Wednesday, February 25, 2015

An Overview of Town Roads Asphalt Maintenance

Letter to the Editor
February 24, 2015

For the past several years, the Southington Town Council and our Management Team have been transforming the delivery of services to our taxpayers. Our goal is to provide the best quality services for a responsible and reasonable cost.

One of the largest costs in our community is maintaining the infrastructure of our roads and bridges. The large cost of roads is why the Town Council initiated a pavement management system to grade the quality of our roads.  Our grading system is used by our engineers as a tool to determine which roads get a maintenance program and which roads get rebuilt.

When the voters approved 2 consecutive referenda totaling $ 22 million dollars, they sent a clear message to take care of our roads. As many have witnessed this past year, the massive road projects have begun.

Last year, we added a new maintenance program aimed at giving longevity to our existing roads and saving the taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.  As with items on ones own home, if they arent maintained, they will not last. The first maintenance product used last year was Crack Sealing and the second was Chip Sealing.

With the process being less than 1 year old, we are gathering results and feedback after the process has lived through its 1st winter. The results are definitely a mixed bag of opinions encompassing both ends of the spectrum.

This Town Council is committed to seeking out new and improved ways to deliver high quality services at a reasonable cost. We are extremely thankful for all of the feedback, positive and negative, on our new program. This past month both management and leadership on the Council have been meeting to review the processes with the goal of improving them this coming spring. We are meeting with our own engineers, asphalt advisers and our contractors.

In the coming weeks we will be sharing our (residents) feedback about the chip seal process with the contractors, to see if the process can be improved. In the event that we are not satisfied that it can be improved, we have the ability to seek other products that will satisfy our goal of maintaining our roads to give them longevity. The other processes available are Scrub Sealing, Micro-surfacing, Ultra-Thin Overlay (Nova Chip) and Slurry Sealing. Each process has its pros and cons.

As the concept of road maintenance, on a large scale, is new, there will be adjustments based on what our citizens can support. We continue to ask our residents for their feedback as many of them are on the front lines with newly maintained roads. We will use that feedback and our experts, to constantly improve the process. If that means replacing one maintenance process for another, then we can do that. Please know that we hear you, good and bad, and we are working to make our program the best that it can be, while being prudent with your money.

Thank you

Michael A. Riccio, Chairman                      
Southington Town Council

Winter Storms Don't Hold Back Southington's Spirit of Charity

The 2015 Relay for Life opens at 4:00 pm on Friday, May 29th, continuing for 24 hours, closing on Saturday, May 30th. “We celebrate as a community, remembering and fighting back together against cancer.” said Relay for Life Chair Joyce McAloon, “Our efforts to find a cure for Cancer have been strong. We have raised over $1 million for the American Cancer Society’s research work in our previous fifteen campaigns.” Cancer affects so many families. Few escape the dreaded visit among those close to them. McAloon thanked the Survivors, Caregivers, RFL Committee, Teams, and Community for the successful 2014 campaign which raised over $147,000 to fight Cancer. Be a part of the fight against Cancer by joining a team as a volunteer and with your financial gift to any of the teams.  For information, contact Joyce McAloon at (860-276-0255 or

The STEPS Youth Council steps us. A few months ago, three young members of the STEPS Youth Council announced that they had decided to file an application to start a STEPS Relay for Life Team. The three, Trever Rogers, Sarah Lamb and Justine Griffin Southington H.S. students who also serve on the Advisory Board of STEPS representing its town wide coalition. The three and many others on the Youth Council or Youth committee dedicate their energies to the STEPS movement year round. A significant example of their work is having brought two successful new ordinance ideas to the Southington Town Council in 2014, requiring retailers to move any tobacco delivery products from the view and reach of youth. The other ordinance requires a sign at local Happy Hours stating that no alcohol is served without proof of age.  To join the STEPS Youth Council's Relay for Life team or to help them with your donation to fight cancer, contact Trever Rogers at or Sarah Lamb at 

Jean’s Angels Fighting Against Cancer is another Relay for Life Team in the battle against cancer. Jean Rose is a cancer survivor and long-time team coordinator the Jean's Angels who have organized Make Wednesdays at Wendy’s every Wednesday in March and April from 4 to 8 pm at the 328 Queen Street location. A portion of every sale will be donated to the American Cancer Society for Relay for Life. To help this team, please contact Jean via email at “It takes many in this town to accomplish what we have done.”, said Rosemary Champagne, a cancer survivor and veteran leader in the cause.  

