Best Of

  • Key Takeaways From The WCBS Small Business Breakfast

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    STAMFORD, Conn. (WCBS 880) — For the first time in years, some Connecticut business owners revealed to Joe Connolly at the WCBS Small Business Breakfast that they see signs that growth is slowing. As a result, hiring skilled employees has become even more important in a tight labor market because employees are the representatives of your brand.

    Many business owners remain optimistic, but retailers face challenges as Amazon is the one-stop shop for consumers. Several owners emphasized their relationship with their local communities and the positive influence they have while helping those in need, as a valued proposition to consumers who lean towards the convenience of shopping on Amazon.

    Dori DeCarlo, founder of StadiumBags.com, beamed with pride over the quality of her products. “Cheap is expensive,” said DeCarlo, a mom who started designing a line of clear bags and backpacks to deal with security issues at schools, offices, airports, public venues and sports arenas.

    We are live with Joe Connolly at the WCBS Small Business Breakfast in Stamford! #WCBSBizBreakfast

    Posted by WCBS Newsradio 880 on Tuesday, March 26, 2019

    Gov. Ned Lamont (D-CT) spoke at the beginning of the Small Business Breakfast program, which was held at the Stamford Hilton. The newly-elected governor touted the state’s history of innovation and promised to enact policies that will “champion small businesses.”

    Lamont’s own entrepreneurial background goes back to his cable television days. After graduating from Harvard and Yale, he worked for Cablevision when the cable network entered Connecticut. One day he got a tip from someone at MTV: Trek up to Franklin Pierce College in New Hampshire because they’re very unhappy with their cable system. The college told Lamont its students were paying high prices and the cable system wasn’t delivering what it wanted: educational and international programming.

    So, Lamont developed a network, Campus Televideo, to distribute cable TV from satellites to the college dorms. It expanded to over 100 colleges by 2006, including the University of Hartford.

    “I started a business about 40 years ago and I remember that first check coming in, I remember at the end of the month when you had a little bit left over you knew what that meant,” Lamont said. “I remember the frustrations but I really remember the joy of being my own boss and watching a company happen and we need a lot more of that in the state of Connecticut.”

    A group of expert panelists comprised of Nolan Farris, Senior Vice President for Sales at Indeed; Sam Gimbel, co-founder and CPO of Clark Inc.Jarrett McGovern, Co-Founder of RISE Brewing Co.; and Cordy Gould Kelly, Co-Founder of Kelly’s Four Plus, then shared their experiences about keeping your business fresh and growing your brand.

    McGovern and Kelly were asked how they got their products to go mainstream.

    McGovern started his cold brew coffee brand a few years ago out of an East Village apartment and now has several high-end clients.

    “What we first started doing was we self distributed. We built up our own client list… we built up a list of about 100 clients and the distributors started calling us,” McGovern said. “We didn’t wait for the time to be right, we didn’t wait for the distributor to call us, we just attacked and started selling the products.”

    Kelly started her granola business in her New Canaan kitchen. The product was hit among her son’s rowing students and their parents so that’s when they decided to take it to the next level. After selling at a few farmers markets, they soon found themselves on store shelves.

    “We literally built this market by market and then Whole Foods at the time you could go in and solicit at Whole Foods directly. Greenwich took us in, then Darien and from there we went regional with them and we’re in two different regions,” Kelly said. “It’s been a long, laborious process obviously but we work with three or four distributors now also who get us into the 350 markets we’re in currently.”

    Among nearly 300 small and mid-size business owners in attendance were a group of students from Blind Brook High School in Rye with an interest in business. After the 90-minute business pow-wow, they told Connolly what they gleaned from the event and the business news veteran gave them valuable advice as they pursue their career goals.

    At the Small Business Breakfast, Connolly announced that WCBS Newsradio 880 will kick-off the NXT Events Media Group’s BRANDXCELERATOR with the next WCBS Business Breakfast on June 12 at the Metropolitan Pavilion in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan.

