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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


“Staff is great there a great place to work and call your workplace”

Babispyce S.

“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.
 In-Home Care Cobalt, CT

How does In-home Senior Care in Cobalt, 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 Cobalt, 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 Cobalt, 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 Cobalt, 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

Aid and Attendance 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 Cobalt, 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 Cobalt,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 Cobalt, 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 Cobalt, CT

Core & Restore Yoga of Portland's hot style can encourage 'euphoric feeling'

This is a carousel. Use Next and Previous buttons to navigatePORTLAND — Hot yoga might just be the cilantro of the exercise world, since many have a love or hate relationship with it, but yoga practitioners swear by its health benefits.Yoga in general is a popular workout that works on body alignment, breathing, strength and flexibility, however, the added benefits of performing poses in a heated room further increases these effects, resulting in a deeper mind-body-spirit connection....

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PORTLAND — Hot yoga might just be the cilantro of the exercise world, since many have a love or hate relationship with it, but yoga practitioners swear by its health benefits.

Yoga in general is a popular workout that works on body alignment, breathing, strength and flexibility, however, the added benefits of performing poses in a heated room further increases these effects, resulting in a deeper mind-body-spirit connection.

At Core & Restore Yoga in Portland, owner Rosanna Singer has created a welcoming community of both yogis (those proficient in yoga) and beginners that spans all age ranges.

FALL SALE! Get 6 Months of Access for 99¢.

Walking into the studio at 666 Portland Cobalt Road, one immediately gets a spa-like vibe. Eucalyptus incense is burning in a back room, and a delicate aroma wafts into the lobby, which has wooden walls inset with planters. A small buddha sculpture sits on the front desk, a nod to yoga’s origins centuries ago in India.

Classes, both heated and unheated, are held every day in varying levels. There are three levels of power yoga (hot) classes conducted in a spacious and bright room with heated panels to keep temperatures between 90 and 100 degrees.

Steam ensures practitioners get their sweat on, and the room has about 60 percent humidity. Practitioners bring in their mats and water bottles to stay hydrated during the hour-long classes while instructors guide them through a series of movements.

Stuck at home during the early days of the pandemic, practicing yoga at home, as many studios were forced to close, Singer wasn’t planning to open up a studio. When the opportunity presented itself a year later, the timing was right and she leapt on it.

She opened her studio in September 2021, and has a busy schedule with a handful of fellow teachers and two to five classes daily. The power classes are especially popular and usually draw 15 to 25 people per class.

Singer, who practices yoga daily, has been a yogi for 12 years and has an extensive background in fitness and martial arts. She went on to achieve a black belt in karate before developing a passion for yoga.

Singer eagerly touts the health benefits of yoga, especially power yoga. “It builds strength, flexibility and endurance. The hot power classes challenge you both physically and mentally,” she said, noting that people are moving around a hot room, unlike Bikram-style classes, where one does the same 26 poses.

The hot vinyasa (flow) style classes, set to music, emphasize sequential, or dynamic, movements between postures and stretches while controlling one’s breathing. The focus is on linking breath to movements.

“It is a great, great workout for your body, mind and soul. The key is the heat gets into your joints and your muscles,” Singer said. “When you first step into the room, you can feel it, and it goes into your joints and makes your muscles feel nice when you are moving. Sometimes, it feels really good, and you have to be careful and back off because you could overextend your muscles and hurt yourself."

Besides the physical challenges, there are also mental challenge of being able to stay in the hot room for an hour. A friend suggested the studio to Adrienne Gervais of Glastonbury, who has been practicing yoga for over 10 years. “I just feel like the heat adds a whole other mind element.

"You have to really focus and not let it distract you. I feel like it’s an extra challenge,” Gervais said. “If you ever have a day where you feel like you can’t do something, or you realize something might be a challenge, come to hot yoga, because you realize for that hour, you can pretty much do anything if you can get through this class.”

Singer acknowledges not everyone loves the hot classes and some might be apprehensive to try it. “I don’t think you know until you really try it, and you can’t just try it one time. You have to try it a few times. You have to kind of give it three months to see the benefits."

Those who can do hot power yoga classes can do any yoga class, she said.

Also praising the difference classes can make is Stephanie Darrow of Essex, a onetime walker and runner who injured her Achilles tendon and then took up hot yoga. “Now, I have something that gives me that euphoric workout feel,” she said. Classes also force her to be disciplined and focused in the moment, Darrow added.

