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The latest at The Day: Restaurant reviews are back and some staff announcements

Breaking news: We have some developments to report from The Day newsroom, and they're all good.

Restaurant reviews have resumed now that vaccines are widely available and COVID-19 restrictions are relaxing. We're publishing them in our Daybreak section on Wednesdays for now. Beginning Thursday, May 27, you'll find them in our weekly Night & Day arts and entertainment section, which is returning as events and outdoor activities ramp back up in time for summer.  

Have you ever wondered how The Day chooses which restaurants to review, and what happens when restaurant staff members recognize the reviewer?

Arts writer Rick Koster reviews restaurants for us along with Ann Baldelli, a Day retiree whose warmth and love of delicious chow emanates from her reviews, and former features editor Marisa Nadolny, who has a great appetite and a way with words. The three food reviewers are a great mix, since they all have distinctive tastes and writing styles.

Koster, a southern gentleman with a wicked sense of humor who relishes fast-food chicken sandwiches and fancy chateaubriand equally, joined me in the studio to take us behind the scenes of a restaurant review for "The Storyline" podcast, which you can listen to on theday.com or subscribe to wherever you get your podcasts.

Koster's readers know his wife, Eileen, accompanies him often on restaurant reviews. In the podcast, he tells us why he refers to her as TVWWAU (The Vegetarian Who Walks Among Us). He explains how he often focuses on new restaurants for reviews and always samples them more than once before going to print. Koster also told us how he handles a review when he's disappointed by the food or service, and as always, sprinkled in some funny stories.

You can email him comments and restaurant review ideas at r.koster@theday.com.

Staffing news

If you see Elizabeth Regan out and about in the Lymes, say hello. Regan joined The Day on April 12 to cover East Lyme, Old Lyme and Lyme. She lives in Salem, has two kids in the Salem/East Lyme school system and says she gravitates toward covering small towns, where she can get involved in all aspects of community life. She has worked for The Bulletin, CTNewsJunkie, and a weekly newspaper covering East Hampton and Portland. She also ran her own news website focusing on Salem.

Send tips and ideas about coverage of the Lymes to Regan at e.regan@theday.com.

Spinella goes to Hartford

Reporter Sten Spinella, who has been covering Waterford and Montville and serving as co-host of the "Looking for the Todt Family" podcast, has been promoted to serve as The Day's government and politics reporter. He says he's looking forward to writing about state and national issues with a focus on southeastern Connecticut and particularly enjoys reporting on voting rights and how political trends play out at the local level.

Email him at s.spinella@theday.com and follow him on Twitter @stenspin.

We will be hiring a reporter to replace Spinella in Waterford and Montville.

Poole to the weeklies

Owen Poole has been named assistant editor of our Times weekly newspapers. A former sports writer for The Day, the Uncasville resident has most recently worked as a copy editor. Fun fact: He grew up in Waterford and once had a Day paper route. Poole also has worked as a sports writer for The Westerly Sun and The Bulletin in Norwich and as a copy editor for The Manchester Journal-Inquirer. Email him at o.poole@theday.com.

Karen Florin is the engagement editor for The Day. You can reach her at k.florin@theday.com.

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