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This site is currently inactive until future notice. Any questions about this site can be directed to maheujean@gmail.com Posted October 25, 2013

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Safely get rid of old medications on Saturday April 28

April 25, 2012 Areawide, Local News No Comments

As a result of the DEA’s third National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on Oct. 29, 2011, people turned in more than 377,086 pounds (188.5 tons) of unwanted or expired medications for safe and proper disposal.

On Saturday April 28, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., you can safely get rid of old medications sitting on your shelves, where they possibly pose a danger to young people – both the youngest ones who may mistake colorful pills for candy, and older ones who may begin their experimentation with drugs with your medicine cabinet.

Another good reason to take part in the annual National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is to keep your medications out of the water supply.

Everything from antibiotics to hormones have turned up in local bodies of water and drinking supplies after being flushed in the toilet.

Throwing prescriptions away with the household garbage also makes them available to anyone picking through your trash.

As a result of the DEA’s third National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on Oct. 29, 2011, people turned in more than 377,086 pounds (188.5 tons) of unwanted or expired medications for safe and proper disposal at the 5,327 take-back sites that were available in all 50 states and U.S. territories.

When the results of the three prior Take-Back Days are combined, the DEA and its state, local, law-enforcement and community partners have removed 995,185 pounds (498.5 tons) of medication from circulation in the past 13 months.

“The amount of prescription drugs turned in by the American public during the past three Take-Back Day events speaks volumes about the need to develop a convenient way to rid homes of unwanted or expired prescription drugs,” said DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart.

When you turn in your medications – including over-the-counter remedies – there will be no questions asked by the volunteers at the participating site. You may black out your name and other identifying info on the label with a permanent marker if you are concerned about your privacy.

You do not have to be a resident of the town where the collection is taking place.

Questions? Please call 1-800-882-9539 Monday through Friday during state office hours.

Within the HTNP readership area, the following towns are participating at these locations:

  • Windham Community Memorial Hospital, 112 Mansfield Ave., in cooperation with Willimantic Police Department
  • Lebanon, CT State Police, at Lebanon Town Hall, 579 Exeter Road
  • RHAM High School (in Hebron), with the Hebron Resident State Troopers, in the high school parking lot, 85 Wall St. in Hebron
  • Colchester Police-Resident State Trooper’s Office, at Colchester Town Hall, 127 Norwich Ave.
  • East Hampton Police Department, at the East Hampton Town Office Building, 20 East High St. (in past years, the collection was done in the parking lot).

To search for other collection sites, click this link https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/SEARCH-NTBI

Posted April 25, 2012

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Chronicle Publisher Kevin Crosbie struck down by heart attack

Kevin B. Crosbie, 52, publisher of The Chronicle in Willimantic, CT died at his home on April 17, 2012. Photo source: The Chronicle

Local residents and members of the publishing world were stunned to learn on Tuesday (April 17) that Chronicle Publisher Kevin Crosbie, 52, had suffered a heart attack and died at his home.

The Chronicle is one of the last family-owned newspapers in the country, and has been the source of local daily news since 1877.

Kevin was the fifth generation of his family to be Publisher of The Chronicle, the role he took over from his mother, the late Lucie Crosbie, in 1992.

In the aftermath of his untimely death, friends and colleagues remembered him for the person he was behind the title – a family man, a constant in the community, an ally, an athlete and a very good friend.

News of Crosbie’s passing moved quickly through the community.

The Windham Town Council Tuesday honored Crosbie with a moment of silence before its meeting, and expressed shock and disbelief that such a prominent member of the community was gone.

Crosbie was remembered in many ways, not the least of which was for his forthrightness and honesty.

“If he liked something, he’d tell you. If he didn’t like something, he’d tell you that too,” said Windham Mayor Ernie Eldridge.

“Kevin and I didn’t travel in the same circle but I considered him my good friend,” he said.

