Letters to the Editor - Winsted Journal - 5-5-17

Winsted Health Center responds to CH&W claims

On behalf of the Winsted Health Center staff and board of directors, we would like to clear up some apparent misconceptions with regard to our role in Community Health and Wellness Center’s plan to vacate our facility on Spencer Street for a “larger and more accessible location.”

First, with all due respect to organization CEO Joanne Borduas and her attorney Joseph Williams, we want to make it clear that we have no outside agents representing our position in this matter. This includes Winsted’s Community Lawyer Charlene LaVoie. The Winsted Health Center staff and board feel strongly that  Community Health and Wellness Center provides an important service to our community and even though we would prefer that they stay in our facility, we decided many months back to do nothing to impede their selection of, or move to, an alternative location.   

Second, when Community Health and Wellness Center came to our facility in 2010, they were provided a grant by the Winsted Health Center to help pay moving expenses and assist them with rent in order to facilitate their joining the family of medical service providers on our campus.

Community Health and Wellness Center’s previous executive director had been awarded a federal grant to expand services at our location. When it came to light that their plan required the removal of a load-bearing wall, other options were discussed.  Among these other options, they were offered the building where their offices are located at no cost but, they declined and decided to acquire their own building. Also, prior to this January, they occupied just about double the space they are currently in but, when the lease was up at the end of last year, they opted to not renew saying they were not utilizing the space. 

Third, regarding the issue of patient transportation, in support of Community Health and Wellness Center, we successfully negotiated with Northwest Connecticut Transit District to adjust their route so that the van shuttle from Main Street stops at Winsted Health Center five times a day.  The change helps patients get to their appointments at Community Health and Wellness Center and have their lab work done at the same location with Charlotte Hungerford Hospital. This shuttle schedule will still prove to be useful to their patients because they will still need to come here for lab services regardless of where they decide to go in town for primary care. 

 In conclusion, while we are sad to see Community Health and Wellness Center leave our campus, we fully support their relocating within the town of Winsted and support their mission to continue to provide such critical services to our community.

Douglas Brand

Board of Directors 

Winsted Health Center Foundation

Kris Griffin


Winsted Health Center


We need improved Bottle Bill

If your car needs new spark plugs and an oil change, do you throw out the car? The beverage industry is lobbying hard to do just that, replace our existing returnable deposit bottle bill program with a sales tax on consumers. They want to put the burden on us, on the state through another administrative headache and on municipalities.

Instead we should improve the existing program. HB 5618 and other similar bills would do just that, by raising the deposit amount, by including more kinds of drink containers (coolers, teas, juices and the like) and by increasing fees to redemption centers. These operators have not had a fee increase in 40 years and are going out of business due to rising costs.

Here’s the deal — states with refundable deposit laws have on average about a 70 percent rate of return (Connecticut is currently on the low side, closer to 50 percent) vs. states with no deposit program, which average about 33 percent recycling rates. Michigan, which has a 10-cent deposit, has a 97 percent rate of recycling! And it’s not just about litter. It’s about local jobs, saving energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Susannah Wood



Winsted’s vision has never come to fruition

My family came to Winsted in May of 1977, 40 years ago. Maybe 10,000 population at the time — filled with hardworking people, thriving small businesses with proud and dedicated owners. Some families have been here hundreds of years. Recently, with the advent of one of those businesses about to close, much talk has been made about the vision of Main Street. I moved away 30 years ago, while most of my family stayed. My wife and sons are natives of Connecticut, so I feel I can have my say here. We have been waiting 62 years for the vision of Main Street to come to fruition. Three generations! 

Around the Civil War period we were told we were getting a new post office. Some said to put it at the east end, while others said put it at the west end, nearly igniting a regional war. Lincoln said figure it out fast where you are putting it or you won’t get a post office at all. Well, Abe’s been gone a long time so it’s going to be up to us. The vision of Main Street: the semi-auto gun store, a Mexican restaurant which was open for three days before closing with a sign that says “now open” with paper shuttering the windows. Almost every town has a new Cumberland Farms, yet ours remains an antique. How much have you spent there? I think they owe that to us. You can’t buy a pair of pants in town. Zero code enforcement on signage. One Little League team which is because not enough young families are moving here. 

Maybe if we had a Board of Education again it might help. The smartest words spoken at the three recent Planning and Zoning Commission meetings, about Lambert Kay possibly having shops and small businesses people, a man stood up and said, “Who is going to shop there?” Now what do the people get, another dragged out lawsuit? 

I love this town. I have made friends here to last a lifetime. There are still many proud and dedicated business owner families and hard working people so there will always be the promise of a small town. But get ready townies, buy some good shoes in Torrington and while you are at it pick up a pair of binoculars for our leaders, because the vision of Main Street is being built from Mallory Plaza to the Route 8 overpass. Vision? You need to include these people in your vision. And by the way, $11,000 can be made up very easily.

Steven Joseph Colabella