Episode 63: The Spirit of ’49

This week, we hear from Coach Geno Auriemma; we meet Louis Goffinet ’17, who launched a huge local charitable effort in response to the COVID-19 pandemic; and we try (and fail) to solve the riddle of the UConn ’49ers.


Tom Breen: [00:00:00] Hello everyone and welcome to episode 63 of UConn 360. That is as you know, the only podcast known to science that covers the University of Connecticut from every conceivable angle. Coming to you from across the length and breadth of Connecticut, the three Musketeers of this podcast. My name is Tom Breen, I’m your facilitator of sorts.

And joining me as always are my colleagues, Julie Bartucca –

Julie Bartucca: Hey!

Tom Breen: and Ken Best

Ken Best: [00:00:35] The Mansfield Center Bureau is open.

Tom Breen: [00:00:38] Alright. We hope that as you’re listening to this, you’re doing well. We’re recording this ahead of the 4th of July weekend. You’ll be hearing it after the 4th of July weekend. So we hope your holiday was a good one.

We’ve got a good program for you. Lots of interesting stuff. And we’re going to hear a little bit from a, a, a UConn superstar. Ken’s going to  fill us in on. Ken what’s, what’s the haps on that, as the kids say?

Ken Best: [00:00:59] Well, uh, the basketball coaches had Zoom conferences yesterday because they’re, they’re now getting ready with their players. The men’s team is starting to arrive. The women’s team will not arrive for another couple of weeks, but Geno Auriemma was his usual entertaining self, talking about lots of different subjects. He did address the difficulty of trying to get everybody back to campus. And he’s got three players who are from other countries, and there are restrictions on who can come in.

There’s one player for the men’s team who is from Canada. Um, and he’s kind of have to wait as well because of there are guidelines on who can come in as a student and whether they have to be enrolled in an actual class, that’s in person as opposed to an online class. And he told the reporters and it was reported widely that our congressional delegation in Washington is trying to assist generally on all international students, because that’s an issue for most colleges and universities.

And so that’s all being done. Also Geno and some of our former players, our alumni, Maya Moore chiefly, Tiffany Hayes, and Renee Montgomery as well have been doing social justice work and are going to be taking the season off, as Maya has done for the last two years to work on things that are very important.

And they’re putting basketball behind and Geno, in his comments to the reporters, said he was very proud of the fact that they learned some of those ideas here, but they also had them engrained in themselves. And it just had to come out a little bit late, later than when they were in school, because the students here are a little uncertain as to what you can do.

But now that they have been professionals for a number of years, they’re making things happen and they are making a big difference.

Reporter: [00:02:44] You mentioned all of the greater things happening in society right now. What kinds of feelings. Do you get, when you see your players, current and former sort of being at the forefront when it comes to issues like social justice, equality, what does that make you feel?

Geno Auriemma: [00:03:03] I’ve said in, uh, in recent weeks that if you’re a passionate individual that doesn’t go away and it probably does, doesn’t just lend itself to your score. So our players are, are very passionate individuals. That’s why they were able to accomplish the things they accomplished when they were here. And that’s why they were able to be as good as they are at any level.

And there’s more to them than just being a basketball player. If there’s one thing that I’m really proud of, it’s that when kids come to school here, it’s not, you know, people think you went all the time. It must be 20 –  must be basketball, 24 hours a day. No, it’s not like that here. We’re proud that our kids grew up while they were here.

They learned how to fight for things. They learn how to stand up for, for what they believed in. And, you know, they were allowed to have a voice when they were here, even though, you know, college kids a lot of times and rightly so, they’re afraid to use their voice. One, they’re too young to understand what the voice should sound like.

But when they get a little bit older and they experience a few more things, uh, their voices loud and clear, and I’m proud of them that they’re willing to put their actions where, where their mouths are. Couldn’t be, couldn’t be more proud. And, but I’m not surprised. I’m not surprised at all at the, the reaction by, by my players. And like I said, in my statement too, you don’t all have to agree. No, that’s, that’s the part that I think is important here. You don’t have to agree, but you have to agree to listen. You have to agree to, to pay attention. You have to agree to be informed. And then you get a right to make your own decision, whatever that is.

