Page 1

September | October 2012


W. H. Entrepreneurs • Master Chef • W.H. School Foundation • A “New” University

First Anniversary Issue!

TerrificToTeens Watch

Š d. yurman 2012

October 4 thru May 2013

950 Trout Brook Drive, West Hartford 860-231-2824









O V E R 1 6 0 O F T H E F I N E S T S T O R E S A N D R E S TA U R A N T S ExIT 40 OFF I-84 OR ExIT 30 OFF RTE 9


S H O P W E S T FA R M S . C O M

september | october





Terrific Teens by Elizabeth Lutz

Meet eight West Hartford 2012 high school graduates who have become role models in our community!

From their kitchen to MasterChef on TV


by Nikki A. Sambitsky


DEPARTMENTS from the publisher 10

food 39


Arugula Bistro shares their recipe for Crispy Duck Leg Confit.


Grapes Undercover. De-coding Wine Labels

finance 58

West Hartford native AJ Rossi & his wife reflect on their journey to the ultimate cook-off!


West Hartford Schools Foundation

15 people

BEAUTY 77 Release what’s already inside you!

29 weddings


The foundation celebrates its million dollar milestone!

St. Joseph’s becomes a University

by Kerry Hubbard

A West Hartford school rises to the challenge of great expectations!

Find out what’s trending on

Notable events and spectacular galas raise money for worthy causes. Izard & Desnoyer Booth & Hettrick Holtman & Shemkovitz

travel 36

West Hartford Entrepreneurs


A look back at the past year on the magazine’s first anniversary issue!

LETTERS 12 Mayor Scott Slifka’s message to West Hartford Magazine

by Erin Zeidenberg



by Eileen Pavol Shobe

A Shark Tank contestant now makes fingernails sparkle on QVC, and local buddies dazzle the denim world!

Is a trip around the world on your bucket list?

A Boomer’s Dilemma: Balancing aging parents & your own retirement

Where edge meets elegance.

Around Town 91 Fun community snapshots in and

around West Hartford.

92 Garden

Cultivating flowers for a Beautiful & Colorful Autumn

ON THE COVER Eight local graduates gather at the Noah Webster Library to share their inspirational stories.

Photography by Rebecca Hales

a r t i c h o k e

Classic Style with an edge

Publisher Thomas P. Hickey, II Chief Operations Officer Joy Brigham Taylor Managing Editor Lisa Lelas Vice President of Sales & Marketing Michael Moses Publication Designer Jennifer Inocencio Digital Media Coordinator Larah Winn Style Editor Bridgette Larcada Sales & Marketing Associate Garrett Hickey Publishing Advisor Jonathan Moffly Contributing Writers Kerry Hubbard, Bridgette Larcada, Lisa Lelas, Elizabeth Lutz, Nikki Sambitsky, Eileen Pavol Shobe, Erin Zeidenberg Contributing Columnists Karla A. Dalley, Christiane Gehami, Tammy Kroll, Robert Laraia, Norma Spadola, Ertan Sener

20 LaSalle Rd • West Hartford Ctr. • 860.232.4961 Jackie Peterson, Owner




998 Farmington Ave., Suite 205, West Hartford, CT 06107 office 860-523-1800 West Hartford Magazine is published six times a year by WHMedia, Inc. SUBSCRIPTIONS: One year for $29. Newsstand $4.95 each. To subscribe, renew or change address write: West Hartford Magazine, 998 Farmington Avenue, Suite 205, West Hartford, CT 06107; EDITORIAL & LETTERS: – please include full name, town and phone number (for verification only, not for publication). ADVERTISING: 860-523-1800. ©2012 WHMedia, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this periodical may be reproduced without express permission of the publisher. West Hartford Magazine is a registered trademark owned by WHMedia, Inc. The opinions expressed by writers commissioned for articles published by West Hartford Magazine are not necessarily those of the magazine.

Correction: In the July/August issue, page 29 (the wedding page of Allison Georgetti and Mark Williams), a photo cutline mistakenly referred to Allison as Emily. We apologize for the error. 

A WHMedia, Inc. company

Contributing Photographers Cheyney Barrieau Photography, Julie Bidwell, Gigi Demanio, Joe Driscoll, Rebecca Hales, Barbara Lampugnale, Bridgette Larcada, Linda McClintock, Mick Melvin, Lee Newton, Miranda Penn Turin, Russo Photography, Paul Specht Photography, Joy Taylor, Manny Vargas, Larah Winn Print Advisor Bob Carr Bookkeeper Debbie Roberts Fashion Make up by Erin McParland; Hair by Brittany Biella Of Blo, West Hartford; Production Assistant Larah Winn; Styling Assistant Anna Beyer Proofreader Barbara Gordon

Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. ‡ Programs begin at 9:00 a.m. Avon Old Farms believes strongly in the benefits of a single-sex education and understands the unique learning styles of young men. A structured academic day includes regular all-school meetings, family-style meals, athletic practices, and quiet evening study hours. Core values such as integrity, self-discipline, civility, scholarship, responsibility, and sportsmanship are emphasized and modeled by a caring and committed faculty who also serve as coaches, dormitory masters, counselors, valued mentors, and friends. Avon’s diverse academic program is both challenging and supportive. Avon Old Farms is a fully-accredited college preparatory school and its graduates

represent their school proudly at some of the finest colleges and universities in the nation and abroad. Avon Old Farms is located 15 minutes northwest of Hartford, offering a magnificent campus with outstanding facilities.

QUICK FACTS: Established: 1927 Enrollment: 405 boys States/Countries Represented: 25/22 Average Class Size: 12 Student-Teacher Ratio: 6:1 Campus Size: 990 wooded acres Interscholastic Sports: 15

To RSVP or schedule an interview, please call us at 800-464-2866, or email us at 500 Old Farms Road, Avon, Connecticut 06001

Avon Old Farms School welcomes students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin.

Follow us:


Tom Hickey, publisher, West Hartford Magazine with his wife, Shevon.

Our amazing feature stories & columns enlighten and inspire us all from issue to issue! Too many to list, but we are grateful for all!

Happy First Anniversary WestHartfordites! Yes, believe it or not we are celebrating the first anniversary of WEST HARTFORD MAGAZINE with a record 100 page issue. As always, there would be no issue to enjoy without our loyal advertisers, Club members (see page 79), and subscribers. As Mayor Slifka points out on page 12, we “should be proud of our partnership with the West Hartford businesses, restaurants and remarkable people who make West Hartford so distinctive and special”. Thank you on behalf of the entire town … your continued support enables us to continue to deliver a quality magazine worthy of a corner on your coffee table! Special thanks to our professional team at WEST HARTFORD MAGAZINE consisting of Operations, Sales, Editorial, Graphic Design, Printing, Mailing, Fulfillment, Bookkeeping, Accounting, Advisors, Contributing Writers, Columnists, Photographers, Fashion Stylists, Social Media networkers, Proofreader and Interns … what a great team and what a great year! It wouldn’t have been possible without you! In order to celebrate the past year, we need to reflect on what we like best about WEST HARTFORD MAGAZINE ! Here’s my take, with comments shared by my West Hartford Magazine team members on the highlights of our first year: We are all proud of our covers! From Terrific Teens selected from each of our High Schools, a military man and his family together once again for our ‘Home for the Holidays’ issue, a TV soap opera ‘villain’, a one of a kind imported Tudor Home, a Conard Lacrosse star turned Hollywood star and a local model sporting the simple white tee. They are truly a salute to the caliber of education and life in town, patriotism staying alive and well, and a fun glimpse into the daily lives of those West Hartford natives that rose high and above standard living. We are proud that all of our features have roots here and maintain incredible connections to West Hartford. Fundraising pride for local organizations. We are grateful for having the opportunity to donate $1500 to the Miracle League of Connecticut as the beneficiary of our Premiere Event last September, and being able to donate $1000 as a result of our garden party to benefit the ‘Friends of Elizabeth Park’ foundation to help maintain the beautiful park!

Social media connections! If you haven’t yet checked out please do so today and “like us” on Facebook!


Home for the Holidays Major Mark Zydanowicz & Family

Philanthropy Alive and Well in our community!

Javier Colon West Hartford’s rising star


Our Fashion and Style pages are second to none! You see them in print and on Facebook, Twitter, Blogs and our website that was launched at Westfarms Center Court in January. Besides the fun clothes, accessories, and home decor to look at, our team would agree they would want to own them too! It is sort of like fitting a puzzle together with all the shapes and colors, designing them in such a way that is appealing to the viewers’ eye!


Javier Colon in one of the many wonderful covers that could have been.


17 Weddings celebrated in their own personal style! Our beautiful wedding pages are something we are also very proud of!

Our special Holiday gift guide, Dazzle, showcasing local goods and services was well received by holiday shoppers all around the state. Special events we helped to promote, such as an evening of enjoying Champagne with Master Importer, Terrry Theise, at Westside Wines, also to benefit The Miracle League. An opportunity to personally meet Ivanka Trump, hosted by Lux Bond & Green. We are proud to have brought you an exclusive on Ivanka’s visit and share her personal thoughts with you.

Ivanka Trump visited Lux Bond & Green for a visit and inter-

view with West Hartford Magazine and NBC Connecticut. And in this issue… Don’t miss opening night of KING TUT at The New Children’s Museum! Join us on Wednesday, October 3rd presented by US Trust (see page 40). A great holiday memory! Santa Congratulations to this years “terrific” teens on our cover, TJ Cook, Meghan was escorted to Westfarms by Grabowski, Jennifer Huynh, Christian Murphy, Hannah Rosenthal, Ben Shoham, WestHartfordite Javier Colon, winner Nelson Torres, and Annasha Vyas, representing each of our four High Schools, public of The Voice, hosted by Westfarms and private, Conard, Hall, Kingswood Oxford and Northwest Catholic (see page 22). and West Hartford Magazine! If you enjoy the ABC show, Shark Tank like I do, you’ll be proud of WestHartfordite Barbara Lampugnale as she negotiated with the investors to bring her idea to QVC. Next time you need that perfect pair of jeans, why not visit our Conard grads who will custom make a pair just for you and your body type (see both stories page 71). For those of us tuned in to Fox TV’s hit show, Master Chef, a West Hartford husband and wife team competed for individual spots! See how they did on page 46. Be a little “edgy” and check out local models who spent a day in town being photographed doing what we all do or would like to do every day in West Hartford! See if you can figure out where each of the locations are! (see page 80). Please consider joining our Subscription Club (see page 79) so we can guarantee delivery to your home or office and you won’t miss a single issue. It’s worth noting that if you “Join the Club” you get one FREE ticket to Opening Night of KING TUT.

Hope to see you October 3rd,

Thomas P. Hickey II Publisher


Helping Haiti

alive and Well in our community!

reflects on a colorful life


Ivanka Trump

a rare glimpse inside!

secrets of a Comedic Actor

White Tee

Shoreline Homes versus

Country Clubs


Peter Dante

July | August 2012


English Estate

visits our town! $4.95

Dr. Dorothy Martin-Neville







Daytime TV’s Joe Mascolo

Ravenwood Hollywood




Major Mark ZydanowicZ & faMily

The Dream Doctor

traVel • weDDing • garDen • wine

to watch in our community

Home for the holidays

Brad davis

everything’s Coming Up

Terrific Teens

For the Season

FaShiOn trenDS

with Yvonne & Brad

Broadcast Legend

6 Fashion Trends

West Hartford


Plus Hall’s Treasured Past

A gift to you from WH Media


The Lure of West Hartford

Memoir from

Peter Dante • elizabeth Park

Two local heroes bring hope

Unique ball field coming soon

West Hartford’s rising star!

May | June 2012


a holiday guide Philanthropy

May | June 2012

Javier Colon

September OctOber 2011

Stylin’ the Plain White Tee


Mr. Thomas P. Hickey, Publisher West Hartford Magazine Dear Tom, I am delighted to hear that your West Hartford Magazie has completed its first year. Kindly accept my heartfelt congratulations on this achievement. Your magazine has gathered tremendous popularity in just one year and garnered the favorability of the urban populace. You should be proud of your partnership with the West Hartford businesses, restaurants, and remarkable people who make West Hartford so distinctive and special. This joint venture has helped you to reach your goals as well as showcase West Hartford as a truly great location in which to visit, shop and live. I would also like to congratulate your team of editors, writers, and journalists as their sheer hard work and perseverance have helped the magazine reach this destination. Thank you for your many contributions to our community, and best wishes on many more years of continued success! Very truly yours,

R. Scott Slifka

photography by MANNY VARGAS



WHAT IS an around-the-world focus on your portfolio and an around-the-block presence in your community


Connecticut families have relied on U.S. Trust for guidance in managing their wealth across generations. Our local teams start by getting to know you personally and assessing your unique goals. We can offer informed solutions on investments, trusts and specialty assets, along with deep resources in a range of areas from financing aviation and eldercare, to investing in art or collectibles or managing entrepreneurial business endeavors. Local experience, coupled with access to the extensive capabilities of a global financial institution, brings the best of both worlds home to you.

We invite you to call Jim Fanelli, Managing Director, at 860.313.7023 or Filomena Soyster, Senior Vice President, at 860.313.7046. Investment products: Are Not FDIC Insured

Are Not Bank Guaranteed

May Lose Value

Certain U.S. Trust associates are registered representatives with Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (“MLPF&S”) and may assist you with investment products and services provided through MLPF&S and other nonbank investment affiliates. MLPF&S is a registered broker-dealer, member SIPC and a wholly owned subsidiary of Bank of America Corporation (“BAC”). U.S. Trust operates through Bank of America, N.A., and other subsidiaries of BAC. WHAT IS WORTH is a trademark of Bank of America Corporation. Bank of America, N.A., Member FDIC. © 2012 Bank of America Corporation. All rights reserved. | ARB5F1L6 | AD-08-12-0258

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8/13/12 10:09 AM


find out what’s trending on


Wearin’ West Hartford

Taqueria Tavern

If you’re trotting around town in some fabulous fashions, then you might just get asked to be featured on our website and Tumblr page. We welcome your style finds too. Be sure to add a name, age and location. Email our Style Editor:

Looking for the real deal? That So-Cal laid back experience with a Mexican twist? A happy hour filled with tasty tequila and great conversation? Taqueria Tavern on Park Road is an escape from the typical West Hartford vibe. Clutch out and enjoy a “what you see is what you get” environment. Wander over to this oasis for fresh food or mid-day perspective. We favor their massive frozen margarita with its own Corona. Just ask for Mike at the bar, he’ll serve you up a strong one. No fluff, frills, just chill!


