Heroin Deaths In Connecticut On Increase

   Today, U.S. Senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) met with local service providers, law enforcement, health care advocates, and patients to discuss the growing heroin epidemic in Connecticut. Over the last decade, heroin use has nearly doubled in the United States. In Connecticut and other states in New England, deaths related to heroin use have spiked in the last year. On average, one person dies every day in Connecticut from an opioid overdose.

Tavara Selected For Annual Sasala Award

   Main Street Waterbury has announced that the recipient of the 2014 Main Street Waterbury Stephen R. Sasala II Community Partnership Award is Frank Tavera, chief executive officer of the Palace Theater Group, Inc. Tavera will receive the award during a presentation Thursday, May 15 at the Palace Theater between 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The Award was created by Main Street Waterbury to celebrate the leadership and contributions of the late Stephen R. Sasala, former CEO of the Waterbury Regional Chamber and former president of Main Street Waterbury Board of Directors.

The Daily Riddle

 

  The Observer received this essay from Waterbury resident Vilem Fruhbauer, and it's entitled "The Daily Riddle". 

   "I went the other day to my bank on Chase Avenue and they had a board there with a Daily Riddle on it that went like this: "It belongs to you, but others use it more. What is it?" Being March, my answer was obvious, so I went to the teller and told her: "I know the answer - it's my tax money". She said: "That is not the right answer - the right answer is YOUR NAME."

O'Leary Trip To Macedonia Draws Interest

                                               By John Murray

   Macedonians and Greeks have responded to the news that Waterbury Mayor Neil O'Leary, above right, is traveling to Struga, Macedonia, this summer, to cement a sister city agreement between Struga and Waterbury.

   The Balkan Peninsula has long been mired in border disputes and ethnic tension, and O'Leary's strong relationship with the local Albanian community in Waterbury led to the sister city relationship. Struga's mayor, Ziadin Sela, above left, is an ethnic Albanian, and 60 years ago Struga was officially a part of Albania. As borders shifted, Struga is now a part of Macedonia, a country that didn't exist decades ago. Greece opposed the use of Macedonia as a name for the new country (which declared independence as Yugoslavia broke apart) and has opposed Macedonia's efforts to join the European Union entirely based on the name dispute.

   To say the situation is complicated is as understated as saying New England has had a tough winter.

Meeting Of Ethnic Albanians In South End Of Waterbury Draws International Interest

                                                By John Murray

   The Albanian ambassador to the United States, Gilbert Galanxhi, right,, made a visit to the Albanian-American Community Club in the South End of Waterbury on January 11th, and his remarks have drawn interest from journalists in Macedonia and Albania. Galanxhi was joined in Waterbury by U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (left), Bekim Sejdiu, the Counsel General of Kosovo, Ziadin Sela, the mayor of Struga, Macedonia, and Neil O'Leary, the mayor of Waterbury, Connecticut.

Waterbury Wins $120,000 For Kid's Marathon

Rod Dixon, right, a legendary runner who is both an Olympic medalist and the winner of the 1983 NYC Marathon, introduced a fitness program in Waterbury last Spring that helped the city snare a $120,000 grant today in Washington D.C.. Dixon is shown here with Mike Dalton, left, who helped the Dixon Foundation set up shop in Waterbury. Dixon is encouraging seven-year-old Cameron Raver to run the Kid's Marathon last year after Cameron was trampled at the start. When Cameron was unsteady, Dixon personally escourted Cameron the final mile to encourage the completition of the marathon. Photograph by John Murray

   Today, Mayor Neil M. O’Leary accepted a first place award at the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) for Waterbury’s Kid’s Marathon Program.  The Conference, held in Washington D.C., gave six awards to mayors of cities with outstanding programs that encourage healthy weight through balanced diet choices and regular physical activity.

