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Valley Vibes

Valley Vibes

By Avon-Canton Chamber of Commerce

Mission Statement: We bring you entertaining conversations that enrich, educate, and inform about life in the Farmington Valley and beyond.
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Talking Business With Your State Legislators

Valley VibesMar 30, 2023

Talking Business With Your State Legislators

Talking Business With Your State Legislators

Being in business means you wear many hats. Your days are filled with the needs of your employees, customers, along with marketing and maintaining the products or services you provide. Another element that's equally as critical to thriving businesses but which many overlook, is building a good working relationship with your local legislators. If you have thought about taking action on a bill that may impact your business but have struggled making time to get your thoughts heard, then we have some great tips for you.

Guest Eric Gjede, Vice President of Government Affairs at CBIA, chats with Avon/Canton Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, Lisa Bohman, about the easiest and best methods for connecting with your state legislators. Eric shares simple ways to learn about and track proposed bills, how to automate following a committee or individual legislator's bills, easy ways to craft and provide testimony in-person or virtually, along with general do's and don'ts to effectively communicate and build a relationship with local lawmakers.


Eric Gjede is vice president for public policy with CBIA, Connecticut’s leading business organization. He represents the views of Connecticut businesses on labor, employment, and transportation issues. He serves as CBIA’s state ethics compliance counsel. He also directs CBIA’s Labor and Employment Law Council and helps support the organization’s Taxation and Finance Committee. Gjede serves as an appointed member of the Connecticut Department of Labor’s Employment Security Advisory Board. He also serves on the Second Injury Fund Advisory Board. He is a member of the Connecticut Bar Association and the Association of Connecticut Lobbyists. Prior to CBIA, Gjede was an associate legislative attorney with the Legislative Commissioners’ Office, the nonpartisan legal office of the Connecticut General Assembly. In that position, he provided legal counsel to the members of the General Assembly’s committees on Commerce and Labor and Public Employees. He also drafted all the legislation and amendments considered by those committees. Gjede earned his J.D. at the University of Connecticut School of Law and also holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Connecticut.

Eric’s handles:

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Additional Resources:

CBIA Membership benefits:

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CBIA Action Center:

Mar 30, 202326:21
It's A Dog's Life

It's A Dog's Life

Thinking about getting a dog?  Have a dog?  Love all things dog?  Whatever the case you will want to 'come', 'sit', and 'stay' for this episode which is 'packed' full of information about dogs.  It's the perfect blend of 'pup' talk and expert advice.  

Listen to this lively conversation as Dr. Arnie Goldman from the Canton Animal Hospital talks with Christine Buhler from the Talcott Mountain Science Center & Academy and Lisa Bohman, Executive Director of the Avon/Canton Chamber of Commerce about:  The stages of a dog's life;  Choosing the right breed for your family & lifestyle; The importance of training for a well-mannered, happier household member;  Feeding and nutrition recommendations; Tips on vaccinations, general health & overall canine well-being. 


Dr. Goldman, a Canton veterinarian, is a graduate of the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine and the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. Dr. Goldman founded Canton Animal Hospital at 198 Albany Turnpike, Canton in 1995. In addition, he has led Connecticut's disaster response planning for domestic animals for >15 years. In that realm he founded the Connecticut State Animal Response Team program under the auspices of the Connecticut Veterinary Medical Foundation, and was founding president of the National Alliance of State Animal & Agricultural Emergency Programs (NASAAEP) which shares information and best practices across all the states. He successfully advocated for passage of Connecticut Public Act 07-11, mandating safe management of household pets with their owners during disasters. For this he was honored as the 2008 Connecticut-Veterinarian-of-the-Year. Dr. Goldman currently serves as treasurer of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the nation's largest professional society for veterinarians, with over 100,000 members.

