Celebrate a Healthy New Year with a Radon Test in Your Home

Element-Of-Radon-With-Magnifyi-145671437.jpgJanuary is Radon Awareness Month and the Glastonbury Health Department, in partnership with the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH), is encouraging residents to test their homes for radon gas.  As the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers, Health officials estimate that radon is responsible for 21,100+ lung cancer deaths each year in the United States.  Additionally, smokers exposed to radon have a much higher risk for developing lung cancer.

Radon is a naturally occurring, radioactive gas formed from the natural decay of uranium found in rock, soil, and water.  While radon in outdoor air poses a relatively low risk to human health, it can become a health hazard when it permeates building interiors from the surrounding soil.

As an odorless, colorless gas, people are often unaware of the presence of radon in their homes, therefore testing for radon and reducing elevated levels is essential to saving lives and maintaining good physical health.

The DPH Radon Program recommends that all Connecticut homes be tested for radon, particularly during the winter months.  Hartford County has overall low radon potential, although naturally occurring rock formations in Glastonbury may create an area of higher risk than other areas of Hartford County.  Homes should be tested for radon irrespective of the county classification, as homes with elevated radon levels have been found throughout Connecticut.

Testing is simple and inexpensive, and can be done by using a radon testing kit.  The Glastonbury Health Department is offering 50 free radon testing kits for residents to pick up during the month of January, which will be available on a first come, first served basis.  The Health Department office is located on the third floor of Town Hall and open Monday through Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.  Kits can also be purchased for a fairly low cost at a variety of home improvement retail stores, as well as through the American Lung Association at www.lung.org.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends that homes with radon levels at or above 4 pCi/L be remedied.  Homeowners should also consider reducing their potential lung cancer risk by addressing issues in homes with radon levels between 2pCi/L and 4 pCi/L.

Radon problems can be corrected by qualified radon contractors, with costs typically ranging between $1,200 and $1,500.  A homeowner should hire a qualified radon mitigation (reduction) contractor to decrease airborne radon levels.  To learn more about radon and obtain a list of qualified radon mitigation contractors, please visit the DPH Radon Program website at www.ct.gov/radon.   If you have questions about the radon testing kits available to Glastonbury residents, please contact the Health Department at (860) 652-7534.

Dara Macchi Joins American Eagle Financial Credit Union as Vice President of Marketing

dara.jpgAmerican Eagle Financial Credit Union (AEFCU) today announced the appointment of Dara Macchi as Vice President of Marketing. In her new role, Macchi will manage and direct the Credit Union’s branding and product marketing, community and public relations, and marketing automation functions.

Macchi comes to AEFCU with over 15 years of marketing, eBusiness, and social media experience from The Hartford, Travelers, and most recently Farmington Bank where she held the position of Vice President, Marketing Director. Macchi earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing from the University of Rhode Island. She is also a graduate of the Connecticut School of Finance and Management.

“We are pleased to add Dara to our leadership team. She brings strong communication skills, in-depth knowledge of the financial services market and a passion for serving our customers and communities in the Greater Hartford region,” said Brian Kennedy, senior vice president & chief strategy officer for American Eagle Financial Credit Union. “Dara’s efforts will have a positive impact on how the Credit Union communicates with and serves our members going forward,” said Kennedy.

Macchi currently serves as a Board Member on the Farmington Public School Foundation. She is also an active volunteer with the First Connecticut Bancorp Grant Committee, West District School’s Parent Teacher Organization, United Way, Junior Achievement, and the Executive Women’s Golf Association. Macchi resides with her husband and two children in Farmington, Connecticut.

American Eagle Financial Credit Union is a not-for-profit financial cooperative headquartered in East Hartford, Connecticut. It is the largest community credit union in Connecticut with 13 community offices, 137,000 members, and $1.6 billion in assets. AEFCU operates retail offices in Bloomfield, Cromwell, East Hartford, Enfield, Farmington, Glastonbury, Manchester, Newington, Plainville, Southington, South Windsor, West Hartford and Vernon. AEFCU offers banking services to everyone who lives, works, worships, attends school, or works for a business or other legal entity, in Hartford, Middlesex, Tolland, or New Haven County. AEFCU was founded in 1935 by employees of Pratt & Whitney Aircraft. Member deposits are federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), a U.S. government agency.

For more information about American Eagle Financial Credit Union visit www.americaneagle.org.

HR CORNER – Paying Employees in Inclement Weather

Lois_Krause_2047_Final_8x10 (2).jpgHR CORNER – JANUARY, 2019

By Lois A. Krause, Practice Leader, HR Compliance, KardasLarson, LLC

As the Winter season ramps up and the snow begins, some questions about paying employees in inclement weather closings may arise. Pay obligations may differ during inclement weather closures but are primarily based on the worker’s Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) classification.
Nonexempt employees: Under the FLSA, employers are only required to pay hourly, nonexempt employees for hours worked unless there are some special, “report-in” or “call-in” circumstances. If you have a “Call-In” situation, or “Report-In” situation (like snow removal personnel) there are some other rules you must follow.

