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    Sunday, June 23, 2024

    The Buzz: New food pantry for people with disabilities opens in Quaker Hill

    The new UCP Food Pantry at 42 Norwich Road in Quaker Hill. Photo submitted
    Juliana Barrett
    Ralph Lewis
    Attorney Dave Falvey

    A new food pantry opened Thursday in Quaker Hill to help those with disabilities.

    The UCP of Eastern Connecticut said its new pantry at 42 Norwich Road will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursdays. Appointments may be scheduled by calling the Food Bank at 860-288-9528.

    Food insecurity disproportionately affects people with disabilities due to four primary factors: financial barriers, limited employment opportunities, access barriers and health-related restrictions.

    “There is a pressing need to address food insecurity among individuals with disabilities and their families, and UCP is committed to providing a solution,” said Jennifer Keatley, executive director of UCP, in a statement.

    Keatley said the pantry is offering a variety of nutritious food options and essentials. It will be accessible to individuals with disabilities by appointment.

    At the same time, the pantry will offer individuals with disabilities job skills and will be managed under UCP’s Supported Employment Transition Program. UCP program participants will have the opportunity to learn and practice essential employment skills while contributing to a worthy cause. The program not only provides much-needed job support to those facing disabilities, but also highlights the profound benefits of gainful employment for this community.

    Employment is a transformative experience for individuals with disabilities, granting them the chance to build, a key to building self-confidence, independence and financial stability.

    To learn more about the new UCP Food Pantry or to schedule an appointment, call 860-288-9528. UCP is currently taking food donations for the following items: peanut butter, pasta (preferably whole grain), rice (preferably brown rice) canned goods including soups, fruit, vegetables, stew, canned fish and beans. UCP is a United Way member agency.

    People & Places

    Dave Falvey has recently been recognized by the American Board of Certification as a Bankruptcy Legal Senior Specialist. In order to reach this status, an attorney has to be board dertified in consumer bankruptcy for at least 25 years.

    Falvey is a member of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, the American Bankruptcy Institute, and the former chairman and founder of the Connecticut Consumer Bankruptcy Roundtable. The American Board of Certification is accredited by the American Bar Association.

    Joseph E. Romeo has been appointed to serve on Charter Oak Federal Credit Union’s Supervisory Committee, which has oversight and audit responsibilities for the institution’s seven-member Board of Directors.

    Charter Oak’s Supervisory Committee helps the board oversee accounting, reporting and internal control responsibilities.

    Romeo works in the shipbuilding industry as an engineer for the government in Groton and was previously employed at Electric Boat and Medtronic. He is a graduate of Clarkson University in Potsdam, N.Y. with a B.S. in chemical engineering.

    A book launch and author talk will be held at 4 p.m. Nov. 29 in Room 103 of the Lowell P. Weicker Jr. Building at the UConn Avery Point campus in Groton to introduce a 130-page, spiral-bound guidebook titled “Connecticut’s Sandy Shores: An Introduction to the Geology, Plants and Animals.”

    Speaking at the event will be lead author Juliana Barrett, CT Sea Grant coastal habitat specialist and extension educator emerita, and Ralph Lewis, state geologist emeritus, who wrote the chapter on Long Island Sound geology.

    Books can be purchased by contacting Michelle MarcAurele at michelle.marcaurele@uconn.edu.

    The Auxiliary of Lawrence + Memorial Hospital has kicked off the 6th Annual “Lights of Love” fundraising campaign which invites members of the community to make gifts of any amount in honor or remembrance of a loved one.

    Lights will adorn a tree which will be on display on L+M Hospital grounds beginning the evening of Dec. 12. The New London High School Chorus, under the direction of Choral Director Lisa Marien, will sing a medley of holiday tunes at the lighting, which will take place at 5 p.m. in the Healing Garden.

    For information or to request a donation form for the Lights of Love campaign, email Kathryn Greene at AuxiliaryLMH@gmail.com.

    CorePlus Credit Union is now offering the HUD 184 Tribal Loan Program to support homeownership within Native American communities.

    Loans through the HUD 184 Tribal Loan program can be used to purchase an existing home, construct a new home, rehabilitate an existing home, purchase and rehabilitate an existing home, or refinance an existing mortgage. Borrowers must be currently enrolled in a federally recognized tribe, which includes the Mohegan Tribe and Mashantucket Pequot Tribe in Connecticut.

    For more information, call 860-886-0576.

    Military News

    The SUBASE Galley has received the Navy Region Mid-Atlantic 5-Star Accreditation for Sustained Superior Customer Service and Support.