Canton Animal Hospital treats cats, dogs, birds, reptiles and other pet species. It is equipped for both outpatient and inpatient care giving and internal medicine, surgery and animal dentistry are routinely offered. In the surgical realm, Dr. Goldman is often sought out for some less common reproductive surgeries such as vasectomy and hysterectomy, as alternatives to the more common and traditional castration ("neuter") and ovariohysterectomy ("spay") procedures that pets often have. A growing body of literature has questioned the timing for sterilization surgeries for many breeds, and therefore more nuanced options are now offered to animal owners who come to us with reproductively intact animals. This is a growing interest area among some animal owners.



VETERINARY PARTNER, for Accurate Animal Illness Information:

Feb 02, 202342:13
Making The Right Move: A Guide to Buying & Selling A Home

Making The Right Move: A Guide to Buying & Selling A Home

A home is probably the largest purchase a person will make.  It is even more daunting when you consider that Interest rates continue to rise, there are fewer homes on the market currently, yet home prices continue to rise year-over-year.  

Our guests -- Lori Macgowan from Coldwell Banker Realty/Avon and Adam Horelik from Norcom Mortgage -- bring clarity to this process by providing tips to help you navigate this complicated and oftentimes stressful process.  From financing options, to applying for a mortgage, knowing how to find the right real estate agent, to staging your home and pricing it right, this episode covers some of those crucial considerations you need to know before buying or selling a home.


Adam Horelik is a loan officer with Norcom Mortgage. He assists people with all their home financing needs. Whether it’s a purchase, refinance, investment or reverse mortgage, Adam has the specific mortgage product to get the deal closed.

Lori Macgowan is a seasoned Realtor with Coldwell Banker Realty/Avon.  Having been a top-producing full time residential Realtor since 1992, Lori is committed to her fiduciary responsibility to her clients, and finds there is never a dull moment. She is always happy to offer complimentary market analysis for folks looking to sell their home. In addition to being a Notary Public for many years, Lori serves on the membership committee of the Avon/Canton Chamber of Commerce, is an active associate member of The Prince Thomas Savoy Italian Club in Avon, and heads up the membership and hospitality committees of the Nutmeg State Orchid Society.

Nov 02, 202232:49
Autism Awareness

Autism Awareness

You may have heard about Autism, but do you really know what it means?  Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is the fastest growing developmental disorder in the world. It's a lifelong disorder that can cause significant behavioral, social, and communication challenges. And while those with Autism share certain common characteristics, no two individuals are the same.  

In this show Yvonne and Lauren Gardner of FOCUS Center For Autism discuss with show hosts Dan Callahan of Acadia ActionCOACH and Adam Horelik of Norcom Mortgage: Autism throughout the lifespan, the early signs of Autism, the importance of getting an early diagnosis, how to help parents find the right services and support, and how a program targeted toward your child's particular needs can help reduce isolation and help them achieve both acceptance and social support. 


FOCUS Center for Autism is a nonprofit organization based in Canton, Connecticut that provides a continuum of care to children and adults with autism and their families. FOCUS Center for Autism services currently include: FOCUS Spectrum Unplugged Panels, three residential programs, adult support services and CT state approved special education program, Fresh Start School.

Yvonne Gardner is the HR and Operations Coordinator who is in her 20th year working with FOCUS Center for Autism.

Lauren Gardner is the Public Relations and Marketing Coordinator for FOCUS Center for Autism. This past May, Lauren earned her master’s degree in social work policy practice from the University of Connecticut. She has been working with FOCUS since 2009. | |

For A Comprehensive List of Resources for Autism in Connecticut Go To: 

Aug 23, 202228:50
Grilling 101

Grilling 101

Summer and Grilling go hand in hand. Join us as we celebrate the Joy Of The Char and help you on your journey to becoming a Master Of The Flames.