Waterbury and Struga Agree To Become Sister Cities, O'Leary To Visit Macedonia Next Summer

                           Story and Photographs By John Murray

   Sisters have a unique and powerful bond, and in that spirit, the cities of Waterbury, Connecticut, and Struga, Macedonia, agreed to become sister cities yesterday during a meeting between their municipal leaders inside Waterbury City Hall.

Waterbury PD Seek Help Solving Murder

   Waterbury Police are investigating a murder that occurred late Friday night in the rear of the brick apartment building located at the corner of Chestnut Avenue and Johnson Street. Kareem Morey (age 38) (pictured here) of Waterbury was shot once in the upper chest and was driven by friends to St. Mary’s Hospital where he later died as a result of his injuries.

Cross Of Colors Now Green at Holy Land

The new 55-foot tall cross installed atop Holy Land on December 22nd is now shining green over the city of Waterbury, Connecticut. There are nine basic colors, but an infinite number of mixes and matches. The image tonight was captured from Congress Avenue in the Brooklyn neighborhood as hundreds of crows flew north along the Naugatuck River. Photograph by John Murray

Political Awakening In Local Albanian Community

Albania's ambassador to the United States, Gilbert Galanxhi, traveled from Washington D.C. for an historic meeting of the local Albanian community in Waterbury with two United States Senators. 

                       Story and Photographs By John Murray

   With 12,000 Albanians living in Waterbury the city has one of the largest populations of Albanians in the United States. Some came more than 50 years ago, but a large influx of Albanians came seeking opportunity in the 1990s when Albania opened it's borders. Thousands more ethnic Albanians came to Waterbury to escape the hardship of the Balkan wars when Yugoslavia broke apart.

O'Leary Working On Major Downtown Proposal

East Main Street in Waterbury during Monday afternoon's deluge of rain.

                                Story and Photographs by John Murray

   Last night the Board of Aldermen in Waterbury voted unanimously to move a proposed $40 million greeway project forward with an initial investment of $1 million. As exciting as that project is, Waterbury Mayor Neil O'Leary is already zeroing in on a massive downtown revitalization project that he is presenting to state officials in mid-January. It involves five separate projects, all in downtown, that O'Leary believes will begin the transformation of downtown Waterbury.

   "I can't be specific at this point because we haven't presented the ideas to state officicals yet," O'Leary said. "But I can tell you that we are excited at the potential this has to revitalize downtown Waterbury."

Plant A Row For The Hungry

   While planting your yearly garden, include an extra row to donate to Connecticut Food Bank or a food program in your area.Clean, fresh produce can be delivered to any of Connecticut Food Bank's warehouses in East Haven, Fairfield and Waterbury.

New Cross Celebration on December 22nd

                                              By John Murray

   Peter Bearce worked on a section of the massive new Holy Land cross inside Pisani Steel yesterday afternoon in Naugatuck. Bearce is the shop foreman at Pisani Steel, and said the construction of the 55 foot tall cross has been a daunting challenge due to the length and weight of the piece.

King Industries Signs Contract With City

Waterbury Mayor Neil O'Leary and Richard King from King Industries, formalized their business relationship with a contract signing ceremony iniside City Hall at noon today. Photographs by John Murray

   It’s official: King Industries, Inc. of Norwalk, Conn. is expanding to Waterbury.

   Mayor Neil M. O’Leary and Richard S. King, the company’s owner and president, signed the purchase and sale agreement today at Waterbury City Hall, sealing the deal on the purchase of approximately 10.75 acres of a remediated brownfield industrial site at Waterbury Industrial Commons, 1975 Thomaston Ave.

City Unveils $32 Million Proposal To Build Greenway and Park Along Naugatuck River

                           Story and Photographs by John Murray

   Jackson Wandres from the RBA Group uncorked a far reaching vision for the Waterbury Greenway Project last night during a presentation at the Board of Aldermen in City Hall. RBA had been hired to design the phase one section of the greenway which included the Platts Mills section of the city up to the Eagle Street Bridge (all in the south end), but through an aggressive intervention by Waterbury Mayor Neil O'Leary, those plans expanded to continue north to Colonial Plaza.