Archive | West Hartford

Hartford and ESPN to Sponsor Soccer Clinics

HARTFORD —   The City of Hartford is continuing its soccer program for pre-Kindergarters starting Nov. 14.

The soccer clinics, sponsored by ESPN and the Department of Children, Families, Youth and Recreation, will be held at the Samuel V. Arroyo  Center Gym at Pope Park.

City Officials said this is part of an ongoing effort to provide childrenwith physical fitness opportunities.

The clinics are scheduled Saturday mornings on Nov. 14 Nov. 21, December 5 and Dec. 12.

Children will be coaches by trainers from Soccer Shots, a youth soccer development organization for children ages 2-8.

Parents can register their children at Arroyo, Metzner Recreation Cener unitl Nov.7.

The program is also supported by National Recreation and Park Association. For more information, call 860-757-4888.

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New Exhibit at The New Children’s Museum

WEST HARTFORD — Greater Hartford residents are invited to  invent, design, create and build in the New Children’s Museum’s latest exhibit, Tech City, set to open this September in West Hartford.

Tech City features several interactive activity stations that allow visitors to solve real-world problems that engineers face each day,museum officials say.

Visitors can build a structure that will hold up under the force of an earthquake, use a computer program to adjust the flow of traffic and stop a traffic jam, produce their own recordings using a variety of sound effects, and dam a creek to prevent flooding. These activities, among others, encourage an understanding of the natural world and devising solutions based on human needs and issues.

The goal of Tech City is to encourage all young visitors, especially girls and underrepresented groups, to consider engineering careers. Diverse role models, videos and other media, combined with hands on exhibits and programming, encourage problem-solving techniques and thinking.

Tech City opens on Saturday, Sept. 29 and will take the place of It’s a Nano World in the main exhibit hall at The New Children’s Museum. The main exhibit hall will remain closed for renovation and installation from Sept. 4 to 25.

During the exhibit closure, admission to The New Children’s Museum will be buy-one-get-one-free.

The New Children’s Museum is positioned as a premier STEAM education center, integrating science, technology, engineering, art, and math. Home to over 100 live animals, the Museum features hands-on science exhibits, out-of-this-world digital planetarium shows, and programs for young children and families.

The New Children’s Museum and Roaring Brook Nature Center are the region’s premiere destinations for science and nature exploration. The New Children’s Museum and Preschool are located at 950 Trout Brook Drive in West Hartford and Roaring Brook Nature Center is located at 70 Gracey Road in Canton.

More information is available at

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Children’s Museum Receives Grant

WEST HARTFORD —  The New Children’s Museum received a $20,000 grant from SBM Charitable Foundation and a $5,000 grant from the programs for Manchester schools.

Through its SAFA programs, the Museum engages students at low-income schools with innovative, hands-on STEM activities. SAFA programs span a wide range of subject matter including engineering, chemistry, zoology, astronomy, physics, and environmental science. Programs are designed to excite children about learning and help close the achievement gap.

Support from SBM and the Ruddell Fund will allow the Museum to purchase new equipment for ecology activities, develop new curricula, and carry out SAFA programs with K-6 Manchester students throughout the 2015-2016 academic year. These enhancements will build upon last year’s programs, in which students learned real-life scientific skills. In one SAFA class, students collected water, sediment, and microorganism samples at a nearby stream, collaboratively analyzed the samples, and translated their findings into visual data.

The New Children’s Museum is positioned as a premier STEAM education center, integrating science, technology, engineering, art, and math. Home to over 100 live animals, the Museum features hands-on science exhibits, out-of-this world digital planetarium shows, and programs for young children and families.

The New Children’s Museum and Roaring Brook Nature Center are the region’s premiere destinations for science and nature exploration. The New Children’s Museum and Preschool are located at 950 Trout Brook Drive in West Hartford and Roaring Brook Nature Center is located at 70 Gracey Road in Canton. More information is available at

For more information on Science Achievement for All or to sponsor an educational program, please contact Julie Barnofski Portfolio, Grants Manager, at or (860) 231-2830 x51.

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Gov. Malloy’s Chief of Staff to Leave Office

By Ann-Marie Mesquita, Staff Writer

HARTFORD —  One of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s top aide will be leaving his post by the end of 2015.

