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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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Hebron man accused of nearly drowning canoeists on Coventry Lake

July 3, 2012 Local News No Comments

Paddling on Coventry Lake in Connecticut. File photo 2009 by HTNP.com

The Courant is reporting that 25-year-old Peter Zmigrodski of Hebron, CT has been arrested in relation to an incident in May 2012 on Coventry Lake that police say sent two canoeists to the hospital.

Police say witnesses saw Zmigrodski, who was operating a power boat, cause a canoe with two men in it to capsize.

For the full story, click here.

Posted July 3, 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 )

Coventry High makes the grade in national rankings

Coventry High School Principal Michele Mullaly said students who take AP courses and earn college credits are less likely to drop out from college and tend to finish college quicker.

Coventry High School was recently designated as a top high school in the state via the Washington Post’s annual rankings of the nation’s high schools.

Coventry placed 19 out of the 25 ranked schools in Connecticut and 1,429 out of 2,000 for schools ranked nationwide.

Only 9 percent of the country’s 22,000 public high schools are ranked in the Post’s survey — with a total of 2,000 qualifying schools accounted for.

Originated by education columnist Jay Mathews in 1998, the High School Challenge compares schools by a Challenge Index Score.

The score is calculated by dividing the number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and Advanced International Certificate Education exams at each school by the number of graduating seniors.

The exams require teachers to spend more time teaching critical thinking and analytical writing and are much longer than high school finals.

CHS Principal Michele Mullaly said, with the help of a Project Opening Doors grant, the school “opens the door to students” looking for a challenge.

Project Opening Doors (POD) is a partnership between the public and private sectors whose goal is to increase Connecticut students’ participation and achievement in AP courses and better ensure their success in college.

The high school also has many partnerships that allow students to take advantage of college courses while still in high school.

Through the UConn Early College Experience (ECE) program, the high school is able to offer 26 college credits — credits that are transferable to other colleges.

Through the Manchester Community College High School Partnership Program, the school offers nine courses, or 27 college credits, that also can be transferred from MCC to other colleges.

The school also maintains partnerships with Goodwin College, University of Saint Joseph and the University of Hartford, through which students may earn college credits.

Currently, the high school offers 10 AP classes ranging from European history to calculus.

Lead guidance counselor and AP coordinator Heather Mackintosh noted, “Participation is increasing even though enrollment is down.”

“I couldn’t be more proud of the kids,” Mullaly said.

Mullaly said students who take AP courses and earn college credits are less likely to drop out from college and tend to finish college quicker.

“This is not only rewarding for the kids, but for us as well,” Mullaly said.

Posted June 25, 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 )

Coventry Class of 2012 showered with advice

June 25, 2012 Local News No Comments

Although Coventry isn’t terribly large, salutatorian Samantha Kozlowski needed a large dose of courage in giving her address to the family and friends of the 138 members of Coventry High School Class of 2012. “Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would be giving a speech at my graduation, as public speaking is one of my biggest fears,” Kozlowski admitted. Photo by Al Malpa

Much of the town may have lost power during Friday’s severe thunderstorms, but graduates of Coventry High School were all charged up for the future at graduation on Saturday (June 23).

Early morning rain gave way to sunny skies, just in time for the 10 a.m. ceremonies.

“It’s such a beautiful day after the rain,” said Nancy Saul, aunt of graduate Cheryl Dickerson, who came down from Maine for the ceremony.

With Saul were Dickerson’s parents, Wendy and Jerry Dickerson, and younger sister Allyson Dickerson, a freshman at Coventry High.

Dickerson’s mother said that after graduation, Cheryl Dickerson will likely go on to Manchester Community College.

“And in three more years we’ll be back here for Allyson,” said Jerry Dickerson, who is a maintenance technician at the school.

Coventry Board of Education Chair Jennifer Beausolei thanked parents for the trust placed in the administration of the school system, and said the entire town contributes to the raising of its children.

She quoted Benjamin Franklin by saying “an investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.”

