Enjoying Downtown Waterbury

From Russia To Waterbury

By John Murray

78-year-old Mark Losyev enjoyed a beautiful Spring afternoon on the Green in downtown Waterbury.

   Mark Losyev spent the first 68 years of his life in the Soviet Union, most of it working as a geologist high in the mountains near the Pakistan border. His oldest son moved to Waterbury 11 years ago for work, and a year later Mark and his wife followed.

A Tale of Two Countries

American Living In El Salvador

Column by Chris Romero

   Blood-stained scars above and below the eyes. Deep scratches stretch the length of the face. A jagged cut marks the center of the forehead. This can’t be me, I thought. A shot of anger springs from confusion: God, give me myself back. This isn’t me. My blood ceases to boil, senses ease. Although I’m hesitant, I begin to touch my face. Some of the scars begin to shed their shells of dried blood. I don’t recognize myself.

Big Expectations for UConn Men

 

Big Dogs

Column By Chelsea Murray

   My six year old eyes could hardly see what was going on 50 rows in front of me. I could see and hear some men running around in shorts, bouncing an orange ball up and down off the floor. The Hartford Civic Center was almost silent and a man caught my eye down on the court. The man was jumping up and down and I could hear his bellowing screams all the way from where I was sitting.

Waterbury Observer Launches Youth Section

Following the Path

Column By Quajay Donnell

    Eleven years ago I started to write a youth oriented column within The Waterbury Observer. I was a young and eager kid, who was committed to creating a forum for young people to be heard. I wrote in my first published work in the Observer, "Those youth who are setting the pace may never be heard like I am. The probable leaders shouldn't be ignored by leaders of today ... I will also show the positive teens, urban and suburban, who do right for themselves and others..."

Surviving Nazi Death Camps

 

OUT OF THE ASHES
Jewish Couple Survived Holocaust, 
Built Home in Waterbury

Story By John Murray

   The odor in the boxcar was piped in from hell. Vapors of death filled the men's nostrils as they crammed inside the train like sardines in a tin. Dead bodies of Jews were hurled from the train as it clattered down the tracks, leaving a trail of corpses along the German countryside.

   David Singer lay down on matted straw to rest and ease the strain on his hideously swollen knee. He hadn't eaten in a week. After six years of relentless Nazi persecution Singer's ravaged body weighed 100 pounds.

Remembering Tony Bergin

Family Man, City Leader

By Maryanne Moon Boyen

Photo: Tony Bergin and family

   The elements seemed to know that Tony Bergin had died. Torrents of water had wept from the skies on the day of his wake when over a thousand people stood in two-hour lines to pay their respects to his wife and six children.

Remembering Sarah Bauernschmidt Murray

Sarah B. Murray and her 16-year-old granddaughter, Chelsea Murray

 

                                       By John Murray

   In the early morning of June 17th, 2005, the Waterbury Observer lost its staunchest supporter, a woman who invested $10,000 to help launch the Observer 12 years ago, a woman who floated needed capital into the business when we veered towards the rocks, a woman who championed the paper across all corners of America, and beyond.

   The Observer lost its biggest booster that fateful day in June, but more significantly, I lost my Mom.

Remembering Morris Stein

A Man for All Seasons

Article by Shelly Frome

   At the grand old age of ninety-one, and some months after receiving a humanitarian award, Morris Stein recently took stock of his life and times. He did so as though still firmly at the helm of Waterbury's Torrington Supply Company: keeping track of inventory, everything in its place - a matrix of associations, linkages and connections that make up his world.

Searching For Mayan Treasure

Photo: Freelance writer Dave Howard hiked 40 miles through the largest tract of rain forest left in Central America to reach the lost city of El Mirador, and interview Dr. Richard Hansen.