Condolences also poured into the Chronicle Tuesday from newspaper heads around the state who knew Crosbie professionally and personally.

Michael Schroeder, president of the Bristol Press described Crosbie as “a dedicated journalist” who worked diligently to preserve community newspapers in Connecticut.

“He was committed to doing what was right in every situation and I took away new ideas from each conversation I had with him. The news media will be much weaker in this state with the loss of Kevin,” Schroeder said.

Crosbie was a hands-on publisher and ever present in the newsroom. He operating at times out of nothing more grandiose than a cubicle in the corner.

He was the go- to person for just about everything and would just as soon climb a ladder to change a light bulb as put on a jacket and sit down with the governor — as he did recently when Gov. Dannel P. Malloy paid a visit to the Chronicle.

Former Chronicle features editor Terese Karmel described Crosbie as “a soup-to-nuts guy.”

“At midnight he’d be at the paper, in jeans and a sweatshirt, ironing out some printing problems … and then that night, he’d be in a gray suit and tie hosting a Chamber of Commerce dinner,” she said.

Kevin Crosbie and his mother Lucy Crosbie in January 2002. Lucy May ( Bartlett) Crosbie, president of the Chronicle Printing Co. and former publisher, died at Windham Community Memorial Hospital on Jan. 1, 2012 after a brief illness. She was publisher of the daily newspaper from 1954 until 1992, when Kevin Crosbie took over that role. Chronicle file photo

Chronicle photographer Al Malpa said Crosbie treated everyone fairly. “There was no hierarchy with him,” said Malpa.

Crosbie as a forward thinker, he said, always drumming up innovative ways to make the paper better.

His business savvy ways and his nose for news combined to make him one of a kind, said Gary Farrugia, publisher of The Day. “Kevin was a smart businessman with the soul of a journalist… He was a fine human being,” Farrugia said.

Crosbie held several leadership positions in the greater newspaper community; he served as past president for the Connecticut Daily Newspaper Association and as Chair of the Connecticut Daily Newspaper Association’s legislative committee.

Richard Graziano, publisher of the Hartford Courant recalled, “As president of the association, he was a committed leader. He was a fierce advocate for our industry who successfully fought legislation that stood to negatively affect our business in a significant way.”

Despite trying economic times that continue to take a toll on newspapers around the country, the Crosbies have fought successfully to keep the Chronicle in the family.

“The fact that he was the fifth generation of a family that has led a local media organization since 1877 speaks volumes,” said Graziano.

Mike Killian Sr., vice president for the Record-Journal in Meriden, described Crosbie as a “fellow who loved the industry… He had a passionate commit­ment to journalism, as did Lucy, his mother.”

A graduate of Windham High School, Crosbie went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in English from Skidmore College in Saratoga, N.Y. He joined the Chronicle in 1984 and became publisher in 1992.

George Geers, who was the Chronicle editor when Crosbie made the transition to publisher, called Crosbie, “a class act… The closest I’ve come to George Bailey of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life.’”

Despite the Chronicle’s status as a smaller daily, Crosbie as its publisher was well respected as an industry leader among his peers.

“He was passionate about, and dedicated to, preserving the independence of the Chronicle,” said Shawn Palmer, publisher of the News Times in Danbury.

Outside of the news business, Crosbie nurtured his longtime friendships and enjoyed some 30 years of ice hockey with old high school buddies. The group began getting together to play pond hockey in the woods of Windham and while they all loved the game, their greatest fondness was for one other.

“They were terrific hockey players, but they were better friends,” said Mike Sypher, Chronicle sports editor, who went to high school with Crosbie and has worked at the Chronicle for 25 years.

Even though described as a hands-on publisher, Sypher said Crosbie was hands-off where it mattered most.

“He let us do our jobs and he trusted our abilities. He was the best boss I ever had and will ever have,” said Sypher.

