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    Friday, May 17, 2024

    The Buzz: Crocker wins award from Military Writers Society of America

    MWSA president’s award winner Ruth W. Crocker, center, with authors Annette Grunseth and Kathleen Rodgers. Photo submitted
    Kayla Poole
    Kirsten Williams
    Lauren Barrett
    From left, Jewett City Savings Bank commercial loan leaders Ernie Muccio, chief credit officer; Michael Alberts, president and CEO; Marcus Rehbein, commercial loan officer; Mark Light, senior commercial loan officer; John Couillard, business loan officer; Bill Couture, commercial loan officer. This year, Jewett City Savings was ranked ninth for growth in commercial loan volume and 18th for growth in number of commercial loans.

    The Military Writers Society of America last month presented local author and educator Ruth W. Crocker of Mystic with the President's Award at its annual conference on in New London.

    The Military Writers Society of America is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of writing and publishing skills. The award was presented to Crocker by MWSA President Jim Greenwald for her "exceptionally meritorious contributions to the MWSA mission."

    Membership in the organization is open to anyone with an interest in writing. Next year's conference will be held in San Diego, Calif. For information, visit www.mwsadispatches.com

    People & Places

    Wireless Zone, an authorized Verizon retailer, has announced the promotion of Chris Edgerton of Guilford to the position of location manager at the North Frontage Road store in New London.

    Edgerton previously was a store manager at Sleep Number, propelling the store to the top-ranking position in a district of 14 stores on three occasions. Edgerton has a 2-year-old son with wife Heena.

    Connecticut Sea Grant will sponsor three early career marine science and policy professionals in one-year paid fellowships as part of the 2024 class of the John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship program.

    The three are Kirsten Williams, who recently completed a master’s degree in environmental management at Yale University and a law degree at Vermont Law & Graduate School; Kayla Mladinich Poole, who recently completed her doctorate in oceanography at the University of Connecticut, and Lauren Barrett, who expects to complete her doctorate in oceanography at the University of Connecticut in the fall.

    This year’s class features students and recent graduates from 66 universities, including 12 minority-serving institutions. For information contact Judy Benson at judy.benson@uconn.edu.

    Teresa Balough of Old Lyme has published her long-term book project "The Life and Work of Percy Aldridge Grainger: Till Life Become Fire."

    Balough is a music lecturer at Eastern Connecticut State University and has been working on the book for nearly 50 years. Grainger was a composer and pianist from Australia, born in 1882, whose folk music-inspired work was initially regarded highly by the public, though academics later criticized his views on music that emphasized a connection to nature.

    Balough developed an interest in Grainger during her undergraduate studies at the University of Kentucky. "I had to ask permission to do my master's thesis on Percy. He was not taken seriously," Balough said.

    She described him as "an early ethnomusicologist, though the term didn't exist then." Ethnomusicology is the study of music that explores the culture and people who create it.

    Balough’s book was published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing in June. It is for sale on Amazon and the publisher’s website and is available at ECSU’s J. Eugene Smith Library.

    Chamber news

    The 20th Annual Mystic Holiday Boat Parade and Toy Drive will take place on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. If your sailboat, motor boat, dinghy, or row boat is still in the water, the Mystic Area Chamber of Commerce is inviting you to decorate your boat with holiday lights for a chance to be part of a beloved downtown Mystic tradition.

    Decorated vessels will parade down the Mystic River at 6 p.m. and return to the Mystic River Park, where spectators and judges will be gathered. Boats will be judged on creativity and team spirit. There will be prizes for Most Charismatic Crew, Innovative Vessel, Best Dressed Vessel, Most Holiday Spirit and Miss Mystic Vessel of Grandeur.

    The cost to enter is a new or gently used unwrapped toy for the Pawcatuck Neighborhood Center. Register online at mysticchamber.org or for more information, contact Aimee Harvey, events manager, at (860) 572-9578 or email aimeeharvey@mysticchamber.org.

    Trends & Forecasts

    UConn has established a new Nursing and Engineering Innovation Center, one of the first in the nation, to advance health care, workforce, and economic development through interdisciplinary collaborations.

    The center is a partnership between the UConn schools of Engineering and Nursing and will focus on research, education, community engagement, and technology transfer.

    The center is under the co-direction of Tiffany Kelley, visiting professor and director of the School of Nursing’s Healthcare Innovation Online Graduate Certificate Program, and Leila Daneshmandi, assistant professor in residence in Innovation and Entrepreneurship and director of the entrepreneurship Hub (eHub) in the School of Engineering.

