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School officials: In context, ‘Trump,Trump, Trump’ chant perceived as ‘divisive’

March 1, 2017 Community, Schools 10 Comments

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 jfitts@turleyct.com, 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

Your Silent Neighbors: Charles A. Farnham, Heroic Banker

March 1, 2017 Community, History No Comments

By David Leff 
Town Historian 

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

Canton Officer Praised for New Hartford water rescue

February 28, 2017 Community, Police No Comments

Officer Andrew Schiffer

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 2017 season

February 28, 2017 Community, Schools No Comments

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Submitted Release 

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.

Images of Canton: CrownAid2017


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.

Canton Woman Dies After Vehicle, Bus Accident

February 23, 2017 Police No Comments

A 79-year-old Canton woman passed away from her injuries after an accident between her vehicle and a Connecticut Transit bus, police said.

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.

Rotary of Avon-Canton Commits $150,000 to Favarh

February 22, 2017 Classified No Comments

Paul Mikkelson, right, who chairs the community service committee for Rotary of Avon-Canton talks at Favarh Wednesday morning.
Photo by John Fitts

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. 

Board of Education to Host Budget Hearing, Selectmen to Continue Discussion

February 21, 2017 Budget, Government, Schools No Comments

The newly adopted town seal.

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

Canton Boys Win Conference Title

February 17, 2017 Community, Schools No Comments

Canton junior Ryan Enns drives to the hoop.
Photo by Dave Heuschkel

By Dave Heuschkel

For the first time in 35 years, the Canton High boys basketball team are conference champions. The Warriors clinched the North Central Connecticut Conference regular season title Thursday night with a 55-33 win over East Granby.

Junior Ryan Enns led the Warriors with 14 points and senior Ethan Burke scored 12 as Canton won its first conference title since 1982. The Warriors went 17-3 overall, 15-1 in the conference.

The 17 regular season wins are the most by Canton since Craig Archambault took over in 2012. Of his five teams, he said this is the youngest. With the exception of Burke and junior Luke Brown, most of the players saw little or no varsity action on the team that went 14-6 in the regular season a year ago.

But Burke, the only returning starter, doesn’t think the Warriors overachieved. He said something occurred a year ago that made him truly believe this team could win a conference title. Read the story in the Feb. 23 edition of the Valley Press.

… Continue Reading

Canton Commission Continues Public Hearing on 5 River Road

February 16, 2017 Business, Community No Comments

A file photo of 5 River Road.

By John Fitts

On Wednesday, Feb. 15, the Canton Planning and Zoning Commission heard varying opinions on a proposal to add a used car dealership to the list of permitted uses at 5 River Road in Collinsville but ultimately continued a public hearing on the matter.

The half-acre, “v-shaped” property sits on the corner of Maple Avenue (state Route 565) and state route 179.

Resident Stephen Roberto purchased the property, formerly home to a gas station, in 2011, and in 2014 was successful in getting it re-zoned from “non-conforming” residential to business.

The proposal before the commission now looks to get permission for used car dealership with 30 spaces for “inventory,” 7 parking spaces, dark-sky compliant lighting for use during business hours and use of existing bays for limited repair.

While some businesses uses are allowed “by right,” a dealership would require several special permits and a site-plan modification.

Various criteria and standards come with the special permits and much of the debate on the proposal centers around intensity of use on the property, the character of the neighborhood and the town’s economic viability.

The commission is slated to continue the hearing at its March 15 meeting, which would take place at 7:30 p.m. in the Canton Community Center.

See more in next week’s edition of the Valley Press.  

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