Author Archives: Alexis

Happy Anniversary!!!

by Alexis Ann

First, the Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center is celebrating its 10th Anniversary. Since opening on August 11, 1998, the Museum hosted nearly two million visitors who toured its permanent and special exhibits, attended performances and presentations of Native American culture, and made use of its two libraries-one devoted to children. Upwards of 380,000 schools children and their teachers have taken advantage of special educational programs and tours designed by the Museum’s staff. Celebration on pages 10-11.

Winners of the 51st Annual Mystic Outdoor Art Festival are on page 7. Mystic Chamber of Commerce, hosted this wonderful event and leaders Tricia Cunningham and Alexa Shelton say, “It was a huge success!”

How about this one…Westerly Yacht Club celebrates 80 years of social and boating fun! It all began in 1927 on the steps of the Westerly Post Office. In a chance meeting, Geoffrey Moore and the late Sydney Alling laid the groundwork for the club. Happy Anniversary on page 23.

Thanks for reading the Resident, the Good News that Rocks! Please remember to patronize our advertisers as they’re helping to make the “good news” happen.

Unforgettable Moments!

by Alexis Ann

It was a joyous occasion for Joe Pennell and Gina Fontaine, owners of Pennell’s Auto Center, Uncasville, when they tied the knot during the Grand Opening ceremony of their new location.  Two birds.  One stone on page 11.

More unforgettable moments, also on page 11, happened when the U.S. Navy’s NR-1, research submarine returned home from its final deployment.  NR-1, built by our own Electric Boat, Groton, served the Navy for 40 years.  Welcome home!

Mystic YMCA celebrated its 5th Anniversary with music, fun, hotdogs, kettle corn and more….The celebration marks Mystic Community Center’s merger with the Westerly-Pawcatuck and Arcadia branches on July 25, 2003, forming Ocean Community YMCA.  Catch the digital moment on page 6.

It was an unforgettable moment when the USS Nautilus (SSN 571) became the first ship to cross the North Pole, August 3, 1958.  Retired Navy Commander Al Charette told the story at the Submarine Force Library and Museum as part the celebration festivities for the Golden Anniversary of the “Nautilus 90 North”.  Share in the adventure on page 4.

Meet Melissa Dearborn on page 5 and learn about her memorable moment of receiving a grant for her brainchild, Use Another Word Program.  Melissa is a 5th/6th grade teacher at the Integrated Day Charter School, Norwich.  Congrats!

Wayne Richard moved his Mystic barbershop to 15 Holmes Street.  What a fun party and ribbon cutting ceremony.  Catch the moment on page 8.

Thanks for reading the Resident, the Good News that Rocks! Please remember to patronize our advertisers as they’re helping to make the “good news”  happen.

A Final Salute to Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Elder Paul Harris

by Alexis Ann

Tribal Elder Paul E. Harris, Sr., (May 4, 1946 – July 25, 2008) passed on instantly during an auto accident in Preston on the afternoon of July 25th. Son of Paul E. Johnson, Jr. and Marion M. Red Feather Curry, Paul was born, raised and educated in New London. Paul proudly served our country as a member of the U.S. Navy.

A three gun military salute was performed in Paul’s honor at the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Burial Grounds after a funeral ceremony held at Dinoto Funeral Home in Mystic on July 31st.

In a time-honored tradition, since 1885, the military bugle call “Taps” was played over the grave of veteran Paul Harris. The American Flag, on behalf of the U.S. Navy, President of the United States, and a proud nation, was presented to Paul’s daughter, Christina Harris.

Paul is survived by sons, Paul E. Harris, Jr., Gabriel Harris, and siblings, Chief Pedro J. Silver Wolf Johnson, Laughing Woman Patrick, Spiritual Leader, Marion Hatcher Standing She Bear and War Chief Stanley Standing Oak Harris Jr. He was predeceased by two sisters, Barbara and Jean.

Known best for his superb musical talent, Paul taught drumming at the Juilliard School of Music and worked with many lead bands across the country before going to work for his Tribe’s biggest enterprise, Foxwoods Resort Casino. There, Paul Harris served as executive assistant for entertainment where his primary responsibility was to liaise with the incoming acts, including the local musicians who played the lounges.

In a June 2000 interview with Modern Drummer Magazine, Paul said of Foxwoods, “‘This isn’t the place for introspective performers. You have to be able to play great music, and play it very well – and also have to be able to sell it to the audience.’”

Paul was a genius at marketing music and helped to take his Tribe’s entertainment venues to the top during the early days at Foxwoods. His personal experience of being a drummer and always the band manager were the perfect ingredients for shaping the entertainment world at Foxwoods.

