ATTENTION: SNN Activities and Events Have Been Suspended Until Further Notice Due to the Coronavirus and Governor Lamont's "Stay Safe, Stay Home" Executive Order

April 2020


Daffodils on Goodrich Rd in Simsbury

President's Corner

President - Toni Robinson 860-217-1915

Hello my Friends,

This is a tough time for each of us and our families. You are reaching out by phone, email, text and Facebook. You are a caring group and I am proud to be a member of Simsbury Newcomers and Neighbors.  Your kindness and prayers are felt by all. Thank you!

I hope you are finding things to do to keep yourself busy and sane. I am still in Florida and probably will be until the end of the month. I am one of the lucky ones. My brother and sister in law have generously given me a place to stay so that I am not alone. Some of our members may not be so lucky. Please check on them and all your friends so they know they are not alone. When you make the calls, you are reaching out for someone else and you are also making personal contact for yourself. 

The Board is meeting to discuss the Spring Annual Luncheon and Meeting and Board elections scheduled for May. For your safety, we may have to cancel, or postpone. We will let you know as soon as the decision is made. This saddens all of us. We were looking forward to celebrating our members. Eileen Higham will be contacting the members regarding our annual elections.

I miss Mahjongg, Bunko, Needlework, Canasta, Lunch Bunch, Coffees but I especially miss all of you.

Take care my friends. We will get through this.

Best wishes, Toni

Editor's Note

Christina Brea

Dear Members,

It's just barely April and it has already been quite a long year, hasn't it? Every day, in fact every hour, the news seems to scream yet another statistic or warning about the current status of the world and all things COVID-19. I'm sure that you are all aware by now that we should be practicing social distancing guidelines, those outlined for us by our nation's lawmakers and experts, but also those common sense guidelines that have not been stated or enforced. It is our responsibility as good citizens, good friends and neighbors, and good humans, to abide by these guidelines. I trust that you all will. 

Here are links to the CDC for the general coronavirus information and the Town of Simsbury's page listing pertinent information related to the program changes and cancellations due to COVID-19

Though this current situation finds us in a unique place, requiring the vast majority of us to stay behind closed doors for our own health and for the good of others, I have found little lights of hope and seen demonstrations of good will by some of our fellow SNN members and residents of our Farmington Valley community in general. I am not a Facebooker, but I am on Instagram and the NextDoor app for our local neighborhood and many neighbors are offering to go on grocery runs, prescription pick-ups, rides to the doctor, and more. Shari Cassutt and Brynn Brown are gathering materials and those with sewing skills to fabricate safety masks for medical personnel that are getting short on their supplies (for more information check out the Pop Ups section below). I also understand that approximately 1,000 nurses here in Connecticut have come out of retirement to assist in the COVID crisis. These selfless acts of giving and offering of help that I have witnessed remind me of what an incredible blessing it is to be part of a community such as ours. Trust me when I say that other parts of the U.S. are not like this. I was born and raised in the California Bay Area, have also lived in KCMO, and South Florida, and have traveled to and/or through 30 states and 1 U.S. territory!  We truly have some big hearts around here!

Although it is safer to keep our distance right now, there are many ways to stay connected to one another without having to visit face to face. I am grateful that we are in a day and age where technology is so readily available and becoming easier and easier to use. There are countless apps that can keep us connected socially with video capabilities and photo sharing. Friends of mine have highly recommended apps like Calm for meditation and sleep, AllTrails for walking and hiking, or Yoga with Adriene. Maybe we can all take a moment to look up what the true meaning of those cute little emojis are too. Hopefully we're using them correctly! The youngsters in our lives can probably help us in that department. For the very young, we can share and sing along with the video for the new version of the famous Baby Shark song. The lyrics have been changed to Wash Your Hands, doo-doo-doo-doo-doo... You're welcome, for getting that song stuck in your head again.  Ha, ha. ;)

Patty Howland has some fantastic ideas to explore and learn and has shared them with us in the Discover New England section below. Jane Fox has also passed along digital resources to access ebooks and audiobooks in her Book Group section as well. Thank you, Jane and Patty! 

