Monday, February 20, 2017

Greatness and the Lady Huskies

Connecticut’s pride has won the heart of the world of sports and beyond with the 2017 UCONN Women’s Basketball Team winning the program’s one hundredth consecutive game in defeating 6th rank South Carolina by a score of 66-55. Make no mistake about this phenomenal winning streak. The Lady Huskies worked very hard training for this.  And, it’s in the record books now, sure to ultimately make it to the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Among my favorite stories are the true tales revealing the successful accomplishments of ordinary people who develop their craft through personal dedication, a driving work ethic, and a sense of purpose. It’s where serious challenges are confronted as opportunities to achieve the dreams of greatness.   

We have witnessed an astonishing and historic feat in Women’s College Basketball with UCONN repeatedly breaking its own winning streak accomplishments. And to his credit, to cushion the effect of an inevitable loss, Head Coach Gino Auriemma repeatedly reminds his team that no one wins every game forever.  The Lady Huskies are not a super human species of athletes. They are the product of a unique basketball training system that instills players with a thorough knowledge of the fundamentals of the game and the application of the skills of mastery in daily drills. The program evolved from Auriemma’s decades of coaching experience supported by an outstanding coaching staff. Thus, motivated players steadily improve their athletic proficiency, speed, agility, physical dexterity, strength and knowledge of every inch of the court daily. They have learned that winning each game, one at a time, is the way to championships.  Emerging from this methodology is a sharply honed set of team skills, perfected in every practice session and game with eyes sharply fixed on visual communication with their teammates.    
The girls are recruited through years of careful scouting based on their athleticism, consistency, endurance and a passion to take on every trial as one more chance to perfect their craft. It is interesting to note that the pursuit of excellence flows quite naturally from the court into the classrooms and beyond through the same focused work ethic.
Behind the scenes, the secrets of the Huskies are their repetitive drills on the practice court working out each “assist” with a pass to a well-positioned scorer, or a three-player effort, making shots and rebounds from virtually out of nowhere, blocking and skillfully stealing the ball. The fans and sports commentators are amazed at their relentless efforts for each victory.  More of the inside story is revealed in the TV interviews with Coach Auriemma analyzing the individual and collective performance of each game.
Art and science combine with disciplined experience and a passion for reaching for perfection in any sport, or for that matter, any endeavor.  The Lady Huskies have captured the unqualified public respect for the development of their craft and their commitment to being focused on each moment of each game, one play at a time.   
Today’s challenge is for us to influence our heirs to the future to believe in themselves and be inspired to greatness by the pace setters who have pursued the path to excellence beyond their own imagined potential.  

Consider the possibilities far beyond the field of sports. The world needs more champions and the Lady Huskies are but one example of greatness as the prize of passion and steadfast dedication.
As published in Appleseed on February 17, 2017, in The Southington Citizen. 
Community services advocate Dick Fortunato welcomes your comments at

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Annual St Patrick's Day Dinner with Irish Entertainment and Loads of Fun - Sunday March 12, 2017

Sure 'n' the Annual Saint Patrick's Day Dinner has been one of the most popular "Paddy Socials" in Town for many years.

  • It's a great family event.
  • Provides for the adult corned beef and cabbage lovers as well as other for the children. 
  • Irish music, decor, dancing, and much entertainment including games and raffle prizes. 
  • AND, THIS YEAR it's a benefit for:
  • Bread for Life and
  •  St. Dominic Early Childhood Day Care Center. 
Wear Green and ask friends to join you. 

Click arrow → in upper left corner to see more Appleseed posts

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Southington Education Foundation to Host Family Day at Crystal Bees March 12, 2017

A Win - Win Opportunity... A Great Way to Spend a Really Exciting Day of Family Fun...and A Great Way to Help Southington Education Foundation Support Our Schools and Southington Kids in Their Education. 

