Business community loses generous man in Joe Talevi, 88

July 31, 2017

By: Larry McHugh

July gives way to August this week as a busy summer continues in Middlesex County.

Before previewing some of the exciting events and activities coming up, I want to note that I enjoyed my visit to SEIU Local 511 Connecticut Employees Union Independent in Middletown last Thursday for its 50th Anniversary Celebration. As I noted last week, I appreciate the union’s longtime membership in our chamber, and I congratulate its President, Ron McLellan, Vice President Carl Chisem, and their entire team. We look forward to maintaining a strong working relationship in the future.

This week, in addition to being week four of the six week Middletown Summer Youth Employment Program, features an important meeting of the Central Business Bureau (CBB) on Thursday morning at the chamber office. The CBB meeting will once again feature reports from Mayor Dan Drew, a number of important city directors, the DBD, the chamber, and other local entities. This key chamber committee continues to bring together all downtown stakeholders on a monthly basis for these important discussions. We look forward to another productive meeting on Thursday morning.

I want to make a quick mention that the official unveiling of the new 365 Synthetic Snow Park at Powder Ridge Mountain Park and Resort in Middlefield that was scheduled for this Saturday has been postponed to September 2. I will share additional details about the event as we move through August. We certainly look forward to this exciting new addition to our region.

Now that the month of August is upon us, planning for the 12th Annual Middletown Motorcycle Mania is entering its final phase. This major annual event, presented by Hunter’s Ambulance, Hunter Limousines Ltd., & the Hunter Family, and driven by Haymond Law Office, will be held next Wednesday, Aug. 9 from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. Middletown Motorcycle Mania is held in memory of Dan M. Hunter, one of the event’s founding sponsors. Over 6,000 bikes are expected to converge on Main Street for the 12th installment of this annual city event which will showcase custom and vintage motorcycles. All bikes are welcome to come out for what has become the largest one-day summer motorcycle event in New England, and this year’s version is sure to be a fantastic time for everyone involved. Motorcycle Mania benefits Middletown youth programs, and past proceeds have supported the Hal Kaplan Middletown Mentor Program, Middletown Recreation and Community Services Department Youth Programs, and the Middletown Summer Youth Employment Program. There is a $10 entry donation and $15 entry donation for award bikes.

In addition to Hunter’s Ambulance, Hunter Limousines Ltd., the Hunter Family, and Haymond Law, event sponsors include: City of Middletown, Middletown Downtown Business District, Bank of America, Brookfield Indian Motorcycle, Dunkin’ Donuts, Eli Cannon’s Tap Room, Gengras Motorcycles, Home Team Supply, Indian Motorcycle of Springfield, Liberty Bank, All American Productions, Middlesex Music Academy, Lyman Orchards Golf Club, First & Last Tavern, and WMRD/WLIS Radio.

Entertainment throughout the evening will be provided by WMRD/WLIS Radio, which will broadcast live in front of The Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce, and Radio 104.1, which will broadcast in the Gazebo on the South Green. The popular Connecticut band Diamondback, the first band to ever play Middletown’s Motorcycle Mania, will perform on the Showmobile in front of Bank of America from 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The Patrones, an energetic rock & roll cover band, will perform by Brewbakers. Finally, the All American Productions Fashion Show will take place on the Showmobile at 6 p.m.

Bike Awards at the 12th Annual Middletown Motorcycle Mania include: The Vern A. Hunter Vintage Bike Award, in Loving Memory of Vern and Barbara Hunter - presented by Hunter's Ambulance and Hunter Limousines, Favorite Vintage European Bike Award – presented by Hunter’s Ambulance & Hunter Limousines, Favorite Vintage Japanese Bike Award – presented by Hunter’s Ambulance & Hunter Limousines, Favorite Vintage British Bike Award – presented by Hunter’s Ambulance & Hunter Limousines, Favorite Vintage American Bike Award – presented by Hunter’s Ambulance & Hunter Limousines, Dan M. Hunter "Functionality with Style" Award - presented by Hunter’s Ambulance & Hunter Limousines, Liberty’s Choice Award - presented by Liberty Bank, The Haymond Law Award – presented by Haymond Law Office, The Gengras Elite Award – presented by Gengras Motorcycles, The DBD Farkle Award - presented by Middletown Downtown Business District, The All-American Bike Award - presented by Bank of America, The Fat City Cycle Award – presented by Eli Cannon’s Tap Room, The Rock ‘n Roll Bike Award – presented by Middlesex Music Academy, Best Home Team Motorcycle Award - presented by Home Team Supply, and Mayor’s Choice Award - presented by Middletown Mayor Dan Drew.

