Author Archives: The Resident

Not Just a Rose: Rose Sinagra Named Bethsaida Humanitarian

by Susan Cornell

Rose Sinagra

Rose Sinagra

The Bethsaida Community’s “mover and shaker,” Rose Sinagra, is to receive the Carol Croteau Humanitarian Award on April 25, a reflection of her spirited work to expand the organization’s women’s shelter, known as Patricia’s Place.

The award is named for Carol Croteau, who formed Bethsaida Community Inc., on Cliff Street in Norwich as a shelter and human services organization for abused and homeless women.

Rose said modestly, “I am very excited to get the award but don’t think I’ve done anything more than anyone else has done.”

That’s clearly not the case, however.

When Sinagra learned about Bethsaida’s newest housing program, the Patricia’s Place Program, she motivated others to help—her husband, children, the St. Matthias Choir and the St. Matthias Women’s Club.

She does whatever she can for Patricia’s Place. “When I first heard about it, I volunteered to completely furnish one of the bedrooms and I did get five other people to do the other five bedrooms.”

Bethsaida Community’s Executive Director Claire Silva stated, “Rose Sinagra is completely deserving of the Carol Croteau Humanitarian Award. Rose learned about Bethsaida and instantly became a mover and a shaker for our newest housing program – the Patricia’s Place Program, PPP.

“Rose rallied together women from the St. Matthias Church Prayer Shawl Ministry group, the Women’s Club and the Choir to decorate bedrooms, and stock the kitchen with new appliances and supplies. Rose and her husband decorated one of the PPP bedrooms and donated numerous items for the new residents. She also organized her children and their families to donate a beautiful kitchen table and chairs. Rose has been an inspiration to us all.”

Rose even convinced her seven children to donate money so she could purchase what was needed. She bought a kitchen table and eight chairs, a tablecloth and pads, as well as “a lot of things for the kitchen.” She added, “I did a lot of shopping at Macy’s!”

She asked her dentist to donate toothbrushes for the homeless. “I’ve also told all my kids when you go away, don’t throw away all the little things like shampoo and soap the hotel gives you. Bring them to me and I’ll get them to homeless people.“

Rose is a very involved volunteer at Saint Matthias Church in East Lyme; not only does she cook for several church suppers each year but is also one of the chairmen of the Prayer Shawl Ministry, which makes and distributes shawls to hospitals, convalescent homes, “and anyone who needs one—who maybe needs a little love, compassion and comfort,” she explains.

The Ladies Club of Saint Matthias backs this undertaking. “We buy yarn with the money they give us and then, with any of the donations we might get, we use that to buy yarn,” she said.

She has made three king-sized afghans which have been raffled off to buy yarn.

Rose was born and raised in New London and graduated from Williams Memorial Institute. She is active: While her children were in school, she was active as an elementary school room-mother, a religious education teacher, and volunteered in the school library. She also served as a Cub Scout Den Mother and as President of the East Lyme Band Parents Association. She served on the Board for the East Lyme Visiting Nurse Association, and was a founding member of the East Lyme Main Street Merchants Association. She is a grandmother to nine and a great-grandmother to two.

Valor Quilters Seek to Honor WWII Women Vets

Hello Alexis,

I have read and enjoyed The Resident for many years; I know you served in the military in Montana.

I am a member of the “Quilts of Valor” program here in Mystic—we have sewn at least six quilts for retired servicemen. I have awarded three to veterans of World War II and soon will be awarding one to a veteran of the Vietnam War.

Over the years you have featured articles on veterans for your Veterans Day edition; now we are looking for a female veteran who served during WWII, and we would like to honor her by giving her one of our quilts. We hold the ceremony at the VFW in Mystic which has been gracious enough to allow us to do our sewing there free of charge.

If you have any suggestions, please let me know. Women in the military have not been recognized the way they should—this is our way to honor them.

Please let me know if you and your readers have a name (or names) for us. We will consider them all.