That’s what I’ve always tried to tell, you know, tell my players from the beginning, you know, learn and pay attention and be informed and know what you’re talking about. And they, they, they’ve all done that. I’m not surprised, not one bit.

Ken Best: [00:05:09] And then Geno, at the end, was asked how he was doing and he said, his golf game is not what it should be.

And he’s getting a peek of retirement. He doesn’t really like it. And then he was asked, well, how’s your wife handling all this with you? And this is what he said,

Geno Auriemma: [00:05:24] Hey, look, this is the longest time I’ve been in one place in my life. Right? I’ve been in Connecticut since the middle of March.

So I don’t know. I haven’t talked to her since April, so I think she’s handled it pretty good.

Julie Bartucca: [00:05:43] The Maya Moore story is incredible. If you haven’t read it, she worked very hard to get somebody out of prison who was, I think he was sentenced to 50 years when he was a teenager and he is now 40. And he, there was no evidence tying him to the crime that he was put in jail for. So in part, her work helped release him, which is incredible.

Tom Breen: [00:06:05] It’s a great story. And a, you know, a testament to, uh, what, what UConn seeks to do with student athletes, right? Like it’s not just about playing on the court. It’s also being a fully formed citizen.

Julie Bartucca: [00:06:14] UConn Magazine last issue had a fantastic feature on all the different kinds of work that former women’s basketball players are doing on and off the court.

And yesterday’s press conference was notable because we are now in the Big East, you guys!

Tom Breen: [00:06:29] Woo!  We’re back. Well, technically we never left, the Big East left us,

Julie Bartucca: [00:06:34] The Big East left us. Yeah. I saw that.

Tom Breen: [00:06:36] We are once again in the Big East, which is good. Good to be back, looking forward to rekindling some old rivalries. People are very excited about that.

Uh, season tickets have been selling very well.

Julie Bartucca: Despite the uncertainty.

Yeah, who knows if we’ll be able to play basketball in front of audiences this fall, but, uh, you know, I, I consider it a gesture of good faith.

Julie Bartucca: [00:06:58] Exactly. And I think they’ve made it clear that people will get refunds if they can’t go to the game. So it’s, you’re not losing anything by, by buying your tickets.

Tom Breen: [00:07:06] Yeah.

Julie Bartucca: Yeah. I had some, I’m actually very disappointed because I obviously I’ve been a UConn fan for a long time, but I’ve, I’m not a big sports fan. So I’m kind of a casual fan. And I was, when I was a student, obviously went to games, but last year I went to a lot of games and I got really into it. And so this year I would have hoped to continue that.

So we’ll see what happens, but bad timing.

Tom Breen: Yes. Well, you know, we’re, we’re all, we’re all making it up as we go along. Yeah.

Julie Bartucca: For me. Only for me.

Tom Breen: Yeah, that, that perhaps is the worst thing that’s happened in 2020 so far.

Julie Bartucca: [00:07:39] Oh God. All right. Anyway.

Tom Breen: [00:07:41] Let’s, let’s stay with Julie because you have a story for us.

Julie Bartucca: [00:07:45] I have a really fun story.

So we’ve been talking a lot about kind of some of the stuff for linings that we’ve seen during the pandemic. You know, obviously a lot of really rough stuff going on throughout all of this, but there’s been excellent research being done at the University. A lot of people here and elsewhere stepping up to help the community.

And someone who has gotten some attention, uh, in local media and almost in national media, which you’ll hear a little bit about is a UConn alum and Mansfield resident named Louis Goffinet. Louis grew up, uh, near UConn after his father, professor Bernard Goffinet was hired here as an EEB – that’s ecology and evolutionary biology – professor in 1999.

And his dad still works here. And Louis graduated from UConn in 2017 with an individualized major in family health, where he says he combined the biological aspects of health with the social sciences in hopes of going to dental school. But after he graduated, he worked as a substitute teacher in his hometown of Mansfield and he changed course.