    The Galley also was selected to represent the Region in the Navy-wide Ney Award Competition. The Ney Award for food-service excellence is given to the best Navy galleys among those that earn a 5-Star rating from a Navy evaluation team.

    On Friday, Nov. 17, Connecticut Native Capt. Daniel M. Rossler turned over command of Regional Support Group Groton as he headed into retirement from the Navy after 41 years. A Connecticut native, Rossler had been serving as commander, Regional Support Group Groton, and as commanding officer, Naval Submarine Support Facility New London.

    Rossler graduated from Masuk High School in 1980 and entered the Navy in November 1982. He served as the 47th Executive Officer of Naval Submarine Base New London from June 2008 - February 2011. Under Rossler’s leadership, the base was awarded the Commander, Navy Region Mid-Atlantic's (CNRMA) Installation Excellence Award, back to back, for 2010 and 2011.

    Rossler has also been the “Silver Eagle” – an honor bestowed upon the senior-most Limited Duty Officer in the Navy.

    Grants & Awards

    The Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut has announced 18 grants made through the Connecticut Social Equity Council’s Community Reinvestment Pilot Program, an initiative to reinvest revenues from the state’s new adult-cannabis industry in communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the “war on drugs.” In eastern Connecticut the areas of focus are New London, Norwich and Willimantic/Windham.

    Seven grants were given for formerly incarcerated residents of these communities: Alliance for Living, $75,000; Connecticut Legal Services, $40,000; Connecticut Pardon Team, $5,000; Madonna Place, $80,000; NAACP of Connecticut, $75,000; New London Homeless Hospitality, $85,000, and Perception Programs, $100,000

    Eleven grants support a range of youth development activities in the three towns including workforce skills, mentoring, arts, sports, and social justice: Big Brothers Big Sisters of CT, $20,000; Castle Church, $50,000; Community Level Up, $50,000; Eastern CT State University Center for Community Engagement, $65,000; Hispanic Alliance of Southeastern CT, $30,000; New London Youth Affairs, $50,000; Norwich Youth & Family Services, $25,000; Project Imo, $50,000; Public Library of New London, $25,000; Sankofa Education & Leadership, $40,000, and STEPS, $35,000.

    See full list of grants and project descriptions, visit https://d2bj8c3dwxuffq.cloudfront.net/documents/Social-Equity-Council-Grants-2023_website.pdf.

    The Eastern Regional Tourism District is now accepting applications from organizations for marketing initiatives that support eastern Connecticut’s tourism economy.

    Called the Regional Marketing Partnership Program, it is a one-to-one match for deserving organizations in the 41-town region that have satisfied all grant requirements, including the ability to match their grant funding request. The deadline to apply is Jan. 15.

    A total of $70,000 has been allocated by the Connecticut Office of Tourism to fund the 2024 program. Plans should focus on marketing eastern Connecticut’s tourism economy and encourage the safe enjoyment of Connecticut’s tourism opportunities as well as encourage collaboration and partnerships.

    A meeting at noon Dec. 6 via Zoom will answer questions. To learn more, email Rachel Lenda, Administrative Partnership Manager, at visiteasternct@gmail.com.

    Chamber News

    The Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut named Pfizer Inc. senior scientist Karen Walters as Board Member of the Year and Stacey Lawton of the Southeastern Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependency as Executive of the Year during its 14th Annual Social Service Recognition Breakfast Nov. 16 at the Holiday Inn Norwich.

    Also recognized with an Eastern CT Social Service Award were Staff Member of the Year Anne Scribner of Reliance Health, Volunteer of the Year Melissa Yuchniuk of Bouvier Insurance and Collaboration of the Year the Easterseals Capital Region & Eastern Connecticut, Ability Media, & Comcast NBCUniversal.

    Social service organizations from across eastern Connecticut showed appreciation for the work done locally to impact people's lives though better health, education, and economic possibilities.

    Chamber News

    The Greater Mystic Chamber of Commerce will celebrate a night of awards from 5:30 to 10 p.m. Nov. 30 at the Velvet Mill in Stonington Borough.

    Winners of the third annual Ballast Awards, acknowledging those business icons who have remained steadfast, making Mystic their own for 15 years or more, were Allie Nasin, owner of the Captain Daniel Packer Inne; James Holley, owner of Franklin’s General Store; and Robert Valenti, owner of the Valenti Family of Dealerships.

    The annual Keel Award, given to a community business leader who represents the future Mystic and someone who will lead the ship through any conditions, will be announced during the evening, as well as the 2023 Joyce Olson Resnikoff Tourism Award winner recognizing business owners and people who support, grow and nurture southeastern Connecticut’s tourism economy.

