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So much going on in June, where to start?

Copies of the 2012 Connecticut Trails Day booklet of events are now available in public libraries and can be downloaded from http://www.ctwoodlands.org/CT-TrailsDay2012

Besides Victorian Days in Willimantic (through June 3) and the return of the Coventry Regional Farmers Market on Sunday (June 3), here are a couple of get-out-the-door events coming up: Connecticut Trails Day on June 2-3 and the 8th Annual Connecticut Open House Day on Saturday, June 9.

This year’s theme for Connecticut Trails Day is “America’s Largest TRAILgating Party.” You have a choice of 193 events in 121 towns with more than 540 miles of trails.

Connecticut’s event is part of National Trails Day, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2012.

Activities include hiking, biking, horseback riding, running, trail maintenance, kayaking, educational walks, bird watching, geocaching and more.

While public libraries now have copies of the 2012 booklet that lists all the events, you can also download an electronic copy from the web site at http://www.ctwoodlands.org/CT-TrailsDay2012

And you can keep up to date on the Connecticut Forest and Park Assoc. Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/CTForestandParkAssociation

The booklet is also handy for discovering hiking, biking and paddling places to explore all summer and fall.

On the Annual Connecticut Open House Day, museums and other historic sites (as well as many artists’ studios) throughout Connecticut open their doors for the season – in many cases offering free admission or free gifts.

The annual event is coordinated by the Connecticut Office of Tourism (a division of the Department of Economic and Community Development).

Here’s just a sample of what you might want to explore in the HTNP.com readership area:

  • In Ashford, the Willow Tree Pottery studio at 24 Bebbington Road will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Pottery will be displayed in the gardens and studio. Visitors receive a handmade amulet or bead of clay. For more info, call 860-287-8056 or visit http://www.willowtreepottery.us
  • In Chester/Hadlyme, from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., visitors can ride for free aboard the Selden III, the second oldest continuously operated ferry service in Connecticut (at 54 Ferry Road/Route 148), which crosses the scenic Connecticut River near the Gillette Castle State Park (former home of the stage actor who made Sherlock Holmes famous). For more information, call 860-526-2743 or click here.
  • In East Haddam, from 9:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m., enjoy free tours of the historic Victorian theater built in 1876, the Goodspeed Opera House, at 6 Main St./Rte. 82. For more information, call 860-873-8668 or visit http://www.goodspeed.org
  • In East Hampton, visit Sears Park (65 North Main St.) with lovely views of Lake Pocotopaug to enjoy while picnicking – admission is free from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on this day only. For more information, call 860-267-7300 or visit http://www.easthamptonrec.com
  • In Lebanon, admission is free at the Jonathan Trumbull Jr. House Museum (780 Trumbull Hwy/Route 87, on the famous Lebanon Green) – there will be Colonial craft demonstrations, a mounted cavalryman portraying a French Army hussar (renowned for their elegant dress), and refreshments. Learn about the artist famous for his painting of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. For more information, call 860-642-7987 or click here And next door at the Lebanon Historical Society Museum, also from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., enjoy Model-T rides, farm animals and hands-on activities.

This is a great opportunity to learn more about the Revolutionary War, about archaeology or other sciences, find out just why people like Prudence Crandall and Jonathan Trumbull are famous, and otherwise discover new sights (and share them with your weekend visitors) in your own back yard – or farther afield, if you like.

One of the advantages of living in a postage-stamp-sized state is that you can drive to pretty much any part of Connecticut in two hours or less. This makes it easier to plan affordable day trips, and keep them short enough for energetic children.

You can explore the different sites that are taking part in Connecticut Open House Day by visiting http://www.ctvisit.com/dontmiss/details/211 But note that this list doesn’t include all the museums (and activities) in the state – if there’s one you’re curious about and you don’t see it on the Visit Connecticut site, call the museum directly and ask what they have planned.

Posted June 1, 2012

Have a news item, event or Letter to the Editor you’d like posted on this news site? Simply send your information to editor@htnp.com and include your town in the subject line of your email. Please also include a phone number where you can be reached if there are questions. For daily updates on local and Connecticut news, “like” us on Facebook at HTNP News. https://www.facebook.com/HTNPnews and find us on Twitter at HTNP News (@HTNPNews )

Parents angry over kindergartener with gun

May 31, 2012 Local News No Comments

Lebanon residents (R-L) Brian Green, Dina Mador and Dawn Green at a May 29, 2012 public meeting sparked by an incident in which a kindergartener brought a nonfunctioning gun to school for “show and tell.” Photo by Al Malpa

An incident involving a kindergarten student found last week to have a gun in his/her backpack (the identity of the child is not being released) has put a local superintendent in the hot seat.

While the fact that a 5-year-old came to school with a gun is in itself disturbing, the main complaint Lebanon parents expressed at a public meeting Tuesday (May 29) was the way the school handled the situation.

Parents are particularly unhappy about how and when they were notified; the school district mailed a letter to parents on Wednesday, the day after the incident occurred.

Parents say they should have been notified immediately – i.e. by email or phone.

According to Connecticut State Police, on Tuesday, May 22, the afternoon bus driver was delivering students to their homes when she became aware that one of the kindergarten students had a gun in his/her backpack.

It was determined that the gun was not loaded or even working. The bus driver returned it to the child’s parents, according to police.

Lebanon School Superintendent Janet Tyler responds to comments from angry parents at a May 29, 2012 meeting at which she was criticized for not notifying parents immediately about a gun found in a kindergartener’s backpack. Photo by Al Malpa

At last night’s meeting, parent Dina Madore, yelled at Tyler and said parents should have been notified on Tuesday.

Parent Julie Robbins agreed and said she had no idea about the incident until a neighbor told her. Robbins’ child was on that bus, she said, and it was “upsetting” to hear about it from someone other than the school.