Dave Mendelson of Middletown and his wife attended Core & Restore power classes several times a week for a year. “The flexibility is very important. I really notice when I don’t do it," he said.

"When I skip class for a week or two, I feel stiffer,” Mendelson explained. “If I do yoga consistently, I just move through the day better. It’s the little things I notice: It’s easier to bend and move my body straight out of bed and my core is so much stronger.”

There’s plenty of fresh water, lots of fish to catch — but don’t be wasteful

This is a carousel. Use Next and Previous buttons to navigateIt’s a good spring for water lovers, and a good time to make sure your faucet or toilet isn’t wasting water.And speaking of water lovers, trout and salmon are plentiful in the state’s lakes and streams, but it will cost more this year to bring them home for dinner.“We are above our historic average for water levels” in the 10 lakes that make up the South Central Conn...

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It’s a good spring for water lovers, and a good time to make sure your faucet or toilet isn’t wasting water.

And speaking of water lovers, trout and salmon are plentiful in the state’s lakes and streams, but it will cost more this year to bring them home for dinner.

“We are above our historic average for water levels” in the 10 lakes that make up the South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority’s reservoirs, according to spokesman Dan Doyle. “This year already, from January to March, there’s been 5 more inches of rain” than in the average first three months of the year.

As of March 31, the authority’s reservoirs were at 92 percent of capacity, one percentage point above the average, based on data that goes back 100 years. Doyle said the lakes, which together can hold 19.2 billion gallons of water, have gotten an assist from the recent heavy, wet snow. “It melts more slowly; it melts in place,” Doyle said, soaking into the water authority’s 27,000 acres of watershed land and seeping into the lakes.

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Another “contributing factor” is that “they’re projecting one or two weeks later for leaves to come out this year,” in part because of a colder winter. “If leaves aren’t coming out till later, that means more rain that comes down to the ground,” Doyle said.

Fishing season opened at 6 a.m. Saturday, now that the water authority has stocked its reservoirs with 1,712 rainbow trout. But anglers 16 years old and older who intend to keep the trout and salmon they catch, or who fish in four specific areas, must buy a trout and salmon stamp. That costs $5 for residents 18 and older, $3 for 16- and 17-year-old residents and $5 for nonresidents 16 and older, according to the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. Stamps are available at the same places that sell fishing licenses.

The four areas where the stamp is required, whether or not the fish is kept, are trout management areas, wild trout management areas, trout parks or in the Atlantic salmon broodstock areas on the Naugatuck and Shetucket rivers. There are exemptions to the stamp requirement, so check the DEEP website (www.ct.gov/deep).

According to the DEEP, adult fishermen and women spend 4.4 million days at their pastime, generating almost $450 million in economic activity, from jobs and sales at bait and tackle shops to restaurants.

The 12 trout in the Maltby Lakes in West Haven, each at least 18 inches long, are ready to reward the angler with a prize, Doyle said. The fish have been tagged and “if you fish up one of these fish, we’ll give you a $20 gift card” to Dick’s Sporting Goods, he said.

A year ago, more than 89 percent of Connecticut was suffering from low water levels, ranging from abnormally dry to severe drought, according to drought.gov. However, Doyle said, “across the state there was a lower-than-usual water level but in this area we did not have a drought.”

But just because we have plenty of water is no reason to waste it. If you have a leaky faucet, “one drip per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons a year,” Doyle said. A leaky toilet can waste more than twice that amount in just a month, he said. To check for leaks, add food coloring to the toilet tank and watch whether it leaks into the bowl.

Just turning off the faucet while brushing your teeth or shaving can save as much as 4 gallons of water. Other tips: scrape but don’t pre-rinse dishes before putting them into the dishwasher — and run the dishwasher only when it’s full.

Gardening is great, but, Doyle said, “water your plants early in the morning or in the evening” and not “when the sun’s at its highest, because that could cause water to evaporate.”

Also, use mulch to lock in moisture, and sweep outdoor surfaces rather than hosing them down. Water flows out of a hose at about 6 gallons per minute. The water authority has more water-saving tips on its website.

