New CT System To Speed Up COVID-19 Unemployment Claims

Governor Ned Lamont today announced that a new software improvement at the Connecticut Department of Labor was launched last night that will significantly increase the speed at which unemployment claim applications can be processed. Paired with the continued manual processing, the originally anticipated six-week wait period will be shortened to one week or less.

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It has been three weeks since Connecticut Community Foundation and United Way of Greater Waterbury launched the COVID-19 Response Fund and it has already provided more than $180,000 for area soup kitchens, emergency food pantries, extra food and supplies at emergency shelters, food deliveries for seniors and families sheltering in place, and child-care services for frontline healthcare workers.

The fund is fueled by the Connecticut Community Foundation, the United Way of Greater Waterbury, and by donations and gifts from the community.

#waterburystrong

Story by John Murray 

Thirteen COVID-19 related deaths in Waterbury should be a wake-up call to the city, particularly (and hopefully) to those who have not been following social distancing guidelines.

Gov. Lamont Seeks Volunteers to Participate in COVID-19 Efforts

Governor Lamont Urges Volunteers From the General Public to Participate in Connecticut’s COVID-19 Response Efforts

Volunteers of All Backgrounds Can Register at ct.gov/coronavirus

Governor Ned Lamont and a large number of state officials and nonprofit providers are urging Connecticut residents to consider taking on a volunteer role in their communities to help respond to the COVID-19 crisis. While the state already began a campaign seeking out volunteers who have health care experience, today the state is launching a campaign seeking volunteers from the general public who are needed for other services at many different types of providers, such as food banks, deliveries to the elderly, shelters, and more.

YMCA Offers Childcare for Health Workers

Jim O’Rourke is the executive director of the Greater Waterbury YMCA and on March 13th he was still adjusting his staff and programs to the landscape being bulldozed by the Coronavirus pandemic.

He had stopped senior fitness classes, a cancer survivor program, large gatherings in the YMCA, and closed down the gymnasium and the daycare center. Staff was being laid off (200 out of 300 employees), and he was just a few days away from closing the fitness center and pool.

Then O’Rourke’s phone rang. 

NVCC President Announces Retirement

Naugatuck Valley Community College President Daisy Cocco De Filippis, Ph.D. informed students, faculty and staff that she will be retiring as President of Naugatuck Valley Community College effective August 1, 2020. President De Filippis noted “This has been a difficult decision, but it is time for us to move back to New York to be closer to family, and for me to accept with gratitude an invitation to return to my CUNY family.”

Mortgage Relief for CT Residents and Businesses

Governor Ned Lamont today announced that his administration has reached an agreement with over 50 credit unions and banks in Connecticut to offer mortgage relief to the state’s residents and businesses who continue to face hardship caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic. Under the agreement, the following relief policies are being offered by participating financial institutions:

Governor Declares Health Emergency

Latest Data as of 3PM on Tuesday, March 10, 2020

KEY POINTS:

  • Governor Lamont has declared civil preparedness and public health emergencies.
  • The Connecticut Insurance Department is notifying travel insurance companies about the emergency declarations and will be monitoring their compliance with the terms of their policies.
  • The declarations also trigger price gouging laws, and make clear that municipal leaders have emergency powers to mitigate disasters and emergencies.

Waterbury Hospital Announces Interim Director

Lester Schindel, a longtime New England healthcare executive, has been named interim CEO of Waterbury Hospital.  Schindel previously served as interim CEO at Waterbury Hospital in 2017 soon after Prospect acquired the hospital. In collaboration with its Waterbury Hospital executives, Prospect will conduct a national search for a permanent CEO at Waterbury.

Neil O'Leary Launches 4th Term

Photographs By John Murray

Waterbury Mayor Neil O'Leary was sworn in to his 4th term in office on Sunday, December 1st, in a ceremony at Waterbury City Hall. Afterwards O'Leary paraded through the streets and across the Green with his wife Kathy to attend a mass at the Immaculate Conception Church as a major snowstorm unloaded on the region. O'Leary grimaced as the first snowflakes whacked into his face, but as he proceeded through the streets he laughed and smiled and unleashed a child's joy of a snow day in New England.

UConn Men Stun Florida 62-59

UConn center Josh Carlton is 6'11" 260 lbs and played tough defense.

