Governor Malloy Delivers State of State

  

   Mr. President, Mr. Speaker, Lt. Governor Wyman, and my fellow state officials, ladies and gentlemen of the General Assembly, members of the clergy, and all the people of our great state: thank you for the honor of inviting me once again into the people’s House.

   I want to thank the best Lieutenant Governor in the world, Nancy Wyman.

   As always, let us thank Connecticut’s brave men and women serving our nation here at home and around the globe.

Ziggy The Flagman Hospitalized

   Ziggy (The Flagman) Berisha has been in Yale-New Haven hospital for 3 weeks recovering from a lower extremity by-pass surgery in his leg due to complications from diabetes. This image was sent to the Observer by Ziggy's son Ali Berisha and was captured by another son, Richard Berisha. Ali forwarded the image with the message, "I just wanted to share the photo with the Observer family. Ziggy the Flagman will be back soon. He is still waving the flag."

Boys Hoop Team Building A New Legacy Of Excellence at Waterbury Career Academy

WCA Squares Off Against Sacred Heart Friday Night

Junior forward Marquan Watson at 6-2 was All-NVL and All State last year.

        Story By John Torsiello and Photographs By Clay Johnson

   The mid-January late afternoon sunlight filtered through windows located high on the new gymnasium of the Waterbury Career Academy. On the floor, some 20 members of the school’s boys basketball were being put through their paces by head coach Ronan O’Leary and assistants, M.J. DiFazio and Jodie Burns.

School Funding #1 Issue For Mayor O'Leary

                                             Story By John Murray

   Waterbury Mayor Neil O'Leary visited the Bucks Hill Community Club last night and delivered what amounted to a state of the city address to 20 concerned citizens. The Mayor stood before community club members and uncorked a 90-minute speech that swept through all four quadrants of the city, and touched on major issues and projects in Waterbury.

   Mayor O'Leary zeroed in on the imbalance of education funding as the #1 issue he will champion in the 2018 Legislative session in Hartford. O’Leary said the Waterbury school system continues to grow, while suburban student populations have shrunk by up to 25%.

14-Year-Old Missing In Waterbury

   14-year-old Quiannah Fawcett has been missing for five days and the Waterbury PD has issued a Silver Alert. Quiannah ran away from home on Wednesday night in Waterbury and flyers have been distributed to every patrol car, and the police are actively trying to locate her. If you know her whereabouts please contact the Waterbury Police Department at 1-(203) 574-6920.

The Aftermath

DEEP Troubles On The Naugatuck

A containment boom and absorbent pads at a drainage pipe in Waterbury where an estimated 6000 gallons of hydraulic oil escaped from the Somers Thin Strip manufacturing plant in the South End of Waterbury on January 20th.

                     Story and Photographs By John Murray

   The sky above the Kinneytown Dam in Seymour was battleship grey and environmentalist Kevin Zak was angry. On January 20th an industrial accident at Somers Thin Strip in Waterbury had spilled an estimated 6000 gallons of hydraulic oil into a storm drain that flowed directly into the Naugatuck River. 48 hours later, as Zak watched, the oil was still tumbling over the dam towards the Housatonic River, and onward towards Long Island Sound.
   “This is a disaster and I’m pissed off,” Zak said. “What’s going to happen to the ducks and herons and wildlife that live in the Naugatuck River? This spill is as bad as the 5,000,000 gallons of raw sewage that was dumped into the river in October. It’s a different compound, but it’s just as devastating.”

Industrial Oil Spilled Into Naugatuck River

Oil from an industrial accident created slicks for miles along the Naugatuck River.

                                      Story By John Murray

             Photographs By Sondra Zak and Geraldo Reyes Jr.

  Joe DeMatos was enjoying his Saturday afternoon at the Polish American Club in Naugatuck when he noticed an oil slick on the Naugatuck River floating past. The slick was large and it kept on coming. After several minutes DeMatos decided to contact "the river guy", and alert him to a possible oil spill up river.

Samuel K. Beamon Honored On MLK Day

   Sam Beamon flew helicopters in Vietnam for the U.S. Marine Corps, and after returning home to Waterbury he rose to the rank of Lieutenant in the Waterbury Police Department. For his commitment to community and justice, Sam Beamon today was awarded the Grace Baptist Church's 1st Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Award.