“We couldn’t talk about it with our child because we had no idea,” Robbins told Tyler.

Tyler responded that she believes she did what she “felt was right.”

“I have kids as well,” Tyler said, and added “(I am an) advocate for children. I would never ever want to hurt a child for any reason.”

However, Tyler said, if the same incident happened tomorrow, she would call “every single person” to let them know.

In an interview today, State Police spokesman Lt. J. Paul Vance said the incident was “blown out of proportion” because the gun actually was an antique replica that was incapable of being fired.

“It was not a firearm… it was not a ‘gun,’ by definition,” Lt. Vance said.

He also said the child brought the gun to school for “show and tell.”

At last night’s meeting, Tyler criticized the bus driver. “The driver’s failure to timely notify the school district severely handicapped our ability to investigate and inform parents,” Tyler said. It was hours later that the district was notified, she said.

Parent Brian Green said it is Tyler’s responsibility to communicate with parents. “This can’t happen again,” he said. “You are the face and you are the leader (of our school district).”

Green added that if Tyler was working “anywhere else,” she would have been fired already for the “abysmal” handling of the incident.

Lebanon resident Ron Cowles called for parents to do more than complain about a gun incident and take part in developing better protocol for Lebanon Schools, at a May 29 2012 public meeting. Photo by Al Malpa

Resident Ron Cowles was the only person at the meeting to stick up for Tyler and the rest of the school district’s administration.

Cowles said he understood the parents’ reaction, but urged them to become a part of the process to fix school policy. “Everyone needs to be involved. One person cannot do it alone,” he said.

Cowles said he looks forward to seeing how many of the parents and other community members will step up. “Help this woman (Tyler) to make it better,” he said.

Tyler asked for e-mail addresses from the people at the meeting in order to notify them of the next public meeting during which new protocol for incidents such as this one can be developed.

After the meeting, Tyler said she is “confident” the district can move forward.

However, Lebanon Board of Education member Stephen Nelson said he hopes the incident is discussed at the next school board meeting, which is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 12 at the Lebanon Middle School Media Center.

Posted May 31, 2012 as edited by HTNP.com Editor Brenda Sullivan

Have a news item, event or Letter to the Editor you’d like posted on this news site? Simply send your information to editor@htnp.com and include your town in the subject line of your email. Please also include a phone number where you can be reached if there are questions. For daily updates on local and Connecticut news, “like” us on Facebook at HTNP News. https://www.facebook.com/HTNPnews and find us on Twitter at HTNP News (@HTNPNews )

Victorian Days this weekend – house tours, high tea, carriage rides

Horse-drawn rides past historic Victorian homes are part of the 14th annual Victorian Days activities that run from Thursday, May 31 through Sunday, June 3 (most events are Saturday and Sunday). Photo courtesy of the Willimantic Victorian Neighborhood Association

Willimantic, Connecticut will invite visitors into some of its 600 Victorian-style homes listed on the National Register of Historic Places during the 14th annual Victorian Days events, which begins Thursday, May 31 and continues through Sunday, June 3.

This very popular event, which draws people from throughout New England, also includes garden tours, unique museum exhibits, live music, art exhibits and Victorian teas that sell out every year.

Victorian Days is sponsored by the Willimantic Victorian Neighborhood Association, which promotes the preservation of Willimantic’s Victorian past.

Most events take place on Saturday and Sunday.

Willimantic’s Hill Section abounds with old Victorian homes. It is “sort of a hidden treasure,” says event manager Lynn Duval. “It was built when the textile mill industry was at its prime.”

During that era, immigrants came from France, Poland, Ukraine, Ireland and other countries to work at the thread mills, and “their families are still here,” Duval said.

The George Tiffany House on Prospect Street is one of the Victorian-style homes that will be open for tours during the 14th annual Victorian Days, the weekend of June 2-3, 2012. Photo courtesy of Wilimantic Victorian Neighborhood Association

“They all left something here in the community,” she said, and so the Victorian Days weekend also celebrates the diversity of Willimantic’s history.

“People come from all over New England,” Duval said, and “when we bring the people here, they see that Willimantic is kind of a cool town.”

New to this year’s festivities will be Saturday tours of five churches with historically interesting stained glass windows and organs.

“They’re all historic. They all have magnificent stained glass. It’s going to be a beautiful tour,” Duval said.

Thursday – with cooler and less humid weather in the forecast – will start the three-day event with a walking tour of historic Main Street that will include a viewing of the old Franklin Hall Vaudeville Theater.

Friday night, the public can attend a free Classic Brass Band Concert at the First Congregational Church, 199 Valley St. Following the performance will be a large buffet.

The Connecticut Eastern Railroad Museum will take part in the 14th annual Victorian Days the weekend of June 2-3, and will offer 1.5-mile train rides in an open car with benches. Photo of the “round house” courtesy of the Railroad Museum

Saturday and Sunday, visitors can tour Victorian homes, the Willimantic Camp Meeting Association (Saturday, only), the Elks Lodge, the Old Willimantic Cemetery, Windham Mills, the magnificent Garden on the Bridge neighboring the renovated mills and ArtSpace, Wright’s Pleasant Street Garden and the Windham Town Hall with its newly installed exhibit, “Connecticut’s Connection to the Titanic.”

The Windham Textile & History Museum/Visitor’s Center, the Windham Historical Society at Jillson House and the Connecticut Eastern Railroad Museum (set back from Bridge Street) will also feature exhibits and other activities.

The railroad museum will offer 1.5-mile train rides in an open car with benches. “The kids will love it,” Duval said.