He withdrew from the dental school application process and he’s now a teacher. Taught eighth grade last year and is going to be teaching seventh grade this year in the town of Lebanon. And he also coaches soccer there. Now, Louis’ dad is not only the reason he’s here at UConn. He’s also the reason why he’s here on the podcast this week. After public schools closed in March, and so Louis had some time on his hands, his dad actually volunteered him to go grocery shopping for a former neighbor that lived right near campus. And that actually snowballed into a massive local charitable project, which is what you’re going to hear about right now.

You will notice, I just want to point out that the sound quality changes a little bit in the interview because poor Louis kept losing  connection to Zoom at home and he had to change locations to record the rest.

So we just rolled with it because it’s a pandemic!


Julie Bartucca: After Louis Goffinet’s father volunteered him to go grocery shopping for former neighbors who did not want to go shopping during the pandemic due to their health conditions, Louis posted to Facebook offering his services to others.

Louis Goffinet: [00:09:45] So I had done probably a dozen or so trips for seniors. So people who could certainly afford the groceries, but didn’t want to go grocery shop themselves.

And then I was contacted by this one family who couldn’t afford grocery shopping fees. And part of me wants to just buy their groceries and let that be my good deed for quarantine and maybe gets some good karma out of it.

And we set up a delivery day for a few days after their request. So I had a few days to think about it.

And then that night I actually set up a fundraiser on Facebook in our local community Facebook group, and figured maybe I can get a few neighbors or family friends behind this and have basically crowdsourced this one family’s groceries. And by the end of that night, we had more than enough for a grocery run.

And within a few days, we hit a thousand dollars.

Julie Bartucca: [00:10:33] In about 10 weeks. the Neighbors Grocery Relief effort has collected nearly $40,000 through the Facebook fundraiser and outside donations. The generosity was catching.

Louis Goffinet: [00:10:43] At the one week mark, I was pretty surprised we had passed the $1,000 mark. We were close to the $5,000 mark and we ended up getting two $1,000 donations on the same day: one from the family who owns the local Domino’s location in Storrs, and one from a downtown Storrs business called NICADM. And both of them sent $1,000 donations on the same day, which was pretty shocking. And that really helped to motivate, I guess, other businesses in town to get on board. So that’s sort of opened the door for some restaurants to donate food, other businesses to donate time and money. So that was really cool. So it became pretty quickly, much more than just individual donors, but also involving local businesses. The first weekend of the fundraiser, a family friend of mine, who is a partner at Eastern Insurance in Mansfield wanted to buy dinner for the families we had already bought groceries for.

So he bought many pizzas from a Willimantic pizzeria. And we went around and delivered those. And that was awesome. And after I publicized that, the owner of the Domino’s in Storrs reached out and said that he wanted to keep that going and said that he would donate as many pieces as we could deliver.

So it started with, I think, 15 families all getting two pizzas and we kept it up almost every, every weekend and ended up with many, many pizzas being delivered all for free thanks to the Domino’s in Storrs, which was awesome.

Julie Bartucca: [00:12:14] After several solo grocery trips, a mother and daughter duo joined Louis.

Louis Goffinet: [00:12:18] Actually a girl I used to babysit for and her mom, I’ve known them for about, I want to say eight or nine years now and we’ve always kept in contact. I’ve babysat here and there. Um, but the daughter reached out on Facebook as soon as she saw the fundraiser and just, asked how she could be a part of it just wanting to donate her time. She’s too young to drive, but wanted to get involved. So I invited her with the mom’s permission to join me on a shopping trip and we delivered to a family in town and she was hooked and she talked her mom into joining us.

So we’ve been a team of three through the majority of the process, which makes things a lot easier for me. Um, there’s this camaraderie aspect to it, of not doing it alone and having people to bounce ideas off of, but it’s also really nice to see the youth want to get involved in something like this. And certainly neither of them are getting anything out of it. And this high school freshman is already having enough of a hard time with distance learning during the school year and now is devoting a lot of her spare time to helping other people out.

So I thought that was really, really exciting. And I definitely want to encourage that.

Julie Bartucca: [00:13:28] As of late June, the team had made 130 trips for food. About 90% of the families are from Storrs and Mansfield. And about 10% are from Windham, Chaplin and Ashford, according to Louis.

