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    Saturday, July 20, 2024

    The Buzz: Longtime site of flower shop in Norwich finds a buyer

    The former Johnson’s Flowers & Gifts building at 307 Washington St., Norwich
    From left, Kristen Gorski, West Hartford economic development coordinator; Laura Davis, JP Morgan Chase; Camille Hudson, West Hartford business owner; Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz; Brenda Thickett, chief operating officer of the Women’s Business Development Council, and Ryan McGrath, JP Morgan Chase.
    Ulysses B. Hammond
    Michelle Hallisey

    The former home of Johnson’s Flowers & Gifts at 307 Washington St., Norwich, has been sold. The $289,500 cash transaction was announced by Ron Lyman, CEO of Lyman Real Estate Brokerage & Development in Westbrook, whose associate Sam Lyman represented seller Debra Richert.

    Molly Bruno of Molly Bruno Real Estate was agent for buyers Geoffrey and Jennifer LaMarche of Manchester.

    The 3,008-square-foot building sits on a quarter-acre lot across the street from Backus Hospital. It includes 1,544 square feet of retail space on the first floor and a 1,464-square-foot apartment on the second. The flower shop’s retail display coolers were included in the sale.

    No plans for the property have been announced, but it is near a busy intersection.

    For additional information, contact Carol Dowd, head of marketing, at carold@lymanre.com or 860-887-5000.

    People & Places

    The Greater Mystic Chamber of Commerce celebrates Michelle Hallisey of Mind Matters in the Community Proud series sponsored by CorePlus Credit Union.

    Hallisey, a recreational assistant at Mind Matters, is being recognized for her exceptional dedication to providing personalized care for some of the most vulnerable members of our community, specifically adults with dementia.

    Michelle is known for her positive attitude and compassionate approach, always paying attention to the individual needs and interests of the people she cares for. Michelle's passion for her work extends beyond her role as a caregiver as she also actively engages with her clients' families, providing crucial support and encouragement.

    Ulysses Hammond of Waterford, interim executive director of the Connecticut Port Authority, has been named one of the 100 Most Influential Blacks in Connecticut by the state chapter of the NAACP. He was honored June 29 at an event at the Celebrity Ballroom of Foxwoods Resort Casino.

    The Connecticut Sun plans to revitalize two basketball courts at Washington Park in Groton in partnership with BlueForge Alliance and the BuildSubmarines.com platform promoting maritime manufacturing careers. BuildSubmarines.com's Fan Fest at Washington Park at 6 p.m. Friday, July 12, will kick off the project, with construction of the new courts to begin in September.

    Kiley Wren, chief executive and co-founder, BlueForge Alliance, said he hopes to see “present and future stars competing on these courts for years to come.”

    Groton Mayor Keith Hedrick, Connecticut Sun president Jen Rizzotti, corporate leadership from General Dynamics Electric Boat, representatives from BlueForge Alliance and the U.S. Navy's Submarine Base will be on hand. Sun guards Moriah Jefferson and Rachel Banham will participate in the festivities from 7 to 8 p.m., signing autographs and taking photos; and there will be live music and food trucks.

    Rich Denesha, senior B2B account executive in Groton, has won a spot in the Wireless Zone’s Winners Circle after achieving outstanding results in business-to-business sales, setting a new standard within the Wireless Zone system.

    Denesha will join Patrick Lynch, managing partner at the authorized Verizon retailer in Westerly, who won a trip earlier this year. Both winners will enjoy a trip for two to the Turtle Bay Resort in Oahu, Hawaii, celebrating their achievements.

    Dan Contino has been named the 2024 Realtor of the Year by the Eastern Connecticut Association of Realtors.

    Contino, broker associate of EXP Realty, has been a full-time agent for over 36 years. Licensed in Connecticut and Rhode Island, Contino is dedicated to customer support, marketing, and integrity, and he is considered a neighborhood expert of shoreline communities. He currently volunteers as first vice president of ECAR and chairs the Legislative Committee.

