Russell Hampton
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Bulletin Editor
Arnie Goldman
Aug 27, 2021
Opening Canton Schools in 2021-2022
Sep 03, 2021
Sep 10, 2021
Recent Legislative Session
Sep 17, 2021
Sep 24, 2021
Footwear With Care
Oct 01, 2021
Hartford Artisans Weaving Center
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Executives & Directors
President Elect
Immediate Past President
Foundation Chair
Board Member-at-Large
Board Member-at-Large
Interact Chair
Club Information
Rotary of Avon-Canton - Founded 1973
Service above Self
Fridays at 7:30 AM
Golf Club of Avon
160 Country Club Road
Avon, CT 06001
United States of America
(860) 760-6364
In person starting July 9, 2021. Zoom will also be available for those unable to attend in person.
District Site
Venue Map
May 7, 2021
Club Runner & Our Website
Gary Miller, past president
The meeting will be held on Zoom. 
Watch for an email from the club.
We are now using a recurring ID, etc.
Sergeant-at-Arms Report 
Members Present: 36 Participants


Visiting Rotarians: Rick and Chris Heath (St. Augustine, FL), Paul Mikkelson, Peter Vignati


Guests: Speaker: Marcia Mascoli
Happy Dollars Moments: More valuable when they are shared.

Raffle Winner: No Raffle. No Winners. No Losers.

Fines: None today.
Birthdays: None admitted.
Happy Moments
Gary Miller: Daughter Jenna arrived last night w 3 grandsons and their dog, and they watched the NFL draft together. He last saw them a month ago. It will be "Enjoyable chaos through Sunday", said Gary.
Yvonne Gardner: Lauren and Yvonne joined 2 years ago on April 26th, and is "very happy to be part of this crazy group!" Gary Miller was happy to sponsor them both and Don Bonner also played an unspecified role. Lauren echoed her mother's sentiment.
Paul Mikkelson: Offered a sad dollar for Gary Hyde, as he feels for Jacob DeGrom of the Mets. The Mets often fail to back up DeGrom's excellent offense with a solid defense, leading to unnecessary losses.
Rollie Sterrett: He and Karen will be picking up her new Jeep Grand Wagoneer, to replace her existing 2018 model with an expiring three year lease. Larry Sullivan's Northwest Hills dealership arranged the favorable trade-in, where Rollie says "they're practically giving them away!" Rollie feels lucky that another trading dealer wanted a different car that Northwest Hills had on their lot, and so that dealer gave up what is a popular model in granite gray, to lease to Rollie. The difference between the 2018 and 2021 models, is that the 2018 model had heated rear seats, which Rollie never even knew about. Rollie was happy to learn he had a "hot rear." ;-) Larry's granddaughter facilitated the trade-up.!
Peter Vignati is happy his seedlings are doing well and will soon transplant them to his raised bed gardens.
Salin Low also heard from Larry's granddaughter regarding her car and a potential lease swap out, and noted she was cute in claiming the title of "Larry's Granddaughter" in her email signature block.
Jolly Lux expressed how nice it is to be back, having since returned from Uganda. She is grateful for our Club's role in facilitating the trip and for the new equipment and supplies that were obtained. Near the end of her trip she learned of a source for a vaccine refrigerator, a highly sought after item, but due to the lateness of the discovery, was unable to obtain one. Instead the remaining funds were used for other necessary items.
