CDTC photo slideshow from the Cheshire Memorial Day parade
Cheshire Parks and Recreation Director Bob Ceccolini, retiring after 23 years of service, to be honored with retirement party on May 24
The Cheshire community will be losing a special friend as Bob Ceccolini, director of the Cheshire Parks and Recreation the past 23 years, will be retiring May 31.
Ceccolini will be honored for his years of service with a retirement party May 24 at the Cheshire Youth Center on 559 South Main St. from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Hors d'oeuvres will be served and there will be a cash bar.
Tickets are $30 and you can purchase with cash or check payable to Bob Ceccolini Retirement. Tickets need to be purchased by May 21 to ensure accurate count and are available at the Cheshire Parks and Recreation office from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and at the Cheshire Community Pool Monday through Friday from 6 a.m.to 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Ceccolini has been an extremely hands-on Parks and Recreation director many times cutting grass at playing fields and lining fields for baseball or softball games. He always has had an open-door policy to answer any recreational comments or concerns Cheshire residents might have at any time.
Over the years, Ceccolini has overseen the growth, development and maintenance of our parks in town and growth and development of recreational programs each season. Each year he organizes and supervises the start of the Memorial Day parade in town and organizes the annual Cheshire Summer Concert Series in July.
This past year has been a special one for Ceccolini with upgrade and improvements of playscapes at our parks, upgrade of community tennis court surfaces, extension of the town’s linear trail, addition of the electronic sign board showing upcoming community events in front of the Parks and recreation office and the construction and completion of the permanent covering for the community pool.
For more information on Ceccolini’s retirement party or to only contribute to the gift, email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or call 203-272-2743.
REMEMBERING ERNIE DIPIETRO: What they are saying about the late chairman of the Cheshire Democratic Town Committee
On April 24, members of the Cheshire Democratic Town Committee and elected Cheshire Democrat officials lost a special friend with the passing of longtime CDTC chairman Ernie DiPietro, a person whose passion and dedication to the Democratic party was second to none in town.
Ernie was also active with many organizations including the American Legion and Cheshire Kiwanis. Cheshire residents overall lost a friend whose only objective was to do everything he could to maintain and improve the town's high standard of living by supporting Democrat candidates dedicated to that ideal.
Below, friends of Ernie share their thoughts on what he meant to them and what he meant to the town:
From U.,S. Senator Chris Murphy of Cheshire:
"Ernie didn't need to support me for State Senate when I decided to run for an open seat in 2002. I know there were others who were interested, and even though I was brand new to politics, I think Ernie saw promise in me and took me under his wing. He introduced me to people around Cheshire and made it clear I was his guy. Four years later, after moving to Cheshire, he was one of my first calls when I decided to run for Congress. I knew that I wouldn't have any credibility as a candidate if I didn't have my own Town Chairman on board, and Ernie didn't disappoint. He became one of my earliest, most vocal backers for Congress. Everybody in the area knew him, and his support was a calling card for me all over the district. One of my favorite days of the year is the Cheshire Memorial Day parade - I walk in it every year with my kids - and it was always so amazing to see Ernie walking side by side with John White at the front of the parade. Ernie was dedicated to the Democratic party, but his country always came first. It was a wonderful lesson for my kids to see every year - a diehard Democrat and a diehard Republican together in support of our fallen heroes. That ability to be at the same time a fierce partisan and an unrelenting patriot was at the heart of Ernie's service, and will remain an example that all of us in politics should strive to follow."
From state Rep. Liz Linehan (D) of Cheshire:
"Ernie gave me my start in politics. He had asked me simply to be a placeholder; but I told him I'd only run if I were the real candidate, with full support. He agreed, and lived up to that promise! I have always admired Ernie for having the guts to take a chance on me - and I'm forever grateful that he did. He truly loved Cheshire, and was committed to making our town a wonderful place to live. I'm thankful for his commitment and service to our town and country, but even more so for his friendship. Rest peacefully, Ernie. You will be missed. "
From Cheshire Town Councilor Peter Talbot (D):
"Ernie DiPietro defined the phrase public service. While we all knew him from his leadership of the Democratic Party for more than two decades, he was also the Commander of the American Legion Post, co-organized the Memorial Day parade in Cheshire, was a longtime, active member of Cheshire Kiwanis and volunteered with another half dozen organizations in the area. He handled all his positions with dignity and grace. Regardless of political affiliation there was a genuine respect for Ernie and he will be truly missed."
