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Free massages Monday – It’s National Massage Therapy Awareness Week

October 21, 2012 Business, Local News Comments Off

Enjoy a free massage at Quinebaug Valley Community College between 3 and 6 p.m. on Monday (Oct. 22) as part of a celebration of National Massage Therapy Awareness Week. Image courtesy of American Massage Therapy Association.

Enjoy a free massage at Quinebaug Valley Community College between 3 and 6 p.m. on Monday (Oct. 22) as part of a celebration of the 16th annual National Massage Therapy Awareness Week, Oct. 21-27.

The massages are offered by the American Massage Therapy Association.

QVCC is located at 729 Main Street in downtown Willimantic.

QVCC invites the public to meet local licensed massage therapists and learn about the many benefits of massage therapy.

Posted October 21, 2012 – based on a press release, links and video added by HTNP News Editor Brenda Sullivan

Have a news item, event or Letter to the Editor you’d like posted on this news site? Simply send your information to editor@htnp.com and include your town in the subject line of your email. Please also include a phone number where you can be reached if there are questions. For daily updates on local and Connecticut news, “like” us on Facebook at HTNP News. https://www.facebook.com/HTNPnews and find us on our NEW Twitter page at HTNP News (@HTNPNews )

USDA releases first-ever report on organic agriculture and our food choices

October 16, 2012 Areawide, Business, Local News Comments Off

In its first-ever report on organic farm production,  the U.S. Department of Agriculture finds that while organic farmers make up less than a half of one percent of all U.S. farmers, they already sell more than $3.5 billion worth of agricultural products.

Editor’s note: There is some controversy over whether what’s being certified as “organic” by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)  is in fact, organic. Some of the controversy centers on the membership of the board that does the certification whose companies stand to profit by expanding the boundaries (or approved list) of substances in our food deemed “organic.” HTNP welcomes comments from readers on this topic.

The following is from the weekly USDA Science Tuesday blog post:

“Organic agriculture is proving itself to be a veritable cornucopia, according to the results of the first-ever report on USDA-certified organic production, which we released earlier this month.

While the number of organic farms is a fraction of its conventional counterpart, an organically-produced version of virtually every crop or animal product is now available in the United States.

This was the first time the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) conducted this survey, which means that we cannot see trends yet, but we can already easily see some of the impacts of organic production in the United States.

From four farms in Alabama, Alaska or Delaware to 1,898 farms in California, every state in the nation is now home to USDA-certified organic producers.

And while these farmers make up less than a half of one percent of all U.S. farmers, they already sell more than $3.5 billion worth of agricultural products.

Many of these growers are taking the time and effort to bring their products directly to U.S. consumers. While 81 percent of their sales come from products that go to wholesale markets and become available to shoppers through their local supermarkets, almost a third of all USDA-certified growers sell their products directly to consumers. [For example, at farmers’ markets.]

In fact, as of 2011, each state has at least some USDA-certified producers selling their fruits, vegetables, crops, livestock or animal products such as eggs or milk directly to local customers.

USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) provided funding and support for this NASS survey. [The Risk Management Agency] aims to use the survey results to examine potential risk management tools and crop insurance for organic growers.

[The National Agricultural Statistics Service] also partnered with the Agricultural Marketing Service’s National Organic Program, which helped ensure that we reached all of the USDA-certified organic producers in the United States.

But this was just a brief glance at the USDA-certified organic production and we plan to learn more about this unique sector of U.S. agriculture.

Over three years, USDA’s science agencies have invested more than $117 million on improving the productivity and success of organic agriculture.  And for farmers, USDA provides up to 75 percent of the cost of organic certification.  Those are a few of the ways that USDA shows its strong commitment to organic agriculture.”

USDA has included organic industry questions in its Census since 2002, and as the next step, NASS will include some questions about organic production in the 2012 Census of Agriculture, which will arrive in producers’ mailboxes in just a few short months.

These questions will help us take a more in-depth look at the organic agriculture industry and start identifying some of the trends for that sector.

I hope all organic growers will take the time to fill out the Census. After all, it gives them a chance to have their voices heard and an opportunity to shape their own futures.

Posted by Hubert Hamer, Agricultural Statistics Board Chairman, on October 16, 2012 as part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog – blogs.usda.gov/2012 – updated weekly.

Posted on HTNP.com Oct. 16, 2012 as edited by HTNP News Editor Brenda Sullivan – comments added in brackets.