Anna Bridget Beyer is one of our favorite West Hartford locals. Her free-spirited style is a breath of fresh air, as is her laid back personality, and quirky taste for all things creative. You might have recognized her from Barcelona and you’re sure to find her at the newly opened Bartaco. This local is a future Parsons School of Design graduate and our very own Wearin’ West Hartford style blogger.

Social Media

We’ve had fun following our May/June Cover Boy Peter Dante (@El_PresiDante) as he filmed “Grown Ups 2” this summer in Marblehead, MA.


Relay Walkers

West Hartford’s Annual

Relay For Life

Fun and Games.

American Cancer Society

Co-Chair Kevin Zoeller

photography by Lee Newton

Dr. Ramon Jimenez

On a recent summer weekend, the American Cancer Society Relay for Life, of West Hartford, held its annual all day and all night relay event at Northwest Catholic High School in West Hartford. With 48 relay teams participating, over 400 individuals continuously walked the track for 20 hours. The event raised over $127,000 for cancer research and patient resources. Achieving 14% over its $110,000 goal for the year, the event was, according to PR director, Lee Newton, “deemed a resounding success!” For more information on the event, or to find out how you can get involved in next year’s relay event, visit:

Co-Chair Mike Isko

Participants walking the track for a good cause. september | october 2012

west hartford magazine



In keeping with the theme of “America,” guests were presented with red, white and blue sunglasses.

Supporting Women’s Health

Rich Kehoe, Barbara Gordon and Harry Lichtenbaum.

Kristen A. Zarfos, MD and John Rodis, MD.

An all-American evening of music, auctions and food prepared by the West Hartford Firefighters Association set the stage for this year’s fundraiser to benefit Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center. Barbara Gordon, a member of the Saint Francis Foundation Board and Hospital Corporator, opened her home to host her fifth annual fundraising party, held this summer. Gordon, a cancer survivor, organized her first event after crediting doctors at Saint Francis with saving her life. After her surgery in 2008 she wanted to do more than just share her experience, she wanted to give something back. Her annual parties have raised more than $60,000 so far. This year, the event raised an additional $19,000 for the Comprehensive Women’s Health Center.

Tracy G. Fox, a nursing school student and CNA at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center, Brenda Carbone of the Saint Francis Foundation with Barbara Gordon. Guests line up at the delicious buffet – prepared and served by members of the West Hartford Fire Department.


Christopher M. Dadlez, President and Chief Executive Officer, Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center.

photography by Joe Driscoll

St. Francis Hospital Fundraiser





Full Service WeST HArTFOrD reAl eSTATe cOMPANY FOR MORE For MoreInFORMAtIOn Information: CAll OnE OF Us. 860-521-8100

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Š 2012 BRER Affiliates Inc. An independently owned and operated broker member of BRER Affiliates Inc. Prudential, the Prudential logo and the Rock symbol are registered service marks of Prudential Financial, Inc. and its related entities, registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. Used under license with no other affiliation with Prudential. Equal Housing Opportunity.

970 Farmington Avenue West Hartford, CT 06107

GenY_HP_Sept12:Layout 1


1:46 PM

Page 1

Movie Nights! Birthday Parties! Fitness Classes!

rd’s We are West Hartfo Club for le ty s e if L y h lt a e H first Teens!! Kids, Tweens and

Register your kid, tween or teen now for FUN! Some of our offerings include: Classes in our 2 Fitness Areas Karoake with stage Movie theater Snacks and Drinks Retail shop Ping Pong Xbox, Kinect and Wii Mon-Thurs: 8:00am-8:00pm Fri: 8:00am to Midnight Sat: 11:00am to Midnight Sun: 11:00am to 6:00pm

60 LaSalle Road West Hartford 860-805-2846



Gib Barrieau, Drew and Jackie Iacovazzi, Brooke and Dan Seiden.

at Elizabeth Park

West Hartford Magazine proudly kicked off the Elizabeth Park annual concert series with a festive and floral garden party in June to benefit the Friends of Elizabeth Park. The event, set under a lavish tent from Taylor Rental Party Plus (with décor by Spruce), was sponsored in part by Lux Bond & Green, Pet Supplies Plus and Spin Monograms & Gifts. A wine bar was set up by Westside Wines, with live guitar music, and a delicious array of foods from A Little Something Bakery, Beachland Tavern, Edible Arrangements, Effies Place @ Your Place, Halls Market, Pond House, and Two Pour Guys and of course West Hartford Soda (made by Avery’s Beverages). The garden setting was picture-perfect and immediately following, attendees enjoyed the first concert of the season by the popular Eight To The Bar band.

Cindy Houlihan and Sharon Gualtieri.


Attorney General George Jepsen with West Hartford Magazine’s Larah Winn.

Garden Party

Laurie Kurtz, Ashley Wilson, and Lyanna Ledbetter .

David Petersen, Pamela Smith and Charlie Hilborn.

Event sponsors Jason and Marcie Humphries (Pet Supplies Plus and SPIN Monograms & Gifts), enjoying the evening with Laura and Reinhard von Hollander and Evan and Susan Taback. september | october 2012

west hartford magazine



Starry Night West Hartford Art League’s 2nd Annual Fundraiser

WDB_final copy.pdf



1:27:13 PM

West Hartford Art League Board member and Hall High School art teacher Rob Loebell, WHAL Executive Director Roxanne Stachelek, Mayor Scott Slifka, and West Hartford Town Clerk Essie Labrot.

Starry Night chair Lee Goode.

West Hartford Art League Board member Ann McGowan, left with Art League member Paul Dean.

photography by Julie Bidwell

A large tent on the grounds of the West Hartford Art League set the stage for this year’s annual fundraiser, celebrating the 77 year old non-profit organization. Over 175 people attended the event with music by the Hall High School Jazz Combo and a live auction. The auction was presided over by Linda Stamm, owner of Winter Associates, in Plainville. The Art League also presented awards to the Mortensen Foundation, The Edward C. and Ann T. Roberts Foundation, and the Roosa Foundation, all for their continued support which has allowed the Art League to continue its mission to ‘educate and inspire’. The presenting sponsor for this year’s event was BNY Mellon. For more information, visit: www.


Blow Dry Bar No Cut, No Color, Simply Blow Dry


Erica Arias and Rachel Lutzker of Fox CT.

Note - these half pages bleed off the of the page.

#1 Stacey Cohen and Olessa Stepanova - WFSB Channel 3.

It was a Grand Opening blo-out celebration! On June 2nd, 2012, Blo, West Hartford’s first no cut, no color simply blow dry bar welcomed its first customers with wild sides pink carpet in Blue Back Square. bottom aand Notable guests included Olessa Stepanova from WFSB Channel 3 and Fox CT’s Erica Arias and Rachel Lutzker. We loved getting our tresses treated by the friendly staff and chatting with Blo West Hartford Owner Stacey Cohen. Check out some of their stellar do’s in this issue’s style section.

“The Blo Girls” Stephanie and Samantha Cohen.

New Fence in 30 Days.

Cedar Staggered Victorian Picket. Cedar Old English Lattice Top.

Cedar Stockade Scalloped.


I 8 Cody Street, West Hartford, CT 06110

Terrific Teens

2012 To Watch

West Hartford Magazine’s Second Annual Assemblage of Noteworthy West Hartford Graduates


by Elizabeth Lutz photography by Rebecca Hales


n a town where excellence in education is exemplified throughout every school, the task of carefully and thoughtfully selecting eight recent shining star graduates is a daunting challenge…because there are so many to choose from! Just who are those special few who strive to make a difference in all they do… for themselves, for others, at school, in the community, and in life at large? While we cannot possibly include all of the many we found, we are delighted to present to you eight dedicated young men and women already leaving a lasting legacy in the world! From a daughter of Cambodian refugees who rode the American dream all the way into the scope of Bill Gates who bestowed upon her (out of 2,400 applicants) his prestigious national scholarship… to a yearbook editor/school newspaper photographer whose work has already been published in magazines…to a tennis team captain making a difference in children’s lives through her charity work…and an athlete who created a successful fundraiser to help a school cafeteria worker who was struggling financially. Just a sampling of the eight students we chose, not seeking fame, but quietly and humbly hoping to make a difference. We noticed you.

“Photography Wiz”


To say that Kingswood Oxford graduate, Ben Shoham was actively involved in the West Hartford community would be a huge understatement! Throughout his high school years, Ben had been a participant in more than 6 community outreach programs. He was the coordinator for the senior advisor program, which matched up sixth grade students to seniors from Kingswood Oxford to help ease their transition into high school. He was a member of the Friendship Circle of Greater Hartford, becoming a ‘buddy’ to kids with disabilities, a mentor at Camp Jewel Training with kids, the school newspaper photographer, and the editor of Kingswood Oxford’s 2012 yearbook! Ben says his favorite subjects in high school were English and AP Political Science, and his favorite sport is lacrosse. His love of photography has been a hobby he’s become quite accomplished in. His work has even recently been published in

West Hartford Magazine. He also has a passion for football and Ben was proud to be on KO’s football team, receiving the Joseph E. Gargan Football Award! This award honors leadership on the football field, in memory of Joseph E. Gargan, a former director of physical education at Kingswood Oxford. Hoping to further his accomplishments, Ben is now a freshman at Bentley College, where he has a double major in International Business and Political Science. Upon graduation, he would like to continue in school for a possible law degree. Ben has inspired so many people in his path and will no doubt continue to do so throughout his life. How can such an inspirational young man sum up his life so far? “I’m very empathetic. I think empathy is really important. I see how change can affect people in a positive way.”

“The Scholar”


17-year old Conard High graduate, Jennifer Huynh drew from her family’s history of hardship and obstacles to develop a focus to succeed. Her parents, originally from Cambodia, escaped refugee camps with the American Red Cross and moved to the United States in order to give their family a better life. Bravery, an intense work ethic, and perseverance are all characteristics that Jennifer received from her parents. “They’ve always told me to never give up and to take advantage of any opportunity to better yourself or your life.” When she was a freshman she carefully catered her schedule around classes that could eventually further her education at a University. Jennifer read about the work Bill Gates was doing for education. She applied on-line for The Gates Millennium Scholarship, 24

which assists minority or low-income students to pursue an undergraduate or graduate degree. Gates Millennium scholars are also provided with personal and professional development through their leadership programs. Beating out over 24,000 other applicants this year (making it the largest pool of applicants in the history of the program), Jennifer achieved her dream, graduating from Conard with the highest honors and receiving the Gates Millennium Scholarship to attend Babson College. As a result, 2/3 of her schooling will be paid. Despite her busy class schedules throughout high school, Jennifer still found time to volunteer with the Department of State Federal Outreach program, which enables other young teens to study abroad in different countries. This sparked her interest for majoring in International business. “What my parents went through, gave me a better life.” she says, “They are my role models!”

“Basketball Enthusiast”

CHRISTIAN MURPHY Christian Murphy’s love for watching and playing sports…and helping others, all intertwined during his time at Northwest Catholic High School. He ran track and cross country and participated in many different community outreach programs. He helped coach basketball at St. Timothy’s, regularly worked in soup kitchens, and worked at St. Francis Hospital for three summers. Although, Christian was on the track and cross country teams in high school, his favorite sport is actually basketball. “I really enjoy watching basketball. After I graduate from college, I’d like to become an assistant basketball coach at a college or university.” Christian was part of the National Honors society and the Latin National Honors Society. His favorite classes in high school

were math, history and Latin. The 18-year old now attends Butler University in Indiana, majoring in communications. When he is home in West Hartford, his favorite place to hang out with friends is Max’s Burger. In his spare time he enjoys running, watching sports and spending time with his family. He especially looks up to his grandfather, saying, “He’s always been there for me. He carries himself well and has always been a great role model.” Christian has learned it’s important to be authentic. “I don’t care what other people think of me. I really don’t sweat the small stuff and try to have a positive attitude…and I really like helping others!”

“Motivational Leader”


For Hall High graduate, Annasha Vyas, being a leader comes naturally. Annasha was Captain of her tennis team and President of the National Honors Society. Although she was actively involved in high school, she also made time to give back to those less fortunate. She participated in an organization called ‘Empty Bowls’, raising awareness and money for the needy, and was involved with ‘Chemistry for Kids’, traveling to local elementary schools throughout the year teaching children chemistry. Her positive attitude and eagerness to change other people’s lives come from her English teacher and one of her role models, Mr. Ferguson. “I had him for two years and he definitely inspires students to work hard and bring

out great potential. He was amazing as a teacher, so approachable…you could tell he loves what he does!” Annasha’s favorite subjects in school were English and science, which led her to her major in Molecular Biology at the University of California, where she has now started her freshman year. “I lived in northern California for eleven years”, she explains, “So, I decided to go back to California.” Aside from her love of tennis, Annasha loves dancing, and traveling around the country. She states her life ambition is to help change other people’s lives. “I’m the type of person who always wants everyone to be included. I took a lot of leadership positions in high school and I enjoy getting people involved and motivated.” Her knack for leadership and giving back is something that seems to also be in the chemical makeup of her other role model, Oprah Winfrey. “She really inspires me. She proves one person can make a huge difference.”

september | october 2012

west hartford magazine


“Charitable Spirit”


18-year old TJ Cook is the quintessential all American boy. The recent Hall High School graduate played four years of baseball and was the President of his senior class. Not only involved with many of the school’s programs, he was also an active member of the St. Thomas Church youth group. “A giving person” is one way to sum up TJ’s childhood. One of his most memorable charity events was when he organized a student/faculty dodge ball game and donated all the money raised to Chef Mo, one of Hall High School’s cafeteria workers who had been struggling to pay his bills. During his years at Hall High, TJ was a member of the National Honor Society and the Latin National Honor Society. His favorite subjects were economics

and U.S. History, explaining that he loves to learn about the past and political government. His hobbies include charity work, student government, ultimate Frisbee, and baseball! TJ describes himself as someone who is outgoing, very open to talk to anyone who needs help, and as someone who treats people with respect and treats others the same way he would want to be treated. TJ now attends Loyola University with a major in International business. “One day I’d like to help other people go abroad and help countries in need.” He explains, “My parents always taught me how to be a leader to my peers.”