In an announcement to the press on Monday, Malloy said the departure of his longtime Chief of Staff, Mark Ojakian is necessary. Ojakian has served in one of the state’s most powerful position for almost four years. Known as OJ inside the state capitol, Malloy’s top advisor works long hours and serves as his confidante on many issues.  He  has  “a reputation for working people pretty hard.”

“I will miss working with Mark on a daily basis, but I understand it is time for him to turn the page to a different chapter in his life.  Mark has been one of my most trusted friends and advisors,” Governor Malloy said.  “Through his efforts, we have been able to make an agreement with labor that allowed the state to cut billions in long-term debt, passed an increase in the minimum wage, implemented paid sick leave, made record investments in transportation, and passed a sweeping reforms to our criminal justice system.”

Before joining Malloy’s office, Ojakian, 61, served as Deputy Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management and served as Deputy Comptroller under then-State Comptroller Nancy Wyman for 16 years.

In his role as Deputy Comptroller, he acted as senior policy advisor, oversaw over 250 employees, and had fiscal responsibility for over $1 billion in state accounts.

Malloy said Ojakian, who is openly gay, agreed to move on to another chapter in his life.

“It has been an honor to serve Governor Malloy.  He is not only a dedicated, hardworking public servant who has put our state on the path of progress, but he has also been a great friend,” Ojakian said.  “I will miss working with Governor Malloy.”

Ojakian lives in West Hartford with his husband, his two sons and two grandchildren.

Malloy is expected to announce Ojakian’s replacement in the coming weeks.

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State Offers Aid to Companies for Employment

WETHERSFIELD – Southwest Connecticut employers are invited to learn more about the Subsidized Training and Employment and Training Program (Step Up) as well as a variety of other hiring and tax incentives designed to benefit their businesses by attending a May 29 conference being held in the Westport Inn Ballroom.

Officials said that the conference aims to target companies of any size that can learn about the opportunities and benefits available to their business, including the wage reimbursement program through Step Up, low interest financing under the Small Business Express Program, assistance on recruitment and business plan development, and tax incentives for equipment upgrades and job creation initiatives.”

Taking place from 8 to 10:30 a.m., the event, begins with networking and light refreshments at 7 a.m. Employers can pre-register online for the conference by or more information can be obtained from Dolores Ryan, BridgeportAmerican Job Center by contacting her at or (203) 455-2602.

Additional conferences, also to be held from 8 to 10:30 a.m., will be offered on the following dates:

  • June 3, Progress Square Industrial Park, 32 Valley Street, Bristol
  • June 5, Western Connecticut State University, Westside Ballroom, 43 Lake Avenue Extension, Danbury
  • June 11, Goodwin College, Main Campus – Auditorium, 1 Riverside Drive, East Hartford
  • June 12, University of Connecticut’s Torrington campus, 855 University Drive, Torrington
  • June 19, Simsbury High School Auditorium, 34 Farms Village Road, Simsbury
  • June 24, Three Rivers Community College, 574 New London Turnpike, Norwich
  • A future conference is also being planned for the town of Meriden.


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Author of ‘Infectious’ Book to Give Talk

HARTFORD —  Achim Nowak, author of Infectious and an internationally recognized authority on executive presence and infectious personal connections, will be in town to kick-off Leadership Greater Hartford’s  fourth Lessons in Leadership series on Friday morning February 28, 7:30 a.m., in the Crystal Room at the University of Saint Joseph.  A book signing will follow the breakfast discussion.

 Lessons in Leadership is a book discussion series for business and nonprofit leaders interested in continuing their leadership understanding and skill development.  Because it is important for leaders to take time to grow personally for the benefit of those they serve, Lessons in Leadership fosters a sense of common purpose where leaders from different disciplines can meet, share their diverse perspectives, and identify mutual interests.

In an age where communications have been reduced to efficient sound bites, the series will explore Nowak’s four key levels of connection that will help professionals connect deeply with others in order to become “Infectious” leaders.

Registration for the February 28 Kick-Off and book signing is on a first come, first served basis.

The cost is $15 per session.  Registration is free for Leadership Greater Hartford members, BlumShapiro employees, University of Saint Joseph faculty and staff, and HYPE members. Visit for scheduling and more detailed information.


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Malloy Appoints Disability Advocate

HARTFORD —   Governor Dannel P. Malloy  on Tuesday appointed Jonathan Slifka of West Hartford to a newly-created cabinet-level position within his administration, specifically advocating on behalf of the state’s disability community.