Norm Miller, a longtime friend and fellow hockey player, said there were countless good times to be remembered with Crosbie, but mostly he was the best kind of friend. “He always seemed to be there when I needed a friend. When I came home from Iraq, he was the guy who picked me up. When I was down, he was there,” said Miller.

Michael Lemanski, Chronicle city editor, has known Crosbie since 1997. As a sports enthusiast, he admired Crosbie for his interests both inside and beyond the newsroom — especially his membership on the Boubere and Buzzard hockey teams.

“Kevin was the only publisher I’ve ever worked for who played ice hockey,” said Lemanski.

Lemanski added, “He cared about his staff, family and community and he represented what newspapers should be.”

That sentiment was shared by many others who knew Crosbie, including Eldridge.

“He was a man that you could trust,” said Eldridge. “There are not many newspaper people you can say that about, but Kevin was one of them.”

Posted April 18, 2012, as edited by HTNP.com Editor Brenda Sullivan

Charter Communications/Community Access also shares this link to a recent interview with Kevin Crosbie on “On the Homefront.” He was interviewed by Bruce John and John Murphy.

http://ctv14.pegcentral.com/player.php?video=ed987a90c9503e7c6c9983f5ae06dd7e

Kevin Bartlett Crosbie, Feb 22, 1960 – April 17, 2012

Kevin B. Crosbie, 52, of Willimantic, husband of Patrice A. Crosbie (nee Pernaselli), father of Caroline, Meredith, and Arthur, passed away suddenly on April 17, 2012.

Kevin was born in Willimantic, son of the late Arthur and Lucy Crosbie.

Kevin is survived by his wife, his brother Vincent and fiancée Emma Rodriguez Suarez, his cousins Diane Studley, Jennifer and Rob Smith and children, his aunt and uncle Joan and Bob Fraser, cousins Katie, Shawn and Denise, his father and mother in law Joseph and Marianne Pernaselli, brothers and sisters in law, Joseph Pernaselli, Michael and Meg Pernaselli, Mary and Michael Regensburg, and nephews, Christopher, Jeffrey, Brian, Evan and Sean.

Kevin graduated from Windham High School. He received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in English from Skidmore College. In 1984 he joined The Chronicle, and has been Publisher since 1992. Kevin was the fifth generation of his family to be Publisher of The Chronicle which was founded in 1877.

Kevin was a past President of the Willimantic Lions Club, the Willimantic Chamber of Commerce and the Connecticut Daily Newspaper Association.

He was an avid hockey fan and member of the Boubere and Buzzard Hockey teams.

Visitation will be held on Friday, April 20, 2012, between 4 and 7 p.m. at Potter Funeral Home, 456 Jackson Street (Rte. 195) Willimantic, CT.

His Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Saturday, April 21, 2012, at 1 p.m., at St. Joseph Church, 99 Jackson St., Willimantic, with assembly at the church. Burial will follow immediately.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial contributions be made to The Holy Family Home and Shelter, 88 Jackson St., Willimantic, CT. 06226.

USDA announces farm-to-school grants

April 18, 2012 Areawide No Comments

“School cafeterias are great places to champion U.S. agriculture and to teach students where their food comes from,” said U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Deputy Secretary Merrigan. Image source: consumerwellness.org

U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced this week that the USDA will invest in farm-to-school programs nationwide to help eligible schools improve the health and well-being of their students and connect with local agricultural producers.

“School cafeterias are great places to champion U.S. agriculture and to teach students where their food comes from,” said Deputy Secretary Merrigan.

“More and more, schools are connecting with their local farmers, ranchers and food businesses each day and these programs are a great way to bring more local offerings into school cafeterias and support U.S. producers as well. As we struggle with obesity and associated diet-related diseases, farm-to-school programs give us one important tool to help our kids make lifelong healthy eating choices,” she said.

The Farm to School Grant Program is part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which authorized and funded USDA to assist eligible entities, through grants and technical assistance, in implementing farm-to-school programs that improve access to local foods.

