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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 Deep River, CT

How does In-home Senior Care in Deep River, 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 Deep River, 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 Deep River, 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 Deep River, 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 Deep River, 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 Deep River,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 Deep River, 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 Deep River, CT

Region 4 School District OKs $10M for New Athletic fields, But Concerns Linger

DEEP RIVER — After three hours of debate Wednesday night, the Region 4 Board of Education voted 7-1 to approve borrowing nearly $10 million to revamp athletic fields at the middle school and high school.The $9.6 million bond would cover a complete renovation of Valley Regional High School’s practice field and upper field, the partial renovation of its baseball and softball fields, and a renovation of the football field along with the construction of a six-lane running track. It also includes constructing two new soccer fie...

DEEP RIVER — After three hours of debate Wednesday night, the Region 4 Board of Education voted 7-1 to approve borrowing nearly $10 million to revamp athletic fields at the middle school and high school.

The $9.6 million bond would cover a complete renovation of Valley Regional High School’s practice field and upper field, the partial renovation of its baseball and softball fields, and a renovation of the football field along with the construction of a six-lane running track. It also includes constructing two new soccer fields and a cross country course on a controversial piece of property the district purchased in 2017, known as the “Mislick property.”

The bond also includes funds to reconstruct two soccer fields at John Winthrop Middle School.

Superintendent of Schools Brian White explained that the district, which includes Chester, Deep River and Essex, had been working toward revamping the athletic facilities for three years. In 2020, the district contracted with the civil engineering firm BSC to evaluate its existing fields.

“We have potholes in the field. We have potholes in the track surface. These are the conditions that, when we talk about safety considerations and concerns, really give us cause for alarm,” White said.

White presented quotes from the BSC report that underscored poor drainage on the fields and problems with compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. White said he knew of family members who had been unable to attend games because they were physically unable to get to the fields.

The bond would be paid back over 20 years, with an expected interest rate of 4.25 percent — meaning a total of about $14 million.

Comments at the public hearing veered back and forth between residents protesting the size of the bond and the use of the Mislick property, and student athletes and coaches lamenting the state of the fields and underscoring the urgent need for repairs.

Students described fields that were uneven, with divots and bumps that posed a risk of injury. One member of the softball team said a teammate injured her knee on the softball field, which could potentially keep her out of games for the rest of the season.

“Our team refers to the field as the ‘dirt patch,’” said Mimi Siegel, a junior who will be captain of the girl’s field hockey team next year. Siegel described the field condition as “deplorable” and said she and her teammates last year found themselves picking glass off the field from bottles that were thrown during a football game.

“As someone who is hoping to play in college, it is impossible for coaches to get a sense of my level of play during games on this field, as the conditions prevent me and my team from playing at a top level,” she said.

Jack Finnegan, a member of the baseball team, said his team had coined the term “Valley Hop” to describe the strange directions the ball goes when it bumps against the uneven ground on the field.

“The only advice coaches can give is to get in front of the ball and stick with it,” Finnegan said. “But in reality, conditions like these create uncertainty, reluctance and fear, which are detrimental in baseball.”

Parents and coaches also spoke in support of the project. But members of the public pushed back on several points, including the proposal to build two new grass fields on the 13-acre Mislick property. In 2017, the district purchased the property without having the necessary funds budgeted, and without getting an independent appraisal on the property.

Sue Evans, a Deep River resident, said the board’s history with the Mislick property purchase made it difficult for her to trust a bond request for the athletic fields.

“I have trouble giving any credibility to monetary requests from this board,” Evans said.

Evans and other residents also protested the board’s decision to request the bonding money for the fields as a single package rather than breaking it up into smaller requests.

“Providing the schools with a slush fund to fix the athletic fields is not fair to taxpayers,” she said.

White said the district was requesting the bonds this year was because it was on the verge of paying off a long-term bond from previous renovations on the middle and high schools, and that bonding this year would prevent the district from having to face spikes or dips in its debt service, which could affect the town’s tax rate.

