And so we welcome this three-day holiday weekend, a time for picnics and parades and sunshine and a renewed spirit, a time to honor our nation’s veterans, take time for family and welcome the best that warm weather can offer.
Today the Salvation Army of Greater Hartford will hold its “Beyond the Bells” luncheon at the Hartford Marriott Downtown, where it will present the “Others Award” to an organization or individual exemplifying exceptional service to others. This year’s honoree will be Aetna. Its “Doing the Most Good” award will be presented to Henry Bahre at the luncheon that this year will features Bevin Brothers Mfg. President Matt Bevin. The East Hampton bell factory, that manufactured the Salvation Army’s trademark bells as well as other lines, was destroyed by fire last year and is rebuilding the business.
Proceeds from the luncheon that begins at 11:30 a.m. benefit Salvation Army programs. For information go to salvationarmy.org
Thurday evening, Hill-Stead Museum in Farmington will hold its “Monet in May” annual dinner auction. Dinner and auctions will be held under a tent on the museum’s West Lawn. Proceeds support the preservation of the National Historic Landmark, as well as it paintings, sculpture, decorative arts, architecture, landscape and gardens.
What’s a Memorial Day weekend without lobster?
Members of the Mystic Rotary Club will serve lobsters-in-the-rough from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day at the seaport’s waterfront open-air boat shed . More than 3,000 lobsters will be cooked for the festival that includes its annual “Decoration Day” ceremony on Monday.
A special combination tickets that includes museum admission and a single lobster dinner and dinner only tickets are available.Proceeds benefit the Mystic Rotary.
Also this weekend, one of New England’s largest arts festivals takes place in Northampton, Mass.
The 19th annual Paradise City Arts Festival opens Saturday at the Three County Fairgrounds and continues through Monday. The weekend includes exhibitions by 260 artists, including many from Connecticut, a gourmet dining, jazz by Giacomo Gates on Sunday and Charles Neville on Monday. Information: paradisecityarts.com
And what better way to welcome the arrival of summer than a trip to the drive-in. Yes, you can still do that here in CT beginning this weekend! Both the Mansfield Drive-In and the Pleasant Valley Drive-In on the New Hartford-Winsted line are open this holiday weekend. Information: mansfielddrivein.com and pleasantvalleydrivein.com
And finally, as the daughter, niece, widow and friend of men and women who served in the U.S. Armed Forces, take a moment Monday to remember those who gave their lives and acknowledge those who stepped up and served to protect our country.
It’s Miss USA pageant time again and representing Connecticut this year is South Glastonbury resident Erin Brady. The 25-year-old didn’t get into the pageant business until last year but has done well, coming in first-runner up in last year’s state competition and this year, winning the contest that means she goes onto the nationals that take place on June 16 in Las Vegas. A Central Connecticut State University graduate who is a finance accountant for Prudential insurance in Hartford, the 5’8 113-pound contender was enthused and focused on bringing Connecticut some fame as she Spilled the Beans with Java.
Q: What prompted you to get into beauty pageant competition?
A: I was always interested in modeling and being in pageants is a great gateway. I first entered last year and was older than a lot of women who get involved in pageants but I did the research and the USA organization seemed to be the one that was the best fit.
Q: Last year, your first time, you were first runner-up and this year a winner. What did you learn about the business in a year’s time?
A: When I entered last year I had no expectations and was not sure of what to expect because I had never competed so I was really blindsided. After participating in that, I learned about the physical preparation like exercising and eating well that needs to be part of getting ready to compete, as well as choosing outfits and getting mentally ready. You are in it as soon as you register, long before you are ever on a stage. Most of the girls who compete have been doing it since they were teenagers. This time I have more sponsors and have done a lot more to get ready. I am in it to pick up the crown.
Q: It is my understanding that you have a back story that is different than many young ladies who compete. Share?
A: I lived in Portland and when I graduated from high school moved out on my own and worked fulltime and went to college full time, eventually getting my diploma in finance and criminal justice. I couldn’t even think about being in beauty pageants. I had no free time and didn’t have any extra money and was not mentally in the right state of mind. It’s been a struggle but it shaped who I am. Sometimes I feel like a 35-year-old in a 25-year-old body but the struggles helped me be better. Being older now I think works to my advantage. I think I have more poise, more life experience, and more maturity.
Q: Your hobbies?
A: I love to cook and if there were a talent portion to the competition in Las Vegas, I would make my turkey meatballs with homemade tomato sauce. The USA pageant though, just has a swimsuit and evening gown competition as well as the interviews.
Q: One of the standards in these competitions is that contestants have a favorite cause. What’s yours?
A: It would be to establish a Connecticut branch of Children of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse. The nearest one to us is in Boston. I hope to get something started here. It stems from my personal life.
Q: What’s your counter-argument to those who downplay any value to beauty competitions?
A: It’s not about just being pretty. When you look at those women on stage you are seeing well-spoken, professional, intelligent women who are role models. The experience is an honor and I am looking forward to meeting all of them.
