Cottle On New Reality Cooking Show

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chefkcWell-known chef Kevin Cottle got his first taste of national television when he finished runner-up on Season 6 of Chef Gordon Ramsey’s Fox reality show, “Hell’s Kitchen” several years ago.

Cottle, a Connecticut favorite who will soon open his Fire at the Ridge restaurant at Powder Ridge Mountain Park and Resort, is back on the tube again, Las Vegas-style.

Cottle is a competing chef on a new Food Network show called “Kitchen Casino.”

Hosted by former “Apprentice” winner, tv personality and entrepreneur Bill Rancic, the show pits four chefs against each other in three casino-themed cooking challenges, slots, poker and roulette.

“It’s a little crazy,” said Cottle whose segment airs on May 12. “In the slot machine challenge, youBill Rancic pull a lever and get three ingredients that you have to use to make a dish that is judged,” he explained. “In the roulette wheel challenge, you step back and the kitchen stations spin and you end up having to finish a dish that someone else started.”

Celebrity judges making appearances on the show include Michael Chernow, Madison Cowan, Danyelle Freedman, Gavin Kaysen, Aliya Leekong and Kristin Sollenne.

Billed as a “high stakes game of luck and strategy,” the new show premiered April 7. It airs on the Food Network on Mondays at 9 p.m.

“It felt good to be on television again,” said Cottle, who was approached by the network to be on the show. “I had never really planned to do a show again,” said Cottle, who could not spill any of the details of his segment including whether he won the $30,000 grand prize. “But then I got the competitive itch again and this show just intrigued me.”

Trashion, Tourism Cocktails…Coming Up Hartford!

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calendar_clip_art-1_opt It’s a long weekend coming up for some, one that is filled with renewal and faith of religious observances.

But there are also a slew of other things to do this weekend ranging from Easter-themed egg hunts and Passover traditions to an eclectic mix of cocktails, an Earth Day fashion show and more.

rawlogo82x62[1]Thursday is Creative Cocktail Party day at Real Art Ways in Hartford. The monthly event includes dancing, art, food, live music and cocktails of course.  For more information go here.

Earttrashion 44h Day is April 22 but the party starts in Hartford on Saturday.

That’s when “The Hartford Trashion Fashion Show” will be held at Hartford City Hall. Runway designs are made from recycled materials including bubble wrap, duct tape, junk food bags, straws and other materials. A $50 per ticket VIP reception begins at 6 p.m. and includes admission to the show. General admission tickets are $20. For more information go here.

And looking a bit ahead, it’s award time for Connecticut tourism efforts.

The 2014 Pineapple Awards, which recognize those individuals and organizations that pineappleexemplify tourism excellence in Connecticut will be announced at the 2014 Connecticut Conference on Tourism at the Connecticut Convention Center on April 24. The Pineapple Awards honor people and organizations from the three state tourism districts – Eastern, Central and Western and are presented in four categories including Excellence in Tourism Image, Tourism Ambassador, Excellence in Tourism Service and Hospitality, anFineArtFlowers_wadsworthatheneumF-10-2_WEB[1]d Volunteer of the Year.  For more information go here.

Also looking ahead, the Wadsworth Atheneum hosts its annual Fine Art & Flowers weekend on April 25 and 26. It  features floral arrangements and garden designs inspired by works of art in the collection created by community florists, garden clubs, and designers and a marketplace featuring hand-made goods for sale by local vendors.

This year’s honorary chair is WNPR’s Ray Hardman, who will be the special guest  at a Farm-to-Table Dinner on April 26. On April 25, professional floral designer Bill Graham demonstrates how to accessorize your “little black dress” by creating one-of-a-kind floral arrangements to mBest_Of_Cover-crop (2)atch any occasion followed by lunch. For information go here.

And finally, need help deciding what to do or where to go or eat or shop?

You might want to check out what’s been voted best on the CTNow 2014 “Best Of Hartford” list, volume 1. Congrats to all the winners!

