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.

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.

Exploring Florence, Italy

 

Ciao Waterbury,

Benvenuti Firenze

Story by Erika Giannelli

   I’m used to the wild hand gestures, 3 course lunches and loud conversation. Growing up with my Italian family in Waterbury was little Italy in itself. I can still smell the meats from the deli down the street, the mayonnaise slathered on crusty Italian bread, the cookies and pastries that lined the aisles. And I remember home, a building we shared with my beautiful great grandmother who cooked steaks and pork chops, escarole and beans. I can smell it today. My entire extended family lived around us, loud and expressive and loving.

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.

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.

Billy Smolinski Was Murdered Six Years Ago. Where Is His Body?

 

The Search

Column By John Murray

Billy Smolinski was murdered six years ago. The effort to crack the case involves local, state and federal police. The Smolinski Family is now working closely with private investigator Todd Lovejoy, pictured above, tracking down leads.

 

   Six years is a long time to hold your breath.

Observations July 2010

 

The Storyteller

Column By John Murray

Dave Howard after a book talk at the Constitution Center in Philadelphia

   One day before Abraham Lincoln was murdered at the Ford Theater in Washington D.C., a soldier from the Union Army entered the statehouse in Raleigh, North Carolina, and swiped one of the 14 original copies of the Bill of Rights. Robert E. Lee had already surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox, but word traveled slow, and members of General Sherman’s army continued to plunder the South.

Steve Schrag and WCLEAN Have Green Ideas For Anamet Site

 

Vision Quest  

Story and Photographs By John Murray 

Steve Schrag, center.

   Steve Schrag has spent his life as an organizer and activist fighting for positive change in the work place. For the past 30 years in Waterbury, however, Schrag has repeatedly found himself in opposition to major development projects.

    He was against EWR in the 1980s.

    He was against a super mall.

Wandering Observations February 2009

My Dog Brother

Column By Chelsea Murray

    My house mate Christina and her family are putting their 13-year-old German Shepherd to sleep this weekend after a losing battle with cancer. Christina went home to visit Cheyenne for a final time and is struggling with the impending loss. I live with seven girls in a house at Marist College and we’ve all spent time consoling Christina, and talking to her about this difficult family decision. In the process we’ve all opened up about our own dogs and how they’ve impacted our lives. I’ve come to realize that everyone has a dog story.

Jim Calhoun Swears At His Players, Kicks Chairs, Abuses Referees And Curses At Fans

 

Out Of Control

Is this the price of victory?

Story By John Murray

Photograph originally appeared in the New York Times


   It was a crisp autumn evening in 2006 and Hasheem Thabeet was about to begin his basketball career at the University of Connecticut. Thabeet spent the first 16 years of his life 7,600 miles from UConn, in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, where sultry air wafts into West Africa from the Indian Ocean and the average temperature in November is a toasty 86 degrees.

History Of The Brass Industry In Waterbury - Part I

 

Brass Beginnings

Story By Raechel Guest

  Waterbury has been referred to as "The Brass City" and "The Brass Capitol of The World". This article is the first in a four part series written by Raechel Guest exploring the history and legacy of the brass industry in Waterbury, Connecticut.


   Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc (differing from bronze, which is alloy of copper and tin), and it is both durable and reasonably resistant to tarnishing. Adjusting the ratio of zinc to copper changes the color of the brass, adding to its decorative qualities. In ancient Rome, it was known as Aurichalem and was often used for making jewelry. Its popularity increased during the Renaissance, and by the 19th century, brass was used to make just about everything.

Julia Butterfly Hill Talks About The Impact Of Living In An Ancient Redwood

 

Climb Your Own Tree
By Chelsea Murray

Julia Butterfly Hill
   

    Activism isn’t dead.

    While it’s true young people aren’t inspired the way America’s youth were in the 1960s by Bob Dylan, nor are they protesting the war in Iraq with the same passion and conviction that their parents and grandparents opposed the war in Vietnam, by no means is activism dead.

Abolish Nuclear Weapons Weapons

Atomic Nightmare

A Column by Marilyn Aligata

   Well well, my hardnosed censors, Henry Grenier and Alan Stein are back. The August column with the headline that read, “Ned Lamont Where Are You?, provoked them to write letters to the editor. That column laid out why I think it would have been better if Ned Lamont was elected to the senate and not Joe Lieberman. I feel Lieberman has become a war-monger and that Ned Lamont would not be calling for military action in Iran. Henry and Alan were very critical of me and my “drivel“ as Henry called it, and Alan said I have my head in the sand because I fail to see that using military aggression to deal with the world is okay. If only they would read my words and stop making up what they want to see. Henry and Alan, like so many other Americans, see only what they want to see when reading the news. “It‘s not what they say. It is the context in which you misinterpret it“ - Wiley, Political Science 101.

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.