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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

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

Officials Explore Idea of Rebuilding at Current Public Works Site While Improving River Access, Amenities

A preliminary concept for rebuilding at the current Public Works site near the Farmington River.

The town’s preliminary concept for rebuilding at the current Public Works site near the Farmington River, while improving recreational amenities and allowing space for potential future expansion of the neighboring Water Pollution Control Facility.

By John Fitts 

CANTON — While it would involve a smaller footprint than the town sought in recent referenda, town officials are exploring the idea of constructing a new public works facility at the current site, with a new access road from Route 179 and recreational improvements for the Farmington River Trail and access to the Farmington River.

Town officials, including Chief Administrative Officer Robert Skinner, Public Works Director Robert Martin and Project Administrator George M. Wallace presented the preliminary idea to the Board of Selectman on Wednesday night and will next gauge reaction from regulatory boards such as Planning and Zoning and the Inland Wetlands Watercourse agency.

The idea would be to build a two-story, nearly 15,000-square-foot main building closer to Route 179, an approximate 1,500 square-foot salt shed, while constructing the new access road, improving the softball field at the site, improving river access, adding parking for recreation and perhaps utilizing the old “horse barn” that serves as much of the current facility for public restrooms and potentially other amenities.  … Continue Reading

Ski Swap, Film, Expo Designed to Get Skiers and Snowboarders Stoked for Season

November 5, 2015 Outdoors No Comments

skiswap_webSubmitted Release 

NEW HARTFORD/CANTON — As the fall foliage begins to fade and cascade from the trees, thoughts naturally migrate to what we think of as the most dynamic season of all – WINTER! This weekend, Nov. 6-8, 2015, there are multiple opportunities to get stoked and to get stocked up!

Ski Sundown is excited to sponsor Warren Miller Entertainment‘s “Chasing Shadows” this Friday, Nov. 6 at The Bushnell Theatre’s Mortensen Hall in Hartford. Two of the athletes featured in the film, Neil and Ian Provo, grew up skiing at Sundown and their mother was a longtime member of our Ski Patrol.  Ski Sundown fans can’t wait to see these two all grown up and killing it on some crazy terrain, making us proud! Visit skisundown.com or warrenmiller.com for ticket information.

This is also the time or year to pull the gear out of the closets and basements for an assessment. The annual Sundown Ski Patrol Ski Swap is another tradition heralding the start of the season, and an awesome way to stock up on all of your ski and snowboard needs at great prices. Sell the gear you don’t need, and get huge deals for the entire family on new and gently used equipment and outerwear. This swap is one of the oldest and largest in New England. … Continue Reading

‘Satan’s Kingdom’ Property Changes Hands

A portion of the Satan's Kingdom site along Route 44 in Canton.

A portion of the Satan’s Kingdom site along Route 44 in Canton.

By John Fitts 

Members of a well known Canton family have purchased the “Satan’s Kingdom” property along Route 44 on which Torrington developer Allan Borghesi had once proposed to build an industrial park spanning Canton and New Hartford.

Earlier this month, New Hartford Marketplace, LLC, of which Henry J. Bahre, John H. Bahre and Daniel K. Bahre are members, purchased the property, which includes more than 50 acres of land in Canton and New Hartford, from Satan’s Kingdom, LLC., managed by Borghesi. The sale, one of two main property exchanges between the parties, also included some easements and minor lot line adjustments with a neighboring landowner. Paperwork from both towns indicates that the total price was $700,000.

Borghesi’s  proposal to change the zoning on the property from residential to industrial was granted for the New Hartford portion but, after much controversy, he withdrew a similar application in Canton. He later informally discussed a plan for housing but never actually applied for such a use.  … Continue Reading

A Collinsville Landmark Falls With the Wind

This tree, a perch for Bald Eagles in Collinsville, has fallen victim to the heavy winds.  Photo by Stephen Roberto

This tree, a perch for Bald Eagles in Collinsville, has fallen victim to the heavy winds.
Photo by Stephen Roberto

Collinsville residents, photographers and others expressed disappointment Wednesday as they learned that a dead tree that regular hosted America’s National bird was gone, presumably a victim of the high winds over the past two days.

The tree, which stood near the banks of the Farmington River, was a regular host to several bird species, most notably Bald Eagles.

Dan Phelan, an area resident and outdoor enthusiast, made a habit of walking his dog on the Farmington River Trail along the river in Collinsville.

“There were amazing sunrises, incredible fog banks rolling down to the river from sweetheart mountain, and geese galore. But those experiences all paled in comparison to the mornings when the baldies were hanging out in their tree,” he said. “Seeing our country’s bird thriving in Collinsville, was and still is, a moment that always forces me to take a deep breath, and reflect on how incredible nature is.” … Continue Reading

‘Kids for Wish Kids’ Ski-A-Thon at Ski Sundown on Sunday, March 8

February 27, 2015 Outdoors, Sports No Comments

FlyerFBAll proceeds donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation

Submitted — Ski Sundown will play host to a ski-a-thon on Sunday, March 8, 2015 to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Participants will ski as many runs as they can between 9:00 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Awards will be given in three age categories (5 and under, 6-12, 13+) to the person with the most runs. A “tea-cup auction” will also be held, with over $3,000 in donated items as prizes. The drawings will be held at 1:00 p.m. and you must be present to win. Registration will be held in the base lodge from 7:30 a.m. until 9:00 a.m. A minimum donation of $10 and a lift ticket or pass are required.

This event is being organized by Madeline Moore and Julia Redfield, both 12-year olds from East Granby.

The girls have been best friends since the age of 3, and participate in their middle school’s ski club program at Ski Sundown.

“We learned about the Make-A-Wish Foundation through our participation in ski races where event proceeds were donated to this foundation. Make-A-Wish grants wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions, and we really want to help,” said Julia Redfield. Last year, Madeline and Julia raised $225 by running hot chocolate and lemonade stands, and collecting returnable cans and bottles. … Continue Reading

Ski Sundown to Host 2015 Senior Winter Games

February 22, 2015 Outdoors, Sports No Comments

The CT Ski Council and Ski Sundown are sponsoring the 2015 Senior Winter Games on Tuesday, Feb. 24.

Those who turn 50 in calendar year 2015 are eligible to compete.  Racers in their 70’s, 80’s and 90’s participate in the event and come from New York, Massachusetts and all parts of Connecticut.  … Continue Reading

Girls Rock the Park at Ski Sundown on Saturday

February 19, 2015 Outdoors No Comments

(Submitted) — Girls Rock the Park “girls-only” session will be held in Ski Sundown’s terrain park on Tom’s Treat on Saturday, Feb. 21  from 1 to 3 p.m.

Why should boys have all the fun? For girls of all ages who have felt a little shy or wishing they knew how to approach a terrain park feature – this event is for you!   Ski Sundown Snowsports Instructors and Terrain Park Attendants will be in the park on Tom’s Treat along with POM POM- sponsored snowboarder Jennifer Gonyea of Springfield, MA. They’ll do some demonstrations, provide pointers and coach participants on how to approach different terrain park features, play games and just have fun!

… Continue Reading


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