Louis Goffinet: [00:13:39] Half the battle is to get the money, the other half is to find people who need the money. So I reached out early on to the town of Mansfield human services department, which includes the youth services department, to figure that out. Those would probably be people who have a good finger on the pulse as to who’s in need in the town. I also reached out to the middle school and elementary school administration and psychologists and social worker, just to let them know what was available if they had people that they could send my way.

And that actually was pretty fruitful. And we got a lot of referrals from the town directly. As far as individuals, I set up an online request form where people can just go to this link, detail how many adults, how many kids, the kids’ favorite cereals, the kids’ favorite snacks. And then just a brief question as to what kind of need they’re in, whether they were temporarily laid off for the crisis, or if they permanently lost their job or there are bigger problems at play.

Julie Bartucca: [00:14:36] Louis drew from his family health degree, anticipating needs above and beyond this week’s groceries, down to making sure kids had a special treat during an uncertain time.

Louis Goffinet: [00:14:44] That was a little bit of foresight realizing that the hype, in a sense, would die down. Um, we’ve gone about two and a half weeks with only a couple of hundred dollars in donation.

So it feels like we’re finally tapering off, but there are certainly still requests that we haven’t been able to fill. So just by asking a bit more about what kind of need they’re in, I can sort of point them in the right direction of a local food pantry or the human services department, or if there are other organizations that might be able to help based on what kind of need they’re in. I was pretty intentional from the beginning about doing more than just covering the essentials.

So like I mentioned, I asked for their children’s favorite cereals and snacks, just knowing that this is an easy way to get the parents a win by having Cheez-its or Froot Loops show up at home when the kids might not necessarily love other cereals. And just knowing how picky of an eater I was with cereals, I figured, I can’t be alone there.

Julie Bartucca: [00:15:42] And the reactions of the families made it all worth it.

Louis Goffinet: [00:15:45] The most notable being a set of twins, I think elementary school age, who were crying on their front porch. When I showed up with multiple boxes of Cheez-Its.

It was really, really overwhelming. Um, to think that this all started with me just wanting to buy one family’s groceries and to have almost made it a full time commitment. And just to see how simple it is to make people so happy. I mean, at the end of the day, it’s really just grocery shopping, but it’s really taking a load off for the parents. It’s making the kids happy. And so it’s really nice to be a part of it.

Julie Bartucca: [00:16:23] The media attention the project received was the cherry on top and allowed the fundraiser to stay strong for so many weeks.

Louis Goffinet: [00:16:30] Ellen’s show reached out, I think within the first 10 days of the fundraiser. And I had a total of four calls with scouts, producers – I’m not sure their exact role. So I had four different Zoom meetings over the course of a week and a half. And it ended up falling through, which was pretty disappointing. I mean, everyone’s a big fan of Ellen and I think that’s the end goal for anyone who’s getting some sort of publicity, but I had a similar experience with Good Morning America who reached out a few times and it didn’t end up working out.

But we have gotten a lot of local coverage, which is exciting.

You’re on the UConn 360 podcast,Julie Bartucca: [00:17:05] which you’ve never even heard of, so you’re making it.

Louis Goffinet: [00:17:11] It’s funny because I was never one to join in on the TikTok dances or Snapchat or anything like that. I’m not one who’s big on social media. So to get all this publicity was a little bizarre and it felt like I was really just doing what anyone would be doing if they had time to spare and the resources of this community available. Um, so it doesn’t feel like I’m a hero. And I know that’s cliche to say, but I welcomed the publicity only because it’s really helping get more donations and get more awareness of this fundraiser outside.

I’m excited to keep the publicity going.

Julie Bartucca: [00:17:47] Since the Facebook fundraiser will reach its time limit on July 13th and since he plans to be back in the classroom in the fall, Louis has been using his platform to point people toward other local causes.

Louis Goffinet: [00:17:57] So it’s nice to be able to help in a different way now, mainly by raising awareness of other ways that people can get involved in help.