“Future Engineer”


Hard work seems to be engrained in Nelson Torres’ daily life. The 18-year old Conard High School graduate is proud to say that he is the first person in his family to have the opportunity to attend college. “My parents always wanted that for me and my sister.” He reflects. Proudly, he is now attending the University of Connecticut. Nelson is majoring in Engineering. Giving credit to his father, Nelson admits, “My dad is great He did a fantastic job of always giving amazing advice, and he is a wonderful person.” Throughout his four years at Conard, Nelson was an honor role student. He took AP Spanish and English and was involved with the Multicultural club. It was important


to Nelson to always work hard toward being an honorable community citizen, as well. Nelson was an avid volunteer with the West Hartford Police Department, as a police explorer, helping aid senior citizens during Hurricane Alfred last fall and lending a hand of support to others at local shelters over the years. Despite his inner drive to succeed and do his best, Nelson remains approachable and sincere. “I consider myself very friendly. Someone who gets along with everyone and I always try to have a smile on my face!” In his free time, he often pops out his hacky sack and amazes people with his quick hand/eye coordination. While enjoying his time at UConn now, Nelson still looks forward to his home visits. “I love going for runs throughout West Hartford, hanging out with friends at Blue Back Square and spending time with my family.

“Art Lover”

Hannah Rosenthal As a recent graduate of Kingswood Oxford High School, Hannah Rosenthal may best be remembered in school as ‘the artistic one’! She certainly made a creative impact on her entire home community. Hannah was a volunteer at the Art club at Covenant Prep, an inner city school in Hartford for less privileged middle school students. During her time there, she taught art to the students every week, summing up her experience as “really rewarding.” Hannah also made time to volunteer at The Children’s Medical Center, where she set up an arts and crafts table in the waiting room so kids could relax a little by doing activities while they waited to see their doctor. Helping her dad with a golf tournament at Tumble Brook Country Club to raise money for the Arthritis Foundation, Hannah helped design note cards and came up with the event’s catch phrase “Let’s Move Together” to help promote the cause.

She admits she always worked hard in high school and graduated with honors. It is now paying off as she is currently attending George Washington University, majoring in Communications. “I am so ready to see what Washington DC is like” and has already been busy getting to know her new city. Hannah says she wants to continue working hard academically and dreams of landing that perfect full time job so she can live on her own after graduation. Someday, she hopes to follow in her father’s footsteps and get into the restaurant business, where she’s already had the opportunity of working as a hostess in the restaurants he owns. “My dad is my role model,” she boasts about her father who is the owner of the popular chain of Max’s restaurants. “I get to see him in action when he is working and I appreciate how hard he works!”

“Lacrosse Champion”

Meghan GrabowskI

Northwest Catholic graduate, Meghan Grabowski, knows how to balance athletics and academics. During her four years in high school, she played lacrosse, soccer and basketball, all while handling a busy class schedule. The 17-year old has always been dedicated to sports. Her love of the game is something that seems to run through her veins. “I’m really committed to sports. I especially put my heart into lacrosse. Some people dread training and practice but I’m always ready and willing to train. I love playing!” she declares. Meghan is now continuing to hone her lacrosse skills while playing on the Plymouth State Women’s Lacrosse Team for Plymouth State College in New Hampshire, where she is a freshman student. Majoring in

athletic training, Meghan hopes to become a full time athletic trainer after graduation. She remembers her years at Northwest Catholic fondly. Meghan’s favorite high school memory is when her lacrosse team won the state championship, receiving the coveted medals of victory! She also spent time as a special needs volunteer in West Hartford. Aside from being very driven in sports, she also describes herself as someone who is outgoing, willing to meet new people, and as someone who likes to help others. When she comes home for visits she looks forward to simply hanging out by the lake near her home. Meghan credits her accomplishments to her parents, who are her biggest role models who never pressured her to do anything she didn’t want to. “My parents always allowed me to do those things I loved. They are really supportive.” n

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Catherine Izard & Mark Desnoyer photography by Gigi Demanio

Above: Bride and groom, Catherine and Mark. Below and inset: Catherine’s home church, First Church of Christ Congregational in West Hartford Center is about to launch a year-long celebration of its 300th birthday.

A chance meeting brought Catherine Izard & Mark Desnoyer together. A mutual friend took Catherine to a wine tasting that Mark hosted. They met again at a party a few weeks later, where a conversation ensued and Mark walked Catherine home. The rest, as they say, is history! The bride is the daughter of Bob and Susan Izard, of West Hartford. Her dad is a partner at Izard Nobel LLP and her mom is Minister of Spiritual Life at First Church of Christ Congregational. Catherine, a 2002 graduate of Conard High, also graduated from Yale in 2006. She received her Masters degree in Industrial Ecology from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Norway and is completing her PhD from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. The groom is the son of Murray and Cheryl Desnoyer, of Ontario. He graduated from Cornell University in Electrical Engineering and is currently completing his PhD in Robotics at Carnegie Mellon. The couple was married at the First Church of Christ Congregational in West Hartford and the reception was held at the Hartford Golf Club. They honeymooned at a romantic bed & breakfast in the countryside of central Pennsylvania but plan on spending time in South America when they graduate. They reside in Pittsburgh. n Visit for more WEDDINGS.

Above: The bride with her sister Margaret Izard and her brother Thomas Izard. Right: The lovely gluten free cake.

september | october 2012

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Allison Holtman & Jacob Shemkovitz photography by Paul Specht Photography Sitting at the same lunch table at school would one day lead to a happily ever after story for Allison Holtman and Jacob Shemkovitz, both graduates of Hall High School. Both went on to different colleges, traveled the globe and began their careers during the ten years they dated. Jacob proposed to Allison at the 7th Avenue stop in Brooklyn after a crisp November day spent together at Coney Island. The bride is the daughter of Rhonda Holtman, of West Hartford, and Arnold Holtman and wife, Laura Crane Holtman, now residing in Vernon. Allison graduated from Smith College, and received her MA in Bilingual School Counseling from New York University. She is currently employed as a school counselor with the NYC department of Education. The groom is the son of Anne and Saul Shemkovitz, of West Hartford. Jacob is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, with a BFA in graphic design. He is currently employed as Development Associate with B’nai Jeshurun Synagogue. Their May wedding ceremony took place outdoors on a beautiful day at Harkness Memorial Park on the shoreline of Waterford, CT. The reception was held under a large open tent in back of the Eolia Mansion in the park. Allison and Jacob are still deciding on when and where their honeymoon will take place. The couple now resides in Brooklyn, NY. n Visit for more WEDDINGS.

Above: Left to right: Allison’s brother Michael Holtman, Shaoli Ghosh, Marisa Robinson, Germán Rochez, bride and groom, Jacob and Allison, Noah Berkley, Elizabeth Seidman, Jacob’s sister Ilana Shemkovitz, Beth Feuer, Kerry Drake.


Above: Bride and groom, Allison and Jacob. Left: Jacob’s grandfather Bruno Carabetta dancing in the Horah/Tarantella medley.

Above: Jacob’s parents, Saul and Anne Shemkovitz with the bride and groom. Left: Allison with her father, Arnold Holtman.

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Jennifer Booth & Don Hettrick photography by Russo Photography Jennifer Booth, co-owner of Halls Market, in West Hartford, always smiled when one of her regular customers, Don Hettrick, would come in to shop. Their casual conversations as clerk and customer somehow seemed to brighten their days. One day, he asked her out to dinner…and they’ve been together ever since! The bride is the daughter of Ron and Betsey Booth, of Higganum, the original owners of Halls Market. Jennifer graduated from the University of Delaware and St. Joseph’s College with a degree in dietetics. Together with her brother, she owns and operates Halls Market. The groom is the son of Don Hettrick, Sr., of Meriden. He is a graduate of UMass Amherst with a landscape architecture degree. He is currently employed as a landscape designer with MR Roming & Associates. The couple was married this past summer at the Higganum Congregational Church with a reception following at the Inn at Middletown. They chose New Orleans as their honeymoon destination. They now reside in New Britain. n Visit for more WEDDINGS. Above: Bride and groom, Jennifer and Don share a kiss . Right: Festivities sizzle at the reception. Below: The wedding party. Below Right: Homemade jam gifts for the guests.


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Taj Mahal, Agra, India

Travel Tips • Since most world cruises depart in January, following the path of the sun, it’s a great way to escape a northeast winter. • “There is no better time to reflect upon the people, places and pleasures such a journey affords”.


by Norma Spadola

am an incurable romantic! As a child, my mother would take me to the library every week during summer vacation and I would get to choose 5 books (my limit) and then head home to lose myself in the wonderful stories set in exotic destinations around the world. The fictional character of Phileas Fogg, in Jules Verne’s “Around the World in 80 Days” always intrigued me. Imagine racing around the world to so many exotic places just to win a wager of 20,000 Pounds! He traveled by rail and steamers from London to Suez, Bombay (now Mumbai), Calcutta, Hong Kong, Yokohama, San Francisco and New York before returning to London. I dreamed of one day visiting such exotic places. 36

Today, private jet tours can take you around the world in far less time and in much greater comfort and style. National Geographic Expeditions can whisk you to Machu Picchu, Easter Island, Samoa, Angkor Wat, the Great Barrier Reef, the Taj Mahal and Morocco all inside of 24 days. Another pastime for this incurable romantic was watching classic romantic movies like “An Affair to Remember”. Life aboard ships always seemed so full of excitement, intrigue, mystery and of course, romance. For many, this is the best way to see the world and I concur. Are you ready to embark on the adventure of a lifetime? Since most world cruises depart in January, following the path of the sun, it’s

• Crossing the International date line, and Equator several times, you will sail the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans, as well as the Tasman, Java and South China Seas. a great way to escape a northeast winter. Think turquoise waters of remote islands in the Pacific like Tahiti, Moorea, or Bora Bora in French Polynesia…truly “Paradise Found”. Wake up to places where life is still simple and peaceful, honoring the traditions of their ancestors with a history that dates back 2,500 years! On those days at sea, you can do as much or as little as you like. Personally, relaxing by the pool, soaking up the sun with a good book is nirvana, but with wine tastings, culinary demonstrations, enrichment lectures, and a full service spa at my

photography by ISTOCKPHOTO.COM

Add a trip around the globe to your bucket list!

disposal, who can choose? Pristine landscapes a la Lord of the Rings awaits in New Zealand! From Auckland, I would visit Rotorua, the Maori heartland but if fishing is your passion, the Bay of Islands won’t disappoint. While there, visit Waitangi, the birthplace of New Zealand or treat yourself to some of the best smoked fish- a local specialty. The fjords of Milford Sound on the South Island were dubbed “the eighth wonder of the modern world” by Rudyard Kipling. Australia never disappoints as the ship is welcomed into Sydney by fireboats, making her way past the world class Opera House and gliding under the Harbor Bridge. Opals in the outback, vineyards of the Barossa Valley and the world’s oldest living culture of the aborigines in the North Territory are all part of this “down under” experience. The great cities of Asia never fail to amaze! From Bali to Borneo, home of the Orangutan Sanctuary, the adventure continues. An overnight call in Bangkok provides ample time to explore the golden temples that co-exist with a bustling population. The garden city of Singapore boasts age-old neighborhoods

Angkor Wat, Cambodia, world’s largest Hindu temple complex

set in a 21st century metropolis but it’s also the gateway to visit the jewel of the Kmer Empire, Angkor Wat. For “retail therapy” it doesn’t get much better than Ho Chi Minh City or Hong Kong. While the era of the “one day suit” is long gone, it is certain that the purchase of another suitcase will be required! Be forewarned. Continuing west along the spice route to Malaysia, stop in Kuala Lumpur and then venture on to Sri Lanka and In-

dia where the Taj Mahal will leave you breathless! Onward to Madagascar and Mozambique, arrive in Cape Town, South Africa. Follow the wine route through the Western Cape on to Stellenbosch. As much as I love wine, you will find me opting for the elephant back safari at Camp Jabulani! Namibia, “the Diamond of Africa” is home to the world’s oldest desert, where dinner under the stars, complete with champagne should be on the agenda! It is said that “all good things must come to an end” and on the final ocean crossing, with several serene days at sea, there is no better time to reflect upon the people, places and pleasures such a journey affords. The life-long friendships that are made with your fellow travelers are the most cherished bonus. In retrospect, I think Mr. Fogg may have “missed the boat” (forgive the pun) by racing around the world in 80 days! n

Norma Spadola Regional Sales Director, Silver Sea Cruise Lines (800) 722-9955

& West Side Wines present

“A Taste of Italy” Join us for an adventurous evening exploring Italy paired with Wine Tasting!

Thursday, October 11, 2012 • 6:00p-8:00p Noah Webster House • 227 South Main Street, West Hartford, CT Presentations by American Express Vacations, Baglioni Hotels, Villa Pitiana & Cifelli Properties Wine tasting hosted by Ertan Sener of West Side Wines, West Hartford Travel prize will be awarded • Food and beverage will be served An admission of $5.00 per person will be donated to charity • Please make checks payable to Sanditz Travel RESERVATIONS REQUIRED • SPACE LIMITED • RSVP by September 28, 2012 Nadine Green (860)523-5224 or email 8 North Main Street, West Hartford, CT 06107 Media Sponsor:

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4 duck legs & thighs confit* 2 large Yukon potatoes, washed and diced 4 large whole shallots

2 tablespoons of sugar thyme, fresh dry sherry one small head of frisee white truffle oil

The Duck 1. Saute duck legs in oil till brown on all sides. 2.  Place in covered heavy-bottom pan with duck fat and tin foil. 3.  Bake at 400° for 1 hour…reduce temperature to 120° for 4-6 hrs (or until duck meat pulls away from bone). 4.  Remove from fat and let it sit so it doesn’t fall apart

Arugula Bistro is owned by chef, Christiane Gehami, who attended French culinary school but credits her mom’s cooking as her inspiration! Her unique style of cooking blends Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Northern Italian and French flavors. Everything is prepared in-house, including their desserts, so you can expect nothing but fresh ingredients. When the Autumn chill arrives, be sure to cozy up in this charming little bistro!

Diced Potatoes: 1. Toss diced potatoes with the fat, adding salt & pepper along with fresh thyme and a bay leaf. 2.  Spread on a sheet pan. Roast 20 minutes or until browned and cooked through. 3. Toss with oil.

Frisee Salad 1.  Wash frisee, cut off green thick parts. 2.  Toss with a bit of truffle oil and champagne vinegar, adding salt & pepper to taste.

Shallot Jam 1. In small pot, place shallots, add sugar, salt, pepper, sherry and fresh thyme. 2.  Cover with oil and roast till golden brown.

