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News of interest to us East of the River. Where available links are provided to source publications for full story.

In Memory is a page to remember those who worked with us and have passed on to a plane of new experiences.

Passings: Joseph Firecrow Jr.

JOSEPH FIRECROW, JR, 58, passed away on Tuesday, July 11 in Winsted. He was battling idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, which affects the lungs. He is survived by his siblings, his wife, Joann Moore, and children Brandon, Karrie, Joseph III, Damian and Jared.

He was born in Crow Agency, Montana one of 10 children born to Joseph FireCrow Sr. and Elva Stands in Timber. He spent his early years on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation. Joseph began making and playing flutes in the summer of 1977 when he was 18 years old.

Joseph was known for his flute music and stories. His accomplishments include being a Grammy Award Winner, 7-time Native American Music Award Winner, and NAMA Lifetime Achievement Award, and other awards in excellence for his gift and craft. Joe was an accomplished flute man, and was gifted and highly sought after for the flutes that he made by hand through the wood that spoke to him. He performed at many events and sites around Connecticut. The photo is from a performance in 2012 at Tina Angeli's labyrinth in Granby.

Joseph transformed nature into music and had a very loving and compassionate soul which always exuded a positive influence even when just talking with him. His music will live on through his recordings.

His family will receive relatives and friends at the Maloney Funeral Home, 55 Walnut Street, Winsted, CT on Saturday, July 15, 2017 from 2 to 6 PM, followed by a service and celebration if his life. Burial will be private.

» Read his story.
» Read obituary.

Passings: Barbara Dryden-Masse

REV. BARBARA DRYDEN-MASSE, 72, of Rocky Hill and Lily Dale, NY, peacefully passed away on Friday, February 24, 2017 at St. Francis Hospital & Medical Center in Hartford.

Barbara wove many years of experience and expertise as a certified hypnotist and gifted clairvoyant to offer programs and seminars to improve the quality of people's lives. Her devotion to the happiness of her clients was a hallmark of her life's work. One of her greatest joys was spreading the Love of God to people through the gift of prophesy.

An inspiring motivational speaker and seminar leader, Barbara presented on a variety of topics including creating prosperity and success, weight loss, development of extra-sensory perception and creating more love in your life.

In 2015, she received the prestigious Order of Braid Award from the National Guild of Hypnotists which recognizes a lifetime of outstanding achievement, dedication, and service. She served on the faculty of the National Guild for many years. Barbara had her own popular weekly radio show, ‘Psychic Insights' and was a regular columnist in Connecticut's Door Opener Magazine. She also served as Vice President of the First Spiritualist Church of Willimantic.

Barbara is survived by two sisters, a brother, and her long-time friend Betty Hughes of Virginia.

Funeral service will be Saturday (March 4, 2017) with a celebration of Barbara's life at 11:30 am at the D'ESOPO-East Hartford Memorial Chapel, 30 Carter Street, East Hartford. Private burial will be held at the convenience of the family. Barbara's family will receive relatives and friends on Saturday morning from 10:00 am to 11:30 am at the funeral home chapel.

» Read full obituary.

Passings: Joyce Orcutt

JOYCE D. ORCUTT, 81, of Winchester, N.H. died Thursday, February 9, 2017 at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, Brattleboro, VT after a struggle with cancer.

Joyce was the long time pastor of the First Spiritualist Church of Willimantic and a highly respected medium and teacher in Spiritualist Churches, and each summer at the Pine Grove Spiritualist Camp in Niantic. She moved to New Hampshire some years ago but returned regularly to CT. Joyce taught four courses on mediumship and Spiritualism at Manchester Community College.

There will be a memorial service at the First Spiritualist Church of Willimantic on an upcoming Sunday. The date has not been set yet. Check the church's website and Facebook page for further details.

Passings: Carolyn 'Lynn" Files

CAROLYN 'LYNN' (WILLS) FILES entered into eternal peace on Sunday, November 20, 2016. Born in Billings, MT, she was the daughter of the late Robert Wills and Constance (Beeler) Wills. She grew up in Denver, Colorado before moving to Connecticut.

She leaves behind her beloved children, Wendy of South Windsor, and Aric of Windsor Locks; and close friends, Pearl Lake of Willington, Kathleen Rhodes and Jonie Masse both of Sarasota, FL. She was predeceased by her son Dirk and her sister Lee Cantor. She was registrar of voters in E. Windsor for many years.

