33 Recruits Join Waterbury PD

Police Force Back At Full Strength

By John Murray

   With the addition of 33 new police officers the Waterbury Police Department now has 300 officers, a level that residents haven't seen since 2008.

   "This is a really big deal," Waterbury Police Chief Fred Spagnolo said.

Environmental Injustice In Waterbury

   “…no segment of the population should, because of its racial or economic makeup, bear a disproportionate share of risks and consequences of environmental pollution or be denied equal access to environmental benefits.”

      CT DEEP's Environmental Equity Policy, 1993


Story and Photographs

By John Murray

   The permitting process to allow F&G to operate a garbage plant in the South End of Waterbury has not met the legal outreach requirements that protect a distressed Hispanic population living within a half mile of the facility.

   Odor and trucks are the hot button issues for the general public, but a little known regulation – the Connecticut Environmental Justice Law – might upend F&G’s dream of garbage expansion in Waterbury.

Naugatuck River Advocate Sues F&G

Story and Photographs By John Murray

   After a decade of plucking garbage and debris from the Naugatuck River, environmental activist Kevin Zak has begun legal proceedings against F&G for being a serial polluter of the Naugatuck River watershed. “I’m suing because I’m angry,” Zak said. “I’ve been picking up their garbage for years. This has to stop.”

Bullying Needs Community Response

                      Column By Danielle Hargrove Albert

   One of the best things I have experienced while living here in Waterbury is the amount of diversity that exists. Being a mother, I believe we should be raising our children to embrace and learn from the differences that exist in one another. When your child interacts with other children who are different from them, those are opportunities for growth, tolerance and respect. Sadly, too often they are overshadowed with bias and antipathy. We can all take part in celebrating diversity at a beautiful event like “The Gathering”.  However when it comes down to basic school days, respectful interactions are not happening. Personal bias and reactive behaviors are manifesting themselves in the form of bullying.

Mustapha Heron Giving Back To Waterbury

Waterbury's Mustapha Heron completed his sophomore year playing basketball at Auburn University and declared for the NBA draft in April. Heron, who led the Sacred Heart High School boys basketball team to three Connecticut State Championships, worked out last week for the Cleveland Cavaliers, and has had contact with the Brooklyn Nets, Utah Jazz and Denver Nuggets. Heron told the New York Times last week that he is 50-50 on returning back to Auburn to continue developing his game. He has not hired an agent and he has until May 30th to opt out of the draft process and continue his education at Auburn.

Congresswoman Esty Tours Anamet Site

Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty was in Waterbury this afternoon to meet with Mayor Neil O'Leary at the Anamet site on South Main Street to discuss brownfield strategy in cleaning up the property purchased by the city in 2017. The city is currently clearing brush from the site in order to begin demolition of several of the large, crumbling buildings located on the property. Once removed, the city will clear polluted soils and prepare the site to be marketed for redevelopment by private industry.

A Celebration Of Love

                                               Story By Ken Harge

"In November 2016 Amy Shirling-Davis began having persistent stomach issues. She sought treatment from her doctor but the nagging stomach discomfort continued. After a couple of weeks she went back to she her doctor after seeing blood in her stool. The doctor immediately recommended a colonoscopy. A week later the test results confirmed Amy’s fear, she had stage 1B colon cancer. A surgery was performed to remove the cancerous tumor. Shorty afterwards Amy was subjected to 12 rounds of unbearable rounds of chemotherapy that pummeled the cancer into remission.

Police And Fire Service May 10th

This year marks the 165th year of the Waterbury Police and Fire Departments, which were established in 1853. Since the chartering of our great city, numerous Police Officers and Firefighters have died in the line of duty, or as a result of their service to our community. To honor the fallen, the Police and Firefighters Memorial Monument Association formed in 1990 to create the monument seen today in front of City Hall.

The public is invited to attend the annual Memorial Service, which will be held this year on May 10th, 2018, commencing at 1:00PM in front of City Hall in Waterbury.

Jahana Hayes Running For Congress

National Teacher Of The Year Seeks Esty's Seat
Democrat Jahana Hayes, recipient of the 2016 National Teacher of the Year Award, today announced her candidacy for the 5th Congressional District of the U.S. House of Representatives. 
Hayes is a lifelong Connecticut resident. A former social studies teacher at John F. Kennedy High School, she currently serves as the Talent and Professional Development Supervisor for Waterbury Public Schools. Hayes is known for her passion, energy, commitment to community and unifying presence. She has dedicated herself to being of service in the city of Waterbury and traveled the country engaging stakeholders on topics related to education and equity. These experiences have shown her that all people are facing similar challenges and she welcomes the opportunity to become a more well-rounded advocate for the entire 5th district.

Waterbury Residents Oppose Transfer Station

South End Fears Odors, Trucks and Pollution

Environmental champion Steve Schrag led the fight to have the Zoning Commission rescind approval.

                 Story and Photographs By John Murray

   One year ago community leaders thought they had successfully defeated a proposal by F&G to expand a garbage transfer station in the South End of Waterbury. “We thought the project was dead,” Community activist Steve Schrag said, “but like a zombie, it’s back.”

Meet The Democrats

A powerful lineup on Democratic candidates will convene in the South End of Waterbury next Wednesday night for a meet and greet at the Portuguese Club on Baldwin Street. The event is sponsored by the Waterbury Democrat Town Committee and Young Democrats of Greater Waterbury and is free and open to the public.

Waterbury Delegation Champions Historic Satellite Dish Legislation

Story By John Murray

  Satellite dishes are a scourge in the inner cities throughout Connecticut, with some multi-family homes having up to 12 dishes anchored to the side of a structure.  New tenants in multi-family houses are currently forced to install new equipment when they call the satellite dish companies, and the old ones are not removed. The end result is a cluttered mess.

Fred Spagnolo To Become Top Cop

Story By John Murray

Waterbury Police Chief Vernon Riddick broke the news today that he will be leaving the city and taking the job of police chief in West Hartford starting on June 4th. Waterbury Mayor Neil O'Leary told the Observer tonight that he will name Deputy Police Chief Fred Spagnolo the acting chief when Riddick leaves.

"I'm honored to have the opportunity," Spagnolo said. "This is a job that has interested me for a long time and I am dedicated to the police department and the people of Waterbury. I'm looking forward to the challenge."

Chief Vernon Riddick Moving On

By John Murray

Waterbury Police Chief Vernon Riddick has accepted the position of police chief in West Hartford and will begin his new job on June 4th. Riddick sent out a message to police officers this morning telling them of his decision, and waterbury mayor Neil O'Leary confirmed that Chief Riddick has decided to move on. Chief Riddick has served as chief of police for six years.

Smith Statement On Governor Campaign

Story By John Murray

Yesterday afternoon The Waterbury Observer published a story stating that former Webster Bank CEO, JIm Smith, would announce next week that we was launching a campaign for governor of Connecticut. Three sources with intimate knowledge of Smith's plans had provided details to The Waterbury Observer earlier in the week. The Observer had no intention of airing out the story until Smith made a formal announcement, but we were contacted yesterday afternoon by sources in Hartford informing us that the CTCapitolReport website had already broken the news across the state. The news of a Smith campaign was flowing through the state capitol and the Observer decided to share the news we had developed with our readers

Jim Smith Will Run For Governor

Story By John Murray


The Observer has confirmed that Jim Smith, the recently retired CEO of Webster Bank, will launch a Republican bid for Governor of Connecticut next week. Smith had contemplated a run last Autumn, but instead hurled himself into the Commission on Fiscal Stability and Economic Growth, an independent commission created of business executives that sought to address the state's budget woes.