“‘I know what it’s like to have to pay your bills by performing,’” he says. “‘You want to do a good job and be asked to come back again. So, I make a point to greet the groups and go over what’s expected of them. I try to answer their questions and make them feel comfortable.’”

Long before the biggest casino in the world existed, Paul lived in the area where it now stands on the Reservation. “‘I remember when there was nothing up here but a cedar swamp and poor people,’” said Paul. “‘The reason I became a drummer was so I could leave this place and never come back. I went out on the road, playing seven nights a week for almost twenty years. At the age of 42, I found myself sitting in a hotel room, realizing that I missed five Christmas Days, many birthdays, and many Thanksgivings. I didn’t have anything to show for it except hotel bills, drums and a schedule for a year in advance. It finally hit me that I didn’t want to end my life living out of a suitcase.’”

Paul was doing studio work in California when he got a letter from the Pequot Tribe informing him that they were building a casino and asking him to come back to the Reservation and get involved. He returned in 1992, at which point, the entire operation was a bingo hall – a single cement building surrounded by a dirt parking lot. “‘The Chief of the Tribe was working as a ticket-taker at the door,’” said Paul.

At that time, the Tribe asked Paul to put together the fledgling “casino’s” first entertainment, and gave him $1,000 to rent a sound system. “‘We pushed bingo tables together to make a stage, and mounted a couple of outdoor floodlights on the ceiling for the lighting system,’” says Paul. “‘Kenny Rogers was our first ‘showroom’ act on this incredibly primitive setup-and we sold out! Kenny got $10,000 and we made $30,000. We thought, ‘This is great! We can do this forever.’”

‘“But, it hasn’t taken forever,”’ concluded Paul. “‘In only seven years, that ‘crude’ operation turned into the world’s largest casino/hotel. I’ve gone from being a freelance road musician to being an executive for one of the finest entertainment programs in the world. And, I still get to play from time to time, either sitting in with our groups or doing some outside projects. I was always able to make money with drums – giving lessons, working with high school drumline, or playing local gigs. But, I never thought I’d see this end of things. I count my blessings.’”

In conclusion and most importantly, Paul was a philanthropist with a heart of gold. His many friends, from near and afar, and from all walks of life, will tell you – To know him was to love and respect him for his brilliance, kindness, compassion and humanitarianism. We will miss the sunshine that Paul E. Harris brought into this world but our memories of him with his winning smile, hearty laugh and bear-ish spirit remain forever!

Donations can be made to the Mashantucket Pequot Spiritual Center c/o Judy Bell, Chairperson, Board of Directors, PO Box 3344, Mashantucket, CT 06338.

Just One Arrow

song by John York
dedicated to Paul Harris by The Resident

Oh the road is long and narrow,
And I’m down to just one arrow,
And my old paint, he can hardly stand.
But you can point me toward the battle,
Put me back up in my saddle,
It’s time for me to take my own last stand.

I’ve been looking for a way to cross the Rockies in my mind,
Tryin’ to decide about my own Great Divide.
There’s a mighty Mississippi ragin’ somewhere in my soul,
I’ve got to cross this desert, before I reach my goal.

Cause the road is long and narrow,
And I’m down to just one arrow,
And my old paint, he can hardly stand.
But you can point me toward the battle,
Put me back up in my saddle,
It’s time for me to make my own stand…

Community Spirit!

Community spirit makes the town! And, that’s what the Universal Store, in Noank Village is known for since its opening in 1947 when Pat Quaratella and Dan Simonelli bought the property. Today, son, Frank Quaratella, Sr., and his son, Frank Jr., do a superb job of running a Mom & Pop grocery store and deli. Hats off to Steve Jones, new owner of the property, not to be confused with buying the business. Get the scoop on page 4 and make sure to visit Frank’s old-fashioned meat department. It’s worth the trip!

The 6th Annual MASH Auction & Chef Competition was a smashing event held at pristine Enders Island. It was a beautiful evening enjoyed by ALL who attended. Of course, the best thing besides the winners of the cook-off, Jamie Fowler, Noah’s, Stonington and Kevin Rogers, Ledyard teacher and Bravo Bravo Bartender, was the cool $40,000 raised. Monies will benefit local homeless families and children. Catch the community spirit on page 8.

The American Legion Veterans Housing, Inc., held a kick-off fundraiser dinner in Griswold, last week for a $5M project to assist Homeless veterans. Plans are to rehabilitate the American Legion Hall building to create affordable permanent housing for vets in need. Let’s put our hands together for the anonymous donor who donating the first $20,000 on page 10.

