story & photos
by Alexis Ann
If you are looking for a touch of Italy, Caputo Trattoria at Foxwoods Resort Casino will surely satisfy your palate. Located on the Restaurant Level of the Grand Pequot Tower, Caputo offers wide ranging selections which might remind one of Milan and Lake Como to the North, Tuscany and Rome, as well as the Amalfi Coast. And while the choices are modest in number, it is evident that a more intense focus is given to the ingredients and preparation, guaranteeing that one can surely find at least one choice from any course which will moisten the palate.
Luckily for my five lady friends and me, we did not have to make those decisions when we were guests at Caputo on a recent night. Linda Blais, Karen Roman, Kathy Zezulka, Peg Russell, Barb Dean and I had the great pleasure of being hosted by Executive Chef Gary Lamothe and Chef James Turck, as all of the pressure was removed while these gentlemen made all the decisions for us. We had no idea what was about to happen but OMGs were heard from beginning to end.
For starters, we had the Trattoria Salad ($12) and the Caesar salad ($14.) Nothing special there, you say? Peg would beg to argue. How about cherry tomatoes with skin removed on the House specialty? Or individual Baby Romaine leaves dressed on the Caesar? Maybe the Beef Carpaccio ($16) with pickled shallots and capers that Linda raved about, perhaps. Or….wait… Meatballs in Sunday Gravy ($12.) (Shhhh, Kathy said it is better than Nonna’s?) Have we got your interest? Then let me tell you about the Signature Caputo Pie ($49.) The base is Chicken Parm!! Created by Gary and Jim especially for the Trattoria, freshly ground chicken is shaped into a large pizza-sized pie and frozen (hold on!). When ordered, it is removed from the freezer, floured, breaded and deep-fried. When done, the pie is topped with freshly grated Parmesan and Mozzarella, Marinara and then…..wait for it….hot honey!! We lost Karen for a bit here but she alighted from Cloud 9 after a few minutes. And don’t worry that you will have to worry that every one else at your table will be wanting to taste some of yours. They will, but this serves two to eight people!
OK, so you want some (all homemade) Pasta? Check. Our outstanding servers Kerri Marshall and Alex Phillips smiled extra around this time as they knew what was coming and awaited our reactions. Karen tried the Baked Manicotti ($18/26) and started to do that floating thing again, but we held her down. Kathy tried the Three Cheese Tortellini ($19/29) remarking how light the generous portion was. But if we were not beaming yet, here came the Tableside Cacio E Pepe ($19/29.) Trust me, this was no relation to Wile E Coyote. Fresh spaghetti is prepared in a pan, then freshly seasoned — the Cacio E Pepe. Now hold on for this: A gazillion dollar wheel of Parmesan appears and unbelievably, its center has been rounded out. But of course, that is where the pasta now goes! Spun and twirled while the spaghetti grabs on to the perfect amount of cheese. Barb was the most honored oned for this dish. When is the next flight for Rome leaving?
Both the Chicken Milanese ($28) and Veal Piccata ($32) were outstanding, but Linda raved about the Whole-Roasted Branzino (Chilean Sea Bass $32.) Prepared tableside, it was flaky and moist. Served on a bed of Tuscan couscous and topped with a fricassee of summer vegetables would have been enough, but the Salsa Verde was the perfect complement.
It must be added that we were treated to delicious glasses of wines which paired well with each dish. Caputo also offers some Italian beers and others which you are not likely to find at your local tavern.
And lastly, while we all loved the Tiramisu and Chocolate Chip Cannolis for Dessert, you will not believe the Tiramisu Cotton Candy which is a compliment of the staff. Oh yes, and the homemade Limoncello was a wonderful drink.
And if you want to get a jump-start on “Spaghetti Wednesday”, try to visit Caputo on Trattoria Tuesday. For just $32 per person, one can enjoy a prix fixe menu starting with The Trattoria Salad, the Meatballs and Sausage in Sunday Gravy along with a Bread Basket. For an entree, one choice is made from a selection of three different Pasta dishes — Baked Manicotti, Rigatoni Bolognese and Ricotta Ravioli or Chicken Milanese, Seafood Fra Diavolo. And then save room for a choice of the Tiramisu or Chocolate Chip Cannolis. Icing on the cake so to speak.
