Open Space Deal Dead, Drubner Pulls The Plug

   Developer Norman Drubner has withdrawn his offer to sell 133 acres of woodland to the City of Waterbury as open space. The property, which abuts the Western Hills Golf Course, is the largest undeveloped tract of land in Waterbury. Despite an outpouring of support from neighborhood groups throughout Waterbury, and an overflowing crowd at the last Board of Aldermen meeting speaking in favor of open space, the aldermen voted to send the issue to a non-binding referendum.

Larry De Pillo Enters Waterbury Mayoral Race

   The Selection Committee of Waterbury’s Independent Party today announced that Alderman Lawrence V. De Pillo has agreed to seek the party’s endorsement for election as Mayor of the City of Waterbury.

   The party's caucus for endorsement of its slate of candidates in this November's election will be held on Thursday, September 1ST @ 6:00 p.m. in the Community Room of the Thomaston Savings Bank, 985 Watertown Avenue.

Some CL&P Customers To Remain Powerless Through The Weekend

Nearly 700,000 Connecticut Light & Power customers lost service during tropical storm Irene Sunday. Two and a half days after the storm cleared there are still hundreds of thousands of residents in Connecticut without power. The utility company has set the goal of having power restored throughout the state by the end of the day Sunday. Photo by John Murray

Music Festival To Celebrate Life, And Help Gary Tuttle, Saturday Afternoon At Cheshire Park


Gary Briane Tuttle

 ( As the Observer was going to press in August we received a remarkable e-mail from Gary Tuttle asking for our help. Unable to fulfill his request, we decided to do the next best thing and directly share Gary’s e-mail with Observer readers. Gary’s love of Waterbury, and of life itself, are awe-inspiring. Take a moment to read about Gary and see if you’d like to help. We think you will.)

Independent Party's John Theriault To Seek Re-election To Waterbury Board Of Education

   The Selection Committee of the Waterbury Independent Party is pleased to announce that John E. Theriault, currently serving his second term as a member of the Waterbury Board of Education, will seek the party’s endorsement on Saturday, August 27TH for reelection this November 8th.

Independent Party Alderman Cicero Booker Jr. To Seek 5th Term In November

   The Selection Committee of the Waterbury Independent Party is pleased to announce that Cicero B. Booker Jr., who is currently serving his fourth term as an Alderman and elected Minority Leader of the Board of Aldermen, will seek the party’s endorsement on Saturday, August 27TH for reelection this November 8th.

Dr. King Dedication Brunch At Goodwill Lodge, Waterbury, August 28th

   Goodwill Lodge (238 N. Elm St, Waterbury, CT) will be hosting a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Dedication Brunch, Sponsored by Goodwill Lodge No.1325, Clock City Temple No. 895 and The Waterbury Center for Economic and Social Justice on Sunday August 28 at 10am. This will be an all you can eat Brunch and a donation of $10.00 is required. For event info please call: (203) 574-9694 or email

State Senator Joan Hartley To Receive Breast Cancer Awareness Award Saturday


Senator Joan Hartley speaking at the opening of the new water sculpture at UConn Waterbury in June.


  State Senator Joan V. Hartley (D-Waterbury), vice-chair of the legislature’s Insurance and Real Estate Committee, is set to receive an award this weekend for her steadfast advocacy of heightened breast cancer awareness and mandatory insurance coverage for comprehensive breast cancer screenings.

St. Mary's Hospital and Waterbury Hospital Agree To Merge, Now Must Seek State Approval

Story and Photographs By John Murray

   The Waterbury Observer has confirmed with five sources that Saint Mary's Hospital and Waterbury Hospital are planning to sign a letter of agreement to merge, and if they get state approval, the new entity will build a new hospital in the city, possibly on Freight Street. Sources for this story included board members from both hospitals, political insiders, and a prominent local businessman, all who requested their names not be published before the hospitals make the announcement official.