The Victorian Teas are “real high teas,” using real china, silverware and linen napkins and tablecloths. Sandwiches, handmade scones, pastries and tea are served in one of the Victorian homes. The tea gatherings sell out quickly. “We tell people to reserve ahead of time, and they have to,” Duval said.

For information on where to buy tickets or to make advance reservations for tea on Saturday or Sunday, call (860) 428-7573.

To download a brochure detailing all the events and a map, visit the Willimantic Victorian Neighborhood Association Web site at http://www.victorianwillimantic.org/events/victorian-days-in-willimantic

Posted May 30, 2012 as edited by HTNP.com Editor Brenda Sullivan

Have a news item, event or Letter to the Editor you’d like posted on this news site? Simply send your information to editor@htnp.com and include your town in the subject line of your email. Please also include a phone number where you can be reached if there are questions. For daily updates on local and Connecticut news, “like” us on Facebook at HTNP News. https://www.facebook.com/HTNPnews and find us on Twitter at HTNP News (@HTNPNews )

Connecticut wins approval for No Child Left behind waivers

Connecticut’s No Child Left Behind waiver establishes a new, more comprehensive system of measuring student academic achievement and progress across all performance bands; adds writing and science assessments to the accountability system; and holds high schools accountable for graduation rates in addition to test scores. Photo source: WikiCommons public domain images

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today (May 29) announced that Connecticut’s application for a waiver from certain mandates imposed by the 2001 No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act has been approved.

The waiver, which grants states greater flexibility for implementing school reforms, comes just weeks after Gov. Malloy and legislative leaders reached an agreement to begin fixing what’s broken in Connecticut’s public schools.

The jointly-issued press release states that the NCLB Waiver, among other things, will ensure that Connecticut:

  • has greater flexibility with Federal Title 1 dollars, meaning that the state can now use that money to fund programs and reform models that are right for Connecticut and gets it to the students who need it;
  • avoids a situation where nearly half of the state’s public schools would have been deemed “failing” – setting in motion massive restructuring and possibly even school closures; and creates a system that more accurately measures student achievement across all levels.

NCLB requires a series of sanctions for schools that do not achieve 100 percent student proficiency on standardized assessments by 2014.

Connecticut’s waiver-

  • establishes a new, more comprehensive system of measuring student academic achievement and progress across all performance bands;
  • adds writing and science assessments to the accountability system;
  • and holds high schools accountable for graduation rates in addition to test scores.

And Connecticut’s education reform plans call for –

  • implementation of the Common Core State Standards and new assessments aligned to those standards in 2014-15;
  • authorization of intensive interventions and supports necessary to turn around Connecticut’s lowest performing schools and districts;
  • a new, enhanced system of teacher and principal evaluation and support;
  • and reduction of red tape and undue administrative burdens placed on districts.

All of these initiatives, set forth as guiding principles for education reform by Gov. Malloy in December 2011, were affirmed or enhanced with passage of Senate Bill 458, An Act Concerning Educational Reform, which was signed into law by Governor Malloy on May 14, 2012.

“I want to commend Connecticut for demonstrating real courage that made it one of the leading states in this round of plans,” Secretary Duncan said.

“Connecticut’s plan to adopt college and career-ready standards, elevate and support teachers, and focus resources in order to close the achievement gap will include hundreds more schools and thousands more children who were invisible under NCLB,” Duncan said.

Connecticut Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor said, “From Common Core implementation, to low-performing school turnaround, to educator evaluation, we were able to convey Connecticut’s authentic agenda in our presentation to the federal Education Department.”

“After too many years of failing to secure significant federal approvals for our education work here in Connecticut, we are finally entering an era of strong state/federal partnership regarding the strengthening of our schools,” Pryor said.

Posted May 29, 2012

Have a news item, event or Letter to the Editor you’d like posted on this news site? Simply send your information to editor@htnp.com and include your town in the subject line of your email. Please also include a phone number where you can be reached if there are questions. For daily updates on local and Connecticut news, “like” us on Facebook at HTNP News. https://www.facebook.com/HTNPnews and find us on Twitter at HTNP News (@HTNPNews )

Memorial Day Weekend a busy one for State Police and local firefighters

At the Lebanon, CT 2012 Memorial Day Parade - the World War II, Korea and Vietnam Veterans float. In the center waving to the crowd is 93-year-old Army Veteran Joseph Brissan from Lebanon. Photo by Al Malpa

The 2012 Memorial Day weekend was a busy one for Connecticut State Police, but the holiday was relatively quiet for local law enforcement agencies.

State police reported 279 accidents from midnight Friday, May 25 through midnight Monday, May 28, that resulted in 57 injuries and one fatality.

These numbers are up from the 2011 holiday weekend, when 260 accidents were reported, including 18 involving injuries and four fatalities.

“We were very active,” State Police spokesman Lt. J. Paul Vance said.

It was also a busy weekend for firefighters throughout the state. In the Windham area, local departments responded to two fires in Lebanon.

The American Red Cross responded to seven fires in the state over the weekend – and provided assistance to 57 people – including one that destroyed the 200-year-old Bevin Brothers bell factory, the last of its kind, in East Hampton, CT. In that instance, the Red Cross set up a temporary shelter when residents near the factory buildings were evacuated because of concern about toxic chemicals in the air.

Connecticut State Troopers made 77 drunken­-driving arrests this year, seven more than last year.

Offering a salute for fallen veterans are from right to left, Dana Hallenbeck, Joe Eaton, Bob LaMarche, Yvon Turgeon, Jim Sposito and Lem Theroux of the American Legion Post 52 in Coventry, CT. Members of the American Legion, Knights of Columbus, Cub Scouts Pack 57 and Boy Scout Troop 65, as well as the public, paid tribute at the 2012 Memorial Day ceremonies in Coventry, CT. Photo by Marie Brennan

There were 816 seatbelt violations and 1,797 speeding citations.