Have a news item, event or Letter to the Editor you’d like posted on this news site? Simply send your information to editor@htnp.com and include your town in the subject line of your email. Please also include a phone number where you can be reached if there are questions. For daily updates on local and Connecticut news, “like” us on Facebook at HTNP News. https://www.facebook.com/HTNPnews and find us on our NEW Twitter page at HTNP News (@HTNPNews )

Xenophon ‘Zenny’ Zorba Oct 29 1940 – Sept 17 2012

October 5, 2012 Business, Local News, Obituaries Comments Off

Xenophon “Zenny” Zorba. Zenny was well known in Mansfield and surrounding towns as owner and operator of the former Zenny’s Restaurant in Storrs-Mansfield, CT, where his friends in the community visited him daily for nearly 30 years until 2010, be it for dinner, a wedding, any one of a number of celebrations, a classical chamber music concert, or simply to watch the Red Sox, UCONN, or Jeopardy together over a drink.

Xenophon “Zenny” Zorba, 71, of Willington, CT, loving husband of Alisonn (Ensell) Zorba, passed away peacefully Sept. 17, 2012 at home.

A celebration of his life will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 13 at Storrs Congregational Church, 2 North Eagleville Road, on the Storrs-UConn campus.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to Storrs Congregational Church.

Zenny was born on Oct. 29, 1940 in Katerini, Greece to Alexander and Rebecca (Sideropoulos) Zorba.

Zenny was well known in Mansfield and surrounding towns as owner and operator of the former Zenny’s Restaurant in Storrs-Mansfield, CT, where his friends in the community visited him daily for nearly 30 years until 2010, be it for dinner, a wedding, any one of a number of celebrations, a classical chamber music concert, or simply to watch the Red Sox, UCONN, or Jeopardy together over a drink.

The hundreds of employees over the years were like family to Zenny and would stay in touch with him many years after they worked there.

Zenny came to the United States in 1947 and lived in and around Boston up to 1967. As a young man, Zenny worked hard at many different vocations, from driving a taxi, to going up 5 stories to paint buildings, to working at a Coca Cola bottling plant.

In 1967 Zenny moved to Connecticut, where he learned the building trade and ultimately owned and operated his own building and foundation business through the 1970s. During this time, Zenny helped many people become first-time homeowners.

In 1980, Zenny opened Zenny’s Restaurant at Four Corners – the intersection of Routes 44 and 195, and then expanded the business twice throughout the decade.

While it took him 54 years to finally get around to it, one of Zenny’s proudest days was becoming a citizen of the United States in 2001.

Zenny is survived by his wife Alisonn, his four children Laurie Zorba of North Billerica, MA, Christine Ann DeCarolis and her husband James of Nashua, NH, Alexander Zorba and his wife Joanne of Madison, CT and Bethany Zorba of Tolland, CT, his two grandchildren Connor Occhialini and Nicholas Zorba, and his sister Athena Kantartjis and her husband Michael of Athens, Greece.

Zenny’s family would like to thank his many friends – though there is not enough space here to individually thank the countless number of people who were a friend to him.

The family also wishes to thank Storrs Congregational Church for being a welcoming spiritual home for him during his later years and to the caring people of Vitas Hospice Care for helping him stay at home in his final peaceful days.

Potter Funeral Home www.potterfuneralhome.com is handling arrangements.

Posted October 5, 2012

Obituaries and funeral notices may be sent to editor@htnp.com Currently, there is no charge for publishing these notices. Please include a contact name and phone number for verification.  To keep up-to-date on local news, “like” us (HTNP News) on Facebook

Job Fair at East Brook Mall Sept. 28

September 25, 2012 Business, Local News Comments Off

Looking for a job, a change in career? Come to the job fair at the East Brook Mall from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 28.

Looking for a job, a change in career? Come to the job fair at the East Brook Mall from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 28.

Experts from the state Department of Labor will be on hand to help job applicants by critiquing their resumés, as well as a representative of the Veterans Administration to help veterans find work.

The fair will include more than 20 employers.

Job opportunities include the health industry, transportation, education and manufacturing. Participating businesses include General Dynamics, EastConn, FedEx Ground, M&M Transport services and U.S. Foods.

Also, four hospitals and several community health centers will talk with job seekers including Windham, Day Kimball, Backus and Natchaug.

Representatives from CTWorks East will also be available to help with your job search.

Questions? Call 860-423-8466, ext. 3314.

The Job Fair is sponsored by the Chronicle, CT Works East, Quinebaug Valley Community College, EWIB, Northeastern Connecticut Chamber of Commerce and the Windham Region Chamber of Commerce.

Other business news

From now until Friday, Oct. 5, Applebee’s restaurant in the East Brook Mall location (93 Storrs Road-Route 195)  invites all sports fans and collectors to a silent auction that will benefit Make-A-Wish® of Connecticut.

