Russell Hampton
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Arnie Goldman
Getting to Know our Members
Getting to Know Bill Barnes

A good way to describe my career might be to call it "bi-vocational" - clergy and publishing. I grew up in a newspaper family in Bristol. My grandfather owned and operated the Bristol Press from the early 1900s until his death in the 1950’s, when my father and uncle took over. As a kid, I often got to tag along as my father chased stories all over the state. During my college years, I worked most of my summer vacations in the composing room, setting type and serving as a gofer for the newsroom.

After graduation from Bristol High School, I earned my B.A. in history from Wesleyan University. Feeling a call to the ministry of the United Methodist Church, I went on to earn a Master of Divinity degree at Yale Divinity School. I was subsequently ordained Deacon in 1960 and Elder in 1963. Later I earned an M.A. in American Studies and Religion from Trinity College.

Most importantly of all during those years, I married my high school sweetheart Patricia, who went to nursing school at Yale New-Haven Hospital when I was in Divinity School. Our lives have been blessed with three children and four grandchildren. Last summer we celebrated our 61st anniversary.

During my first 17 years in parish ministry, while serving as pastor in North Canton, New Haven and Easton, I still kept one foot in the newspaper business - composing editorials, writing theater and concert reviews and serving on the Board of Directors of our company. I became a Rotarian in 1973 in the Bridgeport Club while serving as pastor in nearby Easton. Ironically, it was the same year in which our Avon-Canton Club was chartered.

I moved to Avon in 1977 at the beginning of a decade-long leave of absence from parish ministry in order to work full-time at the Bristol Press where after my father's retirement, I was named Associate Publisher. I was received into the Avon Rotary Club that year by a young president named Bob Cave.

The highlight of my Avon-Canton Rotary life was the opportunity to serve as club president during 1988-89. This was a wonderful time of growth for our club, partially as a result of our pioneering work as one of the area's first Rotary clubs to actively seek and welcome women into membership. We had recently moved to a small room in the Avon Old Farms Hotel, downstairs behind the reception desk, for our Friday morning meetings, after a nomadic existence among several Route 44 eateries. Our growing membership resulted in two further moves that year, the first into the upstairs room over the reception area and then into the wonderful space where we still hold our meetings to this day.

Ten years into my newspaper career, my family made the difficult but prudent decision to sell the publishing company. So I shifted gears once again and returned to full-time parish ministry, becoming pastor of Prospect United Methodist Church in Bristol and living there until retirement

in 2002. During those years, I also switched my Rotary membership to the Bristol Club, where I remember welcoming an esteemed District Governor named Tom Voorhees, on his official visit one year.

Happily, on our retirement to Avon, I was welcomed back into the best Rotary Club of all, our Avon-Canton Club, and enjoyed reconnecting with old Rotary friends while meeting lots of new ones. Altogether, now, I have proudly been a Rotarian for 46 years. Also during my retirement years, I have served as an interim pastor in Lakeville, Wethersfield and West Hartford, and still find myself substituting in local pulpits from time to time.

Summer vacations at our cottage at Madaket, on Nantucket were part of our rhythm of life for many years along with annual ski trips to Stowe, Vermont. I am happy to report that I skied into my mid-70s, and I am particularly proud of having skied at Stowe for 65 years in a row, from 1948 as a ten-year old, through 2013.

With music as a favorite avocation, I am now in my 31st year of playing viola in the Farmington Valley Symphony Orchestra, one of New England's finest all-volunteer symphonic ensembles. In addition to holiday pops concerts and early summer outdoor concerts here in the Valley, the FVSO performs four concerts of classical music every year with gifted soloists. My biggest thrill as a musician was the opportunity to play a concert with the FVSO at Carnegie Hall during 2008.

So during an active retirement, Rotary remains very relevant as a wonderful way to stay connected with the community and to continue reaching out with Rotary friends in the spirit of "service above self". I look forward to many more years of Rotary fellowship.