    ECAR held its annual Awards Banquet on June 12 at The Spa at Norwich Inn in Norwich, with Kyle Clark of National Property Inspections New London County winning Affiliate of the Year and Sean Seigel of RE/MAX Town and Country in Mystic taking home the 2024 Young Professional of the Year.

    The winner of the Rising Star of the Year was Amber Heenan of William Raveis Real Estate in East Lyme, and Tim Bray of Seaport Real Estate Services in Stonington was named Commercial Realtor of the Year. Carol Christiansen of RE/MAX Realty Group in Ledyard is the Broker of the Year.

    Tyler Bannon has been named the 2024 winner of the North Stonington Garden Club’s $2,000 Anna Coit Memorial Scholarship. Formal presentation of the award will take place at the club’s 5:30 p.m. meeting July 16 at Hewitt Hall, North Stonington Congregational Church.

    Tyler is a graduate of Westerly High School where he has been on its honor roll and is a member of the National Honor Society. He has volunteered at Ocean Recovery Community Alliance and has worked at a local organic farm where he has learned composting, planting and transplanting plants, and caring for the crops and the animals. Tyler will be attending the Community College of Rhode Island where he will study Environmental Science. His goal is to become a Conservation Officer.

    The North Stonington Garden Club awards a Memorial Scholarship each year to a candidate pursing a higher degree in agriculture, conservation, environmental studies, horticulture, landscape design/architecture plant science or a related field.

    The Eugene Atwood Fund, a private non-profit foundation in Stonington, has announced 24 high school seniors from New London County were awarded a total of $34,360 and 15 students were approved interest-free loans totaling $60,000 for the upcoming 2024-25 school year.

    The Eugene Atwood Award is bestowed upon senior high school students nominated by their principals who exemplify outstanding academic achievement and the Recognition Award commends students for dedication and promise. The Board of Trustees voted to award a total of $15,00 to the following students:

    2024 Eugene Atwood Award: Recognizing Academic Excellence

    Sean Reddy Robert E. Fitch High School

    Julia Fustini Stonington High School

    Catherine Chen Waterford High School

    2024 Eugene Atwood Recognition Award: Celebrating Achievement

    Abigail Belding Bacon Academy

    Ana Bradley East Lyme High School

    Hailey Watters Griswold High School

    Alisa Starkova Ledyard High School

    Riley Morris Lyman Memorial High School

    Fenlei Chen Montville High School

    Jacob Liu Norwich Free Academy

    Morgan Cook Norwich Technical High School

    Olivia Mayorga Saint Bernard School

    Katelyn Pierce Wheeler High School

    Skye Nugent The Williams School

    The Eugene Atwood Innovation Award provides funding for the purchase of tools/equipment for senior high school students pursuing a career in a trade related profession. The Eugene Atwood Fund’s Trade and Technology Committee awarded a total of $19,360 to the following students:

    2024 Eugene Atwood Innovation Award: Empowering Trade Related Careers

    Lotus Schwartz East Lyme High School

    Seth Deming Grasso Technical High School

    A festival celebrating Wequetequock Cove, and its natural resources will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, July 14, at The Hounds, 769 Stonington Road, Stonington.

    The Wequetequock Clean Water Coalition Festival, including musical performances and a food truck, will highlight the progress that WCWC has made to form a sustainable coalition to implement the Anguilla Brook/Inner Wequetequock Cove watershed management plan.

    There will be educational tables hosted by various environmental groups from 10 to 2, a roundtable panel from 1 to 2, and optional tour of the Wequetequock Cove habitat from 3 to 5.

    The Thames Valley Council for Community Action was awarded $1,000 from the Norwich Rotary Foundation to help support its Meals on Wheels program.

    “The Rotary Foundation has been a longtime friend and supporter of TVCCA,” noted Director of Senior Nutrition Eugene Theroux. “With their help we’re able to close the funding gap for our daily deliveries to over 175 homebound Norwich seniors.”

