Tag Archives: norwich

Dime Bank Foundation Awards $2,000 Grant to Martin House

(l-r) Nick Caplanson, President/CEO, Dime Bank, Thomas Hyland, Executive Director, Martin House, Dee Sullivan, Executive Administrator and Project Manager, Dime Bank, and Terri Salas, Broadway Branch Manager Credit, Dime Bank.

(l-r) Nick Caplanson, President/CEO, Dime Bank, Thomas Hyland, Executive Director, Martin House, Dee Sullivan, Executive Administrator and Project Manager, Dime Bank, and Terri Salas, Broadway Branch Manager Credit, Dime Bank.

Dime Bank Foundation has awarded a $2,000 grant to the Martin House for the purchase and installation of new locks for resident room doors. According to Thomas Hyland, Executive Director of Martin House, “We are tremendously grateful for the significant support The Dime Bank Foundation has provided to our residents over the years. This support has helped to create enormous positive changes for Martin House residents”.

Martin House is a residential program that provides support services to 56 individuals who were homeless or threatened with homelessness primarily due to mental illness.  Martin House was founded in 1982 in response to the number of homeless men and women in the Norwich area because of discharges from the Norwich State Hospital. Its mission is to provide a nurturing community for people recovering from mental illness and/or addictions. This is accomplished by providing dignified housing, nutritious food, a safe, caring environment, and supportive services for men and women of limited income who have been alone, alienated, fearful and dispossessed. For more information, visit www.martinhousect.org.

Putnam Bank Applauds St. Vincent de Paul Place

story & photo
by Maren Schober

On Dec. 6th Putnam Bank officials, staff and community leaders gathered at Putnam Bank in Norwich to pay tribute to the St. Vincent de Paul Place in Norwich as part of the 150th Anniversary Celebration of Putnam Bank. (l-r) Robert Halloran, Exe. Vice Pres./CFO, Putnam Bank, Thomas Borner, President /CEO, Putnam Bank, Ben Lathrop, Exe. Director, Norwich Chamber of Commerce, Jillian Corbin, Exe. Director, St. Vincent de Paul Place, Barbara Goloski, branch manager, Norwich Putnam Bank, Jonathan Demers, Head Teller, Norwich Putnam Bank.

On Dec. 6th Putnam Bank officials, staff and community leaders gathered at Putnam Bank in Norwich to pay tribute to the St. Vincent de Paul Place in Norwich as part of the 150th Anniversary Celebration of Putnam Bank. (l-r) Robert Halloran, Exe. Vice Pres./CFO, Putnam Bank, Thomas Borner, President /CEO, Putnam Bank, Ben Lathrop, Exe. Director, Norwich Chamber of Commerce, Jillian Corbin, Exe. Director, St. Vincent de Paul Place, Barbara Goloski, branch manager, Norwich Putnam Bank, Jonathan Demers, Head Teller, Norwich Putnam Bank.

As customers walk into the festively decorated lobby of the Putnam Bank in Norwich before the holidays, they wonder if they are in the right place and just what is going on!

The lobby is dressed out in seasonal cheer, and the bank is filled with Putnam professionals, town officials, community workers, and media. A table offers tasty breakfast pastries and warming beverages as part of the 150th Anniversary Celebration of Putnam Bank, bank officials, the community and the Norwich Chamber of Commerce members are on hand to pay tribute to the St. Vincent de Paul Place of Norwich.

Lynn Bourque, Putnam Bank’s Senior Vice President and Branch Administrator, explains. “In celebration of our 150th Anniversary, each week of the year an employee of Putnam bank chooses a nonprofit agency to support through local contributions. This week Putnam bank is applauding St. Vincent de Paul Place of Norwich, which was founded in 1979.  The staff and local community members are collecting non-perishable food staples over the month of November to donate to the kitchen. This event is sponsored by The Greater Norwich Area Chamber of Commerce.”

