Friday, December 30, 2016

What Does the New Year Mean to You!

A New Year is an opportunity to look back, remember and analyze the 366-page volume of events and memories of 2016.  For good or for bad, depending on your personal perspective, the Book of 2016 is now about to be history.  It cannot be changed.  But, looking back to assess and learn from the past year is healthy. However, keep in mind that 2016 and any one year is but a fraction of our centuries of history. 

Now, I know that most of us may not regard the New Year celebration as a time for profound thought on the passage of time. 

Instead, we want a "happy" New Year rather than one that is overly somber in deep thoughts. So, we embrace a highly spirited, festive way of bringing in the new year. Perhaps the majority of us enjoy a dinner or buffet at home or gather at a favorite food establishment where we are entertained. Many of us observe the huge, cheering countdown of the last seconds of the year by some two million people fully engaged in the descent of a huge ball at Times Square in New York. 

Those who take the daring challenge to spend a cold day and/or evening at Times Square bearing the cacophony of millions of sounds and many private, personal inconveniences deserve our heartfelt thanks for providing the rest of the world a most enjoyable viewing of the 109-year-old tradition that started at Times Square on December 31, 1907 and has continued annually, except for 1942 and 1943, in deference to our troops far from home during World War II.

Through the years, I have tried to put it together to make some sense of
it all.  I remember when we had no television, let alone instant news. There were parties with families and friends. We celebrated with traditional meals, had lively conversations, games for adults and children and at the big moment of midnight, one or two counted down last seconds to the cheers, hugs and kisses of all, as they repeated shouts of "Happy New Year". My wife distinctly recalls that everyone would then go out into the streets of her South Brooklyn neighborhood banging on pots and pans, greeting neighbors and passersby. Personally, I recall that I didn't understand why, on that particular occasion, everyone had to hug everyone else present. Neither did I understand until much later why some people were crying.  

I hope this echoes with you in some way. But now, as a person of advancing years, I think of my relationships within my family, circle of friends, and associates and my personal understanding of God.  I think about what I have done: accomplishments and mistakes, and what I still want to do. For me the new year has become more thoughtful, more relaxed, low-keyed and still rather pleasant. It’s one more opportunity to get it right, to learn something new and to touch someone in a way that makes their life just a bit better.

I wish everyone reading or hearing this message, a happy new year, emphasizing that “happiness”, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is a state of well-being and contentment, joy, a pleasurable or satisfying experience; and “happiness”, as referenced in Thesaurus, is synonymous with gladness, aptness, cheerfulness, delight, glee, bliss, and felicity. 

Reaching for all this may sound challenging, but you can start by writing your own New Year Book with 365 blank pages, filling them one day at a time with your hopes and dreams, always being open to seize each day’s opportunities.

Tag: SC columnist , writer and community service advocate, Dick Fortunato, welcomes comments at

Friday, December 23, 2016

Vacant Classrooms Open Doors to New DayCare Center for Infants to 5 years old

Change is stressful; nobody likes change. Yet, progress always comes about as result of change… moving on… adapting to the world around us and changing times.

Successful change comes about by viewing it as an opportunity to move forward based on new ideas and creative options.

There’s an old saw that comes to mind: “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade", the proverbial phase used to inspire optimism and a positive attitude in the face of adversity.

Local case in point:  About a year and a half ago, the Church of St. Dominic in Southington was confronted with a quandary: What to do about the space vacated in the merger of its Catholic elementary school into a new Southington Catholic School, a merger that was part of the establishment of a regional rather than parochial school model.

St. Dominic Pastor, Fr. Ronald May, met with his staff and invited parishioners to form a study group as to how to best utilize classroom space. After considering several options, the thought of a child care center emerged.  Everyone liked it. It was the right move. It was within the mission and vision of the church:  nurturing newborn infants to five-year-olds in their most vital formative years, in a commodious and safe environment.  Conversion of the classrooms in one campus building was completely remodeled as a modern, state of the art, suite of rooms with appropriate furnishings and facilities.  Simultaneously, the staff moved forward taking the multiple necessary steps in establishing its credentials and certifications for a day care center through the required state and town departments and the Archdiocese of Hartford and finally the search for an excellent, accomplished director/head teacher, Michelle Keeley and one teacher.

