A brain tumor stole his voice, but with the love of his wife, Janet, and a miraculous surgery, Bob Sagendorf is back on the radio at WATR.
Story and Photographs By John Murray
Bob Sagendorf slowed his SUV and peered into the woods. “There it is on the other side of the brook,” he said pointing, “that’s where we used to camp as boy scouts. We swam in that brook. We drank water from that brook, and we used water from that brook to cook our meals.”
Sagendorf was on top of Hunter’s Mountain in Naugatuck and the camping site he pointed towards was less than a quarter mile away from Murtha’s Dump, a landfill used for 40 years to dispose of solvents, oils, hydrocarbons, chemical and liquid sludge, chemical solids, tires, and rubber products used by Naugatuck Chemical and Uniroyal.
Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana, Connecticut’s iconic third-generation owned and operated pizzeria since 1925, is putting thefinishing touches on its new 3,400 square foot, 90-seat space located at 130 Reidville Drive in Waterbury, CT, directly off of I-84. Pepe’s highly anticipated opening is planned for April 17. This will be the 9th location in the Frank Pepe Restaurant Group.
The Observer has confirmed that the President and CEO of Waterbury Hospital, Darlene Stromstad, is leaving the position she has held in Waterbury the past five years. Stromstad is being replaced by Lester Schindel, who will serve as interim CEO to lead the health network’s next phase of growth.
The Kennedy High School robotics team has qualified for the World Championships in St. Louis and they are going to need community support to raise the $15,000 needed to get them there.
Victor Lopez of the Hispanic Coalition.
A city coalition of neighborhood, social service, education, civic and health organizations has successfully applied for an initial grant to design an economic revitalization effort to increase jobs for residents in the city’s South End neighborhood. The coalition has been awarded a $15,000 design grant as part of the Working Cities Challenge sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. Waterbury will now join 9 other CT communities in competing for second phase funding where 4-6 cities will receive grants ranging from $300,000-500,000 to implement their proposed economic revitalization programs and/or projects.
The Christopher D Corbett Memorial Fund was created to honor the memory of Deputy Police Chief Christopher D. Corbett and to carry on his support of Waterbury’s Catholic schools and their students educational goals. It provides 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. The fund engages in fundraising activities for this purpose.
Make that four state championships in a row for the Sacred Heart High School boy's basketball team.
Story By John Murray
Dan Lynch looked at the e-mail with a mix of joy and confusion. It was 2:38 PM on Thursday, January 26th. The message was from the Connecticut Secretary of State’s Office, and it confirmed that Lynch had qualified to have his name placed on the February 28th ballot in a special election to fill the vacant seat in State Senate’s 32nd District.
The joy came from Lynch’s realization that his intense six-day effort to get 502 signatures on petitions had worked. Lynch had spent 12-14 hours a day working on his campaign; he’d stood in front of diners in the cold; he’d frequented a Dunkin Donuts in Southbury; he’d mingled at sporting events; he’d driven back and forth across the ten-town district visiting friends; and as a strategic move to maximize his time on the last night before deadline, he’d slept in his car.
Stunning photograph of a Bald Eagle in Waterbury, Connecticut, captured by Clay Johnson.
The following is Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy's Budget Address (for 2018-2019 fiscal year) delivered this afternoon at the State Legislature in Hartford.....
Mr. Speaker, Mr. President, distinguished members of the General Assembly, thank you for inviting me once again into the people’s house to address you.
Juan Cales spoke at the public hearing in January about the F&G propoal to expand its waste transfer operation in the South End of Waterbury. When Cales began addressing the P&Z commission in Spanish, alderman Brenda Cotto joined him at the podium and translated. Cales emotionally implored the commission to think about the well being of the seniors and children who will be impacted by the F&G project long after the investment is made. What the exact impact would be is debatable, and at the center of whether F&G's project moves forward.
Story and Photographs By John Murray
A proposal to expand a garbage transfer station in the South End of Waterbury has stirred a hornet’s nest of opposition, and prompted Mayor Neil O’Leary to weigh in on the project.
“Wrong place, wrong time, and wrong message to send to the residents in the South End of the city,” O’Leary told the The Waterbury Observer. “We are working hard to improve the quality of life in the South End, and municipal waste is not part of that vision.”
