2014 WNBA.com GM Survey Taps Minnesota Lynx to Win Title

NEW YORK – May 15, 2014 –If the WNBA’s general managers are accurate prognosticators, the Minnesota Lynx will be taking part in a championship parade for the third time in four years. The Lynx, led by All-Stars Seimone Augustus, Rebekkah Brunson, Maya Moore, and Lindsay Whalen, collected 58 percent of the votes as the team most likely to win the WNBA Finals presented by Boost Mobile in the 12th annual WNBA.com GM Survey.  Minnesota was also selected as the team that is most fun to watch, receiving 42 percent of the votes from the GMs.  The Atlanta Dream, led by All-Stars Angel McCoughtry and Erika de Souza, as well as rookie shooting guard Shoni Schimmel, was picked to win the Eastern Conference.

The complete results of the exclusive survey will be posted on WNBA.com in advance of WNBA Tip-Off 2014 presented by Boost Mobile, when the defending WNBA champion Lynx and reigning WNBA Finals MVP Moore tip off the league’s 18th season in the nation’s capital against the Washington Mystics on Friday, May 16 (7 p.m. ET).  WNBA Tip-Off 2014 presented by Boost Mobilewill feature 22 games from May 16 through Memorial Day (May 26), including the launch of ESPN2’s season-long coverage of the WNBA.  ESPN2 will debut its schedule of WNBA games on Saturday, May 17, when the Chicago Sky, led by Elena Delle Donne, the 2013 WNBA Rookie of the Year, visit the New York Liberty, featuring newly acquired veteran Tina Charles, the league’s 2012 MVP, at Madison Square Garden (8 p.m. ET).

 

The Lynx’s Moore, the Fever’s Catchings, the Phoenix Mercury’s Diana Taurasi, the Sparks’ Parker, New York’s Tina Charles, and sisters Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike figured prominently in a number of categories.

 

Parker, who took home not only her second regular-season MVP award in 2014, but also MVP honors of WNBA All-Star presented by Boost Mobile, was selected to once again earn the league’s top individual honor (50 percent, edging out the 33 percent for Moore).  Moore was also named as the player GMs would select if starting a franchise today (33 percent) and as the league’s best small forward (42 percent).

 

Catchings earned the top spot in the voting as the toughest player in the WNBA (64 percent), the top power forward and the player who is best at making her teammates better (50 percent each), as well as for the player likely to be named Defensive Player of the Year presented by Samsung (42 percent).  The 2011 regular season and 2012 Finals MVP also was selected as the best leader (58 percent), grabbing the mantle from Seattle’s Sue Bird, who earned the honor the last five years.

 

Taurasi captured the votes as the league’s best pure shooter (67 percent), the player GMs would most want taking a shot with a game on the line (58 percent), and the player with the best basketball IQ (42 percent).  The six-time All-Star and former league MVP (2009) also shared top billing – along with Augustus and New York’s Cappie Pondexter – as the player deemed best at creating her own shot (25 percent each).

 

Charles, who the Liberty acquired in a draft day trade with the Connecticut Sun, racked up the No. 1 spot in four categories.  While the move of the league’s 2012 MVP from the Sun to her hometown Liberty was considered the most surprising offseason move (67 percent), it also resulted in Charles being viewed as the one player acquisition that will make the most impact (58 percent).  Now entering her fifth WNBA campaign, Charles also was voted as the player with the best post moves (50 percent), and the league’s top rebounder (42 percent).

 

Chiney Ogwumike, who the Sun made the No. 1 overall selection in the 2014 WNBA Draft presented by State Farm, and her older sister, Nneka, who was selected first overall by the Sparks in 2012, were considered by the GMs to be among the league’s best athletes.  Nneka led all vote-getters (50 percent) as the most athletic player in the WNBA, while Chiney tied with Connecticut teammate Alyssa Thomas as the leading vote-getters for the most athletic rookie (33 percent apiece).  Chiney, however, was edged out by Tulsa Shock guard Odyssey Sims, the No. 2 overall pick in the recent draft, as the player most likely to earn Rookie of the Year presented by Samsung honors (50 percent) and as the rookie who will develop into the best player five years from now (58  percent).

