Friday, January 29, 2016

Resources for Aging Population and all who care for our seniors

Living well as we age ... 

As we age, we find new needs arise. Some may not take particular notice at first because we age one day at a time. Sometimes our children notice it first. 
My grandchildren and many others are aware and attentive to their elders. Or you know it when it becomes more challenging to grocery shop or to enter or exit the house with a walker because of stairs. Or, you realize you need a hand rail at the steps on your front porch. We discover home delivery of groceries and prepared food.  
Fortunately, there are answers and solutions to these and many other concerns and issues. There’s a great new Southington Community Resource Guide that can connect you to local programs and services offering solutions to ease some of the changes in senior living. Mom needs financial or estate planning assistance or dad needs dementia care.
The free comprehensive handbook was developed in collaboration between the Connecticut Center for Healthy Aging and North Central Area Agency on Aging
 sponsored by the state of Connecticut and funded by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The resource guide covers topics such as home safety, transportation, elder law, tax, healthcare, rental assistance and other vital essentials. The free guide’s listed resources serve Southington and also refer to state level programs. Users can also access the information by dialing 2-1-1. 
Learn for example where to call for a ride for a doctor’s appointment or general support services and senior center information.  
Your Southington Resource Guide i free at Connecticut Center for Healthy Aging at the Hospital of Central Connecticut, Bradley Memorial and New Britain campuses, and MidState Medical Center in Meriden; Southington Care Center, 45 Meriden Ave.; and online at where you may link to Southington Community Resource Guide or call for more info the Connecticut Center for Healthy Aging at 1-877-4AGING (1-877-424-4641). 

Personal reflections on aging... for your amusement 
In the rear-view mirror of life, what seemed a small event now takes on bigger significance. Thinking about one's age sometimes turns on the memory of a past scene. We suddenly do reruns of pieces of our lives, like past episodes of a TV series that we watch over and over and still enjoy.

As an illustration, I remember the time when I was a boy of about eleven when I had seen a movie about the Coast Guard.  I decided I wanted to be in the Coast Guard.  My mom bought me a uniform which I loved to wear that summer.  While it was the uniform of a naval officer and came with a Captain’s hat, I was proud to pretend I was in the Coast Guard. That fall I joined the Junior Blue Jackets of America at my church and was part of a Drum and Bugle Corps. I learned to play the bugel and my youngest brother learned to play the drums.   

As I think now about that time, my mind forwards quickly to about ten years later when I left home ate age 21 to put on another uniform, this time Army.  

My boyhood fantasies are quickly replaced by the realities of that later uniform.  Some of my comrades in arms did not come home.  

But, now that I’m on in years, I still grieve at times for those many lives cut short in one instant. 

Memorial Day Services are a particularly sobering reminder to me of that time during the Korean War. When I hear TAPS played... well, you know the feeling.

I remain proud that I served and am grateful that I came home.

Please take some time to look at the Southington Community Resource Guide at the above links. 

Check out other stories, briefs and events at More from Appleseed  on the right side of this page and scroll down for previous posts to Appleseed Online. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

February 2016 - Remember it's 29 days long this year - So what's coming up in Southington

Happy Leap Year 
Hey Appleseed readers...

We have quite an array of February events coming up soon in Southington, a few of which are listed below and to the right in our More from Appleseed notes and newsbriefs.

But first, count the days of February, that's right ... 29.  (I had a cousin who was born on February 29th who claimed that his birthday came every four years, so when he was forty he told us we was only ten.)

And for trivia lovers, we have some interesting information about February 29th, known as Leap Day. Read what Wikipedia has to say about it. 

Notes from the YMCA:

The Y's 87th Annual Meeting Wednesday, February 3rd at 5:30 pm at the Aqua Turf

     Plans set for an extraordinary evening!
·        Celebration and reflection of the Y’s impact in our community
·        Recognizing an array of super stars in our community
o   Steve Nyerick
o   Anna Satterfield
o   Dave Kanute
o   Race 4 Chase
o   Relay for Life
o   Terry Lombardi
o   Giving Back Girls
o   Brian Durocher
o   Catherine Myers
o   Natiya Washer
·        An evening of laughs, reconnecting with friends
·        An evening you don’t have to do the dishes which will be in the capable hands of the Aqua Turf staff.

Valentine's Day Dinner Dance on Sat. Feb. 13th at the YMCA 
Read more for full details or see previous Appleseed post. 

