It seems that the summer has gone by so quickly and now we’re already beginning to prepare our homes for the winter season and colder weather. Along with that in mind, we are also preparing to nominate a new slate of municipal candidates, evidenced by the onslaught of signs as “gentle” reminders.
I most likely would not be writing this letter now if it wasn’t for my initial desire to install a gazebo in my yard that I imagined to be in front of the fir trees. However, I soon learned that my planned building was not in compliance with the setback requirements documented in the town regulations, as it would be too close to the street. Since I had a genuine “hardship” that existed, I filed an appeal. During the subsequent hearing the ZBA board members were able to consider some flexibility with the regulations. Furthermore, I found our commissioners to be most understanding and helpful, as I became acquainted and educated with town rules and procedures. So, the original idea at my house culminated in my present, beautiful gazebo and a destined position on the Zoning Board of Appeals.
Consequently, this is a time to thank you, my Cheshire town neighbors, for the opportunity to diligently serve in my term on the Zoning Board of Appeals. It allowed me to continue my initial, meaningful government role with the Cheshire Historic District Commission into a broader spectrum, where I could similarly interact with others to consider appeals. Coincidentally, I find that my past employment in state and federal agencies enables me to better comprehend and apply legalities and terminology. But most importantly, I have great satisfaction in volunteering my time, skills and efforts in a variety of town organizations, while meeting and helping my fellow residents to the best of my ability in my proud town of Cheshire.
Once again, I most appreciate your kindness and support and am asking for your vote on November 5th for the ZBA position.
Breina Schain, 62 Hilltop Road, Cheshire, CT 06410-3644 (Cell: 203-592-6660)
Letter to the Editor:
I am composing this letter to support the candidacy of Breina Schain for Zoning Board of Appeals. Breina is the consummate volunteer, always willing to give of her time and energy to assist in projects and events town-wide. I initially met her around a decade ago when she visited the Ramon Beard Lock 12 Museum and volunteered to assist me with tours. I next encountered her through our membership on the Cheshire Democratic Town Committee and her dedicated service on the Zoning Board of Appeals. She has been helpful on numerous boards and committees and has dedicated many hours assisting at Cheshire Chamber of Commerce events and other festivals and meetings. I have witnessed her attention to detail and her willingness to devote time and energy to projects until their completion.
Breina is running for re-election to the Cheshire Zoning Board of Appeals. I urge you to vote for her and to consider the candidacies of other members of the Democratic team on November 5th.
5 Dover Court
Cheshire, CT, 06410
Prominent Democrat is Moving to Massachusetts
By Ron Gagliardi
CDTC Communications staff
CHESHIRE--Jo-Ann Vitarelli, long-time Cheshire resident and valued member of the Cheshire Democratic Town Committee and the Cheshire Democratic Women's Club, has sold her house and is moving to Massachusetts. Jo-Ann has always been ready to assist the party, especially during elections.
She has been the CDTC liaison to the Cheshire High Young Democrats for the past few years, making sure that the students have been accompanied by adults while canvassing and campaigning and serving as the key contact person between the Young Dems, candidates, and volunteers. Additionally, Jo-Ann served on the Cheshire Human Services and Beautification Committees.
In 2017, Jo-Ann became the first woman to be elected to the position of Town Constable, resulting in extensive print and electronic coverage of her milestone.
Judy Villa, chairperson of the Cheshire Democratic Town Committee had this to say about Jo-Ann: “We will miss her and wish her well in her new home. She has already been contacted by Democrats in Natick as they are excited to work with her.”
CDTC member and Cheshire Zoning Board of Appeals member Breina Schain discusses safety drills in Cheshire.
On June 25, 2019 I joined a team of fifty-six other medical response/health safety volunteers in a safety drill at Cheshire High School, conducted by our Chesprocott Health District. Our team trained with one another for about eight months prior to the drill with courses and methods to assist residents in our district of Cheshire, Prospect and Wolcott who may be adversely affected by an epidemic, natural disaster, or an act of terrorism, etc. In fact, the disturbing news today confirmed that, in reality, acts of terrorism are now unfortunately occurring daily and more in our country.
The drill at the high school was advertised in the local newspapers and at the town hall. It involved a simulated scenario that anthrax was placed into food sold out of a truck at a town festival. Chesprocott Health District staff members were alerted by the FBI about this staged incident and they called in their volunteers to set up a treatment station at the Cheshire High School.
All of our volunteers mobilized, per our past training, and were ready for town residents to report so they could learn about what might occur in case of a real event. They would be treated in an orderly, triage type manner at equipped stations, per their symptoms, with the appropriate medication administered by our medical and mental health staff members, while being surrounded by safety officers. At the drill, Cheshire’s Fire Marshall John Andrews and Police Sergeant Brian Schecter (accompanied by Officer Dave Maliar) were also present, along with our most capable Director of Chesprocott, Maura Esposito. They all strive and work diligently to keep our community safe.
