Wednesday, October 30, 2013

New members inducted at Smokin' With Chris...

New members Duane Bass, Wayne Stearns, Josh Martin, Rob Flood, Pat Mulholland and Kris Noli

Co-chairs of the event: Club VP Kate Sirignano and Club President Joanne Alfieri
The Gatekeepers:  Dolores Fanelli and Audrey Brown

Good evening Southington Rotary Club members, guests, visiting dignitaries, sundry others!

Some people, they like to go out dancing
Other peoples, they have to work
 And there's some evil mothers
Well, they're gonna tell you that everything is just dirt
that women never really faint
And that villains always blink their eyes
And that children are the only ones who blush
And that life is just to die

But anyone who ever had a heart
Oh, they wouldn't turn around and break it
And anyone who's ever played a part
Oh, they wouldn't turn around and hate it
(Lou Reed, Sweet Jane)

Anyone? No? (audience plant Donnnnnn Reilly): “Well, John, as I recall, this is Lou Reed’s Sweet Jane from the Velvet Underground’s final album Loaded from 1970.”


A couple weeks ago, I was asked to do a presentation for tonight’s meeting by Club president Joanne Alfieri.  In a surprisingly terse-toned email (and I am editing this quote for adult content), Joann stated, “Dear John, instead of moping around all the time like you’ve been doing the last couple years, coming in late to almost every meeting (if you attend them at all), making disruptively snide comments under your breath when we donate books in honor of our weekly luncheon speakers, thrusting the golf tournament responsibilities upon poor Kate, and just being an overall drag on the Club, how about getting off your sorry butt and do something productive for a change, like maybe preparing something for our October evening meeting.  Have a nice day, Joanne.”

Well, as you might expect, I was quite taken aback by the tone of Joanne’s email!  Sure, I admit I was stung a couple years ago, after Kate and I made our brilliant post-golf tournament presentation, we were not honored with a book presented, in our names, to one of the Southington school libraries.  Ignored, deemed unworthy, I must suppose.  To date, we are the only ones ever not so honored. 

But, as good Rotarians, we must move on from such slights, real or perceived, and let bygones be bygones.  Which brings us to this evening.

Joanne, it will be a cold day in Hell before I’ll ever do anything for this Club ……oh, wait, I’m very sorry, I thought I had edited that out…..

Okay, where were we?  Oh yes, tonight. 

Welcome to the 1st Annual Southington Rotary Halloween Bash! Let me say that I am really excited because we’ve returned to the place where we met each week when I joined Rotary in 1983, sponsored by Ron Graves (please, do not hold that against me).  At the time, it was known as Arties, run by Artie Turek and we met in the main dining room.  When it was bought by Grace Manganini and renamed the Whistle Stop, we moved the meeting into the back room

I’d like to acknowledge some special guests here with us this evening – some of our lifetime members:
  • Roy Pritchard – I succeeded Roy as Club president
  • Walt Hushak – one of our truly iconic members, who frequently drops into our weekly meetings just to make sure we’re not screwing things up.
  • Ralph Mann – he was the Club’s first official finer, a position he eventually handed off to me.
  • Fran Massucci- has graciously offered his “Bocce Emporium” to us each year for our annual bocce picnic in the Fall
  • John ‘Curly’ Mullett – he is called Curley for obvious reasons and once single-handedly shut down the Apple Harvest by yelling out, “Hey, I smell something funny with this big propane tank, do you think it could blow up?”  People in the apple fritter booth next door started yelling and screaming and diving out of the booth, the fire department was called in.  It was ugly.  I think our French fry booth was up near the Oak Hill Cemetery for the next few years.
  • Trish Walden – our newest Lifetime member.  Don’t let her lifetime member status fool you, she’s a lot younger than she looks.  Oh wait!…I mean….

Welcome, new members!  I hope you are as excited to be here as we are to have you.    We have a ten-step initiation for new members – it doesn’t have the weight of the Ten Commandments or anything, it’s just a way for you to get to know us and for us to know you.  With a little help from your sponsor, or any of us, actually, you can accomplish this task in a relatively short period of time.  With that in mind, I thought I might review the list and, as a friendly heads-up, I’ll throw out to you some inside information, off the record of course, that might not be in your new-member packets.

1.       Make up a weekly Rotary meeting at another club.  Go alone or go with one of us; it’s informative and it’s fun.  And you can steal an idea or two and bring them back to the club as your own!  Just ask Art Blumer or Carol Grant, who have made up meetings at clubs throughout the world.  Interestingly, you cannot ask them tonight, for they are both away on vacation!
2.       Assist the Sergeant-at-Arms during a weekly meeting. This is a tricky one, because, if you do not watch your step, Dolores and/or Audrey will kick your ass. You assist them as the members arrive for the meeting.  You also collect fines/happy bucks from the members during the meeting and, finally, you participate in the strange little ritual known as the Weekly Raffles.  Here’s how it appears to work:  a raffle ticket is “drawn” by Joann from a bowl of tickets held by Audrey.  Joann calls out the number and everyone eagerly looks at their ticket to see if they are this week’s lucky winner. Dolores, Audrey and Joann crane their necks looking out to see who claims the prize.  When no one does, all three go “OMG, I’d better check my ticket.”  And, invariably, one of them wins!  Don’t ask why, it’s just the way it is.
3.       Present a five-minute introduction of yourself.  We don’t all know you yet, but we’d like to. Share some interesting tidbits about your family and profession.  You can also share your hopes, your dreams, your wildest fantasies, but maybe just the other stuff will do for now.
4.       Lead the song “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” at a weekly meeting.  What can I say, just grit your teeth and do it.  You don’t have to be Whitney Houston, just get the ball rolling.
5.       Help with the next fellowship function.  Bocci Night at Fran Massucci’s house in early Fall, informative Winter fireside chats, our festive Christmas party graciously hosted by Robin Morrell, annual officer installation dinner where you just never know what’s in store.
6.       Work on the next fundraiser. Apple Harvest French fry booth (Steve Guidice has chaired a very successful 2013, but will be looking for an even better 2014; ), Nut Sale (Carol Grant oversees both the sale of holiday nuts and the inevitable poor taste in jokes that accompanies it), The Bill Thomson Golf Scramble, chaired by Kate Sirignano, is our major fundraiser.  We need help in contacting hole sponsors and golf foursomes, assisting with the planning of the event, and, manpower the day of the tournament, which is held each year on the 2nd Wednesday of July at Southington Country Club.  We have had other fundraisers in the past:  Rod Greaves conceived and oversaw a very successful car raffle; we had a couple crazy years of Cow Chip Bingo and for a number of years, on Fat Tuesday, we held a Mardi Gras Night of music and dining at Anthony Jack’s Restaurant.  Last Fall, we held a Blues/BBQ event at Hawk’s Landing to benefit the Houses For Heroes organization.  So things are always changing.
7.       Be the “Official Finer” at a weekly meeting.   Fining is a playful way to raise some money for our fellowship activities, usually by tricking a fellow member.  All in good fun.  Some quick pointers: Fine Rod Greaves (you don’t even need a reason, just do it.  It annoys him greatly.)   Fine Dolores Fanelli for her hats (she always wears hats, but if she doesn’t, fine her for that!  It’s foolproof!).
8.       Write one edition of our weekly Club newsletter.  Again, be careful with this one, because Dolores wins awards for her newsletter and she doesn’t want some rookie ruining things.  But it’s not as difficult as it seems.  See Chet Potrepka and he will guide you through the process of taking notes at a weekly meeting that are the basis for Dolores’ newsletter.
9.       Attend a Board of Directors meeting.  The board meets in the Orchards’ first floor private dining room on the first Wednesday of each month an hour prior to our regular meeting.  Attending will give you some insight into our decision-making process.
10.   Provide and introduce a speaker for a weekly meeting.  You have contacts; you know some interesting people.  Invite one of them to speak to us.  And, your guest speaker will, unless they are extremely unlucky, have a book donated, in their name, to the library of one of Southington’s schools.

