Gail Case, owner of the Collinsville Baking Co. in New Hartford, stands behind her products Sunday, June 19, at the Collinsville Farmers Market. Photo: dotCANTON
The Collinsville Baking Company's out-of-sight location in the Pine Meadow section of New Hartford. Photo: dotCANTON
By Steve Wilder dotCANTON.com
Though she has remained a Canton resident all along, Gail Case’s appearance in town as a businesswoman on Sunday, June 19, was something of a homecoming.
And by the looks of things, it appeared to have been a profitable visit.
Case was selling plenty of bagels, rolls, bread, baguettes, bread sticks and granola at the Collinsville Farmers Market, only a couple hundred feet away from the location at 41 Bridge Street where she operated the Collinsville Baking Co. for five years, beginning in 2003.
After closing that store, Case was out of business for a year before re-energizing her operation in November 2009 at an out-of-sight location off Wickett Street in the Pine Meadow section of New Hartford. For Case, out of site apparently hasn’t meant out of luck. She says her business these days is “mostly wholesale,” supplying baked goods to retail outlets such as The Meat House on Route 44 in Avon, and to the Kane’s and Fitzgerald’s markets on Hopmeadow Street in Simsbury. The da Capo restaurants in Avon and Litchfield also buy from her, she says.
Don’t, however, let all that wholesale business lead you to write off the site-unseen location in New Hartford. It’s easy enough to find: From the intersection of routes 44 and 179 in Canton, take Route 44 north for 3.7 miles, until you reach the traffic light at the Pine Meadow post office. Turn right there onto Wickett Street and quickly turn right again into the dirt parking lot. Follow the lot to the side of the building (see photo above).
The Collinsville Baking Co. is open six days a week: 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday. You can sit and eat there, inside or out, or, of course, you can purchase items to take with you. Click here for a look at their menu. Sandwiches are also available.
The Collinsville Baking Co. is currently scheduled to have a booth at the Collinsville Farmers Market every other Sunday this season.
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Dog lovers should keep an eye on the Collinsville Farmers Market’s Facebook page this week. Dog owners attending the market on Sunday, June 19, were encouraged to take a photo of their pooch and post it to the Facebook page. The picture that generates the most “likes” by Saturday, June 25, will win prizes.
We snapped a couple of doggie pics, too. They appear below.
For a look at a few more photos from Sunday’s Collinsville Farmers Market, click on any of the images in the gallery below and use the arrow left or arrow right button at the bottom of the larger image that pops up. To return to this page, click on the full image you are viewing.
Lucy, a 4-year-old English Lab from Avon, attended Week 1 of the Collinsville Farmers Market. Perhaps she'll be back this Sunday, June 19, to sample some of the goodies brought by fill-in vendor One Lucky Dog LLC.
By Steve Wilder dotCANTON.com
As much as the Collinsville Farmers Market is about plants, produce and other interesting products, regular visitors know it’s also a terrific place to go to check out the pooches.
And that certainly will be the case during the weekly three-hour gathering at the corner of Main and Bridge streets this Sunday, June 19, when market organizers will be encouraging the “pupperazzi” (dog owners to be precise) to click away with their cameras for a chance to win a bag of One Lucky Dog Bones and a $20 Collinsville Farmers Market gift certificate.
The idea is to take a picture of your dog enjoying the market festivities and post it to CFM’s Facebook page. The picture that generates the most “likes” by Saturday, June 25, at 6 p.m. wins.
The pupperazzi event — and the prize of One Lucky Dog Bones — coincides with the participation this week of fill-in vendor One Lucky Dog LLC, an online company based in Simsbury and owned by Alexandra Singer.
One Lucky Dog is a boutique that produces and sells a range of natural and environmentally friendly products for your dog. Singer is especially proud of the organic and all-natural cookies she produces with “human grade ingredients.” They come in 10 different flavors.
“We get all our ingredients — meat, fruits, vegetables, herbs — from growers in Connecticut and from small and independent health food stores,” Singer says.
Singer will be bringing samples Sunday, probably of her “berry blossom” cookie, which she says is “fantastic.” How would Singer know? Easy. “I taste test every single cookie before it goes out,” she says.
Singer also plans to use Sunday to roll out a new “design-your-own-cookie” line, in which dog owners will be able to name the ingredients they want included in cookies made specially for their pet’s discriminating tastes.
Singer’s website, oneluckydogshop.com, is under reconstruction at the moment and is a bit “bare bones,” if you will. But you can still go there to get some more information about her products. Say hello to her on Sunday and she’ll be sure to keep you updated.