New Superintendent of Schools David Petrone also addressed parents of the graduates, and recalled highlights of a parent’s life as a child progresses through grades and milestones.

“I believe, wholeheartedly, that these students are prepared to begin the new chapter of their lives,” because good parents like those in Coventry had given their children both roots and wings, Petrone said.

Valedictorian Marina Zoghbi also told her fellow classmates they should be proud of both their accomplishments and the community that had helped shape them.

“We cannot forget the community,” Zoghbi said. “This small town we grew up in and will always support us.”

Although Coventry isn’t terribly large, salutatorian Samantha Kozlowski needed a large dose of courage in giving her address to the family and friends of the 138 graduates.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would be giving a speech at my graduation, as public speaking is one of my biggest fears,” Kozlowski admitted.

She overcame her fears and received inspiration, literally, from her father, who told her to focus on inspiring things.

“It is crucial that everyone acknowledges who has inspired them, but more importantly, don’t be afraid to act on what inspires you. May your years here inspire your future,” Kozlowski said.

Focusing on the future was the theme of both the class vice president’s and the class president’s addresses.

Class Vice President Jenna Elsesser gave the welcoming address, and quoted Charlie Brown, saying “life doesn’t provide you answers like a math textbook with the answers in the back.”

She said graduates should find meaning all through their journey through life.

Class President Ada Peters gave the farewell address, and reminded graduates that, just as their plans for the future had changed all through their childhood and youth, they will continue to change.

Peters reminded the seniors how their future career goals had shifted from, perhaps, being a princess to being an Olympic runner to being an architect.

 

She said it was important to remember no hard and fast decisions had to be made for the rest of their lives.

“There is no finite plan for the students sitting on this stage,” Peters said. “We are all nervous about the future. Why are we so worried? We cannot connect the dots looking forward. We can only connect them looking back.”

CHS Principal Michele Mullaly reminded the graduates that they all have talents. “Individually, and as a class, you are wonderful,” she said, and joked that based on the heavy use of cell phones she witnessed, they also place a high value on connections and communications.

She reminded graduates to use communication to bring people together instead of tearing people down. “My advice is to be happy and seek to make others happy,” she said.

Coventry commencement traditions include graduates leaving their seats to bring flowers to loved ones in the audience during the carnation ceremony.

Another one is the singing the school song, which this year was performed by Alexa Jacobs, a distinguished performer in regional and state competitions.

Coventry High School Class of 2012

W. Reid Alosky, Jamie Angelo, Qaniat Anwar, Richard Ashley, Sarah Barnett, Angela Barrette, John Becker, Kathryn Berger, Frank Bishop, Ryan Boutin, Miranda Bragdon, Joseph Branciforte, Katherine Brierley, Michael Brown, Alexa Burger, Douglas Burke, Nicholas Burokas, Ryan Butler, Christopher Butt, Morgan Carver, Kaitlyn Chasse, Catrina Christensen, Frank Corbett, Ryan Corcoran, Edward Crocker, Jeffrey Crosby, Kaitlyn Crosby, Jessica Curtis, Zachary Cushing, Lindsey Daigneault, Carli Dantas, Colin Delaney, Thomas Delaney, Cheryl Dickerson, Christopher Didero-Gonzalez, Morgan Doane, Michael Dolan, Jake Downham.

Jenna Elsesser, Mary Leigh Enders, Zachery Figueiredo, Cole Fleeher, Eric Fleeher, Meghan Fowler, Albert Garcia, Jessica Gardner, Sarah Gokey, Timothy Goodale, Michael Griffith, Ashley Grindal, Shelby Groskritz, Jeremy Haddock, Laura Hayden, Luke Herzog, JoMarie Hofmann, Natasha Hood, Brandon Huestis, Gretta Ingraham, Alexa Jacobs, Ernest Jellinek, Timothy Jennison, Joakim Jensen, Zachary Jensen, Shelley Jones, Ashley Kelly, Ashlee Kendall, Nicole Kenefick, Jaclyn Kocor, Marla Koschinski, Samantha Kozlowski, Matthew Krewalk.