It all started with me knowing that people in Mansield are pretty good at looking out for each other. And I had very few doubts that my fundraiser toraise one family’s worth of donations would succeed. I was just shocked that it happened before I even went to sleep that night. It’s been really motivating and reassuring to know that people in Mansfield are so committed to helping out neighbors. And I think that that definition of neighbors has to be pretty broad. I think it’s more than just people who live in town with you or who live in your community. I think just the humanistic side of it, seeing that there’s other people around you who are less fortunate, really, I think compels the majority of people around, not just Mansfield, but all the neighboring towns.

We’ve had donations from Chicago, from Canada. Um, I think we had donations from Australia, so to see the reach of it, I think you have to change your definition of neighbors. And I think anyone who wants to help is certainly invited to be part of that definition of what a neighbor is.

Julie Bartucca: [00:19:21] You can look up Neighbors Grocery Relief on Facebook. It’s a Facebook fundraiser and that’s going to be up through July 13th and Louis will continue to use the funds as they come in to shop for families. And if you want to donate to him outside of Facebook, you can send him a check made out to Louis Goffinet, which is L-O-U-I-S. G-O-F-F-I-N-E-T. And he’s  at PO Box 242 Mansfield Center, Connecticut 06250..

Tom Breen: [00:19:49] Very nice. And kind of a theme for this episode of alums who are doing good things.

Julie Bartucca: [00:19:55] Yeah, that’s, that’s what we’re all about. We produce good people. And, uh, Tom, you had just mentioned kind of in our little break that this is also a UConn Magazine story, which is on magazine.uconn.edu, that also appeared on today.uconn.edu. So you can read more about Louis over there.

Ken Best: [00:20:11] And props to Julie for dealing with the technical issues as we all have.

Julie Bartucca: [00:20:15] Just gotta go with it, new world.

Tom Breen: [00:20:18] Absolutely. Well, let’s talk about the old world, the world before the pandemic. In fact, the world before a lot of things.

We’ve all heard about the UConn Huskies. That’s no secret, but what does the term UConn 49ers mean to you?

Nothing. Did we have a gold rush?

Yeah. But the gold of knowledge. Um, perhaps you’re thinking of Nick Williams, he was a wide receiver who played his college ball at UConn and was on the San Francisco 49ers squad last year. While that’s accurate, that’s not what I’m thinking of. We have to go all the way back, not to 1949, confusingly, but to 1947.

Julie Bartucca: What?

The 49ers were a student Fife and Drum Corps organized at the Fort Trumbull campus, which was a campus established –  temporary campus established for the influx of GIs after the war. So they did a lot of fun things at Fort Trumbull. And one thing they decided that would be really fun was to start their own Fife and Drum Corps.

This was apparently such a fun idea that it came to Storrs in 1948, where Fort Trumbull was, was all male, um, and Storrs, of course, was coed. And so the Fife and Drum Corps became coed and also in Storrs, they decided, you know what, the fifes and drums are great. Let’s start dressing like revolutionary war soldiers.

Julie Bartucca: [00:21:33] Excellent idea.

Tom Breen: [00:21:34] So they started doing that. They had kind of like, apparently, kind of a ragtag uniform. And they would play at on-campus events, basketball games, uh, the spring carnival, which was sort of a forerunner of spring weekend, the mayor of Storrs campaign, which we’ve covered in, in a past episode of this, uh, they would also travel to events throughout the state and kind of act as sort of like Goodwill ambassadors for the university.

You could, if – any kind of civic event, you could just ask the 49ers to show up and a Fife and Drum Corps of students would, would show up and play your event, whatever it was. The only instruments were the fife, apparently a sea fife, and an ancient type 18 inch rope drum.

I don’t know what that is, but that’s what the drums were.

Julie Bartucca: [00:22:13] If anyone knows what that is, please tell us.

Tom Breen: [00:22:17] Yes.

Julie Bartucca: [00:22:17] Did you Google it? You couldn’t find it?

Tom Breen: [00:22:20] I did not Google it because I live in the past where I just look through archives.

Julie Bartucca: This is a really well-researched segment.

Tom Breen: Yeah. How dare you.

Ken Best: [00:22:26] You’re just way too busy doing other important things?

Tom Breen: [00:22:29] Yeah, I can’t Google drums. Okay. Now the state’s time.

Julie Bartucca: [00:22:34] No, not for a story that you’re presenting or anything.