February Funday at the Southington Community YMCA 

Monday, February 15th, Presidents Day, the Southington Community YMCA will host a Fun Day trip to Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk, Connecticut. The Fun Day is open to all Southington and Cheshire Community YMCA members.  The cost is $56 for full members and $61 for program members.  The Fun Day will run from 6:30AM-5:30PM, and we ask that children are dropped off at the Southington Community YMCA by 9:00AM and picked up no later than 5:30PM. We will be departing from the Southington Community YMCA at 10:00am and returning to the Y around 2:30pm.  Registration is available at either the Southington or Cheshire Community YMCAs.  Your child must have a health assessment on file to participate in the February Fun Day.  If you have any questions regarding the Fun Day please contact Justin Hubeny, Outdoor Center Program Director, by phone at (860) 621-8194 x603 or by e-mail at   

American Legion Auxiliary Spring Fling Early Notice Save the Date

Saturday, March 19th - Love Our Heroes - 6:30 to 9:00 pm at Testa's Banquet Facility at 26 Center Street, Southington. Event will include a buffet dinner, live entertainment, cash bar, raffles and lots of fun. Tickets ar $30.00. Contact Sherri Valentin at 860-655-7210 or

Read more of Appleseed ... Scroll down through our previous posts and check out our More from Appleseed panel on the right of this screen.  

Watch for more February happenings announcements very soon... and have a fabulous Leap Year!

Friday, January 22, 2016

YMCA to Host Family Valentine's Dinner/Dance, Saturday. February 13th

Just in, from the YMCA ...

The Southington Community YMCA will host a Valentine’s Dinner & Dance for families on Saturday, February 13th from 5:30-7:30pm in the All-Purpose Room of the Southington YMCA. 

This popular event is a great opportunity for families to come together in a bright and cheerful environment with a pasta dinner, crafts, and some very special dancing games. 

To attend, you need to register at the front desk of the Southington Community YMCA at the modest cost of $5 per person for full program members, $10 p/p  for program members and $15 per non-members.  

“This Dinner/Dance is also a fantastic opportunity for community families to create a memories they can share for many years.”, said YMCA Youth Program Director, Tom Sangeloty. "And, we're adding some exciting new elements to this year’s dance to make this year's celebration a unique experience for families.” 

Registration is recommended as soon as possible for families to assure a spot.  
For more info, email Sangeloty at or (860)426-9521.

Link to other stories at right under More from Appleseed..

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Southington Care Center nurse crochets 1,000 Christmas stockings for needy children

A heart warming story, courtesy of Southington Care Center*

Lisa Pinter has had her hands full for the last three years – full of crochet hooks and yarn. A licensed practical nurse at Southington Care Center, when she wasn’t caring for “her” residents, she was crocheting thousands – probably millions - of stitches. She even crocheted while sitting in the stands at drag races while her husband was out on the track. A Higganum resident, she stitched her way all over the country while on vacations to Hawaii and South Dakota.

Countless skeins later, her hands are idle because she has been able to cross off an item on her bucket list: crafting 1,000 Christmas stockings for needy children. The youngsters celebrated Christmas Day at the We Are The Children party, organized by radio station 96.5 WTIC-FM and held at the Hartford XL Center. This was the 30th year for We Are The Children, a non-profit and 100 percent volunteer organization that has supported countless numbers of women’s and children’s causes.

It took three years for Pinter to stitch 1,000 stockings so that every child could have one. After delivering 10 boxes to the radio station, she was interviewed on air by radio personality Gary Craig, founder of the event. “Every single stocking had her heart in it. A project that took her nearly three years to complete stands as the ultimate example of giving of yourself,” he said.

Renata Ogrodnik, Southington Care Center director of nursing, said she was amazed by Pinter’s accomplishment. The licensed practical nurse is just as dedicated to her job at the care center, where she has worked for 10 years. “I love my residents and families,” Pinter said. “We have a good team,” she said.

Although Pinter usually works at the care center on Christmas Day, she took the day off and volunteered as an elf at the party, accompanied by her son, Alex. It was great to see parents and children toting the colorful stockings, she said.

“I really don’t expect any recognition. That’s not why I did it,” Pinter said. “I did it for the kids.”

Lisa Pinter, a licensed practical nurse at Southington Care Center, right, and her son, Alex, prepare to be elves at the 96.5 WTIC-FM We Are The Children party held Christmas Day. Pinter crocheted 1,000 stockings which she donated to the event.