I want to take a moment to offer a special thank you to the Middletown Motorcycle Mania Planning Committee, led by Chairman Rich Greco, for all of its hard work in putting this major event together. Finally, I want to once again thank the City of Middletown for its strong and enduring support of the event. From Mayor Drew, to members of the Common Council, to the Police, Fire, Parking, and Public Works Departments, the city’s support is critical to the operation of this event, and it is very much appreciated. Main Street will be rocking next Wednesday night, and we all look forward to another great event.

In addition to Motorcycle Mania, next week also features two grand opening celebrations for new Middlesex County businesses. On Tuesday, August 8, I look forward to joining Mayor Dan Drew and other city leaders at Antonio’s Market and Catering on South Main Street to celebrate this terrific new business. Antonio’s Market and Catering offers a full deli, butcher, prepared foods, bakery, ice cream, Italian imports, fresh pasta and more. Antonio’s parents, Matt and Carmella Lockwood, own Jerry’s Pizza, Matty's Next Door Sports Bar, and Carmela’s on the Extension in Middletown, so he is no stranger to serving good food to local folks. We certainly wish him and his team nothing but the best as we move forward. I also look forward to joining Portland First Selectwoman Susan Bransfield and Economic Development Coordinator Mary Dickerson next Thursday afternoon, August 10, to officially welcome Beautiful Again Boutique, LLC to the local business community. Beautiful Again Boutique is a consignment boutique offering high quality items at a discounted price. On behalf of the chamber, I also want to wish Liz Rogers and her team the best of luck with this exciting new business. The Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce will continue to support business development in our region.

Chamber members should mark their calendars for two exciting events coming up in August. On Tuesday, August 22, Water’s Edge Resort and Spa will host a Business After Work networking reception at its beautiful facility in Westbrook. This annual event on the shoreline has become very popular with our membership over the years. The Water’s Edge team puts out a delicious spread of food and drink which always includes a little extra shoreline flavor, and the views of the beach and water are remarkable. Water’s Edge Resort and Spa is a strong and active member of our chamber and we appreciate it. I want to take a moment to acknowledge the support of Director of Sales Keith Lindelow, Corporate Sales Manager Karen Robidoux, and especially the Dattilo Family for their constant support of the chamber. We look forward to a great event on the 22nd. The chamber’s August Member Breakfast Meeting is scheduled for Thursday, August 24 at the Radisson Hotel in Cromwell. This exciting event, sponsored by our friends at People’s United Bank, will feature UConn Head Football Coach Randy Edsall as keynote speaker. Coach Edsall recently returned to the position as Head Coach at UConn, and we are thrilled that he is back leading the Huskies on the gridiron. His remarks will include some of his thoughts on coaching and leadership, and a preview of the upcoming season of Husky football which begins on Thursday, August 31 vs. Holy Cross. We look forward to a great event and I thank Coach Edsall for speaking to our membership, and People’s United Bank for sponsoring.

As I noted at the close of last week’s column, I was very saddened by the recent passing of my good friend and longtime chamber member Arnold Joseph “Joe” Talevi. I was honored to be asked by the family to offer some remarks about Joe at his funeral liturgy last Wednesday. Joe Talevi was a wonderful man, and without question, a self-made man. He was an outstanding businessman who loved his community and loved to give back. In fact, he was always giving, and never asking. He supported a number of important community initiatives throughout his life. He was an honorary member of the Italian American Civic Order, and he also started “The Chancellors” – A Boy’s Club to help youth in East Hampton. Joe even took a crew of his workers to Oklahoma to help build what is now one of the world’s largest drug rehab facilities. Above all else however, he was a devoted family man. I got to know Joe, and his wife Kathy, back in the 1970’s when they got involved with the activities of Xavier and Mercy High Schools. I was honored to teach three of their sons in school, and to coach two of them on the football field. When I came to the chamber in the 1980’s, Joe and Kathy were right there with me as we worked together on many issues of importance to the regional business community. Joe received many honors along the way including Mercy and Xavier’s Distinguished Citizen Award, and Xavier’s highest honor, the St. Francis Xavier Award. He is also an inductee in Xavier’s Hall of Honors. Joe was the recipient of the chamber’s “Good Guy” Award in 1989. If there was ever a proper description for Joe Talevi, it is Good Guy. I am grateful for his many years of friendship and support, and appreciate the example he set for all of us. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Kathy, to whom he was married for 63 years, his children and their spouses, his eight grandchildren, his sisters, and his entire network of family and friends at this difficult time. Joe Talevi will be missed by many. May he rest in peace.

Comments