 

While the GMs saw Los Angeles as the team that made the best offseason moves (earning 50 percent of the votes following the team’s acquisition of veterans Armintie Herrington, Sandrine Gruda, and Candice Wiggins), Connecticut – which signed veteran star Katie Douglas away from Indiana and used draft day to select Chiney Ogwumike and acquire No. 4 overall pick Alyssa Thomas via trade with New York – captured the vote as the team that will be most improved (33 percent), edging New York and San Antonio (25 percent each).

Ten players received votes as the player most likely to have a breakout season, with Phoenix’s Brittney Griner and Los Angeles’s Ogwumike sharing the top honor (17 percent each).  Similarly, nine players were in the mix as the league’s most underrated player, with Seattle’s Tanisha Wright leading the way (27 percent).

 

The coaching category included a variety of winners. Minnesota’s Cheryl Reeve was given the nod as the best head coach (42 percent) and the coach that runs the best offense (50 percent); Seattle’s Brian Agler was considered to be the best head coach in the last two minutes of a game and the head coach with the best defensive schemes (42 percent each), as well as the head coach that makes the best in-game adjustments (33 percent).  The Washington Mystics’ Mike Thibault, a three-time winner of the WNBA’s Coach of the Year award (2006, 2008, and 2013), was voted as the head coach that is the best at developing young players (42 percent).

 

The GMs also felt that Seattle will be bolstered in 2014, not only by the return of seven-time All-Star point guard Sue Bird, who missed the entire season a year ago following knee surgery, but also by a rabid fan base at KeyArena. The Storm, for the fifth straight year, was considered by the GMs to have the best home-court advantage.

 

Additional leaders in the WNBA.com GM survey included:

  • Minnesota’s Whalen – best point guard (58 percent)
  • San Antonio’s Becky Hammon (now in her 16th season and returning from ACL surgery) – player with the greatest hunger to win a championship (33 percent)
  • Chicago’s Delle Donne, Phoenix’s Griner, and Minnesota’s Moore – player who forces opposing coaches to make the most adjustments (17 percent apiece)
  • Atlanta’s McCoughtry – player who is the most dangerous in the open floor (58 percent)
  • Seattle’s Bird, San Antonio’s Hammon, and Washington’s Kara Lawson – active player that would make the best head coach someday (25 percent each)

 

About the WNBA

The WNBA – which features 12 teams and is the most successful women’s professional team sports league in the world – is a unique global sports property combining competition, sportsmanship, and entertainment value with its status as an icon for social change, achievement, and diversity.  The league, which counts Boost Mobile as its leaguewide marquee partner, will tip off its 18th season on May 16, 2014.

 

Through WNBA Cares, the WNBA is deeply committed to creating programs that improve the quality of life for all people, with a special emphasis on programs that promote a healthy lifestyle and positive body image, increase breast and women’s health awareness, support youth and family development, and focus on education. For more information on the WNBA, log on to www.wnba.com.

Worcester Polytechnic Institute Announces 2014 Charles O. Thompson Scholars

WORCESTER, MA (05/15/2014)(readMedia)– Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has announced the following local students as Charles O. Thompson Scholars for the 2013-14 academic year.

Eric Fast of Stonington,  is a first-year student majoring in aerospace engineering.

Kevin Ouellette of Colchester, is a first-year student majoring in robotics engineering.

Andrew Rathbun of Pawcatuck, is a first-year student majoring in aerospace engineering.

Lindsay Schneider of East Lyme, is a first-year student majoring in biomedical engineering.

Kyle Young of Bozrah, is a first-year student majoring in robotics engineering.

Named in honor of the first president of WPI, this honor recognizes outstanding performance by first-year students. To be eligible for membership, students must achieve all A’s and B’s (with a minimum of six A’s) in their academic subjects during their first three terms at WPI.

About Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Founded in 1865 in Worcester, Mass., WPI is one of the nation’s first engineering and technology universities. Its 14 academic departments offer more than 50 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science, engineering, technology, business, the social sciences, and the humanities and arts, leading to bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. WPI’s talented faculty work with students on interdisciplinary research that seeks solutions to important and socially relevant problems in fields as diverse as the life sciences and bioengineering, energy, information security, materials processing, and robotics. Students also have the opportunity to make a difference to communities and organizations around the world through the university’s innovative Global Perspective Program. There are more than 35 WPI project centers throughout North America and Central America, Africa, Australia, Asia, and Europe.

