Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Face of Alzheimer’s in Southington

As published in the Southington Citizen, March 18,2016

Esther and Mark Corcoran
It all began as a simple story of friendship that in time became love between two Southington residents in their late forties. In time, their love was clearly enduring and they decided to marry. A second marriage for both, the couple knew it was right and they were ready to embrace their new, blended family and live the dream of a second lease on life.

Before the wedding, Mark Corcoran seemed to be showing some early signs that something was amiss. During a visit to his sister in London, Mark’s health didn’t seem to be right.  As they were touring the city, Mark blacked out, waking up in an English hospital. The doctors did various brain scans.  Something was wrong. Returning to the States, his wife, Esther, promptly took him to doctors to diagnose his situation.

About three years after their trip to England, Mark was diagnosed with younger-onset Alzheimer’s at age 56. It doesn’t happen in one specific moment. “In the time leading up to his diagnosis”, Esther wrote, in a story published last September, “we had noticed signs of his confusion, disorientation and his difficulty with organization and every day skills.”  

In the next two unsettling years they lived from week to week through an unrelenting series of tests, exploring diagnoses, holding on to hope. “Today, at age 60, Mark can no longer work, drive or complete most simple household chores. Through it all, however, he is the same loving, kind and helpful man I married five years ago.”, Esther states.

A biographical report posted on the website of the Alzheimer’s Association Connecticut Chapter (!esther-corcoran/cfcj), reveals that after the original diagnosis, Mark’s doctor had no suggestions and gave no support or direction to Esther who was more in shock than denial. She had no idea what to do but she knew it was imperative to ask more questions, find clarification and continue to pursue answers. She turned to the Alzheimer’s Association where she and Mark gathered with the G.A.P. (Giving Alzheimer’s Purpose), group twice monthly for lunch. The Corcoran’s took part in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. They set up a fundraising page which Esther disseminated through email and Facebook with an overwhelming response, raising $2,000.

That may sound like an insignificant number but every bit counts. As Esther wrote: “I’m struck by the staggering statistic of 13.8 million, the number of Americans projected to have Alzheimer’s disease by 2050, if no new medical breakthroughs are discovered by then.”   

Mark was honored to stand on stage during the opening ceremonies of the Walk to End Alzheimer's, representing those who have Alzheimer’s. The sight of all the people gathered blew him away. 

A lady representing the caregivers ran over to Esther and cried with her because they were all together in that moment. It fills the senses that this dreaded disease can bring people together in unexpected ways.

The Corcoran’s have spoken before the State General Assembly about the great work of the Alzheimer’s Association and the rock that it has been in their lives for which they will forever be indebted. 

About that time, the Corcoran’s organized a successful concert featuring three-time Grammy winner, Tom Chapin.

An opportunity to feel the touch of their celebration of life will come to Southington on Sunday, April 3, 2016 at 3:00 pm. Tom Chapin and EVA, the contemporary folk group, will appear in concert, honoring Mark Corcoran, at the First Congregational Church Meetinghouse, 37 Main St., Southington. For tickets or to make a tax-deductible contribution, please contact 860.628.6958 or link to: Tom Chapin Concert Honoring Mark Corcoran April 3, 2016

3-time Grammy® Winner Tom Chapin

The New York Times calls Tom Chapin  “one of the great personalities in contemporary folk music.” Chapin is a renowned singer/songwriter for both family and adult audiences. His career spans Broadway, TV, documentary and feature films, and the concert stage. With 24 recordings and hundreds of songs in his repertoire, Chapin serves up a tasty mix of story songs, ballads, comedic and political songs, family music, sing-alongs, old-time folk classics and a favorite song or two of his late brother Harry’s. Tom accompanies himself on guitar, banjo and autoharp. Learn more about Tom Chapin on his website.

Special Guests EVA

Contemporary Folk Music with an International Flair
Featuring breathtaking voices with roots in Australia, Ireland, the UK & the USA, EVA performs a seamless mix of traditional and contemporary original folk music. Kath Buckell, Liz Simmons and Nicole Zuraitis lend their three distinct voices to songs that meld worldly sensibilities with time-honored musical traditions. EVA's powerful three-part vocal harmonies are bedded on the textured landscape of guitar, piano, and percussion. Learn more about EVA on their website.