Jen Gonzalez received a thank you note from Beth Ferrari for participating in the meal train for our injured friend Phil Ferrari.
Salin reported Phil is badly banged up and struggles to get going in the morning which is why he can't be with us just yet. Gary saw him recently and noted that his transferring from bed to chair and back is hard due to his limited knee mobility. Beth and Phil's son will be visiting this weekend.
Scott Nardozzi says Capri Miller's late mother Sandy will have a memorial service on June 25th. Larry Sullivan will represent Rotary officially, but all are welcome.
Josh Gilloolly visited Linda Pendergast this week and Linda donated three bottles of wine to TOTV. Josh is going to Las Vegas to vacation this weekend, with family arriving from several points-of-the compass to gather tomorrow. He reported a good TOTV lunch meeting at the Golf Club of Avon this week, and so far we have 12 food vendors. The Golf Club of Avon and Bees Knees are the food providers for the VIP event and 6 liquor vendors are confirmed. The VIP tickets are sold out. Based on allowable seating, we can hold 225 people in total and we are at 201 or 202 already. We are just 10 to 12 bottles away from the ideal number for wine, and we are more than half way to our desired total for baskets for the auction. Further committee meetings will be noticed and held on Zoom.
Joann Santiago added we have all the participating restaurants committed and urged Rotarians to thank them when we visit them. Joann listed all the restaurants and the liquor providers.
Colleen Grasso added that many restaurant owners are struggling to find staff and so it's a sacrifice for them to participate, and also to staff our event. An extra thank you is due to each of them.
The District Conference will be held virtually starting at 6:15 PM on Thursday, April 29th and continuing on Friday and Saturday. To register or review the conference schedule, go to the District 7890 website where you can also sign up for the District Assembly which is Saturday, May 15th and is being coordinated by Heather Pantano who will be an Assistant District Governor as of July 1.
Through May 31: Phil Ferrari will continue to be the recipient of our ongoing Meal Train, every Monday through May 31st.
Hartford Foundation for Giving has awarded $100,000 to each of the 29 towns in Hartford County. Katelyn Kaplin and Gary Miller are on a selection committee which will choose an advisory committee. That latter committee will determine which non-profit organizations will benefit from this donation. Check with them if you wish to serve. Avon is a bit further along than Canton, and our own Community Service Committee is working with some of our grant recipients to be sure they know about applying for grants from this source.
Upcoming Dates
May 15 - District Assembly 9:00 AM to 12 Noon virtually.
May 15 - Tastes of the Valley - Live at Golf Club of Avon at 6 PM
June 18 - President's Dinner
June 25 - FAVARH Breakfast to tour the Rotary Building for those fully vaccinated. Breakfast to be catered by Beanz & Co. We will pay our usual amount to fund the tree to be planted by the Club, while the landscaper will donate the labor. Club Paul Harris awards and membership pins will be given at that time. Virtual participation will also be made available.
Induction of New Members
None today.
None this week.
Community and International Service Grants
None this week.