Local Students Graduate from Champlain College

BURLINGTON, VT (05/15/2014)(readMedia)– The Champlain College 136th Commencement took place outdoors under a tent on Edmunds Field in Burlington, Vermont on Saturday, May 3, 2014. In all, 476 undergraduates earned their degrees. Local students who received their degrees from Champlain College include:

Kyle Morgan of Gales Ferry. Kyle received a bachelor’s degree in Digital Filmmaking.

Cy Logan of Waterford. Cy received a bachelor’s degree in Accounting.

Mackenzie Bensko of Gales Ferry. Mackenzie received a bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education-Social Studies.

Stephen Persico of Lyme. Stephen received a bachelor’s degree in Event Management.

Since 1878, Champlain College has provided career-focused education to students from its hilltop campus in Burlington, VT. Champlain’s distinctive educational approach embodies the notion that true learning only occurs when information and experience come together to create knowledge. Champlain offers traditional undergraduate and online undergraduate courses, along with online certificate and degree programs and eight master’s degree programs. Champlain offers study abroad programs at its campuses in Montreal, Quebec and Dublin, Ireland. Champlain College is included in the Princeton Review’s The Best 378 Colleges: 2014 Edition. Champlain was named a “Top-Up-and-Coming School” by U.S. News & World Report’s America’s Best Colleges and is ranked in the top tier of 2014 Regional Colleges in the North. Atlantic Magazine described Champlain as the “Ideal College.” For more information, visit www.champlain.edu

2014 UMass Dartmouth Commencement is celebrated May 16-17

NORTH DARTMOUTH, MA (05/15/2014)(readMedia)– This year’s Undergraduate and Graduate Commencement Ceremonies held May 16, 17 were celebrated at UMass Dartmouth Main Campus.

For more detailed information go to http://www.umassd.edu/commencement/ or look in the universities official press release http://www1.umassd.edu/communications/articles/showarticles.cfm?a_key=3329

The following is a list of the University of Massachusetts undergraduate and graduate students from your readership area.

Quaker Hill, Timothy Lalonde

Waterford, Anna Cavalieri

Waterford, Anna Cavalieri

UMass Dartmouth distinguishes itself as a vibrant public university actively engaged in personalized teaching and innovative research, and acting as an intellectual catalyst for regional economic, social, and cultural development. UMass Dartmouth’s mandate to serve its community is realized through countless partnerships, programs, and other outreach efforts to engage the community, and apply its knowledge to help address local issues and empower others to facilitate change for all.

Grace’s Playground Unveiled

(l-r) Adam McOmber and Anthony Sciarretto, Connecticut State Troopers, with the sign dedicating the playground.  Both troopers were assigned to support the McDonnell family after the Sandy Hook shootings.

(l-r) Adam McOmber and Anthony Sciarretto, Connecticut State Troopers, with the sign dedicating the playground. Both troopers were assigned to support the McDonnell family after the Sandy Hook shootings.

story & photo
by Robert J. O’Shaughnessy

This past April, Mystic was honored to be the site of the Grace McDonnell Playground, part of the Sandy Ground Project: Where Angels Play. Grace was one of the 20 children who lost their lives in Newtown on December 14, 2012. The playground was built as a tribute to her and her love of art and the beach.  Grace’s parents, Lynn and Chris, chose Williams Beach behind the Mystic YMCA as the location for the playground as they were engaged in Mystic and Grace loved the beach. Bill Lavin of the New Jersey Firefighters Mutual Benevolent Association coordinated the construction of the playground. Bill is the founder of the Sandy Ground Project and for him each of these playgrounds is a labor of love. Each one is built to reflect the personality of the teacher or child for whom it was dedicated.

Grace’s parents, Christopher and Lynn McDonnell, listen to the presentations during the ribbon cutting ceremony for the playground.

Grace’s parents, Christopher and Lynn McDonnell, listen to the presentations during the ribbon cutting ceremony for the playground.

