NEWS&VIEWS by Jacqueline Bennett

New Animal Shelter Reflects Humanity of Windsor, CT Community

Posted on October 10, 2017

Ribbon-cutting ceremony held Saturday, October 7 for the new Animal Shelter in Windsor, Connecticut.

Article & Photos by Jacqueline Bennett 


Windsor, Connecticut’s new animal shelter is a reflection of the humanity of the Windsor community. Those words of praise were shared by State Rep. David Baram during the opening ceremony held October 7. He noted too, the project came in under budget.

Left to right: Debbie Samson, Mayor Doanld Trinks, State Rep. David Baram and Town Manager Peter Souza.


“How we treat animals is really a reflection of our society,” Baram told the crowd gathered for the event, “It is a window in to our humanity.”

Debbie Samson accepts a $550 check for the animal shelter from Joanne Verallis, on behalf of local dentist Steven Farley, an animal lover.


Mayor Donald Trinks, whose support for the project was cited as having turned the tide in its favor, said the credit should go to Debbie Samson, a founder of the non-profit “Friends of Windsor Animal Care & Control,” and other volunteers. They persisted, said Trinks, in appealing to local and state officials to build a new facility in town rather than pay kennel fees elsewhere, and then set out to get community backing. A one million cost was an obstacle until James Burke, town economic development director, secured a $990,000 grant for the project, added the mayor.



“Some may say ‘What’s the big deal, you’re giving them a space.’ Well – it is a big deal,” said Trinks, who humorously dubbed the day’s event “an unleashing ceremony.”

Donna from Pet Value, Bishop’s Corners West Hartford brought a donation … more to come, she said.



Trinks also thanked Bob Gustafson of the Windsor Public Building Commission. Gustafson, who is wrapping up thirty years of service to the PBC, visited animal shelters in other towns.


“Bob took this project on as a quest,” said Trinks, “This was a project that was going to get done.”



The cleanliness, order and amenities inside the shelter, such as a washer and dryer, were complimented by those who toured the shelter. The facility includes a dedicated cat area, an office for the animal control officer, a fenced in backyard where dogs can exercise and interact with potential adopters, and a shed for storage of pet foods and animal pantry supplies. The goal is for the animal shelter to be a stop on the road to adoption. It is off to a great start said Trinks, with all local dogs recently in need of forever homes having been adopted.

Another milestone, Bob Gustafson  marks the completion of 30 years of service on the Windsor Public Building Commission. Shown with his wife, son and daughter-in-law.


Al Simon, wrapping up 18 years of service on the Windsor Town Council.








The parcel of land where the animal shelter was built on 970 Marshal Phelps Road was a bequest to the town of Windsor circa the 1920s-1930s. Buzz began in town about the need for a new dog pound in 2002 but getting it done wasn’t easy, noted Samson.


“It’s been a long, hard road with constant help from Mayor Donald Trinks and Town Manager Peter Souza,” Samson said.




Windsor Town Manager Peter Souza has approved a project to build trails behind the animal shelter proposed by Ben Levesque of Boy Scout Troop 149. Next, the scout district must give a nod to the plans.


Souza has also given his approval to Ben Levesque, 16, of Boy Scout Troop 149 to build trails behind the animal shelter to enhance opportunities for the animals to get outdoors and exercise, and for potential adopters to share time with the animals. A student at Windsor High School, Levesque said he has approval from his troop leader and next needs a nod from the scout district.


A touching moment came with the delivery of a bench hand restored by Windsor resident Edward Cutler and placed outside the animal shelter in memory of the police K-9 dogs that served Windsor courageously, and have passed. Police Chief Donald Melanson and Capt. Tom Lepore helped unload the bench from Cutler’s pick-up truck. Placement of the bench was followed by the reading of a poem by Dept. Mayor Jody Terranova about the special relationships between police K-9 handlers and their partners.


“It means a great deal to the department, especially to the handlers,” LePore said of the bench.


Ed Cutler delivers the K-9 memorial bench with help from Windsor Police Chief Donald Melanson and Capt. Tom LePore.


Memorial bench honors Windsor, CT’s fallen K-9 police dogs. Shown left to right: Capt. Tom LePore,Councilman Ken Wilkos, Deb Samson, Ed Cutler, Peter Souza, Mayor Don Trinks, WPD K-9 handler Amy Fiano, State Rep. Tami Zawistowski, Chief Donald Melanson & Deputy Mayor Jody Terranova.










