Best of Waterbury

24th Annual Best of Waterbury Readers' Poll

$500 Grand Prize

To qualify for the Grand Prize, and to have your ballot counted, you must fill out a minimum of 25 categories on the ballot and fill in your personal information on the bottom. One ballot per person, and it's obvious when one person fills out multiple ballots with the same answers, and jotting down someone else's name. That's ballot stuffing , so save us all some time, and just submit one ballot. Thanks, and enjoy!

Meet The Democrats

A powerful lineup on Democratic candidates will convene in the South End of Waterbury next Wednesday night for a meet and greet at the Portuguese Club on Baldwin Street. The event is sponsored by the Waterbury Democrat Town Committee and Young Democrats of Greater Waterbury and is free and open to the public.

Waterbury Delegation Champions Historic Satellite Dish Legislation

Story By John Murray

  Satellite dishes are a scourge in the inner cities throughout Connecticut, with some multi-family homes having up to 12 dishes anchored to the side of a structure.  New tenants in multi-family houses are currently forced to install new equipment when they call the satellite dish companies, and the old ones are not removed. The end result is a cluttered mess.

Fred Spagnolo To Become Top Cop

Story By John Murray

Waterbury Police Chief Vernon Riddick broke the news today that he will be leaving the city and taking the job of police chief in West Hartford starting on June 4th. Waterbury Mayor Neil O'Leary told the Observer tonight that he will name Deputy Police Chief Fred Spagnolo the acting chief when Riddick leaves.

"I'm honored to have the opportunity," Spagnolo said. "This is a job that has interested me for a long time and I am dedicated to the police department and the people of Waterbury. I'm looking forward to the challenge."

Chief Vernon Riddick Moving On

By John Murray

Waterbury Police Chief Vernon Riddick has accepted the position of police chief in West Hartford and will begin his new job on June 4th. Riddick sent out a message to police officers this morning telling them of his decision, and waterbury mayor Neil O'Leary confirmed that Chief Riddick has decided to move on. Chief Riddick has served as chief of police for six years.

Smith Statement On Governor Campaign

Story By John Murray
 

Yesterday afternoon The Waterbury Observer published a story stating that former Webster Bank CEO, JIm Smith, would announce next week that we was launching a campaign for governor of Connecticut. Three sources with intimate knowledge of Smith's plans had provided details to The Waterbury Observer earlier in the week. The Observer had no intention of airing out the story until Smith made a formal announcement, but we were contacted yesterday afternoon by sources in Hartford informing us that the CTCapitolReport website had already broken the news across the state. The news of a Smith campaign was flowing through the state capitol and the Observer decided to share the news we had developed with our readers


Jim Smith Will Run For Governor

Story By John Murray

 

The Observer has confirmed that Jim Smith, the recently retired CEO of Webster Bank, will launch a Republican bid for Governor of Connecticut next week. Smith had contemplated a run last Autumn, but instead hurled himself into the Commission on Fiscal Stability and Economic Growth, an independent commission created of business executives that sought to address the state's budget woes.

 

Suicidal Veteran Shot By Waterbury Police

Released From Protective Custody Day Before Shooting

Iraq war veteran Michael Veillette of Waterbury, Connecticut.

                                               Story By John Murray

   On three consecutive days a former United States Marine, Michael Veillette, went up to Holy Land USA to commit suicide, and each time his plan was foiled. The first attempt was thwarted by the compassion and love of a Marine Corps buddy, the second time he was arrested for carrying a pistol with an expired permit, and the third time he was shot in the hip by a Waterbury police officer and arrested again on a slew of charges. Inbetween the arrests Veillette was committed and evaluated at St. Mary’s Hospital, and released.

City To Honor Webster's Jim Smith

   Mayor Neil O’Leary is honoring Jim Smith on Friday night for his long legacy of service to the community, and because his vision and leadership helped shape important changes in the city. Smith was the Chairman and CEO of Webster Bank for three decades and retired on January 1st, 2018. During his time in leadership Webster Bank grew from $500 million in assets to $26 billion, and is now a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange.

