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    Saturday, April 20, 2024

    The Buzz: Norwich Arts Center names two Volunteers of the Year

    Lisa Dowhan (left) and Mary Kay Kelleher (right) were honored as the Norwich Arts Center’s 2023 Volunteers of the Year at NAC's annual meeting Jan. 28, 2024, at the Donald L. Oat Theater. Photo submitted
    U.S. Treasurer Lynn Malerba and University of Saint Joseph deans, from left, Ahmed Abdelmageed, Karl Besel, and Raouf Boules. Photo submitted
    John G. Harris

    Lisa Dowhan (left) and Mary Kay Kelleher (right) were honored as the Norwich Arts Center’s 2023 Volunteers of the Year at NAC's annual meeting Jan. 28 at the Donald L. Oat Theater.

    Each received a certificate thanking them for their years of service along with a bouquet of flowers created by McKenna's Florist. BJ's Wholesale Club provided NAC with a $50 gift card to purchase an assorted meat platter/rolls for attendees.

    In addition, the 2024 Executive Board was named during the meeting. Elected were: President Faye Ringel, Treasurer Patricia A. LaPierre, and Secretary Susan Masse.

    People & Places

    The Ocean Community YMCA has turned the Tarzan Brown road race over to a partnership of the Greater Mystic Chamber of Commerce and Kelley’s Pace.

    Yolla El Khoury, Executive Branch Director, said the decision was made with the blessing of the Tarzan Brown family. Jeff Anderson, owner of Kelley’s Pace, said he was happy to partner with the Mystic Chamber of Commerce and its president, Bruce Flax.

    Tarzan Brown was a world class runner who twice won the Boston Marathon and earned a place on the 1936 US Olympic team. The 49th Annual Tarzan Brown will take place this year on Nov. 3. Registration is open and can be done at runsignup.com/Race/CT/Mystic/TarzanBrown.

    Elysian LLC, a construction company based in Stonington, has been honored with the highly coveted 2023 Remodeler of the Year award by the Home Builders and Remodelers Association of Eastern Connecticut.

    Christopher Smith, CEO of Elysian, specializes in building high-end custom homes in Connecticut and Rhode Island. Elysian also is currently renovating new office space at 70 Alpha Ave. in Stonington to serve as a hub for educational events tailored for trades and design professionals.

    The company plans to facilitate workshops and seminars, fostering an industry-wide collaborative environment for knowledge-sharing and professional development. The building is designed not only as a workspace but as a center for fostering a community of professionals dedicated to pushing the boundaries of excellence in the construction and design sectors.

    For more information, email Christopher Smith at chris@elysianbuild.com, or call (860) 345-5731 ext.1.

    John G. Harris, a Preston resident and councilor since 2019 for the Mohegan Tribe, has been named to the Board of Trustees for The Nature Conservancy in Connecticut.

    Harris has also served as chairman of the Preston Housing Authority, chairman of the Mohegan Tribal Housing Authority, project manager of the Preston Riverwalk remediation project, supervisor at Mohegan Sun, and operation manager at Pfizer Inc. In his role as a tribal councilor, he has focused on tribal governance, grant opportunities, business plans for Mohegan Holdings, and quality of life for community members.

    The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. The Connecticut chapter has protected more than 53,000 acres of land throughout the state. To learn more, visit: www.nature.org/CT.

    January marks the 45th anniversary of Firmin’s Garage and 40 years at its current location at 309 Flanders Road in East Lyme.

    The late Robert W. Firmin Jr. established the former Bob’s Arco Station at Flanders Four Corners in January 1979 and opened Firmin’s Garage Inc. in January 1984. The auto repair and towing business is currently owned and operated by his wife Eileen Firmin and sons Robert W. Firmin III and Michael Firmin.

    The family noted two longtime employees, Andrew Biedierka and Kevin Burgess, for their hard work and dedication, as well as loyal customers throughout the years.

    Marie Tyler Wiley will once again be hosting free wedding ceremonies and vow renewals on Valentine's Day at Olde Mistick Village.

    The weddings, an annual tradition, take place in The Meeting House at Olde Mistick Village from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. People must first get their wedding license from the Stonington Town Clerk's office. Call ahead to make an appointment.