Jonathan Lamb, Nicholas LaPointe, Brent LaVoie, Kayla Lent, Tyler LePage, Justin Lindinger, Crystal Loethscher, Nicole Lupacchino, Stephanie Magno, Alex Mancino, Daniel Marinaro, Spencer Markie, Victoria Martin, Mara Matthias, Devin McDermott, Erin McMahon, Jesse Mercer, Sarah Mills, Tobias Moehrle, Patrick Mohan, Paige Morrison, Tierney Morton, Nicholas Norstrom, Ryan Nye, Taylor Ossolinski, Emily Ouellette, Anthony Pappalardo, Nathan Peck-Rizzo, Chelsea Perrigo, Ada Peters, Levi Petersen, Danielle Piantanida, Samantha Pietro, Kristen Powell, Kathryn Pugh, Brencis Pukinskis.

Patrick Reynolds, Kyle Richard, Victoria Richard, Jasmine Rios, Haley Rosborg, Aaron Rose, Briana St. Germain, Alexandra Salinsky, Christopher Santos, Brianna Schnell, Lauren Semmelroth, Alexander Sime, Lisa Smart, John Steadward, Quinten Stoddard, Matthew Strauss, Olivia Suter, Alec Taylor, John-David Torstenson, Taylor Vann, Zachary Vannais, Joseph Viscuso, Ineke Vromans, Nicole Waite, Zachary Walsh, Jeremy Weeks, Keanu Woodard, Kelly Zikoski, Marina Zoghbi.

Posted June 25, 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 )

Jobs, housing topics of forum on Eastern CT

The purpose of the “visioning sessions” is to present current points of the study and to gather feedback and ideas from local residents. Livingston pointed to the difficulty of the task, given eastern Connecticut encompasses 41 towns, the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribal nations, and the fact that region is composed of village, rural and urban areas. Map graphic copyright 2012 by Brenda Sullivan

The comments of community members may result in a more sustainable future for Eastern Connecticut.

At a public “visioning session” last week, a dozen area residents and officials gathered at Windham Town Hall to learn about and weigh in on a planning study that examines the region’s potential for sustainability improvements.

The study looks at three areas of potential growth — mobility, employment and housing — on a regional scale and considers how these areas might be improved in an integrated, practical way.

“It’s looking at gaps in what’s out there. What issues cross boundaries throughout this region?” asked Ken Livingston, vice president and principal associate at the planning firm of Fitzgerald and Halliday.

The session, along with another Wednesday, June 20 in Dayville, and a third held Thursday in Norwich, was hosted by the Eastern Connecticut Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Consortium. Members of the study team presented the findings and guided small group discussions.

The consortium partners with the Windham Region Council of Governments, Northeastern Connecticut Council of Governments, Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments, Eastern Connecticut Workforce Investment Board, and Southeastern Connecticut Housing Alliance.

The study, funded through a $225,000 grant from the state Department of Housing and Urban Development, began in September 2011 and will be completed by December 2013 at the latest, at which time the consortium will have a concise list of specific, doable recommendations for regional improvements.

The purpose of the “visioning sessions” is to present current points of the study and to gather feedback and ideas from local residents.

Livingston pointed to the difficulty of the task, given eastern Connecticut encompasses 41 towns, the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribal nations, and the fact that region is composed of village, rural and urban areas.

“There’s a diversity of issues and concerns,” he explained.

The study’s concentrations include diversified and affordable housing, workforce development and effectiveness of transportation.

Small breakout discussions were organized into these categories, but the interconnectedness of the issues was noted.

Affordable housing and dependable jobs should be located closer together, attendees said, which would lessen the burden on providing transportation.

Meanwhile, public transportation services could be connected between different areas of the region and service could be expanded.

Job training could be improved and coordinated with the needs of area employers, thus bridging the gap between the “supply of labor coming out of local schools” and “what the companies are looking for,” said Todd Poole study team member and managing principal for 4WARD Planning.