Dear Southington Rotary Club,

Sincere congratulations to the newest Rotary Club members being inducted tonight.  I can only hope that Yankee lover Kennedy doesn’t drone on and on like he usually does and lets you out in time to see us capture our third World Championship in the last decade. 

David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox

Dear Southington Rotary Club,

Congratulations are in order for the Southington Rotary Club.  You have a truly outstanding leader this year, one with vision and charisma.  Although you’ll probably have trouble duplicating this in the future, do not dwell on those things right now – enjoy the moment.

Yours truly,
J. Alfieri

Dear New Members,

As captain of the 2013 Southington Rotary Bocci champions, I welcome the new members and at the same time issue a challenge to you to form a team to try to unseat us at next year’s Bocci Night picnic.  Be advised that more than good luck wishes will be needed.

Vicki Triano, Captain
Pastor Vicki & the Sinners


There you have it.  You’re done.  Hopefully, it has given you some insight as to who we are and what we do.

Rotary is a terrific organization, helping both local communities and people around the world.  It was founded almost a century ago on the principle that business/civic leaders could, when putting their diverse ideas and expertise together, make this world a better place.  But Rotary relies on you, and me, to carry out its existing programs and, just as importantly, create new ones.  We all have something to offer.  If you have a new idea, let’s hear it.  If you think something can be improved upon, let’s hear that too.  And as a by-product of this give and take, you just might make some friendships that last a lifetime.  So, let us get you involved.  And welcome!
John Kennedy, Presenter

Thursday, October 03, 2013

2013 Southington Apple Harvest Festival - "Get Yer Fries!"...

Jeremy Taylor, Mike Przygocki, Capt. Steve Giudice, Steve Parsons, Chet Potrepka
The infamous Southington Rotary Apple Harvest Festival Setup Krewe posing during one of their many breaks. All is ready for tomorrow evening's Festival opening, so visit us!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Saturday night...

The Rotary of Southington
At the
Southington Drive In

Sat. July 23rd
Gates open at 6 pm
Everyone Welcome

Serving Slushies and Sandwiches

$10 per car for Southington Residents

Grease is the Word!”

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Drive-in fundraiser July 23...

Southington drive-in to feature themed 50s shows (Record-Journal)
When the popularity of drive-in movie theaters peaked, it was a time of roaring engines, greased hair and poodle skirts, as moviegoers took their hot rods to a see a show under the stars. In an effort to revive some of the historic nostalgia, organizers of the town-operated drive-in theater have planned a themed weekend, with "American Graffiti" on July 22 and "Grease" on July 23.

Victoria Triano said she and fellow Rotarians who are hosting the "Grease" night are excited. She wouldn't say exactly what her outfit would be.  "It's a time to have fun and raise a little money, which then goes to help out Southington," Triano said of the Southington Rotary Club fundraiser. "I think it's wonderful that we have this in town." - more

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Thank you, see you next year!

Play will be a scramble format with a shotgun start at 9:30am. The cost is $150 per player, which includes golf with cart, lunch, dinner, refreshments. To reserve your foursome, please contact John Kennedy or Linda Tipping in any of the following ways:
1. telephone- 860.276.8025 (Kennedy) or 860.224.5900, ext 4702 (Tipping)
2. fax- 860.276.9669 (Kennedy) or 860.224.5779 (Tipping)
3. email - John Kennedy or Linda Tipping

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Installation of 2010-2011 officers.....

Incoming president Brendan Goodrich presents outgoing president Vicki Triano with a plaque in appreciation of her two years as Club president.

Incoming Club president Brendan Goodrich is sworn in by District Governor Herb Toback.

Incoming president Brendan Goodrich and outgoing president Vicki Triano present a check for a $2,000 grant to Beth Pestillo, president of the Southington Education Foundation.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Chetnotes- meeting of 5/19/10...

Notes of Meeting of May 19, 2010-   President Victoria Triano presiding

Today's Rotary Guests:
Sandy Blumer, lifetime member George "Red" Griffin
Raffle Winner:
Dolores Fanelli
Happy Bucks:
Dolores (winning raffle), Dennis (caution buck: Dick Chaney Division of N.R.A.), George"Red" Griffin (happy to be here!),Donnnnn Reilly (Back from vacation in Wyoming & Utah with son, Ben), Linda (listened to Dave & Dave & charlie), Art Blumer( nice  to be here),   Sandy Blumer (also glad to visit Southington Rotary), Joanne Alfieri ($2- back from 8 days in Pompano Beach),  Susan Smayda (church play raised $7,000),  Brendan Goodrich($10- District Assembly, able to recreate his computer project), Chet (attended the  20th anniversary celebration at Southington Care Center), Jim Earl (daughter graduated from high school; will attend C.C.S.U. on a softball scholarship), Ron Klein (Ruth's e-mail on getting rid of chipmunks),  Art( yard is inundated with bunnies-saw a fox nearby which may take care of the problem), Harold Kane (Sox pulled one out),  Gloria Brown (son left back to Minneapolis),  Vickie($3-"stolen" pocketbook (her dog was playing with it)
Fines :
Vickie self-fines herself for not nominating a finer

-Received letter from Bread for Like requesting budgeted $ 600 donation
-Meetings of May 26th & June 2nd will be held at Mulberry Gardens
-Relay for Life: theme "Hope shines at  Rotary"- need more members to sign up for timeslots.
-Rotary Scholarship recipients are: Isabel Palumbo, Seth Crampton, Andrew Dominello, Alexandra Williams, Diana Babineau, & Michael Dolan. They have been invited to attend the meeting of June 23rd.
- Interact will have its Installation Dinner on Thursday, May 27th at 6 P.M. in the Atrium at S.H.S. Cafeteria. Rotarians are invited to attend.

