Mobile food

As we talk about budgets, funding, taxes and etc, a vivid illustration of the continuing difficult economy takes place each month now in Stonington. Yesterday was the second time our new Mobile Food Pantry was utilized.

As we have been discussing for several months publically, United Way has collaborated with the Town of Stonington & Stonington Schools to provide the Mobile Food Pantry location behind Human Services in Pawcatuck the first Monday of each month from 5-6pm. The Mobile Pantry is a critical extension of the work of the Gemma E. Moran United Way/Labor Food Center. The pantry is set up similar to a farmers’ market and has a “no questions asked” policy. Thanks to the partnership with Connecticut Food Bank and a generous gift from CL&P, United Way has been the recipients of a custom refrigerated truck to serve as a mobile food pantry and because the truck is refrigerated, it can keep healthy and perishable items safe and fresh until distribution.

Yesterday, (second Monday served at our location) there were a line throughout the parking lot as it began and 104 households were served during that hour with a household averaging 3-4 persons in it. That’s almost 416 individuals provided healthy food to assist in alleviating hunger. Over 90% of those individuals were from Stonington also. The appreciation was amazing and the stories of struggle are heartbreaking.

I want to also thank the volunteers who have joined in serving at the site including employees of Town Hall, Stonington Public Schools, and Human Services. In addition, the great work of United Way employees Jennifer Blanco and Alice Sochia for including our town in this needed service.

“Poverty is a veil that obscures the face of greatness. An appeal is a mask covering the face of tribulation”- Kahlil Gilbran

 

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Re-Dedication of All Weather Field & Renovations

Ribbon cutting

Margaret Mean said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

That statement illustrates the implementation of the all-weather field at Stonington High School and the new natural grass fields being done. Friday night, October 11, 2013 at 6pm at the SHS Field, we will conduct a re-dedication before the first home varsity football game. 

Several residents approached me in 2011 regarding concerns of our athletic fields. After meeting with previous school officials and coaches, we convened a task force at the January 10, 2012 Board of Selectmen public meeting to develop recommendations on how to renovate the fields for safety, and sustainability. This task force included a group of individuals that supplied a range of expertise and knowledge to study this situation. In viewing their work and being summarized of their meetings, I have to say it was a terrific example of how a group of individuals come together as a team on a problem.

I want to personally thank Athletic Field Task Force for your dedicated work, I was proud to participate and I want to recognize: Paul Sartor (Chair), Andy Rimes & Sandy Grimes (BOF), Alisa Morrison (BOE), George Crouse (BOS) & Joe Ciriello, Mike Pacheco (Pee Wee Football), Bill Sternberg (Resident),George Wingblade (Resident), Mike Crowley (Chair; Recreation Commission), Joe Bragaw, Bill King, Van Riley,Joe Mendonca, Bryan Morrone & the coaches, Lou DeCesare, Milone & MacBroom.  Consultant and R.A.D. Sports (R.A.D.). Contruction  Co 

Also, many other staff members were critical to this project. Maryanna Stevens, Larry Sullivan, Kris Bell, Gail Hantman, Ken Donavan, Steve Murphy & School Maintenance Staff (Did a great job for years with the resources they were provided), Stonington Highway Dept, All the schools we visited and their staffs, The Board of Selectmen, Board of Education and Board of Finance for their support, and the residents, for their advisement, confidence and support of the monies for this project.

 Personally I want to thank everyone for their dedicated and timeless work of this project. Please join us for this exciting event.

 

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senior-happy

As I have written several times, our country, state and locality are facing what has been called “A Quiet Crisis”. This “Quiet Crisis” is the amount of senior population that is having difficulty paying for housing and/or living in physically substandard dwellings. More than 35 million Americans are age 65 and over and younger people have parents, grandparents or other relatives who are senior citizens (www.seniorscommission.gov). It is critical as elected leaders that we look to the future, address the needs of our residents and work to solutions.  We should not allow our fellow senior residents to suffer with unacceptable shelter and/or unmet housing considerations, if solutions are available.

