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25th Annual Best of Waterbury Readers' Poll

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Book of Mormon Provokes & Entertains

Review By Chelsea Murray Kaneb

 The Book of Mormon, the 9-time Tony award winning, controversial musical graced the stage of the gorgeous Palace Theatre this past week. The Book of Mormon bursts with energy, is often offensive, and yet it really has the ability to tug at the heart strings. The show sprang to life from the minds of Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the creative team behind the satirical, crass, and hysterically funny animated show, South Park. As to be expected from these creators who push the envelope like no other, the musical both highlights and mocks many aspects of Mormon beliefs, and characterizes the African villages and their people in a deprecating way. The show takes you on a journey filled with outrageous jokes and musical numbers peppered with profanity, but ultimately lands on showing the audience the beauty of service and the power of love.

Bad Bunny Lights Up Mohegan Sun

Story and Photographs by Felix Manuel Rodriguez

Uncasville, CT - Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, that’s how Bad Bunny started off as he walked on stage to a sold out Mohegan Sun Arena crowd performing one of his latest hits NI BIEN NI MAL (Neither Good Nor Bad). Already a hit song from his highly anticipated debut album X100PRE (a stylization of por siempre which means forever). Wearing fashionable retro cat eye triangle sunglasses and finger nails painted in pink polish. Bad Bunny is no stranger to making a fashion statement.

NVCC Holds 2nd Annual 5K Food Pantry Fundraiser

Almost 100 community members, students, faculty, and staff laced up their sneakers on March 24 to run and walk raising more than $3,000.00 for NVCC’s student food pantry.

Beginning at Founders Hall on NVCC’s Waterbury campus, the race began at 10 Sunday morning with a course that allowed participants to do 1.55 miles (2.5 K) or the loop twice for a 5k. Ninety-seven people participated in total and trophies for top female and male winners were given out in addition to medals for first, second, and third place by age division.

 

Palace Theater Announces Webster Broadway Series

Photo Credit:  Patty Wolfe

A SEASON TO DREAM THE DREAM ~ The Palace Theater announced their ‘19-20 Webster Broadway Subscription series. The well-rounded “dream season” offers theater goers the first play at a Connecticut venue of Chazz Palminteri’s  semi-autobiographical story, A Bronx Tale; a week-long engagement of the new production of Cameron Mackintosh’s Les Misérablesthe clever and hilarious farce, The Play That Goes Wrong; the moving backstory of Peter Pan in Finding Neverland  and the iconic George and Ira Gershwin music and glorious dancing of  An American in Paris and A season that guarantees patrons the thrill and enjoyment that only a live theatrical experience offers.

Pledge No Allegiance

Waterbury Board of Education Commissioner Tom Van Stone Sr.

Column by John Murray

   A unique intersection of opportunity and need has presented itself in Waterbury as the city roils with racial tension triggered by four students of color choosing to sit during the Pledge of Allegiance at Waterbury Arts Magnet School. The students sat in silence last Autumn as a protest against racial discrimination in America. The response to the protest triggered federal litigation, inflammatory comments by a Board of Education commissioner, a rebuke from the NAACP and black clergy, and a head-spinning response across social media.

Waterbury Mayor Neil O'Leary Seeks 4th Term

 

Column By John Murray

   The worst kept secret in Waterbury burst into the open this afternoon after Waterbury Mayor Neil O’Leary declared he will seek an historic 4th term in office this November.

   “I've had a couple of job offers, some recently,” O’Leary told 300 business people and community leaders attending the annual “Mayoral Luncheon” event hosted by the Greater Waterbury Chamber of Commerce. “But I just have to tell you that I love it here. I love this job, and with your support I intend to run for mayor again in 2019.”

The Unapologetic Patriot

Ziggy "The Flagman" Berisha  (4/24/1942 - 12/25/2018)

Ziggy became an American citizen on July 4th he said it was the "greatest day of my life."

Story and Photographs By John Murray

   Ziggy the Flagman was impossible to ignore. In 1999 Zeqir Berisha began waving the American flag through downtown Waterbury shouting “USA, USA, USA” and overnight he became the most recognizable (and loudest) man in the city. Dressed from head to toe in stars and stripes he burst onto the scene as an evangelist for America, a champion of freedom.

   Who was he? Where did he come from?

Joe Giulietti Picked To Head CT DOT

Joe Giulietti
 
   Governor-Elect Ned Lamont has announced he is nominating Joe Giulietti as Commissioner of the Department of Transportation (DOT). Giulietti recently served as the President of the MTA Metro-North Railroad, where he was hired to restore safety and confidence in the railroad system.

Remarks of Waterbury Police Chief Fred Spagnolo

(Editor's Note - the following comments were made by Waterbury Police Chief Fred Spagnolo (pictured above) after he was sworn into office by Waterbury Mayor Neil O'Leary on December 13th in a ceremony on the stage of the Palace Theater in downtown Waterbury. The photographs of Chief Spagnolo were taken by Jennifer Rose)

 

   Thank you. These are my three beautiful children. Kids what is dad’s favorite number? 15. Dad is changing that and  my new favorite number is 22, because I am now the 22nd police chief of the great city of Waterbury.

I started my career in 1992 at the Waterbury Police Department.  It was all new to me as I did not come from a family of law enforcement or public service.  My family is of Irish and Italian decent and immigrated to this country during my generation.  I grew up learning to be acceptant and respectful of others and their traditions.

An Artists's Passion

Ilmika Kulla Will Display Her Paintings December 6th

Ilmika Kulla describes her work as impressionist.