    Also, Stonington Public Schools and the chamber, with support from the Inclusion A Sylvestre Foundation, is presenting the second annual Just One Chance Award to a community member or organization that has promoted an inclusive environment for Stonington Public Schools’ students who have a disability. This year’s winners are Wendy Eck of Dog Watch Café and Sarah Cahill of Mystic Seaport.

    Tickets are $125 each and include open bar. There will be a silent auction featuring a number of locally donated items including a Studio Jeffrey P‘an Champagne Glassblowing Experience.

    For information, visit mysticchamber.org.

    The Greater Norwich Area Chamber of Commerce's annual GNACC Holiday Bazaar will be held from 9-1 Saturday, Nov. 25, at the Holiday Inn Norwich as part of Small Business Saturday.

    Besides Holiday Inn, sponsors include Rose City Financial Services, Two Sisters Shipping & Business Center, and These Guys Brewing. For sponsorship or volunteer opportunities, call (860) 887-1647 or email info@norwichchamber.com.

    Upcoming Events

    The Stonington Borough Merchants Association will be kicking off Small Business Saturday on Nov. 25 with events including the Find the Buoy Holiday Scavenger Hunt and the revealing of the Lobster Trap Tree at Stonington Town Docks.

    The scavenger hunt returns with 15 buoy locations and prizes including a Stonington Free Library tote filled with gift cards from participating Borough shops and restaurants worth $880; a week of half-day camp at New England Science and Sailing worth $400; a sterling silver buoy charm and chain designed and created by Maggie Lee Designs worth $230; and a membership to The Stonington Historical Society plus four tickets to a La Grua Center concert worth $165. The contest ends on New Year's Eve, and winners will be drawn from submitted postcards and announced in January 2024.

    On Nov. 25 at 4:30 p.m., the third annual Lobster Trap Tree will be unveiled at the Stonington Town Docks, sponsored by the Ocean Community Chamber of Commerce. Afterward, from 5-7 p.m., borough retailers including Cove Ledge, Grand & Water Antiques, Maggie Lee Designs, Repertoire Furniture, Ship Shape Shop, Stonington Consign to Design, Stonington Jewelry at Cannon Square, Tucci, and Wm. Cole will host a Sip & Shop with refreshments.

    Cove Ledge will host a holiday market in their garden featuring artists every Saturday, Nov. 25 through Dec. 16 from 2 - 5 p.m., plus the night of the Annual Stonington Village Stroll (Friday, Dec. 1).

    Thursday, Nov. 30, marks the Deck the Walls annual holiday fundraiser Preview Party at the Captain Nathaniel B. Palmer House with the Stonington Historical Society and the Stonington Garden Club, followed by an open house on Friday, Dec. 1 and Saturday, Dec. 2.

    On Friday, Dec. 1, the Stonington Village Improvement Association hosts the Annual Stonington Village Stroll with a traditional tree lighting, community carol singing, and a visit with Santa in Wadawanuck Square, followed by a stroll down Water Street. Merchants stay open late and compete for the title of "Best Dressed Holiday Window" in the annual Borough A-Glow contest. At 7 pm, The Yale Whiffenpoofs, America's oldest a cappella group, will perform at La Grua Center.

    On Saturday, Dec.16, and Sunday, Dec. 17, the Velvet Mill at 22 Bayview Ave. will host A Velvet Christmas at the Mill, a holiday market and a visit from Santa Claus with raffles, live music, and face painting.

    Details can be found at https://www.stoningtonboroughct.com/holidays-in-stonington-borough.

    Agriculture News

    U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced that USDA is investing more than $1.2 billion in loans and grants to spur economic development, catalyze rural prosperity and advance equity through rural cooperatives in 36 states and Puerto Rico.

    For the Southern New England states of Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, a USDA Rural Development investment will be used by the Cooperative Development Institute to provide technical assistance and training to small business and individuals seeking to form a cooperative. CDI will use a $200,000 grant to assist in leveraging resources to create measurable impacts by increasing and retaining access to affordable housing, jobs and improving essential infrastructure and creating community services.

    USDA is making the investments through a suite of business, utilities and cooperative programs and services such as the Business and Industry Loan Guarantee Program, Electric Infrastructure Loan and Loan Guarantee Program, Food Supply Chain Guaranteed Loan Program, Rural Cooperative Development Grant Program, Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program, Socially-Disadvantaged Groups Grant Program and Value-Added Producer Grant Program.

    The Buzz is compiled weekly by Business Editor Lee Howard. To get in The Buzz, email businessbriefs@theday.com.

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