For those who want to save the free water that falls, the water authority is selling rain barrels, provided by Rain Water Solutions, for $68. They hook up to downspouts and hold up to 50 gallons, Doyle said. “Last year was our first year, with people concerned with drought conditions around the state” and the authority sold 90 barrels, he said. To order, go to the authority’s website and find “Harvest the Rain” under the “Conservation and Stewardship” tab. The deadline to order is June 17.

Contact Ed Stannard at [email protected] or 203-680-9382.

How 'modern-day slavery' in the Congo powers the rechargeable battery economy

Smartphones, computers and electric vehicles may be emblems of the modern world, but, says Siddharth Kara, their rechargeable batteries are frequently powered by cobalt mined by workers laboring in slave-like conditions in the Democratic Republic of Congo.Kara, a fellow at Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health and at the Kennedy School, has been researching modern-day slavery, human trafficking and child labor for two decades. He says that although the DRC has more cobalt reserves than the rest of the planet combined, there's no...

Smartphones, computers and electric vehicles may be emblems of the modern world, but, says Siddharth Kara, their rechargeable batteries are frequently powered by cobalt mined by workers laboring in slave-like conditions in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Kara, a fellow at Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health and at the Kennedy School, has been researching modern-day slavery, human trafficking and child labor for two decades. He says that although the DRC has more cobalt reserves than the rest of the planet combined, there's no such thing as a "clean" supply chain of cobalt from the country. In his new book, Cobalt Red, Kara writes that much of the DRC's cobalt is being extracted by so-called "artisanal" miners — freelance workers who do extremely dangerous labor for the equivalent of just a few dollars a day.

"You have to imagine walking around some of these mining areas and dialing back our clock centuries," Kara says. "People are working in subhuman, grinding, degrading conditions. They use pickaxes, shovels, stretches of rebar to hack and scrounge at the earth in trenches and pits and tunnels to gather cobalt and feed it up the formal supply chain."

Kara says the mining industry has ravaged the landscape of the DRC. Millions of trees have been cut down, the air around mines is hazy with dust and grit, and the water has been contaminated with toxic effluents from the mining processing. What's more, he says, "Cobalt is toxic to touch and breathe — and there are hundreds of thousands of poor Congolese people touching and breathing it day in and day out. Young mothers with babies strapped to their backs, all breathing in this toxic cobalt dust."

Cobalt is used in the manufacture of almost all lithium ion rechargeable batteries used in the world today. And while those outside of the DRC differentiate between cobalt extracted by the country's high-tech industrial mining companies and that which was dug by artisanal miners, Kara says the two are fundamentally intertwined.

"There's complete cross-contamination between industrial excavator-derived cobalt and cobalt dug by women and children with their bare hands," he says. "Industrial mines, almost all of them, have artisanal miners working, digging in and around them, feeding cobalt into the formal supply chain."

Kara acknowledges the important role cobalt plays in tech devices and in the transition to sustainable energy sources. Rather than renouncing cobalt entirely, he says people should focus on fixing the supply chain.

"We shouldn't be transitioning to the use of electric vehicles at the cost of the people and environment of one of the most downtrodden and impoverished corners of the world," he says. "The bottom of the supply chain, where almost all the world's cobalt is coming from, is a horror show."

Technically, under the law, there should not be artisanal mining taking place in any industrial mine. And yet, lo and behold, at most of the industrial mines, there is some artisanal mining taking place. In some cases, predominantly artisanal mining is taking place. And the reason is, it's a penny-wage way to boost production. I mean, imagine you're in a part of the world where there are millions of people who barely get a dollar or two a day who are grindingly poor and will accept almost any labor arrangement just to survive. Well, you put them in a tight pit, cram them with 10,000 other people and pay them a couple of dollars, and they'll produce thousands of tons of cobalt per year for almost no wages. And so that's not legal, but it's happening.

Imagine an entire population of people who cannot survive without scrounging in hazardous conditions for a dollar or two a day. There is no alternative there. The mines have taken over everything.

Imagine an entire population of people who cannot survive without scrounging in hazardous conditions for a dollar or two a day. There is no alternative there. The mines have taken over everything. Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced because their villages were just bulldozed over to make place for large mining concessions. So you have people with no alternative, no other source of income, no livelihood. Now, add to that the menace in many cases of armed forces pressuring people to dig, parents having to make a painful decision, 'Do I send my child to school or do we eat today?' And if they choose the latter, that means bringing all their kids into these toxic pits to dig just to earn that extra fifty cents or a dollar a day, that could mean the difference between eating or not. So in the 21st century, this is modern-day slavery. It's not chattel slavery from the 18th century where you can buy and trade people and own title over a person like property. But the level of degradation, the level of exploitation is on par with old-world slavery.

