Keep Your Eyes on Ramiro Zavala

story & photos by Jim Loomis


Ramiro Zavala is playing baseball now on a diamond near you! In a Matt Harvey like performance August 3, he was close to perfect as he pitched the Mystic Summer Little League team to the league championships, besting perennial powerhouse, Waterford. Displaying pinpoint control, he pitched five 2/3 innings of shutout baseball, allowing no walks, while striking out twelve. He was reluctantly pulled from the mound with one out remaining in the final inning as he reached his mandatory pitch count under Little League rules, a welcome set of standards designed to protect kids from future arm problems, such as those which have befallen Matt Harvey and others.
Before reaching the championship game, the Mystic nine had to get by a tenacious Colchester team last Thursday in a tense match that ended under the lights. Behind 7-4 in the fifth inning, Bob Henderson, Mystic Coach, who calls Ramiro, “a good kid and a great competitor,” brought him in to slow the Colchester offense. Slow it he did, stopping them in their tracks with no runs, no hits, and no walks over the final two frames. Mystic went on to rally for five runs in their final at bat to overtake Colchester, giving Zavala the win. An impromptu post game victory celebration was soon to follow at Colchester’s landmark eatery, Harry’s Place.
Over the two games, Zavala was dominating, pitching seven 2/3 innings of shutout baseball, while earning both decisions. If this writer seems a tad biased, it might just possibly be because Ramiro Zavala is my grandson. When Ramiro was eight years old, a bullpen was constructed in my backyard, replete with a pitching rubber, a home plate, and a strike zone painted on an air mattress suspended behind home plate. Ramiro spent hours working on his pitching and I’ve proudly watched his control improve in leaps and bounds. While I might take a tiny bit of credit, along with some dedicated coaches, for sharing in Ramiro’s development, particularly in the mechanical aspects of pitching, his parents deserve all the credit for his mental approach. They have raised a mature, confident, and poised young man.
Next stop for Ramiro is the Mystic Clippers AAU team, and with two more seasons of Little League ball to follow, his future indeed looks bright.

Stonington Bicentennial Celebration

photos by Alexis Ann


The Stonington Historical Society sponsored the sale of commemorative philatelic covers on Saturday, August 9 at the Dime Bank on Cannon Square in the Borough of Stonington. A cover, along with three other cachets, were available, including a pastel painting of the battle, the Centennial medal, and an image of the battle on a ceramic jug. Cover sales benefited the Stonington Historical Society. The cost was $5 apiece with regular postage; $5.50 with the special stamp depicted on the cover.
A card insert gave a brief history of the Battle. The attack was made by Commodore Hardy (ADM Nelsons Captain), and the attacking vessels included the bomb ship Terror, which proceeded from Stonington to Baltimore to fire on Ft. McHenry a month later. There, it fired the rockets that inspired the writing of the Star Spangled Banner.
Ironically, impressment was one of the causes of the War of 1812, and the accurate fire from the two 18-pounders was directed by cannoneer Jeremiah Holmes, who had been trained by the British while impressed in the British Navy for three years.

Lian Obrey Receives CSA Award

photos by Josie Kapral & Roger Riley



Lian Obrey is the recipient of the 2014 Jacqueline B. Nixon Community Service Award for her many years of “Giving Back to the Community.” The award was presented to Lian at the annual City of Groton Day celebration on August 1st.
Lian was presented a check for $1,000 for her designated non-profit organization, The Light House.  The charitable donation is the new symbol of the award.  For the first ten years of the award, the recipient was presented a Hitchcock arm chair.
Groton Utilities named the award “The Jacqueline B. Nixon Community Service Award” to commemorate Mrs. Nixon’s service to her community. Jackie, as she was known to most, operated a food pantry in her residence for 24 years.  She distributed food on a regular basis to many needy families.  Jackie passed away July 6, 2004 after a brief battle with cancer.  Groton Utilities created the award in 2004 during its 100th anniversary year.
Lian has distinguished herself in many areas of community service, from fund raising for non-profit organizations, to contributing her time for the community and non-profit contributions, and serving on city and town committees and agencies. In nominating Lian for the award, Tricia Cunningham said, “In her time in Groton, Lian has truly made an impact and gives back to the community every opportunity she gets and has collaborated with others to make our community a better place to live and work.”
These activities include annual Realtors to the Rescue at her real estate office where she organizes a coat drive which results in some 200 coats designated for local social service agencies.  She also holds an annual Charity Car Wash, whose tips go to the Children’s Miracle Network.  The Light House, a local organization that assists the education and programming for individuals with disabilities, benefits from her occasional stints at Groton’s Ninety Nine Restaurant where she serves as a celebrity bar tender to raise funds.
Lian was one of the original founders of the Groton Business Association (GBA) for the Greater Mystic Chamber of Commerce.  She was the inspiration for what we now know as Groton’s Annual Fall Festival, a town wide community event bringing the community together and 8,000 people to Poquonnock Plains Park to celebrate Groton. “These key Groton events would not exist without Lian’s ideas, passion, and ability to get others on board,” Tricia emphasizes.  In addition, she had a strong influence in originating and maintaining Groton’s Annual Holiday Lights Parade.
Obrey is in the local economic environment by serving on the Town of Groton Economic Development Commission and the City of Groton Community and Economic Development Committee.
Earle A. Williams was the recipient of the first annual Jacqueline B. Nixon Community Service Award.  Other winners of the award are: Robert “Bob” Leeney, Mimi Orkney, Lillian “Lil” Hansen, Sarah Stanley, William “Bill” Welsh, Jr., Alfred Restivo, Robert “Bob” Austin LaFrance, Archie C. Swindell and Mildred “Milly” Carlson.

