The Loan

Former state representative Victor Cuevas pled guilty yesterday to conspiracy to commit bank fraud.

                            Story and Photographs By John Murray

   A two-year federal probe into the financial dealings of former state representative Victor Cuevas hinged on the technicality of whether $7000 was a gift or loan from a life-long friend. The money was used to qualify for a special HUD loan that enabled Cuevas to purchase a home in Bristol with less money invested upfront. The key element of getting the mortgage was having a friend or family member gift him $7000.

   “A broker suggested I could qualify for the loan if I borrowed $7000 from a friend, and then repaid the friend after I got the loan,” Cuevas said. “At the time I didn’t think it was a big deal.”

Meeting The Champ

                             A Tribute By Felix Rodriguez

   It was a bright, sunny September morning in Louisville in 2010, with temperatures lingering around 82 degrees; the kind of heat that drives people to the nearest swimming pool.  As for me, I was driving to fulfill a dream— that of finally visiting the museum built as a tribute to Muhammad Ali, arguably the greatest boxer of all time, and my personal hero.

2017 Best of Waterbury Reader's Poll

23rd Annual Best of Waterbury Readers' Poll

WIN a Day of Decadence for Two from Viso Bello Day Spa!!

Spend five and a half blissful hours with a friend being pampered at Viso Bello Day Spa in Middblebury CT. Slowly ease into an Eminence Organic facial, followed by a deep cleansing and very soothing Dead Sea Salt Body Treatement. Relax with a spa manicure and soothing spa pedicure followed by a 1.5 hour detox body massage. After that, manicure and pedicure polish will be applied, followed by a makeup application. Package is available for both women and men. Get ready to relax and enjoy!

To qualify for the Grand Prize, and to have your ballot counted you must fill out a minimum of 25 categories on the ballot and fill in your personal information on the bottom. One ballot per person, and it's obvious when one person fills out multiple ballots with the same answers, and jotting down someone else's name. That's ballot stuffing , so save us all some time, and just submit one ballot. Thanks, and enjoy!

Ballots must be received by April 30th, 2017 to qualify. Results will be published in the Best of Waterbury issue in mid-June.

Vote online here

Raymond Work Seeks 75th District Seat

   Raymond Work is the Republican nominee for the Special Election to fill Connecticut’s 75th District seat. Work, a small business owner, has served the city of Waterbury as a member and chairman of the City Plan Commission. He is also an active member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, a Boy Scout Leader and a mentor of the Kennedy High School Robotics team.

Geraldo Reyes Jr. Seeks 75th State Rep Seat

   Long-time community activist Geraldo Reyes Jr. has been endorsed by the Waterbury Democrat Town Committee to run in a special election on April 26th to fill a state representative vacancy in the 75th District. A special meeting of 75th District delegates met last night at the Portuguese Club on Baldwin Street to endorse Reyes as a replacement for Victor Cuevas, who resigned last week.

Study Suggests Growing Dependence On Pot

 

(The following is a press release issued by the University of Connecticut following a study on marijuana dependency)

    Nearly half of Americans have tried marijuana in their lifetime according to national surveys. And marijuana is the drug of choice for more than half of the nearly 7 million Americans dependent on or abusing illicit drugs.

Jahana Hayes Mayor for the Day

Photograph by Geraldo Reyes Jr.

Jahana Hayes enjoyed a moment with her husband, Milford Hayes, during a ceremony today at Waterbury City Hall honoring her as the African American mayor for the day. Jahana has had an epic year- she was selected as the teacher of the year in Waterbury, the teacher of the year in Connecticut, and is currently a final four candidate for the U.S. teacher of the year. Congratulations Jahana Hayes!

 

Road Race In April To Honor Chris Corbett

   The inaugural Chris Corbett 5K Run will take place Sunday, April 3, 2016, at Holy Cross High School, 587 Oronoke Road, Waterbury. Proceeds from the race will benefit the Christopher D. Corbett Memorial Fund. The fund was established to honor the memory of Waterbury Deputy Police Chief Christopher D. Corbett and carry on his support of Waterbury-area Catholic schools and their students. It will provide scholarships to students wishing to attend Catholic elementary and high schools in the greater Waterbury area, as well as to graduates of Catholic high schools planning to attend college to pursue studies in criminal justice.