Allison, 9 months
“The school opened on Monday, October 10th.”, said Sharon Ayotte, Administrative Assistant to the Pastor and project coordinator.  Ayotte said, “We have ten additional children enrolled as of the first of the year and we will have a total of 35 children by mid-January and Michelle (Keeley) is recruiting new teachers smoothly in step with the growth of enrollments.”  Keeley has resided in Southington for the past ten years and has been in the field of child care for twelve years. “Michelle is certified by the State of Connecticut and comes highly recommended to us by her former employers.”, Ayotte said.

Carson. 2-1/2

Parents told us: “St. Dominic Child Care has been a blessing to our family."

"Hard as it is to leave my son every day, I know he’s in good hands with people who truly care about him. They’re actively engaged with each of the children in such a loving yet professional manner."

 “Our grandson began in October. We’ve been so pleased with his experience. Michelle, the director, is knowledgeable and caring and the staff is so responsible to and supportive of the children."

Emily, 12 months
"There's nothing more precious to us than our child We’re happy with our decision to entrust our daughter to St. Dominic Child Care Center.”The Center continues to accept applications for January 1st with hours of operation Monday thru Friday from 6:30 am to 6:00 pm. Inquire further at 860-628-4678 or

Teacher, Shelly, showing pictures and reading to Gavin, 1-1/2
and Madeline, 1-1/2

St. Dominic is well on its way to a successful transition while bringing a high priority, vital service to Southington and surrounding communities for parents working here or nearby.

A Child has a way of bringing 

Special Joy to each day!

Teacher Kristina with Luke, four months

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

White Christmas in the Community Celebration throughout Southington

Premier Christmas Celebration Scheduled for Dec. 2nd 

For the first time in Southington’s history the town’s two annual holiday events, which are coordinated by the Merchants of Downtown Southington and the Village of Plantsville Association, will take place on the same evening.

White Christmas in the Community will be held Friday, Dec. 2, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. in both Downtown Southington and in the Village of Plantsville. Both events will feature transportation to enable families and visitors to travel back and forth between the two locales.

The goal of the combined event is to create a sense of community while showcasing the various businesses that are located within the two sections of town. All property owners and retail establishments that are situated within proximity of the event are asked to display white lights in windows, storefronts, trees, etc. to help make the evening special.

While both the Village and Downtown groups will have their usual array of activities and programs as they have in the past, the evening will also feature some combined events, such as hay rides along the Linear Trail, a trolley running up and down Main Street and a family Christmas ornament craft station at both locations.

Sponsors are currently being sought to help fund this premier combined event. Minimum donations of $100 may be made to: White Christmas in the Community and sent in care of Liberty Bank, 60 North Main St, Southington, CT 06489. For more information, please contact Dawn Miceli at 860.681.8006 or Rob Flood at 860. 609.4620. 

Southington Education Foundation partners with Just For You Country Gifts - on December 3, 2016

The Southington Education Foundation (SEF) is pleased to partner with  
Just For You Country Gifts
On December 3, 2016
Just in time for your holiday shopping!
If you love beautiful things, casual no pressure shopping, and a warm friendly atmosphere, bring this flyer* to Just For You Country Gifts on Saturday, December 3rd between 10am and 5pm and 20% of your purchase will be donated to SEF!
Rated Southington’s #1 gift shop in the Citizens Reader’s Poll, Just For You carries everything from home d├ęcor, jewelry, greeting cards, women’s apparel, baby gifts, candles, and bath soaps/lotions.  Owner Flo Legat is committed to providing a wide range of unique products and excellent customer service like only a local, small business owner can.   
Come join the SEF on December 3rd to make your purchases for the holidays or upcoming special occasion while supporting innovative educational opportunities for Southington’s youth.  We are certain you will find the perfect gift for everyone on your list!  
For further information in how you can support the SEF, please contact Michelle LeBrun-Griffin at or 860-877-1058.
979 Meriden-Waterbury Road, Plantsville