Freelance writer, community service advocate and Southington resident, Dick Fortunato, welcomes comments at  

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Don't Miss the Spring 2016 Buffet Breakfast Benefit for Local Charities at Calendar House on Sunday, April 3rd


Save the Date

Sunday, April 3rd from 7 to 11:30 am

The Annual Spring 2016 Pancake Breakfast

The Southington Knights of Columbus Isabella Council 15 invites you to join us for Breakfast at The Calendar House on Sunday, April 3rd from 7 to 11:30 am. Enjoy good food and the camaraderie of a buffet breakfast with family, neighbors and friends.  Tickets may be purchased at the door. Adults: $6.00. Children under six: Free. Your support helps us contribute to local scholarships, Southington Community Services and Food Pantry, Bread for Life, veterans and many other charities. Our breakfasts are widely known in Southington for over 30 years and still going strong!

Be just in time for tickets to the Calvanese 20th Anniversary Gala - Come to Casablanca April 2nd

Celebrate Calvanese Foundation’s 20th Anniversary at its “Casablanca” for evening of great entertainment, wonderful food and fun with family and friends. It all starts at 6 pm at the Aqua Turf Club/Kay's Pier on Saturday, April 2nd

The Calvanese Foundation is a completely volunteer non-profit organization that has returned $1,830,000’s to the Southington Community through grants.  The work of the Calvanese Foundation takes many individuals, businesses and volunteers to fulfill the names of many. 

Elegant evening dress with Black tie required. Tickets: Alyssa at 860-621-9335. 

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Be Part of Good Deeds Week in Southingon- April 4th-10th - STEPS Takes Part in Global Movement

 Southington businesses and residents are encouraged to get involved and raise awareness in support of Southington STEPS Good Deeds Week. Good Deeds Week is an effort to promote STEPS Asset #15, Positive Peer Influence, and make the Southington community an even better place to live.

Since 2007, Good Deeds Day has been a global movement that has united over 60 countries around the world in doing good deeds. Millions of people and thousands of organizations and businesses worldwide have united together every year to do good and volunteer, putting into practice the simple idea that every person can do a good deed, be it large or small, to improve the lives of others and positively impact the world.

WHEN: April 4th through 10th

WHY: To promote the STEPS Asset of Positive Peer Influence and make the Southington community an even better place to live!

HOW: Show the community all of the Good Deeds that happen every day here in Southington by posting pictures of your Good Deeds on the Southington STEPS Facebook page or emailing them to

Good Deeds Week with STEPS. Do Good - Doing Good.

Here are a few examples of Good Deeds for at Home, School and in the Community from the STEPS Coalition Advisory Board. More examples 

Donate food or clothing

Hold the door for the person behind you

Spread school spirit and positivity by posting a list of all the reasons you love your school. This can be a group project where a whiteboard is hung in the school and all students can write positive things on it.

Bring in your neighbor’s garbage can

Donate blood

Send a handwritten thank you note

Offer to do chores for a family member

Ask your grandparents to teach you something, like a family recipe, or tell a story. They will appreciate that you care enough to want to learn from them. Passing down traditions is fun.

And this is only the beginning of what you can do to make a positive difference in our community. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Easter Flower Sale


Annual Sale of

Easter Flowers

     March 25, 26, 27

Friday & Saturday 8 am to 5 pm 

Sunday 8 am to 2 pm

Two Locations

Meriden-Waterbury Tpke (Rt. 322)Diagonally across from Southington Drive-In Theatre          

Front Steps of American Legion Kiltonic Post # 72
Just off the Southington Town Green 

              ISABELLA COUNCIL 15

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Divine Mercy Sunday - April 3rd at St. Dominic Church

Divine Mercy Sunday
Come Join Us In Praying the

Divine Mercy Chaplet in Song

Sunday, April 3, 2016 at 3 pm

at St. Dominic Church

1050 Flanders Road, Southington, CT

For more info: Call Bill Lozito at 860-803-8677

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Southington Interfaith Clergy Denounce White Supremacy flyers as Acts of Hatred symbolizing bigotry and violence

The recent appearance of Hate Flyers posted on parked vehicles in various Southington locations was reported to the Southington Police Department. The news of leaflets bearing the Nazi Swastika and bannered as White Supremacy quickly gained legs, going viral within and around the community, notwithstanding what may have been a scattered distribution of such offensive and illicit material in Southington. 

