Tag Archive | "blight"

Rain, What Rain? Garden Club's Plant Sale A Huge Success

By: Mary Femniak

Dedicated members of the New Hartford Garden Club worked tirelessly Friday night transporting multitudes of beautiful vegetation to the Town Hall for the next day’s May 8th annual plant sale fundraiser. The non-profit’s volunteer members arranged plants the night before the sale in eye pleasing-groupings of vegetables, shade plants, landscape flora, etc. filling the lobby of the New Hartford Town Hall with GREEN.

Saturday morning, despite torrents of rain, early shoppers swarmed the array of mature offerings lovingly grown by club members. Hardy sturdy plants were wheeled out of the lobby by way of a wheelbarrow or wagon grabbed up by experienced gardeners knowing full well the value of the expertly started garden treasures. Mature hardy tomato plants priced at $3.00 to $7.00 disappeared out of the “tomato room” with several varieties sold out before noon. A favorite “Matt’s Wild Cherry Tomato,” a blight resistant and self seeding wild tomato disappeared leaving only a lonely plant marker by late morning. Red peppers, eggplant, pumpkin and other green delights gave vegetable gardeners plenty of choices for their summer enjoyment.

Perennials such as lilies, plume poppies, pansy baskets and classic favorites rounded out the selection for those seeking “eye candy” to plant around their homes. “Hens and Chickens” as well as other ground cover were bursting from their pots…eager for transplanting. Shade plants started at $2.00… gorgeous Japanese Red Maple Trees graced one corner of the room and at every turn a treasure awaited to be adopted.

A best seller for the club, the Hypertufa planters were beautifully filled with lovely plants and decorated with bows for Mothers Day. Prices for the Hypertufa started at 10.00 for small, $15.00 medium and $20.00 for large. They proved to be a favorite selection again this year, with many buyers choosing numerous Hypertufa for themselves and for gifting.

Later in the day as garden club members counseled the tentative and helped the unsure pick just the right plant, some of the comments this club member overheard were:

“I wait all year for this plant sale and always get happy wonderful plants from you”, said a New Hartford resident with a new house and garden.

“This is MY tomato plant” said a young boy to his parents as he chose a “Micro Tom”, a tomato plant that grows no bigger than 6-8″.

“You can never have too many,” stated a seasoned gardener filling his arms with pots.

Thank you to all who came, we were able to exceed our goal with your support, and the income from the plant sale will be used to fund community projects. We look forward to seeing everyone at next year’s sale, always held the day before Mother’s Day at the Town Hall. Residents are encouraged to consider membership in the New Hartford Garden Club and are invited to educational seminars and meetings. For more information contact Sibyl Pellum at 860-379-3722 or Mary Lou Ringklib at 860-379-4612.

The early shopper gets the best selection.  Photo: Mary Femniak

The early shopper gets the best selection. Photo: Mary Femniak

Master Gardener Brenda Schauffler helps Chris Crook with her plant selection.  Photo: Mary Femniak.

Master Gardener Brenda Schauffler helps Chris Crook with her plant selection. Photo: Mary Femniak.


The youngest member of the Garden Club.  Photo: Mary Femniak

The youngest member of the Garden Club. Photo: Mary Femniak

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Garden Club's Spring Plant Sale Benefits Many Community Projects

"Drama Daisy."  Artwork: Mary Femniak

"Drama Daisy." Artwork: Mary Femniak

The New Hartford Garden Club is holding its Spring Plant Sale tomorrow, Saturday in the lobby of Town Hall from 8:30 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. The plant sale will include a large selection of vegetable plants ready to plant in your garden. And for those looking for tomato plants, there will be more than 250 plants, among them mini tomoto plants, blight resistant plants and many other favorites.

Perennial plants will also be available, from old-fashioned favorites to unusual varieties. And as an added bonus, members of the Garden Club will be available to answer your gardening questions.

Especially for Mother’s Day, there will be hypertufa planters available, filled with plants, a beautiful and popular gift for the mother in your life. These unique containers are handmade by the Garden Club members; see our September 27 article The shape Of Blooms To Come…

Members of the New Hartford Garden Club are all volunteers and the proceeds from this plant sale are used to fund many community projects, including the plantings around the welcome signs at the edges of town, the plantings at Town Hall, at the Bakerville Library, and many more projects.

For more information: About the New Hartford Garden Club, please contact Sibyl Pellum: 860-379-3722, or Mary Lou Ringklib at 860-379-4612.

A hypertufa container from a previous year.  Photo: Mary Femniak

A hypertufa container from a previous year. Photo: Mary Femniak

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Lessons Drawn From Dishwashing Liquid And Yellow Ribbons

Looking Forward: Commentary by Chris Jones

I’ve learned in the last 18 months or so that there really are certain physical laws of nature that, much like gravity, never change. The world in which we live provides reminders of this on a daily basis, and it becomes our individual obligation to learn from them, adapt and change. In the animal world it’s called instinct. In the far less intuitive world of humans it requires a bit more thought to survive.

For example, I’ve come to understand that ‘dishwashing liquid’ is not the same as ‘dishwashing detergent’. A subtle yet unique difference that if employed in the wrong method has disastrous consequences. Also, ‘dishwashing liquid’ cannot be used in a clothes washing machine or as a substitute for shampoo, or for soap to wash wood floors. In my mind this pretty much makes ‘dishwashing liquid’ a one-trick pony, substantially reducing its overall value as a home commodity.

Having made that distinction it should also be noted that you cannot, no matter what the ‘door locked’ light on the clothes washer might indicate, fit a king size bedspread in a standard sized clothes washer and not expect equally disastrous results. The results ultimately will require a mop of some sort, and the walk of shame to the nearest commercial Laundromat, bearing a 50 pound soggy mess and digging deeply for $8.00 worth of quarters to fix the problem. (Not including the dryer)

One of the other absolutes in nature is the one that always seems to strike me as a physical law that we just cannot escape. It is that politicians, regardless of what their intent might be, always find interesting ways to distress the populous, and make simple matters complex, usually for the worse.

Take, for example, the article in this morning’s Hartford Courant by Rinker Buck headlined; “Borough of Litchfield Board: Get Those Yellow Ribbons off Our Town Trees“. (A catchy headline and an even catchier by-line)

But stick with me for a moment.

It just appears to me that here is another splendid example of dopey people doing even dopier things. Something I obviously know quite a bit about!

It seems that the Borough of Litchfield has had for several years members of their community that expressed remembrance and solidarity with our brave men and women serving overseas by tying yellow ribbons around trees on the Town Green. On the face of it, I would think a very nice gesture.

But now the Borough Warden, who the Courant was unable to get a statement from, has said that these ribbons are both harming the trees, and polluting the scenic wonderland that is apparently Litchfield center. The article goes on to say that if they allow these color ribbons then the door is wide open for any color ribbon. A quandary to be sure.

Now I wasn’t aware that Litchfield had or is a Borough but given the fact that it is Litchfield, I suppose something more than just “Litchfield”, or “Da Town” is required. After all it is the County Seat, and the home of the Litchfield Superior Court (been there!), ergo there must be some superiority quotient involved. However, yellow ribbons harming trees?

As for the ‘blight factor’ that seems a stretch too.

In fact, according to the Courant article, The Borough (I’m starting to get used to that term) hired a tree expert named Starling Childs to inventory the trees on public spaces for reasons of preserving them and then went on to say that Mr. Childs specifically said that the ribbons were hurting the trees by allowing fungus to grow under them. The only sticking point here is that Mr. Childs also states in the same article that not only did he never comment on the ribbons hurting the trees, he was never even asked to provide comment on the subject.

And so the scandal that is “Ribbon-Gate” is born, broad public upset of the people is infused, and another absolute of life goes on. When Government sticks its huge nose into the lives of people in silly and unnecessary ways, it always gets bloodied.

Now I’m not sure if New Hartford and the proposed office of Tree Warden will have to deal with such drivel but if at some point we do find a “Tree Czar”, and the question of ribbons and fungus comes up, remember you were forewarned.

In our Town we are very fortunate to have our Town Green in Pine Meadow, the site of gatherings of all types. We also have our own War Memorial that serves to remind us of those that gave in the past and give still, many in the line of fire as we speak. To allow a visual reminder of such sacrifice in the form of the ubiquitous ‘yellow ribbon’ should be the least of what we or anyone in the Borough of Litchfield could offer.