Still another Relay team at work is the Southington Knights of Columbus Isabella Council 15. Grand Knight Paul Sirois, Deputy Grand Knight Bill Shatas and Past G.K. Dennis Kelly recently presented a check for $500.00 to Relay for Life to McAloon.  Sirois, who resides in nearby Cheshire, noted that organiz@aol.comations such as the Knights and others help the community in so many ways. For example, the Knights also presented checks of $500.00 each to Eldon Hafford, Executive Director of Bread for Life; to Janet Mellon, Director of Southington Services; and to the Fisher House in West Haven to temporarily house families of wounded warriors so they may be close to their service person receiving care in the VA hospital.  Shatas said, “The Southington Knights also raised over $6,100 last fall in its Tootsie Roll Drive. The Knight thank the generosity of so many people of Southington who support this fund raiser with the help of Walmart, Stop & Shop, Tops Market and participating parishioners of Immaculate Conception, Mary Our Queen, St. Aloysius, St. Dominic and St. Thomas Churches who help with their large and small donations at their church doors." The funds raised in the Tootsie Roll Campaign will be donated to the Southington High School Best Buddies, SHS Unified Sports, SHS Unified Theater, Connecticut Special Olympics, Columbiettes Campership Fund and the St. Coletta Center, providing religious education to those with intellectual disabilities.

Recent photos of donations presented. 

Dennis Kelly, Faithful Navigator of the Southington Knights of Columbus presents donation to Tom Flowers of the Fisher House Foundation with SK Phil Mazzotti at the American Legion Kiltonic Post 72 Hall in Southington. 

On the right, Dennis Kelly(l to r) Paul Sirois and Bill Shatas of the Southington Knights of Columbus present a check to Relay for Life Chairperson, Joyce McAloon. 

At left, Paul Sirois, Benny Cammuso and Dennis Kelly of the Southington Knights of Columbus present a check for $500.00 to Eldon Hafford, Executive Director of Bread for Life.

Grand Knight, Paul Sirois of the Southington Knights of Columbus presents a check of $500.00 to Janet Mellon, Director of Souhtington Community Services with Bill Shatas, Deputy Grand Knight and Ralph Nardi of the K of C and a volunteer at the Southington Community Services and Food Pantry. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Introducing Southington Heartbeat

Welcome to Southington Heartbeat. 

This e-newsletter approach to publishing my stories and commentaries is intended to expand the readership and widen the scope of the content of my column, Appleseed, published weekly in the Southington Citizen for the last forty weeks.  

The excerpt below from my first edition of
Appleseed published on May 31, 2014 will offer a sense of the idea of Appleseed, how it came about and what it covers. 

The following was published in the 
Southington Citizen on May 31, 2014:
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I recently got an email from my editor, Nick Carroll:  “Had an idea I wanted you to chew on. How about a weekly column about life in Southington? I’m thinking ‘slice of life’ type of stuff, nothing heavy. Think about a name for the column. I’ll call you tomorrow." He called. We talked. I chewed. Waking up at 4 am next morning, I heard myself muttering indistinctly: ‘apple seed’, over and over. Waking, my wife turned: “What’s going on? You’re talking gibberish.” So, I told her. She loved it. I sent it to Nick. Then three of us loved it. We hope you will, too!  

The name of the column: Of course, the apple is an icon in Southington, Connecticut, known for its great apple orchards. We’re in the heart of Apple Valley where, every October, thousands come to our famous Apple Harvest Festival, the Big Parade and two weekends of celebratory goings on promoting who we are and what we’re about, enjoying our local Apple Fritters, Shenandoah Steaks and much more. That’s right, there’s more, and it will be the mission of Appleseed, like America's famous folklore hero, Johnny Appleseed, to promote and spread ideas! What drove the idea of Appleseed home in my own mind, was the thought that my wife and I grew up in Brooklyn, New York's largest borough in The Big Apple.

So,  when  we moved to Southington 19 years ago, (now 20), we took our roots, seeds and all, with us for our journey into retirement in Apple Valley.  The final glue that set the name came after I hopped onto Google and discovered a national organization of collaborative lawyers doing pro-bono work under the name of The Appleseed Foundation: Sewing the Seeds of Justice. Case closed! Enter Appleseed. We expect you will come to see that Appleseed is really about the heart and soul of the people of Southington, their generosity, their spirit of community, family and faith, and their day in and day out endeavors to make our community healthier and stronger, serving the many, including the least among us who bear the worst of life's struggles.
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There you have it, folks, my first edition of Southington Heartbeat and an excerpt of Appleseed.  Subscribe via email to or save the URL as a favorite and drop in from time to time.