E-correspondence among members of the Southington Interfaith Clergy Association led to a prompt consensus to write an open letter to the community adamantly renouncing such loathsome actions of hatred that symbolic of bigotry and violence that is contrary to the fundamental values of human dignity in America.

A police investigation is ongoing and without any further public announcements at the time of this writing. 

An Open Letter to the Southington Community

As faith leaders in our beloved town of Southington, we stand together in our belief that every human being is a magnificent creation of God.  Our tradition reminds us, “God now said, ‘Let us make human beings in our image, after our likeness.’” Together we affirm that all people are created in the image of God and that all persons, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, or any other difference that might be used to separate us, are a part of God's sacred  and holy creation.  

We share a deep conviction in God’s will that every person be treated with equal respect. We are appalled that flyers bearing symbols of hate, the Nazi swastika and proclamation, “White Power,” have appeared in our community.  We see distribution of these flyers as an act of hatred, symbolic of violence, seeking to deny basic human dignity to our neighbors and friends. As faith leaders in Southington, our common message is love for one another, love that transcends the differences our eyes perceive.  

When we reach out to touch the hand of our neighbor, we do not feel color of skin or substance of belief.  We touch another human being created by God.  That is what God intends. We call on our Southington community to stand in solidarity, bound together in love and rejecting separation and prejudice.  In God’s eyes, as it should be in ours, every human being is created equal, precious, and loved.  

We deplore the violence represented by these flyers, and vow to stand against it. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” As faith leaders in our Southington community it is our fervent hope that we will stand together in love to drive out the hate represented by these flyers.  

Only solidarity and love can make us the wonderful community Southington strives to be.

The Southington Interfaith Clergy Association

Rev. Rachel J. Bahr
First Congregational Church, UCC

Rabbi Shelley Kovar Becker
Gishrei Shalom Jewish Congregation

Rev. Dr. Ronald B. Brown
First Congregational Church, UCC

Rev. Kevin M. Dillon
St. Aloysius Church

Mr. E. Richard Fortunato
Advocate, Community Service

Rev. Paul Goodman
Plantsville Congregational Church, UCC

Mr. Eldon Hafford
Bread for Life

Rev. Sharon Holt
First Baptist Church

Rev. A. Waine Kargul
Mary Our Queen Church

Rev. Ronald P. May
St. Dominic Church

Rev. Nicholas P. Melo
St. Thomas Church

Mr. John Myers
Southington Community YMCA

Rev. James R. Reemts
Zion Lutheran Church

Rev. Joshua Rinas
First Lutheran Church

Rev. Dr. Suzannah Rohmann
St. Paul's Episcopal Church

Atty. Edward Rosenblatt
Gishrei Shalom Jewish Congregation

Kulwant Samra
Gurdwara Guru Nanak Darbar

Rev.Adam Subocz
Immaculate Conception Church

Rev. Victoria Triano
Southington Care Center

Monday, March 14, 2016

Join the folks at Mulberry Gardens in Plantsville for free monthly club meetings for older adults - third Thursday of each month.

Mulberry Gardens of Southington - Front Entrance

Mulberry Gardens of Southington, located at 58 Mulberry St. in Plantsville, CT offers its Friendship Club, a free monthly club for older adults seeking socialization and meaningful activities. 

Friendship Club participants may enjoy coffee socials, live music, lunch, bingo and other interesting pursuits while socializing in a safe and friendly setting. 

The Friendship Club meets on the third Thursday of every month with the next gathering planned for Mar. 17.  

Mulberry Gardens Veterans Memorial
Sit and relax, rest a while. 