Willimantic Police Lt. Jack Reed said it was a “very quiet weekend” for his department.

Reed said his department responded to four accidents, two Friday and two Monday, none of which involved injuries.

This morning, he said that no individuals were arrested for driving while intoxicated.

Reed also said there were also no cell-phone violations or speeding tickets recorded, though some might be included in the system later in the day, he said.

The Memorial Day parade kept Willimantic officers busy.

Participants left from Memorial Park on Main Street and marched to the American Legion on Bricktop Road. Main Street was closed for the festivities, as it is every year.

Willimantic officers directed traffic and public works employees set up barriers around the parade route.

“There was a pretty good turn­out,” said Reed.

Coventry Police Chief Mark Palmer said traffic enforcement went smoothly over the weekend.

“It was relatively quiet,” Palmer said.

The department did not have any DWI checkpoints set up, but did conduct roving patrols.

Palmer said there were two accidents, both of which were very “minor” and did not involve injuries.

Coventry police made 26 motor vehicle stops, and issued 11 citations and 13 warnings.

The citations included three speeding citations, one for a cell­phone violation, and two traffic sign violations.

“It’s pretty typical,” Palmer said, comparing this year’s statistics from those for past Memorial Day weekends.

Police shut down roads surrounding the town parade, which kicked off at G. H. Robertson Intermediate School on Cross Street.

More people attended the town parade than in previous years, but traffic was under control, said Palmer. “People were very patient,” he said.

Posted May 29, 2012 as edited by HTNP.com Editor Brenda Sullivan

Have a news item, event or Letter to the Editor you’d like posted on this news site? Simply send your information to editor@htnp.com and include your town in the subject line of your email. Please also include a phone number where you can be reached if there are questions. For daily updates on local and Connecticut news, “like” us on Facebook at HTNP News. https://www.facebook.com/HTNPnews and find us on Twitter at HTNP News (@HTNPNews )

Enjoy Connecticut’s many beautiful state parks at a discount

Harkness Memorial State Park in Waterford, CT offers views of Long Island Sound, nature trails, picnic tables, beautiful gardens and a tour of the historic mansion (for an additional fee).

The State offers a number of seasonal passes to Connecticut’s many and varied state parks for reasonable prices.

With the cost of gas up one day and down the next – usually up once the summer vacation season rolls around – a day at a state park can be an affordable day trip.

Some parks, such as Harkness Memorial State Park in Waterford, offer ocean views and many offer picnic and cookout sites.

Most have hiking trails that vary from relatively flat and easy, to steep and challenging, often leading to a summit with an inspiring view.

Some parks are great for bird-watching, and others allow fishing.

Some parks, such as Gillette Castle State Park in East Haddam, also offer tours of historic and unusual estates.

Before bringing your four-legged family member along, check that a particular park allows dogs. If it does, your dog must be on a leash and you should bring drinking water and the necessary equipment for cleaning up after your dog.

Here is some information about discounted passes.

Season passes

For the frequent park visitor, Connecticut offers a season pass (a windshield sticker) that allows unlimited vehicle access to any state park or recreation area that has a parking fee, for no extra charge.

Season passes are valid for one vehicle per pass (non-transferable to any other vehicle) for an entire calendar year.

Season passes are not valid for admission to Dinosaur or Fort Trumbull State Park Exhibit Centers or tours of Gillette Castle (but you can visit the grounds), camping or special events with charges; if an area is closed to the public for any reason; for commercial use or on a commercial vehicle; if not adhered to the windshield (motorcycle operators may handhold the pass) of a registered vehicle.

A separate Heritage Passport will allow for unlimited access to Dinosaur, Fort Trumbull and Gillette Castle State Parks until the end of the calendar year.  The cost is $67 and is good for a family (2 adults and up to 4 children). You can buy your Heritage Passport at any one of the three parks.

A season pass for access to  all other parks is $67 for Connecticut residents and $112 for Out-of State residents and can be paid for online at the DEEP Store (The Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection)  http://www.ctdeepstore.com, as well as by mail or in person.

By mail, send a check for the fee, plus $2.50 for shipping and handling, made out to Treasurer, State of Connecticut to: DEEP Store, 79 Elm St., Hartford, CT 06106-5127

Your pass will be sent via first class mail with delivery confirmation to the address provided in your request.

Free lifetime passes

Called the Charter Oak Pass, this one provides access to all Connecticut state parks and forests and is available free to Connecticut residents age 65 or older.

It is accepted at all day-use areas where a parking fee applies and allows free access for the entering vehicle and passengers. And the pass holder does not have to be the vehicle driver.

It also allows free admission for the Charter Oak pass holder when visiting Gillette Castle, Dinosaur or Fort Trumbull State Parks, or fishing at the Quinebaug Valley Hatchery.  Accompanying visitors, however, will be required to pay the appropriate fee.

Please note that each pass is issued to a specific person and can only be used when presented by that individual.  Also, they are not valid for camping or special events that have separate admission charges, and may not be used for commercial purposes.

For a list of offices where you can buy your Charter Oak Pass in person (please bring proof of age and Connecticut residency), click this link and scroll half-way down the page.

Another free, lifetime pass is available for disabled veterans.

The Disabled Veteran Pass provides access to Connecticut state parks and forests and is available free to Connecticut residents who have a service-connected disability.

It allows free access for the entering vehicle and all passengers. Again, the pass holder does not have to be the driver.

This pass is not valid for camping or special events that have separate admission charges and may not be used for commercial purposes.

However, this pass can be used for free admission to Gillette Castle, Dinosaur or Fort Trumbull State Parks, or fishing at the Quinebaug Valley Hatchery.  Accompanying visitors will be required to pay the appropriate fee.

