NEWS&VIEWS by Jacqueline Bennett

Combat Gunner Leon E. Larned, Sr. Served On USS Trathen DD 530 ~ Korean War

Posted on June 25, 2018

Leon E. Larned ,Sr. served as a combat rear gunner on a destroyer during the Korean War, the USS Trathen DD 530.


Leon E. Larned, Sr. “Brud”, is shown second row , 6th from the right. U.S. Training Center Recruit Training Command,. Maryland  2nd Regiment Co. 444.

John Larned, Sr. proudly displays a photo of the destroyer on which his father – Leon E. Larned, Sr. – served during the Korean War.

By Jacqueline Bennett


Proudly displayed on his youngest son John Larned Sr.’s fireplace mantle are two framed photos from his father, Leon E. Larned, Sr.’s United States Navy service. One photo shows the destroyer on which Leon Sr. served as a rear gunner during the Korean War ~ the USS Trathen DD 530. The other photo is Leon Sr.’s recruits class in Maryland, the 2nd Regiment, Co 444.


“I’m glad he came home,” John said during a June 24 interview at his North Windham, Connecticut home. (In addition to Leon Sr.’s service as a rear gunner, John said he believes, his father also served as an explosives expert and a “frogman.”)


Fortunately for his family, Leon Sr. nickname “Brud”, who saw combat duty, was among those who made it back to parents and siblings waiting at home in Windham, Connecticut ~ where he married and raised a family.

Dixie Larned (my sister) was married to Leon E. Larned, Sr. “Brud – shown here with their sons, “Mike” (Leon E.Larned, Jr.) and John Larned, Sr,. Photo by Jacqueline Bennett taken September 30, 2017 in New Haven, CT.


The grandchildren ~ Mike’s girls, Michelle and Maryann & John’s children, Johnny Jr. and Ariel. Courtesy photo..

“Mike” with his grandson, Michelle’s son ~ “Brud’s” and Dixie’s great-grandson, Thomas Praskievicz  III. Photo by J.B. taken April, 2018.

The Korean War began 68 years ago today on June 25, 1950 when North Korean troops invaded South Korea. Soon after, the U.S. came to the aid of the South Koreans resulting in the loss of 36,914 American lives as “the bloody war” raged on. There were 33,652 battle deaths plus 3,262 non-battle deaths that occurred in the war zone, according to the 1994 Pentagon publication “Service Casualties in Major Wars and Conflicts.” Although Korean War hostilities came to a halt on July 27, 1954 ~ nearly seventy years after, the Korean War has not officially been ended in a formal treaty.


“The remains of thousands of U.S. soldiers are still in North Korea despite decades of effort by families and the U.S. military to repatriate them,” CNN recently reported.


As with so many of America’s World War II and Korean War veterans, Leon Sr. “Brud”, rarely discussed the war, family members noted. Sometimes when meeting at the local American Legion or V.F.W., veterans talked about those days, noted his brother-in-law who served in the U.S. Air Force during the war. But among family, the conversation was mainly about family, he added.


Dixie Larned, who was married to “Brud” said he saw the atrocities of war up close, losing one of his best buddies who was blown off the ship while positioned next to him. “He had nightmares,” she recalled.


“Brud” joined the US Navy in 1950 at age 18. His two younger brothers, Les Larned and Billy Larned, later also served in the military. Billy served in the navy on an icebreaker in Alaska and Les served in the army. It was their sister, Shirley, the oldest, who is said to have given “Brud” his nickname, a variation of the word brother – the story goes, repeatedly having asked her parents for a baby brother. Dixie and Brud met in 1953, she attended high school with one of his younger brothers. At the time, “Brud” had another year of navy service left. Subsequently, they married and had two sons, “Mike” (Leon Everett Larned, Jr.) and John. They share four grandchildren: Mike’s girls, Michelle and Maryann; and John’s children, Johnny Jr. and Ariel. As well as, the newest member of the family ~ Michelle’s son, an adored great-grandson, Thomas Praskievicz III.