A perpetual student of life, she opened 'Friendship House', a bookstore/learning center where people could gather, discuss, and take classes pertaining to self-help and aspects of spirituality. She was president of the Astrological Society of CT 1982 & 1983, and helped to expand the public's knowledge of astrology and its purpose as an educational tool. Her interest in healing brought her in contact with individuals renowned in their field. Lynn's warm and welcoming ways were appreciated by all who knew her, she will be remembered for her sense of humor, and her sweet and loving personality.

She resided in Sarasota FL for over 20 years. Working at Four Winds Resort, with her open approachable nature she made many friends and was well loved. She relocated back to CT last year. She had a passion for Christmas tree decorating, a gift she enjoyed sharing with her friends and family. She loved all of god's creatures and supported animal welfare. Though she will be dearly missed, the knowledge, kindness, and generosity that she shared made the world a better place and helps to lighten the loss.

» Read full obituary.

Meg's Expands In New Location (9/15)

Meg's in Manchester has moved from its location on East Center Street to a new, larger location at 38 North Main Street. MEG PETERSON now owns the three story building, is adding classes, and plans to include practitioners on the second floor.

Meg began the store at about the time The Door Opener launched almost 30 years ago. She describes the store as 'an inspirational and spiritual boutique filled with all the tools to heal your body and mind.' Her passions in life - art, dance and nutrition - are reflected in the store.

With so few alternative shops left it's wonderful to see Meg's expand. She can be reached at (860) 649-9941.

» Visit Meg's website.

Coventry Farmers' Market America's Most Celebrated Farmers' Market (9/14)

American Farmland Trust is the founder of the I Love My Farmers Market Celebration and is dedicated to saving America’s farm and ranch land, promoting sound farming practices and keeping farmers on the land.

From June 13 through September 13 they ran an online awareness competition to promote Farmers' Markets asking people to pledge how much they intend to spend weekly at their favorite market.

Last night Coventry became "America's Most Celebrated Farmers' Market" by a wide margin.

The Coventry Farmers' Market is open every Sunday through October from 11-2 at the Nathan Hale Homestead.

» Go to Coventry Farmers' Market website.

Nature's Grocer Has New Owner (8/14)

Nature's Grocer, the Vernon natural food store created to meet specific dietary needs, announced that after seven years founders BOB and SUE SPECTOR are retiring and that as of August 15 the new owner is DAVID BOUDREAUX. This was a bittersweet decision as they really enjoyed their time creating and building Nature's Grocer.

They write, "So why are we selling now? Because we want Nature's Grocer to continue and grow, and we are not getting any younger. The store has been like a third child for us, but it is time to let go and turn it over to David, who we are certain, will take very good care of things!"

"We will continue to be at the store over the next few weeks to help provide a smooth transition. Our employees will remain as well. We will then be off to new adventures- we plan to travel, spend time with our grand kids, visit Maine more often, and in February welcome a new grand baby into our family!"

Nature’s Grocer, located at 81 East Street in Vernon, was established by the Spectors upon their respective retirements from careers in Hospital Administration and Teaching. Long-time foodies and Tolland county residents, they were looking to create a natural foods option for shoppers east of the river. When Sue was diagnosed with Celiac disease and as a result needed to completely rethink food choices and approaches to dining out. It quickly became clear that the opportunities for baked goods outside the home were virtually non-existent leading to the creation of their store.

» Go to Nature's Grocer website.

New Store Opens In Enfield (7/14)

Pure Health of CT, a new store dedicated to helping people improve their health and nutrition by connecting conventional and alternative care, opened in May at 155 Hazard Avenue in Enfield. Owner MARCI FOURNIER is a certified Holistic Health Coach through the Association of Drugless Practitioners. The center works with clients on weight loss, nutrition counseling, menopause issues, teen health and self-esteem building. Aqua detox and Biomat treatments are among the many services provided.

Other practitioners working through the center are Reiki practitioners Kate Salamenta and Gale Fay; Dayle, an intuitive medium and Elle Provencher, an advanced energy practitioner. On the retail side, vitamin supplements, stone jewelry, candles, feng shui, salt lamps, organic skin products and natural pet care are available.

Marci can be reached at (860) 265-2485 or purehealthofct@outlook.com.

» Go to Pure Health website.

New Meditation Center Opens In West Hartford (7/14)

The Copper Beech Institute is a new West Hartford center for mindfulness and contemplative practice. It's mission is to awaken the fullest potential within each of us through on-site programming and compassionate action in the community. The institute features overnight, rest and renewal, and day retreats, as well as trainings, special events, and continuing education opportunities for individuals and groups.