But this is not the people of Litchfield, rather the government.
In fairness, the article does go on to mention that the Towns’ folk aren’t too happy with this latest ordinance. But more to the point, why isn’t government dealing with the real issues? Because they just can’t help themselves?

A lesson that should be on the blackboard of every official in government, local or otherwise. The less government interferes with our lives, the more it will have time, and resources, to do the real things that need be done.

I suspect that the Borough Warden will at some point want to revisit this matter, and it sounds like the folks in Litchfield will make sure that he is aware that “Only God can make a tree”.

For my part, I will be happy to remind him when I see him. At the same time I will remind him about king size bed spreads, and the ills of using dishwashing liquid in an unsafe and ill advised manner. Just in case he finds himself in a bind again.

Oh, and that all of these constants in our world are absolute… and they always make a mess.

Chris Jones, a long-time New Hartford resident, is a former selectman of the town.

This commentary represents Chris’ personal views which are not necessarily the views of NewHartfordPlus.

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Laundry List Of Transitional Items Captures Public's Interest At Last BOS Meeting

By: Maria Moore

The agenda for the Board of Selectmen Meeting yesterday evening, Monday, November 16, the last meeting to be chaired by First Selectman Earl MacInnes, consisted of one item that captured the public’s interest: ‘Transitional Items’, so when Earl announced that, since there was noone present from the newly-elected Board, he was tabling the item, there was an immediate outcry from those present.

First to protest was Selectwoman Phyllis Webb, a mother with two young children at home, who commented that she had put in a great deal of time and thought into pulling the items together and it was disrespectful for the incoming administration not to be there. Paul Mahoney, a member of the Conservation Commission, and a father with two children at home, agreed with Phyllis, saying that he had come especially to the meeting to hear the list of transitional items and to be sure that the ongoing recycling initiative with the board was not going to be lost in the transition.

Chris Jones, whose 7 children are now all grown, exclaimed in his inimitable way: “I’m up at 7 o’clock at night banging on the door to be let in!” Which was true except, in the interests of disclosure, he had first banged on the windows of the Sessions Conference Room to be let into the meeting through the front door of the building, rather than walk around to the back of the building where the entrance had been left open.

“Did anyone tell them it was on the agenda?” Reggie Smith, a newly-elected member of the Board of Finance, asked, and Christine Hayward confirmed that the newly-elected First Selectman Dan Jerram knew of the agenda item. Phyllis, however, exclaimed: “They should not have to be called on the phone!”

As Phyllis started to enumerate the items on the list that were of concern to her, Reggie left his seat next to Alesia Kennerson, also a newly-appointed member of the Board of Finance and a mother with one son at home, and he went into the hallway to call Dan Jerram to ask him to come down to the meeting. As Phyllis spoke, Reggie came back into the room and said in a low voice: “Dan is coming. He’s taking care of his kids.” “That’s not acceptable!” Came the response.

Selectwoman Phyllis Webb Voices Her Special Concerns

Fencing at Brown’s Corner:

Phyllis specifically mentioned the issue of the cost for fencing in the fill at Brown’s Corner. She said that Dan LeGeyt, the town’s Highway Superintendent, had done the calculations, and had come up with $26,730 as the cost for fencing. “That was not correct: it’s $2,700!” Phyllis said, emphasizing again that it had been due to Dan’s poor math that had led to the gross miscalculation, and that it had been thanks to Christine (Hayward, Administrative Assistant to the First Selectman) who had followed up and clarified the cost.

Appeal of Dept. of Labor Arbitration Board’s Decision to reinstate Steve Joseph:

On the matter of the Dept. of Labor Appeal in the Steve Joseph case, Phyllis said that the new administration should contact the labor attorney and put a stop to the decision (to appeal the Arbitration Board’s decision to reinstate Steve to his job in the town’s Highway Department). Phyllis said there were big costs associated with the appeal and that no funds had been budgeted for those costs. “They should put a halt to that.” Phyllis said, emphasizing again that she had not been in agreement with the other two members of the Board of Selectmen when they had decided to appeal the Arbitration Board’s decision.

Wastewater Treatment Plant:

With regard to the wastewater treatment plant, Phyllis said that both the WPCA and the Building Oversight Committee had worked very hard on the project and that right now the project was ahead of schedule and and budget. She said: “The WPCA members have worked very hard and it would be my hope the next administration wold recognize that and provide the support they have not been getting and a better outlet for communication. The WPCA and the BOC have to cross paths and the next group of leaders will have to try to bridge the communication gap to map it go smoothly.”

Highway Department Related Items:

Phylis said she has an issue with the overtime request by the Highway Department Superintendent and the Brodie House agreement.  She said both items had been allowed to linger too long and that the new board should look at those as priorities, with sensitivity and keeping in mind the budget.

Once Phyllis had finished going through her items of concern, Earl talked about getting the town’s heating fuel from Quinico again, the town’s supplier for the past two years, and he recommended that on both the heating oil and the diesel fuel purchases, the town take the New Haven Harbor prices, since that had worked out well the previous year.

He then went on to congratulate the newly-elected officials, and he thanked Phyllis and Bill Marchand for their service on the Board.  He particularly thanked Bill for his 6 years of service on the Board, and he noted they had shared the same philosophy of fiscal conservatism.

At this point, at 7:20 p.m. Dan Jerram walked into the meeting, saying: “How’s everybody doing?”

Earl then started going over the Transition Items on the Board’s list.  A copy of this tw-page list is included at the bottom of this report.  Earl’s notable comments follow, the rest are noted in the list below:

Earl’s Comments On Transitional Items

Department of Labor Arbitration Board Appeal:

Earl said the Arbitration Board had found Steve Joseph had abused the sick policy, but that the punishment had been harsh.  He said there were a number of issues to be appealed and that he had filed the appeal.

Phyllis added that she had voted against the appeal, that it was a costly process for the town with no budget for it, and she urged the new Board to consider not moving forward with the appeal.

Dan Jerram said the new Board would take a look at all the issues of the case.

Other Highway Department related issues:

Earl mentioned the Dan LeGeyt overtime issue saying only: “It won’t go away, you will have to deal with it.”

Regarding the outstanding Brodie House rental agreement, he said he had never received a formal recommendation from the Task Force on it, at which Reggie Smith, who had facilitated the Task Force looked very surprised.  Earl said though, that the Task Force had indicated a certain amount for the rent and he had taken it on himself to call the tenant’s attorney and he had made the offer which the tenant had rejected.

Brown’s Corner Fill:

Earl said Attorney Roraback had given his opinion on the letter that had been written by the head of Hemlock Construction and that it was in no way a contract.  Until the situation is clarified with a contract, the fill belongs to the town.

Phyllis again brought up the huge discrepancy in the price quoted by Earl for the fencing and the actual price, and she informed Dan that the price was actually $2,700.

Brodie Surdam Task Force report:

Earl said the report had come in on the day of a previous meeting and had been tabled.

Tree Warden:

There had been 4 responses and Dave Holcomb, an arborist who lives on Church Street North, seemed the most qualified since he had been a tree warden in the past.

Rec. Department’s Day Care Program:

Earl said that was still an issue, and Christine added that Rec had asked to be put on the agenda for the first meeting of the new Board.

Replacement of Police Car:

A police car had been in an accident and needed replacing.  Earl said that a possibility was to sell the police truck and with the $4,100 from insurance the new Board might consider getting a used Explorer, the same type of vehicle the MDC uses.

Blight Committee:

The committee is looking to reorganize.  Our reporter has an outstanding report to write on the Blight Committee’s inability to get a quorum on two past occasions.

Redesign of traffic pattern at the Route 44/Bridge Street/Central Avenue intersection:

Earl said there were some designs for the redesign of the traffic pattern at that intersection; the new pattern would be to have traffic go up Bridge St. and come down Central Avenue, making both streets one way.  The DOT needed to approve the design.

Appointment of additional Board of Assessment Appeals members:

The Assessor had requested an ordinance to appoint additional persons to the Board of Assessment Appeals to help out with appeals.  Earl said that they don’t normally get paid.  They had been paid this past year because it was a revaluation year.

Request from Assessor to change Beach Road to Pond Road Extension:

This would be to facilitate emergency vehicles’ access to the road.

