WATR Hosts Final Mayoral Debate In Waterbury

                                               By John Murray

   WATR radio host Larry Rifkin moderated a two-hour live mayoral debate on 1320 AM this morning featuring from left to right, Independent Party candidate Larry De Pillo, Democrat candidate Neil O'Leary, and Republican candidate and incumbent mayor, Mike Jarjura. The three candidates largely reiterated the positions they have been espousing for the past two months, but there were several sharp exchanges which will be reported in greater detail on this website in the next 24 hours.

Waterbury Shelter Moved To North End Recreation Center

   At 2 p.m., the city of Waterbury will transition its temporary shelter for those affected by the widespread power outages from the Waterbury Arts Magnet School to the North End Recreation Center, 268 North Main Street. The move is being made in anticipation of re-opening Waterbury Public Schools at some point prior to full restoration of power citywide. No determination has been made yet as to whether Waterbury Public Schools will open Thursday. For information on school closures, visit http://www.waterbury.k12.ct.us/

CL&P - Power Out In Sections Of Waterbury Until Monday Night

Joe Geary, pictured above, shared the latest update with WATR radio 90 minutes ago.

                            Story and Photographs By John Murray

   The director of operations in Waterbury, Joe Geary, told WATR radio that the most up-t0-date information he had about the massive power outage was that the city still had 15,722 homes without power, or 32% of the city. Geary said he had spoken to CL&P at 10 am on Wednesday and the projection was that 99% of Waterbury would have its power restored by midnight on Monday, November 7th. Projections for the Overlook neighborhood were to get power restored by 5 pm on Monday, November 7th.

In Wake Of Bizarre Halloween Nor'easter, Obama Declares Connecticut A Federal Disaster

   The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency announced that federal disaster aid has been made available to the State of Connecticut and ordered federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts due to the emergency conditions resulting from a severe storm during the period of October 29-30, 2011.

Waterbury Postpones Halloween Trick-or-Treating

    In light of the widespread damage and ongoing safety concerns from Saturday’s storm, Mayor Michael J. Jarjura has decided to postpone Halloween Trick-or-Treating until Saturday, Nov. 5. Downed power lines could energize at any time as Connecticut Light & Power works on outages affecting 68 percent of the city, Mayor Jarjura decided to call for the postponement of trick-or-treating in the interests of safety and giving children in neighborhoods that currently are completely dark at the moment to enjoy the holiday once power is restored. Be safe, be smart and save your costume until Saturday (the snow should melt by that time anyways). 

After Glow - 90 Years Ago Workers At The Waterbury Clock Company Began Dying After Painting Radium On Clock Dials

A dial painter suffered from radium-induced sarcoma of the chin. The workers, mostly young women, used their mouthes to form sharp points on the brush that they would dip in and out of radium paint. Image from the book "Deadly Glow - The Radium Dial Worker Tragedy."

Story by Ann Quigley

(This article was first published The Waterbury Observer in September 2002)

   It was 1921 when 17-year –old Frances Splettstocher landed a job at the Waterbury Clock Company on Cherry Street. It was a glamorous job, for she and her young colleagues worked with radium – the wonder substance of the new century.  The girls used their keen eyes and nimble fingers to paint tiny numbers on glow-in-the-dark watches that were all the rage at the moment. World War I soldiers had worn the futuristic devices in the trenches, and now in peacetime everyone wanted one, so Splettstocher and dozens like her were hired to help produce millions of the watches during the early 1920s.

Snead Ends 11-Year Run As Leader of Waterbury Public Schools, Set To Retire On Halloween

Dr. David Snead is ending his 11-year stint as Superintendent of Waterbury Schools when he retires on October 31st, 2011. The following information about Dr. Snead is from his website at www.waterbury.k12.ct.us   Photograph by John Murray

   David Snead is currently the Superintendent of the Waterbury (CT) Public Schools; a position he has held since August, 2000.  The district, a department of the City of Waterbury, serves over 18,000 students (28% African American, 42% Hispanic, 28% white) with an annual budget of approximately $140 million.  A native of Detroit, Dr. David L. Snead is a product of the Detroit Public School system.  After serving as a volunteer in the U.S. Army for three years, he attended Tuskegee University in Alabama and graduated with a BS in Education with Honors. In addition, he attained the distinction "Institute Scholar" and was named an All-American in football.