Chuck Joseph of ShopRite of Canton discusses with show hosts Adam Horelik of Norcom Mortgage and Michael Mezheritskiy of Milestone Asset Management Group the importance of going somewhere that has experienced butchers that can speak with confidence about cooking techniques, recipes, and marinades, and help you navigate the cuts of meat available for your grilling pleasure.  They also explore:  What distinguishes the different brands of beef; Understanding USDA Grading -- Prime, Choice, and Select -- and its impact on tenderness and flavor of the beef along with the price; The Different Cuts of Meat -- Ribeye, Porterhouse, NY Strip, Hanger Steak, Flank Steak; Bone-In vs. Bone Out; and Charcoal vs. Gas.


Chuck Joseph loves all things wellness, wine and food, and along with his father, Chuck Jr., owns and operates ShopRite of Canton. Chuck and his dad have a combined 60 years of experience in the supermarket industry and have enjoyed serving the Farmington Valley since 2010.  |  ShopRite of Canton (Facebook)  |  @shopritestores (Instagram)

Jul 26, 202240:34
There's No Place Like Summer Camp

There's No Place Like Summer Camp

It's Summer!  If you are a kid it means no school and lots of free time.  If you are a parent it means the kids are home all day with nothing to do. Summer Programs for the kids might be just the ticket to keep them engaged during those hazy, lazy days.  Summer Programs, Day Camp or Overnight Camp can offer a wide range of benefits for children of any age, including: promoting independence, developing skills, building self-esteem, fostering learning and personal growth, and, of course, making friends and memories that will last a lifetime.

In this episode Jason Brown, Camp Experience Manager for Ebner Camps and John Pellino, Associate Director/Programming & Instruction, Talcott Mountain Science Center chat with hosts Christine Buhler of Talcott Mountain Science Center and Michael Mezheritskiy of Milestone Asset Management Group about: Things parents should look for in a Summer Camp, How to get your kids ready for a camp experience, The types of programs available for kids, How parents can feel more comfortable with sending a child to an overnight camp, and so much more...


Jason Brown is the Camp Experience Manager for Ebner Camps, Inc - a family of four summer camps that operate in Litchfield County. Jason’s job is to ensure that everyone who sets foot on one of their camp properties - from staff to campers to parents - has an unforgettable and enjoyable experience. Ebner Camp’s facilities are two overnight facilities - Camp Awosting for Boys and Camp Chinqueka for Girls, and two day camps - Eagle Rock Day Camp in Washington and Boulder Ridge Day Camp in Barkhamsted.  |  |  |  |  |

John Pellino oversees Outreach, Saturday, Vacation and Summer programs for TMSC, and IT at Talcott. John first attended Talcott as a 6th grader from nearby Simsbury. His work as a student, peer teacher, and Science Center Scholar lead him to a position as Nature Instructor at High Meadow Day Camp. These experiences set him on the path to a degree in Biology with graduate coursework in Educational Technology and Educational Psychology.

After serving as Staff Microbiologist for an NSF program, he joined TMSC full-time as a Research Assistant. Since then he has also served as Research Associate, Instructor, Assistant Director and Associate Director.  Projects at Talcott have included Project TEMPO (student health education), External Research for Apple Advanced Technology Group, The Jason Project, NSF Urban Network, The GLOBE Program, Coordinator and Coach for FIRST Robotics, FIRST LEGO League, and Trinity College Firefighting Robotics, as well as design and implementation of Connecticut's first statewide science teachers' network.  |  |

Jun 28, 202225:07
For The Birds

For The Birds

Tube feeders, Hopper feeders, Platform feeders, Oh My.  Guests Jay Kaplan from Roaring Brook Nature Center and Lou Moscaritolo from Wild Birds Unlimited/Avon sit down with hosts Christine Buhler of The Talcott Mountain Science Center and Lisa Bohman, Executive Director of the Avon/Canton Chamber of Commerce to chat about how to choose the right feeder and the right food for attracting birds to your backyard, what species might be commonly seen here in Connecticut, along with how to keep those pesky squirrels and the occasional bear from interrupting your bird watching.   


