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.

The Choices For Mayor, And How We Got Them

The three men vying to be elected mayor of Waterbury on November 5th are from left to right, Independent Party candidate Larry De Pillo, Democrat incumbent Neil O'Leary, and Republican candidate Jason Van Stone.

                                            Column by John Murray

   Trying to understand the 2013 municipal election in Waterbury is as slippery as black ice on an early morning in February. It’s the most low-key mayoral campaign the Observer has covered in 20 years, but trying to dig out the reasons is as elusive as trying to catch the Loch Ness Monster. Why? Because perspectives change from one political camp to another, and grasping reality in politics is like snatching a fistful of fog, they both leave you empty handed.

   Is it a foregone conclusion that Neil O’Leary will be re-elected on November 5th? Is that why it’s so quiet?

   “Nothing is guaranteed in politics,” O’Leary said. “There has been very little excitement in the campaign so far, and that may translate into low voter turnout. We’ve worked very hard and I’d like to think the citizens of Waterbury like the job we’ve been doing, but does a lack of excitement worry me? You bet it does.”

Mayor Neil O'Leary Prayerful During Debate

                                               By John Murray 

     For the past 18 months Larry De Pillo, middle, has unleashed a blistering attack on every proposal and action initiated by Waterbury Mayor Neil O'Leary (D). At hundreds of events and programs De Pillo, the Independent Party candidate for mayor, has blasted O'Leary as a dictator and a man out of touch with the Waterbury taxpayers.

   Earlier in the day the two men clawed at each during a mayoral debate on WATR while Republican Jason Van Stone, left, seized the middle ground. Tonight, during the second debate of the day, this one in the NOW Building, and conducted by the Waterbury Chapter of the National Conference of Black Women, one of the questions asked each candidate to name one thing O'Leary has done right in the past two years.

   When De Pillo said O'Leary was right in bringing economic development into the Mayor's Office, O'Leary crossed himself, and gave a quick thanks to God. It was the first positive thing Larry De Pillo had said about his administration in nearly two years, and O'Leary fully embraced the moment. 

Dylan McDermott Enters Hall of Fame 11/16


   An actor, an architect, a lawyer, a philanthropist and an artist/farmer/engineer have been named to the Silas Bronson Library’s Waterbury Hall of Fame.  Dylan McDermott,  Joseph Stein, Susan Cecelia O’Neill, Edith Morton Chase and Hobert Victory Welton were selected by an 8-person board-appointed committee  on April 17.

   A ceremony that will be attended by the only living inductee, actor Dylan McDermott, will take place on Saturday, Nov 16, in the auditorium of Holy Cross High School, 587 Oronoke Rd, at 2:00 p.m. The public is invited. Admission is free. A reception will follow.