Local pediatric dentist takes over Dr. Pat Carta’s practice

March 6, 2017

By: Larry McHugh

March is off to a fast start in Middlesex County, and the chamber team continues to be on the move.

Last Monday featured a terrific grand opening at Sweet Tooth Pediatric Dentistry on Saybrook Road in Middletown. Dr. Erica Pitera is off to a great start with her practice which was formerly known as the office of Dr. Patricia Carta. Dr. Pat passed away recently, and Dr. Erica and her team are proud to carry on Dr. Pat’s legacy of bringing quality dental care to the local youth population. Erica is a Cromwell native, and we are proud of the fact that she is building her practice locally and contributing to the fabric of our business community. I was happy to attend the grand opening with Mayor Dan Drew, Middletown Small Business Development Center Counselor Paul Dodge, and other local dignitaries. We all wish Dr. Erica and her team nothing but the best moving forward.

This week features a number of important chamber meetings and other events throughout our region and elsewhere. The Durham and Middlefield Division meets on Wednesday morning at Durham Town Hall, and the Cromwell Division meets on Thursday at Courtyard by Marriott. These meetings will feature reports from the local municipal leadership in these towns, along with other discussions on matters of importance to the business community. Our Business & Education Partnership Advisory Council meets on Thursday morning at the chamber office where planning will continue for the 2017 High School Career Fair Expo which is scheduled for April 27th at Wesleyan’s Freeman Athletic Center. The chamber’s county based divisions and industry based councils continue to be very important outlets for our members and we appreciate everyone’s support of these important meetings.

Connecticut Business Day 2017, sponsored by CBIA and the Connecticut Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (CACCE), is scheduled for this Wednesday at the State Legislative Office Building in Hartford. Governor Dannel P. Malloy will address the business community at 10:15 a.m. Following the Gov.’s remarks, the group will visit with legislators from all over the state to discuss important business related issues that are under consideration this legislative session. To register for Connecticut Business Day, please contact Jeff Pugliese at 860-347-6924 or [email protected] A contingent of chamber members and staff will leave the Radisson Hotel in Cromwell at 9:15 a.m. We look forward to another productive Connecticut Business Day in Hartford.

Excitement continues to build for our next Member Breakfast Meeting with UConn Head Women’s Basketball Coach Geno Auriemma. Coach Auriemma always does a terrific job with his remarks, and I know that our members are looking forward to this year’s visit which will be a sold out event, once again, on Monday, March 13, right before the start of the 2017 NCAA Tournament. Members who are interested in attending should register right away as this event will surely sell out. I would like to again acknowledge the support of event sponsor MiddleOak, especially CEO Gary Vallo who sits on our Executive Committee and is a terrific chamber supporter. We look forward to welcoming the coach back to Middlesex County.

The breakfast event with Coach Auriemma will be immediately followed by a Small Business Lending Forum and Mini Expo featuring representatives of bank, non-bank and community lenders. The Lending Forum and Mini Expo runs from 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and consists of two parts: a one-hour moderated panel discussion followed by a 90-minute mini expo of tabletop displays representing bank, non-bank and community lending sources available to small businesses in Connecticut.  The event is free for small business attendees. I would like to thank our partners at the Connecticut Small Business Development Center for their support of this event and of the business community in Middlesex County and throughout the state.

On March 15, the Connecticut Tourism Coalition will host its first Tourism Advocacy Day at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford. Similar to Business Day, Tourism Advocacy Day will include meetings with House and Senate leaders as well as one-on-one meetings with individual representatives to stress the importance of tourism in Connecticut. I look forward to attending the event along with chamber Vice President Johanna Bond who staffs all of our tourism efforts here at the chamber.

Our Legislative Event Series continues on Monday, March 20 when we welcome Senator Len Fasano to a special event at the Courtyard by Marriott. Senator Fasano is now the Senate Republican President Pro Tempore, and he will visit with chamber members to discuss the 2017 Regular Session of the Connecticut General Assembly. Meeting attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions about the session, and discuss some important issues on our 2017 Public Policy Agenda. I want to once again thank The Connecticut Water Company for sponsoring, and especially Maureen Westbrook who serves on our Executive Committee, and as co-chair of our Legislative Committee. Maureen’s co-chair, Rich Carella, introduced the Speaker of the House at last Monday’s chamber legislative event at the Inn at Middletown. Rich’s firm, Updike, Kelly & Spellacy, P.C., sponsored the event and we continue to appreciate their great support. Last Monday’s event featured a very productive discussion between the speaker and over 50 of our members from all different industry sectors. We look forward to the event with Sen. Fasano and also look forward to meeting with Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff, and House Minority Leader Themis Klarides at two separate events in the month of April. The chamber’s Legislative Committee will continue to stay very engaged throughout this important session of the General Assembly.

Members should save the date of March 28 for the 33rd Annual Business After Work Auction & Taste of Downtown to be held once again at the Italian Society of Middletown. This year’s event is titled Pirates of Middlesex County Swashbuckler’s Soiree. Taking place from 5:00 pm- 8:00 pm, this event will feature complimentary beer, wine, soda and a specialty drink. Some highlights include a “taste of downtown” where attendees will learn about the wide variety of food available in downtown Middletown, a live auction beginning at 5:45 p.m., a silent auction, a treasure chest that has keys available for purchase to unlock a surprise worth more than $200, a drawing for a movie viewing at Metro Movies 12, and much more. More information will be made available as we get closer, but it is safe to say that our members are looking forward to another Business After Work Auction & Taste of Downtown.

I must again end this week’s chamber column on a sad note after recently attending calling hours for two longtime supporters and friends. Henry "Hank" Novicki passed away on Feb. 21 at the age of 92. He was a longtime employee of Pratt & Whitney and was a strong community servant in many ways. He was very involved in local politics and participated in many volunteer initiatives throughout his great life. Hank was also a proud Veteran who served with the U.S. Army during World War II and was a member and past commander of the Catholic War Veterans Post 1166. Our thoughts and prayers are with his three daughters, his son, his sisters-in-law, his nine grandchildren and his entire family.

Rita (Tynan) Hassett also passed away on Feb. 21 at the age of 83. As her obituary notes, Rita was a loving wife, mother, sister, grandmother and great-grandmother. She was a strong woman of faith and also supported a variety of community service initiatives throughout her life. Our thoughts and prayers are with her husband Richard, their six children, and her entire network of family and friends at this difficult time.

Hank Novicki and Rita Hassett were both strong supporters of mine back in my Xavier High School and MX Corporation days. I will always be grateful for their support and counsel over the years. I was honored to coach Hank’s son, Bill Novicki, and Rita’s son, Kevin Hassett, who were both good football players but more importantly, fine young men. Hank and Rita led lives that were well lived, and their families should be proud. They will both be missed by many.


 

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