Aug 16, 2019
Guiding Light
Aug 23, 2019
Aug 30, 2019
Haitian Water Project
Sep 06, 2019
Meeting and Tour at FAVARH
Sep 13, 2019
A Promise to Jordan
Sep 20, 2019
"Greatest Hits"
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Immediate Past President
Foundation Chair
Board Member-at-Large
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EarlyRiser Presentations
The Annotated Guide to Ending Polio
GLO Fall 2017 Mission Trip
Eastern Europe Trip to Vienna and Prague Presentation
Avon Village Center Project Presentation
Club Information
Rotary of Avon-Canton - Founded 1973
Service above Self
We meet Fridays at 7:30 AM
Avon Old Farms Hotel
279 Avon Mountain Rd.
Avon, CT  06001
United States of America
DistrictSiteIcon District Site
VenueMap Venue Map
Upcoming Meeting Speaker
Electric Vehicles:A Primer
Jeff Gross
Sierra Club
Sergeant-at-Arms Report
April 26, 2019
Members Present: 44
Make-Ups: None  
Guests (8): Member Inductees Yvonne Gardner & Lauren Gardner, Avon PTO representatives Carolyn Marshall, Cindy Pastore and Wanda Dorsky, Robin DiNicola's guest Tracy Gardner and our speakers Tony Giorgio and Bill Ferrigno who represent "Build-to-Preserve", the pubic outreach arm of the proposed Nod Road, Avon re-development proposal.
Visiting Rotarians: None
Happy Dollars: $40
Raffle Winner: This Editor! ( a first!)
Joe Raycraft and someone else. Neither were present so our singing is rescheduled at a date TBD.
Happy Dollars
Gary Miller recently returned from a "Cajun Easter", visiting his daughter and his two Louisiana grandchildren. He noted the beautiful weather he experienced, a rare thing in that area at this time of year. Apparently, due to its very common bad weather, Louisiana is recognized as the state with the highest anxiety level of any, as their hard, prolonged rains leads to floods, property damage and not uncommonly, loss of life.
Bob Cave was happy to have flipped another house, having closed the sale this very day. He was also gratified that his grandson is already doing work on the next house, and he's thrilled to have4 passed on the talent!
Joanne Santiago announced that our Paul Harris Community Awards will go to Lauren Kasetsky, Lisa Bohman and Tim LeGeyt and our Paul Harris Club Awards to Alicia Canning and Josh Gilloolly.
Don Rossler recently returned from Bermuda having vacationed there with his Mrs. their first vacation without their boys since they were born. The boys were on their own vacation without their parents, as they were invited to Florida by friends and they went!
Ted Cowles, announced that maple syrup season was over, and he and his associates had packaged 30 gallons of syrup.
Larry Sullivan, donated 10 happy dollars to announce that at 10AM this day, Sullivan Honda in Torrington will have its ceremonial grand opening in the rain.
Carrie Firestone, was glad to get to know Natasha and Colleen, both of whom helped her with the prescription drug return event, intended to assist with the national opioid abuse issue.
Heather Pantano was proud to note her daughter was featured on the cover of the Valley Press
Alicia Canning was happy she, Mike, Robin, Chuck, Josh, Colleen, Eleni,  and Ann, were featured in the Valley Press, 4/19/2019, while attending our Tastes-of-the-Valley event
Jolly Lux: The Uganda school's girls have had training in making soap and chalk, assisted by donations from our District and our Club. Jolly thanked the Club for our $4000.00 District donation and announced that the GLO-Fest event to be held June 7th, unfortunately conflicts with our installation dinner.
Alicia Canning requested help to identify the generous donor who gave a $75.00 donation to the Rotary Foundaton at the last regular meeting.
Don Bonner recently spoke with Nancy Nation, currently in Texas, but doing poorly and suffering with abdominal pain. We all love Nancy and we are saddened by her situation. [Ed. Note: Nancy, if you read this, we are all praying for you! heartbroken heart]
Mike Mezheritskiy announced that Amazon Smile is now available to benefit the Club when our members and others make Amazon purchases, by each individual designating the Club as their charitable beneficiary for Amazon Smile. Please consider making the Club your beneficiary!
Gary Miller continues to seek a few members to purchase or renew their Rotary website ads, at the excellent price of $100/yr. This funding supports our use of ClubRunner software and our website subscription. The ads cycle every few seconds at the upper left-hand corner of the website and are a good way to promote member businesses. Contact Gary if interested.
Calendar of Upcoming Events
April 30: Flatbread restaurant fundraising event in Canton to benefit Roaring Brook Nature Center. See Katelyn Kaplan for details.
May 1st: 'Rotary Night' at Roaring Brook Nature Center. 5PM - 9PM. See Katelyn Kaplan for details.
May 3rd & 4th: The Rotary District 7890 District Conference will be held May 3rd to 4th  at the Doubletree Hilton Hotel in Danvers, MA. Five districts including 7890 will be represented. The event starts with the Rotary Foundation luncheon on Friday. For a full schedule and registration information follow this link: District Conference Registration
May 5th: Turtle Derby at Roaring Brook Nature Center. See Katelyn Kaplan for details.
May 16th: Rotary Night at Hartford Yard Goats, Thursday May 16; Game time 7:05 PM. Tickets $8.00. Contact Paul Mikkelson for details.
June 10th: Canton Chamber of Commerce Annual Golf Tournament at the Farmington Woods Golf Club. Contact Gary or Sue Budde for more information or visit the Chamber's website for registration: Canton Chamber Golf Tournament
September 9th: Annual Rotary Charity Golf Tournament at the Golf Club of Avon. Please contact Gary Miller if you are interested in working on one of the golf committees.
Induction of New Members
Mike Mezheritskiy and Gary Miller led the members present in the induction ceremony for mother and daughter team Yvonne Gardner and Lauren Gardner who both became proud Rotarians this day. Welcome!

