Community Bulletin Board
- Love a Lilac
- Improving Air Quality
- What's Happening in Waterbury and Beyond
- TURN to a Historian at the Litchfield Historical Society
- A Night at the Boys and Girls Club
- Call for Hall of Fame Nominations
- President Trump Signs Two Esty-Authored Bills
- Safety Classes at Railroad Museum
- College Scholarship Opportunities
- Take Your Child to the Library Day
- Markley and Zupkus Town Hall Meeting
- Click It Or Ticket Enforced Over Holiday Season
The Waterbury Observer
The Waterbury Observer is delighted to announce that Geraldo Reyes Jr. will be partnering with the newspaper on special projects. A well known and highly visible community leader in Waterbury, Reyes will help the Observer increase its circle of influence in the Hispanic community, and act as a liaison between the Observer and the nearly 30 neighborhood groups scattered around the city. Reyes has also agreed to help facilitate meetings in the city’s five political districts that would bring aldermen face to face with residents to identify district goals and solutions.
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.
Webster Bank CEO Jim Smith and Baltimore Oriole pitching coach Dave Wallace.
The Waterbury Hall of Fame inducted four new members at a ceremony inside the Mattatuck Museum this afternoon; Daniel Buck the co-founder of The Waterbury Clock Company, Gerald Lamb, the first African-American elected to state office in American history, Dave Wallace, right, pitching coach of the World Champion Boston Red Sox in 2004 (and currently pitching coach of the Baltimore Orioles), and Webster Bank CEO Jim Smith (left).
A message to the citizens of Waterbury from John Murray, the Publisher and Editor of The Waterbury Observer......
There has been a lot on my mind the past few weeks as the Waterbury Observer has risked its objectivity to champion systemic change in Waterbury municipal government. I’ve published the Observer for 21 years and the newspaper has never endorsed a political candidate for public office. It was our original intent to provide information to our readers and encourage them to vote. At various times in the past two decades we have been referred to as the Bergin Gazette, a Democrat rag, in the tank for John Rowland, too close to Phil Giordano and a Neil O’Leary mouthpiece.
The first inclusive multi-cultural festival in Waterbury history - The Gathering - was held in 2013, and was so successful, that it will now become an annual event, the next one being tomorrow, May 17th, from 11 am to 8 pm in downtown Waterbury. Pictured above are Brazilian samba dancers marching in the 2013 parade.
Column and Photographs By John Murray
There was one moment during The Gathering last year that will stick in my memory until my last breath. The moment was wrapped in anticipation, anxiety and exhaustion. A small group of volunteers and city employees had been planning the festival for months; recruiting ethnic groups, plotting parade routes, and dealing with insurance, electricity, and details we didn’t even know existed. When May 18th arrived we were unsure of what we had created. There were more than 40 cultural groups signed up to share their music, food and dance, but were they going to show up?
Column By John Murray
One year after being released from federal prison John Rowland walked into my home in Morris to begin a year-long book project. The three-term former governor of Connecticut had once been considered a presidential candidate, and now, humbled by a ten-month “government sponsored sabbatical”, he was a different man. He still possessed his wicked sense of humor, but the entourage was gone, and he limped from an old wrestling injury.
The three men vying to be elected mayor of Waterbury on November 5th are from left to right, Independent Party candidate Larry De Pillo, Democrat incumbent Neil O'Leary, and Republican candidate Jason Van Stone.
Column by John Murray
Trying to understand the 2013 municipal election in Waterbury is as slippery as black ice on an early morning in February. It’s the most low-key mayoral campaign the Observer has covered in 20 years, but trying to dig out the reasons is as elusive as trying to catch the Loch Ness Monster. Why? Because perspectives change from one political camp to another, and grasping reality in politics is like snatching a fistful of fog, they both leave you empty handed.
Is it a foregone conclusion that Neil O’Leary will be re-elected on November 5th? Is that why it’s so quiet?
“Nothing is guaranteed in politics,” O’Leary said. “There has been very little excitement in the campaign so far, and that may translate into low voter turnout. We’ve worked very hard and I’d like to think the citizens of Waterbury like the job we’ve been doing, but does a lack of excitement worry me? You bet it does.”
Celebrating 20 years of publishing The Waterbury Observer, John Murray decided to leap out of an airplane 10,500 feet above Connecticut. The plunge reminded Murray that launching a business with no money, or chasing dreams of world travel all have one thing in common, facing fear, and letting go.
Story By John Murray
Photographs By SkyDive Danielson
For most of the twenty-minute ascent I tapped into breathing exercises, and positive imagery, to try and keep myself calm.
“That’s the University of Connecticut,” said Norm Nault, my tandem skydiving instructor, “and if you look to the south you can see Long Island Sound.”
At 5000 feet my attempt to relax faltered, and the metallic taste of fear marched across my tongue. I looked around the plane - which was no bigger than a car - and checked on my daughter, Chelsea. If I was starting to lose it, I was sure Chelsea’s heart was clanging against her chest. Chelsea was tandem jumping with instructor Scott Barylski, a dead ringer for actor Ben Stiller. There was something comical, and terrifying, about hurling yourself out of a tiny airplane with Derek Zoolander strapped to your back.
Alfalfa Bill Murray wrote the constitution for the state of Oklahoma, was elected to Congress, was Governor of Oklahoma, and ran for President of the United States in 1932. He has been described as the most influential politician in Oklahoma history.
Story By John Murray
On a rolling hill of red dirt, burnt grass and bristles, we arrived at Alfalfa Bill Murray’s grave in Tishomingo, Oklahoma, with a bag of ice, a bottle of blended scotch whiskey, and a sweet potato pie. My daughter and I had sliced our way south from Connecticut through Washington D.C., the Blue Ridge Mountains, Nashville, Memphis, Little Rock, and into Oklahoma in two days. We set a blistering pace and stopped to eat, refuel, sleep, and occasionally pose for ridiculous photographs with a ten-inch chalk bust of our deceased ancestor that I had purchased on ebay.
By John Murray
Lugging a dream around in your head for 15 years is tiring. The only path to freedom is to hurl yourself towards the fire and either transform the dream into reality, or fail trying. A dream without effort will never materialize, so it was with a sense of relief that I unchained one of my dreams last Autumn, and set out to create a multi-cultural festival in Waterbury celebrating the extraordinary diversity of the people living and working in the city.