WPCA and BOC Issue Revisited:

Phyllis repeated for Dan what she had said earlier about the WPCA, the BOC and their need for help in communication better with each other.  Phyllis characterized it as their needing “the utmost support and a lot of warm fuzzies.”

Dan responded that he has experience with Building Oversight Committees and that he has already been in contact with the BOC.

Phyllis emphasized that it was the WPCA that needs support for the work they’re doing and Dan responded that it was a big priority for the town.

The issue was brought up that the WPCA had had an “illegal meeting” because the minutes of that meeting had never been filed with the Town Clerk and that the motions of that meeting needed to be approved.    Reggie said that the problem was that the original motion was written by the attorney was not approved by the WPCA.  Earl criticized the WPCA for one last time, saying: “We have certain boards that think they can write a better resolution that the attorney.”  Reggie said that they should just approve the solution that had been approved by the town meeting.

Earl then mentioned that there were 2 openings on the WPCA and that they needed to be filled by users.

Snow Removal: An issue of separation of church and state?

After addressing the part-time winter help that the town hires to supplement the Highway Department employees, Earl then found the opportunity to address what he said was an issue of separation of church and state, but which he made sure everyone present understood was meant to embarrass Phyllis at the end of the last Board of Selectmen meeting that they would serve on together. “I did not want to embarrass Phyllis” he found the opportunity to repeat several times during his recounting of the offending decision by Phyllis, which he said he had not wanted to override at the time, to have the town remove the snow from the sidewalk leading up to the North Congregational Church which he said was a private piece of property and so the church’s responsibility. Phyllis responded that at the time there had been a question as to who actually owned that piece of property, whether it was the church or the private tennis association next to the church. She said that needed to be resolved, but in the meantime, since the town’s snowblower was already clearing snow on that road, she didn’t see why they couldn’t clear another 20 feet or so and keep that stretch of sidewalk safe for everyone to use.

Meeting Ends With Praise for Town Hall Employees, And Christine in Particular

Phyllis praised the town hall employees, from whom, she said, she had received tremendous support. She said they had seen their tax dollars used poorly and yet they had sustained themselves throughout it. “I can’t ask you strongly enough to support the employees.” Phyllis said to Dan. “In particular,” she continued, “I want to thank Christine who has practically run the town the last 2 years, and has been the rock that many have seen and felt.”

Earl added his thanks to the town employees, many of whom he said could go to work for a larger municipality and earn a lot more money.

Bill Marchand also thanked the town employees in keeping the municipality functioning, and then he thanked Chris Jones, who was at the meeting, and he asked Chris to convey his thanks to Bill Baxter as well, saying that they had had their differences but they had all enjoyed golf and that it had all worked out.

As Earl was about to end the meeting our reporter, looking ahead to another two weeks of not having a First Selectman in Town Hall, as has been the case for about a month already, asked Earl: “Since I’m new at this: I know Dan takes over in the beginning of December, will you be available at Town Hall ’till then?” “You’ll just have to come down to Town Hall and see.” Earl responded. “Will I find you here?” “You got your response.” Earl answered. At a payrate of $63,900+ per year, which our reporter and all residents are paying through their taxes, she found Earl’s response particularly unsatisfactory.

On checking in with Dan after the meeting, he confirmed that legally he won’t be able to begin work until December 1. Phyllis said that she’s available to help.
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Letter To The Editor: One View From Inside The Webb+Klebart Campaign

Letter to the Editor received from Tom Goddu on October 31, 2009

Letter to the Editor:

As a campaign co-chairman for Phyllis Webb and Tom Klebart for the last 5 months, I’ve had the chance to observe them up-close and off-the-record. I and other members of the campaign challenged Phyllis and Tom’s views on every issue. Their command of the issues and their responses left me thoroughly convinced that they are the outstanding choice for leading New Hartford.

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BOS Executive Session, Blight Task Force: Questions Needing Answers

By: Maria Moore

There are two meetings scheduled at Town Hall this evening both of which have questions that need to be asked.  Namely:

Board of Selectmen Special Meeting In Executive Session

The Board of Selectmen will be holding a special meeting this afternoon with the sole agenda item being:

“Executive Session – for the purpose of discussion regarding strategy/negotiation with respect to pending claims and/or possible litigation.”

With several outstanding items that could potentially come under the umbrella of “pending claims and/or possible litigation” our reporter immediately called the First Selectman’s Office yesterday, Wednesday, October 28, to engage in a conversation that is unfortunately all too familiar: our reporter asked Christine Hayward, the assistant to the First Selectman, if the executive session had to do with an employee matter related to the Highway Department, where there are several issues outstanding with the Highway Superintendent that could easily be the subject of the executive session; or whether the executive session had to do with the Brodie House, where the present tenant-at-will and the town are at a standoff, with the tenant-at-will, through his attorney, refusing to engage in negotiations to try to settle on a fair rental agreement that is consistent with the town’s long-term goals for the house..  Or, our reporter asked, did the executive session have to do with Steve Joseph, whose arbitration claim against the town resulted in his being reinstated in his job with the Highway Department?

Christine, however, had been instructed to refer all questions regarding the meeting to the First Selectman who, again, was not in the office.  Today, too, our reporter checked in with Christine Hayward ~ the First Selectman was not there and Christine was not able to give our reporter a time to come back to speak with him.  Today, however, Christine had been instructed to say: “The agenda item speaks for itself.”

We believe the agenda item as written is too general in nature to properly identify the reason the meeting is being called.  We have heard through the “grapevine”, confirmed today in Blake Hall’s Letter to the Editor, that the First Selectman is pressuring for the town to appeal the decision of the Department of Labor’s regarding the dismissal of Steve Joseph.  We hope that, with less than a week before elections which will most likely result in changes in the composition of the Board of Selectmen, the selectmen do not make any decisions this evening that may result in squandering more of th town’s money on needless litigation, especially in a case like Steve Joseph’s where the decision made by the Department of Labor is generally been regarded by residents as  a fair decision.

Just as troubling as the complete lack of information made available to interested residents in this matter ~ information which we believe the  First Selectman is legally obliged to make known even for executive sessions ~ is Christine Hayward’s response to our reporter’s question: “Will I see you tonight at the (BOS) meeting Chris?”  And Christine’s response that she wasn’t sure ~ she had as of 3:00 p.m. this afternoon not been told whether she would be attending the meeting at 5:30 p.m.  It is part of Christine’s duties to attend all Board of Selectmen’s meetings as the administrative assistant to the First Selectman, and especially at a time when the Board will be going through a change in the coming weeks, it is even more important than ever to have Christine at these meetings so that she may include the information from this evening’s meeting  with the information that she will be able to pass on to the next administration.  Barring Christine from the meeting could almost be construed as not wanting the next administration to have full knowledge of what immediately preceded their taking over at Town Hall.  Here too, we hope that Christine will be at her place at the meeting table when the Board of Selectmen meet this evening.

Blight Task Force Meeting

The September 14 meeting of the Bight Task Force was cancelled 15 minutes into the meeting when a member of the Task Force questioned whether the group had a quorum, and, on carrying out a head count, it was found that, indeed, the Task Force did not have a quorum.  Two of the agenda items from the September meeting have been carried forward to tonight’s meeting, and our reporter has questions related to those two items.

We were surprised when we heard at the beginning of this week, again through that great transmitter of information, the “grapevine”,  that the Blight Task Force had scheduled a meeting for this evening, Thursday, October 29, at 7:00 p.m.  With only one Town Hall business day left ~ Monday, November 2, since Town Hall is currently closed on Friday for business ~ we question the wisdom of holding a meeting of the task force, especially with regard to the following two agenda items:

  • 3.  First Selectman Earl MacInnes to address Task Group and re confirm its charter
  • 4.  Recent Changes to Blight Task Group Membership.

Item # 3 is carried over from the October meeting of the Blight Task Force at which the First Selectman did not show up, without informing the Chairman of the Task Force that he would not be there.  With only 1 business day left to the present term of the First Selectman, the legitimacy of any re-confirmation of the charter of this task force at this late date will most certainly be questioned.

Item # 5, Recent Changes to the Blight Task Force Membership, which were announced at the September meeting which was cancelled because of the lack of a quorum.  On questioning whether a task force can itself make changes to its membership we were told that any changes in the membership of the Task Force would have to be approved by the Board of Selectmen.