From one perspective, Phase III of the Farmington River Trail begins here, at the intersection of Gildersleeve Avenue and River Road (Route 179) in Collinsville. Click on the gallery below to travel the length of the path. Photos: dotCANTON
By Steve Wilder dotCANTON.com
Jeff Shea, the town of Canton’s project administrator, says July 15 is the target date for the completion of Phase III of the Farmington River Trail, a 10,000-foot-long, 10-foot-wide, multipurpose path that stretches from River Road (Route 179) in Collinsville to the intersection of Lovely Street and Albany Turnpike (Route 44) alongside Best Cleaners.
Attractive wooden fencing has been installed in areas where risks exist if someone were to leave the path, and all but about 300 feet of the trail has been paved. The unpaved portion is just east of the trail’s intersection with Atwater Street, where a driveway runs alongside the path for a while.
That area will be paved soon and a fence installed between the trail and the driveway, Shea said, adding that a second layer of paving will be put down the length of the trail before work is completed.
Ten benches will be installed at various spots along the trail, and Shea said work still needs to be done in areas where the trail crosses roadways, including the installation of bollards to keep vehicles off the path.
The project also includes the installation of a gazebo in open space south of the waste water treatment plant on River Road and adjacent to an already completed section of trail. Shea said the gazebo may be running a bit behind schedule.
The Farmington River Trail is part of the Rails to Trails Project. This portion of the trail runs along an abandoned Central New England Railroad right of way.
According to Shea, the approximately $1 million cost of Phase III is being paid in full with stimulus money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. S. Carpenter Construction Co. of Bristol handling construction.
With trail workers off for the day, a good number of walkers and bicyclists were on the path Sunday morning, June 5, enjoying some beautiful weather. dotCANTON.com walked it’s length and took a bunch of photos. We were surprised to find a couple of interesting trail features just off Allen Place and got a look at a body of water that many Canton residents have never seen.
To walk along with us, click on any of the images in the gallery below and use the arrow left or arrow right button at the bottom of the larger image that pops up. To return to this page, click on the full image you are viewing.
Click here and here for earlier posts about the trail
Hal Kolding's front lawn on Route 179 in Canton Center. Photo: dotCANTON
By Steve Wilder dotCANTON.com
Hal Kolding says his World War II Dodge WC-56 “command car” runs “like a champ.”
“I hope,” he says, “to someday drive this in the (Memorial Day) parade.”
That won’t happen at least until Kolding, a tech-ed teacher at Granby High School, gets around to properly registering the former U.S. military vehicle for road use. In the meantime, he plans to continue his tradition of driving it onto the front lawn of his Cherry Brook Road home twice each year in commemoration of Memorial Day in May and Veterans Day in November.
On Sunday, May 29, an American flag was flying from the front of Kolding’s home, and two were attached to the WC-56. White tape on the vehicle’s front bumper spelled Kolding’s simple Memorial Day message to all of those who sacrificed their lives while serving in the U.S. military:
Kolding, who has long had an interest in World War II, says the WC-56 typically provided transportation for “higher-ranking officers.” There’s no knowing who might have ridden in this “command car,” which Kolding says was built in 1942 or ’43, but there’s good evidence to show that it likely participated in the invasion of Germany toward the end of World War II.
According to Kolding, the vehicle still sports a 1946 “repair tag from a German shop.”
“It probably entered the European Theater in France, probably at Normandy, and went all the way to Germany,” Kolding says, adding that it was left in the French occupation zone in Germany that was created at the end of the war.
“Data tags,” Kolding says, show that the French used the three-speed vehicle in Indochina in the 1950s. It was returned to the United States in 1972 and purchased by an East Coast collector who owned it for more than three decades before selling it to Kolding “five or six” years ago. “It has been around the world,” Kolding says.
There aren’t a whole lot of these vehicles in existence anymore. Kolding says Midwestern farmers used to buy them from the military and convert them into short, flatbed-type vehicles. It was cheaper to do that than to buy a pickup or cargo truck, Kolding says.
A fully restored WC-56 would be worth a lot of money, according to Kolding. His vehicle falls far short of that, but he says it “would be a good start for a restoration.”
The original leather bench seat in front is long gone, the victim of rot. And the back seat, though original, is in bad shape. Some minor alterations have been made, including the addition of two red brake lights to the rear of the vehicle.
Otherwise, the almost 70-year-old command car is remarkably rust-free, except for the area around the battery box on the right running board. Kolding thinks one of the tires might be original, and the WC-56 still contains a fold-down map table that could have been used by persons riding in the back seat. No, Kolding says, there’s no evidence of any bullet holes.