Putnam Bank was founded in 1862 and today has seven branch locations in addition to the main office in Putnam.
Two official presentations are made this December 6 morning.  One is by Ben Lathrop, Executive Director of the Greater Norwich Area Chamber of Commerce; he presents Thomas Borner, President and CEO of Putnam Bank, with a plaque commending Putnam Bank for its longevity, leadership, and commitment to people and businesses in the greater Norwich area.

Thomas then made a presentation of his own: three checks were awarded to Jillian Corbin, executive director of St. Vincent de Paul Place, along with the donations of collected canned goods for their food pantry. Jillian received more than she expected—a $1000 check that will pay for a clothes dryer for clients at St. Vincent de Paul Place;  $100 from the employees of Norwich Putnam Bank in lieu of exchanging gifts this year; and $750 that is a combination of $250 in celebration of December’s Open House event, plus a $500 donation from Thomas Borner and his wife, Kathy.
“I am overwhelmed!” exclaimed Jillian.  “Overwhelmed!”

Jillian relates, “We served over 82,000 hot meals this past year. Our Care and Advocacy programs include counseling, the use of laundry appliances and showers for our patrons.  We strive to motivate our clients to self-sufficiency and a better life.”

Smart Power

Bensko Earns Dean’s List at Berklee College of Music
Bradley Bensko of Gales Ferry is on the Dean’s List at Berklee College of Music, having done superior work for the summer semester of the 2012 academic year. The Berklee curriculum, focusing on practical career preparation for the music industry, was founded on the principle that the best way to prepare students for careers in music was through the study and practice of contemporary music.

Lydia Rose Krause  of  Colchester Enrolls at Clemson University
Lydia Rose Krause of Colchester recently enrolled at Clemson University. Krause is majoring in Biological Sciences. Krause is among nearly 3,400 freshmen at Clemson for the fall semester.

Ledyard Resident  Amanda  Hutchinson Inducted into Honor Society at Ithaca College
Amanda Hutchinson, of Ledyard, was inducted into Ithaca College’s Oracle Honor Society in November. First-year students who maintain a GPA that puts them in the top 10% of all students in their school throughout their first full academic year are invited into the society. Hutchinson is majoring in Journalism in the college’s Park School of Communications.

ECSU Students Design Posters for Windham Hospital Auxiliary Gala
Ten Eastern Connecticut State University students recently participated in a poster project as part of Visual Arts Professor June Bisantz’s Eastern Design Group course. The students designed posters for the Windham Hospital Auxiliary’s 17th Annual Autumn Gala, which was held recently at the Marriott Hotel in Hartford.

Sean Duggan ‘13 of Norwich (Visual Arts), Robert Gaines ‘13 of Uncasville (Visual Arts), and Kaitlin Morris ‘13 of Waterford (Visual Arts) were three of the students who designed posters for the event.

The posters reflected a Veterans Day and World War II-era theme for the event, “Sentimental Journey,” which raised funds for a local women’s health center. Each student created two posters. The students’ posters can be viewed here.

Local Residents Selected to Serve as RAs at Saint Michael’s College
Cameron Gonzalez, son of Ms. Beverly A. Gonzalez of Groton, a sophomore psychology major who graduated from Robert E. Fitch Senior High School before coming to Saint Michael’s, was selected for the 2012-2013 academic year as a Resident Assistant for the Office of Student Life at Saint Michael’s College, a liberal arts residential Catholic college located in Burlington, Vermont, one of the top 10 college towns in the country.

Resident assistants are selected from the entire Saint Michael’s undergraduate student population on the basis of faculty and staff recommendations. They display excellent leadership abilities, maturity and likelihood of being good role models for their peers. As a resident assistant, he or she lives in a campus residence hall and is readily available to help students.

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.

Connecticut Tigers outfielder Zach Kirksey taking a swing at an oncoming fastball.

