Monday, May 10, 2010

National Train Day this past Saturday

Had the pleasure of attending and participating in the National Train Day program at Union Station in New Haven this past Saturday. This was one of hundreds of events that took place across the United States in celebration of the country's rail heritage and to help promote the rebirth of rail. The event was very well done in the west lobby of Union Station and four of the state's gubernatorial candidates were in attendance as speakers as well. Dan Malloy and Ned Lamont from the Democrat side and Oz Griebel and Larry DeNardis from the Republican side. In fact Ned traveled to the event by train. As expected all four were very supportive of the idea of enhancing rail service, both passenger and freight in Connecticut and the Northeast.

Rail, without question is experiencing a rebirth in this country. Not only is the current administration in Washington looking to invest but the private sector lead by Warren Buffet has made no secret of their intentions to invest in and grow the rail business. All good outcomes for us. We just need to move CONN DOT along faster and get them to understand that not every project we do has to have rubber wheels.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Great day and great weather for the 6th Annual Duck Race

The weather was just great. Unlike last year when it dripped rain off and on the entire time and the air temp was in the 50's, this year sun was hot and the food vendors were selling bottled water and slushies non-stop. Luckily the river was moving fast and the first ducks crossed the finish line about 30 minutes from when they were dumped.

In the first preliminary exhibition race the Forestville Village Association duck out-paced the Central Connecticut Chamber duck to take the crown away for 2010. In the second exhibition race (honoring our armed forces) the Coast Guard duck won the day.

Again thanks to all who provided sponsorships, logistic support and bought tickets. To our Friends at the Forestville Village Association - Great Job!

Here are the winners:

1- # 4104 Andrew Gaidis
2- # 569 Michelle Dressler
3- # 1895 Lori D'Amato
4- # 873 Sue Moreau
5- # 105 Pam Dimock
6- # 4563 Mike Klonoski
7- # 3082 Al Cyr
8- # 848 Robert Caruso
9- # 3859 Terry Paskowski
10- #2438 Luke Freimuth
11- # 970 Joyce Lukasewski
12- # 885 Mike Pastore
13- # 3969 Lisa Stickels
14- # 3244 J. Ramondetta
15- # 3794 Brianna Carlson
16- # 3690 Kelly Green
17- # 1423 Ellie Barrett
18- # 3241 Larry Carlucci
19- # 3899 Craig Minor
20- # 247 Holy DeLuc
21- # 4538 Amy Lipscomb
22- # 932 Margaret Scoville
23- # 1418 Linda Perry

Thursday, April 29, 2010

How transportation projects get done quickly and with reasonable costs.

The links below are to the Pioneer Vally Planning Commission and the announcement of their Knowledge Corridor Project where they are replacing and reactivating 45+ miles of rail in central Massachusetts for $75 million. The project was conceived, studied and funded in about 18 months. If only we could do that here!

Latest Busway Battles

The link to latest salvos in the battle of the Busway is below. Most of which is just name calling on the part of the Busway proponents. In the end the card that they continue play is the "bird in the hand" federal funding which is all smoke. An open honest discussion of what was really studied, the actual costs and the minimal to non-existent return on investment that this project will provide is a discussion they need to avoid at all costs.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Some Busway Fun Facts

The New Britain/Hartford Busway is estimated to cost $573 million.

At that price the cost is $61.6 million per mile or $143,250.00 per new estimated rider.

The daily ridership number of 15,000 presented by ConnDOT is a red herring in that it counts the current 11,000 daily riders from the existing CT Transit routes.

The estimated 4,000 new ridership numbers even if accurate do not translate into a one for one reduction in cars from I-84. In fact, many of the targeted riders do not have cars so the "congestion mitigation" promoted by ConnDOT is inaccurate.

Congestion mitigation is minimal in that the Busway does not remove one single truck from I-84 and may in fact cause long-term interference with the movement of freight rail through the center corridor of the state potentially adding more truck traffic if not corrected.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Healthcare - What say you?

