Saturday, October 24, 2015

Vote on November 3rd for referendum to construct a new senior center

Are you a senior or planning on becoming one? 
Then, vote YES on Referendum Question #2 on November 3rd.

Our Town leaders are primed and ready to move ahead with the planned construction of a new Southington senior center, based on more than a year of careful research, probing studies and collaboration with BL Companies as professional consulting architects retained through a grant.

But you MUST vote to approve referendum # 2 on Election Day for this to happen.

BL Companies has compiled a detailed needs analysis with feedback from all involved in senior center activities.  Baby Boomers have come of age and by 2027, 41% of our town residents will be 55 or over.  By projection, current senior center membership of 6,000 is on a course of growth to 16,000 in the next 12 years, close to triple that of today!  The days of cobbling together a series of additions and renovations of the past 100 years, (1913, 1974, 1988, & 1999), no longer efficiently serve the needs of our population in an environment that is frankly uninviting to modern day people of 55 and older, let alone future generations.

Research has identified key needs to be served as:  health and wellness, social, classroom capacity, financial needs of seniors, computer training, miscellaneous sports activities and senior transportation..

BL presented three options to Southington: renovate the current building; build a new one on the existing site; or a new building on a new site.   A collaborative review over months of time of town management, staff, the Southington Senior Commission and volunteers resulted in a resounding consensus that the best option is a completely new, modern, one floor building on the land that Calendar House currently occupies.

The town study team started by reviewing a ‘blue sky’ type of plan, but after study reduce the cost by $4 million, excluding a therapy pool; reduced size multi-purpose room; eliminating a gift shop and music room, cutting the cost down to $9.4 million which will provide:
  • Wellness Center/Fitness Studio/Gym facility, an apportioned Multi-Purpose Room/doubled space, a Health Station, CafĂ©, Billiards and Ping Pong Room.
  • The plan also provides two dedicated computer rooms, two added classrooms, privacy cubicles for personal financial social services and properly positioned administrative offices. 
  • The plan also ensures needed user friendly convenience for the Dial-A-Ride (Bus Transport) program, a game room, library and restrooms and showers to upgrade and support the town’s use of the facility as an emergency shelter.
Both political parties have affirmed support of the project to renew Southington's Calendar House Senior Center.

So, now it's up to you...
Election Day, Tuesday, November 3rd
Freelance writer Dick Fortunato welcomes comments at dick617@gmail.  

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Bread for Life Soup Nite: Look who was there

SHS Key Club members |
working in the kitchen

An angelic pussy cat
Almost 500 people came to the Southington High School Cafeteria yesterday between 4:30 and 7:00 pm for Southington Bread for Life's big once a year shindig where a variety of a dozen plus soups were being offered along with a variety of breads, cider, water, coffee and an array of baked goods.
Christine Sack and
Jennie Johnson
Take a peek at some who were caught on camera. It was much more than having a delicious supper.  
Enjoying some conversation
after supper
It was a gathering of friends, neighbors, families, senior citizens and children as young as two.  The excellent wait staff was the SHS Key Club and they were courteous, quick and efficient.  All their TIPS went to the Bread for Life cause "that no one may go hungry".
BFL Board Members
A line of people waited for the "early bird" sitting before the Soup Nite officially opened at 4:30 pm and the parking lot was filled to capacity.
Bob & Midge Farina join Mary and Mike Baker 

Many stayed just for the fun, camaraderie and a light, lively and lovely time.  A huge assortment of raffle prizes had been donated and displayed with a drawing just before 7 pm.
Dave & Michelle Pestillo
But there was entertainment, too.  Did you see Valentine the Clown and her continual audience of kids getting their balloon sculptures, face painting and other antics?  How about the violin and viola duet of Christina Sack, 10th grade and Jenny Johnson, 12th grade!  Their classical style of string music was applauded by many as they made the rounds of the huge cafeteria.
Mike and Maggie Hodgins
Executive Director of BFL, Eldon Hafford and other Board members, Mike Soltys,(chairman), Bill McDougall, Patty Boissonneau, Dave Donnelly, Pam Taglia , Shirley Mason (the longest sitting member of the board --- who took the lead chef job in the kitchen of managing the volunteer staff of Key Club members, ladling out the soup for the wait staff along with bread, beverages and desserts.  Everyone of the board members stepped up to make the well-organized event  a great evening.

