Middlesex County Substance Abuse Council to target opioid epidemic, legalizing pot

February 6, 2017

By: Larry McHugh

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

A number of important chamber committee and division meetings will take place this week throughout Middlesex County. The chamber’s Executive Committee will meet on Monday at the chamber office from 11:30 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. Our Executive Committee, led by Chairman Greg Shook and comprised of business leaders from key industry sectors throughout Middlesex County, is the chamber’s top governing body. I continue to appreciate the dedication of all its members to our chamber and to our region. We look forward to another productive meeting.

Our Women’s Business Alliance and Real Estate Council will co-host a joint networking event called Create with Clay on Wednesday evening, Feb. 8 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Creative Girl Studios in Middletown. Members will have the opportunity to create clay pins or pendants as Laurie-Lynn Zlotowski of Creative Girls Studio helps every step of the way. All materials will be included. Refreshments and snacks will be provided and members can bring their own beer or wine if they wish. Register online at www.middlesexchamber.com. The cost to attend is $30.

Chamber divisions continue to be critical pieces of the overall chamber infrastructure and I thank all of our chairs and co-chairs for their leadership and support. Durham and Middlefield Divisions meet on Wednesday morning at A Second Chance CPR and First Aid Training in Durham, and our Cromwell Division meets on Thursday morning at Courtyard by Marriott in Cromwell. Both of these meetings will feature a number of reports from key local officials along with an update on the legislative session that is underway in Hartford.

Middlesex County Substance Abuse Action Council’s Executive Committee meets at the chamber office on Friday morning, Feb. 10. MCSAAC, a council of the Business Industry Foundation of Middlesex County, works to reduce the incidence of alcohol and other drug abuse in our region. This meeting will focus on the recent movement in our state to legalize recreational marijuana, and the massive and continuing threat posed by opioids in our community. MCSAAC, under the leadership of President Tony Salvatore and Director Betsey Chadwick, will continue to focus on these critical issues and many other substance abuse related issues affecting our region.

KeyBank’s Workshop Series continues next Tuesday, Feb. 14, with a session on Social Media Marketing presented by Patrick Ganino. This seminar will focus on making social media work for your business, and will include information on best practices for a posting schedule, proper posting techniques, effective e-blasts and effective Facebook ads. Please contact the chamber for registration information and keep an eye out for future sessions of the KeyBank Seminar Series. I want to again thank KeyBank Market President Jeff Hubbard and his entire team for their continued support of this important initiative.

February’s Member Breakfast Meeting, featuring United States Senator Richard Blumenthal will be held on Friday, February 24, at the Radisson Hotel Cromwell. Networking begins at 7 a.m., Breakfast Buffet opens at 7:45 a.m., and the Meeting Program runs from 8 to 9 a.m. Sen. Blumenthal has some important committee assignments down in Washington D.C., including Veterans Affairs, Judiciary, Commerce, Science, and Transportation and Armed Services. We look forward to welcoming him back to Middlesex County for this important event. I would like to thank Hospital for Special Care for sponsoring the event and for their continuing support of the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce. Hospital for Special Care is a fantastic hospital, and their team continues to do terrific work addressing the special health needs of the many communities they serve. We look forward to another successful chamber Member Breakfast Meeting on Feb. 24.

Immediately following the breakfast meeting, the chamber will host an economic development session in partnership with the Connecticut Small Business Development Center. The CTSBDC provides no-cost advising services to both prospective and existing business owners to help them start or expand their business. This session will feature a presentation from James Jackson, Business Advisor for Middlesex County, on CTSBDC’s services that are available in our region, and from Joe Ercolano, statewide Associate Director, on business resilience and disruption planning. We value our strong partnership with CTSBDC, and look forward to a productive session on Feb. 24.

2017’s Legislative Event Series continues on Monday, February 27, 2017 at the Inn at Middletown. The meeting begins at 8 a.m., and will end at 9:30 a.m. Speaker of the House Joe Aresimowicz will serve as keynote speaker and will participate in a question and answer session. At this special meeting, Speaker Aresimowicz will visit with chamber members to discuss the 2017 Regular Session of the Connecticut General Assembly. The chamber’s Board of Directors and Legislative Committee will have the opportunity to ask questions about the session, and discuss some important issues on our 2017 Public Policy Agenda. This event is sponsored by our friends at Updike, Kelly & Spellacy, P.C. We thank UKS, especially chamber Executive Committee member and Legislative Committee Co-Chair Rich Carella, for its strong and continued support of this event.

The next Business After Work networking reception will be held Monday, Feb. 27 at the Sheraton Hartford South in Rocky Hill. In addition to a great spread of food and drink for our members and their guests, this event will feature outstanding networking and will provide our friends at the Sheraton Hartford South with the opportunity to showcase their terrific facility. I want to thank General Manager Lori Brooks, Director of Group Sales and Business Travel Gina Molde, Director of Sales Jamie O’Connor, Director of Catering Jen Gokey, and the entire team for hosting our group. We look forward to this great networking event on Feb. 27.

Mark your calendars for a few key dates in March which is shaping up to be another busy month. Members should save the dates of March 13, for our Member Breakfast Meeting with UConn Head Women’s Basketball Coach Geno Auriemma which will be a sold out event. This breakfast event will be followed by a Small Business Lending Forum and Mini Expo featuring representatives of bank, non-bank and community lenders. Members should also save the date for March 28 which is the Annual Business After Work Auction and Taste of Downtown Event at the Italian Society Hall. Both of these events are extremely popular, so please stay tuned for additional details and be sure to save the dates.

I want to close this week’s column by noting that the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce is still accepting nominations for the 2017 Distinguished Citizen Awards. Each year at the chamber’s Annual Dinner, a special award is presented to one or more members of the business community who have demonstrated outstanding and unselfish service to the community. Candidates must live or work in Middlesex County, must be at least 21 years old, must be recognized as having been an inspiration to others,  and must be generally recognized as having unselfishly given his or her time and talent to produce a lasting benefit to the area. Nominations must be received by the Chamber of Commerce at 393 Main St, Middletown on or before this Friday, February 10, 2017.

It may be cold outside, but the sun continues to shine in Middlesex County.

Comments