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State’s Coyotes are Focus of Canton Land Trust Dinner and Auction

February 29, 2016 Community, Environment No Comments
Connecticut's Coyotes are the focus of the land trust's annual dinner.  DEEP Photo

Connecticut’s Coyotes are the focus of the land trust’s annual dinner.
DEEP Photo

Learn more about your backyard neighbors from DEEP Wildlife Biologist Paul Rego at March 22 event.

Submitted Release

“By learning more, people can better assess the level or likelihood of conflicts posed by coyotes living near them.” – CT DEEP Biologist Paul Rego.

Did you know that coyotes:

  • are so adaptable they can live in almost any setting, including many backyards,
  • are not native to Connecticut, but are now found statewide,
  • are extremely unlikely to injure people, especially with common-sense precautions including never feeding them.

The Canton Land Conservation Trust invites the public to learn more at its Tuesday March 22 Annual Dinner and Silent Auction, featuring a talk on the  history, biology and status of coyotes in Connecticut by Wildlife Biologist Paul Rego of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP). … Continue Reading

Esty Introduces Amendments to Protect Lower Farmington River, Improve Firearm Safety on Public Lands  

February 23, 2016 Environment, Government No Comments

Submitted Release 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (CT-5) today introduced two amendments to the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act of 2015, legislation that will be considered on the House floor this week. The Esty-authored amendments would support conservation of the Lower Farmington River and Salmon Brook and guard against firearm accidents on federal lands.

“These are commonsense amendments to improve public safety, protect our beloved public lands, and preserve the Lower Farmington River – an economic and environmental treasure for families across Connecticut,” Esty said. “Conserving the Lower Farmington River, which supports countless tourism and recreational activities, and keeping families safe from shooting accidents on federal lands are goals that both parties should be able to get behind. I hope House leaders will allow these measures to receive a vote on the floor this week.” … Continue Reading

Witkos, Leff Testify in Support of Land Protection Effort

February 23, 2016 Environment, Government No Comments
David K. Leff and state Sen. Kevin Witkos testify before the state legislature’s Environment Committee. Contributed Photo

David K. Leff and state Sen. Kevin Witkos testify before the state legislature’s Environment Committee.
Contributed Photo

Submitted Release  

Hartford – Sen. Kevin Witkos (R-Canton), joined by David Leff (both pictured), on Feb. 19 testified before the state legislature’s Environment Committee in support of a first-of-its-kind effort to better ensure protection of Connecticut-owned forests, parks, farmland and other conservation lands.

 “Connecticut is a beautiful state. But if that beauty is not protected, it will not last forever. In recent years, we have seen instances of protected land being sold by the state without proper public discussion and assessment of such sales. Lawmakers need to take steps to reassure the public that we are committed to protecting the environment. We also need to make sure those protections are guaranteed for our children and our children’s children,” said Sen. Witkos. … Continue Reading

Letter: Interaction on Dog Park Issue Has Been Impressive

To the Editor:

Impressive was the interaction between audience members both for and against the dog park. By the BOS having carried the discussion over two meetings more citizens became aware of the idea and engaged one another and the Board.

I voted in favor to move the idea into the purview of land use boards. These boards will ensure the idea conforms with plan of conservation of development on such concepts of maintaining open space, that abutting property owner rights will be respected and wetlands will be protected. … Continue Reading

Selectmen Vote To Take Next Step with Proposed Dog Park

This rendering shows the property and one potential design for the dog park.

This rendering shows the property and one potential design for the proposed dog park.

Additional approvals still needed

By John Fitts 

After hearing arguments for and against the idea – and asking a few questions themselves – the Board of Selectmen voted Wednesday night to move forward with plans for a dog park off Commerce Drive.

The idea calls for an enclosed dog park and parking on approximately one acre of a 6.89-acre parcel near the Farmington River Trail. Members of a group called the Friends of Canton Dog Park have said they will fully fund the estimated $30,000 to build the park, as well as yearly maintenance.

The unanimous Board of Selectmen vote, with one member absent, represents just a step in the process. With the vote, town officials and the land trust will now formally apply to the Inland Wetlands Agency and Planning and Zoning Commission for necessary approvals that are needed before a park could be built.

Part of the proposal would also involve a land swap between the town and the Canton Land Conservation Trust, which is seeking three town-owned parcels (approximately 28 acres) on Westwood Drive to connect with its 75-acre Upland Preserve.

Prior to making their decision, selectmen heard from several residents. … Continue Reading

Canton Resident’s Tale Shares the Joys of Country Living

Shawn Weeks and his niece Siri. Photo by John Fitts

Shawn Weeks and his niece Siri.
Photo by John Fitts

By John Fitts

In his first children’s tale, Canton resident Shawn M. Weeks tells us about Siri, a little girl who moves to the country and discovers the joys of the great outdoors and spending time with a close-knit family.

