Governor’s Tavern in East Hampton reopens as WAVES

October 24, 2016

By: Larry McHugh

The autumn season is moving right along in Middlesex County, and the chamber team continues to be on the move.

I was honored to attend a terrific event held last Tuesday at the Mark Twain House which celebrated the record $2.82 million that was donated to over 160 charities from net proceeds from the Travelers Championship. Travelers Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer Andy Bessette offered moving remarks about not only the tournament and its immense impact, but that remembered Jay Fishman, the longtime CEO of Travelers who passed away 12 days following the conclusion of the tournament. Since Travelers took over as tournament title sponsor in 2007, more than $13 million has been distributed to charities in our state. Jay was a wonderful man and corporate leader, and Andy continues to do a great job in his leadership role at the company and in a number of community support initiatives. As I have noted countless times, we are so fortunate to have the Travelers Championship in Middlesex County.

The Middlesex County NAACP’s Freedom Fund Dinner was held last Tuesday evening at Cross Street A.M.E. Zion Church in Middletown. It was another great event for the local NAACP branch and I want to commend Lorenzo Marshall from the chamber team who did a terrific job as Master of Ceremonies. The event featured welcoming remarks from Mayor Dan Drew, branch President Rosa Browne, President of the State Conference of NAACP Branches Scot Esdaile and others. Community Health Center Founder Mark Masselli was on hand to help present the Community Foundation of Middlesex County/Ida M. Masselli NAACP Scholar Award to Danny Skinner, and Rosa Browne presented Catherine Rees of Middlesex Hospital with the Community Partnership Award. Catherine then represented the hospital to present a scholarship to Jazmyn Freeman. Finally, DATTCO President Don DeVivo was honored with the NAACP Business Award. Don did a fine job with his remarks and we congratulate him on this well-deserved honor. I congratulate all of the honorees, and once again thank the Middlesex County NAACP for their continued good work in our community.

I look forward to traveling to East Hampton today at 3 p.m. for the grand opening of WAVES, formerly the Governor’s Tavern. Angelico’s Lake House owner Paul Angelico recently took over the lease for the former Governor’s Tavern on Route 66 and today’s event will celebrate its restoration and reopening. Renamed WAVES, the restaurant offers a nautical-theme while still paying respect to former Gov. William A. O’Neill and the history of the town. I look forward to celebrating this exciting development with Paul and his team.

Election Day is now just over two weeks away and the chamber divisions continue to host productive forums with our legislative candidates throughout the county. As I noted last week, every year in the month of October our members have the opportunity to meet and greet and ask questions of the candidates for public office in our region. The forums wrap up this week with meetings on Tuesday at Vista Life Innovations in Westbrook, and on Thursday at the Saybrook at Haddam in Haddam. Both meetings will take place from 8 to 9:00 a.m. We look forward to fostering more productive dialogue between our candidates and our members and look forward to working with all victorious candidates in the next legislative session which begins in January of 2017.

The Rotary Club of Middletown Oktoberfest event is scheduled for this Thursday evening at the Elks Club Crystal Ballroom in Middletown. The guest of honor for this event is our friend Phil Cacciola. Phil is a well-respected citizen in our community and is a longtime and strong supporter of our chamber. He is Chairman of our Support the Troops Committee and is a member of our Board of Directors. I look forward to attending the event that will honor Phil and continue to appreciate the many community service initiatives undertaken by the Rotary Club of Middletown.

The Middlesex County Substance Abuse Action Council (MCSAAC) will hold its 26th Annual Meeting this Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. at the Inn at Middletown. Robert F. Lawlor, Drug Intelligence Officer, will lead a presentation titled, “Copycat Prescriptions & Chinese Fentanyl: How the Internet is Bringing Everything to Our Door.” Mr. Lawlor will be introduced by Commissioner Miriam Delphin-Rittmon of the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. The following MCSAAC 2016 Annual Awards will also be presented at the event: The Prevention Program Award to OSPD Healthy Youth Initiatives, The Terry Concannon Award to Old Saybrook First Selectman Carl Fortuna, The Father Michael O’Hara Volunteer Award to Kirsten Deitz, The Harry E. Burr Business Awards to Connecticut Water Company and Two Wrasslin’ Cats Coffee House & Café, and the Youth Leadership Award to Aamira Trimble. Congratulations to all of the 2016 awardees. MCSAAC Director Betsey Chadwick and her team continue to do a great job on these important substance abuse prevention issues in Middlesex County. We look forward to another successful annual meeting on Friday morning.

The chamber’s 15th Annual Support the Troops & Honor the Veterans Member Breakfast meeting is coming up on Monday, Nov. 7 at the Radisson in Cromwell. This major chamber event, sponsored by Middlesex Hospital, will feature Capt. Paul Whitescarver, Commanding Officer of The Naval Submarine Base New London, as keynote speaker. We are very proud that this event has become such a key part of Veterans Week in Middlesex County. In addition to keynote remarks from Capt. Whitescarver and other important updates, the chamber will present the 2016 William J. Pomfret Veteran Community Service Award to Larry Riley of Middletown. The William J. Pomfret Veteran Community Service Award is presented annually to a Veteran of the United States Armed Forces in recognition of his or her distinguished service to the citizens of Connecticut and selfless commitment to public service. This award is chosen by a committee of its past recipients. I am very proud that Larry Riley is this year’s recipient. Larry is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and a combat veteran of the Vietnam War. He went on to have a distinguished career in the U.S. Secret Service where among many other things, he worked for four Presidents of the United States including Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Larry also has a long record of supporting a number of veteran and other community service initiatives. Chamber members recognize Larry as the leader of the Pledge of Allegiance at each of our monthly Member Breakfast Meetings. We very much look forward to honoring our friend Larry and look forward to another great Support the Troops and Honor the Veterans event. For more information, please visit www.middlesexchamber.com. I urge those who are interested in attending to sign up right away as we expect this event to sell out.

The chamber’s KeyBank Workshop Series continues on Tuesday Nov. 8 with a session titled “Building Your Team- Recruiting U.S. and Non-U.S. Talent.” The seminar will be held at the chamber office from 8-10 a.m. Important topics that will be discussed include: legal issues involved in employing and retaining talent for startup companies, confidentiality, non-competition, and non-solicitation agreements, proprietary information and invention agreements, employees vs. independent contractors, incentives and compensation alternatives, immigration issues, hiring foreign nationals and much more. The seminar will be led by Gregg Lallier and Dana Bucin from Updike Kelly & Spellacy, P.C. Attorneys Lallier and Bucin are well versed in legal issues surrounding the employment and retention of talent, and also have an extensive experience in immigration related issues. For registration information, please visit www.middlesexchamber.com.

Our November Business After Work Networking Reception for members and their guests will be held at the Riverhouse at Goodspeed Station in Haddam on Wednesday, Nov. 9. The Riverhouse team always puts out a delicious spread of food and drink, and this event always features outstanding networking and a huge crowd. The Business After Work event will once again feature The Festival of Wreaths Silent Auction. Beautifully decorated wreaths will be displayed for viewing and bidding until the auction closes at 6:45 p.m. The funds that are raised will benefit the Hal Kaplan Middletown Mentor Program, and the Annual Holiday on Main Street, presented by Pratt & Whitney. Liberty Bank is donating the 30 artificial wreaths for chamber member businesses to decorate and we certainly appreciate Liberty’s continued support. We look forward to a fun evening in Haddam on Nov. 9.

The foliage continues to amaze in Middlesex County and the sun of course, continues to shine, but we could also use a little rain for our beautiful but parched landscape.

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