noon to 11 p.m.

This year the festival’s events, such as its morning yoga, craft fair, artisan market, community art space, fire dance and live music over two stages will be focused in the downtown area along Main and River Streets.

In addition to the live music and fire shows, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Main Street and a portion of River Street will become an outdoor market of sorts – with artisans, food vendors, business booths and more.

“Essentially it will become a huge pedestrian plaza vis-à-vis European style,” said Shawn Cole, a co-founder and co-organizer for the event. “The whole of Main Street will be an outdoor theater.” … Continue Reading

Residents Learn More About Economic Tool Aimed At Jump-Starting Redevelopment of Factory Complex

A "panoramic" iPhone view of the Collins Co. Photo by John Fitts

By John Fitts

CANTON — A consultant charged with helping the town work on plan to help jumpstart redevelopment of the Collins Company complex began its work Tuesday.

During the day, representatives from Saratoga-Springs based Camoin Associates, in the first of several visits to town, interviewed complex owner “Rusty” Tilney, talked to merchants and potential developers and spoke at two public meetings as the first step in developing a Tax Increment Finance, or TIF, Master Plan for the property and perhaps some of the surrounding area. TIF involves taking a portion of the additional tax revenues generated by a development, or redevelopment, and investing them back into the project and/or related improvements.

At a public workshop Tuesday evening Camoin senior vice president Jim Damicis provided an overview for approximately 30 residents and the Canton Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Steering Committee.

In this case, the master plan would involve the general guidelines the town could use as a springboard to enter into an agreement with a future developer. Damicis said his company has been involved in some 75 projects, mostly in Maine and is excited about a relatively new state law that revamps the process in Connecticut. It’s not a cure-all but a powerful tool, he said.

“This is not a silver bullet for economic development,” he said. “It’s one tool in the mix.” … Continue Reading

Reminder: Public Invited to Learn More About Tax Increment Financing Possibilities for Collins Company Complex

By John Fitts 

COLLINSVILLE — On Tuesday representatives from Camoin Associates will be in town to learn more about the Collins Company complex, the town’s hopes to spur redevelopment there and to share with business owners, officials and residents the possibilities of Tax Increment Financing.

Earlier this year, encouraged by revamped state legislation, the town chose to formally explore Tax Increment Financing, or TIF as an option to encourage redevelopment. TIF is the concept of taking some of the future tax revenues from a development and investing back into the project itself  – or related improvements.

On Tuesday, June 28, representatives from the Saratoga-Springs based Camoin Associates, contracted to help the town develop a TIF Master Plan, will be in town to tour the complex, meet with local merchants, speak with the complex owner, talk to potential developers and attend two public meetings. The first of the public meetings will be at 3:30 p.m. with the town’s TIF Steering Committee, Town Leaders and staff. It takes place in the Canton Community Center, Room C.

At 7 p.m., the consultants will hold a public education workshop in Room F of the community center. The meeting is designed to provide an overview of TIF and how it could be used to encourage redevelopment.

“I think it will be a good opportunity for the public to learn more about the possible options to encourage re-development of the Collins Company,” Hill said. … Continue Reading

Plaque Memorializes Canton’s Trailblazing Physician, Founding Father and Renaissance Man

By John Fitts 

CANTON — As the story goes, Dr. Solomon Everest once treated a young woman who claimed her self-inflicted wounds were the result of witchcraft. “Immersion” in a large cistern of water diminished her symptoms and the doctor’s suggestion that he could burn the wounds with his “witchiron” quickly cured the ailment. On another occasion, Everest, according to lore, happily collected $20 from a man who “insisted” he had a broken neck.*

Everest practiced medicine in Canton (initially West Simsbury) from 1796 until his death in 1822. He, of course, treated more serious and traditional medical ailments, but the stories suggest a man who realized a good physician could use plenty of empathy and a healthy dose of humor.

And Everest’s contributions to his community and state were significant. He served in the General Assembly, is largely credited with leading the charge to get Canton incorporated in 1806 and served as a member of 1818 Constitutional Convention. For good measure, he was a deacon at the First Congregational Church of Canton Center, a charter member of Village Lodge #29 (Mason), and left funds to the Connecticut Congregational Society.   … Continue Reading

First Selectman’s Corner: Public Invited to Hear More on Idea that Could Help Spur Collins Company Complex Redevelopment

Canton First Selectman Leslee Hill

Canton First Selectman Leslee Hill

Redevelopment of the Collins Company property has been an ongoing topic in Canton for many years. As you may know, the town is considering whether to pursue a program of Tax Increment Financing (TIF) to encourage such redevelopment.

On Tuesday, June 28, 2016, representatives from our retained TIF consultant, Camoin Associates, will be visiting in order to tour the Collins Company complex, meet with local merchants and interested developers, as well as speak with town leaders and staff in order to begin the process of developing a TIF Master Plan.

That evening, Camoin Associates will be hosting a public workshop in order to discuss Tax Increment Financing and how the Town of Canton may be able to utilize this development tool. The presentation will provide an overview of TIF, as well as how it could be used to spur redevelopment of the Collins Company complex. It will be held in Room F of the Community Center, from 7:00 to 8:30 pm. I encourage you to attend and become better informed on a topic that is relevant to both our economic development and preservation of this historic asset.

Best Regards, 
Leslee B. Hill
First Selectman

Yoga Center of Collinsville Looks to Create Cohesive Space in Current Building

June 13, 2016 Business, Community No Comments
COLLINSVILLE — Yoga Center of Collinsville has announced it is moving up to the third floor of its current building at 10 Front St.
“This was a huge decision for our studio. The new space will resolve some long-standing challenges we’ve had with our 1st and 2nd floor layout,” said Shawn Cole, owner and director of YCC. “In the end, the strength of our student body and teachers gave me the confidence to invest in the move. The 3rd-floor suite provides us an ideal location to deliver increasingly exceptional wellness services to our clients in Collinsville for years to come.”
Work will begin in August and the center targeting a Sept. 1 unveiling of its new space, for which it has a 5-year lease. Until then, the center will continue to operate on the first and second floors.

… Continue Reading

Town Awarded $1.3 Million for Additional Streetscape Work in Collinsville

A portion of Phase 1 Collinsville Streetscape. Photo by John Fitts

A portion of Phase 1 Collinsville Streetscape.
Photo by John Fitts

By John Fitts 

The town learned Wednesday that it had received a $1.3 million state grant to continue Collinsville streetscape improvements.

“I was very pleased to learn that Canton was awarded this grant,” said first selectwoman Leslee Hill. “We have heard from merchants and residents alike who are eager to see the completion of the second phase of this project. I am grateful to our town planner, Neil Pade, and his staff, who have worked tirelessly on this plan.”

Before the town can formally accept the grant, it does need approval from the boards of Selectmen and finance and electors at town meeting. The funds could not be diverted to other projects.

Last summer, the town completed the first phase of the streetscape project, which included lighting, a complete revamping of the ‘Town Hall’ parking lot, plantings, benches, crosswalk and sidewalk improvements, street paving and more.

… Continue Reading


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