Nature center hires new education director
MYSTIC — The Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center has announced the hire of Suzanne Enser as its new director of education. Originally from Rhode Island, Enser grew up along the coast and spent innumerable hours exploring its natural areas.
“I believe that people of all ages need to connect with the natural world,” she said. “The opportunity to learn from, cultivate respect for and engage protection of our natural world has been an ongoing experience for me throughout my life. It is an honor to oversee the nature center’s education programs. I look forward to working with the dedicated staff and volunteers to further the mission of the nature center, while instilling a land conservation ethic within the greater southeastern Connecticut community.”
In 2007, Enser moved from Rhode Island to Vermont with her husband, and was hired as project manager with the White River Natural Resources Conservation District. In the position, Enser was responsible for developing and implementing conservation education programming, including annual land stewardship workshops and trainings, high school youth stewardship enrichment programs, a conservation day camp, and delivery of school and home school science-based curricula.
Prior to moving to Vermont, Enser was employed as a biologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.
WCCU earns R.I. Excellence Award
WESTERLY — Westerly Community Credit Union has been selected for the 2013 Rhode Island Excellence Award amongst all its peers and competitors by the Small Business Institute for Excellence in Commerce (SBIEC).
Each year the SBIEC conducts business surveys and industry research to identify companies that have achieved demonstrable success in their local business environment and industry category. They are recognized as having enhanced the commitment and contribution of small businesses through service to their customers and community. Small businesses of this caliber enhance the consumer-driven stature that Rhode Island is renowned for.
WCCU has consistently demonstrated a high regard for upholding business ethics and company values. This recognition by SBIEC marks a significant achievement as an emerging leader within various competitors and is setting benchmarks that the industry should follow.
As part of the industry research and business surveys, various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the selected companies in each category. This research is part of an exhaustive process that encapsulates a year-long immersion in the business climate of Rhode Island.
Murphy among R.I. Food Dealers Assoc. scholarship winners
EAST PROVIDENCE — The Rhode Island Food Dealers Association held its Annual Meeting and Holiday Gala on Dec. 7 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Newport. In addition to the traditional oath of office ceremony for its executive committee and board of directors, this year also included a transition of chairman. Jim Murphy, of Stop & Shop, completed his term and Lou Furcolo, of Dave’s Fresh Marketplace, accepted the role of chairman of the board for 2014.
The event also featured the awarding of the annual college scholarships. This year’s winners were Dylan Armstrong, whose mother works at Shaw’s Market and Dave’s Fresh Marketplace; Megan Cummins, employed at the Stop & Shop in Lincoln; Jordan Murphy, who works at Dunn’s Corner Market in Westerly; and Haley Wilk, who works at the Dave’s Fresh Marketplace in Coventry. The recipients were all deserving students who qualified for their scholarship by virtue of their or their parent’s employment in the greater Rhode Island food industry. They were required to meet the criteria outlined by the RIFDA, including interviews with the scholarship committee. The program has been established as a form of economic support and a value-added benefit to our members and their employees.
Chelsea Groton continues volunteering tradition
GROTON — Chelsea Groton Bank employees joined together to decorate a tree for the 10th annual Festival of Trees, benefiting the New London Community Meal Center. Elegant gold and cream sparkling ornaments decorated the themed “Peace on Earth” tree. The trees were auctioned off on Dec. 7, and all proceeds are used to feed local families during the holiday season.
“Participating in this event is a natural fit for Chelsea Groton,” said Anne Ogden, an active volunteer with Downtown New London Association. “Employees are able to join together to work on this project, and it supports those in need in our neighborhood. It allows us to celebrate this season while giving back to those in need in our community.”
Ogden has coordinated Chelsea Groton’s tree sponsorship since 2011.
The DNLA provides live Christmas trees, and over a span of three days, local businesses decorate the trees. During its annual holiday event, the trees are auctioned to the highest bidder, with proceeds going to benefit local families in need. To learn more about this event, visit downtownnewlondon.org.
Wash. Trust donates to local food banks
WESTERLY — Everyone needs a little help from their friends during the holiday season and The Washington Trust Charitable Foundation has done its part by making financial donations to local Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts area food pantries. Ned Handy, Washington Trust’s new president and chief operating officer, recently stopped by the Jonnycake Center of Westerly to hand deliver a check to the center’s director, Liz Pasquilini. Handy and his family have volunteered at the Jonnycake Center for the past several years, so he knows first-hand the value of services provided by the center.
“The generosity of companies like Washington Trust is vital to the Jonnycake Center,” said Pasquilini. “The bank’s donation has made it possible for us to provide holiday meals for a number of families in need this holiday season.”
Locally, in addition to the Jonnycake Center of Westerly, the charitable foundation made financial donations to Wood River Health Services in Hope Valley, the WARM Shelter in Westerly and the Pawcatuck Neighborhood Center in Pawcatuck.
Hospital to offer smoking cessation program
WESTERLY — Westerly Hospital is offering a seven-week smoking cessation program called “Freedom from Smoking,” beginning on Tuesday, Jan. 7, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in the hospital’s Henry J. Nardone Conference Center, 25 Wells St.
Sessions will be held for seven consecutive Tuesdays. An additional session will be held on Thursday, Jan. 30. The program will be facilitated by Westerly Hospital respiratory therapists trained in the American Lung Association program. Participants will learn tools and strategies to recover from tobacco addiction and help them stay quit for good. The cost is $25 per participant to cover the cost of materials.
The program is limited to 20 participants, so please register early. You may register online at westerlyhospital.org or call Westerly Hospital’s community education line at 401-348-2303, or 1-800-933-5960, ext. 3423. Leave a message with your name and telephone number, and you will automatically be registered.
CL&P renews warning about green dot scam
BERLIN, Conn. — Scams targeting utility customers nationally continue to affect Connecticut Light & Power customers, with the most recent version targeting Spanish-speaking customers. The scam involves prepaid “Green Dot” VISA credit cards. Callers claiming to represent CL&P may contact customers, telling them their service is scheduled to be shut off, then advising them to make a payment by purchasing a “Green Dot” VISA card. Customers are then asked to call another phone number where information is obtained from the credit card and the monetary value is removed from the “Green Dot” VISA card.
The scam works this way: Individuals call and falsely tell customers that the company is detecting excessive amounts of electricity being drawn from their home and it must be fixed immediately — for a price — to prevent a fire. In this scenario, customers are also told that in order to make a payment, they must purchase an untraceable pre-paid debit card, such as the “Green Dot” card.
“If a customer gets a call of this nature, he or she can verify that it is CL&P by asking for some basic information about the account. Our customer service representatives will always be able to provide the name on the account, the account address, and the exact past-due balance,” said Penni Conner, chief customer officer at Northeast Utilities, parent company of CL&P.
“If the caller cannot provide that information, the call is not from one of our employees.”
“In this case, customers should not provide any type of payment or financial information, and should call customer service immediately at 1-800-286-2000, and local law enforcement, to report the incident.”
Customers who are scheduled for disconnection due to nonpayment receive written notice that includes the actions they can take to maintain service. They can also find their account status, including the past-due balance, on cl-p.com, or by calling and using the company’s automated phone system. CL&P does not require customers to purchase any type of pre-paid card to pay their bill. Customers have several payment options, including direct debit, credit card and personal check.