    Citizens Financial Group has announced a $50 billion commitment to finance and facilitate environmental and social initiatives, including those that help lower carbon emissions.

    This will including $5 billion in green financing by 2030, the company said in a release. Citizens said it will engage all of its oil and gas clients by the end of 2024 in discussions about achieving carbon neutrality by 2035.

    Citizens will finance affordable housing, support for small businesses, and community development projects. Citizens recently published its Approach to Sustainable Finance which outlines its methodology for tracking progress against its Sustainable Finance Target.

    Citizens also announced its intention to be carbon neutral by 2035. Last year, Citizens entered into a virtual power purchase agreement with Ørsted that supports the construction of a wind generation facility in Kansas.

    For more information, go to https://www.citizensbank.com/community/corporate-responsibility.aspx.

    Connecticut is currently facing a large shortage of mental health professionals, and the UConn Neag School of Education’s Department of Educational Psychology has created a new Licensed Professional Counselor certificate program headed by assistant professor Sara Renzulli to help.

    The 18-credit program is fully online, with all classes and clinical experiences occurring in the summer, allowing graduates to apply to the Connecticut Department of Public Health for their certification. The certificate program is designed for students who have already completed, or are in the process of completing, a master’s degree in school counseling, school psychology, or very closely related fields at a regionally accredited institution.

    Applications are being accepted until Dec. 1 for summer 2024 enrollment at https://counseling.education.uconn.edu/apply/.

    The Edward E. Ford Foundation has awarded The Williams School in New London with a $50,000 grant to support the school’s College Acceleration Program.

    The College Acceleration Program offers Williams’ students the opportunity to take four classes at Connecticut College over the course of their junior and senior years.

    Assistant Head of School for Teaching and Learning Jane Hannon worked closely with Connecticut College’s Vice President for Strategic Initiatives Amy Dooling to establish the new partnering program.

    In order to receive the Ford Foundation funds, Williams had to raise $100,000 by July 31. Head of School Mark Fader expressed his appreciation for the more than 30 supporters who helped Williams secure the funds needed to gain the grant.

    The Williams School is an independent, college preparatory, day school on the campus of Connecticut College for students in grades 6-12.

    Awards & Rankings

    For the eighth straight year, The Hartford Courant Top Workplaces has named Chelsea Groton Bank as a Hartford, Middlesex, Tolland, New London, and Windham County Top Workplaces winner.

    In addition, this year Anthony A. Joyce, III, the bank’s president and CEO, was presented with the Leadership Award in the midsize employer category (150-499 employees). Both awards are based solely on employee engagement feedback gathered through a third-party survey administered by Energage LLC.

    Joyce, a lifelong resident of southeastern Connecticut, stepped into his role as president and CEO in January. He is a trustee of the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern CT and serves on the board of directors for Hartford Healthcare East Region, Connecticut Bankers Association, and Catholic Charities of Norwich.

    Under Joyce’s leadership, Chelsea Groton has continued to be named “Best Bank” by readers of The Day (2015-present) and has been listed by Forbes as one of America’s Best-In-State Banks (2021-present). The bank also has earned a 5-Star “Superior” rating for financial strength by BauerFinancial (1994-present).

    Ever wondered what it would take to win a National Small Business Week award? Well, the 2024 award process is under way, and now the SBA Connecticut District is hosting webinars on “How to Submit an Award Winning Nomination Package.”

    The webinars will be at noon Oct. 19 and 2 p.m. Nov. 7. To register, visit sba.gov/ct. For more information, contact Sheri Cote at sheri.cote@sba.gov or 202-445-6709.

    Jewett City Savings Bank has been ranked one of the 50 fastest-growing commercial loan providers in Connecticut by the Commercial Record.

    Utilizing real estate data from the Warren Group, the publication calculates the list by comparing the number and volume of loans between the first six months of 2022 and 2023, and includes all loan providers operating in Connecticut. This year, Jewett City Savings was ranked ninth for growth in commercial loan volume and 18th for growth in number of commercial loans.

    The U.S. Small Business Administration has announced that $200,000 in grant funding has been awarded to Connecticut companies involved in international trade via a competitive application process to SBA’s State Trade Expansion Program grant program.

    Locally, the Department of Economic and Community Development will distribute money to help provide small businesses with the information and tools they need to succeed in export-related activities.

    To learn more about the program, visit www.SBA.gov/STEP.

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