Community and International Service Grants
Gary Roman, representing the Community Service Committee announced the donation of a $250.00 grant to Avon's 'Project Graduation', a subcommittee of the Avon PTO, the goal of which is to keep children safe during graduation. Accepting for Project Hope were Carolyn Marshall , Linda Pastore and Wanda Dawski, with Wanda stepping forward to thank the members personally. She explained that Project Hope is a 20-year-old project  which assists during the change from elementary school to middle school, and in which the new school is decorated with welcoming decorations and candy.  The project is entirely funded by donations and is run by volunteers. She also announced a new initiative, a car show to be held next weekend at Avon HS with the goal of bridging schools and community.

Build to Preserve
Tony Giorgio and Bill Ferrigno
[DISCLAIMER: The Rotary Code of Policies ( (April, 2019) says this about political issues:
"20.90. Clubs and Politics: RI and its member clubs must refrain from issuing partisan political statements. Rotarians likewise are prohibited from adopting statements with a view to exerting any corporate pressure on governments or political authorities. (October 2013 Mtg., Bd. Dec. 31)."
"26.020. Rotary and Politics: Because its world-wide membership includes persons of many facets of political opinion, no corporate action or corporate expression of opinion shall be taken or given by Rotary on political subjects. (April 2016 Mtg., Bd. Dec. 157)
Therefore Rotary Clubs are inherently apolitical, welcoming all without consideration for political party, point of view or advocacy issue affiliation. That said, and as with many Connecticut communities, land use and its impacts are of intense interest to local residents and feelings about proposed new uses cross party lines. While the below presentation took a favorable view of the proposed project, the Rotary Club of Avon-Canton, Rotary International, the Rotary Foundation, and all of their officers and directors, and this Editor, remain officially neutral about this and any other proposal of this nature. The proposal presented was provided merely for informational purposes, as many Club members are also local residents. Excerpts from a website with a known contrasting viewpoint, was added for the reader's information.
Sue Budde introduced our first speaker, Mr. Bill Ferrigno, a builder and the owner of Sunlight Construction Company of Avon. He is past president of the Homebuilders Associations of Connecticut (HAC), and of Hartford County, former chair of the HAC Ethics Committee, and has served on the Governor's Task Force on Building Codes, and in many other volunteer positions. Mr. Ferrigno in turn introduced our other speaker, Mr. Tony Giorgio owner of Keystone Companies of Simsbury. Together they represent "Build-to-Preserve", a single issue advocacy association led by Messrs. Ferrigno and Giorgio and a Mr. Bill Richter, an architect and planner with Richter & Cegan of Avon. Their topic was their effort to redevelop a portion of the Blue Fox Run golf course on Nod Road in Avon,  preserving 18 of the 27 golf holes extant, and building residential buildings on the redeveloped portion.
Mr. Giorgio informed the members he was formerly active in Windsor Rotary and was happy to again be among a group of Rotarians. He is interested in developing a new residential community in Avon, co-located on the site of the 230-acre Blue Fox Run golf course, but preserving fully 80% of its acreage in an undeveloped state. The 20% of the site proposed for redevelopment will occupy up 9 of the current 27 golf holes' area and as a part of construction 9 of the remaining 18 holes will be reconstructed. He added, that "we are not being facetious in saying we are building a preserve." The land is available for development, and its owners are interested in his proposal as a way to preserve the golf course and ease the economic hardship of trying to keep it as is in a time of limited revenue.
The "Build-to-Preserve" website lists the following bullet points favoring this proposal:
1. The community will attract empty-nesters and down-sizing families wishing to stay in the Farmington Valley, as well as young professionals.
2. The project will generate $1.2 million in new tax revenue annually.
3. With golf courses struggling for business and closing their doors, this plan provides Blue Fox Run Golf Course with a wonderful business opportunity to enhance their course into a Championship-quality 18-hole, par 72 public course.
4. The golf course will continue to cater to residents and students with affordable greens fees and a more accommodating policy for school teams, compared to private courses.
5. It’s estimated that, at most, the community would add 45 new students to the school system, with negligible impact on education spending.
6. Protecting the majority of the land from future development prevents unsightly industrial buildings or high traffic retail business.
The opposing "Save-Nod-Road" website lists the following objections decrying this proposal:
1. This type of development would be completely out of character on this scenic and rural road.