One of the unique features of the playgrounds is the addition of a bell.  Bill explained that some of the project members loved the line “When a bell rings, an angel gets it wings” from the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life”. A donated bell was incorporated into each playground.
Bill Lavin was the emcee for the dedication of Grace’s Playground and introduced a number of speakers who welcomed the crowd and thanked the volunteers. Lynn McDonnell thanked everyone involved in the project telling them “Your gifts of love, friendship and strength have lifted our family.”  After the ribbon cutting by Grace’s parents and her brother Jack, the playground was open to the many children who were in attendance.
For Information or donations, contact Where Angels Play Foundation at 732.858.1726 or visit www.thesandygroundproject.org.

Charlie Daniels Band

 

 

Warner Theater

 

 

Award-winning musician Charlie Daniels has successfully crossed musical genres in a way few artists have accomplished, from his Dove Award winning gospel albums to his genre-defining Southern rock anthems and his CMA Award-winning country hits. An outspoken patriot, beloved mentor to young artists and still a road warrior at age 76, Charlie has parlayed his passion for music into a multi-platinum career, and a platform to support the military, underprivileged children and others in need.

The Artimus Pyle Band is more than just a “tribute” to Lynyrd Skynyrd, but a high energy rock group, true to the music that Ronnie Van Zant brought to life. Long considered the “wild man” of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Artimus Pyle’s powerful and distinctive double bass drumming helped define the legendary Skynyrd sound. From “Freebird” to “Sweet Home Alabama,” the Artimus Pyle Band gives fans the best of Skynyrd with one of the men who created it!

This is the only New England stop for the band this spring!

For tickets, call 860-489-7180

or www.warnertheatre.org 

 

About The Charlie Daniels Band: 

From his Dove Award winning gospel albums to his genre-defining Southern rock anthems and his CMA Award-winning country hits, few artists have left a more indelible mark on America’s musical landscape than Charlie Daniels. An outspoken patriot, beloved mentor to young artists and still a road warrior at age 76, Charlie has parlayed his passion for music into a multi-platinum career and a platform to support the military, underprivileged children and others in need.

Raised among the long leaf pines of North Carolina, Charlie began his career playing bluegrass music with the Misty Mountain Boys. After moving to Nashville in 1967, he began making a name for himself as a songwriter, session musician and producer.  Elvis Presley recorded a tune Charlie co-wrote titled “It Hurts Me,” which was released on the flip side of “Kissin’ Cousins.” He played on such landmark albums as Bob Dylan’s Nashville Skyline and tried his hand at producing on the Youngbloods’ Elephant Mountain and Ride the Wind.

His own unique voice as an artist emerged as Charlie recorded his self-titled solo album in 1970 for Capitol Records. Two years later he formed the Charlie Daniels Band and the group scored its first hit with the top ten “Uneasy Rider.” Since then the CDB has populated radio with such memorable hits as “Long Haired Country Boy,” “The South’s Gonna Do It Again,” “In America,” “The Legend of Wooley Swamp” and of course, his signature song, “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” which won a Grammy for Best Country Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group in 1979 as well as single of the year at the Country Music Association Awards.  

“I love what I do,” says Charlie of his 50-plus years in the music business. “I look forward to entertaining people. When show time gets here, I’m ready to go, ready to go play for them. It’s a labor of love. I just thank God I make a living at what I enjoy doing.”  

Whether performing in the hit 80s movie Urban Cowboy, singing on Easter Sunday at his local church or leading an all-star cast at one of his famed Volunteer Jams, Charlie just exudes joy whenever he steps on stage and he’s always been quick to provide a platform for other artists to shine. In 1974 he invited some friends to join him at Nashville’s War Memorial Auditorium for an all-star concert he dubbed The Volunteer Jam. The event continued for years and was broadcast in the U.S. and internationally. Over the years, the Jam featured a diverse line up that included Willie Nelson, Ted Nugent, Roy Acuff, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Crystal Gayle, James Brown, Emmylou Harris, Amy Grant, George Thorogood, Kris Kristofferson, Little Richard, Tammy Wynette, Alabama, Oak Ridge Boys, B. B. King and the Allman Brothers.  