Others questioned the district’s ability to maintain the fields over time.

Cheryl Service, of Deep River, said she felt disturbed while walking around the fields and seeing expensive equipment “sitting outside to rot and rust.”

“I cannot trust that you’re going to be good stewards of our money. The fields haven’t been maintained,” Service said. “Where’s the money for maintenance? Was there not funds set aside the last time that the fields were done? How can we be sure that (if) we’re going to give you $10 million to redo all these fields, they’re not going to be in the same condition 10 or 15 years from now because you haven’t addressed the issue of maintenance?”

Others pushed back against the idea of having an artificial turf field, citing potential health risks to students. White said while it wasn’t yet determined whether the field reconstructions would be synthetic or grass, it was possible that one of the fields might be artificial.

People also expressed concern about the cost of the bond, and how it would affect taxpayers living in town.

“If we keep just throwing more money … at the situation, it may fix it, but what we need to look forward to is 20 years from now,” said Carl Ericson, of Deep River. “My kids have graduated and it seems like more kids are moving out of the community, out of the state because they can’t afford to live here.”

Several people said they would support the bonding package if the $2 million for the new fields on the Mislick property were removed. Board member Rick Daniels, the lone vote against the bond, said he believed the funds for the Mislick property shouldn’t be included. He added that he was concerned about the prospect of future bonds the district would need to take out and how those could pile up over time.

“I don’t dispute the fact that our fields are a mess … but I’m all about not asking for any more fields until we learn and are able to care for the ones that we’ve got,” Daniels said. “In previous administrations, money for maintenance disappeared quickly, and it just was not put back into it. Had we done that, we wouldn’t have been in this situation.”

But several board members and local residents said that, without the use of the Mislick property, there would be no place to put the cross country course, leaving students to take long runs along Route I-80.

Coaches and board members also pointed out that the additional fields would allow the already existing fields to rest between seasons.

“If you do not get those extra fields, that extra cycle time over the lifetime value of those fields will incur higher costs,” BOE member John Stack said in a school board meeting convened immediately after the public hearing.

At the board meeting, Daniels said he was concerned that having the Mislick property included in the bond referendum could cause voters to reject it entirely.

Meanwhile, board Chair Kate Sandmann said she was very “moved” by what the students shared at the public hearing.

“It really matters whether or not you’re on your home field. It matters a lot,” she said. “If we don’t do the whole thing, I think we might as well not do it at all.”

The district has scheduled a referendum on the project for May 2.

This story has been updated to correct the date of the referendum

Emilia Otte covers health and education for the Connecticut Examiner. In 2022 Otte was awarded "Rookie of the Year," by the New England Newspaper & Press Association.

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Deep River school district addresses mold and overcrowding concerns

How bad is the mold at a middle school in Deep River? Parents and teachers got a better idea after a report from a consulting firm was released.But now the question is - how does the Region 4 school district move forward with the students packed at the high school?“It’s looking like this is going to be a problem that’ll take a while to fix the middle school,” Sarah Field, a former teacher said.That was the takeaway for parents and teachers in Deep River about the mold situation at John Winthrop Mi...

How bad is the mold at a middle school in Deep River? Parents and teachers got a better idea after a report from a consulting firm was released.

But now the question is - how does the Region 4 school district move forward with the students packed at the high school?

“It’s looking like this is going to be a problem that’ll take a while to fix the middle school,” Sarah Field, a former teacher said.

That was the takeaway for parents and teachers in Deep River about the mold situation at John Winthrop Middle School. An environmental report shows extensive mold in multiple rooms in the building.

Students and staff have been placed at Valley Regional High School for safety reasons. Some teachers say crowding has become an issue.


Deep River school district addresses mold and overcrowding concerns

How bad is the mold at a middle school in Deep River? Parents and teachers got a better idea after a report from a consulting firm was released.

“There are multiple classes meeting in the library. They are classes meeting in the hallways. There are difficulties with teachers having one on one conversations with students,” Field said.