Photo by J.B., taken June 17, 2018




Born December 21, 1932, “Brud” passed away on February, 4 2000. He was buried with military honors in Windham Center.






(Writer’s note: Mike and John Larned are my nephews.)

NFL Star Chris Baker Returns To Windsor & Bart’s – Continues Efforts to Inspire Youth

Posted on June 24, 2018

NFL star Chris Baker is surrounded by family June 21, 2018 when he returned to his hometown of Windsor, CT and visited Bart’s restaurant to sign autographs.

Story & Photos by Jacqueline Bennett


National Football League star Chris Baker, a native of Windsor, Connecticut returned to his hometown this past weekend to continue with his efforts to inspire area youth. And, as everyone knows, a visit home to Windsor is not complete without a stop at the iconic Bart’s Drive-In Restaurant. In Baker’s case, he was there on June 21 to sign autographs and mingle with fans. However, a hotdog from Bart’s Magic Grill was a must.


NFL star Chris Baker shown with Mayor Donald Trinks and his wife Barbara Trinks.

Baker has made a stop at Bart’s part of his annual visits to Windsor for a number of years. He and Mayor Donald Trinks, owner and general manager of Bart’s, share a mutual admiration.


“Mayor Trinks, he’s been my number one supporter since I decided to bring my football camp here,” noted Baker.


For the 6th consecutive year, Baker said, Trinks has donated all the food for the camp. The football camp, which was held Saturday, June 23 in town, not only teaches local youngsters football skills but strives also to instill in them the disciple, work ethic and sportsmanship that comes with playing the game. Some of Baker’s NFL buddies also were slated to turn out such as Terrence Knight.


“To me Chris is just an exceptional young man. At this point he doesn’t have to come back here to his hometown but he does. He is concerned about literacy and kids,” said Trinks.

Sisters Carol Engelmann and Jane Garibay were among those who came to see Chris Baker at Bart’s.

Jane Garibay has a little fun seeing what it would be like to be taller than an NFL star.











In addition to the football camp, Baker who founded the Chris Baker 92 Foundation to inspire literacy and leadership mentorships,, sponsored a fundraiser Friday night at the bowling alley in South Windsor. All proceeds from the event were to go to pay the cost of two student’s books for the coming college semester.


“All the lanes are sold out,” Baker added.


Nicknamed “Swaggy”, Baker, 30, is currently a defensive tackle for the Cincinnati Bengals. He has also played for the Washington Redskins then Miami. Long after he his career with the NFL is done, Baker said he anticipates carrying on with efforts to encourage literacy and leadership. Baker said he remains passionate about returning to Windsor each summer to give youth in the Greater Hartford area tangible proof that with hard work, determination and a good education, they too have a chance to realize their dreams.


“I want them to see that If I can do it, they can do it,” said Baker.

New England Patriots Cheerleaders Visit Express Service Friendly’s ~ Manchester CT

Posted on June 19, 2018

Photo by Jacqueline Bennett Store manager Hector is joined June 18, 2018 by New England Patriots cheerleaders Isabella and Courtney, as well as, team mascot Pat Patriot, welcoming customers to the Express Service shop on 240 Buckland Street in Manchester, Connecticut.


Article & Photos by Jacqueline Bennett


New England Patriots cheerleaders and team mascot Pat Patriot were on hand Monday, June 18, to welcome customers to the newly converted Express Service Friendly’s on 240 Buckland Street in Manchester, Connecticut.


“It’s going well, ” noted store manager, Hector.


For those of us who grew up with wholesome Friendly’s ice cream and sandwich shops throughout New England, where we went to enjoy burger melts on grilled bread, crispy French Fries and a Fribble –  meeting up with classmates there on Friday nights, standing in line with family for a booth, or counter seats, where waiters and waitresses then took our orders – is a part of our cultural history. Remember waiters clad in sharply pressed white uniforms, and waitresses wearing gray dresses with delicate white collars and white aprons with ruffles? Friendly’s restaurants – the quaint looking shops themselves and signature menu fare – became a piece of the Americana patchwork, a New England icon.


