Middletown will mark 911 anniversary with remembrance at Vets Park

September 11, 2017

By: Larry McHugh

In clear sign that the summer is winding down and the fall is approaching, football season is underway and the baseball pennant races are heating up. However, before I cover the many chamber events and activities that are on the horizon, I want to acknowledge the fact that today is a somber anniversary for our nation. Sixteen years ago, the September 11, 2001 terror attacks took place in New York, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania. We will never forget that terrible day, those we lost, and the toll it took on our country. We will also never forget the shows of patriotism, togetherness, and sense of a common purpose that we all experienced in the aftermath of the attacks. This year’s September 11th Remembrance in Middletown will be held at Veterans Memorial Park on Walnut Grove Road. This event will begin promptly at 8:30 a.m. at the Trees of Honor Memorial. The public is invited to attend. America keeps moving forward, that is all we can do, but we will always remember those we lost, and we will keep their families in our thoughts today, and every day.

September is in full swing in Middlesex County and the chamber is very much on the move. Our divisions resumed their monthly meeting schedule last week after a brief hiatus over the summer months. The Portland & East Hampton Division held a terrific meeting at Portland Library on Wednesday, the Central Business Bureau met on Thursday at the chamber, and our Chester, Deep River & Essex Division met on Friday at Essex Town Hall. This week is sure to be another busy one throughout Middlesex County. Our Executive Committee will meet today at the chamber office from 11:30-1:00 p.m. This committee, led by Chairman Rick Morin, is our top governing body, and it represents all industry sectors in Middlesex County. On Tuesday, our Automotive Council will meet at Cantina Café Ristorante in Middletown, on Wednesday, our Durham and Middlefield Division makes its annual visit to the Durham Fairgrounds. This meeting will feature local updates and of course, a preview of the upcoming Durham Fair. The Business & Education Partnership Advisory Council will meet on Wednesday morning at the chamber office, and on Thursday morning, our Cromwell Division at the Mattabassett District in Cromwell, and the Health Care Steering Committee, at the chamber office. Finally, meetings of our Legislative Committee and Affordable Housing Committee will be held on Friday morning at the chamber office.

In addition to the many committee and division meetings that are scheduled for this week, the latest installment of the KeyBank Workshop Series will be held on Tuesday morning at 8:00 a.m. at the chamber office. The topic is “Hiring & Firing”, and it will be presented by Chris Bringham of Updike, Kelly & Spellacy, P.C. Chris Bringham, a shareholder at UKS and chairman of its employment practices group, focuses his practice on representing and counseling schools and businesses with respect to workplace and employment law issues. This presentation offers a comprehensive overview of current employment law and will be extremely valuable for managers, human resource directors, and others in your organization. Please visit www.middlesexchamber.com or contact the chamber for registration information. This important chamber Workshop Series is sponsored by KeyBank, and I continue to appreciate the support of Market President Jeff Hubbard and his entire team.

An exciting Grand Opening celebration is also scheduled for Tuesday in East Hampton. Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine Centers has opened a new location in East Hampton, and I certainly wish Todd Cacopardo and his team great success as we move forward. Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine Centers offer treatment for orthopedic and sports medicine injuries, post-operative rehabilitation, workers compensation injuries, neck and back pain, tendonitis, fractures and more. I look forward to attending the grand opening with local East Hampton leaders, and am glad that Todd and his team will be providing these important services in our region.

A busy Wednesday includes a visit to The New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks to celebrate major renovations to the facility that were supported in part by a grant from the state Department of Economic and Community Development. The New England Air Museum is committed to presenting the story of aviation, and is supported by a number of chamber members including Pratt & Whitney. I look forward to joining Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, chamber VP Johanna Bond, our Tourism Committee Co-Chairman Bob Bell, and many other dignitaries at the event.