From Lou Todisco, CDTC member, member Cheshire Planning and Zoning Commission:
"Ernie had many qualities worthy of being mentioned. One quality is that Ernie would do the difficult things which need to be done to maintain an organization such as ours. Ernie was willing to face people who were critical of the town committee, or its members, listen to their criticism (often not delivered nicely), and address the matter. He played peacemaker more times than we know. He would also give a person bad news if needed, an unenviable task. He did these tough things behind the scenes, without fanfare, or asking for praise. He just did it. These are the qualities of a leader. We will miss him."
From Rosalie Fountain, chairwoman of the CDTC Finance Committee:
"Ernie would call me on holidays and on CDWC (Cheshire Democratic Women's Club) business. We had great talks and I will miss his calls. He and Carol were very special to me and I will always remember his kind ways."
From Marty Cobern, CDTC member:
In the thirty or so years I knew Ernie, I found him to be one of the most giving people I had met. His choices, whether his vocation of teaching or his avocations of the VFW and local politics, revolved around helping others.
In all of this, he was one of the nicest people in the world. I never heard him attack anyone in the other party. The most you would hear is a sardonic comment said with a raised eyebrow. There are far too few nice people in the world, and fewer still in politics. He will be greatly missed.
Cheshire BOE to hold public presentation Thursday (Feb. 23) on $423 million Facility Master Plan to upgrade the town's school facilities
The Cheshire Board of Education, in an effort to connect, interact and inform Cheshire residents, will be holding a public presentation on the BOE’s Facility Master Plan to revitalize and upgrade the town’s schools on Thursday (Feb. 23) from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Cheshire High library (525 South Main St.).
Cheshire residents are urged to attend to learn about the details regarding this major issue that will produce needed improvements for our academic facilities and also have a major financial impact on the town.
The Facility Master Plan involves an across-the-board academic facility upgrade proposal that includes construction of a new Cheshire High and Dodd Middle School. This is a 10-year plan that will have an overall cost of $423.83 million with a net cost to the town of $303.83 million.
For a complete and comprehensive breakdown of what the Facility Master Plan involves, including a breakdown of all the costs, the Cheshire High website has produced an informative page at this link – http://bit.ly/2kMILWj. The page on the high school website also includes an informative 10-minute video discussing the plan.
The key item with the public presentation - a spokesperson in Superintendent Jeffrey Solan’s office confirmed that officials from Perkins Eastman Architects, which has developed the current plan, will be conducting a detailed presentation of the Facility Master Plan.
In a prepared statement, Solan said, “A plan of this magnitude requires the public’s understanding and feedback. With the average age of Cheshire’s schools approaching 65 years, it is imperative that we focus on plans for replacement and or substantial renovation in order to provide our students with suitable learning spaces, as well as, to ensure the long-term economic viability of our community.”
For more information regarding the public hearing, you can call the superintendent’s office at 203-250-2430.
Gov. Dannel Malloy's proposed budget would impact middle class, working poor, and municipalities including Cheshire
On Wednesday, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy proposed a $40.6 billion budget for the next two years that will clearly impact individuals of the middle class and the working poor with higher taxes.
In addition, (yes, in addition) Malloy's budget would impact most municipalities in the state by taking away funding. While some municipalities in financial distress like Waterbury and New Haven would actually get an increase of millions of dollars in aid from the state, other municipalities will lose millions in state aid.
According to figures from the state’s Office of Policy and Management, Cheshire, Wallingford and Southington, towns in Rep. Liz Linehan’s (D) 103rd District, are among those towns that would get reduced funding from the state.
The three towns combined would lose $17,849,329 in state funding as a result of Malloy’s proposed budget. Cheshire is getting $16,074,019 from the state for 2017 but would get $11,307,910 in 2018, a loss of $4,766,109. Wallingford gets $27,301,294 in 2017 but would only get $17,198,830 in 2018 for a loss of $10,102,463. Southington gets $24,830,024 in 2017 and in 2018 that would be $21,849,266 for a loss of $2,980,757.