Participants can visit the restaurant to bid on celebrity photos, sports items and local memorabilia that currently adorn the walls of the restaurant, which will soon be undergoing a renovation.

Posted September 25, 2012 – links added by HTNP Editor Brenda Sullivan

Related links: CT Gov page with many links to resources for a job search http://www.ctdol.state.ct.us/gendocs/JobSeekers.html

Windham Region Chamber of Commerce https://www.windhamchamber.com/

Have a news item, event or Letter to the Editor you’d like posted on this news site? Simply send your information to editor@htnp.com and include your town in the subject line of your email. Please also include a phone number where you can be reached if there are questions. For daily updates on local and Connecticut news, “like” us on Facebook at HTNP News. https://www.facebook.com/HTNPnews and find us on our NEW Twitter page at HTNP News (@HTNPNews )

Federal grant will help train Connecticut’s ‘dislocated’ workers, unemployed veterans

September 19, 2012 Areawide, Business, Local News Comments Off

The U.S. Department of Labor has awarded a $12 million “consortium” grant to five community colleges and Eastern Connecticut State University and Charter Oak State college to help “dislocated” workers, veterans and other “under-employed” train for careers in the health services field.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy today (Sept. 19) announced that the U.S. Department of Labor has awarded a $12 million “consortium” grant to five community colleges and Eastern Connecticut State University and Charter Oak State College to help “dislocated” workers, veterans and other “under-employed” train for careers in the health services field.

The job-training program will allow participants to earn certifications, industry-recognized credentials and associate degrees.

The grant is funded under the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grants Program at the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.

“Healthcare and the life sciences are two sectors of our economy that are poised to grow in the coming century,” said Gov. Malloy.

“That’s the reason we have vigorously pursued companies like Jackson Laboratories and Alexion to relocate and expand in our state. The more we can solidify Connecticut’s role as a leader in these industries, the more our residents will have access to good paying jobs with good benefits. And thanks to today’s announcement, we’re going to be able to have the workforce in place to really make this vision a reality.”

Some of the certifications that students in these programs may be able to earn include:

Biomedical Equipment Technician

Biomedical Informatics

Bioscience Manufacturing Technician

Health Information Technician

Instrument Calibration Technician

Occupational Health & Safety Technician

Quality Assurance Technician

Quality Control Technician

Respiratory Therapy Technician

Surgical Technologist

Some of the Associate Degrees students may be able to earn include:

Bioscience Manufacturing Technologist

Health Information Technologist

Medical Coder (Inpatient)

Occupational Health and Safety Specialist

Quality Assurance Specialist

Quality Control Specialist

For a link to the PDF document with specifics on the grant proposal, click here .

Some excerpts from the grant proposal:

  • will increase the use of online and technology-enabled learning through online and mobile app math and science booster modules, self-assessments and feedback surveys embedded in online course modules, online workplace skills assessment and development tools, and the migration of courses to online and hybrid delivery.
  • will enable 675 students to earn 10,000+ college credits for work, military and other experience that provides competencies equivalent to those gained in college courses, accelerating the progress of workers, improving retention and achievement rates, and reducing time to completion.
  • will expand the Connecticut Credit Assessment Program to recognize credits earned in other institutions and settings, and promote PLAs [Prior Learning Assessments] in workplaces.
  • recruitment and placement strategies will help 360 students obtain internships and provide 2,000 participants with job placement services.

Employer partners in this project include Connecticut United for Research Excellence (CURE) – the statewide bioscience growth council with 100+ employer members; Connecticut Hospital Association; Jackson Laboratory; Saint Francis Hospital; Eastern Connecticut Health Network; Greenwich Hospital; John Dempsey Hospital (University of Connecticut Health Center); Stamford Hospital; Yale-New Haven Hospital.

The University of Connecticut and the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving are also partners in this program.

Robert A. Kennedy, President of the Board of Regents for Higher Education, which governs the 17 Connecticut state colleges and universities said, “I am particularly pleased that our proposal was submitted collaboratively by a state university, our only public, online college and five community colleges. This is exactly the kind of partnership we need to focus on now that we’re one, combined organization.

“I also appreciate the extraordinary amount of industry support we received – from hospitals across the state to CURE to Jackson Laboratory. Our private sector partners understand that with 96,000 students in our institutions, we have the capacity to train and prepare the workers they need,” Kennedy said.