To Assemble Place a small mound of the frisee salad on a plate, lay the two legs, criss cross, against the salad, place two shallots on the side and top the duck with the roasted potatoes. Serves 2. september | october 2012

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The Weir Family, 1820–1920 Expanding the Traditions of American Art Through Sept. 30, 2012 at the New Britain Museum of American Art

Left: Julian Alden Weir, %KNQ@"@QQHD,@MR›DKC6DHQ 1882, oil on canvas, 44 ¼ x 34 J in., Brigham Young University Museum of Art. Purchase/gift of Mahonri M. Young Estate Right: John Ferguson Weir,2STCXHM!K@BJ@MC&NKC/NQSQ@HSNE,HRR"ND 1882, oil on canvas, 32 x 24 in., private collection, photo by Stewart Clements

This exhibition was organized by the Brigham Young University Museum of Art and supported by generous grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. The foundation sponsor is the Henry Luce Foundation. Additional support has come from Jack and Mary Lois Wheatley and the Milton A. & Gloria G. Barlow Foundation. The New Britain exhibition is funded by the Connecticut Humanities Council, the David T. Langrock Foundation, the Robert Lehman Foundation, Inc., and the Edward C. and Ann T. Roberts Foundation.


600 Oakwood Avenue West Hartford • 860-233-2108 • 274 Broad Street, Manchester • 860-643-2496 42


Grapes Undercover

Wine is meant to be enjoyed out of the bottle in a glass where it is void of the label it once hid behind. Only there in the wine glass is the juice fairly judged to see if it passes the ultimate test‌ enjoyment!

Decoding the Cryptic Wine Label

I photography by

by Ertan Sener

t was in the late 20th Century when we saw the emerging trend of labels that not only informed the buyer of what brand of wine they were buying, but also began to lure them in without even considering what was in the bottle on the other side of the glass. Even today I have clients who admit they choose a bottle of wine based solely on the label! How could this be?! How could one rely on the label to dictate the enjoyment or even worse, the lack of enjoyment from a particular wine experience? I do understand that the average wine label can be confusing and hard to understand exactly how it correlates to the wine inside. One of the most difficult thing about wine labels, depending on what country it comes from, is telling us about the grape variety or the place the grapes are coming from. It would be hard to define all the possibilities of wine label design with all the information it could describe, not to mention all those cute animals. So, let

us look at the top three countries in wine production and key grape varieties and see if I can decode some of the mystery. France is one of the trickiest of the wine label confusion, unless you are fluent in French (if you are, you can skip to the next paragraph!). Well, French labels are hard to decipher due to the fact that most are referring to the place grapes are grown and not to the specific grape variety. Why? This is the way it has been for over one thousand years. If this wine came from a particular place, most likely it would be a particular grape variety. Government laws in the early 20th Century then made it 100% possible to have that statement be true by defining these wine growing areas and what grapes can be grown and which wines can be produced. AOC or appellation d’origine controlee defines where these wine areas are and to what quality level the wines produced are rated. One of the major wine areas is Burgundy. This area is most confusing to consumers due to the fact

of the misuse of terms in the American market in the 1960s. Burgundy is the Anglicized version of Bourgogne and refers to an area that stretches North to South in the Eastern part of France. The two main grape varieties are Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. That’s it! Although there are hundreds of areas where these grapes can be grown and then referred to on the label. If the wine is red and from Burgundy it has to be 100% Pinot Noir. If the wine is white and from Burgundy, nine times out of ten it is Chardonnay. Now depending where the grapes come from and who the producer is will determine the quality level of the wine. That subject could fill an entire book! That is a look at just one of the key production areas. A few of the other most important wine areas in France are: Champagne, Alsace, Rhone, Provence, Bordeaux and Loire. Italy has really worked hard to create labels that are appealing to the global market. These labels are not only pleasing to the eye, but they are the backdrop to some september | october 2012

west hartford magazine


WINE fantastic wines. I find the most difficult thing about Italian wines is that there are hundreds of grape varieties that are produced into wine over the entire country. Governmental laws determine what grape varieties can go into a bottle of wine from a particular place. One of the most popular wines is Chianti or Chianti Classico. Here we are speaking of the place and not the grape variety. Sangiovese, the grape variety for Chianti, goes by a few names. One of which is the noble Tuscan wine, Brunello di Montalcino. Italy, from North to South has an amazing wine making tradition; don’t let the label dissuade you from a little wine exploration. Spain, for the most part, labels their wine by the place and not the grape variety. Similar to France and Italy, Spain regulates wine area and production by laws of DO or Denominación de Origén. Three of the most important wine growing areas are Rioja, Ribera del Duero and Rueda where the most important grape variety is Tempranillo. Yes, when you are enjoying a bottle of Rioja, that wonderful red from North Central Spain, the preEffie'sFamily_new11_QP:Layout 1

Ertan’s wine


• French labels are hard to decipher due to the fact that most are referring to the place grapes are grown and not to the specific grape variety • Italy creates labels that are appealing to the global market. Not only pleasing to the eye, but they are the backdrop to some fantastic wines. • Labels from Spain can have Spanish artistic flair, but for a place that has some of the oldest vineyards in the world, this is a very new trend.

dominant grape is Tempranillo…a grape that has enjoyed its place in these areas for centuries. The one popular white wine from Northwest Spain that goes solo by name is Albariño. Labels from Spain can have Spanish artistic flair, but for a place that has some of the oldest vineyards in the world, this is a very new trend.


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Wine is meant to be enjoyed out of the bottle in a glass where it is void of the label it once hid behind. Only there in the wine glass is the juice fairly judged to see if it passes the ultimate test… enjoyment! There is nothing wrong with liking a label for its creative construct or beauty or wit. Just don’t let that be the ultimate factor for the commitment to the wine inside. So, go ahead and judge the wine by its cover, but do so armed with a little knowledge. Narrow in on the place and the grape variety should just be right around the corner. This knowledge will just help you decide what you like and dislike. Don’t be afraid to explore the wine world by pealing back the label to help you see the entire picture. Sometimes one can’t see the wine because the labels are in the way. n

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Ertan S. Sener, wine educator, has been seen in Wine Spectator Magazine, and is the buyer/manager at West Side Wines & Spirits. 860-233-1241.


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Music for a Second Decade – Sunday, October 28, 2012 Roberts Theatre, Kingswood Oxford The Holiday Concert – Sunday, December 9, 2012 West Hartford Town Hall Shoreline

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Homes versus

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visits our town!

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reflects on a colorful life

July | August 2012


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be a part of something different

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A passion

for Cooking

inspires MasterChef TV show hopefuls

by Nikki A. Sambitsky photography courtesy AJ and Anna Rossi


or some, cooking is just something that is part of a necessary every day routine. But for AJ and Anna Rossi, their love of cooking took them all the way to the kitchen of Fox TV’s hit show, MasterChef. AJ, a West Hartford native currently living in Boston with his wife, Anna, works as the Director of Sales and Marketing at Antiques and Fine Art Magazine by day, and is an avid food enthusiast and chef by night. Anna Rossi shares the same passion for food and cooking as her husband, and even writes a popular culinary blog detailing the couple’s most favorite recipes and experiences with food. “I grew up in town,” says AJ. “My dad is a retired cardiologist. He headed up the cardiac program at 46

Anna and AJ Rossi. september | october 2012

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The two hour season finale of season 3’s MasterChef will air on Fox-TV on September 4.

Hartford Hospital. He built our West Hartford home in 1968 and my parents still live there. I grew up playing all the West Hartford sports, and really enjoyed living off Mountain Road.” AJ explains that he has done a lot of cooking since his days of sneaking into the West Hartford Reservoir behind his childhood home to go fishing. His love of cooking, and passion for creating traditional, flavorful dishes he believes came from growing up in a large Italian family. “My father is Italian and my mother is Ukrainian. She just took over the kitchen. She was an unbelievable cook, a gourmet chef.” He adds, “my friends used to come over after their own holiday dinners just to get leftovers at our house. My mother was always very passionate about cooking delicious meals and lots of them!” AJ’s wife, Anna, who grew up on the small island of Bainbridge, near Seattle, said that 48

she grew to love the culinary arts because her family lived the farm-to-table lifestyle. “Cooking is a culmination of a lot of things. It brings back memories of lazy mornings in the kitchen with my mom and dad. “My parents always had a garden and we had chickens, ducks and geese. There was an excitement for the process of where food comes from.” she explains. In responding to the question of why he wanted to try out for MasterChef, AJ simply chuckles and says that he didn’t know he was trying out for the show until his wife told him that he was. Because neither AJ or Anna had any formal culinary training, both were perfect candidates for the open casting call that was broadcast back in October for Fox TV’s MasterChef. It was Anna who seized the opportunity and entered both of them into the intense home chef competition. This season, over 30,000 hopefuls an-

swered the open casting call for the show in hopes of winning the coveted grand prize of $250,000, a MasterChef trophy, and the publication of the winner’s most coveted original recipes. “I’m a huge fan of the show”, Anna said, “so, when I saw the announcement about a national casting call at Le Cordon Bleu in Cambridge, I figured I’d better sign us both up because, after all, cooking is something that we share and are both passionate about. I thought AJ would be more apt to drive me over there and support the process if he was part of it, too.” According to AJ, the competition was one of the most intense of his life. Initially, as part of the nation wide audition process, all amateur chefs arrive at designated locations to create one dish that is to be critiqued by a panel of highly qualified judges. As fate would have it, Cambridge was not to be the last stop in the couple’s MasterChef journey. Two weeks before the filming of the show, the couple was notified that they had been chosen to go to Los Angeles to be a part of the 100 contestants to stand before the judges, renowned chefs, Gordon Ramsay, Graham Elliot, and Joe Bastianich. “One thing to note is that when Anna and I competed, we were the first husband and wife couple to have both made it through. We had to qualify individually, so we both made it based on our own dishes.” he said. “We did not enter as a couple, we were competing individually. Since we had always loved cooking together in our kitchen, being put head to head against each other was a very different experience for us! It was an environment with intense competition, and everything was limited by certain amounts of time.”

Both husband and wife garnered the approval of the judges by cooking their signature dishes of Dirty Lobster and White Clam Pizza, respectively. Chef Joe Bastianich, during an initial episode, described AJ Rossi’s Dirty Lobster as “quite excellent”, while Chef Gordon Ramsay remarked that Anna Rossi had “a very, very tough act to follow.” “You kept it simple,” said Chef Graham Elliot. “There’s nothing on the plate that doesn’t need to be there.” Even though 100 contestants were given the opportunity to present their signature dishes to the judges, only 36 of them would receive the coveted MasterChef apron. After an intense ground beef challenge took place in a well-stocked warehouse, that number would be thinned down to a meager 18 competitors, who would go on to cook in the official MasterChef Kitchen, to millions of viewers. After competing head-to-head, the chef-judges made the decision to keep Anna and sent AJ home. “Two things are clear to me” said chef Joe Bastrianich, directly before AJ’s elimination from the show, “you both love each other and you both love food. I will invite you to say goodbye to each other right now, because there is a separation about to happen.” Even though AJ was eliminated at ‘number 24’, Anna went on to competitively cook amongst her fellow home chefs before being eliminated at number 12. The final 18 home chefs have a personal webpage created for them at’s MasterChef site, where Anna’s page can be located. Despite being out of the MasterChef spotlight, the couple said the experience would always remain memorable, positive, and challenging. “First and foremost to have shared this with AJ was such a gift.” Anna said, “We will always have that. But to also have the

Above Right: AJ (green striped shirt) and his siblings at their West Hartford home. Right: Crissy Rossi (sister), Peter Rossi (brother), Dr. Michael Rossi (father), Hunter Rossi (nephew), AJ Rossi , Anna Rossi, Mrs. Virginia Rossi (mother), Michael Rossi (nephew), Mary Rossi, Tessa Rossi (baby niece), Genevieve Rossi (sister-in-law), Michael Rossi (brother).

support and referral from those three guys who believe in us, in the food that we create and the menus that we built…it’s just been amazing for following through with our dreams.” For future MasterChef hopefuls, as well as fellow “foodies” who are just seeking to make it though a stress-free dinner party, both Anna and AJ say that the key to being successful is the use of simple, seasonal and limited ingredients, as well as taking time and care to prepare ingredients, and cleaning up your area while cooking. While the weekdays are still spent up in Boston for the couple, they still return to West Hartford to visit and cook for family and friends. AJ smiles, “We still say that West Hartford is one of our favorite places. There is no better place anywhere to raise a family.” n

AJ explains that he has done a lot of cooking since his days of sneaking into the West Hartford Reservoir behind his childhood home to go fishing.



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Times have changed STANGER &ARNOLD, LLC


–Bruce H. Stanger, Esq.


Malpractice by a Lawyer Why Did They Do It?


ven though I have investigated many claims of malpractice by other lawyers I am always surprised when a lawyer who we are investigating takes our inquiries so personally that they get irrational. While under investigation, they are obligated to give us their clients’ file yet they will often refuse and say: “it’s not fair,” or “you can’t do that to me.” I feel like saying “Chill – who hasn’t made a mistake?” Or in my lighter moments “Can’t you take a joke?” Well I don’t say either – I simply insist, and if they refuse to give over the file we threaten to file a grievance or we ask them to please call their insurance carrier, and they will tell them to give us the file. In the vast majority of the cases their error was one of ignorance or lack of attention.


out of their primary area of expertise. The prime example is the trust and estate lawyer who normally does wills. In a time when an estate lawyer I know was struggling, and not getting enough “estate” business, one of her clients was in an auto accident. This is a very different area of work, but the trust and estate lawyer did some research to see

A CASE OF IGNORANCE Too many lawyers – especially in tough economic times – try to work in an area that is INSIDE:

• College Cheating • Theater Shooting • Not B.S.

how she could help. She wrote down the wrong statute of limitations and did not sue the person in time. We got the case, sued the lawyer on behalf of her client and her insurance carrier paid. MALPRACTICE/ PAGE SA3


Client Expelled from College for Cheating is Reinstated W



Brennen Maki is a member of the West Hartford law firm of Stanger & Arnold, LLC. If you have any questions he can be reached at or 860-561-0651.

