Monthly Archives: April 2013

Russini Headed To Washington D.C.

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It’s hello and goodbye to a couple of Hartford- area tv personalities.

The goodbye is to NBC Connecticut’s Dianna Russini who is leaving the West Hartford-based station on May 24 and heading to WRC NBC4 in Washington, D.C.

“I’ll be a sports anchor and reporter,” said Russini who begins her duties at the NBC affiliate in early June. “It is a tremendous opportunity,” she said. “And there is no way I would have been able to get there without the people at NBC Connecticut.”

The “hello” is over at WTNH in New Haven where David Iversen has come on board as its new chief investigative reporter. Iverson previous worked at WOWK in Charleston, W.V.

Golic Jr. to Pittsburgh Steelers

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golicESPN’s Mike Golic is doing some celebrating.

His son Mike Golic, Jr., a Notre Dame offensive lineman, signed this past weekend with the Pittsburgh Steelers as a free agent.

“We were all together at Notre Dame with him – Chris (his wife), Jake (youngest son, also a football player at ND), and Sydney (daughter, who is on ND swim team),” Golic, co-host of ESPN’s Mike & Mike show told the blog.  “So, it was a very special moment, seeing a child of yours realizing a dream, whether it’s football or any other passion that person has,” said the proud dad. “He’s just happy the process is now over and he can just concentrate on what they all want to concentrate on, and that is playing football.”

Mike Jr. is not the only son of an ESPN employee to receive an NFL invite, according to the ESPN website. Duron Carter, son of ESPN NFL analyst Cris Carter, was invited to join the Minnesota Vikings, the team his father played for during most of his Hall of Fame career.

Taylor Swift Buys Westerly Mansion

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Going to Rhode Island this summer may include some new star gazing for those headed to Misquamicut!

Pop star Taylor Swift has apparently purchased an 11,000-square-foot mansion in the tony Watch Hill neighborhood in Westerly, Rhode Island.

Reports from Huffington Post and other publications including The New York Daily News are that the 23-year-old celeb paid $17.75 million for the waterfront mansion known as ‘The Harkness House.’

Once the summer home of Mrs. William Hale Harkness, the seaside retreat is located near the landmark Ocean House. On an application for its nomination to the National Register of Historic Places, the mansion is described as a large 2½- to 3½-story white clapboard dwelling, hybrid French Provincial with English Regency style.

Built in 1930, it overlooks Block Island Sound and Little Narragansett Bay.



Prince Harry Coming to CT

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harryMark your calendars. There is  some royal stargazing on the Connecticut horizon.

Britain’s Prince Harry is expected to participate in the Sentebale Royal Salute Polo Cup at the Greenwich Polo Cup on May 15. The Greenwich stop is the last on the 28-year-old prince’s U.S. tour.

The  annual polo event fundraiser, part of a cooperative effort between Prince Harry and Prince Seeiso of the Kingdom of Lesotho and their Sentebale organization, benefits children in that small African country.

Prince Harry will lead the Sentebale Land Rover team at the charity polo match.

(photo AFP/GettyImages)




Mike Fresher Leaving Bushnell

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fresherOh no! One of my favorite finance guys is leaving Hartford!

Mike Fresher, COO at the Bushnell is heading to San Antonio, Texas to become president and CEO of the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts. Many congrats! Here is the official release.

“David Fay, President and CEO of The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts announced today that Mike Fresher will be leaving his position as Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer at The Bushnell to become President and CEO of The Tobin Center for the Performing Arts in San Antonio, TX.  Fresher, who also served as General Manager of Bushnell Management Services, will leave The Bushnell on May 10; he begins his new position May 21.

 David Fay commented, “It has been a privilege to work with Mike these past six years at The Bushnell.  His contributions to the organization have been many and varied; his leadership of our operational departments has allowed The Bushnell to expand and evolve the ways we do business while maintaining our premier level of customer service.  While losing Mike won’t be easy for The Bushnell, his new position at The Tobin Center is a perfect next step in his career, and we fully support his decision to begin this new professional and personal adventure.”

