Tuesday, March 28, 2017

YMCA Annual Fishing Derby at Camp Sloper - April 15th

YMCA Camp Sloper in Southington will be hosting its Annual Fishing Derby on April 15th, 2017. The Fishing Derby will begin at 9:00 am with on-site registration beginning at 8:00 am. Coffee, Fruits, & juice will be available. 

Last year about one hundred came out for the fishing derby.  
Parents and children always welcome. 

The cost of the Fishing Derby for Adventure Guides is FREE!
$5 per child for Full Members of the Southington-Cheshire Community 
$10 for Program Members of the Southington-Cheshire Community YMCA and 
$15 for non-members.

The Fishing Derby will end at 12:00 pm, followed by a small lunch provided by The Southington YMCA Adventure Guides. 

After lunch, feel free to stay at YMCA Camp Sloper for our Adventure Guide Program kick-off, we will be participating in traditional YMCA Camp Sloper activities, as well as learning about the Adventure Guide Program. 
For more information, please contact Justin Hubeny at YMCA Camp Sloper: (860) 621-8194 or 

Monday, March 27, 2017

Southington Catholic Kids Serving the Neediest

The spirit of inward reflection is accentuated during the season of Lent for many. That spirit does not go unnoticed by many others.  For example, in Southington, the spirit of kindness and giving compassion is a year-round hallmark of the heart of its people. 

Candi Muro (R) with students sorting bags
of Irish Blessings personal articles for homeless. 
A conversation with Candida “Candi” Muro demonstrates her clear enjoyment of her work at Southington Catholic School. As the Grade 6 to 8 Language Arts Teacher, Muro interacts with all the middle school students daily. Mrs. Muro’s passion particularly glows in her role as faculty adviser of the SCS middle school Student Council.

“The students are always eager to take on outreach service projects." Muro said. “After discussion of several optional group service projects recently, they arrived at a consensus to collect a variety of personal articles and distribute them among those who are truly in the greatest need.”
As the students brainstormed for ideas to make the project especially meaningful, their creative juices flowed and they came up with the idea of putting together Blessing Bags for the Homeless. To add a special touch to a seasonal theme of St. Patrick's Day, they decided to name and decorate their personal gifts as “Irish Blessings Bags.”  
Sean Gallager, Melodie Muro and Teacher.
Candi Muro working on Irish Blessings Bags

Muro is in touch with local and area service agencies. She presented options to the kids. They really loved the idea of helping the homeless people who go to First Lutheran Church of the Reformation in New Britain.  

An average attendance at a breakfast each morning is about 100 people. But those numbers increase, particularly in the cold winter.

Girls holding up St. Patrick's Day Irish Blessings
Bags at Southington Catholic School 
And so, the drive to collect personal items for the homeless began. “Parents generously supported this campaign as did family and friends helping in various ways. The children brought in huge quantities of donations, including soap, shampoo, razors, healthy snack foods, band aids and vitamins. Many parents most generously contributed individual gift cards to be used for food and hot beverages at various outlets during these frigid days and nights.” Muro said. “As the items poured into school, the kids really got into the spirit of giving. In addition to the Irish Blessings cards, many wrote their own personal messages. They also decided to mark specific feminine or men’s products as ‘For Her’ or ‘For Him’ which I thought was a very special personal touch.”
Southington Catholic Middle Schoo students sorting out personal gifts

Emily Heath smiling at the hundreds of Irish Blessing Bags
collected for the homeless who have a hot breakfast to get
heir day started at First Lutheran Church in New Britain.

On St. Patrick’s Day, there was a huge pile of 200 Irish Blessings collected and ready for presentation at FLC of the Reformation in New Britain.

Now, the students of SCS have regular food drives for Bread for Life, deliver food donations monthly to Southington Community Services and toys for neediest children at Christmas and help other local charities. 

The comments of a few of the students are remarkably insightful:

“Handing out these blessing bags to people who are in need is truly a blessing. It feels so good to give to other people in our community and in other communities too. The world is one great big family, and we need to help our brothers and sisters.” -Miranda Bunnell (Gr.8).

"I enjoyed making the blessing bags. It made me feel like I am making an impact. Being able to help someone is the best feeling in the world. Giving is important." -Adriana Shea (Gr.8)

"Everyone needs a little love to help them get back on their feet. I’m so happy that I can contribute and make someone smile." -Kira Hanner (Gr. 8)

"I like to help families in need. If I can make someone's day a little brighter, I feel good." -Aaron Mysatyukow (Gr. 6)

"Everyone deserves help, whoever they are and wherever they are. I loved making the blessing bags!" Romi Bagdasarian (Gr.8)

The voices of our kids, reaching out to being the best that they can be in caring about others who need a helping hand. 