State Rep. Susan Johnson, D-Willimantic, attended the visioning session and spoke of the city’s potential. “We have a lot of resources here that could really help to change the economy,” Johnson said. She pointed to the freight rail lines, the airport, mills and other assets that could be harnessed to return Willimantic to its productive days.

She said she sees high-level manufacturing, to which much of the state has already begun to shift, as an exciting opportunity for the city. “If we act together, we can really attract a lot of people to the region,” Johnson said.

Columbia Town Planner Jana Butts, who is also a senior planner at WINCOG, was interested in the concept of “locational efficiency,” which would bring housing and jobs geographically closer.

“People who live close to their work are saving a lot of money, but also living a greener lifestyle,” Butts said. “I think there’s a real need for everyone to examine the environmental costs of their lifestyles and implement ways to make their lifestyles more sustainable.”

Livingston said he was grateful for the feedback. “What is most useful is hearing people’s personal stories and hearing their values,” he said.

It is these stories and values that will inform the consortium’s recommendations.

WINCOG Director Mark Paquette said the consortium will begin to synthesize these ideas this week, with the goal of moving a bit closer to final recommendations.

The consortium is looking for “a small number of (recommendations) where we can really make a difference,” he said.

The synthesized findings of the sessions will be posted on the consortium’s web site www.sustaineasternct. org, where community members can also learn more about the study and submit their own ideas.

Posted June 25, 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 )

In Coventry, You can use these bathrooms – for a price

Coventry (CT) Regional Farmers Market is one of the most popular and fastest growing in the state; it draws about 75,000 visitors annually. The market also shares the grounds each Sunday of market season with the Nathan Hale Homestead – which plans to charge anyone who wants to use its new bathrooms $25 to become Friends of the Homestead. Photo copyright 2012 by Brenda Sullivan.

Visitors to the Coventry Regional Farmers Market, at the Nathan Hale Homestead, will soon have an alternative to the portable facilities already provided by the market.

Officials with Connecticut Landmarks, which owns the homestead at 2299 South St., announced that market-goers will be able to use homestead’s new bathrooms – if they become “friends” of the homestead.

The offer will not, however, take effect until mid-July and it comes with a price tag.

A new “Friends of the Homestead” program will officially launch in mid-July at a cost of $25. Benefits include a 10 percent discount on items in the new museum store, free access to the homestead and its tours throughout the season – and use of the homestead’s bathrooms.

Connecticut Landmarks Executive Director Sheryl Hack said the new program was slightly delayed while awaiting Friends of the Homestead pins.

Since the market re-opened for the season this month, for the past three Sundays, the bathrooms at the homestead had been open and used by both museum visitors and market attendees.

Last week, Connecticut Landmarks had said it would begin locking its bathrooms for market goers and only open them for museum patrons who pay the museum’s regular admission fee.

“This is our response,” Hack said Friday (June 22).

Hack noted, however, that the homestead will continue to allow access to the restrooms for any handicapped person.

The Nathan Hale Homestead in Coventry, CT – a view of the kitchen garden. The Coventry Regional Farmers Market uses the adjoining fields on Sundays throughout the market season. It also recently built a barn won from Yankee Post & Beam where it will hold programs. Photo copyright 2012 by Brenda Sullivan.

Connecticut Landmarks Education and Historic Sites Operations Manager Cynthia Cormier said the bathrooms were open the first few weeks because the agency didn’t know how many people would use them.

Hack said the new system was designed for only “250 flushes a day.”

Hack estimated with 1,000 to possibly 3,000 flushes each Sunday, the homestead could destroy its new septic tank a month into this year’s season.

She said the homestead could never have afforded a septic tank with the capacity for so many flushes.

Addressing the problem, however, has opened up an opportunity to boost financial support for the homestead. The “Friends of the Homestead” program will be “a vehicle for community members, market-goers and everyone else to support the property,” Hack said.