Posted September 19, 2012, based on a press release and copy of the grant proposal

Have a news item, event or Letter to the Editor you’d like posted on this news site? Simply send your information to editor@htnp.com and include your town in the subject line of your email. Please also include a phone number where you can be reached if there are questions. For daily updates on local and Connecticut news, “like” us on Facebook at HTNP News. https://www.facebook.com/HTNPnews and find us on our NEW Twitter page at HTNP News (@HTNPNews )

New Storrs Center parking garage opens

September 18, 2012 Business, Local News Comments Off

The new Storrs Center Parking Garage, located on Dog Lane, will begin full operation, complete with working gates, beginning at 6 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 19. Parking at the garage is free for the first two hours, after which there is a $1-an-hour charge for each additional hour. The daily maximum is $8. Image courtesy of LeylandAlliance

The Storrs Center Parking Garage, located on Dog Lane, will begin full operation, complete with working gates, beginning at 6 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 19.

Parking at the Storrs Center garage is free for the first two hours, after which there is a $1-an-hour charge for each additional hour. The daily maximum is $8.

Patrons will pay to exit either at the gate with a credit card, or with cash or a credit card at the pay station located in the lobby adjacent to the first floor elevator.

The new “downtown” opened this month.

Storrs Automotive, Select Physical Therapy, Travel Planners, Skora’s Barber Styling Shop, Body Language and Subway have all opened in their new locations.

Residents of the first 127 apartments of The Oaks on the Square also have moved in – many of them UConn students.

Additional businesses have signed agreements to become tenants, including PriceChopper, 7-11, and medical offices for the UConn Health Center.

Questions? Please contact the Town of Mansfield Public Works Department at 860-429-3331 Monday through Friday during office hours (offices close at noon on Friday) or send an email to StorrsCenterInfo@mansfieldct.org

Posted September 18, 2012 based on a press release

Related link: Storrs Center web site http://www.storrscenter.com

Have a news item, event or Letter to the Editor you’d like posted on this news site? Simply send your information to editor@htnp.com and include your town in the subject line of your email. Please also include a phone number where you can be reached if there are questions. For daily updates on local and Connecticut news, “like” us on Facebook at HTNP News. https://www.facebook.com/HTNPnews and find us on our NEW Twitter page at HTNP News (@HTNPNews )

Live music at Storrs Farmers Market today

September 15, 2012 Areawide, Business, Local News Comments Off

Storrs Farmers Market is open today (Saturday, Sept. 15) from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Audrey P. Beck Municipal Building (Town Hall) parking lot – next door to E.O. Smith High School on Route 195/Storrs Road.

Storrs Farmers Market is open today (Saturday, Sept. 15) from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Audrey P. Beck Municipal Building (Town Hall) parking lot – next door to E.O. Smith High School on Route 195/Storrs Road.

Today it’s “Music @ the Market” with Avery.

And today’s fresh and local offerings include: apples, squash, tomatoes, beef, baked goods, honey… and much more!

To keep current with events at the Storrs Farmers Market, you can “like” or subscribe to their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/StorrsFarmersMarket

Or visit the web site to sign up for a weekly update at http://www.storrsfarmersmarket.org

Posted September 15, 2012
Avery’s YouTube video

Have a news item, event or Letter to the Editor you’d like posted on this news site? Simply send your information to editor@htnp.com and include your town in the subject line of your email. Please also include a phone number where you can be reached if there are questions. For daily updates on local and Connecticut news, “like” us on Facebook at HTNP News. https://www.facebook.com/HTNPnews and find us on our NEW Twitter page at HTNP News (@HTNPNews )

Updated, Why is the U.S. Postal Service in so much trouble?

August 27, 2012 Areawide, Business Comments Off

An Automated Postal Center. Photo source: USPS

Editor’s note - Please see the end of this psot for a correction to the Aug. 27 story.

Right now, Congress is considering a request from the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to allow an end to Saturday mail delivery and closing post offices on Saturdays.

And in an effort to dig itself out of debt, the USPS also has plans in place to eliminate 150,000 postal jobs by 2016.

Over the last three years, the USPS has already eliminated thousands of jobs.

It’s probably difficult for most people to understand why the postal service is in so much trouble – it’s a government agency, right? Why can’t the government give it more money?

Well, besides the fact that the country is still digging out from a recession, the fact is the U.S. Postal service is not a government-funded agency. It is responsible for its own costs and revenues.

At the same time, however, it is mandated to provide certain services. Like the first regulations governing telephone service – whose purpose was to ensure everyone in the country had access to affordable phone service – the post office is supposed to serve Americans of all economic levels.

It is supposed to accomplish this goal and be profitable.