Taking the Field With the Connecticut Tigers

by Roger Zotti


C.J. Knudsen
Vice President and General Manager, Connecticut Tigers

“We’ve been getting great support from people, and we love being the minor league baseball team for Southeastern, Connecticut,” says C.J. Knudsen, Vice President and General Manager of the Connecticut Tigers. “We encourage everyone, if you haven’t been to a game yet, to come to Dodd Stadium and see how nice it is and help support the hometown Tigers. We have a ton of home games left.”  In its third season here, the Connecticut team is the American League Detroit Tigers’ Single-A/New York-Penn League affiliate.

“This season we continue having great promotions,” C.J. adds. “For example, on Mondays kids eat free. If they’re twelve and under, they get a voucher for a hot dog, bag of chips, an apple, and a bottle of water. On Tuesdays it’s Kayem Dollar Hot Dog Night. Friday nights it’s fireworks, which is always a good standby, and Saturdays is our major giveaway night—everything from bobble-head dolls to coffee mugs.”

C.J.’s credentials are impressive. A graduate of Keene State College, he began his career in 1995 as an intern with the NY-PL’s Vermont Expos/Lake Monsters. From 2000 to 2009, he was the team’s General Manager.  In 2003 he was the recipient of the NY-PL Executive of the Year Award; in 2006, he received the Robert Julian Community & Baseball Award.

He came to the Tigers organization in 2010, serving as Vice President of Operations. This year he’s the organization’s VP and GM. As for what his new duties entail, he says, “Well, I might be doing an interview with the media one minute and the next I could be filling a ketchup dispenser. I never know what I might be doing, and that’s what makes minor league life so enjoyable.”

When The Resident asked him what he’d consider a successful 2012 season, C.J. remarks, “One thing is definitely an increase in attendance.”  Also, there’s the brand of exciting baseball the Tigers plays: “Right now, after a slow start, the team is starting to play well. The players are definitely getting to know each other now. Remember, these guys play 76 games in 80 days, which is a lot of baseball.”

Connecticut Tigers outfielder Zach Kirksey taking a swing at an oncoming fastball.

For Jon Versteeg, the team’s Director of Media Relations, a successful season is “continuing to build on the progress we’ve made over the first two years with getting folks real excited about baseball in Norwich. We’ve been doing some great things here, and are always adding new things, like LIFE STAR coming here [July 21], and its crew delivering the first pitch against Lowell. There are so many cool and interesting things we’re doing. So I say stay tuned—the news is always coming out!”

A consistent, positive, and family-friendly philosophy has been and continues to be the organization’s goal since its Connecticut arrival two years ago. “We’re about baseball and, just as importantly, bringing people together,” C.J. says. “Of course, we’ll continue to provide affordable fun and safe entertainment options for families in Connecticut.”

For more information about the Connecticut Tigers, visit www.cttigers.com.

Norwich Teacher Receives Grant

story and photo
by Maren Schober

Today’s interview takes me to the Integrated Day Charter School in Norwich where I am privileged to meet and chat with 5th/6th grade teacher Melissa Dearborn.  In November, 2007, Melissa was honored to receive a  $1000 grant from the Southern Poverty Law Center.

“I received this Teaching Tolerance award to support my “Use Another Word”  program,” explains Melissa.

“Encouraging tolerance and understanding of other students, family and community members is very important in my mind.  We can not teach anything to students until we establish a climate of mutual respect.  This comes from politeness, respect of others and our choice of words when we talk with those around us.”

Melissa’s “Use Another Word” campaign goes well beyond her classroom.

“Small group discussions are being held in every grade from preschool through eighth grade,” Melissa states. “ The first thing that happens is students listen to the negative words they hear spoken to others on the school buses, in families, out in the community and in school.  We discuss the meaning of the words and more important, how they make others feel inside.  We find that words of intolerance are used against others based on their gender, race, ability, socio- economics or against people who are gay or perceived as being gay.  It is my hope that our students will “use another word” and that a better understanding of how we are all connected will spread from our students out into our families and community.”

Students, staff and parents all sign a pledge that they will say, “Use another word, please,” when they hear words of intolerance spoken. The pledge also encourages increased awareness to the influence of music, movies, and other media and a commitment to speak up for others when necessary.