Hack confirmed each dollar from the new $25 program would go directly back to the homestead site.

The homestead received $500,000 from the state in 2004 for renovations that included bathrooms and a visitors’ center, and another $750,000 for renovation of the two historic Hale barns.

State Rep. Tim Ackert, R-Coventry, called the new “Friends of the Homestead: program “very interesting.”

“I like the overall idea, in terms of discounting prices and helping out Connecticut Landmarks,” Ackert said. On the other hand, he said he’s concerned about people essentially paying to use the new bathrooms.

Ackert said he has reached out to Connecticut Landmarks about the issue but hadn’t received a response as of last Friday.

“This just doesn’t sit well,” Ackert said. “I will continue to look into this to make it the best for everybody.”

Farmers Market Executive Director Winter Caplanson said the market has ordered a handicapped-accessible portable toilet to join the two portable toilets already provided for market visitors.

Caplanson said CT Portables in Chaplin was going to add an addi­tional portable toilet in time for the June 24 market day.

Caplanson said she isn’t worried about more bathroom-related problems for the market.

“I think it will settle down,” she said.

The market, which is overseen by the Bridges Healthy Cooking School, a 501c3 nonprofit, generates sales exceeding $500,000 every year and draws more than 75,000 visitors annually.

The market is open Sundays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Posted June 25, 2012 as edited by HTNP.com Editor Brenda Sullivan

Related link: Coventry Regional Farmers Market http://coventryfarmersmarket.com

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 )

Last Green Valley seeks ideas for workshop series

The Last Green Valley is the member-supported, non-profit organization working locally to preserve the irreplaceable land, water, and cultural resources of the Quinebaug and Shetucket Rivers Valley National Heritage Corridor, the last predominantly undeveloped green space in the coastal sprawl between Washington, D.C. and Boston. It includes 35 towns in Connecticut and Massachusetts. Photo source: LGV

The Last Green Valley, Inc. (TLGV) has published a “Request for Proposals to Develop a Workshop Series for Municipal Officials” as part of the TLGV Sustainable Communities Program.

The Last Green Valley is the member-supported, non-profit organization working locally to preserve the irreplaceable land, water, and cultural resources of the Quinebaug and Shetucket Rivers Valley National Heritage Corridor, the last predominantly undeveloped green space in the coastal sprawl between Washington, D.C. and Boston.

TLGV plans to offer a series of high-quality workshops in the fall of 2012 and spring of 2013 that will assist municipal decision-makers, primarily volunteers, in understanding their roles and responsibilities.

The workshops will be free or low-cost for municipal boards and staff.

Targeted municipal boards include: Planning, Zoning, Inland Wetlands, Conservation, Zoning Board of Appeals, Agriculture, and Selectmen.

The workshops will focus on the tools board members need to serve effectively, including but not limited to legal authorities and requirements, discretionary decision making, web-based mapping resources, map and plan reading, running meetings and hearings, and creative land use development techniques that conserve natural resources.

TLGV is seeking proposals from qualified respondents to produce the workshop series.

The deadline for electronic submissions is July 19, 2012.

For more information or for a copy of the Request for Proposals, please contact Lois Bruinooge at 860-774-3300 or lois@tlgv.org

There are 35 towns included in the Last Green Valley.

The Connecticut municipalities are: Ashford, Brooklyn, Canterbury, Chaplin, Coventry, Eastford, Franklin, Griswold, Hampton, Killingly, Lebanon, Lisbon, Mansfield, Norwich, Plainfield, Pomfret, Preston, Putnam, Scotland, Sprague, Sterling, Thompson, Union, Voluntown, Windham, and Woodstock.

The Massachusetts communities are: Brimfield, Charlton, Dudley, E. Brookfield, Holland, Oxford, Southbridge, Sturbridge, and Webster.

Posted June 24, 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 )

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 )

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 )

Coventry Regional Farmers Market returns for 2012 season

The Coventry Regional Farmers Market is enters its eighth season beginning Sunday, June 3, 2012. This photo is from the market's opening day in 2007, recently posted on the Coventry Regional Farmers Market Facebook page.

