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The Town Has Spoken

By Dan Sherr

The Town has spoken. The full time, part time and even the renters, have shared their passions and suggestions for Washington. And most importantly, a consensus has emerged on what delivers the Washington quality of life.

There were 428 respondents to an online survey implemented by the Connecticut Economic Resources Center (CERC) at the request of the Washington Economic Development Committee. Offered during the fall of 2016, nearly 25% of the homeowners and renters answered the community survey. Eighty-six percent (86%) classified themselves as full time, fourteen percent (14%) part time. Two thirds of the part-time residents reported their “other home” as New York.

The community, both full and part time, relish the charm of New England and consider it the definition of Washington’s quality of life. Defining that charm are the vibrant villages, parks and preserves and arts & culture. When asked what types of activities should be expanded, farmer’s markets, seasonal festivals, musical events or concerts, historical or garden tours and art exhibits or gallery openings rise to the top for both full and part-time residents.

The part-time residents add much to Washington, providing a true economic and social balance to the community. They’re somewhat younger – 40% are 35 - 54 years of age – with larger families and nearly twice as likely to have children – 38% vs. 20%. And they spend 25% or more of their time in Washington 

Their spending patterns take them into the villages often. They dine out in Washington at levels comparable to full time residents – 50% of the time – and shop in Washington Sixty percent of the time. Dining options are particularly lauded by both full and part-time residents as a driver of the quality of life in Washington. And socialization is called out when talking of the benefits of shopping in town.

While full and part timers voice a pressing need for improved cell service, telecommuting drives the part timer’s commitment. 60% indicate they would be here more often if telecommuting were available. Adding to that is a stated desire for shared workspace with amenities and networking events. 

An interesting footnote to the survey was the question, “what nearby town is most like Washington?” The answer was Roxbury followed by Kent.

The community survey is a major step in advancing the Washington Economic Development Committee’s promise to enhance communications for the Town. The Newsletter and Events Calendar initiated in 2016 confirmed the value of keeping the Town fully informed.

Table of Contents

Download a pdf version of the Winter What's Happening in Washington, CT newsletter here.

Letter from the Selectman

Washington has been experiencing an interesting series of weather events to start our winter season; extreme cold, snow and spring like weather have all presented unique challenges. Our highway department has been busy keeping up with changing conditions to keep our Town roads in safe condition.

The Board of Selectmen is starting to put together next fiscal year’s budget which will involve meeting with department heads and creating an expenditure plan for the coming year. These budget workshops will be ongoing through March and will create a FY 17-18 budget for presentation to the Board of Finance in April and Town Meeting in May.


Looking ahead there are projects we hope to have completed in the upcoming construction season. The replacement of a culvert on Walker Brook Road at Chapin Road is waiting for final approval by the Army Corp of Engineers. The renovation of Bryan Plaza is in the final design stage and hopefully will be ready to go out to bid for the 2017 construction season. The Board of Selectmen and Highway Department will be working on road reconstruction priorities within a budget that will not include nearly as much state aid as previous years.

Enjoy our New England winter, it has been true to the saying “if you do not like the weather wait 15 minutes.” Check the Town calendar for a long list of seasonal events.

New Events for WEC

The Washington Environmental Council (WEC) is excited to announce two new events for 2017: a 5K run and the Future Now Environmental Expo! In addition to the Annual Earth Day Roadside Cleanup, WEC will hold its first 5K road race. Earth Day is Saturday, April 22, so keep your running shoes handy. No running experience is required, walkers are welcome and the first 40 people to register will receive the famous WEC beanie. We hope you and your business will join us at the cleanup, as well as the road race. It would be great if each business could help pick up trash this year!

On Saturday, June 24, WEC will be holding the Future Now Environmental Expo. The Expo’s mission is to inform our community about environmental issues and present concrete options for implementing change. Our goal is to create a community of environmental advocates and to empower our children to become future environmental leaders. 

The Expo will be an all day, walkable and unhurried experience utilizing the Town Hall, the Farmer’s Market, Judy Black Studio and other area businesses. There will be something for everyone, i.e., face to face exhibitors, hands on workshops, local foods, speakers, children’s activities, documentaries and music. 

If you or your business is interested in exhibiting, providing speakers, donating lecture space or volunteering on a committee, please contact Carrie Rowe at 860-868-7887 or Diane Decker at Please spread the word!

The Future is Now! 

