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    Wednesday, May 29, 2024

    The Buzz: Essex Savings giving out $110,000 based on balloting

    Essex Savings Bank has announced its allocations for local nonprofits benefiting from its Community Investment Program based on customer ballot preferences. This year, as in 27 other years of voting, Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries was the top vote-getter, receiving $9,706 in allocations.

    The balloting ran Feb. 1-28, and 84 qualified non-profit organizations were eligible. This year, the bank is giving away almost $110,000.

    Other Top 10 recipients and their award amounts were: Forgotten Felines, $5,901; High Hopes Therapeutic Riding, $3,481; Essex Fire Engine Company #1, $3,039; Vernon A Tait All-Animal Adoption, Preservation, and Rescue Fund, $2,832; Bikes for Kids, $2,714; A Little Compassion/The Nest Coffee House, $2,655; Estuary Council of Seniors, $2,537; Lyme Ambulance Association, $2,154, and Visiting Nurses of the Lower Valley, $2,154.

    Also topping $2,000 in giving were Old Lyme Fire Department, Old Saybrook Fire Department, CT Cancer Foundation and Essex Ambulance Association.

    Receiving between $1,500 and $2,000 were Essex Land Trust, Ivoryton Library Association, Lyme Fire Company, Chester Historical Society, Essex Library Association, The Chester Hose Company, Camp Hazen YMCA, Ivoryton Playhouse, Bushy Hill Nature Center, Deep River Ambulance Association and Homeward Bound Adoptions CT.

    Getting between $1,000 and $1.,500 were Old Lyme Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library Association, Lyme Land Conservation Trust, Madison Ambulance Association, Old Lyme Land Trust, Deep River Volunteer Fire Department, Lyme/Old Lyme Food Share Garden, FISH (Friends in Service Here), Essex Historical Society, Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, Lymes' Youth Service Bureau, Connecticut River Museum, Deep River Historical Society, Chester Land Trust, Friends of Hammonasset, Angel Charities / AngelRide, Tri-Town Youth Services Bureau, Friends of Hamburg Fair and Valley Shore YMCA.

    Winning $500 to $1,000 were Region 4 Education Foundation, Old Saybrook Education Foundation, Community Music School, Essex Elementary School Foundation, Lyme Art Association, Pettipaug Sailing Academy, Old Lyme Historical Society, Con Brio Choral Society, Ivoryton Village Alliance, Valley Soccer Club, Westbrook Project Graduation,Camp Claire, Cappella Cantorum, Essex Community Fund, Old Saybrook Historical Society, Old Saybrook Land Trust, Friends of Chester Public Library, HOPE Partnership, Friends of the Acton Public Library, Lyme Public Hall & Local History Archives, Madison Community Services, Ruth Ann Heller Music Foundation, Valley Baseball Booster Club, Chester Elementary School PTO, Essex Winter Series, Killingworth Volunteer Fire Company, Sister Cities Essex Haiti, Deep River Land Trust and Lymes' Elderly Housing.

    Receiving less than $500 were Pathfinders, Sarah, Westbrook Historical Society, Deep River Junior Ancients, P.S. It Hurts, ACT II Thrift Shop, Sailing Masters of 1812, BRAYCE (Brazilian American Youth Cultural Exchange), Old Lyme Children's Learning Center, Guilford Art Center, Guilford Youth Mentoring and Madison Lyric Stage.

    Since inception in 1996, the ballot portion of the bank’s Community Investment Program has provided more than $1.7 million to over 200 nonprofit organizations. Since inception, the entire program will have provided over $5.5 million to nonprofits throughout the area.

    For more information, visit www.essexsavings.com.


    Chris Jewell and McKennas Flower Shop have been selected to receive the 2023 Ron Aliano Service Award for their distinguished service in the development of the City of Norwich. Their achievements will be celebrated at a ceremony 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, June 1, as part of the annual fireworks silent auction fundraiser at the Marina at the Holiday Inn. Tickets, at $40 a person, benefit the Norwich Harbor Fourth of July Fireworks and can be purchased online at GoNorwichCT.com or in the Facebook event.

    Additionally, Celia Siefert has been chosen to receive the Norwich Event’s Organization’s newest award, the Jason Vincent Memorial Service Award, given to a community member that embodies Jason’s spirit of giving, commitment to community through volunteerism and willingness to always step in if help is needed.

