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Mike Valletta

Storyteller. Photographer. Traveler.

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Torrington Connecticut

Have HEART with Connecticut Visiting Nurse Services

As we go about our daily lives, we often put the focus of our health on the back burner. As someone who tries his best to live a healthy lifestyle by focusing on healthy eating habits as well as putting a great deal of time into my health club membership, I try my best not to put my health on the back burner. After all, taking care of ourselves today is essentiality helping to take care of ourselves for our future, which is looking brighter for me already considering that, on average, I spend about 3 hours a day at the gym. Yes, 3 hours. I know! That sounds like an exhausting amount of time for the majority of you, it even sounds exhausting for myself at times. However, I much rather spend 3 hours at the gym focusing on my health, rather than spending years in and out of doctor offices. My gym membership practically pays for itself in more ways than one.

Recently, I learned of a great initiative from The Visiting Nurse Services of Connecticut where they are kicking off training for the Couch to 5K Hartford Marathon on October 15th, 2011. I’m certainly no marathon runner by any means of the imagination, but I am one who supports those that want to make a difference in the lives of others.Their known for caring nature for those who otherwise may be at nursing homes and away from their comfortable home environment. These are the folks who work hard day in and day out for people other themselves and I for one, not only acknowledge their hard work, but thank them for the services that they have to offer.

The kick off of the training will be on Wednesday April 6th at 5PM at the Visiting Nurse Services of Connecticut located at 65 Commercial Boulevard here in Torrington. VNS’s bring HEART to home care. Heart stands for Humor, Excellence, Attitude, Respect, and Teamwork, which is more than just a slogan, it is the essence of their caring philosophy and organizational culture.

No matter what your daily routine consists of, it is never too late to focus on your health, especially your heart which is one of the most vital elements of your body. Maintaining a healthy heart is something that is a huge focus for me. A few years back, I almost lost my father not once, but twice from two major heart attacks. This was perhaps one of the most alarming moments of my adult life. I knew I had to change directions in my life and fight to live a healthy lifestyle. After all, we all have lives that we want to live out and focusing on a healthy lifestyle is one way to ensure that happens successfully.

Spring, Where Art Thou!

Can you believe it? The calendar says April first, but the conditions outside are more like March first! Mother nature continues to show off her bipolar ways to all of us here in Litchfield County. Today, we received an inch of snow here in Torrington and for the most part of the northern Litchfield Hills region. South of the area, in southern Litchfield County, it was nothing  more than just a light dusting, and even further south, well, it was more like spring as it was just plain old rain. Winter just doesn’t know when to end. As a snow lover, even I’m over this whole winter thing. I’m looking forward to sunny days! Instead, I’m looking at a scene from Alaska as I sit inside my igloo.

A rather snowy scene in the Burrville section of Torrington.

Oh No, More Snow!

Whites Woods. Litchfield,CT

Like the rest of Litchfield County, I have been practically relishing in the spring weather that we have had lately. My vacation started on Friday when the temps soared into the 70’s in many locations. I was amazed to say the least. My first day of vacation and I was in heaven with the whole spring fever thing. Then, Saturday came and out went those temps just as fast as they came in. Oh well, it was still great weather to be outdoors and do some early season hiking. I headed out to Whites Woods in Litchfield on Sunday. I couldn’t have asked for a better day out. The sun was shining, the birds were chirping, and the folks were out and about everywhere enjoying what mother nature threw our way. I hiked along the trails that led up to the boardwalk, and once I arrived to the boardwalk, I saw just how bad our winter had been. The boardwalk was badly damaged, even falling apart in some places. I’m confident, however, that the fine folks at White Memorial will be able to work on the repairs that are needed.

As I walked along the boardwalk, I couldn’t help but love how everyone seemed to be enjoying such a great day. Many were out and about bird watching as others were hiking with their family. This was without a doubt a warm welcome spring, and I couldn’t wait to see more of this weather after the brutal winter we had.

Then, Monday hit. Temps barely got out of the 30’s as I was making my way to my health club down in Bristol and a dusting to 2″ of snow blanketed the Litchfield Hills. Well, looks like someone forgot to tell mother nature we just started celebrating the first day of spring! So much for enjoying another spring hike in Whites Woods anytime soon. Mother nature has yet again fooled us into believing it was spring. Nope, this is New England. Winter can, and will, last until mid April, and since this is the Litchfield Hills, that statement will undoubtedly hold true. Let’s just hope for our sake, however, that mother nature will cut us all a break after the winter we’ve had.

Around noon, it was still snowing as I made my way back to Torrington. I couldn’t believe my vacation was starting to look like January all over again. My assumptions are that mother nature knew I was going on vacation so she purposely called the snow gods. Well, I have news for her. I’m not sticking around. Nope. In fact, I will be driving south come Tuesday morning to spend a week with my father and the rest of my family in Virginia. Take that mother nature, I’m not getting stuck here with you and your bipolar ways. I hope, however, that she doesn’t have the same effect that she is having on New England right now. Though beautiful, I am ready for spring. I am ready for those warm summer days of R&R at Burr Pond in Torrington, and I think I can speak for the rest of Torrington when I say that. Don’t worry, those days will be here before we know it, even if we have to tackle mother nature for it like we were in a football game.

