Dr. Aresta Johnson spoke about the importance of voting during last night's forum that was organized by Pastor Rodney Wade, left, and Pastor Pamela Hughes, middle.

            Story By Robert Goodrich and Photographs By John Murray

   A group of black citizens held an unapologetically honest and unabashedly self-reflective forum on black lives in the Brass City last night inside Waterbury City Hall. Pastor Pamela Hughes of Faith Generation Ministries and Pastor Rodney Wade of Long Hill Bible Church, were co-facilitators and led the discussion by directing poignant question about black on black crime, black owned business, black youth, community activism and what the roles of voting, government, church, pop-culture, education, and personal health should play in building strong black communities.

Charles "Chuck" Pagano was named chairman of the District Commission by Waterbury Mayor Neil O'Leary. Pagano lives in the Bucks Hill neighborhood of Waterbury and is the Executive Vice President of Technology and Chief Technology Officer of ESPN, and has been with the company since 1979. Pagano is also the President of the Board of Directors for Holy Land LLC, the non-profit group operating Holy Land USA in Waterbury. O'Leary sought Pagano's leadership on the District Commission because Pagano is an unaffliated voter "who is above reproach." 

                    Story and Photographs By John Murray  

   When Waterbury voted to fundamentally change the structure of city government they handed a hot potato to Mayor Neil O'Leary who had less than six months to implement an historic aldermen by district initiative that won by a surprising 2000 vote mandate on November 4th. Legal counsel had to be hired, an eight-person District Commission had to be formed, a demographer had to be hired to analyze population and voting patterns, and most importantly, the city needed to be carved into five voting districts.

   U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) announced he will join two new U.S. Senate Committees in the 114th Congress. Murphy will join the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations, which is responsible for funding all of the federal government’s agencies, departments, and organizations. As a member of the Appropriations Committee, Murphy will focus on securing funding for Connecticut’s priorities, such as defense manufacturing, transportation infrastructure, and federal safety net programs. Murphy will also be a strong voice in pushing back against Republican attempts to defund the Affordable Care Act, anti-gun violence programs, and U.S. diplomatic efforts abroad. Connecticut has not had a U.S. Senator on the Appropriations Committee since 1987.

                                             Story By John Murray

   Picture a timeline as a python, and imagine the snake tightening it's coils around the city of Waterbury as it races to implement the aldermen by district ballot initiative passed in November. It is a vast and historic undertaking and city leaders have a tight schedule to follow to make it all work. Eight commissioners have been selected, an outside lawyer has been hired, and last Friday was the deadline for selecting the firm that will actually draw the lines on the five districts in Waterbury.

The Brass City Brawlers were deliriously happy after capturing the New England Championship 27-12 against the Southern New England Rage on October 25th.

                           Story and Photographs By John Murray

   The Brass City Brawler football team is the best sports story in the city. It’s not because the Brawlers are East Coast champions in their division of semi-professional football. It’s not because they’re playing for the national championship in Orlando in January against a team from Michigan. No, the football accomplishments are great, but the Brawlers are the best sports story in Waterbury because they really aren’t about football.

  The Brawlers are about redemption and second chances.

Daniel Casagrande of Cramer & Anderson. (Photo from Danbury News-Times)

                                        Story By John Murray   

   There is not much time for city leaders to implement aldermen by district for the November 2015 election, but Mayor Neil O’Leary said there is no choice. The process is moving ahead at a vigorous pace and an outside lawyer was hired yesterday to oversee the historic change in municipal government.

   “The voters spoke loud and clear on Election Day that they want aldermen by district,” O’Leary said, “and we’re going to give it to them.”

   But it’s no easy task.

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