    Chris Jewell is owner of Collins and Jewell in the Norwich Business Park, vice chairman of the Norwich Free Academy’s Board, treasurer of the board for Norwich Community Development Corporation, chairman of the Eastern Workforce Investment Board, president of the Eastern Advanced Manufacturing Alliance and on the board of the Greater Norwich Area Chamber of Commerce.

    McKenna’s Flower Shop, owned by Michael Rankowitz, has been quietly turning donated mugs into Christmastime decorations to give to seniors in nursing homes for the last 10 years. This program, called the Mug Making Magic Project, provides a floral arrangement in a mug.

    Celia Siefert was the first female patrol officer with the Norwich Police Department. Currently, she spends much of her down time volunteering with local organizations, including Billy Wilsons Ageing Still, Saint Vincent de Paul Place, the NAACP, the Saint Patrick’s School Board, and Norwich Human Services.

    USA Today’s 10 Best Reader’s Choice Awards has named Mystic one of the top vacation destinations nationwide this summer.

    In its “The Top Ten: Best Summer Travel Destinations” list released last month, Mystic wound up No. 4 in the nation based on reader votes. That makes it the only New England destination to make the top 10.

    The No. 1 destination was Mackinac Island, Michigan, followed by Mobile, Alabama, and Door County, Wisconsin. Others in the Top 10 included Chicago, Illinois; Hocking Hills, Ohio; Crystal River, Ohio; Asheville, North Carolina; Rockaway Beach and Boardwalk, New York, and Shenandoah Valley, Virginia.

    Lisa F. Amanti, a 2002 graduate of Waterford High School, as well as a 2006 graduate of Providence College and 2009 graduate of Suffolk Law School, has been named by the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association as an HBA Rising Star. Amanti leads legal initiatives related to data governance and consumer privacy at athenahealth.

    The Rising Stars honor recognizes outstanding performance, commitment to excellence, and valuable contributions to their company’s success. Amanti as executive director, assistant general counsel, leads legal initiatives related to data governance and consumer privacy.

    She is the daughter of Thomas and Rebecca Amanti of New London.

    The Connecticut Green Bank has announced that an energy efficiency and solar project at Mystic Aquarium has won its Outstanding Project Award for 2022.

    “The Green Bank recognizes Mystic Aquarium for its innovation and collaboration to accomplish its efficiency and sustainability goals at the aquarium,” the organization said in a release. “This comprehensive project is helping the Aquarium reduce energy usage and costs, with savings estimated at $1.8 million.”

    In addition, Liberty Bank was awarded for its outstanding partnership and support of Green Bank initiatives, including the Groton Fuel Cell project.

    The organization also announced its Smart-E Loan Top Performers, who have helped families across the state make home energy improvements. These included the following local companies: Benvenuti Oil Company (Waterford), and R&W Heating Energy Solutions LLC (Salem).


    The Chamber of Commerce of Eastern CT Foundation has awarded grants to support 35 programs that address essential needs in the region.

    The check distribution ceremony and photo opportunity takes place at 10 a.m. April 26 at the Eastern Connecticut Chamber of Commerce’s office in Waterford.

    Among the recipients were: Catholic Charities, Diocese of Norwich, Inc., $1,500; Connecticut Story Telling, $1,000; Eastern Connecticut Ballet, $1,000; Eastern CT Community Gardens Association, $1,500; Eastern Workforce Investment Board, $5,000; FRESH New London, $2,500; Girls on the Run of Southeastern CT, $1,000; Goodspeed Musicals, $5,000; High Hopes Therapeutic Riding, Inc., $3,000, and Higher Edge, $2,000.

    Also, Jewish Federation of Eastern Connecticut, $500; Kings of the Diamond, $1,750; Madonna Place, Inc., $3,000; Mystic Aquarium, $1,500; New London Homeless Hospitality Center, $2,500; Niantic Children’s Museum, $1,000; Norwich Bully Busters, 1,000; Norwich Rotary Foundation, $1,000; Norwich Youth, Family, & Recreation Services, $1,500, and Our Piece of the Pie, Inc., $2,000.

