They say that your golden years are the best years of your life. For most older Americans, that's how it should be - a time to relax, reflect, and live life in a familiar place. After all, senior citizens in the U.S. have worked tirelessly to build a better economy, serve their communities, and raise families.
However, as seniors grow older, sometimes they cannot live independently without someone by their side to provide care. Unfortunately, some older Americans aren't able to rely on their adult children for help. The reality in today's world is that family members do not have the skills or time to dedicate to caring for their parents. That's where Always Best Care Senior Services comes in.
Our in-home care services are for people who prefer to stay at home as they grow older but need ongoing care that family or friends cannot provide. More and more older adults prefer to live in the comforts or their home rather than in an assisted living community. Home care in Tolland, CT is a safe, effective way to give your loved ones the care they need when they need it the most.
Since 1996, Always Best Care has provided non-medical in-home care for seniors to help them maintain a healthy lifestyle as they age. We are proud to have helped tens of thousands of seniors to maintain a higher level of dignity and respect. We focus on providing seniors with the highest level of home care available so that they may live happily and independently.
Unlike some senior care companies, we genuinely want to be included in our clients' lives. We believe that personalized care is always the better option over a "one size fits all" approach. To make sure our senior clients receive the best care possible, we pair them with compassionate caregivers who understand their unique needs.
The Always Best Care difference lies in life's little moments - where compassionate care and trustworthy experience come together to help seniors live a fruitful, healthy life. Whether you are an aging adult that can't quite keep up with life's daily tasks or the child of a senior who needs regular in-home care services in Tolland, CT. Always Best Care is here to help.
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.
To give our senior clients the best care possible, we offer a full spectrum of in-home care services:
If your senior loved one has specific care needs, our personal care services are a great choice to consider. Personal care includes the standard caregiving duties associated with companion care and includes help with tasks such as dressing and grooming. Personal care can also help individuals with chronic conditions like diabetes or Parkinson's or Alzheimer's.
Sometimes, seniors need helpful reminders to maintain a high quality of life at home. If you or your senior has trouble with everyday tasks like cooking, our home helper services will be very beneficial.
Using this kind of care is a fantastic way to make life easier for you or your senior loved one. At Always Best Care, our talented caregivers often fill the role of a companion for seniors. That way, older adults can enjoy their favorite activities and hobbies while also receiving the care they need daily or weekly.
According to AARP, more than 53 million adults living in the U.S. provide care to someone over 50 years old. Unfortunately, these caregivers experience stress, exhaustion, and even depression. Our respite care services help family caregivers address urgent obligations, spend time with their children, and enjoy other activities. Perhaps more importantly, respite care gives family members time to recharge and regroup. Taking personal time to de-stress helps reduce the risks of caregiver burnout.
When it comes to non-medical home care, our goal is to become a valuable part of your senior's daily routine. That way, we may help give them the highest quality of life possible. We know that staying at home is important for your loved one, and we are here to help make sure that is possible. If you have been on the fence about non-medical home care, there has never been a better time than now to give your senior the care, assistance, and companionship they deserve.
Always Best Care in-home services are for older adults who prefer to stay at home but need ongoing care that friends and family cannot provide. In-home care is a safe, effective way for seniors to age gracefully in a familiar place and live independent, non-institutionalized lives. The benefits of non-medical home care are numerous. Here are just a few reasons to consider senior care services from Always Best Care:
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.
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 Tolland, 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.
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.
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 Tolland, 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.
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.
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 Tolland,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.
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
TOLLAND — When Tolland fourth-grader Aarnia Dongare was told by her teachers that her school was participating in the state’s Fire Prevention Poster Contest, she decided she would put all of her effort into coming up with a winning design.She wound up winning not only for both her school and Tolland County, but for the entire state of Connecticut.“She’s a very ambitious girl so she wants to do really well,” said Aarnia’s mother, Faye Assanah, who added last week that she thinks the result is ...
