By John Murray
Waterbury Mayor Neil O'Leary signed a lease agreement this morning between the City of Waterbury and Luvata, a global force in the manufacturing of superconducting wires and cables. In 2010 when the City of Waterbury announced they were going to utilize the former Chase Brass factory on Thomaston Avenue as a public works campus, Luvata's space in the factory was reduced, and they explored relocating their operation out of Waterbury. Luvata Waterbury President Jim Lajewski, seated next to O'Leary, credited the mayor for changing the course of the relationship. After being elected in November 2011, O'Leary immediately nixed the public works campus as bad policy. O'Leary said the city should explore ways to use the massive facility to expand Waterbury's economic base, and reached out to Luvata to try and persuade them to stay in the city. The efforts of Neil O'Leary, then Congressman Chris Murphy (now a U.S. Senator), Economic Development Director Ron Pugliese, and Leo Frank and Andrew Martelli of the Waterbury Development Corporation convinced Luvata to stay. Instead of being squeezed out of Waterbury, Luvata is now explanding. "This was a great collaborative effort," O'Leary said today. "To see what Luvata does around the world is amazing, and I'm delighted they are staying in Waterbury." With the signing of the lease, Lajewski said, "The headache and frustration of the past few years is gone."
A view down Washington Street, in Waterbury, Connecticut. On the right is Saint Francis Xavier Church, and on the hill in the distance is the city's Brooklyn and Town Plot neighborhoods. Photograph by John Murray
Julia Murney, who plays Elphaba on the Broadway show "Wicked", belted out Defying Gravity on the stage of the Palace Theater in downtown Waterbury last night during a benefit concert for Sandy Hook. Murney was one of several dozen stars to participate in "From Broadway With Love - A Benefit Concert For Sandy Hook". The entire first level of the theater was filled with people directly impacted by last month's tragedy; families who lost children or loved ones, and first responders. There was children's laughter in the building, especially when Richard Kind sang "I Wan'na Be Like You" from The Jungle Book. Photograph by John Murray
By John Murray
Camile Atallah was honored on Januray 26th as the Lebanese Mayor For A Day during a ceremony inside Waterbury City Hall. Waterbury Mayor Neil O'Leary is on the left. Atallah was born in Beruit in 1961 and at the age of 18 won a full schlarship to a university in Italy to study pre-medicine. He left the university after three months to return to his family in war-torn Lebanon. A devout Christian, Atallah was credited with saving a Muslim family during the Lebanese Civil War. In 1987 Atallah escaped Lebanon disguised as a Franciscan monk in a fishing boat bound for Israel. Six months later he got a visa to come to the United States and settled in Waterbury, where his two brothers were already established.
By John Murray
Fred Sullivan was the Chief of Police in Waterbury for 17 years, from 1968 to 1985, longer than any officer in city history. Sullivan died on January 22nd, and was buried today after a ceremonial send-off from members of the Waterbury Police Department at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception Church. Waterbury Mayor Neil O'Leary served five years in the police department under Chief Sullivan in the 1980s, and was promoted to detective by Sullivan. O'Leary eulogized Sullivan, and said the former chief was instrumental in creating community policing in Waterbury, helped establish PAL, and was the first Waterbury police officer to attend the FBI National Academy in Washington D.C..