*Southington Care Center is located at 45 Meriden Ave., offering skilled nursing and rehabilitation services, a not for profit member of Hartford HealthCare Senior Services. 

Scroll down for many more interesting articles and stories including excerpts of Appleseed as published weekly in the Southington Citizen. 

Monday, January 18, 2016

No longer a victim, woman gains empowerment

Today’s story deals with the often hidden terror of violence and abuse in the home.  The personal journey of a Southington woman who virtually lived her childhood under the cruel parental dominance of forced domestic labor in the darkness of an abusive home, a dysfunctional family, and a fear-filled environment is revealed in her own story that becomes a crusade through her teens and adult years in a daunting struggle to crawl out of a life of victimhood.

The owner of Casey’s Image Consultants in Southington, Cosmetologist Casey Morley has written a book that journalizes her courageous and tortuous battle of half a century to ultimate escape from her entrapment as a victim. “How does a child know that living in an abusive environment is not normal?” Morley asks.  This further opens the danger of an abused child whose emotional persona could emerge in adulthood as one accepting cruelty as a way of life.
Morley’s story, published in 2014 under the title “Crawling Out: One woman’s journey to an empowered life after breaking a cycle of abuse no one should have to endure” is the result of her years of tedious hand written notes and journaling her experience. 

Author, Casey Morley
The book chronicles her childhood years as “my mother’s slave” following her father’s early exit in her life and a stepfather with a penchant for insensitive behavior and incidents of inappropriate interest in her. Her relationship with her siblings was fragile at best given the conditions that surrounded all of them.

In her early teens she seized the opportunity to leave the family and move in with a neighboring family for which she had been a baby-sitter and remained with them in a nurturing environment until she was 18.  Morley then had to face the challenge of independence, caring for her own needs while working, continuing her education and training as a certified cosmetologist, trying to improve her place in life.  But in her adult years she was charmed by a man in a new relationship. The happiness was short-lived. His alcoholism, chronic unemployment and abject irresponsibility soon yielded to an unpredictable, unstable presence in Morley’s life.

Meanwhile, Morley was challenged by work, partnerships, landlords and ownership of a business while raising a child without assistance. Morley had deep faith and persisted in searching for answers with counselling ultimately leading to her getting the deceptions and violence of one man out of her life.  However, her ‘victimhood’ was to re-emerge in another relationship which was different but just as crippling to her emotionally and physically. That, too, ended but only after repeated pleadings of another alcoholic to give their doomed relationship dozens of second chances. 

Morley’s driving energy to create awareness to those who are locked into the heartbreak and humiliation of abusive relationships has led her to speaking engagements at such places as CCSU and abuse support groups. “Crawling Out” has also received the attention of Elmer R. Freeman, Executive Director of the Center for Community Health Education Research and Service, Inc. at Northeastern University and Director of the Office of Urban Health Programs and Policy at Bouve College of Health Sciences in Boston. Freeman suggests that “Crawling Out” may be used as a hand out to participants in their group programs for domestic violence and abuse. 
Freeman stated to Morley, “Your story of survival is powerful and inspirational, and would undoubtedly be a useful tool for survivors who are dealing with the trauma of leaving a relationship with an abuser.”

The book, published by Balboa Press, is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other book sellers. Casey Morley is emerging on the scene as an advocate for the millions of children, women (and men) who are victims of the abuse of domestic violence and alcoholism. Morley may be reached at
Also see her website at
                                                                                                ©Appleseed 2014 E. Richard Fortunato
As published in the Southington Citizen
January 15, 2016
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Sunday, January 17, 2016

Southington Catholic Open House Welcomes All

You are invited...

On Sunday, January 24th, from 11 am to 1 pm, Southington Catholic presents the new school’s first half of the 2015-2016 school year review of the educational accomplishments of its K to 8th grade students. 

Front and center in the school's gymnasium will be students along with teachers, administrators, volunteer parents and members of the School Board to welcome and greet parents, grandparents, family members and the public in a program to better acquaint the community with the activities of Southington Catholic.  

Students and teachers will show and talk about their specific studies, activities and projects with books and work product at tables exhibiting the teaching and learning methods at each grade level. 