    For questions, call 860-941-9519 or email Marie@CTJPMarie.com. O

    The Women’s Fellowship of Mystic Congregational Church has distributed the proceeds from its November Tea and Bazaar to area organizations that serve those who are food and housing insecure. Marybeth Kendle and Susan Smith served as chairs for the annual event which produced record-setting results.

    In addition to contributing to church-related programs, the membership has donated to the following organizations: Always Home, A Sacred Place, Center for Hospice Care of SECT, Child and Family Agency of SECT, Community of Hope, FRESH, Groton Food Locker, Haitian Health Foundation, H.O.P.E., Lighthouse Voc-ED Center, Madonna Place, MAEC Care & Share, Martin Luther King Scholarship Fund, New London Breakfast Program, New London Homeless Hospitality Center, New London Meal Center, Operation Fuel, Pawcatuck Neighborhood Center, Riverfront Children’s Center, Safe Futures, Thames River Community Service, WARM, and Work Vessels for Veterans.

    The next event sponsored by the Women’s Fellowship will be the annual tag sale on April 12 and 13, with proceeds going to area social service agencies. For further information, call 860-536-4259.

    University of Saint Joseph alumna and U.S. Treasurer Lynn Roberge Malerba, a leader of the Mohegan Tribe, spoke at the school’s inaugural Deans’ Lecture Series on Jan. 29.

    Malerba, who grew up in Uncasville, noted the twists and turns of a career that took her from nurse to chief of the Mohegan Tribe, to her current post as Treasurer of the United States. Malerba also served as director of Mohegan Health and Human Services and as vice chair of the Mohegan Tribal Council.

    Malerba now oversees the operations of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and the United States Mint. With her appointment, American currency now for the first time in history features the signatures of two women—Chief Malerba and Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen.

    Thames River Heritage Park is now accepting applications for its 2024 Docent Academy – a 10-week training program for current and prospective volunteer guides, which begins on Wednesday, Feb. 14, and meets every Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

    Executive Director Catherine Foley said the heritage sites that comprise the park include Avery-Copp House Museum, Bill Memorial Library, Ebenezer Avery House, Fort Griswold Battlefield State Park, Fort Trumbull State Park, Garde Arts Center, Hempsted Houses, Hygienic Art, Lyman Allyn Art Museum, Monte Cristo Cottage, Nathan Hale School House, Custom House Maritime Museum, Old Town Mill, NL Black Heritage Trail, Shaw Mansion, Submarine Force and USS Nautilus Museums.

    Graduates are asked to commit to four hours per month of volunteer service for a period of a year. Registration for the program is $150 ($15 per session) and includes private tours of heritage sites, presentations and an Interpreter’s Guide to the Thames River Heritage Park.

    New London and Groton residents are encouraged to call (860) 444-4401 to inquire about potential scholarship funding. For more information go to https://www.thamesriverheritagepark.org/docent-academy or email cfoley@thamesriverheritagepark.org.

    The CT League of Conservation Voters added two members to its Board of Directors and three members to the League’s Education Fund Board of Directors.

    The selection of new Board members Stonington First Selectman Danielle Chesebrough and Laura Del Savio reflects the League’s recent focus on election reform measures such as absentee and early voting, and support for the Connecticut Voting Rights Act. Del Savio helped launch CT Voters First to advance Ranked Choice Voting and was instrumental in starting Connecticut’s Forward Party, founded by Andrew Yang.

    All three new members of the League’s Education Fund Board, Pippa Bell Ader, Isaac Cohen and Yaw Darko, have deep experience as advocates for pro-environment policies.

    Local photographer Bryn Souza has announced a solo photography exhibit at Tapped Apple Cidery & Winery in Westerly throughout February and March.

    “Hues of Homecoming” will go on display at the 37 High St. winery through April 5. An artist’s reception will run from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 3.

    Framed prints will be available for purchase with a percentage of each sale being donated to the Johnnycake Center of Westerly.

    Souza, originally from Stonington, has returned to the area after living in Massachusetts.

    Pawcatuck-based Davis-Standard LLC has completed the previously announced acquisition of Extrusion Technology Group, bringing under its fold three esteemed brands: battenfeld-cincinnati, exelliq, and Simplas in what the company called a “significant milestone” in its strategic expansion.