Farm-to-school initiatives can also include agriculture- and nutrition-education efforts such as school gardens, field trips to local farms, and cooking classes.

These grants, administered by USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), will help schools respond to the growing demand for locally-sourced foods.

In this first cycle, $5 million will be provided to USDA to support grants, technical assistance, and Federal administrative costs.

Food and Nutrition Service anticipates awarding up to $3.5 million in grants, while the remaining $1.5 million will support a combination of training and technical assistance, administrative costs, and/or additional farm-to-school grants.

Letters of Intent are suggested but not required by May 18, 2012, while proposals are due by June 15, 2012.

To assist eligible entities in preparing proposals, USDA will host a webinar related to Implementation grants at 1 p.m. Eastern time on Tuesday, May 15 and a webinar related to Planning grants at 1 p.m. Eastern time on Thursday, May 17.

For more information on webinars, the farm-to-school grant program, or USDA’s farm-to-school efforts in general, please visit the USDA Farm to School website at http://www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/f2s/

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFK) of 2010 marks a great win for the nearly 32 million school children that participate in the National School Lunch and the 12 million school children that participate in the School Breakfast Programs each school day.

The USDA is working to implement historic reforms that will mark the most comprehensive change to food in schools in more than a generation, which include:

  • updated school meals nutrition standards to increase fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy;
  • science-based standards for all foods and beverages sold on the school campus;
  • performance-based funding increases for schools – the first real increase in 30 years;
  • and training and technical assistance to help schools meet improved standards.

USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service administers 15 nutrition assistance programs that, in addition to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and National School Lunch Program, also include the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), and the Summer Food Service Program. Taken together, these programs comprise America’s nutrition safety net.

Posted April 18, 2012

Related links:

FarmtoSchool.org http://www.farmtoschool.org

The Connecticut Farm to School program http://www.ct.gov/doag/cwp/view.asp?A=2225&Q=299424

WK Kellogg Foundation Food & Community program grants http://www.foodandcommunity.org/What-We-Do/Grantee-Stories/National-Farm-to-School-Network-Improving-Health-of-Children.aspx

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Calling all bird-watchers

April 18, 2012 Areawide, Local News No Comments

Tom Harrington will speak and show slides at the NOS meeting. His topic will be The Birds of Wisconsin, and the International Crane Foundation. Image source: Natchaug Ornithological Society

The Natchaug Ornithological Society (NOS) will have its first meeting of the year at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, May 4, 2012 in the Buchanan Center at the Mansfield Library on Route 89 in Storrs-Mansfield.

Tom Harrington will speak and show slides at the NOS meeting. His topic will be The Birds of Wisconsin, and the International Crane Foundation.

The NOS board will meet before the program at 7 p.m.

All are invited to attend.

Also, a field trip is scheduled for Saturday, May 19, 2012 at Boston Hollow. In order to deal with the limited parking in Boston Hollow, we will meet at 7:30 a.m. at Ashford Elementary School on Route 89 and carpool from there.

Posted April 17, 2012

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UConn prepares for Spring Weekend

April 18, 2012 Local News No Comments

Police will set up checkpoints in Storrs (Mansfield) as well as Coventry (along Route 44) as Spring Weekend kicks off, Thursday April 19 through Saturday April 21. Spring Weekend is not sanctioned by UConn, but has for years been marked by parties focused on alcohol. File photo, April 23, 2011 by Marie Brennan

In response to the death of University of Connecticut student Jafar Karzoun in 2010, university officials are cracking down on enforcement measures during Spring Weekend for the second consecutive year.

The event is not sanctioned by the university and is celebrated the weekend before the last week of classes.

It is seen as a way for students to relax and party one last time before final exams. This year, Spring Weekend kicks off Thursday and runs through Sunday (April 19-21).

In years past, parties have become rowdy and at times violent. Police patrol throughout the campus and at off-campus destinations such as Carriage House and Celeron Square apartments, in an attempt to control crowds.