Melissa further shares, “The students in my class were asked to design a button.  We voted and the chosen design says,  “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will always hurt me.”

The grant money Melissa received is being used for teaching tolerance resources and the buttons. Parents and teachers can find tolerance resources on the website for the Southern Poverty Law Center: www.splcenter.org.

A major highlight of this school year for Melissa was the collection at school of puppets, balls, math games, science materials and all kinds of school supplies for children and orphans in Kenya, Africa.  This collection was made through the American Friends of Kenya organization which has a chapter in CT.  This July Melissa and her daughter traveled to Kenya delivering boxes of supplies for the children.

“We visited the children in their schools, orphanages and in the slums.  I learned so much from this trip.  Many children in Kenya have so little and we are in a position to help,” cites Melissa. More information about the American Friends of Kenya comes from their website: www.afkinc.org.

Melissa Dearborn started teaching at the Integrated Day Charter School of Norwich when it opened in 1997.  She grew up in Old Lyme and graduated from Goddard College in Plainfield, VT.  When her son Will sustained an injury at birth, she had the strong desire to learn about child development and to go into teaching.  She is loved and respected by school staff and students.  We are all fortunate to have this gifted, dedicated teacher in our midst.

A Breath of Fresh Air

by Annie Chapman

Last Thursday evening, in the McDonald’s parking lot, off 395, Norwich, a bus pulled up with about 15 kids from New York City.  Cars and minivans lined up, filled with eager families.   Families with “welcome” signs, balloons and flowers, waiting for their Fresh Air Fund child to arrive.  Some of the kids on the bus knew the routine, but for others this was their first time away from home; their first time out of New York City.   I’m the mom of one of those host families, a Fresh Air Fund mom.  Just typing that makes me smile.

For over 130 years now, the Fresh Air Fund, a non-profit organization, gives children from some of the toughest neighborhoods in New York City free summer vacations with the help of volunteer host families.  What an amazing concept!  Every summer more than 1.7  million children ride on buses or trains to 13 states and some parts of Canada to experience life outside the city and live the life of a rural or suburban family.

I can still remember Skyana’s bright smile last year as she stepped off that bus for the first time.  She was nine- years-old and traveled hours to get to her summer vacation with a family she didn’t know.  I wondered how in the world could she be so brave?  This little girl looked around with so much excitement, searching the faces in the crowd.  She moved me to tears.  I couldn’t get to her fast enough.  She was my breath of fresh air.

Children come for a week or two, or the entire summer.  Families can request a girl or a boy, or both,  generally around the age of their own children.  Families aren’t expected to spend a lot of money or do anything out of the ordinary.  These kids just need to get out of the concrete and play.  For us, it’s two weeks of fun we wouldn’t have without Skyana.  We visit all our local attractions and get see them in a new way, through the eyes of our Fresh Air child.

Some of the things we did are visiting Mystic Seaport’s Sabino, Mystic Aquarium, and Ocean Beach, going to the North Stonington Fair, the movies, fancy dinners, and family picnics, watching the fireworks, and picking blueberries at Maple Lane Farms.

This is our second summer with Skyana.  Today, we went to our beach club.  Skyana, my kids, and their cousins were in the water for over an hour.  When she was asked to play pickle down the beach with a bunch of kids I heard her say in the sweetest voice, “This is my first time in the ocean since last summer, I just want to stay here.”  I loved that. And it’s free!

We plan on making a list of all the things we want to do over the next two weeks, but quite honestly if we went to the beach everyday, all these kids would be happy. Life with one more child is easy enough when you already have three.

I first learned of this organization from my sweet cousin Laurie back in the summer of 2002.   We crossed paths shortly before her Fresh Air Fund child was arriving.  I couldn’t believe such a program existed. Once I knew, there was no stopping me.  I’m hoping this will happen to you when you read this article.  We were blessed with a child that summer six years ago, and have hosted a child every summer since. It’s not too late for you and your family to host a child this summer.