Field, a former teacher at Winthrop, has kept in touch with many of her colleagues. She said the current situation at the high school is untenable.

“You’re taking classrooms that are being repurposed on very short notice and teachers are coming up from the other school without any of the supplies they need,” she said.

Region 4 Superintendent Brian J. White said the latest environmental report has provided crucial information.

“We do think a primary cause is our HVAC system but as we also heard this evening, we need to engage in a more thorough investigation into all aspects of the building,” White said.

The investigation will require some time. White said ideas like portable classrooms at the high school are being considered.

“We’re open to all of those options and we’ll be working with our staff to best determine which of those options will meet the needs of our schools and our community,” he said.

Field said she’s glad no one is in the middle school building and hopes some short-term solutions can be arranged.

“People are really good about giving each other grace and trying to work together. I do think this is a matter of urgency and it’s going to need swift decisions,” she said.

There will be another school board meeting next Wednesday to discuss plans on moving forward in the school district.

Mold issue in Deep River middle school worse that first thought, district reveals

DEEP RIVER, CT (WFSB) - School officials in Deep River held a meeting Wednesday about a major mold issue in the middle school.Parents and teachers at John Winthrop Middle School found out their mold issue is worse than they thought.Severe mold growth was confirmed in more than 20 rooms.The findings were presented by mold expert Larry Cannon, who said the school wasn’t safe for anyone.“When I saw that I said ‘the district really needs to know this,’” Cannon said.He conducted his...

DEEP RIVER, CT (WFSB) - School officials in Deep River held a meeting Wednesday about a major mold issue in the middle school.

Parents and teachers at John Winthrop Middle School found out their mold issue is worse than they thought.

Severe mold growth was confirmed in more than 20 rooms.

The findings were presented by mold expert Larry Cannon, who said the school wasn’t safe for anyone.

“When I saw that I said ‘the district really needs to know this,’” Cannon said.

He conducted his test on Sept. 7, which prompted the school administration to move all John Wintrhop students and staff into Valley Regional High School. That caused the two schools to co-exist under one roof.

“It’s affecting me and everyone around me” said Sophia Bonanno, a junior at Valley Regional High School. “I have to take notes on my lap and I’m not provided with anywhere to write.”

It’s only been four weeks, but parents said they are getting frustrated.

“We’re now four weeks in. The teachers are in an overcrowded environment not conducive to teaching and learning,” said one teacher during the meeting.

“You can’t tell me this is an optimal environment for these teachers to teach and these kids to learn,” added a parent.

In a letter to families, the superintendent wrote “We do not yet have a timeline.”

Teachers continued to hold classes anywhere they could find space.

“The back of the auditorium, a small hallway and even the locker room,” listed a teacher.

Cannon believed a possible cause of the mold could be the schools HVAC system combined with the high humidity over the summer.

The cleanup process may take several months before anyone could return to the middle school.

“Remediation for mold is very extensive and expensive and takes a lot of time,” said Shane Bonanno, Sophia Bonanno’s father.

The school district faced two issues, which included fixing the mold at the middle school and creating space at the high school.

“Our staff have generated a lot of ideas on things we can change soon to make a difference, but we also understand we need to think long term on space needs,” said Brian White, Regional School District 4′s superintendent, during the meeting.

The district said it will have an engineering team come in to determine a root cause and plan how to make more space in the high school.

It will discuss its plans at a board meeting on Oct 11.

The Region 4 district covers Deep River, Essex, and Chester.

School officials meeting about mold issue at Deep River school

Board of Education to talk about mold at Deep River school

School officials are expected to provide an update on plans to reopen a middle school in Deep River.

The school board is expected to discuss plans to reopen the school.

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Deep River middle school students, staff relocated after finding mold in building

DEEP RIVER, Conn. (WTNH) — Students and faculty at a Deep River middle school are being relocated after mold was found in the building.The superintendent of Deep River Schools, Brian White, confirmed with News 8 that John Winthrop Middle School students and staff will be relocated to Valley Regional High School.“These kids are resilient, and we’ve got some people… some really smart people working everything out, and I’m not worried about it,” said parent Jill Strempel, whose son Christopher ...

