Youth Baseball Skills Competition May 7th

 

Pitch, Hit, Run 

@ Municipal Stadium 

(editor's note - the following letter was written to the Observer by Waterbury resident Bill DeMaida, who is involved in planning and organizing a Pitch, Hit, Run competition at Municipal Stadium)

    Over the years, our Municipal Stadium has been witness to the development of our local sports scene. This venue, after our latest renovation project, will be second to none. We hope to bring attention to this complex with not only scheduled local sports but also with varied programs that might bring more than just local citizens to our home.

David Martin Sworn In As Waterbury's New Fire Chief

 

A New Day

   David Martin originally wanted to be a Waterbury police officer. In preparation for the police exam, Martin decided to practice by taking a fire department exam. After passing both tests, Martin decided to join the fire department because "no one shoots bullets at a fire scene." Now more than two decades later, Martin was sworn in as chief of the Waterbury Fire Department, on April 28th, in front of a packed aldermanic chambers in the newly renovated City Hall.

Lack Of Enforcement Threatens Quality Of Life In Waterbury Neighborhoods

(Editor's Note - The following letter was written by Joshua Angelus, the President of the Waterbury Neighborhood Council, and sent to community leaders and the media in Waterbury)

Dear Mayor and Aldermen,

   I attached a series of pictures that will assist in making clear the tipping point of Waterbury as a functional city and how we suffer from poor public policy, the lack of enforcement and the coddling and tolerance of those who violate our laws and damage our quality of life. They act with impunity.

Welcome To The Observer's New Website

   The Observer's new website is different than most newspapers on the internet. Instead of cramming fifty stories and tiny thumb nail photographs on the home page, we've decided to publish large, bold photographs to accompany in-depth feature articles. We debut with more than 100 articles and columns, with the promise of hundreds more to come.

The Kent State Massacre

A Tragic Anniversary

Column By Vincent R. Vurchio

   Four dead in Ohio.

   May 4, 1970.  Kent State University campus, Kent, Ohio.  Four students killed and nine wounded by National Guardsmen.

   Let’s back up a bit.

Rocky On Skates

Exploring The Loss Of

The Hartford Whalers

Story By John Murray

Writer Bob Muldoon, a former Whaler employee, writes about loss and redemption in his book, Brass Bonanza Plays Again.

 

   At the heart of any good book is a writer’s passion, It was French cooking for Julia Child, legal thrillers for John Grisham, and big adventure for Ernest Hemingway.

   For Bob Muldoon it’s ice hockey, specifically, The Hartford Whalers.

Observations April 2011

 

The Calling

Story By John Murray

  Donna Palomba continues to fight back.

   This time it’s not against a masked rapist, two incompetent Waterbury police officers, or an insensitive newspaper; now Palomba and her Jane Doe No More organization are taking on modern American society, and its response to sexual assault.

Self Defense Course For Women Of All Ages

 

Escape Alive

Story By Chelsea Murray

Catherine Rodgers of Naugatuck learns to evade a choke hold. Photos By John Murray

   I was robbed my last night in Greece.

  After watching the sunset from the Acropolis, myself and two friends took a short cut back to our apartment. On our way through the cobblestone streets we encountered a young Gypsy couple, who stepped out of the shadows looking for a smoke. My friend gave them a cigarette and loaned out his favorite lighter. After small talk about how quiet the streets were, the man pocketed the lighter. My friend calmly protested and asked for his lighter back. Instead of the lighter, the Gypsy pulled out a switchblade and thrust it against my friend’s throat.

Legislation Triggered By Mysterious Disappearance Of Waterbury's Billy Smolinski

 

Billy’s Law

Re-Introduced In Congress

Congressman Chris Murphy (left) and Texas Congressman Ted Poe (right) have joined forces to co-sponsor “Billy’s Law”. Murphy said the collaboration on missing person legislation is unusual, as the two men, one a Democrat and the other a Republican, rarely agree on any issue. Janice Smolinski is pictured in the middle. Photo by John Murray

   Last year’s effort to pass Billy’s Law flew through the House of Representatives, but like hundreds of other bills, was gummed up in the United States Senate. Time expired on the bill when the calendar year changed, forcing legislators to re-introduce it in 2011.