Lois Correia

Editor’s Note: Suggestions can also be phoned to The Resident at 860.599.1221 or emailed to

Despite a Harrowing First Night, a Local Woman is Alive to Celebrate 50 Wonderful Years in Norwich

Norwich resident Phyllis Moore remembers the uncertainty of her first few days in Connecticut, 50 years after the Spaulding Pond Dam fails on March 6, 1963.

Norwich resident Phyllis Moore remembers the uncertainty of her first few days in Connecticut, 50 years after the Spaulding Pond Dam fails on March 6, 1963.

by Angela O’Neill-Smith

When the Spaulding Pond Dam, located in what is now Mohegan Park in Norwich, failed on March 6, 1963, allowing water, ice and mud to rush downstream toward the city, residents had to flee to safety as businesses, homes lives were tragically lost. It is a date that reminds the survivors of the event how one moment in time can change lives forever.

For one Norwich family the date also corresponds with a new beginning. Both Jim and Phyllis Moore were born and raised in Johnsonburg, Pa., a small community sustained by family farms and a local paper mill. The couple decided to leave their hometown because for Jim and many other locals the paper mill, although famed for making the paper used in printing the iconic Saturday Evening Post, was no longer designated as an ideal workplace.

The employees of the mill had been on strike for several months and, with no end in sight, Jim and Phyllis made a decision that would change their lives forever. “We moved to Connecticut because my husband wanted to take care of his family,” Phyllis said with pride as she spoke about their difficult decision to leave Pennsylvania. Phyllis also explains how Jim came to Connecticut first so he could find work.  She was pregnant, expecting their third child so they decided that she and the children would join Jim in Connecticut after the baby was born and old enough to travel.

Shortly after midnight on March 6, the Moore family arrived in Norwich; it was less than 24 hours before the dam was going to unexpectedly fail.

The drive from Johnsonburg took about 18 hours. “The highways were not like they are today; we drove on mostly back roads” Phyllis said. She chuckles as she talks about the long drive with three young children and the family’s belongings in tow.

Phyllis spent her first hours in Connecticut getting settled into the family’s new home on Cliff Street. She kept busy caring for the children when  Jim left to his new job; he reported to work at General Dynamics Electric Boat, in Groton. Phyllis recalls the seemingly endless, exhausting day.

The unsettled, hectic conditions left Phyllis longing for a hot bath as she unpacked, put together the family’s sleeping arrangements, and got the kids ready for bed. She said she looked forward to relaxing.

For Phyllis, the details of that night are as clear today as they were 50 years ago. As she was settling in for the first full night in their new home, enjoying her well-deserved bath the lights unexpectedly went out. Moments later the night’s silence was broken by sirens echoing through the streets. Phyllis said she knew right away the sirens were for something big. Even though she came from a small, quiet community she could sense something was different about this night.

Phyllis said she was still in the bath listening to the sirens when her husband cracked open the door. In almost a joking tone he said “Well, I guess you are in the city now.” After, Phyllis said she went to bed wondering what was in store for her and her family in a dark city with so many sirens.

The next day Jim brought Phyllis the local newspaper and together they read the stories of devastation and sadness.

Jim and Phyllis Moore took this photo showing the damage to the Spaulding Pond Dam, located in what is now Mohegan Park in Norwich, after the dam failure on March 6, 1963

Jim and Phyllis Moore took this photo showing the damage to the Spaulding Pond Dam, located in what is now Mohegan Park in Norwich, after the dam failure on March 6, 1963

In the days and weeks following one of Norwich’s most infamous dates, Jim and Phyllis spent time exploring their new community; they drove to the site of the Spaulding Pond Dam, they walked to see the areas hardest hit by the flood waters, and they watched as their new city mourned the loss of life.

Phyllis also remembers watching with pride as their new “big city” neighbors pulled together and worked in unity to heal and rebuild. Phyllis and Jim did not let the sad day in history blur their outlook.

In fact, Phyllis said although her first few days in Norwich were frightening, her 50 years since then have been more than wonderful.  With a smile and a look of contentment she further affirms “I have never regretted moving to Norwich; I have had a good life here.”

Matchmaker says Marriage Not Contrary to Freedom

Best-selling author, Hellen Chen speaks about relationships. She has introduced more than 50 couples, now happily married.