I also look forward to visiting the President’s House on the campus of Wesleyan University on Wednesday afternoon for a reception in honor of the school’s Posse Veteran Scholars’ Program. The Posse Foundation launched its veterans’ initiative in 2012 in an effort to increase the rates at which veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces attend and graduate from selective colleges and universities. Wesleyan is a participating university in this outstanding program. I look forward to attending the reception, hosted by President Michael Roth and Professor Kari Weil, and thank them for their support of our veterans and of so many community based initiatives.

Excitement continues to build for Wednesday evening’s Business After Work networking reception which will be held aboard the Lady Katharine Cruises Boat, “Mystique”, which is docked at 80 Harbor Drive, Harbor Park, in Middletown. Members can board the boat at 5 p.m. and network while docked until 6:00 p.m. At approximately 6:00 p.m., the Mystique will take a trip down river and will return at the close of the Business After Work at 7:00 p.m. This event, as all of our Business After Work events do, will feature a terrific spread of food and drink and of course, the best networking around. Excitement is building for the event on the boat and I want to thank the new owner of Lady Katharine Cruises, Essex Steam Train and Riverboat, for hosting this event and for their strong support of our chamber. Kevin Dodd and his team continue to do great work throughout the region, and we continue to appreciate their effort.

I mentioned earlier in this week’s column that we have an important division meeting scheduled on the Durham Fairgrounds this Wednesday. As I noted last week, Durham Fair President Dan Miramant and his committed team of volunteers have been hard at work preparing for this year’s fair, the 98th in its rich history. The Durham Fair recently received the 2017 Connecticut Governor’s Tourism Volunteer of the Year award for being a 100-percent volunteer-led event which invests many of its profits back into the community. The Fair continues to provide four terrific days of good clean wholesome fun. From entertainment headliners like Brothers Osborne, Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo, and the first ever USO Show Troupe, to livestock barns featuring prize-winning animals, to the educational Discovery Tent, to arts and crafts and a number of shopping options, the Durham Fair has it all. The Fair will also once again feature an array of food options, a number of games, and outstanding events and activities. As I have noted many times, we are very lucky to have this large-scale agricultural event in Middlesex County.  The Durham Fair is the largest fair in North America managed entirely by unpaid volunteers, and it is truly a unique event. For more information, please visit www.durhamfair.com.

Thanks to our friends in the Athletics Departments at Wesleyan University and Yale University, free tickets are now available for two exciting local football games on Saturday, Sept. 23. Kicking off at 1:00 p.m. at the historic Yale Bowl in New Haven, Yale will take on Cornell University in an exciting Ivy League matchup. This is a great opportunity to bring your family, employees, and/or valued customers to see some terrific football. Please mail a self-addressed, stamped envelope to the chamber to receive your tickets with the number of tickets you would like, or pick up tickets from the chamber office on Main Street in Middletown. These complimentary tickets are available on a first come, first served basis. I would like to thank Yale Director of Athletics Tom Beckett, and Deputy Director of Internal Operations Wayne Dean for providing these tickets for our members. We look forward to seeing you at the Yale Bowl! A busy Saturday of football continues at Corwin Stadium on Andrus Field at Wesleyan University with a 6:00 p.m. game between Wesleyan and Tufts University. Admission for this game is free and those interested can simply head to campus to enjoy the game which kicks off the Cardinals 2017 home schedule. I want to thank all of our friends at Wesleyan, especially Director of Athletics Mike Whalen, for providing this opportunity to the community.

I want to close this week’s chamber column by asking chamber members and community members alike to save the date of Wednesday, Oct. 11 for Middlesex County’s Premier Business Showcase, the 2017 Connecticut Connections event. This full day of events and activities will be held at the Radisson Hotel in Cromwell. Formerly known as the Middlesex County Business to Business Expo, the connections event will feature our 5th Annual Small Business Awards Ceremony featuring DECD Commissioner Catherine Smith, a number of important workshops, over 100 exhibitors from a variety of industry sectors, the Middlesex County Career Fair featuring over 50 employers, and much, much more. I will continue to provide updates as we get closer to this major event, but everyone should be sure to save the date of Oct. 11.

We have reached mid-September in Middlesex County, and the chamber continues to be on the move.

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