Learn more about in-home care options for your loved ones

Given the choice, most of us want to stay in our homes. Sometimes, people need help to remain at home. That's where Always Best Care Senior Services comes in.

Personal Care Consultation


“I’ve been a nurse for over 40 years, and I am currently a nursing professor. When my mom was recently in the hospital, I knew it would not be possible for her to be completely on her own right away. She loves where she resides and enjoys all of the activities that are offered. My goal was to get her back into her apartment as soon as possible with the support she needed to increase her strength and return to her prior level of wellness she had before she went into the hospital. She was used to walking a couple miles a day. When I reached out to ABC I made it clear that my mom would need somebody who would be willing to walk with her in the morning, and in the evening enabling her to get back to her baseline. I would like to complement all of the staff at ABC who provided my mom such wonderful support after two weeks she returned to her baseline and remained in her apartment. She really enjoyed all of the staff that were with her , they were professional they encouraged her to walk, drink fluids, eat and were instrumental in assisting her to reach her prior level of independence. I would strongly recommend ABC to anybody who is in need of support for their loved one.”

Robin Y.

“Mom’s care needs have been progressing over the past month - increased difficulty standing. walking, decreased appetite, increased incontinence. (Part of the expected declining process per her Dr.) Tara has been wonderful in adapting to Mom’s changing needs as they develop and a very helpful partner in troubleshooting. brainstorming how to adapt to best support Mom. It’s also been helpful in my regular communication with Mom’s Dr, to let her know in detail what has come up and how we have approached. Thank you (again) for your talented staff!”

Jeremy H.

“Outstanding personal service from this company. All of the caregivers were personable and provided outstanding care to our aunt. I would highly recommend them to anyone who has an elder family member in need. Also, the staff that helped to set up their services was outstanding as well. They made the decisions easy to understand with no hidden agenda. Thank you again to "ABC!"”


“You can't go wrong with this crew. Extremely patient and caring.”

Daniel S.

“Caring for family can be difficult and challenging at times. It's so nice to know that Always Best Care Senior Services is there to help!”

Cathy K.

“Taylor, John, and Kristine and their crew are the best. They are patient, understanding, and a joy to work with.”

Daniel S.

“Sabina always has a pleasant, caring, and respectful attitude. I feel she treats me as she would as her own mother. She treats me the way she would like to be treated. We are a good “team” together.”

Tracy H.

“Diana has a total commitment of compassion, empathy, and respect for myself and my family. My daughters feel she is truly a tremendous caregiver. They know I am in good hands. She acknowledges with commitment of my physical, emotional, and practical needs, my quality of life has excelled due to Diana’s help. I look forward to her presence everyday her attitude is exceptional, Diana comes to work daily with a smile on her face. She enters the front door, singing softly ready to work. She has never taken a day off, I have had many caregivers, but Diana is truly the best!”

Anne H.

“Tina has been with us since the start, caring for my mom. Tina has nothing but my mom’s best interest at heart. She continues to go above and beyond to care for my mom, and ensure anyone else who may be there also understands my mom’s needs. Tina has even gone so far to rearrange her schedule or give up her free time to stay with my mom to avoid her having someone that doesn’t know her. I can see that she genuinely cares for my mom, and treats her as if she was her own family member. That also goes both ways, my mom lights up when she sees Tina. We consider Tina part of our family.”

David L.

“Always Best Care helped our family get through a very difficult time with my mother's care. Kristine and Taylor are a pleasure to work with. They are very knowledgable and had the answers to all our questions. They were able to help with all aspects of the care we needed. I highly recommend them.”

John S.

“Kristine and John are extremely caring and compassionate about helping their client's and family and making sure they receive the best care available. Highly recommended!”

Greg G.

“We needed some home care services for Dad who has dementia, and we made the right decision to trust ABC Senior Services for this support. Dad was lined up with a caregiver who was attentive and helpful, and she and Dad really hit it off. The management and administrative staff from ABC were also very effective and professional. You'll make a good decision to go with ABC Senior Services...”

Liam M.

“I approached Kristine regarding care for my elderly father. Even though he was outside her service area, she helped to find resources for us. Her commitment to providing outstanding care is only surpassed by her desire to help others. Thank you Kristine!”

Matt B.

“I have known Kristine Lajeunesse for many years now through business networking and she and her Team at Always Best Care are very caring and professional and exactly who you would want on your side if you have a loved one who needs help!”

Ann B.

“The client care at Always Best Care Senior Service is outstanding”

Kimberly O.

“Rosemary has many great qualities. She is a hardworker, sensitive, has a giving nature and has an immense desire to help my father. Reliability is vital trait in Rosemary. When my father was in the hospital and came home she immediately wanted to be by his side. My father has come to rely and depend on Rosemary. She is always on time whether it is giving medication or administering food and often encourages my father and helps my father maintain his dignity”

Denise D.

“Always Best Care provides caregivers to our building on a regular basis when we are short staffed. Due to our licensing, we can only have CNAs on the floor and Always Best Care has provided excellent CNAs every time we need some extra help. All of their CNAs have been helpful, willing to go above and beyond for our residents and we always have great responses from our own CNAs and supervisory staff. I am so thankful to Michelle and Wilda who will always staff a shift that I need, even if I call 30 minutes before the shift starts. You’ve been such a huge help!”