One last thought, if you find yourself taking some extra "me time", are not feeling very creative or productive right now, that's okay. If you're feeling stunned, down, anxious, or a bit lost, that's okay too. I'm not an expert, but I do believe those are completely normal reactions to what we are all going through, so don't beat yourself up about it. I highly recommend walking outdoors, even if only to retrieve the mail, at least once a day. I've added some extra Vitamin D and B-12 to my daily supplements to keep my energy up and to make up for the sunlight I used to absorb by spending more time outdoors. You may not feel like being creative, but maybe you can write a thank you card to an essential worker for their bravery and sacrifice in helping others, look for places to donate, read a new book, watch a new show, or even just eat a favorite snack! Personally, I would choose Häagen Dazs chocolate ice cream or Lay's BBQ potato chips. I know, I know, not very healthy, but they are delicious! Bottom line, taking care of yourself will look different for everyone. There will be bad days where you feel restless due to this quarantine, but there will also be many, many good days in our future and this won't last forever. We have some brilliant minds working on ways to overcome this ordeal. I wish you all good health, physically and mentally. Don't be afraid to ask for help if you need it!


Elbow Bump!



Sue Gannon 315-406-4850

If you know someone who may be interested in joining us, let them know they may join at any time. Contact Sue or visit the website to pay the yearly $25 membership dues.


Eileen Higham 860-836-4417

2020-2021  Board Presentation


President - Toni Robinson

VP Membership - Sue Gannon

Secretary - Jan Dendinger

Treasurer - Carrie Houghton 

Activities Chair - Marilyn Iezzi

Civic Concerns - Genie Wilmarth

Event Planners (2) - OPEN 

Newsletter - OPEN 

Nominations - Eileen Higham 

Publicity - Lorraine Cosgrove 

Web Master - Cheryl Sojkowski 

Web Assistant - OPEN (for future Web Master position) 

Past President -  Shari Cassutt

Civic Concerns

Genie Wilmarth 860-202-3791

Hello friends who are sheltering in place. I’m glad the end of March sees us with longer days and more sunlight to lift our spirits.  I’m not glad for all our planned activities being cancelled (stay tuned for the re-imagined May meeting and luncheon), but know a period of stepping back helps ensure the health of others.

While SNN is on social activity hiatus, our intention to be helpful to Simsbury and the surrounding community is not.  After a message to members, ten people offered to pick up food and medications for people unable to get out, and some offered to make calls to people who are feeling isolated.  I have offered to serve as contact person for those who may need these services or those willing to help.  I know that need may be experienced by the wider community, and if you hear of someone needing help, whether a member or not, please let me know. My cellphone number is 860-202-3791.

A big thank you to the kind and generous SNN members for donating toiletries for local residents who cannot afford the “luxuries.”  This Simsbury Social Services was pleased to be able to distribute them. A big thank you, as well, to Brynn Brown, who sent a message and collected the items – six giant bags full! Look for another collection as people begin to lose their jobs.

Christina Brea asked board members to contribute something relating to an activity we enjoy to this month’s newsletter. I should be sending a picture of my bottle of beer, but decided to be more appropriate.

Hoping to reconnect in May, and God bless the whole world. Genie

Book Discussion - Daytime

Jane Fox 860-658-0388

Book groups suspended until further notice.


In case you would like to begin a new title, before the library reopens, there is always the alternative option of using their digital resources to obtain ebooks or audiobooks using your library card. Through their website, you can access the catalogs of Hoopla, Libby (Overdrive), and RBDigital. For book club purposes, Hoopla is ideal, as there is no limit to how many users can download the same title at once. However, it is worth checking out the other two resources if you're looking for a solo read.

Being stuck indoors doesn’t mean you can’t get a culture fix. As a response to the closure of various venues around the world, many museums, national parks, and even zoos are going virtual, giving those at home a chance to enjoy their services from the comfort of their pajamas. 