    The event will focus on transcending your company’s brand and vision to generate rapid growth. You can register for our next premiere business event, with promo code 880, HERE.​

    Neil A. Carousso is the producer of the WCBS Small Business Spotlight and Small Business Breakfast programs with Joe Connolly. 

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  • More To Love: Citi Field Unveils What’s New Ahead Of 2019 Season

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    NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — There’s more than just baseball to look forward to this season at Citi Field.

    In addition to the 50th anniversary of the Miracle Mets, the stadium also has a new food lineup that Mets fans aren’t going to want to miss out on.

    WCBS 880’s traffic reporter Tom Kaminski, an avid Mets fan, got a sneak peek Thursday at some of the newcomers to Citi Field including the brand new pizza partner, Emmy Squared.

    The pizza spot, which began as Emily Restaurant – also known as Pizza Loves Emily – was founded in 2014 in Clinton Hill and eventually grew into Emmy Squared in Williamsburg in 2015.

    Now, Emmy Squared has partnered with the Mets and offers a variety of specialty pizzas, including “The Emmy,” served with mozzarella cheese, banana peppers, red onions and ranch dressing.

    “We just could never have imagine that we would be here, but we’re happy to be,” said shop owner Emily Hyland.

    She notes that there are three locations throughout the stadium, including a field-level location that offers burgers.

    Other newcomers included Destination Dumplings, Dulcinea, Pizza Cupcake, Stuf’d, Sliders & Sinkers and La Newyorkina.

    Fan favorites, including Wowfulls, which serves waffle cones stuffed with ice cream, and DŌ, which serves edible cookie dough, are also expected to draw large crowds.

    (Photo Credit: Neil A. Carousso, WCBS 880)

    But it’s not just burgers and hotdogs you can find throughout the stadium. Citi Field is also planning to introduce new vendors for all dietary options, including a vegan spot: Marty’s V Burger.

    “Everything that we serve is 100 percent vegan,” said owner Marty Krutolow, who offered Kaminski the shop’s signature Shroom Steakhouse Burger.

    The dish is served with the restaurant’s vegan burger patty, vegan mozzarella cheese, steakhouse sauce, sautéed mushrooms and chipotle lime dressing – and has Kaminski’s seal of approval.

    “That is excellent,” Kaminski noted after taking his first bite.

    And while the food is usually a crowd pleaser, it’s not the only thing that’s new this season.

    In fact, upon arrival fans will be greeted by an entirely new 1969 display case which features artifacts from the season, including Ron Swoboda’s game-used glove, Gil Hodge’s manager contract and more.

    (Photo Credit: Neil A. Carousso, WCBS 880)

    The artifacts were added as the Mets plan to host a weekend-long celebration to honor the 1969 World Series Championship team on Friday, June 28 through Sunday, June 30.

    Mets fans will also be pleased to hear that the team is planning to honor Tom Seaver – who was recently diagnosed with dementia and will unfortunately miss the Miracle Mets celebrations – by renaming 126th Street, which lies adjacent to the ballpark, after the legendary pitcher.

    And of course, there’s always new merchandise to look forward to.

    We recommend checking out the new shirts, including the one based on Howie Rose’s famous line: “Put It In the Books!”

    (Photo Credit: Neil A. Carousso, WCBS 880)

     

    Neil A. Carousso produced multi-media content of the “What’s New at Citi Field” event ahead of Opening Day for WCBS Newsradio 880 – the flagship station of the New York Mets.

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  • Irish Pride, And Dash Of Politics, At St Patrick’s Parade

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    NEW YORK (AP) — A new, troublesome topic hovered over the St. Patrick’s Day parade in New York this year: Britain’s failed Brexit deal with the European Union that could squeeze Ireland’s economy.

    But nothing could put a damper on the largest American celebration of Irish heritage on Saturday, with tens of thousands of marchers following a painted green line up Fifth Avenue for the six-hour procession.