The uniforms have evolved over the years and so too the design of the restaurant interiors but for decades, one constant has been customers being greeted and seated by staff who took the orders. Once abundant, shops have been closed in some communities. It seems to remain competitive in an ever expanding industry, Friendly’s is changing what became their traditional customer-wait staff experience at some restaurants, such as the one in Manchester – a suburb of Hartford, the capital city. The selection of the Manchester store to be converted into an Express Service shop means that customers can get the same menu items but now place orders themselves at the entry counter area, and seat themselves. (In addition, Friendly’s delivery service called is now available in town.)


Some long-time staffers have been kept on here. Three of those women, I was told, served tables a combined 46 years at this particular location. On Monday, one of those women was saying “hello” to customers at the door and explaining the new set-up. Expect to also see new hires on the scene.


Our New England Patriots Hall-of-Fame bound quarterback, Tom Brady, known for his ‘indulgence’ – so to speak – in avocado ice cream, was not present. However, team mascot Pat Patriot, whom is said to know “Tom Terrific”, and two Patriots cheerleaders turned out to promote the change to Express Service. Asked for Patriots Nation predictions for the coming NFL season, one cheerleader said,”Greatness.” 


On Monday, some area schools had early dismissal due to record heat and humidity, 90 plus degrees. To cope with the heat, what could taste better than ice cream?



My Friendly’s preferences are New England Clam Chowder and Vienna Mocha Chunk ice cream. How about you – do you have Friendly’s favorites?  If so, “express” yourself.

Mom’s Recipe Box: Melane’s ‘Father’s Day’ Carrot, Apple, Zucchini GF Bread

Posted on June 17, 2018





Mom’s granddaughter-in-law Melane’s ‘Father’s Day’ Carrot, Apple, Zucchini GF Bread has been added to Mom’s Recipe Box.


YUM and gluten free!

Melane’s ‘Father’s Day’ Carrot, Apple, Zucchini GF Bread

Mom’s granddaughter-in-law Melane Larned sent me her terrific Carrot, Apple, Zucchinni GF Bread recipe at my request to add to Mom’s Recipe Box. And, Melane sent me the accompanying photos.

She made this bread for the first time for a Father’s Day Shad Bake last weekend, celebrating the special day a bit early.

“It was a hit.”

So, I am calling it a ‘Father’s Day’ bread and appreciate having the recipe to post today for 2018 Father’s Day. Looks yummy! I like that it’s gluten free because that expands the number of people who can enjoy it. – Jackie








*Please note: In order to be able to publish this recipe in time for today I am posting the ingredients and instructions in photo format but will return to do a type written layout.




























Subsequent to the January 2015 conclusion of the original Mom’s Recipe Box Family Series – which honors the memory of Mom/Nana – look for Mom’s Recipe Box posts as occasional features on newsandviewsjb as I continue to add to, and celebrate, my mother’s recipe collection – the Cecelia G. Bennett Collection.

St. Damien of Windsor, CT Celebrates Merger with Two Mile Procession

Posted on June 7, 2018

Procession along Palisado Ave. June 3, 2018

Photos & Article by Jacqueline Bennett


Parishioner Anita Mips (shown far right) welcomes attendees with Hawaiian-style leis to an afternoon picnic held at River Meadow Farm, LLC on Palisado Ave,

Clergy and parishioners from St. Damien of Molokai church in Windsor, Connecticut walked in a two mile procession along Palisado Avenue June 3, to celebrate the merger of three Catholic parishes in town. Escorted by two Windsor Police cruisers, the group walked and snag hymns on what was a sunny, hot and humid day making their way to River Meadow Farm for an afternoon picnic.


Large open tents were set up in the middle of a field at the farm and attendees were greeted with the offering of Hawaiian-style leis in recognition of the merged parish’s namesake. Approximately 300 parishioners were expected to turn out, according to church member Ann Walsh.