Friday, February 10, 2017

Southington HS Jazz Band and 5-Metal Chemistry at FCC on Feb 26, 2017

Jazz Concert with Southington HS Jazz Band and 5-Metal Chemistry followed by Pancake Supper on Sunday, February 26 at 5 PM at First Congregational Church of Southington, 37 Main Street. Free-will offering, RSVP for supper to or 860-628-6958
Above photo of February 21, 2016 performance if SHS JAZZ Band Concert
at First Congregational Church of Southington

This year, a Jazz Concert featuring the Southington High School Jazz Band will be held on Sunday, February 26, 2017 at 5 PM at the historic Meetinghouse of the First Congregational Church (FCC) of Southington. The twenty members of the Southington HS Jazz Band, under the direction of Brett Berardi, will be performing a full range of jazz selections. 

The concert's opening will be performed by 5-Metal Chemistry, a brass quintet which includes SHS Jazz Band alumni Evan Gray and Tim "Mr. J." Johnson. 

The concert will be followed by a Pancake Supper in the church hall at approximately 6:15 pm. Regular, banana, blueberry, and chocolate chip pancakes will be available along with coffee, tea, and juice. Eating pancakes and other fried foods in the days leading up to the start of Lent is a tradition that goes back to medieval times.

The event is jointly sponsored by the Southington HS Music Department and the FCC's Board of Music & Arts (BOMA). BOMA encourages fellowship and sponsors events which allow the community to share their vast talents.

The First Congregational Church of Southington is located at 37 Main Street, across from the town green. Parking is available in the public lots next door or across the street. Both the Meeting House and Memorial Hall are handicap accessible. In case of inclement weather please check or the SHSBands Facebook page for updates. No tickets are necessary, there will be a free-will offering for both the concert and supper. 

If attending the supper an RSVP is appreciated to or 860-628-6958.

New Executive Director at Mulberry Gardens Dedicating Her Career to the Care of Older Adults

Katie Mauriello
Executive Director, Mulberry Gardens
Plantsville, Connecticut
Katie Mauriello has a heart for older adults. Her passion was born in her high school years when she became a certified nurses aide at St. Mary’s Hospital in Waterbury. From that time, she knew she would dedicate her career to older adults.
Now she has found the perfect place to put her passion into action. On Jan. 9 she began serving as the new executive director of Mulberry Gardens of Southington, located at 58 Mulberry St. in the Plantsville section of Southington.
Mulberry Gardens of Southington, a not for profit, adult day and memory care community, is a member of Hartford HealthCare Senior Services. “Mulberry Gardens is one of the best assisted living communities in the state,” Mauriello said. “I’m honored to be working here.”
Mauriello’s 20-plus-year career has been in senior living communities, primarily with Hartford HealthCare Senior Services on the marketing teams at The Orchards at Southington, Arbor Rose at Jerome Home in New Britain, and Cedar Mountain Commons in Newington. “I love Hartford HealthCare. I find it motivating and inspiring working side by side with talented mentors, leaders and staff,” Mauriello said.
“Mulberry Gardens is a special place for residents and staff and I wanted to be part of that,” she said. To that end, during her first few weeks, she has focused on getting to know one-to-one the residents, their families and employees.
“We are delighted to welcome Katie to Mulberry Gardens. Her philosophy is completely aligned with our core values, and her passion and enthusiasm for seniors is infectious,” said Lisa Connolly, NHA, MS, vice president, Hartford HealthCare Senior Services.
Mauriello starts each day with strolling the building, stopping to chat with residents and supporting staff in their work. “I love to see residents and staff engaged in conversation or activities,” she said.
One of her greatest pleasures is when family members delight in seeing their loved ones become involved in activities and even exercise in the GoodLife Fitness center. “They can’t believe they have their mom ‘back,’” she said.
Mauriello is a resident of Bristol with her husband Joe and two sons, ages 9 and 11. She is active in the community with the PTA and McCabe Waters Little League. She also is a member of local chambers of commerce in the greater Central Connecticut area. She is a previous New Britain Rotarian and looks forward to joining the Southington Rotary.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

LIONS CLUB OF SOUTHINGTON - 26th Annual "Everything Goes" Charity Auction

Tie a knot around your finger for this event ... Sunday, March 4th at 6:15 pm at Mary Our Queen Church Hall.  Details shown in below flier announcement.