Many more photos below
Valentine the Clown, Brownies and more kids having fun
The Brian Stranieri's and the Tim Connellan's 
Trish Kenfick
Terri, Tom and Bill Lombardi

Jan Galti, Southington Education Foundation

Gathering food donations of guests are Jill Litke, son Evan Johanns and Pam Taglia

Volunteer Ryan Pasler, Executive Director of BFL Eldon Hafford and
Shirley Mason, longest sitting member of the BFL Board of Directors
Mr. & Mrs Chuck Miceli, local author
Southington Fire Department contingent join the fun and safety of the event
The Raffle Prizes
Dan Sirois
Tom & Kathy Murray

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Alzheimer's Resource Center offers Hope Full Lives for Home Caregivers

Alzheimer's Resource Center of Connectictu
1261 South Main Street, Plantsville, CT 
Hope Full Lives is an innovative program of the Alzheimer’s Resource Center of Connecticut that has awakened hope of promising results in improving the lives of caregivers of loved ones living at home with dementia.  

“Caring for a family member with dementia is an act of love. Caregivers take on unexpected life-changing challenges that compromise their own health as they attend to the physical, emotional, medical and financial needs of a loved one with dementia”,
said Stephani Shivers, Director of Community Innovations at ARC-CT, located in Plantsville, CT. 

Evidence-based data has opened a world of new ideas in dealing with the vulnerability, social isolation, depression and feelings of hopelessness of ‘at home’ caregivers.

Through a generous grant from the Bradley Henry Barnes & Leila Upson Barnes Memorial Trust at the Main Street Community Foundation, specialists at Alzheimer’s Resource Center of Connecticut are now providing caregivers free education, coaching and counseling in coping with their demanding responsibilities. 

“Our hope is to better equip the caregiver with the resources, skills and information needed to live hopeful life as they partner in care and life with their love one.” Shivers said.  “We are now proactively promoting informational meetings with caregivers through church, senior and other groups throughout the Southington community.”  Interested groups may contact Shivers at 860-628-3020.

On Sunday, October 18th, the Health Ministry of St. Dominic Parish is hosting a Hope Full Lives talk at 11:00 am at the St. Dominic Community Learning Center at Flanders Road and Laning Street in Southington. Admission is free and all are welcome.  

People living with dementia are expected to live diminished lives, but it is the loving caregivers who quickly become burdened with stress and unplanned new roles in their lives. Hope Full Lives explores ways to promote well-being for all. Free resources including classes, support groups, coaching and counselling services will be highlighted for caregivers.  

Another opportunity to hear Shivers speak on the subject will be at this month’s YMCA luncheon for its senior members on Thursday, October 22nd at 12 noon. To reserve a seat, RSVP Samantha at the Southington YMCA at 860-628-5597, Ext. 350. 

Stephani L. Shivers

Groups and organizations interested in hosting a presentation of Hope Full Lives for their members may contact Stefani Shivers, MEd, OTR/L, CDP at the ARC-Ct facility at 860-628-3020 for more information. 

"The Alzheimer's Resource Center of Connecticut, Inc approaches dementia care as partners in the care of individuals with dementia, working hard to help people remain involved in performing their daily activities so they may reach their highest level of cognitive and physical health." 

Monday, October 12, 2015

be in the know

Parents, do you know the serious risks and dangers of underage alcohol use of your children? 
  • Are you aware of the 'social host and alcohol possession' laws of the State of Connecticut?  

Our state has enacted these laws to protect your children from drinking alcohol because of the proven serious hazards to the health of your children, teens and younger alike. 

 be in the know
The STEPS Coalition is holding a parents forum Wednesday evening, October 14, 2015 from 6:30 to 7:30 pm at the Southington Municipal Center to create greater public awareness and educate parents as to the perils of underage drinking, the social host and alcohol possession laws and tips for talking to kids.
Join parents and grandparents Wednesday evening - taken a hour of your time to hear experts on the subject. 