Kaytee S.

“I have known John and Kristine Lajeunesse for almost 20 years and when my dad needed care following a diagnosis of dementia, I knew there wouldn’t be anyone better to call than them. The caregivers that have worked with my dad have been wonderful. They are true saints to my family, allowing us the knowledge that Dad is okay to stay at home. They have navigated all of the changes in his cognitive state with grace and kept my father’s dignity in place. He was always a very active man and the caregivers have managed to keep him active, even as his health declines.”

Belinda F.

“Always Best Care helped me to get care lined up for my uncle, after I received their information from a close friend of mine that also used their agency. My uncle was a very proud man and did not want help from anyone, including family. Taylor met with me and spent time getting to know the ins and outs of my uncle’s care as well as his personality. She asked about his background so that they could look for a caregiver with similar interests. Although he took a turn for the worse rather quickly, the short time care was provided was wonderful. Thank you for your help and compassion.”

Karel O.

“My dad’s caregiver is great. He is a man of few words, but she is able to get him talking about all aspects and experiences of his life. They go out regularly and she encourages my dad to participate in the activities put on by the community he lives in. They run errands, go out for meals, or go for a drive just to get a change of scenery. I was nervous at first about how my dad would take having a caregiver come in to help him, but he seems so happy and has great things to talk about after his time spent with his caregiver.”

Martin F.

“Thank you, Kristine - I am very appreciative of the professional manner with which you and your organization operates. From the initial phone and in-person conversations with Taylor, to the ongoing support of my mother's care - it's been thorough, timely and well managed. I am also struck by how the home-health employees conduct themselves. They are reliable/responsive *and* responsible, and making every effort to work through the challenges day to day with my mother. Thanks for the great job you and your organization are doing. It means a lot to me, especially during this trying time! Best Regards”

Anna T.

“I wanted to take a moment to thank you and your staff for all of your hard work and dedication to their clients. When my parents finally realized they needed help in their home, I chose ABC as the company I felt would be the best fit. Yes, we have had some ups and down, but when you paired Leah with my parents, it was truly a blessing. My parents love her. She genuinely cares for them and they speak highly of her work ethic. As my mom says, “she is too good to be true”. I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your working with me to find the right fit. Well on our end, Leah fits like a glove and I hope she feels the same. She is a special person so I wanted to acknowledge her hard work and dedication to my parents. It makes me feel more at ease knowing there is someone coming to the home to properly care for them. Again I want to thank you all and encourage you to keep up the good work.”

Craig F.

“My family provides the care to my mother 24/7, we called Always Best Care to provide respite care to my mom while we took some time to ourselves for a weekend. Mom’s caregiver, Gloria, was great and she had the perfect disposition to work with my mom. She was attentive and kept mom well fed and engaged during the time we were away. We would definitely call Always Best Care again when we need some time away.”


“The caregiver that helped my husband and I were so kind to us both, especially to my husband while I spent some time in the hospital and rehab. Our caregiver brought my husband to see me every day while I was at the hospital and at rehab, I knew he was in excellent hands and I could focus on getting stronger again.”

Heather R.

“i really like my caregiver, Victor very much. Victor is a very patient and observant aide who knows when I need his help. I knew from the first day meeting him that we would get along very well.”

Johnson L.

““I want to give a huge thank you for the care that Always Best Care provided over the last year and a half. They started out assisting just my dad since he was wheelchair bound and then began providing care to my mom as well who had advanced dementia. The two ladies that helped them both did an amazing job and gave me the confidence that they were being well cared for since I live on the other side of the country. Up to my dad’s passing, his caregivers were there for him to provide comfort and companionship while managing my mom’s emotions as well during the difficult time my dad had. Being a nurse myself and in the healthcare field for a while, I had high expectations which were exceeded by the caregivers and office staff of Always Best Care.”

harry B.

“Both of Mom’s caregivers are exceptional. They are always professional, calm and extremely patient with my mom. They know how to keep her calm and to manage her anxiety. My whole family is very grateful, knowing that Mom is getting really competent care, great meals and friendly companionship. Thank you.”

Kathleen F.

“My husband had care from Always Best Care until he passed away. Thankfully he is on his "next journey" and finally pain free, while he was here with us, his caregiver, Craig, did an amazing job caring for him and was here to help us from our first day of services. Craig always managed to get my husband to share stories from his time in the war that even I had not heard before. It was a great way to get to know more of my husband so his memory can continue with others around him.”

Beth F.

“I am very pleased with the care that Craig gave to my husband. My husband enjoyed having another man to talk to instead of conversation only between him and I. Craig managed to keep him occupied and safe so that I could go and get some time to myself, allowing me peace of mind that my husband was in great hands”

Sonia T.

“I hired Always Best Care to help my mom who was living with me at home. She was diagnosed with dementia and within 3 months she could hardly do much for herself anymore. I was able to continue working full time while my mom received care from Always Best Care. We had the same caregiver from day 1 and she was absolutely amazing. She kept everyone in the loop with any changes my mom experienced and the regular in person and phone check ins were a great added support to myself and my family. Thank you ABC for all the help and compassion that you showed my mom until her passing.”