Each case presents unique challenges, and in law, the shortest distance between two points is not always a straight line. lieved and were confident that if the university heard that a court of law found the exact opposite result, the administration would then feel pressure to reverse their decision. At trial, we were able to present overwhelming evidence that our client was innocent of any wrongdoing. After four days of trial, the court found that the other student had taken our client’s work, awarding our client compensation for the value of his paper as well as over $25,000 in punitive damages. Although the

case is on appeal by the other student, after receiving a copy of the decision the university agreed to clear our client’s academic record and immediately reinstate him. VICTORY!! This case exemplifies the need for creative thinking when solving legal problems – something we keep in mind with every client we serve. Each case presents unique challenges, and in law, the shortest distance between two points is not always a straight line. �

860-561-0651 • 1-888-STANGER • WWW.STANGERLAW.COM


e’ve all heard the well-worn phrase “thinking outside the box,” but nowhere is that concept truer than in the practice of law. Clients seek help with a variety of legal problems, and frequently there appears to be an obvious way to proceed. Creative solutions, however, can sometimes present a better way. In a recent case, our client was a student at a local university who had been wrongly expelled after being accused of plagiarizing another student’s paper. Although the two students’ papers were virtually identical, it was clear that the university had made a mistake. Our client was the victim of plagiarism. The other student had copied our client’s paper. However, the university refused to modify its decision. Our client was devastated, his education derailed, and his future uncertain. The “obvious” solution to the client’s problem would have been bringing suit against the university directly, alleging that their judicial proceedings violated due process. This path, however, presented serious obstacles, including the university’s sovereign immunity as an arm of the state, its essentially unlimited resources to defend such an action, and the high burden of proof required to prevail in a due process claim. We needed a way to show the university that they had made the wrong decision without taking them on in court. We elected instead to sue the student whose similar work had caused our client’s expulsion. Our goal was not only to prove that she had stolen our client’s final paper – and thus clear our client’s name – but also to demonstrate that the university’s decision was therefore simply wrong and unfair. We be-


Bruce’s approach is knowledgeable, creative and accommodates the urgency of forward progress.


– Client since 1981

What if a Lawyer Knew His Client Was Going to Shoot Up a Theater? BY BRUCE H. STANGER


here has been some speculation and facts about what Colorado shooter James Holmes’ university or therapist may have known before the shooting, as well as what duty they had to take action. In the example of a lawyer/client elationship, clients know that what they tell their lawyer is privileged and private. The lawyer is not permitted to share that information with others. Even if a client gives the details of a terrible crime that the client committed the lawyer is not permitted to tell anyone. But, what if the information that the client shares with the lawyer involves future conduct? For example, the client tells the

lawyer he is going to cause substantial harm to himself or to someone else. If a lawyer reasonably believes his or her client is going to cause substantial injury to anyone, the lawyer must take reasonable steps to prevent that harm. It could mean telling the police, the client’s family members or doctor about a potential crime if the lawyer reasonably believes that the client is likely to hurt him or herself, or someone else. The penalty for not speaking up is not criminal – it is that the lawyer could be reprimanded or disbarred by the courts in Connecticut. Should society create a duty for a professional to come forward? �



In another situation, our client was injured by a product in a store when the item fell on him and caused a nasty injury. Usually the statute of limitations for injuries is 2 years. The first lawyer held the case for more than two years; realizing that he had made an error he called in the client and told him he had blown the statute of limitations. The lawyer did the right thing and gave the client my name. The client came in, I immediately realized that the lawyer was wrong and there was still time. Fortunately, this was not a typical negligence case, and since it was a products liability case, the statute of limitations was longer, so the client still had time. I called the lawyer (with the permission of our client) and told him he had not blown the statute of limitations after all. I offered to send him the client back, but he was so relieved he told me to keep the case and we recovered a fair sum for our client. Bottom line is that all too often a lawyer who should stay within their area of experience branches out thinking there is money to be made, when they should have referred the client to someone else. LACK OF ATTENTION A good deal of work goes into a case if a lawyer is going to adequately represent his or her client. When there is a lack of attention to those details, a case can blow up. We have sued lawyers for not realizing there are inconsistent statements in a contract, for failing to diligently pursue information by way of depositions or otherwise, or for simply forgetting to pursue a line of inquiry. With a good diary system, competent assistants and associates, a reasonable workload and simple attention to details, all of these cases could and should have been avoided. WHY IS THERE MALPRACTICE? Rarely is it malice. Generally it is due to a lack of diligence, or it happens when a lawyer takes on something they should not have taken on without going the extra distance to make sure they knew exactly what they were getting into. If the lawyer is asleep at the switch he or she is responsible for damages to the client. We get those damages for their former client who has become our client. There was a time when lawyers would not bring claims against other lawyers. Times have changed. If you believe your attorney has committed malpractice, we are here to help. � Bruce Stanger is a principal in the West Hartford law firm of Stanger & Arnold, LLC. If you have any questions he can be reached at or 860-561-0651.

Our law firm will help you with: • Alternative Dispute Resolution • Business Representation • Commercial Litigation • Employment Law • Family – Divorce • Legal Ethics • Nonprofit Organizations • Professional Malpractice/Personal Injury • Qui Tam/Whistleblower • Social Security • Wills, Probate BRUCE H. STANGER STANGER & ARNOLD, LLC Corporate Center West 433 South Main Street, Suite No 112 West Hartford, CT 06110 (860) 561-0651 WWW.STANGERLAW.COM

Not B.S. from Bruce Stanger

Mediation - Settlement � Gets the Job done – resolves disputes �Keeps the $ in the hands of the parties, not the lawyers

�Allows the parties to craft a solution the courts may not have authority to do

�Is much faster than litigation �Usually results in everyone reaching a real compromise

Why did Bruce get on a paddle board with a broken foot? � Good idea? � Bad idea? Cast your vote on our Facebook page.


Bruce, thanks for your kind and considerate attention to our (law firm client) issues. As always I am comforted by your clarity and guidance.


–A lawyer and a client

We are lawyers, so guess what? We have a disclaimer. By providing you with these articles, we intend to give you a taste of what we do and some insight into the law; nothing more. Talk to a lawyer before taking any action.

New “Spin-off” Nonprofit Organization BY LEAH COHEN CHATINOVER


e recently helped launch Young Judaea Global, Inc. as a newly independent nonprofit organization in a spin-off from Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America. This was a particularly meaningful engagement for Stanger & Arnold, as Leah Chatinover and Bruce Stanger both have a decades-long commitment to Jewish education, Jewish camping and Israel. The new nonprofit inherits the history, tradition and passion of the Young Judaea division of Hadassah, with programs and partnerships in Israel, Canada, the UK, Europe and Africa. Founded in 1909, Young Judaea is the oldest Zionist youth movement in the United States. It seeks to build Jewish identity and a commitment to Israel in Jewish youth and young adults, through leadership training, pluralist ideology, and activism. In this 100-year old national “start-up,” a group of talented and dedicated alumni stepped forward to form the inaugural board of the new organization in order to fashion Young Judaea’s destiny in a changing youth landscape. With a board that includes leaders in business, academia, philanthropy, and public service, in both the U.S. and Israel, and Hadassah remaining as a major funding partner, the new Young Judaea is well on its way to a promising future. WHAT IS A SPIN-OFF? A spin-off is just one form of corporate restructuring open to nonprofit organizations. In a spin-off, one organization (known as the “parent”) hands over a division, in this case, the Young Judaea programs and assets, to an independent entity.

In a spin-off, one organization becomes two. With other forms of restructuring, two become one. Restructuring can conserve resources by joining two nonprofits with similar missions, re-energize a flagging operation, or preserve the legacy of a corporation that has decided to close its doors. Options include: MERGER: In this format, two corporations merge, and the surviving corporation takes on both the assets and liabilities of the other. ASSET SALE OR GIFT: This is a transaction in which one entity acquires the assets and programs of the other, but not the liabilities. MEMBERSHIP INTEREST TRANSFER: Here one organization becomes the sole member of another, with the right to control it by appointing its board of directors. A restructure is not easy. The Board of Directors and staff of both nonprofits must demonstrate leadership and patience, engage in careful preparation and ground work to ensure that the philosophy, mission, culture and programs of the potential partners are compatible, commit to fully understand the finances and operations of both organizations, and appreciate the investment of time and resources necessary to complete a legal transaction. For profiles of Young Judaea Global, Inc. board members, go to: � Leah Cohen Chatinover is a business lawyer for both for profit and not for profit clients at Stanger & Arnold, LLC- call her she can help. She can be reached at

Welcome to Heidi Zultowsky! A warm welcome to our newest associate Heidi Zultowsky. No stranger to the area, attorney Zultowsky has spent her nearly twenty five year career practicing civil litigation in Connecticut. She focuses her practice on helping people that are confronted with challenges that may require her courtroom skills. Whether it’s an unexpected injury, an insurance issue, a small business problem, a family dispute, or a troubled real estate transaction, Heidi has represented both Plaintiff and Defendants and has the know how to navigate the difficult process that unfortunately, and more often than not, winds up in the Courts. Heidi has developed a reputation all over Connecticut as a thorough, prepared, and passionate advocate for her clients. A resident of Manchester, Heidi is proud to serve her community as a volunteer supporting the local school system and many charitable organizations. �

“Like” Us and Your Favorite Charity can Win!

It’s about time we make our relationship “Facebook Official!” We invite you to “like” the Stanger and Arnold Facebook page and in doing so, you’ll have the opportunity to enter our contest to support your favorite charity. We'll be choosing a monthly winner (or new “friend”) at random, and Stanger and Arnold will donate $250 to the winner’s favorite nonprofit organization. We are proud of our work for nonprofits and this is our way of saluting the organizations that YOU care about and that make a difference in our communities. Please look for us on Facebook at: and remember, when you do “like” us, you’ll have to fill out a simple entry form to be sure your name is entered in our contest. �

860-561-0651 • 1-888-STANGER • WWW.STANGERLAW.COM

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A Boomer’s

Dilemma How to balance your aging parents with your own retirement worries


et’s think about you first (for a change): What do you think your retirement will be like? If you are like many baby boomers, you may be pessimistic. What can you do to save your dream? Retiring later may help – it will give you added years of earned income and group health coverage. You can also apply for Social Security later, which can result in substantially greater benefits. Don’t want to retire later? Then you may want to pour as much as you can into your 401(k) or IRA. If you are 50 and have a Roth IRA balance of about $80,000, you could potentially wind up with more than $450,000 in that IRA at age 65 if you contribute $5,000 per year and realize a 9% annual return. A 50year-old with a $250,000 401(k) balance could potentially end up with more than $1 million in that 401(k) by age 65 if he or she contributes $16,500 a year and gets an 8% annual return. (That’s not even factoring in employer matches and “catch-up” contributions after age 50.) However, this does not include trading 58

commissions, account fees and inflation, which if taken into account, would lower these numbers. Start now, because procrastination is your greatest enemy. Meet with a financial professional – one with significant experience in retirement planning. You may have more options than you realize. Fight for your retirement dream!

Now what about Mom/Dad or both: Your choices. What are your options when it comes to helping a parent out with money management? Informally, you can “lend a helping hand” and check in with mom and dad to make sure that bills and premiums are paid, and deadlines are met. But if you elect to formally take the financial reins, you are looking at a two-phase process: You can get a power of attorney and assume some of the financial responsibilities. A power of attorney is a detailed and strictly constructed legal document that gives you explicitly stated measures of financial authority. If you try to handle financial matters for


your parent(s) without a valid power of attorney, the financial institution involved may reject your efforts. A durable power of attorney lets you handle the financial matters of another person immediately. The alternative - a springing power of attorney - only takes effect when a medical diagnosis confirms that person’s mental incompetence. Copies of the power of attorney should be sent to any financial institution at which your parents have accounts or policies. It may be wise to get a durable power of attorney before your parent is unable to make financial decisions; many investment firms require the original account owner to sign a form to allow another party access to an account owner’s invested assets. You are going to have to hunt for information, such as... • where mom or dad’s income comes from (SSI, pensions, investments, etc.) • where the wills, deeds and trust documents are located. • who the designated beneficiaries are on insurance policies, IRAs, etc. • who the members of mom or dad’s

photography by ISTOCKPHOTO.COM

by Robert A. Laraia

financial team or circle are. You need to talk with them; they need to talk with you. • The crucial numbers: checking and savings accounts, investment accounts, insurance policies, PIN numbers and of course Social Security numbers. • It will also help to learn about their medical history and prescriptions. If their declining health progresses to the point where your mom or dad can no longer make competent financial decisions, then you are looking at a conservatorship. In that case... You become your parent’s conservator. This means going to probate court. You or your parent can initiate a request for conservatorship with a family law attorney; if the need is more immediate, you or your family’s attorney may petition the court. In either case, you will need to show documentation that your parent is no longer financially competent. You must provide medical documentation of his or her dementia to the court as well. The court will interview the involved parties, look at the documentation and perform a background check on


• Only 11% of boomers think they will retire to a comfortable lifestyle. • 24% of boomers say they have no retirement savings. • 64% feel that Social Security will be their main source of retirement income. • 25% of boomers in the work force say they will never retire. • 66% of working boomers intend to work part-time or full-time after they end their careers. Yet the most recent Social Security Administration figures (2008) show that less than 50% of Americans age 65-74 earned income from a job. -From recent polls by the Associated Press and NBC’s

the proposed conservator. This is all pursuant to a hearing at which the court presents its decision. If conservatorship is granted, the conservator assumes control of some or all of the protected party’s income and assets. How do conservatorships differ from guardianships? A guardianship gives a guardian control over many

aspects of a protected person’s life. A conservatorship limits control to the management of the protected person’s assets and financial affairs. Keep your parents away from unprincipled people. These steps may prove essential, yet they will not shield your family from scam artists. Be on the lookout for new friends and acquaintances. If your instincts tell you something is wrong, investigate. Remember what the flight attendant says “In the event of the need for oxygen, place your mask on first before assisting others”. n Robert A. Laraia, CIC, RFC Founding partner, Northstar Wealth Partners, LLC 29 South Main St., Suite B-8, West Hartford (888) 886-7737 This article is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be relied upon as the basis for an investment decision. Consult your financial advisor, and/or tax/legal advisors regarding your personal circumstances before making investment decisions. Northstar Wealth Partners/LPL Financial/Stratos Wealth Partners, Ltd.  Securities offered through LPL Financial member FINRA/ SIPC All rights reserved.

september | october 2012

west hartford magazine


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Million Dollar Milestone Foundation for West Hartford Public Schools’ Above and Beyond.