As diverse as his live shows have always been, his discography has also reflected Charlie’s love of multiple genres. In 1994 he released his first Christian album, The Door, on Sparrow Records. The album won the Gospel Music Association’s Dove Award for Best Country Album and “Two Out of Three” was named video of the year by the Christian Country Music Association. In 1997, Sony Wonder released Charlie’s first children’s album, By The Light of The Moon” Campfire Songs and Cowboy Tunes. 

Over the course of his career, Charlie has received numerous accolades, including induction into the Grand Ole Opry and Musicians Hall of Fame. He’s been presented the Pioneer Award by the Academy of Country Music and was honored as a BMI Icon in recognition of his songwriting. He’s received a star on the Music City Walk of Fame.

Cardinal’s “Project Graduation”

Cardinal Project Graduation

Westerly High School raffle winners (l-r) Chris Lombardo, Bryce Lombardo, Patty Lombardo, Dawn Pappadir, Michele Deary and Patty Michand are congratulated by (back) Jennifer Hardy, event coordinator and Kim Cardinal–Piscatelli, Cardinal Honda vice president.

 

 

Story & photo

By Robert J. O’shaughnessy

Cardinal Honda has always had a continued commitment to the community that it serves. In 1990 Cardinal Honda established the Cardinal Foundation. Since its establishment, the Foundation has made gifts to a wide variety of community organizations and events. One of those events is Cardinal Honda’s commitment to the preservation of the “drug and alcohol free graduation party”. 

This year was no different. On April 26, the Foundation conducted a “Project Graduation” recognition breakfast at the dealership in Groton. Fourteen area high schools were the beneficiaries of a gift to use as a raffle item.. 

The program began with a welcome and congratulatory address from Kim Cardinal–Piscatelli, Cardinal Honda vice president and Steve Luft, vice president of Operations. After a buffet breakfast, each high school was presented a 32” HD television to use as a raffle item to raise funds for their drug and alcohol free graduation parties. Each high school was entered into a drawing for a grand prize of $500 to use towards their senior event. The grand prizewinner drawn was Westerly High School!

 

 

Across the Area

Across the Area: May 14-27

May 14
Flicks @ Six. The Book Thief. 6pm. Cragin Memorial Library, Colchester. 860.537.5752.

Coast Guard Band plays Mozart. 7pm. Park Congregational Church, Norwich. 860.701.6826.

World Premiere New London Light Cube. 8pm. Hygienic Art Gallery, New London. 860.443.8001.

Elisabeth von Trapp in concert. 7pm. St. Anne’s Church, Old Lyme. 860.434.1621.

New London Main St. Spring Food Stroll. 5:30-8:30pm. 860.287.4346.

Book Signing/Talk. Woodstock Author Patrick M. Smith. 7pm. Canterbury Public Library. 860.546.9022.

May 15
Stonewall Preservation Lecture. 6pm. La Grua Center, Stonington. 860.535.2300.

Book Discussion: The Global Achievement Gap. 7pm. Groton Public Library. 860.441.6750.

Book Discussion: Classic Diners of CT. 6:30pm. Groton Senior Center. 860.441.6750.

May 16
Madame Butterfly. 8pm. Garde Arts Center, New London.  860.351.3135.

Friday Nite Live: Ev Horan. 7-9pm. Nightingale’s Acoustic Cafe, Old Lyme.  860.434.1961.

Salt Marsh Opera presents Gianni Schicchi. 2pm. Mashantucket Pequot Museum Auditorium, 888.788.4188.

May 17
A Poet at Home: James Merrill in Stonington Village. 5pm. La Grua Center, Stonington. 860.535.2300.

Annual Chicken Barbecue. 4-6pm. $10 adult, $5 kids 12/under. Finnish Hall, Canterbury. 860.887.4192.

Bike Run/Blessing of the Bikes Pasta Supper. Events from 1-7pm. Bethel Community United Methodist Church, Griswold. 860.319.4622.

Spring Foliage Cruise. 5:30pm. $30. Riverquest Expeditions, Eagle Landing State Park, Haddam. 860.662.0577.

“Gardener’s Delight” benefit for Alliance for Living, Inc. 9am-2pm. $20. Kentford Farm, Stonington. 860.447.1239 x 233.