The facility, located on the campus of the Holy Family Passionist Monastery and Retreat Center at 303 Tunxis Road in West Hartford, offers quiet places to rest with 200 beds, an art gallery and stone labyrinth on 48 wooded acres, creative food to nourish health, healing arts therapists, and a caring staff to support personal growth and exploration. The Copper Beech Institute occupies a renovated wing of the facility operating independently from the historic Catholic retreat center. The Institute will formally launch its inaugural 2014-2015 season this fall, with a series of grand opening retreats and special events throughout September and October.

In partnership with the University of Massachusetts Medical School's Center for Mindfulness, the Institute will offer an 8-week course in mindfulness-based stress reduction, three times a year, beginning this September. The course will provide intensive training in mindfulness meditation and its integration into the challenges and adventures of everyday life.

» Go to Copper Beech Institute website.

CT Dept. of Agriculture Planning Large Regional Market (12/13)

Credit: CT Dept. of Agriculture

If you've visited the large, block sized regional markets in Philadelphia, Baltimore or Lancaster, PA you know what a draw and attraction they can be. Not only do they offer fresh produce but the temptations offered for an in-market meal or to take home are a draw in themselves.

Now the CT Department of Agriculture is considering something similar. The regional market, just off the highway near the Charter Oak Bridge, has long provided fresh produce to restaurants and in the spring many low cost flowers and plants. But you have to get there early and by mid morning the farmers have headed for home.

Hartford's Regional Market's 1940's structure needs replacing and the state is planning a reconstruction and expansion to make it more user friendly for state farmers and wholesalers and more of a year-round market for the public. A kitchen and a new food processing center are being considered. The market facility would complement – and not replace – the outdoor farmers' market. The indoor market would provide stalls for independent, locally owned businesses (including farmers) to sell fresh and prepared foods. While the focus would be on Connecticut grown products, the indoor market would likely have products from outside the state, too.

» Go to CT Department of Agriculture press release and survey.

Sacred Rivers Moves To Larger Space (11/13)

Sacred Rivers Yoga has moved down the street and less than a minute away from their Glastonbury location to an expanded 4300 square foot facility. They are now just over the East Hartford line at 28 Main Street.

In addition to the large yoga studios, they will also offer massage and therapy rooms, a yoga therapy clinic, a kitchen, a library, new classes, private one-on-one sessions, and a few other surprises. There will be additional bathrooms and changing cubicles as well. Owner PAULA SCOPINO will now be able to host large national workshops and expand into the new International Association of Yoga Therapy school.

Largest Solar Farm In CT Opens In Somers (11/13)

Dominion is turning on the state’s largest solar array, a 23,150 Kyocera solar panel system that will generate roughly 5 megawatts of alternating current. This is the first large scale solar project in the state of Connecticut, and is believed to be the first in the Northeast. Dominion is planning on putting the solar project online by mid-December.

The Somers Solar Center, located on Route 83 near Cedar Knob Golf Course, was acquired in October by Dominion, which also operates the state’s only nuclear power plant, Millstone Power Station in Waterford. Connecticut Light & Power, a division of Northeast Utilities, will buy the power from the Somers project under a 20-year agreement.

The Somers Solar Center was developed by CleanPath and Heliosage and is the third large-scale solar installation Dominion purchased this year. Built by Prime Solutions Inc. out of New Milford, it occupies 50 acres.

Photo credit: Heliosage.

» Go to Patch article with more photos.

New Store Opens In Willington (8/12)

All In All: Pastime & Curiosity Shoppe opened in Willington in June. It is located just off I-84, Exit 69 next to the Track 9 Diner on Route 74.

All in All is a gift shop with a New Age twist. Offered are local artwork and products, as well as unique cards, gifts, books, wind chimes, Native American items, aromatherapy, incense, books, Tarot cards, suncatchers, rainbow makers, pendulums, salt lamps, smudgesticks and more in the gift shop downstairs.

Upstairs is a meditation room where classes are offered. They are listed on their Facebook page as well as the Conscious CT Calendar. Also available upstairs are Acupuncture and Massage/Reiki treatments by appointment. DR. DAREK S. OLEARCZYK, DC FCAMI, provides acupuncture and chiropractic care, while BONNIE STARR CHEMERKA offers Reiki sessions and classes.