Reached for comment, SCS Principal, Eileen Sampiere said:  "The generosity of the extended Southington Catholic School family is inspiring. Our students continue to embrace every charitable outreach and social justice initiative with empathy and dedication. I am confident they will become the strong moral leaders we will need in the future."

Southington Catholic students James Melvin and David Jerman working on Irish Blessings Bags
for homeless people in New Britian. 

Columnist and Southington community service advocate of twenty years, Dick Fortunato, welcomes comments at dick617@gmail.com. or identified comments below. 

Friday, March 24, 2017

Town Manager's Brief: Calendar House Parking During Construction

Calendar House Parking Lot

The Hobart Street entrance to Calendar House is closed and only limited parking is available during construction of the new Senior Center. 

We strongly encourage car-pooling during construction for classes/activities and lunch. 

We are very appreciative that parking is available at Grace Methodist Church, 121 Pleasant Street.   

Dial-A-Ride buses are available for transportation from Grace Methodist to Calendar House, but you Must Call 860-621-3014 at Calendar House, 72 hours/3 business days AHEAD to arrange for transportation.   

Please park to the rear of the Grace Methodist lot by Hatton School.

Day and overnight trip parking will also be at Grace Methodist Church and all Calendar House trips will depart from the Grace Methodist Parking Lot. 

The DePaolo Middle School Parking lot is available for use on weekends ONLY, but please use caution when crossing Pleasant Street. 

We appreciate your cooperation and patience during construction as we look forward to a beautiful new Calendar House. 

Thank You!

Garry Brumback
Town Manager
Town of Southington, CT

Artist's Rendition of New Southington Senior Center

Saturday, March 18, 2017

The Inspiring Story of the LiveStrong Progam at the Southington YMCA - Helping Cancer Survivors to Thrive!

We are truly fortunate in Southington that even in what may seem to be our darkest hour, the brilliant light of caring people are there for us.  

John Myers, Executive Director of the Southington YMCA, Executive Director, spoke with genuine pride about the LiveStrong at the Y program, now in its sixth year, stating: “We are tremendously proud to be part of the ‘LiveStrong at the Y’ program. It has had an incredible impact on so many of our community members who have had to live through cancer. The Community Foundation of Greater New Britain's initial financial support, (in 2012), validated the need to set the foundation for future participants. One word to equate Livestrong at the Y…HOPE!” 
~   ~   ~   ~  ~
I heard about this program last fall from John DiSantis who told me about an extraordinary experience he had at the YMCA in a program for cancer survivors. “The therapists were fantastic, never challenging you beyond what you could do, yet always encouraging you to do what can." DiSantis said. "And, the participants all support each other. I was in a wheelchair and wondered what I could do. But (therapist) Jolene (Miceli), helped me handle such concerns with gentle encouragement.”

Two days before the New Year, I had a call from Gloria Gelpke, a retired R.N., cancer survivor herself. Gloria said: “There’s a fantastic program at the Y that everybody needs to know.” Gloria had been treated for breast cancer in 1994. With recurrences in 2006 and 2014. She has had radiation, surgery, and chemo. In 2014, Gloria discovered the Y program and signed up for it. Gelpke said:  “LiveStrong heals psychologically. It renews your strength and endurance. There are exercises with machines, meaningful educational guidance, group sharing, Yoga, mini-Zumba, meditation and talks on related topics. The therapists are great.” Now 88, the 3-time cancer survivor remains positive: “I’ve been blessed with 22 more years of life since 1994.”

Initially introduced locally in Feb. 2012, (daytime in Cheshire, evening sessions in Southington), LiveStrong at the Y is a product of the LiveStrong Foundation which partners with YMCA’s to provide the service in communities so that they may help millions around the world to renew life after cancer.

Now in its sixth year, the Southington Y offers a twelve-week program, 24 sessions twice a week, Mondays and Wednesday, from 7 to 8:30 pm.  The program is FREE with no Y membership requirements. People with all types of cancer, in therapy and out of therapy, are welcome whether it’s breast cancer, a colostomy, missing limb, wheel chair bound, pregnant, etc. 