(located in the plaza next to the Southington Drive-in)  

Monday, November 14, 2016

Southington Interfaith Thanksgiving Service Tuesday, November 22nd - All are welcome

The Southington community’s annual tradition of an Interfaith Thanksgiving Service, sponsored by the Southington Interfaith Clergy Association, (SICA), will take place on Tuesday, November 22 at 7:00 pm. 

The service will be hosted this year by First Congregational Church at 37 Main Street in Southington. 

Clergy and members of our community’s diverse faith congregations will be represented. 

Free will donations of monetary and non-perishable food items will be gratefully accepted for distribution by Southington Community Services and Bread for Life to those in our midst who might otherwise go without. 

Refreshments will follow in the fellowship hall. 

What a great time it is for unity in Thanksgiving; unity to share and celebrate our diverse honored traditions as one; unity to heal differences; unity as Americans of faith in God and genuine love of one another.  

Won't you join your neighbors and friends of many faith beliefs, customs, and traditions. . 

"The First Thanksgiving"
byJennifer August Brownscombe 1914
Plymouth Museum, Plymouth, Massachusetts

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Southington Voters: A Critically important Question on your Election Ballot next Tuesday, November 8th.

On Tuesday, November 8th, there is one question at the top of the ballot that asks voters for a Yes or No as to the proposed major upgrade to the Town of Southington’s Water Pollution Control Plant at a total cost of $57,100,000.

What is at stake for the Town and its Citizens?

This report will answer that question. But voters should really view this video presentation of Town Manager Garry Brumback and key department heads.  

With approval of voters, the project can move forward and qualify the Town for Clean Water Fund grants of $17,168,000. This would reduce Southington’s actual cost of the project to $39,932,000.  The Town would also be eligible for a low 2% loan rate to finance that net balance.

Approval of the project would enable the Town to proceed with final design and award of contracts by the July 2019 deadline for the plant to comply with the new strict DEEP phosphorous limits in discharged clean water by 2022.  Failure to meet the stated deadline and the new clean water standards would result in (a) disqualification of the Town for the Clear Water grants (b) along with the low 2% finance rate for the balance of the cost and (c) expose the Town of Southington to non-compliance fines of $37,500 per day, (accumulating to $13,687,500 per year).  

See Video of  Sewage Treatment Plant and the Town Manager and other town professionals

Plant History:  Constructed in 1958, with a last major upgrade in the early 1980’s, the town added a Denitrification Facility in 2008 to remove nitrogen from the wastewater thus meeting the DEEP discharge requirements at that time. Financial benefits were also impressive: denitrification ended the State mandated purchase of nitrogen credits, costing the Town a total of $2.2 million from 2003-2010 while enabling the Town to sell nitrogen credits, thereby producing about $250,000 in new revenue, from 2011-2016.   

To meet the new standard limits of sewage discharge, the plant needs to be overhauled to replace old and inefficient equipment and pumps. Replacement parts for a sixty-year-old plant are increasingly difficult to obtain or no longer available. The Town engaged the services of professional consultants, Tighe and Bond to evaluate the facility’s condition, recommend required equipment repairs and replacements, and design a new phosphorous removal system. Working with Town management, department heads, specialists and the Town Council, the consultant has arrived at a viable plan to be proposed for referendum. With approval of the voters Tuesday, anticipated completion of the project is three years which will enable the town to meet the 2019 deadline.

“Southington processes a daily average of 4.5 million gallons of sewage. The water is discharged into the Quinnipiac River as clean and disinfected water, better than the quality of the river’s water, effectively improving the safety and health standards of the water.” said Director of Public Works, Keith Hayden. 