“They are very caring and easy to deal with. They work with the family and the patient to see that the patient has what is needed for their care. In all we had a good experience with Best Care.”

Elaine G.

“Our caregiver is the absolute best, you all got lucky finding her.”

Bob G.

“Anything from Always Best Care is good to have. The care from them has given me my life back. I wasn’t expecting a perfect match on the first caregiver, but Always Best Care did a very good job.”

Claudia B.

“We have been using the services of ABC for almost three years, and I have worked personally with John, Kristine, Taylor, Michelle and Wilda, as well as the many wonderful caregivers who have attended to my mother’s needs with great care and attention. Throughout this time, my mother’s care needs have changed many times, and they have always been very responsive to any requests, including the directives of the hospice nurses that work in concert with all of them. Taylor and Michelle are incredibly diligent about keeping on top of issues that arise day-to-day, and running their questions and concerns by me. I remain a loyal customer to ABC because I feel that my mother is getting really great care, and will continue to see the warm, friendly faces she has come to know and trust today and every day. At 94 yrs old, my mother is quite dependent on the care providers for almost all her needs, and they always show up and make her feel safe and secure.”

Rachel C.

“It has been a true pleasure working with you and your organization. You all demonstrate empathy and compassion in caring for frail elderly family members and insure distant families are comforted knowing you are there.”

Steve S.

“Mom’s caregiver is a part of the family, we absolutely love her!”

Joe L.

“Always Best Care has done a fantastic job in providing us with at-home care for my step-mother while we prepared for her transition to move permanently to a skilled nursing facility. With their help, she was able to spend a full six months at home before moving. We would not have been able to do it without them. All the caregivers we have met and used have been kind and attentive, frequently going the extra mile, whatever that may be on any given day. The office staff is friendly, empathetic and very diligent in keeping all parties informed of all aspects of day-to-day care. They are knowledgeable, respectful and efficient. I would not hesitate in recommending them to anyone who is looking for help in keeping their loved one at home for as long as possible.”

Sarah C.

“I appreciate that they always accommodate me and have someone here to drive me, even if I only call them the day before. I’m so glad I was able to find them, because I didn’t know what I was going to do. I just lost my sister and she helped me out a lot.”

Donna .

“I appreciate that they always accommodate me and have someone here to drive me, even if I only call them the day before. I’m so glad I was able to find them, because I didn’t know what I was going to do. I just lost my sister and she helped me out a lot.”

Janey B.
 In-Home Care Amston, CT

How does In-home Senior Care in Amston, CT work?

Home is where the heart is. While that saying can sound a tad cliche, it's especially true for many seniors living in America. When given a choice, older adults most often prefer to grow older at home. An AARP study found that three out of four adults over the age of 50 want to stay in their homes and communities as they age. When you begin to think about why, it makes sense. Home offers a sense of security, comfort, and familiarity.

The truth is, as we age, we begin to rely on others for help. When a family is too busy or lives too far away to fulfill this role, in-home senior care is often the best solution. Home care services allow seniors to enjoy personal independence while also receiving trustworthy assistance from a trained caregiver.

At Always Best Care, we offer a comprehensive range of home care services to help seniors stay healthy while they get the help they need to remain independent. As your senior loved one ages, giving them the gift of senior care is one of the best ways to show your love, even if you live far away.

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 Senior Care Amston, CT

Aging in Place: The Preferred Choice for Most Seniors

While it's true that some seniors have complicated medical needs that prevent them from staying at home, aging in place is often the best arrangement for seniors and their families. With a trusted caregiver, seniors have the opportunity to live with a sense of dignity and do so as they see fit.

In-home care makes it possible for millions of seniors to age in place every year. Rather than moving to a unfamiliar assisted living community, seniors have the chance to stay at home where they feel the happiest and most comfortable.

Here are just a few of the reasons why older men and women prefer to age at home:


How much does a senior's home truly mean to them? A study published by the American Society on Aging found that more than half of seniors say their home's emotional value means more than how much their home is worth in monetary value. It stands to reason, that a senior's home is where they want to grow old. With the help of elderly care in Amston, CT, seniors don't have to age in a sterilized care facility. Instead, they can age gracefully in the place they want to be most: their home. In contrast, seniors who move to a long-term care facility must adapt to new environments, new people, and new systems that the facility implements. At this stage in life, this kind of drastic change can be more harmful than helpful.

Healthy Living
Healthy Living

Institutional care facilities like nursing homes often put large groups of people together to live in one location. On any given day, dozens of staff members and caregivers run in and out of these facilities. Being around so many new people in a relatively small living environment can be dangerous for a seniors' health and wellbeing. When you consider that thousands of seniors passed away in nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, opting for in-home care is often a safer, healthier choice for seniors. Aging in place has been shown to improve seniors' quality of life, which helps boost physical health and also helps insulate them from viral and bacterial risks found in elderly living facilities.


