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.

Q&A With Waterbury's Democratic Mayoral Candidate, Neil O'Leary

Neil O'Leary marching along Baldwin Street during the 2011 St. Patrick's Day Parade.

                           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 are applying for.

O’Leary: I define the role of the mayor of Waterbury as the number one person responsible for the day to day operations of the city. The person who is solely responsible for the perception of the city. The person who should be the city’s biggest cheerleader on a 24-hour, seven-day a week basis. The person who has to collaborate with all the department heads for the running of the city. The person who has to offer a listening ear to his constituents who have elected him to run the city, and understanding the citizens are his bosses. A mayor must remain ever sensitive to the needs of the community and his constituents. They elected him for a reason, and we must never forget that if the people elect us then they have elected us for a reason, and what were those reasons? Obviously, strong leadership skills. Obviously, strong trust between the candidate and the constituents. Obviously, a belief that the person they are voting for is going to lead their city in the direction they want to see it go in. I think that is what the mayor’s primary responsibilities are. I think what happens a lot, especially if a person is a long-term incumbent, is that those constituency beliefs some how get watered down over time. I like to call it I.A., not the internal affairs as I’m familiar with, but incumbent arrogance. It’s not something that an incumbent sets out to strive for, it’s something that just develops over time.

Q&A With Waterbury's Independent Party Mayoral Candidate, Larry De Pillo

Larry De Pillo has placed his name before the voters in Waterbury 14 consecutive years. He has been a relentless watchdog of municipal government, and a tireless community activist.

                   Interview and Photographs By John Murray

Observer - How do you define the role of mayor in Waterbury? Give me a brief description of the job you are applying for.

De Pillo -The Mayor of Waterbury is the leader of the city government and his job or her job is to make sure that the taxes are kept in check, to make sure that the citizens receive the services that they’re paying for, and that he is either capable himself, or with the team that he puts together, to continue to grow the grand list by bringing new businesses to the city. The mayor also must meet with the business community on a regular basis to make sure that their needs are met because without a stable business community you do not have a stable job base. Waterbury’s strength is the fact that it has strong neighborhood groups and the mayor must make sure that they are satisfied with the services being provided as far as the parks in their areas, the cleanliness of the streets and sidewalks in their area, and that if there are issues regarding blight and crime that they get addressed. To me, that’s the job of the mayor of the City of Waterbury.

Which Mayoral Candidate Has The Best Plan To Move Waterbury Forward?

   The Observer has concluded its Q&A interviews with the three mayoral candidates in Waterbury and will publish the results in its October 14th edition. Most of the headlines in the daily paper continue to bleat on about remarriages, brothels, and a car provided to a prominent State's Attorney. That may help Republican-American publisher Bill Pape sell more newspapers, but the people on the street don't give a crap about these issues. The voters want to know how the three candidates - incumbent Mike Jarjura, and challengers Neil O'Leary and Larry De Pillo, plan to address the major challenges facing the City of Waterbury. Those issues are unemployment, growing the grand list, revitalizing downtown, charter revision, aldermen-by-district, blight, brownfields, public safety, park maintenance, education, the Greenway, water, manufacturing, and the biggest issue of all - taxes.

Tibetan Monk Vows To Build A School In One Of The Most Isolated Spots On Earth

Tibetan monk Geshe Lobsang Yonten was raised in Zanskar Valley in the Himalayan Mountains of North India. Zanskar is one of the most isolated and desolate valleys on Earth, and Yonten has vowed to build a school there to help keep the endangered Tibetan culture alive. Yonten will be in Waterbury on Wednesday, October 5th, at the Mattatuck Museum, showing a documentary film about his project. The event begins at 6 pm with light refreshments and a short talk. Then the film, "Journey From Zanskar", will be aired. The suggested donation is $10. Photograph by John Murray

"Stone Of Hope" Will Be Dedicated To Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. On October 16th

    On a recent trip down to North Carolina to cover the World's Strongest Man competition, the Observer swept into the nation's capital to check out the new monument to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.. The monument dedication was originally scheduled for late August, on the same day Hurricane Irene battered the East Coast. Wisely, the event was re-scheduled to Sunday, October 16th, 2011. The photographs were taken by John Murray, the publisher of The Waterbury Observer. The following information was taken directly off mlkmemorial.org, the official website for the monument.

The King And I


King Bhumibol of Thailand is the longest reigning monarch in the world.

Column By Don Coppock

  I recall my first visit to Bangkok . I was taking a tour of the city, we were bogged down in one of the city's usual traffic jams, and the tour guide was talking about all things Thailand.
We were about to enter the King's Grand Palace,  so I asked him his thoughts on the King. He smiled and his eyes got a glassy look as he began, ‘I love my King...’

Palace Theater's November Line Up


Friday, November 4 -- 8:00pm; Saturday, November 5 – 2:00pm and 8:00pm
The 2008 Tony Award-winner for “Best Musical,” IN THE HEIGHTS takes audiences on an exhilarating journey into a vibrant Manhattan community where they’ll discover what it takes to make a living, what it costs to have a dream, and what it means to be home. Sponsored by Webster Bank and WTNH/MyTV9. Tickets: $48/ $58/ $68

Former Torrington Mayor Owen Quinn Appointed Leader Of Neighborhood Housing In Waterbury

    Neighborhood Housing Services of Waterbury, Inc. (NHS of Waterbury) has appointed a new Executive Director, Owen J. Quinn of Torrington. Quinn was hired by the NHS of Waterbury Board of Directors in September following an extensive candidate search.

Mayor Jarjura's Giant Pencil Swiped From Headquarters On Scott Road

   The symbol of Mike Jarjura's stunning 2006 write-in campaign victory was stolen from outside his campaign headquarters on Scott Road in Waterbury. Jarjura lost in a stunning primary upset to Democrat challenger Karen Mulcahy, but stormed back in November 2005 to become just the fifth politician in American history to win a major political office by having th electorate pencil in his name on the ballot. The mayor's father, J.P. Jarjura, had a six-foot replica pencil made to honor the historic win, and presented to him at his third inauguration. Jarjura told the Observer today that, “I want it back. There will be no questions asked and no consequences. Just leave it outside the door of my campaign headquarters at night and we'll find it in the morning The pencil has great sentimental value to me.”