TOLLAND — When Tolland fourth-grader Aarnia Dongare was told by her teachers that her school was participating in the state’s Fire Prevention Poster Contest, she decided she would put all of her effort into coming up with a winning design.
She wound up winning not only for both her school and Tolland County, but for the entire state of Connecticut.
“She’s a very ambitious girl so she wants to do really well,” said Aarnia’s mother, Faye Assanah, who added last week that she thinks the result is “a good reward for her hard work.”
The Fire Prevention Poster contest is held annually in Connecticut schools to help teach children about fire safety, including being prepared with smoke detectors and the importance of “stop, drop and roll,” should their clothing catch fire, Tolland Fire Marshall Robert DaBica said last month.
After winning the contest, Aarnia was honored at an April 13 Board of Education meeting, where a framed replica of her poster was presented to the school board.
The importance of this was not lost on Aarnia’s parents, who moved to the United States from India and Bangladesh before Aarnia was born to teach at the University of Connecticut, Assanah said. Because Aarnia is a first- generation student in the United States, she said, it was a big deal getting recognition at this level” from the Tolland community.
“When she found out she had won at the state level she was jumping up and down, she was really excited. And we were very grateful because winning something at that level definitely says a lot,” Assanah said.
Superintendent Walter Willett said the school board was “ecstatic” that Aarnia won the competition, adding, “she’s such an amazing young lady.”
Willett also said that Aarnia’s winning poster is insightful, adding, “It’s quite an accomplishment.”
Despite the accolades that come with winning a statewide contest, Aarnia has mostly kept the honor to herself, Assanah said.
“I like the fact that she is very humble in that sense and I would definitely like to keep it that way,” Assanah said, adding that Aarnia is a “very compassionate girl” who likes to help people whenever she can.
For winning the contest, Tolland Intermediate School will receive $500 from the state, Willett said.
Aarnia hopes that money will go towards science and technology education in Tolland, Assanah said.
Aarnia won a $900 prize from the contest, and she has already figured out how to use it. From the very beginning, she decided it would go towards her college fund, Assanah said.
As for Aarnia’ original drawing, it will be displayed in the state Capitol for a year and will also be on the cover of next year’s fire prevention calendar that is distributed to all schools in the state, Willett said.
TOP PERFORMERS Roy Lenhard, Shelton: The lefty won his fifth game of the season, striking out 9 and allowing just 3 hits in a win over Lyman Hall, lowering his ERA to 0.74 for the season.Justin Keller, Ridgefield: In the Tigers’ 17-11 win over Greenwich, Keller was 3-for-5, with a triple, 3 runs and 2 RBIs.Auggie Albert, Old Saybrook: The sophomore had himself a week. He was 2-for-3 with a double, a run scored and 3 RBIs against Hale Ray ...
Roy Lenhard, Shelton: The lefty won his fifth game of the season, striking out 9 and allowing just 3 hits in a win over Lyman Hall, lowering his ERA to 0.74 for the season.
Justin Keller, Ridgefield: In the Tigers’ 17-11 win over Greenwich, Keller was 3-for-5, with a triple, 3 runs and 2 RBIs.
Auggie Albert, Old Saybrook: The sophomore had himself a week. He was 2-for-3 with a double, a run scored and 3 RBIs against Hale Ray then went 3-for-3 with 2 homers, 3 runs scored, 3 RBIs and a stolen base in a 15-7 victory over Portland.
Nathan Jones, Greenwich: Jones threw seven no-hit innings for the Cardinals, striking out eight with no walks as part of a 1-0 win over Darien in 10 innings.
Ryan Daniels, St. Paul: The UConn-bound senior had a home run, 2 RBIs and 2 runs scored as the Falcons went to the CCC to beat Hall 10-1.
Brendan Palmer, Ansonia: Palmer tossed a complete game with 15 strikeouts, not allowing an earned run as Ansonia won a pitcher’s duel over Seymour 2-1.
