Friday, April 30, 2010

Give greetings to Mr. Inglis, the Scottish Duck

We've named this handsome little Scottish duck Mr. Inglis, after our friend Dick Inglis. Mr. Inglis is a gentleman who has traveled the world and has made his happiest home in Bristol. He's
got a worldly view, he loves children and believes strongly in education. He's become a wonderful supporter of and crucial advisor to Youth Journalism International and with his smarts to guide us, we surely are going places fast. One of the places we are going real fast real soon is the Duck Race on the Pequabuck River in Forestville. The race is on Sunday afternoon. The festival starts at 11 a.m. and runs until about 3 p.m. YJI will have a table right in front of Nuchies with all our adorable international duckies, so stop by and say hello to all of them. We'll give you a temporary duck tattoo if you want one. And, we'll give a prize to anyone who can correctly name them all!
Hope we see you there!

Hola Rosalita!

Say hola to Rosalita, the Spanish ducky that will be making her grand entrance along with all the other worldly ducks on Sunday at the Duck Race on the Pequabuck River in Forestville.
Rosalita is part of the adorable collection of tiny ducks that my organization, Youth Journalism International, will have on display at our booth at the festival on Sunday, which runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
They're dropping 5,000 larger and far less worldly yellow plastic ducks off the Andrews Street bridge at 2 p.m. and they'll float to the finish line at the Central Street bridge at the center of Forestville a little while later.
If you don't have a duck yet, you can get one (it's really a raffle ticket) for $5 outside of Nuchie's this weekend. If there are any left, they'll be available the day of the race. Proceeds are split by the Forestville Village Association and the Central Connecticut Chambers of Commerce. In the past, both groups have used proceeds from the race towards beautification projects in town.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Say Hello to Sam

Let's have a nice American howdy-do for Sam the ducky, named after Sam Yosafi and Sammy Perez, two outstanding alumni of Youth Journalism International who share the same name, sort of. Sammy Perez won't be at the Duck Race on the Pequabuck on Sunday except in spirit. Maybe I can get Sam Yosafi there, though, if he's not working, studying or performing. Sam the ducky will be there, though, along with Sgt. Schultz the German ducky and Moeka the Japanese ducky. More duckies to come, so keep watching!
Now about my two wonderful Sams.
Sam Yosafi is from Bristol, plays rock and roll and takes classes at Tunxis. He wrote many great things while part of YJI, many of them about local events and people, including the Witch's Dungeon classic horror museum.
Sammy Perez is from St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana and is in college there. She's the gifted writer who gave us all a front row seat when Hurricane Katrina devastated her home, her town, uprooted her family and generally turned her world upside down when she was just a senior in high school. Her hurricane journal is an incredible read.
To find the writings of either of these wonderful American Sams, go to and click on the writer's index, highlighted in yellow in the upper left side of the home page. Then you'll have to scroll down to Perez or Yosafi to find them and what they wrote, but it's worth the time and trouble. As you're scrolling, you might get an idea of the number of students that my husband Steve Collins and I have worked with since we started this amazing adventure of teaching journalism to young people back in 1994.

BARC Hopes to Raise $150,000

In the photo, provided by Ann Beardsley, are, from the left: BARC board of directors member Kevin DellaBianca; Mayor Art Ward; Executive Director Francine M. Pangaro and BARC clients Traci Castolene and Melissa Bailey.
BARC, which is 98 percent funded by the state, has a few items it wants to have that the state won't pay for and locally awarded community development block funds weren't granted for. They include siding, a new roof and a furnace, among other things. They're asking people for donations to cover it and today kicked off the campaign. I wrote about it for The Bristol Press (

The Great and Powerful Wizard??

Straight from the Emerald City, in came Oz this morning.
That's Oz Griebel, a Republican who is running for governor. I wondered how come he didn't introduce himself as "the great and powerful wizard of Connecticut" and he just laughed. Then he told me I could feel free to call him that in my story.
In my story for The Bristol Press ( I didn't call him that, but on Extra B.S., I can. Who knows if he is really a wizard, but Connecticut sure needs one with the fix we're in.
He did one of those chamber coffee chats this morning (thanks to the Central Connecticut Chambers of Commerce for organizing all these) and as usual, it was interesting to meet and listen to someone who wants to have a go at turning the state around from financial disaster into economic prosperity.
He talked a lot about thinking outside the box. My impression is that if he's governor, just about everything might be up for grabs, with nothing assumed. He questioned whether we need two state university systems, whether we really need all the hospitals we have operating independently, whether towns and the state could considate and regionalize to save money and make things work better. He seemed open to ideas and full of energy.
He supports the New Britain to Hartford busway project, which didn't go over well. He said he'd be open to discussing it, but definitely did not waver in his support. That set him apart from several of the Democrats who have been in town, each saying to various degrees that they don't like the idea.
I had to ask how he got the name Oz, which is pretty cool, if you think about it, especially for a candidate. It's certainly memorable. He said he got it when he was a kid because his middle name was Nelson. It came from the old TV show, "Ozzie and Harriet."
I found things to like both personally and philosophically about every one of the candidates who have visited Bristol so far. Many of them had similar messages (how many times can you say we need to get our fiscal house in order, anyway?).
The state party conventions are next month. It'll be interesting to see if the Republicans recruit the man behind the curtain.