Reducing the aid to municipalities like Cheshire, Wallingford and Southington would help pay for increasing contributions to the Connecticut pension fund for teachers, which is currently about a $1 billion expense. Municipalities would pay for about one-third of the cost.
Economic planning for 2018 would be extremely stressful for those local town governments negatively affected by the budget.
Linehan of Cheshire is concerned by the potential impact of Malloy’s proposed budget.
In a prepared statement from her office in Hartford, Linehan said, “I am concerned that the Governor’s budget does not make supporting the middle class a priority. These are challenging times and we have many difficult decisions ahead of us as we work to craft a balanced budget. We need to do more for our middle class families.
“The proposed cuts to municipal aid for Cheshire, Southington and Wallingford are not feasible and would wreak havoc on town budgets. I will fight for a fairer distribution of funding for our towns.”
Linehan is concerned about the overall impact to middle class taxpayers.
“It is disingenuous to characterize the proposal to shift teachers’ pension obligations to towns as a partnership when municipalities were not asked to provide input on this plan,” Linehan said. “Proposals that balance the state budget by shifting the burden to towns are not a win for middle class taxpayers.
“Today (Wednesday) was only the first of many steps in the budget process, and I look forward to working collaboratively with my colleagues to reach practical and fiscally responsible solutions. Representing the interests of Cheshire, Southington and Wallingford residents remains my top priority, and I’m committed to making Connecticut a great place to live and work by strengthening the economy and relieving the pressure on middle class families.”
For a more indepth story on the overall impact to municipalities throughout Connecticut, check out the story at CTMirror.com at this link - http://bit.ly/2loLDUV.
Overall, Malloy’s proposed budget closes deficits of $3.6 billion through a combination of spending cuts, labor savings and tax changes.
While many municipalities would take a hit, also impacted with this budget would be union state workers who would be asked to give back wages and benefits worth $1.5 billion over the next two fiscal years.
The bottom line here, something I constantly ask anyone who will listen, is why do many political leaders always seem to look for the easy fix - raise taxes, cut aid - when trying to put together a sustainable budget? Did Malloy truly research all alternatives to raising taxes, asking for state worker givebacks and reducing state aid to municipalities?
How about trying to make it more palatable for major companies to move to Connecticut to create jobs and increase tax revenue?
With Connecticut residents paying revenue to neighboring states New York and Massachusetts (Mass. Pike) by having to pay their road tolls, why doesn't Connecticut reciprocate with limited tolls at the New York and Massachusetts borders?
Does Malloy ever research or consider "out of the box" ideas to produce additional state revenue? In the past I have discussed several "out of the box" ideas with state politicians and I will elaborate on that in a future blog.
While producing a feasible and workable state budget is necessary, why does the middle class and working poor always have to bear the burden of balancing the budget? Malloy certainly has a history of impacting both factions going back to his first few months in office when he instituted a retroactive income tax for a budget quick fix at the time.
UPDATE (photo added): Women from Cheshire, CT, including the CDTC, are in Washington, D.C. today and at other supported rallies and marches for the Women's March On Washington
Many Cheshire Democratic Town Committee women and others from Cheshire are joining the Women's March On Washington today, a global event with the main event in Washington, D.C.
Many women in Connecticut overall and women nationwide are making the trek to Washington, D.C. today (Saturday) to take part and show support for the Women’s March on Washington. Their passionate desire to support women’s rights, their desire to show support for human rights, and their concern with the impact of a Donald Trump administration on the future of the United States are among the driving forces motivating these women to march in Washington, D.C.
According to the event's website at www.womensmarch.com and Facebook event page at http://bit.ly/2eKDgj2, the rally is a way to "send a bold message to our new administration on their first day in office, and to the world that women's rights are human rights." Combined, as of Monday 377 “sister” marches will be held in each state and throughout the world on the same day, including the Connecticut Women’s March scheduled to be held in Stamford and rally in Hartford.
According to the event's website, over 1,800 buses nationally have asked for parking permits and have committed to going to the event in Washington, D.C. Amtrak is booked up as well.
