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Moodus Veterinary Services is Now Open!!

by Mick Marsden
A new and wonderful veterinary practice has opened in The Moodus Village of East Haddam!
Did you know one of the most qualified Veterinary Drs. is close by in Moodus/East Haddam CT? Dr. Anna Crosby is just one of less than 8 board certified Emergency and Critical Care specialist in the entire state. Dr. Anna Crosby and husband Stephen, whom is a Veterinary Technician Specialist, Anesthesia, a title fewer than 150 people in the country hold recently opened Moodus Veterinary Practice at 5 Grist Mill Road conveniently located off RT. 149 between Moodus Package Store and the Grist Mill Super Market. 
Dr. Anna Crosby and Stephen Crosby, CVT, VTS
They converted the 1900 turn-of-the-century antique building into a warm and cozy environment that feels like home to both pet and pet owner. My Border Collie used to freak out just at the sign of the former vet we used to bring her to but here she feels right at home here, has no anxiety, and loves her new Dr. and staff. The building's period details and warm wood floors make you feel at home and has great appeal over the cold hospital practices we see a lot of. To see a gallery of photos of what their practice looks like visit: 
Anna knew early in life that she wanted to be a Dr. of Veterinary Medicine and that dream came true. Anna spent her childhood in the Northwest corner of Connecticut where she later attended Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY. She graduated with honors in 1991 earning a degree in psychology. She began pursuing her dream of being a Vet by working several years as a veterinary technician before going on to veterinary school. She attended the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in 1998 where she graduated Summa Cum Laude in the top 5% of her class. She completed her internship right at Penn in small animal medicine and surgery in 1999. She then obtained a competitive residency in Emergency and Critical Care at Tufts University, a rigorous three year program where she became a board-certified specialist (diplomate) in Emergency and Critical care in 2002.
Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston, MA, was her next stop in her veterinary career training veterinary students, interns, and residents where she later became the director of the residency program. Anna also met her husband Stephen at Angell Medical Center where they went on to work together at large referral hospitals in New Hampshire and Ohio. They longed to return to Connecticut where they truly felt home was in 2010. Anna became Director of Emergency Service at Central Animal Hospital in North Haven. After working several more years as a specialist, Anna decided it was time to open her own high-quality, service-oriented, small animal hospital where she can get to know both her patients and her clients.
Husband Stephen Crosby began working in veterinary hospitals at the age of 16. After he graduated from Northeastern University in 2004 he began working within the anesthesia department at Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston. Once he earned his Certified Veterinary Technician title, he carried various supervisory positions at a number of facilities in New England and Ohio.
Anna and Stephen are your neighbors!  They live nearby in Moodus with their adorable and wonderful daughters, Katori and Madison, and far too many animals to list. While not working at the practice, Stephen enjoys running, tinkering with gadgets and repairing vintage Ford tractors. In what little spare time Anna has, she enjoys running and hiking. 

Andrea Rock, CVT

Andrea Rock, CVT and an important member of the team and perhaps the first person youll see as you come through the doors. Andrea has been working in the veterinary field since 2005. She earned her associates degree in Veterinary Technology from Northwestern Community College and became a Certified Veterinary Technician in 2009. Andrea has experience in both private practice and emergency/speciality medicine. She met and worked with Dr. Anna Crosby at Central Animal Hospital in North Haven and is delighted to return to a small general practice where she can get to know her patients and their owners. You’ll love her warm and friendly disposition and how she connects with your pet.  Her veterinary interests include companion animal behavior, nutrition, and pediatrics. 
In her spare time, Andrea enjoys hiking, camping, and various arts and crafts. Andrea has four cats (Cornelius, Gia, Jazmine, Shamus) and an American Staffordshire Terrier (aka: Pit bull) named Delilah.
Moodus Veterinary Practice, LLC is located at 5 Grist Mill Rd in Moodus, CT 06469. Call them at Call them at (860) 733-0411 or visit them on the web at:

Melissa Ziobron and her good work on the East Haddam EDC

by Mick Marsden


If you don't know Melissa Ziobron here in East Haddam, you might want to get to know her especially if you're a business owner of any kind. She's got a tough job as the lead person on East Haddam's Economic Development Committee. She works tirelessly to help business owners clear hurdles, find space, and the like to make their business happen. Business of all kinds benefit our town on a multitude of levels: they pay taxes, provide jobs, and some bring in customers to town who'd have no reason to visit that may spend their dollars elsewhere. 


The benefits are obvious however town commissions and some of the ordinances they rigidly enforce create obstacles that sometime send businesses to other towns that are more business friendly. Melissa personifies pro-business so seeking her help is wise.


Melissa Ziobron the gal on the go... 


