AA 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


“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 Cromwell, CT

How does In-home Senior Care in Cromwell, 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.

Request More Informationright-arrow-light
 Senior Care Cromwell, 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 Cromwell, 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 Cromwell, 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 Cromwell, 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 Cromwell,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 Cromwell, 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 Cromwell, CT

Cromwell / Portland 2023 football preview: Emeka Yearwood leads new cast of characters

Master list: CT high school football season previews 2023CROMWELL/PORTLAND[Vitals][They're Here][Reason to Cheer]Emeka Yearwood returns as one of the state's top multi-threats.[Reason to Fear]Minus the defensive front seven, everyone else is new, including the quarterback.[The Bottom Line]Crom...

Master list: CT high school football season previews 2023



[They're Here]

[Reason to Cheer]

Emeka Yearwood returns as one of the state's top multi-threats.

[Reason to Fear]

Minus the defensive front seven, everyone else is new, including the quarterback.

[The Bottom Line]

Cromwell/Portland's post-pandemic seasons have been nothing short of brilliant. The recently-graduated class won 23 games in two seasons, including a 13-0 Class S championship year in 2021 (in the the previous four-division system, too). They churned out all-state talent, outscored their opponents by an average 36-9, and had fans flocking to Pierson Park.

They were close to repeating as state champions, but a 40-35 shooutout loss to Barlow in last year's Class SS semifinals might have ended an era. Only eight combined starters return and coach Randell Bennett, who all but predicted a state championship two years ago, concedes this is a rebuilding year.

Just how painful that rebuilding season will be is debatable.

They do at least return versatile senior receiver/defensive end Emeka Yearwood, who has accounted for 1,121 total yards and 12 touchdowns, while making 83 tackles, 31 for a loss and 12 1/2 sacks in two years. He even filled in at running back for injured Alex Hair and wound up leading the Panthers in rushing.

His younger brother, Osi, now takes over in the backfield and only two offensive linemen, Jack Williams and AJ Signorello, return. But the biggest change wil lbe at quarterback where junior Jess Elfreich, a two-year understudy to all-stater Cole Brisson, takes command. He'll certainly rely on Emeka Yearwood and fellow returning wideout Jack Nolan (6 TDs).

Defensively, C/P lost its entire defensive backfield, but at least the front seven returns more-or-less intact with three devensive linemen and two linebackers, including Matt Gish (46 tackles, 8 for a loss). Williams led the team with six sacks on the line.

They'll have a couple of weeks to figure things out as arch rival Valley Regional/Old Lyme, which Cromwell/Portland famously beat 28-27 on a 2-point conversion stop, comes back to Pierson Park in Week 3. The rest of the big names don't sprout on the schedule until the season's second half. Maybe C/P will be playing spoiler, or — if this class is up to it — maybve it'll be for a playoff spot, too.

[2023 Schedule]

Sept. 9 — at Coginchaug/Hale Ray/East Hampton, 1 p.m. **Sept. 14 — SMSA, 6 p.m. *Sept. 22 — VALLEY REGIONAL/OLD LYME, 6 p.m. **Sept. 29 — MSW, 6 p.m. **Oct. 6 — at Rockville, 6:30 p.m. *Oct. 19 — Capital Prep/Achievement, 5 p.m. **Oct. 27 — HADDAM-KILLINGWORTH, 6 p.m. **Nov. 3 — GRANBY/CANTON, 6 p.m. *Nov. 17 — at North Branford, 6:30 p.m. **Nov. 22 — at Rocky Hill, 6 p.m.

** Division game* Conference game

Future uncertain for Cromwell's two cannabis retail outlets on Route 372

This is a carousel. Use Next and Previous buttons to navigateCROMWELL — For those anticipating retail and/or medical cannabis sales in town, there has been no activity concerning development of the only two cannabis retail shops allowed in town.However, one of the two proposed sites, slated for Berlin Road / Route 372, now is being advertised for sale....

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CROMWELL — For those anticipating retail and/or medical cannabis sales in town, there has been no activity concerning development of the only two cannabis retail shops allowed in town.

However, one of the two proposed sites, slated for Berlin Road / Route 372, now is being advertised for sale.

Fine Fettle CEO Ben Zachs holds a special permit to operate a cannabis business at 5 Berlin Road, located on 5.3 acres of wooded land close to Parisian Salon & Day Spa. He said in late March that he expected to open a hybrid facility by the end of 2023.

The property is up for sale by Royal Properties of New York and being billed as ideal for retail, medical, restaurant, bank and cannabis retail sales. The purchase includes both the property and approved special permit, according to the website.

Zachs did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Fine Fettle has locations in Manchester, Newington, Willimantic and Stamford, as well as two in Massachusetts. Old Saybrook and Norwalk recreational locations are “coming soon,” according to the website.

