‘Horses for Heroes’ Offers Rides for Vets

Monday, November 28, 2016 (Issue #3)
by Alana Branch, Veterans Affairs Editor

.   .   .

Among the many remedies for a down-and-out veteran—music, travelling, reading—horses appear to be the next big thing.

A program at Newberry Farm in Columbia, Conn. called “Horses for Heroes” welcomes veterans every week for a ride.

C.K. Bellone is the owner and lead instructor, and has been involved with therapeutic riding since the 80s.

“It helps them [veterans] gain control of themselves physically, socially and emotionally,” Bellone tells FOX 61 news. “They gain control of something bigger than themselves.”

Among the current 18 veterans involved in the program is Carlita Cotton, retired from the Air Force, who says that riding horses has helped her injured back. According to Newberry Farm’s website, “Physically, the gait of the horse stimulates the rider’s pelvis and trunk,” and can correct muscle tone, balance, and posture. Its affordable services also satisfy the mind and the heart, gaining one’s confidence and developing relationships all while learning the ins and outs of the horse.

Families of veterans are also welcome! There are enough horses to go around.


Summer Temperatures to Rise Drastically by 2100

Monday, November 28, 2016 (Issue #3)
by Ryan V. Stewart, Staff Writer/Website Editor

.   .   .

NOTICE: Corrections to this article have been made, namely: (1) The years of temperature predictions for various areas have been clarified, (2) the fact that Scott Pruit has been chosen to head the EPA under Trump, not Myron Ebell (the latter was merely appointed as the EPA’s transition team leader under Trump), has been noted, and (3) a hyperlink to the webpage associated with the “1,001 Blistering Future Summers” interactive has been placed at the bottom of the article.

These corrections are not reflected in the print version (Issue #3) of The Foothills Reporter.

.   .   .

If carbon emissions are not quickly and dramatically scaled down worldwide, average daily summer temperatures around the country—indeed, around the world—will be very different by the end of the century. This according to Climate Central, an independent scientific organization devoted to promulgating information about climate change.

According to an interactive chart developed by Climate Central’s researchers, Danbury, the average daily summer temperature of which, as of 2014, hovered around 80.65 degrees Fahrenheit, will feel more like Sunrise, FL, which stood at a balmy 90.41 F the same year, in 2100.

The chart, entitled “1001 Blistering Future Summers”, allows a user to punch in one of about a thousand cities from around the country and track the difference in average summer temperatures between 2014 (when the chart and its associated article were released online) and 2100. The chart compares the end-of-century temperature forecast for a given city with its closest approximation elsewhere in the country, as of 2014, and, for the currently-hottest cities in the U.S., with municipalities in today’s Middle East. Boulder, CO, for example, will feel more like Pharr, TX, whereas Phoenix, AZ, in 2014 an already-hot 103.96 degrees, will feel more like Kuwait City, at a broiling 114.08 F.

It should be noted that the chart’s predictions are based on a “business-as-usual” emissions scenario out to 2100, meaning that the projected temperatures result from the assumption that humans continue burning fossil fuels at the current rate (or faster) until the end of the 21st century. That means that, if humans reverse course, things won’t be quite so hot. “Quite” because, as many scientists have pointed out, there is a certain amount of global warming already “baked into” the climate system, so even if the world stopped emitting carbon today, global temperatures would continue to rise at a fast pace for a couple decades at least.

Unfortunately, there’s little indication that humans are prepared to scale down carbon emissions from electricity production, transport, and agriculture at the scale needed: The IPCC’s (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) Paris Climate Accord (also called the “Paris Agreement”), which came into force on November 4, and which 195 countries (including the United States) signed, is a good first step, but by itself is woefully inadequate to keep global warming below the levels scientists have determined to be very dangerous. (Variously defined as 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-Industrial times.)