Plant and Seedling Sale. 9am-1pm. Rain or shine. United Church, Stonington. 860.599.1984.

Ledyard Garden Club Plant Sale. 8:30am-Noon. Ledyard Congregation Church Hall. 860.464.5584.

Country Store Fundraiser. 9am-2pm. Wheeler Library, North Stonington. 860.535.0383.

Touch a Truck! Family event. 9am-2pm. McCook Point Park, Niantic. 860.443.2896 x 1403.

Civil War Exhibit. 10am-4pm. Ashbel Woodward House Museum, Franklin. 860.642.6042.

May 18
Occum School Reunion. 2-5pm. All former students welcome. Holy New Martyrs Church Hall, Norwich. 860.887.3145.

Tono Dolce Spring 2014 Concert. 7pm. St. Luke Lutheran Church, Gales Ferry. 860.739.7609.

Norwich Lions 75th Anniversary Pancake Breakfast. 8am-Noon. Rose City Senior Center, Norwich. 860.237.4330.

30 yrs of Prudence Crandall Museum. 2pm. Canterbury. 860.546.7800 x 8.

Waterford Community Band. 2pm. Community Center, Waterford. 860.444.5884.

Camino de Santiago: Lecture with Paul Janssens. 5pm. La Grua Center, Stonington. 860.535.2300.

Madison Chamber First Annual Bed Race. 1pm. Madison Town Green. 203.245.7394.

Basic Boating and Safety Class. 8am-4pm. $60 (additional fees may apply)Mystic YMCA. 860.536.3575.

May 19
Teddy Bear Picnic. 11am-1pm. $8 per family. Childrens Museum of SE CT, Niantic. 860.691.1111.

May 20
Coast Guard Academy Regimental Review. 9am. CG Academy, New London. 860.444.8270.

Red Cross Blood Pressure Clinic. 1-2pm. New London ShopRite. 860.444.1111.

May 21
Bells of Fire performance. AARP 1004, Mohegan Chapter. 1:30pm. Rose City Senior Center, Norwich. 860.889.5960.

May 22
Writer’s Block 10 yr. Anniversary. 6-9pm. Evans Hall, Conn. College, New London. 860.44.BLOCK.

May 23
Friday Nite Live: Teddy Gudis. 7-9pm. Nightingale’s Acoustic Cafe, Old Lyme.  860.434.1961.

The Mousetrap. 7pm. $10 adv./$12 door. Andrews Memorial Theatre, Clinton.  860.510.1668.

May 24
Kids Cruises. 10am. $5 12/under, $10 over 12. Riverquest Expeditions, Haddam. 860.662.0577.

Outdoor Antiques Show. 9am-4pm. Rain or shine. Madison Town Green. 203.245.7394.

Friends of Rathbun Plant Sale. 9-11am. Rathbun Memorial Library, East Haddam. 860.873.8210.

Virtu Art Festival. Day 1. Wilcox Park, Westerly, RI. 401.596.7761.

Stonington Village Farmer’s Market. 10am-1pm. Velvet Mill, Stonington.For info,  jroboston@gmail.com.

May 25
Virtu Art Festival. Day 2. Westerly Library, Wilcox Park, RI. 401.596.7761.

May 26
Memorial Day Event at Wilcox Park. 10am-Noon. Westerly Public Library, RI. 401.596.2877.

Old Saybrook Memorial Day Parade. Begins 10am at Stop & Shop, ends Old Saybrook Town Green. 860.857.5300.

May 27
First Friends. 10am. Childrens Museum of SE CT, Niantic. 860.691.1111.

Little Chefs: Cooking with Kids. 11am-Noon. Childrens Museum of SE CT, Niantic. 860.691.1111.

Ongoing Events
Wii Wednesdays. 3-5pm. Teenscape. Groton Public Library.  860.441.6750.

Boy Scout Venturing Co-Ed Program. Ages 14-21. 2nd Friday each month. 6:30-8:30pm. The Lighthouse, Niantic. To join, call 860.445.7626 x 115.

Norwich VFW post 594 meets the 2nd Tues. of each month 7pm. 860.892.1400.

Joseph’s Living Center offers a monthly bluegrass jam. 7 – 9 p.m. Monthly on third Tues. Windham. 860.455.9400.

