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   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

Labor Department Asked To Investigate Mayor Jarjura's Role In Davino Unemployment Claim

   Aldermanic Candidate Gregory A. Hadley, Sr. has formally requested that the Connecticut Department of Labor launch an investigation into the unemployment claim of Joseph Davino and the information provided by Waterbury Mayor Michael Jarjura regarding that claim.

Latinos Speak Out In Waterbury

To the citizens of Waterbury,

   On October 20, 2011, the Waterbury Republican published an article titled Latinos quit campaign. It is with great disappointment that the Latino community was portrayed as quitters in the local mayoral race.  We strongly feel that this statement should have only reflected those individuals that were directly involved with their inability to fulfill their political obligations.

State Senator Andrew Roraback Plunges Into Wide Open Race For 5th District Congressional Seat

   State Senator Andrew Roraback (R), a political force in northwest Connecticut for 18 years, has joined the hunt to fill Congressman Chris Murphy's seat in 2012. Murphy's bold move to vacate his congressional seat to run for the U.S. Senate in 2012 has created a rare open seat. With Roraback's announcement today outside Goshen Town Hall there are now five Republicans and four Democrats vying for the 5th Congressional District. For the past eleven years Roraback has been State Senator in the 30th District, and he will now square off against Justin Bernier, Lisa Wilson-Foley, Mark Greenberg and Mike Clark for the GOP nomination. The four Democrats running are Connecticut Speaker of the House Chris Donovan, Elizabeth Esty, Dan Roberti and Mike Williams.  Photographs by John Murray

Jarjura and O'Leary Spar Over Hispanic Politician


Democrat aldermanic candidate Ruben Rodriguez, left, withdrew his name from the Democrat slate yesterday stating his ideas were being ignored by mayoral candidate Neil O'Leary. The O'Leary campaign had a different spin on Rodriguez's departure. O'Leary was quoted in the Republican-American newspaper this morning saying that State Representative David Aldarondo, pictured above on the right, had engineered the defection after O'Leary had refused to put Aldarando's friends and relatives on his campaign payroll. The following two press releases refer to the incident. Photographs by John Murray

O'Leary And Jarjura Spar Over Mayor's Middlebury Business Interests

   Editor's note - For 18 years the Observer has published in-depth Q&A interviews with every mayoral candidate in Waterbury, and after that information was shared with our readers, we stopped covering the race. There are a lot of accusations and excitement during the final weeks of an election, but the Observer, a monthly newspaper,  didn't have a forum to respond to the unfolding drama. Now with our website, we can continue to cover issues up until election day. The question is how?

   We decided the fairest way was to bundle campaign press releases together and let our readers sort it out. For example, we received a strongly worded press release from the O'Leary campaign last night, and instead of publishing it on the website, we forwarded the allegations to the Jarjura campaign and gave them 24 hours to respond. The result is a point - counterpoint which is published below.

   Whichever campaign initiates the first strike, the other campaign, or campaigns, has 24 hours to respond. This new policy applies to the campaigns of Mike Jarjura, Neil O'Leary and Larry De Pillo.

Derek Poundstone Overcomes Serious Back Injury To Chase The 2011 Title Of World's Strongest Man

Waterbury's Derek Poundstone successfully hoisted 913-pounds in the deadlift event at the 2011 World's Strongest Man Competition at Wingate University in North Carolina. It was a personal record.

  (The following is an account of Derek Poundstone's attempt to win the World's Strongest Man contest in North Carolina, USA, in September 2011. There were nine other athletes in the finals of the competition, but the Waterbury Observer focused primarily on Poundstone because he lives in Waterbury, Connecticut. He's our strongman. In tribute to the other athletes we've included more than a dozen images of their attempts to bring home the championship to their hometown, or country. It was an historic competition.)

   Story and Photographs By John Murray

   The massive bodies of strong man athletes are over-sized shock absorbers that cushion the pounding and abuse sustained during training and competition. Running fifty yards with 1000 pounds on your back places unimaginable stress on knees and ankles and lower backs. Pulling a two-ton Mack Truck 100 feet, pressing 342 pounds overhead for repetitions, and dead-lifting over 900 pounds are athletic feats that few men in the world can perform.

Q&A With Waterbury's Republican Party Mayoral Candidate, Incumbent Mike Jarjura

Mike Jarjura has enjoyed a magical run in Waterbury politics. He was elected five times as a State Representative in the East End, and has served five consecutive terms as mayor, tying him with Mike Bergin for the most consecutive terms in office, If Jarjura wins an historic sixth term in November he will establish a new record.

                   Interview and Photographs By John Murray

Observer: How do you define the role of mayor in Waterbury? Give a brief description of the job you’d like to be re-hired to.

Jarjura: The Mayor of the City of Waterbury is the chief executive officer of the corporation. It is a $400-million dollar budget corporation and has nearly 3,000 employees. The corporation provides a number of essential human services to over 110,000 people. In addition to being the CEO of the corporation, the mayor is also the chief elected official and really the number one public persona of the city. That’s really what the job as Mayor is best defined as.