Aldermen Reverse Decision To Censor Debate

   Democrat Majoity Leader on the Board of Aldermen,  Tony Picocchi, foreground, listened to his Republican colleague, Steve Giacomi, right, give a blistering commentary about the board's December 1st vote to control debate between aldermen, and to limit the public's ability to address subjects not on the agenda without submitting questions 11 days in advance of meetings. The public's response to the Democrats attempt to limit debate at aldermen meetings was fast and furious. Both the Rep-Am newspaper and the Waterbury Observer condemned the rule changes, and when the ACLU threatened a lawsuit, the Democrats reversed course and voted last night to return to the old rules.

O'Leary Promises Better Days In Second Term

                                        Photographs By John Murray

   Waterbury Mayor Neil O'Leary was sworn in to a second term in office yesterday afternoon during a ceremony at Kennedy High School. O'Leary captured nearly 70% of the vote on election day and has a clear mandate to continue the projects and issues his administration has been implementing.

Albanians Celebrate 101 Years of Independence

                                                 By John Murray

Albanian Independence Day is celebrated on November 28th and is a national holiday in Albania, and for ethnic Albanians scattered across the globe. The local Albanian community in Waterbury celebrated the holiday, and their annual Mayor For the Day ceremony at Waterbury City Hall a day later this year since Thanksgiving fell on November 28th.

Craft Market Inside Waterbury City Hall

   A Holiday Artisan Market is being hosted by the State of Connecticut and the City of Waterbury on November 29th and 30th inside City Hall, 235 Grand Street. The market will feature a collection of handcrafted products and will showcase artisans and artists from around Connecticut. With its premiere in City Hall, we expect this Market to grow every year and become a state-wide attraction.

Baguettes And A Broken Heart

Chelsea Murray's wonderful new friend at the market in Ceret, France.

                     Story and Photographs by Chelsea Murray

   (Editors note - For the next several months Chelsea Murray is working her way across Europe on a network of organic farms. Chelsea and her boyfriend Michael Kaneb spent two weeks harvesting potatoes in Bavaria, in southern Germany, and are now harvesting olives for a month on a farm in the south of France. They hope to continue on through Spain, Portugal, Italy, Albania and Greece. Chelsea has been writing columns for the Observer (which is owned by her father) since she was 11 years old. She will continue to report her adventures as time and internet access allows.)

   After helping my farm host set up her stand at the market in Ceret, France (the city where Picasso, Dali and other artists had flocked to for inspiration), she informed me that I was a free woman and could wander around for a few hours to take in the sights, smells, and culture of a French market. My first moments alone were spent breaking from my vegan diet again (it's the lifestyle at the farm I'm working at), and sampling hoards of cheeses, meats, delicious baguettes and perusing through people’s wares.

Permits Sought To Legally Grow Pot In Waterbury

Medical marijuana will be grown in Connecticut, and C-Three is looking to do it legally at a production and distribution center on East Aurora Street in Waterbury. Photo from CNN

   C-Three, LLC, a company led by long-time Connecticut businessman Thomas Macre, today filed applications with the State of Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection for the production and dispensing of medical marijuana at a facility on East Aurora Street in Waterbury.

City Backs Medical Marijuana Production Facility

   A press conference will be held this morning in Waterbury to announce plans to bring a medical marijuana production and dispensing facility to the city. The press conference will take place at 11 am today, November 15, 2013 at 182 East Aurora Street. Waterbury Mayor Neil O’Leary will join the team of C-Three, the company which today will file applications with the State of Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection for the production and dispensing of medical marijuana.

Is The City About To Buy Rep-Am Building?

                                            Story By John Murray

   Facebook messages, e-mails, phone calls and personal conversations have all been saying the same thing - the City of Waterbury is about to buy the Republican-American building on Meadow Street and convert it back into the transportation hub of Waterbury.

   The first tip to the Observer came six weeks ago, and came from a journalist who had a credible source with extensive experience in economic development in greater Waterbury. The word was it was a "done deal."