One of the main reasons I wrote this letter is that, other than our Chamber of Commerce President, Yetta Augur, the turnout of town residents was low.
Perhaps people did not see the article in the newspapers or were unaware of this very important drill.
Consequently, I strongly suggest that when we have another such drill (or real event) it would be beneficial that Police Chief Neil Dryfe call town residents and/or institute a color code system (such as a code “white” used at the prisons where I worked), to augment his present protocol for means of communication. His role would be to alert the situation to residents so they would know where to report and what to expect.
Citizens could then become more prepared, educated, and calm, knowing that capable staff and medical necessities will be provided. I believe that town safety and security and measures to address issues in case of emergencies are critical, since our very lives are at stake.
Republicans Rep. Lezlye Zupkus and Sen. Rob Sampson hold divisive public forum in Cheshire; disparage immigrants, indigent, unions, family medical leave, Democrats
On Friday (June 28), Cheshire Democratic Town Committee Chairperson Judy Villa attended the "Coffee With Your Legislators" public forum at McDonald’s in Cheshire from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. with State Senator Rob Sampson and State Rep. Lezlye Zupkus, both Republicans. Villa believes she was the only Democrat in the audience of 14 people. She captured the entire hour’s comments for all who could not be there. The legislators distributed the 21-page doc “2019 Major Public Acts” for the reference of those present. Here is the link to the document --
Sampson opened by asking for citizens’ questions:
Citizen: We should all agree to sue Hilary Clinton because she and Bill received $852,000 of taxpayers’ money for a speaking engagement at UCONN; now UCONN is short of money.
Citizen: Why is the state ruining our cars by spreading acid on roads to dissolve snow? Why is the cigarette tax $8.50 on a $10.25 pack? (Grumbling about taxes from the group.)
Zupkus and Sampson: We never voted for a tax increase and never will.
Zupkus: We have a spending problem in Connecticut. Money stolen from the transportation fund in the past: millions. This year the new budget took $171 million from the fund. Lock box is a joke, so tolls become the answer to our transportation ills. A couple of people want tolls. Lamont wants 50 tolls to start and then another 50 later—on 84, 95, 91, 15, etc.
Citizen: Soon they will be on Route 10.
Zupkus: Earmarks are the problem in the state budget. Like $580 million to bail out Hartford. How about $1 million to Boy Scouts. Stop spending and increasing taxes. State grants should stop as all the money goes to the big cities. Then the towns get small grants to shut them up.
Sampson: The state is not broke. We are not spending wisely. Roads and bridges should be a priority for spending. Need responsible people to make us live within our means. Must grow the economy and attract people to move here and retire here.
Zupkus: Unions are a problem. Twelve new contracts for state employees were passed thru appropriations; e.g., 185 new assistant attorney generals got 9 weeks’ vacation, 3 ½% raise, and a $6000 bonus in year one; next year they will get a 2% raise and $12,000 bonus.
Citizen: Yeah, Tong needs all that help—ridiculous.
Citizen: Nobody except state employees get medical coverage for life for self and family upon retirement.
Citizen: I’m a retired teacher; I can’t believe that people on welfare collect more than I do.
Sampson: Robbing the pension funds is a Democratic strategy. They want teachers to complain.
Citizen: Yeah, and Blumenthal sues everybody. (Judy Villa: With this remark I was biting the insides of my cheeks.)
Sampson: Dems like to mix up the terms “immigrants” and “refugees” with “criminals.” “Democrats want to protect terrorists. The Connecticut Trust Act took out exceptions that protected us from criminals.” The President is not separating families; the families are separating themselves. “There is not a racist bone in the bodies of Republicans. We want to expand legal immigration. We have to stand up, be unafraid, and elect different people.”
Citizen: The Trust Law is against the Constitution.
Zupkus: Democrats need to be told what we want. NO tolls, just the way you all stood up and made the Dems back down on forced school regionalization. You must rise up, call your legislators, call Looney, the Speaker, the Governor. Go to www.notolls.org for info and join the fight.
Citizen: Yeah, our two Senators Murphy and Blumenthal got a free vacation in sunny Puerto Rico on taxpayers’ money; they came back to Connecticut and recruited all the Puerto Ricans in the cities to vote Democrat. (Judy Villa comment: My ears are beginning to bleed upon hearing this.)
Citizen: How is the Republican Party pushing back?
Sampson: “There is no Republican Party, just four of us. People don’t understand socialism. Democratic policies are all socialism.” (Judy Villa: Yikes!)