You will need to show (or mail a copy of) your current Connecticut drivers license or other legal proof of residency, as well as a copy of your VA card or VA Benefits Letter indicating a service-connected disability. Mail to: DEEP Disabled Veteran Pass, State Parks Division, 79 Elm St., Hartford, CT 06106-5127. Questions? Call 860-424-3200 state office hours.

Letterboxing

And did you know that many state forests are included in letterboxing activities? Letterboxing is something like a treasure hunt in which boxes containing a log book and rubber stamp are hidden in the parks. Maps are created and the boxes hidden by participants, and clues to finding the boxes are posted on the Web.

You can learn more about letterboxing in this area at this site http://letterboxing.org/faq/faq.html

And this link will take you to a map of Connecticut counties and links to the letterbox maps for those areas.

And here is a link to Connecticut state forests with letterboxing trails and their clues.

More info

For descriptions of the state parks and the facilities they offer, click on this link http://www.ct.gov/dep/cwp/view.asp?a=2716&q=325086&depNav_GID=1650

For more information about passes, click on this link http://www.ct.gov/dep/cwp/view.asp?a=2716&q=325090&depNav_GID=1650

Also note that from time-to-time, the governor has declared certain dates to be admission-free at state parks and forests. Watch for those announcements here.

Posted May 27, 2012

Have a news item, event or Letter to the Editor you’d like posted on this news site? Simply send your information to editor@htnp.com and include your town in the subject line of your email. Please also include a phone number where you can be reached if there are questions. For daily updates on local and Connecticut news, “like” us on Facebook at HTNP News. https://www.facebook.com/HTNPnews and find us on Twitter at HTNP News (@HTNPNews )

2012 Memorial Day ceremonies and parades in our area

Navy veterans and Pearl Harbor survivors John Busma, left, a machinist's mate 1st class aboard the repair ship USS Medusa (AR 1), and Richard Cramer, a signalman 1st class aboard USS Pennsylvania (BB 38) on Dec. 7, 1941, listen to the program during 5th annual Pearl Harbor Commemorative Celebration, Dec. 7, 2011 at Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach, Detachment Norco, home of Naval Surface Warfare Center, Corona Division. The theme of the event was Keeping Traditions Alive, commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and 70 years of Navy presence in Riverside County, first as a naval hospital serving wounded from Pearl Harbor and currently as the Navy's independent assessment agent and one of its newest federal labs. (U.S. Navy photo by Greg Vojtko/Released)

Here are some of the 2012 Memorial Day activities slated for the HTNP.com readership area this weekend.

Sunday, May 27

SCOTLAND – The Memorial Day Parade kicks off at noon, and follows Route 97 from the town green to the Scotland Cemetery, where a ceremony will take place.

Monday, May 28

ASHFORD – The Memorial Day parade will begin at 11 a.m. at the firehouse on Route 89. Those marching in the parade are asked to meet at the fire station between 10 and 10:15 a.m. The parade will end at Pompey Hollow Park, where a service will be held.

COLUMBIA – Veterans will be honored during a Memorial Day ceremony at the town green, across from Columbia Town Hall on Route 66, beginning at 9 a.m.

During the ceremony, First Selectwoman Carmen Vance will make remarks and there will be a moment of silence for deceased veterans. Taps will be played and at the end of the ceremony, Vance will read a poem.

COVENTRY – The town’s Memorial Day parade starts at 10 a.m., beginning at the G.H. Robertson School on Cross Street, off of Route 31 (Main Street).

The parade will proceed to the Veteran’s Green for a brief service and then reform to continue down Lake Street to Main Street. The parade will end at Bradbury Lane.

HAMPTON – Memorial Day remembrances will take place throughout town. From 7 to 9 a.m., a Memorial Day breakfast will be served at the Hampton Congregational Church. At 9 a.m., the Memorial Day Parade starts at Route 97, from the Fletcher Memorial Library to the Hampton Community Center.

Hampton Town Hall will then host several Memorial Day remembrances and speeches starting at 10 a.m.

At noon, a ceremony for the Navy will take place at Little River on Hammond Hill Road.

And a chicken BBQ will be served at the Hampton Community Center from 11:20 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The day’s events include a 12:30 p.m. concert at the community center by the Juniper Hill Jumpers, a Dixieland jazz band.

HEBRON – The Memorial Day Parade kicks off at 10 a. m., follows Wall Street (Route 316) at RHAM High School. The parade will be followed by the dedication of a Civilian Aircraft Observation Post and World War II Memorial at the Hebron Town Office building. (See separate story in Hebron Today)

MANSFIELD – Memorial Day Parade starts at 9 a.m., from the intersection of Route 195 (Storrs Road) and Bassetts Bridge Road in Mansfield Center. Marchers will meet at 8:30 a.m. on Bassetts Bridge Road. The parade will progress north on Route 195 and down Cemetery Road to the new Mansfield Center cemetery.

All veterans and active duty personnel are invited to march at the head of the parade.

There will be a memorial ceremony at the cemetery.

In the event of heavy rain, the ceremony will be held in the Mansfield Middle School gymnasium, the school is located at 205 Spring Hill Road, off of Route 195.

WINDHAM/ WILLIMANTIC – The Windham/Willimantic Memorial Day pilgrimage begins at 7 a.m. at the VFW on 1415 Main St. to begin a visit to each of the town’s cemeteries and memorials.

These include: New Willimantic Cemetery, Old Willimantic Cemetery, South Windham Memorial, Windham Center Cemetery, Windham Center Memorials, North Windham Cemetery, St. Joseph Cemetery, Russian Orthodox Cemetery and Windham Veteran’s Greenway.

At 9 a.m. coffee and doughnuts will be served at the VFW. And at 11 a.m., an observance will take place at Memorial Park on Main Street.