Best-selling author, Hellen Chen speaks about relationships. She has introduced more than 50 couples, now happily married.

by Susan Cornell

Hellen Chen from Los Angeles, California, is a well-respected business consultant, international speaker, author, relationship coach…and matchmaker.

Today she can also add to her repertoire a starring role in a documentary about love. The full-length documentary, “Let’s Fall in Love,” focuses on real-life love stories taken from Hellen’s bestselling book, “Matchmaker of the Century.” Hellen focuses on her belief that genuine freedom comes only when true love is slowly discovered—through the comfort and reassurance of marriage.

Hellen began her career in matchmaking by chance. As a business consultant, she’d been asked many times about personal relationships. Hellen took the questions to heart, discovering that many reflected a distorted view of marriage based on erroneous reasoning that marriage took away freedom.

Hellen thus came to focus on people who have lost faith in marriage or people who simply believed that marriage places limits on one’s freedom. She is quick to point out that her approach differs from most matchmakers, who work with people who are seeking someone “special” and then getting married.

Hellen began introducing her acquaintances and today she speaks with pride when she reminisces about the more than 50 couples who have married because of her matchmaking.

But what is a marriage that fosters freedom? Helen maintains that, “It is both persons wanting to have a family together, love each other and raise children together and learn from each other, grow together and share all their good and bad times with each other, go through thick and thin.”

She advocates that in a healthy, happy marriage the couple has the freedom to put energy into other valued objectives in their lives—such as education, career, hobbies etc.; genuine freedom is only possible because they have the security of knowing that they are grounded in a healthy relationship.

Hellen has written 19 bestselling books. Her most notable is “Matchmaker of the Century” which has become a bestseller in several categories including self-help, romance, marriage, and family. Couples who are interested in joining Hellen’s “Love you forever campaign,” reading her books, or finding more information about her documentary can locate information of Hellen’s WEB site

‘Real Housewife’ Star Kyle Richard Featured at Sun

Kyle Richards visits Mohegan Sun

Kyle Richards

by Susan Cornell
The queen of the 90210 zip code and star of Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” Kyle Richards paid a visit to Mohegan Sun on February 24 for a special “Reality Check” event. A Realty Check brings stars from the reality TV world to the Sun, allowing fans to meet their favorites from the small screen at home.
The glamorous mother, author, and, yes, housewife started her day with a visit to Shine 360. The Shine 360 website describes itself as “a space where guests can experience the excitement of a ‘phygital’ experience.” Shine 360 features cameras that digitally capture an image of all 360 degrees of guests, which can then be shared through Facebook, Twitter, or email.
Before meeting with a line of more than 200 fans, Kyle was featured in a live Q&A segment. She was very personable throughout her event and thanked fans for taking the time to wait.
Dressed in a leather jacket, jeans, and a pair of knee-high boots, Kyle kept it casual. Everything she wore, she told a fan, came from her new store, Kyle by Alene Too, which recently opened in Beverly Hills.
Before flying back to the West Coast, Kyle stopped by Once Upon A Time Toys, Mohegan Sun’s toy store, to pick up a few gifts for her youngest daughter, Portia.
“This was Mohegan Sun’s first ‘Reality Tour.’ We took Kyle to all three properties we are affiliated with (Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in Pennsylvania, Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, and here at Mohegan Sun,” explained the Sun’s Kimberly Miller, Public Relations Specialist.
Kyle left behind a warm message: “I want to thank everyone who came out here today, I had the best time. And remember—it’s always more fun at Mohegan Sun!”

‘Reach Out to Youth’ Campaign Thanks Fling Supporters

Spring Fling Committee. l-r: Alicia Gutierrez, Michelle Williams, Beth Abbiati, and Mari Kodama dress their best for YMCA’s Fling

Spring Fling Committee.
l-r: Alicia Gutierrez, Michelle Williams, Beth Abbiati, and Mari Kodama dress their best for YMCA’s Fling

The third annual Reach Out to Youth Campaign rolled out the red carpet for a Fling Into Spring held at the Stonington Velvet Mill and attended by an enthusiastic group of YMCA supporters. The benefit raised over $13,400. The calling of auctioneer Daniel Stanavage brought in $11,450 for the live auction. Dan Reeve, director, Mystic YMCA, “A big thanks to all the supporters for their generosity. Also, thanks to the Mystic Board of Directors for their time and energy put into this event and for making it a huge success.”