What If A Game Of Chess Decided The Waterbury Mayoral Election? The Winner Takes All....

The three mayoral candidates in Waterbury were invited to City Hall to help The Brass"Bury" Chess Club reawaken after a decade long slumber. When Democrat Neil O'Leary couldn't make it, the other two candidates sat down for a head-to-head game of chess. Republican five-term incumbent Mike Jarjura, left, had never played the game before, and Independent Party candidate Larry De Pillo, right, said his game was beyond rusty. With the help of club members the two candidates engaged in a spirited game that lasted 25 minutes. Photographs by John Murray

NBA Star Ryan Gomes and Waterbury Mayor Mike Jarjura Celebrate HeartSafe Designation

   Waterbury native Ryan Gomes, middle, played high school basketball in the city and now stars in the NBA, joined Mayor Michael Jarjura, left, and representatives from the city’s health and emergency services organizations in celebrating Waterbury’s recent designation as a HeartSafe Community by the state Department of Public Health. The event took place Thursday, October 27, at Waterbury City Hall. Along with Gomes and the mayor, representatives from the state Department of Public Health, Waterbury Hospital, the Heart Center of Greater Waterbury, Saint Mary’s Hospital, AMR Ambulance, Campion Ambulance and the Waterbury Fire and Police Departments were on hand to mark the occasion. The HeartSafe designation is awarded to communities across the state that have demonstrated that they are properly equipped and trained to both prevent and respond to cardiac emergencies. 

Ceremony At NVCC Launched Historic Evening Bus Service In Waterbury

State Senator Joan Hartley greets Naugatuck Valley Community College President Daisy Cocco De Filippis moments before an historic ride through the city marking the start of evening bus service in Waterbury. Politicians and community activists have been lobbying for evening bus service in Waterbury for nearly 20 years. The event took place October 24th. Photographs By John Murray

    The expanded hours were made possible through a collaborative formula including state funds and a voluntary fare increase for NVCC riders. President De Filippis and James Troup, dean of administration, met with North East Transportation representatives back in fall of 2008 to establish the College’s concerns. In spring 2010 the transportation issue became a part of NVCC’s Strategic Plan, which prompted the development of a leadership committee in September. To help defray the financial burden, NVCC students voted last spring to install a $10 per semester transportation fee that would account for approximately 17% of the $900,000 annual cost. The remainder will be paid by the state through a federal grant.

Waterbury Police Have New Tools To Battle Blight And Reckless Driving

Waterbury's police chief, Mike Gugliotti

   Waterbury Police Chief Michael Gugliotti announced today that his officers have begun issuing new Municipal Citations to violator’s of the City’s Blight Ordinance. Gugliotti stated that this new process has many benefits. “First of all, we anticipate that the resolution of these complaints will be much faster than before, as the accused must pay his/her fine, or request a hearing with a City Hearing Officer within 10 days of ticket issuance. Additionally, since the Municipal Citations are issued to enforce the City’s Blight Ordinance, Waterbury keeps 100% of all fines collected.”  The Police Department’s Community Relations Division currently responds to and enforces blight related complaints. They notify property owners when a violation has occurred and allow a reasonable amount of time to address the violation. If no action is taken, citations will be issued, with fines beginning at $100/day.