We emailed the Chairman of the Blight Task Force to ask for information regarding the changes in membership and have not received a response to our email.  Based on the changes announced at the last meeting, at that time about 4 members had withdrawn from the Task Force, some due to conflicts of interest related to their being involved in blight-related litigation with neighbors, and others because of other commitments.

While waiting for the full Board of Selectmen to act on the new composition of the Blight Task Force, we believe the Task Force must still have a quorum based on the original number of members.  Since the original number of members was, we believe 18, then the quorum would continue to be 9 members at the meeting.

We will report back on the above on our return from both meetings.

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Community Calendar: Thursday, Oct. 29

Following are the Community Calendar listings for today in New Hartford, CT:

Thursday, October 29, 2009:

  • New Hartford Senior Center activities:at Senior Center, Town Hall, 530 Main St., New Hartford. Activities: Line dancing at 9:30 a.m.; Fitness at 10:45 a.m. ($2.50 suggested donation per person, per class, includes a fitness card which is stamped for every class attended); Bingo at 12:45p.m.; Yoga Class at 4:00 p.m. Jean needs some volunteers to help her get the newsletter together today at 11:45 a.m. ~ help out if you can! If For more information please call Jean Barnicoat at 860-379-3980 between 8:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., Mondays through Thursdays.
  • Board of Selectmen Special Meeting: at 5:30 p.m. in the Sessions Conference Room at the Town Hall, 530 Main Street, New Hartford. This meeting is an Executive Session. For more information please see our Community Calendar.
  • Blight Task Force Meeting: at 7:00 p.m. in the Sessions Conference Room at the Town Hall, 530 Main Street, New Hartford. For more information please see our Community Calendar.
  • Thursday Night Gather With Friends at Passiflora: How to Prevent and Treat Osteoporosis Naturally by Dr. Lauren Gouin. Event begins at 7:00 p.m. at Passiflora’s, 526 Main Street, New Hartford. For more information please visit Passiflora’s website or call Passiflora at 379-TEAS.
  • Should your event be listed here and you don’t see it? Please email us the info. and we’ll add it! Send your email to newhartfordplus@gmail.com and write Calendar in the subject line.

Our Community Calendar section provides additional information about the events listed above and information on past, current and future events – a permanent record of events in New Hartford. Also check out our new Community Bulletin Board where you can see posters and information on local groups and events.

…NHGrapevine

“We both voted before we left to go on vacation.”

Emailed a town resident to our editor from vacation on the West Coast. “I’m so glad you’re able to keep updated on what’s happening in town.” Our editor emailed back, suddenly not feeling so bad about her 16-hour work day that was just coming to a close. NewHartfordPlus really is linking our community!

Contribute to the …NHGrapevine… Let us know what you’ve heard – or seen – in town and we’ll add it to this listing, and also add it to the …NHGrapevine.. section. So let’s hear what you’re hearing around town…

Just when Charlie thought he got away with it... Here's a favorite image of Charlie Richmond having fun at the recent Festival of the Arts in downtown New Hartford.  Photo: Maria Moore

Just when Charlie thought he got away with it... Here's a favorite image of Charlie Richmond having fun at the recent Festival of the Arts in downtown New Hartford. Photo: Maria Moore

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News Updates: Lottery To Be Held This Evening To Order Names of Candidates On Ballots, Blight Task Force Meets Tonight With First Selectman, Zoning Officer Present

The New Hartford Registrars of Voters, Daria Hart (Democrat) and Lila Tuxbury (Republican) will be holding a lottery this evening, Monday, September 14 at 7:00 p.m. in the first floor conference room (the Jail Door Conference Room) to determine the order of the names of the candidates on the ballots in this fall’s elections.

For offices in which voters are allowed to vote for more than one candidate, the names of all major, minor and nominating petition candidates will be listed on the appropriate horizontal row of the November 3 election ballot in the order determined by the Registrars of Voters by means of a lottery held in public in accordance with state statute.

In accordance with these laws, after the nomination of candidates for a multiple-opening office by a major or minor party or nominating-petition party candidate is finalized, both registrars together must hold a public lottery to determine the horizontal order of the names within the appropriate row on the election ballot. They must also provide at least five days’ public notice for the ceremony.

Note: We apologize for the lateness of transmitting this information.  We became aware of it at 4:45 p.m. during a conversation at Town Hall with Christine Hayward, in the First Selectman’s Office.  Many thanks: to Christine for mentioning this item, so that we might communicate it to our readers.

Blight Task Force Meets Tonight With First Selectman, Zoning Officer Present

The Blight Task Force will be holding its first meeting tonight since its June 18 meeting; see our June 20 report of that meeting Residents Turn Out For Blight Task Force Meeting.  After that meeting several concerns regarding the  operation of the Task Force were brought to the Board of Selectmen; see our July 6 Blight Task Force Concerns Brought To Selectmen, and our July 8 report on the Board of Selectmen meeting … Blight Concerns… At BOS Meeting.

Members of the public are invited to sit in on the meeting; however, they will not be allowed to make comments during the meeting, a restriction placed on residents who may be planning to attend the meeting by Mike Cvercko, Chairman of the Blight Task Force.  This condition is being placed on the public’s attendance so that, according to an email sent by Mike Cvercko: “This will allow us to focus on the issues and make the much needed progress toward meeting our charter. There will be plenty of opportunity for public comment later in the process.”

The agenda for the meeting says that the First Selectman and the Zoning Officer will be attending this evening’s meeting.  We were able to confirm with Karl Nilsen, Zoning Officer, that he will be attending the meeting.  We were unable to confirm the presence of First Selectman Earl MacInnes since he was not in the office today. For the agenda for this meeting, please see our Community Calendar.

Posted in NEW HARTFORDComments (0)

Community Calendar: Tuesday, Sept. 15

Following are the Community Calendar listings for today in New Hartford, CT:

Tuesday, September 15:

  • New Hartford Senior Center activities: at Senior Center, Town Hall, 530 Main St., New Hartford. Activities: Fitness at 10:45 a.m. ($2.50 suggested donation per person, per class, includes a fitness card which is stamped for every class attended); Massage with Mindy Lee Church: at 12:00 noon; Crafts: at 1:00 p.m.; Cribbage ‘n’ cards: at 1:00 p.m. For more information please call Jean Barnicoat at 860-379-3980 between 8:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., Mondays through Thursdays.
  • Torrington Farmers’ Market: from 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. at the Staples Plaza, 100 South Main Street, Torrington.
  • Should your event be listed here and you don’t see it? Please email us the info. and we’ll add it! Send to newhartfordplus@gmail.com and write Calendar in the subject line.

Our Community Calendar section provides additional information about the events listed above and information on past, current and future events – a permanent record of events in New Hartford. Also check out our new Community Bulletin Board where you can see posters and information on local groups and events.

…NHGrapevine

“Do they have a quorum?”

A member of the audience whispered to another about 10 minutes into the Blight Task Force meeting yesterday evening, Monday, September 14.  With 10 or so residents in the Senior Center, 3 of whom were seated at the long table and a couple more seated among the audience, it was difficult to tell.  At 7:15 Karl Nilsen posed the question to the Task Force, and at 7:20 it was decided there was no quorum.

