Category Archives: Community Spirit

Town of Eastford Partners with the Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut To Enhance Scholarship Program

Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut

In the spring of 2012 the Town of Eastford and the Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut joined forces to simplify the Town’s scholarship program. For decades, elected officials, staff and volunteers from the Town oversaw the scholarship program’s fund accounting, invested its financial assets, worked with residents to create new scholarship opportunities, processed donations, oversaw the student selection process, and completed a variety of other tasks to sustain and grow the Town’s scholarship funds.

When the Town began looking for alternative resources to support its scholarship program, a committee determined that the Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut was the right fit. For nearly 30 years the Community Foundation has worked with students, families, donors, high schools, postsecondary education institutions, and civic groups. The Foundation currently manages nearly 100 scholarship funds.

In the coming years the partnership will ease the workload for the Town’s staff and volunteers while keeping the core functions – selecting the award recipients and fundraising activities – in the hands of Eastford residents.

For more information on the Town of Eastford’s scholarship program please contact Kip Parker, Division Director at the Community Foundation: 860-442-3572 or

Students Raise Trout and Tilapia

Sean Coleman, General Manager of Grossman’s Seafood Inc., is happy to be selling fresh, locally raised rainbow trout like the one MacKenzie Coty, a junior at the Marine Science Magnet High School in Groton, participated in growing as part of her aquaculture program.

story & photo
by Anna Trusky

Area diners can now enjoy fresh, locally raised trout and tilapia, thanks to recently passed legislation that allows students from the Marine Science Magnet High School (MSMHS) in Groton to sell the fish they raise as part of their aquaculture curriculum to Grossman’s Seafood Inc.

Bill 5447 permits the Commissioner of Agriculture to license aquaculture facilities in the state to sell farm-raised aquatic animals—tilapia, rainbow trout, soft-shell crabs, oysters, and shrimp—to seafood distributors and restaurants in Connecticut. Stakeholders from MSMHS worked with State Senator Andrew Maynard to develop and pass the bill; before the students, teachers, and MSMHS Principal Dr. Nicholas Spera testified earlier this year, there was no law that allowed state aquaculture facilities to sell aquatic animals for food.

“Our MSMHS family is excited to acknowledge all the stakeholders who helped make this dream a reality,” Dr. Spera said. “We are proud of the hard work and efforts that were accomplished by our students, parents, staff, and community leaders, which allowed for the passing of this bill and for the sale of our fish.”

Thanks to his leadership in helping the MSMHS to develop Bill 5447, as well as to achieve the highest CAPT scores in Connecticut, Dr. Spera was honored with the William Cieslukowski Outstanding First-Year Principal of the Year Award from the Connecticut Association of Schools at their annual awards ceremony on Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at the Aqua Turf Club in Plantsville. The award is named after a late Killingworth elementary principal who was known for his leadership.

MSMHS acknowledged all those who were instrumental in creating and passing the bill, including Senator Maynard and Senator Andrea Stillman; David Carey, director of the CT Bureau of Aquaculture; Dr. Virginia Seccombe, executive director of LEARN; and Sean Coleman, general manager of Grossman’s Seafood.

“This is just the beginning,” said Senator Stillman. “I wish you great success, and I thank Grossman’s for selling locally grown fish.”

After the ceremony, a few dozen students trooped off to the aquaculture lab, followed by state legislators, representatives from Grossman’s, teachers and administrators, and a phalanx of reporters and photographers. When they got to the lab, the students donned special bright-orange gloves—not a pre-Halloween touch, but to make it easier to capture the wriggling fish. Then the intrepid students caught, weighed, and measured several hundred slippery tilapia and trout!

Junior Hayly Fogg of Ledyard recorded the statistics as they were called out by classmates who were measuring and weighing the wriggling critters. The fish ranged between 24 and 26 centimeters and 125 to 200 grams. “They can get bigger, but this is a good restaurant size,” she said as she jotted down numbers.

Once they’d been checked for size, the fish were plopped into buckets so they could be put on ice for shipping to Grossman’s. Hayly’s classmate MacKenzie Coty, who was putting the fish into the buckets, managed to hold onto a slippery trout long enough to have her photo taken. “I’ve really learned a lot,” she said.