Since taking office, I have worked diligently on senior issues during my administrations. In 2007
& 2010, Steven Protulis, President of EHDOC (parent company of Stonington Arms) and I worked together to research several potential affordable senior housing sites. Several parcels were examined for suitability but the projects didn’t come to fruition for various reasons. Now, we have two more opportunities present and we are looking forward to continuing to introduce them to various commissions and publically to residents for their thoughts, ideas, and concerns. I look forward to continuing the public discussion and informational opportunities regarding these potential projects and conceptual layouts.

In Stonington, our needs are clearly identified by the wait list we have at our local senior housing locations. Currently, approximately 65 seniors are “identified” on a wait list and as our economy continues to struggle for elderly, I am sure that number will grow. I look forward to continuing to work with our Board, Commissions and Residents to work to provide quality affordable senior housing for our senior residents. Thank you very much.

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Ice Cream & Issues Downtown meeting at Mel’s Downtown Creamery

Mels
ed-sheeran-mel_s-downtown-creamery-gallery-1
On September 30th at 6:30pm, I am hosting a Ice Cream & Issues Downtown meeting at Mel’s Downtown Creamery in Pawcatuck. This meeting will be a opportunity for residents and business owners to discuss their concerns, ideas and feedback regarding Downtown Pawcatuck and some of the strategies that have been implemented. Several members of the Stonington Police Commission, Economic Development Commission and Planning & Zoning Commission will be in attendance to hear information. I also have invited, Stonington Police Administration, Town Planner, & Human Services Manager to also attend. In addition that night, Mel’s Downtown Creamery is donating a portion of the proceeds of ice cream purchased to a local downtown charity and we are collecting non-perishable food items to help the Pawcatuck Neighborhood Center Food Party. I urge residents, building owners, and business owners to join us to help shape the future of Downtown Pawcatuck.
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Rescheduled 2013 Donahue Park Concert

 

Bad Medicine Pic-page-001

 

The extremely popular Donahue Park Summer Concert has been rescheduled. This downtown concert series will take place on September 20, 2013 starting at 6:30pm at Donahue Park (behind Citizen’s Bank). Concert is free and open to the public!

The headliner for this concert is Bad Medicine, a tribute to Bon Jovi,. Hailing from Long Island, NY, Bad Medicine has spent the last seven years establishing themselves as one of the most sought after tribute shows in the nation. The band boasts five top tier musicians whose shared musical histories include Thin Lizzy, Dio, Great White and Brett Michaels. Incredible musicianship and vocal talents blended together with Steve Sage’s uncanny resemblance to Bon Jovi allow Bad Medicine to be hailed as the number one “Bon Jovi Tribute Band in the USA”.
Further securing their elite status, Bad Medicine is billed as the only tribute band hired by Jon Bon Jovi’s Philly Soul Organization, and has been hired for Bon Jovi fan club events (run by Jon’s family). Performing around the country in some of the nation’s most revered venues (House of Blues, BB Kings, Harrah’s, Westbury Music fair) and events, Bad Medicine continues to hold audiences captive. There is only one band who truly captures Bon Jovi’s distinctive look and sound..Bad Medicine.
Kicking off the evening, Sugar will return to Donahue Park Summer Concert Series. A local party band favorite who disco, funk, hip-hop, and R&B had the huge crowd dancing in Downtown Pawcatuck last year. We are proud to have them play again at the Donahue Park Summer Concert Series

I want to thank our sponsors very much for their support of this initiative and town staff for their assistance. This event gives the community & families a chance to get together, patronize the downtown local merchants and enjoy the sights and sounds of a variety of music in the park. The concerts this year will also include several vendors on site. This event continues the work of the “Downtown Pawcatuck Revitalization Initiative”. Please join us for this great downtown event.