    The Meals on Wheels program is designed to meet the needs of vulnerable elders; it combines nutrition, companionship and daily wellness checks to help people remain connected and independent in their own homes.

    For more information about TVCCA’s Senior Nutrition program, call (860) 934-1006 or visit tvcca.org.

    Comcast has announced expansion of its fiber-based Xfinity network to thousands of additional homes and businesses in New London and Windham counties. This includes bringing its advanced products and services to nearly 2,200 additional homes and businesses in Griswold.

    Also, for the first time, the Xfinity network will be brought to 500 homes and businesses in Sterling. Residents can visit Xfinity.com and businesses can visit Business.Comcast.com to see if their address is eligible for service. Construction is currently underway, with projects expected to be completed by the end of 2024.

    In addition, Comcast announced the Xfinity network expansion project in Jewett City is now complete.

    CorePlus Credit Union in Norwich has started collecting backpacks and school supplies at its branch locations, partnering again with UCFS Healthcare on this effort. Supplies will be collected throughout the summer and distributed from 1-3 p.m. on Aug. 7 at UCFS’s Edward & Mary Lord Family Health Center, 47 Town St. in Norwich.

    In addition to public donations, the credit union and CorePlus employees plan to match the first 50 donations of new backpacks, ensuring that at least 100 children will receive assistance. School-related items such as pens, pencils, highlighters, markers, crayons, colored pencils, large pink erasers, eraser caps, loose leaf paper, glue sticks, liquid glue, blunt tip scissors, pencil sharpeners, rulers, three-ring binders, pencil boxes, zippered pouches, and two-pocket folders are also sought.

    Drop boxes for donations, decorated by CorePlus employees, are set up at each CorePlus branch location and at UCFS locations. CorePlus will accept monetary donations toward the bulk purchase of backpacks and school supplies through Aug. 5. Checks can be dropped off at any CorePlus branch location or mailed to CorePlus’s main office at 202 Salem Turnpike, Norwich, CT, 06360.


    Chelsea Groton Bank is hosting a career fair for candidates interested in pursuing a career in banking from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 1, at the Niantic branch, 21 Pennsylvania Ave.

    Candidates are encouraged to bring a resume and to dress professionally. Bank team members will meet with candidates and hold interviews on the spot. Full-time, part-time and parent hours are available.

    Visit www.chelseagroton.com/Careers to view open positions. For questions, contact Renee Simao at rsimao@chelseagroton.com.

    American history enthusiasts can take advantage of the 2024 Tricorne Ticket to visit the Stanley-Whitman House in Farmington, the Historical Society of Glastonbury and the Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society at a reduced price.

    The program offers 50% off admission at two of the sites with the purchase of a regular admission ticket at full price at either location. It is good through Labor Day 2024.

    Stanley-Whitman House is a living history center and museum centered on the history and culture of Farmington (https://www.swh.org/); the Historical Society of Glastonbury preserves, interprets and records the history of Glastonbury (https://hsgct.org), and the Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society preserves the famed dictionary creator’s boyhood home, a National Historic Landmark (www.noahwebsterhouse.org).

    For more information on this ticket partnership, contact the Noah Webster House at 860-502-3247.

    Chamber News

    The Greater Mystic Chamber of Commerce will hold two networking events this month, a Business Before Hours at Mix Restaurant & Rooftop above Sift in Mystic from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. July 18 and a Business After Hours from 5:30 to 7 p.m. July 9 at Tree Trails Adventure.

    The Sift event will feature a menu curated by Executive Chef Olivia Morey. Guests will have the opportunity to take in the panoramic views of the Mystic River while sipping drinks provided by the team at A.T.Y Hospitality.

    At Tree Adventures, axe throwing, rope climbing and ziplining are on the agenda. The events ares $10 for members and $25 for non-members. Tickets can be purchased on the Mystic Chamber website at www.mysticchamber.org or at the door but pre-registration is encouraged.