My first Fresh Air Fund child was Miss Katrina.  She was ten years old, six years older than my daughter Maggie, my only child then.  Somehow, Katrina ended up without a host family, and there we were.  We were so excited to get that call.  It was a hard first week for Katrina, she was homesick and very shy.  And I was a mommy of a four-year-old little girl, not a ten-year-old girl, so  I wasn’t quite sure what to do.  But Katrina did. One morning she came downstairs while I was making breakfast, walked right up to me, laid her head on my chest,  wrapped her arms around me and said, “Good morning.”  That was it. We were family. She came every summer until she and her Mom moved out of the city.

And now, my Katrina, a beautiful 16-year-old teenager, travels to us on her own whenever she wants. She’s coming this summer.

So here’s the deal, I’m a single Mom of three amazing kids, Maggie 10, Rosie 6 and Forest 4. I live in this beautiful shoreline town surrounded by my big fat American family and really good friends. And, I host a Fresh Air Fund child every summer for the past six years (really two kids, because Katrina still likes to come).

If I can do it, so can you!  Trust me, not only the child, and not only you, but everyone around you will benefit from the gift of Fresh Air.  Visit the Fresh Air Fund website to learn more www.freshair.org or call 800.367.0003. It’s not too late to host a child this summer. Breathe it in…  Fresh Air.

Life is Rosy in Norwich

story & photo
by Larry Greene

On Monday, June 9, the CT Main Street Center conducted the 2008 Awards of Excellence program in the refurbished Wauregan building on Broadway, Norwich. The statewide organization recognized a number of Norwich groups and individuals, mostly volunteers, for their efforts in revitalizing downtowns into economically vibrant communities.

The Wauregan itself received special recognition. The Adaptive Reuse of a Building award was presented in the building’s recently renovated ballroom. Les King, President of Rose City Renaissance, credits the Wauregan as successful example of the Main Street Program. “This is a cornerstone for development in downtown,” he said. “It gave a lot of people in town hope. We really can take buildings and turn them around.”

Rose City Renaissance (RCR) received recognition as one of the four state recipients of the 2008 National Main Street Program. Gordon Kyle, RCR, was recognized as Main Street Board Member of the Year.

The CT Light & Power Company (CL&P) Award for Outstanding Contributions to Main Street Revitalization went posthumously to Linda Osten. As a professional community planner, Linda was also instrumental in a number of Hartford projects including the redevelopment of Adriaen’s Landing.

“She was a wonderful person to honor and remember,” said John O’Toole, CL&P, “She reminds me of the Bette Midler song about where each spring a rose comes up.”

Willimantic Renaissance received a 2008 Award of Excellence for promoting the highly successful 3rd Thursday Street Fests. During warmer months of the year, Willimantic’s Main Street is closed to traffic between 5-7 pm on the third Thursday of each month. Live bands and vendors mix outdoors with almost 10,000 people.

“It’s like a big party in a small town,” said Willimantic Renaissance member, Maureen Mulroy. “It’s a wonderful place to come and see friends you haven’t seen in a while and a great place for people to learn more about their community.”

“Thursday is a traditional shopping night,” said Thomas McNally, President of Willimantic Renaissance. He thought of creating a Thursday night street fest while visiting San Luis Obispo, California.

Kimberley Whitacker, associate director, CT Main Street Center, said the center started about ten years ago to provide training, advocacy and technical assistance to groups involved in downtown revitalization. “We coordinate resources, bring in consultants, and work with state representatives,” said Kimberly.

Rose City Rose Show

story & photo
by Barbara Reed Collins

Roses were plentiful. The air was perfumed with a sweetness that compelled noses to sniff repeatedly at the annual Rose Show, sponsored by the Woman’s City Club on Saturday, June 14, at the Rose City Senior Center in Norwich.

The display was a picture of quiet elegance, an act of monumental proportions with special accolades to Joyce Brewster, Chairwoman, of Griswold and Diana Tennant, Co-Chair, of Norwich. They work quietly and deliberately for the one big day that heralds the rose and the city’s signature as “The Rose of New England.”