Happy Birthday WILI – Home to CT’s Longest Continuously Running Morning Show

Posted on October 5, 2017

WILI – Boom Box Parade 2014 Windham, Connecticut


Article & Photos By Jacqueline Bennett


Global broadcast is such an integral part of life in the 21st Century that is is easy to forget is was but a few decades ago that the broadcast industry was in its infancy. Today marks the 60th anniversary of the sign-on for WILI in Willimantic/Windham, Connecticut.


The radio station reports it welcomed listeners that morning with a pop favorite of 1957, “Wake Up Little Susie” by the Everly Brothers. The lyrics of the tune reveal a more innocent time.


Tucked away in part of the Nutmeg State’s “Quiet Corner”, it is noteworthy that WILI is home to the “longest continuously running morning show” hosted by local radio personality, Wayne Norman. He began his career at the station in 1970. According to the WILI website, Norman has served as a color analyst for University of Connecticut basketball and football games since 1979, done play-by-play for Eastern Connecticut State University baseball, as well as, covering numerous American Legion and Windham High School games.


WILI is known too for its part in helping to preserve the town’s annual Fourth of July Parade.The station’s role in this tale of Yankee Ingenuity has been well-told by now, but is appropriate to repeat on this anniversary day. Circumstances were such that Willimantic/Windham was not going to be able to hold a Fourth of July Parade when the idea for a Boom Box Parade was presented. WILI would broadcast patriotic tunes and anyone interested in marching could do so while carrying a boom box tuned to WILI. The Boom Box Parade was a hit and has become a tradition.






Mountain Dairy milk takes part in the 2013 Boom Box Parade.

Hosmer Mountain soda.

The Chronicle












It is a noteworthy aside that this small town in eastern Connectcut is home not only to a flourishing radio station, but also a university -ECSU – renown for having graduated some of Connecticut’s best teachers, and an increasing rarity – an independently owned newspaper called “The Chronicle”. In addition, the area is home to family businesses that have withstood the test of time and competition, such as Hosmer Mountain soda and Mountain Dairy milk.


Should the spirit move you today to step back in time, Wayne Norman is expected be play tunes from 1957 throughout the day and News Director Mike Morrisette will share 1957 news reports.


Take a listen to “Wake Up Little Susie” …

Disrespectful Not To Take the Field During National Anthem

Posted on September 25, 2017

Commentary by Jacqueline Bennett


Usually the morning after a win by the New England Patriots I am ecstatic, singing the praises of our quarterback. This morning I sing the praises of a man on a different team – Alejandro Villanueva.


When protests during the playing of the national anthem -“The Star-Spangled Banner”- began by National Football League players a year ago, as tough as it was to see, I said – “Either one believes in the First Amendment or one does not.” I do.


Our flag has endured through actual bombardments hence the words to that beautiful anthem – “Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there …” It has endured a Revolutionary War, a Civil War, foreign conflicts and domestic unrest. In my heart I believe it will continue to endure because it represents freedom – freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of religion, freedom of the press.


That said, it is one thing for players to stand locked arm in arm as the national anthem is played, it is another thing for players to ‘take a knee’, it is yet another thing for players to raise a fist. However, it is beyond disrespectful for teams not to take the field during the playing of the national anthem. It is cowardly. We as Americans do not cower. We do not hide away in locker rooms or tunnels.

Despite the rest of his team remaining off the field yesterday as the national anthem played, Pittsburgh Steelers player Alejandro Villanueva stood outside near the tunnel hand over his heart. His action is even more meaningful upon learning that his coach would have preferred “100 percent participation” in what was described as the team’s choice not to take the field. 


Villanueva is a West Point graduate who played football for the Army Black Knights, reportedly he served three tours of duty in Afghanistan as a United States Army Ranger earning the Bronze Star for valor. Clearly he is a man of personal conviction, integrity and courage. Thank you Alejandro Villanueva for your service.




11th Tavern Trot Raises Another $65,000 For Alex’s Lemonade Stand

Posted on September 19, 2017

On your mark…. Runners prepare for the start of the 11th Annual Tavern Trot held Sept.17, 2017 in Windsor, CT 

Honoring America during the national anthem before the race got underway.

And they’re off…


Dressed for success.















Hailey Pinard 2017 Hometown Hero and Morgan Platt 2017 “In the Spirit of Alex Scott” award.