Vigil Of Hope Seven Years After Billy Smolinski Vanished From His Life

Janice Smolinski's relentless optimism has transformed a murder investigation into a vehicle of change. In addition to fighting for the truth of what happened to her son seven years ago, Smolinski has triggered local, state and federal reform in the way law enforcement officers respond to the report of a missing adult. The Smolinski family is asking for a federal grand jury to probe into the case. Photographs By John Murray

Blogging For Change


Linda McMahon, a former candidiate for U.S. Senator, visited our blog program at Waterbury Youth Services and made an extraordinary impression.

Column by Chelsea Murray

  This summer instead of basking in the sun or traveling, I have had the pleasure of spearheading a blogging program with a group of amazing young women at Waterbury Youth Services.

   The program evolved out of an argument with my father, who owns the Waterbury Observer, and who drives me crazy sometimes. Frustrated that day, I picked up the phone and called Kelly Cronin, the executive director of Waterbury Youth Services, and asked if I could invent a program for the summer. I felt the need to do something different with my life and wanted the opportunity to help others. I wasn’t sure what her response would be. I was young, practically just-out-of-college, and she could have told me to get lost. Instead, Kelly invited me down to her office and asked me to propose a program.

The Adventure And Thrill Of Rescuing A Red Shouldered Hawk

   (Editor's note - Kevin Zak is the founder of the Naugatuck River Revival Group and has been instrumental in generating awareness of the unique ecosystem that flows directly through Waterbury)

Column By Kevin Zak, Photographs By John Murray

   A Red Shouldered Hawk was trapped in the bucket of a cherry picker with water up to its chest. The clock was ticking. How long this raptor was in his watery tomb, or how he got there, was anyone’s guess. The hawk was not going to live through the night. Heavy thunder storms overtook Wolcott the previous week and somehow, bizarrely, this raptor had trapped itself in a narrow bucket and couldn’t spread his broad wings. The sides of the bucket were too steep and there was nothing for him to dig his sharp and powerful talons into so he could climb out. With each day the hawk grew weary and with each new down pour the water got deeper. Without food for days his condition was like a Chinese finger trap - the more he struggled the weaker he became. This magnificent creature was injured, weakened, and about to drown.

Chef Richard Morotto At Mattatuck Museum, August 29th

   The Chef Series at the Mattatuck Museum continues with Chef Richard Morotto of Bin 300 Restaurant in Wolcott on Monday, August 29th, 2011 from 6:00-9:00pm. With Chef Richard watch and learn how to make seasonal dishes as he creates an amazing meal of Apple and Brie Turnovers with Port Reduction, Lobster Cappuccino with Vanilla Bourbon Chantilly and Wild Mushrooms in a Red Wine Sauce with Pappardelle Pasta and Manchego Cheese. Learn valuable cooking techniques and tips then enjoy the meal in the elegant museum setting.

Bobby Bonds Memorial Scholarship Classic, September 12th

   On Monday, September 12th, New Opportunities, Inc. will hold their 17th Annual Bobby Bonds Memorial Scholarship Classic at The Country Club of Waterbury.   Registration/Lunch begins at 11:00am with Shot Gun Start at 12 Noon. 4-man Team. Scramble format. Cost is $200 per golfer with Sponsorship options starting at $150.

Paul Vance Appointed State Claims Commissioner, Drops Out Of Mayoral Race


Story and Photographs By John Murray

   J. Paul Vance Jr. has been appointed Claims Commissioner in Connecticut and has dropped out of the 2011 mayoral race in Waterbury. Although he accepted the job three weeks ago, Vance didn’t get his official appointment until Monday, August 15th, his first day on the job.

Shattered - The Seven Year Search For Billy Smolinski Jr.

When serious leads aren't followed up by law enforcement, Bill and Jan Smolinski scour the woods for the remains of their missing son Billy, who was murdered in August 2004.

Story and Photographs By John Murray

   Picture the murder of Billy Smolinski as a crystal vase. Hold it in your hands. Spin it around. Now drop it on the kitchen floor and watch it shatter into a thousand pieces. Each shard of glass represents a clue into who killed Billy on August 24th, 2004. When patched together the vase reveals the gruesome truth of who murdered Billy, and why. The vase points to the spot Billy is buried in the Naugatuck Valley.