Today's Speaker - Member Steve Giudice, Harry Cole & Son Surveying & Engineering. 

Land surveying is done for both residential, commercial, & insurance customers. Reasons for surveying a property include: finding property lines to avoid disputes or for building a house, site management, & elevation certificates. 
Steps in surveying:
-agreeing on cost of survey
-research at the Town Clerk's office: get copy of the assessor's map
-finding the dimensions of the property-
-send out the field crew-record information in the field book & on computer using a transit-find iron pins to identify property boundaries- make the final map.

Engineering Projects:
Site Plans: Survey-same field work as for residential customers. Make a map with layout for owner's needs. Submit to town, make revisions, present to commissioners-see site through to end of construction.
Southington Rotary Card Raffle  (target card: Queen of Diamonds):  
Donn Reilly picked the 9 of Hearts; the 50/50 jackpot now stands at ?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Chetnotes- meeting of 4/21/10...

Notes of Meeting of April 21, 2010 (President Victoria Triano Presiding)

Today's Rotary Guests- Welcome All on Administrative Assistant's Day!
Jess Potrepka, Lorraine Coty, Marcia Fiorillo, Debbie Albatas, Meghan Belanger, Linda Stuckman, Jane Hollman, Melissa Erickson, Sharon Robinson, Karen Drouin
Raffle Winner:
Carl Sokolowski
Happy Bucks:
Carl (winning raffle), Scott (Sox finally won again), Joe E (kids in Europe finally made it home Tuesday), Art (leaving again-this time to Amsterdam, grandson went to Athens with group from Greenwich H.S.-someone chartered a jet to bring the kids home), Dave (generally happy), Trish (George says hi!), Harold (heard a rumor that Dave's becoming a Republican!), Cindy (back from New Orleans Jazz Festival), Ron (test driving a Buick-question on airbag deployment)
Fines by Brendan Goodrich:
Ron (interruption fine), Chet (delivering drugs), Harold (receiving drugs), All female table (Art pays for breaking it up), Carl, Harold, Dennis, Brendan, Dave, Steve W. (all-male table), Trish (cell phone), Volcano Fine (anyone who's traveled to Europe sine January 1st), Administrative Assistant's Day (if you brought one to the meeting, you don't work hard enough-pay a buck)
Emergency Gifts & Grants:
Janet Mellon requested that Rotary sponsor a table at the Unique Boutique fundraiser: Cost: $320.00-approved
Guest speaker:
Former Rotarian John Gissis (assisted on the powerpoint presentation by his son Michael) on the Advantages of a Roth I.R.A. over a Traditional I.R.A.

(There was no drawing of the Southington Rotary Card Raffle today; the target card is still the Queen of Diamonds)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Chetnotes- meeting of 4/14/10...

Notes of Meeting of April 14, 2010- President Victoria Triano Presiding

Today's Rotary Guest:
Former Southington Rotarian George Costanzo-guest of Joe Erardi
Happy Birthday Harold Kane!
Raffle Winner:
Chet Potrepka Jr.
Happy Bucks:
Chet ($5 winning raffle, scholarship committee is meeting today to determine this year's recipients), Carol (brother, Calvanese Gala), Dennis ($2-Harold's birthday party last night, story buck), Art ($2-story buck, great to be here), George C (great to see old friends), Joe E. (7,000 of his friends are on vacation this week), Sue (just happy), Vickie (interviewed by Record-Journal on the youth services program), Harold ("I made it!")
 · Administrative Assistant's Day is next Wednesday. Don't forget to bring you're asst. to lunch
· Thank you note received from Girls State for the donation
· ARC of Southington Respite Program application received
· Southington Care Center's 20th anniversary party is Thursday, May 13th & Rotary is invited.
· Southington Education Association is 1 year old. In June they are giving out $ 25,000.00 in grants to children. A major grant was received from an anonymous donor & used to purchase & install a digitized audeo system in the Kennedy Middle School auditorium. This system will also help to start an audeotech program at Kennedy. Rotary's donation of $ 2,500.00 from Mardi Gras will be used to purchase & install a similar system at DePaolo Middle School.
Fines by Rich Drouin: (Maximum of $2.00 assessment decreed by President Vickie)
· Rich: Self fine: No Pen, No Pin
· Not wearing a Rotary Pin? -$ 1.00 Please
· Wearing your name badge ajar: $ 1.00
· How many members are in the Rotary Club of Southington? Kate & Carol pay (39)
· If you don't have 100% attendance since January 1st: Ante up!
· If you haven't filed your income tax return yet: ditto
Business Meeting:
Secretary's Report accepted as presented; Treasurer's Report- none; Membership: every Rotarian is responsible for seeking out new members & once in the club, to get them involved; Community Service: Scrabble tournament is April 28th;  Relay for Life is June 4-5th & Sue Smayda & Steve Whitaker are captains-help will be needed to decorate the tent! Fellowship: N.Y. Trip: 23 people have signed up & 40 are needed for the bus; Attendance: down last month-please try to make up missed meetings, either on-line or at a neighboring club; Golf tournament: Please work on getting golf 4-somes & Tee sponsors & turn in money as soon as possible. Major sponsors include Hospital of Central Connecticut & Thomson Financial Services. Major sponsorships are $ 2,500.00 each.; Gifts & Grants: Childrens Home in Cromwell, ARC Dinner & Golf tournament, Ct. Mental Health Association, Wheeler Clinic-committee had no recommendation.