SIRI-&-ME-KINDLE-PROMO-FAE1C“Siri and Me: The Big Move,” now available in Kindle e-reader format, is named after Weeks’ own niece – Siri – and closely mirrors the family’s move from Stratford to Canton approximately 10 years ago.

Weeks said the heart of the story is about remaining close with your family, enjoying the simple pleasures in life, working hard and spending time in the natural world.

“People don’t live that way today and it’s just a wonderful way to live,” Weeks said. “I wanted to tell the story that people can still live the old-fashioned lifestyle of a large, extended family.”

The book, designed for children ages 3 to 5, features illustrations by Andreas K. Eldracher, a Torrington resident who also formerly lived in Stratford.The two have known each other for years.

“He captured what was in my head when I was writing the book,” Weeks said.

… Continue Reading

Energy Company Proposes Simsbury Solar Farm

February 3, 2016 Business, Environment No Comments

An energy company known more for its wind projects is proposing a solar farm on 153 acres in the vicinity of Route 10 in Simsbury, near the Granby town line.

A subsidiary of  Providence, Rhode Island based Deepwater Wind Holdings, LLC is looking to build a 26.4 megawatt-AC solar power generating facility on three separate sites, according to a proposal filed with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. It would be dubbed the Simsbury Solar Farm.

Deepwater, according to its application, developed the Block Island Wind Farm – “the first offshore wind farm in America.”

The Deepwater proposal is one of 30 different possible projects submitted to the DEEP – in conjunction with officials in Massachusetts and Rhode Island –  as part of the agency’s clean energy Request for Proposals. State law allows DEEP to select projects that could collectively meet 15 percent of the state’s energy demands.

“We’re pleased with the response to this historic RFP, based on our initial look at the number of responses, and the creativity and ambition of the projects proposed,” DEEP Commissioner Robert Klee stated via a press release.  “This is good news for Connecticut’s ratepayers and signals the very real potential for us to deliver a cheaper, cleaner, and more reliable energy future for residents and businesses of our state.” … Continue Reading

Images of Canton: Canton Land Trust Moonlight Hike

January 30, 2016 Environment, Outdoors, Photos No Comments

Photos by John Fitts 

The Canton Land Conservation Trust hosted its annual Moonlight Hike Saturday night. Hikers walked a luminaria-lit trail off Breezy Hill Road and made their way to a private horse barn where the land trust hosted a gathering with food, refreshments and an outdoor fire pit.

The land trust, which got its start in 1972, owns nearly 2,000 acres of land. See more at http://cantonlandtrust.org

See full-screen photos at https://johnfitts.smugmug.com/2016-Canton-Land-Conservation

Canton Officials Provide Update on Collinsville Hydroelectric Project

Photo by John Fitts

Photo by John Fitts

By John Fitts

On Wednesday night, town officials provided the Board of Selectmen with an update on the proposed hydroelectric project at the Collinsville upper dam.

Additionally, selectmen held a closed-door session to discuss ongoing negotiations on the proposed public-private partnership with Canton Hydro, LLC to develop the site. No action was taken.

During the public presentation, Chief Administrative Officer Robert Skinner presented a historic overview, the current proposal, related legislation and more.

The hydro facility has its roots in a timber dam built in 1837 by the Collins Company, according to the town’s presentation. The company built the current stone masonry upper dam in 1867 and the powerhouse in 1935. … Continue Reading

Canton Main Street to Host Volunteer Fair on Feb. 6

2016 Volunteer Fair red header flyerBy John Fitts 

CANTON – For some, the concept of volunteering might seem daunting but local organizations are often in need of an extra set of hands – whether one can help on a regular basis or just perform the occasional task.

On the afternoon of Feb. 6, Canton Main Street is inviting the community to a Volunteer Fair – a chance to learn a little about the different organizations that do so much for the town, whether it’s supporting kids on the field, serving on a town board, helping the elderly, curating fresh local food, helping the less fortunate or facilitating the arts. There will also be some children’s activities and chance to win prizes.

The event will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. on Feb. 6, in the lower level of the Canton Community Center at 40 Dyer Ave. Organizations will tell participants about their groups and volunteer opportunities.

“Generally, the organizations don’t have a forum like this to explain to people the value they bring or the value individuals can bring to town,” said Amy Parchen, president of Canton Main Street.

Canton Main Street is looking to provide just that venue and hopes to make the event an annual one.

… Continue Reading


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