The CEO said in the spring that he expected the Fine Fettle shop to be between 4,500 and 5,000 square feet in size and offer adult-use only sales. At the time, he described the building design would be two-tone with a white and wood facade.

The plot formerly was owned by Michael Cannata, vice president of the Planning and Zoning Commission, but was sold to Fine Fettle, Director of Planning and Development Stuart Popper said Monday.

The applications for both Fine Fettle and 6 West Ave., the latter regarding the site of a former cleaners, were received in late June.

Little activity is happening at the former Riverdale Cleaners at 33 Berlin Road, according to Popper. The building is located less than a half-mile away from 5 Berlin Road.

The group’s application to repurpose the building as a retail marijuana outlet was approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission in October.

Andrew Simonow, doing business as 6 West Ave., has a special permit to sell cannabis at the 3,184-square-foot building. The hybrid facility is expected to serve both adult-use recreational and medical patients with storefront and delivery services, he said in late March.

The exterior Riverdale Cleaners lettering has been removed, and the building was dark and unoccupied Friday. The interior appeared to be mostly gutted.

Simonow did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

New construction on, and the repurposing of existing buildings for, cannabis shops are less common in the state. The trend, among many cannabis businesses in Connecticut, has been to expand medical cannabis dispensaries into hybrid facilities, such as True Leaf in Bristol, Popper said. “You’re not opening any new stores on the ground, you’re converting existing stores," he said. "That’s what seems to have happened.”

Cromwell has limited the number of outlets allowed to operate in town to two. The municipality also prohibits use of cannabis on public land.

The public has supported marijuana businesses coming to town.

“[Planning and Development] had two stores. They never opened,” Popper added, “... Everybody was all psyched to go and they never did anything.”

Middletown so far has approved only one facility, a single special exception permit for Venu, operated by Bluepoint Wellness. It is expected to open a retail cannabis facility at 895 Washington St. on Route 66 later this month.

Beginning July 1, the state Department of Consumer Protection began allowing all adults 21 and older to grow up to three mature and three immature plants in their home, with a maximum of 12 plants per household. The law stipulates that cannabis plants must be grown indoors, out of public view and in a locked space.

Also on July 1, annual registration fees for the medical marijuana program, formerly $100 for individuals and $25 for caregivers, were eliminated. For information on adult-use cannabis in Connecticut, visit portal.ct.gov.

Cromwell official: Municipal worker culture survey indicates 'we have a ways to go'

This is a carousel. Use Next and Previous buttons to navigateCROMWELL — The results of an independent, months-long municipal employee climate and culture survey, with the goal of assessing if the town is an “employer of choice” and organization striving for “community excellence,” has identified 22 areas that need improvement.Sondra Hathaway, a cons...

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CROMWELL — The results of an independent, months-long municipal employee climate and culture survey, with the goal of assessing if the town is an “employer of choice” and organization striving for “community excellence,” has identified 22 areas that need improvement.

Sondra Hathaway, a consultant from BerryDunn of Maine presented the findings in a 38-page report to the public during a special meeting July 18.

Both residents and town officials have been eagerly awaiting the results of the anonymous survey.

This is the first time in town history that such a project has been undertaken, Common Councilman James Demetriades has said.

The report was delivered to a room packed with town workers and members of the public, he said Friday.

"All of BerryDunn's findings, even when they were not super positive, even when they were kind of ugly, are included in the report," Hathaway said. "It has not been sanitized, it has not been scrubbed …”

The overarching goal of the assessment, Hathaway said, was to "assure that the town's culture, environment, policy, practices, values, norms and performance are aligned with its mission to be an employer of choice and an organization achieving community excellence."

"The question is 'does it?' and the answer is 'not yet,'" she added.

“That is what this report gives us the blueprint for,” mayoral candidate Demetriades said Friday.

“We have a lot of work to do to create a professional, respectful work environment," added Demetriades, who is running against Mayor Steve Fortenbach in November.

Overall, survey responses reflect an average of 37 percent positive sentiments, while 14 percent were neutral, and 17 percent had negative reviews, according to the assessment. An average of 31 percent of employees did not respond to some or all of the questions.

“If you look at the neutral (14 percent) and did not answer (31 percent), that’s pretty significant,” Town Manager Anthony Salvatore said Friday. “The ultimate goal is to do a good job, and, ultimately, for the people we serve."

“The report identified a number of places where we are not operating in a manner that instills confidence in our employees, and where the expectations are not clearly set out,” Demetriades said, pointing to study findings, including job descriptions, employee handbook, access to information and equitable treatment. “Those are all things that we need to modernize and work on.”

The council recently approved the handbook, but it remains to be given out, along with education on its contents, Demetriades said: “One step forward, two steps back.”