Presenters include:
  • Lieutenant. Steve Elliott and Officer Chad Butler of the the Southington Police Department about our town's commitment to law enforcement. 
  • Attorney Tony Sheffy about the social host law 
  • Pediatrician, Dr. George Skarvinko who will discuss the dangers and health risks of underage drinking.

Link now to be in the know .

For more information about the work of the STEPS coalition at 

Monday, October 5, 2015

Eagle Scout - Matthew Leary

A Boy Scout is on his honor to do his best for God, Country and family.
L to r: Matt's mom, Karen, Matt, dad, John
and sister Lauren, 
On August 31st, 17-year-old Matt Leary of Southington completed an eleven-year journey to the highest rank in the Boy Scouts of America: Eagle Scout.  His Court of Honor was held at the church hall of St. Leo The Great in Waterbury, instead of at his usual Troop 3 location at Mill Plain Union Church, in order to enable Matt’s great-grandfather, Sam Elia, 98, to attend this special moment in his life.   

Matthew John Leary lives with his parents, Karen and John Leary, and his sister, Lauren, in Southington in their home of 20 plus years. The family has been deeply committed to service at St. Dominic Church. Matt and Lauren attended St. Dominic School, St. Paul’s H.S. in Bristol, where Matt is now a senior, while Lauren is a junior at University of St. Joseph majoring in history.
For Matt, the long and arduous road to Eagle Scout began as a Cub Scout in 1st grade at Pack 218 at St. Peter & Paul Church in Waterbury.  “It wasn’t that much fun at first. I was doing it because my dad told me to.”, Matt said. “But with dad’s motivation to just give it a try, I knew pretty quickly that I wanted to do it. In Boy Scouts, you learn to do your best.  For me, it was to go for ‘Eagle’.”  In the course of time, Matt learned many skills and what leadership is about. “There’s a lot of ‘doing’… but it’s more about ‘being’ a scout; not just wearing the uniform, but about a way of life.” Achieving ‘Eagle’ requires hard work and a sustained commitment of many years.  Any tenderfoot scout knows that it takes earning 21 merit badges.  Matt proudly wears 28 badges now, along with his Star, Life and Eagle insignia, and he now wants to go for three Eagle palms:  bronze, gold and silver, to further advancing his skills and knowledge. These must be completed by next April 24th, his 18th birthday. Merit badges teach boys a host of skills that develop valued tools in life. Over 120 merit badges are offered in health, sports, crafts, science, trades, business and future careers enabling scouts to learn that special ‘way of life’ of a Boy Scout.
For his Eagle Scout project, Matt chose to construct a decorative stone wall around the back of the press box tower at St. Paul’s sports arena. Planting pots were installed into the stone work and flowers were planted. He designed and organized the project, recruited scouts to work under his leadership, raised funds for material and supplies and gained approval for the plan from his scoutmaster and his school administration.  “Several scouts assisted me in a period of a few weeks. It took 190.7 man-hours to get it done.” Matt said.   
Considering a career in law enforcement, Matt set his classes this year with a focus on exploring that and other career options. His goal is to maintain honor roll status, and in sports, to stay on the Indoor Track team, hoping to be its captain.  He’ll continue his parish youth ministry work.  “A career as a Police Officer doesn’t require a college education but I plan to earn at least a Bachelor’s Degree.  I envision myself leading a Police Department one day running a complex organization that would make a college degree necessary. But, I also plan to attend a college with a strong Catholic identity to strengthen my moral and ethical foundation as a Catholic.  My faith is very important to me. I’ve had thoughts about entering the seminary, to discern the Priesthood, if God calls me to do so.”
Matt’s dad, John Leary became an Eagle Scout in 1982 at Troop 3 with Bill ‘Bones’ Meo as his scoutmaster. Through the years, Meo has continued as scoutmaster. Today, John Leary is his assistant scoutmaster.  Leary is employed by TRONOX, a global corporation based in Stamford as Director of Consolidations.  John Leary has also been Chairman of the Town’s Board of Finance for six years, working with other elected officials and town management to develop and maintain a finance strategy that balances the priority needs of the Town and the cost to the taxpayer. Leary is a member of the Southington Catholic School Board and has been a member of the St. Dominic Church Finance Board for many years.  Matt’s mom, Karen Leary, is a Physical Therapist for the Consolidated School District of New Britain, traveling to all district schools to work with special needs students. She is a member of the Town’s Commission on Disabilities; has served as president of the St. Dominic School Board and the Parish Council and the St. Paul H.S. School Board.