Citizen: Yeah, the government wants socialism, centralization, and communism. (Judy Villa: At this comment, my eyes are bleeding.)
Sampson: “Republicans never force people to do anything. Democrats want to tell you what to do.”
Zupkus: Family medical leave is a bad law; it will cost every employee ½% tax. The program can’t pay for itself.
Sampson: “People will abuse the program. Tiny businesses will suffer. The government has no right to intervene in a private contract between an employer and employee. The minimum wage law is government interference. Setting minimum wage by the government will kill jobs and kill all production by eliminating jobs that pay under $15/hour. Suppose someone wants a job for $10/hour; that will be against the law.”
Citizen: Do you realize it takes taxes from 18 citizens to pay for one state employee’s salary?
Citizen: What are you doing to protect election integrity?
Sampson: “Nothing is being done to insure that elections are fair and honest.” Automatic registration is paid by the State. DSS doesn’t ask any questions, just registers people. Early voting will provide no checks and balances. Same day voting now provides no follow-up to insure a person is not voting twice at two different polls. (Judy Villa: Surely the SOTS will throw up.)
Zupkus: People go to affordable housing and collect registrations. (Judy Villa: This comment is unintelligible.)
Sampson: Dems want to expand voting rights at colleges and in low income areas. There is political extortion, too, by Democrats who are taking in more money than the state needs. (At this point it bothered Sampson that Judy Villa had been taking copious notes. He said, “Yeah, write that down.”)
Citizen: What about the citizenship question on the census? The President is right.
Sampson: Connecticut is giving benefits to illegal immigrants. They want to bring in illegal workers. Republicans want a lawful process unlike the Dems who use immigrants as a political tool.
Zupkus: Women’s shelters tell people to spread the word up and down the East Coast to come to Connecticut for hand-outs; we have the best benefits.
Citizen: The indigent get all they need; the more kids they have, the more they can get: food stamps, housing. Those who don’t work do better than workers.
Sampson: DSS and State agencies want to give multiple entitlements; no incentives to get off welfare; Republicans offer alternatives. We proposed a bill that would require able-bodied people to apply for jobs while on welfare, but it went nowhere.
Citizen: Taxes on automobiles should be cancelled. I’m just not going to register my cars; that’s all. Yeah, Malloy promised “unintelligible comment” and then Lamont –comment trails off
Sampson: We MUST win elections and get a Republican majority. The principles of the Constitution are what we stand for. Don’t be afraid to stand up. Only Republicans are brave enough.
Citizen: At some point, he gave agreeing nods but no clear words heard.
Zupkus: Democrats want to control all for everyone. I’m not saying we didn’t pass any good laws; we did agree on many things but not on minimum wage, FML (family medical leave), and the budget. (Judy Villa: Biggies).
Sampson: I do think many of my Dem colleagues are trying to do good work, but I disagree with their ideas. We had more agreement than disagreement. Thanks for being here. We will stay for questions.
Citizens: Applause and Huzzahs!
By former Cheshire Town Councilor Diane Visconti
Dear Mr. Trump,
I know you love to win (or refuse to lose) and that that cannot be an easy way to live...as we all win a few and lose a few.
But please rethink your statement about accepting "oppo" research from a foreign government.
The problem getting information from another government is that:
1. it may not be right- what could stop some government from making something up?
2. it may have been gotten by eavesdropping and if that is ok...what is to stop such a government from doing that to you? Such a government may want to play both sides.
3. A foreign adversary, by definition, does not have our best interests in mind.
4. You could get blackmailed.
5. It is against the law. You could get investigated (again!).
I hope your statement hasn't encouraged governments to give you "oppo" research..or worse, that they already are doing so.
Losing may not be fun but if you have to win by cheating...how can that feel good?
Please contact your representatives or other government contacts and ask her or him to explore leasing State owned buildings to the U.S. Dept of Homeland Security (DHS) or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHH) so that migrant children can be housed in Connecticut.
The State of Connecticut has a shuttered facility in Middletown that could house 240 migrant children. It was built in 2000 and closed about a year ago. It was called the Connecticut Juvenile Training School (CJTS). It's sill in great shape, especially if you compare it to a warehouse or a tent.
This is something you can do today to try and help children in crisis. Additionally, the reported costs associated with the temporary housing near the southern border are outrageous. Connecticut could provide a better space for a better value.
The fiscal year ends in a few days and children need help now.