Imagine a mountain of gravel and stone just avalanching down on people, crushing legs and arms, spines. I met people whose legs had been amputated, who had metal bars in where their legs used to be.

I spoke with many families whose children, husbands, spouses, had suffered horrific injuries. Oftentimes, digging in these larger open-air pits, there are pit wall collapses. Imagine a mountain of gravel and stone just avalanching down on people, crushing legs and arms, spines. I met people whose legs had been amputated, who had metal bars in where their legs used to be. And then the worst of all is what happens in tunnel digging. There are probably 10,000 to 15,000 tunnels that are dug by hand by artisanal miners. None of them have supports, ventilation shafts, rock bolts, anything like that. And these tunnels collapse all the time, burying alive everyone who is down there, including children. It's a demise that is almost impossibly horrific to imagine. And yet I met mothers pounding their chests in grief, talking about their children who had been buried alive in a tunnel collapse. And these stories never get out of the Congo. People just don't know what's happening down there.

There's money to be made in every corner and every direction. And you've got these militias. Sometimes they're called commandos and they will abduct children, traffic children, recruit children from even other parts of the Congo. I met children who had come from hundreds of miles away and have been brought through militia networks down into the copper cobalt mines to dig. And as they dig and earn their dollar or two, that's what funds these militia groups. So children are the most heavily exploited of all the people down there. They're the most vulnerable and oftentimes trafficked and exploited in some cases in very violent circumstances.

Corruption is a big part of the problem. That's what allows so much of this abuse to persist. And the thing is, imagine the Congo. It's a war-torn, deeply impoverished nation that has been subjected to generations of pillage and ransacking going all the way back, now centuries, to the slave trade. And so when big foreign stakeholders come waving around large sums of money, it's not a long stretch of the imagination to see that there would be corruption. ...

The first democratically elected president of the Congo [in 1960], Patrice Lumumba, made a pledge that the country's immense mineral riches and resources would be used for the benefit of the people who live there. And in short order, within six months, he had been deposed, assassinated, chopped to pieces, dissolved in acid and replaced with a bloody dictator, a corrupt dictator who would keep the minerals flowing in the right direction. So if you don't play ball with the power brokers at the top of the chain and with the Global North, Patrice Lumumba showed what's the outcome, what will happen. And I think that's also a part of this lesson that we need to understand historically, when we talk about things like corruption.

China cornered the global cobalt market before anyone knew what was happening. It goes back to the year 2009 under the previous president in the Congo,Joseph Kabila. He signed a deal with the Chinese government for access to mining concessions in exchange for development assistance, a commitment to build roads and some public health clinics, schools, hospitals, things like that — and that opened the door. Before anyone knew what happened, Chinese companies had seized ownership of 15 of the 19 primary industrial copper-cobalt mining concessions down there. So they dominate mining excavation on the ground. And not just that, they dominate the chain all the way through to the battery level. They have about 70, 80% of the refined cobalt market and probably half of the battery market.

There are some incidents that are just so burned into me that they'll come at me just like a terror, and it's hard. I just hope I've done justice to those stories and to the people who shared their tragedies with me, courageously shared these tragedies with me. I just want their voices [to] reach the world and then the world will decide what to do with the truth and the testimonies of the Congolese people. But if I've done some justice to bringing those voices out into the world that can scarcely function without the suffering of the Congolese people, then it's all worth it. Even the nightmares and the terrors, it's all worth it.

Sam Briger and Joel Wolfram produced and edited this interview for broadcast. Bridget Bentz, Molly Seavy-Nesper and Gisele Grayson adapted it for the web.

Copyright 2023 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

Middlesex Got Talent, Appetite for Life to aid Middlesex Health Cancer Center

MIDDLETOWN — This year, Appetite for Life, an annual fundraiser that has raised money for Middlesex Health Cancer Center for more than a decade, has raffle prizes for participants.The restaurant raffle, Meals That Heal, is offering gift cards from 35 local restaurants. In total, $5,000 in prizes will be awarded, according to a press release.The dra...