Photographs By Clay Johnson

   The UConn men's basketball team won a hard fought victory Sunday afternoon in Storrs against a University of Florida squad that entered the skirmish ranked #15 in the country. It was UConn's first win at Gampel Pavilion over a ranked team in six years. UConn head coach Dan Hurley said, "Our guys showed an incredible will to win."

   UConn is now 2-1 on the young season, and hope and optimism has returned to UConn men's basketball.

Command Performance In Waterbury

Neil O’Leary On Cusp Of History

Waterbury Mayor Neil O'Leary

Column By John Murray

   This will be the 13th mayoral race I’ve covered as a journalist in Waterbury, and the most uneventful.

   While there is the possibility that one of the four challengers might pull a David versus Goliath shocker on election day, the stone-cold truth is that Neil O’Leary (Goliath) will stomp his opponents – Ray Work, Vernon Matthews, Keisha Gilliams and Ty McElrath - and march into a fourth and potentially historic term inside City Hall. If he wins on November 5th, and finishes his four-year term, Neil O’Leary will become the longest continually serving mayor in Waterbury history.

15 Arrested On Drug Charges

A joint investigation headed by the DEA New Haven Task Force and the Waterbury Police Department have charged 15 individuals with distributing heroin and fentanyl in and around Waterbury.

“In recent years, the flow of opioids in Waterbury has had a devastating impact on our community as a whole,” said Waterbury Police Chief Fred Spagnolo. said. “We are grateful for the support from the U.S. Attorney’s Office and for our partnership with the DEA. We will continue to work side by side with these agencies to combat the opioid trade in Waterbury.”

Waterbury Police Chief Fred Spagnolo

Senator Hartley Shares EEE Safety Tips

As news of the virus Eastern Equine Encephalitis continues to spread, with three deaths in Connecticut blamed on infections, State Senator Joan Hartley (D-Waterbury) today shared safety tips. While the virus is rare in humans, the increase in activity seen this year reiterates the importance of taking precautions and staying safe.

Destroying The Chains Creates 2nd Chances

Salena Dunbar, Shawn Gaston, and Calvin Dunbar of Destroying The Chains share their work to help people rebuild their lives after leaving prison. Photo courtesy of Silas Bronson Library

A grant from Connecticut Community Foundation is helping “Destroying The Chains” -- to lift the burdens of criminal records, and make employment reachable. 

Pisani Named Baldrige Award Winner

   Giuseppe “Joe” Pisani of Middlebury, president of Pisani Steel Fabrication Inc. of Naugatuck, has been named the recipient of the Waterbury Regional Chamber’s 2019 Malcolm Baldrige Community Award, as the Chamber marks a quarter century of honoring the legacy the former Commerce Secretary and Scovill Inc. CEO. The award is the Chamber’s most respected, named in honor of Malcolm “Mac” Baldrige, former U.S. Secretary of Commerce under President Ronald Reagan. Baldrige, who also was a former chairman of the Chamber, continually demonstrated his belief in community, leadership, and volunteerism as he worked to promote economic development in Greater Waterbury.

Rivera Leads Hall of Fame Class

New York Yankee great Mariano Rivera was the first player in history to be elected unanimously to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

 

Story and photos by

Felix Manuel Rodriguez

 

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. - While it is true...there are many beautiful stadiums across this great nation, there is only one true baseball heaven and it’s located in the small village in upstate New York called, Cooperstown. It is where the greatest players who ever played the game are enshrined forever. Their faces, stories and stats etched into beautiful plaques displayed at the National Baseball Hall of Fame Gallery.

 

   Only 232 former major leaguers have earned a space in the Hall of Fame Gallery, that’s less than one percent of those who have played in the major league. On this sweltering hot summer day, six new members were inducted into the best-known sports shrine in the world. The 2019 inductees include: Harold Baines, Roy Halladay, Edgar Martinez, Mike Mussina, Mariano Rivera and Lee Smith. Each will have their plaques displayed after the Hall of Fame Weekend ceremonies.

Operation “RAW DEAL” Narcotics Arrests

In response to an increase in heroin overdoses and heroin related deaths in Waterbury, the Vice and Intelligence Division has been aggressively conducting investigations into all identified heroin traffickers within this city. VICE investigators began the preliminary phase of this operation in September of 2018. The objective of this extensive investigation was to suppress the trafficking of heroin in Waterbury and was dubbed “Operation: Raw Deal”.