Always willing to pitch in, Senator Maynard removed his blazer, rolled up his sleeves, and helped catch a few fish. “I can handle this—I grew up in Noank,” he said with a chuckle. “I remember fishing off the docks for fluke when I was a kid. I kind of miss it!”

Sean Coleman said, “I’m very excited to have this opportunity to sell locally raised fish. Our industry is changing through depleting stocks in the wild and increasing government regulations. To see this happening locally is incredible!” The fish are available in Grossman’s stores as well as in the restaurants Grossman’s supplies. Bill Hendriks, Executive Chef of Grossman’s catering business, is coming up with delicious recipes for customers to enjoy during the holiday season and all year-round.

Collaboration: Groton Rotary, Lions, Liberty Bank Make a Team

M. Gabriel Bevan with Lea Doran, President, Groton Rotary Club.

story & photo
by Alexis Ann

The Rotary and Lions of Groton teamed up to raise monies for Groton Social Services and Liberty Bank Groton Branch matched all funds raised.  A grand total of $9,29.24 was presented to Mass Communications Specialist Seaman Michael Gabriel Bevan on behalf of Groton Social Services.

AT&T Foundation Grant for Teen Program at Natchaug Hospital

AT&T Foundation presents $5,000 grant: (from left) Natchaug’s Director of Ambulatory Programs, Dr. Carrie Pichie, Natchaug Board Member Judi Caracausa, AT&T External & Legislative Affairs Bill Turner, Natchaug President & CEO Dr. Stephen W. Larcen, and Natchaug Board Member Representative Betsy Ritter.

Natchaug Hospital received a $5,000 grant from the AT&T Foundation toward the incorporation of The Seven Challenges treatment model into the Hospital’s adolescent treatment programs.  Developed by Robert Schwebel, Ph.D., this evidence-based holistic program fits well with Natchaug Hospital’s current adolescent psychiatric treatment programs.

The Seven Challenges program is designed specifically for adolescents with drug problems, to motivate a decision and commitment to change — and to support success in implementing the desired changes. The program simultaneously helps young people address their drug problems as well as their co-occurring life skill deficits, situational problems, and psychological problems.

The challenges provide a framework for helping youth think through their own decisions about their lives and their use of alcohol and other drugs. Counselors using The Seven Challenges program teach youth to identify and work on the issues most relevant to them.

Natchaug Hospital, a provider of adolescent psychiatric services for 37 years, looks forward to incorporating The Seven Challenges into its ten-site network of mental health and addiction treatment programs.

Resident Robotics: The Aluminum Falcons

The Groton Rotary Club has awarded the Fitch Senior High School Robotics Team a $1,000 grant. (l-r) Lea Doran and Hope Toelken of the Groton Rotary give a check to Brian Chidley Coach and Fitch Faculty member, Brady Lee, Jacob Lee, Finian O’Connor, Kush Kumar, Alex Kelleher, and Jacob Kowalski.

Resident Birthday: Al Klingerman’s 90th Birthday Party

Columbus Day weekend in San Juan, PR at Al Klingerman’s 90th Birthday party. Al is the owner of Klingerman Travel Agency in New London Conn. (l-r) Roland Oullette of Groton, Bob O’Shaughnessy of Mystic, Al Klingerman, and Bob Offen of Mystic.

Lions: Synergy At Its Best!

(l-r) Susan Broyles, Tim Day, Wendy Wilbert, Beverly Lajoie, Bradford Ricardo-Hyde, and Ken Tucker move boxes of food.

story & photo
by Alexis Ann

Three Lions Clubs from MontvilleMohegan Pequots, Asian and Americans together with the Montville Lions added 1542 pounds of food products to the Social Services Food Pantry of Montville just in time for ThanksgivingLion Ken Tucker established a joint effort with the three Lions Clubs of Montville to replenish the food used to aid those affected by Storm SandyLion Governor Jan Miller ran with the idea, obtaining a $2500 grant from Lions Club International Foundation (LCIF).

Food products were purchased at Tri-Town Foods and an impressive gathering of Lions and family members participated in delivering the food to the pantry.