Full Throttle Biker Church meets the second Friday at Seaport Community Church 28 Great Brook Road Groton 860.448.6224.

Open computer time for practice and projects. Mon – Thurs 1:30-5pm. Groton Public Library.  860.441.6750.

Toddler Time.  Wednesday Mornings. 10am. Groton Public Library. 860.441.6750.

Preschool Stories. Thursday Mornings. 10am. Groton Public Library. 860.441.6750.

Tiny Tots Table. Fridays. 10am-2pm. Cragin Memorial Library, Colchester. 860.537.5752.

Discussions about simplifying our lives. 3rd Monday of the month. 10am. Niantic Community Church. 860.739.6208.

Transitional Skills Workshops for young adults identified with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Ages 16+. Weekly M-F. Niantic. livectaprograms@lvcenter.com. 860.691.2546.

Caregiver Support Group. First Tuesday of the Month. 2:30-4pm. Griswold Senior Center, Jewett City. 860.376.2604.

Caregiver Support Group. Last Tuesday of the Month. 2-3:30pm. Ross Adult Day Center, Norwich. 860.887.3561×124.

Relative Caregivers of Children Meeting. Last Tuesday of the Month. 9-11am. Rose City Senior Center, Norwich. 860.887.3561×124.

Disabled American Veterans Chapter 10 Meeting. Buckingham Building, Norwich. Call for info. 860.546.9754.

Sign up for the Groton Fourth of July Parade! Groton Parks & Recreation. 860.536.5682.

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of SE CT meets 1st and 3rd Wed. 7:30pm. 401 W. Thames St Bldg 301, Norwich. 860.537.3073.

Gentle Yoga By the Sea Sundays. 10am. Stonington. 860.572.9642.

Free Vinyasa Flow Yoga for Veterans. Fridays. 5:30pm. Stonington. 860.572.9642.

Call to artists: Art on Groton Bank. Apply early for July 19 show. Grounds of Bill Memorial Library, Groton. 860.445.7626 x 108.

Lyme Junior Women’s Club Art Show & Benefit. April 18-June 1. Lyme Art Association, Old Lyme. 860.663.3095.

Greasy Luck: The Whaling World of the Charles W. Morgan. Through June 8. Lyman Allyn Art Museum, New London. 860.443.2545.

Yoga Dance. Tuesdays 6pm. New London Healing Arts Center. 860.574.3572.

Common Ground Acoustic Open Mic. Wednesdays 7-11pm. Bulkeley House Saloon, New London.  860.444.7753.

Register for Groton Fall Festival, October 11, Groton. Deadline July 18.  860.572.9578.

From Stage to Screen and Back AgainMay 16- June 8. Granite Theatre, Westerly, RI.  401.596.2341.

Pine Point School Art Show.  April 30 – June 1. Artists Cooperative Gallery, Westerly, RI.  401.932.6728.

Born To Be Airborne

 

Kevin Brown

Colonel Kevin Brown meets with former Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates.

 

 

By Alexis Ann

On May 18th, the Town of Montville will hold its Memorial Day parade. Every year, the Mohegan Tribe enters a float in this parade. “This year will be no different,” says Mohegan Chairman Kevin Brown, except that this year, its chairman happens to be a veteran. Colonel Kevin Brown, US Army (ret), will march to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation.

Chairman Kevin Brown, “Red Eagle” by Tribal name, served as a leader of US Army Combat Troops. The date of the parade is the eighth anniversary of one of his most heart wrenching days in 2007 – when he helped carry four of his fallen troops from the battlefield to their final resting place. Colonel Brown will march in remembrance and respect of those men. He will march as the officer and gentleman soldier he will forever be – always a Warrior.

Some are drawn to military service, others are born to it. Colonel Brown came in to the world at US Army Post Fort Campbell, Kentucky. The son of a decorated Airborne Combat Infantryman, whose 26-year career saw battle in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam; young Kevin Brown grew up to the sound of trumpet calls, the tramp of marching boots and sight of his father parachuting into the drop zone.  