Add to this the election of Donald Trump—who has vowed to scrap President Obama’s Clean Power Plan and pull the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement; plans to appoint Myron Ebell, a climate change denier, as head of the Environmental Protection Agency’s transition team; and intends to appoint Scott Pruitt, another climate change denier, as that agency’s Administrator—as president of the United States, and the future of Earth’s climate, and the global civilization it has sustained, becomes bleak indeed.

So, Danbury may very well be unrecognizable by the end of the century, compared to today’s standards, and cities like Pharr, TX and Phoenix, AZ may be as hot as some Middle Eastern municipalities are today. Perhaps we in America are relatively lucky, then, as, given the data, one has to wonder how the people in Kuwait City will fare, if at all, come 2100.

Visit the 1,001 Blistering Future Summers interactive {http://www.climatecentral.org/news/summer-temperatures-co2-emissions-1001-cities-16583} to learn more.

New Milford Power Plant Plans Halted

Monday, November 28, 2016 (Issue #3)
by Ian Boisvert, Managing Editor

.   .   .

Demolition of the deserted Century Brass mill in New Milford is well underway, but there will not be a new tenant for the time being. Mayor David Gronbach stated earlier this month that he had withdrawn the proposal from Panda Power Funds amidst strong community backlash.

In a letter posted on his Facebook page, Gronbach said, “The Panda Proposal to build a gas-fired electric generation plant was a serious one and warranted serious consideration.”

After acknowledging the residents’ anger with the Panda plant project, Gronbach stated in the letter, “given that neither the majority of the community nor its representatives on the Town Council support the power plant, I will be withdrawing the Panda Proposal to develop the Century Brass site.”

While the plant would have offered an estimated 300-500 jobs during construction, many were concerned about the safety of a gas-fired power plant so close to residential areas. Informational forums with Panda Power Corp. often became heated.

“Some information sessions have involved shouting, accusations of collusion, blatant misinformation and scare tactics, threats and intimidation of people, including Town employees,” Gronbach said in his withdrawal.

In this letter, Gronbach also stated that throughout the power plant debate, certain New Milford residents “behaved without civility and decorum,” which included Gronbach accusing an unnamed citizen of calling him “a Nazi” and the use of gendered slurs towards some of Gronbach’s female staff.

The largest concern of the critics of the Panda project was the implied danger associated with the burning of natural gas. Gronbach shot down the stigma stating, “The process of burning natural gas to generate electricity is already being conducted at the Kimberly-Clark plant next to the Pettibone School and athletic fields.”

The Panda project will not move forward in New Milford, however Gronbach is convinced that natural gas powered plants can exist in Connecticut.

“This Proposal will not proceed here, but they are addressing our current and future energy needs,” said Gronbach. “My hope is that they will continue their work of building modern plants that allow coal and oil-fired plants to be decommissioned.”

Your October Prescription: One Shot of Adrenaline

Monday, November 7, 2016 (Issue #2)
by Erica M. Stevens, Arts and Entertainment Editor

.   .   .

Lake Compounce is carving out fun this month letting us eat, drink, and be scary. Ghastly roller coasters, a chilly, crisp breeze, and haunted ghouls and goblins unfold into an evening of nefarious delight. The Haunted Graveyard at Lake Compounce is back for its 17th season, enticing both children and adults to the biggest Halloween trail in New England.

Roam the mile-long trail, meet over 200 eerie actors, and scream your way through an unforgettable evening. Said General Manager Jerry Brick, “The Graveyard is nine separate areas, and takes almost 40 minutes to go through it.” He went on to say, “The Graveyard detail at night is amazing. The guests often get dressed up as well, so it has such a great feel throughout.”

The Graveyard started 23 years ago when a father’s daughter was diagnosed with diabetes. Unable to go trick-or-tricking, he was determined to give his daughter a memorable experience. He built a display in his yard, intriguing friends and passerby alike. Six years later, it had grown so large, it was moved to Lake Compounce, and continues to intrigue adrenaline junkies throughout New England.