Terryville ‘Roo’ Needs Your Vote, Eat Cake With Miley

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terryville_ct[1]And in the “this and that” world of Java land…

Terryville High School, or rather its kangaroo mascot “Roo” needs your votes.

Apparently the high school’s unusual mascot is a finalist in a USA Today online competition featuring “America’s strangest, most interesting and just plain comical mascots.”

“Roo” has already been voted best mascot in the state, beating out some other schools and mascots in the state including the Avon Old Farms Winged Beaver, the Berlin Redcoat and the Kingswood-Oxford Wyvern in West Hartford.

As the state winner, Terryville High’s marsupial is now pitted against the Morse High School Shipbuilder, from Bath, Maine, in the Northeast Region contest. Voting on the regional level ends at 2 p.m. April 17.

If Terryville’s “Roo” wins that contest, it moves on to the national voting round which begins April 18 and continues through April 25.

Last year’s winner was the Centralia, Illinois Orphan.

The athletic department of the winning mascot’s school will receive $2,000.

To vote for the Terryville High School mascot, go to

This is for Miley Cyrus fans.

The controversial singer/performer is coming to Foxwoods Grand Theater on April 25 with her provocative Bangerz Tour and to welcome her and her followers, there are some special deals.

There is the Miley Meet & Greet and Seat Upgrade Contest, which gives concert goers a chance to meet Miley or win a seat upgrade for two by submitting and posting a photo of the Grand Theater stage via Instagram or Twitter. There are also exclusive Miley Cyrus hotel packages like the $899 VIP hotel package including a deluxe room overnight stay at the Fox Tower and two premium seats or the $699 package that includes two standard seats and an overnight stay.

For those of you planning to dine at Foxwoods that night, there will be limited edition desserts at restaurants throughout the property including the “Wrecking Ball” – a hard chocolate ball with a chocolate Miley Cyrus silhouette sitting on top of the ball and of course, two Miley Cyrus inspired cocktails, the Bangerz Martini and The Miley Shooter. Go to for information

New Reporter At Fox CT

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Laurenvictory Lauren Victory  has joined Fox CT as a General Assignment Reporter.

Victory comes from WPTZ in Burlington, VT where she worked as a video Journalist/Reporter for the past three years.

“Lauren is a talented reporter and will be a strong addition to the FOX CT news team. Her solid reporting and passion for storytelling will be a benefit to our viewers,” FOX CT News Director Coleen Marren noted.

Victory graduated from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL with a degree in Journalism and Political Science.

Hartford Is One Of The Happiest Cities In The USA, Honest!

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Hartford-Most-Productive-Cities[2]In case that ‘Husky High’ and all that is basketball-related  is starting to wear off Hartford, there is more good news!

An online site called “CreditDonkey” has posted a story claiming Hartford is one of the 10 ‘Happiest Cities’ in the United States.

Drawing conclusions from a mix of data including unemployment rate, average wages and a “frustration index,” the report claims Hartford comes in at a qualified  # 3 “largely because the salaries and benefits are so high there – if you can find a job.”

The story also gives Hartford big props for amenities including  a more manageable commute and low-frustration offices.

Coming in at #2  is Buffalo, New York and at #1 Rochester, New York.

For the complete story go here.

‘Know Your Value’ Hartford Conference Panelists Announced

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Lisa color.2The Raben Group PortraitsLucy Danziger for SELF MagazineMore female star power is coming Hartford way in May as part of the first “Know Your Value” conference for women on May 16.

Joining the headliners, former CT newscasters-turned-celebrities Gayle King and Mika Brzezinski, will be a threesom  you may recognize.

They include Lucy Danziger, well-being life expert and former editor-in-chief of Condé Nast’s SELF magazine, Lisa Hughes, vice president and publisher of The New Yorker and Melody Barnes, CEO of Melody Barnes Solutions LLC, a domestic strategy firm, and former Assistant to the President and Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council.