Kolding enjoys rehabilitating old engines in his spare time (not surprising for a tech ed teacher), and is often working on a project that he may or may not sell when he’s finished. Asked whether he would consider selling his WC-56, the smile on his face and the slight shake of his head said it all: No time soon.
Click here to check out a previous visit by dotCANTON.com to Hal Kolding’s home.
Paul Rego of the state Department of Environmental Protection concludes his presentation on black bears Wednesday night, May 25, at the Canton Community Center. Photo: dotCANTON
By Steve Wilder dotCANTON.com
Connecticut DEP wildlife biologist Paul Rego kept the quips and insights flowing at the Canton Community Center Wednesday evening, May 25, as he spoke to an audience of approximately 160 about black bears in Connecticut.
Fire alarms sounded about 7:40 p.m., forcing the evacuation of the library and community center, but Rego was back at it 25 minutes later, when the building was reopened and his library-sponsored program, “Black Bear History, Biology and Management in Connecticut,” resumed.
A fire alarm forced the temporary evacuation of the Canton Community Center Wednesday night in the middle of Paul Rego's presentation on black bears. Photo: dotCANTON
Rego said wildlife officials tag both male and female bears, but he said you can be sure that a bear wearing a collar is a female.
“Why do we only collar females?” Rego asked rhetorically. “We’re interested in the females because males are dull in every species.”
Rego opened his presentation with a history lesson about the bear population in Connecticut. He said there were plenty of black bears here in the 1600s, when about 100 percent of the land was forested. That landscape changed dramatically, however, by the mid-1800s, when the European settlers had turned what was now known as Connecticut into a farm state, and only 20 to 30 percent of the land remained forested.
There weren’t many bears around by then, Rego said, and when one was spotted passing through it was usually shot dead.
“Bears are a very forest-dependent species,” Rego said. “Their numbers declined as their forest habitat declined, and their numbers declined as they were persecuted.”
When farmers left for the Midwest and trees began growing again, there were occasional reports of bears in the first few decades of the 20th century, “but no evidence we had resident bears,” Rego said. “It wasn’t until about 30 years ago that we began to see evidence of a resident bear population.”
With Connecticut now 60 to 70 percent forested, according to Rego, why did it take so long for the bears to come back? Probably, Rego said, because they prefer a mature forest, where older trees produce better acorn crops, and where trees die and fall, providing homes for the insects bears eat and dens for the bears themselves.
Now that they’re here, their population is going to keep growing. “At present, there is no population control,” Rego said. Bears aren’t hunted in Connecticut, so, Rego said, vehicles are probably their biggest threat. With the first year survival rate for black bears “very high” at 81 percent, Rego said, we should see the black bear population “doubling every five to seven years.”
Some more from Paul Rego:
- Male black bears tend to wander great distances; female bears remain in the area they were born.
- Skunk cabbage is one of a bear’s primary foods in early spring.
- Bears love “colonial” insects such as bees, wasps and ants.
- Bears are scavengers; they’ll eat road kill and “winter kill.”
- “Acorns are probably the most important food for bears.”
- Bears den for three to five months.
- Bears give birth in January.
- “One of our biggest messages is that once winter is over, put the bird feeders away. Birds don’t need feeders this time of year.”
- Bird feeders are “the number one damage complaint” linked to bears.
- Black bears can kill people, but that’s “exceptionally, exceptionally rare.”
Click here to link to the state DEP Web page “Black Bear Do’s and Don’ts.”
Click here to link to the state DEP Web page “CT Bear Fact Sheet.”
Click here to link to the state DEP Web page “Black Bear Sightings.”
Click here to link to the state DEP Web page “Report a Black Bear Sighting.”
The McLovins, including Canton resident Jeffrey Howard, left, perform in Mills Pond Park last August as part of the town's Summer Concert Series. The band is tentatively scheduled to return to the park for an encore performance on Aug. 4. Photo: dotCANTON
By Steve Wilder dotCANTON.com
The lineup for the Canton Parks & Recreation Summer Concert Series could well include a unique evening of entertainment all along the newly installed Phase III of the Farmington River Trail.
Brian Wilson, director of parks & recreation, says five concerts are all but officially booked for consecutive Thursday evenings beginning on July 7 and running through Aug. 4. All five of these events would be held in Mills Pond Park, a change from last summer, when three concerts were held in the park and three others were in downtown Collinsville, where the performers set up on the porch of the Canton Historical Museum
“I liked the atmosphere (in Collinsville),” Wilson said on Wednesday, May 5. “But I didn’t feel there enough space for an audience.”