In an op-ed piece published in the Hartford Courant Friday, UConn President Susan Herbst noted that some areas may be “impossible to close off.”

“We do so for the sake of our reputation as one of Connecticut’s greatest points of pride and one of the best public universities in America, but more than anything, we want our community, our campus and our students to remain safe,” Herbst wrote.

Following the death of Karzoun, the weekend was relatively tame last year and police are hoping the same is true of this year’s event.

“We are hoping that based on the communication that we’ve had with the university community and surrounding community, that people understand the need to deescalate this weekend,” said UConn police spokesman Capt. Hans Rhynhart.

Karzoun, a Milford resident, was punched and killed by Edi Rapo of East Hartford during an off-campus fight during Spring Weekend, 2010. Rapo is now serving nine years in jail, suspended after four and a half years, for his crime.

In light of this incident, UConn was a ghost town last year during the popular weekend which typically attracts tens of thousands of people, including many non-students.

University officials have speculated that the weather and the fact the holiday fell during Easter weekend were reasons for lack of participation in Spring Weekend last year.

A Spring Weekend task force was set up by former UConn President Michael Hogan to review the university’s policies pertaining to the celebratory weekend.

The task force issued a report recommending ways to control Spring Weekend, including a voluntary, one-year moratorium.

State police troopers will set up DUI check­points on routes 195 and 44 in Mansfield from Thursday through Saturday.

UConn police will conduct some roving patrols. They will enforce trespassing violations.

Coventry police will work in conjunction with other departments at a DUI checkpoint set up on Route 44 beginning at approximately 7 p.m. on Friday and continuing until 2 a.m. on Saturday.

UConn and state police will block or limit access to certain roads, pathways and parking lots on and around campus.

Additionally, guests will be banned from residence halls and dining halls.

“These are some of the same measures that are in place as were last year,” said Rhynhart.

In the past, the university has sponsored a number of on-campus events during this weekend in an attempt to lure students away from off-campus parties centered on heavy drinking.

These included a spring concert and mud volleyball tournament, known as Oozeball. These events are now prior to Spring Weekend.

This year, most events are banned, including academic events.

Students are being encouraged to go home for the weekend and begin moving their belongings home in preparation for the end of the school year, if they choose.

Posted April 18, 2012 as edited by HTNP.com Editor Brenda Sullivan

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Columbia budget hearing set for April 25

April 18, 2012 Local News No Comments

With revisions made to the 2012-13 town/school budget, residents will review it during a public hearing at the end of the month.

The hearing will be held Wednesday, April 25 at 7:30 p.m. in the “cafetorium” of Horace W. Porter School.

The financial planning and allocation commission will hold a special meeting following the hearing to review the budget.

The proposed 2012-13 school/ town spending plan is $15,182,441, a 1.93 percent decrease from the current fiscal year.

Columbia First Selectmen Carmen Vance said there has been “good discussion” throughout the budget process and said she is pleased with the outcome.

The proposed budget entails an increase of 3.58 mills, from 23.55 to 27.13. This is fueled by a 13.2 percent drop in the 2011 grand list.

“It’s such a difficult year for peo­ple to understand because of the revaluation,” Vance said. “There will be an increase in the mill rate because of that, but we didn’t want the mill rate to increase much more beyond that.”

The general government budget is $3,291,027, a $62,766 increase, or 1.94 percent.

The financial planning and allo­cation commission made minor alterations to the original budget as proposed by Town Administrator Jonathan Luiz, including moving up the timeframe of the capi­tal project for rebuilding the fire truck.

Originally, the town had spread funding for the project over two years.

“We decided to do that in one year,” said Vance.

The total capital budget, as approved by the financial planning and allocation commission, is $2,773,576. This is an increase of $2,181,234, or 368 percent, from last year.

The large increase is due primarily to the $1,881,190 payment for the school roof replacement project, funds that are coming from the town’s fund balance.