I've gotten to know Melissa over the past few years and she seems to be everywhere. I love her broad smile and upbeat attitude on life and our town. She's a fantastic woman on all levels. She's been instrumental in helping my wife's business, CT Farm Fresh Express relocate from a home based business to temporary quarters in the industrial park in a space owned by Parady and Sons, who treated her very well, to her permanent location on 24 Mt. Parnassus Road owned by none other than Bob Casner. Bob too has been great to work with and has done a very nice job readying the location for her business. The bottom line is that none of this would have been possible without Melissa's tireless efforts.


Deb Marsden in front of her new location for CT Farm Fresh Express on 24 Mt. Parnassus Road. 


Melissa was born in 1971 and lived here with her family until she was 4. Her family relocated to East Hampton for a while but came back to East Haddam a short time later so she's been here from her school years to the present. She's been married to Scott Ziobon, her husband of 16 years, and together raise their 2 children, Brittany (15) and Bryan (11). 


Ernie & Cindy Piatti, owners of the Hilltop BBQ & Steakhouse are grateful for the support and guidance that Melissa gave them in getting their great restaurant open.


She had aspirations to be first selectman in 2005 but sadly lost. That failure taught her a lot about communication and the frustration of party politics. She also learned how to really see an issue from both sides and how to build bridges and foster compromise that works. That knowledge has made her a great asset to the EDC and our community. 


Melissa assisted Marcy Vitigliano's new Morning Glories Foral Design in coming to town from Norwich.


In 2007 she took the position at the EDC instead of putting her family through another race for the 1st selectman's post because she thought she could do more for the town in this capacity. I have to agree. She knows how to surround herself with individuals that possess talents and attributes to complement hers and it shows in how much she gets done on the short 14 hours a week the town pays her to do this most critical function. In my opinion they should pay her for a full week and reduce hours in a less important function in town government. But that makes too much sense. (Sorry for my cynical comments about government and the moronic decisions that are constantly made at all levels of government. I don't think I'll get much blow back on that comment, but then again...)


Long blogs aren't good so I don't want to go into too much detail on the tax incentives that are in place for both new and existing businesses. Melissa tole me that there are breaks for home based to larger businesses, that will make East Haddam look more attractive to new business and existing businesses alike.  Melissa told me that a business that invests $3m will be awarded an 80% tax abatement over 7 years! She tells me a $25K to 150K investment will get that business a 50% tax abatement for 2 years. There's more for home based business and the like so I encourage you to call her for details. She told me that full details would be on her EDC page within the new town website soon. 


One things for sure: To know Melissa is to love her. Her energy and enthusiasm are contagious. You'll leave her feeling better than when you arrived to talk to her. 


As I left her from our meeting I asked her what she saw as the biggest problem we have in our democracy both here and elsewhere and her reply was spot on from my perspective: Getting credit for the idea overrides the true merit and benefit of the law or policy itself. We see it constantly: Not your idea? Then it's bad. With both sides doing it all the time, we the people get sold short each and every time. So laws that would be really beneficial don't get passed and the ones that do get passed help the wrong people or are just plain stupid and ineffective. Let's just leave it there. 


To contact Melissa call (860) 227-3411 or email her

East Haddam, CT  - Citizen requests, Selectmen support, staff suggestions and volunteer efforts have moved East Haddam’s new municipal website from concept to reality.  What has emerged is not only an updated website to meet today’s communication and information needs; but one that promises to change and grow with the town into the future.  



From the bid process through the creation of the new municipal website, the quest for the following new features, has guided the process:


  • A centralized community calendar with customized views.  Citizens will be able to submit appropriate calendar events themselves – their postings would go live on the calendar following administrator approval.  
  • One Town website combining the appropriate content of the old municipal site and the Economic Development Commission’s business and tourism site
  • An updated, user-friendly design and navigation system that allows an interactive form of communication between citizens and the Town governing body.  
  • A comprehensive search feature to allow for an easy search through all documents, PDF’s, pages and calendars within the site.
  • A content management system for organizing, storing and accessing municipal documents, such as reports, agendas and minutes.  Designated Town staff or volunteer administrators will have the ability to post or revise their own content in a timely manner, without the need for a website programmer.
  • The ability to download forms on-line and an option for departments to allow citizens to submit forms on-line in the future.
  • A RSS “subscription push system” to notify residents of emergency information, alerts, news, and calendar postings.
  • Photo showcase of key Town locations.

The Town of East Haddam is pleased to present this new website to the townspeople to use, maintain and support.  We hope that residents and visitors will browse the new website and enjoy the new content.  Check back often as the website will continue to be revised as everyone learns the best use of this new technology together.

Circling Back to the Hilltop BBQ and Steak House

by Mick Marsden

This is a follow up blog post about Hilltop BBQ and Steakhouse located in Moodus center. I circled back for many reasons not the least of which both my wife and I are so busy we don't have the time and energy to cook. And believe me when I tell you we're great cooks and make a mean BBQ sauce and ribs (from of course). 