Caputo Trattoria is open for Lunch from Noon -4 pm on Monday through Friday. Dinner is served from 4 pm-10 pm on Monday-Thursday, until 11 pm on Friday, from Noon – 11 on Saturday and from Noon – 10 on Sunday. For reservations, one can call 860.312.2788.
The Opioid Action Team of the Health Improvement Collaborative of Southeastern Connecticut will host an Overdose Awareness and Prevention Event on Friday, August 31st from 10-2. The event, titled “A Time to Remember…a Time to Act,” will be held in Williams Park in New London and will commemorate International Overdose Awareness Day.
In addition to public remembrance of community members lost to overdose, the event will feature distribution of free overdose reversal kits, safe disposal of unused medications, and information from services providers.
Jennifer Muggeo, supervisor for special projects from Ledge Light Health District, noted the broad collaboration behind the event. “We are grateful for the contributions of numerous community partners. The Medicine Shoppe will be on hand to prescribe and dispense naloxone kits and, thanks to the generous support of the Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut, we are able to assure that everyone who comes to the event can receive a naloxone kit at no out-of-pocket expense. The NL CARES Recovery Navigators and twenty treatment providers and community organizations will participate to share information and support. This is a true community effort.”
Carol Jones, director of medical case management for Alliance for Living – a co-sponsor of the event, agreed. “This is a meaningful way to honor lives lost from overdose as well as to educate our community on how to prevent more deaths from occurring.”
“I’m proud to say New London is a leader in addressing this public health crisis. The Opioid Action Team, through collaboration, coordination and communication, is truly making a difference,” said New London Mayor Michael Passero.
Organizations scheduled to participate include:
- Alliance for Living,
- Beacon Health Options,
- Catholic Charities,
- City of New London,
- Community Speaks Out,
- Connecticut Addiction Medicine,
- Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery,
- Hartford Dispensary,
- Lawrence and Memorial Hospital,
- Narcotics Anonymous,
- Natchaug Hospital,
- New London Community and Campus Coalition,
- Reliance Health,
- Safe Futures,
- Sound Community Services,
- Stonington Institute,
- The Connection
- The Medicine Shoppe, and
- United Community and Family Services.
For more information, contact Jennifer Muggeo at 860.912.1429 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
All thumbs up in the Fox Theater for Cirque Éloize, a magical performance forging new paths in the world of contemporary circus arts. A trailblazer since 1993, Cirque Eloize was the first troupe in North America to bring the circus into theatre venues, introducing its intimate, storytelling shows to North American audiences and beyond.
Cirque Éloize has traveled to over 550 cities giving over 5,500 performances. Cirque Éloize creates its shows from the ground up, crafting them with multidisciplinary artists and blending circus arts with music, dance and technology to tell stories in a whole new way.
Combining breathtaking feats with engaging stories, Cirque Éloize continues to evolve its entertainment offerings while moving forward with the same daring approach to circus techniques and the themes it tackles. 2018 marks the 25th anniversary of Cirque Éloize!
Their new program HOTEL is the story of a place… but it is mainly a place full of stories. This is the place where we mingle with strangers for a moment.
From the Maître d’hôtel, overwhelmed by the events to the mischievous maid, to the devoted handyman and his inseparable dog, Carpette, the hotel’s staff is like each of us, the privileged witnesses to the lives of colorful individuals.
Carried by the voice of the client on the top floor who comments, testifies and tells the story, meet the lovers who still do not know they are meant to be, these improbable travelers and this celebrity who goes out of her way to win her place to the firmament while revealing the depth of her being.
Enter the lobby doors of this grandiose place and discover with us the intricately woven story of these travelers!