All in All was opened on June 9 by PAM FAVREAU and her daughter JASMINE JETTE. It is a family run business and always will be. Jasmine is a shopkeeper and the co-creative director with Pam. Their son/brother in law is DR. DAREK OLEARCZYK. Pam, who is currently a defense attorney, held the life-long dream of owning a shoppe like this. She admired the house that All in All currently occupies and in April of 2011 it found its way to them or vice versa.

Pam and Jasmine can be reached at (860) 429-3000. They are open Thursday - Sunday. The address is 8 Tolland Turnpike in Willington.

» Visit All In All's website

» Go to Reawaken Your Dreamer website.

Coventry Farmers' Market Wins Little Red Barn (9/11)

The Internet has spawned a variety of interesting contests in which fans vote for the next great author or best spiritual idea. In a contest held this summer the Coventry Farmers' Market competed against farmers' markets in Michigan and New Jersey for a red barn. Coventry prevailed with the most supporters and will add the barn to their site at the Nathan Hale Homestead next spring, their first permanent structure.

They have plenty of ideas as to how the barn might be used. These include a space for conducting programs, sheltering musicians, art space, workshops and material storage.

The Coventry Farmers' Market is a first class operation with a staff of loyal and dedicated volunteers. Congratulations on this next step.

» Read Coventry's Red Barn Entry.

Peace Walk On Vernon Rail Trail (6/11)

CASSANDRA CURLEY is walking 2,500 miles this year - 50 miles in 50 states in 50 weeks. On July 7 she walked ten of those miles on the Rail Trail in Vernon.

From Florida, Cassandra wrote the book, "From Fear To Eternity: A Path to Peace" showing how nature thrives by living in harmony, which is also our natural state if we can overcome our fears. This concept is consistent with recent studies emerging from quantum field and quantum biology experiments as documented in Lynne McTaggart's recently published, "The Bond."

Cassandra is carrying the message around the country that cooperation, not competition, is not only the way to peace, but is nature's intention. She spoke at Spirit Matters in Ellington before walking in Vernon. Supporters were able to join her at Valley Falls Park for part of the journey. Next stops are Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

» Go to Cassandra's website for more information.

Towns Turn To Alternative Energy Sources (5/11)

SOMERS/COVENTRY - Towns in our region are exploring and installing alternative energy sources as the cost of power soars and grants become more readily available.

Somers received a $387,200 federal grant from the American Recovery And Reinvestment Act to install solar panels and purchase discounted energy for the elementary school and public works building. The 2,500 panel school installation will provide 39% of the school's electricity. The 1,000 panels at the public works building will produce 99% of that building's electricity.

Coventry's new wind turbine and solar panels were earned for its commitment to the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund (CCEF). The project was initiated by students advocating for clean energy. The solar panels were installed on the roof of the Town Hall Annex and the 105 foot, 5 kilowatt wind turbine with 8 foot blades is located behind the high school.

This may be the first wind turbine in our area and is one of only four installations in CCEF's Small Wind Turbine Demonstration Project, which is designed to provide CCEF with valuable information regarding the operation of wind turbines in Connecticut. Data and information obtained from the demonstration project, including the identification of wind turbines that perform well in Connecticut, will enable CCEF to craft an effective wind rebate program. Data will be gathered over a one-year period and evaluated prior to the launch of a small wind rebate program.

» Learn more about the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund.

Topmost Greenhouse Brings Community Together (3/11)

COVENTRY - For a decade CAROLE MILLER's Topmost Farm in Coventry was home to the annual Herbfest of the CT Herb Asso. and of Taste! Organic CT produced by the Connecticut branch of the Northeast Organic Farmer's Asso. (CT NOFA). More recently Carole has been a cornerstone of the very successful Coventry Farmer's Market. A centerpiece of the farm is Carole's greenhouse where she grows her heirloom tomatoes.

Last month the snows of 2011 brought down the greenhouse as they did many other farm buildings across the state. As with many small farms the greenhouse wasn't insured and Carole lives there and farms alone. See story and Facebook photos.

It didn't take long for the Coventry Farmer's Market community to come together, organized by WINTER CAPLANSON, to clean up, begin to raise money and plan to rebuild the greenhouse for Carole. The first event was a work day on February 12 to clear the snow and remove the debris. On very short notice 35 people showed up and quickly cleaned the area followed by a hearty home cooked lunch. See photos of work party.