Spotlight on Community:

Washington Ambulance Association @ 75 Years

By Dan Sherr

“We’re going to take care of you.” Nearly 400 Washington folks heard this very reassuring message from a Washington Ambulance Association (WAA)crew member during 2016. Call frequency is nearly double from that of only ten years ago. Remarkably, 911 or a medic alert device is all that was needed to bring this precious help.

Borne of the World War II commitment to community preparedness, the all-volunteer town ambulance has been on call for 75 years – day or night. Initiated by the Lions Club of Washington, with a pledge “to provide our ambulance service as a public benefaction,” the WAA was incorporated February 4, 1942. The first ambulance call was February 15, 1942 in a repurposed 1938 used Packard hearse. 

Thirty six volunteers make it happen. It’s an all-volunteer organization. Rigorously trained over a six-month period, motivated by a real passion for assuring “the gift of life,” the EMTs and EMRs are literally in discovery mode when they arrive at the location of an emergency call. Even with formal training, volunteers speak frequently of “learning on the job” and will admit their first call was a “terrifying” experience. It’s these experiences, however, that turn these nationally certified medical responders into calm, competent, and compassionate caregivers.

Response protocols are changing. The WAA continuously monitors call patterns and resets and refreshes training to assure readiness. Data collected over recent years shows 50% of the patients assessed by WAA are 60 years of age and over. Cardiac issues and falls have grown dramatically in frequency, requiring both new equipment and focused efforts on the best care for our aging population. The opioid-heroin overdose epidemic has produced an on-site treatment regimen unknown here even five years ago. 

The WAA has responded with new equipment. Concluding a multiyear funding campaign of nearly $250,000, WAA purchased a new ambulance with advanced online medical technology. This second ambulance adds substantially to the response capabilities of the WAA for multi-patient emergencies and simultaneous dispatches. 

Financially, The Washington Ambulance Association is unique in two ways. The Association is 100% funded by the community and is one of very few emergency ambulance corps in the state with no charges for the services provided. Annual campaigning supports both operations and equipment. Reserves are thin and an endowment is still in planning.

The WAA - 75 years of all volunteer, 100% community funded, emergency pre-hospital healthcare at no cost to the patient. Amazing and thank you.

Washington Ambulance Association, Inc., P.O. Box 294, Washington Depot, CT 06794,  

Gunn Memorial Library

Junior Programs for February

Bundle up your precious little ones and join the fun at the Gunn Memorial Junior Library in Washington with Winter Story Hours February 10 through April 7. Two year olds and their caregivers will enjoy Two’s Time on Friday mornings at 10:30. Three and four year olds with caregivers may join Book Buddies held on Friday afternoons at 2:15. Both are 45 minute sessions. These preschool programs include music, finger play, crafts and, of course – books. 

Elementary school age children are invited to After School Story Craft. K-1st grade sessions will be held on Tuesdays, 3:30-4:15, from February 7 through April 4. The 2nd -3rd grade sessions are on Thursdays, 3:30-4:15, from February 9 through April 6. Both series offer stories, games, crafts, activities and snack. Registration is requested to ensure adequate supplies. Washington Primary School students may ride the bus to the library if a note is given to the school in advance. 

February Fun at the Gunn

Saturday afternoon programs: 

February 4 – Take Your Child to the Library Day drop-in 9:30am-2:30pm
Bring in the family for a fun library experience. Enjoy our craft menagerie, scavenger hunt, contests and raffle. Learn about the many services we offer and check out our collections – from books to DVD’s, music, magazines, puzzles, audio books, computers, Nooks, games and even toys. Your library is more than just books! Pick up a schedule of upcoming activities. Gifts and door prizes throughout the day.

February 11 – Valentine Craft – 1:00pm
Have fun making Valentines for someone special – with markers, stickers, ribbon and tissue paper. All materials provided.

February 18 – The Snowy Day – 1:00
Celebrate this classic picture book written by Ezra Jack Keats by making a collage featuring the character in the book. Also try some snowflake crafts, make a snowman snow gauge and play with our snow paint!

February 25 – Dr. Seuss Crafts – 1:00pm
Celebrate Dr. Seuss’s birthday. Enjoy games, crafts and stories in honor of this iconic author whose real name was Theodor Seuss Geisel. When we celebrate Dr. Seuss, we send a message to children that reading is fun and important. 