Each time I returned it's been busy regardless of the time I was there. Ernie's big smile is also there to greet you many times. Nothing, I mean nothing was a disappointment. One Friday night I brought my young nephew Dan to dinner with his insatiable appetite and upon my suggestion wolfed down a delicious half pound, stomach busting, Bison burger that he loaded with cheese, bacon, and sauteed onions. He was just getting going. 


Although I was intending on ordering the burger too I had to try the Prime Rib. I took the end cut and it came to me just the way I like it, medium rare (rare for end cut, I know). The portion was huge, the meat tender and flavorful, as was the au jus.

Hilltop BBQ's new outdoor dining area under the lights. 

What prompted this "circling back" blog post was Wednesday evening with my beautiful daughter Aimee and my grandchildren Phoebe Shea and Zane. Of course the kids wanted to eat outdoors which was a great idea given the unseasonable 85° temp we enjoyed. Hilltop BBQ was busy inside and out! Many families were outside because the rug-rats could carry on and the noise just went out into the warm wind. We enjoyed a great sunset and had a great meal. 


The kids loved the children's menu and the adults their choices. Hilltop does a great job on their sliders by the way. 



There were some that posted negative comments about pricing which I will respectfully have to disagree with. It's more about the value than being "cheaper." I love the convenience of a great family restaurant a mile away. The 16oz. prime rib I had was just $14.95. 


Service remains great and their success seems to be insured given the many patrons I see when I dine there. Ernie and company are doing a great job. Check it out soon. 

New BBQ & Steak House Opens in East Haddam

by Mick Marsden

 Finally East Haddam has another choice beside Italian. Thanks to the hard work of Melissa Ziobron and the East Haddam EDC we've got new restaurants open in town to go to…and even on a Monday night!


Tonight was no different than many in my life and that of my bride: a long day of meetings with clients and colleagues filled with fielding issues on deals in the works by phone, emails, texts, and the like. By the end of a day like this neither my wife or I can muster the energy to cook. What's worse it's Monday when most restaurants are closed. Until now we've had little choice other than order a pizza which frankly we're plain tired of. 


Solution: Go to the new Hilltop BBQ and Steak House just one week old owned and operated by Ernie and Cindy Piatti that is now open in the former Knucklehead joint (now free of knuckleheads :).



As we entered the foyer we were pleasantly greeted by Nicole who seated us and served us this evening. The decor is upbeat and bright with rustic vertical wood siding emulating the BBQ road houses I've frequented in my travels south in the Carolina and Tennessee. There are many flat screens spaced along the perimeter walls with a variety of sports, music, and entertainment channels. There's even a small one above the urinal which I think is meant to discourage the need for those who can't help but write their name on the walls. There's a great bar that's separated from the main dining area so it's appropriate for families with young ones. 


Server extraordinaire Nicole


The menu was loaded with personal favorites: Ribs, steaks, brisket, pulled pork, burgers, French onion soup, many salads, appetizers, and great deserts. We were torn so we opted for the great sampler that gave a little of a lot we were undecided about: Memphis Style Ribs (not smoked), St. Louis Style Ribs (Smoked…both varieties were perfectly cooked), pulled pork, brisket, and sweet potato fries (best we've ever had). On the table was a variety of 3 homemade BBQ sauces: Sweet, House, and HOT (the hot and house being my favorites). The ribs fell off the bone like you'd expect at a great BBQ house and they give you a bucket so the bones don't crowd your plate. The pulled pork was both sweet and savory, perhaps a mix of shoulder and butt and it was hard to decide which sauce to use next. 

Nicole (ask for her by name) was a bright and cheery server who never let you want for anything…including desert. Nicole offered us two varieties of cheesecake, key lime pie, and pecan pie. Unfortunately they were out of key lime pie so we opted for another favorite: Pecan Pie with whipped cream. It was simply over the moon. We noted a hint of Southern Comfort, a very nice crust, and filling moist and delicious with crunchy pecans on top. It felt like we were transported to the south tonight in some kind of East Haddam time machine. 

We loved that we were offered Foxon Park soda in bottles which is brewed right here in CT and of course any mixed drink that could be slid down the glossy topped bar. 

Lizzy and I can't wait to go back. Maybe to try the steak. Perhaps a burger at lunch. 


Ernie & Cindy Piatti-Owner Operators (and apparently happily married)

Get down to the Hilltop BBQ and Steakhouse soon. Say hi to Ernie and Cindy and tell them Mick sent you. They need you, East Haddam and Moodus residents to support them. If you don't, then you'll be back to a choice of Pizza, pizza, and, oh yeah, pizza. Not that I don't like pizza, I in fact love it, but too much of anything ain't good for you. 


The Hilltop BBQ and Steakhouse does not have a website yet but will have one soon. 


(Sorry about the less than perfect photos...I didn't have my Nikon with me...just my iPhone in low light)

Displaying blog entries 1-5 of 5