Looking for “the” place to go this summer as you cruise around the state?
Head to Niantic!
The coastline community was named the first ”Fan Favorite” at the Connecticut Conference on Tourism Industry Forum Tuesday at the Connecticut Convention Center.
“We have it all,” said a beaming Niantic/East Lyme first selectman Paul Formica. “Tourism is huge for us and Niantic is the gateway to the area.”
Niantic (a village in the town of East Lyme) was chosen based on on-line votes in the competition that is part of the state’s tourism push. With a population of about 4,000, the place garnered about 10,000 online votes with its Inn at Harbor Hill Marina chosen as the favorite destination within Niantic.
Nearly 2,000 destinations and attractions around the state were named “favorites” by those participating in the online contest, part of Connecticut’s “Still Revolutionary” tourism and branding campaign,
The nine runner-up towns include Mystic, New Haven, Putnam, Old Saybrook, Essex, Wethersfield, Hartford, New London and Wallingford.
About 200 people were at a breakfast featuring Gov. Dannel P. Malloy who presented the “fan favorite” award.
Pineapple Awards, honors in a variety of categories including excellence in tourism service and hospitality, volunteer of the year and tourism ambassador were slated to be given out later Tuesday.
Also honored at the forum were Mystic Seaport’s Peter Glankoff who received the Lifetime Achievement Award and former Connecticut Magazine publisher Charles Monaghan, who was tapped for a special commitment award recognizing his years of service and dedication to promoting tourism in Connecticut.
It’s Miss USA pageant time again and representing Connecticut this year is South Glastonbury resident Erin Brady. The 25-year-old didn’t get into the pageant business until last year but has done well, coming in first-runner up in last year’s state competition and this year, winning the contest that means she goes onto the nationals that take place on June 16 in Las Vegas. A Central Connecticut State University graduate who is a finance accountant for Prudential insurance in Hartford, the 5’8 113-pound contender was enthused and focused on bringing Connecticut some fame as she Spilled the Beans with Java.
Q: What prompted you to get into beauty pageant competition?
A: I was always interested in modeling and being in pageants is a great gateway. I first entered last year and was older than a lot of women who get involved in pageants but I did the research and the USA organization seemed to be the one that was the best fit.
Q: Last year, your first time, you were first runner-up and this year a winner. What did you learn about the business in a year’s time?
A: When I entered last year I had no expectations and was not sure of what to expect because I had never competed so I was really blindsided. After participating in that, I learned about the physical preparation like exercising and eating well that needs to be part of getting ready to compete, as well as choosing outfits and getting mentally ready. You are in it as soon as you register, long before you are ever on a stage. Most of the girls who compete have been doing it since they were teenagers. This time I have more sponsors and have done a lot more to get ready. I am in it to pick up the crown.
Q: It is my understanding that you have a back story that is different than many young ladies who compete. Share?
A: I lived in Portland and when I graduated from high school moved out on my own and worked fulltime and went to college full time, eventually getting my diploma in finance and criminal justice. I couldn’t even think about being in beauty pageants. I had no free time and didn’t have any extra money and was not mentally in the right state of mind. It’s been a struggle but it shaped who I am. Sometimes I feel like a 35-year-old in a 25-year-old body but the struggles helped me be better. Being older now I think works to my advantage. I think I have more poise, more life experience, and more maturity.
Q: Your hobbies?
A: I love to cook and if there were a talent portion to the competition in Las Vegas, I would make my turkey meatballs with homemade tomato sauce. The USA pageant though, just has a swimsuit and evening gown competition as well as the interviews.
Q: One of the standards in these competitions is that contestants have a favorite cause. What’s yours?
A: It would be to establish a Connecticut branch of Children of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse. The nearest one to us is in Boston. I hope to get something started here. It stems from my personal life.
Q: What’s your counter-argument to those who downplay any value to beauty competitions?
A: It’s not about just being pretty. When you look at those women on stage you are seeing well-spoken, professional, intelligent women who are role models. The experience is an honor and I am looking forward to meeting all of them.
Q: If we tune in on June 16, how will we know which one is you?
A: I will be the one and only Miss USA from Connecticut.
The pageant is scheduled to air on June 16 at 9 p.m. on NBC
A California teen’s invention could potentially knock down cellphone-charging time to a superfast 20 seconds.
So far, the energy-storage device has powered only an LED light, but it has the potential to do much more.
The future certainly looks bright for 18-year-old Eesha Khare, who pocketed a $50,000 prize for the Young Scientist award from the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Phoenix, Ariz., for her tiny and possibly revolutionary device.
Khare sees the device as potentially powering car batteries, cellphones or any electronics that could use a rechargeable battery.
“My cellphone always dies,” Khare explained to NBC San Francisco, when asked what inspired her invention.
The supercapacitor, she explains on CBS San Francisco, is “basically an energy source device that can hold a lot of energy in a small amount of volume.”
The Harvard-bound teen has caught the attention of Google, who has approached her about her device.
Regardless of what happens to the supercapacitor, we're sure to hear more from the high school senior—at least according to Khare. “I’m going to be setting the world on fire,” she said.
It took seven decades, but the Hillhouse High School Class of 1943 finally had its senior prom.
Prom for the members of the Greatest Generation was cancelled 70 years ago when the young men in the Connecticut school — and across the country — were called on to go defend the United States during World War II. But as of last Sunday, the high school rite of passage was no longer something these former high schoolers had to live without.
But when it's a senior prom for senior citizens, the rules are different. First of all, the event started at noon, everyone could drink alcohol, and the dress code was, well, comfortable.
Many were dropped off not by their parents, but by their children.
And with attendees now in their late 80s, dancing was left to only the most adventurous souls.
Members of the Class of '43 say they did not feel cheated when school administrators told them to stop planning their prom so many years ago. Rather, they felt it was they were fulfilling their responsibility as Americans.
"Our country had been attacked, and we felt very strongly that whatever we did to support our country, we would do," said 87-year-old Marilyn White Unger. "So we didn't feel any sense of personal loss, because the boys were fighting."
Unger helped plan the reunion/prom, along with Anthony Pegnataro, 87, then class president who served in Guam and Okinawa during the war. Some of their classmates never came back from the war, and even more have perished in the years since.
"I open the paper every morning, I look at the obituary page and I see two or three more classmates that have gone up to their maker," said Pegnataro.
He estimates that of the 1,250 members of their graduating class, prom organizers have only been able to get ahold of about 10 percent of them. The group has been getting together every five years since 1946.
And like nearly everything else about this prom, he did it the old fashioned way -- no Facebook, just phone calls.
Just as if the prom had been held during the 1940s, on Sunday the group danced to the likes of the Glen Miller band. Though the music may have been the same, but the moves were different -- with some prom goers in wheelchairs.
"Time's running out on all of us. Ya know, how many more years do we have?" said Pegnataro. "And we want to enjoy every year we got."