    In addition, Public Library of New London, $2,000; Riverfront Children’s Center, $1,540; S.T.E.P.S., Inc., $1,500; Safe Futures, Inc., $3,000; SARAH Inc., $1,700; Southeast CT Community Center of the Blind, $2,400; St. Vincent de Paul Place, Norwich, $5,000; Thames River Community Service, Inc., $1,000; Thames Valley Council for Community Action, Inc., $2,500; The Covenant Shelter of New London, Inc., $1,800; The Maurice C. La Grua Center, Inc., $1,000; Tommy Toy Fund, $15,000; United Community and Family Services, $5,000; United Way of Southeastern Connecticut, $5,000, and Yellow Farmhouse Education Center, $1,500.

    The Chamber of Commerce of Eastern CT Foundation offers scholarship opportunities for high school seniors in the region. Students who are planning to attend college or a technical, vocational or apprenticeship program are eligible to apply by May 7. Applications are available at ChamberECT.com/foundation.


    Local farmers markets in the Norwich area will be held as follows:

    Ledyard Farmers Market: Wednesdays, June - September, 4-7 p.m.

    Montville Farmers Market: Tuesdays, June 13-Sept. 26, 4-7 p.m.

    Downtown Norwich Farmers Market: July 12 - October, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

    Bozrah Farmers Market: Fridays, July 8 - Oct. 14, 4-7 p.m. Also in Bozrah, a Mothers Day Market will be held May 13, 11a.m. - 2 p.m.


    Sertex Broadband Solutions of Plainfield has won the contract to construct the initial phase of a passive optical network that will serve residents and businesses in 24 towns in southern Vermont. The Deerfield Valley Communication Union District, operating as DVFiber, awarded the contract to expand high-speed symmetrical internet service and voice over internet protocol services to reach nearly 5,000 locations, of which 4,290 are currently underserved or unserved.

    Under the contract, Sertex will install more than 500 miles of fiber optic cable plant. A 36-month construction timeline is anticipated, with completion in early 2026.

    Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana, the New Haven-style pizza restaurant that has a store at Mohegan Sun, has revamped its Pepe’s Rewards program to offer its loyal guests more benefits and faster rewards.

    Customers can access the new app by searching "Frank Pepe" in the App Store, scanning the table tent QR code at their local Pepe's or navigating to the rewards tab on the website. For more information, visit https://order.pepespizzeria.com/register.

    The Jonnycake Center of Westerly has received a 2023 Rhode Island Historic Preservation Matching Grant from The 1772 Foundation in cooperation with Preserve Rhode Island. The $3,250 award will be used to fix leaky roof drains at the center on Industrial Drive in Westerly. The iconic saw-tooth roof was built in 1928. It was home to several businesses over the years, but most notably the Guild Guitar factory from 1966 to 1995. The Jonnycake Center purchased the building in 2021.


    The Women’s Business Development Council is encouraging child care businesses in Connecticut to apply for grant funding through its Child Care Business Support Program and Opportunity Fund. The program offers grants of up to $25,000 to qualified child care businesses.

    Interested child care providers can apply for the next round of Start-Up and Expansion Grants through May 31. Applicants can visit ctwbdc.org/child-care-business-grants to learn more.


    Employment growth in Connecticut’s clean energy industry in 2021 experienced the single highest increase in the past five years, according to the recently released 2022 Connecticut Clean Energy Industry Report.

    Recovering from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, clean energy bumped up its percentage of the statewide Gross Regional Product by nearly 7% to $7.07 billion, the report said.

    This is the third industry study produced by the Connecticut Green Bank, Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, Eversource, and United Illuminating, Southern Connecticut Gas and Connecticut Natural Gas.


    The City of New London is holding an Economic Development Forum on achievements, opportunities, and challenges led by Mayor Mike Passero and the City’s Director of Planning and Development, Felix Reyes from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 24, at the Garde Arts Center.

    RSVP by May 22 to Richelle Meneses at rmeneses@newlondonct.org.

    The Chamber of Commerce of Eastern CT will hold a Business After Hours event at Hilton Mystic from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 10. Cost is $15 for Chamber members, and $25 for non-members.

    Be in The Buzz by emailing news about your business to businessbriefs@theday.com.

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