From the gym, visitors, escorted by students guests will proceed to individual classrooms. The walk through the hallways and classrooms will present a transformative exploration of a biome, a frozen tundra, a lush rainforest, a vast desert habitat and a colorful ocean landscape, the result of a remarkable collaboration of arts and sciences, designed with the creative imagination of students.
Isabella Sanchez at work in class

In the classrooms, teachers and students will present demonstrations of their various studies and activities including, for example, the innovative SMART table and its interactive technology for phonics and math instruction in  full day Kindergarten, the acclaimed Super Kids reading programs for early grades; the school wide integration of  technology; and the challenging lessons in writing code offered to middle school classes.

Robotics Team members, (l to r.)
Riley Wagner, 6th grade, with 8th graders
Alex Bush, Andrew J. Wong, Emma Kief and
Kelsi Blatchley. 

S.C.'s Competitive Robotics Team will offer a demonstration of its science and technology regional prize winning work.  The team received an award at a competitive regional tournament in Old Lyme, CT, on November 21, 2015. At right, Robotics Team shows a sci-tech project at a ribbon cutting at Southington Catholic for the Southington Chamber of Commerce last fall.  

Principal, Mary Pat Wirkus

Principal, Mary Mat Wirkus states with glowing pride, “Southington Catholic offers its students a fine education that is grounded in faith, moral principles, love and respect for one another. Service to others, strong family values and responsible citizenship are key in a Christ-driven educational environment which is the vision of Southington Catholic”. 

Students are in a warm environment where high academic standards offer individually challenging opportunities to be well-prepared for high school and beyond including reaching for their personal goals in the world of the 21st century. 
Mary Alexander, Advancement
Director of Southington Catholic

Director of Advancement, Mary Alexander said, “At a recent school forum at Southington Catholic, educators from the highly regarded St. Paul’s Catholic High School recognized Southington Catholic’s outstanding math and science programs.”
"The goals of the Open House are to offer a close view of the progress of students and to invite families within the greater Southington community and surrounding areas an opportunity to consider an education at Southington Catholic for their children.", Alexander added. The school is located at 133 Bristol Street in Southington.  

Wirkus states, on the Southington Catholic website: "Preparing young children for the challenges they will face is an important part of the Mission and Vision of Southington Catholic School.  Our Religious and Academic programs are self-centered and offers all learners a wide range of opportunities.  Curriculum and instruction for 21st century learning provide students with the knowledge, understanding, and skills to become creative, reflective, literate, critical and moral evaluators, problem solvers, decision, and socially responsible global citizens. Our program is supported by our excellent facilities that allow teachers to integrate technology and hands-on experiences into student learning."  

For more information please contact Mary Alexander at 860-628-2485. 

More glimpses of Southington Catholic:

Southington Catholic Soccer Team 2015-2016 School Year 
Soccer Team

Southington Catholic Ribbon-Cutting August 2015
Most Rev. Leonard P. Blair cuts ribbon at Southington Catholic in August 2015 as school co-pastors, Rev. Nicholas Melo (left) and Rev. Ronald May (right) and Principal Mary Pat Wirkus next to five student holding the ribbon with Hartford Archbishop Blair. 
Southington Catholic Supports Bread for Life
Southington Catholic students present food for the hungry to Bread For Life, Executive Director, Eldon Hafford.

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Letter to the Editor -Residents of Southington Care Center - Spirits brightened by thoughtfulness of STEPS 5th graders and kindergarteners

Southington is blessed by wonderful children who give so much back to the community. In early December, the hearts of Southington Care Center residents were warmed by Hatton Elementary School students who participated in the “Warm Your Neighbor” project. 

The youngsters first collected 1,500 boxes of oatmeal, hot cocoa and instant soup.  Kindergarteners colored illustrations of “mugs” which were then assembled by fifth grade representatives of STEPS (Southington’s Town-wide Efforts to Promote Success) program. 

Just before the holidays, these colorful “mugs”, each containing a packet, were delivered to all Southington Care residents and others throughout the community.  

It was truly heartwarming to see the thoughtfulness of these youngsters. Indeed, little gestures can have a huge impact on people’s hearts.
Often the community as a whole does not amply acknowledge our children’s efforts in selflessly sharing their time and talents.  Those who participated in the “Warm Your Neighbor” project truly exemplified two STEPS Assets: Youth as Resources and Service to Others.

On behalf of the Southington Care residents, we all thank you for our “mugs” which truly warmed us all.

Marion Gifford
Residents’ Council President
Southington Care Center

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