Vance said the town decided to refurbish the truck to bring it up code, rather than buy a new one, because it would be the cheaper option.

The board of education bud­get, as adjusted by FIPAC, is $ 11,240,000, a decrease of $92,667, or 0.82 percent, from last year.

FIPAC members recommended the original budget be cut signifi­cantly.

“We looked at a two-year pattern of what was budgeted and what was needed,” said Sharpe. “We found out that we’ve been budgeting more than what was needed.”

Sharpe said there has been some “minor tension” associated with his board’s attempts to get more information from the board of education.

“FIPAC has been trying to get the full picture,” he said.

The town’s failure to meet the minimum budget requirement was addressed as part of budget talks.

The law requires school districts to allocate at least the same amount of funding that was in the budget the previous year.

Columbia’s school board set a budget based on the draft of that law, and after it was set, the state voted on a new MBR law.

Because of this, Columbia failed to meet the requirement this year, with the budget $ 158,723 less than the prior year.

The town has not yet decided how it will address the shortfall. One option is to appeal for a waiver.

Columbia may also decide to allocate more money for the school board.

“There’s no rush to take any action to bring them into compliance,” Sharpe said. FIPAC is trying to avoid allocat­ing more than is necessary and then being forced to sustain a superfluous budget for years to come.

Penalties relate to the amount of funding allocated to towns under the Education Cost Sharing grant program.

If Columbia does not make up for its shortfall by June 31, its 2013-14 Education Cost Sharing grant will be reduced by double the shortfall, or $317,446, next year.

ECS funding for 2012- 13 is already finalized and the penalty would apply to the following year.

This year, the town received approximately $ 2.6 million in ECS funds, with the grant expect­ed to remain level next year.

“I don’t know what we’re supposed to do,” said Sharpe. “It (the law) doesn’t make a lot of sense.”

Posted April 18, 2012

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Comedy, pasta, and medicinal teas among Friday’s local events

Babcock Library, 25 Pompey Hollow Road, Ashford, presents free workshop, Medicinal Teas – Grow Your Own at 7 p.m., Friday, April. 13. Presenter is from Topmost Herb Farm in Coventry, CT. Open to all. Photo courtesy of www.orientspiration.com

Some of the interesting events taking place in our area on Friday, April 13, 2012.

BENJAMIN’S CLOSET RE-OPENING — CHAPLIN

The Chaplin Congregational Church, 43 Chaplin St., will re-open Benjamin’s Closet from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and on Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon.

REFLEXOLOGY — MANSFIELD

Mansfield Senior Center, 303 Maple Road, Storrs, will offer reflexology appointments with Therese John at 10 a.m. Call Kathy for an appointment at (860) 429-0262.

RED CROSS BLOOD DRIVE — UCONN

The Red Cross will host blood drives at the University of Connecticut — 2358 Alumni Drive and 626 Gilbert Road, Ext. — Storrs, from 11:45 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. Info: (800) REDCROSS or visit www.redcross.org

SMILING SENIORS — MANSFIELD

Mansfield Senior Center, 303 Maple Road, Storrs, will host a program called “Smiling Seniors” presented by the University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Interactive oral health education program offered for free.

PASTA DINNER AND RAFFLE FUNDRAISER

Coventry High School, 78 Ripley Hill Road, Coventry will host a Nathan Hale memorial fundraiser from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Cost is $10 adults, $8 seniors, $5 children, under 5 are free. Tickets, call the high school at (860) 742-7346, ext. 165 or Captain Nathan Hale Middle School at (860) 742-7334, ext. 325.

SVFD COMEDY NIGHT 11

The Scotland Volunteer Fire Department will host “SVFD Comedy Night 11” at 7 p.m. at the Elk’s Lodge, 198 Pleasant St., Willimantic. Tickets are $20 and can purchased online at www.svfd16.com, at J&S Radio Sales, Main Street, Willimantic, or by calling (860) 450-1525, ext. 12.