Board of Directors & Club Committees: Brendan announced the following:
· Southington Rotary Trust- John Kennedy
· At Large: Dave Zoni, Sue Smayda
· Gifts & Grants: Ron Klein
· Fundraising: Rich Drouin
· Club Service: Cynthia Martel
· International Service: Art Blumer
· Vocational Service: Art Blumer
· Community Service: Gloria Brown
· Executive Treasurer: Dan Daigle
· Executive Secretary: Dolores Fanelli
· President: Brendan Goodrich
· President Elect: Linda Tipping
· Assistant Treasurer: Scott Garver
· Assistant Secretary: Ginny Roy
· Assistant Sergeant-at-Arms: Ginny Roy
· Past President: Vickie Triano
Southington Rotary Card Raffle Target Card: Queen of Diamonds; Dolores Fanelli picked the 7 of Clubs; The 50/50 jackpot now stands at ?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Chetnotes-meeting of March 24, 2010

President Victoria Triano Presiding

Today's Rotary Guest: Paul Schulze, guest of Harold Kane
Raffle Winner: Jim Earl
Happy Bucks:
· Jim E.- $ 4.00- winning raffle, having a good time growing his office
· Chet: $ 2.00- sad buck-missed the Interact Art Auction, happy buck-went skiing with friends at Mount Snow & escaped with no injuries
· Gloria: very successful Art Auction (Interact made $ 1,500.00)
· Brendan: poor after the Art Auction (he bought 4 pieces of art)
· Sue: her birthday today, John's birthday Thursday, ticket for her church's musical sold out in 1 hour.
· Ginny: Sad buck- wasn't at the Art Auction as she went to Gloucester
· Jim W: wanted to go to the Art Auction but fell asleep after doing yard work
· Vickie: $ 2.00-had a great time at the Art Auction, Ruth leaves on Sunday for one month in Africa

Fines: Vickie didn't nominate a finer, so everyone pay a buck for guilty pleasures

Announcements: The big check is Here!
· Bus Trip to New York: 22 people have signed up. Need 18 more for bus deposit. Please consider going.
· Brendan did P.E.T.S. training
· Need Rotarians to consider serving on the club's Executive Board of Directors
· There's been a development on the Pavilion to be built at Recreation Park: The proposal has been submitted to the Town Budget and is in process. It will be considered at the April 5th Board of Finance meeting. Dave Zoni passed out a sheet with telephone numbers & e-mail addresses of Finance Board member. Please contact the & voice your approval of this project.
· April 21st is Administrative Assistant Day. Rotarians are encouraged to bring their Administrative assistants to lunch at Rotary that day.

Guest Speaker: State Representative Bruce "Zeke" Zalaski speaking on balancing the State's Budget
· 2009 was a tough year. $ 500Million was passed in deficit mitigation legislation.
· The State faces an $ 8 Billion deficit. The 2010-11 budget includes $ 300Million cuts in spending revenue, millionaire & cigarrette taxes. 48 state face a shortfall in 2010.
· Nationally the total budget deficit of the 50 states is $ 194 Billion, the largest deficit in U.S. History.
· A new mitigation plan was vetoed in November. The Governor submitted a new plan on March 1st. This includes an $ 81 Million cut to towns & municipalities. Personal property taxes will skyrocket if this is passed.
· Only the Governor's office can negotiate with the State's unions on givebacks.
· Democrats want to keep the Estate Tax in place for 2 more years.
· Towns are going to have to band together & regionalize in the futureto avoid duplication of services & to maximize buying & spending economies.

Southington Rotary Card Raffle:
Target Card: Queen of Diamonds; Dolores picked the 5 of Clubs
The 50/50 jackpot now stands at ?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Sue Smayda's St. Paddy's Day Irish Trivia...

  1. What is the title of Frank McCourt's followup to Angela's Ashes?
  2. What Irish poet won the Nobel Prize in 1923?
  3. Who wrote Ulysses?
  4. When is Bloomsday?
  5. What is Jonathan Swift's famous book?
  6. Where was Bram Stoker born?
  7. In Samuel Beckett's play, who are we waiting for?
  8. Who wrote The Thorn Birds?

Ralph Riccio...

Riccio dies at 81; Southington loses a pillar of the town
By Jeffery Kurz (Record-Journal staff)

Ralph J. Riccio, who with his twin brother, Vito, ran a clothing store that was a downtown staple for nearly four decades, died Wednesday at 81, after a short illness.  “We have lost a pillar in the community,” said Vic­toria Triano, a former Town Councilmember who re­called going to the shop when she was growing up. Embedded in the concrete sidewalk in front of the store, the phrase, “Did You Riccio Today?” was an en­during marketing slogan.  Riccio had been a member of the Southington Ro­tary Club since 1950. On Wednesday, the club set a rose in his place to honor him, said Triano, the club’s pres­ident.

Though Riccio did not seek public office, he was a major influence. He was a strong believer in the council-manager system of government and was in­strumental in bringing Town Manager John Weich­
sel to Southington. The two became close friends. 

“Everything he did was for Southington and the Southing­ton people,” Weichsel said.  “He was a leading light in the community,” said Carl Sokolowski, a lawyer. “He was into everything. He knew al­most everybody and every­body liked and respected him.” “I think Ralph could have been elected to anything had he desired to do so,” Sokolowski said. “He just chose to be active in the back­ground.”  For many years, Riccio vol­unteered his time at The Or­chards and Southington Care Center, where he would dance with the senior citizens. After suffering a near-fatal aneurism in 1984, Riccio was told he needed to keep busy.

“Wewere the beneficiaries of that advice,” said Trish Walden, vice president of senior services at Southington Care and The Orchards. Riccio had a way of bringing “a ray of sunshine to the seniors,” she said.  “He lived the full life, right to the very end,” said his son, Michael Riccio. Along with his wife, Ruth (England) Riccio, Riccio is survived by five chil­dren and nine grandchildren. Vito Riccio died in 1994 of a blood disease. The two had re­tired from their clothing busi­ness in 1988. Among other sig­nificant community collabora­tions, the brothers had been a driving force behind the Down­town Merchants Association and in fundraising for the prop­erty and construction of St. Dominic Church. In 1997, Ralph Ricciowas grandmarshal of the Apple Harvest Festival Parade. Born March 23, 1938, in Southington, Ralph Riccio was the son of Ralph A. and Rose Riccio, who had come to Southington from Amorosi, a province of Naples in Italy.