The Resident Newspaper participated in the 30th Annual Groton Fourth of July Parade and what fun we had! We were lucky enough to march behind Remember the Heroes Band and in front of the Wayne’s Barber Shop Crew…it was rock’n and laugh’n all the way! pages 6-7.

Thanks for reading the Resident, the Good News that Rocks! Please remember to patronize our advertisers as they’re helping to make the “good news” happen.

MASH 6th Annual Auction & Iron Chef Competition

story & photos
by Alexis Ann

On June 21st, from 6-11 p.m.,  Enders Island was the backdrop for the 6th Annual Mystic Area Shelter and Hospitality (MASH) Auction for Action and Iron Chef Competition. The benefit was to raise awareness and funds for local homeless families and children. The evening was blessed with beautiful weather and a successful turnout. 250 people attended the event, raising an outstanding $40,000

The winners of the cook-off were Jamie Fowler of Noah’s Restaurant in Stonington, and his Sous Chef, Kevin Rogers, a teacher in Ledyard  and bartender at Bravo Bravo in Mystic. Other participants included Jeff Walker of Anthony J’s Bistro in Mystic and his Sous Chef Eva Franchi.

The ingredient of the night was monkfish. Jamie  prepared a Portuguese Monkfish Stufato, Thai Monkfish Cakes with a traditional carrot salad & mango sambal, and Monkfish Grand-Mere, served with onions, potatoes, and truffles.  “It was nice to pay homage to the Stonington area’s heritage,” Jamie says about the Portuguese stew (Stufato).

The judges for the event were Executive Chef Michael Luboff of Mohegan Sun, and Father Thomas Hoar of Enders Island.

“Having the MASH Iron Chef Competition at Enders Island, with the ‘Rock of Hope’ was providential.  Their ministry is built on Hope and I think Hope was the ‘real’ secret ingredient used that night!” Remarks Jessica D. Morrissey, a member of the MASH Iron Chef event commitee.

Connecticut Superstar Michael Bolton Wows MGM Audience

by Alexis Ann

The only thing hotter than this 4th of July was Michael Bolton’s Show in the luxurious MGM Grand Theater on the 5th! The New Haven born superstar has a long list of artists he’s performed with including Luciano Pavarrotti and Ray Charles; written songs with Bob Dylan, penned hits for Barbra Streisand and KISS; played guitar with B.B. King and was sampled on a track by Kayne West and Jay-Z.

Opening with “Love Is A Wonderful Thing”, Michael struts across the stage dressed in blue jeans and a black velvet jacket over a white blousy shirt. The audience gives Michael an enthusiastic warm welcome and the woman sitting next to me is practically jumping out of her seat, clapping and screaming.

Later on, she shares a secret with me, “I went to kindergarten with HIM,” and offers me this New Haven Kindergarten Class photograph, pointing to Michael Bolton, a cutie-patutie even back then in 1959. At the end of the show, I find out that always on point, people-pleaser, John Bodnar, security manager special events, Foxwoods, is going to try to get her backstage for a meet and greet with Michael. COOL.

Michael tells the audience how happy he is to be in the new MGM Grand and comments, “The rooms are beautiful!”

Before beginning the next song, “To Love Somebody”, the legendary singer and songwriter, says, “I want you to sing to us tonight.”

A fan replies, “Okay, Michael.”

Michael answers, “You can yell out, too.” The audience breaks out in laughter. This sets the stage for an intimate evening with a superstar.

After the second song, a fan yells out, “Where’s Nicolette?”

“She’s working,” answers Michael.

He then introduces “Timeless Classics” and refers to his work and time spent with other stars like Ray Charles and Luciano. “These are some of the greatest moments of my life.”

At the top of Michael’s list of dream projects was an album of songs made famous by Frank Sinatra. Of course, he made his dream come true and “Bolton Swings Sinatra” is part of the collection he calls “Vintage hits recorded by other artists.”

Michael changes into a vintage Sinatra-era suit in tune with his next song, “Fly Me To The Moon”; followed by “Summer Wind”; “Day and Night”; “That’s Life” and of course, “New York New York”.

Extremely fan-friendly, Michael invites fans to the front of the stage. We wondered for a bit, is he serious? Yup. Members of the audience began joining him in front of the stage. Shaking hands with fans and even kissing some, Michael gladly posed for cell phone photographs. The friendliness was over-the-top! The new MGM Theatre was rockin’ with delight.

Spirit of Summer!

First, let’s put our hands together for the Essex Fire Department celebrating 175 years!!  Fire Departments from all over New England and even one from Essex, England came to the celebration on page 4.