   Excellent job by Sam Beamon and the Grace Baptist Church. Dr. King would be proud. Bravo, and Happy MLK Day. Photograph by Geraldo Reyes Jr.

Rare Tiger Cubs Debut At Beardsley Zoo

   Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo provided area media a first in-person look today at the rare Amur tiger cubs born at the Zoo. Two of a litter of four cubs survived after their mother, Changbai, neglected them, causing Zoo staff to step in. Since their birth on November 25, 2017, they have been cared for around the clock at the Zoo’s Animal Health Care Center.

Malloy Announces $900 Million Tax Windfall

   Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced that collections of estimated personal income taxes in December and January will exceed the administration’s projection by more than $900 million.  The payments include normal estimated payments, one-time payments based on repatriation of foreign profits in advance of a December 31, 2017 federal deadline, and accelerated payments that would normally have been received later in January or in April 2018 in order to avoid the new federal cap on state and local tax deductions that began on January 1.

Trump Signs Human Trafficking Bill

   The second of Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (CT-5)’s two bipartisan bills to combat human trafficking in America was signed into law today, marking the successful conclusion of an effort to establish tough new penalties for truckers and create a human trafficking prevention coordinator position at the U.S. Department of Transportation. Esty introduced both bills with Rep. John Katko (R-NY).

   “I’m proud that we were able to turn bipartisan proposals to protect Americans threatened by the horrible and inhumane crime of human trafficking into reality,” Esty said. “Our truckers are our eyes and ears on the road, which is why they’re often the best positioned to see when trafficking activities are occurring and report them to the authorities. I thank my Republican colleague Congressman Katko for his efforts on these important pieces of legislation.”

Onto the Ice

While most of Greater Waterbury is huddled inside next to radiators and fireplaces, a small group of ice fishermen head to the frozen lakes and ponds in Connecticut to try and snag a pike or bass for dinner. These two ice fishermen were making their way across Bantam Lake in Morris this morning. Photograph by John Murray

Three Kings Celebration in Waterbury

A little girl was awed and overwhelmed with her encounter with the Three Kings.

                            Story and Photographs By John Murray

    Three Kings Day was a magical time for Victor Lopez Jr. when he was a child in Adjuntas, Puerto Rico.

   “The night before we’d go outside and get grass to put in a shoe box, if you were lucky enough to have a shoe box,” Lopez said. “Then we’d hide the grass, a cup of milk, and one or two cookies under our bed, or in the corner of our room. In the morning we’d rush to our spot and find toys. We didn’t get presents from Santa Claus, we got them from the Three Kings.”

Help Needed For River Street Fire Victims

A fire in the South End of Waterbury displaced Rojan James and his family.

                                         Story By John Murray

   A fire at ripped through a multi-family house at 273 River Street in the South End of Waterbury on December 29th, at 10:30 pm, and displaced 19 people. There was no loss of life and the displaced are being temporarily housed at the American Motor Lodge on South Main Street. Pictured here is Rojan James pulling a few personal items out of the first floor apartment he lived in for seven years with his wife, Shaneena LeBron, and their seven children (the youngest being two months old). The fire started on the second floor and James reacted quickly to get his entire family out of the structure, and pounded through a wall to alert Jacob Torres and  Alycia Colon living in the basement.

Good Samaritan In A Blizzard

                                      Story and Photograph By John Murray

   Bobby Cooke was out in the blizzard January 4th in downtown Waterbury with a snow shovel walking along West Main Street. Was he out earning a few extra dollars?

   "No," he said. "I'm doing this for the blessings. I'm helping stranded drivers, and anybody who needs my help."

Mayor O'Leary and the Christmas Tree

                           Story and Photographs By John Murray

   A $2 million overhaul of the Green in downtown Waterbury was unveiled in early Autumn without a Christmas tree, and the backlash from the community has been fierce. The traditional tree lighting ceremony was moved to Library Park last year during renovations, and lights were wrapped around an oak tree. City residents understood the temporary relocation in 2016, but have balked at the tradition switching to Library Park permamently. Residents have complained on WATR radio, called the Mayor's Office to express their displeasure, and used social media to express their anger.

   "This is so wrong," Hilda Del Moral-Lopez wrote on Facebook. "It makes me very sad."