Earlier this week five women from Cheshire who are also CDTC members - former Cheshire Town Councilor Diane Visconti, Kerrie Dunne, Cheshire Board of Education member Anne Harrigan, Renee Barley and Connie Catrone - sat down for a round table discussion to discuss why they are marching in Washington,D.C. today. If you missed it, check out their story at this link - http://bit.ly/2ivls24 .
When Dunne, Barley and Harrigan arrived in Washington, D.C. this morning they met up with U.S. Representative Elizabeth Esty of Cheshire. Esty and other Connecticut Democrat U.S. representatives plan to host a reception later today for all Connecticut people marching in Washington. Later in the afternoon, Barley and Harrigan also met up with comedian and The Daily Show correspondent Jordan Klepper.
Visconti, Dunne, Harrigan, Barley and Catrone and others from Cheshire will be sharing their experiences and emailing this blogger with photos from their march and rally. Photos will be added to the above slideshow throughout the day.
Others from Cheshire marching in Washington D.C.today are Elizabeth Morin and a large group of women from Temple Beth David, including Cheshire Board of Education member Marlena Soble.
CDTC Policy Committee chairwoman Judith Slisz and her daughter Rebecca are in Boston, Massachusetts today taking part in marches and rallies there to take part in that city's Women's March On Washington event.
Check back here throughout the day for photo/info updates.
Five women, One voice: 5 Cheshire women are among many from Cheshire, CT heading to Washington, D.C. on Saturday to show support at Women's March On Washington
Five women, One voice – Renee Barley, Connie Catrone, Kerrie Dunne, Anne Harrigan and Diane Visconti of Cheshire are among the many women in Cheshire, the many women in Connecticut overall and women nationwide making the trek to Washington, D.C. on Saturday to take part and show support for the Women’s March on Washington. Their passionate desire to support women’s rights, their desire to show support for human rights, and their concern with the impact of a Donald Trump administration on the future of the United States are among the driving forces motivating these women to march in Washington, D.C.
CHESHIRE, CONNECTICUT - At least five women from Cheshire are planning to be among the hundreds of thousands of women who plan to go to Washington, D.C. on Saturday to show support and take part in the Women’s March on Washington.
According to the event's website at www.womensmarch.com and Facebook event page at http://bit.ly/2eKDgj2, the rally is a way to "send a bold message to our new administration on their first day in office, and to the world that women's rights are human rights." Combined, as of Monday 377 “sister” marches will be held in each state and throughout the world on the same day, including the Connecticut Women’s March scheduled to be held in Stamford on Saturday.
Cheshire residents Diane Visconti, Kerrie Dunne, Anne Harrigan, Renee Barley and Connie Catrone are all on the same page on why they feel strongly motivated to make the trip to Washington and take part in the main march.
They can’t pass up the opportunity to show their disdain for Trump, his rhetoric and his divisiveness along with the chance to show support for women’s rights and human rights in general.
At a round table discussion on Sunday at Cheshire Coffee with Visconti, Dunne, Harrigan, Barley and Catrone, they agreed this worldwide event isn’t simply a rally or a march, it’s a movement.
“When it comes to progress, when it comes to human rights, you don’t stand still, you don’t go back, you move forward,” Barley said. “I’m attending this march for my kids, Alvin and Andrea - one is a millennial and the other a Gen Xer. This is about their futures. We live in an aspirational, multi-cultural country and what we saw from the Trump campaign this past election cycle wasn’t respectful of that.
“I’m a child of the 60s. I know what it’s like to take part in other marches. I had to do something. All humans are created equal, but we still have women who struggle. Women represent more than 50 percent of the country’s population and we need to step up. The Women’s March on Washington is an opportunity to do that on Saturday.”
On Nov. 8, when Donald Trump pulled off one of the biggest upsets in the political world and was elected president, there were mixed emotions.
Trump won the election with 306 electoral votes to Hillary Clinton’s 232. While the 62,979,879 people who voted for Trump were happy (many were ecstatic), the 65,844,954 who voted against Trump were stunned, and many are still reeling from the result.