    Kevin Coughlan, a 27-year-old spectator wearing pants with four-leaf clovers, captured both the New York celebration and the political near-catastrophe overseas, where he still has plenty of family — in Ireland.

    “I’ve always been so proud to be an Irish-American, and that’s what today is about; it’s more than just one big party, it’s about celebrating our freedom,” said the Hoboken, New Jersey, resident.

    His mood darkened when he turned to Brexit, which “is definitely something we’re all worried about, especially my family,” he said. “I mean, we’re all sort of just waiting for the shoe to drop to see what this means for the Irish economy.”

    But, he added, “We can get through anything; we survived a potato famine.”

    Through its history, dating back more than 250 years, the New York parade has often had a political element. In the 1970s and 1980s, as sectarian violence flared in Northern Ireland, there were controversies over the inclusion of groups supporting the militant wing of the Irish Republican Army. A banner reading “England get out of Ireland” has flown in the parade since the 1940s.

    This year’s march is taking place amid a new set of questions about relations between the United Kingdom and Ireland.

    “When the Irish take to the streets this Saturday for the 258th St. Patrick’s Day Parade, our thoughts will take us far beyond the festivities on Fifth Ave. to Washington, D.C., and to the British Parliament in London,” the grand marshal of this year’s St. Patrick’s Day parade in New York, attorney Brian O’Dwyer, wrote in an editorial in the Daily News this week.

    British lawmakers are struggling to find a way to exit the European Union without disrupting the two-decade old peace accords that created an open border between the Republic of Ireland, which is in the E.U., and Northern Ireland, which is in the U.K.

    This week, with a March 29 deadline looming, British lawmakers voted to seek to delay Brexit for at least three months. But the possibility exists that the line between the two parts of Ireland, which has been unguarded for 20 years, will once again become hardened with vehicle checkpoints, with trade rules and tariffs in force.

    O’Dwyer said Irish-Americans are ready to mobilize politically to oppose any arrangement that leads to a restoration of the hard border that once split the emerald isle.

    “It was Irish-American activists who pressured former President Bill Clinton, over the objections of London and the U.S. State Department, to grant a visa to Sinn Fein’s Gerry Adams that set in motion the process that led to the Good Friday Agreement, which ended the sectarian violence known as the Troubles and opened the border between the two Irelands for the first time since partition at the time of Irish Independence in 1921,” he wrote. “We have been talking to leaders on both sides of the Atlantic to let them know that the same Irish-American activists who pressured the Clinton administration are ready to saddle up again and fight against a post-Brexit trade deal between the U.S. and Great Britain if a hard border is restored.”

    But for most at Saturday’s parade, the political debate over the future Northern Ireland took a back seat to the pageantry.

    Popular marching groups include the pipes and drums corps for the Emerald Societies at the New York police and fire departments and the 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry Regiment, of the New York Army National Guard, which has led off the parade since 1851.

    St. Patrick’s Day is on March 17, a Sunday this year, and the parade is always held the Saturday before even if the day does not fall on a Saturday.

     

    Neil A. Carousso produced multi-media coverage of the 258th St. Patrick’s Day Parade for WCBS Newsradio 880.

     

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  • Why A WWI Vet’s Daughter Cherishes This Golden Crucifix 100 Years Later

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    By Neil A. Carousso, WCBS Newsradio 880

    PORT JEFFERSON, N.Y. (WCBS 880) — It’s called the forgotten war, but a hero’s daughter will never forget the sacrifices of her father, Private First Class Walter E. Decker, during his time in the Army in World War I. A special golden crucifix passed on to her keeps him first place.

    “I was close to my dad growing up, and I always remembered in the summer, he’d be wearing these long johns, and the tissue on his skin was so thin, that he’d bleed through,” said Carol Fazio, 77, of her father. “He suffered ‘til the day he died from mustard gas.”

    Decker’s hand-written discharge papers notes he was gassed on October 15, 1918 while serving in France for just under 10 months.