F photography by

by Erin Zeidenberg or the past fifteen years, the Foundation for West Hartford Public Schools has been weaving a tapestry of rich, colorful and vibrant experiences into the lives of West Hartford public school students. By and large, this organization has cultivated an environment where students and teachers can expand their horizons by getting involved in creative and imaginative adventures in learning. The Foundation not only encourages education beyond classroom curriculum it also supports the reach above the scope of school board budgets. To further our acumen in the proceedings of FWHPS, West Hartford Magazine sat down with the Founder, as well as a few board members, teachers and a principal who educated us on how this notable organization has touched the West Hartford community. When Founder of FWHPS, Dougie Trumble, moved to West Hartford from

Cleveland, she began inquiring about school foundations. “Cleveland had a very strong school system that I was involved with. They started a school foundation in 1983 which was not a common thing, at the time. When we moved here I was contributing to that foundation in memory of someone and it occurred to me how similar the Cleveland and West Hartford communities were. I wondered if anything like that had ever been discussed.

My co-founder, Heather Congdon and I started doing research. Our first official board meeting was in the fall of 1997.” Dougie stated that her youngest daughter was a senior in high school during the inauguration of the Foundation. She smiled when I acknowledged her altruism for advancing higher levels of education, even when her own children would no longer be a part of the system. After a moment her face lit up as she confessed, “I loved being involved in PTO’s all the way through. You have such camaraderie with people who have common interests. My passion for helping others comes from my parents. They set the standard. My mother had a theory that if things weren’t going well for you or you were feeling sorry for yourself, go do something for someone else. It’s amazing how it changes your outlook.” There’s no denying that Dougie Trumble has taken this advice and set the standard for funding in education. The Foundation recently reached a $1 million september | october 2012

west hartford magazine



Founder of FWHPS, Dougie Trumble.

a lot of troubles himself and explain how he was able to turn things around in his life. Jim feels this program has been a life changing experience for his students.” Clare has been incredibly impressed by the steady success of FWHPS. “The reason this organization has been successful for 15 years is because of its consistent governance which has been thoughtful. Its leadership has such a dedication to mission ahead of personal agenda. And the fact that so many people donate their services to the Foundation without compensation is, again, a tribute to what West Hartford is about.” Looking forward to coming on as copresidents of FWHPS are Lisa Greene and Amy Cubbage. With a background in marketing, Lisa has made it her mission to let everyone in the community know who FWHPS is. “When we moved to the Hartford area, we chose West Hartford because of its schools, because of its commitment to education and the kind of involvement we felt the community had in education. FWHPS touches every school and every demographic. The grants provided leave lasting impressions on the students.” Noam Sturm, principal of Bugbee Elementary and Lindsay Thomson, third grade teacher at Norfeldt, are recipients of grants from FWHPS. Both agree the Foundation has enriched their lives by allowing them to be innovative

and creative. Mr. Sturm said, “There’s an excitement that comes from the Foundation because it affords us opportunities to try new and different approaches to learning that we would otherwise have been unable to do.” Lindsay Thomson paired up with parent, Alicia Brown, to come up with ideas about tying children to their environment and food resources. FWHPS supported their vision for an outdoor garden/outdoor classroom space, yielding a green effort on an elementary school level. Lindsay shared how gratifying the project has been and what it’s blossomed into. “The edible schoolyard hasn’t benefited just one classroom or one grade level. It’s benefiting the community at large.” Retired West Hartford school teacher, Sherry Feinglass, a member of the board for eight years, shared ways FWHPS raises funds through charitable events like West Hartford’s Cookin’ and through donations from individuals, businesses and other civic groups. One of her most memorable grants given was for The 2 Cans Steel Drum Ensemble. “I attended the performance and the students were incredible! One little boy in particular was almost in midair the entire time. I can’t begin to tell you what this grant has done for the students in terms of love of music and increased selfesteem.” Visit n

Sixteen West Hartford

Public Schools Aiken Elementary School Braeburn Elementary School Bugbee Elementary School Charter Oak International Academy Duffy Elementary School Morley Elementary School Norfeldt Elementary School Florence E. Smith STEM School Webster Hill Elementary School Whiting Lane Elementary School Wolcott Elementary School Bristow Middle School King Philip Middle School Sedgwick Middle School Conard High School  Hall High School

photography by Linda McClintock

dollar milestone of investments into West Hartford public schools, installed a green energy lab in Conard High School, funded over $97,500 in technology for their schools, provided a three-year Suzuki violin program in one of the public preschools, established author and artist in-residency programs, broke ground with an edible schoolyard and many other unique programs. Although Dougie is not as actively involved in the Foundation as she once was, she’s still zealous about being part of the West Hartford community. “Sometimes you get so focused on your organization and your concerns that you forget about the other non-profits. This is not the case with West Hartford. Everyone is so supportive of each other. There is such great collaboration here and you feel happy to be a part of it. West Hartford is a great place to live and be involved.” Clare Dowd, who just finished her two year term as President of the Board of FWHPS, couldn’t agree more. Her enthusiasm was infectious as she gave an account of her experiences with the organization. “The Foundation for West Hartford Public Schools has been able to make high impact, multi- year investments in programs that have made a difference in thousands of student’s lives. And that is a testament to our community of seeing an organization that invests in all 16 public schools and provides value. This community has embraced the vision of FWHPS and made it a strong, sustainable organization.” When I asked Clare for examples of programs the Foundation funded, she spoke passionately about one project in particular. “Jim Solomon is a teacher at Hall High School who works with at risk students in intensive education programs. He’s applied for a poetry writing grant on a blind basis. [All teachers apply for grants on a blind review. They do not mention their name or school. The process ensures no favoritism.] Through this grant Mr. Solomon was able to have a former graduate of Hall High School, who is now a social worker and a poet, come into the school and work with students on a weekly basis. The idea of the program is to draw out feelings and emotions from these students and put them into written products. What’s moving is that this former Hall graduate can relate to the kids very well as an African American man who had

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A Company

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St. Joseph becomes a



by Kerry Hubbard f you’ve driven west on Asylum Avenue in the last few of months, just east of Trout Brook Drive, you may have noticed something new outside the all-familiar campus of stately Georgian brick buildings. Under a canopy of towering trees, crisp new signs quietly announce a major change to a venerable West Hartford institution—what had been St. Joseph College since 1932 is now the University of St. Joseph, Connecticut or USJ. In other words, St. Joe’s is all grown up! At a time when national debate rages over ever-increasing tuition costs, escalating student debt and even issues as fundamental as whether the benefits of a college education are worth the cost, the upgrade in status is a clear indication of USJ’s position on the matter—the value of higher education, to both the individual and the community is priceless. When I asked university president, Dr. Pamela Trotman Reid for her response to the growing concern over the value of a college degree, she said, “People are quick to accept anecdotal evidence, but often don’t accept the statistical evidence.” She was referring to unemployment rates, which for those with a bachelor’s degree 64

West Hartford School rises to the challenge of Great Expectations or higher, are consistently about half that of the overall total. Of course, at St. Joe’s, the value of education is measured by much more than employment statistics. In 1932, the Sisters of Mercy of Connecticut founded St. Joseph College. Their mission was twofold—first, to uphold the highest standards of academic achievement as the first liberal arts college for women in the Hartford area; and second, to educate women in professions that would enable them to make a significant impact on their communities in areas of human services. The change in status from college to university enables USJ to stay true to its core Mercy values while having an even greater impact on both the local and global communities. Dr. Reid indicated that in many respects, university status is largely about perceptions, here and abroad. While in the US, there is very little real difference between colleges and universities, in other parts of the world the term “college” refers to secondary, or high schools. And even here, the perception is that universities have more to offer. “People have higher expectations from a university,” said Dr. Reid. “The change in perception will be the biggest change

[resulting from the new status]. While St. Joe’s has always had a very high quality faculty, offering a very high quality education,” she continued, “these new expectations challenge us to live up to the new status.” Institutions of higher learning are increasingly vying for international talent, and students from other countries seeking an American education look first to universities for their perceived superiority. Many colleges around the country are changing to university status to compete for international students and the diversity they bring to a school.

Community Roots Run Deep Beyond living up to new expectations, USJ is on a path that will not only grow the school itself, but will also increase an already substantial, if understated, presence in the community. St. Joe’s has been rooted in West Hartford since its founding, offering nationally recognized programs in education and nursing, among others. Graduates of these programs serve in nearly every sector of the community, their impact adding to the intangibles that make this area so well known as a great place to live and raise a family. In addition to educating teachers and nurses, social workers and mental health professionals, the USJ operates several unique programs that serve the community at large in other capacities. There is the Gengras Center, a state approved facility offering intense and specialized educational programs for students -Dr. Pamela Trotman from elementary through high school with “intellectual, developmental, learning disabilities, and related behavioral challenges.” The Center serves the real and pressing needs of families from more than 50 Connecticut and southern Massachusetts communities. And then there is the School for Young Children, one of the state’s first preschools and the educational foundation for some of the area’s most interesting and influential citizens (alumni include columnist and radio personality, Colin McEnroe and West Hartford Mayor, Scott Slifka). Both the Gengras Center and the School for Young Children act as “lab schools” providing invaluable hands-on experience to future educators, healthcare providers, social workers and counselors. Cynthia Mariani, the university’s communications director said that while she couldn’t provide exact numbers, “I’ll bet that if you asked in every school or hospital in the area, you’d find St. Joe’s graduates working as teachers, administrators and nurses.” In addition to superior academics, USJ’s student body is as dedicated to the core Mercy values of compassion, dignity and service to others, as the Sisters were when they established them 80 years ago. Every campus club participates in service projects each year, projects as diverse as the American Cancer Society fundraiser, Relay for Life, to hosting the Gospel Festival of New England.

What’s Ahead St. Joe’s has wasted no time rising to the challenges of greater expectations. Expansion of graduate school offerings has been underway since the launching of the School of Pharmacy last fall—the university’s first school located off the main campus, and a unique collaboration with the city of Hartford. Under the leadership of Dr. Reid and a dedicated board, additional programs are in the works. And, as might be expected, the new offerings stay true to the Mercy tradition of supporting human services while meeting the changing needs of a complex society. The spring of 2013 will see the launch of the new Doctor of Nursing Practice program, which along with the School of Pharmacy, will better prepare healthcare professionals to address the needs of an aging population. As part of their continuing studies program, USJ is offering an Autism Spectrum Disorder Summer Institute. The number of diagnoses of autism disorders has been on the rise for years. This 4-day program brings together parents, educators and other professionals to share information that will ultimately help develop more effective strategies for meeting the educational needs of children with autism. While for the foreseeable future the undergraduate core remains a women’s only culture, rooted in the liberal arts tradition, these new, co-educational graduate level programs add layers and complexity, and as Dr. Reid said, “complexity is what a university is all about.”

“People have higher expectations from a University. These new expectations challenge us What’s the Consensus? to live up to the new status!” So Rosemary Arcari Wall ’69, M Reid, President SJU

’76, has been one of USJ’s most active and influential alumni, and a staunch advocate for women’s only education. Over the years, she has served in nearly every capacity from president of the alumni association to chairing the university’s first gala to sitting on the selection committee that chose Dr. Reid as the newest president nearly five years ago. “I’ve done it all,” she said. While in a perfect world, Rosemary may have preferred USJ to remain an entirely women’s only college, the truth is, “Running a college is like walking an emotional and financial tightrope,” she said. Revenue generated by expanding the graduate school, both in terms of program offerings and by admitting men, will allow the undergraduate core to remain true to the Sisters’ original mission of educating women. So, does she support the change in status? Rosemary couldn’t have been clearer in her support. “I think it was a terrific idea. If you have your education, you have everything. I’m more than comfortable [with the status change], I’m happy.” The University of St. Joseph has now just begun its first full academic year eager to meet the challenges of greater expectations. As both students and administrators begin to feel more comfortable with the school’s new role, this dynamic West Hartford institution can once again, in Cynthia Mariani’s words, go about the business of “creating empowered leadership.” And West Hartford (as well as all of Connecticut and even the world) will continue to be the beneficiary of this community treasure. n september | october 2012

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The Magazine of Catholic Charities

Sept./Oct. 2012

Archdiocese of Hartford

Vol. 6 / No. 3



N Karyn, Neil and Daniel. EDITOR’S NOTE: Last names withheld at the request of the family to protect privacy.

eil and Karyn will never forget the joyful moment of embracing their newborn son, Daniel, for the first time last December. He was just 4 hours old when social worker Nadine Behmke of Catholic Charities Adoption Services called them with the good news. A few hours later, they were holding their new son and crying tears of joy. The proud new parents light up when they talk about their son, now 9 months old. “We had been married almost four years and wanted a baby more than anything,” explained Neil, “and we realized adoption was our best option. One day we met Betsy, a temporary baby-care provider with Catholic Charities, at a local park. She was taking care of an infant who was getting ready to be placed with adoptive parents. After meeting her, a light bulb went off… we were sold on the idea ULTIMATE GIFT / NEXT PAGE


west hartford magazine



Ultimate Gift from previous page

A child adopted through Catholic Charities now in a safe and loving environment


of adopting. I called Catholic Charities Adoption Services the very next morning! We set up a meeting with Nadine, who led us through the process very professionally. She does such a great job straddling the fine line of being an advocate for the birth mom as well as adoptive families. She was great to work with. We were very well informed.” Karyn continued, “It was suggested that we create a scrapbook portfolio about ourselves…We submitted the scrapbook last April.” In September, one birth mother (a bright 22year-old woman) looked over their portfolio and requested a meeting. When Karyn and Neil met her, she was already seven months pregnant, and in December they became parents! “There are many happy endings like this couple’s story,” says Linda Smith, Director of Adoption Services at Catholic Charities. “The only reason people choose a plan of adoption for their child,” she explains, “is out of tremendous love... to give their child a life they are not able to provide. I admire people who can make this selfless decision.” Today, birthparents at least know they have options for communication with the adoptive family available to them, thus easing somewhat this most difficult decision. If a birth mom can provide a safe, healthy and stable environment for her baby, Linda feels she should choose to parent her child. Linda has worked with birth parents and adoptive families for more than 30 years and has supervised the program for the past 10 years. The program has been placing infants with adoptive families for better than 90 years! Records actually go back to the 1920’s. Catholic Charities Adoption agency is licensed by CT Department of Children & Families (DCF) as a child-placing agency. Counseling services to birth parents and adoptive families are provided at four different offices in Connecticut in the towns of Waterbury, New Haven, Meriden and Hartford.