DEEP RIVER, Conn. (WTNH) — Students and faculty at a Deep River middle school are being relocated after mold was found in the building.

The superintendent of Deep River Schools, Brian White, confirmed with News 8 that John Winthrop Middle School students and staff will be relocated to Valley Regional High School.

“These kids are resilient, and we’ve got some people… some really smart people working everything out, and I’m not worried about it,” said parent Jill Strempel, whose son Christopher attends the middle school.

White said the district is working with the Connecticut River Area Health District and environmental professionals to determine a plan to address the issue. He also noted that the top priority is the health and wellness of the students, staff and faculty.

The families of those impacted by the mold discovery wonder if any health risks are associated with the mold in the building.

“How long has it been there? Was it there when we were there? Were we inhaling it?” Zahra Zain of Chester asked. “And how did somebody let it get this bad before noticing?”

Zahra’s mother, Aaron Zain, said her son, who currently attends the middle school, said some people were reporting headaches and feeling unwell.

The middle school students and staff will be moved to Valley Regional High School on Monday.

The high school used to house both the middle and high schools. The middle school students will be taking up one wing of the building.

However, some students say that the wing is where juniors and seniors are, so some may have to move to different lockers or classrooms. Some students and staff are concerned they may lose parking spaces to make room for the added teachers and staff driving there.

“It doesn’t affect freshmen unless you have a class up there, which I have global studies and my math class,” Zain said. “So, my math class is going to be moved to another classroom.”

While the move may be inconvenient for some, school officials said it is temporary and done out of caution to keep all students and staff safe.

Deep River Amends Zoning Rule to Allow Private School Downtown

DEEP RIVER — The Planning and Zoning Commission voted Thursday to amend zoning regulations to allow a private school to open in the village commercial district.The amendment was in response to a petition from the Connecticut Coastal Academy, which is looking to purchase the former Citizens Bank building on Main Street.The Coastal Academy, a private, state-approved special education school, is currently based in Essex, where it serves about 25 stud...

DEEP RIVER — The Planning and Zoning Commission voted Thursday to amend zoning regulations to allow a private school to open in the village commercial district.

The amendment was in response to a petition from the Connecticut Coastal Academy, which is looking to purchase the former Citizens Bank building on Main Street.

The Coastal Academy, a private, state-approved special education school, is currently based in Essex, where it serves about 25 students from around the state.

According to Pamela Potemri, the school’s executive director, the facility mainly serves secondary students with learning needs that exceed what traditional high schools could offer. Many of them, she said, are hands-on learners, so the academy has a strong focus on trades, particularly building and construction, as well as culinary.

“They’re really kids that we need to reengage in education and get them the skill set that they’re going to need to be productive citizens in our community,” Potemri told the Planning and Zoning Commission in March.

Although the academy is a special education school, Potemri told CT Examiner, most of the students are grappling with language disabilities like dyslexia or high-functioning autism. As a result, she said, they don’t qualify for adult services after graduation the way others might.

“They are the future in our community that are going to be unemployed and underemployed if we don’t do this right,” Potemri told the commission.

In a meeting on Thursday, commission members debated whether to allow the exemption. A few members said they were concerned that allowing a special exemption would open the door for other institutions that the town might not want in the commercial district, and they would have no legal recourse to deny them.

But Chair Tony Bolduc and First Selectman Angus McDonald both noted that the commission would still have to approve all applicants individually before they could operate in town.

McDonald, who spoke in favor of the school, told CT Examiner that the owner of the property had been trying to sell it for a long time. He added that while a school wouldn’t pay the same taxes as a commercial business, he felt it was a good use for the building and, hopefully, would bring young people and teachers into the community.

Potemri told CT Examiner that the former Citizens Bank building was ideal for several reasons – it’s handicap accessible, the former drive-thru would provide a private entrance for students, and it’s on the route for public transportation. She also noted that the building looked like a school from the outside.