Meet Moyeka

Here's Moeka, the Japanese ducky. She's named after a little girl I knew some years ago. I think Moeka would have a blast at the duck race on Sunday. Come to think of it, she'd probably have a great time being part of Youth Journalism International if she knew about that, too.
But I lost touch with Moeka when she and my daughter headed off to different schools some years ago, so I can't appeal to her on either account, but I can appeal to you, readers, to come out to the sixth annual Duck Race on the Pequabuck.
The festival is sponsored by the Forestville Village Association and the Central Connecticut Chambers of Commerce. It runs from 11 a.m. to about 3 p.m., with the race at 2.
It's a great time, so come to the center of Forestville and check it out.
While you're there, find me at the booth for Youth Jouranalism International, where you can get a free temporary duck tattoo of your choice and admire all our sweet little international ducks and chat with some of our young writers.

John Smith Shows His Funny Bone

So at the Oz Griebel gathering this morning at the chamber, everything was pretty much S.O.P. until former Mayor Bill Stortz asked a question.
Well, that was also standard operating procedure... since Stortz loves to ask questions. But then retired teacher John Smith piped up.
Don't ask me what his question was, though. It was something about colleges. In the middle of his question, Stortz says it "took me 17 years to get through college."
"You're done?" says Smith.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

ESPN Aims for World Domination

You never know what news is going to break at a nice little awards ceremony.
There I was, listening to all the chatter about how wonderful Connecticut is, how fabulous its people are and best of all, how terrific ESPN is. I was lulled into a complacent slumber until BAM! I heard something that made my hair stand on end.
They're taking their claim as the Worldwide Leader in Sport a little too seriously, I'm afraid.
With my own ears that so far haven't failed me, I heard ESPN television host Trey Wingo say that they're aiming for world domination.
Need more proof?
Next to be announced, Wingo said, is "ESPN The Thursday."
It's a pattern, people. They've got ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPN News, ESPN Radio, ESPN International, and ESPN The Magazine.
Now they've got a Genius of Connecticut statuette from the governor and there's no stopping them.

A Bird's Eye View of the Awards Ceremony

ESPN doesn't have enough stuff to decorate all those buildings with. Believe me, it's all bare walls and empty trophy cases in there.
(That's why security is so tight... they don't want anyone to know they don't have any furnishings.)
Anyway, thank goodness Gov. Rell and the state's culture and tourism people picked Bristol's own World Wide Leader for an Award for Excellence in Culture and Tourism. Now they have a nice little statuette for their trophy case.
This is a nice thing, though. The picture at the left is a view from above the atrium in the Legislative Office Building where they held the awards ceremony.
ESPN Vice President Mike Soltys was there to accept the award on behalf of the company and his lovely wife Teresa was there to see it. That's them in the front row, on the right side of the circle. She's wearing light colored clothing and he's just another dot in a dark suit.

My Favorite Festival

Oh, the joys of the annual Duck Race on the Pequabuck!
There's something quite wonderful about this little Forestville festival and if you've never attended, you should give it a try this year.
It'll be Sunday, from about 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., in the center of Forestville. I wrote about it for today's edition of The Bristol Press (
It's truly a family festival. There are things for kids to do, and some friendly vendors selling food and ducky stuff.
My organization, Youth Journalism International, has been part of the festival as a vendor since it began six years ago. We think it's cool, from the yellow ducks to Waddles, the mascot, to the awesome disc jockey who makes life at the festival a hoot for everyone.
We especially appreciate Dave Pasqualicchio, the honorary mayor of Forestville, who has done so much to make the festival what it is today, and to keep the village clean. He's an asset to Bristol and lately, he's been getting a vicious and unfair trouncing in the blogosphere just for speaking his mind. I hope he'll feel the love on Sunday in Forestville because I know he'll be there, working hard and probably picking up litter.
For the past couple years, my students at Youth Journalism International and some of our alumni have given away temporary duck tattoos to anyone who wants a little devil duck, angel duck, hippie duck... on their arm, hand or even on their face. Mostly it's kids who get them but older people sometimes do.
This year, we'll have the ducky tattoos and we also have a few Youth Journalism International trinkets on hand for anyone who might like a postcard, magnet or information about this non-profit organization.
Oh, and get this: we will have INTERNATIONAL ducks for display this year! They'll be making their community debut at the duck race, but I'll introduce them one by one to you as we count down the days to the festival. The handsome fellow in the picture is our German duck. We'll call him Sgt. Schultz after one of my favorite readers!
Mark it on your calendar for Sunday and be sure to come by and say hello to the folks at YJI!

Preserving Worthy Pipes

My friend Luisa Gladu of Prospect United Methodist Church is taking on the noble task of trying to raise money to fix a pipe organ that has not only been in the church for more than 50 years, but was a gift of the late William Sesssions.