Following, the Memorial Day parade will form and march to the American Legion Hall on Brick Top Road.

Posted May 27, 2012

Have a news item, event or Letter to the Editor you’d like posted on this news site? Simply send your information to editor@htnp.com and include your town in the subject line of your email. Please also include a phone number where you can be reached if there are questions. For daily updates on local and Connecticut news, “like” us on Facebook at HTNP News at https://www.facebook.com/HTNPnews and find us on Twitter at HTNP News (@HTNPNews )

Fiber arts, tea party among local Sunday events

The Friends of the Prudence Crandall Museum Inc., will present the annual Spring Tea Luncheon from 1 to 3 p.m. at Carter House, next to the Prudence Crandall Museum in Canterbury.

Here are just a few of the fun and interesting events, many of them free, happening in our area today, Sunday, May 20.

FIBER ARTS FESTIVAL — COVENTRY

A Stitch in Time Fiber Arts Festival will take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Expected are spinners, knitters, weavers, quilters and other artists at the Hale Homestead, 2299 South St., Coventry. Donations accepted. Free tour of the homestead for CT Landmarks members. Members-to-be can take a guided tour for just $5. Info: (860) 742-6917.

THIRD ANNUAL CRUISE DAY

The Ashford Senior Center presents the third annual Cruise Day from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 25 Tremko Lane, Ashford. Info: (860) 487-5122.

EXHIBIT OPENING — CRANDALL MUSEUM

The Prudence Crandall Museum, 1 South Canterbury Road, Canterbury, will host an exhibit opening of “Friends and Neighbors: Canterbury’s 18th and 19th Century African- American Residents” beginning at 11 a.m.

RABIES VACCINATIONS — SCOTLAND

The Town of Scotland will host its annual rabies vaccination clinic next month. The clinic will be held at the Scotland Fire Safety Complex, 47 Brook Road, from 1 to 3 p.m. The cost is $12 per vaccination and only cash will be accepted.

POETRY READING — CRANDALL MUSEUM

Prudence Crandall Museum, 1 South Canterbury Road, Canterbury, will host a poetry reading from 1 to 3 p.m. Poets Marilyn Nelson (Connecticut Poet Laureate 2001-2006) Bessy Reyna and Kate Rushin will read from the book “Miss Crandall’s School for Young Ladies and Little Misses of Color.” Program includes dance performance by Deborah Goffee, artistic director and founder of Scapegoat Garden dance theater in Hartford. Admission: $6 adults/$4 senior citizens (60 and over) and youth (6-17), ages 5 and under free. Info: (860) 546-7800.

SPRING TEA LUNCHEON — CRANDALL MUSEUM

The Friends of the Prudence Crandall Museum Inc., will present the annual Spring Tea Luncheon from 1 to 3 p.m. at Carter House, next to the Prudence Crandall Museum in Canterbury at the intersection of routes 14 and 169. Cost is $17 per person and reservations must be made due to limited seating. In addition, the fee includes entrance to the Crandall Museum. Call (860) 546-9266 now to reserve your place.

CHICKEN BARBECUE — WILLIMANTIC

The Willimantic VFW Post 1724 Ladies Auxiliary, will host a chicken barbecue from 3 to 6 p.m. at the VFW home, Main Street, Willimantic. Cost is $7/person.

WVNA MONTHLY MEETING

The Willimantic Victorian Neighborhood Association will conduct its monthly meeting at 3:30 p.m. at its meeting house at 869 Main St., Willimantic. Potluck dinner to follow at 201 Lewiston Ave., Willimantic.

WINE AND BEER FESTIVAL IN HAMPTON

Joshua’s Tract Conservation and Historic Trust will host a wine and beer festival at the Hampton Community Center, 178 Main St., Hampton, to raise funds for its land conservation activities from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Co-sponsored with Bombadil’s Spirit Shop, Mansfield. Cost is $35 per person for members, $40 for non-members. Advance reservations are recommended. A reservation form with online payment is available at www.joshuaslandtrust.org. Tickets will be available at the door until the event is sold out.

Have a news item, event or Letter to the Editor you’d like posted on this news site? Simply send your information to editor@htnp.com and include your town in the subject line of your email. Please also include a phone number where you can be reached if there are questions. For daily updates on local and Connecticut news, “like” us on Facebook at HTNP News. https://www.facebook.com/HTNPnews

Spectacular solar eclipse on Sunday, but we won’t see it in Connecticut

May 19, 2012 Areawide No Comments

Those ideally situated, viewing the eclipse from the center, will see this "ring of fire" on May 20, 2012 when an "annular" eclipse occurs. (Please follow safety rules when viewing an eclipse. Visit the NASA site for details.)

What’s called an “annular” eclipse of the sun will occur on Sunday, May 20 but in Connecticut it will already be evening here.

Your friends living on the western parts of the U.S. will have a chance to catch it (hopefully, observing safety precautions). The eclipse will begin at 5:24 p.m. Pacific time.

According to NASA:

On May 20-21, 2012 an annular eclipse of the Sun will be visible from within a narrow corridor along Earth’s northern Hemisphere – beginning in eastern Asia, crossing the North Pacific Ocean, and ending in the western United States. A partial eclipse will be visible from a much larger region covering East Asia, North Pacific, North America and Greenland.

However, the world of media being what it is today, we will likely be treated to photos on Facebook and on news blogs, as well images on the TV news, and on the NASA web site www.nasa.gov

You can get a “preview” by watching the NASA video at http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov or watch here:

The moon is expected to cover about 94 percent of the sun, leaving a ring of light that experts say can cause eye damage or blindness if viewed directly.

If you remember the last solar eclipse visible in this part of the world, you may recall seeing tiny slivers of moon shapes covering the ground if you were standing under a tree.