These programs are free and open to the public. Registration is requested but not required. Please call the library for further information at 860-868-2310 or visit

Save the Date

Gunn Memorial Library’s 22nd Annual Library Luminaries fundraising event will be held on Saturday, May 20, 2017. A cocktail party starts the evening, followed by unique dinners in beautiful country homes, each highlighting a notable “luminary” guest. More to follow.

Shepaug Regional School District 12:

Taking a STEM Focus

By Karen A. Fildes 

Washington, CT – January 4, 2017 - Students throughout the district are looking at the world around them with a critical focus and developing their skills in the fields of STEM; science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Following the principles of the scientific method, students as young as kindergarten are making predictions, building models and testing out their theories through hands-on experiments. 

Our young scientists and engineers are exploring the physical world under the guidance of Mary Ann Zoeller, the Region’s STEM Enrichment Teacher who spends time in each elementary classroom. The activities she brings to the students are aligned with new science standards and allows the opportunity to solve complex problems such as What happens when materials vibrate? and What happens when there is no light? using a hands-on engineering process. 

At the middle and high school level, students continue to delve deeper into the world of STEM through the three-year Project Lead the Way program coordinated through Technology Education Teacher, Sheila Gambino. Students in grades 6-8 spend time developing high-end engineering skills using professional computer modeling programs such as AutoDesk, creating their designs on a 3-D printer, and learning the principles of robotics. Students are exposed to the multifaceted and interdisciplinary world of engineering and those who develop an interest in the field can further hone their skills through high school courses in advanced robotics, computer programming, mobile app development, and soon, “wearable” technologies. 

Region 12 has taken a progressive approach to developing our future scientists and engineers by providing opportunities for all students to develop foundational skills in questioning and problem solving. 

ASAP!® Upcoming Events & Workshops

For more information about these programs,
please visit or call 860-868-0740.

ASAP! Annual Appeal
Help us reach our goal of $50,000!

Hip-Hop & Party Dancing, Roxbury
with Austin Dailey

Booth Free School Gym, Roxbury
Grades K-2 | Thursdays, 3:45-4:30pm
Grades 3-5 | Thursdays, 4:45-5:45pm
Feb. 2, 9, 16, 23
4 sessions: $48 for Region 12 residents
Kids will learn new party dance moves to the beat of hip-hop music: breakdancing, waving robotics and line dancing. They’ll learn hip-hop/breakdance vocabulary and basic routines, too.

Move & Create with Pilobolus
Washington Club Hall, Washington
Adults | Saturday, 10:00am-5:00pm
Feb. 11, One session: $65
Team up with members of the world renowned dance company Pilobolus and community members from across Connecticut for an exhilarating, collaborative dance workshop. In this one-of-a-kind class, you’ll explore, invent, interact, and become involved in a unique style of dance all while making new friends.

Storyboarding with Alex Echevarria
Shepaug Valley School Art Room
Grades 6-8 | Wednesdays, 2:35-4:05pm
Feb. 22, Mar. 1, 8, 15
4 sessions: $48 for Region 12 residents
Ever wonder how that amazing action sequence in your favorite movie was filmed? Learn about the storyboarding process, which includes writing an original sequence, scouting locations, creating overhead plans for camera location and movement, drawing “thumbnail” sketches, and finally drawing finished storyboards. You’ll learn hands-on the first crucial step in the journey of bringing the written word to life on the big (or small) screen. Participants can take the late bus home at 4:15pm.

Friday Night Hip-Hop & Dance Party with Austin Dailey
Shepaug Valley School, Washington
Includes All Ages
Friday, Feb. 24 | 6:00-8:00pm
Pre-sale ticket fee: $8 per person
Ticket fee at the door: $10 per person
Austin Dailey aka “DJ Red Supreme” is down for some fun with you and your friends. Whether you’re a hip-hop pro or just like to dance in your living room, this is a party you won’t want to miss! Leave your dresses and khakis at home and wear your most comfortable clothes.

Upcoming Events at The Gunnery

Bye Bye Birdie on Stage in Washington

The Gunnery Drama Society will present Bye Bye Birdie, the zany, award-winning musical, in the Lemcke Theater in the Emerson Performing Arts Center on campus March 2, 3 and 4 at 7:00pm The public is invited to attend and admission is free. 

Volunteers Needed for Annual Regatta

On Sunday, May 7, The Gunnery’s Annual Founders Day Regatta will take place on Lake Waramaug. We’re always looking for volunteers to help out! If you’re interested in volunteering on land or if you have a Connecticut boaters license and want to volunteer on the water, please contact the Regatta Director, Melissa Schomers, at 

Summer Is Coming — Plan Now for Camps!