Jay Kaplan is the long-time director of Roaring Brook Nature Center in Canton. He is a graduate of Cornell University and holds a Master's from The Pennsylvania State University. He is a pasr president of the Hartford Audubon Society and the Connecticut Ornithological Association, and remains active with both organizations, serving as Chairman of the COA's Avian Records Committee that assesses reports of rare birds in the state, and as compiler for the Hartford Christmas and Summer Bird Counts. He currently serves on the board of the Canton Land Conservation Trust and as a member of Canton's Conservation Commission. 

Lou Moscaritolo taught elementary school for nine years, and having dual certification, switched to physical education for the remainder of his 34-year career. Lou and his wife, Terry, retired in 2013 and purchased their Wild Birds Unlimited/Avon store, opening the doors in 2014. They have thoroughly enjoyed sharing their knowledge about the hobby of backyard bird feeding with their customers, many of whom have become very close friends.

     Their store is located in the Westridge Shops in Avon, right on Route 44, across from Fresh Market. Online Store: Facebook: Wild Birds Unlimited Avon CT -- Visit this site for lots of information about backyard bird feeding, with experts from the Wild Birds Unlimited home office, and packed with lots of ideas and information about birds and nature. 

     SPECIAL OFFER: Any listener who mentions this podcast will receive a Free 5lb. Bag of Birdseed of Their Choice!

For additional bird-related resources listeners can visit the following sites:  Hartford Audubon Society | Connecticut Ornithological Association

Jun 03, 202230:09
In Celebration of Women in the Workplace

In Celebration of Women in the Workplace

Each year we set aside time to recognize the achievements of women across our country and commemorate the contributions they have made to our culture and society.  

In that vein, we are celebrating two very accomplished women from right here in the Farmington Valley -- Cynthia Crockett, Esq. from the law firm Hersh & Crockett, and Technology Teacher Anya Jensen from The Talcott Mountain Science Center & Academy.  They chat with our co-hosts Christine Buhler of The Talcott Mountain Science Center & Academy and Gena Hamilton of Exact Digital Media on how they started; what they learned along the way; on how, as women, the importance of being yourself and finding your voice; and the need for and potential influence of female role models for young girls to help them overcome their preconceptions and barriers to leadership and success in business. 


Anya Jensen first got involved in engineering when she founded the all-female FIRST Robotics Competition team, The Missfits, in high school. She has since graduated with a degree in Robotics Engineering from Olin College, and worked at Amazon Robotics, Cruise, and with NOAA. She is now an educator with Talcott Mountain Science Center & Academy, where she introduces young learners to technology and engineering. You can read more about the program at or reach out to Anya by emailing her at

Cynthia I. Crockett, Esq. graduated from Stony Brook University and went on to earn her J.D. from Western New England University School of Law.  Attorney Crockett has 27 years experience practicing in the areas of personal injury, worker's compensation and family law.  She practices both litigation and mediation. Attorney Crockett owns and manages the law firm Hersh & Crockett in Hartford, Connecticut and practices in courts throughout the State. She attributes her success to the successful results she has obtained for her clients, her fantastic staff and a lifelong desire to help people. 

Apr 18, 202230:44
Moving From Exercise Resolutions to Attainable Solutions

Moving From Exercise Resolutions to Attainable Solutions

So you made that New Year's resolution: shed some pounds, improve your overall physical health, look better come swimsuit season, etc...  But without realistic goals or a plan for how to achieve them, these resolutions were probably abandoned after only a few months because they became overwhelming and, thus, seemingly unattainable.  

In this show Rick Hersom of Club Pilates/Avon and Billy Pratt of Fitness Together/Avon sit down with co-hosts Dan Callahan of Acadia ActionCOACH and Gena Hamilton of Exact Digital Media to discuss how to do a 'resolution reset' to reinvigorate your fitness goals to achieve long-term success. Billy and Rick share ideas as to how to stay motivated on your exercise journey, along with various exercise options available -- no matter your fitness level -- to improve your overall physical health. 