The consultant said several initiatives have been implemented, the councilman added. “We’re not going to say it’s all doom and gloom, but there’s a lot of work there.”

"Our job was to examine the shared values, beliefs, behaviors and norms" in Cromwell, Hathaway said. "Culture matters. It impacts the way a town can function. If an organization's culture discourages risk taking, experimentation and new ideas, it can stifle innovation, but it doesn't stop there.”

That may result in employees not feeling confident enough to suggest ideas or believe they may be discouraged from doing so, Hathaway said.

"There is a perception that not enough people are involved in making the decisions about what gets budgeted, whether or not I can make a case to have a certain expense, whether I can approach the council and explain why I'm asking for certain budgets," Hathaway said.

The council eliminated the human resources director position about eight years ago, and the town hired an “excellent” human resource generalist about six years ago, who works between 20 and 25 hours a week, Salvatore said. Also, both one of his executive assistants and the senior executive assistant help with duties.

Many of the findings are already being acted upon, he added. “A lot of them have been done, some of them are in the works, and others are spelled out in the town charter,” such as the budget process.

The up-to-date handbook, which was recently accepted by the council, will soon be distributed to workers, Salvatore said.

The need for a full-time IT director was also identified. The town retains a firm that performs some of these technology duties, and there is a person on site Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, the town manager said. “We’ll maybe look at expanding it to every day."

"This is like 1950 all over again," Councilwoman Paula Luna said, referring to the need for a handbook, job descriptions, and head of HR. That would allow "Tony to back out of all these decisions that he shouldn't be making. And an IT person — absolutely," Luna added.

"We have a ways to go as a town, as a leadership," Councilor Jack Henehan said.

When town employees examine the results, Councilman Al Waters said at the meeting, "they're not going to be very happy at all. ... I'm astonished by what I see here. I think our phones are going to be ringing off the wall," he added, referring to town leaders.

“There are always going to be minor disagreements, and sometimes management and employees aren’t going to see eye to eye, but they need to feel respected, feel part of the team, safe collaborating and those are the things we need to do as a council to reset the tone,” Demetriades said.

“Overall, based on the assessment surveys, the report says we’re doing a pretty good job,” Salvatore said, “with definitely some changes to be made, and we’re looking at that, but overall our employees are doing an outstanding job.

“We want to make employees comfortable and want to work here. We want people that want to come here to work — that’s everybody’s goal,” the town manager said.

“We hired an outside consultant so she’d be honest with us that we do have significant challenges, but, just because you have challenges and you need to face them, doesn’t mean you’re being negative. It means you’re being realistic,” Demetriades said.

“We have a lot of trust to rebuild with our employees, and we need to make sure they feel valued and listened to, and we can get there," he added.

"... I think having your assistance in developing a cohesive mission statement with all the different disciplines within the town ... tells us what we're about, and becomes the gold star on the front of the page that says this is what we're about," Mayor Steve Fortenbach told Hathaway.

To read the full report, visit cromwellct.com.

Cromwell fire lieutenant retires amid probe into 'inappropriate' conduct, records show

CROMWELL — A lieutenant has left the town's fire department amid allegations of “inappropriate” activity in the firehouse, according to personnel records obtained by Hearst Connecticut Media Group.In his resignation letter dated March 6, Brett Hallden said he was “irrevocably retiring" from the Cromwell Fire Department. After nearly 18 years with the agency, the letter did not say why the 46-year-old was leaving.His departure came three months after he learned of an investigation into his alleged &l...

CROMWELL — A lieutenant has left the town's fire department amid allegations of “inappropriate” activity in the firehouse, according to personnel records obtained by Hearst Connecticut Media Group.

In his resignation letter dated March 6, Brett Hallden said he was “irrevocably retiring" from the Cromwell Fire Department. After nearly 18 years with the agency, the letter did not say why the 46-year-old was leaving.

His departure came three months after he learned of an investigation into his alleged “inappropriate workplace conduct” and was placed on paid administrative leave, according to a Dec. 5, 2022 letter to Hallden from Julius C. Neto, executive director of the Cromwell Fire District. The letter and other personnel records were obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

The letter doesn’t describe the alleged misconduct, but Neto wrote in the memo that Hallden should refrain from contacting a female firefighter who also was placed on paid leave. The woman, who was hired in 2019, resigned Dec. 30, weeks after receiving the same letter.

Attorney Cindy Cieslak from Rose Kallor LLP was hired to conduct the independent investigation, which Neto said ended when Hallden retired.

In a telephone interview, Neto said the investigation has been completed, but the report is only a draft.

“She has ceased and desisted her investigation,” Neto said of Cieslak.

Neto referred to Cieslak when asked for the draft copy of the investigation report. However, Cieslak said the report is “exempt from disclosure” under state law. She said its release would constitute an invasion of privacy and/or violate attorney-client privilege.