Jack Sheffield, New Canaan: Sheffield hit a grand slam as the Rams rolled over McMahon 12-1.
Jim Asecta, Fairfield Prep: Asceta had 3 hits and a 2-run home run in the Jesuits win over East Haven.
Casey Katz, Brookfield: Katz had a big week, going 5-for-12 with a 1.646 OPS, 4 Triples, 4 RBIs and 5 runs. On the mound, he picked up a save, not allowing any hits.
Nick Hunkele, NDWH: The junior threw a complete game against Fairfield Prep surrendering one earned run and scattering 5 hits while striking out 6. For the week at the plate, he went 4-for-11 with a double and 5 runs scored.
Kyla Brogan, Wethersfield: Brogan pitched a complete game, getting the win over Tolland 6-1, while also going 4-for-4 at the plate with 2 RBIs.
Cam McGugan, Fitch: McGugan went 4-for-5 with 3 runs and two RBIs for Fitch in a 14-4 non-conference win at Hand.
Jake Vairo, Darien: Vairo was 3-for-4, with a triple, 2 RBIs and a run scored as the Blue Wave defeated St. Joseph 7-4.
GAMES TO WATCH
GAMES TO WATCH
Holy Cross at No. 4 St. Paul, Tuesday, 4 p.m.: St. Paul’s toughest games in the NVL come this week with back-to-back contests against Woodland and Holy Cross as the Falcons try to remain unbeaten.
Staples at No. 3 Ridgefield, Tuesday, 4 p.m.: This game started a few weeks ago, but rain halted it in the fourth inning and forced the teams to come back and start over.
Ludlowe at Westhill, Tuesday, 4 p.m.: Ludlowe is sixth in the FCIAC standings but only two games up on the teams tied for 12th place. It is that kind of year in the FCIAC. A win for the Vikings moves them closer to a home game in the FCIAC quarterfinals.
Brookfield at Immaculate, Wednesday, 4:15 p.m.: Immaculate has suddenly gotten hot, winning five straight entering the week and thrusting itself into the middle of the SWC playoff hunt.
Southington at Conard, Wednesday, 5 p.m.: Two of the hottest teams in the CCC meet with Southington on a seven-game winning streak and Conard having won five in a row.
No. 6 Xavier at Shelton, Wednesday, 7 p.m.: Shelton has flown under the radar thus far in the SCC but can make its mark with a win over Xavier in the second meeting between the two this season. Xavier won the first contest 9-8.
No. Fitch at Waterford, Thursday, 4 p.m.: Offense should be on display in this one with both teams having won their last three games with double-digit run totals.
No. 5 Windsor at No. 7 Newington, Thursday, 4:30 p.m.: The top two teams in the CCC meet twice this week, going home-and-home to see who will sit atop the standings.
Bethel at Nonnewaug, Saturday, 11 a.m.: Nonnewaug is one of four undefeated teams in the state and travels out of the Berkshire League to take on Bethel from the SWC.
Somers student Cortland Carbone pushed through health struggles, earning her associate's degree mere months after her high school graduation.ENFIELD, Conn. — A Somers high school student is celebrating her hard work after she earned both her high school diploma and an associate's degree within months of each other.Cortland Carbone, a graduate of CREC Academy of Aerospace and Engineering in Windsor, began her journey in her junior year.Asnuntuck Commun...
Somers student Cortland Carbone pushed through health struggles, earning her associate's degree mere months after her high school graduation.
ENFIELD, Conn. — A Somers high school student is celebrating her hard work after she earned both her high school diploma and an associate's degree within months of each other.
Cortland Carbone, a graduate of CREC Academy of Aerospace and Engineering in Windsor, began her journey in her junior year.
Asnuntuck Community College offered courses through its high school partnership program, which allows students financial affordability when it comes to college.
