Home » Community » Recent Articles:

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

Remembering Ally

May 10, 2017 Community No Comments

Nearly 400 people came out May 7 and raised $11,000 for a scholarship in memory of the late Ally Doyle, who lost her life in a tragic accident just over a year ago.

As participants gathered at the Farmington River Trail in Collinsville, pink was everywhere – in ribbons tied to the trestle bridge along the trail, in a balloon arch where walkers originated and on the backs of many participants who pre-registered for an event T-shirt. It was the Canton girl’s favorite color and, on Sunday, her friends also passed out pink flowers that many participants threw into the river in remembrance of the young seventh-grader who was an outstanding scholar, gymnast, musician, daughter, sister and friend.

“This is very overwhelming; on behalf of my family I want to thank every one of you who came out and donated and contributed to Ally’s fun walk,” said the girl’s mother, Angie. “We created the scholarship in hopes to have another Canton student carry out Ally’s hopes and dreams of academic success in college. From the bottom of my heart I just want to thank everyone. I want this to be a day to celebrate and honor Ally’s life.”

Canton School District Honors Achievement In and Out of the Classroom

May 10, 2017 Community, Schools No Comments

CANTON – Gabrielle Aitchison’s academic credits certainly are impressive.

She was valedictorian of her 1990 graduating class at Nonnewaug High School in Woodbury, went on to graduate summa cum laude from Lafayette College in Easton, Pa., obtained advanced degrees in education and educational leadership from the University of Bridgeport and Southern Connecticut State University, respectively, and chairs the Canton Middle/High School math

But, it’s her activities outside the classroom for which the Canton school district shined a light on Aitchison during the Board of Education’s Canton Celebrates May 2.

That evening, Aitchison, adviser to Canton Adolescents Taking Action and LEO clubs at Canton High School, was honored for her community service efforts.

“Mrs. Aitchison needs to be recognized tonight for all that she does in coordinating and organizing community service, community outreach efforts,” said Superintendent Kevin D. Case. “We know that community service is such an important component; it’s such an important piece of the fabric for Canton public schools.”

Read more about Mrs. Aitchison in this week’s Valley Press.

Additionally, the Board of Education honored the following students: … Continue Reading

The Civil War Comes to Life at CIS

May 10, 2017 Community, Schools No Comments

Canton Intermediate School students study many aspects of the Civil War, but there’s no doubt that the yearly encampment brings history to life.

Each spring, the fifth-graders spend the better part of a day out on the school’s field, listening to re-enactors talk about various aspects of daily life in the Civil War era, while displaying many common items replicated or saved from the 1860s.

The 125 students learned about school life from Lynne McKenney-Lydick; the perspectives of Confederate soldier from former CIS teacher Tim Barth, aka Major Frye, of the 15th Alabama Infantry; daily habits from a Union soldier from Bill Foley of Ohio-based fortheloveofhistory.com; the life of a slave catcher from Jim Littlefield, aka Coswell Tims; period wet-plate photography from local photographer and filmmaker Ty Morin; and musical lessons from Jim Clark and James Williams of Connecticut Valley Field Music.

After the lessons, the day culminated in a chaotic field battle, always a student favorite.

The encampment is especially poignant because each re-enactor has a deep understanding of the subject matter and animatedly brings their characters to life, said fifthgrade teacher Erik Perotti.

“This is definitely the highlight of the unit, and for many, the highlight of the year,”
he said.


Canton Lions ask residents to review their Redbook phone listing

May 10, 2017 Community, Opinion No Comments

Submitted Release 

The Canton Lions Club launched their 2017 campaign for the Little Red Phone Book with a simple question: Is your name and number in the book?

If you’re not, the Canton Lions urge you to add your name and number to the book. Simply download the form “Errors and Omissions Change Form” found on http://www.cantonctlions.org/thelittleredphonebook.html, enter your information and send it in.

Since 1964, the Little Red Phone Book has been the only resource for residents looking for their neighbors, businesses listings, town agencies, members of Canton boards and charitable organizations. Who would have thought that a printed book of telephone numbers would become an enduring connection for Canton residents? Yet it’s true!

The Little Red Phone Book has helped Canton Lions help our community with scholarships to graduating high school seniors, free eye screenings for pre-school children, support for teams, the Canton Food and Fuel Banks, and much, much more. … Continue Reading

Author helps students make an impact through their writing

By John Fitts 

CANTON – Canton resident Julia Garstecki has always wanted to write, but that career has only taken off in the last few years.

Gartstecki, 44, is an accomplished writer who has published several several nonfiction titles for primary and intermediate readers.

“The one thing I wish I had done is started earlier,” she said. “It was something I always wanted to try and I feel I waited too long.”

See more in the May 4 edition of the Valley Press.

Your Silent Neighbors: Walter S. Case, Longtime Postmaster

Walter S. Case is buried in the Baptist Cemetery on Canton Springs Road, Canton.

By David Leff 
Town Historian 

Walter S. Case (1859-1941) took over the Canton Center General Store from George Lamphier in 1893 and became postmaster in 1898, a position he was to hold until 1940.  He was born in Barkhamsted and married Susie Church in 1890.  They were the parents of three sons and a daughter.  He was an avid Republican in politics and a Mason.  In his later years, he was a distinguished old fashioned-looking gentleman who wore glasses with round lenses and smoked a pipe.  He died a couple days before he and his wife were to celebrate their fifty-first anniversary.  After he retired, sons Gordon and Byron took over the store with the former as postmaster.  Case’s funeral was held at his Canton Center home with the pastor of the Canton Center Congregational Church officiating.

Walter S. Case is buried in the Baptist Cemetery on Canton Springs Road, Canton.

“Your Silent Neighbors” introduces readers to people out of Canton’s past.  It will appear on the first and fifteenth of each month.  Readers are encouraged to visit these gravesites and pay their respects to the people who have helped make our community what it is today.  Any suggestions, questions, or corrections should be addressed to Town Historian David Leff at onktaadn@comcast.net

Ally Doyle Memorial Fun Walk Set for May 7

April 26, 2017 Community No Comments

COLLINSVILLE _ The Ally Doyle Memorial Fun Walk will take place from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, May 7 at the Rails to Trails starting and ending near the Crown and Hammer Restaurant and Pub.

Doyle lost her life at age 13 on April 24, 2016 due to a tragic accident.

“Ally was an amazing and talented 13-year-old Canton Middle School student,” her family wrote on the event website. “She had a great love for gymnastics, field hockey, academics, spending time at the beach, and being silly with her friends and family.”

Ally and her family, and their dogs, loved to walk on the trail. Proceeds will benefit the Canton Dollars for Scholars Ally Doyle Scholarship Fund.

Cost is $25 and online registration ends at 11:59 p.m. May 5.

Visit runsignup.com/Race/CT/Collinsville/TheAllyDoyleMemorialFunWalk.

Walkers can also register at the event.

Moose sightings stir up excitement in Canton

April 26, 2017 Community 1 Comment

A young moose photographed in Canton. Photo by Colleen Plaskett

CANTON – It wasn’t an oversized bunny or a life-altering religious experience, but residents were excited to see a young moose Easter morning.

Following sightings in Winchester, Barkhamsted, New Hartford and other parts of Canton, several residents witnessed a young, male moose in a field and wooded area on Olson Road, near the intersection of East Hill Road on Easter Sunday. Several more sightings followed in the next few days.

Wildlife experts say it is not uncommon to see young moose by themselves in the spring.

To see what a local expert and a state Department of Energy and Environmental Department biologist had to say about the moose in Connecticut, see this week’s Valley Press.


3 on 3