Linda Prus, CPT and Coordinator
of the LiveStrong Program at
work in the gymnasium with a Y member
“At first, some clients think it is somehow not for them, but they quickly learn otherwise.” said, LiveStrong Y team coordinator, Linda Prus.  With two other certified physical trainers, Jolene Miceli and LeeAnn Kroll, the team is trained and qualified in the LiveStrong program. “After an initial orientation, we work with the clients in groups according to their challenges.”, Prus said.

“We encourage interaction between clients.”, Miceli said. “Each person is given an opportunity to share their story in as much detail as they are comfortable. So they get to know each other quite quickly. As the camaraderie grows, they gain strength from each other’s stories and are uplifted by their new connections and resulting relationships. Kroll spoke of the “emotional, physical and comforting relationship building as one of the primary sources of empowerment each of the clients themselves can see and feel. Each part of the program is important. It all works to raise a more positive outlook on their situations. Just seeing the results is rewarding to us.”

I was invited to a live session at the YMCA Women’s Center. I arrived just as the physical exercise workout portion of the session had started. Clients worked out at their own pace at their elliptical cycles, treadmills and other strength and endurance training equipment. Therapists moved around the room interacting with the clients, coaching and chatting with them. The class had been alerted to and welcomed my visit so it was easy to talk to them and move around among them.

LeAnn Kroll, CPT interacting with Katie
There I met Katie, 58, who was working energetically on her elliptical cycle, one of my favorite fitness activities. Katie began to experience unusual symptoms in January 2016. First, there was a persistent allergic reaction, apparently from a particular perfume.  However, that led to discovery gall bladder symptoms. On April 15th, after seeing a number of doctors, Katie's diagnosis was  Stage 2 Small Cell Carcinoma. "Fortunately, It was operable", Katie said, "and I had surgery in May with part of one lung removed. With four treatments every 2 weeks from July to September, I began here at LiveStrong at the Y in January 2017. I have socialized and already learned so much from the program and other patients.”

John Case talks it over with Jolene Miceli, CPT
Josh Case, 38, was diagnosed with testicular cancer in August 2015. He had surgery and chemo but had to go back for additional surgery in July 2016. Without losing a pace on his treadmill, Case said: “Talking to others is all positive. The whole experience has influenced me in taking up the study of physical therapy with a goal of becoming a professional and helping others." Miceli told me that Josh was a wonderful example of the positive spirit of those enrolled in LiveStrong. 

Jim Williamson, President of| the
Greater Communnity Foundation
of New Britain.
I was surprised to see that Jim Williamson, president of the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain, was also in the class.  Diagnosed with cancer last summer, Williamson completed chemo and radiation, turning to LiveStrong at the Y in January.  “I’m not a gym-rat." Jim states, "But this is the go-to place for me to work out with personal trainers, dealing with others like me in a great support group, each with a different story.  Cardiovascular workouts improve balance, strength and endurance of the participants. The activity gives you purpose and a place to be. I have great admiration for my fellow survivors.” Grateful to the Y, Jim noted the irony in his benefitting from the Livestrong program five years after the Greater Community Foundation of N.B., of which he is president,  initially financed the program at the YMCA. 

Readers' comments are welcome below or at dick617@gmail.com.  See other Appleseed posts.  

Based on the Appleseed column (p.20) in the March 17, 2017 edition of the Southington Citizen. Freelance writer, Dick Fortunato, has been a volunteer in church and community service for more than twenty years since his retirement, offering his professional skills and talents in organization, marketing and public relations to the non-profit sector of his adopted community.  

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Public Hearing on Town Manager's Proposed FY 2017-2018 Budget

A Public Hearing of the Board of Finance on the subject of the Southington Town Manager's Fiscal Year 2017-2018 Proposed Budget is being held at the Joseph A. DePaolo Middle School on Pleasant Street at 7:00 pm on Monday, March 6, 2017 

DePaolo School
Monday, March 6, 2017

7:00 pm

Full 233 pages of Proposed Town Budget FY 2017-2018 below.


Schedule of FY 2017-2018 Budget Workshos with various departments and public hearings. 

More Info at Town of Southington Finance Department Page or contact Finance Department at  (860) 276-6222.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Southington Catholic: Preserving and positioning Catholic education for a promising future

Acknowledgment:  This article was published in the March 2017 edition of Catholic Transcript, the Magazine of the Archdiocese of Hartford. 

Reader: Double-click to zoom in for larger, legible text. Click again to return and page and scroll down to view concluding page of the story.  

