Twelve months of momentum
KENT — Traffic on Route 7 was not the only thing moving in Kent in 2011. It was a busy year for residents and visitors alike. Arts, culture, shopping and plain old-fashioned fun kept the village streets and sidewalks active.As part of the Kent Memorial Library’s annual lecture series, Gen. Colin Powell (Ret.) addressed a full house at Kent Center School. The general was introduced by his friend, Kent resident Henry Kissinger.The Kent Volunteer Fire Department celebrated the 100th anniversary of its founding in 1911. The year-long celebration included a number of events spread out over the year, including a summer barbecue at the firehouse attended by hundreds of people.The annual Litchfield Jazz Festival and the associated 16th Annual Jazz Camp for music students, returned to the Kent School campus over the summer. More than 400 students attended the Jazz Camp, which ranged form one- to four-week sessions. Students, up and coming jazz stars, and well-known jazz legends performed at the festival.Weird weather kept Kent residents on their toes throughout the year. Tropical Storm Irene flooded Route 7, cutting off travel into and out of town. Teacher Pattie Heaton used a canoe to row from her home on Route 7 to her job at Kent Center School.The Connecticut Antique Machinery Association (CAMA) held its annual “power up” in spring and its “power down” in autumn. Of special interest to youngsters of all ages was the chance to take a ride on one of the association’s prize possessions: Hawaii Railway Co. No. 5, a restored 1925 Baldwin steam locomotive that took visitors for rides up and down the nearby train tracks.The South Kent School moved forward with ecologically friendly plans for the former Arno farm, the town’s last dairy farm. When the farm went on the market, the school purchased it. The 130-acre former farm was not adjacent to the school property. However, due to the generosity of a private donor, the school was able to purchase an additional 22-acre parcel that connects the school and farm. Included in plans for the farm is a Center for Innovation focusing on three areas: stewardship of the relationship between humans, animals, technology and land use; creativity and communication in global cultures; and applied technology to engage students in mathematics, physics, robotics and biology to solve real-world problems.For the second year in a row, Yankee Magazine named Kent the number one fall foliage town in New England.Kent Falls State Park continued to attract visitors from near and far. The state park was a calm oasis on weekdays, but on weekends it was jammed with families on picnics, hikers and people enjoying the falls and water. The storms whipped up the water here and at Bull’s Bridge. Happily, though, there were no fatalities at either spot this year.The winner of this year’s Kent Memorial Library raffle was Mark Miller, who won the 2000 Porsche Boxter convertible. Miller, a police officer with the Brookfield Police Department, and his wife, Christine, have lived in Kent for 25 years.There were some changes in the Board of Selectmen following the November municipal elections. First Selectman Bruce Adams ran unopposed but Karen Garrity and George Jacobs did not stand for reelection. Voters elected Democrat Tod Jones and Republican Mary Susi Williams, who had previously served as a selectman.Retail continued to be strong in town, with new cafes and bakeries opening up along longtime businesses.The site of the former Stroble Bakery reopened in 2011 as the Millstone Bakery, next to the Millstone Café. The bakery and café are owned and operated by John Cummins and Carol Hawran.