Tag Archives: Hurricane Sandy

Dear Neighbor of Southeastern Connecticut and Southern Rhode Island…

Lisa Konicki, Executive Director, Greater Westerly-Pawcatuck Area Chamber of Commerce.

Lisa Konicki, Executive Director, Greater Westerly-Pawcatuck Area Chamber of Commerce.

Hurricane Sandy had a catastrophic effect on the Misquamicut beach community in Westerly, RI.   With 27 businesses devastated and hundreds of jobs impacted, we have moved from crisis to recovery mode.  The Greater Westerly-Pawcatuck Area Chamber of Commerce knows it’s critical to get these individuals the help they need.  The affected businesses generate $9.3 million a year in sales for our community and that figure does not include the multiplier effect for all of the other businesses throughout our region.  Tourism is critically important to the economic well being of this two-state community, and Misquamicut’s recovery is essential.

The Greater Westerly-Chamber Foundation created the Jump Start Small Business Recovery Program to provide grants to help small businesses with the many significant expenses that are not covered by insurance.  We are committed to helping every business resume operations by Memorial Day.  Already, significant progress has been made to restore our dunes, repair our infrastructure and rebuild.  Misquamicut WILL be fully operational in the Spring and we look forward to our best season yet.

Thanks to widespread community support of our fundraisers, and over $22,000 in sales of our “Bring back the Beach” t-shirts and hoodies, we’ve raised over $170,000 towards our goal of $400,000.  If you are interested in supporting this initiative, please join us at some of the many upcoming fundraising events:

February 9- Beach Bowl-A-Thon at Alley Katz Bowling Alley. 7-9:00 pm.  Sponsor a team and join in the fun or sponsor a lane to advertise on.  There will be numerous raffle prizes, music and great food. 25% of beer/food sales at Cleats will be donated to the fund as well.

February 17- Blues FOR the Beach concert at the Knickerbocker.  100% of the proceeds to benefit improvements to the Westerly Old Town Beach pavilion that was destroyed.

February 23- Black & White Masquerade at the Ocean House.  This black tie event, modeled after Truman Capote’s “Party of the Century” promises to be nothing short of spectacular.  Tickets are $125 and include food stations, open bar, music by High Definition,  roving entertainment, and a silent and live auction. 100% of the proceeds benefit the Bring Back the Beach fund.  Thank you to our sponsors, Olde Mistick Village, Valenti family of Auto Dealerships, The Washington Trust Company, Jonathan Edwards Winery, Cottrell Brewery, Lawrence & Memorial Hospital, and Grey Sail Brewery.

May 17-We welcome the entire community to participate in the “Hands Across the Sands” event along the shore of our beautiful Misquamicut beaches. This will be the first official event to usher in the season and celebrate our recovery.  From the Pleasant View Inn to the Seaside Beach Club, hundreds of school children and residents will line the beach, holding hands. Many will wear their “Bring Back the Beach” t-shirts and hoodies and a helicopter will fly by and record this activity.

May  18 & 19- We will host the Bold R Dash obstacle course event in Misquamicut.  This rigorous and challenging 5k military style course will test the endurance, strength and coordination of 3,000 participants and raise another $15,000 for our grant fund. The course will be laid out entirely in the sand at Misquamicut Beach and Westerly Town Beach, and  participants will face 20+ obstacles including walls, cargo nets, boulders, chains, mud, and more.  Registrations can be made at boldrdashrace.com.  This is also the weekend of the annual Misquamicut SpringFest, known as the largest carnival in the region and a showcase of musical legends.

Finally, I am truly excited to announce Grey Sail Brewery’s “Bring Back the Beach” beer, a custom made blonde ale that has been brewed specifically to support our community fundraising campaign. You will find this terrific, limited edition beer at local package stores and many of Westerly’s pubs.

For more information on any of these activities, and a complete description of the Greater Westerly Chamber Foundation and this fundraising effort, visit www.westerlychamber.org.  Photos and updates are found on our Facebook page.  Thanks to everyone who has supported our community thus far, including the Greater Mystic Chamber of Commerce, Greater Norwich Chamber of Commerce and the Chamber of Commerce of Southeatstern CT. The response has been overwhelming and we are truly grateful.

Warm Regards,

 Lisa Konicki    
        Executive Director
        Greater Westerly-Pawcatuck Area Chamber of  Commerce

Beech Brook Provides Haven, Healthcare, and Homes to Horses

Deborah Finco of Mystic, owner and director of Beech Brook Equine Rescue, with Taco, a baby donkey born this Fall at the farm; her mom, Ashley was rescued from the auction block.

story & photo
by Anna Truksy

Tucked away on a 14-acre parcel of land in the woods off Fishtown Road in Mystic is Beech Brook Equine Rescue, a nonprofit organization that rescues, rehabilitates, and places horses, donkeys, and other animals. The organization was started by Deborah Finco of Mystic, a  Pfizer scientist who initially built the barn for the two horses she and her daughter rode. Deborah has CHA (certified horse association) certification and is a member of the Connecticut Horse Council and the Connecticut Volunteer Horse Patrol.

Beech Brook is now a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that relies on donations through fundraisers, sponsorships, and grants. The farm features a three-stall barn with a tackroom, a small paddock area with a run and a shed for three horses, and a couple of pastures.

Finco and her team of dedicated volunteers perform all the horse-care duties, which recently included protecting the horses from Hurricane Sandy by putting special masks on them to keep flying debris from injuring their eyes. The horses receive excellent veterinary care, which includes special diets when needed. Deborah and her team strive to find homes for the animals they rehabilitate, but those animals who are not adopted get a loving, life-long home at Beech Brook.

“We built the barn for our own horses, but then we fostered one horse, and it grew from there,” Finco explained. “Now we have not only horses but minis, donkeys, and a few other animals we well.” The animals have been rescued from situations of neglect and abuse, as well as from the auction block, where they are often sold to Canada and other countries to be turned into meat for human consumption. Recently, Beech Brook saved two beautiful female donkeys, Ashley and Matilda, who were pregnant. Ashley’s baby girl, Taco, was named through a fund-raising contest.

Beech Brook offers summer classes and programs for kids, and programs for at-risk and special-needs youth. It will be holding a Spaghetti Dinner Fundraising Event on December 7 at United Congregational Church,  Pawcatuck.