Waterford Jazz Sounds Off in Boston

(l-r) Connor Megan, Benjamin Frascarelli, Nathaniel Ashbey, Phillip Rood, Nathaniel Ross, Natalie Bush, Peter Wojtowicz, Nicola Wiseman, Gabriel Morosky. Natalie Bush received a Judge’s Choice Award for her piano performance.

(l-r) Connor Megan, Benjamin Frascarelli, Nathaniel Ashbey, Phillip Rood, Nathaniel Ross, Natalie Bush, Peter Wojtowicz, Nicola Wiseman, Gabriel Morosky. Natalie Bush received a Judge’s Choice Award for her piano performance.

Waterford High School’s Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Combo, and Jazz Choir performed at the 45th Berklee College of Music High School Jazz Festival in Boston on March 2.
Berklee College of Music hosts the festival at the Hynes Convention Center; it is the largest of its kind in the United States, free, and open the public. More than 200 ensembles and over 3,000 student musicians participated. Waterford’s Natalie Bush received a Judge’s Choice Award for piano. Timothy Fioravanti is a music director at Waterford High School.
Big bands, combos, and vocal jazz ensembles performed throughout the day. All ensembles were adjudicated by a panel of Berklee’s top faculty and received a written critique of their performance. The day’s events included performances by Berklee faculty, tours of Berklee’s campus, open jam sessions.
Additional information about the festival is at

In the picture are Jazz Combo members (l-r) Connor Megan, Benjamin Frascarelli, Nathaniel Ashbey, Phillip Rood, Nathaniel Ross, Natalie Bush, Peter Wojtowicz, Nicola Wiseman, Gabriel Morosky. Natalie Bush received a Judge’s Choice Award for her piano performance.

United Theatre Aspires to Play Role in Westerly’s Rejuvenation

Artists Impression of the proposed Theater Frontage

Artists Impression of the proposed Theater Frontage

For six decades, film fans in and around Westerly had a place to congregate—the United Theatre. The downtown landmark, which closed its doors in 1986, is now owned by the Westerly Land Trust and in the understanding hands of executive advisor Simon Holt, probably best known as the chieftain of the Salt Marsh Opera.

Like all land trusts, Westerly’s is charged with land conservancy—“and then it has this urban initiative, a group in partnership with the Royce Family Fund, in acquiring downtown urban properties and finding new uses for them,” Holt explains.

Holt’s role is to work with nonprofit lawyers and apply for the theater’s 501(c)(3) educational status. For the past six months, he’s been working with various groups in town, and, to get the ball rolling, a fundraising advisory group formed last June with fundraising experts who are helping Holt “look for funding not only from individuals but from state and federal grants,” he says.
In particular, the advisory group is partnering with the town of Westerly in writing two grants—a National Endowment for the Arts grant which gives money to pay for architects’ work and an Economic Development Administration grant for $1 million to actually start building.
“Both of those grants are being matched by the Royce Family Fund,” Holt adds.
By the end of the year, he anticipates knowing whether construction can begin. Holt is “fairly certain this will go ahead and we will start some building work on the very front of the building. We’ll be refurbishing the façade and the marquee, and then we’ll be trying to rebuild the movie theater so that we can try to get some things happening in the building, and provide the opportunity for everybody to be part of that.”
It’s difficult to say when the building will be in its finished form “because the funding is so hard right now,” he said. Holt added that, “We’re thinking of a phased approach – it could be three phases, it could be five phases. Who knows? If we could raise $6 million, it could be one phase.”
The entire project could take between three and five years to complete. Despite its usefulness and vision as a city centerpiece, “the project is “ill-timed,” he says, “in that everyone is hurting. “
The big question is, he asks, “Does Westerly really need the United Theatre?” Holt encourages people to think of it as “an economic driver for the whole town.” He says, “If we look at the kind of things that are going in—bars and clubs and stores—there’s this feeling of rejuvenation now and I feel the theater will be a real major part of attracting people into the area.”
Holt, who has “always been very motivated by trying to create a community around the arts,” is enthusiastic.
“For me, this was the opportunity to try to help the town become focused around the arts—not just one art form but all the arts. I’m keen to see this happen.”