 

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2013 Donahue Park Summer Concert

Hugo from VoyageSummer is here and the extremely popular Donahue Park Summer Concert will again take place this year. Last two years it has been a huge hit in Downtown Pawcatuck. Due to the difficult budget year we have scheduled one concert. This concert will take place Friday, August 9th starting at 6:30pm at Donahue Park (behind Citizen’s Bank). Concerts are free and open to the public!

The concert will open as Sugar will return to Donahue Park Summer Concert and open the show. A local party band favorite who disco, funk, hip-hop, and R&B had the huge crowd dancing in Downtown Pawcatuck last year. We are proud to have them play again at the Donahue Park Summer Concert

This year to headline our evening is the Journey Tribute Band, Voyage http://www.voyageband.com. Hailed by fans and critics alike as the world’s best Journey Tribute Band, Voyage’s singer Hugo is an absolute dead ringer for Steve Perry both visually and vocally and the band features top class NY musicians. Voyage takes you back to the late 1970s to mid 1980s when the timeless music of Journey ruled the airwaves with the classics “Open Arms,” “Who’s Crying Now,” “Separate Ways” and of course “Don’t Stop Believin’.” Voyage will be faithfully paying tribute to Steve Perry and his era in Journey. As you can always expect from Hugo, this show will deliver nothing less than an incredible mind-blowing musical experience!

This year more vendors will be on site, there will be more specials with local establishments and more activities. This event gives the community & families a chance to get together, patronize the downtown local merchants and enjoy the sights and sounds of a variety of music in the park. This event continues the “Downtown Pawcatuck Revitalization Initiative”

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Budget Deliberations begins

We started budget deliberations Wed. night. I have to say that this has been one of the most difficult years to construct such a budget. With revaluation, potential significant state cuts, and decreased revenue due to the economy, it gets difficult to connect funding for everything. To provide similar funding as last year after this year’s adjusted mill rate, there is the potential to have 2.5 million cut from this budget. $260,000 was cut last night in only capital expenditures and discussion of using some fund reserve.

Having the last five years average only a 1.75% increase, we have already done much efficiency building into the budgets. Last year the increase was only 2.22%. But this year coupled with revaluation, potential significant state cuts, and decreased revenue due to economy it get more difficult. In addition, I want to express my admiration for Dr. Riley in his efficient construction of the Board of Education budget with only a 2.97% increase this year. With this said, I am strongly encouraging stakeholders in the town to attend the next budget deliberation meetings on Wednesday nights starting at 7pm at the Stonington Police Community Room to observe, learn about, and support your interest in the upcoming budget.

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Edward Haberek Jr.”
Edward Haberek Jr. was elected First Selectman of the Town of Stonington on November 6th, 2007. He was re-elected in 2009 and 2011 and is in his third term as First Selectman. Ed previously served on the Board of Education and was a member of the Economic Development Commission and the Retirement Board. He has over 20 years of experience as a corporate and academic leader. Prior to be elected First Selectman, Ed was the Academic Director/Professor of the Marketing Department in the School of Business Administration and Legal Studies at Briarwood College in Southington, CT. Ed has also served as an Adjunct Business Faculty Instructor at several Connecticut State Universities, Private Colleges, and Online Institutions. Ed’s business experience includes working for several Fortune 500 companies including Becton Dickinson and DuPont. His experience encompasses the fields of executive management, sales, marketing, and training. His business experience also included work as Director of Sales and Marketing for the U.S. and Canada for one of the top 200 ranking European corporations. A continuous learner, Ed holds a B.S. from Southern Vermont College, a M.B.A. from Johnson & Wales University, an Advanced Certificate in Graduate Studies in Business Administration from TUI University and a Ph.D. in Management/Political Economics from International Academy of Management and Economics in Makati City, PH. Ed lives in the village of Pawcatuck with his wife Maureen and two daughters Nicole & Olivia
Pawcatuck, CT

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