According to Fast Company, Google Arts & Culture teamed up with over 2500 museums and galleries around the world to bring anyone and everyone virtual tours and online exhibits of some of the most famous museums around the world.  Collections — Google Arts & Culture

Apr. 24 ***

Ellie and the Harp Maker

by Hazel Prior

May 15

The Women in the Castle

by Jessica Shattuck

Jun. 19

Where the Crawdads Sing

by Delia Owens

Sep 2020


Lost Roses

by Martha Hall Kelly

Book Discussion - Evening

Cheryl Cook 860-408-1577

April 7th Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

May 5th Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver

June 2nd Sold on a Monday by Kristina McMorris

July 7th Joyland by Stephen King

August 4th The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

Bridge - Daytime

Jane Fox 860-658-0388

Ladies' Daytime Bridge meets the second and fourth Tuesdays of every month at 1:00 p.m. Join us as a regular or substitute player. All bridge levels are welcome. Players take turns hosting. Email announcements are sent to the group prior to each playing week about sign-up and host location/information.


Daytime: Arlene Zappile 860-408-9044

Evening: Randi Stamboulis

Hope we are able to play this month. Watch for activity emails or email Arlene at

Stay well!

Arlene Zappile



Need a night out? Come and roll the dice with us. Bunko is an easy game to learn with no skill needed. Contact Randi Stamboulis at for more information.

Come for Cocktails

Holly and Shaun Murphy

If you enjoy socializing, then we are the group for you! We are a co-ed group that meets a few times a year (3-4) at our members' homes on Saturday evenings. We are not a "couples only group"! All are welcome!! We will schedule the gatherings around the "SNN events", so as not to conflict. Please bring an appetizer or a dessert to share. Please bring your own beverages. Hosts may choose to have a theme for the evening and will provide paper goods and glasses. Contact Holly and Shaun Murphy to join this group.

Dining Out

Theresa Awad Roe 860-882-3044

Katherine Estell 860-990-8601

Theresa's photo is forthcoming

Welcome Dining Out group to what we hope will be a year of interesting dining discoveries. We reserve at restaurants that accommodate separate billing. Seating is often limited, emails will be sent out with an RSVP deadline.


Discover New England

Patty Howland 860-470-7771

Diana Pratt 860-480-6647

Patty & Diana would like to say that it has been a pleasure to be co-coordinators of this fine group. We have explored so many wonderful places together and we appreciate all your enthusiasm as we did so! We will be stepping down at the end of the season and this group will be looking for a new chair or co-chairs. Please contact Marilyn Iezzi if you are interested. It really is lots of fun!

What a strange month it has been...hope you are all doing well and that the worst thing you need to worry about is how to fill your days indoors!

The Trade Secrets Garden Tour that was scheduled for May 17th has been canceled.

But in the meantime, here are a few "New England & beyond" related things that might be of interest while you are spending time at home. The resources available online are truly remarkable. Let us know if you come up with others that we can share with the group!

Google Arts & Culture has compiled collections of

2,500 museums all over the world:

There is a map where you can drill down to see those in our area. Most have highlights of their collections online, but some also include "stories" or "special exhibits" that were held there.


Some in the New England area include:

Norman Rockwell Museum:

Here is an interesting exhibit on Norman Rockwell's portraits of Presidential candidates

Isabella Stewart Gardner Musuem:

There is an interesting story on the "stolen art"

Eleanor Roosevelt Historic Site:

Here is a virtual tour of Val-Kill:

For opera lovers, the MET in NYC is doing nightly opera streams for free:

Here are some virtual tours of a few National Parks:

Weekends with Yankee has several seasons of episodes related to our beautiful area.

Christopher Kimball's Milk Street Online Cooking School is temporarily offering its online classes for free

and finally, for those of you who attended a Discover New England session at our local Jackson Lab, here is some information on how they are helping to battle coronavirus...

The Laboratory has been actively engaged in the COVID-19 crisis in two important ways:  

1. As you may have heard on NPR or read in The New York Times, we are utilizing our expertise and state-of-the-art breeding techniques to rapidly grow a new mouse colony for potential use in coronavirus research. The goal is to provide researchers with the models they need to develop preventatives and/or treatments for COVID-19, in order to eventually help families like yours and mine.