“Taking college courses during high school was incredibly appealing to me,” said Cortland. “Asnuntuck’s High School Partnership Program made college more financially accessible, as the program covered one free course per Fall and Spring term.”
The college said Carbone continued that drive and took additional courses and took more classes during the accelerated winter session and summer semester – all paid for out of pocket.
Carbone wasn't only active in her studies but also in after-school curricular activities like tutoring middle-school students, part of the National Honor Society, and being a trained peer mediator. Cortland's list of accomplishments is a long list and one that impressed her advisors.
“Rarely have I encountered a student as capable and motivated as Cortland, but what set her apart was her willingness to engage in our learning community.” Dr. Heather D'Orlando with Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society at Asnuntuck explained, “She infused her compassion and optimism into each course, each student activity, that she participated in. We are all fortunate that as a future psychologist, Cortland will apply such skills to the service of children and families.”
Carbone also fought through struggles due to COVID-19, commenting on her own health battles and her high-risk status for contracting COVID-19.
“Since an infant, I’ve addressed health issues related to congenital heart defects," Carbone explained. "As a result, I was in the high-risk category for contracting COVID-19. During my time at Asnuntuck, I experienced complications that required hospitalization and ultimately two separate surgeries. Prior to surgery, I was experiencing a very high level of fatigue, dizziness, arrhythmias, and other related symptoms. After in-hospital testing, my cardiologist was able to diagnose the reasons for the symptoms, and surgery was required. In my desire to complete my program on time, I did my best to work around my symptoms to maintain my program of study.”
Carbone chose the CSCU Pathway Transfer Degree: Psychology Studies A.A. and will be receiving an A.A. in Liberal Arts with a concentration in Psychology this coming May. She has plans to transfer to a four-year school in the fall.
Jennifer Glatz is a digital content producer at FOX61 News. She can be reached at [email protected].
Have a story idea or something on your mind you want to share? We want to hear from you! Email us at [email protected]
HERE ARE MORE WAYS TO GET FOX61 NEWS
Download the FOX61 News APP
Stream Live on ROKU: Add the channel from the ROKU store or by searching FOX61.
Steam Live on FIRE TV: Search ‘FOX61’ and click ‘Get’ to download.
This is a carousel. Use Next and Previous buttons to navigateTOP PERFORMERSElena Bontatibus, Simsbury: The junior attack collected five goals, including the 100th of her career, during the Trojans’ 11-10 overtime victory against Glastonbury on Tuesday. She also had five goals and an assist in a 14-2 win over Tolland on Friday.Mackenzie Chapman, Simsbury: The senior middie scored the winning goal in Simsbury’s 11-10 OT win against Glastonbury. Junior Reece Wil...
This is a carousel. Use Next and Previous buttons to navigate
Elena Bontatibus, Simsbury: The junior attack collected five goals, including the 100th of her career, during the Trojans’ 11-10 overtime victory against Glastonbury on Tuesday. She also had five goals and an assist in a 14-2 win over Tolland on Friday.
Mackenzie Chapman, Simsbury: The senior middie scored the winning goal in Simsbury’s 11-10 OT win against Glastonbury. Junior Reece Willison, another middie, had 10 draw controls to lead the Trojans.
Hannah Cross, Weston: Cross, a freshman, collected five goals, three assists and four caused turnovers in the Trojans’ 18-11 victory against Bethel on Tuesday.
Maddie Epke, Guilford: The senior scored five goals, including the game-winner, as the Grizzlies edged Daniel Hand 15-14 on Tuesday.?
Kaleigh Harden, New Canaan: The senior middie collected five goals and five draw controls in the Rams’ 16-6 victory over Ridgefield Tuesday at Dunning Field.
Chloe Humphrey, Darien: Humphrey had six points, scoring five goals and dishing out one assist, as No. 1 Darien topped No. 3 Wilton 12-8 on Monday.