Community Activist Geraldo Reyes Jr. Partners With The Waterbury Observer

   The Waterbury Observer is delighted to announce that Geraldo Reyes Jr. will be partnering with the newspaper on special projects. A well known and highly visible community leader in Waterbury, Reyes will help the Observer increase its circle of influence in the Hispanic community, and act as a liaison between the Observer and the nearly 30 neighborhood groups scattered around the city. Reyes has also agreed to help facilitate meetings in the city’s five political districts that would bring aldermen face to face with residents to identify district goals and solutions.

Sacred Heart Basketball In Rarified Air

                                                          By John Murray

Sacred Heart High School star Mustapha Heron drove to the rim Saturday night against Foothills Christian at the Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Massachusetts. 55 teams from 20 states (and one team from Canada) participated in what is widely known as the top high school event in America. The classic featured many of the top teams and recruits in the land. Unbeaten Sacred Heart, the #1 team in Connecticut, gave the #5 ranked team in the United States a scare, but fell 82-80, snapping a 40 game win streak.

Medical Marijuana in Waterbury

   Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection Commissioner Jonathan A. Harris announced today the names and locations of three new dispensary facilities that will be licensed by the state’s Medical Marijuana Program. Currently, there are 8228 medical marijuana patients registered in Connecticut.

Hayes Finalist For National Teacher Of Year

Jahana Hayes, the history teacher at Waterbury's John F. Kennedy High School who was named the Connecticut State Teacher of the Year, is now a finalist for the 2016 National Teacher of the Year Award.

Dr. Kathleen Ouellette, Superintendent of Waterbury Public Schools, was informed Jan. 12 by the Council of Chief State School Officers that Mrs. Hayes is one of four finalists for the coveted title of National Teacher of the Year.

Inauguration of Municipal Officials Tonight

   Waterbury Mayor Neil M. O’Leary and other municipal officials elected earlier last month will take their respective oaths of office tonight Dec. 1 at 6:30 p.m. in the auditorium at John F. Kennedy High School, 422 Highland Avenue, Waterbury. A 5 p.m. Mass at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception will precede the Kennedy High ceremony.

Tina Agati Honored By Main Street Waterbury

   On October 21, 2015, Main Street Waterbury will host a celebration to honor Tina Agati, Executive Director of Literacy Volunteers of Greater Waterbury by presenting to her the Main Street Waterbury Community Partnership Award.  This award was originally created, in memoriam, to celebrate the leadership and contributions of the late Stephen R. Sasala II.  Steve was the former CEO of the Waterbury Regional Chamber of Commerce and former President of Main Street Waterbury’s Board of Directors. He continually provided support for addressing local work in ways that ultimately benefitted the more global good while also fostering partnerships and cooperative undertakings.

O'Leary To Annouce Re-Election Plans Today

                               Story and Photographs By John Murray

   Waterbury Mayor Neil O'Leary doesn't listen to a lot of music, but if he did, a song by the Brittish punk band, The Clash, would aptly describe the tangle inside his head the past month. The song is titled, Should I Stay Or Should I Go.

   Today is decision time for O’Leary who will announce his plans for re-election during a 1 pm show on WATR radio. For months he has been undecided whether he was seeking re-election. The issue has bounced around his head like a tennis ball at Wimbledon until he made the decision to not run on Tuesday. Senior advisors were told, and O’Leary began making a long list of telephone calls to top political leaders in Connecticut.

The Blind Spot

                                          By John Murray  

   Like a truck driver barrelling along I-84, former Connecticut Governor John Rowland has a blind spot. While the truck driver is unable to see cars approaching from certain angles, Rowland is blind to a world outside of politics where not everything is partisan, and laws are not crafted and manipulated, but meant to be obeyed.

Aldermen By District At Crucial Juncture

 

My view of Afghanistan today from 32,000 feet.

                                   Column By John Murray

    Afghanistan, Selma, Waterbury….

   Thoughts are weaving and swirling inside my skull, and I’m beginning to sweat. I think about war and skirmishes and people standing up to power and demanding change. I see Afghanistan, I hear Selma, and I’m headed back to Waterbury to continue pushing for change in municipal government.

    I’m onboard a Turkish Airlines flight from Bangkok to Istanbul, and peer down upon a vast landscape of snow and mountains 32,000 feet above Afghanistan. The view is mesmerizing, haunting, heart breaking.