The Lions Club is an internationally known charity that helps communities in so many untold ways beyond the outstanding support they provide for the blind and healthier vision.

Do what you can to be there. The admission price is only $5.00 and will include refreshments and an opportunity for you to win a Grand Door Prize.  (You must be present to win).

Most important, all revenue from this event will be used exclusively for the charities supported by the Lions Club.  

See you there ...

LiveWell Free Diabetes Workshop - State Department on Aging!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The whole town is invited to an Open House on Sunday, February 12, 2016 at Bread for Life's new home at 31 Vermont Avenue in Southington

A Community-wide Invitation From Bread for Life

The fulfillment of a dream of hope of a legion of compassionate volunteers and supporters who have been part of the Bread for Life story of more than thirty years has become a long-awaited reality.    

Recently appointed BFL Executive Director, Donna Ayer, stated: “The whole town is invited to an Open House at our new facility at 31 Vermont Avenue on Sunday, Feb. 12th, from 1 to 4 pm.  Complimentary tours of our new home will be conducted along with information about the services and volunteer opportunities now open to those who wish to help us continue our mission of meeting the needs of our local hungry.” Entertainment and refreshments, courtesy of Kenzie Kakes, Rogers Orchards, and Subway, will be provided.  Visitors are asked to bring an item(s) from our most-needed list and have their names entered in our open house raffle sponsored by Anthony Jack’s, Geno’s Restaurant, Hen House, Jacqueline’s Nail and Beauty, Paul Gregory’s, Southington Community Services, Tavern 42, and Thai Kitchen 4.  Most needed Items are jelly, cereal, fruit juice or juice boxes, corn, green beans and canned fruit.” Ayer stated.   

BFL Board of Directors Chairman, Mike Soltys, noted the years of exemplary community service of Donna Ayer, particularly in a leadership position at the Southington YMCA. “Donna is a dynamic, creative person who gets things done, the kind of person to step in and take over this transition, working with the Board to consider the new possibilities open to BFL now operating under one roof in an enhanced, more commodious facility.” Soltys said.
Stepping into the entryway and smartly designed dining room, one promptly feels the warmth and sense of comfort of the bright colors and d├ęcor, reaching for a sense of dignity to clients.” Soltys pointed out that “our pride in not without recognition of the endless community gratitude to the extraordinary accomplishments of our recently retired executive director, Eldon Hafford, during his past nine years of distinguished dedication, a time in which he led the pathway to the expansion of BFL services.”  Hafford said: “I’m deeply grateful to the community for supporting BFL’s many programs providing countless thousands of meals through the years feeding so many who might have gone hungry.” 

But, there are so many to thank for the astonishing feat this community project represents. The extraordinary efforts of our Board Vice-Chair, Dave Donnelly in 2016 in managing the project, coordinating the participation and contributions of an amazing coalition of community partners who made it happen.”, said Soltys.  Dave also undertook the writing of a major one-time state grant with Assembly Speaker Joe Aresimowicz leading the charge, with the aid of, (former state representatives), Dave Zoni and the late Betty Boukus.

“It would be fruitless to try to provide an all-inclusive list of those who played a role in the town-wide consortium of this mammoth project.”, Donnelly said.  Significant monetary gifts included $50K from The Calvanese Foundation, a matching grant of $50K from the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain, (thanks, Jim Williamson), the Hartford County Home Builders Association, First Baptist Church, First Congregational Church, Close Harbor Seafood and UNICO of Southington, the Soltys family, a dishwasher from the Rotary Club and walk-in freezer from Southington Lions Club.

“The participation was incredible”, Soltys said, “starting with the pro bono services of AA Denorfia Construction & Development and architect Joe Eddy plus some 29 additional contractors and service providers. It was in every sense a full community undertaking.” Opportunities for volunteers of virtually all ages and talents have never been greater. Just ask!

For publication in the Southington Citizen on Friday, February 10, 2017 by Dick Fortunato, freelance writer and community service advocaate. Comments may be sent to