For many seniors, the ability to live independently with assistance from a caregiver is a priceless option. With in-home care, seniors experience a higher level of independence and freedom - much more so than in other settings like an assisted living community. When a senior has the chance to age in place, they get to live life on their own terms, inside the house that they helped make into a home. More independence means more control over their personal lives, too, which leads to increased levels of fulfillment, happiness, and personal gratification. Over time, these positive feelings can manifest into a healthier, longer life.

Cost and Convenience
Cost and Convenience

More independence, a healthier life, and increased comfort are only a few benefits of aging in place. You have to take into consideration the role of cost and convenience. Simply put, it's usually easier to help seniors age in place than it is to move them into an institutional care facility. In-home care services from Always Best Care, for instance, can be less expensive than long-term solutions, which can cost upwards of six figures per year. To make matters worse, many residential care facilities are reluctant to accept long-term care insurance and other types of payment assistance.

With Always Best Care's home care services, seniors and their families have a greater level of control over their care plans. In-home care in Amston, CT gives seniors the chance to form a bond with a trusted caregiver and also receive unmatched care that is catered to their needs. In long-term care facilities, seniors and their loved ones have much less control over their care plan and have less of a say in who provides their care.

Empowers Seniors

Affordable Care Plans

In-home care is a valuable resource that empowers seniors to age in place on their own terms. However, a big concern for many families and their loved ones is how much in-home care costs. If you're worried that in-home care is too expensive, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn that it is one of the most affordable senior care arrangements available.

Typically, hiring an Always Best Care in-home caregiver for a few hours a week is more affordable than sending your loved one to a long-term care facility. This is true even for seniors with more complex care needs.

At Always Best Care, we will work closely with you and your family to develop a Care Plan that not only meets your care needs, but your budget requirements, too. Once we discover the level of care that you or your senior need, we develop an in-home care plan that you can afford.

In addition to our flexible care options, families should also consider the following resources to help offset potential home care costs:

Veteran's Benefits
Veteran's Benefits

Attendance and aid benefits through military service can cover a portion of the costs associated with in-home care for veterans and their spouses.

Long-Term Care Insurance
Long-Term Care Insurance

Many senior care services like in-home care are included in long-term care insurance options. Research different long-term care solutions to find a plan that provides coverage for senior care.

Private Insurance
Private Insurance

Home care can be included as part of a senior's private insurance plan. Read over your loved one's insurance policy carefully or speak with their insurance provider to determine if in-home care is covered.

Life Insurance
Life Insurance

Depending on the life insurance plan, you may be able to apply your policy toward long-term care. You may be able to use long-term-care coverage to help pay for in-home elderly care.

Respite Care Amston, CT

During your Care Plan consultation with Always Best Care, your Care Coordinator will speak with you about in-home care costs and what options there may be to help meet your budget needs.

Compassionate Care. Trusted Caregivers

When you or your senior loved one needs assistance managing daily tasks at home, finding a qualified caregiver can be challenging. It takes a special kind of person to provide reliable care for your senior loved one. However, a caregiver's role involves more than meal preparation and medication reminders. Many seniors rely on their caregivers for companionship, too.

Our companion care services give seniors the chance to socialize in a safe environment and engage in activities at home. These important efforts boost morale and provide much-needed relief from repetitive daily routines. A one-on-one, engaging conversation can sharpen seniors' minds and give them something in which to be excited.

At Always Best Care, we only hire care providers that we would trust to care for our own loved ones. Our senior caregivers in Amston,CT understand how important it is to listen and communicate with their seniors. A seemingly small interaction, like a short hug goodbye, can make a major difference in a senior's day. Instead of battling against feelings of isolation, seniors begin to look forward to seeing their caregiver each week.

Understanding the nuances of senior care is just one of the reasons why our care providers are so great at their job.

Unlike some senior care companies, our caregivers must undergo extensive training before they work for Always Best Care. In addition, our caregivers receive ongoing training throughout the year. This training ensures that their standard of care matches up to the high standards we've come to expect. During this training, they will brush up on their communication skills, safety awareness, and symptom spotting. That way, your loved one receives the highest level of non-medical home care from day one.

 Caregivers Amston, CT

Taking the First Step with Always Best Care

The first step in getting quality in-home care starts with a personal consultation with an experienced Care Coordinator. This initial consultation is crucial for our team to learn more about you or your elderly loved one to discover the level of care required. Topics of this consultation typically include:

An assessment of your senior loved one


An in-depth discussion of the needs of your senior loved one to remain in their own home


Reviewing a detailed Care Plan that will meet your senior loved one's needs


Our caregivers are trained to spot changes that clients exhibit, like mental and physical decline. As your trusted senior care company, we will constantly assess and update your Care Plan to meet any new emotional, intellectual, physical, and emotional needs.

If you have never considered in-home care before, we understand that you and your family may have concerns about your Care Plan and its Care Coordinator. To help give you peace of mind, know that every team member and caregiver must undergo comprehensive training before being assigned to a Care Plan.

When you're ready, we encourage you to contact your local Always Best Care representative to set up a Care Consultation. Our Care Coordinators would be happy to meet with you in person to get to know you better, discuss your needs, and help put together a personalized Care Plan specific to your needs.