Spring into Renewal with the Torrington Downtown Partners

As the seasons start to change and spring begins to take shape, so too does a renewed sense of revival in Torrington. Many projects are set to launch around town, including the rehabilitation of the western sidewalk on Main Street, which the Torrington Development Corporation says will be similar to the enhancements on Water street. Yes, in our town, spring means there will be a lot going on, but not only from the TDC, the Torrington Downtown Partners have a lot going on as well. A few weeks ago, all of us partners cast our ballots on which awnings we would like to see on the downtown properties. I regret not making any calls on this. You see, I recently discovered that e-mail account has an incredibly sensitive spam filter. The partners e-mail had ended up in that filter, which I didn’t capture until after the voting was closed. As I reviewed the e-mail, I was impressed with the original designs that the partners have chosen, and how they wanted to keep it historically accurate. You’ll see the chosen designs soon, and you can be assured that they will make all the difference of how downtown Torrington looks.

Since becoming a parter at the press release back in the fall, I have been rather impressed what projects they have taken on and what they are doing for our community. This past week, The Register Citizen reported that a fast food franchise, Subway, would soon be making its way downtown and in one of the partners properties. Perfect! Subway is a Connecticut based company and they franchise their operations. I’m not complaining. This is a start of something good as more energy makes its way into downtown Torrington. Not only will there soon be a great place to grab a quick bite to eat as your walking around the heart of the town, but so too will be a hip new office space for the Torrington Titans as they are now located where the old Studio 59 once stood.

The partners are undoubtedly the heart of our city. Great things are happening because of their continued commitment to the fine folks of Torrington. Where once we saw a dying city that was left helpless after the manufacturing facilities left, we now see an energetic ambiance glowing from downtown Torrington as the partners, and many others like them, continue to fight for revival. I am proud to call myself a partner, and that I am doing my part to make Torrington shine ever so brightly once again for many generations to come.

Click here to learn more about the Torrington Downtown Partners

Get Groomed at the Best Barber Shop in Torrington

They say when you look good, your whole body feels good. As someone who focuses a lot on maintaining a healthy lifestyle by both eating right and engaging in a healthy session at the health club, looking great is essential to that formula, and in Torrington, there is only one place that I trust to help me with that piece of the puzzle; Groom Barber Shop. Groom has been my business of choice since I moved to Torrington. It is there where I met Dale & Mike, the experts in town who know how to give a guy the style he needs, and wants! A little off the top is a mere understatement. There is no rushed feeling here. Feel free to shoot the breeze while watching some news or sports on two of their flat screen televisions.

Since I’ll be on vacation this week, and I’ll be heading down south to see my father who moved to Virginia a little more than six months ago, I knew I had to look my very best. After all, wouldn’t you want to look great for your parents? I know I do! I paid my favorite pair of barbers a visit today and got a fresh style with Dale Becker, who I have gotten to know very well since moving to town. This kid knows his stuff and is incredibly talented, even when he’s not cutting hair. Dale is also in the midst of getting into the music business by creating new beats at his studio. I’m impressed with this guy. He has an undeniable amount of optimistic energy that keeps him doing great things, like being a great barber for example.

A visit to Groom usually lasts anywhere from 10-15 minutes, or an hour. They know, however, that slow and steady gets it right every time. Today’s visit lasted approximately 45 minutes. They pay close attention to detail and they finish off the deal with something that’s a little unusual for the Torrington area; hot lather with a straight blade cut. This is by far the best part of the cut. I look forward to it every time, not only does it feel great, but it also really helps when you want the correct style.

Groom has been in town for well over five years. They are known to offer the best service possible every time, but not only do they offer the best service, they also do a lot to give back to the community. This past summer, they gave back to the Torrington community by giving away free haircuts to school age children, just in time before they returned to classes in the fall. This was the third time they gave away free haircuts. They also gave away free cuts when they moved from their former location on Main Street, as well as when they celebrated their 5th anniversary in town.

So, the next time you’re looking to look great for that hot date, or even a night out on the town, be sure pay Groom a visit. Mark my words, you will never go wrong and you’ll get the best service guaranteed. You’ll soon be asking yourself why you have never been here before. Well, now is surely a great time to discover what you have been missing!

Groom Barber Shop LLC

78 Water Street

Torrington,CT 06790

(860) 201-5665

Raise a Glass of Wine in Downtown Torrington

There will be something for everyone on Friday, March 4th from 6-9PM as the Connecticut Academy for the Arts presents a food and wine tasting silent auction event at the academy, located at 61 Main Street in Downtown Torrington. The event promises to draw a crowd of many folks from all across the region as live entertainment from the Singer/Songwriter Network of Torrington will be on hand as well. What better way to spend a night on the town as you enjoy the sights and sounds of Downtown Torrington, and with tickets that are reasonably priced, it’s an event you can’t afford to miss!

Tickets are a mere $25 in advance, and $30 at the door. For more information, contact the Connecticut Academy for the Arts at (860) 201-5706. While at the event, don’t forget to check out our friends over at Rocket Fine Street Food who will be cooking a delectable offering of foods and deserts for the evening.

