Billy Smolinski Jr. and his dog Harley before he vansihed in 2004.

 Today, U.S. Senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), as well as U.S. Congressmen Ted Poe (R-Texas) and Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.) introduced Billy’s Law, also known as the Help Find the Missing Act – legislation that would close loopholes in our national missing persons systems.

An artist rendition of a revitalized Freight Street with a Greenway trail on the right.

   United States Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx today announced that the City of Waterbury has been selected as a recipient of a $14.4 million TIGER VI (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) Grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).

                                                           By John Murray

   Ten years after his 31-year-old son vanished from Waterbury, Bill Smolinski Sr. uncorked a raw emotional speech last night during a Missing Persons Vigil held on the Naugatuck Green. When Billy Smolinski disappeared on August 24th, 2004, his family had trouble getting the Waterbury PD to take the report of a missing adult male seriously. Frustrated, the family had little choice but to search for Billy themselves. The results have been nightmarish.

    Photographs By John Murray, Chelsea Murray and a GoPro Camera

   Waterbury Mayor Neil O'Leary reacted as a bucket of ice water was dumped on his head today in Library Park as part of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. O'Leary and 30 department heads and supervisors in city government participated in the event during the annual Back To School Rally in downtown Waterbury. O'Leary was challenged last week by Board of Education commissioner Jason Van Stone, and accepted in honor of his first cousin Carl Carlson, who was diagnosed last month with ALS. It was Van Stone and Carlson who doused O'Leary with the ice and water. 

Neil O’Leary, right, and Michael Gugliotti embraced on Election Day 2011 moments after O’Leary knew he’d ended Michael Jarjura’s 10-year reign as mayor of Waterbury. Gugliotti was the police chief at the time, and a close personal friend of O’Leary’s. The FBI is investigating whether the 200 Waterbury police officers that volunteered on Election Day for the O'Leary campaign were compensated, or used city assets. Both O'Leary and Gugliotti clearly state no city assets were used and the police and firemen who volunteered all took vacation days or used personal days.

                      Story and Photographs By John Murray

    For the past 18 months the FBI has been investigating a complaint about the large number of police involved in the 2011 municipal election in Waterbury. The core questions of the investigation are a) whether city employees were paid for working on Neil O’Leary’s victorious campaign, b) did the police use city vehicles or assets in the campaign, and c) were police compensated at a later date for volunteering on Election Day?

   So far lots of questions, and no answers.


More Journeys