Tag Archives: Westerly

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

Fundraisers to Benefit Misquamicut Area

Events to benefit the Misquamicut area, which sustained significant damage during Superstorm Sandy, are scheduled.
Bash for the Beach II, at the Knickerbocker, on December 7 from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m., featuring the music of Never Enuff, Equinox, Hope Road, The Beach Band, and Terry Sylvester of the Hollies. Tickets are $15.

The Misquamicut Beach Benefit is set for December 9 from 2 to 9 p.m. at The Malted Barley, Perks & Corks and The Twisted Vine, on High Street, Westerly. The all-ages event will feature live music, food from local chefs, a cash bar, silent auctions, art sales and a raffle. Donations of any size will be collected at the door. Donations of $20 or more will qualify donors for a chance to win a grand prize.

All funds raised will be used to make grants to businesses struggling with losses not covered by insurance. Also, the association’s fund is being used to replace damaged equipment used for a host of events such as movies on the beach and two festivals.

Athena Award Honors Women as Leaders, Humanitarians

2012 Athena Award recipient Marta Parsons.

by John Stratton

“Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I’m just a regular person!”

So said the surprised recipient of the Tenth Annual Athena Award at Lake of Isles October 24, as her selection was announced to some 200 leaders from the Stonington-Pawcatuck-Westerly area at the evening gala honoring her and her fellow nominees, as well as six scholarship recipients exemplifying young women of promise in the region.

The Athena Award winner is Marta Parsons of Westerly, who has an unparalleled, 35-year career in nursing and civic leadership, with a “you can do it all and do it well” attitude that she transmitted to countless other women.

There were five nominees for the 2012 award, each of whom has a stellar record of personal and community achievement. The award is sponsored by the Greater Westerly-Pawcatuck Chamber of Commerce to “celebrate professional excellence, creativity, and initiative, giving back to the community, and assisting women in reaching their full leadership potential.”

The other nominees were Michelle Yozzo Drake, Cindy Duncan, Janell Hayes Bruno, and Elizabeth “Bobette” McCracken. Alexis Ann of The Resident was the event’s keynote speaker.

This year’s presenting sponsor is Geraldine B. Cunningham Associates, with other sponsorships led by Purchasing Group Power of Northeast, Chelsea Groton Bank, The Day, The Washington Trust Company, The Westerly Hospital, and Zoe and Company, the presenting sponsor for the Athena Scholarship, along with additional donations by Prime Time Café.

Keynote speaker Alexis Ann, The Resident.

Scholarship award winners also reflected leadership and potential.

Winners of the Nancy Creaturo Memorial Scholarship are Bomina Belden and Zoe Prescott, both of Westerly High School, who have worked for the “betterment of downtown Westerly-Pawcatuck” in the spirit of the leader for whom the scholarship is named. The four Athena Scholarship recipients are Emily Buxton, of Stonington High School; Laura Martinelli, of the Metropolitan Regional Career and Technical School in Providence; Kelley Miguel, of Westerly High School; and Joni Moody, of Stonington High School.

Athena Scholarship recipients are presented with their awards. (l-r) Laura Martinelli, Emily Buxton, Joni Moody, Michelle Russell of Zoe & Co., and Kelley Miguel.


Greater Westerly Chamber Picks Angela Smith for Its Citizen of the Year

by Alexis Ann

(Check out an album of photos from the gala here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/80020280@N05/sets/72157630407413060/)

The Greater Westerly-Pawcatuck Area Chamber of Commerce honored Angela Smith as its 2012 Citizen of the Year during the 50th Annual Awards Ceremony and Annual Membership Banquet at the Venice Restaurant on June 26.

“This is the most exciting thing that’s happened to me in my entire life!” said Angie Smith on receiving the Citizen of the Year Award.

Michael Rauh, President and Chief Executive Officer, Chelsea Groton Bank, served as master of ceremonies and complimented many of the attending women, who were decked out in their most sparkling fashions as a tribute to Angie, known herself for trademark sparkly-feathery apparel.  “This is like ‘Dancing With the Stars’,” said Michael, who observed that “Everyone is sequined out.”

“The Greater Westerly-Pawcatuck Chamber of Commerce is deeply appreciative and very proud to honor Angie Smith,” stated Lisa Konicki, executive director.

The Chamber cited Angie as a person who lives by the adage, “We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.”

The Chamber award said that she immerses herself in an array of community services and events with the goal of improving the quality of life in Westerly, where she resides.

Michael Rauh, President and CEO of Chelsea Groton Bank, hosting the ceremony.

“She is an individual of outstanding community spirit, and is generous with her time, talents and resources,” said the Chamber. “During her many decades of volunteering, she inspired citizens in our community to give, and more importantly, she provided a shining example of how to live.”

The Chamber noted that her 42-year career as administrator at the Westerly Medical Center is exemplary.

One of the highlights of the evening, recalled onlookers, was seeing Angie carried to the podium by a half-dozen men while she was seated in a Cleopatra chair specially created by Barbara Stillman.  Upon reaching the podium, Angie remarked, “That was the most exciting thing that’s happened to me in my entire life! Now I know what it’s like to be Queen Elizabeth!”

“Volunteering is my hobby,” says Angie.  “My dad taught me to always help others.”