Conference topics include “Lessons Learned,” “Leaning Back and Leaning In,” “At the Bargaining Table” and “Your Best Self,” addressing stress, health and sleep. The daylong program will be held at the Hartford Marriott Downtown.

The conference is being produced by Brzezinski and two well-known Connecticut media personalities, Duby McDowell, president of McDowell Jewett Communications and Diane Smith, president of Diane Smith Media.

For more information go here.

Goodspeed Opens 2014 Season With Sox-Twisted ‘Damn Yankees’

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gspeed13While the Red Sox and Yankees were duking it out in the Bronx on Friday, the pinstripe vs. Beantown rivalry was also going on in East Haddam as Goodspeed opened for its 2014 season with the musical classic, “Damn Yankees.”

In deference to a state that is divided between the two teams, the 1955 Broadway show, originally pitting the Yankees against the Washington Senators, was tweaked a bit with the showdown featuring the Sox instead.

And that change meant setting the proper stage.

Entergspeed11 well-known Goodspeed supporter Mike Chaiklin, also a Red Sox diehard, who not only arranged for the Red Sox “ball girls” and Wally the Green Monster mascot to stop by, but also the Sox 2013 World Series trophy, to make sure the audience knew well-ahead of time that this production of “Damn Yankees” was going to be something a bit different.

“He wouldn’t have minded, I think he would have been proud that people are stills singing his songs,” said Janie Ross Coulter, about the change-up in the play that features songs including “Heart” and “Whatever Lola Wants, Lola Gets.”

Her father, the late Jerry Ross, wrote the musical score for the original Broadway production in 1955 gspeed14with Richard Adler. “The songs in the show are simply joyous,” she said.

For many audience members who remember the former tv show “Moonlighting,” the evening included a bit of double-take, especially at the after party. Among the cast members in “Damn Yankee” is Allyce Beasley, who –plays “Doris” in the Goodspeed production, but was easily recognized as the ditzy  Agnes Dipesto, office receptionist in the popular tv series that starred Cybill Shepherd and Bruce Willis.




White Coat Gala On A Husky Blue High

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uconnwhite4uconnwhite3You would be hard pressed to find a happier crowd than the one at the Connecticut Convention Center Saturday.

Those at the UConn Foundation’s annual UConn White Coat Gala were still on a “Husky High,” basking in dual NCAA championships and celebrating three honorees who have gone above and beyond when it comes to support UConn Health.

“There is a lot to smile about tonight,” said UConn president Susan Herbst, who traded in UConn blue and sports tee shirts for a slinky black sequined gown. “It’s a greauconnwhite2t time for the health center and the university.”

Selected for the 2014 Carole and Ray Neag Medal of Honors were philanthropists, Atty. Richard and Jane Lublin, UConn Auxiliary Health Center president Irene Engel, and Cigna, represented at the gala by Dr. Dick Salmon.

“I went back to work at UConn when there was no UConn Health Center. I worked as a nurse in the McCook Hospital,” recalled Engel, referring to UConn Health Center’s  first home in Hartford.  A cancer survivor, Engel sported a garduconnwhite5enia wrist corsage, a sign, she said, from her late husband.

“He always gave me gardenias on special occasions,” she said. “A friend of ours insisted I must have one for tonight and I feel like he is with me.”

The Lublins, founding title sponsors of the White Coat Gala, are well-known for their uconnwhite1philanthropy.

“We just wanted to do something to fight cancer,” said Richard Lublin about the couple’s tireless financial and personal commitment to UConn. “It is hard though, shoveling so much money to find a cure for cancer and still not making progress,” he said. “But we will keep giving because my desire is to see it wiped out forever.”

The sold-out crowd was treated to “up close and personal” look at the championship trophies and to round out the party, there was WTIC broadcaster, Joe D’Ambrosio, better known as “the Voice of the Huskies.”