Out of the Dark

There comes a time when we all need to upgrade the things around us, and I am certainly no exception. Since the iPad came out, I have been tempted to purchase one, and when I say tempted, I mean I have been literally foaming at the mouth to invest my hard-earned dollars in this device, even more so since September which was when my laptop crashed and I had to revert back to the dinosaur; my home computer. A home computer. You know, those big bulky desktops that barely anyone uses anymore? Yeah, I can’t even tell you what that downgrade felt like. It made writing stories exceptionally difficult, not because I had to transition from a laptop keyboard, but because I couldn’t write while I was out on the road. While many hung out at coffee houses with their laptops, I had to go find the story and drive all the way back home to go ahead and chalk it up. Talk about a difficult process! I was practically living in the dark ages when it came to reporting. To make these matters even worse, I live on my own in a two-story town house. All alone. As in me, myself, and I and a living room desktop computer. Sounds like a lonely environment if you ask me, and for one who loves interacting with others, that’s not really my thing.

So, what did I do to change this drab environment? I changed things up and upgraded my life. I broke down and purchased an iPad. Okay, so maybe it was the computer that broke down before me, which pretty much forced me to go out and buy this thing, but hey, I’m not complaining! It’s income tax time and bonus season at work, this thing was much more affordable to me today than it was yesterday, plus now I can engage in a healthy conversation or two at the local coffee houses while I’m typing up a few columns. Oh, what a great feeling I have already just thinking about it! With the dinosaur extinct, life just got a whole lot better. As an added benefit, I’ll also be able to stop into the Register Citizen’s Newsroom Cafe here in Torrington more often since they offer free wi-fi, which is how the iPad essentially connects to the Internet. A 3G service version is offered on another version of the iPad through AT&T, but unfortunately the service is costly and isn’t unlimited, which is a sign of the times as many companies are now doing sway with unlimited service options. Last year at this time, I wouldn’t even consider buying the 3G version as Litchfield County did not even have 3G service. In fact, when I first moved here, I told everyone to call me at the county border if they were on their way to my house. Service was pretty rough, let alone incredibly slow.

Today is a new day. Litchfield County has had 3G service for a little over a year now and overall I can’t complain about the coverage, except of course in the isolated locations, which can be quite the challenge for anyone, and I’m not quite sure how anyone can get a hold of anything like oh, I don’t know…Life star! I guess those people just use Indian signals, but unlike them, I have escaped the dark ages and transitioned myself to at least a little taste of modern life as I enjoy more time out on the road and more time doing what I love; striking up conversations with total strangers, which apparently was something my parents forgot to tell me never to do when I was growing up.

Crash Monday is coming to Torrington

If you are in the mood for something new, something hot, and something ultra steamy, then you are not going to want to go to some old bingo hall. No. You are going to want to check out T-Place in Torrington on Friday March, 11th at 10PM as a brand new band in the region will be making its appearance in town. Their called Crash Monday and they are hot boys playing hot music. Okay, I don’t judge guys, but that is how they describe themselves! I’ll let you judge for yourself when you see them playing live as they fill the room with so much good vibe that it will make your head spin.

Crash Monday is a band started by Nick Navarro, the former star of MTV’s hit show “Shot at Love” and former guitarist for the Ultimate MTV Coverband “The Zoo”.  I have had the chance to see Nick and his former band members in action at about half-dozen venues across Connecticut and can tell you that there was not only a great vibe, there was also a lot of people who came out as the bars and clubs were usually packed to the max, and it wouldn’t take you long to find out why. Pick up a drink and let the music take you away. The Zoo played just about a little of everything, including hit music from Lady Gaga, Stone Sour, and so much more. It was hard not to enjoy yourself as you danced the night away.

Having networked with Nick and having him as a friend on Facebook, this guy has a pretty sweet following. Nick also has a new clothing line out called “Sex Addict” which has steamy hot apparel that is just as hot as his new band is. There is no doubt that with the past performances I have enjoyed that Nick and his new band will be a huge success. A stop in Torrington is well deserved, and I urge all who are looking to have a great time not to dial the number on the bathroom stall, but rather come on out to T-Place Sports Bar & Grill on Winsted Road in Torrington and witness perhaps one of the best performances that you will see in the region.

VIDEO: Ideas for your Valentine

As Valentine’s day approaches, we continue to search for great ideas that will make the day with that special someone memorable. Wine, of course, tops the list as many enjoy a night in with dinner and a glass of wine. My personal favorite is a wine that has gained in popularity over the past few months. Cupcake Wine, from Cupcake Vineyards in California, is a wine that will captivate the senses. The wine does not taste like cupcakes, however, rather it is just as sweet as they are. A delightful red wine that is popular amongst fellow cupcake drinkers is the delicious Red Velvet, which is perfect for Valentine’s Day. Locally, this wine is sold at Warehouse Wine & Liquor in Torrington.

There are an array of ideas to find online that will make your Valentine’s day, one that will bring back memories for years to come. Below are some fantastic videos offering helpful ideas to make your day complete.



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