    The Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut has opened applications for its prestigious Leadership Eastern Connecticut program. In operation since 1987, this two-year program is designed to cultivate the next generation of community leaders and changemakers by offering in-depth insights into local processes, fostering essential leadership skills, and building a robust, lasting network of contacts.

    Participants will engage in monthly sessions covering key topics such as economic development, government, military operations, and tourism, as well as facilitated training for leadership development and diversity, equity, and inclusion, culminating in a meaningful community service project.

    Applications are open to regional professionals who have a demonstrated capacity for leadership and a commitment to the community. Tuition is $1,125, with scholarships available for eligible candidates.

    A committee conducts all application screenings, and the class is capped at 30 participants. Applications must be submitted no later than Aug. 18 at 11:30 p.m. For information and to apply, visit ChamberECT.com/leadership-program.


    The Women’s Business Development Council has now distributed more than $10 million in grant funding to Connecticut small businesses in the past four years. The announcement was made at the conclusion of a three-day statewide road show during which representatives from WBDC visited nine recent recipients of the Ignite Grant Program.

    Ignite offers grants of $2,500 to $10,000 to qualified women-owned businesses that have been operating for at least two years. Other WBDC grant programs include Launch Pad, $2,500 awards to qualified start-up businesses, and Child Care Business Opportunity Fund, grants of up to $25,000 for qualified licensed and aspiring child care businesses.

    WBDC also partners with some municipalities to offer grant programs in New London, Waterbury, and Torrington that are specific to businesses operating in those cities.

    Representatives from JPMorgan Chase joined WBDC at last month’s event. JPMorgan Chase was one of the earliest supporters of Ignite, previously known as the Equity Match Grant program.

    The three-day Ignite road show visited nine grant recipients in seven towns throughout Connecticut. In this round alone, 52 Ignite grants were awarded, totaling $486,603.

    Eversource has announced that Enfield Solar One will be its first community solar project in its service territory to come online through the Connecticut Statewide Shared Clean Energy Facility Program. The project is also the state’s largest community solar project completed to date, bringing 5.96 megawatts of solar power onto the grid.

    In collaboration with the state, the solar industry and low-income advocates, Eversource worked to develop SCEF which is designed to prioritize consumer protection and ensure that energy customers who will benefit most from community solar are the first registered to participate. The program also allows residents and businesses who may not be able to invest in clean energy projects due to unsuitable property conditions or rental status to benefit from renewable energy.

    Designed and built by West Hartford based solar developer Verogy, Enfield Solar One is the only shared solar project in Eversource’s Connecticut service territory. The project will provide guaranteed savings to Enfield High School, 655 low- and moderate-income customers, 38 affordable housing facilities and 24 Connecticut small businesses. To learn more, visit Eversource.com.

    State News

    The Connecticut Education Association’s Communications Department was honored at a national awards ceremony held at the State Education Association Communicators’ annual conference in Philadelphia on June 23.

    CEA, the state’s largest teachers’ union, took home seven awards, including special events, podcasts, publications, opinion/editorial writing, and social media campaigns. In addition, CEA Communications Director Nancy Andrews was recognized as PR practitioner of the year, earning the Bill Guy Award for Excellence in Public Relations. She is the first Connecticut recipient of the national title in 35 years.

    As extreme weather events grow more frequent, UConn and its partners are working to make the Northeast power grid more resilient by collaborating with the University at Albany and several other partners in outage prediction and meteorology. The federal Department of Energy is funding the effort through two significant grants totaling $2.63 million.

    Early this year, the DOE called for submissions for Grid Resilience Analysis and Climate Change Impacts funding. Public, private, and nonprofit institutions and companies were asked to accelerate analysis of regional climate change threats and resulting challenges to grid resiliency. The grants, announced June 27, total $4.6 million nationwide.

    “These projects aim to reduce electricity costs and enhance grid reliability, demonstrating UConn's leading role in advancing electric grid resilience,” says Pamir Alpay, UConn’s Vice President for Research, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship, in a release.

    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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