In the role of Governor’s Liaison to the Disability Community, Slifka will be responsible for increasing outreach on behalf of the Governor and executive branch agencies to people with disabilities in order to provide policy and practical recommendations for advocacy, employment, programs and services, as well as serving as an ombudsperson.

“I’m excited to have Jonathan on my team, and look forward to working with him to improve how the disability community interacts with both state government and nonprofit providers,” Malloy said.

slifkaSlifka most recently served at Goodwin College in East Hartford, where he worked on behalf of the admissions department.  He serves on a number of volunteer positions in his community, including as a commissioner on the West Hartford Advisory Commission for Persons with Disabilities; as a member on the Miracle League of Connecticut’s Board of Directors; and as a counselor and tennis coach with the Ivan Lendl Junior Wheelchair Sports Camp, where he teaches sports skills to campers with disabilities and serves as a mentor on numerous developmental and life-skill areas.

“It is truly an honor and a privilege to be chosen to serve in the Governor’s administration,” Slifka said.  “I am so proud to be able to go to work every day and advocate for all persons with disabilities across the state.”

Throughout his life, Slifka, who was born with spina bifida and is unable to walk, routinely broke barriers.  He was the first student with a disability mainstreamed through the West Hartford Public School System, the first athlete with a disability to play little league baseball in West Hartford, and the first athlete in a wheelchair to play on a high school tennis team in the state.  He was also the March of Dimes Poster Child from 1985 to 1988, which inspired his mother to start the wheelchair sports camp where Slifka currently serves as a mentor and coach.

In addition to serving as a liaison between the state and residents with disabilities, he will evaluate and recommend improvements in the way the state provides information and access for people with disabilities.  He will also develop, in consultation with the Governor and the Office of Policy and Management, an action plan with varying areas of focus.

Slifka will begin the position on Jan. 10.

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Go Ahead. It’s the New Year So Indulge Yourself at Flemings

HARTFORD — You’ve worked hard all year in 2013. So if you’re looking for a way to indulge yourself  in the New Year, you might want to stop by Fleming’s Steak and Bar Restaurant to do just that. The dining experience is worth it.

The ambiance at Flemings is only part of the course. And this New Years day, it’s only fitting to celebrate you with the succulent steak and seafood from Fleming’s.

Nationally acclaimed Fleming’s offers the best in steakhouse dining – Prime meats and chops, fresh fish and poultry, generous salads and side orders — with a unique wine list known as the Fleming’s 100®, which features more than 100 wines served by the glass.

Recommended: The prime steak rib special for New Year’s Eve or the 8-0z filet mignon with King Crab meat and caviar—all a part of Fleming’s “Three Ways to Celebrate.” The enticing three-course New Year’s Eve menu is for $69.96 per person.

And it’s worth every penny for the foodie in you. Enjoy.

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar

44 S Main St, West Hartford, CT 06107

Phone:(860) 676-9463

Photo Courtesy of Fleming's

Photo Courtesy of Fleming’s


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Festival to Raise Funds for Haiti

WEST HARTFORD — Tis the season for giving.

And this season, the folks who organize the annual Holiday Craft Festival and Marketplace will raise funds to help  benefit Medical Aid to Haiti.

The festival and marketplace, now in its sixth year, will open Nov. 16 from 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m., and  Nov. 17, 9 a.m.–3 p.m. at the Church of St. Peter Claver, 47 Pleasant St., West Hartford.The event is open to the public; parking and admission are free.

This unique marketplace presents fifty fine artisans of handcrafted goods including pottery, metalwork, woodwork, jewelry, paper art, folk art, photography, painting, wreaths, dried flowers, soaps, and candles. Fiber arts (new, vintage, and “up-cycled”) include hand knits, weaving, felted wool, alpaca, quilting, tie-dye.

Clothing, tote bags, hand bags, scarves and accessories of all kinds. Local farm and gourmet food purveyors offer jams, jellies, hot- sauce, honey, cookies, candy, nuts and more.  Performances by acoustic guitarists and local youth musicians enliven each day.  Extras include live alpacas, professional chair-massage, Café, bake sale, and a teacup auction of handcrafted goods donated by each artisan.

Proceeds fund the mobile medical clinic of Medical Aid to Haiti, serving the health needs of Haitians in hard-to-reach areas of Port au Prince.  MATH’s mission is “Helping Haitians heal Haitians by providing needed resources for the care and treatment of their poor.”