 Mike Fresher stated, “My entire career has been spent preparing me to come to The Tobin Center as CEO.  The capabilities and opportunities of a brand new performing arts complex, with its varied and flexible performance spaces, as well its location in San Antonio on the River Walk, make being CEO of The Tobin Center one of the most appealing jobs in the country.  I was impressed with the thoroughness of the Selection Committee, and I am thrilled to be chosen for this position.  I look forward to getting started as we move into the home stretch to open The Tobin in the fall of 2014.  My family – my wife Liana and our two daughters – and I will miss Hartford, but we are also excited about relocating to Texas and becoming part of that community.  We already have family in the area, so moving to San Antonio has special meaning for us.  Thank you to David Fay, Ronna Reynolds, The Bushnell Board of Trustees, and all my colleagues in Hartford.  Leaving was not an easy decision, and I look forward to continuing my ties to The Bushnell through future collaborations with The Tobin.”

CRIS Gala “Dancing In the Dark” And In The Spotlight

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cris14It was anything but “Dancing in the Dark” at CRIS Radio’s annual gala Saturday at The Hartford Club.

If anything it was a “lights, camera, action” moment if ever there was one as a slew of celebrity amateur dancers paired up with the pros for a “Dancing With the Stars” kind of night, Connecticut style.

Contestants represented a “who’s who” of tv personalities including Univision’s Ana Alfaro, Fox Ct’s  Rachel Frank and Dan Amarante, and WFSB’s  Olessa Stepanova and Matt McFarland. But their camera savvy wasn’t enough when it came to the waltz, the cha-cha and the samba…it was pageant queen Emily Audibert, Miss Connecticut 2012 who, with partner Joe Monnin from Arthur Murray in New Britain who walked off with that treasured mirror ball. Doing an “encore” performance was last year’s winner, Aetna vice president Floyd Green who showed the sold-out crowd he hadn’t forgotten a thing when it came to the dance floor.

cris11Proceeds from the night benefit the non-profit that provides reading services and programming for the vision impaired.

cris20Judges for the evening were professional dancer David Rosinski, backed up by Shelly Sindland and Java, a trio that gave the pair the only perfect score of the evening, “10s” all across. Emcee for the evening was WFSB ‘s Scot Haney.

cris10The real stars of the show however were CRIS volunteers/clients Rosie Morline and Diane Duhaime, who, despite being legally blind, danced for the second year in a row, with Monnin and Frankie DelAguila, also from Arthur Murray New Britain.

“We are so excited to dance again,” said Duhaime, who with Morline, continued dance lessons after their premier performance at the fundraising gala last year.

The evening was also about some awards. ESPN was presented the CRIS Radio Business of the Year and William Webb with the CRIS Radio Educator of the Year award.

Heaven Or Hell? Hartford Stage Gave Visitors The Choice!

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horns2Things were a little bit naughty and a little bit nice Saturday at the Hartford Stage’s “Party In The Paint Shop 4” thanks to its “Horns & Halos” theme.

Held at its Murphy Road paint shop where sets and scenery are built, the place literally went to hell thanks to some red-hot decorations and special effects that had guests sure they had gone “down under” for the evening.

And in between the oversized see saw where a seductively costumed devil and a white-as-driven-snow costumed angel went back and forth on the merits of good and evil and the aerialists that gave diners a reason to look heavenward there were a lots of costumed guests who were festively  putting their best, or their worst foot forward.

horns5Given the theme, the night begged the question, what was the most angelic or most devilish thing you have done in life so far?

horns3For co-chairwoman Patty Willis, it had to do with pint-sized petty larceny.

horns7“I was about 10 and got a Barbie doll that had a brunette bubble-style hairdo,” said Willis,  decked out in feathers and her best “angel wear” as she began her confession. “I really wanted the Barbie with the blonde pony tail so I stole the head off a doll that had that hairstyle.”  

horns11And as far as co-chairwoman Marge Morrissey, who was flaming hot in her red costume for the night?

“I hitchhiked to Trinity from Russell Sage when I was in college to see my boyfriend,” she admitted.

horns9Besides angel and devil wear, there was also “plastic wear” when it came to fashion for the night.

Hartford Stage managing director Michael Stotts kept his evening wear pretty traditional until you got to his bow tie. It was made of Lego blocks.

hornsBut back to confessions.

Cromwell resident Jomarie Pipolo good-naturedly bragged of the most angelic things she has done is taking care of her elderly parents.

And her most devilish?

“Making their life hell from time to time,” she laughed.

Click here for more gala pictures!