Michael Riccio said he and his father had traveled several times to the town in Italy the past few years, for reunions with family. Ralph Riccio spoke fluent Italian.  “He didn’t speak a word of English when he went to kindergarten,” said Michael Riccio. 
After graduating from Lewis High School, in 1946, the broth­ers served in the Army in Ko­rea for two years in what was considered World War II serv­ice. They’d insisted on serving together, said Michael Riccio. Returning to Southington, they attended school in New Haven, before establishing their clothing business at 79 Center St. in 1950. They were 21 years old at the time.  Vito Riccio took an outside job to help support the fledg­ling business, while Ralph Ric­cio ran the store.  The two did everything to­gether and they never argued. As children, they’d decided that if there was a disagree­ment it would be settled by a coin toss.  “That’s how they ran the business,” Michael Riccio said. At the onset, the business catered to men, but over the years it expanded to women and children. They even had a clothing line for priests, said Michael Riccio.

Expanding business com­pelled the Riccios to move in 1967 to larger space at 37 N. Main St. There they remained until 1988. Along with “Did You Riccio Today?” was the
slogan “See the twins for dou­ble values.”  It was, as Sokolowski re­called, much more than a clothing store. The downtown location, and the personality of the owners, helpedmake it a community center.  “That was the place to go to find out what was going on in town,” said Sokolowski. “Ralph always found time to chat.”

Riccio’s aneurismhelped lead to the decision to retire the business, the burden of which had fallen to his brother. Michael Riccio was a junior in high school when the aneurism afflicted his father and said “it was like I had two fathers.” Gone was the aggressiveness that helped make Riccio a com­petitive businessman. He also struggled with short-term memory.  However, “he never lost his love for life,” said Michael Ric­cio. “He just loved people. Southington was his gem.”  Riccio also never lost an­other asset of note, his sense of humor.  “He loved to tell jokes,” said his son, “right to the very end.”

Friday, February 26, 2010

Come dancing with Ginny...


Friday, February 26, 2010

Bring your buddies, bring your dancing shoes and take a spin on the beautiful hardwood floor at the New England Carousel Museum.  Enjoy classic ballroom dancing and music from 7-10:30PM.  Beginners are welcome and encouraged. Dances will be held regularly on the last Friday of the month at the Carousel Museum, 95 Riverside Ave, RT 72 Bristol. BYOB Entry cost is $10.00 per person. For additional information call 860 585-5411 or visit

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

It was a dark and stormy night...

The 2010 Southington Rotary Mardi Gras Night Crossword Contest
Alas, a stormy night wasn't about to deter these hearty souls from a great Fat Tuesday party. Nor a great crossword contest!  (SEE MARDI GRAS PICS)

Rules: There are NO rules! Gather your team of four; then select a name. Get the answers by hook or by crook, then submit your completed puzzle to us by the end of the night. (Hint: Tip your servers, they may return the favor.) A winner will be selected from the correct entries and the team will receive gift certificates to Anthony Jack's Wood-fired Grill.

The results:
Eleven teams submitted completed entries. Five teams were eliminated for incorrect answers. Teams FTT#1 and FTT#2 (possibly cheating from each other) tripped up by answering that January 6th, the start of the Mardi Gras (or Carnival) season, was Trinity instead of Twelfth Night. The Friends team slipped up by guessing that the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival is commonly known as Carnival instead of Jazz Fest. The Three K's Plus One did not know that the Mardi Gras parades are organized by Carnival krewes. And Minnow 3 was tripped up by inserting an a instead of e in file gumbo (I know, I wanted to give you a pass, but the that damn rules committee overruled me).

That left six finalists:
The Mighty Browns
Sue, Meg & Eric
Chet & the Juniors
The Kanes
The Saints

And the winning team is -


On behalf of the Rotary Club of Southington, we would like to thank Barry, Cheryl and the wonderful staff at Anthony Jack's for their generosity, assistance and good humor in putting on this event again this year. The food was outstanding (kudos for the beignets) and the servers were good sports helping us out with the crossword contest. We would also like to thank Pat Giamatteo and Rogo Distributors for their donation of the beer. To Rob Jockel and Dr. Ya Ya's Gumbo Party, another great performance to set the mood for the evening! To all those who braved the surprising storm to attend and to all who couldn't make it, but bought tickets anyway - thank you! And finally, to all the committee members who pitched in to make this event possible (you know who you are), you're the best! See y'all next year!
John Kennedy/Trish Walden, co-chairs

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Join us for the Mardi Gras!...

Join us for the 6th annual Southington Rotary Mardi Gras Night at Anthony Jack's Wood-fired Grill, 30 Center Street, Southington. Enjoy great food, drink and entertainment while supporting our designated beneficiary, the Southington Education Foundation, as well as other Southington Rotary charities. - more

Just the facts, Ma'am:
Date/time: Fat Tuesday, February 16, 2010 from 6:00pm to 10:00pm
Where: Anthony Jack's Wood-fired Grill, 30 Center Street, Southington, CT 06489 - directions
Cost: $65/person, includes food stations, beer, wine, entertainment
  • Co-chair John Kennedy @860.276.8025,
  • Co-chair Trish Walden @860.378.1226,
  • Anthony Jack's @860.426.1487

    Per IRS regulations, $35 of the ticket price qualifies as a donation to the Southington Rotary Trust, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
  • Wednesday, January 20, 2010

    Hail the Hartford Dark Blues...

    Gary "Pops" O'Maxfield, Commissioner of the Vintage Base Ball League in Hartford was our guest luncheon speaker on Wednesday, giving us a baseball history lesson and discussing plans for the Colt Park Revitalization Project..

    Club member in public service...

    Self Insurance Committee leader steps down
    Kane, 90, will remain a member

    By Leslie Hutchison (Record-Journal staff)

    SOUTHINGTON — Harold Kane figures he de­serves a break from his duties as chairman of the town’s Self Insurance Committee. After all, he’s been in that role for 10 years, and served on the com­mittee for about 25. And he’s 90 years old. Kane’s leadership through the 1980s and ’90s saved the town millions of dollars, ac­cording to his colleagues on the committee. He was instru­mental in making it possible for the town to act as its own insurance agency. Kane said the cost now to be fully insuredwould be an addi­tional $3 million per year. He estimated that the town has saved between $200,000 and severalmillion dollars per year in insurance costs since the ’80s.