“Deep River’s a beautiful place and it’s safe, and it’s a good place for our kids. So to me, it made perfect sense,” Potemri said.

Another advantage to the building, she said, is its access to the downtown commercial district, as many of her students take internships within the community.

“You want them to be able to be employable and self-sufficient, and all of those things and give them a leg up on employment and school opportunities so that they’re successful,” Potemri said.

But the proposal has also received pushback from the Economic Development Commission, which said it was unclear whether the school would add to the tax rolls. The commission submitted a letter of non-support to Planning and Zoning.

“We believe any change to [the town’s] zoning regulations potentially impacting the economic growth and expansion of the town, be referred to a public vote, for which the town’s residents to decide,” wrote Economic Development Commission Vice Chair Nicholas Kornacki.

Planning and Zoning Commission member Fred Jordan said at the Thursday meeting that he was against the idea of having a school in a commercial zone, arguing that an institution downtown that would be “shuttered at night” would not benefit the town.

“We have very, very little commercial district, and I think that needs to be guarded at all costs,” Jordan said.

Potemri told CT Examiner that the school is for-profit, and would be on the town’s tax rolls.

“The fact is that we will be paying taxes to the town of Deep River,” she said. “By owning the building as opposed to leasing a building, certainly we bring it – tax base to the town. And I get it – from a very practical, economic development standpoint, it’s a valid point.”

Planning and Zoning Commission member Mike Dinello also brought up concerns about traffic, noting there have been several accidents on Main Street, and asking whether bringing children into the area could create a liability for the town. Other members asked whether the school would generate more traffic.

Michael Bonnaro, attorney for the school, noted in March that the school currently had 12 cars dropping students off, all in cars or minivans, plus 15 staff members. The academy does not use school buses.

“A school would certainly generate some traffic, but so would a really popular restaurant. So would housing. And so did a bank,” McDonald told CT Examiner.

Planning and Zoning Commission members Alan Paradis and Marian Staye spoke in favor of the school.

“I think this could be a tremendous asset for Deep River. In my opinion, as a citizen, I’d say it would be a welcome program,” Paradis said at the March meeting.

Paradis also said he felt the school would fit well in the area, which is close to the elementary school, the library and the Youth Services Bureau.

“If a portion of this program is internships and engagement with the community, it being nestled in our commercial district, I think is very opportune,” he said.

Staye and McDonald both said Thursday that having a greater variety of institutions on Main Street would add to the vibrancy of the area.

“The diversity of a main street really makes a main street more vibrant, and a school … can add to that vibrancy in multiple ways,” McDonald said.

Potemri told CT Examiner that the academy had negotiated a purchase price with the owner, but did not disclose the cost since documents have yet to be signed.

Mark Marino, current owner of the Citizens Bank, also declined to comment on the purchase price, but said he was pleased that the building was being bought by the school.

Marino said he tried for nearly two years to attract a nice restaurant into the building, but was unable to get a buyer for the 12,000-square-foot space.

“A building like that cannot sit vacant. It’ll deteriorate,” he said. “It has to have life in it. It has to be used.”

Potemri told members of the Planning and Zoning Committee in March that the most important thing for her was that her students would be welcome in the area.

“I don’t want to be in the middle of controversy. I don’t want my students to be in the middle of controversy. I want them to feel welcome in Deep River and by the community,” she said. “They have dealt with a lot of rejection, historically, in the past, and that’s just not something I want to put them through.”

Commission members were quick to reassure.

“Going back in history, the town has always been welcoming to students from various backgrounds,” said commission member Jonathan Kastner. “I think that Deep River has always welcomed young people.”

The academy still needs approval from Planning and Zoning to open at the Citizens Bank site. Potemri said she hopes to open the academy this fall.

Emilia Otte covers health and education for the Connecticut Examiner. In 2022 Otte was awarded "Rookie of the Year," by the New England Newspaper & Press Association.

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