On Nov. 9, Teresa Shook of Hawaii created a Facebook event page and invited 40 of her friends to march on Washington, D.C. to protest Trump's election. Similar Facebook pages quickly followed and were created by Evvie Harmon, Fontaine Pearson, Bob Bland, Breanne Butler. Those Facebook pages and others quickly led to thousands of women signing up to march. A domino affect ensued, the Facebook page creators joined forces, organized and the Women’s March on Washington was born.
“This past election was so divisive with so much anger,” said Dunne, who will be wearing her pussyhat at the event. The “Pussyhat Project” is a nationwide effort to knit pink hats to be worn during the Women’s March on Washington. The hats are named because of the cat ears on top. “The election left me with a very sad feeling for our country.
“This march in Washington is a chance to show unity with all of us who are going there. Women should be treated with equality and dignity. I hope being a part of this event brings back the good feeling I used to have.”
Connecticut’s Democrat U.S. Representatives Elizabeth Esty, Rosa DeLauro, John Larson, Joe Courtney and Jim Himes will meet with Connecticut marchers at the Women’s March on Washington. They have extended an invitation for a reception they will host for Connecticut residents who march in Washington, D.C. from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the 2165 Rayburn House Office Building.
“I'm proud to be joining hundreds of thousands of folks from Connecticut and across the country at the March on Saturday,” Esty said. “Democracy works best when all of us make our voices heard and that's more true now than ever before.
“We must stand up for our American values. We must stand up for the Constitution and we must stand up for the rights and dignity of all people. The March on Washington and those around the country on Saturday will put both Congress and President-elect Trump on notice. The American people will oppose any effort to roll back the rights of women or to roll back the civil rights that heroes like John Lewis and so many others have fought for throughout our history.”
Based on the number of buses that have permits to park in Washington, D.C., the indications are the number of people expected to attend is growing for the Women’s March on Washington.
According to Internet reports, including the Washington Post’s website, there are 393 bus permits for Trump’s inauguration compared to 1,200-plus bus permits for the Women’s March on Washington. Nearly 200,000 participants are expected for the Women’s March on Washington with the potential for a million marchers nationwide as participation numbers grow as the event day approaches.
“This march isn’t just about Trump or Trump’s people,” said Harrigan, a member of the Cheshire Board of Education. “And it’s not just about women’s issues. This is about respect for all human beings. It’s about being supportive of all people and all the issues when it comes to human rights. We can have disagreements but we can still support each other.
“You don’t get that from the Trump camp. It matters what Trump says, what he Tweets. As president of the United States of America, he can’t continue to degrade people. The reason I’m going to the march is to do my part to see that respect comes back into our lives, to see that human rights in general are shown respect.”
Connecticut media outlets have reported that over 80 buses are expected to leave from the state for the Women’s March on Washington. While Visconti will be driving to Washington, D.C., Dunne, Harrigan, Barley and Catrone will be taking one of the 16 buses expected to leave from the IKEA parking lot in New Haven at 1:30 a.m. on Saturday.
“Donald Trump is very frightening to me,” Catrone said. “We’re at huge risk of having very many institutions of our country dismantled. I also feel terrible about his cabinet nominations like Education Secretary (Betsy DeVos) and Health and Human Services Secretary (Tom Price).
“Another thing that frightens me is Trump’s desire to end Obamacare. My daughter and I are both on Obamacare. I’m self-employed and have been on Obamacare. Because I’m self-employed I think I would not be insurable without Obamacare. I’m going to Washington because there is a lot at stake.”
According to its website, the Women’s March on Washington will begin with a rally from 10 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. at the intersection of Independence Ave. and Third Street near the U.S. Capitol. The march will follow after the rally. Among the celebrities expected to attend are Katy Perry, Amy Schumer, Cher, Debra Messing, and Julianne Moore.
“I’m going to the march because you have to stand up to a bully,” said Visconti, a former Cheshire Town Councilor. “Trump is the bully-in-chief. Doesn’t it bother you that this guy got to the highest level in our country after constantly insulting people and professing his love of (Russian president Vladimir) Putin?”
In an effort to get people to participate with other people from their own state at the Women's March on Washington, colors have been assigned to each state for people to wear. Connecticut has been assigned the color purple and everyone from Connecticut going to the march are asked to wear something purple.