    The acquisition combines Davis-Standard expertise in extrusion technology with the market presence of the ETG brands.

    "This strategic acquisition reinforces our dedication to providing cutting-edge solutions and comprehensive support to our customers across various industries," said Giovanni Spitale, CEO of DavisStandard, in a release.

    Educational grant recipients of the Lower Connecticut Valley Branch of the American Association of University Women spoke at the group’s January meeting about how they are continuing to advance their career plans with the aid of the grants.

    The yearly scholarships are awarded to adult women from Middlesex and New London counties chosen for their outstanding academic records, demonstrated financial need, and plans for attaining their education goals. Money for the grants is raised at an annual Book Author Luncheon and other events.

    The Connecticut Airport Authority has announced that low-cost carrier Breeze Airways will be launching nonstop seasonal service from Bradley International Airport to Myrtle Beach International Airport and Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport.

    Beginning May 2, Myrtle Beach routes will operate on Thursdays and Sundays

    Beginning May 24, Greenville-Spartanburg will operate on Mondays and Fridays

    For more information, visit https://www.flybreeze.com.

    Ocean State Job Lot has announced that its 2023 “Buy, Give, Get” program has resulted in the collection of 63,000 winter coats, surpassing the company’s goal of 55,000 coats to be donated to veterans in need this winter.

    The coats have been distributed to veterans’ organizations throughout the winter season in partnership with a multi-state network of more than 50 veteran support agencies, organizations, assistance programs and action groups serving New England, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

    Scholarships & Grants

    Spherion Staffing and Recruiting in Brooklyn is accepting applications for its Sandy Mazur Excellence in Leadership Scholarship now through April 30. This scholarship is open to students of any age with a track record of leadership, academic excellence, and a passion for serving others. Spherion will award up to $3,000 each.

    The scholarship was established by the Spherion franchise community to honor Sandy Mazur, the company’s former president, who served an 18-year tenure. There are now hundreds of local Spherion offices nationwide, including in eastern Connecticut.

    This year’s application is open to anyone seeking higher education, including college, technical school or skilled training programs. To qualify, applicants must hold a GPA of a 2.5 or above, be pursuing a continuing education program, and must reside in a county with a Spherion office. Applicants’ financial need will also be considered.

    The 2023 Sandy Mazur scholarship recipients were Amari Johnson, Ella Riddle and Jocelyn Stopka. For more information, visit www.spherion.com/scholarship.

    Chamber News

    The Greater Mystic Chamber of Commerce has announced a Business After Hours hosted by Marquis Jewelry Academy from 5 to 7 p.m. Feb. 29 at 32 Taugwonk Spur Road, Unit 1A, Stonington. Register at mysticchamber.org/events.

    State News

    The Connecticut Department of Revenue Services is currently accepting individual state income tax returns for taxable year 2023. The state and federal individual income tax filing deadline is Monday, April 15.

    DRS Commissioner Mark Boughton encouraged taxpayers to file their state returns electronically by using myconneCT or by using third-party software. If taxpayers use myconneCT, they will need to file their federal returns separately with the IRS.

    To reach DRS call 860-297-5962 during business hours from anywhere, or 800-382-9463 in Connecticut outside the Greater Hartford; or 860-297-4911 (TTY, TDD and Text Telephone users only).

    Taxpayers may also email DRS at DRS@ct.gov or follow on social media at #TuesdayTaxTips.

    The Connecticut Department of Education has announced opportunities for organizations to become authorized sponsors of the 2024 Summer Food Service Program to provide meals to children in eligible Connecticut locations.

    Further information about program participation is available at https://portal.ct.gov/SDE/Nutrition/Summer-Food-Service-Program. Or you can contact program coordinator Caroline Cooke at Caroline.Cooke@ct.gov.

    The department also is reminding sponsors of the 2024 Summer Food Service Program in Connecticut that food service management companies that they hope to use must be registered with the state by Feb. 15 in order for sponsors to submit an application or renewal for registration to the program. The application form for registration can be requested by contacting Andrew Paul at 860-807-2048 or andrew.paul@ct.gov.

    The Buzz is a weekly roundup of business news compiled by Business Editor Lee Howard. To get in The Buzz, email businessbriefs@theday.com. To easily access urls cited in print, go to www.theday.com and type “The Buzz” into the search bar.

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