Nothing is finalized, but Wilson said he is working on plans for a grand finale on Aug. 11 that he’s thinking of calling “The Trail Buskers Event.” A busker is an entertainer who sets up in a public place, such as a street corner or a subway station, and performs for contributions.
According to Wilson, as many as a dozen performance locations could be set up along the Farmington River Trail from Route 179 all the way to Lovely Street. Buskers would be assigned to a spot where they would do their thing for tips from passersby. Most of the artists would be musicians, Wilson said, but jugglers, mimes and the like could also be invited. Wilson said the event could be a little longer than most and possibly run from 5 to 8 p.m.
The five concerts for Mills Pond Park are tentatively as follows:
July 7 — Downright Music Band, a collection of musicians from Downright Music & Art in Collinsville, possibly including Canton resident Jeffrey Howard from The McLovins.
July 14 — Grass Routes, a bluegrass band from Connecticut.
July 21 — The Bossy Frog Band, which describes itself as “a fun and funky musical experience for children, young and old” and comes with a large green frog in costume.
July 28 — The Bus Drivers, a classic rock band returning for an encore performance.
Aug. 4 — The McLovins, a rock trio featuring Canton High School junior Jeffrey Howard and also back for a return engagement.
Joseph Mazzola of the U.S. Postal Service, up front in the white shirt and tie, takes questions about the future of the North Canton post office Tuesday night at the North Canton Grange. Photos: dotCANTON
By Steve Wilder dotCANTON.com
Insisting that no decision has been made on the fate of the North Canton Post Office, Joseph Mazzola, acting manager of post office operations for the 060 (zip) area, presented at least two bits of troubling information Tuesday night, April 26, that are seemingly working against the facility’s survival.
Joseph Mazzola delivers his opening remarks.
Speaking to about 70 residents at the Cherry Brook Grange on Route 179, Mazzola said the North Canton Post Office brought in a little more than $38,000 in revenue last year while operating at a cost of about $79,000.
In addition, Mazzola said the facility generated only 1.8 hours of work per day for the single postal employee who is paid to be there from opening to closing.
Those two factors might not weigh heavily against a postal unit located in an area where other USPS facilities weren’t available, Mazzola said, but in this case the Canton Center Post Office is an alternative that’s only 3.1 miles away.
Mazzola also pointed out several times that contractual obligations prohibit the USPS from closing a post office that has a sitting postmaster. North Canton doesn’t have one, but the other three post offices in Canton do.
After opening the 90-plus minute session with a brief overview of the financial miseries facing the U.S. Postal Service in general and the steps being taken to deal with them, Mazzola patiently answered questions and listened to comments for more than an hour, including remarks from several individuals who went beyond the inconveniences a closure might bring and spoke passionately about the value of the facility to a sense of community in North Canton. It was a decidedly mature crowd, with most in attendance seemingly in their 50s and older.
“Initiating a study is not a decision to discontinue a post office,” Mazzola said in his opening comments. “This informational meeting is truly going to help us make a decision.”
When he finished his greeting and was ready to answer questions, Mazzola looked at the audience and said: “OK, let me have it.” The quip drew only a small chuckle.
One resident spoke about how difficult it would be to place a mailbox by the street that could survive the snowplows during the winter.
Another said: “It’s very important to all of us that we don’t have to change our addresses.”
A third talked about how the post office was a sort of mini “community center” for the people of North Canton.
At one point during his responses, Mazzola said the USPS had “suffered monumental record losses last year.” He also reminded the audiences about how the world has changed and how the post office “doesn’t even stay open late any more on tax filing day.”
Afterward, Kathy Condron, the officer in charge of the North Canton facility, said “the majority” of individuals in attendance were box holders at her post office. If the North Canton office is closed, those individuals would currently have two options if they wished to continue receiving mail: They could obtain a P.O. box in Canton Center that would come with the same number and a North Canton zip, or they could have their mail delivered to their home addresses, possibly, Mazzola said, with a North Canton zip.
One resident suggested setting up a bank of outdoor “cluster boxes” somewhere in North Canton that would at least erase the need to drive to Canton Center to pick up mail, and Mazzola said that has been done elsewhere. Still, that solution would involve finding a site, possibly paying rent for the area, and maintaining access to it during winter weather.
Procedural requirements mean a final decision on the fate of the North Canton facility won’t be made until September at the earliest.