The next step was to raise $7,500 to rebuild the greenhouse. People from the market donated more than 140 items for a one week online 'Grow The Greenhouse' auction starting on Friday, February 25. The auction was a huge success and raised over $11,000.

This a perfect example of how an apparent disaster can turn into a beautiful community building project that brings everyone closer together. Join the community and help rebuild the greenhouse.

» Read Helen Ubinas story in the February 27 issue of the Hartford Courant.

Area MD Cited For Diabetic Work

HEBRON - One of the medical doctors in our Holistic Health Practitioner Directory, Dr. ROZANN VENTI of Amston, has been recognized by the National Committee For Quality Assurance and the American Diabetes Asso. for providing quality care to patients with diabetes. The program was designed to improve the quality of care that patients with diabetes receive by recognizing clinicians who deliver quality diabetes care, and by motivating other clinicians to document and improve their delivery of diabetes care. (The Hartford Courant)

Dr. Venti is also one of holistic cardiologist Dr. STEPHEN SINATRA'S Healing All-Stars. These are physicians Dr. Sinatra has personally met who employ integrative techniques in their practices.

Full disclosure: Dr. Venti is my personal physician and she puts up with a lot from me.

Wings Butterfly Garden Opens In Vernon (10/10)

VERNON - A garden for families who have suffered the deaths of their babies or unborn children opened this October in Vernon. The Wings Butterfly Garden is a new space where grieving families can seek a little solace from their pain and cherish their children’s memories. The garden, which is laid out in the shape of a butterfly and features numerous winged decorations, is part of a new neighborhood town park at 60 Lake Street.

Residents Charles and Natalie Platt donated the strip of land to the town in 2009 to be used as a park after cultivating rhododendron and conifer bushes on the property for more than 40 years. This spring, Manchester Memorial Hospital bereavement nurse NANCY KRUPIENSKI began work on building the garden.

» Go to Journal Inquirer article.

Holistic Medical Doctor Opens Glastonbury Office

ROBERTA L. KLINE, MD is opening an office at 447 Naubuc Avenue, Unit 112 in Glastonbury on September 1. She describes her practice as Holistic & Traditional Women's Medicine. Medical doctors willing to proudly wear the holistic label are rare and we're delighted to have her in the Conscious CT neighborhood. Dr. Kline's vision is to provide a comfortable, patient-centered practice in which she offers a holistic approach to women's health and gynecological services, blending traditional medical treatments and eastern-based complementary practices, including energy medicine. By taking the time to really listen to you, we can then work together to create a truly individualized pathway for health and wellness that reflects your values, needs, and concerns.

Her approach combines current traditional treatments with alternative therapies, including use of natural remedies and herbs, energy medicine, and lifestyle changes. Her background includes service as a Major in the U.S. Air Force, studying at the Institute For Healing Arts & Sciences and Reiki training. She is a member of the American Holistic Medical Association.

» Go to Dr. Kline's website.

Wickham Park Opens Sensory Garden

Wickham Park on the Manchester-East Hartford line has formally opened its Sensory Garden. Since its inception four years ago and groundbreaking in June, 2008, three quarters of an acre have been transformed into a Sensory Garden. This innovative site has been divided into six areas, each of which corresponds to one of the five basic senses as well as a “sixth sense” of imagination. The plantings and other features in each garden “room” are closely matched to that specific sense.

The garden is the largest of its kind in New England and one of the largest in the United States. Extensive research combined with cooperation from a variety of agencies that advocate for persons with disabilities, and input from potential guests led to a plan to integrate unique garden features that accommodates their senses and maximizes their experience.

» Go to Wickham Park's Sensory Garden.

'Ghost Hunters' In Springfield

The television show "Ghost Hunters" filmed at Theodores' Booze, Blues & BBQ in Springfield, MA over the summer and aired the show in October. Theodore's is a 5 story, 110 year old building on Worthington Street with the oldest pool hall in the country on its third floor. The business is owned by Keith Makarowski of Enfield (Jon Roe's nephew) and Keith Weppler. The show was attracted to the location by a number of otherworldly happenings including footsteps when no one is there, shadowy figures, apparitions, cold spots, the sound of bowling in a long gone alley, etc. The television crew brought all their paranormal detection equipment and were convinced there was something there. Area papers have done several articles on the filming. The episode, titled 'Hometown Haunts' can be viewed at the SciFi channel's website and old shows are reshown on the SciFi channel on Wednesday nights. At this writing 'Hometown Haunts' was one of the four complete episodes they were currently showing on their website.

» View the episode.

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