Tag Archives: John Larson

Charter Oak Cultural Center Celebrates At 13th Annual Gala

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chartero2The Charter Oak Cultural Center was honoring three people, Tony Award winner Anika Noni Rose, State Sen. Beth Bye and Jewish Community Foundation president/CEO Michael Johnston at its 13th Annual Visions Awards Gala at the Hartford Marriott Downtown Monday night.

But winning some serious praise was Charter Oak executive director Rabbi Donna Berman, courtesy of U.S. Congressman John Larson.

“She is a woman men can’t say no to,” grinned Larson about making time to attend the gala honoring the three “luminaries” of the community. “I can’t say enough good things about her and what she has done for this organization,” said Larson. “She’s great.”

Larson is also apparently a guy no one can say “no” too. He’s bringing his own star power to hischartero1 nominating convention on Wednesday at Goodwin College.

“My old friend Sen. Chris Dodd is coming,” said Larson, referring to Connecticut’s longtime former senator who left politics to head up the Motion Picture Association of America. Dodd is being billed as the keynote speaker and the guy who will nominate Democratic incumbent Larson to a ninth term as U.S. representative from the First Congressional District.

And while politics are on a lot of minds this week as nominating conventions get underway, the gala was about the center and its efforts to provide arts and education to all youths and families, without regard to income.

“There was no performing arts program when I was there,” said Rose, a Bloomfield native whose resume includes her current role on Broadway in “Raisin in the Sun” with Denzel Washington, “Princess Tiana” in Disney’s “the Princess and the Frog” and her Tony Award winning role in “Caroline or Change.”

“Charter Oak offers a chance to perform and learn without the family having to sublet their apartment or something,” said Rose, whose new film, “Half of the Yellow Sun” with Thandie Newton, John Boyega and  Chiwetel Ejiofor, hits movie theaters on May 16. “I’m happy to be home,” said Rose as she mingled with guests. “And it’s wonderful to support this organization.”

For more pictures go here.

Celebs In Connecticut

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Courtesy of Stackpole, Moore, Tryon, Tuesday’s

It was a busy weekend when it came to celebrity sightings around the state.

Minority House Leader Nancy Pelosi ended up doing a little clothes shopping in downtown Hartford Friday. Seems the California U.S. representative was part of the group invited to U.S. Rep. John Larson’s annual politico who’s who bocce soiree, a party that includes lunch in Hartford, a little intermezzo at Jody and Ron Morneault’s Stackpole, Moore,Tryon/Tuesday’s on Trumbull Street and lawn bowling in East Hartford.

“We were wondering what was going on when the Secret Service arrived and check out the store,” said store staffer Tracy Murphy. As part of the Larson party, the store hosts an afternoon “wine and” reception at the store each year for the congressman’s visitors. “Then a limo drives up and it was Nancy Pelosi and a couple of other women who came in,” Murphy said.

Murphy’s not telling what the well-known Democrat purchased, except to say the congresswoman “shopped.”

Meanwhile over in Woodbury Sunday, Jimmy Fallon got his sausage fix at that town’s Bilda Burger.

“He was very nice, he had a “red hot” with onion and peppers,” reports store manager Manny Perez about the “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” host and his sausage sandwich of choice. Perez said he was too busy to notice if Fallon left a tip, but noted that Fallon’s wife has been in the restaurant before, and that it is not uncommon for celebrities to stop by.

And then there was the wedding at Judge Judy’s Greenwich estate a week ago.


Courtesy of WFSB

The popular tv judge, whose real name is Judy Sheindlin, and her husband Jerry Sheindlin, hosted the wedding of their grandson Casey Barber to Olivia Weil on Sept. 7. About 150 people attended the nuptials.

And in local celebrity news, WFSB reporter Len Bestoff is jumping ship and heading a couple of towns over to NBC Connecticut where he will be the stations chief investigative reporter in its “Troubleshooters Unit.”

The station’s president and general manager Ric Harris confirmed the appointment but declined to say much more noting that Bestoff, who is slated to begin his new job next month, is still under contract to the Rocky Hill station.

Also making a tv move is WTNH meteorologist Steve MacLaughlin. He’s going to WTAE in Pittsburgh.


Courtesy of Quinnipiac University

And finally, there was philanthropic celebrity at Quinnipiac University Thursday as the school officially dedicated its new Frank H. Netter School of Medicine there.

Guest of honor was Barbara Netter who, with her late husband, Edward Netter, made a major donation to the school in memory of Frank Netter, Edward netter’s first cousin and a noted surgeon and medical illustrator.

Camp Courant Happy Hour Draws A Crowd

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courant2 - CopyThere should have been a campfire at the Arch Street Tavern Happy Hour Thursday, given all the camp tales being told at Camp Courant’s “Send A Kid To Camp” fundraiser.

“We had a camp, we called it Boys Athletic Beach,” quipped the always entertaining Congressman John Larson. The longtime politico and East Hartford guy explained how he and friends had a favorite place is  where they set up their own makeshift camp as kids, nicknaming it, well,  let’s just say it has something to do with swimwear or the lack of it. “It was great,” smiled Larson recalling his “younger years.” “I mean I was a boy from the projects, what can I say?”

courant1 - CopyAnd while the beer and the tales flowed, there was a good reason for cutting out of work early to head over to the tavern, raising money so that as many children in need as possible will enjoy a camping vacation this summer at the Farmington facility.

“We believe in the benefits of a camping experience for youths,” said Dan Moore, government affairs manager at Northeast Utilities, a major sponsor of the event. “This was our opportunity to help out.”

And while the mood was light as business leaders wound down to enjoy the get-together, the business of the day was money.

“this event raised over $10,000,” said Camp Courant board chair Gene Sheehan of Hartford’s Sullivan & LeShane. “And more importantly, it has renewed the momentum and the commitment of the people of Hartford to nurture Hartford’s children.”