Latest News in Amston, CT

Donifer Farms is a Passion and Ministry for the 'Donkey Lady of Amston'

God in His wisdom, calls us to serve where we can most effectively use our talents to meet the needs of His people. We don't have to endeavor to be Mother Theresa. We simply need to be ourselves. This series will focus on people who shine the light of Christ in their daily work.Jennifer Molnar believes that “donkeys are like potato chips, you can’t have just one.” Jennifer is known as the “Donkey Lady of Amston, CT '' where she operates Donifer Farms, the home of five varieties of donkeys: micro-mini, ...

God in His wisdom, calls us to serve where we can most effectively use our talents to meet the needs of His people. We don't have to endeavor to be Mother Theresa. We simply need to be ourselves. This series will focus on people who shine the light of Christ in their daily work.

Jennifer Molnar believes that “donkeys are like potato chips, you can’t have just one.” Jennifer is known as the “Donkey Lady of Amston, CT '' where she operates Donifer Farms, the home of five varieties of donkeys: micro-mini, miniature, standard, large standard, and mammoth.

What makes this farm truly unique is that it was created and maintained solely to educate and uplift those who visit. Along with the donkeys, Jennifer has created a two-story donkey museum, which houses possibly the most extensive collection of donkey memorabilia in the world. Have you ever seen a statue of a pregnant Blessed Mother riding on a donkey? You can see it here!

Jennifer has loved donkeys ever since she was eight years old and recovering from surgery for the removal of a large brain tumor. “When I returned to school after my surgery, I didn’t fit in”, Molnar said. “The kids treated me differently – I felt like an outsider.” At that time, her family purchased a donkey for her, and although she felt isolated from her peers, “I knew that I could always go and tell my problems to the donkey,” she said. From that experience, Jennifer learned the healing power of animals and wanted to share it with others in need.

According to her, donkeys are wonderful animals. They are stoic, pragmatic, and they have astonishing memories. They are keenly intelligent and often learn a task the first time it is taught to them. They also have surprising reasoning abilities and must be shown not just how to do something, but why they should do it. This trait is often misidentified as "stubbornness." Donkeys are also very social and affectionate, this trait is what makes them so appropriate for Jennifer’s work.

For Jennifer, Donifer Farms is both a passion and a ministry. Initially, she would show her animals and they have won many ribbons, but Jennifer’s focus now is more ministerial. Her donkeys can be seen in procession on Palm Sunday throughout the area, especially in her home Parish of the Good Shepherd (Saint Columba and Church of the Holy Family).

Carmel, the mammoth donkey, actually processes into the Gilead Congregational Church in Hebron on Palm Sundays, to the joy and astonishment of parishioners. Jennifer’s donkeys have visited elderly care facilities, jails for juveniles, religious day camps, and have been visited by special needs children.

The other day while she was riding her donkey Chewbacca down the road, they came across a woman who was crying. When the woman saw the donkey, she immediately perched-up, hugged him, took a picture of him with her cell phone, and said, ‘you don’t know how you have made my day!”

“That’s what it’s all about,” Jennifer said.

Visiting the farm is free of charge, but goodwill donations are gratefully accepted. For an appointment call or text: 860-380-7717

You and I may never be famous, however, if we are true to God and ourselves, then we will be blessed and be a blessing to the world around us. Don't be afraid to let the world know who you are. Just be true to yourself and let your faith shine through.

Please let us know of someone who is living their faith through their work. They could possibly be featured in a future issue of the Four County Catholic.

By Deacon Ben LoCasto

A CT man is working to preserve a historic part of the landscape. One rock at a time.

By Melanie Savage | [email protected] | Hartford CourantPUBLISHED: December 14, 2022 at 7:04 p.m. | UPDATED: December 15, 2022 at 3:10 p.m.Listen to this articleStone walls bordering meandering country roads are a hallmark of a typical New England landscape.Lebanon resident Jeffrey Ives, who specializes in rebuilding deteriorating, existing walls,...

By Melanie Savage | [email protected] | Hartford Courant

PUBLISHED: December 14, 2022 at 7:04 p.m. | UPDATED: December 15, 2022 at 3:10 p.m.

Listen to this article

Stone walls bordering meandering country roads are a hallmark of a typical New England landscape.

Lebanon resident Jeffrey Ives, who specializes in rebuilding deteriorating, existing walls, is doing his part to help preserve this piece of American history.

“I like to rebuild old walls,” said Ives.

Ives, who has always liked rocks, said he was naturally drawn to masonry.

“Even as a kid I liked rocks,” he said.

He also has an interest in history, fostered by a mom who was an historian. Ives grew up in Amston, and his mom ran the doll show in Hebron for 28 years. Except for a short stint away in college, Ives lived in Amston all of his life, until his mom’s passing in 2017 prompted a move to Lebanon.

He is retired from working in sheet rocking and carpentry, but did not give up working with stones.

Ives got involved with masonry in 1985, after Hurricane Gloria ripped through New England and did damage to stone dams in Connecticut. He did work repairing a number of dams in towns such as Windham and Old Lyme, which eventually led to stone wall work. Ives specializes in dry stone walls using no mortar.