Ken Best: [00:22:38] I seem to remember in looking at past versions of Jonathan, the mascot, that was at one point

Julie Bartucca: [00:22:46] The Revolutionary War one

Tom Breen: [00:22:47] Maybe that’s when it took place.

We actually, when we did our live podcast for the alumni, we, we blew up some pictures. One of the pictures we blew up included a Fife and Drum Corps in colonial garb, uh, on the track at, uh, what was at the time Gardner Dow field that had to be the 49ers.

Julie Bartucca: [00:23:04] How long were they around?

Tom Breen: [00:23:06] I can’t find when they ended. Um, I just found some articles sort of from their heyday describing what they were doing and haven’t been able to find out when the 49ers, uh, ceased. However, I will say I did find there is a Fife and Drum Corps at UConn. It’s called the Fife and Drum Corps at UConn, not as memorable name, but still very descriptive.

Uh, it’s a student group and it’s the same kind of thing. Like you can, you can sign up and play the Fife. I don’t know if they use ancient type 18 inch rope drums. Maybe they do.

Julie Bartucca: I don’t think I knew that we had that.

Tom Breen: I didn’t either. I was looking at their stuff online. It looked pretty cool, but yeah. So, so a couple of mysteries here, because this is how things happen.

I don’t know why they’re called the 49ers. They started in 1947.

Julie Bartucca: [00:23:44] I was going to ask that, were they like, maybe it was their, some of their graduating class. And they were like, we’re the class of ’49.

Tom Breen: [00:23:51] That could be, that could be, and I don’t know what happened to them. I also, I don’t know what happened to their uniforms, but, uh, my hope is that they’re like in storage somewhere, uh, on the Storrs campus. We can find them maybe dress up as colonial fifers.

Julie Bartucca: [00:24:04] So we had no marching … when did, like, marching bands become a thing?

Tom Breen: [00:24:08] I believe the marching band was around at that time.

Ken Best: [00:24:11] Marching bands have a very long history in general, from the days of John Philip Sousa who really popularized the whole form and actually WC Handy down in Memphis, most known for the blues, you know, writing band music, that sort of thing.

And, uh, we’re working on a story for sometime later this summer, professor Kenneth Fuchs and the, uh, Coast Guard Academy band, um, have collaborated because professor Fuchs started really writing band music when he was in high school and then continued through his college career. And he has a whole portfolio of that and the Coast Guard Band is coming out with a recording of his music.

Tom Breen: [00:24:55] According to the internet, which is never wrong, that UConn marching –

Julie Bartucca: [00:24:58] Which you can suddenly use all while you’re on this podcast.

Tom Breen: [00:25:03] Okay. Our next episode is going to be entirely a description of how to make an 18 inch rope drum.,Julie. The, the marching band was founded in 1904.

Julie Bartucca: [00:25:12] Okay. So yeah, big overlap there.

That’s cool. It’s a different, yeah. Different kind of vibe.

Tom Breen: [00:25:18] Yeah. I mean only two instruments and, uh, I think this was a smaller group obviously, and they could show up at smaller things like, uh, student election campaigns and stuff would be hard to get the, the marching band all together.

Julie Bartucca: [00:25:29] That’s pretty neat. Well, I’ll have to look into what the current group is doing.

Tom Breen: [00:25:33] Yes. Yeah. It’d be interesting to see what they’re doing. Um, and I was trying to find anything about the 49ers that’s not, uh, in the, the Connecticut Campus archives and have not had any luck so far. I’ll keep trying, I’d love to get some more info about them if, uh, in the unlikely event that you’re listening to this and you were a 49er, or just have any 49ers information, maybe you’re a hobbyist who loves the 49ers.

Let us know. We’d love to hear more about the UConn 49ers.

Julie Bartucca: Gotta be out there.

Tom Breen: So that’s it for this episode, this was a positive one.

Julie Bartucca: [00:26:04] Thank goodness, you know, I try to keep us upbeat.

Tom Breen: [00:26:08] No doom and gloom this time around, it was all, all good times.

Julie Bartucca: [00:26:12] We’re all settled into our, uh, our end times routine and feeling good.

Tom Breen: [00:26:18] Yeah. Yeah.