Now open to Friendship Club activities for older adults
on the third Thursday of each month.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Don’t underestimate our teenage citizens

We often hear those less than positive, disparaging judgments in society about the teen age generation of our times. 

The sweeping generalizations that our high school kids lack a keen sense of the importance of their education, respect for others, family values, morals, good citizenship and faith are truly out of step with reality.

We have all heard, particularly in the case of faith, (dare I mention the word in Politically Correct circles), "We don't see the kids in church anymore.  Back in my day..”

Well, in point of fact, sheer numbers support the assertions that there are too many adolescents absent from the practices and participation in their faith traditions, an alternate politically correct word for religion, or God, heaven forfend.

While I do not bluntly dismiss these assertions, my preferred focus here is on the innate goodness of our children in these areas of behavior, attitudes and respect.

I have personally been an eye witness to the activities of our teens and younger in Southington during my twenty years in retirement and reporting on the best in people. Furthermore, there are countless stories throughout our country of the basic goodness, decency, interest in others and in the proactive roles teens take in our communities... inspired by the virtuous aspirations of becoming better citizens of the world.

I’ve worked with hundreds of young people, visited them in their classrooms at Southington High School, our middle schools, elementary schools, our special education students, the Alta School and in our Southington Catholic school in Southington.

I have been privileged to be invited to multiple visits to the Literary Connections program at Southington H.S. as well as eight A.P. (Advanced Placement), classes and been astonished at the level of achievement and commitment of these kids in opening their minds to the sciences, technology, math, literacy and the arts. I have been humbled and seen the awesome turnaround, positive enthusiasm and genuine appreciation of students who found renewed life direction, raised self esteem and purpose in our Alta School preparing to take their post-graduation place in society. It was deeply moving for me to converse, one on one, with courageous students like Maegan, a beautiful young lady approaching 18 who is finding dignity and friendships at Southington High School, day by day, coping with and overcoming her challenges.

It has been one of the most uplifting and special experiences for me to have worked with teens and younger kids in the community coalition that is STEPS (Southington’s Town-wide Efforts to Promote Success),  the Youth Council, Youth committee and with a town-wide coalition dedicated to the prevention of risky teen behavior, e.g. use of illegal drugs, marijuana, tobacco, alcohol and any mind altering substances.

These youngsters are volunteering their time and energy, genuinely enjoying taking on projects to help them gather and collect food for the hungry, clothing for families living below subsistence levels and other needs of Bread for Life and Southington Community Services.

Our kids are Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, (several of whom I have followed on their way to the rank of Eagle Scout), Brownies, Girl Scouts, some reaching the top rank of Gold Girl Scout and then there are the Giving Back Girls who fill a bus or a truck with back packs and school supplies and the middle and elementary school kids initiating their own drives to help veterans and run toy drives for the youngest in need as well as the youth groups of many of our faith congregations attending pilgrimages to help the neediest in our world.

Yes, bad things are going on in this world of addiction, crime, shocking violence and all the rest, but the legion of kids I'm talking about are made of the right stuff!

We acknowledge and try to promote the role of good parenting, (see informational STEPS program for parents below),  teachers and others whose paths our children cross every day.  But somehow, many of us seem to shrink away from open public discourse of the role of faith in the positive development of our youngest citizens.

And, yet I know so many of diverse faith traditions who find great strength, spiritual nurturing and the discovery of their personal finest qualities through personal faith!

A Teen Mass and Mini-Retreat at St. Dominic Church of Southington.

Recently, I read an announcement in my church bulletin, (St. Dominic in Southington). The Youth Group of our parish and the Confirmation class of 2016 are planning a Catholic Teen Mass with an optional mini-retreat to follow.

Matter of fact, it’s set for this coming Sunday, March 13 at 3:30 pm.  I decided to look into it and was was pleased to be genuinely impressed at what I learned.

Bev Montana of St. Dominic Church has been deeply involved for decades as coordinator of the spiritual development of the Youth Group, the church’s Confirmation program and the religious education of high school students.