Honor and Remember

story & photos
by Robert O’Shaughnessy

On August 2 the grey skies and occasional rain showers did not deter the runners and walkers who came to Bluff Point State Park to support America’s Warriors in a Spartyka 5K.
The event was put together by Robert Hecker of Connecticut’s Honor and Remember with help from JB of radio station 94.9 News Now in Ledyard. Honor and Remember was created to promote a nationally recognized flag that’s a visible reminder to all Americans of the lives lost in defense of our national freedoms. All Military lives lost, not only in action, but also in service, from our Nation’s inception.
The Spartyka Wounded Warrior 5K is one of the ways to honor and thank the brave men and women in the United States Military, while also raising funds to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project, a national nonprofit organization supporting wounded veterans.
The over 100 runners and walkers had a great time despite the weather and welcomed runners and walkers (competitive and leisure) of all ages to come to the next event. Schedules of upcoming evens can be found at the Honor and Remember website

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Mudheads Do It Again!

photos by Josie Kapral


The Mystic River Mudheads handed out the Mudhead Benefit Regatta Sailing Instructions to the tunes of some great Blues and Rock N Roll. In its 5th year, the Racer’s Jam has become a fun staple of the weekend – all in support of Center for Hospice Care.
The Racer’s Jam, under the tent at Mystic Shipyard, brought appearances from many talented Mudheads including: Bob Austin-LaFrance (guitar/vocals), Mike LaChance (bass), Bruce Harvey (harmonica), Sean Burridge (drums), Toby Halsey (guitar), Jonathan “Sledge” Smith (guitar), Goffe Briggs (harmonica/vocals) and special guest, Chris Leigh on guitar and vocals. Leigh is the co-founder of the Mystic Blues Festival and lead guitarist for Eight to the Bar. Additional special appearances by Bob Davis founder of Sails Up 4 Cancer; and Frank Murphy, current Mudhead Commodore on their rendition of the Rolling Stones’ Sympathy For The Devil.
The Mudheads formed in 1976 to help promote their cause – sail boat racing and camaraderie. They have grown into arguably the most active racing fleet in the Northeast. Their mission: promote camaraderie and fun among members by encouraging competitive sailing, managing quality races, fostering member participation in racing at all levels, and hosting memorable social events.
Visit for information about upcoming events.

Groundbreaking for Arooga’s Restaurant at Mohegan Sun

story & photos
by Alexis Ann

On a sunny Tuesday in Uncasville, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy joined Kevin Brown (Red Eagle), Chairman of the Mohegan Tribal Council, and other dignitaries to break ground for the Tribe’s first Arooga’s Grille and Sports Bar restaurant.
To become part of an established franchise chain, the Connecticut Arooga’s will be located on Tribal land on the Norwich-New London Turnpike, near Mohegan Sun. It will be the first Arooga’s in New England.
“The Tribe’s franchise agreement with Arooga’s is part of a well-considered diversification effort,” said Chairman Kevin. “Any good portfolio is diversified, and the Mohegan Tribe will continue to thrive through a range of businesses outside of gaming. We break ground for this first of many Arooga’s in New England, with a strong business plan, and a new business partnership that will bring jobs and generate revenue in the region for years to come.”
The new, 9,000 square-foot restaurant is expected is expected to open next March. It will include more than 100 television screens, a collection of sports memorabilia, a three-season dining patio equipped with fire pits, and a tap room with up to 40 domestic and craft beers. Contracted for construction is A/Z Corporation of Ledyard.
“When we started Arooga’s back in 2008, we founded it on one simple principle: give customers what they want and they will be back,” said Gary Huether, Jr., one of Arooga’s founders. “When we began franchising, we established that we would be very selective in choosing our franchise partners since we knew they would be stewards of our brand. We could not have imagined having a better partner than the Mohegan Tribe.”
Arooga’s Grille House & Sports Bar currently operates eight corporate locations in Central Pennsylvania. The chain is known for its prize-winning Buffalo Wings.
“The Mohegan Tribe are smart, hardworking, successful casino operators,” said Gov. Malloy. “They are truthful and energetic and they keep their promises. Thank you for entering into this relationship that will bring jobs to the region. Thank you for all you have done for the State of Connecticut.” Then he chuckled, “I’m a wings guy myself.”