The Haunted Graveyard is open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays throughout October from 6:30 p.m. until 11:30 p.m. Tickets for the Graveyard are $25.99 for adults, $20.99 for children under 11. For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit www.hauntedgraveyard.com.

Paraeducator of the Year Award Granted

Peggy Kelley, left, speaks with Commissioner Wentzell.
(Photo courtesy of Aaron Flaum/the Norwich Bulletin.)

Monday, November 7, 2016 (Issue #2)
by Rachel Krate, Education Editor

.   .   .

Montville School District’s Peggy Kelley was awarded the Connecticut 2017 Anne Marie Murphy Paraeducator of the Year Award, which recognizes the importance of paraeducators in students’ achievement in the state. The award is named after Anne Marie Murphy, a paraeducator whose life was lost in Newtown.

This year’s award was presented to Peggy Kelley due to her “exceptional skill and dedication in her role, thereby earning the respect and admiration of students, teachers, administrators, coworkers, and parents,” according to the Connecticut State Department of Education.

“Paraeducators play a vital role in creating supportive learning environments that engage the whole child, inspire a love of learning, and equip students with the skills they need to pursue their dreams,” said State Department of Education Commissioner Dianna R. Wentzell at Mohegan Elementary School, where she and State Department of Education Chief Talent Officer Sarah Barzee visited on Tuesday, Oct. 11 to make the award announcement.

“Peggy Kelley’s dedication to her students, her school, and her community has undoubtedly had a profound impact on the lives of countless families as she has helped students to realize their full potential. I congratulate Mrs. Kelley on this honor,” Commissioner Wentzell said.

Drug Take-Back Day to Dispose of Unwanted Drugs

Drug Take-Back Day will occur on Oct. 22 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
(Photo courtesy of the Putnam, CT Police Department.)

Monday, November 7, 2016 (Issue #2)
by Brendan Dyer, Crime Editor

.   .   .

Connecticut State Police will be hosting Drug Take-Back Day on Oct. 22 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. in an effort to collect unwanted prescription drugs.

The effort is part of a state-wide initiative to stop pill abuse and distribution. Due to the alarmingly high overdose and abuse rates of prescription drugs in the United States citizens are encouraged to empty their medicine cabinets of unwanted drugs.

The initiative stems from a bill passed by Congress in 2010 called the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act. The bill, an amendment to the Controlled Substances Act, allows an “ultimate user” of substances to dispose of them to collectors authorized by the Attorney General.

The process is free and anonymous and serves as a safe alternative to disposing of the drugs in the toilet or trash, which studies suggest cause health risks and safety hazards.

This will be an ongoing approach to the safe disposal of prescription drugs every few months.

In April 2016 all State Police barracks across Connecticut were equipped with drug collection boxes donated by CVS Pharmacy. These terminals are available to the public year-round, 24-hours a day.

Those wanting to participate in the take-back initiative Saturday, Oct. 22 are encouraged to visit these locations:

  • Troop A-Southbury 90 Lakeside Road, Southbury
  • Troop B-North Canaan 463B Ashley Falls Road, North Canaan
  • Troop D-Danielson 55 Wescott Road, Danielson
  • Troop F-Westbrook 315 Spencer Plains Road, Westbrook
  • Troop I-Bethany 631 Amity Road, Bethany
  • Troop K-Colchester 15A Old Hartford Road, Colchester
  • Troop L-Litchfield 452A Bantam Road, Litchfield

The permanent drop box locations are:

  • Troop A-Southbury 90 Lakeside Road, Southbury
  • Troop B-North Canaan 463B Ashley Falls Road, North Canaan
  • Troop C-Tolland 1320 Tolland Stage Road, Tolland
  • Troop D-Danielson 55 Wescott Road, Danielson
  • Troop E-Montville I-395 North (between exits 6 & 9), Montville
  • Troop F-Westbrook 315 Spencer Plains Road, Westbrook
  • Troop G-Bridgeport 149 Prospect Street, Bridgeport
  • Troop H-Hartford 100R Washington Street, Hartford
  • Troop I-Bethany 631 Amity Road, Bethany
  • Troop K-Colchester 15A Old Hartford Road, Colchester
  • Troop L-Litchfield 452A Bantam Road, Litchfield

Water Supply Dwindling: Drought Strikes Connecticut

Conn. residents are asked to reduce water demand by 10 percent.
(Image courtesy of the U.S. Drought Monitor.)

