February 1, 2023

Probate Hearing on Deep River Visiting Nurses Fund Postponed

DEEP RIVER— The local probate court hearing on the status of a memorial fund held by the now disbanded Deep River Visiting Nurses has been postponed until July 22.

The hearing at the court of Local Probate Judge Patricia Damon had been scheduled for Tuesday. First Selectman Richard Smith said the hearing was rescheduled after the office of the state Attorney General announced it would send a staff attorney to participate in the session.

Richard Daniels, a former selectman who served as president of the Deep River Visiting Nurses service board of directors, had asked the court to issue a ruling on the status of the fund, which comprised on charitable donations made over the nearly 40 years the nursing service was in operation. In a June 29 petition to Damon, Daniels acknowledged the May 18 referendum vote to discontinue funding for the local nursing service has made it “impossible for the Memorial Fund to be used as directed by the donors.”

Daniels asked the Probate Court to appoint a trustee to ensure that future expenditures from the fund are consistent with the current use, which is providing charitable assistance to needy Deep River residents.
Daniels advised the fund has been used in recent years to help pay for fuel oil, prescrition medications and eyeware, clothing, rental assistance, and payment for elctricity and other utilities for needy town residents.

The fund, in four separate accounts at the local Liberty Bank branch, contains about $72,000. The largest donations to the fund were received over the past two years, including about $55,000 from the estate of C. Talcott Scovill, and about $18,000 from the estate of Elsa Potter.

Smith said he believes the board of selectmen’s goal for the fund is similar to the use proposed by Daniels, as a separate fund to provide special assistance to needy Deep River residents. Smith has suggested the board of selectmen could appoint a volunteer citizen committee to guide the use of the fund.