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Chip Flanagan and Jeff Carstens, moderator of Community Conversations at St. Luke's





December 3, Chip Flanagan, Town Council Member and St. Luke's member, spoke on 

"Community/Senior Center; Do We Need it?,
and What Is It?"

Chip Flanagan reviewed the history of recent attempts to build a new senior center, or multi-use facility to incorporate a senior center, in
Glastonbury. After the failures of two initiatives in recent town-wide
referendums, a committee of 8 citizens was formed to make recommendations for the future. The committee began work in August, and submitted their final (unanimous) report to the town on November 8, 2000. Chip read from the 9 conclusions of this report, which recommend that "a multi-use facility for the community including, but not limited to, program space for seniors, teens, pre-schoolers and the larger community with both dedicated and multi-use space is the preferred model."

Mr. Ed Richardson, a member of the committee, was among the 20 or so people attending Chip's talk. In answer to questions about the "mixing" of young and old people, he noted there would be separate entrances, and the program spaces would be separate.

Financially, the committee expects the new center to cost more than the
previously-estimated  5.5 million dollars. Their preferred location would be at the new Smith Middle School site, listing eleven positive attributes for that site.

The discussion was lively and informative, with 6 or 7 non-St. Luke's people there, all of whom were deeply involved in this issue.


October 22,  Duffy Schade, Well-known local photographer spoke on:

"The Vision of Place"

Duffy made some introductory comments on photography while circulating some beautiful, large old black-and-white prints of special interest to the St. Luke's crowd. They included a) a wonderful portrait of Mario Accornero's father, b) a shot of the Ancient Nayaug Fife and Drum Corps at a long-ago Grange fair parade, featuring the youthful Dave and Betty Hollister, and c) a landscape shot of the old Shipman Farm.

In addition to discussing some of her artistic preferences, such as
photographing children outdoors in a familiar situation like their front
yard, Duffy also commented on some new technology in cameras and the
development and storage of prints. For example, she mentioned a new camera that can take pictures either digitally, or the 'old-fashioned' way.

The session ended with a beautiful slide show of Cotton hollow which Duffy had produced with the help of Dan Heddon (now deceased). Some scenes were made with 2 superimposed slides which gave an interesting 3-D effect. The slides were accompanied by lovely background music, and during some segments, Duffy read poetry. The overall effect was magical.







Our September guest at Community Conversations was Dr. Alan Bookman, Principal of Glastonbury High School.

September 17,  Dr. Alan Bookman, Principal of Glastonbury High School, spoke on

 "What's New at GHS?"

Dr. Bookman discussed the current status of GHS from several standpoints before entertaining questions on a variety of topics.

Regarding the size of GHS, there are currently 1700 students enrolled. Although the size keeps increasing, it is extremely unlikely that a second high school will be built, as that would involve expenditures on the order
of $113 million. Also, the diversity of the student body is increasing, with about 9.5% minorities this year, and visiting students from France, Denmark and Germany. Another change over the last 16 years noted by Dr. Bookman is an increasing emphasis on students continuing on to college.

Regarding safety issues, Dr. Bookman said the Columbine tragedy has changed operations at every high school in the country. For example, once school starts in the morning at GHS, there are only two unlocked entry doors in the whole school. There is a security person at the front door, and all visitors now require badges.

Dr. Bookman also emphasized the importance of the staff being in touch, in a significant way, with every single student. Thus, he is encouraging more non-academic clubs, partly to provide the staff more opportunities to know the students. Also, GHS has taken significant steps to reduce the incidence of bullying or harassment of students by other students. The Glastonbury Board of Education has passed an anti-harassment policy, which includes the appropriate training of teachers.

It was an extremely informative meeting. For more information, Dr. Bookman referred us to the GHS website: tomahawks.org. (Excellent site!)


Community Conversations at St. Luke's Church

On Sunday, May 21, Mr. Jim Bennett, the Executive Director of the Historical Society of Glastonbury, was the guest of St. Luke's at our "Community Conversations " program. Although Mr. Bennett has only been in town since 1998, and admits he is still learning a lot about the town's history, he is somewhat of an expert on the "Village District Act," a Connecticut law passed in 1998. This law was the subject of his presentation.

The law was passed in response to efforts by the CT Transportation Dept. to widen Rte. 6 in Brooklyn, which was vehemently opposed by the residents there. The law provides a process to allow a community to preserve its character, which could include things like the landscape, wetlands, or other features, in addition to buildings and neighborhoods. As Glastonbury is in the midst of developing its next '10 year plan' , due in 2005, the talk was useful in presenting another tool whereby a community can define and conserve its character.

The photograph shows, from left to right, Jeff Carstens , the moderator of "Community Conversations" and Mr. Bennett.