Issue: 6/27/15

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Issue: 6/10/15

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15-04-15 Issue

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Mystic Couple Wins a Whole “Lotto” Dough

Following a solid week of a whole lotta snow, George and Louise Schmidt of Mystic showed up at CT Lottery headquarters in Rocky Hill Monday afternoon knee-deep, in a whole “Lotto” dough—a $4.7 million jackpot, to be exact.
“When I looked in the newspaper Saturday morning to check the winning numbers and saw all my numbers matched, I let out a shout. I couldn’t believe it,” said George with a laugh. “Louise heard me, and asked what was wrong. I told her we won the jackpot—she didn’t believe it either. We went right out and put the ticket in a safe deposit box. We didn’t want anything to happen to it.”
George and Louise’s Lotto “Quick Pick” ticket contained the numbers 6-11-13-37-40-42, a perfect match to the winning numbers drawn Friday, January 30, 2015. In total, 5,313 winning Lotto tickets were sold for that date, with prizes ranging from $2 to $4.7 million.
After rolling 55 consecutive draws, Schmidt’s winning match for the $4.7 million jackpot marks the first time this year that a jackpot winning ticket was sold in Lotto, Connecticut’s longest running jackpot game.
The Lotto jackpot is payable as a 21-year annuity or a one-time cash lump-sum. The Schmidts opted to claim the jackpot’s cash lump-sum prize for $3,697,585 (before taxes), with plans already in place for their winnings. “We’re going to help the kids first. Then, we’re probably going to get a camper and see the country. There are so many places we haven’t seen yet.”
Universal Package Store, located at 680 W. Main Street in Norwich, will also have a reason to celebrate the Schmidts’ good fortune. For selling the jackpot winning ticket, Universal Package Store will receive a $10,000 bonus from the CT Lottery.
The overall chance of winning a prize in Lotto is 1 in 39.3. The chance of winning the jackpot is 1 in approximately 7.1 million.The CT Lottery reminds the public that purchasers must be 18 or older, and to please play responsibly.

Issue: 2/18/15

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Poquonnock Bridge Fire Department Pinning

by JB

On the scene Thursday, January 19, 2015 at the Groton Senior Center for the official “pinning of the badge” for the Poquonnock Bridge Fire Department’s new Chief. Joseph Winski was appointed Fire Chief of the Poquonnock Bridge Fire Department following the retirement Chief Todd Paige.

The Groton Senior Center was the location for friends, family, and colleagues to gather to witness the event. There were Fire Chiefs representing departments in the region, many wearing their dress uniforms. As I watched the Chiefs and firemen from the area file into the room, I couldn’t help but think it is all too rare that Emergency Services personnel, whether an EMS, Police Officer, or a Firefighter, have a chance to gather to welcome a familiar face into active service. For it is far too often that we gather in our dress uniforms to say goodbye to a fellow colleague.

Joseph Winski takes the helm at the Poquonnock Bridge Fire Department, at a time that controversy overshadows goodness. Joe, who began his firefighting career at age 16, remains in active fire service for nearly half a century. He recently retired as a Supervisory Judicial Marshall, working in Waterford, to become the Poquonnock Bridge Fire Department’s news leader.

Since he has taken command, the District has purchased a new combination pumper/ladder truck referred to as a “quint,” and in a cost sharing agreement, the department will have one of their pumpers overhauled. Joe began mending fences with the Fire Department’s union, and instilled on his new men that he will work to restore a “family” atmosphere that the department was somewhat removed from.

I was proud to be a witness at this occasion, and will not soon forget the regular and routine references to firefighters being a “family “.

Chief Joe Winski takes a seat at the Poquonnock Bridge Fire Department table and is determined to achieve success with his men at his side.



Five Stars for WineFest

by JB

It is finally upon us…the much anticipated 12th Annual Mohegan Sun WineFest 2015, held in the spacious Mohegan Sun Convention Center. We are talking about one of Sun’s most sensational events of the year. Alexis Ann, Editor & Publisher, Sherri, Resident photographer, and I happily participated in the tastings.

The excited attendees were not discouraged by way of a blast from Mother Nature, as she blanketed the area. It was not enough to stop loyal folks traveling from at least four states, to sample sensational food, meet the proud preparers and pourers, experience samples from great restaurants, and of course, fruits of the vine, the kegs, and the barrels.

Could I possible interest you in what I’m calling a “ sampler’s sling”. The gadget is basically a lanyard that goes around the neck with a plastic notched holder that secures your wine glass in place, allowing for a hands-free experience. The Traveling Vineyard made these nifty gizmos and they are available to set up a wine tasting event just for you–in your home or office.

The ballroom was packed with folks eager to sample wines and spirits, including specialty cocktails, made with Grey Goose Vodka or Jim Beam Bourbon, and food from restaurants around the region.

I had a chance to stop and talk to Bill Buscetto, owner of Filomena’s Restaurant, Waterford, featuring two dishes I would call, “Italian staples”–sausage and peppers, and meatballs. Alexis, and yours truly, began our tasting journey at Feng Asian Bistro, Hartford. They offered a selection of sushi that was tremendous. Mohegan’s newest restaurant, Arooga’s, scheduled to open in a couple months, was serving up their specialty wings. Sticks & Stones, a dipping grille, which allows you to interact with friends and dine fondue style. If you rather not, they have executive chefs who will prepare the freshest dishes just for you. They boast of their molecular bar, and broadcast studio featuring Sandy Squillante, filming Romancing the Pan.

Upstairs from the ballroom, was the magnificent beer garden featuring a wide range of microbrews, craft beers, popular brews, like Goose Island IPA, and to my surprise and great pleasure, Fishers Island Lemonade. This isn’t a beer, it is not carbonated, it does come in a can though, and is sold in four-packs. The mixture of vodka, whiskey, natural juices and flavors, originates from the Pequot Inn, on Fishers Island. The owner’s daughter, Bronya Shillo, was pouring samples of the awesome adult beverage, at the FIL booth. I drank this great stuff last summer, and I knew it was a winner. So much so I encouraged my favorite package store to stock it, and they did, with tremendous success! Fishers Island Lemonade is 100% spiked, and 1000% well – liked.

We chatted with many awesome folks. Erin Mercolino, originally from Rhode Island, and her boyfriend, Kevin Nigro, were enjoying delicious samples from Filomena’s. Kevin told us he manages Smashburgers Restaurants in Massachusetts…ironically, Smashburgers, at 903 Hartford Turnpike (Rte 85), Waterford, was recently opened by the Mohegan Tribe, and is the first Smashburger in CT.

Before exiting, after a fantastic afternoon, Sherri and Alexis Ann stopped and chatted with celebrity chef Brian Duffy. A Philadelphia native, Brian is most recognizable from his many appearances on the very popular Spike TV series, Bar Rescue. Duffy even has his own specialty spice, called “Duffified Spice.”

This was the first time I attended Mohegan Sun’s annual WineFest, but I can tell you, as sure as I tracked fugitives across the globe, I will return to WineFest 2016, ready to wine it up!