Alda Brings His Communication Skills to SCSU Next Week

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AlanAldaSmMention the name Alan Alda and the first words that pop into most people’s heads are “Hawkeye Pierce,” the renegade unit surgeon on the popular tv series “M*A*S*H.” But the well-known actor is so much more that. The Emmy, Golden Globe and HGA award winner and author is a scientist, too, as the host of PBS’s “Scientific American Frontiers” and now a college professor. Alda, who will be the guest speaker  at the sold-out Mary and Louis Fusco Lecture at Southern CT. State University on May 3, teaches at the State University of New York. There, at the Stony Brooks Center for Communicating Science that he founded, he teaches medical school and science students how to more clearly communicate with others. Funny, warm and comfortable with where his 40 years of acting and his fascination with science have taken him in life, Alda answered clearly and concisely as he Spilled the Beans with Java.


Q: Somehow you are becoming as well known as a science-related expert as an actor. What excites you about science?

A: I was interested in science from when I was a boy and was an amateur inventor. I would invent magic tricks like cutting my finger in half and have it show up in a matchbox. I would invent things and build models. I was always curious about science. But I came under the sway of the idea in the 50s that by high school you chose either the arts or sciences. So in high school and college, I chose the arts. It was only after college that I got drawn back to science. Books about science are mostly what I read. I don’t read novels much because they sound made up. I realize I shouldn’t be so snooty, I write fiction too but it is based on things I have lived through.


Q: Like it or not, most people identify you with that loveable wise-ass doctor, Hawkeye Pierce on M*A*S*H. Are you more like Hawkeye or was he more like you?

A: I didn’t understand how I would become Hawkeye because he was so different from me. When I play a role I like to play different from me. I like to start each character fresh. That’s the fun of it. The thing is when I act I think “how would I do it if I were that person?”  In “Crimes and Misdemeanors” I played  a skuzzy guy, Lester. When the script called for him to hit on a woman, it was improvised. I thought to myself “if I were going to hit on her, how would I do it?

Q: Now that you have taken up teaching, what is that bringing to your life that you did not have before?

A: It’s really very exciting and a new direction. For my students it’s a new took in their kit as they move on and they feel good. I feel good because I can elicit that feeling out of them. I gave a lot of thought to teaching. I realized scientists were much more communicative when they were having free-flowing conversations rather than when they were giving a lecture. I won’t let them lecture in my course. I grab them and shake communication out of them.

Q: Where do you think communication falls apart, especially in the science area, say a medical professional and lay person? I am guessing most of us have left a doctor’s office more than once not knowing what he or she just said.

A: It doesn’t have to be that way. You can be more communicative about any information.  That’s what makes us different from the animals. We read faces, voices and dedicate an enormous of amount of time on communicating. Why ignore that when we are trying to talk about something that is of vital importance. Look at Madame Curie, Her description on how she discovered radium is so personal. It is almost shocking when comparing it to a current scientific report. The point is, know your audience. If you are talking to someone in your line of work, shortcuts and jargon can be used. But it’s not necessary when you are communicating with someone from outside that profession

Q: What is your “Flame Challenge?”

A: It started when I was asked to write a guest editorial for a science magazine and I was sitting in the chair I am now sitting in and looking at what I was writing and it wasn’t personal and I had hit a stone wall. I remembered when I was 11 that I was fascinated with the flame at a candle and what made it so. I asked my teacher and she said “oxidation” and that wasn’t very satisfying and underscores why it is so important to communicate in plain words. Anyway, I started writing again, this time in plain words and realized that when I finished writing, I had an online contest.  And the first question was “What is a flame?” We asked 800 scientists to send in answers that were judged by 6,000 kids. Kids review the answers and comment on why they do or do not like the answers. The question this year is “What is time?” and we have more than 20,000 kids judging the scientists’ answers to that one. I haven’t seen the answers yet but kids and scientists and organizations of scientists are excited about this contest.  I didn’t mean it to be an early science experiment for kids, but that is what it has become.

Q: Do you stay in touch with anyone from M*A*S*H? What do you like to watch now on television?

A: We try to get together once a year. As far as tv, I don’t watch much. I usually would rather watch people talk to each other. I watch some tv, “Homeland” and “Dontown Abbey.”

Q: What work of yours are you proudest of?

A: I don’t think I like that question. What I do think about is what work did I feel good about and what work could I have done better. I did a reading workshop with Tony Kushner a couple of weeks ago and we had a wonderful time. It was hard to do but we worked hard and came up with good work. And that felt good.

Q: The projects you wish you could take back?

A: Every actor hates three-quarters of what he or she did and then there are things you did that have no effect, wouldn’t have mattered if you did them or not. I have no regrets.

Q: Television, Broadway, books, teaching, what would you like to do next?

A: I don’t know. I am in this really happy place right now where I can do what interests me and not do what doesn’t.