Project upgrades include: New phosphorous removal system; Bar screen to remove incoming debris that can clog piping and damage pumps; Covering raw sewage tanks (aerated grit chamber and two primary settling tanks) to eliminate odors for the nearby residents, ball fields, and South End elementary school; Odor control units to filter odorous air; Replacing electric motors with smaller efficient units to reduce electricity costs; Relocating critical disinfection equipment above the 100 year flood elevation; Repairing deteriorated and cracked concrete tanks; Computer control and alarm system to monitor equipment and flows, detect issues and notify plant operators of problems. 

Open the Video now or go to News at and scroll down to the link to the Water Treatment Plant.   

Author’s Note:  The facts presented above are based on three years of personal investigation, tracking the town’s progress in studying of options in the matter of our Water Pollution Control Facility, discussions with town officials, personal visits to the plant, including walk-throughs of the multiple processes in a complex system of processing operations of an enormous volume of sewage that is discharged into the Quinnipiac River as clean and disinfected water. 

Monday, October 31, 2016

Southington Author Casey Morley to speak on overcoming abuse November 29th at St. Dominic Communoity Learning Center

as published in the Southington Citizen, Friday, October 28, 2016

Fifty Years – Untold Fears

Today’s story is about someone I virtually bumped into as my wife and I were weaving our way between the crowds of the Apple Harvest Festival two years ago. Even in the confusion of the mass of people, I saw that the lady whose path we crossed was at a table displaying books and literature outside the N. Main St. entrance to Branford Hall.

Clearly, an articulate and engaging person, discernible even in the thick of the crowd, we entered an abbreviated conversation as she introduced herself as Casey Morley, the owner and operator of Casey’s Image Consultants, a warm and comfy salon, as we later learned, now celebrating its 25th anniversary.

I will preface the strikingly astonishing story in today’s column with a note to readers that Casey Morley will tell her story as part of an admission-free presentation of the St. Dominic Parish of the Future Educational committee, entitled: “Fifty Years – Untold Fears”, at 7:00 pm on Tuesday, November 29, 2016 at the St. Dominic Learning Center located behind the church at Flanders Road and Laning Street.

When I met Casey in October 2014, she had recently published an autobiographical book of a most daunting journey of a half century of her life, entitled: ‘Crawling Out: One woman’s journey to an empowered life after breaking the cycle of abuse no one should have to endure.”

Cssey Morley, Author
I decided I wanted to know more about her story. It took many months of interviews with the author, time to read the book, research the issue, continued conversations with Morley, and finally writing a review of the author’s book in January 2016. Morley’s book recounts in starkly burning detail, her childhood years of unending emotional and physical domestic abuse living as “my mother’s slave” in a hopelessly dysfunctional family setting.
Casey simply knew no other way of life. The disease of victim hood sustained itself as a paralysis through her teen years and even more painful relationships as an adult.  

What did somehow sustain Morley herself was a spare few friends she could talk to, keeping journals on ruled yellow writing pads for years, and a powerful faith. Morley ultimately began the arduous process of many years before a breakthrough from an ever downward spiraling cycle of domestic violence. 

With the publication of her book and a new sense of self-worth and empowerment, Morley discovered her voice in a new career as writer and speaker dedicated to inspiring others that there is a way out for victims of abuse and their families. 

Casey Morley at a book signing
She started her speaking with a group at her own Mary Our Queen Church. In the past two years, Casey has spoken to many others at classes and conferences at universities and colleges, more than 20 book-signings, more than 25 other speaking engagements and was interviewed by 14 Radio and TV Shows.  

Morley recently received a letter from The White House, signed by President Obama, which reads, in part: “Sexual assault is an affront to our basic decency and humanity. I admire your courage in sharing your story of an issue that affects all of us and is about the safety of those we love most: our moms, wives, daughters and sons.  They must know they are not alone and that we stand with them.”