Club Pilates Blog | Fitness Together/Avon Blog - Diving Into 2022 With Intention | Fitness Together/Avon Blog - Should I Still Work Out When I'm Sick | Fitness Together/Avon Blog - The Dreaded 'D' Word



Rick Hersom is the General Manager of Club Pilates/Avon. Rick is a Husband, Father of 3, Grandfather of 5. He exercises 4 days a week, hikes local trails 1 day a week, and enjoys local breweries! He is a Fitness and Wellness Industry veteran with more than 25 years of experience helping people reach their fitness goals, reduce stress, and live happier and healthier lives. Rick holds a BS in Business Management and Sports Management from Keene State College and a Masters Degree in Physical Education and Sports Management from Springfield College.

Billy Pratt is the Owner of Fitness Together in Avon.  Billy has a Bachelors from UCONN and is a Certified Personal Trainer, Golf Injury Prevention Specialist, Postural Analysis Specialist, Certified Functional Movement Screening Professional, and Precision Nutrition practitioner.  Having been in the fitness business since 1997 in an administrative capacity, he became certified in 2003 and has worked with a wide range of clientele including a Team USA figure skater, New York fashion models, elderly, youth, and many more across the age & health spectrum.  He currently focuses his efforts on helping people find the right "fitness fit" for them, and in mentoring other fitness professionals on ways to overcome challenges many business managers & owners face. 

Mar 07, 202223:23
Hey, Hey, Get Ready For Valentine's Day

Hey, Hey, Get Ready For Valentine's Day

If Bling Is Your Thing or you are looking for a Sweet Treat to amp up the romance this Valentine's Day, then you will LOVE this show. 

Valentine's Day can elicit a variety of responses depending upon your perspective; from excitement and anticipation to doubt and despair. On this episode Ken Bacon, General Manager of Michael's Jewelers/Canton and Miriam Rieder of Taste by Spellbound/Avon, share with hosts Gena Hamilton of Exact Digital Media and Michael Mezheritskiy of Milestone Asset Management Group their take on selecting the perfect gift of jewelry to suit every budget or that custom crafted confection that will make your taste buds delight, and how to make the day less stressful and extra-special. 


Ken Bacon started at Michael's Jewelers in 1986. He is currently general manager of the Michael's Jewelers located in The Shops at Farmington Valley in Canton. He is a Gemologist through the Gemological Institute of America and a Certified Gemologist through the American Gem Society.

Miriam Rieder is a self-taught baker who started her first business at age 11. In March 2011 she was discovered by Elvis Duran and The Morning Show which led to the nationwide launch of her web-based truffle business. With the opening of her dessert studio the following year, Miriam continues to creatively fuse fashion, food, and interior design to create a magical atmosphere of enchantment that is sure to leave you ... SPELLBOUND.

Feb 08, 202222:10
Preparing For Winter
Dec 02, 202127:06


Break out the Lederhosen and Dirndl. It's autumn and that means it's time to lift a stein to all things German, and join us as we explore Oktoberfest, one of the world's most fun-filled celebrations.

In this episode Chris Bafumo of Cruise Planners - The Traveling Buddies and Kerry Brash of Avon Super Cellar Wine & Spirits chat with hosts Dan Callahan of Acadia ActionCOACH and Adam Horelik of Norcom Mortgage about some of the great culture, food, beers and, yes, wines, that are part of this storied annual festival. 

For some simple but delicious Oktoberfest cocktails mentioned in the show visit Avon Super Cellar Wine & Spirits and click on the 'Recipes & More' tab. AND, stop into Avon Super Cellar Wine & Spirits, Mention This Podcast and receive a 10% Discount On Your Purchase! 

Cruise Planners - The Traveling Buddies can arrange all your travel plans; from an ocean cruise, river cruise, resort stay, escorted tour, or your own tour. Sign Up for their Weekly Newsletter and Enter Into The Drawing For A 3-Night Sandals Trip.

Oct 18, 202128:26
Salute to Potato Month
Sep 28, 202119:08
Mental Health Preparedness for Going Back-To-School
Sep 08, 202131:02