Maria Mascoli, executive director
Autism Familes CONNECTicut
Alicia Canning introduced Maria Mascoli.
Autism Families CONNECTicut’s, Executive Director, Maria Mascoli oversees AFC’s daily operations, spearheads fundraising initiatives, coordinates annual grant plan, while mainlining the organization’s mission: “to provide fun social and recreational programs to our autism community”. Maria enjoys cultivating new community relationships to ensure the organization’s mission is shared throughout our community. Over this past year, Maria’s focus centered around keeping AFC’s virtual doors open, so that the autism community can find relief through AFC’s programs.
Prior to joining Autism Families CONNECTicut in January 2020, Maria worked for Avon Public Schools for nearly thirteen years where she served as K-12 substitute teacher and most recently as an intervention tutor at Avon High School. Maria also served as a mentor to many students, as well as an advisor for numerous high school organizations. Managing the Avon Little League Challenger Team, and launching the “For the Love of the Game” series at Avon High School, provided Maria the opportunities to develop valuable programs for mixed ability children and teens. She has over fifteen years of fundraising experience, including chairing local golf tournaments, overseeing live and silent auctions, and many other fundraising events, which have raised proceeds for pediatric clinical trials, high school scholarships, and other local charities. Maria and her husband, Greg, have lived in Avon for the past 19 years and their four children graduated from Avon High School.
Maria noted that today (April 30, 2021) is the last day of Autism Month. She further noted Connecticut has 8000 children affected by autism and that over 1 in 15 is diagnosed with it.
AFC is located in Newington and has existed for 11 years.  AFC focuses on creating fun for their clients with fun programs held on weekends. This assists those children and their families by filling a gap created by their self-exclusion from the typical children's programs unaffected children enjoy. Currently they serve 48 towns.
While they've had to close their doors since the pandemic began, they quickly reacted to serve their clients. They began a Friday Night Hangout program for ages 3 to 30 as well as a monthly Saturday night program using virtual formats. They've found the virtual world has enabled many of their client's families to feel more comfortable participating and typically nonverbal children have become more verbal and interactive through this format. Further because families don't have to travel to participate, the stress on families related to participation is much reduced and that has enhanced participation as well.
Their 10th anniversary celebration was held last May, and while virtual only, was successful anyway. They do miss the in person interactions they had pre-pandemic, but are grateful that the virtual world held the silver lining of expanding participation. They hope to get back to in-person programming later this year. They plan to hold a golf tournament fundraiser also at Golf Club of Avon on 6/28/21. All are welcome to participate.
Q: Rollie asked if they have a relationship with Focus on Autism in Canton?
A: Maria: No direct relationship as they are two separate entities, though Lauren Gardner happens to be her neighbor. Lauren noted they complement Focus on Autism because, rather than a school, this is recreational and held on weekends.
Q: Rollie: then asked what causes autism? Do we know more today?
A: Maria noted many recent, new findings but it still remains incompletely understood. Genetics is believed to play the dominant role in the etiopathogenesis
("the cause") of autism.
Q: Jolly asked if direct support for caregivers and parents, such as counseling, is available? She noted that in Uganda they don't have that, and that is a need.
A: Maria agreed that the entire family is impacted, though they don't directly provide those services, but refer to others who do.
Maria presented the following slides to further clarify what they offer:
In person card games.
Holiday party.
Holiday party.
Virtual Lego participatory activity.
Virtual Bingo game.
Virtual shared activities.
Participating student designed Tee-short to build awareness and raise funds.
[Ed Note: This was the actual "Rain Man" car used in the movie.]
Participation in a race in partnership with Brett Favre's charitable organization.
Further information taken from their website:
About Autism Families CONNECTicut
Who We Are: Autism Families CONNECTicut was founded in January 2010 by a group of parents, grandparents and family members who recognized that there were limited weekend recreational and social activities specifically targeted to children on the autism spectrum in Connecticut. Initially, to fill that gap, the focus was on providing programming for children on the spectrum, ages 5-12. While still the focus, programming has since expanded to include preschoolers ages 3-5, teens ages 13-19, and young adults ages 20-29 on the autism spectrum, as well as siblings and parents when appropriate.
Programs are locally based, high quality, low cost, accessible to families and run by professionals. Every program is held in a safe, non-judgmental environment, designed to encourage children, teens, and young adults who attend to have fun, get active and make friends. Most programs are primarily on the weekends and are multi week long.
Autism Families CONNECTicut is registered as a non-profit, exempt organization as described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
Our Vision: A world where all children and teens on the autism spectrum have access to recreational, social and educational activities as an integral part of enjoying a full, balanced, well-rounded life experience.
Our Mission: We CONNECT individuals on the autism spectrum to each other by providing recreational, social and learning opportunities as we build a meaningful, active and engaged community for their families.
Our Core Values: We desire that all children and teens on the autism spectrum…
…feel a sense of belonging and are accepted within a group of their peers, where they fit in, are comfortable and seen as equals.
…increase their confidence and grow in the belief that they can accomplish whatever they set out to do.
…experience personal growth as they increase their skills and abilities through a variety of social activities designed to capture their interests.
…explore their creativity through fun activities where they can interact with peers and express themselves freely.
…express their playfulness by having opportunities to enjoy fun programs that promote a healthy, active lifestyle.
We desire that individuals on the autism spectrum and their families…
… build a supportive community and form valuable, lasting connections through a variety of shared activities.
Special Announcements
Mail Bag
Photo Credits
Scribe's screen grabs.
Technology Credits
Zoom platform management expertise by Mike Mezheritskiy.
Editor's Notes
Submission Deadline: Members are kindly encouraged to submit all materials for each week's Early Riser as early as possible. Please note that some editions may be published and distributed as early as the Saturday following our meetings, and during those weeks further contributions to the Early Riser will be included in the subsequent week's edition.
“The FOUR-WAY TEST of the things we think, say or do”:

1. Is it the TRUTH?
2. Is it FAIR to all Concerned?
4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?