MIDDLETOWN — This year, Appetite for Life, an annual fundraiser that has raised money for Middlesex Health Cancer Center for more than a decade, has raffle prizes for participants.

The restaurant raffle, Meals That Heal, is offering gift cards from 35 local restaurants. In total, $5,000 in prizes will be awarded, according to a press release.

The drawing will take place June 30 at 2 p.m., and all winners will be notified. Tickets are $20, and only 1,000 tickets are available. They can be purchased at MiddlesexHealth.org/AppetiteForLife.

Another way to support the Middlesex Health Cancer Center is by attending the third annual Middlesex Got Talent, which features Middlesex Health employees. This year’s talent show will be held in person on June 16 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Chicago Sam’s in Cromwell.

WFSB’s Caitlin Francis will be the host, the news release said.

Tickets are $25 if purchased in advance, and $30 that day. Heavy hor d’oeuvres are included with the ticket. There will also be a cash bar and raffle prices.

Participating restaurants

Amici Italian Grill, Middletown

Blue Hound Cookery and Tap Room

Bourassa Catering & Events, Wallingford

Carmella’s / Jerry’s Pizza, Middletown

Chicago Sam’s Sports Bar & Grille, Cromwell

The Cooking Company, Middletown/Higganum

Dairy Queen, Old Saybrook

El Pulpo, Middletown

DaVinci Pizza, Cobalt

Eli Cannon’s, Middletown

Esca Restaurant & Wine Bar, Middletown

Farrell’s Restaurant, Portland

The Feed Bag Pet Supplies, Old Saybrook

Fiore II, Middletown

Fromage Fine Foods & Coffees, Old Saybrook

Grano Arso, Chester

Illiano’s Ristorante & Pizzeria, Middletown

Lan Chi’s Vietnamese Restaurant, Middletown

Landing and Main, Deep River

Luigi’s Restaurant, Old Saybrook

Meriano’s Bake Shop, Madison

Mezzo Grille, Middletown

Mitchell’s on Main, Cromwell

Mondo, Middletown

Niuda, Middletown

Penny Lane Pub, Old Saybrook

Pizza Works, Old Saybrook

Po’s Rice and Spice, East Hampton

Red House, Deep River

Scotch Plains Tavern, Essex

Sliders Grill & Bar, Middletown

Tall Man’s Ice Cream, Cromwell

The Black Seal, Essex

Three Girls Vegan, Guilford

Vero Cucino Rustico

East Hampton’s Sleepy Rooster Cafe promotes intuitive eating with fresh food

This is a carousel. Use Next and Previous buttons to navigateEAST HAMPTON — Every morning, Amanda Pizzoferrato arises well before dawn — and the rooster’s morning cock-a-doodle-doo — to open The Sleepy Rooster Cafe she owns with twin sister Nicole Pizzoferrato in the Cobalt section of town.“Roosters are known for being up early and hard workers, and have strong personalities. We both embody that, but it&rsqu...

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EAST HAMPTON — Every morning, Amanda Pizzoferrato arises well before dawn — and the rooster’s morning cock-a-doodle-doo — to open The Sleepy Rooster Cafe she owns with twin sister Nicole Pizzoferrato in the Cobalt section of town.

“Roosters are known for being up early and hard workers, and have strong personalities. We both embody that, but it’s always been a joke our whole lives that we’re always tired, always sleepy,” Amanda Pizzoferrato said. “We’re targeting the commuters. You have to get up early for work, but you don’t really want to. You’re tired — just because you have to get up early for work doesn’t mean you’re an early bird.”

The name of the little restaurant, in the space formerly occupied by K. LaMay’s Steamed Cheeseburgers, and before that, Pizzeria Da Vinci (which moved next door), is a humorous play on words. The cafe, which launched Dec. 12, is located off Route 66/East High Street in the Cobalt Flea Market/post office plaza.

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After seeing an ad for the business, full-time accountant Nicole Pizzoferrato made some inquiries, and “it all just kind of fell in place perfectly,” so she convinced her twin to move home from Syracuse, N.Y., to help run the venture.

The 27-year-olds have a special place in their hearts for the first meal of the day.