You can still join the march in Washington, D.C. or the Connecticut march in Stamford. For more information, go to the Women’s March on Washington Facebook event page, or their website, or the march’s Connecticut Chapter Facebook page at http://bit.ly/2iJnb2W .
As inauguration day, Jan. 20, approaches for President-elect Donald Trump, Americans nationwide are anxious to see what a Trump presidency will look like, wondering what will actually transpire under his leadership.
Trump has many goals and has surrounded himself with an interesting group of cabinet selections and group of advisors. Those goals and the "Trump team" along with Trump’s love of Twitter will likely make life interesting for us all on a daily basis the next four years.
Here is one prediction I am extremely confident with after Trump is sworn into office. He has many plans and goals in his first 100 days as president. But I predict that within that time anywhere from 1-3 members of his new cabinet and maybe an advisor or two will resign. During the campaign it took Trump three shots before he got his campaign manager right.
If you look at all the strongly opinionated people with egos and contradicting personalities that have been tabbed, cabinet and advisory clashes are bound to happen. We get a short glimpse of those clashes now with the constant media reports of unrest and clashes among Trump’s transition team and its advisors.
I also predict throughout Trump’s campaign, I’m talking about at least once a week, there will be at least one Tweet (more likely multiple Tweets) that will get Trump in trouble. Hopefully, if that happens, it will be a Tweet that strictly impacts Trump and not the entire country in some way.
I predict the wall that Trump promised throughout his campaign, an actual solid wall that everyone envisions, will never be built along the Mexican border. Something might be placed there, something affordable and cost-effective, but not an actual wall. I think the most that will be established is an increase in border patrol help.
I predict, and we are seeing the problems reported now, that throughout his presidency Trump will be dogged by consistent conflicts of interest with his business ventures and investments. He has suggested he will separate himself from his business empire to avoid any conflict of interest. I believe in the next four years there will be at least one major presidential decision or move by Trump involving a global or domestic issue that will favorably impact his business. And as a master of loopholes, Trump will probably do something that is ultimately considered legal.
I predict that Trump will not win his “war” with the media. The media giveth and the fact-based media taketh away. When it comes to politics, the media, whether it’s social media or mainstream media (newspapers, CNN, network news, etc.), made Trump what he is today – president-elect. But mainstream media news outlets are fact-based and will continue to fact-check the consistent false statements and inuendos that come from Trump and the Trump camp.
The media can also be relentless when serving and informing the public. Trump was so smug and confident he had the media wrapped around his finger, calling out the media at his rallies. But when the “Access Hollywood” video surfaced, the electronic media played it over and over again. All the media entities analyzed it over and over again to the point where it contributed heavily to the momentum that was in Hillary’s favor. While the Trump camp will likely continue the mantra of never letting the facts get in the way of a good story, the media will continue to do its normal job of fact-based reporting. That means putting the presidency and all the actions of president-elect Trump under a microscope, whether his staunch and blinders-wearing supporters like it or not.
My last thought in this blog….
I can’t wait for Jan. 20, 2017 to arrive because that is the day Donald Trump will be sworn into office. And on that day, we can start counting down the days to the next presidential election on Nov. 3, 2020. And when Trump seeks re-election, he will have to deal with a growing demographic. It will be the first time all members of the millennial generation – the 18-45 age group - will be eligible to cast their vote for President. According to Internet reports, that age group is expected to represent 40 percent of the eligible United States voters in 2020.
Millennials will likely wonder - is there another Bernie Sanders out there?
US Rep. Elizabeth Esty, State Sen.candidate Liz Linehan, State Sen.Dante Bartolomeo & US Sen. Chris Murphy share an Election Day public appearance at Cheshire High on Tuesday morning.
Local Cheshire Democratic women (and men) gathered in front of Cheshire Town Hall on Route 10 on Saturday to unite and show solidarity for Hillary Clinton and local Democrat candidates at the Nasty Women of Cheshire Rally.
Dan Nowak is chairman of the Cheshire Democratic Town Committee's Public Relations/ITT Committee. He is a Cheshire Parks and Recreation Commissioner and he has been a sportswriter for the New Haven Register for 33 years.