Contribute to the …NHGrapevine… Let us know what you’ve heard – or seen – in town and we’ll add it to this listing, and also add it to the …NHGrapevine.. section. So let’s hear what you’re hearing around town…

The view uphill on the unpaved road Pussy Lane in New Hartford several weeks ago.  Photo: Maria Moore

The view uphill on the unpaved road Pussy Lane in New Hartford several weeks ago. Photo: Maria Moore

The view dowhill on the unpaved road Pussy Lane in New Hartford several weeks ago.  Photo: Maria Moore

The view dowhill on the unpaved road Pussy Lane in New Hartford several weeks ago. Photo: Maria Moore

Posted in NEW HARTFORDComments (0)

Community Calendar: Monday, Sept. 14

Following are the Community Calendar listings for today in New Hartford, CT:

Monday, September 14:

  • New Hartford Senior Center activities: at Senior Center, Town Hall, 530 Main St., New Hartford. Activities: Fitness at 9:00 a.m. ($2.50 suggested donation per person, per class, includes a fitness card which is stamped for every class attended); Coffee Hour at 10:00 a.m.; A Way of Life (AWOL) weight loss support at 1:00 p.m. For more information please call Jean Barnicoat at 860-379-3980 between 8:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., Mondays through Thursdays.
  • New Hartford PTO Meeting: at 6:00 p.m. in the Multipurpose Room at Ann Antolini School, 30 Antolini Drive, New Hartford.
  • The New Hartford Registrars of Voters: at 7:00 p.m. in the First Floor Conference Room (the Jail Door Conference Room) to hold a lottery to determine the order of the candidates’ names on the ballot for this fall’s elections.
  • Blight Task Force Meeting: at 7:00 p.m. in the Senior Center at the Town Hall, 530 Main Street, New Hartford. Please see our Community Calendar for the agenda of this meeting.
  • Economic Development Commission Meeting: at 7:00 p.m. at the Town Hall, 530 Main Street, New Hartford. Please see our Community Calendar for the agenda of this meeting.
  • Should your event be listed here and you don’t see it? Please email us the info. and we’ll add it! Send to newhartfordplus@gmail.com and write ‘Calendar’ in the subject line.

Our Community Calendar section provides additional information about the events listed above and information on past, current and future events – a permanent record of events in New Hartford. Also check out our new Community Bulletin Board where you can see posters and information on local groups and events.

…NHGrapevine

“It’s amazing all the animals out there ~ people just don’t see them!”

Dan LaPlante told our editor a while back. Well, Charlie Richmond has found a way to see the wild animals that come to his backyard on Holcomb Hill: he’s set up heat and motion sensing cameras in his back yard that have captured images of bears, foxes, and coyotes. He caught the bobcat in this image using a hand-held camera. Thanks very much to Charlie for sharing this amazing photo with us.

Want to know more? Please see: Connecticut Wildlife: Biodiversity, Natural History and Conservation

Contribute to the …NHGrapevine… Let us know what you’ve heard – or seen – in town and we’ll add it to this listing, and also add it to the …NHGrapevine.. section. So let’s hear what you’re hearing around town…

A bobcat recently visited Charlie Richmond's back yard on Holcomb Hill where it sat for a while fixated by a woodchuck hole.  Photo: Charlie Richmond

A bobcat recently visited Charlie Richmond's back yard on Holcomb Hill where it sat for a while fixated by a woodchuck hole. Photo: Charlie Richmond

Posted in NEW HARTFORDComments (2)

News Updates: Blight Task Force Meeting, Condition, Announced; Farmers' Market Update; Business Stand Update

By: Maria Moore

Blight Task Force Meeting, Conditions Announced

The Blight Task Force will hold its next meeting on Monday, September 14, Mike Cvercko, chairman of the group, informed members of the group and other interested parties in an email sent yesterday, September 2.  The meeting is scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m. in the Senior Center of the Town Hall, 530 Main Street.  In the email Mike asked everyone who is planning to attend the meeting to please check for any posted notice that the conference room has been changed.

Although members of the public are being invited to attend the meeting, they will not be allowed to make any comments during the meeting.  The following is a portion of Mike’s email:

“As usual all interested parties are invited to sit in on the meeting. However this meeting will differ from previous meetings in that there will be no provisions for public comment [emphasis in Mike's email]. This will allow us to focus on the issues and make the much needed progress toward meeting our charter. There will be plenty of opportunity for public comment later in the process.”

In his email Mike also reminded Task Force members of their homework assignment from their last meeting, as follows:

“Please remember the home work assignment from our last meeting and review the Blight Ordinances of the four towns with populations of less than 10,000 residents, identified in the last meetings’ minutes, and determine what you like and don’t like in these Ordinances. Also prepare your questions regarding the existing regulations lack of enforceability, could they be made enforceable and if so what would it take to make them enforceable. Karl Nilsen will be in attendance and will be a valuable resource for the group to understand the situation and assess the situation.

The First Selectmen, Earl MacInnes, has indicated his intent to be in attendence for the beginning of the September 22nd meeting and will start the meeting by addressing the task group. In his address he will clearly state the charter of the task group so that we and other interested parties will all be on the same page.”

Mike closed his email by saying that an agenda would soon be prepared and emailed.

This Blight Task Force meeting had originally been scheduled for September 22, but the date was changed to September 14 to accommodate scheduling conflicts for two of the Task Force members.

The Blight Task Force has held two meetings so far, both of which have generated heated discussion between task force members and members of the public attending the meetings; see our June 22 report Residents Turn Out For Blight… and our June 5 report Blight Task Force Meets, ….  The Blight Task Force and its charge was revisited at the July 20 Board of Selectmen meeting.  After hearing concerns from the public, First Selectman Earl MacInnes recommended allowing the task force to continue, to work out among themselves the issues and come up with a report for the Board of Selectmen; see our July 21 report Blight Task Force Discussed… .

Editor’s Note: We checked with Donna LaPlante, Town Clerk, to see whether there were other meetings that did not allow for public comment.  Donna pointed out that a couple of commissions, such as Planning and Zoning and Inland Wetlands do not have specific provisions in their agendas for public comment.  In our editor’s limited experience based on attending meetings of various boards, commissions and task forces since January of this year, every meeting she has attended has allowed public comment, although normally at a designated point of the meeting or at the end of the meeting before adjourning.

Farmers’ Market Update For Tomorrow, Friday

cornucopiahsIt’s going to be a gorgeous summer day tomorrow, Friday, and there’s no better place to start off your Labor Day than at our local Farmers’ Market on the Green in Pine Meadow. Here’s a listing of some the wonderful produce you’ll find there:

  • Eggplant (limited quantities);
  • Cherry Tomatoes (limited quantities);
  • Tomatoes;
  • Pickling Cucumbers;
  • Slicing Cucumbers;
  • Peppers;
  • Hot Peppers;
  • Green Beans;
  • Several varieties of Squash;
  • Cabbages;
  • Several varieties of Lettuce;
  • Leeks;
  • Spinach;
  • Cut and potted Herbs;
  • Blueberries;
  • Peaches;
  • Apples;
  • And lots of New Hartford Grown Corn!

Does this qualify as a Cornucopia?

    There will also be available beef, pork, waterfowl, maple syrup products, freshly milled flour, eggs, goat lotions & soaps and lovely crafts ~ all from local vendors. And there will be freshly baked breads and pastries from our two local bakers ~ plan on buying something from each!

    Chef John Scopino will be cooking this week featuring some locally raised meat from Eaglewood Farm!

    Music this week by O’Keefe. Come and listen to the lovely, lilting sounds of Greg and Nate, two local favorites.

    And in the words of Joanne Dahill:

    “Good Food, Good Friends, Good Fun.”

    EDC-NHBC Stand Update

    Every week the Economic Development-New Hartford Business Council (NHBC) Stand at the Farmers Market features a local business to introduce – or reintroduce – that business to our community. This week, however, we’ll be breaking with this tradition to feature:

    New Hartford Community Connections

    This local non-profit provides every household in town with a New Hartford Telephone Directory ~ no mean feat, when you consider that New Hartford residents have traditionally had tephone numbers from three telephone exchanges: 693 (Canton), 482 (Torrington), and 379 (Winsted).  While providing us all with copies of their little yellow phone book, Community Connections has also managed to give away approximately $10,000 per year to local organizations from the proceeds of the sale of ads in the directory.  Stop by and meet members of Community Connections at the Business Stand.

    Also available at the stand is information on local businesses and non-profits, recreational opportunities in New Hartford ~ hot off the press are the new Ski Sundown brochures for the coming season ~ and other information about New Hartford that may be of interest to residents and visitors alike.  Oh, and did we mention the New Hartford mugs and other souvenirs?…

    The EDC-NHBC Stand is coordinated by Norma Richmond (we all miss her New Hartford Junction), member of both the EDC and the NHBC, and Maria Moore, editor of NewHartfordPlus and member of the NHBC. Mary Ann Gunning, NHBC Membership/Hospitality coordinator, will more than likely be spending some time at the stand, in between shopping at the market. Charlie Richmond and Bob Moore, NewHartfordPlus techie, provide the manpower at the Stand!

    “Uncle Charlie” has a plethora of balloons and he now has a couple of pumps to keep up with demand!  That’s right:  With all all the new toys around, children still love to play with balloons!  Come and watch them play, and if you ask nicely, “Uncle Charlie” might even hand out balloons to adults!