Hailed as the largest farmer’s market in the state, the award-winning Coventry Regional Farmers Market will kick off its eighth season on Sunday, June 3, 2012.

The market is held on the grounds of the Hale Homestead at 2299 South St., the former family home of the Revolutionary War hero, Nathan Hale.

Market vendors will sell their homemade goods and homegrown produce from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m on Sundays from June to October.

Market goers will also be able to see the new barn now under construction. The barn was won in a contest earlier this year.

Bridges to Healthy Cooking School, a registered 501c3 now oversees the market.

The market generates sales exceeding $350,000 every year and draws more than 75,000 visitors annually.

Market Executive Director Winter Caplanson said she thinks the market’s secret is its “sincerity.”

“We believe in creating this community of people, to understand what it means to eat well,” Caplanson said.

Caplanson said the market specializes in organic, heirloom, ethnic and gourmet varieties of fruits and vegetables, and offers grass­fed beef, free-range eggs, milk, yogurt, smoked bacon, rustic breads, farmstead cheeses and flowers, among other items.

The market offers “great diversity,” she said.

Market officials are planning a ribbon-cutting ceremony for their new barn on June 17, with Gov. Dannel P. Malloy in attendance.

The barn was won by the market in the “Yankee Post and Beam Great Barn Giveaway,” a national contest last summer in which the public voted on who should win the barn.

The 24-foot-by-36-foot post and beam barn was made possible by W.H. Silverstein Inc.

Caplanson said there have been some glitches with getting the structure finished.

Permits took longer than expected and, “We may lose some vending places,” she said. “We are currently in the process of figuring out how many spaces are being impacted and where else can those vendors be placed.”

The barn will be used to house demonstrations, classes, exhibits, live music and other events at the market. It will also be leased to other groups by the Town of Coventry on non-market days.

Earlier this year the town and fans of the market from the surrounding area were distressed to learn the market might lose its home at the Hale Homestead.

Market organizers, while trying to work out issues with Connecticut Landmarks, the agency that oversees the site and with the Town of Coventry concerning a site offered in town, also entertained invitations from other towns to give the market a new home.

Ultimately, Connecticut Landmarks and the market’s directors reached a 10- year agreement in which the Town of Coventry will act as the tenant and the farmers market will sublease.

Something new this year, thanks to newly passed legislation – Sunday alcohol sales will now take place at the market.

“We will be able to have a wine vendor (this season),” Caplanson said. She added that she’s been “holding onto one spot” at the market for that specific reason.

“We are planning on having one, but it may not (be ready) the first weekend. It’s something we’ve wanted for awhile,” she said.

Town Manager John Elsesser said the market “is a point of pride for the town… It sends a positive message about our community and who we are. We are glad it’s going to start another year here.”

The Coventry Regional Farmers Market also is a “dog friendly” market – visitors can bring their four-footed companions as long as they are on a leash and well-behaved.

To keep up-to-date on entertainment, demonstrations, vendors and special events at the market, visit http://www.coventry­farmersmarket.com or find it on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/CoventryFarmersMarket

Editor’s note: You are encouraged to also bring necessary “equipment” for cleaning up after your dog, and to bring some fresh water for your dog, since both you and your dog will be walking in an open field.

Posted May 31, 2012 as edited and added to 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 )

Sponsores



Business

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.

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

water - drinking water - water faucet

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.

Federal programs can support rural cultural ‘economy’

Franconia Sculpture Park in Taylors Falls, MN is a jewel amidst the farms and provides an extra economic boost to the surrounding rural communities as well as cultural enrichment to both local residents and visitors from the Twin Cities.  Photo source USDA via Franconia Sculpture Park.

We had the opportunity to explore ways in which USDA’s infrastructure programs might be able to leverage this new boost of philanthropic support as these communities work to demonstrate how cultural development is an essential ingredient for rural communities in the next generation.

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