There have been several news reports on the degree to which email and other aspects of the Internet have taken business away from the postal service – in particular, there’s been a huge drop in the volume of first-class mail – but a report written by Jen Wieczner for the Marketwatch section of the Wall Street Journal shines a light on much more fundamental and much more financially devastating problems.

In “10 things the post office won’t tell you,” Wieczner points out that the U.S. government requires a financial commitment from the Postal Service well beyond similar requirements for federal agencies; the USPS is mandated to make payments to pre-fund health care benefits for postal retirees 75 years into the future.

This requirement was established in the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006.

Wieczner reports that of the $11.6 billion loss reported by the Postal Service for the first three quarters of 2012, nearly 80 percent or $9.2 billion is due to the pre-funding of these benefits.

This story also reports that for the first time since the 2006 mandate, the Postal Service did not pay its $5.5 billion bill (due Aug. 1) and it will likely default on the Sept. 30 bill, as well.

Currrently, there is $44 billion in the fund, and the Postal Service wants to let that fund grow with interest – without causing any problems for retirees, according to this story. Wieczner writes that the Postal Service pension fund is more than 100 percent funded, compared with 42 percent for all federal pension funds.

This excellent news report also outlines strategies being suggested for boosting the USPS revenues (such as adding banking services), delves into the surprising portfolio of real estate owned by the postal service (and the private investors who have benefited financially from it), how “junk mail” helps pay the USPS bills, and exposes the tie between the federal budget and postal service revenues.

To read the full story, “10 things the post office won’t tell you,” click on this link http://www.marketwatch.com/story/10-things-the-postal-service-wont-tell-you-2012-08-27?pagenumber=1

Posted August 27, 2012

CORRECTION, posted Sept. 4, 2012 -

In the original post of this story (Aug. 27, 2012) I stated: “Over the last three years, the USPS has already eliminated thousands of jobs and replaced many ‘non-performing’ post offices across the country with vending machines that dispense stamps and packaging and provide other limited services.” An inquiry from a reader prompted me to seek verification of this information. According to local U.S. Postal Service spokeswoman Christine Dugas, the self-service kiosks (or Automated Postal Centers) were placed about 10 years ago in locations where there was a high volume of business, in order to reduce customer wait times. They are often placed in lobbies where the customer has 24-hour access, and they provide a wide range of postal services. Currently there are over 32,000 post offices and only 2,500 APC kiosks nationwide, Dugas said. She added that in 2011, “APCs nationwide generated $543 million in revenue through nearly 86 million transactions.” Dugas noted that since 2006, the volume of first-class mail has declined about 25 percent, and this has caused serious problems covering operating costs, but the kiosks are not related to the financial losses. Dugas added that the Postal Service’s proposal to close 3,500 post offices across the U.S. is currently on hold.

 

Related links: “US Postal Service Looking to close offices, drop one delivery day,” Sept. 2, 2009, Mansfield Today http://mansfield.htnp.com/2009/09/02/us-postal-service-looking-to-close-offices-drop-one-delivery-day/

“US Postal Service slasthing jobs, from the top,” March 20, 2009, Mansfield Today http://mansfield.htnp.com/2009/03/20/us-postal-service-slashing-jobs-from-the-top/

“US Postal Service processing 1 billion fewer pieces of mail this year,” Dec. 20, 2008, Mansfield Today http://mansfield.htnp.com/2008/12/20/us-postal-service-processing-1-billion-fewer-pieces-of-mail-this-year/

Have a news item, event or Letter to the Editor you’d like posted on this news site? Simply send your information to editor@htnp.com and include your town in the subject line of your email. Please also include a phone number where you can be reached if there are questions. For daily updates on local and Connecticut news, “like” us on Facebook at HTNP News. https://www.facebook.com/HTNPnews and find us on our NEW Twitter page at HTNP News (@HTNPNews )

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Windham and Storrs microgrid power projects could get additional funding

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Press Release Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced Oct. 30 that nine towns that are part of a pilot microgrid program, including Windham and Storrs, are eligible for additional funding. The …

In Mansfield, Get a jump on toy shopping

Over the Rainbow Toys in the East Brook Mall on the Mansfield/Willimantic town line is closing its doors at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 2, according to an e-blast sent to its customers today.

And between now and Nov. 2, shoppers will receive a 30 percent discount on all in-stock merchandise at the mall location – excluding Lego and Bruder toys.

UConn President responds to accusations school failed to act on sexual assault complaints

UConn President Susan Hebst. File photo.

There are circumstances under which the university should notify a student that another student who may have been suspended or expelled from campus will be returning, if they are returning. It is my understanding that this notification did not take place in a case that occurred three years ago and it should have. This process was corrected. – UConn President Susan Herbst

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