    Posted in NEW HARTFORDComments (0)

    News Updates: Blight Task Force Meeting, Condition, Announced; Farmers’ Market Update; Business Stand Update

    By: Maria Moore

    Blight Task Force Meeting, Conditions Announced

    The Blight Task Force will hold its next meeting on Monday, September 14, Mike Cvercko, chairman of the group, informed members of the group and other interested parties in an email sent yesterday, September 2.  The meeting is scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m. in the Senior Center of the Town Hall, 530 Main Street.  In the email Mike asked everyone who is planning to attend the meeting to please check for any posted notice that the conference room has been changed.

    Although members of the public are being invited to attend the meeting, they will not be allowed to make any comments during the meeting.  The following is a portion of Mike’s email:

    “As usual all interested parties are invited to sit in on the meeting. However this meeting will differ from previous meetings in that there will be no provisions for public comment [emphasis in Mike's email]. This will allow us to focus on the issues and make the much needed progress toward meeting our charter. There will be plenty of opportunity for public comment later in the process.”

    In his email Mike also reminded Task Force members of their homework assignment from their last meeting, as follows:

    “Please remember the home work assignment from our last meeting and review the Blight Ordinances of the four towns with populations of less than 10,000 residents, identified in the last meetings’ minutes, and determine what you like and don’t like in these Ordinances. Also prepare your questions regarding the existing regulations lack of enforceability, could they be made enforceable and if so what would it take to make them enforceable. Karl Nilsen will be in attendance and will be a valuable resource for the group to understand the situation and assess the situation.

    The First Selectmen, Earl MacInnes, has indicated his intent to be in attendence for the beginning of the September 22nd meeting and will start the meeting by addressing the task group. In his address he will clearly state the charter of the task group so that we and other interested parties will all be on the same page.”

    Mike closed his email by saying that an agenda would soon be prepared and emailed.

    This Blight Task Force meeting had originally been scheduled for September 22, but the date was changed to September 14 to accommodate scheduling conflicts for two of the Task Force members.

    The Blight Task Force has held two meetings so far, both of which have generated heated discussion between task force members and members of the public attending the meetings; see our June 22 report Residents Turn Out For Blight… and our June 5 report Blight Task Force Meets, ….  The Blight Task Force and its charge was revisited at the July 20 Board of Selectmen meeting.  After hearing concerns from the public, First Selectman Earl MacInnes recommended allowing the task force to continue, to work out among themselves the issues and come up with a report for the Board of Selectmen; see our July 21 report Blight Task Force Discussed… .

    Editor’s Note: We checked with Donna LaPlante, Town Clerk, to see whether there were other meetings that did not allow for public comment.  Donna pointed out that a couple of commissions, such as Planning and Zoning and Inland Wetlands do not have specific provisions in their agendas for public comment.  In our editor’s limited experience based on attending meetings of various boards, commissions and task forces since January of this year, every meeting she has attended has allowed public comment, although normally at a designated point of the meeting or at the end of the meeting before adjourning.

    Farmers’ Market Update For Tomorrow, Friday

    cornucopiahsIt’s going to be a gorgeous summer day tomorrow, Friday, and there’s no better place to start off your Labor Day than at our local Farmers’ Market on the Green in Pine Meadow. Here’s a listing of some the wonderful produce you’ll find there:

    • Eggplant (limited quantities);
    • Cherry Tomatoes (limited quantities);
    • Tomatoes;
    • Pickling Cucumbers;
    • Slicing Cucumbers;
    • Peppers;
    • Hot Peppers;
    • Green Beans;
    • Several varieties of Squash;
    • Cabbages;
    • Several varieties of Lettuce;
    • Leeks;
    • Spinach;
    • Cut and potted Herbs;
    • Blueberries;
    • Peaches;
    • Apples;
    • And lots of New Hartford Grown Corn!

    Does this qualify as a Cornucopia?

      There will also be available beef, pork, waterfowl, maple syrup products, freshly milled flour, eggs, goat lotions & soaps and lovely crafts ~ all from local vendors. And there will be freshly baked breads and pastries from our two local bakers ~ plan on buying something from each!

      Chef John Scopino will be cooking this week featuring some locally raised meat from Eaglewood Farm!

      Music this week by O’Keefe. Come and listen to the lovely, lilting sounds of Greg and Nate, two local favorites.

      And in the words of Joanne Dahill:

      “Good Food, Good Friends, Good Fun.”

      EDC-NHBC Stand Update

      Every week the Economic Development-New Hartford Business Council (NHBC) Stand at the Farmers Market features a local business to introduce – or reintroduce – that business to our community. This week, however, we’ll be breaking with this tradition to feature:

      New Hartford Community Connections

      This local non-profit provides every household in town with a New Hartford Telephone Directory ~ no mean feat, when you consider that New Hartford residents have traditionally had tephone numbers from three telephone exchanges: 693 (Canton), 482 (Torrington), and 379 (Winsted).  While providing us all with copies of their little yellow phone book, Community Connections has also managed to give away approximately $10,000 per year to local organizations from the proceeds of the sale of ads in the directory.  Stop by and meet members of Community Connections at the Business Stand.

      Also available at the stand is information on local businesses and non-profits, recreational opportunities in New Hartford ~ hot off the press are the new Ski Sundown brochures for the coming season ~ and other information about New Hartford that may be of interest to residents and visitors alike.  Oh, and did we mention the New Hartford mugs and other souvenirs?…

      The EDC-NHBC Stand is coordinated by Norma Richmond (we all miss her New Hartford Junction), member of both the EDC and the NHBC, and Maria Moore, editor of NewHartfordPlus and member of the NHBC. Mary Ann Gunning, NHBC Membership/Hospitality coordinator, will more than likely be spending some time at the stand, in between shopping at the market. Charlie Richmond and Bob Moore, NewHartfordPlus techie, provide the manpower at the Stand!

      “Uncle Charlie” has a plethora of balloons and he now has a couple of pumps to keep up with demand!  That’s right:  With all all the new toys around, children still love to play with balloons!  Come and watch them play, and if you ask nicely, “Uncle Charlie” might even hand out balloons to adults!

      Posted in NEW HARTFORDComments (0)

      Community Calendar: Wednesday, Aug. 19

      Following are the Community Calendar listings for today in New Hartford, CT:

      Wednesday, August 19:

      • New Hartford Senior Center activities: at Senior Center, Town Hall, 530 Main St., New Hartford. Activities: Fitness: at 9:00 a.m. ($2.50 suggested donation per person, per class, includes a fitness card which is stamped for every class attended); Wii Bowling:at 10:00 a.m. For more information please call Jean Barnicoat at 860-379-3980 between 8:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., Mondays through Thursdays.
      • Conservation Commission Meeting: at 7:30 p.m. at Town Hall, 530 Main Street, New Hartford. Please see our Community Calendar for the agenda for this meeting.
      • Should your event be listed here and you don’t see it? Please email us the info. and we’ll add it! Send to newhartfordplus@gmail.com and write Calendar in the subject line.

      Our Community Calendar section provides additional information about the events listed above and information on past, current and future events – a permanent record of events in New Hartford. Also check out our new Community Bulletin Board where you can see posters and information on local groups and events.

      …NHGrapevine

      “Have you heard anything on the Blight front?”

      A resident asked our editor as she shopped for groceries at Marandino’s on her way home from an 8-hour day at work. “No response,” she told him, making a mental note to make her weekly check down at Town Hall on this issue. Journalism is 99% background work to come up with 1% news worthy of publication; percentages based on the feelings of an overtired reporter, not on a poll of the three or so reporters covering New Hartford.