Jeannot Painchaud, President and Chief Creative, Officer of Cirque Éloize, fell in love with the circus arts in 1984. A showman at heart with a genuine interest in all art forms, he set out to hit the road and travel the globe.
As a graduate of Montreal’s National Circus School, Jeannot launched his career as an acrobat, juggler and specialist in artistic cycling for a variety of troupes. In 1993, he co-founded Cirque Éloize and performed in the company’s shows until leaving the stage in 1998 to devote himself to developing the company. During these first few years, Jeannot literally juggled all of the roles within the company. In addition to performing, he was in charge of booking the shows, hiring resources, negotiating contracts, as well as driving the touring truck! Today, as the President and Chief of Creation of Cirque Éloize, he is the mind behind the creative process of each creation.
Jeannot prides himself on bringing together creators from various backgrounds and incorporating different art forms into the acrobatic acts.
In 2009, Jeannot directed iD, a stunning creation that brought together the world of urban dance and the circus arts. In 2012, together with Dave St-Pierre, he directed Cirkopolis, the company’s tenth creation, which after a performance in New York in 2014 won the Drama Desk Award for Unique Theatrical Experience. From May 2009 to May 2013, Jeannot chaired the board of En Piste, the national circus arts network. He has also received the bronze medal at the Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain, the prestigious Samuel de Champlain Award, the UCDA Krider Prize for Creativity. He became Chevalier of the «Ordre National du Québec» in 2017 and Companion of the «Arts et des lettres du Québec» in 2018.
“I got into the circus because I used to dream of travelling the entire globe. It’s the most accessible, most beautiful way that I’ve found to do it.”
story & photo
by Kevin Bogle
The Groton Wireless Zone store started the “Back to School Season” by giving away free backpacks with school supplies at their Route 12 Store on Sunday, July 22.
The enjoyable event included a live 106.5 WBMW radio broadcast, Groton Fire, Police and Ambulance demonstrations and meals provided by Moe’s Restaurants.
“Our goal is to make sure all students have the opportunity to receive a free backpack with school supplies during a time when more and more costs continue to rise.” Dan Peterson, Manager, Groton Wireless Zone, also said his store planned to give away 460 backpacks and the six additional regional stores plan to giveaway 460 backpacks.
Joseph and Levi Brown, two brothers who attend school in Groton said, “We cannot wait to use these backpacks.”
Verizon developed this giveaway within their “Culture of Good” company program.
Members of the Groton Police, Fire and Ambulance departments displayed their vehicles and provided the children with the opportunity go on or into them.
“We want to educate children on this equipment during a calm period rather than during an emergency situation. This will ultimately allow them to remain calm when we arrive in these vehicles during an emergency,” said Groton firefighter Keith Groves.
Children also received free firefighter hats, candy and beverages.
Hats off to everyone who donated their time and giveaway items during this fun community event.
The Resident Good News interview with Nick Caplanson, President and CEO, Dime Bank.
Alexis: If you could change one banking regulation, what would it be?
Nick: There is a differentiation in regulations that applies to large money-centered banks versus medium versus community banks and that was not the case three-four-five years ago. But in the last year-and-a-half or so, we are starting to see things loosening up and particularly as they relate to mortgage lending. The mortgage lending rules have become less restrictive for the community bankers who actually understand their customers better and are able to evaluate credit needs and make good loans as opposed to mortgage companies and big banks that just lend money that they shouldn’t have lent to people that shouldn’t have been able to borrow.
We’ve demonstrated, as a group within our industry, that we know what we are doing. We don’t have irresponsible players. We have the best interest in the community and customer equivalent. So, it is loosening up a little bit, and I think a continuation of this is what we need to see.
Now, having said that, I don’t think that regulation is necessarily bad. I think we have to have some regulations. But there should be a reasonableness factor. A ‘one size fits all’ mentality doesn’t work. I think our government is starting to see that and that’s encouraging — it is a positive thing.
Alexis: Are the online lenders like the Quicken Loans and Rocket Mortgage types loan processes comparable to smaller community banks?