Dan Lynch is an energetic, high-tech lover of history and genealogy and is plunging into a special election for the 32nd Senatorial District in Connecticut as an unaffiliated petitioning candidate.
At first glance Lynch seems an unlikely person to throw his hat into the political ring, but during the past eight years he has testified numerous times in Hartford about court corruption, attorney misconduct and judicial retaliation he said he experienced during his divorce.
“The courts are in the business to make business for themselves,” Lynch said. “And when the system is challenged they band together and double down to protect the system.”
U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) has announced that he has appointed Argenis Herrera, a junior at Waterbury Career Academy (WCA) High School, as a U.S. Senate Page for the Winter/Spring 2017 Senate Page Program. As a Senate Page, Argenis will help with the important day-to-day operations of the U.S. Senate. He arrives at the U.S. Capitol for his first day as a Senate Page on January 30, 2017.
At 1 pm this afternoon a mixture of sun and rain and light created a spectacular rainbow above Waterbury, CT. Observer photographer John Murray darted around the South End of the city trying to avoid trees and wires and buildings to get a clean shot of the rainbow. He shot this image from the edge of Route 8 north looking up towards the cross at Holy Land USA.
The presentation was displayed on large flat screen TVs at the north and south ends of the room. O'Leary told the aldermen that he decided to sweep through the past five years so the new aldermen on the board would have a better understanding of the moveable pieces and projects they are going to vote on in the near future.
By John Murray
Waterbury Mayor Neil O’Leary gave a wide sweeping State of the City address last night in front of a packed aldermanic chamber inside Waterbury City Hall.
O’Leary spoke about the five shovel-ready brownfield sites in Waterbury, the 94 blighted buildings his administration has demolished, the 8% drop in unemployment, the positive bond rating the city just received from Fitch, the $10 million in savings taxpayers will enjoy by putting city employee health care out to bid, and his commitment to parks, education, downtown and the redevelopment of the Freight Street corridor.
The Observer just received the following press release from the Waterbury PD.....
"On December 27, 2016 at approximately 1400 hours the Waterbury Police received a complaint of a body found in a bathroom shower stall located in a second floor apartment at 475 East Main Street. Upon arrival officers observed the body of the victim identified as Luis Rodriguez (07/30/1957) located in the bathroom shower stall suffering from significant trauma to his head.
Ronald and Donald Weaver grew up in the South End and North End of Waterbury. Over the years they watched community leaders create civic projects and youth opportunities that they benefited from, and the experience ignited a fire in the Weavers that if they ever had an opportunity, they wanted to give back.
And they have.
A shepherd near the village of Bilisht, Albania. There are an estimated 1000 Albanians from Bilisht that now live in greater Waterbury, most coming to seek economic opportunity in America.
Story and Photographs By John Murray
I rounded a corner in Fier, Albania, and encountered ten police officers standing on the side of the road gesturing towards me. Crap, I thought, here comes the shakedown. I pulled my rental car over and fumbled for my passport and rental agreement. I wondered how I’d manage with the few words of Albanian I knew; mirëdita, (good afternoon), faleminderit (thank you), jo (no) and po (yes).
It was too late to learn, “Hi officer, Albania is a beautiful country and I look forward to writing about my experience with Prime Minister Edi Rama in my newspaper back in America.”
As I watched three uniformed police officers surround my car I wondered how much this was going to cost me.
Former 75th District State Representative Victor Cuevas
Story By John Murray
Federal Judge Jeffrey Meyer sentenced former state representative Victor Cuevas to one-year probation and a $1000 fine for lying on a federal mortgage form. Judge Meyer said Cuevas had made an ill-advised plan to defraud a bank, but also had "remarkable support" in dozens of letters, and that "half the courtroom was bursting" in support of him.
Cuevas admitted guilt on June 20th to lying on a HUD mortgage form stating a $7000 loan from life-long friend had been a gift. As part of the application process for securing a low interest loan backed by the federal government, the applicant had to secure a $7000 non-repayable gift. Ironically, if Cuevas had not repaid the loan there would have been no crime.