 

Hiking Eighty Miles Through A Guatemalan Jungle To The Lost City Of El Mirador


              Story and Photographs By John Murray 

                       

Editor’s Note: The following story is an account of a 12 day adventure that transpired in July 2003 when Observer publisher, John Murray, travelled into the jungles of northeast Guatemala with his friend, Dave Howard, who was on assignment for Travel & Leisure Magazine. Murray was invited along to photograph the expedition and fired off 45 rolls of film. Murray damaged his Canon EOS camera during the journey and 60% of the images were unusable, and totally out of focus. After emerging from the jungle, the good film languished inside the photo department at Travel and Leisure for ten months, and was ultimately never used in Howard’s feature story. By the time the images were returned to Murray, and he had gathered notes, tapes and recollections from Dave Howard, nearly a year had elapsed. For the past 18 months the story lay buried beneath a jungle of details inside Murray’s head. Thankfully, and with great joy and relief, the story has been extracted from the thicket of Murray’s brain. We hope you enjoy the adventure.

One Tough Lady

No Nonsense Kay Wyrick

Story By Maryanne Moon Boyen

    Kay Wyrick could have been a statistic, a mere victim of life’s circumstances. At a tender age, she had plenty of fodder for a future of victimhood; born in Hartford in 1923, by the age of nine she was placed in the custody of the State of Connecticut.

On With The Show

Palace Gala.. A Sparkling Success

     The Palace Theater opening night gala on November 12, 2004 was a party that Jay Gatsby might have hosted. F. Scott Fitzgeralds fictional character, the Great Gatsby, created in the 1920s around the same time that Sylvester Poli built his palace in Waterbury, was known for discreetly hosting lavish soirees with hundreds of well-dressed guests who partied and danced late into the Long Island night.

Avventura Deli Is A Waterbury Treasure

Nourishing The Neighborhood

Article by Susan Frome

   At 72 America Street, in the Town Plot section of Waterbury, you will find a small red square building with hardly any distinguishing features. Open the door - and it is just like Dorothy opening her door to the glorious Technicolor world of Oz! Suddenly you are in a bright, new, open, airy space known as Avventura, a gourmet Italian deli - the real thing. "We redecorated in July 1990 for $250,000," said owner Rosario Minnocci, "and re-designed it so that the customer can see the whole store at once. It creates a flow of movement so that as you move along you have to go by and see all the products."

Cold Case

To Catch A Monster

Excellent Work By The Waterbury Police Department Leads To Arrest In Controversial 1993 Rape Case

Story by John Murray

   At the end of another long day at police headquarters, Neil O'Leary climbed into his car and headed home. For the past 15 months, O'Leary had served as the acting chief of the Waterbury Police Department. As he headed home on that September night two months ago, O'Leary, 46, had a lot on his mind. The city had begun testing 11 candidates for the permanent chief's job, and O'Leary was stressed about taking the oral and written exams.

Dr. Louis D'Abramo's Waterbury Hall of Fame Speech

Waterbury Values

By Dr, Louis D'Abramo

   Thank you for this wonderful honor of induction. Thanks to the Selection Committee and to the Silas Bronson Library. This honor brings on different feelings, excitement, joy, humility, why me. I particularly thank those who have taken time today to be here and to share this special day with me.

Reflections On The 10th Anniversary of the Observer

(Editor's note - the following column was written by Observer publisher John Murray in October 2003, on the 10th anniversary of the newspaper. Eight years later the newspaper has transitioned into the digital world with new computers, digital cameras and a bustling website. The drama for survival, however, continues)

  The Waterbury Observer recently celebrated it’s tenth anniversary, and although this column may appear to be the sound of one hand clapping, I’m going to stop and celebrate some of the highs and lows along the journey.

   Any newspaper across America has the responsibility to reflect the community back upon itself, and somewhere along the way the Observer morphed into the chaos of the city. As Waterbury struggles and groans to transition itself from an industrial giant there has been an explosion of social problems that has permeated the community, problems that the Observer absorbed.

   Illness and mayhem seeped through our door.