The agency is also licensed to approve temporary “baby-care homes” for infants at those times when birth parents/families are struggling with a final decision to either raise their infant or place their child with a permanent adoptive family. Once referred to as “foster homes,” these temporary homes give the birth-parent(s) time to deal with their emotions. Elizabeth “Betsy” McMahon, of Branford, has been a baby-care provider for Catholic Charities for the past 10 years. “I got the idea from an old college roommate who was doing this” she says, and began working with Catholic Charities shortly after her friend made the suggestion. Betsy is a practicing lawyer, who may be the only attorney in the state with a bassinet set up by her desk. She and her husband now have four grown children, but when she started as a baby-care provider, all of her own kids were still at home and in school. “I think it has been a good lesson for my kids. {Especially} realizing that not all babies are planned and to really understand the birth mother’s anguish about giving up her baby.” She explains that some of these young moms somehow think they might be doing something selfish, when in fact, they are providing the most giving, thoughtful, loving act they could do for their child. “I think these birth moms really deserve a lot of credit. I respect them so much.” When asked if she ever gets at-

tached to these babies she has for a short time, she smiles, “No. I’ve raised my children. It’s easier for me because I have no illusions of raising another child. And I love being a part of the placement, whereby I can physically hand over the baby to its new parents. It’s a beautiful moment.” “One thing I can say about why I love working with Catholic Charities and people like Nadine is that they are so respectful of the birth mothers. People like Nadine are so kind and so great with them!” It is estimated that of those babies that are given to temporary baby-care providers, about 20% end up back with their birth moms. “That’s wonderful, too,” assures Betsy, “that’s why people like me are here. To give them the time they need.” Over the last 10 years, Betsy has accumulated all the necessary baby supplies so she is ready at a moment’s notice whenever Catholic Charities needs her to visit a hospital. She always talks with the birth mom to assure her there is never a rush and the family should take their time with their decision.” Sometimes she has the baby for a few days, several weeks or even as long as 3 months. Betsy is always curious about the children after they leave her care, and sometimes she hears from their adoptive families by way of Christmas cards or even Facebook posts.


What type of family does the adoption center look for when placing a baby? Linda says the process is

B • Help&Hope • Help&Hope • September/October 2012 • Catholic Charities

“(Catholic Charities) taught us not to fear but to embrace our child’s life…his past, his present and his future.” - parents Neil and Karyn

friendlier than it once was. “We basically look for a healthy, stable and loving environment. They must be able to financially and emotionally provide for a child. We also seek families of all faiths that embrace and respect that a child needs to develop physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually to be well-balanced.” A good portion of the agency’s work now involves responding to requests of adult adoptees who wish to search for and possibly reunite with their birth parent(s) or siblings. The agency has one part-time staff person who conducts such searches and Linda commented on the many heartwarming reunions that have been successful. So, what is life like now for Neil, Karyn and baby, Daniel? “Life is good. He’s sleeping through the night now, so we are getting more sleep,” says Karyn, “I work part time and my husband is a teacher, so there is always at least one of us home with Daniel. He is such a special boy. He loves splashing in the pool and he’s even a frequent flyer, as we fly to Chicago to visit his maternal grandparents often.” Daniel also has his paternal grandparents nearby, who visit all the time and simply adore their first grandson. “We can’t say enough about Catholic Charities Adoption Services,” says Neil, “They taught us not to fear but to embrace our child’s life…his past, his present and his future. They provided hope for us and yet kept us realistic. They had us 100% ready to become parents.” For more information about adoption and temporary baby-care opportunities, contact the center at (203) 596-9359. �

Celebrating Waterbury Infants & Toddlers PHOTOS COURTESY OF CCAOH STAFF


atholic Charities is celebrating the opening of an infant-toddler child care program at our Child Development Center at 965 South Main Street in Waterbury. This new full-time program is open to working families with children from six weeks of age and is designed to address the strong need for quality infant-toddler care and education in Waterbury. This new initiative will allow children to participate in our quality child development program from birth through five years of age, assuring they will be ready to succeed in kindergarten. The first five years of a child’s life are the most critical for brain development, and all Catholic Charities programs are curriculum-based to support developmental milestones which help children reach their full potential. The infant-toddler program is licensed by the Department of Public Health and funded through a partnership between New Opportunities and the Connecticut Department of Education. �

C • Help&Hope • September/October 2012 • Catholic Charities


Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Hartford

VISION: Individuals, Families and Communities will become Healthy, Self-Sufficient and Productive – Thriving in a Just and Compassionate Society. MISSION: Motivated by Christ’s Social Teachings and Respect for the Richness of Diversity, Catholic Charities exists to Promote the Dignity, Self-Sufficiency and Human Potential of those in need.


Lois Nesci, chief executive officer of Catholic Charities and president of the University of Saint Joseph (formerly Saint Joseph College) Alumni Association, speaks to graduates at the May 13 Commencement ceremony.

Help&Hope The Newsletter of Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Hartford


Save e! the Dat

Benefiting children in need throughout Hartford, Litchfield & New Haven Counties. Friday, December 14th at 7:30 A.M. • Marriott Hartford Downtown

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839-841 Asylum Avenue, Hartford, CT 06105 Phone 860-493-1841 • Fax 860-548-1930 Vol. 6/ No. 3 • Sept./Oct. 2012 Catholic Charities Central Administrative Offices: Lois M. Nesci, Chief Executive Officer Edgar Bernier, Chief Financial Officer Help&Hope Magazine: Published by WHMedia, Inc. Tom Hickey, Publisher Joy Taylor, Creative Services Lisa Lelas, Contributing Writer Tiffany Murasso, Mia M. Photography, Spencer Sloan Contributing Photographers Help&Hope is published jointly by Catholic Charities, Archdiocese of Hartford, and WHMedia, Inc. It is distributed to the communities it serves in Hartford, Litchfield and New Haven Counties via mail and drops. ©2012 Catholic Charities and WHMedia, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this periodical may be reproduced without express permission of the publishers. Help&Hope is a registered trademark owned by WHMedia, Inc. The opinions expressed by writers commissioned for articles published by Help&Hope are not necessarily those of the magazine or its publishers.

Community Partner

New West Hartford


Making Fingernails Sparkle and Denim Dazzle by Eileen Pavol Shobe photography courtesy of Barbara Lampugnale and Larah Winn

What does a nail polish company and a jeans manufacturer have in common? They both have roots in West Hartford. Duality Cosmetics and Hartford Denim Company are businesses that were started by some energetic, determined and motivated West Hartford entrepreneurs.

september | october 2012

west hartford magazine


Nailing It on


n a West Hartford neighborhood where friendly neighbors deliver cookies, a quote on the wall in the home office of Barbara Lampugnale’s charming English Cottage Tudor perfectly sums up her philosophy: “Be strong when you are weak, brave when you are scared and humble when you are victorious.” Lampugnale first dreamt up the idea of her Nail-Pak, a dual-purpose nail polish product, while pregnant with her identical twin girls and having weekly ‘nail nights’ with her other daughters. The Duality Cosmetics founder knew the first time she set a bottle of nail polish on top of a jar of eye cream that she really had something. “It was like putting on a pair of jeans that fit perfectly.” Nail-Pak is a nail compact which includes nail polish, pads presoaked with remover and a nail file disk all in one convenient, easy to use patented container. Lampugnale brought her product to national attention by appearing on the ABC television show Shark Tank in April, but the road to that accomplishment was not an easy one. She first saw an advertisement for the show in August of 2009 and immediately registered online to be a featured entrepreneur. A producer from Shark Tank contacted her to say that they were interested and helped her with her pitch. Lampugnale was told that she would hear whether she made it on to the show by what was coincidentally her birthday weekend in October. “It was the longest weekend of my life,” she remembers. She found out that casting was closed and she didn’t make it. The following March, Lampugnale learned that she had another chance. This time, she did it her way. For her first attempt she had hired a professional to produce her pitch video. For this second audition Lampugnale performed her presentation in her bathroom with her children’s nanny positioned in the shower filming. There were several takes, due to loud crashes as she demonstrated eliminating superfluous products by 72

dumping them into a drawer, as well as her videographer slipping on the lip of the shower as she endeavored to film. On April 27th when the episode of Shark Tank aired (and re-aired in August), most of the panel of selfmade business tycoons, or ‘sharks’, actually fought over the opportunity to fund Nail-Pak, all offering her various business deals. Lori Grenier of QVC ultimately won the chance to invest with Barbara, offering her $50,000 up front and 60% of all profits. Grenier told the West Hartford entrepreneur to ‘gather her family around the television when her product is on QVC, open some champagne and get ready to start making lots of money!’ Grenier featured Nail-Pak on QVC the very next day. Lampugnale’s pet-peeve is the word “can’t”, and it shows. If she does not accomplish something one way, then she looks at what other ways she can get

Duality Cosmetics founder, Barbara Lampugnale.

it done. When she applied for a patent for Nail-Pak she was told that it was not patentable because it was too obvious and qualified as general knowledge. She flew to Washington D.C. to speak with the patent office in order to convince them. Even after being told that there was only a 25% chance of it passing, she still wasn’t discouraged. It passed last November. She just knew that it was meant to be. Life now is looking pretty good for Lampugnale, her husband and her six daughters, but this wasn’t always the case. Her husband is a real estate developer and they had some “lean times” as a result of the Great Recession, before Duality Cosmetics was formed.

had to sell several things, like one of their two SUVs, as well as her 3-1/2 karat engagement ring. When she looked at the shiny jewel on her finger she thought, “What’s more important to me? What’s a better investment?” The investment has paid off with a successful website,, as well as many orders coming in from her inventive NailPak being on QVC. When asked what’s next Barbara Lampugnale with her six daughters. for Barbara Lampugnale, she responded, “I’d like to She isn’t college educated so it has always do a line for little girls, with been very important to her that all of her bright, sparkly colors.” These happen to girls go to college. Starting a business be the colors her youngest daughters favor seemed like the best way for her to pay on their Sunday ‘Nail Nights’. She would for her girls’ schooling. In an effort to also like to develop other type of bottles. raise capital for her company, the family “One idea grows into another like a tree.”



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september | october 2012

west hartford magazine


West Hartford Smarty Pants


artford Denim Company is another perfect example of West Hartford’s exceptional entrepreneurial spirit. Conard High School graduates Dave Marcoux, Marshall Demming and Luke Davis’ blue jean manufacturing company had its beginnings in the basements and garages of their parents’ homes in West Hartford. “We just hopped around for the summer and moved the shop like six times in the first four months until we settled downtown last year,” recounted Marcoux. Both Demming and Davis’ parents still reside in West Hartford. Together with the help of two additional partners, Charles Walsh and Ian Lukas, the company has been booming! Now located at 30 Arbor Street, 4th Floor, in Hartford, the co-owners, all in their twenties create handmade jeans using vintage Singer sewing machines. “We have always had a really strong affinity towards old things,” explained Marcoux. “Most people just collect [industrial antiques] and put them on shelves but we have very antique 74

don’t know how to sew; they merely create drawings of their designs and send them out to be sewn. “We don’t draw sketches. We sit down with the fabric at the machine,” Davis explained. Handmade in Hartford isn’t the only thing that is unique about Hartford Denim Company jeans. Everything they make is backed by a lifetime repair policy. In this age of the disposable, you can actually send your jeans back to them at any time, regardless of the extent of damage, and they will repair them free of charge. The detail and care that goes into the making of their jeans means that they deserve special care by their owners. The fabric wears more quickly when machine washed and dried, so they recommend hand washing and air drying. “I’ll wear my jeans into the shower and wash them that way, and then just hang them up,” Davis said. “Marshall likes to leave his out in the rain. Let them get rain soaked and put a little soap on them.” Hartford Denim Company hasn’t limited themselves to jeans. They are

machines and are putting them to use. We use our old parts.” Each pair of jeans is created by hand from 13 ounce Cone Mills selvedge denim with hand peened copper rivets, vintage copper penny buttons and their distinctive Connecticutshaped leather patch on the back. Luke Davis learned how to sew in school and taught himself how to construct a pair of jeans. “Luke had sewn about ten pairs of pants, like taking apart old Levi’s and just kind of figuring it out. He learned how to sew in home economics class,” said Demming. Davis then taught the craft to Marcoux and Demming and their other partners so that all five friends now make their jeans. Their method of operation is a little unusual. Most Hartford Denim Company partners: Charles Walsh, Marshall Demming , Dave Marcoux, Luke Davis and Ian Lukas. designers they have met

Handmade in Hartford isn’t the only thing that is unique about Hartford Denim Company jeans. Everything they make is backed by a lifetime repair policy. branching out into other items, such as shirts and purses as well. They have partnered with other companies such as Brigade clothing out of Ohio and Friedson Brothers Fine Boots of Westport to create products. There

A corner of the Hartford Denim Company workshop.

are also clothing items from other manufacturers available in their shop that are 100% “made in the USA”. They purchase at wholesale and sell for retail. The three entrepreneurs remain open to many possibilities. “We rarely say no to crazy projects,” admitted Marcoux.

Looking to the future, the partners would like to hire employees in order to have more than one manufacturing line in process at a time. They envision different lines operating simultaneously, such as one line producing purses while jeans are being made. A dedicated repair department is on their wish list as well. Word of mouth and press is how they are marketing and advertising their jeans. “We’ve never paid for advertising,” confesses Davis. While they do offer some men’s jeans off the rack, most orders for both men’s and women’s’ jeans are custom made for each individual customer. The leadtime is typically 4-6 weeks, and they retail for $288 a pair, which is a bargain when you consider their free lifetime repair. You can visit their website,, or stop by their store at 30 Arbor Street in Hartford for more information. n

september | october 2012

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Release what’s already inside you!

Y photography by

by Tammy Kroll

ou’re at a party feeling pretty good – hair freshly colored, nails neatly manicured, skin glowing from a recent spa facial. That gorgeous single guy that recently moved in next door happens to be heading in your direction. Just as you’re about to say ‘hi’, that woman walks in! You know the kind – hair pulled back in a pony tail, roots slightly showing, reaching out to greet with unpolished, yet somehow graceful hands. She is strikingly beautiful – glowing and seemingly ‘lit up’ from the inside. EVERY head turns. What is it about her that is so attractive? Now, I am all for pampering, but who wouldn’t want in on some natural beauty secrets to supplement. Over the years, I’ve engaged these ‘goddesses’ in conversation, hoping some of this natural beauty would miraculously spill over onto me. In the process, however, I’ve gathered some glowing ‘pearls’ we can perhaps all use. I have since tried string-

ing a few together to wear with hopes of a positive transformation. What follows are what I have found to be some of the ‘natural goddess’ common strands:

Don’t Stress Worry lines are NOT attractive. One of the major things I notice about these beautiful women is they seem to be more relaxed and let go of what they cannot control. Perfection is not a goal of theirs. They are quick to accept life’s daily challenges and disappointments and come up with workable solutions to quickly move forward. Resolve conflict quickly and fight the urge to always be right. Agree to disagree and move on.