Post Script: All are welcome to attend and admission free presentation hosted at the St. Dominic Community Learning Center by its Parish of the Future (POTF) Education Committee. 

Date: Tuesday, November 29, 2016           Time: 7 to 8:30 pm

Dick Fortunato is a writer, columnist and proactive advocate for community and church service and volunteer in Southington since his retirement and move to Southington in 1995. Comments welcome at

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Free Open House Showcase of Services for older adults offered by Hartford HealthCare Center for Healthy Aging

SOUTHINGTON – A special event on Thursday, Nov. 17 will give the public the opportunity to learn more about the programs and services available to older adults through Hartford HealthCare Center for Healthy Aging. This informational open house will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at The Hospital of Central Connecticut, Bradley Memorial campus, 81 Meriden Ave.

Dementia specialists, resource coordinators, and transitional care nurses from Hartford HealthCare Center for Healthy Aging will be on hand to discuss resources, dementia care and medical information for current and future planning needs affecting an aging loved one. The public is welcome to just stop by. Informational materials will be available. “We look forward to meeting everyone and seeing how we can assist people with their needs,” said Wendy Martinson, Wendy Martinson, MSN, RN, Program Director Center for Healthy Aging, Director of Care Transitions Hartford HealthCare at Home.

There is no charge to attend. For more information, call Hartford HealthCare Center for Healthy Aging at at toll-free 1-877-4AGING1 (1-877-424-4641).

Workshop for Veterans Who Own Small Businesses

If you are a veteran who has a small business read the following invitation from the Connecticut Department of Veterans Affairs, the Southington Town Manager and the Southington Veterans Information Commission.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Southington Catholic School Students Honor Our Heroes in Blue

The students of Southington Catholic School responded proudly and with joy as they joined so many in the Southington community celebration of Southington Blue Day as their way of honoring and showing their appreciation of the courageous women of the Southington Police and Fire Departments. "The students were so pleased to take part in the collection of hundreds of food and snack item baskets which they presented to those who serve and protect our community." said SCS Prinicipal Eileen Sampiere. 

Visibly moved by the expressions of Southington's Police Officers, SPD Captain Lowell DePalma reported that so many were humbled by the children and the entire community's response to their recognition. DePalma noted that members of the department commented that they were overwhelmed by the response of so many people and community organizations. "So many said they felt a genuine sense of humility and appreciation for just doing their job!" DePalma said. 

Southington Police Officers Michael Fisher (left), and Chad Butler, (center), gratefully accepting gifts of foods and treats collected by the students of Southington Catholic School for the police force to honor Southington Blue Day. At right is Principal Eileen Sampiere. 

Honoring Southington Blue Day, Southington Catholic students presented snack packages and other goodies donated and collected by all the students of Southington Catholic School for members of the Southington Fire Department, (L to R), Firefighters Rick Molleur and Lee Dibble, Battalion Chief Eric Heath and Firefighter Rich Jones of the SFD. In behalf of our Firefighters, Chief Heath expressed the sincere appreciation of the entire SFD. 

Southington Community Services partners with the Knights of Columbus in Sharing The Joy of Giving 'Coats for Kids"

Asked about a recent delivery of five dozen brand new winter coats to Southington Community Services, Director Janet Mellon beamed with delight, as she displayed the racks of brightly styled children’s coats, neatly hanging in the SCS facility in Plantsville, all sorted by gender and size.  Mellon explained, “We started receiving these ‘Coats for Kids’ from the Knights of Columbus, (Southington’s Isabella Council # 15), a few years ago. The Knights support SCS in other ways during the course of each year, Mellon stated. “So, they know that we have the means to identify and select qualified families and the ability to distribute the new coats to children who might very likely go without this year or be left with the option of wearing worn, tattered or ill-fitting repeated hand me downs at best.” 