Exempt employees: Exempt employees (what most people know as “Salaried Employees”) must almost always be paid when they work any portion of a workweek, including situations of inclement weather. The only time you may not pay exempt employees because of inclement weather is when a business closes for an entire week and exempt employees perform no work during that week. Be very careful here though, if they work from home, you could be liable for payment.

For the full discussion on this topic, please click the link here: https://kardaslarson.com/flsa-obligations-bad-weather/  to our website to read the whole article. If you have any questions about this, or other compliance issues, give us a call at KardasLarson, and we will be happy to help you navigate through the “sea of uncertainty”.


KeyBank 2018 Commitment and Service Award Presented to James Trimble

KeyBankThe Connecticut Food Bank presented its 2018 Commitment and Service Award to KeyBank Mail Assistant James Trimble on November 30 at a special celebration event held in KeyBank’s New Haven Main branch.  Trimble has served as a volunteer at the food bank since 2005; this year, he will complete over 50 personal volunteer hours at the nonprofit. In 2012 James was recognized by the food bank as a Volunteer Hunger Action Hero for his years of engagement with the food bank through volunteerism and food/fund drives. The following year, Trimble initiated the “Super-Size Me” food drive to help neighbors impacted by Super Storm Sandy. He has continued the effort annually for the past five years, raising more than $15,000 in cash donations and thousands of pounds of donated food for food-challenged neighbors in our community.

“James is a stand-out volunteer,” said Connecticut Food Bank CEO Bernie Beaudreau. “He gives so freely of his time and energy and always boosts spirits with his participation at events, food drives, or helping to sort foods at our warehouse. His Super-Size Me food drive has become one of our signature events each year.”

In 2017, KeyBank joined Trimble’s efforts by collecting food and cash donations at branches throughout its Connecticut and Western Massachusetts market.  This year’s drive was held from November 5th to November 16th and also raised donations for FoodShare in Hartford and The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts.

“James is an extraordinary example of how one person can truly make a difference,” said Jeff Hubbard, KeyBank Connecticut and Western Massachusetts Market President. “His passion and dedication to helping those less fortunate exemplifies Key’s community commitment, and we are proud to have him on our team.”

Connecticut Food Bank recently honored KeyBank with its 2018 Corporate Commitment and Service award at a donor reception in October. In addition to supporting Trimble’s food drive, KeyBank’s employees volunteer their time sorting food during Key’s annual Neighbors Make The Difference® Day each May. Plus, KeyBank Foundation has granted more than $100,000 in support of the food bank’s mobile food pantry program.

KeyBank has more than 70 branches serving customers, businesses, and communities throughout Connecticut and Western Massachusetts.

More Conn. Families Will Stay Warm This Winter—GoodWorks Insurance and CEMA Give to Operation Fuel


op fuel donation glastonbury cromwell hartford 2018.jpg

Left-right:  Ed Ryan of GoodWorks Insurance, Kim O’Brien Green of Operation Fuel and CEMA’s Peter Russell

Operation Fuel has received a $9,000 donation in addition to the $5,000 it previously received from GoodWorks Insurance and the Connecticut Energy Marketers Association (CEMA) last winter. The funds will be used to help lower-income Connecticut families stay warm this winter.


GoodWorks Insurance in Glastonbury matched the $4,500 provided by Cromwell-based CEMA and its members.  The check was presented at CEMA’s recent holiday party.

“Operation Fuel is a lifesaver because one in five in Connecticut residents has difficulty paying for energy,” said GoodWorks Insurance senior vice president Ed Ryan.

“Home heating oil dealers across Connecticut are honored to contribute to Operation Fuel’s mission to help people in need of energy assistance. It’s part of CEMA’s mission too,” said CEMA chair Peter Russell, who’s also president of Santa Fuel in Bridgeport.

“We’re incredibly grateful to GoodWorks Insurance, CEMA, and its members for stepping up so generously.  This much-needed support will help many Connecticut households this winter who are struggling with their energy needs,” said Kim O’Brien Green, Operation Fuel’s director of development.

GoodWorks will make an additional grant of $5,000 in the first quarter of 2019 and match up to $5,000 more from CEMA members by next September, Ryan announced.

Headquartered in Glastonbury, GoodWorks Insurance is an independent insurance agency with branch offices in New Milford, Avon, and Columbia, Connecticut, and in Walnut Creek, California. It offers home, auto and business insurance, surety bonds and group health insurance.

GoodWorks donates 50 percent of its annual operating profit to local charities. Its mission of “Purpose Beyond Profit” is fulfilled through GoodWorks Community Grants and strategic partnerships with leading nonprofit groups.  More information is on the web at www.goodworksinsurance.com.