Nick: No, they are not. As a matter of fact, regulators are trying to figure out exactly where these non-bank online lenders and financial companies fall, and right now they are not subjected to the same regulations as banks. They don’t have Community Reinvestment Act requirements like we do and other banks do. Their disclosures and their fee structures are different. They are not financial institutions, so they are in this grey area that doesn’t fit into a nice little bucket and the regulators are trying to figure out how to apply regulations.
Online lenders are playing to a trend — people like convenience; people like applying for loans on their phone, sometimes even not getting off the couch. Fees do not seem to be a deterrent for people. They are willing to pay for it if they don’t have to spend time sending emails or paperwork to banks and other financial institutions. So, that is a trend, firmly taking hold. But for the rest of us banks and credit unions, we are trying to enhance technology in order to be as competitive as we possibly can with all the online players. That is truly where our industry is going — electronic transactions, mobile banking, etc.
Alexis: What is the most challenging hurdle in the banking business today?
Nick: Technology is one of them because it costs a lot of money to develop and enhance. And, to move quickly enough to capitalize on it. So that is challenging but we are making good progress in that regard. One of the things that people don’t think about that is a significant challenge — not only in our industry but in our Connecticut market — is hiring people. We don’t have a population growth or economic expansion. We don’t have younger professionals who are actually as interested and motivated to get into our industry. They are moving to Boston and New York. It poses a significant challenge for us as a financial institution.
Whenever I am out talking to people and talking to young folks in their 20s or 30s, I am encouraging them to join us at Dime Bank. We have an internship program where we try to get high school students in here early to educate and demonstrate that banking is a viable career without a lot of competition.
Alexis: Are you hiring people for your internship program without college?
Nick: College is not a prerequisite. We always encourage furthering your education but for example, we hire kids who are in college who come here on summer break and holidays. Sometimes, we hire students as soon as they graduate.
Getting qualified people is difficult, and unfortunately, that’s the future. So attracting, training and retaining young people is what we want.
Alexis: Let’s talk about Colchester. How is that working out?
Nick: We love Colchester, we will be looking at transferring the model. We are evaluating every single branch in our network to determine whether it makes sense over the next year or couple years to change the model. Colchester is a small footprint — only 1,400 sq/feet. It has no teller line. You can walk all the way around the pod and there is no security issues with cash because there is a cash recycler. You cannot rob a recycler. Customers love it. Initially, they didn’t even know it was a bank. They thought it was a store. It is very different.
We do have some private offices for customers that prefer privacy, but we also have this area called, “the Solutions Booth,” which literally is a restaurant booth. This is a trend that started in Europe in banking. Today, customers want to be casual and feel comfortable in a banking setting. Now it is catching on in the US, so we put a Solutions Booth in Colchester. It is interesting. You and I may not want to talk about our personal finances out in the open with people walking by but customers under 40 years old don’t want to go into an office. They want to sit in a Solutions Booth. You can sit with a cup of coffee and something to eat in a casual atmosphere. It is a very different situation.
We also have a small business area for local business owners. They are welcomed to fax, phone or connect to our Wi-Fi. This service is open to the community and you don’t have to be a Dime customer.
Our “universal bankers” are not tellers, they are like consultants with the ability to do it all.
Alexis: Does it save the bank money?
Nick: It saves money in a lot of ways.
1. Much more flexible staffing model. You don’t have to have one person designated to the teller line or to customer service, management or loans.
2. The technology piece improves on cost too.
3. Physical footprint. It is so much smaller. So you are saving on everything. Whether it is rent or utilities or whatever. The cost of operating a physical location is a lot less.
We also have a state-of-the-art drive-thru with a different technology there. There is a two-way flat screen for customer-universal banker communication.
Our Colchester demographics are younger with two household income.
Alexis: How many branches are there?
Alexis: What do you like best about your job?
Nick: Diversity and nothing ever stays the same. It is a faster-paced industry than it’s ever been in my career. One of the challenges — banking used to be slow-moving and it used to be: “Well… we will think about this. We will evaluate this. And maybe in a year or two we will implement this.” Now, you cannot think like that. You’ve got to move and move quickly!