Article & Photos by Jacqueline Bennett

The 11th Annual Tavern Trot raised another $65,000 for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, which is dedicated to pediatric cancer research. Hosted by the Union Street Tavern the event was held September 17 in Windsor, Connecticut under sunny skies with temperatures reaching the low 80 degrees.


Attracting 950 participants, a number up from 300 in year one, over eleven years the Tavern Trot has raised $300,000 for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, according to Mike Deneen, part owner of the Union Street Tavern. That amount is part of $150 million the non-profit organization has raised for the cause since its inception, inspired by Alexandra Flynn Scott (1996-2004) who at age four while fighting neuroblastoma set up a lemonade stand outside her Connecticut home to raise money to help others with childhood cancer.


Accepting the check for $65,000 for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation are Liz Scott, Alex’s mother, and Chris Pinard, father of Hailey who continues her battle with neuroblastoma. 


Courtesy photo Alexandra Flynn Scott (1996-2004)

“It’s really meaningful to see how it (Tavern Trot) has grown,” said Liz Scott, the mother of Alexandra Flynn Scott “Alex”.


Morgan Platt and her family of Avon, CT attended.


Mike Deneen, part owner of Union Street Tavern, addresses the crowd.

“Alex was the spark but so many have kept it going,”  she added.







Among those in attendance were Chris Pinard, a Windsor volunteer firefighter who has also served in the Connecticut National Guard. Pinard’s daughter Hailey is battling neuroblastoma. He helped Liz Scott, who was originally from Windsor, accept the check for ALSF. Hailey Pinard was selected as the 2017 Tavern Trot “Hometown Hero.” In 2011, Morgan Platt of Avon was diagnosed with a brain tumor. She was chosen the 2017 Tavern Trot recipient of the “In the Spirit of Alex Scott” award and was joined by her family at the event.

Jenn Bernstein and Lorenzo Hall of FOX 61 served as emcees then later took part in the road race.


In addressing the crowd, Morgan’s mother Kathy Platt praised Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for not forgetting the sometimes overlooked siblings of childhood cancer patients.


“The have a program for siblings,” she noted.


Platt added there is light ahead, a hope for a cure.


“We’re close,” she said.


Jenn Bernstein and Lorenzo Hall of Fox 61 served as emcees and later joined in the road race.


“Hello Windsor,” Bernstein shouted.


To learn more about the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation charity go to


A group of students from Windsor’s Sage Park Middle School nicknamed themselves “The Rainbow Flamingos.”

More sights at the 2017 Tavern Trot ……

Rich Poirer tries out some stretchng offered by Perry Siegel of Select Physical Therapy before the race.



Police Pipes & Drums of Waterbury turned out to provide musical encouragement to the runners.



Windsor High School students volunteered at the Alex’s Lemonade Stand booth.

Justin Cusker recieves his registration bracelet.

Liz Scott, Suzanne Schumann and Pam Howard.

“Mums” the Word at Iconic Bart’s – Three Windsor CT Events to Help Animals

Posted on September 15, 2017

By Jacqueline Bennett

It’s true love for Windsor, Ct.’s first couple as Mayor Don Trinks’ wife Barbara joined him behind the counter. File photo by Jacqueline Bennett.


“Mums” the word Saturday, September 16 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m at Windsor, Connecticut’s iconic Bart’s Drive-In Restaurant on 55 Palisado Avenue (a.k.a. BartsBeanery.) For those who have yet to stop by Bart’s or those such as myself who stop by often, tomorrow may be the perfect chance to enjoy a chili dog from the Magic Grill while at the same time helping the Windsor Pet Food Pantry. 


It took the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 to raise awareness about the powerful bond between people and their pets. As the country currently deals with Hurricanes Harvey and Irma – once again the importance of pets is being seen.


Of course, pets need food. The Friends of Windsor Animal Care & Control is hosting two fundraisers to benefit the Windsor Pet Pantry. At Bart’s ~ who knows ~ you might bump into Windsor’s first couple ~ owner and Windsor Mayor Don Trinks, and his wife Barbara.


In memory of Windsor, Connecticut police K-9s ~ Iko (shown here) and Jag, Kane, Valor, Tanner, Gobbi & Sampson. (Courtesy photo).

Throughout September, at the popular Jim’s Pizza on Poquonock Avenue, the Nikolis Family will be holding a drive to benefit the Windsor Pet Food Pantry.