Bill and Jan Smolinski Continue To Fight For Legislation To Alter The Way Police Respond To The Report Of A Missing Adult

 

Keeping On

Story By John Murray

State Rep. Vickie Nardello, left, confers with Jan and Bill Smolinski in Hartford.

   Jan and Bill Smolinski refuse to stop searching for the body of their son, Billy, who was murdered - and buried - in the lower Naugatuck Valley area six and half years ago. During their quest for truth the Smolinskis have clashed with local, state and federal police who have mishandled critical evidence and lost seven DNA samples in the case.

Bringing High Tech Tools And Training To Area Manufacturers

 

Into The Future

Story and Photographs By John Murray

   It’s exactly the sort of deal that many in Waterbury imagined when John Rowland took an influential post at the Waterbury Chamber of Commerce two years ago, and was declared the “economic czar” of Waterbury. Rowland was a three-term Congressman and had been governor of Connecticut for nine years, so clearly the man had contacts in high places.

Celebrating The Revival Of The Naugatuck River

 

The River

Column By John Murray

 

Colored dyes stained rivers throughout the industrial Northeast. By Lynn Cherry

   It was the best day the Naugtauck River has experienced in 100 years. The river received so much attention on February 24th that one could imagine her embarrassed, and blushing red for old time sake. This blush, however, was triggered by admirers gushing at her beauty, not from the red dyes that were pumped into her as industrial waste into a glorified toilet.

Neil O'Leary Takes The Mayoral Plunge

 

Destination...

 

Downtown

(Editor’s note - The following speech was delivered by Neil O’Leary on February 6th, 2011, inside a delapidated store front on East Main Street in downtown Waterbury)

   Let me begin by thanking all of you who have taken time out of your busy schedules to join us today. I want to take this moment to acknowledge my family, my brothers and sisters, their children, my cousins, my brother and sister police officers, firefighters, teachers and all of our friends. I also want to thank and acknowledge all the elected and appointed officials here today. Wow, what an incredible turnout. And, I don’t just mean the size of the crowd, but the diversity of this group as well. We have friends here from all backgrounds, occupations, races and ethnicities. All the folks who make up this great city of Waterbury.

The Rebirth Of The Naugatuck River Triggers Regional Forum

 

Born Again

Story and Photographs
By John Murray

   Back in the 1960s Uniroyal launched an international marketing campaign that asserted Naugahyde was obtained from the skin of an animal called a Nauga. The company, based in Naugatuck, proclaimed that a Nauga shed its skin multiple times a year, so it didn’t have to be slaughtered to collect its hide. The ads stated the Nauga was a squat, horned monster from the jungles of Sumatra, and every customer who purchased a Naugahyde couch from Uniroyal received a small Nauga doll.

   It was brilliant marketing - fun, humorous and effective.

Mayor's Race Heating Up In Waterbury

 

Game On

Column By John Murray

Waterbury Mayor Michael Jarjura is seeking a record sixth consecutive term.

(Editor’s note - the following observations by John Murray were sharpened by dozens of interviews and conversations with political insiders throughout Waterbury)

  After serving ten years as mayor of Waterbury one might think that Mike Jarjura had a firm grip on the local Democratic Party - his party - but you’d be wrong. As we careen towards election day 2011 Mayor Jarjura faces a revolution within the Democratic Party - much of it his own creation.

In Synk By Jim Szynkiewicz, December 2010

 

Pearl Harbor

Did FDR Use It AS Bait?

Column By Jim Szynkiewicz


   Sixty nine years have passed since the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Was this a horrendous failure of the Roosevelt administration, or a brilliant political maneuver? The passage of time has not overcome the mystery of that fateful event. I belong to the smaller category of people who believe that FDR masterfully used Pearl Harbor as bait to draw the  Japanese into a military confrontation and justify America’s entry into a war against the Axis Powers. Not everybody in FDR’s administration had been asleep on the dawn of December 7th 1941.

New Support Group Formed In Wolcott To Help Survivors Of Incest and Sexual Assault

Survivor Leads Way

By Debbie Mitchell McCormack

   There is a new Woman’s support group in the Waterbury area called SSING (Sexual Assault and Incest Survivor Support Group). The support group is for women who have been victims of sexual abuse. I’d like to tell you that there are more people out there than you can imagine who have been sexually assaulted as a child. In Waterbury, in Thomaston, Southington, and yes, here in Wolcott too.