Monday, November 7, 2016 (Issue #2)
by Austin Rick, Environment Editor

.   .   .

Currently, Connecticut is facing a drought, according to the United States Drought Monitor. In fact, the monitor states some are dealing with a D2-D4 level drought, which means they are in the middle of a severely dry season. What could have caused a drought like this?

According to WNPR News, dry weather is to blame. “In Connecticut, the entire state is either abnormally dry or experiencing moderate drought, with the driest parts in Hartford County, New Haven County, and most of Litchfield County.” As level of awareness piqued, mandatory action has been called upon.

As part of their drought advisory, a representative for CT.gov stated “all Connecticut residents and businesses are requested to voluntarily reduce water demand by 10 percent; reductions in lawn watering are encouraged as the best way to meet conservation goals.” The site claims “precipitation across Connecticut has been down as much as six inches over the last 90 days.” As of Sept. 14, the drought advisory is still in effect, as consequences have taken hold.

“In Connecticut, the entire state is either abnormally dry or experiencing moderate drought, with the driest parts in Hartford County, New Haven County, and most of Litchfield County.”

CT.gov states, “the criteria for precipitation has not been triggered,” meaning that the amount of rainfall needed to take Connecticut out of the drought has not been met. Additionally, “groundwater has been three consecutive months below normal,” and “stream flow has been below normal in two of the past three months.”

The water supply is dwindling, and people should be careful. “Crops have been abnormally dry,” posing a threat when it comes to fire; the fire danger is reportedly “moderate or above average.” WNPR writes the “drought can also cause a wildfire risk and make it a little harder to grow food.”

Unfortunately, only time will tell when Connecticut will receive enough rain to break through the drought cycle. However, Connecticut residents can do their share by cutting back on consumption of water.

Roundtables Highlight Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month

Monday, November 7, 2016 (Issue #2)
by Susan Brown, Health Editor

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Western Connecticut Health Network (WCHN), in collaboration with the Ron Foley Foundation and Verastem, will sponsor roundtable discussions for Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month in November, featuring physician experts in the field of pancreatic cancer, according to WCHN spokeswoman, Diane Burke.

The first program will be held on Tuesday Nov. 1, 2016, at The Westport Library, 20 Jesup Road, in Westport, from 6:30 to 8:00 pm. Panelists will be medical oncologist Dr. Richard Frank, interventional gastroenterologist Dr. Naveen Anand, oncology surgeon Dr. Francis Cannizzo, Jr., dietitian and oncology nutrition specialist Vicki Barber, RD, CSO, and board-certified genetic counselor Susan Ingram, MS, CGC.

The second discussion will take place on Monday, Nov. 7, 2016, at Danbury Hospital, Robilotti Conference Room, 24 Hospital Avenue, in Danbury, from 6:30 to 8:00 pm. Panelists will be surgical oncologist Dr. Frank Cannizzo, interventional gastroenterologist Dr. Steven Brandwein, Director of Cancer Research at WCHN and medical oncologist Dr. Richard Frank, Division Chief of Oncology/Hematology at Danbury and New Milford Hospitals Dr. Vincent Rella, oncology nutrition specialist Vicki Barber, RD, CSO, and board-certified Genetic Counselor Susan Ingram, MS, CGC.

Burke says that topics discussed will include the role of screening for pancreatic cancer, including innovative new research on the topic; diagnostic, surgical and medical treatment and advances; and genetics and nutrition.