Sound View District in Old Lyme to be Upgraded

by John Stratton

Sound View—a strip of sparking sand and shining waves willed to “the public at large” some 70 years ago—is getting a major upgrade thanks to a long-sought grant from the Connecticut Department of Transportation.
The town’s newsletter recounted that, “in the Fall of 2011, the Sound View Commission presented conceptual drawings for improvements to Hartford Avenue.” Citing an estimated cost of $600,000, “In early 2012, the Commission and Town of Old Lyme applied for a DOT Enhancement Fund Grant that would fund 80% of the project.”
Sound ViewThe DOT grant was approved in late January of this year. As outlined by the commission, the conceptual drawings for improvements “include public restrooms, a park in the town parking lot, re-designed street parking, a bike path, and kiosks for paid parking.” The DOT Enhancement Fund Grant would fund 80 percent of the project.
The refinement of the project’s several phases will include a number of information meetings as details of the project takes final form.
“Once approved, the engineering firm will proceed with the design, and provide an estimated cost for the construction, said the town. “At that time, there will be a Town Meeting scheduled to approve the allocation of funds for the construction phase, likely in the Spring of 2014.”
The beach and summer-oriented rentals and businesses was originally conceived in 1892 as a “resort” by land developer Harry Hilliard. On his death he willed the beachfront to the public at large; it has been operated as a town beach for decades. Hilliard’s original concept touted Sound View Beach in 1914 as “logically the summer playground of Hartford,” and said that “Dollar for Dollar it is the Biggest Value Ever Offered in Shore Property.”
The cottage and business projects multiplied as he’d advertised—but led to overcrowding and parking problems. Numerous redesign proposals over the years received varying degrees of acceptance, but paved the way for the current improvement grant.

Applause Rings Out for Our Region

Alexis and Mike Crowley

Alexis and Mike Crowley

If St. Patty’s Day is here, can Spring be far behind? The tenth anniversary of the Mystic Irish parade is a sure harbinger of a new season, as are the multitudes of rejuvenatory events which fill our calendars.
The big parade in Mystic steps out at 1 p.m. on Sunday, March 24—a celebration of our region’s people and progress which is aptly reflected in the words of Neil Ryan on page 9. In Westerly, a landmark theater is coming back to life, likewise the work of many volunteers and much community enthusiasm. I myself have happy memories of the United Theatre; it screened the first movie I ever saw in a real movie house, and there were many more films to come over the years before it closed in ’86! Get in line with your popcorn and learn more on page 6.
Speaking of memories–and recreation–still another revitalization is coming soon in Old Lyme, where the historic Sound View public beach may be adding a new park, and a new outlook. Get some sand between your springtime toes on page 4.
And while we’re in laudatory mode—how about our Connecticut College alumnus and his wife at the Oscars! Sean Fine, and his wife Andrea Nix Fine, took a golden statuette for best short documentary for their telling of the tale of “Inocente,” a homeless young woman fighting her way out of poverty in San Diego. See more on this inspiring story on page 10.
In short, there’s much to see and do as the snow melts and the birds sing. Let The Resident come along with you as you explore the bright new world!
Thanks for reading The Resident, the Good News that Rocks! Remember, the Resident reaches 64 communities and is the most cost-effective way to advertise in the region. Please remember to patronize our advertisers.

Thanks for reading The Resident, the Good News that Rocks! Remember, the Resident reaches 64 communities and is the most cost-effective way to advertise in the region. Please remember to patronize our advertisers.

Alexis Anneditor & publisher

Alexis Ann
editor & publisher

Childhood Obesity Starts at Home

by Frederick Jaccarino, MD

Frederick Jaccarino, M.D.