“The dual win was so unexpected,” said the tuxedoed D’Ambrosio who emceed the event. “But it feels so good.”

For more pictures go here.




Hepburn’s Clothes On Display At CHS

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hepburn13hepburn11Ladies, Katharine Hepburn knew how to shop wisely.

When she found pants that fit right, she bought several pair. And as far as shoes, when she found the ones that worked best, she bought a few pair instead of just one.

Proof of those habits were part of the fun and the celebrity of the opening reception for the “Katharine Hepburn: Dressed For Stage and Screen” exhibit at the Connecticut Historical Society Thursday.

Among the lush and creative costumes from her famous plays and movies including “The Lion in Winter,” “Coco” and “Adam’s Rib,” were some of Hepburn’s personal belongings including several pair of her signature beige trousers as well as pairs of identical leather walking shoes.

But it was the costumes including the slinky red gown and ostrich feather boa from “Love Among the Ruins” and the pink gown from “The Philadelphia Story” and even the somewhat tame turtleneck and pants from “On Golden Pond” that had the VIP guests remembering and buzzing about Connecticut’s most famous and most treasured actress.

“I think it is the nostalgia of her and her movies that brought us here,” said West Hartford resident Mary Britcher who attended the reception with her husband Bill. “There were so many of her movies we loved, I don’t know what one was our favorite,” she said as the two conferred. “I thihepburn10nk “African Queen” is probably the one we both agree on.”

While the crowd was a diverse one, the movies most often mentioned and the costumes and posters most couldn’t wait to see were those from some of her most well-known movies.

“She seemed so strong-willed and independent long before women were really allowed to be,” said Vernon resident Gail Ramos who got a last minute invitation from a friend to reception. “I’m not old enough to remember her in her heyday so I have only heard my parents and grandparents talk about her and her history,” Ramos said. “But I have seen some of her classics including ‘Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner,” she said, adding that she found it amazing that the  5 foot, eight inch Hepburn wore clothes that today would be a size 2 or 4. “She was such a powerful woman, and how interesting that her everyday life was so opposite of her professional life,” Ramos added. “You can see it in her clothes.”

The exhibit, owned by Kent State university in Ohio, will be on display until Sept. 13. For more information go to

Boys & Girls Club Celebrate Fun And Honorees

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boys12boys13boys10If you were looking to find a way to unwind at the near-end of the work week Thursday, heading over to the Connecticut Convention Center was a good option. You could get some of that energy worked out by playing a lively game of “Hungry, Hungry Hippo” or “Trivial Pursuit.” Or perhaps “Connect Four” is your poison.

The point was it was all about fun as the Boys & Girls Club of Hartford held its annual “Opening The Door Celebration,” a fundraiser that included loads of games for guests and a dinner that honored its 2014 Hall of Fame inductees.

“I haven’t played ‘Hungry, Hungry Hippo’ since I was eight,” smiled Jon Wells, an insurance underwriter who came with friends. “I was really good at it too,” he said as he approached a group of pint-sized Boys & Girls club members who invited him to play.

“I loved the Boys & Girls Club when I was growing up,” said Webster Bank’s Jay Brennan who recalled his days of playing ball at the Forestville club.  “I’ll never forget those days.”

And the honorees for the night would not forget theirs, either.

“I grew up in the Bowles Park area of Hartford with my grandmother and mother,” said Atty. Kevin Henry, one of four inductees. “Sonny Thomas, he would pick me up and bring me to the Northwest Club or camp and Joe LaPenta, he was great,” said Henry, referring to the longtime club supporters. “I am so stoked about being chosen for the Hall of Fame,” said Henry who is a partner in the Hartford law firm, Kevin Joiner LLC.

Thomas was being honored posthumously as a Hall of Fame inductee along with Darryl Thames, now the chief operations officer for the Urban League of Greater Hartford and Joe Horvath, a teacher and social worker, who loved playing basketball and football at the Southwest Club in Hartford.