“Last year", Montana told me, "our Teen Mass was extremely successful. This year, I thought a lot about a new approach that would involve the teens not just for one Mass for one day but in an enduring  personal spiritual experience."

"When the idea came to me one night, I realized it was not mine.  It was inspired by the Holy Spirit. I talked to our kids about it and to our Lay Liturgy Minister, Mary Anne Plourde, Deacon Paul Kulas and our Contemporary Music Director, Lisa Carroll. Together, we began a Teen Liturgy Project that would be an educational and spiritual journey of several months for the kids.”

The 10th graders were organized in four groups each working, respectively, with Montana, Deacon Paul, Plourde and Carroll.  The result was the creation of a Mass by the kids who learned and understood the construction of the Mass and how it all comes together.  "They learned much more and were spiritually uplifted," said Lay Liturgy Minister Mary Anne Plourde.  Deacon Paul was inspired by the eagerness of the teen agers and that it became an interesting voyage of education in the traditions, symbols and significance of each part of the Mass.

Plourde worked with the kids on the development of the Liturgy, understanding the scriptures for the mass as they selected teen lectors and readers of the petitions and prayers.  With her guidance, kids developed a theme for the homily to be delivered by the celebrating priest, Fr. Alex Avendano of St. Joseph Parish in Bristol, a young priest ordained about two years ago.  St. Dominic Pastor, Fr. Ron May said “Fr. Alex has an excellent rapport with teens. This project really gets to the core of faith formation in youngsters who are quite excited about it.”

As for the Praise and Worship Music preceding the Mass, the kids planned it with Lisa Carroll who is renowned in Southington, Bristol and surroundings for her theatrical and musical work in developing the interest and artistic talents of teens in the Apple Valley area.

Meanwhile, Montana supervised the work of Youth Group leaders, James Brino and Justine Griffin, both SHS seniors, as coordinating planners of the mini-retreat starting at 5 pm following the Mass.

Brino said “We came up with the name: God Outside the Box for the retreat, where we see God in our non-traditional, everyday life, not just in church.”

 Griffin said: “The retreat will help kids to see God in their classes at school, at work and in their everyday activities.” Brino and Griffin are excellent A.P. students at SHS and are involved in many volunteer activities in the community.  Brino is an Eagle Scout and Griffin is one of the more active Youth Council’s representatives on the STEPS Board.

Parents and families will be in attendance on March 13th at 3:30 pm. All teens and families are welcome to attend the Mass, the mini-retreat and join in refreshments.

Personally, I see the glass half full rather than half empty when it comes to the teens in our communities. There are so many youngsters working in the right direction for their future and our society's. It is right for us, the parents, adult and senior citizens to recognize, appreciate and proclaim the good citizenship of our teens ... among whom there will be solid contributors to the world of the future and hopefully, an inspiration to parents and teens who can have a more positive future than they now see.

More about the youth in our story . . .

Justine Griffin, SHS Senior, Class of 2016,
Member of STEPS Youth Council, STEPS Advisory Board and Southington Dominic Youth Group. 
Speaking about STEPS:  "I really want to reach out to the adults of Southington and have them understand how dedicated and how hard the youth of this community work to promote lifelong success and leave lasting lessons for everyone, not just for us kids." Wherever Justine goes within the community, Justine's presence leaves a meaningful mark. 

James Brino, SHS Senior, Class of 2016 and member of the St.b Dominic Youth Group.  Shown at right of Rochambeau Monument on Oct 23, 2015 at the dedication of his Eagle Scout Project: The Rochambeau Monument honoring special place in the War of Independence honoring Washington's Army and the French General and his troops who planned the final battle in Southington preceding the surrender of the British in New York.   
Brino is shown at right of monument 

surrounded by Southington Town officials in the presence of his family, friends, fellow Boy Scouts and guests.

Scroll through our many past posts for stories about the great community that Southington is and the many teens and youngsters who help make it so. 

More about STEPS ...

Based on an article published in the Appleseed column in the March 11, 2016 edition of the Southington Citizen by freelance writer, Dick Fortunato. Comments welcome below or at