MEDICINAL TEAS — GROW YOUR OWN

Babcock Library, 25 Pompey Hollow Road, Ashford, presents ‘Medicinal Teas – Grow Your Own’ at 7 p.m. Free program and plants will be available for purchase. Presenter is from Topmost Farm in Coventry.

PROGRAM ON SAMUEL AND ELIZABETH COLT

William Hosley will present an illustrated talk, “Sam and Elizabeth: Legend and Legacy of Colt’s Empire” at the Buchanan Auditorium at the Mansfield Public Library at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free for members and children under 16; $3 for non-members. Sponsored by the Mansfield Historical Society.

Posted April 13, 2012

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Columbia boat-mooring lottery is April 17

April 13, 2012 Local News No Comments

The town limits motor size on Columbia Lake to 80 horsepower for outboard engines and 150 horsepower for inboard engines.

The town of Columbia will conduct its annual Columbia Lake boat-mooring lottery at the Tuesday, April 17 Board of Selectmen meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. in the conference room of Town Hall.

The lottery is for residents interested in mooring a boat in the area off the town beach.

Those who are committed to entering the lottery should provide the following information: name, address, e-mail address, phone number, boat type, make length and motor size.

After the lottery, registration for mooring will take place Tuesday, May 1, at 6:30 p.m. in the town office conference room.

Individuals must bring proof of residency, boat registration information, a safe boating certificate and a cash or check payment for $100.

The town limits motor size on Columbia Lake to 80 horsepower for outboard engines and 150 horsepower for inboard engines.

Questions? Contact Kim Bona at kbona@columbiact.org or at 860-228-0110.

Posted April 13, 2012

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Evelyn F. Cafrella March 13 1925 – April 11 2012

April 12, 2012 Obituaries No Comments

First Congregational Church of Columbia - graphic by Brenda Sullivan

Evelyn (Mathewson) Cafrella, 87, of Columbia, CT wife of the late Harry Cafrella, died Wednesday, April 11, 2012 in Mansfield.

Evelyn was born March 13, 1925 in Newport, RI, the daughter of Clifford and Ida (Graff) Mathewson.

Prior to her retirement, she was employed at the Columbia Post Office for 32 years, and served as Postmaster for the last seven years.

She loved to bow hunt and fish with her husband. In 1968, she was the Connecticut State Archery Champion in the Women’s Division.

Evelyn was an active member of the First Congregational Church of Columbia, and helped in any way she could.

She leaves nephews Donald Scott of Chino Valley, AZ, Arthur Mathewson Jr. of Marietta, GA, nieces, Mary (Mathewson) McCoy of East Windsor, Jean Hayes of Warwick, RI, Joyce Hacket of North Kingstown, RI and other nieces and nephews.

She was predeceased by her son, Harry Robert Cafrella, her brother Arthur Mathewson Sr., her sister Dorothy (Mathewson) Ferry and her nephew Thomas Mathewson.

Her family wishes to thank all the people at her church and her many friends for all the kindnesses shown their aunt during her life in Columbia. Also their warmest thanks to Mary Evans for her friendship of over 50 years.

Her funeral service will be Saturday, April 14, 2012 at 2:30 p.m. at the First Congregational Church of Columbia, 325 Rte. 87, Columbia. Burial will follow in the West Street Cemetery. There are no calling hours. Potter Funeral Home in Willimantic is in charge of arrangements.

Memorial contributions are suggested to the American Heart Association or the First Congregational Church of Columbia.

Posted April 12, 2012

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Columbia passes on partnering with Bolton on health insurance

April 12, 2012 Areawide, Business No Comments

With only one person in the audience speaking, residents at a Town Meeting in Columbia Tuesday (April 10) turned down a proposed health insurance collaboration with the Town of Bolton.

The agreement, which would have lasted four years beginning July 1, 2012 was voted down via a 6-5 vote, with some selectmen voting against the plan.