2. Increased traffic on Nod Road, which is already a problem.

3. Environmental impacts (inland wetlands, wildlife, the Farmington River).

4. Developing Blue Fox Run does not align with the current town Plan of Conservation and Development.

5. Open space in Avon in shrinking; let's save what we can while we still can.

Mr. Girogio described their plan to build 95 single family homes on 42 acres of the 80 available for development, and then placing the remaining 40 into a conservation easement. The project is designed to attract empty-nesters, and will include mostly single family condos of 1900 - 3000 square feet and also 3 single family homes. The partners have agreed with the Foley family, Blue Fox Run's owners, to make the details of the conservation easement public after the land sale is completed. They will present to the Town of Avon Zoning Board of Appeals on 5/21, as they must appeal due to denial of an asked for wetlands declaration and a requested zone change from agricultural to residential to allow the project to go forward. One point the speakers emphasized is that the land will be developed eventually, and their proposal preserves the golf course and the treed street scape residents are accustomed to. Denial could lead to a less favorable proposal in the future and their tag line of "Build-to-Preserve" is not in any way ironic.
Mr. Ferrigno addressed the issue of an abandoned, prior Nod Road proposal would have been highly visible along the road and had upset some residents. This new proposal is fully inside the golf course, and is dramatically less visible from the road, which will contribute much to its appearance. Compared to Wisconsin Road, another of his projects, this has a similar feel.  They want it to fit into the landscape, with the least amount of visual impact on residents. He adds, that the "Save Nod Road Organization" opposes this proposal also. He states that in reality, this project actually can save Nod Road. Other possible projects will not do as much to preserve the landscape, and adds the project will also improve the intersection by widening the Nod Road terminus and creating a dedicated right turn lane for joining westbound Rt 44 traffic.
Build to Preserve organization website:
Save Nod Road organization website:
The following questions from Rotarians and the speakers' answers were captured as best as possible, but may be incomplete::
Craig Buhrendorf:
Q: Are you planning on using the existing Blue Fox Run entrance? and what makes you think the project will appeal to empty-nesters as opposed to families with children?
A: Our development in Simsbury is similar, It attracts empty-nesters and also those with a second home in the west or south, but who also want something here at home.
A: There is pent up demand from empty-nesters who are attached to their local connections with church, doctors, Rotary, family and friends. Many of our units will include a master bedroom on the first floor. We already have had 20 people call to ask about buying lots.  While not age restricted the project will tend to attract people 55 and older, a segment of the market that desires a common ownership community, one without playscapes, backyard pools and other more family oriented amenities There will be some children, probably about 40, but with the schools student population already in decline by 10% these students should be absorbed without much fiscal impact on an otherwise declining enrollment.
Bob Cave:
Q: Are there other objections besides traffic and the environment that have been raised?
A: Tony stated he has heard "we don't want anything!" from some. The fact is, residents have enjoyed a "borrowed vista" for many years, and don't want it changed. That is not, however, a viable alternative for the long term. In our case, we have done a great deal to lessen the visual impact on residents and have gone so far as to look at amphibian migration patterns to understand how to avoid impacting them as well.
Brian O'Donnell
Q: What about the flood plain?
A: Tony says the Army Corps of Engineers upstream dams have since managed the flow. Our proposal is 500' upstream from the 500-year flood plain. We are therefore outside the 500-year flood plain and far away from the river. No houses will be inside that 500-year demarcation.
Don Bonner:
Q: How many houses have you constructed in all of the Avon area?
A: 1000 families in Bills houses in Avon, and he likes to preserve natural landscapes.
Ed. Note: For further study on land owner's property & development rights, zoning codes & community rights, the following websites may help:
The US Constitution and Property Rights
1. Cato Foundation:
2. Heritage Foundation:
Zoning Law
1. Findlaw:
CT Land Use
1. Connecticut Association of Zoning Enforcement Officials:
2. Connecticut Chapter of American Planning Association
3. Connecticut Homebuilders Association:

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Photo Credits 
Photographs courtesy of Phil Worley unless otherwise noted.
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?