“(The spirit of) scouting it something inside of you”, Matt says, “Boys leading boys with adults supervising, teaching and guiding.”  

More about the first weekend of the Apple Harvest Festival

We don't have numbers, but it was as clear as the weather that we had a huge turnout at the 47th Annual Apple Harvest Festival on Sunday
October 4th for the parade and for after the parade.  The teeming thousands were elbow to elbow watching the parade and by the time it got to Center and Main Streets the crowds were a happy throng, cheering, waving flags, smiling calling out to marchers
by name.  It was a great celebration of everything that is Southington and then some.

Amy Traver decided not to let the uncertainty of the weather on Saturday dampen her spirits. Amy ventured out prepared for whatever might come to explore what's old and what's new.  Especially, "what else but the apple fritters.", she said.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Apple Harvest Festival - Sunday, October 4, 2015

Parade was welcomed with the blessings of sunshine and no rain, just a bit of a comfortable breeze.

Road Races held this morning.  Results to be reported.

Kara Fazzolari drives the Fire Dept Bed in the Bed Race
The power team of Tony Esteves, Jon Esteves and
Nate Emery won the gold with Kara.  

DePaolo kids manning Alex's Lemonade Stand

The Lemonade was refreshing.
In the past nine years they have raised $61,000 to help Alex fight pediatric cancer.
Debbie Wright and Shelley Gombatz welcome crowds to
their new Caffe Del Mondo location on Main Street 

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Apple Harvest Festival - Spirits undamped by scattered light rain

No head-count yet for those curious about such statistics, but they came by the hundreds and hundreds to the Town Green, the band stand, the vendors' tents lining Main Street and the surrounding downtown area of the first day of this year's 47th Apple Harvest Festival.

Apple Pie Eating
Winners l to r. Emily Suherland, Mike Kryzanski and
Sara Gernhard
 Emily said "It was on my bucket list for 2015!" Mike said: "It was the biggest thrill of my life".  Sara said: "My fiance was to chicken sh*t to do it so I did it!"

Apple Fritter eating contestants used a variety of strategies to manage to eat a dozen fritters and finish in the gold, silver or bronze with the crowd laughing and cheering them on. 

Careful but deliberate

Even when prompted to talk about the weather there seemed to be little care or concern of the crowd other than to enjoy the excitement of the events and activities, wandering from vendor to vendor in search of some old favorite food item or a tantalizing taste of an exotic new food. 

Bed race contestants lined up for the walk to the starting point. Below Mark Fazzolari, Jack Eisenmann and John Adams, rolled the Live United Southington Community Services team with Debbie Lenzl aboard. Asked why she was doing this, Debbie lamented: "I don't know why!"

Apple Harvest Festival, general chairman Jim Champagne seemed most pleased that everyone pretty much accepted the slightly wet early autumnal weather. Asked about this Saturday evening's scheduled fireworks and the parade tomorrow, Champagne said, "Fireworks have been re-scheduled for next Saturday night, October 10th but tomorrow the parade is on. The sun is going to shine!  Everyone knows there's no change about that and they're getting ready to march at 2 pm on Sunday." Fingers crossed everyone.

Stay tuned.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Southington Heartbeat and Appleseed

Fall 2015 Pancake Breakfast - Sunday October 25th
at Calendar House - 7 to 11:30 am
A full course breakfast buffet includes bacon, sausage links, eggs, potatoes, pancakes, bagels, pastries, juice, coffee, etc. All you can eat, for only $6.00 (children under 6 free). Tickets at the door.
The Knights donated more than $25,000 to the causes of numerous local charities and non-profits last year, plus gifts in kind, food, clothing and volunteer hours. 
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Undaunted by a rainy first day, the 47th Apple Harvest Festival team is moving things along.  More later. 
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