How long will the food last?  “Only two weeks,” states Lion Ken.

Resident Clip-Clop: Speedy Delivery, Mackinac-Style

Larry and Rachel Ford snapped this photo of a UPS delivery from a horse-drawn wagon while on vacation to Mackinac Island, Michigan, in July 2012. Mackinac Island has a permanent population of 492, although there are thousands more seasonal workers and tourists during the summer months. A unique local ordinance prohibits the use of any motor vehicles on the 3.8-square mile island. The most common means of travel are foot, bicycle, or horseback. Certain exceptions include emergency vehicles, electric wheelchairs for those with disabilities, snowmobiles in winter, and golf carts for on-course use only.

New London Breakfasts: Seven Years Of Feeding People Well

Deacon Kent looks on as volunteers Mike, Jamie, and Laurie man the serving line at New London Breakfasts.

by Jon Persson

“Good morning and welcome to breakfast!” These words, delivered with indefatigable gusto by a smiling Deacon Kent Sistare, greet a new day’s congregation of the hungry to New London Breakfasts. The program, in its seventh year, serves hot and cold breakfast weekday mornings to people who have found they have run out of options for a morning meal. The need, ever-present, grows over time and crests at the end of every fiscal month.

For the people who stream into the Parish Hall of New London’s First Congregational Church, breakfast is a smoothly choreographed ritual where hot food is served cafeteria style, with coffee and cold cereal laid out on long tables. Monday through Friday the doors open at 7 a.m., and for a bustling half hour meals are served up in an assembly line of precision movements. Organized queues form and are criss-crossed in all directions by people with plates and cups going to and from their selected seats. There is familiarity on all sides of the process; people know each other by name in a social setting complete with newly made acquaintances.

In just 30 minutes breakfast is over and the cleanup begins. But for the people behind the scenes and the serving counter, New London Breakfasts is a commitment to a routine which begins around 5 a.m. on their appointed days to serve. The daily sign-in sheet lists a Cook-In-Charge—often by just a first name: Kent, Al, Liz, Jim, Bill, Diane—and the volunteers who help out for different blocks of time. The crews who divide up responsibility throughout the week are often local business owners, citizens of the community, patrons of the breakfast (some of whom may reside at area homeless shelters), and cadets from the Coast Guard Academy. And there is Deacon Kent, always the center of cheerful calm amidst the bustle of the breakfasttime.

A helping hand now benefits the community over time, as normalcy slowly returns to an economy which leaves people momentarily at a loss for where their next meal would otherwise come from.

Resident Coool

Photos by Bob O’Shaughnessy. Bob shot these lovable bears at Churchill, Canada on the Hudson Bay.

ChelseaGroton Foundation Helps Fund Vocational Workshop

David Yellen, Principal, Thames Valley Clinical Day Treatment school, and Kevin Maines, Vocational Teacher, accept grant from ChelseaGroton Bank Foundation on behalf of Natchaug Hospital. Joann Lynch (left), and Lori-Ellen Wesolowski (right) from ChelseaGroton Bank Foundation presented the $500 grant that will help equip a workshop for the YouthWorks vocational skills program.

Natchaug Hospital is pleased to announce that the ChelseaGroton Foundation has granted $500 to the Natchaug Hospital YouthWorks vocational skills program to assist in establishing a permanent workshop.

The YouthWorks program, which teaches vocational skills to students in grades seven to 12, currently operates out of a portable workshop which travels between the Joshua Center Northeast Clinical Day Treatment (CDT) School in Danielson, and the Thames Valley CDT School in Norwich.

As Natchaug restructures its southeast programs over the next year, merging Thames Valley and the Joshua Center Montville into a new building in Norwich, a permanent workshop for the YouthWorks program will be created at the new location to offer a more robust vocational experience to the CDT students.

YouthWorks, which was started in 2009, gives students the opportunity to learn vocational skills such as carpentry, bicycle maintenance, and horticulture to help prepare them for meaningful employment after graduation.

Natchaug Hospital operates seven Clinical Day Treatment Schools across eastern Connecticut. Students are referred to Natchaug CDT by their local schools and follow individualized education plans created with collaboration between theschool district and Natchaug CDT staff.