His walls , vary from approximately 38 inches at the base to 26 or 28 inches at the top, with a fill of riprap – small rocks that help facilitate good drainage.

“You don’t want the water building up in the wall, because the freeze and thaw will displace the stones,” said Ives.

A well-built dry stone wall can last for decades.

“I built a wall at my brother’s house in Lebanon 40 years ago, and it’s still there,” said Ives.

Ives has built for an estimated 125 different customers over the years, in towns such as Glastonbury, West Hartford, East Hampton, Marlborough, Hebron, Colchester, Lebanon, Lyme, and Coventry.

“Everything from 25 feet to thousands of feet,” he said.

The stone wall is somewhat ubiquitous in Connecticut. The 1871 agricultural census estimated there were more than 200,000 miles of stone walls in New England. A few have been built since then, but more have been torn down.

The walls have been used to fence in animals (think of historic clear-cutting of farmland, which left little wood for fencing, marked property boundaries and eventually used them decoratively..

Ives has built an occasional new wall, but prefers to preserve existing walls. Although he’s been asked, he’s never worked outside of Connecticut. He worked on one customer’s 5-acre property, off and on, for seven years. He gets all of his work through word-of-mouth and signs he puts up while he’s working. A recent job generated five inquiries from neighbors.

About what he likes about stone work, Ives said, “The feeling that when you’re done, it’s going to be there for a while.”

At 70, Ives said he plans to continue working with stones until he physically cannot do it anymore.

“I can’t just sit around the house and watch the birds,” he said.

Food and drink: Hebron church to serve Polish community dinner

St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, 30 Church St., Hebron, will hold its first monthly community dinner of the year on Saturday from 4:30-6:30 p.m.The menu will include stuffed cabbage, kielbasa, pierogies cooked with onions and bacon, sour cream, pickled beets, sauerkraut, sweet and sour red cabbage, rye bread and desserts. The cost is $14.This is a take-out only dinner — first-come, first-served.For information, call 860-228-3244 or visit:www.StPetersHebron.comServers will take orders from and bring food t...

St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, 30 Church St., Hebron, will hold its first monthly community dinner of the year on Saturday from 4:30-6:30 p.m.

The menu will include stuffed cabbage, kielbasa, pierogies cooked with onions and bacon, sour cream, pickled beets, sauerkraut, sweet and sour red cabbage, rye bread and desserts. The cost is $14.

This is a take-out only dinner — first-come, first-served.

For information, call 860-228-3244 or visit:www.StPetersHebron.com

Servers will take orders from and bring food to each car.

Strong Family Farm

Strong Family Farm is accepting applications for the Connecticut Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, which supports Connecticut-grown produce.

The CSA is a food production and distribution system that directly connects farmers and consumers. Consumers purchase shares of a farm’s harvest in advance and receive a portion of the crops as they’re harvested.

This year, Strong Family Farm will collaborate with Mon Soleil Farm in Union to offer a pickup at the farm in Vernon on Thursdays from 2 to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Spring, summer, and fall shares and ¼ shares for singles are available.

For information or to sign up online, email: [email protected] or visit monsoleilct.com

Coming Up

Spaghetti dinner

The Hillstown Grange will hold a spaghetti dinner Thursday, March 24, at 6 p.m.

The cost is $5.

Following dinner, the grange will hold a seed giveaway and swap.

The COVID-19 pandemic boaught with it a renewed interest in gardening and the Hillstown Grange is trying a feed that growth.

Bring any extra seeds you may have to donate to the swap table. It could be something that someone wants to try in their garden.

Master gardeners will be on hand to answer questions and talk about outreach gardening programs.

For information, email Dan Gallagher at: [email protected].

The Hillstown Grange is at 617 Hills Street, East Hartford.

Bingo and Baskets

Andover Congregational Church, 359 Route 6, will host a Bingo and Baskets night Friday, March 25.

Dinner will be served at 5:30 p.m. followed by bingo at 6:30.

Admission is $10 and includes dinner, drink, dessert, and bingo.

No reservations are required.

For information, call 860-742-7696.

Sourdough starter

Manchester Public Library, 586 Main St., will sponsor a talk on sourdough starters Friday, April 1, at 3:30 p.m.

Participants will create a starter and discuss how to feed and store it.

Each participant will receive a Mason jar, rubber band, dough scraper, and flour.

Registration is required.

To reserve your spot, call the library at 860-645-0821 or go to: library.townofmanchester.org

Providing pollinators with a path

HEBRON — It may be winter, but Michele Sinkez is thinking about spring and planting gardens — not just for her own enjoyment but to help bees, butterflies, and other pollinators do their work.Sinkez is working on a plan to create a Pollinator Pathway by planting gardens of native plants at various locations in town to attract and support insects and others that are essential to the growth of flowers and food. It would be the first Pollinator Pathway in eastern Connecticut.She first heard about the idea in September ...

HEBRON — It may be winter, but Michele Sinkez is thinking about spring and planting gardens — not just for her own enjoyment but to help bees, butterflies, and other pollinators do their work.