Selectmen who voted “no” – William O’Brien and Richard Szegda – said other options need to be considered.

In particular, they want to know more about a plan launched by the state comptroller’s office, which was raised by resident Jill Zorn, the lone speaker in the audience Tuesday. The plan might offer better savings for the town, Zorn said.

Zorn also said she is concerned about the lengthy commitment of the Bolton/Columbia agreement, which could last up to four years. “That’s a big commitment when the world of health care is changing all around us,” she said.

O’Brien said, “I think it’s important we get that information before we make a decision.”

Szegda agreed. “You always want to know what your options are before you finalize an agreement,” he said.

The Connecticut Partnership Plan opens the state employee benefits plan to local municipalities and school boards. It is administered by United Healthcare and is expected to save municipalities a significant amount of money.

The Columbia-Bolton collaboration

Columbia and Bolton are currently fully insured; both towns purchase health insurance from Anthem.

If the collaboration had been approved, the two towns’ school boards and town governments would have become self-insured, a move expected to save money in the long run.

The towns’ insurance broker, Ovation Benefits, guided Columbia and Bolton through the process of forming the collaborative proposal.

“This is a process that’s been in the works for months now,” said Columbia First Selectmen Carmen Vance.

Health insurance expenses for the town of Columbia and its school board combined would have been lowered by 4.18 percent — or more than $45,000 in the first year of the deal.

The town stands to save $7,366 next year while the school board stands to save $38,059.  The school board would save more money because it is a much larger entity.

Vance noted the agreement would not have changed the benefits the town and school employees receive.

Ronald Theriault of Ovation Benefits, who attended the meeting, said town and school employees in Columbia would not get the same benefits under the state plan and would have to switch health insurance providers.

Columbia decided to look into the possibility of a multi-town agreement after reviewing a three-year history of claims and premiums incurred while using Anthem.

The town received this information because of a new state law requiring municipalities to be provided with a history of recent claims.

Upon review of the information, Columbia discovered the number of claims were well below the premium it was paying, which prompted the town to look at alternatives

Had the agreement with Bolton been approved, a committee would have been formed to govern the agreement, made up of the two town administrators and the two superintendents.

More info needed

Columbia Town Administrator Jonathan Luiz said selectmen initially ruled out the state plan because it never received the information it had requested.  “I never received anything from them in terms of financial figures,” he said.

Luiz also noted that under the comptroller’s plan, there’s a penalty for leaving early.

Under the Bolton/ Columbia collaboration, either can leave without penalty.  They must, however, give one year notice “out of fairness,” said Luiz.

Another problem with switching to the state plan is that with the end of the fiscal year around the corner (July), Columbia would not have much time to review the state plan.

Theriault said,“To put it in place between now and the end of the year would be difficult.”

Posted April 11, 2012 as edited by HTNP.com Editor Brenda Sullivan

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Local day camps made a great summer for cancer patients families

CHILDREN RUNNING from Windham Hosp FB page

In addition, the Town of Coventry Parks and Recreation Camp and Camp Asto Wamah in Columbia, CT each offered free spaces for children of cancer patients.

Connecticut budget ends with $359 million surplus

Ben Barnes CT Budget Director

Personal income tax receipts were up $55.1 million over last month. The corporation tax also was revised upward by $15 million.

Future of local water supply is topic of public forum July 29

A forum focused on our water supply – including who decides how it’s used – will be hosted by The League of Women Voters of Northeastern Connecticut (formerly the League of Women Voters of Mansfield) and the Connecticut Institute of Water Resources (CIWR) on Monday, July 29 from 7-9 p.m. at the Elks Lodge (lower level), located at 198 Pleasant St. in Willimantic.

Questions about water sources, usage and quality have come into focus recently in light of the Storrs Center development, UConn’s plans to bring in water to support a new Tech Park and the concurrent needs of the towns in this region, particularly in terms of their own development plans.

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