Can Waterbury Schools Be The Best?

                            Column By Danielle Hargrove Albert

   As a parent and community advocate, I spend a significant amount of my “free” time attending meetings and community forums. With three children in the school system, I choose to recognize the potential for success that exists in so many school programs here in Waterbury. I have found ways to volunteer and educate myself regarding the goings-on in the city's education system. Like many others, I choose to spend time participating in an effort to be part of creating solutions. Over the years I have encouraged other parents and families to do the same. As parents, we want the best for our children and the “Best” comes with high expectations. If we teach our children that expectations are part of life, then there will always be goals toward which to strive.

The Sacred Heart Basketball Powerhouse

Senior swingman Raheem Solomon leads Sacred Heart into a quarterfinal clash tonight.

          Story By John Torsiello and Photographs by Clay Johnson

   Waterbury’s Sacred Heart High School has a boys basketball team that has developed its own unique brand. polished and dependable, one that has attracted national and even international attention. That’s what winning four straight state titles, producing a slew of college players, and taking on some of the top teams in the nation will bring you.

Murphy To Meet With Macedonia PM

To Discus Treatment Of Ethnic Albanians

   U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation, will travel to Belgium and Macedonia this weekend. Murphy will attend the German Marshall Fund’s Brussels Forum, where he will host a discussion with Norbert Röttgen, Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the German Bundestag, and meetings in support of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Murphy will also travel to Macedonia, where he will meet with Prime Minister Zoran Zaev and attend the 75th Commemoration of the Deportation of the Jews From Macedonia.

Risk and Reward At Palace Theater

                                         Story By John Murray

   Waterbury is openly wrestling with what it wants out of the city-owned Palace Theater on East Main Street.

   •  Waterbury Mayor Neil O’Leary has demanded that the theater produce more shows to help stimulate economics in downtown Waterbury.

   • New leadership on the Palace Theater board of directors has challenged theater executive director, Frank Tavera, to take greater risks in booking more shows and keeping the lights on.

Brass City Young Marines

   Members of the Brass City Young Marines, the first unit in the country, received a visit from a former member of Unit, Chief Warrant Officer Fred Hodges. Hodges, a 1982 graduate of Crosby High School in Waterbury, was in town visiting family from his current station at Fort Bragg.

Murder Charges In Gang Shooting

   On February 22, 2018 Waterbury Police took Shan Thompson (09-10-1997) into custody on an arrest warrant charging him with the crimes of 2 counts of murder and 2 counts of conspiracy to commit murder in connection with the November 22, 2017 deaths of Clarence Lewis and Antonio Santos. This is an active and ongoing gang related investigation.  Details will be released as they become available.

Giacomi Launches Bid For 73rd District

   Board of Aldermen Minority Leader Steve Giacomi today officially announced his entry into the race for State Representative for Waterbury’s 73rd district.

   “During my tenure on the Board of Aldermen, I’ve worked hard to try and make Waterbury a better place for all of its residents, and as a state representative I’ll work just as hard. Our families are maxed out and the best the people in Hartford can come up with is to try and squeeze us for more. That’s why it’s time to send people to Hartford who are ready and willing to make Waterbury, and all of Connecticut, a place where working-class families are valued. I’m ready now, just as I was before, to roll up my sleeves and do what needs to be done to turn Connecticut around, because we deserve better.”

JUNETEENTH Celebration Februray 13th

 

  The Waterbury JUNETEENTH Celebration Steering Committee, in partnership with Neighbor Housing Services of Waterbury’s Community Engagement Division, will sponsor several awareness events in 2018 to encourage the observance of JUNETEENTH 2019 with recognition ceremonies and community awareness programs throughout the city. The first event, scheduled for February 13th at 6:30 p.m., will feature a privilege walk, complete with breakout sessions. A privilege walk is an educational activity which shows how groups of people benefit or are marginalized within our society. This event will take place at Naugatuck Valley Community College, Atrium.