Sandwiched between the fundraisers will be the Grand Opening of Windsor’s new dog pound. Resident Ed Cutler is slated to donate a hand refurbished bench in memory of the town’s heroic police K-9s who served Windsor courageouly and have passed away. Check out the tweet below to read more about Mr. Cutler, in a synopsis provided by the Friends of Windsor Animal Care & Control. The dog pound’s tentative opening date is October 7 with a raindate of Oct. 8, but check the town website for confirmation.


A bit later in the month on Saturday October 21 from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m stop by Dom’s Broad Street Eatery, another of Windsor’s fine, family-owned and operated dining establishments. Proceeds from breakfast and lunch will also benefit the Windsor Pet Food Pantry. There will be a raffle table from 9 a.m – 1 p.m.


Delightfully – A Concurrent Celebration of Reading & Coffee Ice Cream

Posted on September 6, 2017

By Jacqueline Bennett


Delightfully, September 6 is a day to celebrate two of my favorite things ~ reading a book and coffee ice cream. Upon opening my daily e-mail from National Day Calendar this morning I was pleasantly reminded of the concurrent celebrations.


At an early age I learned the joy of reading. My parents and my sister read to me from the time I can remember. Holding a book in my hands became as natural to me as breathing, and soon enough I was reading to myself. Reading aloud to youngsters not only sparks their interest in reading but enables them to learn the proper expression intended by the writer.


Shady Glen in Manchester, CT mixes up Coffee Milk Shake perfection!

As a child I was especially fond of the Brothers Grimm fairy tale “Rapunzel.” “Rapunzel, Rapunzel let down your golden hair..” In elementary school, I looked forward to time in the library and began gravitating towards biographies. My love of libraries and being surrounded by books continued when I was a student at the University of Connecticut.


Along the way, I discovered Agatha Christie novels. Today I love many genres of reading. As I have mentioned in previous posts, there is nothing quite like sitting quietly at home curled up by the ‘wood stove’ with a good book, or relaxing out & about at a special coffee spot – a fresh cup of Joe in one hand and a new book in the other!


As for coffee ice cream, quite simply ~ it is a New England tradition. In Yankee Magazine’s “New England Today” Aimee Tucker wrote, “Here in New England (& especially Rhode Island) we take our coffee love seriously, that includes in ice cream form.”Friendly’s restaurants, a New England original puts out a great tasting coffee ice cream.


Coffee milk shakes flavored with coffee syrup noted Tucker, may be the only way to improve the flavor of coffee ice cream. True. If you are visiting Connecticut’s Greater Hartford Region ~ don’t miss a chance to savor coffee milk shake perfection at Shady Glen at 840 East Middle Turnpike in Manchester. It’s wicked good!

A Red Sox Fan & Connecticut Resident

Posted on August 19, 2017

My sisters, Mom, Mike, and me (standing in back row, right) at Fenway Park.

By Jacqueline Bennett


As much as I enjoyed watching last night’s 9-6 Boston Red Sox win over the New York Yankees, a “broad brush” comment in the commentator’s booth requires clarification. It was an off-the-cuff remark by a guest in the booth – introduced I believe as a Burlington,Vermont broadcaster and former football player – there to promote the upcoming college football events at Fenway.


Sporting Red Sox gear at Cheers in Boston.

Describing most of Vermont as Red Sox fans, he added that since Burlington was a college town it attracted kids who are Yankees fans from New York and Connecticut. While it may be that the lower portion of Connecticut leans towards the pin stripes, please do not lump all of us into this characterization. Drive north along the 91 corridor in Connecticut and as the late September crispness in the air becomes sharper and the autumn leaves of October turn a deeper hue, make no mistake about it – you are in Red Sox country.



Born and reared in Connecticut, I and many of my family are lifelong Red Sox fans. My mother was a lifelong Red Sox fan. Her father, my grandfather – a semi-pro catcher – was a lifelong Red Sox fan who dreamt of playing for the Sox. My dad was such a devoted Red Sox fan that he sat watching the games -quite literally- with a crying towel in hand back when winning seasons seemed to elude our beloved team.


Dad’s favorite spot at Fenway Park was behind first base. Mine is on the Bud Deck. No matter where one is seated, however, there is nothing quite like being at Fenway Park to join with other Red Sox fans in singing along with a resounding chorus of  “Sweet Caroline” during the 7th inning stretch.


So, thank you very much – like many – this Connecticut resident is a proud New Englander and loyal Red Sox fan.