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."

Two Waterbury Catholic Schools To Merge Into STREAM Academy, September 2018

   We received the following news from Maria Zone, the Director of Communications for the Archdiocese of Hartford.....

   "Pastors and principals of the four Waterbury elementary Catholic schools, in consult with the Waterbury Futures Task Force and the Office of Education, Evangelization and Catechesis (OEEC) have decided to form a new Catholic School in Waterbury called, Catholic STREAM Academy of Waterbury: A Heritage School of St. Mary and Blessed Sacrament Schools. It will open in September 2018. Pastors at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and Ss. Peter and Paul Schools have determined that these schools will remain as they are for the 2018-2019 academic year.

DEEP Spanks Waterbury For Sewage Dump

                                                    Story By John Murray

   The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) issued a consent order today, November 9th, punishing the City of Waterbury for dumping 5,000,000 gallons of raw sewage into the Naugatuck River on October 9th. The city has been ordered to clean the river, stock 1500 trout, sponsor a family fishing day in the Spring, and develop an Emergency Response Plan by December 31st, 2017.

Raw Sewage Dumped Into Naugatuck River

A football-sized chunk of bleached feces sits in the middle of the Naugatuck River hundreds of yards south of the Water Pollution Control Facility in Waterbury. There are thousands of chunks of feces and sewage sludge all along the Platts Mill section of the river.

                    Story and Photographs By John Murray

   The Waterbury Police Department has launched an investigation into what happened at the Water Pollution Control Facility on October 9th that resulted in 5,000,000 gallons of raw sewage being dumped into the Naugatuck River.

  “This is not a criminal investigation,” Deputy Police Chief Fred Spagnolo told The Waterbury Observer this afternoon. “We are trying to determine liability.”

Devastating South End Fire

 

   A devastating fire on Lounsbury Street in the South End of Waterbury ripped through four houses and has left as many as ten families homeless tonight. The houses are in the 50 to 60 block range on Lounsbury Street. The fire department is still on the scene, smoke continues to fog the South End, and multiple streets around the fire have been blocked off and much of the neighborhood is blacked out.

Waterbury Adds Three Horses To PD

Living on a horse ranch in the Domican Republic helped Officer Jose Diaz build a mounted unit in the Waterbury PD.

                                Story and Photographs By John Murray

   Waterbury Mayor Neil O’Leary grew up on a farm in Woodbury and spent much of his childhood around horses. “I’ve always appreciated horses,” O’Leary said, “and for several years I’ve thought about adding horses to the Waterbury Police Department, but budget and manpower issues kept us from doing it.”

JFK Centenial at Silas Bronson Library

Connecticut Governor Abe Ribicoff introduces US Senator John F. Kennedy, democratic Presidential candidate, on the balcony of Hotel Roger Smith, in Waterbury in 1960.

    Where were you at 3:00 a.m. on November 6, 1960? Steve Bergin and those remaining of some 50,000 other people can tell you exactly where they were that rainy night – on the Green in front of the Elton Hotel (then the Roger Smith Hotel) cheering on Senator John F. Kennedy two nights before his presidential election. That night changed Bergin’s life - and he and a few friends organized the 3:00 A.M. Committee in honor of the momentous occasion.

New Cultural Programs At Bronson Library

   The Silas Bronson Library is pleased to announce the launch of the Philip V. Benevento Fund for Cultural Programs for Adults at the library. The public is invited to attend the inaugural program on Thursday, June 8 at 6 p.m., featuring a special performance by the cast of Trav’lin: The 1930s Harlem Musical, arranged for the library by Semina DeLaurentis, Artistic Director of Seven Angels Theatre. The program is free; refreshments will be served.

To Be Heard Again

A brain tumor stole his voice, but with the love of his wife, Janet, and a miraculous surgery, Bob Sagendorf is back on the radio at WATR.

                       Story and Photographs By John Murray

   Bob Sagendorf slowed his SUV and peered into the woods. “There it is on the other side of the brook,” he said pointing, “that’s where we used to camp as boy scouts. We swam in that brook. We drank water from that brook, and we used water from that brook to cook our meals.”

   Sagendorf was on top of Hunter’s Mountain in Naugatuck and the camping site he pointed towards was less than a quarter mile away from Murtha’s Dump, a landfill used for 40 years to dispose of solvents, oils, hydrocarbons, chemical and liquid sludge, chemical solids, tires, and rubber products used by Naugatuck Chemical and Uniroyal.

Pepe's Pizzeria Comes to the Brass City

   Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana, Connecticut’s iconic third-generation owned and operated pizzeria since 1925, is putting thefinishing touches on its new 3,400 square foot, 90-seat space located at 130 Reidville Drive in Waterbury, CT, directly off of I-84.  Pepe’s highly anticipated opening is planned for April 17.  This will be the 9th location in the Frank Pepe Restaurant Group.