It Never Rains on Anne’s Parade!

story & photos
by Josie Kapral

The year was 1884, the Statue of Liberty was completed but not yet in New York Harbor. The Naval War College was formed in Newport and the first roller coaster on Coney Island was used. Not too far from there, the people of Smithtown, NY, built a boat to repay a debt to a local grocer who helped them during hard times. This boat was Anne.
Obviously, the world has changed significantly since 1884, but Anne still takes residence on the waters of coastal New England and Fishers Island Sound, and on July 27, I climbed aboard for what was supposed to be the Antique Boat Parade sponsored by Mystic Seaport. The parade was cancelled due to inclimate weather. Captain Geoffrey Jones, who knows the Mystic Bridge schedule like most people know their address, knew the bridge would be opening soon and he decided now that the rain was letting up, that we would take Anne out on the Sound anyway. He mentioned his plans to a few other captains and they were also in for the trip. So we geared up and away we went.
Anne, a 19th-century oyster sloop, would have been the oldest boat in the parade, with Captain Jones at the helm, and accomponied by Jim Loomis and his grandson, Ramiro Zavala, Paul Manoli, Roger Schilling, Stuart Reininger and the Mooney Family who were in town visiting from Missouri.
“Anne isn’t going to let it rain on her parade”, said Loomis.
“There’s your tagline!” said Reininger.
They were both right. As we turned the boat past the seaport, there were still people waiting on the pier and along the river in anticipation of the boat parade. Anne was bringing smiles to the faces of the people waiting under their umbrellas and other boaters as we passed. People knew she was something special. Not just because she looks the part of an antique boat, but because she made her own parade. This is in large part to her captain, Geoffrey Jones, who has just as much heart as this 48 ft boat.
Anne lead her parade of boats, including Sea Lark and Glamour Girl, both owned by Frances “Sam” Crowley, Sea Rebel owned by Warren Jacque, Pastime, owned by Steven and Irene Haines, and Euphoria owned by Douglas Beach.
While navigating our way through the strings of rain back to the Seaport, Geoffrey and his crew shared their knowledge of the Sound. It was obvious their love for the area’s waters went beyond simple coastal beauty. It was about the history of the area, the ecology, and also the people. This is why Anne is special. It is not only the age of the boat and the character of its detail, but it’s the people that maintain her, and especially the captain that loves her and knows her as if she were a member of his family. While many things have changed since 1884, Anne’s charm and her beauty are still the same thanks to the people that love her.

Kathleen Waller Named to Dean’s List at Saint Mary’s College

NOTRE DAME, IN (07/31/2014)– Saint Mary’s College named Kathleen Waller of Mystic, CT to the Dean’s List for the spring 2014 semester. Kathleen is the daughter of Mark and Paula Waller of Mystic, CT. To earn academic honors at Saint Mary’s a student must achieve a grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.6 on a 4.0 scale, have at least 12 graded credit hours, no incompletes, and no grades lower than a C.

Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, IN, is a four-year, Catholic, residential, women’s liberal arts college offering five bachelor’s degrees and more than 30 major areas of study, such as business, nursing, art, chemistry, and social work. The College’s single-gender environment has been proven, in study after study, to foster confidence, ethical leadership, and strong academic success. Saint Mary’s College ranks 76 among the 248 “Best National Liberal Arts Colleges” for 2014 published by U.S. News and World Report. Founded in 1844 by the Sisters of the Holy Cross, Saint Mary’s College’s mission is to educate women and prepare them for postgraduate success whether it’s a first job, graduate school, or postgraduate service.

CBS Sunday Morning to feature feature the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center!


The O'neil CBS Sunday Banner

Great news!

We are pleased and proud to share that THIS SUNDAY, CBS Sunday Morning will air a feature on the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, our contributions to the American theater, and the artists we’ve supported. Tune in Sunday morning, and check local listings, to catch the 50-year story of the “Launchpad of the American Theater” on CBS.

Rarely does American theater receive the attention that it will receive this weekend. This Sunday morning, on a national platform, all of us share the spotlight.

Don’t miss this chance to celebrate the O’Neill’s contributions to the theater world and the artists we have supported, wherever in the country you are.

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Visit cbs.comwww.theoneill.orgour Facebook, and our Twitter accounts for the video segment after it airs live Sunday morning.