Story By John Murray

   Ilmika Kulla is obsessed with painting glamour, particularly Hollywood stars from the 1950s and 1960s: Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe and Marlon Brando among them. “Our icons today don’t have the same elegance and style,” Kulla said. “I’m fascinated by old Hollywood.”

   But don’t try and pigeonhole this young artist, because Kulla will surprise you with paintings of singer Freddie Mercury, Muhammad Ali, Gandhi, Michael Jackson, Kim Kardashian, JFK, Buddha and Barack Obama.

Father, Son and Football

Alex Ward and his father, Derek Ward Sr.. Photo by John Torsiello

Story By John Torsiello

   There was one football moment that Derek Ward, Sr. just had to make sure he captured on camera it was when his son, Alex, then a sophomore, scored his first touchdown for Holy Cross High School. Alex would never forgive his father if he didn’t have that special score to save for posterity.

   “Alex was playing tight end and I was following him down the field, he caught the pass and scored,” said the elder Ward, while sitting outside Holy Cross on a cool autumn afternoon. “I caught him raising his arms after he scored and that has to be my favorite photo that I ever took.” Said the younger Ward, “I was wondering if he got that shot.”

Epic Night For Jahana Hayes

First Black Woman Elected To Congress From CT

Photographs By John Murray

Jahana Hayes made an emotional entrance into a crowded ballroom filled with soul music and anticipation. With last night's victory Hayes has made an extraordinary leap from the Berkeley Heights Project in the North End of Waterbury, to the 2016 National Teacher of the Year, to the halls of the United States Congress. Jahana's improbable and fantastic journey captured national attention as very few members of Congress have ever experienced poverty the way Hayes has. Last night she carved her name into history as the first African-American woman to represent Connecticut in Congress, "I'm a history teacher making history," she said.

Ned Lamont Driving Towards Finish Line

Democrat Candidate Tours Waterbury In 1957 Convertible

Before climbing into the 1957 Chevy convertible, Lamont visited Waterbury City Hall to pay his respects to Sam Beamon, whose body was lying in state in Veterans Hall. Pictured here the motorcade cruised past the Anamet Building in the South End of Waterbury.

Story and Photographs By John Murray

   Ned Lamont took a grand tour of Waterbury on Sunday afternoon as he cruised through the streets in a black 1957 Chevy Convertible waving to residents while clutching a small American flag. Lamont is Connecticut's Democrat Party candidate for Governor and he was invited to lead a motorcade through the city by State Representative Geraldo Reyes Jr.

 

Seeking A Demolition Delay Ordinance

To Help Save Waterbury's Historic Buildings

State Senator Joan Hartley listened to Brad Schide from the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation explain the demo delay ordinance. Hartley said having a conversation about historic buildings was important and the city should have a process in place to facilitate that discussion on a case by case basis.

Story and Photographs By John Murray

   A group of concerned citizens met tonight with representatives from the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation inside the Silas Bronson Library to discuss ways to protect Waterbury's historic buildings from demolition. Wide spread community outrage erupted last month when the Immaculate Conception Church began demolishing the 140-year-old Trinity Episcopal Church to make way for a parking lot.

The Showdown

Two Popular Aldermen Tangle In State's 73rd District Race

Democrat Ron Napoli Jr, left, and Republican Steve Giacomi

Story and Photographs By John Murray

    If you held a crystal ball and peered into Waterbury’s political future it would not be surprising to see a mayoral showdown in the next decade between Republican Steve Giacomi and Democrat Ron Napoli Jr.. They are young, popular and ambitious, and both men were indoctrinated early into the political process as boys visiting their father’s political headquarters.

   Political pundits can put down that crystal ball because the showdown is now in the 73rd District as the two men tangle for the right to replace legislator Jeff Berger, who is retiring after serving 18 years in Hartford. At stake is the right to represent the Bunker Hill, Robinwood, Overlook and Waterville neighborhoods in the state legislature, but the results of this contest could reverberate across the political landscape in Waterbury for decades to come.

Naugatuck Valley Project Awards

   The Naugatuck Valley Project’s annual MICAH Dinner and Awards’ Evening will

take place this Friday evening, November 2, 2018, 5 pm – 8:30 pm at the Crystal

Room, 98 School Street, in Naugatuck, Connecticut,” said Bonnie Odiorne,

President of the Naugatuck Valley Project.  “It is our opportunity, as an

organization, to honor the unsung heroes among us who quietly get things done.”

   She continued, “This year we will be awarding fourteen individuals with our MICAH

Award.  Each award winner is a very special person within their member

organization and to the Naugatuck Valley Project.  A list of all Honorees and their

Presenter at the MICAH Dinner is printed below.” 

Message of Support To Jewish Community

Waterbury Faith Leaders Rally To Support Jewish Community In Wake Of Pittsburgh Murders

Rabbi Aharon Kaufman of Rosh Yeshiva listened to the speakers inside City Hall.

 

Story and Photographs By John Murray

 

   Fahd Syed is a local Muslim activist and a member of the Waterbury Human Rights Commission. When President Donald Trump announced plans in 2017 to ban Muslims from seven countries from entering the United States, Syed felt a warm embrace from the local Jewish community. The show of support from Jewish leaders and other leaders of faith helped Syed and the local Muslim community through a difficult time. After the murder of 11 Jews in the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh on Saturday, Syed felt compelled to organize a rally of support for his Jewish brothers and sisters in Greater Waterbury.