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.

Key Vote Monday On Freight Street Project

 

The future of a multi-million dollar economic development project on Freight Street rests in the hands of the Waterbury Board of Aldermen on Monday night.

                     Story and Photographs By John Murray

    The members of the Board of Aldermen in Waterbury have a dilemma Monday night when they vote on a $19.5 million bond project that would unlock the redevelopment of 60 acres along Freight Street, and reacquaint the city with the Naugatuck River. At issue is whether to commit $5.1 million of taxpayers dollars to receive a $14.4 million federal grant from the Department of Transportation.

Into The Lion's Den

Dr. Peter Morrison, right, handled sharp criticism directed towards his draft map with grace, and afterwards met with State Representative Larry Butler, center, to begin working on a second draft focused on the 2000 state representative districts in Waterbury.

Naugatuck River Advocate Opposes Oxford Power Plant, Could Impact Wildlife and WATER Project

 

Kevin Zak of the Naugatuck River Revival Group has questioned what impact millions of gallons of grey water dumped into the Naugatuck River from a proposed power plant in Oxford will have on the health of the river, and what affect will it have on the millions of dollars of economic development proposed in Waterbury.

Story By Michael Kaneb and John Murray

 Opposition is mounting against the construction of a massive power plant in Oxford that threatens the safety of air traffic at Waterbury-Oxford Airport, and presents a possible threat to the vitality of the Naugatuck River and the economic development projects being planned along its shores (including the W.A.T.E.R. Project in Waterbury).

District Lines Drawn As A "Starting Point"

Demographer Peter Morrison inadvertantly created a a mini-firestorm when he posted his first district plan onto the city website without an explanation that it was only a starting point, and that public input and direction from the District Commission will refine the plan to include neighborhood identity.

                       Story and Photographs By John Murray

 The first district proposal for electing aldermen by district has arrived in Waterbury, and while some outspoken critics of the process are supportive, others see it driven by inside politics, gerrymandering, and a ridiculous concept of joining Bunker Hill and portions of the East End in one district. The plan was created by Dr. Peter Morrison of Nantucket, Massachusetts, described as an impartial demographer with an impeccable record of creating and defending district lines.

   “What we’ve created is simply a starting point,” Morrison cautioned. “At tomorrow night’s meeting I look forward to hearing from the District Commission and the public about how we can refine the plan.”

Waterbury Police Arrest Murder Suspect

Johnathan Pape 

   Waterbury Police continue to investigate the discovery of a body on New Year’s Day in the driveway at 34 Mitchell Avenue. The body has been positively identified as Donald Curtis (9/18/64) of Waterbury and the medical examiner has ruled the death a homicide resulting from blunt force trauma to the head and chest.