Rose shows are complicated events, demanding hauling in equipment to properly display the entries. The big day starts in pre-dawn hours for registration that takes nearly two hours as people line up with entries. Joyce and Diana write details of arrangements on paper slips that hide the name of the person making the entry. The judges do not see the names. They see only the number assigned for the entry. Joyce and Diana turn the paper slips over to reveal names after the judges complete their tour and chart the numbers of the winners for first, second, third, honorable mentions and Best of Show in the horticulture and design divisions.

The judges are carefully protected from any outside interference. They arrive and depart without any connection with the public. Those who have brought entries are required to leave the premises while the judges circulate the room. The doors open for general viewing after they leave the building. Then the entrants can return to learn the fate of their entries.

While some may be disappointed, there are more happy surprises. The learning curve is paramount as Joyce and Diana circulate and give information and advice about the needs of roses.

Many of the City Club members come with younger family members. Thirteen-year-old Jane Conway attended with her grandmother, Barbara Papelian, and entered her first-ever arrangement. She said she plans to enter again in 2009. Her grandmother beamed.

I myself am an ongoing entrant in the rose shows. I also had some surprises. My entry in the category “In the Kitchen” was a rich chocolate cake in a heart-shaped pan. Pale pink spray roses and baby’s breath decorated the edges. It didn’t win. But the entry in the Colonial category got me a blue ribbon first prize and a large gold ribbon, “Best in Show.” The entry number was 13. My contemporary arrangement, with a tall spray of white roses offset by cactus blossoms, also captured a first place.

David Candler won “Best in Show” for the horticulture division, and also took several other first place awards. First place winners included Ursula Bishop, Sandy Candler, Joyce Brewster, Arlene Sweet, Barbara Leitkowski, James Handy, and Linda Puetz.

Hospice Southeastern CT Finds Home

story & photo
by Maren Schober

Dreams really do come true and today’s ribbon cutting ceremony at the new offices of Hospice Southeastern CT (HSECT) proves it. On May 22, HSECT officially opened its new administrative office and Community Bereavement Center at 227 Dunham Street, Norwich.

“Although we moved into our new headquarters in February, we waited until now for the official opening when the weather would be warm,” Patricia Morgan, Director of Commmunity Develoment, HSECT, jokes in her opening remarks. Much laughter follows as today is cold and rainy.

Nathan Beit, Chairman Building Committee, HSECT, sums up all the thoughts when he states, “Hospice is all about providing the best end of life care in our area.”

HSECT provides hospice, palliative care and bereavement services to over 6,000 patients and their families in New London County. Most patients are cared for in their own homes. Many times care is also provided in skilled nursing facilities.

The new Community Bereavement Center offers many services including bereavement and caregiver support groups, a special program for widows and widowers, expressive arts for chidren, teenagers and adults, and educational materials and videos on coping with grief and loss.

The 8,400 square foot new administrative office and bereavement center houses over 72 HSECT employees. Staff members train patient care volunteers to support the caregiver, offer respite, companionship, assistance with household chores, complementary therapies for the patient, and help in many other ways.
Bereavement volunteers offer support to grieving family members before the patient’s death and up to 13 months after death.

Betty Beaudette, Gloria Sinopoli and Zita Smith have been volunteers for HSECT for many years. “Working with patients for Hospice makes you feel good,”

Gloria shares. “There are so many ways you can help a patient, “ Betty agrees.

“When my parents were very ill and at home, there was no hospice at that time,” Zita tells me. “ I had a health aide come in and then I went out to get things done or just relax. Because of that experience, I now volunteer for hospice and give respite care so the caregiver can have a break.”

Another Hospice volunteer, Glenn Arthur, remarks, “When my mother was very ill, hospice came and helped with her care at home. Now I am a respite volunteer for caregivers in the hospice program.”

Volunteers can be trained to help in so many ways. For more information call 860.848.5699.