Gretchen Kawecki, Old Saybrook: Kawecki scored six goals to help Old Saybrook overcome North Branford 11-10 in a battle of Shoreline contenders last Thursday. Old Saybrook trailed 8-3 at halftime but rallied for the win.
Dylan Lyons, Amity: The junior led the Spartans’ attack with four goals and one assist during an 11-10 win over perennial SCC power Cheshire last Friday.
Jaya Mackenzie, Sheehan: The senior amassed 10 goals as the Titans rolled to an 18-7 win over Mercy last Thursday.
Marena Morales, Tolland: The sophomore scored nine goals in an 18-8 victory over Griswold.
Avery Olchefskie, Glastonbury: The sophomore midfielder scored four goals on five shots, and had three caused turnovers, and five draw controls in a 11-10 overtime loss to Simsbury on Tuesday.
Kylee Payne, Foran: The junior led the Lions with five goals during an 11-10 win over Hamden on Tuesday. Foran is 11-1 this spring and the Lions and Guilford are the only two teams with fewer than two losses in Class M.
Shea Saracino, North Haven: Saracino had 12 goals and three assists in two North Haven victories. She had five goals and two assists in a 12-4 win against Shelton last Thursday, and seven goals and one assist in a 14-13 win over Berlin on Saturday.
Hannah Sommer, North Haven: Sommer collected 21 saves to help North Haven defeat Berlin 14-13 on Saturday.
Molly Snow, Wilton: The junior collected seven points with five goals and a pair of assists in No. 3 Wilton’s 16-2 romp over No. 8 Greenwich last Thursday.
Kacie Wines, Daniel Hand: The Lehigh-bound senior racked up 10 points on seven goals and three assists, including one to her sister Haley, in the Tigers’ 16-7 victory over Conard on Saturday. She also had a three-goal, two-assist effort in a 10-9 win over Sacred Heart Academy on Thursday.
Sydney Widlitz, Guilford: Widlitz, the Grizzlies’ senior goalie, recorded her 300th career save during a 16-5 win over East Lyme last Thursday. Widlitz, who will play for Union next year, has been Guilford’s starting goalie since her freshman season.
Mia Williams, Foran: The senior reached a career milestone with her 100th career goal in the Lions’ 11-10 win over Hamden on Tuesday. Williams had a hat trick in that contest.
GAMES TO WATCH
Simsbury at Daniel Hand, Saturday, 2: Both teams had big games on Tuesday, with Simsbury beating perennial CCC power Glastonbury 11-10 in OT, and Daniel Hand falling to defending SCC and Class M champ Guilford 15-14. This sets up as a very interesting cross-conference match-up.
Wilton at Cheshire, Saturday, 6: The FCIAC meets the SCC yet again as No. 3 Wilton travels to No. 10 Cheshire for a Saturday night showdown.
Darien at Moorestown (NJ), Monday, 6: The Blue Wave goes out of state for the final time this spring to take a New Jersey power. Darien was 11-0 overall with wins over Manhasset (NY), Victor (NY) and Ridgewood (NJ) heading into action on Wednesday.
Greenwich at Ridgefield, Tuesday, 4:30: No.5 Ridgefield caps a stretch of difficult games by hosting No. 8 Greenwich at Tiger Hollow.
Staples at New Canaan, Tuesday, 6: No. 2 New Canaan gets its final true regular-season test when it hosts No. 6 Staples.
Cheshire at Guilford, Tuesday, 6: The two SCC contenders have met already this season, with Guilford pulling out a 14-12 victory at Cheshire.
New Fairfield at Weston, Tuesday, 6: Both teams are at the top of the SWC and Class S standings, making this a key contest in both races. New Fairfield made a move up to No. 7 in the state poll this week, while Weston sits just outside the top 10.
Daniel Hand at Amity, Tuesday, 7: Amity recently earned a key win when it defeated Cheshire 11-10 on April 29. The Spartans will try to keep the good times rolling against a strong Daniel Hand squad.