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Connecticut Selects Teacher of the Year

WEST HARTFORD — A music teacher at William H. Hall High School in West Hartford is Connecticut’s 2014 Teacher of the Year.

John F. Mastroianni, a Southington resident and Hall High School director of bands, received the honor during a ceremony at his school on Tuesday, Oc. 8.  Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor made the announcement at an event that included Mastroianni’s family, local and state officials, and the school community.

Mastroianni was chosen from among four finalists, 15 semifinalists, and over 100 district-level Teachers of the Year.  A statewide council of former Teachers of the Year and representatives from educational organizations, businesses, and the community conducted the rigorous selection process, which includes on-site visits, candidate applications, interviews, and observations of teaching.

Richard C. Brown, vice president of the Connecticut Teacher of the Year Council, attended the on-site visits and stated, “John Mastroianni is an exceptional teacher.  After watching him with his students and interviewing parents, school staff, and students, the selection committee was in awe.  We knew he would be an outstanding representative for Connecticut’s teachers.”

Mastroianni and district Teachers of the Year will be formally honored at the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford on Nov. 19.

Mastroianni is a widely accomplished and critically acclaimed saxophonist, composer, and arranger.  He has performed, toured, or recorded with dozens of the musical greats of our time, as well as several symphony orchestras and on Broadway.  He also performs with his own quartet and leads his own 16-piece jazz orchestra for which he composes and arranges music.  He has three recordings as a bandleader—Cookin’ On All Burners (Stash), The Time Being (Jazz Alliance), and Live at the Silvermine (Jazzheads)—that have all earned him critical acclaim.

Mastroianni has taught at New York University, Albertus Magnus College, the University of Bridgeport, the New York State Summer School for the Arts, Bridgeport Central High School, and New Canaan High School. Besides being director of bands at Hall High School, he is also an adjunct jazz faculty member at the University of Connecticut and founded a summer jazz workshop for young artists.  In March 2004, the Connecticut Music Educators Association chose Mr. Mastroianni as the Secondary School Teacher of the Year.  Most recently, he was a quarterfinalist for a 2014 Music Educator Grammy Award.

Mastroianni earned a B.S. in music education and a B.M. in jazz studies from the University of Bridgeport, and an M.A. in jazz performance/composition from New York University.  He studied saxophone and composition with several premiere and award-winning jazz musicians.

Connecticut Education Association (CEA) President Sheila Cohen said, “We congratulate Mr. Mastroianni who exemplifies the highest standards of professionalism and commitment to young people.  We also see this year’s award to a music educator as recognition of the important role that the arts play in a well-rounded public education.”




Connecticut’s Teacher of the Year is selected from among approximately 50,000 public school teachers in the state and represents the profession in forums and advisory committees affecting education policy and public awareness of the successes that take place daily in schools, as well as the challenges they face.


“This distinction is a true testament to John Mastroianni’s skill and talent as an educator,” said State Senator Beth Bye (D-West Hartford).  “It is also a testament to a school district which—even in the midst of budget tightening—has remained committed to its arts programming so that our students can continue to benefit from incredible educators like John.”


“As director of bands at Hall High School, John Mastroianni has truly distinguished himself.  He has stepped into a role that had been filled by great teachers and leaders for decades – and quickly proceeded to take Hall’s band programs to new heights,” said State Representative Andrew Fleischmann (D-18), House chairman of the Education Committee.  “He inspires his students, his colleagues, and people throughout our community with his love of teaching, music, and people.”


“John Mastroianni has done an outstanding job carrying on and extending the proud music tradition of Hall High School,” said State Representative Brian Becker (D-19).  “The internationally renowned jazz band has flourished under his direction.  John’s students are lucky to have him.”


As Connecticut’s Teacher of the Year, Mr. Mastroianni will travel to Washington, D.C., in the spring to meet with President Obama and U.S. Secretary of Education Duncan.  Mr. Mastroianni also now becomes Connecticut’s representative for National Teacher of the Year, whom the president will select in late March and honor in April 2014.


Mr. Mastroianni succeeds 2013 Connecticut Teacher of the Year Blaise Messinger, a fifth-grade teacher at Cromwell’s Woodside Intermediate School, who concludes his term as Teacher of the Year on December 31.



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