      Contribute to the …NHGrapevine… Let us know what you’ve heard – or seen – in town and we’ll add it to this listing, and also add it to the …NHGrapevine.. section. So let’s hear what you’re hearing around town…

      A butterfly bush, one of several in Norma Pappalardo's garden on Church Street North, is a magnet for butterflies and for our photographer who makes a point of checking out the butterflies on the bushes on her daily walk from the library on Central Avenue to the post office on the corner of Route 44 and Church Street North.  Photo: Maria Moore

      A butterfly bush, one of several in Norma Pappalardo's garden on Church Street North, is a magnet for butterflies and for our photographer who makes a point of checking out the butterflies on the bushes on her daily walk from the library on Central Avenue to the post office on the corner of Route 44 and Church Street North. According to the DEP, Connecticut's butterfly population is being sharply reduced due to factors such as deforestation, climate change and loss of habitat. Kudos to Norma for providing for the needs of some of our local butterflies. Photo: Maria Moore

      Posted in NEW HARTFORDComments (2)

      Letter To The Editor: Good Candidates Will Lead To Good Government

      Dear Madam Editor,

      I read with interest your comments regarding the current First Selectman, and his petitioning as a Third Party candidate. Frankly, I’m not surprised one bit. However I think the Town, and certainly his former party members think it’s probably time we move on. I know I do.

      The idea of a really good campaign this year intrigues me.

      One could postulate that good candidates beget good campaigns, and good campaigns beget good results. While not always the case, it would appear that this year New Hartford will enjoy the rewards of four remarkable candidates for the Board of Selectmen jobs available.

      To be sure, the under ticket candidates are just as abundant with good names and candidates with exceptional qualifications, but the under ticket is generally carried by the top of the ticket, and with the Jerram/Gresczyk matchup versus the Webb and Klebart campaign, the people of New Hartford will have choices unlike any in recent memory.

      The Webb/Klebart ticket is absolutely stuffed full of passion and commitment fueled with knowledge and compassion for bringing back a more people-centric style of government. Jerram and Gresczyk have combined years of experience and also tons of town project accomplishments under their belts.

      What I like about all of these candidates is that, unlike the now third party independent candidate, none of them are running for their respective slots because they need a job. I’m quite sure they all have plenty to do. To me that’s a big deal.

      After the Republican Town Committee held its Caucus and stuffed the Senior Center to the gunnels with supporters looking for new leadership, and all but rebuking the incumbent First Selectman, they sent a message to the townspeople that “they were mad as hell and they weren’t gonna take it anymore.” I say good for them.

      A more sedate Democratic Caucus enjoyed words of empathy and undestanding for the taxpayers, an understanding for the frustration of the last 4 years of backroom deals and misstep after misstep, and the need for a commitment to “full time leadership rather than part time promises.” A compelling argument to be sure.

      In the end we now have some new faces with new ideas of what and why things should be done. The winners will be facing the Herculean tasks of figuring out ‘how’ things can get done.

      There are differences in style and in content to be sure, but the fact that New Hartford can take the rest of the summer and fall to learn more about these folks, hear their words, and judge their deeds is a true blessing. I urge folks to engage them all and ask the tough questions. There isn’t a shrinking violet among them and I am quite confident they will want everyone’s input.

      With any number of significant projects including the completion of the WWTP (wastewater treatment plant) buildout, the biggest public works project in our town’s history, we should be questioning where do we go from here. Land use issues, the ongoing blight questions, economic development, seniors’ needs, public safety, schools, these are all standard fare for election babble. The real issues remain the economy and taxes. As time marches on the town has invested heavily in it Open Space initiatives and school upgrades, some good, some not my cup of tea, but investments made nonetheless. Today the tides have turned and people are facing changes in their lives of monumental proportions including just holding on to a job. I would ask: “How can my local government make sure that the burdens of living here aren’t continually shifted to me personally?”

      With the dopes in Hartford and Washington D.C. making living in Connecticut and holding on to a job as difficult as possible, I would look to our local government to provide a place of repose and rest. A safe harbor if you will.

      These past 4 years of discontent at Town Hall, the infighting and backroom deals haven’t made anyone feel better about their lives here; in fact, I would suggest just the opposite. Town Hall has been in virtual lockdown for the last 4 years with our current First Selectman holding the keys as Judge, Jury, and Warden.

      These new names for leadership of, and for, our town would do well to remember that it’s really hard to hear what the people are saying when you keep the very doors and windows at our seat of leadership closed and locked.

      But I think that message has already been received by the respective campaigns. The idea of saving electricity by locking Town Hall is merely an example of how out of touch the leadership has been, and how the lack of customer service has permeated the First Selectman’s Office.

      With this new crop of potential Selectmen/Selectwoman as well as the fabulous unsung heroes of the respective under tickets I have every hope that we will be able to finally unlock the doors at Town Hall and get some badly-needed fresh air in that building.

      After all, I’m convinced that good candidates will, regardless of party affiliation, bring us good government.

      Christopher Jones
      Cedar Lane
      August 6, 2009

      Republican candidate Dan Jerram and Democratic candidate Phyllis Webb visiting with each other at the Farmers' Market recently. Photo: Maria Moore

      Republican candidate Dan Jerram and Democratic candidate Phyllis Webb visiting with each other at the Farmers' Market recently. Photo: Maria Moore

      Chris Jones (in baseball cap) visiting with Dan LaPlante at the Farmers' Market recently. Photo: Maria Moore

      Chris Jones (in baseball cap) visiting with Dan LaPlante at the Farmers' Market recently. Photo: Maria Moore

      Posted in NEW HARTFORDComments (1)

      Community Calendar: August 4

      Following are the Community Calendar listings for today in New Hartford, CT:

      Tuesday, August 4:

      • New Hartford Senior Center activities: at Senior Center, Town Hall, 530 Main St., New Hartford. Activities: Fitness at 10:45 a.m. ($2.50 suggested donation per person, per class, includes a fitness card which is stamped for every class attended); Crafts: at 1:00 p.m.; Cribbage ‘n’ cards: at 1:00 p.m. For more information please call Jean Barnicoat at 860-379-3980 between 8:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., Mondays through Thursdays.
      • Torrington Farmers’ Market: from 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. at the Staples Plaza, 100 South Main Street, Torrington.
      • New Hartford Public Schools Board of Education Special Meeting: at 6:30 p.m. at Town Hall, 530 Main Street, New Hartford. Please see our Community Calendar for the agenda for this meeting.
      • Should your event be listed here and you don’t see it? Please email us the info. and we’ll add it! Send to newhartfordplus@gmail.com and write Calendar in the subject line.

      Our Community Calendar section provides additional information about the events listed above and information on past, current and future events – a permanent record of events in New Hartford. Also check out our new Community Bulletin Board where you can see posters and information on local groups and events.

      …NHGrapevine

      “The big stores bring in the plants from down South and then all of our plants up here get blight.”

      Said by a local farmer to a customer explaining why the local tomato crop has been practically wiped out this year.

      Contribute to the …NHGrapevine… Let us know what you’ve heard – or seen – in town and we’ll add it to this listing, and also add it to the …NHGrapevine.. section. So let’s hear what you’re hearing around town…

      A stand of trees on Highland Avenue seems to glow in the sunshine after the rain.  Photo: Maria Moore

      A stand of trees on Highland Avenue seems to glow in the sunshine after the rain. Photo: Maria Moore

      Posted in NEW HARTFORDComments (0)

      Blight Task Force Discussed, Original Charge Affirmed By BOS

      By: Maria Moore

      The Blight Task Force Discussion was the fourth item on the agenda of Monday evening’s, July 20, Board of Selectmen (BOS) meeting.  For our report on the farmers’ signs issue which was discussed before the Blight Task Force, see Farm Signage Brings Residents Out… We will also publish a short report on the other items discussed at Monday evening’s BOS meeting.

      First Selectman Earl MacInnes said that he had asked the board members at their last meeting to think about the Blight Task Force and its charge; see our July 8 report Brodie Pending Litigation, Blight Concerns… Earl asked Phyllis Webb to begin the discussion.

      Phyllis Webb to Blight Task Force:  Be Certain You’re Looking At The Original Scope Set Out For You

      Phyllis said that she had given thought to it, that lots of people had called and emailed her on the issue.  She said that they had to be certain that they were looking at the original scope set out in 2007 and 2009, which was:

      • Review of prevailing practices of towns re: Junk and Blight Ordinances;
      • Consideration of existing attitudes and practices in the community;
      • Development of recommendations to Board of Selectmen with respect to future town practices.

      The above three charges are taken directly from Bill Baxter’s 2007 memo to the Blight and Junk Advisory Task  Group.

      “You not only want to review,” Phyllis said, “a suggestion is to go back to the towns and find out how ordinances have been enforced and at what cost to the town.”   Phyllis also said that perhaps another survey could be done, that there was a need to open it up to see residents’ attitudes.