As a child, Nicole Pizzoferrato loved breakfast, and would eat at a diner every Sunday morning. “I love the homey, farm-y, urban feel, the comfortability it brings. It’s always a happy place to be,” she said.

Her sister runs the day-to-day operations, with help from their mother Wendy, father and siblings. Bruce Moquin, owner of the now-closed Snak Shack, which was just down Route 66 at 197 E. High St., is the chef on weekdays, along with his stepson Luke. “We’re blessed to have him. He’s already taught me so much,” Amanda Pizzoferrato said.

The quick-service cafe targets drivers on the go and commuters. “Everything we make, we try to make it car-friendly,” she said, showing off paper cups that can fit into a car’s drink holder.

Breakfast is served until closing at 2 p.m. The creative menu includes egg sandwiches (The Sleepy Rooster: fried chicken, a fried egg, cheddar cheese and bacon between two waffles with the cafe’s signature maple/jalapeno aioli), sandwiches and wraps (the Perky Turkey comes with turkey, bacon, provolone cheese, avocado, lettuce and tomato), burritos and bowls.

They serve fresh coffee and smoothies (Mudslide, Tropical Holiday, Avocado Apple and others) and small bites (fried waffles with cinnamon and sugar or powdered sugar; waffle fries and tater tots).

Their location on Route 66 affords them business from motorists heading toward Portland, Middletown, Hartford, Marlborough, Hebron and other areas. “It’s the perfect little spot,” Amanda Pizzoferrato said.

“Saturdays are insane — it’s nonstop” — so much so that it’s common to see a line of customers out the door, she said.

Amanda Pizzoferrato, who does the prep and cooking, has known she wanted her own business for some time. She grew up loving food, and as a child, was always baking cakes and cookies. “Most of the time, her food was horrible. That’s what I was thinking. (But), it was so much fun. I was a part of all her taste testing and experiments,” said her mother, Wendy Pizzoferrato.

The sisters are intuitive eaters. “We don’t promote diet culture, we promote ‘eat what makes you happy,’ whether it’s a waffle sandwich, a smoothie, a salad: You honor your cravings, and you eat in moderation. You don’t feel any guilt or shame after eating something that’s known today as unhealthy,” said Amanda Pizzoferrato, who has a sales and marketing background.

Her sister handles the financial end of things. “I’ve always eaten what I wanted to, and recognize I want to make my body healthy,” Nicole Pizzoferrato said.

Her twin has had a complicated relationship with food. “I really got caught up in diet culture. I was over exercising, I was under eating. I was trying every diet: body shaming. It really affected me mentally and physically to the point where I sought out medical help,” said Amanda Pizzoferrato, who moved in with a family friend, also a dietician, after college.

Both women have adopted the nutrition philosophy as a lifestyle. “It was a long process, but my health completely began to change,” said Amanda Pizzoferrato.

Her twin knew she was going through a tough time. “We have a special connection and I really wanted to be there to support her,” she said about bringing the style of eating to the East Hampton area. “We’re similar, but we’re also complete opposites, so we balance each other,” Nicole Pizzoferrato said.

Traditionally, diner food is so tasty because it’s often fried and accompanied by rich sauces, onion rings, fries and other high-calorie foods. Portions are often huge.

At The Sleepy Rooster, everything is made fresh, and the waffles are baked from scratch.

The sisters are hoping to spread their message of healthful eating to young people, some of whom may have conflicted feelings about food. They post inspirational quotes and other health messages on their Facebook page. The feedback has been phenomenal, Amanda Pizzoferrato said.

“I don’t really like being in the spotlight, especially sharing something so vulnerable like that. It’s a little awkward at first, but it was a necessity,” she said. “I tried the corporate world, but it wasn’t for me. It wasn’t giving me that passion, that fulfillment I really need.”

Social media has been their only method of advertising. There, the women get creative with their posts and photographs. They also have been running contests, such as the current promotion: guessing how many roosters are in the cafe. The winner takes home a $15 gift card.

The twins enjoy their new goal: “Embodying our brand — not only promoting our food, but promoting our mission, which is teaching people how to really listen to their body and eat, be happy and do what’s best for them,” Amanda Pizzoferrato said.

The cafe is located at 367 W. High St. For information, call 860-467-6181, visit The Sleepy Rooster Cafe on Facebook or Instagram @thesleepyroostercafe


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