Sinkez is working on a plan to create a Pollinator Pathway by planting gardens of native plants at various locations in town to attract and support insects and others that are essential to the growth of flowers and food. It would be the first Pollinator Pathway in eastern Connecticut.

She first heard about the idea in September at Glastonbury’s Sustainable Living Fest. When she returned home to her own garden, she realized something was missing.

“I looked around and thought to myself, I had done a very aesthetic, nice job, but I had been totally missing the life force of these plants,” she said. “I said, my goodness, all I’m doing is trying to make something look pretty, but I had been totally ignoring its real function or what its function could be.”

A Pollinator Pathway is a pesticide-free corridor of two or more public or private green spaces created with the purpose of providing nutrition and habitat for pollinators through native plant species, according to the website


The idea originated in Seattle with Sarah Bergmann, who conceived of it as part of an ecological design challenge. Bergmann looked at the earth as a “massive design project” and at humans’ relationship with the planet. Previous narratives of saving species are just too small, her website states.

Now it’s making headway in the state — first emerging in Fairfield County and moving northward. More than 20 towns, including Darien, Greenwich, Norwalk, and West Haven have taken on the challenge — registering their pesticide-free gardens and sharing photos and updates of their creations on the organization’s website.

“The way our culture is now — we are eradicating much of the land that pollinators normally find shelter and places to reproduce,” Sinkez said. “This process is all about connecting private and public gardens so that pollinators have a place to refuel.”

Many experts agree that climate change, deforestation, and widespread pesticide use is threatening pollinators, such as birds, bees, and butterflies.

The pollinators carry pollen grains, which fertilize flowers, leading to seed and fruit production, according to the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’ s information on pollinators at


Bees are responsible for the majority of insect-driven pollination, and Connecticut is home to more than 300 species of bees, DEEP says.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, about 75 percent of the fruits and vegetables we consume require bee pollination.

Tomatoes, for instance, benefit greatly from pollination by bumblebees, which are used in greenhouses to pollinate crops in winter, DEEP says.

But pollinator species are in decline worldwide. In addition to bees, studies show that butterflies such as the monarch have declined by 80 percent over the last 20 years, according to Pollinator Pathways.

“It’s time to recognize that without insects, there would be no plants, without plants there would be no animals, without animals there would be no people,” Sinkez said. “Best we pay attention to the smallest among us.”

Sinkez, who is also a member of the town’s Green Committee, has been pushing to create a Pollinator Pathway in Hebron. This month, she pitched the idea to the Board of Selectmen, requesting assistance in funding the project in an effort to create awareness, purchase signs, and even a steering committee to oversee the project.

“Once everybody knows what’s going on, then people can realize that they can do it themselves,” she said. “We’d love for people to learn that there are alternatives to lawns and the benefit of planting native plants.

“It will give them a new purpose in gardening and change the way they look at beauty,” she added.

Sinkez told town officials that the project would minimize work hours and the maintenance of land, and encourage native plants. It will also encourage the removal of invasive species.

“The purpose of this is to work with the life forces of nature that are already there — everything’s there, we are just not paying any attention to it and if we pay attention to it, we can gain so much from it,” she said.

Sinkez has since been offered four sites in town — one near the Douglas Library, two off Route 85, and one at the Kinney Road entrance to the Raymond Brook Preserve.

“That’s where are hoping to have significant activity come spring,” Sinkez said.

Sinkez is waiting for approval for another plot in front of the Old Town Hall.

“We just need to take a breath, stop and look to see how alive our earth is by nature and stop throwing invasive, alien plants and chemicals in there just because we want it all to look like we know what we’re doing,” she said. “We don't, until now, maybe.”

Parents heavy with concern over lead

Although the lead-water content at Gilead Hill Elementary School in Hebron tests below the legal threshold set by the Environmental Protection Agency, a group of residents is demanding that officials do more to protect students and others who use the building.“There should not be one more day that families do not know that there is lead in that water,” resident Nichole Collins said. “We have not yet heard anything that the water is safe, we heard that it’s not illegal, but we have not heard that it is safe.&rdq...

Although the lead-water content at Gilead Hill Elementary School in Hebron tests below the legal threshold set by the Environmental Protection Agency, a group of residents is demanding that officials do more to protect students and others who use the building.

“There should not be one more day that families do not know that there is lead in that water,” resident Nichole Collins said. “We have not yet heard anything that the water is safe, we heard that it’s not illegal, but we have not heard that it is safe.”

Under the federal Lead and Copper Rule, which was enacted in the 1990s and has been revised since then, if lead-water concentrations in drinking water exceed a level of 15 parts per billion, there must be corrective actions to control corrosion and inform the public.

The Board of Education says an environmental consultant has provided an independent review of data samples from the school, determining that test results fell within the requirements of the Lead and Copper Rule.

In a letter released this month, the board also claims various samples at numerous entry points and locations throughout the school have been tested randomly over the last decade and at the entry point of the system, all of which have been in compliance with the EPA, some data showing no detectable levels of lead.

“No further action is legally required,” it states, noting that more testing will be conducted this month and that per Chatham Health District recommendations, flushing of all of the school’s classroom faucets has begun. The consultant will be doing over 150 samples, 75 twice at different points and point of entry, by or on Dec. 21.