The programs are open to the public and free of charge. Pre-registration is required and light refreshments will be served. For more information and to register, call Julianne Artman, MHA, RN, OCN at 203-739-6948.

Western Connecticut Health Network’s Danbury Hospital Praxair Cancer Center, New Milford Hospital Diebold Cancer Center and Norwalk Hospital Whittingham Cancer Center have received national “Accreditation with Commendation” as Comprehensive Care Programs by the American College of Surgeons (ACS) for cancer care, Burke reports.

Crippling Connecticut: Gov. Malloy’s Mission

Governor Dannel Malloy.
(Photo courtesy of the Wall Street Journal.)

Thursday, October 13, 2016 (Issue #1)
by Michael C. Medeiros, Editorial Page Editor

.   .   .

Back in June, a study by George Mason University’s Mercatus Center found that Connecticut ranked dead last in terms of fiscal health, accumulating over $70 billion dollars in debt, a figure that is quickly rising due to out-of-control spending and runaway government regulation.

The study found that Connecticut’s fiscal position is “poor across all categories,” even beating Puerto Rico on the list, a territory which is essentially bankrupt.

“The state is heavily reliant on debt to finance its spending,” the study stated. “Total debt is $20.88 billion. Unfunded pensions are $83.31 billion on a guaranteed-to-be-paid basis, and other postemployment benefits (OPEB) are $19.53 billion. Total liabilities are equal to 53 percent of total state personal income.”

Under the watch of Democratic Governor Dannel P. Malloy and the completely Democratic state legislature, Connecticut has seen some of the largest tax hikes in modern history followed by an unprecedented exodus of businesses and industry from the state – General Electric, Rogers Corp. and Mossberg, to name a few. Health insurance giant Aetna and battery manufacture Duracell have also recently mulled the idea of leaving Connecticut.

Some may believe Hartford’s failings are due to a sickening combination of incompetence and ineptness, but the truth is even more startling: The fiscal decline of Connecticut was manufactured not by accident, but by design.

You see, driving the wealth out of Connecticut is exactly what the Democrats in Hartford want. Why? Because fewer companies mean fewer jobs, which causes more people to be reliant on handouts from state and federal government for sustenance, thus keeping the Democrats in power.

This strategy has proven brutally effective, further solidifying Democratic control of the state while simultaneously making Connecticut’s seven electoral votes guaranteed for Hillary Clinton this November.

However, if a perfect storm of high taxes, over-regulation, and low approval rating numbers for the governor can turn out the suburbs for Republican candidate Donald Trump, it may be a signal that Malloy’s days of crippling Connecticut are numbered.

Connecticut Garlic and Harvest Festival

The Festival’s 2016 logo.
(Photo courtesy of the Connecticut Garlic & Harvest Festival.)

Thursday, October 13, 2016 (Issue #1)
by Erica M. Stevens, Arts and Entertainment Editor

.   .   .

Leave your breath mints at the door! The 12th annual Garlic and Harvest Festival is cooking up all of your favorite autumn traditions at the Bethlehem Fairgrounds on Oct. 8 and 9, 2016.

Stroll through the grounds and discover garlic-cooking demonstrations, learn how to grow the most delicious garlic at one of the many lectures, and taste some of the most unique garlicky creations, including the festival’s most famous delicacy, garlic ice cream.

When you aren’t munching at the food court, walk over to one of the many rides and games, browse the handmade crafts, or sit back and enjoy one of the live musical performances.

“It is always so much fun to see what they have cooking up!” said Diane Hammer, “even my husband has a great time!”

Children posing during family-fun activities at the Garlic Festival.
(Photo courtesy of the Connecticut Garlic & Harvest Festival.)

Garlic lovers unite on Oct. 8 and 9 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors, and $1 for children under 12.

For more information, call 203- 266-7810 or visit www.garlicfestct. com.