Frederick Jaccarino, M.D.

America’s leaders set national priorities, assign elected and appointed officials to solve specific problems, and work on solutions in order to secure the future of our nation.   The current administration is working on dozens of important issues, and one more which is being spearheaded by the First Lady, Michelle Obama: childhood obesity.

The causes of the childhood obesity epidemic in America today are well known. Diets include “essential nutrients” like chips, tacos, pizzas, burgers, and a rare green item like mint ice cream or avocado dip. Add all these mostly empty calories to an increasingly sedentary lifestyle, and the unsurprising result is obesity and an accelerated aging process in our youth, who often enter their twenties already seriously overweight.

What isn’t visible – but looms as the actual consequence of this trend – is the premature artery clogging, hypertension, and diabetes that is leading to an ever  rising demand for medical treatments and will be a costly burden for society.

Just as when the government joined the medical establishment in the war on tobacco, so too the government has a big stake in the battle against childhood obesity.  And, as with tobacco, the battle is being waged via information and education.

The first lady’s voice reaches beyond America’s shores. However, she will need the aid of other members of government,  like Congress, to levy taxes and fines that will prod us to offer better nutrition for our children.

New York’s Mayor Bloomberg, for one, has taken aim at the obesity problem by making laws discouraging large portions, and other laws to inform customers how many calories are in that bacon-cheeseburger.  Standards defining acceptable limits on fat or sugar content seem to be just what our National Institutes of Health scientists have been working on for years, and the taxes will be “virtuous” since they promote better health and primarily punish only those who choose to ignore the warnings of Michelle Obama and others.

Is it fair or democratic for our government to use fines and taxes to encourage one food choice over another?  The answer is yes, it is fair because society as a whole absorbs the costs of caring for the ill and ailing.  Statistically speaking, the overweight children (not unlike smokers) will use healthcare earlier and more often than their healthier counterparts.

Conn College Alum Wins Oscar for Documentary

The Oscars® from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Sunday, February 24. Photo: Darren Decker / A.M.P.A.S. credit: Darren Decker / ©A.M.P.A.S.

Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine accept the Oscar for best documentary short subject for “Inocente” during the live ABC Telecast of The Oscars® from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Sunday, February 24. Photo: Darren Decker / A.M.P.A.S.

The experience of a second Oscar nomination does little to calm the nerves, as Sean Fine and his wife and collaborator Andrea Nix Fine can attest. Waiting for the announcement, the couple “were squeezing each other’s hands so tight, he had her nail marks in his palms.”

This time, though, the anticipation was rewarded with a win for best short documentary, their film “Inocente” about a 15 year old homeless, undocumented street artist, being voted best in category.

Perhaps the compelling story of Inocente Izucar, lifting herself from the forelorn straits of street life in San Diego through her paintings, has brought a special force to the film maker’s own art.

Yet Sean Fine has been a force of originality in his own right, having created his own major in zoology and film making at Connecticut College. He and his wife have a long list of awards for their film making, a 2008 Oscar nod for “War/Dance,” about children in Uganda, plus a string of Emmy’s and Sundance Film Festival awards.
Sean and Andrea were searching for a way to illuminate the plight of homeless children in America when they encountered Inocente Izucar.

She was enrolled in an arts program for at risk children, while living a life of constant disruption as she moved from one overcrowded homeless shelter to another. Against this backdrop the young girl discovered a world of color in her paintings, igniting a determined drive to become a working artist free of her street life past.

Inocente, the film, documents the life of Inocente, the girl, over a two year span. She is a symbol of the new face of homelessness in America, children and young people from broken homes and hopeless pasts. Her story is an inspirational exception to the norm, a vestige of color in a dark reality that too many never fully escape from.

The film ends at a crossroads for the young woman, where dreams and life’s path intersect. Inocente will soon be given a theatrical release and a showing on MTV; Sean and Andra Nix Fine are meanwhile at work on more new documentary films, for Sean a continuing path begun in the nurturing climate of New London’s own Connecticut College.