It’s not too early to start planning for summer camps! This summer The Gunnery will be offering sessions for crew, field hockey and soccer. All programs, led by highly qualified, dedicated, and energetic counselors, provide campers with a learning environment that’ll encourage growth and enjoyment. To sign up or to find out more, visit 

What’s Going on in Washington, CT

This is just a small sampling from Please check the site for more information and for other events.


9 | 4:45 – 7:00pm
Needles and Things at the Washington Senior Center
Location: Washington Senior Center
Bring a project and join us for a productive afternoon with “chat.” No fee. All are welcome.

Contact: Pam Collins
Phone: 860-868-0735
More Info: 

12 | 4:45 – 7:00pm
Washington - Gunnery Family Skate
Location: The Gunnery Linen Rink.

Sponsored jointly by Washington Park and Recreation and The Gunnery School at The Gunnery Linen Rink
Every Sunday November 20 through March 5.

Helmets are strongly recommended.

The snack bar will be open. Proceeds help to support the Bunker Burr Scholarship Fund, which provides tuition and equipment purchase assistance to children and families wishing to get involved in ice skating or the great game of ice hockey.

Fees: $5 per person, per session; $65 per person for the season; $145 per family for the season; Gunnery families and children registered in NWYH Programs are admitted free of charge!

This event is open to all and no registration is required. Just show up!

More Info:

13 | 10:00am – 5:00pm
IAIS Presents New Storyteller Exhibit and Three Sisters Walkway
Location: Institute for American Indian Studies

The Institute for American Indian Studies is proud to announce a new Three Sisters mosaic walkway for greeting visitors entering the museum while an exciting exhibit titled “Stories in Clay: The Pueblo Storyteller” adds a depth of character to the Southwest collections. Generous donations to a Capital Campaign made the walkway and accompanying stone sitting wall possible. Sidney and Marge Goldman graciously donated the new collection on display.

The custom-designed front walkway depicts the main crops of Connecticut’s Native Americans – corn, beans and squash. Dubbed the Three Sisters, each plant helps support and nourish the other.

Contact: Danaleah Schoenfuss, Email:, Phone: 860-868-0518, More Info: 

25 | 1:00 – 3:00pm
2017 Winter Fest-Washington’s Annual Winter Festival
Location: River Walk Pavilion

Come snowshoe and enjoy a warm drink and s’mores around the campfire at River Walk Park!

Sportsmen’s of Litchfield will be there with FREE snowshoe rentals and mini lessons if you’e new to the sport! Snowshoes will be available for purchase, too!

Winter fun for the whole family.

Phone: 860-868-1516
More Info: 

26 | 7:30 – 8:30am
GET FIT class with Melissa Evans
Location:  First Congregational Church

A GET FIT class will be held at Weresbe Hall at the First Congregational Church on the green. Classes will be an average of 50 minutes. The cost is $10 per class with your first class FREE!  Exercises can be modified to fit the need of different levels of participants. Classes will consist of cardio, weight training, yoga, Pilates, and kickboxing. You need a yoga mat, free weights and water. Expect to get a good sweat and have a great time!

More Info: 


2 | 6: 00– 7:30pm
Before the Flood Documentary Screening
Location: Gunn Memorial Library

This showing is sponsored by the Washington Environmental Council.

This epic National Geographic documentary follows Leonardo DiCaprio as he travels the world to examine firsthand the effects of climate change, and to learn more about possible ways to prevent catastrophic damage that could make the Earth unsustainable for human life. During his journey, he speaks with such influential figures as President Barack Obama, Pope Francis and tech innovator Elon Musk, and makes a speech before the United Nations calling for greater action on this issue. Rated PG/96 minutes.

Following the screening, the audience will have the opportunity to engage in a discussion on climate change with members of Washington Environmental Council. 

There is no fee for this event.

More Info: 

Washington Trivia

When was daylight saving time instituted and for what reason?

See if your answer is correct in the next issue, out in March! 

Last issue’s answer: Shepaug Railroad ran from 1872 - 1948. Trivia by Sheila Anson. 

Subscribe to our Washington Events online newsletter. Go to to sign-up.

What’s Happening in Washington, CT is organized and printed through the Washington Economic Development Committee. Look for our next issue in March.

Copyright © 2017 Washington Economic Development, All rights reserved.

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