Zoning Commission Wrestles With Proposed Change Allowing Post University To Install Stadium Lighting In The Country Club Neighborhood

                                    Photographs By John Murray

Efforts by Post University to install 75-foot tall lights on its renovated sports complex triggered a proposed zoning change and an outpouring of opposition by residents of the Country Club neighborhood in Waterbury. Last night at a Zoning Commission meeting in City Hall Andrew Dyjak of Musco Sports Lighting made a presentation to the commission and stated that city zoning laws that cap the height of lighting now at 35 feet is inadequate to illuminate the sports complex and would create unsafe conditions for athletes. The Country Club neighbors are opposing the zoning change, and Post University's plan citing it would destroy the character of the neighborhood and create unwanted light pollution. The Zoning Commission did not render a decision last night.

Feisty And Entertaining Mayoral Debate In Waterbury's North End

                              Photographs By John Murray

   Waterbury mayor Mike Jarjura laughed at a point being made by Democrat challenger Neil O'Leary during a spirited debate sponsored by the Greater Waterbury Chapter of the National Congress of Black Women last night in the NOW auditorium, on North Main Street, in Waterbury. In an evening filled with political theater, the three candidates vying for mayor verbally jousted for nearly two hours. At one point during the debate Mayor Jarjura blamed O'Leary, who is a school board commissioner, for the fact that 21 schools in Waterbury have failed to meet state and federal standards. O'Leary, in the photograph above, reminded Jarjura that he is also a member of the board of education, and as the mayor, Jarjura should accept ultimate responsibility for the conditions in the schools.

Tractor Trailer Jams Beneath West Main Street Overpass In Waterbury

A Western Express truck got jammed beneath the railroad overpass on West Main Street in Waterbury Monday night. The truck blocked traffic for over an hour before Town Plot Towing winched it along West Main Street. The driver, pictured below, smoked a cigarette as the tow truck maneuvered into place. Photographs by John Murray

Flooding Ravages Thailand

    Column By Don Coppock

   (Foreign Correspondent for The Waterbury Observer)

   Nahmtuam is a word you hear a lot these days in Thailand. It means 'flood'.

   As we drove from Udon Thani toward Roy Et in Isaan ( Northeastern Thailand ) it appeared much of the country was underwater. The main two lane roadway was clear, but as we passed over bridges we observed partially submerged houses, wires hung limply a few feet above swollen waterways, and the bridges themselves seemed but a rainstorm away from being submerged from the muddy roiling water beneath.

Historic Bus Ride Marks the Start of Evening Bus Service in Waterbury

 

  A busload –literally – of NVCC representatives and city and state officials will make a historic run through Waterbury tonight to mark the start of evening bus service for the City. The ceremonial ride will depart from Naugatuck Valley Community College’s Ekstrom Hall at 6 pm, following remarks by NVCC President Daisy Cocco De Filippis, Ph.D., Mayor Michael J. Jarjura, Senator Joan V. Hartley and other College representatives. The expanded hours are made possible through a collaborative formula including state funds and a voluntary fare increase for NVCC riders.

Hispanics Rally For O'Leary In Waterbury's South End

Story and Photographs By John Murray

   Two days after the only Hispanic on the Democrat slate, Rubin Rodriguez, quit the ticket, a group of boisterous Latinos rallied in support of Democrat mayoral candidate Neil O'Leary, on South Main Street in Waterbury. Rodriguez stated he quit the ticket because O'Leary wasn't receptive to his ideas and was disrespecting the Hispanic population in Waterbury. O'Leary countered strongly by stating that Rodriguez had quit the ticket because the campaign was unwilling to budget $50,000 to State Rep. David Aldarondo to get the Hispanic vote to the polls on election day. O'Leary called it a "shakedown" by Aldarondo. Mayor Mike Jarjura pounced on the issue and sent out a statement that said O'Leary "is unfit to lead a city with Waterbury's ethnic, religious and national diversity."

Board Of Education Candidates Debate At Walsh School

Republican Board of Education candidates, Sundae Black, left, and Jason Van Stone listen intently as Democrat Liz Brown answers a question during a debate at Walsh School in the North End of Waterbury Saturday morning. Van Stone is an incumbent and this is Black's first time seeking elected office. Van Stone is a marketing expert and Black works at The Hartford. The debate was sponsored by the Scovill Homes Association. Photos by John Murray