    Board of Education member Jill Notar-Francesco has served with Kane on the com­mittee for two years. “He’s kind and generous. He’s put a lot of effort into the commu-n­ity,” she said. “He’s saved the town tons of money.” While Kane is stepping down as chairman, he’s not leaving the committee. “When you have a change of leader­ship, you have new ideas, but we’ll have him as a resource,” Notar-Francesco said. “He will be a guiding influence.” Kane decided earlier this month not to accept the chair­manship again. He joked about the reason: “To accept another two years would be quite a feat. I don’t want to go out feet first.”

    John P. Moise has served with Kane for two non-consec­utive terms. “He brought in­surance issues to light in town. He is a wealth of knowledge,” Moise said. He said he’s glad Kane is staying on the commit­tee. “Whoever is chair will need his bank of knowledge to move forward.” The town’s employee well­ness program is an initiative Kane helped start in 2008 as a cost-saving measure. He said the committee will soon pres­ent plans to the Town Council for a new program for employ­ees to support healthy choices. “We’re going to offer incen­tives, money,” Kane said.

    The town’s health insurance budget has grown from $1 mil­lion when Kane joined the committee in 1983 to about $20 million today. More than 3,000 town employees and their de­pendents are insured by the town, he said. This year’s insurance costs are expected to grow again, from $18 million to $21 million. Kane said 70 percent of that cost is from the Board of Edu­cation. “The BOE is quite con­cerned” about the increase, he said. As health insurance costs continue to gobble up a bigger piece of the budget pie, Kane believes the wellness incen­tives could be a solution. “Obesity is a big problem,” he said. “Smoking has been, but it’s on the decline.”

    Kane has studied how other businesses and municipalities have decreased their health in­surance costs. He said a pro­gram by Safeway grocery stores has kept that company’s insurance costs level for four years. “They saved millions,” he said. Poor health is costly because it increases use of health serv­ices. Kane believes if employ­ees exercise and follow health guidelines, the town could see its health insurance costs level off in the next few years. -

    Thursday, December 31, 2009

    We would like to wish you a...

    Happy & Peaceful NEW YEAR!

    Saturday, December 19, 2009

    SHS Interact Club...

    Interactive building
    The Southington High School Interact Club volunteered for Habi­tat for Humanity in Falls Village. Pictured, from left to right, are Angie Frosceno, Jay­na Dorau, Rachel Cisinski, club advisor Bob Brown and Lind­say Zissis. - (Southington Citizen)

    Tuesday, December 15, 2009

    Saturday's "Ring the Bell" for the Salvation Army at Stop & Shop...

    Thank you to all who volunteered this past Saturday to help “ring the bell” for the Salvation Army at Stop & Shop. Thanks to their efforts, this year we collected $1,527!!!

    Thank you to…
    Donn Reilly
    Joanne Alfieri
    Jim Williamson
    “Santa” Art Blumer
    Ginny Roy and her amazing dog
    Steve Parsons and his amazing dog
    Dave Zoni
    Trish Walden & George
    Gloria Brown
    Dan Daigle and the Daigle clan
    Carol Grant and her amazing dancing
    Scott Garver
    Linda Nicolo from Farmington Bank
    ….and members of the SHS Interact Club.

    Thank you everyone,
    Brendan T. Goodrich

    Sunday, December 13, 2009

    Lest we forget...

    Kick off for our first car raffle

    Few installation dinner programs have been so spectacularly bad. The infamous CARNAC the MAGNIFICENT with John 'Carnac" Kennedy, Bill "Ed McMahon" Taylor and Ed "Doc" Rosenblatt.

    Monday, November 30, 2009

    Holiday greetings...

    Try JibJab Sendables® eCards today!

    Wednesday, November 25, 2009

    Luncheon speaker, November 25...

    Don Mueller, Executive Director of the American Clock and Watch Museum

    Don came to Bristol from Erie, PA where he was an active Rotarian. Don’s talk began with Tall Clocks, which were made abundantly in Connecticut during the Revolutionary War Era. Thomas Harland started making these clocks in 1783 in South Windsor. Clock-makers were metal workers and engravers. The movements were made of molded brass, thus making the clocks expensive. Apprentice to Harland, Daniel Burnap made musical clocks. Eli Terry was an apprentice to Burnap. He started a business in Plymouth . His experiments with making movements out of wood, and using unskilled laborers that could mass produce the clocks reduced the price of clocks sharply. Cabinets were made by cabinet makers.

    James Harrison made clocks in Southington from 1790 to 1795. Clockmakers were all around Connecticut. The Globe Clock Company manufactured clocks in Milldale circa 1883-84. Porter Brothers of Waterbury provided venture capital for Eli Terry to expand his operation. Terry hired Cyrus Hoadley and Seth Thomas in 1807, they built a factory and mass produced clocks. Terry sold out to Hoadley and Thomas. He than developed movements with pendulums for wall clocks. At this point clockmakers started producing cases for their clocks. Elias Ingraham, a cabinet maker, came to Bristol and made cases for wall clocks. Parts were now made out of thin sheets of brass, reducing costs. Seth Thomas developed the clock making business. He moved his factory to Plymouth Hollow, now Thomaston, renamed in his honor. He was a great marketer. Over time there were 280 clock-makers in Bristol alone. After time he condensed to three major companies in Western Connecticut: Gilbert in Winsted, Seth Thomas in Thomaston and Ingraham & Sessions in Bristol.

    The Great Depression and World War II spelled the end of the U.S. Clock making industry. Clock factories made war supplies. Postwar, the Marshall Plan supported European clockmakers who made cheaper clocks and shipped them to the United States. Edward Ingraham established the American Clock & Watch Museum in Bristol in 1952. By 1980 the museum had filled and expanded with the addition of the Ingraham wing. The museum has primarily American Clocks and Watches. Clock Museum is on Maple Street in Bristol - Call 860.583.6070 for hours.
    Happy Thanksgiving!

    Thursday, November 19, 2009

    Paul Harris Luncheon at The Orchards 11/18/09...

    Daniel Daigle
    Dan has been a member of the Rotary Club of Southington for 16 years and during this time he served as Treasurer, Secretary, Vice President and President of the club. For the past seven years he has done an excellent job as our permanent treasurer. He has worked on all of the Four Avenues of Service Committees - Community Service, Club Service, Vocational Service and International Service. Dan and his family work at all the community service events and he is active at all of our fund-raisers - Apple Harvest Festival, Golf Tournament, Mardi Gras, etc. He has been a board member for many years with an excellent attendance record.