TOLLAND — When planning to rebuild the Birch Grove Primary School after the original building was found to have a crumbling foundation in 2018, the town was forced to pick contractors chosen by the state or they would receive less funding and the project would be prolonged, town officials say.The building project, completed last summer, has recently been at the center of a federal investigation into the “planning, bidding, awarding and implementation” of school construction projects that were overseen by Konstantinos...
TOLLAND — When planning to rebuild the Birch Grove Primary School after the original building was found to have a crumbling foundation in 2018, the town was forced to pick contractors chosen by the state or they would receive less funding and the project would be prolonged, town officials say.
The building project, completed last summer, has recently been at the center of a federal investigation into the “planning, bidding, awarding and implementation” of school construction projects that were overseen by Konstantinos Diamantis, a top-ranking state budget official. Diamantis was placed on paid leave in October, and submitted a letter of resignation and retirement on the same day.
Town Council Chairman Steven Jones said today that Diamantis was a “very assertive individual” and that he wanted the town to select certain contractors and consultants for the rebuilding of the school.
“I think the notion that the town officials and the town itself were pressured to pick certain people is an accurate assumption from our perspective,” Jones said, adding, “Any pushback was jeopardizing the status and putting the timeline for completion at risk.”
One of these contractors was Construction Advocacy Professionals, which hired Diamantis’ daughter, Anastasia Diamantis, according to documents from a report on the investigation into Diamantis made by former U.S. Attorney Stanley Twardy to Gov. Ned Lamont.
Jones added that the town was “dealt an ultimatum” and was frustrated with Diamantis.
Former Town Manager Steven Werbner, who retired in 2019 and was there when the process to rebuild the school started, said today that the town had been told that they had to use the contractors that the state selected in order to receive increased funding and “fast-tracking” of the construction.
The town had hoped to raze the old school and rebuild it in two years, as students were forced into portable classrooms nearby.
“It was just a matter-of-fact statement that you need to do it this way,” Werbner said. He added that the question was asked a number of times if the town could go out to bid and select their own contractors, and “the answer was always, ‘yeah you can do that, but you’ll get reduced funding and it’ll take you two years to get through the bidding process.’”
However, Town Councilman and liaison to the Birch Grove Building Committee Lou Luba said today that he thinks the town should have pushed back more. Furthermore, Luba said Werbner, school Superintendent Walter Willett, and Building Committee Chairwoman Katie Murray, who is also a member of the Town Council, “wanted a new school at any cost and were willing to do anything it took to ensure they got that school.
“I’m not saying they’re complicit, but they didn’t do their due diligence,” Luba added, saying that other towns with school construction projects, such as Bristol and Danbury, were “more than willing to push back because they did not feel comfortable with what was presented.”
Had Willett and Werbner pushed back, they could have “delayed the time frame” that they wanted the school to be built in, Luba also said.
Luba added that he started raising questions after estimated building costs began to go up, including $1.8 million for removing soil incapable of supporting the portable classrooms, and a $500,000 increase in the cost of steel. He said that after he began to raise questions, “things started changing,” and the town received reimbursement for the soil removal costs. The Birch Grove Building Committee then also identified ways to get the project back under budget, including saving money on lights, reducing the number of wireless access points, using lower-cost windows, and simplifying the design of ceiling panels.
Willett and Murray could not be reached for comment early today.
“Despite this being a frustrating speed bump in the process, I think Tolland really came out with a school that was done on time, on budget,” Jones said today.
Demolition of the former Birch Grove Primary School at 247 Rhodes Road began in fall 2019 due to a crumbling foundation caused by the presence of the mineral pyrrhotite in its concrete. Demolition was completed at the start of 2020, and construction of the new school began shortly after.
Students returned to the new Birch Grove School, which accommodates children in pre-kindergarten through Grade 2, on Sept. 8.
Associated Press reports are included in this story.