Eat Well These women don’t live to eat. They eat to live, which means they make healthy choices like veggies and dip at a party instead of crackers and chips. They do not deprive themselves, however. Little indulgences like a small cup of real ice

cream, high quality dark chocolate, or a nice glass of red wine can be fine if not over indulging. Quality verses quantity seems to be their mantra not just in food but in many areas of their life as well.

Exercise Their exercise of choice usually seems to be incorporated into their family and social life-everything from walking the family dog, biking with the kids, to dance classes with friends. Decide where your priorities are and what you enjoy and make that your exercise, connecting with family and friends at the same time.

Sleep Studies show less than six and even more than 9 to be unhealthy and can cause health problems down the road. The naturally beautiful tend to get just the right amount.

Give A Little Doing for others is another common trait september | october 2012

west hartford magazine


BEAUTY of these lovely ladies, whether it’s organizing a fund drive for children with cancer or simply cooking a meal for a family with the new baby. Look for daily opportunities to help your community, neighbor, and family. Even something as simple as holding open a door, picking up what someone has dropped or even just a smile at a passerby can bring joy to you both.

Laugh A Lot


Beauty Tips • Become your own natural goddess! Celebrate the traits and gifts you were born with. No one in the world is quite like you! • Humbleness is a very attractive trait!

• Perfection should not be your goal. Surround yourself with funny people, watch a comedy, tell jokes. Take every opportu• Remove yourself from the center nity you can to focus on the lighter side to of the universe. Find a deeper, more meaningful connection with others. balance it off. Most importantly, don’t take yourself too seriously. These women know how to laugh at even themselves. Humble- traits and gifts you were born with. No ness is a very attractive trait. one in the world is quite like you and that makes you interesting.

Be Confident

This seems to come more naturally as we age and are more comfortable in our own skin. Most importantly, be yourself. Some adopt the ‘fake till you make it’ approach which can come across as unauthentic as costume jewelry. It is best to stick with what you know and do it well for authentic true luster. Celebrate the

Pray/Meditate/Connect Many of the women I’ve spoken with seem to be aware of something bigger than themselves and connect to that thru prayer or meditation. They remove themselves from the center of the universe, let go of trying to control everything and instead allow themselves

to be part of the process, finding a deeper, more meaningful connection with others.

Forgive This I feel is the most important of all. Hanging onto past grudges wears on you, saps your energy and joy. You’ve probably heard of the saying, “Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting your enemy to die.� ~Anonymous Forgiveness is for you as much as, if not more than, the other person. YOU will not be free of the bondage of anger and all its effects, until you simply ‘let it go’. Just move on from it and live life. You may already possess a few of these pearls or even have a whole set with earrings and bracelet to match. The ultimate secret is not just trying them on but actually internalizing them so you glow from within, revealing the beautiful goddess that is already inside you. n Tammy Kroll is a District Manager with Arbonne Skin Care & a licensed Zumba instructor. Contact her TammyKroll2@ .


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FASHION is brought to you by:


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meets We tour some of West Hartford’s most recognizable spots in this season’s most adventurous trend: mixed materials. Sequins are no longer just for night, ripped denim is much classier than you thought, and leather can look pretty too! photography by Cheyney Barrieau styling by Bridgette Larcada

Hartford Skyline. From Left to Right: Sarah wears a scarf

by Gypsy ($65), sequin top by Alice & Olivia ($367), and denim shorts by DL ($98) at Silkworm, West Hartford Center. Daniel wears a plaid button down by Deer Creek ($10) at The Clothes Horse, Park Road. Deep V-Neck Tee ($16) and Slim Fit Jean ($69) at Gap, Westfarms.

Dana wears a leather vest by My Tribe ($320), white tank by ISDA ($74), jeans by Joes Jeans ($165) at Kimberly Boutique, West Hartford Center. Gem and pearl bracelets ($195 per stack) and vintage clasp bracelets ($95 each) by C&S Style at Spruce Home & Garden, West Hartford Center.


Elizabeth Park. L to R: Sarah wears earrings by Denise Cox

($498) and grey dress by Piper Gore ($78) at Spruce Home & Garden, West Hartford Center. Polka Dot shirt ($49) at Gap, Westfarms. Overnight tote by MCM ($770) at Artichoke, West Hartford Center. Riding boots by Charles David ($35) at The Clothes Horse, Park Road. Daniel wears Olivier sunglasses by Tom Ford ($439) at SIGHT, West Hartford Center. Dyed shirt and custom jeans both priced upon request by Hartford Denim Company, Hartford. Dana wears felt hat by Akubra ($19) at The Clothes Horse, Park Road. Denim shirt by Nameless ($58) and sequin skirt by English Rose ($45) at Ooh La La Boutique, Blue Back Square. Regina ballet shoe by Frye ($136) at Kimberly Boutique, West Hartford Center.

september | october 2012

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Elbow Room Rooftop. L to R: Dana wears Nikita glasses

by Tom ford ($399) at SIGHT, West Hartford Center. Sequin knit sweater by Haute Hippie ($425) at Silkworm, West Hartford Center. Black tool skirt by Camilla Tree ($42) at Ooh La La Boutique, Blue Back Square. Sarah wears Margot sunglasses by Tom Ford ($479) at SIGHT, West Hartford. Slip dress by BB Studio ($290) at Artichoke, West Hartford Center. Peach knit cardigan by Rehab ($60) at Ooh La La Boutique, Blue Back Square. Bronze bracelets by Patricia Khalaf ($85) at Spruce Home & Garden, West Hartford Center. Daniel wears a double breasted trench ($15) from The Clothes Horse, Park Road. Deep V-Neck ($16) at Gap, Westfarms.


Effies’s Place. Daniel wears Single Man sunglasses by Tom

Ford ($499) at SIGHT, West Hartford Center. Vintage YSL vest ($35) at The Clothes Horse, Park Road. Check button down ($49) and Straight Fit Jean ($69) at Gap, Westfarms. Sarah wears Fun Hatch glasses by Chrome Hearts ($995) at SIGHT, West Hartford Center. White blazer by Double Zero ($55) and denim jumper by Wax Denim ($48) at Ooh La La Boutique, Blue Back Square.

The New Children’s Museum. L to R: Dana wears gold

earrings by Alexis Bittar ($175) at Kimberly Boutique, West Hartford Center. Vintage vest part of 3-piece suite ($200) at The Clothes Horse, Park Road. Threadless Bicycle Tee ($29) at Gap, Westfarms. Lace skirt by Haute Hippie ($235) at Silkworm, Blue Back Square. Daniel wears a custom denim and leather jacket (price upon request) by Hartford Denim Company, Hartford. White T-shirt ($16) and khaki pants ($59) at Gap, Westfarms. Sarah wears a fleece lined hat by USA Made ($16) and button down by Bell ($6) at The Clothes Horse, Park Road. Long wrap skirt by Jarbo ($126) at Artichoke, West Hartford Center.


Bishop’s Corner. L to R: Sarah wears a felt hat by Country

Gentlemen ($17) and leather dress ($35) at The Clothes Horse, Park Road. Studded belt ($29) at Gap, Westfarms. Dana wears Carter sunglasses by Tom Ford ($429) at SIGHT, West Hartford Center. “Rebel” shirt by Haute Hippie ($125) at Silkworm, West Hartford Center. Tuxedo pants by Ever Beauty ($10) and cap toe flats by Fratelli Rossetti ($7) at The Clothes Horse, Park Road.

Daniel wears Denim Shirt ($49), Black Denim Jeans ($69), Leather Belt ($34) at Gap, Westfarms. Beast II Sunglasses by Chrome Hearts ($1695) at SIGHT, West Hartford Center.

september | october 2012

west hartford magazine



West Hartford Center. L to R: Sarah wears faux fur coat by Alice & Ol-

ivia ($396) and black pleat dress by Joie ($398) at Silkworm, West Hartford Center. Black gemstone and Czech bead bracelets ($195 per stack) by C&S Style at Spruce Home & Garden, West Hartford Center. Daniel wears vintage tuxedo jacket part of 3 piece suite ($200) at The Clothes Horse, Park Road. White dress shirt ($49) and grey jeans ($69) at Gap, Westfarms. Dana wears sued jacket ($298) at Gap, Westfarms. Vintage 19th Century dress (not for sale) at The Clothes Horse, Park Road. Gold bow necklace ($65) at Silkworm, West Hartford Center. Gemstone double ring by Denise Cox ($148) at Spruce Home & Garden, West Hartford Center.


Make up by Erin McParland Hair by Brittany Biella Of Blo, West Hartford Production Assistant Larah Winn Styling Assistant Anna Beyer Modeled by Dana, Sarah Marie, and Daniel of Maggie Inc.

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Page 1

PEOPLE On July 25th, the Junior League of Hartford teamed up with SILKWORM of West Hartford for a shopping event to raise funds for the League’s programs and projects that target alleviating hunger in Hartford. From Right to Left: Junior League of Hartford members, Nancy Woodward, Bre Bologna, Denise Callan, Megan Ross, Kate Cassen, Susan King, Lucy Magnus, Shelley Smith, Kristen Fritz, Michelle Creed, and Silkworm Owner, Erika Morizio. To learn more about the Junior League of Hartford, please visit us at 

Around Town

The Farmington Bank Feastmaker team raised over $3,000 participating in Foodshare’s Walk Against Hunger. The Farmington Bank Community Foundation matched donation efforts and then some, contributing $5,000. With a grand total of over $8,000 donated from the Feastmakers and the Foundation combined, Farmington Bank helped feed 270 hungry neighbors for an entire month.

The Murali Coryell Band performed at Blue Back Square at West Hartford Center at “A Little Thursday Night Music” gathering on August 2, 2012. The popular Thursday night music series just finished its fourth season. Photo courtesy of Mick Melvin

Photo courtesy of Cheyney Barrieau Photography.

West Hartford Mayor The Honorable R. Scott Slifka and The Mercy Community President and CEO William J. Fiocchetta of Granby, are pictured together here on the green at The Hartford Golf Club, site of The 12th Annual Circle of Mercy Golf Outing on June 11th.

West Hartford Yoga hosted the second annual free outdoor yoga class on LaSalle Road, in West Hartford Center on July 21, 2012. The all levels class was led by local yogi Barbara Ruzansky who was assisted by instructors from area studios. Approximately 600 people participated. Photo courtesy of Mick Melvin september | october 2012

west hartford magazine





Gardening for the Most Colorful Season of the Year



s gardeners, we take our own gardens for granted in the fall. By the time autumn rolls around, the last thing we want to do is think about another plant—or any more watering, weeding or deadheading. But there are ways to obtain a fabulous fall garden without much extra work. By choosing a few perennials, and even a couple of larger shrubs, the garden can have fall color to rival the landscape. We don’t often think of choosing perennials with fall color in mind, and for good reason—most don’t have any sort of fall color. One in particular, however, amsonia hubrichtii, (unfortunately it has no good common name—just amsonia, or sometimes bluestar) turns a brilliant golden color for weeks before the foliage dies off. As a bonus, its flowers are a lovely blue for a few weeks in early summer. Sedums, known for fall blooms, have been around for decades but early adopters may have gotten disenchanted with the Autumn Joy variety which, though lovely, had a tendency to get floppy and needed to be staked. Many newer varieties are shorter or have sturdier stems. One similar to Autumn Joy is called Autumn Brilliance. It won’t flop over in full sun but will still have those same lovely russet flowers. For those preferring even more color, Matrona is a taller cultivar and Ruby Glow is a shorter one, both with red to burgundy stems before the lovely flowers bloom. And while we buy out the garden centers every fall with chrysanthemums, perhaps some of our dollars could be better spent buying perennial asters. They come

in many of the same color ranges as the mums—whites, pinks, purples and ranges of those tones—but because they are reliably hardy, they will come back year after year. For dramatic and showy fall perennials, consider the fall blooming Japanese anemones. Many start blooming in late August and will bloom for 6 weeks or more. They bloom in pink or white. They formerly had been very large perennials (to about 4’) but new dwarf varieties in the ‘Pretty Lady’ series will stay in the 2’ range. The Pretty Ladies are all pink, with either single or semi-double flowers. For those with shade, the late blooming begonia grandis or its white relative, alba, make reliably hardy true begonia-like blooms. Just be aware that it does return very late in the spring--you’ll think it’s dead and then suddenly it’s there. It will self-sow around, although it is quite easy to transplant or remove to the compost pile. If there is space for some larger shrubs (and shrubs generally mean less work) consider some of the great native plants that exist. Some have great fall color and a few even have fruits for the birds. One of the best for fall colors is itea, also called Virginia sweetspire. Formerly, it was a big shrub but a newer cultivar, ‘Henry’s Garnet’ stays in the 3-4’ range. The name refers to the brilliant fall red leaf color. It is covered in small white cascading flower panicles in June (a time when not a lot is blooming in the garden) and its flowers are attractive to butterflies and other pollinators as well. Another shrub that will be brilliant red in the fall is the chokeberry. This shrub will

form large clumps so give it a bit of room. The birds love it and the fruit can be used for jelly. The fruits are persistent, meaning they stay on the plant and don’t drop and become a mess—if the wildlife doesn’t find them, which is highly unlikely. Many varieties of viburnum will also have lovely color in the fall. Some are indeed native. All have fruits that are beloved by birds and wildlife. Many will also have persistent fruits as well, meaning they will be lovely through the winter--if there are any fruits left. One cultivated variety is called ‘Cardinal Candy’ and its small berries are brilliant red--but of course also attractive to birds. For something very unusual, seek out heptacodium miconiodes, or Seven Sons Flower. The name refers both to the fact that the white flower cluster, which opens in autumn (giving rise to another common name, autumn lilac) tends to have 7 blooms, and the bark will go through 7 stages. It’s a beautiful shrub or small tree, topping out at 15-20’. With all these choices for fall gardening, mums, cabbages and ornamental kale begin to look positively ordinary. This year, add some lasting color to the garden for beauty you can enjoy for seasons to come. n

Karla Dalley is a garden writer and speaker from West Hartford.

photography by

by Karla A. Dalley


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West Hartford Magazine Sept/Oct 2012  

West Hartford Magazine 1st Anniversary Issue featuring terrific teens!

West Hartford Magazine Sept/Oct 2012  

West Hartford Magazine 1st Anniversary Issue featuring terrific teens!