“When I was ten years old, I remember standing on the front lawn with my mother watching the paratroopers jump from the airplane and descend down under their parachutes. My mother said, “He was supposed to be jumper number nine so that’s probably him right there.” “That puts an imprint on your soul.  Though I didn’t really know it, nor made it a lifelong goal of mine, it was always in the back of my mind to join the military.”

After following his dad to various postings, the family came home to their Mohegan Tribe in Montville.  A stellar student/athlete, young Kevin was courted by the finest east coast Division III colleges and Division I-A, I-AA universities for his academic excellence and football prowess. However, after a personal visit by a West Point coach, Kevin’s dad dropped an application packet on the kitchen table. BOOM! “Fill this out!” 

“Without blinking or thinking, I filled it out, signed it and mailed it!” It was a decision made by a boy that would soon mold the man.

After four arduous years of study and intense military training, Cadet Brown stood in a cavernous room with his classmates to “participate in the time honored tradition” of picking his first military assignment, according to class academic standing. Although his father had urged him to pursue military intelligence assignments, his lineage overcame him and he chose the 101st Airborne Division, Combat Infantry, Fort Campbell, Kentucky.  Life has a route that always leads forward, but at times returns us from whence we came. “I laughed at the remarkable turn of events that saw my first office located in a building that was 100 feet from the hospital where I was born.” Brown said while broadly smiling. 

The years that followed were to see the young lieutenant go from leading a platoon of 200 troops to leading a task force of 1000 troops in Iraq. In 2006, Colonel Brown served as the operations officer with the 10th Mountain Division, home to as elite a fighting force as there is in the world. He eventually retired as garrison commander of Fort Riley, Kansas; acting as “mayor and city manager for 50,000 persons; to include soldiers and their families.”

Colonel Brown noted that leaving home for deployment is like leaving a base, in that it is where you leave from. And returning home from combat is the base where you return to. That base is the center of our lives.

A warrior does not relish combat; he or she is in it for purpose and cause – protection of our nation and its rights and freedoms. Colonel Brown, during both of his tours of duty in Iraq, did so relentlessly and with honor. He was known as “a soldier’s soldier” – an officer who led from the front, role modeling that which he commanded of his troops. 

He takes justifiable pride in the results of that team effort approach. When asked if he accomplished the mission, he thoughtfully responded, “We fulfilled our Mission – We accomplished all that was asked of us….All paid a price, some returned home to a hero’s burial.”

Colonel John Leach-Memorial Day From A Warrior’s Perspective

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Colonel John Leach

 

 

By Maya Jung

 

Over 79 years have not diminished the imposing military bearing and command presence of Colonel John Leach, United States Army (ret.). He looks ready for service and would still command the respect and loyalty to follow into harm’s way.

A Hall of Fame football player at Westerly High School and the University of Rhode Island, John went forth to serve his nation in 1957 – he was decorated with a Purple Heart, a Bronze Star, and the  Soldier Medal.

His Army career saw two tours in Vietnam as an Airborne Army Ranger – the first tour as a field commander, the second as an inserted combat advisor to Army of the Republic of Vietnam. He was stationed in Germany and South Korea. Many of his missions, operations and career achievements were covert – the results are obvious to this day. Suffice it to say Colonel Leach took a hammer to the Berlin Wall and sent an everlasting message to those who dared to invade the demilitarized zone in Korea.

The Colonel was one of the select few Army officers to attend the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. The college is the “Home of  Thought” for senior military leaders. Upon graduation, Colonel Leach was assigned as an instructor at the college. The Colonel’s assignment there saw him pioneer the use of satellite and computer technology to enhance the effectiveness of soldiers in the field.

Retirement has seen the Colonel, wife Carol and daughter Patty return to establish a final base camp in his native Westerly, RI. The former Bulldog legend takes great joy in mentoring and cheering on the youth of his birthplace. His role modeling inspires new generations.

The Colonel offered this on the importance of Memorial Day – “I wear my Viet Vets Cap only on Veterans Day and Memorial Day. All of the year I seek to honor those in American history who made the ultimate sacrifice that our freedoms and rights would be preserved and flourish – Memorial Day is a yearly event honoring of the timeless sacrifice that our military made and continues to make, that we might live in freedom.”

A hero of few words whose life’s actions speak volumes – American Hero Colonel John Leach at Memorial Day.