      As to the third charge, to develop recommendations to the BOS, Phyllis said that she was not certain that the task force had been given the mission to end up with a blight ordinance – it was more to research what other communties have done.  Phyllis also emphasized that they need to look at the cost: “If we were to take on a new ordinance, at what cost would it be enforced?”

      Lastly, Phyllis said that the task force members were to work among themselves and have a balanced view, that their charge was “to represent all voices and concerns of our neighbors.”

      Bill Marchand: “How Can We Best Come Out Of It At The Lowest Cost?”

      Bill said that the mission of the task force was to look into blight, not really to come up with a blight ordinance.  ”How can we best come out of it at the lowest cost?” was the focus for Bill.  He said that in Torrington an enormous cost was associated with a blight ordinance and: “I’m a very cheap kind of guy and I don’t want to see taxes go up to pay for lawyers.”

      Bill said the group had its hands full, working on “What will work and what won’t.”  He ended by saying that it’s best to see what the town already has in place and then see if anything else will follow.

      The meeting was opened to the public and it was said: “A lot of folks  have jumped the gun… there are too many rumors flying around on both sides of the fences;” (our reporter does not have this remark attributed to any individual).

      Phyllis emphasized that the first step must be the definition of blight: “It should be Step 1: to look at it as a group and define it.”

      Mike Cvercko, chairman of the Blight Task Force, spoke next and he said that he has been accused of violating the group’s charge but, he said, he had reviewed towns in Litchfield to find out what they have done about blight; see our summary of that list in our June 22 article Residents Turn Out for Blight Task Force Meeting.

      Mike said that people are jumping the gun, that they have only had two meetings.  He added that they had only had one opportunity to talk to Karl (Nilsen, Zoning Officer) and that his opinions are not very encouraging.  He said Karl was not available for the second or third (which was cancelled) meetings.

      Alesia Kennerson said that at the last blight meeting, the homework assignment for the task force members was to look at four blight ordinances and come up with their own blight ordinance.  Alesia added that a lot of work needs to be done before getting to that stage.

      Regarding another survey being carried out Linda Hupplesberg asked: “How can you ask someone if they’re pro or con something that you haven’t defined?”

      Sue Lundin, a member of the Blight Task Force and also a member of the New Hartford Schools Board of Education, said that it would be very helpful if the Blight Task Force could have a workshop on the rules and procedures followed at meetings.  She said that the schools’ Board of Ed members had gone to such a workshop and it had helped them a great deal to understand Robert’s Rules of Order which are followed in meetings.  Sue also suggested that the minutes be taken for the Blight Task Force meetings.

      A farmer (our reporter did not have his name in her notes) present at the meeting then said: “Why do we need to go into this?  We don’t have crack houses in town…  This is America – why are we telling people what to do?  Some people can’t afford a new roof…  Where’s it going to stop?”

      Mike responded: “You’re one of the offenders – you’re putting the cart before the horse.  We have rules in town we need to follow.”

      “Your objective is to put something in place,” the farmer responded.

      Mike came back with: “At the end of the day, when we formulate something, it will go to a town meeting.”

      The farmer came back with a remark about Mike’s a personal agenda, and the two got involved in a heated exchange which our reporter did not record.

      Paula Pobuda of Pine Meadow spoke next on the issue of enforcement.  She asked if anyone had talked to Karl about what he meant on enforcement.  ”He’s one person and he has a lot to enforce,” she said.

      Paul Mahoney spoke on the cost being incurred by the town on this issue. Paul said to Mike: “You are all volunteers and that is great, but don’t give the impression that this is free. It costs money. Earl’s time to refer questions to the Town’s lawyer, the cost of the lawyer’s time . All this costs money, it is not free. Maybe we should have a town meeting to decide if we want a Blight Task Force in the first place.”

      A woman spoke about the Christmas in April that that town of East Hartford holds every year.  She said that townspeople take one property a year and they rehab that property for the owner.

      Reggie Smith Jr. came in with a reference to the “Pink Motel” (the New Hartford Motel, the building in which Chatterley’s is today), and how the owner had painted it  pink to spite neighbors who were complaining about the peeling paint.  ”You have to be careful what you end up with.”  Reggie said.  Instead, he urged residents to work with other residents on issues.

      Tom Goddu showed a number of large photos showing properties that obviously needed work on them, including a roof that seemed to have sunk down in one place.  The photos were of several town buildings, including Antolini School and the Field House in Brodie Park.  ”We’re all blighters!” Tom said.

      Maria Moore, our reporter, then spoke on her own behalf as a town resident.  She asked the Board of Selectmen to consider dissolving the Blight Task Force which was formed in a haphazard way.  She held up the Brodie/Surdam Properties Task Force as a model task force, with representatives from different interested groups, such as the Board of Finance, the Seniors, and so on.  She commended Earl for having put together that task force and she asked that he put together a similar task force for the Blight issue.

      Earl responded that the Blight Task Force had been put together under a previous administration, and that he knew many of those on that task force and that he felt they were very qualified to be on there.

      There were more comments from residents, with one asking why citizens were being forced to fund someone’s personal agenda, and another saying that there was an inability to separate fact from emotion on the task force.

      Mike defended the composition of the task force, saying that when it was reformed it was opened up to anyone and nobody was excluded.  He again said the task force was following its charge.  Mike then went on to say:

      “Karl is not available to answer why it’s not enforceable.  He put it on the selectmen, that you make the decision…  Karl is a hired gun, we pay him.  He’s not doing part of his job.  If we chose to make him enforce it, then he will.”

      Stan Brobston said that the answer to why it’s not enforceable is that it effects the indigent, the elderly and the disabled who may not physically be able to comply.  He asked that the name be changed from “Blight” to “Neighborhood Cleanup Committee.”  He said that all with muscle power could get together and they would take care of the situations 95% of the time.  He also suggested an amnesty day at the landfill – when you can bring couches and things and dispose of them for free.

      Mike responded that a centerpiece was that for people who don’t have the means, they could have people doing community service  help clean up.  But, he said, a percentage of those that have blight don’t want to deal with it.  He said that some towns in Litchfield had had 2 days free pick up when they would pick up large items and take them to the landfill.  With budget constraints and fees at landfills going up, the days were cut out and the blight issues went back up.

      Mike said: “We’re looking at all this.  We’ve had two meetings – 5 hours, 4 answering questions.”  He said that according to FOI, the public can be invited to a meeting, but they don’t have to allow public comment.  He said for the next couple of meetings, he wouldn’t allow public comment so that they could move on.

      Alesia said: “I still have to hear how I defamed Mike because he has threatened me with a lawsuit.”  Earl said that was a private matter between her and Mike, and he brought the discussion to an end.

      Earl summarized by saying that the task force was put in place in 2007, and that he, Bill Marchand and Bill Baxter had agreed to deal with it.  He said he’d heard from residents on the issue, and that he knew personally many of those on the Blight Task Force and he felt there’s enough balance, enough diversity on that task force.  Earl said: “Because of the diversity on the committee, we will get a solid report from them.

      Earl recommended to allow the task force to continue, to work out among themselves the issues and come up with a report for the Board of Selectmen.

      Note: The remaining items discussed at Monday evening’s, July 20, Board of Selectmen meeting will be reported in a third, brief report to follow.

      One of the photos Tom showed the Board of Selectmen: the roof at Antolini School very much in need of repair.  Photo: Tom Goddu

      One of the photos Tom showed the Board of Selectmen: the roof at Antolini School very much in need of repair. Photo: Tom Goddu

      A close-up view of the roof at Antolini School.  This is one of the images Tom Goddu showed at the BOS meeting to illustrate blighted conditions at town properties.  Photo: Maria Moore

      A close-up view of the roof at Antolini School. This is one of the images Tom Goddu showed at the BOS meeting to illustrate what some might consider blighted conditions at town properties. Photo: Tom Goddu

      One of the walkways at the New Hartford Industrial Park that could easily be identified as blighted.  Photo: Maria Moore

      One of the walkways at the New Hartford Industrial Park that might be identified as blighted. Photo: Maria Moore

      Many thanks to Paul Mahoney for supplying missing information to this report, especially regarding the Pink Motel which had our reporter befuddled.
      Many thanks to Tom Goddu for allowing us the use of the photos he showed at the BOS meeting showing town properties that might be termed blighted by some.

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