Happy faces of Bill Shatas, Janet Mellon and Richard Pillar as they show
several warm winterCoats for Kids donated by the K of C for distribution by
Southington Community Services
Mellon thanked K of C officers Richard Pillar, Grand Knight of Council 15, and Faithful Navigator Bill Shatus of the K of C (4th degree) Assembly 122 for their continued support of the new winter coats for children.  “We’re so grateful to the Knights, not only for their generosity, but especially for their kindness in providing an attractive assortment of design and color styles so kids can enjoy wearing their new coats with a joyful sense of pride and dignity.” 

 “Through the Coats for Kids program, one thousand six hundred twenty-five Knights of Columbus councils distributed 79,320 coats to children in need throughout the United States and Canada in 2015.” Pillar said. 

Shatas added, “Since the program began in 2009, more than 306,000 coats have been distributed. We are honored to partner with Southington Community Services in this important mission in our town.

The Town of Southington’s Community Services provides a wide variety of life-supporting services to qualified Southington residents, also serving as an advocate and link between private providers, human services and governmental agencies with a substantial assist in private monetary and in-kind donations as well as an energetic complement of dedicated volunteers.

Founded in New Haven, CT in 1882 by Rev. Fr. Michael J. McGivney, today the Knights of Columbus is an international order of 1.9 million members world-wide and is the largest charitable organization in the United States.  In 2015, the Knights set a new all-time record with $175,079.192 in charitable donations plus 73.5 million hours of volunteer member service valued at $1.7 Billion. Founded in 1885, Southington’s Council 15 continues to apply the four core guiding principles of the Order in its work: Charity, Unity, Fraternity and Patriotism. The most recent reported fraternal year, Council 15 and the 4th degree Assembly 122 donated more than $25,000 to more than 25 separate local charities.

Knights of Columbus Isabella Council 15 - Fall Breakfast Buffet - Sunday, October 23, 2016

Served buffet style all morning from 7 to 11:30 am 
Among several sources of revenue raised for charity, the Knights holds a popular annual spring and fall pancake breakfast. The 2016 Fall Breakfast Buffet will be held this Sunday, October 23rd at the Calendar House located at 388 Pleasant Street, from 7 to 11:30 am. Admission for adults is $7.00, Senior Citizens $6.00 and children under six free. Come and enjoy a warm, convivial and enjoyable event with your family. See the familiar faces of friends and become acquainted with some you haven’t met.  

As published: Southington Citizen, October 21,2016

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Faithful Fridays... a new feature of Appleseed Online

Public Square Rosary Rally
The Rosary in the Public Square takes place annually on the closest Saturday to the anniversary of the Sixth and Last Apparition of Our Lady of Fatima and the Miracle of the Sun in Portugal 99 years ago on October 13, 1917.
Please join others in our community on Saturday, October 15, 2016, at the Gazebo on the Village Green (Clock Tower Square) in Plantsville.
The praying of the Rosary will begin promptly at noon so arrive about ten minutes early. There is plenty of free parking around the Green. Bring lawn chairs if you wish. The event will take place... rain or shine.
For information, call America Needs Fatima District Captain, Bill Lozito at 860-803-8677.

Interesting facts:
In 2014, reports showed that there were 12,629 groups participating in the Public Square Rosary Rallies.

In 2015, there were 14,108 public square rallies.

This year, 15,000 groups are expected to take part, simultaneously, in cities, towns and villages across America ... all praying for our country and the world, together.

Learn more about The Sixth Fatima Apparition and the Miracle of the Sun on October 13, 2017

Read What people say; Laity

This edition of Appleseed online is the pilot of a new feature. 


Inspired by the perceived need for Americans to live by their sacred and traditional personal principles of faith, to better understand and respect the faith and values of others of good will in our challenging times.

Faith reflections from spiritual leaders of our diverse faith traditions from congregations within the Greater Southington area may be submitted and will be posted on a rotating schedule to Appleseed editor at