With the advent of online financial services, deposit gathering, and Rocket Mortgages, you cannot wait around.
Fifteen months ago, we converted our core technology system to develop some more advanced capabilities for customer-facing technology. For example, being able to open accounts online, as opposed to walking into the branch. Mobile deposits, not only for businesses, but also for consumers. Those types of things are the norm now and are expected. It is not a novelty. It is not “let’s think about it.” It’s required to be competitive. So we are looking at enhancing that platform and looking for what is coming out next because you have to know.
by Kevin Bogle
Former quiet mill town Willimantic will receive a burst of entertainment energy once the new “Shaboo Stage” in Jilson Square opens during the first week of August.
The $820,00 cutting-edge entertainment venue with seating for up to 9,000 guests will open with spectacular artists José Feliciano and Peabo Bryson on Friday, August 3rd. American Led Zeppelin review band Get the Led Out and the Shaboo All-Stars will follow with a concert on Saturday, August 4th.
David Foster, former owner and promoter of the legendary Willimantic Inn said, “We have brought the Hollywood Bowl to Willimantic.”
David and his partner Bruce John collaborated with local Willimantic and Windham County officials to develop the new facility in the heart of town. State and town grants in addition to a $100,000 private donation from the Lester and Phyllis Foster Family Foundation made this project possible.
The iconic Willimantic Inn, which opened in 1971, hosted a wealth of industry-leading artists including; Aerosmith, AC/DC, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, BB King, Miles Davis, Journey, Keith Richards, The Marshall Tucker Band, Dr. John, Chuck Berry, John Lee Hooker, Hound Dog Taylor and many others. The club became so popular during the 70s, Boston After Dark named the inn “New England’s biggest club not in Boston.”
The outdoor stage is part of Willimantic’s revitalization that will also include a new Senior and separate Community Center in this section of town. David added, “People really enjoy concerts but they absolutely love outdoor concerts.”
David has produced more than 3,000 concerts from 1971-82. Foster originally started in the music industry at the age of 14. He and “The Shaboo All Stars” have played at various nationwide venues including a time when the band became “David Foster and the Mohegan Sun All-Stars.” David credits the local casino industry with helping his brand and company grow tremendously over the past twenty years, “I was a working stiff until the casinos came in.”
Shaboo Productions has become New England’s premier entertainment production suppliers. The company provides all regional entertainment facilities with their musical instruments and equipment. When travelling, musicians need to obtain the highest quality instruments and equipment to perform in these facilities and Shaboo Productions fills this need and provides outstanding service. The warehouse includes every type of instrument required including seven grand pianos, drum sets, bass equipment, over 30 types of cowbells and much more. David supplies this equipment every week to local venues including the two casinos.
David has also received many awards including Windham Region’s Philanthropist of the Year, and their Lifetime Achievement Award while also becoming a member of Mohegan Sun’s Hall of Fame.
There’s a great opportunity to see incredible entertainment at this venue.
To obtain tickets for the Friday, Aug. 3 concert at the Shaboo Stage with entertainers José Feliciano and Peabo Bryson for $30 in advance and $40 at the gate please go online at genhealth.org/concert or at the Willimantic Food Co-op at 91 Valley St. in Willimantic.
To obtain tickets for the Friday, Aug. 3 concert at the Shaboo Stage with entertainers Jose’ Feliciano and Peabo Bryson for $30 in advance or to get $150 VIP package and enjoy a sit-down meal under a tent with premium views of the stage along with complimentary beverages, please go online at genhealth.org/concert or at the Willimantic Food Co-op at 91 Valley St. in Willimantic.
Tickets for the Sat. Aug., 4 concert which include the Shaboo All-Stars and the American Led Zeppelin review band: Get the Lead Out are on sale for $25 in advance and $30 at the gate. VIP Package: $150. To buy tickets online go to shabooreunion.com.