If you want to, uh, more cheer and positivity in your life, you can follow us on Twitter @UConnpodcast or UConn, uh, @main_old. I’ll post the photos of the, um, what I believe to be the 49ers marching at Gardner Dow field. You can follow me @TJBreen, if for some reason you want to do that.

Julie, what about uh, what about you?

Julie Bartucca: [00:26:40] I am @JulieBartucca and the UConn Health Journal,  which is the a publication I edit for UConn health research and clinical breakthroughs is out now. We have a big supersize summer issue with a really great section on the COVID response at UConn Health, a really interesting story about re-engineering the hospital for biocontainment, uh, an infectious disease specialist, uh, partnered up with some of the facilities folks over at UConn Health to really, um, make sure that we had a contained unit a and it’s really neat to see kind of how that was done. Also a feature on some stroke treatments we do, and on dental work and a lot of other fun things. So if you go to healthjournal.uconn.edu You can read the PDF. And if you stay tuned to today.uconn.edu there will be stories rolling out in the coming weeks.

Tom Breen: [00:27:33] And I know you’re all going to today.uconn.edu because it’s a, it’s a good source of information.

Julie Bartucca: [00:27:37] I know it’s set as their home page.

Tom Breen: [00:27:40] I was, I was, uh, I was just retweeting an old story, not old, two months old, I guess, from today.uconn.edu about why the summer months were unlikely to bring a respite in the pandemic despite people assuming that warm weather would do that. And in fact, the warm weather months, as we know, have not brought a respite in the pandemic, which I guess is, is more doom and gloom than we had planned for this episode.


Julie Bartucca: [00:28:08] No, it’s just, it’s still positive. Cause UConn was like, Hey guys, watch out. I mean, I’m sure other researchers said so too but.

Tom Breen: [00:28:14] Nope. Nope. Just by the way that –  those researchers were in the New York Times over that too. So that was a, that was a big one for us.

Julie Bartucca: [00:28:20] Okay. So we, yeah, we got that. We were ahead of that.

Tom Breen: [00:28:24] Ken. What’s a, where can people find you? What is your TikTok?

Julie Bartucca: [00:28:28] Someone’s clicking.

Ken Best: [00:28:30] The clock runs by battery.

Julie Bartucca: [00:28:36]I deleted TikTok because my  friend told me it was really bad malware type …they’re stealing all your data.

Ken Best: [00:28:42] So media, social media, you have to be aware.

Julie Bartucca: [00:28:45] That is true.

You can write Ken and send it through carrier pigeon to Mansfield Center.

Ken Best: [00:28:50] Nah, I don’t need any more birds on the roof, knocking on the chim, the metal chimney cap. There’s huge crows that decide that that’s their second home. Every once in awhile. That’s, what’s very strange out here in the country of the farmland of Eastern Connecticut,

Tom Breen: [00:29:09] The trials of the Mansfield Center Bureau.

Ken Best: [00:29:11] Yes. The Mansfield Center Bureau has its noise quotient. The, uh, the landscapers were here yesterday.

It was extremely noisy. It’s a good thing that we didn’t record, uh, yesterday as we sometimes do. But, uh, UConn Today. My exploits can be followed there. There are stories that are in progress. In fact I was working on one yesterday, one of the day before.

Julie Bartucca: Isn’t that your job? [laughs]

Ken Best: The Bureau is nice, but I, you know, I need to get out of the Bureau every once in a while. So I finally got to leave, like Geno was complaining that he doesn’t leave the house. I don’t leave the house that much either.

You know, it’s, it is what it is, but we’re making do. And there’s lots of music, so I can have good accompaniment while I’m sitting here thinking about UConn Today, and then on Saturdays from 3 to 6 PM on 91.7 WHUS in Storrs, the show we call it “Good music,” and we hope it’s all good music because as the great Duke Ellington said, there’s two kinds of music.

There’s good music. And the other kind. We try not to play the other kind.

Julie Bartucca: Excellent.

Tom Breen:All right, everybody. Thank you for listening and, uh, bring your, your ancient 18 inch rope drums. Next time. We’ll all have a party here at UConn 360.