    He entered the service at 16, just before his 17th birthday, after his father died. He mailed each of his allotment checks to his mother.

    “He was a communication expert. His company would go up to see the enemy and to send back [intelligence] to his troops,” said Fazio. “On the way back, that’s when the enemy got them and shot them.”

    German troops attacked Unit Company B in the 303rd Field Signal Battalion of the 78th Infantry Division in the French forests with mustard gas.

    “My father was left for dead. They thought he was dead,” Fazio said, adding several of his cohorts were killed.

    Decker was 20 at the time of the gas attack. He died in 1980 at the age of 82. He is buried at Calverton National Cemetery on Long Island where local soldiers from all the wars are buried with their spouses.

    Private First Class Decker received the Purple Heart in the first year the award was instituted, 1932, on the bicentennial of George Washington’s birth.

    He also received the Distinguished Service Cross – the second highest decoration for valor.

    But it is a different cross passing through the generations that’s revered by Decker’s daughter.

    “At the time, the French monks used to go through the forest when they knew it was safe and call out to find out anybody who was alive. And, they heard my father, and what they did was they placed this cross on each of the bodies that were ready to go back, back to a hospital,” said Fazio while holding the golden crucifix.

    Fazio just learned of the cross last year when she visited her niece and nephew in Wilmington, North Carolina. The cross made its way to Decker’s step-son Daniel who was a Marine, and then, Daniel’s brother Alfred when he died. The family wanted Carol to have it, as she is Decker’s biological daughter.

    “I had no idea. It was really overwhelming, it really was, to think I was holding something that was 100 years and it stood on my father in the forest,” Fazio said.

    When Carol was growing up, it was common for disabled veterans to be at her house. Decker was active in the Disabled American Veterans Charity (DAV) after leaving the Army and would visit wounded soldiers at the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and Veterans Affairs facilities.

    “My father would walk them through it,” said Fazio who saw her father as a caregiver, serving throughout his lifetime.

    Like many WWI veterans, Decker did not talk about his service, what he saw overseas or the gas attack in France that left him suffering until the day he died. The stories were passed on through family members who gleaned information over time.

    “One thing I asked him about the war and about his involvement, everything with the VFW, I asked him, if he had to do it all over again,” said Fazio. “I said to him, ‘Dad, would you do that?’ I said, ‘Would you go into the service?’ And he said, ‘Without a doubt.'”

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  • 48th NYC Marathon Winds Through The 5 Boroughs

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    NEW YORK (AP/WCBS 880) — Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia has won the New York City Marathon, holding off countryman Shura Kitata by 1.99 seconds.

    Desisa finished in 2 hours, 5 minutes, 59 seconds. Last year’s winner, Geoffrey Kamworor of Kenya, finished third.

    Mary Keitany of Kenya became the second woman to win the marathon four times, beating countrywoman Vivian Cheruiyot by 3 minutes, 13 seconds.

    Keitany ran the race in 2:22:48, the second fastest in history. Margaret Okayo of Kenya holds the record of 2:22:31, which was set in 2003.

    The victory was Keitany’s fourth in New York in the last five years. She won in 2014, 2015 and 2016 before coming in second last year to American Shalane Flanagan. Keitany joined Grete Waitz as the only women to win the marathon four times. Waitz, a Norwegian, won the marathon nine times between 1978-1988.

    Flanagan finished third.

    More than 50,000 runners began their 26.2-mile journey across the five boroughs on a sunny Sunday morning as part of the 47th New York City Marathon.

    They trained in darkness and rain, and through pain, for this day, which starts on Staten Island, winding through Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and the Bronx, before ending back in Central Park.

    2018 New York City Marathon in Photos

    Continue reading 48th NYC Marathon Winds Through The 5 Boroughs

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Neil A. Carousso is the producer in charge of content for the "Mooch and the Mrs. with Anthony and Deidre Scaramucci" podcast, exclusively via the Radio.com platform.
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