    Ronald Klein
    Ron has been a member of the Rotary Club of Southington for 30 years. He served as Treasurer, Secretary, Vice President and President. Ron worked for many years on the Radio Day Committee (the major fund-raiser back in the 80’s and early 90’s). He not only raised a lot of money for our club, but was one of the announcers for Radio Days on WNTY. Ron has served for a long time on the Gifts and Grants Committee and as chair of this committee has done a great job. When the Car Raffle became our major fund-raiser, he was at most of the fairs selling raffle tickets and it was through his office at Fleet Bank that we deposited the money and kept track of the tickets sold. He has served on all the committees of the Four Avenues of Service and is a permanent member of the Apple Harvest Festival “Setup” committee. He currently is President of the Rotary Trust.

    New Member Induction
    In addition to honoring the two newest Paul Harris Fellows, new member Kate Terricciano (classification-marketing) was inducted into the Club by Membership Chair Arthur Blumer. Kate is the first former member of the Southington High School Interact Club to become a Rotary member. She is pictured at right between her sponsor, Carol Grant, and Art Blumer.

    (photos courtesy of Ginny Roy)

    Wednesday, November 04, 2009

    A fundraiser for one of our most generous supporters...

    Save the Date

    The DePaolo Family Foundation

    A Sunday Jazz Brunch
    The Ken McKinnon Band

    Breast Cancer Awareness

    Sunday, November 29, 2009
    11:00am - 2:30pm

    All You Can Eat Brunch Buffet - $14.95

    At Bonterra Italian Bistro
    98 Main Street
    Southington, CT

    Friday, October 30, 2009

    Southington Rotary organizes townwide food drive...

    Southington Community Harvest Collects 3,000 Pounds Of Food For Needy
    by Ken Byron (Hartford Courant)

    SOUTHINGTON — - A townwide drive collected about 3,000 pounds of food, a big help to local organizations struggling to supply depleted food banks and pantries. The food drive, called the Southington Community Harvest, was held last weekend. People could leave donations at various locations in town. At Tops Supermarket, customers were given special bags to be used to donate food purchased there. A "crop walk" sponsored by a local church on Sunday collected another 500 pounds of food. Janet Mellon, director of the town's community services department, said the food will last a couple of weeks. Most of the food went to the community services department's pantry and to the organization Bread for Life, which runs programs that feed needy people in town.

    Mellon said the Southington Rotary Club organized the collection after hearing that her pantry was short of food. "People in Southington take care of their own," Mellon said. "They came through here." - complete article

    Thursday, October 15, 2009

    Sunday, September 27, 2009

    Monday, September 14, 2009

    Rotary Bocci, People!

    When: Wednesday evening, September 23 from 6PM-9PM - $15/person

    Where: Fran Massucci's house at 215 North Main Street

    Email Robin Morrell at

    2007 highlights
    2006 highlights
    2005 highlights
    2004 highlights
    2003 highlights


    Sunday, September 13, 2009

    Retirement celebration for Dave Strosahl...

    Sunday, September 13, 2009
    2PM - 5PM
    Aqua Turf Club
    $35 per ticket

    For tickets:
    First Baptist Church of Southington
    email at

    Please feel free to send to the church congratulatory cards and letters, which will be presented at the retirement celebration.

    A farewell conversation with Rev. David C. Strosahl
    After 22 years as pastor of First Baptist Church of Southington, the Rev. David Conrad Strosahl will retire on Oct. 4. He is being hon­ored Sunday at a celebration at the Aqua Turf Club. Upon retirement, he and his wife, the Rev. Cynthia “Cyndi” Johnston Strosahl, are moving to a new home in Biddeford, Maine, which has been the host state of their family vacations since they were married in 1982. Their son Andrew, 26, lives only 32 miles away in Dover, N.H. as does their daughter, Sarah, 22, who attends the Universi­ty of New Hampshire. Their retirement holds the promise of being enriched by famil­iar surroundings and prox­imity to family. Strosahl was born on Oct. 8, 1947 in Plainfield, N.J. At age 7, his family moved to its ancestral home in Hones­dale, Penn. He attended Mansfield University in Mansfield, Penn., and earned a bachelor of science degree in education in 1969. While in college, a stronger, higher calling came, so upon gradu­ation, he took a brief posi­tion as a social sciences teacher while awaiting ad­mission later that year to An­dover Newton Theological School in Newton Center, Mass. In 1972, he received a master’s degree in divinity and accepted a position at the Lincoln Park Baptist Church in West Newton, Mass. From 1976 to 1987, he served as pastor of First Bap­tist Church in Hudson, N.H. He met, and in 1982 married, Cyndi Johnston, who was also attending Andover New­ton. She graduated in 1986. A year later, with toddler, An­drew, and infant, Sarah, in tow, the young family arrived in Southington, where he be­came pastor of the First Bap­tist Church, located at 581 Meriden Ave., a church that was founded in 1738. He suc­ceeded the Rev. Gordon Swan, now a director of the American Baptist Churches of Massachusetts. - (complete article in The Southington Citizen)

    Saturday, September 12, 2009

    Poker run for Every Dollar Feeds Kids...

    (click on image for larger view)

    Thursday, September 10, 2009

    Rotary Club scholarships announced...

    The six winners of the 2009 Rotary Club of Southington scholarships have been announced. Steve Vasil will be attending Bris­tol Tech for instruction in heating and cooling, installa­tion and repair. Allison Fre­ga will attend St. Joseph Col­lege in West Hartford. Kelsey Schrey will attend Unity Col­lege and will major in sus­tainable agriculture. Rabia Hamid will attend the Uni­versity of Connecticut and major in biology and chem­istry with hopes of becoming a physician. Michele Richardson will attend Sales University in Pennsylvania. Ula Salus will attend Loyola University of Chicago and double major in political sci­ence and Spanish. The Southington Citizen

    Sunday, August 16, 2009

    Bringing home the bacon...

    You will be glad to know that the Southington Rotary team of John Kennedy/Steve Parsons placed 3rd in the 4th Annual McCabe Moving Two-Man Golf Scramble & Pig Roast held Saturday, August 15 at Pine Valley Country Club. The proceeds of the event benefited Parents For a Change.