O'Leary Clobbers Opposition In Landslide Victory

Waterbury Mayor Neil O'Leary steamrolled his way into a second term in office by winning a resounding 68% of the vote in a three-way contest. O'Leary was delighted with the results, and said it's a clear message from the voters of Waterbury to keep pushing his agenda forward.  Republican Jason Van Stone came in second with 19% of the vote, and Larry De Pillo of the Independent Party took third with 13%.

Whyte Hired To Help Turnaround Public Schools

   While his job title, "supervisor of school turnaround" is a bit clunky, Paul A. Whyte is bringing an impeccable education and some remarkable experience to his new post in Waterbury, Connecticut.

   Whyte, 41, holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Yale University and a Masters of Education in Administration, Planning, and Social Policy (APSP) from Harvard Graduate School of Education. He is currently working on a Ph.D from Columbia University in NYC.

A Waterbury Icon

A brilliant sunset, and the silhouette of the Republican-American clock tower in downtown Waterbury, Connecticut. Photograph by John Murray

Televised Mayoral Debate In Waterbury

                                         Story and Photographs By John Murray

   The first televised mayoral debate in Waterbury history occured last night inside the Waterbury Magnet Arts School (WAMS), was hosted by the Waterbury Neighborhood Council,  broadcast on Channel 96 and moderated by Fox TV journalist Laurie Perez. The candidates are from left to right, Democrat incumbent Neil O'Leary, Independent Party's Larry De Pillo, and Republican Jason Van Stone. The debate lasted two hours and highlighted sharp differences in candidates for the audience inside WAMS to see, and for the viewing audience throughout Waterbury to hear.

Senator Murphy Stumps For O'Leary Campaign

                                                  By John Murray

   U.S. Senator Chris Murphy reacts to a story being told by Waterbury Mayor Neil O'Leary during a political rally yesterday afternoon at O'Leary headquarters on Grand Street in downtown Waterbury. Murphy, the youngest member of the United States Senate, talked about the unusually quiet campaign in Waterbury this year and joked that if things didn't change it might tarnish Waterbury's political reputation.

Waterbury PD Seeking Murder Suspect

Waterbury PD are actively searching for Philip Grundy.

   Waterbury Police have obtained an arrest warrant charging Philip Grundy (7/12/74) of 18 James Street 2nd floor, Waterbury, with Murder and Assault 1st for the fatal stabbing of one male and the serious stabbing of another male last night in the area of 23 James Street.

Congresswoman Esty Visits Boys & Girls Club

U.S. Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty visited children and toured the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Waterbury yesterday afternoon, and learned about the organization's progress in recovering from an embezzlement scandal that sent its former director to prison. The new executive director, John Chiero, has recruited new board members, and the organization is emereging into a new era of providing a safe place for children as an alternative to the streets, or being home alone. Photograph by John Murray

Good Jobs Program Gets Thumbs Up

                                             By John Murray

   Jessie Rivera came before the Waterbury Board of Aldermen last night in City Hall to talk about his positive experience with the city's Good Jobs Program, which requires contractors doing work for the city to make a good faith effort to hire residents, women and minorities. In the past the program has  been harshly criticized for a lack of oversight, but several months ago the compliance administration of the program was transfered to the Northwest Regional Workforce Investment Board , whose director, Cathy Awwad, left, said compliance rates have shot up.

13 Arrested In Waterbury Drug Sting

The total evidence seized was a 9 mm handgun, 1455 bags of heroin, 405 grams of crack cocaine, 190 grams of powder cocaine, and 184 grams of raw heroin. The estimated street value of this evidence is $80,000.

Isaiah Wells is one of 13 suspects arrested by the Waterbury PD.

News release from Acting Deputy Chief Chris Corbett of the Waterbury Police Department

   The Waterbury Police Department has concluded a six-week undercover investigation into illegal drug activity in and around the Angel Drive area. The investigation was conducted by the Department’s Vice & Intelligence Division and the Street Crime Unit and it was initiated in response to numerous citizen complaints of hand to hand street level drug sales in that neighborhood.