CEMA, based in Cromwell, Conn., consists of 585 Connecticut home heating oil dealers and gasoline distributors. It works to support and protect the hundreds of thousands of consumers its members serve in Connecticut. For more information, visit www.ctema.com.

Operation Fuel, which is based in Hartford, is a nonprofit organization that provides year-round emergency energy assistance throughout Connecticut to lower-income working families and individuals, the elderly, and disabled individuals who are in a financial crisis.  Anyone who needs energy assistance should call 211.  For more information on Operation Fuel, or to make a donation, visit www.operationfuel.org.

CHELSEA GROTON FOUNDATION Approves Funding Over $315K in Grants to Area Organizations

Autism Families CTThe Chelsea Groton Foundation approved funding $315,663 in grants to 40 non-profit organizations from Connecticut and Rhode Island this fall. Included in this dollar amount is a $100,000 grant to NCDC for Global City Norwich, a multi-year project of revitalizing Downtown Norwich, as well as a commitment of $100,000 over the next five years to the National Coast Guard Museum Association, Inc. Chelsea Groton is the first mutual or community bank to give a major gift to the campaign for the building of the future National Coast Guard Museum.

The total dollar amount being distributed through Foundation grants this fall is over $243,000, the greatest total awarded to area organizations in a single giving cycle since the Chelsea Groton Foundation was founded. Inclusive of these donations, the Foundation has provided over $3.2 million in total grants to the community since 1999. The Foundation reviews applications and awards grants two times per year.

The grant to NCDC is the second $100,000 grant the Chelsea Groton Foundation has made to the Global City Norwich program. Funds will be used specifically to identify and train entrepreneurs of many cultural backgrounds, build partnerships in order to help entrepreneurs find appropriate storefront spaces and funding for their businesses, and create a thriving downtown environment that will ensure increased traffic in area businesses.

“In addition to the large gifts to NCDC and the Coast Guard Museum, we are proud to report our increased giving in categories that support basic human needs – hunger, homelessness and healthcare – which continue to be critical needs in our community,” said Michael Rauh, President and CEO of Chelsea Groton Bank, and President of the Chelsea Groton Foundation. “We’ve also been able to support organizations that help to provide education, economic growth, arts and cultural experiences, and more, to our region. Supporting organizations that are critical to the success of our shared community is at the core of what we do. We were grateful to have the funding to once again help so many wonderful organizations in a very big way this year.”

Fall grant awards included: $5,000 to the American Red Cross for disaster cycle services in New London County; $7,500 to Catholic Charities, Diocese of Norwich for emergency basic needs; $10,000 to the Furniture Bank of Southeastern CT to purchase beds for families in financial need; $1,000 to the Salvation Army for the Go Forth Youth Initiative; and $5,000 to New London Community Meal Center, Inc. for their soup kitchen.

Each year, Chelsea Groton Bank and the Chelsea Groton Foundation support more than 200 local organizations through monetary gifts, grants, sponsorships, scholarships and employee volunteerism. More information, including a list of all fall grant recipients, is available at chelseagroton.com/CGFoundation.


Chelsea Groton Bank Introduces Chelsea University & New E-Learning Platform

37624243_2457635797583601_7795224659938508800_o.jpgChelsea Groton Bank is proud to announce the renaming of the Bank’s community education program to Chelsea University. For over a decade, Chelsea Groton has taught financial literacy classes in bank branches, schools and community centers throughout Eastern CT and Westerly, RI, in an effort to empower individuals, families and businesses to make the financial decisions that are best for them. As part of the introduction of Chelsea University, the Bank is also announcing the introduction of a new, convenient, and interactive e-learning platform.

“Chelsea Groton Bank has always had a focus on education, for customers, employees, and members of the community. In 2004, we formally launched the Community Education program, and have had a full-time education officer on our team since,” explained Lori Dufficy, EVP, Director of Sales and Service at Chelsea Groton Bank. “As we continued to develop our community education offering, including everything from FDIC Money Smart classes, to lifestyle programs to internal training programs for our team, we felt it was the right time to take all of the individual programming under one strong umbrella. We are thrilled to continue to grow this program.”

Within the Chelsea University e-learning platform, which is powered by Enrich™, iGrad’s adaptive, personalized online financial literacy platform, customers and community members will be able to take financial courses, view instructional tutorials and how-tos, read articles, use calculators, play games, and track progress toward achieving their goals. Content topics include budgeting, student loans, mortgages, starting a business, career development and more.

“While we hope to continue to have strong attendance at the classes we offer around the community, the Chelsea University e-learning platform offers those who aren’t able to make it to an in-person class an opportunity to access important information at their own pace,” explained Miria Toth, Assistant Secretary, Community Education Officer at Chelsea Groton Bank. “We look forward to many members of the community benefitting from this convenient resource in the future.”

To learn more about Chelsea University, register for upcoming in-person classes, or begin to take courses online, please visit www.chelseagroton.com/chelseauniversity.