    Golf tournament helps Parents 4AChange
    (by Brandi Sabato, Special to The Citizen)
    Jim Mc Cabe of Mc Cabe’s Moving and Storage spon­sored a golf tournament fundraiser at Pine Valley Golf Course in Southington on Aug. 15 to benefit Parents 4 A Change, a Southington-­based non-profit organiza­tion which aims to create an unfriendly community envi­ronment for drug use, as well as provide support for fami­lies in crisis. Mc Cabe’s Moving and Storage has sponsored the golf tournament for the past four years, and selected Par­ents 4 A Change as the chari­table organization to benefit from this year’s event. A total of 79 golfers and more than 120 diners came out to partic­ipate in the tournament fol­lowed by a pig roast banquet at the Falcons Club in Southington. The participa­tion and generosity of the golfers, diners, sponsoring individuals and companies helped raise more than $4,800 for Parents 4 A Change. Mary Marcuccio, founder of the organization, said she was thrilled when Mc Cabe offered to donate the pro­ceeds from the tournament to her organization. “I’ve run the group, thus far, on my own personal funds and some private dona­tions. I run the group as a vol­unteer, and all of the partici­pants are volunteers as well. We only recently became a Connecticut nonprofit, but we are still unfunded. I really appreciate the generosity Jim Mc Cabe has shown my organization,” Marcuccio said. - complete article

    Saturday, August 15, 2009

    Friday, July 10, 2009

    Thank youuuuuu!....

    William S. Thomson Golf Scramble
    Wednesday, July 8, 2009 at Southington Country Club

    Thank you, everyone! Because of the support of our major sponsors, niche sponsors, hole sponsors, golfers and volunteers, the William S. Thomson Golf Scramble raised over $20,000 for Rotary scholarships, community activities and Rotary International projects.

    2009 William S. Thomson Golf Scramble results/photos

    We hope to see you again next year (always 2nd Wednesday in July)!

    Wednesday, July 01, 2009

    Weekly luncheon speakers: Mary Marcuccio - Parents 4 a Change...

    Our Mission
    We are parents and citizens, based in Southington, Ct., who are speaking up to make a difference in the fight against opiate abuse by teens and young adults. We are raising awareness about this issue, while providing support for families in crisis. We are also working with local and state authorities to make our communties unfriendly environments to drug use and drug activity.

    Our Goals
    * Raise awareness about the serious, life-threatening drug problem of opiate abuse that exists in our town, as in so many other suburban communities in the northeast.
    ~ Did you know that HEROIN as become the drug of choice for many suburban teens?
    * Provide a network of communication and support for parents and families who are going through this nightmare of drug abuse with their teenager.
    ~ Are you or someone you know suffering in silence? Feel alone, isolated?
    We can be a support for you because we have lived it! We have REAL answers, RIGHT NOW!
    * Create REAL and EFFECTIVE deterrents to drug use and drug activity in our town and yours, in order to protect our teens and young adults AND our communities.
    ~ We would welcome anyone who would like to work with us in making changes!

    PLEASE feel free to contact us at or 860-621-1682. We will get back to you as soon as possible! Mary Marcuccio - Parents 4 A Change

    Golf scramble to benefit Parents 4 a Change

    Saturday, August 15, 2009 at PINE VALLEY GOLF COURSE,
    300 Welch Road, Southington, CT 06489
    1:00 Registration, 2:00 Shot gun start, $110 per golfer
    All proceeds will benefit PARENTS 4 A CHANGE!!!!
    Golfers join the pig roast banquet at the Falcon's Club (33 Knowles Ave., Southington) immediately after tournament.

    Sunday, June 28, 2009

    Weekly luncheon speakers: The Chi Society of CT...

    The Chi Society of CT is a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation and a totally volunteer rescue network. We do not have a facility where the dogs are housed, they live in our foster homes until they can be placed in suitable,caring permanent homes. We also provide sanctuary for a small number of dogs, who, through no fault of their own, have been deemed unadoptable and would have otherwise been euthanized. We provide food, shelter, medical care, grooming, exercise and training as needed for all of our dogs. Our adoption fees currently range from $200-$350, depending on the dog. These fees are the sole means of support and medical treatment for all the dogs in our care. An application for adoption can be found on our website, For more information or to make an appointment to meet a dog, call our main foster home in Glastonbury at 860-633-1167. We can also be reached by email at

    Sunday, May 24, 2009

    Signs, signs, everywhere are signs...

    New Rotary signs installed at various highway entrances to Southington. Thank you to Steve Giudice and Roger Limmer of H.E.Cole & Sons - Great Job Guys!

    Wednesday, February 25, 2009

    Tuesday, February 24, 2009

    Mardi Gras Night 2009!...

    Tell all your friends. If you have no friends, tell anyone else you know. The 5th annual Southington Rotary Mardi Gras Night will be held on Fat Tuesday, February 24th at Anthony Jack's Wood-fired Grill. In addition to fine food and interesting people (if YOU come, of course), you will be thoroughly entertained by Dr. Ya Ya's Gumbo Party. To quote New Orleans' own Dr. John - "SUCH A NIGHT!" Just imagine, all this and support for the Southington Rotary Club's community programs, too!

    Just the facts, Ma'am:
  • Date/time: Fat Tuesday, February 24, 2009 from 6:00pm to 10:00pm
  • Where: Anthony Jack's Wood-fired Grill, 30 Center Street, Southington, CT 06489 - directions
  • Cost: $65/person, includes food stations, beer, wine, entertainment
  • Why: To support the programs/scholarships of the Southington Rotary Club
  • Reservations: Co-chair John Kennedy @860.276.8025, Co-chair Trish Walden @860.378.1226, Anthony Jack's @860.426.1487

    Mardi Gras Night page

    Dr YaYa's Gumbo Party
    Who's Dr. Ya Ya? The original Dr. Ya Ya was a voodoo root doctor in 19th century New Orleans, a successor to Marie Laveau and Doctor John. How'd a band from the Nutmeg State come to be named after him? Dr. Ya Ya's Louisiana specialty was a jimson weed elixir, not the fake nutmegs carved from wood and sold by Connecticut peddlers of old. One hundred & fifty years or so later, drummer Tom Smith got tired of missing Mardi Gras every year because of gigs in New England and asked friends to join together in a party band to celebrate Fat Tuesday. At their 1992 debut, this masked ensemble of popular Connecticut musicians had so much fun that they continued performing sporadically as Dr. Ya Ya's Dirty Rice Revue. The current Dr. Ya Ya's Gumbo Party grew from this mysterious krewe. What's a gumbo party? When a group of friends get together for a gumbo party, everyone brings a different ingredient to toss into the cooking pot.