Q: If we tune in on June 16, how will we know which one is you?
A: I will be the one and only Miss USA from Connecticut.
The pageant is scheduled to air on June 16 at 9 p.m. on NBC
Head to Niantic!
The coastline community was named the first ”Fan Favorite” at the Connecticut Conference on Tourism Industry Forum Tuesday at the Connecticut Convention Center.
“We have it all,” said a beaming Niantic/East Lyme first selectman Paul Formica. “Tourism is huge for us and Niantic is the gateway to the area.”
Niantic (a village in the town of East Lyme) was chosen based on on-line votes in the competition that is part of the state’s tourism push. With a population of about 4,000, the place garnered about 10,000 online votes with its Inn at Harbor Hill Marina chosen as the favorite destination within Niantic.
Nearly 2,000 destinations and attractions around the state were named “favorites” by those participating in the online contest, part of Connecticut’s “Still Revolutionary” tourism and branding campaign,
The nine runner-up towns include Mystic, New Haven, Putnam, Old Saybrook, Essex, Wethersfield, Hartford, New London and Wallingford.
About 200 people were at a breakfast featuring Gov. Dannel P. Malloy who presented the “fan favorite” award.
Pineapple Awards, honors in a variety of categories including excellence in tourism service and hospitality, volunteer of the year and tourism ambassador were slated to be given out later Tuesday.
Also honored at the forum were Mystic Seaport’s Peter Glankoff who received the Lifetime Achievement Award and former Connecticut Magazine publisher Charles Monaghan, who was tapped for a special commitment award recognizing his years of service and dedication to promoting tourism in Connecticut.
The Santorso family, best known for their longtime landmark restaurant in Farmington, The Silo, can be found in new digs beginning this week.
But this time it is son, Gary Santorso, who heads up the eatery known as 150, An American Restaurant & Bar, at 150 Central St., Forestville.
The Aurora Women and Girls Foundation recently held its “Women Who Make A Difference” reception at the Governor’s Residence in Hartford. With Gov. Dannel P. Malloy are the 2013 honorees, Estela Lopez, left, Janet Bailey and Thea Montanez.
Sikorsky Aircraft employees and top fundraisers for Relay For Life of East Hartford arrived via the company’s helicopter Saturday at Rentschler Field where they joined nearly 500 other employees from the divisions of its parent company, United Technologies Corp. Sikorsky employee teams raised more than $100,000 for the American Cancer Society, part of the more than $250,000 raised by all of UTC divisions at Relay For Life of East Hartford. Pictured after the landing at Rentschler Field are, from left: Erin Streit, Sikorsky’s Human Resource Manager; Beth Amato, UTC’s Senior Vice President, Human Resources and Organization and executive champion of Relay For Life of East Hartford; Christine Petranchuk, Sikorsky’s Director of Human Resources; Christine O’Sullivan, Sikorsky’s Supply Chain Manager; Matthew Buxbaum, Sikorsky’s Manager of Financial Planning and Analysis; and Kristen Stewart, Sikorsky’s Software and Avionics Engineer.
Held outside under tents on a perfect summer-like night, the theme of the annual fundraiser was Egypt all the way. From henna-painting and belly dancers to live wild animal guests and “desertinis” it was a night for enjoying the exotic and benefiting a good cause.
The museum’s president/CEO Bob Griesmer, celebrating 20 months as head of the place, has some big plans and the immediate ones include a permanent butterfly exhibit that would be housed in a new building in the open courtyard.
But not just any building. A 21-by-40 foot building shaped like a monarch butterfly chrysalis expected to open in the next several months.
“The kids will love it,” said Griesmer, clearly happy about a gala that this year attracted nearly 300 people, twice a many as a year ago. “They will enter through the caterpillar mouth. It will be great!”
Ona more serious note, Griesmer said the museum is working hard at making the place a lifetime learning experience for both children and adults. A new playground is being installed. There will be a “Thinker Linker” giant wooden block hands-on blocks exhibit and a “Spineless Wonders” exhibit featuring all kinds of spiders coming soon.
Business aside, it was a night to party. Professional henna artist Heidi Olson was ready to get revelers painted up just right, there was a dress-up booth so guests could channel their inner pharaoh or queen and of course, a tour of the museum’s King Tut: the Boy King exhibit was also featured as part of the festivities.
And as the human guests perused auction items with FoxCt personalities Laurie Perez and Jim Altman as auctioneers, there were also those other guests who didn’t care so much for the revelry as much as the chance to get out of the cage and mingle a bit.
Jay Kaplan, the museum’s director of wild life and head of its Roaring Brook Nature Center facility, had a few dates for the night including Calvin, the famed fennec fox, who, with his siblings, made the news when a fox hound nursed the babies after the fox mother abandoned the litter.
“These guys are pretty tame because they are used to being handled,” said Kaplan as he cuddled Calvin and headed out into the crowd who are treated each year to a close up and personal look at some of the museum residents. “And the good news is that after the fox hound nursed them, she was adopted by a West Hartford family,” said Kaplan. “It was a happy ending all around.”