Mystic Summer Sounds Concert Series is in full swing this summer of 2008.  See your friends from the Noank-Mystic Community Band during their June 24th performance in the Mystic River Park, on page 4.  And, Mystic Women’s Club 2008 Officers are also on page 4 with Coast Guard Captain David S. Brimblecom receiving the Legion of Merit Medal.

Wow!  Your friends at Chelsea Groton Bank presented a cool $13,000 check to the Peachtree Fire Victims Fund, on page 10.

Welcome home, Jeremy Powers, pro cyclist.  Native of Niantic, that’s where Jeremy began his biking passion.  Jeremy competed in the first Whaling City Cyclone Bicycle Race at FT Trumbull.  Meet him on page 10.

On June 26, 2008, Governor Rell officially proclaimed Billy Joel Day in the State of Connecticut.  That day also marked the birthday for the other boss in my life…my dad, Alex and the big tenth anniversary for Mohegan Chairman Bruce “Two Dogs” Bozsum and his wife, Kelly Lamy.

Thanks for reading the Resident, the Good News that Rocks! Please remember to patronize our advertisers as they’re helping to make the “good news”  happen.

Happy Fourth of July!

Celebrate the Fourth of July, Independence Day, or July Fourth, U.S. holiday, commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence. Celebration of it began during the American Revolution. It is the most important patriotic holiday ever since. Declaration of Independence, a full and formal declaration adopted July 4, 1776, by representatives of the Thirteen Colonies in North America announcing the separation of those colonies from Great Britain and making them into the United States. Look inside this issue for how your neighbors will celebrate and don’t miss the parades in your town.

Andrew Perry, longtime Stonington resident and former owner of Stonington Lumber and Hardware is the Stonington Historical Society’s Parade Grand Marshal. Andy invites you to come see the 4th of July parade scheduled to begin assembling in Wadawanuck Square at 9:45 a.m. Meet Andy on page 12.

Across the viaduct and Historic Mystic Bridge, Bill Jervis, Grand Marshal, will be leading Groton’s 4th of July parade, starting at 10:00 a.m. Wave to your Resident friends as we drive by in The Resident’s classic antique VW Bug Convertible. My “baby” since 1979 is waxed and ready to parade. Meet Bill on page 5.

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Outstanding Leadership Award Honors Ulysses Hammond and CorePlus Federal Credit Union

story & photos
by Alexis Ann

Inside the Gathering Space at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center on an unusually hot June 12th, a couple of hundred business leaders and family members joined together to honor Ulysses Hammond, Vice President for Administration, Conn College, as the Outstanding Leadership Award recipient and Core Plus Federal Credit Union as the Community Service Awardee presented by the CT Rivers Council, Boy Scouts of America. The evening’s celebration began with a tour of the Museum followed by cocktails, dinner and ceremony.

Keith Fontaine, Eagle Scout (1976), VP for Corporate Communications, Backus Hospital, Norwich, served as Master of Ceremonies. Kenneth Capano, Sr., owner of ShopRite and former Community Service Award recipient co-chaired the gala with Jeffrey Godley, Eagle Scout, member of Brown Jacobson, P.C..

The Outstanding Leadership Award is presented annually by the Boy Scouts to publicly acknowledge the accomplishments of an outstanding community leader; a person who lives by the Scout Oath and Law in his or her daily life. “Certainly, Ulysses Hammond is a person who exemplifies these characteristics,” said Bill Stanley, L&M Hospital, as he introduced the honoree. Bill served side-by-side with Ulysses on the Boards of Directors for the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern CT and the United Way of Southeastern CT, described Ulysses as, “A true leader, a true community champion, a true gentleman and as good a friend as anyone could have in the world.”

“While he was not a Boy Scout himself, Ulysses did experience vicarious Boy Scout life through his son, Damon, who did, fortunately have access to a Scout troop while he was growing up,” Bill said. “Ulysses Hammond also lives each day as a Boy Scout would, demonstrating that he is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.”

At Conn College, Ulysses serves as the chief administrative and business operations officer and is coordinator of the college’s legal and community affairs. Currently, Ulysses is leading the college’s $53M, 10-year campus renewal effort.

A leader on campus and in the community, Ulysses holds numerous honors and awards, including OIC of New London’s 2008 Community Champion Award, Dominion Nuclear’s “Strong Men & Women: Excellence in Leadership” Award, the 2006 Connecticut Man of the Year Award, and the “Measure of a Man” Award from the Washington Inter-Alumni Council of the College Fund/United Negro College Fund and he is co-founder of the Tutoring for Success/Preparing Tomorrow’s Leaders Today program in the New London Public Schools.