2. The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine (JAX-GM), located in Farmington, Connecticut, is partnering with the Connecticut Department of Health, UConn Health and Hartford Hospital to provide the State with additional coronavirus testing capacity. Ultimately, this will enable the State of Connecticut to test more people, faster. This has been in response to the massive shortage of tests in the Northeast and the country, and to assist in both the care of patients and the public management of the pandemic.

You can learn more about these initiatives, the coronavirus and how JAX is empowering biomedical research worldwide by visiting

Finally,  a video message about the pandemic from  CEO and President, Ed Liu, M.D.:

Mental Health Toolkit for Coronavirus Anxiety, a free website including short daily meditations.

Stay well and stay safe!

Patty & Diana

Food Chat/Recipe Swap

Shari Cassutt 505-670-4982

Contact Shari at

Happy Hour Social Club

Shaun Murphy

We have tweaked the mission of the Men’s Night Out. It has morphed into Happy Hour Social Club (not just for men!). We are now in pursuit of the perfect IPA, or some other craft brew delight, bourbon, vino, good conversation and food. We meet the 3rd Wednesday of the month at 5 p.m. (or earlier for those that can). This group is open to all!

Humans for Humanity

Brynn Brown 860-301-9977

This is your opportunity to be the change you wish to see in the world. Humans for Humanity will work on a variety of projects to help our fellow human beings. This may range from filling backpacks with food for those in need in our community or raising money to build a school halfway around the world.

Ladies Lunch Bunch

Alayna Clark 860-217-0054

Toni Robinson 860-217-1915

Mah Jongg

Daytime: Alayna Clark 860-217-0054

Evening: Cheryl Sojkowski 860-658-2199

The Mah Jongg Daytime group meets every Wednesday at Hunter's Run Clubhouse at 1:00pm. Snacks are provided but bring your own drink. For more information, contact activity chair: Alayna Clark.



The Evening Mah Jongg group meets the 2nd and 4th Monday of the month. We welcome players of all levels and are happy to teach anyone who would like to learn the game.

Movie Night

Mary Lou Cassotto 860-830-8805

Mary Lou's photo is forthcoming

Hi, I am from the Film Discussion group. We meet to go to a movie at the Simsbury Apple Cinema once or twice a month on a weekend day. Originally we met later in the month, on a Sunday to discuss at the library, but now we meet after the movie to discuss over a coffee, if anyone is interested.

An email goes out once or twice a week, and if anyone wants to be notified they can write to

Mary Lou Cassotto


Karen Goldschmidt 914-393-9672

A group of women who meet once a week to work on a variety of needlework projects and visit and share ideas. The needlework projects consist of needlepoint, knitting, crochet, embroidery, cross stitch, and quilting. Besides needlework, some of the ladies work on card designing, Zentangles, beading and other small craft projects.

We meet at the library on Monday mornings. Attendance weekly is not necessary.

Paddle Tennis

Ladies: Carolyn Brand 860-408-1566

Mens: Steve Parker 860-651-9445

Mixed Doubles: Camilla Thompson 860-658-2038

Carolyn's photo forthcoming

Paddle Tennis is similar to tennis, but played outdoors during the colder months on raised courts. In snowy conditions, the courts are heated to melt the wintry mix. We play November through March, using the courts at Simsbury Farms. The Mixed Doubles group plays on Sunday evenings (4:30 - 6), the Ladies play on Monday and Thursday mornings, and the Men play on Saturday mornings.

If you would like to play paddle and have played other racket sports, please contact the activity coordinators. The rosters tend to fill up by early October. Hope to see you on the courts!

Simsbury Farms usually offers Paddle lessons. Please check with their office for more information - 860-658-3836.

Couple's Paddle

Greetings from the Couple's Paddle Tennis Activity Group.  Our season just closed in observance of Governor Lamont and Simsbury Farms' efforts to curb possible exposure to the COVID-19 virus.   We had a great season and look forward  to next season's opening play.  Stay home, stay safe.   See  you on the courts next season.  Elbow bump!

Camilla Thompson  860 729-4806


Daytime: Sue Gannon 315-406-4850

Evening: Judy Rabinowitz 860-658-9262

If you like to play cards and would like to be part of an informal, social, and fun group of women, Pinochle may be the perfect activity for you. Pinochle is a card game that is easier than bridge, but still challenging enough to be interesting. Our members range from experienced to just beginning - and we are very willing to give lessons to anyone who is completely new to the game.