Q: Something no one knows about you?

A: I don’t think I want to answer that. If I told you that would be one less thing I would have that is my own.


Oh Yes, It Most Certainly Is TheWeekend Hartford!

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calendar_clip_art-1.29213820_std[1]On Thursday, Nutmeg Big Brothers, Big Sisters will hold its annual “Volunteer Recognition Event” where its “4 Exceptional Mentor Awards” will be presented to four of the program’s exemplary  Big Brothers. 

The evening will also include the presentation of the first Victoria L. Soto Memorial Award, given in memory of the teacher who lost her life in the Sandy Hook School  tragedy and who was a Big Sister with the chapter while an undergrad at Eastern  CT State University.

Members of the Soto Family will attend to make the presentation.  

The program begins at 5:30 p.m. at the Keeney Memorial Cultural Center in Wethersfield.

200345957-005 WineOn Friday from 7 to 10:00 p.m. The Manchester Community College Foundation  and Rockville  Bank Foundation will sponsor the 21st Annual Evening of Fine Wines. The event is co-sponsored by the MCC Foundation and the Rockville Bank Foundation. Honorary chair of the popular fundraiser this year  is Bill  H.W. Crawford, IV, President and CEO of Rockville Bank.

MCC Alum Angelo Sosa will be the featured guest. Sosa has been featured twice on Bravo’s hit TV show, “Top Chef” (Season 7 and Top Chef: All-Stars) and recently released his own cookbook, Flavor Exposed.

The evening includes wine tastings, elegant appetizers and desserts provided by the culinary arts program students  and live and silent auctions.

Proceeds from the tickets, which are $75 per person, are used for student scholarships and programs at MCC. 

For more information or to purchase tickets, call 860-512-2907 or visit

  marktwain The second annual Writers Weekend at the Mark Twain House & Museum also opens Friday at 7 p.,m. with author Anita Diamant. The three-day workshop features authors, filmmakers, playwrights and includes refreshments and a voucher for a tour of the facility. Information: 860-280-3130.

 1X00211_7[1]And over at Macy’s at Westfarms Mall, get a fashion taste of spring with “What Not to Wear” master  and CT resident Clinton Kelly at 6 p.m.

Daffodils2[1]It’s daffodil time at  Hubbard Park in Meriden where more than 600,000 daffodils are in bloom for the Meriden Daffodil Festival weekend that includes crafts, amusement rides, food, entertainment, a parade and  a fireworks display on Saturday and Sunday. Go to for the complete schedule of events.

 On Saturday, it’s gala time!

cris (2)CRIS Radio will honor ESPN as its Business of the Year and William Webb as its Educator of the Year at CRIS Radio’s 3rd Annual Dining & Dancing In The Dark Gala at The Hartford Club.

ESPN will be recognized for improving access to sports news for people who are blind and print-challenged. In January 2012, ESPN created a volunteer recording studio on its Bristol campus for employees who volunteer to record ESPN’s sports magazines — ESPN The Magazine and ESPN Deportes Magazine, a Spanish-language magazine — for CRIS listeners.

William Webb, a veteran teacher for the Board of Education and Service for the Blind (BESB), will be honored as the CRIS Educator of the Year for his outstanding dedication to improving the lives of people who are blind. For more information, contact CRIS Radio at or call (860) 527-8000.

The evening also includes a celebrity dance competition that will feature several tv personalities including Fox 61 meteorologists Rachel Frank and Dan Amarante. And CRIS volunteers/listeners, Diane Duhaime and Rosie Morlene will also perform again with instructors from the Arthur Murray Studio of New Britain.   

Tickets are $100.

You can also head over to the Hartford Stage Scene & Paint Shop on Murphy Road in Hartford Saturday for the stage’s “Party In the Paint Shop 4: Horns & Halos” gala. harst

Beginning at 6 p.m. the paint shop will be transformed into a place for angels and demons and will include food by the Kitchen at  Billings Forge,  auctions and dancing.  

Dress code advice for this affair…flaunt our inner angel or devil! (Please note artistic director Darko Tresnjak’s plan for the evening! ) 


madhatterblog3And St. Philip House will hold its 8th annual “Mad Hatter Auction and Gala” on Saturday at the Marquee, 960 Main St. Hartford.

Proceeds benefit the non-profit which provides services to those with HIV/AIDSin the Central Connecticut area.  Information:

tedAnd finally… a shout out to Stafford Speedway where the season officially opens with its “Spring Sizzler” this weekend. Drivers be careful out there!