To the Editor:

This letter is addressed to all Region 12 board members, as this is a big concern for the residents of Washington, Roxbury and Bridgewater, respectively.

First and foremost, I would like to address the AgStem Program.

I would like the entire board to submit a list of contractors and subcontractors to the Building Committee so that there could not be any hanky-panky regarding kickbacks to any member of the committee. There must be transparency in the selection.

I have spoken to many people and they share my sentiment.

We live in a democracy and as such, it should be conducted that way and, if possible, bring it up to the taxpayers.

The state is committed to provide 80 percent to the towns but being that they are in a dire financial situation, they could pull the money back. And where does that leave the residents?

The Board of Ed in Region 12 has been less than honest with us about the statistics concerning the number of students to be enrolled in the program.

They have inflated the figures and as enrollment in surrounding towns have also declined, we cannot support the program and there goes our grant.

We are in a manner of speaking “holding the bag.”

Therefore, how can we depend on outside students to fill the program?

Another matter I would like to address is when students come to Shepaug to be educated and there is a tuition to be paid and they have a responsibility to pay for their transportation.

However, sometimes they renege and we, the residents of Region 12, pay for them to attend our high school. Is this fair? I do not think so.

In that instance, it should be the responsibility of their parents to supply them with transportation.

People, be aware of what is happening and take an invested interest in our communities.

Fran DeSimone

Washington Depot

To the Editor:

On behalf of the staff of Village Center for the Arts and its board of directors, we would like to thank the 100-plus people who attended the sixth annual IPA Tasting and Dinner Jan. 27.

We hope that all of you left feeling great about supporting the mission of VCA, which is to provide a nurturing environment for artistic creativity through educational fine art programs and events for all ages.

We also hope you enjoyed sampling the more than 65 different types of beer (and wine), arranged by NeJaime’s Wine & Spirits / New Milford Spirit Shoppe, and a delicious dinner prepared by the Community Culinary School of Northwestern Connecticut.

We are grateful for the generosity of the community, as the event raised more than $8,000 for the programs and services of VCA.

We would not be able to stage the event without the support of our local sponsors. Gold level sponsors included Bakewell & Mulhare, RC3 Electric, Wetmore’s Chrysler Jeep Dodge, Union Savings Bank, and YardApes. Silver sponsors included Aspetuck Animal Hospital, Danbury Square Box, Makery Co-working, Bob and Sue Cooper, and Nicholas Tobin Insurance.

Thanks also to our host, St. John’s Episcopal Church in New Milford.

We would also like to recognize and thank VCA co-founder, Jayson Roberts, who created and organized the event, Kevin Bielmeier for fundraising and logistics, John Nejaime of NeJaime’s, and Executive Director Dawn Hammacott, Chefs Justin Elander, Leenea Bernardo, Mallory Blanding and Blythe Roberts of the Community Culinary School of Northwest Connecticut.

Many thanks to our volunteers and servers Lauren Jelenffy, Abby Allen, Willow Glynn, Lucy Burns, Shawn and Zachary Robinson-Lisee; Dianne Collentine for all the online promotions; Kari DelVecchio for graphic design; PrintWorks Printing for posters and the event book; and Jim Lynch and Marc Sichel for their live music.

Please visit our website ( for upcoming classes, workshops and special events.

Sharon Kaufman

Executive Director

Ben Grinnell


Board of Directors

Village Center for the Arts