We meet at 1 p.m., the first and third Tuesday afternoons of each month to play for two to three hours, but you do not need to play each time. We take turns hosting either in our homes or at library or community center rooms.

Sue Gannon is the activity coordinator and can be reached at or 860-421-5009, and would be glad to answer any questions you may have.


The Women's evening Pinochle group meets the second Tuesday of each month from 7 to 10 PM. Each monthly game is hosted by a different player, so location varies.

Judy Rabinowitz is the activity coordinator and can be reached at or 860-658-9262.


Shari Cassutt 505-670-4982

Hi All,

I hope everyone is well and surviving. If you’re not a Facebooker you may not have heard that hospitals, first responders, home healthcare workers are in need of homemade masks that can be used in either lower level care thus freeing up more effective masks for more critical cases or covering other masks to extend their lives. Brynn and I have been sewing now for a few days. As of yesterday the Facebook group for our area has delivered over 70 masks.  Yes, it feels a bit like WWI knitting socks for the troops. 

If you want to sew and need help getting started get in touch with me.

IF YOU ‘RE NOT SEWING AND HAVE QUARTER INCH ELASTIC or THINNER lying around the house we need it NOW!! We also need twill tape, bias tape, twist ties (like you use in the garden), ribbon with wire, and some fabric.

Write, call, or just drop it off on my porch. One way or the other I’ll get it and make sure it gets to whomever needs it. 

My mother’s favorite saying is “This too shall pass”  couldn’t be more relevant than right now.

Love to all,


Single Active Women

Krista Mancarella

Krista's photo is forthcoming

The Single Active Women's group is a group for any single woman - divorced, widowed, or simply single.

Our group's purpose is to provide opportunities for single women to meet and make friends with other single women through our activities.

The group will have one planned lunch on the first Tuesday of each month. Other activities may also be planned each month. Members will be notified of these activities by email.

We also hope to give our members the opportunity to find friends to join them on activities they are interested in, and we may share activities that members are interested in doing with the group for that purpose.

Walking Group

Michele Abbott 515-480-5107

Hello Walkers!

Spring has welcomed us with snow and more snow. The Iron Horse Trail is open for walkers, just not together. Hopefully soon we will be able to walk and chat and enjoy some warm weather. Until then, keep active by going on a walk in your neighborhood and look for signs of spring. I've seen crocuses and buds on trees along with many robins.

I'm also keeping busy with Netflix bingeing, book reading, and lots of knitting. Miss you all and hope to see you soon!

Wine & Women

Cheryl Sojkowski 860-658-2199

Sarah Nanzig 860-651-9085

Wine and Women is a fun and casual group that meets once a month, at a member’s home, usually on the third Thursday night of the month. Everyone brings a bottle of wine or other beverage of choice and an appetizer or dessert to share. It’s fun to meet new members and reconnect with friends. We welcome members to join the group at any time during the year. And, of course, you don’t have to drink wine to enjoy an evening out with this lively crowd!

Our next gathering had been scheduled for Thursday, April 23rd. At this uncertain time, we are entertaining alternative ways to share our Friendship and Love of Wine. Feel free to reach out to Sarah or Cheryl with any ideas. We will keep in touch using our email distribution list. Be safe and be well.

SAVE THESE DATES: May 14, and June 12 (a Friday date for “Wine, Women and Guest”). Thanks to everyone who has volunteered to open their home to our group. We still need a host for June.

There are many Activity Groups that meet regularly. To find out more about them visit the Activity Page on our website: List of Activity Groups

Book Discussion ~ Bridge ~ Bunko ~ Come for Cocktails ~ Dining Out ~ Discover New England ~ Food Chat/Recipe Swap - Happy Hour Social Club ~ Humans for Humanity ~ Ladies Lunch Bunch ~ Mah Jongg ~ Movie Night ~ Needlework ~ Paddle Tennis ~ Pinochle ~ Pop Ups ~ Single Active Women ~ Walking Group ~ Wine & Women

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