Among those giving out the leis was parishioner Anita Mips.


“The merger has taken place over two years and it’s doing so well,” Mips said, explaining the impetus for the procession and gathering.


Music was part of the event at the farm.

Headed by Rev. John Melnick, St. Damien, 379 Broad Street, is said to be the merger of St. Gabriel’s, St. Joseph’s and St. Gertude’s.


“We didn’t know what name we would be given – the bishop decided,” added Mips.


The afternoon gathering included colorful garb, plenty of food, a pig roast, games and music.




* St. Damien was a 19th Century Roman Catholic priest and missionary. A CNN report notes that Father Damien, who was born Josef De Veuster on January 3, 1840 in Belgium, devoted his life to caring for the ostracized who were sick with leprosy on a leper colony in Hawaii. Eventually Father Damien contracted the disease and died of leprosy on April 15, 1889. Pope Benedict XVI named Father Damien a saint in 2009. He is considered the patron saint of outcasts and lepers.

Honesty, Integrity, Bridge-Building ~ Jane Garibay for House Kicks Off Campaign

Posted on April 20, 2018

Jane Garibay is pictured Thursday, April 19, 2018, with Neal Cunningham ~ former chair of the Windsor Locks Democrat Town Committee during the kick-off to her campaign for the 60th House District.

By Jacqueline Bennett


Honesty, Integrity, Common Sense & Bridge-Building. These are the hallmarks of the Jane Garibay for House campaign that kicked-off last evening at Bart’s restaurant in Windsor, CT. They are more than mere words to Garibay ~ honesty, integrity, common sense and bridge-building ~ are the standards by which Garibay lives her life and has conducted herself during years of public and community service, as attested to by a large turnout of supporters.


“I’m a bridge-builder,” said Garibay, a Democrat seeking the nomination to run for the 60th General Assembly District comprised of a part of Windsor and Windsor Locks.


“I am really excited to do this,” Garibay said, citing her background working for education and her knowledge of business. Speaking about the challenges facing small business, she noted, “I know how they bleed.”


Garibay was introduced to applause by Windsor Mayor Donald Trinks, owner and general manager of Bart’s restaurant. Creation of good jobs, healthcare needs, education, and special education are critical issues she pointed to, as well, she has cited taxes and transportation as key concerns.


Having served three terms as chairman of the Windsor Board of Education, 2001-2006, those who know Garibay are familiar with her ability to exercise detente in the face of contentious situations, bring together factions with differing views, work tenaciously and stand fast on issues when need be. As executive director of the Windsor Chamber of Commerce, a position she has held for 19 years, supporters added Garibay is in tune with the pulse of the people, infusing energy and fresh ideas into the community.

One of Jane Garibay’s youngest supporters, one-year-old Sadie and her mother Sally Grossman.


Enjoying refreshments at the kick-off.

Windsor, CT Mayor Donald Trinks introduces Garibay.


















Cheryl Curtis and Lisa Bress.

Carol Engelmann and former 60th District state rep Peggy Sayers.

Sharran Selig-Bennett (no relation to the writer) Laurie St. Jacques and Lisa Stewart.

Windsor, CT Mayor Don Trinks sets out a tray of chocolate chip cookies.











Jane Garibay’s husband Bernardo Garibay talks with Bill Herzfeld.


Patrick and Karen Hatcher turned out to back Jane Garibay.


Dr. Mike Stewart and Bernardo Garibay.

Michele and Bill Herzfeld with Rita Holby (center)

Maria Eberle and Karen Prestana.













Garibay says she had considered running for the seat before, but was motivated to toss her hat in the ring at this juncture because the timing feels right. She said she believes she can make a difference with the issues at hand. Given the political tenor of the times Garibay added she wants to help restore civility to politics.