Neto would not describe what sparked the investigation and said Hallden was not forced out.

“He made his own decision,” he said.

Hallden is too young to collect retirement benefits, but according to his contract, he will be paid 25 percent of his accrued, unused sick leave based on his latest annual salary of $66,059, Neto said.

'Disciplined on numerous occasions'

Around the same time Cieslak launched the investigations into Hallden and the female firefighter, the Cromwell Fire District also hired the lawyer to investigate allegations of misconduct during the town's first responder training — at least one of which happened in the presence of an underage EMT student.

According to emails obtained by Hearst Connecticut Media, the co-owner of a firefighter training company sent a complaint to Cromwell Fire Chief Jason Brade after some of his students “expressed shock at the unprofessionalism displayed by certain members of the staff.”

In the emails, Brian Petrucelli, co-owner of On Scene Training in Cromwell, said there were conversations about sexual topics and a dinner prepared during clinical rotations included “a meatloaf shaped like a large penis.”

It's unknown if Hallden was involved in the incidents. But he does have a disciplinary history, according to his personnel records.

In January 2016, Hallden was suspended for three days without pay after an independent investigator found he waited two weeks to inform a supervisor that audit binders with confidential employee information had been left in a public room in fire district offices at 1 West St. The records show another firefighter took a picture of one of the documents, which included someone’s Social Security number.

In June 2009, Hallden was demoted from lieutenant to firefighter for failing to attend a meeting with four chiefs of the department, the records show.

The documents show former Chief Stephen Pendl sent a memo to Hallden, stating he had been “formally disciplined on numerous occasions over the last 21 months for repeatedly failing to conform your professional conduct to that which is expected of a lieutenant in the Cromwell Fire Department.” Records of the previous disciplinary actions were not included in the personal records requested by Hearst Connecticut Media.

Hallden was reappointed as a lieutenant of the overnight shift on July 16, 2019.

Hallden’s former wife, who also used to be a Cromwell firefighter, said her ex has won awards and had been recognized for his work.

“They lost a damn good firefighter,” Tricia Hallden, who helped train him, said in an interview this week. “The Cromwell Fire District lost an excellent firefighter. One of the best they ever had. And I spent almost 30 years in that department. Absolutely one of the best. He is very smart.”

As for the investigation, she said, “I’d call it a headhunt. They wanted to get rid of him because he has a big mouth.”

Longtime Cromwell restaurateurs partner up on new Nostalgia sports bar, eatery

This is a carousel. Use Next and Previous buttons to navigateCROMWELL — Cromwell and surrounding area residents will have a slate of new businesses competing for their dollars as a number of new enterprises will open in the coming months.Stuart Popper, Cromwell’s director of planning and development, said nine new endeavors are expected to open this year and the next, including four restaurants, three tattoo parlors, a swim school, and pop-up Halloween shop.“We’re very excited to see Cromwell cont...

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CROMWELL — Cromwell and surrounding area residents will have a slate of new businesses competing for their dollars as a number of new enterprises will open in the coming months.

Stuart Popper, Cromwell’s director of planning and development, said nine new endeavors are expected to open this year and the next, including four restaurants, three tattoo parlors, a swim school, and pop-up Halloween shop.

“We’re very excited to see Cromwell continue to grow and attract new businesses,” Popper said. “It reflects that Cromwell is a great place to live, work and play.”

Nostalgia, located at 530 Main St., started offering pizza and other menu items for takeout customers last month. Michele York, who described the business as a sports bar, and her business partner, Brian Bonneau, are preparing to serve eat-in, sit-down customers later this month.

"... We have a 30-foot bar and dining area still under construction,” York said.

She said many area residents will be familiar with the pair, who grew up in Cromwell and graduated Cromwell High School in 1990. She said Bonneau owned a bar in town, called the Well, for 15 years. Bonneau closed that business to open Nostalgia with York, she said.

York was the chef for over 20 years at Zerios, an Italian restaurant and deli, and she was a partner in Rustic Pizza in Middletown.

The new restaurant will have a capacity to seat 60 people, and, in addition to pizza, will offer grinders, Italian dishes, burgers, wraps, appetizers, salads and specials. She said the takeout business has been brisk.

“There are a lot of excited people in town because we grew up here,” York said. “We were both well-known in town for what we’ve done.”

The Spirit Halloween pop-up store at 136 Berlin Road will be one of 13 that the company will open this Halloween season in Connecticut.

Other new businesses expected to launch include:

Finally, Popper said, Tony’s Flour Shop, a small-batch artisan bakery at 322 Main St., recently received a $10,000 grant from the Middlesex County Revitalization Commission to support improvements.

Correction: This article has been updated to reflect that Tony's Flour Shop received a grant from the Middlesex County Revitalization Commission.


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