The board is then expected to share the report with the community, in addition to holding a public forum to address concerns, Board of Education Chairwoman Heather Petit said Friday.

Russell Melmed, Chatham health director, in letter submitted during a Dec. 12 Board of Selectmen meeting says his independent review of the water sampling echoed the board’s claims that the tests are in compliance with EPA levels.

He states the highest levels of lead that were found were in room 27, which had 9.9 parts per billion, and in the music room with 4 parts per billion.

“The remaining sampling sites coming back at very low levels, around 1 part per billion,” he writes.

Melmed also says that even though the EPA set the maximum contaminant level goal of zero, it is not an enforceable level.

But none of this consoled residents who attended the contentious meeting.

Collins argued that “legal” does not necessarily mean “safe,” and demanded better communication between the school board, town officials, and residents. Collins said she reviewed the data and the situation is not as safe as the school board says.

“It doesn’t take a chemist to see that 60 percent of samples in 2011, 80 percent of samples in 2014, and 60 percent of samples in 2017 detected lead, some of them quite high,” she said.

According to EPA’s website, young children are especially susceptible to the toxic effects of lead, which even at low levels has be linked to damage to the central and peripheral nervous system, learning disabilities, shorter stature, impaired hearing, and impaired formation and function of blood cells.

Collins asked board members during the Dec. 12 meeting if they would drink the water at the preschool to Grade 2 school.

Board Chairman Daniel Larson was the sole board member to raise his hand. He said he would be interested in knowing how many other towns in the state have comparable lead levels.

A letter from resident Julie VanOstrand, who has a 6-year-old son at Gilead Hill who has been drinking from the fountains, said she’s frustrated because the school system was aware of the low levels of lead and did not notify parents. As a result, parents did not have the opportunity to act.

“In order to right these past wrongs, the parents of Gilead Hill, and myself, are willing to forgive the school system for not informing us of the lead and acting on it by testing for it properly if the proper steps to rectify this are taken now,” she wrote.

She suggested immediately shutting off water fountains, informing parents about the situation via email, flushing the system daily, and cooking with water from a different source.

“We put trust into our leaders in our community and our schools to always do the right thing. … I am concerned that there is any lead in those pipes at the school,” PTA President Katie O’Connor Hurley said. “Until we know 100 percent that there is zero lead in that water, shut them off. Let parents know that there is a potential that there is lead there. I know I made formula bottles in that school from that water.”

Resident Nicole Matthews, who has a 5-year-old at Gilead Hill, said the real issue is transparency.

“We are glad that stuff is being done, but the parents need to know in the meantime, you can’t wait for those results,” she said. “And I don’t think it’s being done proactively, I think it’s being done reactively.”

Town Manager Andrew Tierney said more sampling was to be done this week and the system was to be flushed again. But turning off water fountains needs a vote by the Board of Education.

During a Thursday school board meeting, members met for more than an hour with their attorneys, Shipman & Goodwin, during an executive session.

Ultimately, no vote was taken to turn off the water.

“Just so we’re clear, if we’re still allowing lead to be in the water and no active action of notifying parents, then we will go to the social media, we will go to the news sources … we will go to whoever we need to go to so that the parents know,” Collins warned selectmen.

School officials since have notified parents and guardians of the water sampling data and have given parents the option of sending in bottled water with their students. Also, the Parks and Recreation Department has disseminated information to its program participants.

“This is a contentious issue,” Selectman John Collins, who is not related to Nichole Collins, acknowledged.

He commended the efforts of the school system, namely the hiring of an independent consultant and flushing of the water system, and offered an assessment of the situation as an environmental professional.

“I do think the threshold concentration of 15 parts per billion is important, but it was never developed to protect human beings,” he said. “It’s not a health-based standard, it’s a practical standard, it’s a cost-based standard and it doesn’t protect children. So, I think our policy has to be going forward should be to reduce concentrations in a practical way.”

Collins said he’s spent decades working in environmental chemistry, earning a doctorate in the field with a focus on iron and transition metals. Collins is trained in human health risk assessment and started a remediation company, he said.

HEBRON — Town officials have accepted a bid by Norwich-based contracting company, Nutmeg Cos…

Collins has spoken out at town meetings, including the Hebron Elementary School Water Remediation Committee, which has recently accepted a bid to replace all of the pipes at Hebron Elementary where lead also has been found. He, too, said he’s frustrated, mostly by an inability to obtain water sample data from the school board.

HEBRON — The Hebron Elementary School Drinking Water Remediation Commission is going above a…

After several attempts, he ultimately got what he was looking for through a freedom-of-information request.

At the meeting, Tierney disagreed with some of John Collins’ assessment.

“The 15 parts per billion is the standard set by the state that the school has been reactive to, and up until recently they didn’t think they had to do anything other than that because they thought that was the compliance level,” Tierney said. “Zero percent lead is a goal, it’s not a standard or regulation. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t get there, but I don’t think the Board of Education at the time thought that they were trying to or supposed to get to zero lead."

He added, “Now that John has brought it to our attention, we all agree that no lead is good lead. Now they are going to work towards doing that.”


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