“I admire her qualifications,” said Rosemary Hogan, chair of the Windsor Locks Democrat Town Committee, “She has a great background with the chamber of commerce, with education, and she has name recognition in Windsor.” Also turning out to back Garibay was former 60th district state representative Peggy Sayers, whom Garibay described as a “mentor.”


“Jane is thoughtful,” said Karen Hatcher of Windsor. She went on to praise Garibay for her experience addressing policy choices and expressed confidence that she will balance good choices for the district.


“I will always listen, ” Garibay told the crowd, promising to represent Windsor and Windsor Locks with equal ferocity. Bringing a touch of humor to the moment she added, “And I have a sister (Carol Engelmann) and a friend Sharran (Selig) who will also listen.”





*The 60th House District seat is currently held by first term Windsor Locks Republican Scott A. Storms, who is running for re-election. Kathleen Tracy of Windsor is also seeking the Democrat nomination to run. 

Boston Marathon’s Strong Field of American Women Apropos to the Times

Posted on April 16, 2018

One of earliest women runners in the Manchester Road Race in Manchester, CT wearing her gym suit to compete. From a Manchester Historical Society collection, photo taken by Reginald Pinto for the Manchester Herald.

By Jacqueline Bennett


We have come a long way since a mother worried her daughter ~ with sights on running the Boston Marathon ~ might not find a husband, since New York Marathon officials warned that distance running could cause a woman’s uterus to fall out, and since LIFE magazine ran a headline ~ “Tomboy Out On a Limb” ~ after a woman broke the gender barrier in the 1961 Manchester Road Race in Connecticut.


“The best American women’s field ever assembled for Monday’s annual 26.2 mile trek from Hopkinton to Boston,” as described by sportswriter Lori Riley of the Hartford Courant, will take its mark this morning at the Boston Marathon. No matter what, this field of women would be news in the sports world. As the saying goes though, “timing is everything,” and timing makes this field of elite women runners ~ news bigger than the race.


Apropos to the times, it is one more segment of society where American women are stepping up, speaking out and running to win. These are the times of the #metoo movement when women in thunderous voice are sounding off against sexual harassment in the workplace. These are the times when record numbers of women are expected to run for political office in the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election and accompanying concerns about the attitudes of powerful men towards women. As of January 2018, Emily’s List reported since the election of the sitting president, “more than 26,000 women have reached out about launching a campaign,” according to the And these are the times when an American woman could retake the title in the Boston Marathon.


Held on Patriot’s Day, the third Monday in April, the Boston Marathon is the nation’s oldest, and arguably most storied, annual marathon, begun in 1897. It is organized by the Boston Athletic Association.


Thirty-three years have passed since an American woman won the Boston Marathon. Today in Boston, the city considered to be the seat of American liberty, American women are real contenders. In a piece published April 11, 2018, Sports Illustrated noted reigning champ Edna Kiplagat of Kenya could take a back-to-back title. However, SI highlighted four American elite women runners, one of whom might well cross the finish line first. They are Marblehead, MA native Shalane Flanagan, Jordan Hasay, Desiree Linden and “pre-race favorite” Molly Huddle ~ with a respectful shout-out to 45-year-old Deena Kastor also slated to run this morning. And 45 is nothing. The Orange County Register reports that an 81-year-old woman and Ironman champion, Mickie Shapiro, will be one of the oldest runners on the course as part of Team Red Cross.


This year also marks the 5th anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing. BostonStrong! Let us commend the courageous men and women who continue to compete, and remember those whose lives were forever changed that day. One such woman is Gillian Reny, who nearly lost her right leg in the bombing. Thanks to outstanding medical care, she did not. Now age 23, Reny went on to establish the “Gillian Reny Stepping Strong Fund” which has raised $11 million for trauma research and is now based at a center for trauma innovation in Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, as featured on NBC news.


Regardless of the outcome of today’s Boston Marathon the message of the times is loud and clear ~ ‘I am an American woman, hear me roar!’



4/17 Update: Desiree Linden of Michigan took first place for the women in the 2018 Boston Marathon.