On Tuesday (June 11), the Cheshire Town Council is having a public hearing to review the proposal to collapse our Youth Services and Human Services Committees into one committee. These two volunteer committees, as well as several others, have long suffered from a lack of regular attendance. People are busy and have many other life priorities. Cheshire resident Jim Jinks feels strongly that shrinking the committees is the wrong strategy for improving the chances of a quorum and invigorating these (and other) volunteer committees. Jinks proposes that all volunteer committees should have three alternates in an effort to ensure quorums for all commission committee meetings. His Op-Ed column below details his view and a suggestion to alleviate the quorum problem.
By Jim Jinks
Youth Services Committee Member
Cheshire Democratic Town Committee Vice Chairperson
Chief Advocate, Bike Cheshire
On Tuesday (June 11), the Town Council is holding a public hearing to review a proposal to collapse the Human Services and Youth Services Committees into one.
These two volunteer committees, as well as several others, suffer from a lack of consistent attendance and this has been the case for at least the past decade. I’ve been on the Youth Services Committee for more than a year and we’ve had maybe four meetings with a quorum (i.e. a meeting with the minimum number of voting members present.) We’re supposed to meet monthly. It’s impossible to sustain an agenda with so few meetings.
Why is this a problem? Why care?
If our volunteer committees can’t have a quorum, they can’t pursue an agenda or provide assistance to the town departments and constituencies they’re mandated to serve. In my work with Bike Cheshire, one of the things I’ve come to appreciate about our town is that we have a lot of very talented and caring people here. People with tremendous knowledge and gifts and many are eager to share their knowledge and gifts, if given the chance.
This begs the question. Over the past decade, how many ideas and opportunities have been left aside due to our less than inclusive and non-functioning volunteer committees?
The proposal to collapse the two committees is actually a good faith effort by the town to try and improve the chances of achieving quorums. But shrinking our way to success isn’t going to work.
The Human Services Committee is primarily intended to serve our seniors. While the Youth Services Committee is intended to serve the needs of our junior high and high schoolers. By collapsing these two committees into one we’ll be watering down the potential agenda for both constituencies.
As a parent of four kids (ages 10 to 15) I know our youth are facing a whole host of pressures and issues like never before. Michelle Piccerillo and her team at Youth Services do an incredible job and provide important programming, counseling and support for our kids. Cheshire is leading the pack in these areas. Yet judging by our heightened concerns about bullying in our schools, we’ve needed a functioning Youth Services Committee for many years and one that focuses solely on youth issues, now more than ever.
In my opinion collapsing the two committees is akin to throwing in the towel, precisely at a time when we need more public participation, not less. We need to open up our process and invite our gifted and knowledgeable citizens to participate in improving Cheshire.
So I propose a simple solution.
Let’s have three alternates for each volunteer committee (just as we have for Planning & Zoning); the majority party gets two and the minority party gets one. After all, Planning & Zoning has rarely, if ever, failed to have a quorum. The majority party, since it’s their responsibility to fill most of the positions on our volunteer committees, should also make it more widely known that unaffiliated voters can and should serve on our volunteer committees. Many of our volunteer committees are broken and have been for years. It’s time to fix the problem.
We’re all waiting for the next school facilities master plan or the next development proposal for the north end or the brew pub or the return of a village cinema but often it’s these smaller actions (like enabling our volunteer committees to do their jobs) that have a greater and lasting impact.
If you agree with this simple proposal and/or you think Youth Services and Human Services should remain separate committees, I urge you to come to the Town Council meeting on Tuesday, June 11 and be heard.
By Diane Visconti
(former Cheshire Democratic Town Councilor)
I have read the Mueller Report and here is my take.
On Page 10 it states "The investigation did not always yield admissible information or testimony"
and it goes on to explain that "some invoked fifth amendment,” sometimes the testimony was "false or incomplete,” some involved with the Trump campaign "deleted relevant communications" or used encryption; "this Office cannot rule out the possibility that the unavailable information would shed additional light on the events."
My comment on Page 10: Whoa! False testimony! Using encryption! Deleting communications! It doesn't sound innocent to me!
Page 15 states "Our best estimate is that approximately 126 million people may have been served content from a page associated with the IRA" (the Russians).
My comment on Page 15: Holy Moly! That must have made an impact!
Page 83 states "If one day God lets this liar enter the White House as a president --that day would be a real national tragedy." (speaking of Hilary Clinton).
My comment on Page 83: This was a Russian Facebook post. Doesn't sound very Russian, does it?
Page 91 states "In total, Trump Campaign affiliates promoted dozens of tweets, posts and their content created by the IRA."
My comment on Page 91: They (Trump Campaign) either didn't know or didn't care or they did know and approved what they were re-posting.
Our Op-Ed Policy:
The Cheshire Democratic Town Committee has created this op-ed page as an effort to give all Cheshire Democrats and Cheshire Democratic-leaning Unaffiliated voters a platform to express their political opinions.