Of all the organizations for which Ulysses serves, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship Trust Fund is “near and dear to his heart.” He is also vice chair on the board of directors at L&M Hospital, and is past board chair of both the United Way of SECT and Chamber of Commerce of ECT. As experienced and knowledgeable as Ulysses Hammond is, his favorite service to the community involves rolling up his sleeves to wash dishers at the New London Meal Center, where he volunteers as a member of the Rotary Club of NL.

In acceptance of the award, Ulysses Hammond stressed the importance of character development in our youth and thanked the Boy Scouts of America for its vital role in this mission. Ulysses thanked the attendees, his dear wife and his close friend, Reverend Watts for being there in his time of need. It was a tear-breaking moment, as he relayed his fight to beat prostate cancer.

The Community Service Award is presented annually too to organizations and individuals who play a vital role in the development and growth of a community. The spirit of Eastern CT is greatly enriched by the continual support of our business community and CT Rivers Council, BSA, is pleased to recognize those organizations that make a significant contribution to the quality of life in the communities it serves. On behalf of Core Plus Federal Credit Union, Warren P. Scholl, President & CEO, accepted the Community Service Award.

“In 1936, Core Plus started with 27 members and $15.00. Today, we are proud to provide sound financial health to over 20,000 members and over $180M in assets,” said Warren. “Core Plus is extremely honored to receive this award and we are especially privileged to share the evening with Ulysses Hammond.”

“Scouting touches lives! In more ways than we realize the fundamental lessons learned in scouting carry over as preeminent indicators of good character and right thinking in our society.”

“Whether an individual’s encounter with scouting was brief or whether they, as individuals, rose through the ranks to soar with eagles, scouting touches lives.”

“Do our best to do our duty” because scouting touches lives!

Emeril Kicking It Up a Notch in the Fox Theatre

story & photos
by Alexis Ann

Emeril Lagasse, the famous restaurant chef, cookbook author and businessman created some of his famous Creole cuisine recipes in the Fox Theatre on Sunday, June 8th. Emeril captured the attention of a full house of food enthusiasts with his cooking demonstration, humor and food preparation tips.

A native New Englander, Emeril grew up in Fall River, MA. His mother, Hilda, was in the audience and it was heartwarming experiencing Emeril’s love for Mom. Emeril’s cooking career started at the young age of ten and included working at a Portuguese bakery in town. Emeril turned down a full scholarship of music at the Conservatory to attend cooking school. By following his instincts, he was guided by the best and became fascinated with Louisiana; the people, the food, the culture. It became part of his life.

Emeril began his show by teaching us how to create a Raspberry Mojito cocktail, followed by salad greens with fried oysters topped with a buttermilk dressing. As he prepared his cuisine he chatted about the Emeril Foundation and one of its programs called Café Reconcile, established to get at risk children off the streets and train them in the hospitality business. Another program at St. Michaels Special School teaches children with learning disabilities how to cook for themselves and prepare for job opportunities. “We all have made contributions for the betterment of children.”

Next, came the Corn Soup topped with chilled shrimp followed by Roasted Halibut with chorizo, clams, and a rouille stew with scallops from New Bedford. While preparing the fresh halibut from Maine, he added “If it smells like fish, go for the lamb!”

Dessert was a Lemon Pudding Cake with strawberry coulisse. What one would give to be among his chosen fans on stage enjoying everything prepared?

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Natural Goodness!

by Alexis Ann

It’s down-to-earth farming in Center Groton at the Red Fence Farm, not far from Wally World, Route 184. Art and Cherrie Hiles invite you to meet their furry creatures, including special Highland Cattle and especially, Diogennes, the donkey. While you’re there, don’t forget to take home some farm fresh eggs from all organically grown chickens. You can tell the difference just by cracking them not to mention the taste! Farm fresh on page 5.

Meet Farmer John “Whit” Davis on page 10. If you know Whit, you know he’s still farming at 84 years young, right down the Greenhaven Road, Pawcatuck, just a hop, skip and a jump from The Resident Newspaper main office. Whit’s dad taught him how to plant a vegetable garden at age 11 and that’s what he still enjoys doing. “I’m keeping track of what I plant, when I plant, when I pick. So, somewhere down the line, a younger person benefits. All they’ll have to do is pick up that journal. They won’t have to wait to be 80 years old before they know what works best for this area.” Now, that’s the way Nature intended…sharing good ol’ Yankee ingenuity. Thanks Whit! We’ll be visiting your farm for your home grown veggies.

Thanks for reading the Resident, the Good News that Rocks! Please remember to patronize our advertisers as they’re helping to make the “good news” happen.

P.S. Happy Father’s Day!