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.

Tom Foley threw his hat into the political ring yesterday, and by chosing a VFW hall in the South End of Waterbury to make the announcement that he is running for governor, he cast a bright spotlight on Waterbury, and the role the city will play in this year's election.

                                                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.

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.

   The Waterbury police have obtained an arrest warrant charging Ismail Abdus-Sabur (5/8/79) of NYC with murder for the shooting death of Kareem Morey (age 38) which occurred Friday night in the area of 17 Chestnut Avenue.

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