A total or “annular” eclipse happens when the Earth, moon and sun are in alignment. The last time this happened was 1994. The next one will be in May 2013 and we should be able to see it at that time. The next total eclipse will be in 2017.

Posted May 19, 2012

Have a news item, event or Letter to the Editor you’d like posted on this news site? Simply send your information to editor@htnp.com and include your town in the subject line of your email. Please also include a phone number where you can be reached if there are questions. For daily updates on local and Connecticut news, “like” us on Facebook at HTNP News.

Events for Saturday May 19: Plant sales, live music, quilt show and more

On Sunday, May 20, the congregation of St. Paul's Episcopal Church and local residents take time to give back to our creator with a 9 a.m. service of song and thanksgiving. Then plant trees, retrieve trash, tour the Taylor Court Community Garden where we grow vegetables for the Covenant Soup Kitchen, take a walking tour, visit our plant sale – and have lunch at St. Paul's. For a minimum donation of $5, each person will receive a seedling tree, a recycle bag, bumper sticker, bottled water and an informational packet on the “Spring Thing.” Everyone is invited to join us for lunch.

Here are some of the fun community events taking place on Saturday, May 19. If you’d like your activity or group meeting included in the weekend listing, please send your information (see below for format)  to editor@htnp.com

BIRD WATCHING

The Natchaug Ornithological Society hosts a free field trip to Boston Hollow. Because of limited parking, the group will meet at 7:30 a.m. at Ashford Elementary School on Route 89 and carpool from there. Questions? Contact, Tom Harrington at greatgrayowl@sbcglobal.net

PLANT SALE AND MORE – WILLIMANTIC

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 220 Valley Street, Willimantic hosts, “Do the Spring Thing.” For complete details, visit http://stpaulswillimantic.org Kick off is 9 a.m. on Sat, May 19 with start of annual plant sale. Sunday, May 20, the congregation of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and local residents take time to give back to our creator with a 9 a.m. service of song and thanksgiving. Then plant trees, retrieve trash, tour the Taylor Court Community Garden where we grow vegetables for the Covenant Soup Kitchen, take a walking tour, visit our plant sale – and have lunch at St. Paul’s. For a minimum donation of $5, each person will receive a seedling tree, a recycle bag, bumper sticker, bottled water and an informational packet on the “Spring Thing.” Everyone is invited to join us for lunch.

CHAPLIN PLANT SALE

Chaplin Elementary School, 240 Palmer Road, Chaplin, hosts a plant sale in the school cafeteria from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

FLEA MARKET — MANSFIELD

Southeast Elementary School, 134 Warrenville Road (Route 89), Mansfield, hosts a flea market from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

NATURE HIKE — HAMPTON

The Goodwin Forest Conservation Education Center, 23 Potter Road, Hampton, leads an interpretive 3.25-mile hike to Black Spruce Pond from 9 a.m. to noon; it will feature looks at returning migratory birds, spring wildflowers and a newly regenerated hardwood forest. Info/registration: (860) 455-9534.

SWIM LESSON SIGN-UPS

Sign-ups for Red Cross swim lessons will take place at the Lebanon town pool, corner of Route 87 and 207, Lebanon, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

SPRING BAZAAR — MANSFIELD

Mansfield Senior Center, 303 Maple Road, Storrs, holds its spring bazaar from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

TOWN-WIDE TAG SALE – Andover

The Town of Andover holds its annual town-wide tag sale from 9 a. m. to 3 p. m. Maps are available in the town clerk’s office or in the bulletin board in front of the town office building, 17 School Road, Andover.

ANNUAL PLANT SALE — WINDHAM

The Garden Club of Windham invites residents to its annual plant sale from 9 a.m. to noon in the cafeteria at Windham High School, 355 High St., Willimantic. Proceeds are contributed to the Windham community in support of enrichment programs, activities and public space beautification.  Visit us at http://gardenclubofwindham.org

VILLAGE COFFEE — WINDHAM CENTER

St. Paul’s Church, Plains Road, Windham Center, hosts a village coffee event every other Saturday through the beginning of June from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. These coffee hours offer Windham Center residents and anyone else a place to gather, catch up on happenings in the area, discuss local issues, meet neighbors and relax over free coffee, tea and snacks.

PLANT AND BAKE SALE — SCOTLAND

The Congregational Church of Scotland hosts a plant and bake sale from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the Scotland Green, Route 14, Scotland.

FARM DAY — SCOTLAND

Scotland Historical Society hosts Farm Day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Waldo House, Waldo Road, Scotland. Many demonstrations and other events. Antique cars and farm vehicles will also be on display. Rain or shine. Admission: $5 adults; children under age 12 free. Info: (860) 456-0081and/or www.scotlandhistoricalsociety.org PLEASE, no pets.

FIBER ARTS FESTIVAL — COVENTRY

“A Stitch in Time Fiber Arts Festival” will take place Saturday and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Expected are spinners, knitters, weavers, quilters and other artists at the Nathan Hale Homestead, 2299 South St., Coventry. Donations accepted. Free tour of the homestead for CT Landmarks members. Members-to-be can take a guided tour for just $5. Info: (860) 742-6917.

SCHOOL FUN FAIR — MANSFIELD

Goodwin Elementary School, 321 Hunting Lodge Road, Mansfield, hosts a fun fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Come enjoy hours of fun with something for everyone.

FAMILY STORY TIME — MANSFIELD

Mansfield Public Library, 54 Warrenville Road, Mansfield, holds a family story time at 10:30 a.m. All ages welcome. Info: (860) 423-2501 or visit www.mansfieldpubliclibraryct.org

HISTORIC OPEN HOUSE – SCOTLAND

From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., tour guides will lead visitors through the birthplace of Samuel Huntington, signer of the Declaration of Independence and considered by some to be the true first American president. The Gov. Samuel Huntington Trust opens the homestead on the first and third Saturdays of each month through October and is located on Route 14 just west of the Scotland town center. Free admission, but donations appreciated. Info: Visit http://huntingtonhomestead.org or call (860) 423-1547.