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

An Eye-Opening Experience in Community Service - The Soulhington Lions Club

The work of the Southington Lions Club is a discovery of new dimensions in community service. Some twenty volunteer members form the local chapter, one among 1.4 million volunteers operating in 200 countries. Their mission: To empower service to their communities, meet humanitarian needs, encourage peace and promote international understanding.  
Each year, the Lions provide 3 scholarships of $2,000 each to 3 high school seniors residing in Southington. They support Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, the Southington Music on the Green, YMCA, Relay for Life, Southington Community Services and Bread for Life among many other local charities.  The Lions donated a $9,000 walk-in freezer to BFL for its new building. Their work in vision care is renowned:  the collection and recycling of eye glasses for redistribution globally, the CT Lions Low Vision Center, Eye Research Fund and the Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation of Hartford. Working with optometrists and SCS, the Lions provide glasses for those in Southington who need assistance.

“As you can see, vision care is a vital but small piece of our service.”, says Wayne Stanforth, who just received his 15-year service pin as a Lion. “My father was a member of the Lions so when a friend invited me to a meeting it was an easy yes. I think it’s important to be involved in a group that uses its time and talents to help others wherever we can.” Stanforth served as a member of the Southington Board of Finance for four years, now serves on the Fire Commission and is active in the Republican Town Committee. He’s a past board member of Community Aid Services, assistance to low income for business and personal tax and accounting assistance, and is a former Little League coach and volunteer in youth soccer.  
Local Lions Club president, Paul Armor, helped me learn much more about the work of these brave Lions volunteers. 

My most amazing discovery was the Southington Lions commitment to Vision Screening of children from age six months to six plus years in a national program named “Lions Kidsight USA”.  Armor met me at the Southington YMCA Learning Center where Early Childhood Director, Kari Robarge indicated that the center currently has 120 three and four year-olds enrolled. We observed the Lions Club pediatric eye screenings. Seven to ten kids at a time are brought into a room for the screenings, seated in pre-arranged tiny chairs while waiting their turn. Each child is invited to come forward and sit in a single small chair placed about three feet from the Lions’ Welch Ally Spot Vision Screener, operated that day by Lions Treasurer, John Ausanka. There’s no physical contact with the child. No eye drops are administered and the screening takes just a few seconds. 

An instant confidential printout of results is given to the parents through the Day Care Center. Parents of kids whose screening show a possible vision risk are referred to their pediatric eye professionals for examination and diagnosis.  The screening process is only a preliminary indicator of possible issues. In 7 to 10% of nearly 4 million kids screened annually, risk factors are detected. 

The vision camera is capable of screening for Astigmatism, Myopia, Hyperopia, Anisometropia, Strabismus, Amblyopia and Anisocoria. The service is free of charge under the Lions Eye Health Program administered by the Connecticut Lions Eye Research Foundation.  In 2016, the Lions screened all Kindergarten students in Southington.  Interested parents may contact their child care centers for more information or contact Paul Armor at 860-877-1265.

What do members of the Lions Club have to say about their service?  As a Quality Control professional of 25 years, Lion Bill Vagts was involved in the American Society for Quality. Finding he enjoyed organizational service, he began looking for an opportunity to contribute to the community. Now in his 14th year as a Lion, he has a quiet sense of personal reward in service and a deep sense of the importance of the Lions.  Vagts has also been involved in Little League, Girls Soft Ball, Southington Soccer League and as an Assistant Scout Leader. “The Lions Club has been a major turning point in my life.” he said.

An IT Director of Service Delivery Services, RICOH USA, Rick Hanscom has worked at the Hartford Financial Services and NASDAQ Stock Market for most of his career. “I’ve been a Lion since 2003 and served as president twice for a total of three years. I joined the Lions because of the many types of community service and activities the club offers. I like our motto: We Serve.” Hanscom is the Lions representative to BSA Troop 32 which the Lions support. “We assist in activities such as the Southington Drive-In, parking cars and other required duties and we support the SCS, (Southington Community Services) Adopt a Shelf program and ring Salvation Army Bells at Christmas.

Learn much more about the Lions at their 26th Annual Charity Auction on Saturday, March 4th at Mary Our Queen Church Hall on Savage St. A Wine Tasting will be held at 6:15 pm as a preview to the Instant and Live Auctions to follow with a huge array of treasures available. A small fee is charged. Last year the auction raised about $8,000, all going to charitable services.