OK Chamber members let's hear what you have to say about the newly passed Healthcare bill. Will this be a help or disaster for small business and/or business in general? Or are we looking at the same scenario as Social Security where the original intent has become so diluted and convoluted over time that the program has become a hyper inflated social program that is constantly on the edge of financial disaster?

Tell us what you think.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Central Connecticut/Greater Bristol Chamber Announces Annual Dinner Award Winners

It is our pleasure to announce this year’s Chamber of Commerce Award winners. These people and organizations will be honored at our annual dinner on June 9th at the Aqua Turf. They are as follows:

Distinguished Business of the Year Award - COVANTA
Service Business of the Year Award - COMCAST
Small Business of the Year Award - Parkside Café
Special Service Award - New England Spring & Metal Stamping Assoc
Health Care Services Award - Dr. Michael Ptaszynski
E. Bartlett Barnes Distinguished Service - Jack Driscoll
Volunteer of the Year - Jack Sand (Posthumously)
“Spirit” of Bristol Award - Team ESPN

Each of these organizations and individuals has contributed enormous amounts of time and effort to the Chamber and to the community. While we are saddened that we cannot present the volunteer award to Jack Sand we are very pleased that his son Steve will be accepting the award in his memory.

Congratulations to the Interservice Council Awards Dinner Winners

It’s that time of year again when the Chamber assists with the annual Interservice Club Council awards dinner. This year was the 31st annual dinner and it was held on St. Patrick’s Day (the 17th) at Nuchies.

Before I congratulate the winners, on behalf of the Chamber and the all of the organizations involved I like to thank Mayor Ward for attending the dinner; Whit Betts for doing a great job as the chair of this year’s event; and, Minister Kristen Kleiman of the First Congregational Church of Bristol for providing the invocation.

I also want to thank Linda DiMatteo from our staff here at the Chamber for handling the heavy lifting in the background. And of course staff member Joyce Lukasewski for event night support and as always, our volunteer photographer Ed (Digital Ed) Pelkey.

Here are the clubs and organizations that participated this year along with their individual winners. When you see these folks in the community please be sure to say thank you for their dedication and unselfish commitment to their organizations and the community. We are better for their efforts.

Bart Barnes Rotarian of the Year - Terry Pelletier
Quotarian of the Year - Diane Ashworth
Exchangite of the Year - Gerald Blanchette
Bristol Woman of the Year - Irene Taylor
Kiwanian of the Year - Jim Mascaro
Unican of the Year - Tim Rosetti
Lion of the Year - George Rindfleisch

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Sunday Liquor Sales - What do you think?

All politics aside (as the issue appears dead for this year), what does membership think about Sunday liquor sales? Do you think this would increase overall tax revenues or would they just stay the same? How about wine in addition to beer in groceries stores? I've seen it both in other New England states and down south and the choices are usually very good and some stores have very diverse wine selections. Come on business people tell us what you think.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Bill 63 - Paid Sick Leave

This is bill is back again from last year. The state senate correctly never brought this bill to a vote last year and hopefully the senate will recognize that this bill will do nothing but make our anemic jobs situation in the state only worse and will table it once again.

That said the bill did pass through the Labor & Public Employees Committee (6 to 4 vote)and will now most likely move to the Judiciary Committee. We’re told the emphasis of the bill is a public health issue to avoid those who work in food services (restaurants, etc.) to not come to work when they are ill because they are either hourly employees or their employers lacks a documented sick day policy.

Track the bill at:

So employers what do you think?

Bill 429 - "Most-Favored-Nations clauses in Medical Provider Contracts

Bill 429 came before the Public Health Committee of the state legislature last week. The bill would remove the ability to use "Most-Favored-Nations" clauses in contracts between commercial insurers and medical providers such as Bristol Hospital. The goal is to foster more competition by not allowing insurance providers that have a commanding market-share to further control the market through pricing advantages that cannot be shared. You can see the body the bill at the following link:

What does membership think about this approach and do you think that this bill if passed would help with competition and help drive down insurance costs?