When Connecticut-based Subway Chief Development Officer Don Fertman went undercover on the CBS show “Undercover Boss,” he never imagined he would be asked back to the show that has business heads going undercover to get a better perspective on their employees and their companies. Fertman disguised himself as “John Wilson” a former drug and alcohol counselor looking for a new career when he appeared on the show in 2010 and now comes back for an episode titled :”Undercover Boss: Epic Bosses.” The episode airs Friday from 8 to 9 p.m. and features some of the most memorable bosses from its four seasons. Fertman, whose sleuthing on the show resulted in some positive changes especially for the franchise’s “sandwich artists”, found time from being boss extraordinaire to spend a few minutes Spilling the Beans with Java.
Q: Is it a compliment to be asked back and why?
A: I hope it is. The spin they are putting on the episode is that it is about the more intriguing bosses. I’m not sure what was intriguing about me other than that I work for a terrific company and with terrific people. I have been at the job for quite a period of time and that has given me a unique perspective on watching the growth of the company and its growth and that of employees including our sandwich artists.
Q: What changes did you make in the company after your first appearance and was it a rude awakening or a pleasant surprise?
A: I would say it was pleasant surprise to really see the level of customer experiences that was taking place at store level and the concern our folks had for our customers. The sandwich artists, all four of them that were part of my 2010 episode, were very focused on making their store the best possible. they wanted each customer to leave feeling really, really good. One of them, Jesse in Florida, gave me a hard time when she thought I was John Wilson and making sandwiches too slowly. She told the filming crew to shut off the cameras because there was line of people who needed to be served. She made such an impact when it came to customer service and she will be back for this Friday’s episode.
Q: Did you ever have a great boss like you?
A: I do have a nice boss now. My first job was pumping diesel fuel at a truck stop. There was a guy in the tower who used to yell down, “Fertman do this” and Fertman do that.” He was not particularly warm and fuzzy. Before subway I was self-employed in a rock and roll band, CT’s greatest, The Crayons. I was the orange one. I did it for five years and then, as my dad would say, I got a real job.
Q: On a scale from 1 to 10 with 10 being great, where did your company rate before “Undercover Boss” and where would it rate now?
A: I would say we were an 8 because I think in our organization we had recognized the fact our franchise owners are the key to the implementation of the business. Our developers are the key to the growth and the sandwich artists are the key to customers and keeping them coming back. As a result of the show in 2010 I think we are a 9 now. We needed to get in hearts and minds of our sandwich artists all over the world. We held roundtables with them to understand what the customer experience is like but what the company experience is like, and when we make decisions in the big house here, how those decisions impact the field on the front line.
Fox Ct co-anchor Laurie Perez was one of 37 women honored Wednesday by the New Britain YWCA at its 15th Biennial Women in Leadership Luncheon.
Perez, who is also co-host of FOX CT’s weekly political show “The Real Story”, and five others, were inducted into the YWCA’s Academy of Women Leaders at the luncheon.
The event recognizes women in central Connecticut who demonstrate extraordinary leadership and outstanding achievements.
“This is a well-deserved honor for Laurie. She works as an anchor, hosts a political show, reports on major news stories yet finds time to help other women through her volunteerism and mentoring. We are proud that she is a member of the FOX CT News team,” said Coleen Marren, FOX CT News Director.
Other women inducted in the academy were State Rep. Elizabeth Boukus, Central Connecticut State University professor Carolyn Fallahi, Coram Deo Recovery case manager Theresa Leonard, New Britain High School Academy for Health Professions and Hospital for Special Care consultant Maria Pietrantuono and Career Development Specialist at the Connecticut Department of Labor, Diana Ryan.
Bestselling author Gretchen Rubin was the guest speaker. FOX CT anchor Alison Morris emceed the event.
An additional 31 women were also honored for their community service and outreach efforts at the luncheon at the Aqua Turf in Southington.
And at WFSB…
Dan Kain may have not been feted recently but he surely will be in the next few weeks. He is retiring.
Kain, who has worked at WFSB for 25 years, will step down on June 7.
As far as naming a replacement to the story-telling beat?
“Hard to say,”said news director Dana Neves. “Dan is really and truly irreplaceable!!”
And speaking of tv, do you want to be on it?
The reality show pits one cook against another and ultimately ends with someone being chosen by the hot-headed Ramsay to oversee the kitchen at one of his world-famous restaurants.
If you are interested, send an email to HKCasting2013@gmail.com
In the subject line put your name and the city and state where you live. In the body of the email include your name, where you live, your address, you present occupation, a photo of yourself, contact information and a little about your culinary experience and why you think you would be a good fit for the show.
- -- ADVERTISEMENT --
- Mickey on Aurora Hands Out Awards
- Carmen Rivera on South Glastonbury Woman Headed To Miss USA Contest
- EDWARD GAWLAK on South Glastonbury Woman Headed To Miss USA Contest
Java Blog Email Form