BEREAVEMENT SUPPORT – MANSFIELD

Hospice of Eastern Connecticut holds its Saturday Bereavement Group from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at 34 Ledgebrook Drive, Mansfield. This support group is appropriate for those who are grieving a year or more and is open to the community. Info: (860) 456-7288 ext. 293

‘PURAPLICIOUS’ TEA PARTY – S. WINDHAM

Guilford Smith Memorial Library, 17 Main St., South Windham, hosts a tea party at noon. Drop by for tea and wear fancy clothes. Info: (860) 423-5159.

300 YEARS OF QUILTS – COVENTRY

300 Years of Coventry Quilts exhibit will take place from noon to 4 p.m. Sponsored by the Coventry Historical Society at the Strong-Porter Museum, 2382 South St., Coventry. View nearly 100 antique and new quilts in all phases of construction along a picturesque woodland path. Info: email gdilk@aol.com or call (860) 742-9656. Donation: $5 per person.

LAMPWORK EXHIBIT — LEBANON

The Jonathan Trumbull Jr. House, 780 Trumbull Highway, Route 87, Lebanon opens for the 2012 season from noon to 4 p.m. with a reception for Lebanon artist Jaci Sinkewicz and the opening of her exhibit, “Glass and Fire: The Art of Lampworking.” Lampworking is a type of glasswork that uses a gas-fueled torch. Info: (860) 642-7987. To learn more about Jonathan Trumbull, Jr. visit http://historicbuildingsct.com/?p=642, and to learn more about his father, the Connecticut governor, visit http://www.govtrumbullhousedar.org

MEMORIAL MUSIC FEST – LEBANON

The Casey Yates Memorial Music Festival will be held at 1 p.m. at the Lebanon Fairgrounds, Mack Road, Lebanon. Admission is $10. This event will portray Yates’ love for music by providing a place for family, friends and people in the community to come together and enjoy music by several local musicians. Members of Yate’s band, “Moss.” will perform songs written and recorded by Yates that will be played live for the first time at the Memorial Music Festival. Donations/checks can be made to Casey’s Charities, 175 Sisson Road, Lebanon 06249. Casey  Dane Yates, 24, of Lebanon, CT died July 5, 2011 after a tragic accident in Dallas. He was born in Willimantic, CT on July 24, 1986. Casey was a passionate and caring young man with a unique sense of humor. He loved his music and helping people. He was an accomplished scholar, earning many awards in high school and college. He graduated from Lyman Memorial H.S. in 2005 and from University of Hartford in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree, summa cum laude in Radiology/CT.  At the time of his death, he was a post- baccalaureate pre-med student at the University of Texas at Dallas.

FARMERS MARKET — STORRS

Storrs Farmers Market is open every Saturday from 3 to 6 p.m. The market is located in the Mansfield Town Hall parking lot on Storrs Road (Route 195) You can find Storrs Farmers Market on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/StorrsFarmersMarket

POTLUCK AND LIVE MUSIC — WILLIMANTIC

The Country Misfits will perform at the VFW Post 1724, Main Street, Willimantic, from 4 to 8 p.m. Potluck, bring a dish to share.

HAM AND BEAN SUPPER — MANSFIELD

Echo Grange 180 holds a ham and bean supper at the Grange Hall, 483 Storrs Road (Route 195), in Mansfield Center from 5 to 7 p.m. Proceeds from the supper will be used to further community service projects. Adults are $8, seniors $7, children 4-12 are $5 and children under 4 eat for free. Takeout dinners also available.

LASAGNA DINNER — LEBANON

Goshen Congregational Church, 157 Church Road, Lebanon, hosts a lasagna dinner from 5 to 7 p.m. in the fellowship hall. Adults $10, seniors $9, children age 12 and under $5, children under age 5 eat for free. Proceeds to benefit GCC Scholarship Fund. Info: (860) 642-4336.

HAM AND BEAN SUPPER — HEBRON

St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, 30 Church St. (Route 85), Hebron, holds a ham and beans dinner from 5 to 7 p.m. Cost is $12 adults, $6 children ages 6-12, and kids 5 and younger eat for free. Info: (860) 228-3244 or visit www.StPetersHebron.com

PROGRAM AND POTLUCK — MANSFIELD

First Church of Christ in Mansfield, UCC, 549 Storrs Road hosts a Sierra Leone presentation with potluck supper at 6 p.m. Artifacts, food, history of Sierra Leone. All invited. Info: (860) 423-9008.

SPAGHETTI AND RAFFLE – WILLINGTON

Willington Nursery Cooperative hosts a spaghetti dinner at the Willington Hill Fire Department, 24 Old Farms Road, Willington at 6 p.m. Info: (860) 617-2339

DANCE SHOWCASE – WILLIMANTIC

EastConn’s Capitol Theater Arts Academy (CTAA) will present its annual Spring Dance Showcase at the Capitol Theater, 896 Main St., Willimantic, featuring 63 young dancers from across northeastern Connecticut at 7 p.m. General admission tickets are $10. Tickets for students and seniors are $8. For tickets and information, contact Jessica Folta at (860) 465-5636.

Posted May 19, 2012

Have a news item, event or Letter to the Editor you’d like posted on this news site? Simply send your information to editor@htnp.com and include your town in the subject line of your email. Please also include a phone number where you can be reached if there are questions. For daily updates on local and Connecticut news, “like” us on Facebook at HTNP News.

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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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