Here's what she sent me about it:

Member of Prospect United Methodist Church are trying to raise money to repair their pipe organ, which needs a $60,000 refurbishment, according to Luisa Gladu of the organ restoration committee.
The organ was a gift to the church by the late William E. Sessions. The organ was dedicated in October 1958 and has been part of the services at the 175-year-old church for more than half a century.
There will be a benefit dinner and concert on Saturday, May 22nd at 5:30 p.m. at the church. Tickets are $20.
The dinner will be roast pork loin with all the fixings, and the concert following afterwards will be given by the award-winning H S Liederkranz Mens Chorus from Thomaston.

Museum Honors Arts and Culture Contributors

This in from the New England Carousel Museum:

The Board of Directors and staff of the New England Carousel Museum will kick off the year-long celebration of our 20th anniversary on May 8 by honoring recipients of the fourth annual Arts, Culture and Entertainment Awards.
The 2010 ACE awards will be awarded at a May 8 fundraising dinner at the museum to retired teacher and musician Alexander Caruso and sports media company ESPN.
The award honors contributions to the art, culture, or entertainment in the Greater Bristol Community. Past recipients have been artist Glo Sessions, Hap Barnes, Ken Ferris, The Clinton Roberts Foundation, Elaine Sportelli and The Barnes Group Foundation.
Caruso, a Bristol native, first took piano lessons at age six. While serving in the U.S. Navy in Japan, he was noticed for his piano playing and often asked to play.
He later taught social studies and psychology for years and while at Bristol Eastern High School, was the musical director for numerous shows. He was also musical director for Bristol’s Civic Theater and master of ceremonies for over 40 years for the annual Christmas carol sing on Main Street. He recently performed at the Bristol Historical Society.
Members of Team ESPN, a community service arm of the company, have volunteered at many Bristol locations, including the museum, doing spring cleaning, landscaping and more.
The dinner on Saturday, May 8 will include a cocktail hour, buffet dinner by Emily’s, a door prize donated by local artist Rick Fitzsimons, an awards ceremony, raffle, music and dancing. The event begins at 6 p.m.
Tickets are $50 each or $400 for a reserved table of 8. Tickets can be purchased at the Carousel Museum building, 95 Riverside Ave. in Bristol, or from the following board members: Jack Driscoll, David Preleski, Veronica Hunter, Louise DeMars, Ed Krawiecki Jr., Ellen Ferrier, Jerry Olson, Kevin McCauley, Bob Palazzo, Cheri Bilodeau-Barton, Joan White, Joan Seguljic, Laureen Rubino, Frank Stawski, Eric Schwab, Jeanne Radcliff, Pat Byrne, Wendy Labadia, Mickey Goldwasser, and Derek Czenczelewski. The proceeds from this event will benefit the general operations and educational programming of the New England Carousel Museum. For more information, please call the New England Carousel Museum at 860-585-5411 or visit

Other Towns Restrict Vendors

For today's edition of The Bristol Press, (, I wrote about how other towns, specifically Plainville, Southington, West Hartford and Farmington, handle food vendors who want to sell out of a cart or truck.
All of them make the vendor go through planning and zoning applications before they can set up shop.
None of them allow vending on a city street.
Southington came right out and said their policy is for the good of their downtown businesses and that it has helped their development quite a bit.
Today, the city council's ordinance committee is going to take up the issue, after downtown restaurant owners complained about the unfair competition. It could be quite a scene as the vendors have a lot of support.
Steve Collins will be there to soak it all in and report back on the Bristol Blog and in The Bristol Press. I'll be at the capitol watching Gov. Jodi Rell hand an award to ESPN.

"His Beat Was Clear and Concise"

What hidden talents doeth our honorable mayor have?
Well, here he is, waving a stick. Wait, my bad. That's not just any old stick. That's a conductor's baton!
Bristol Mayor Art Ward was one of the guest conductors of the Nutmeg Symphony Orchestra recent Celebrity Maestro's Gala fundraiser this month at the Country Club of Farmington.
Marshall Brown, the orchestra's dedicated music director and conductor, told me that the orchestra played music by the well known Connecticut composer Leroy Anderson.
"Art was wonderful and the orchestra loved him!" Brown told me in an email. "His beat was clear and concise and his demeanor encouraging and friendly."
Other guest conductors included Anderson's son Kurt Anderson. ESPN's Brian Kenny served as the master of ceremonies.
In the past, the event has raised about $6,000 for the talented regional symphony. This time, the event broke even, Brown said.
Next time, I hope there's a bigger crowd.

Pancake and Strawberries To Benefit Kids

Gloria Dei Lutheran Church seems to think the way to help children is to lure people with pancakes and strawberries. Hey, it might work!

The Gloria Dei "Caring for Kids" Fund is raising money for two children in need in the community. On May 15th from 7 am to 12 pm, Gloria Dei Lutheran Church will hold a pancake breakfast to benefit the "Caring for Kids" fund. Tickets are $6.00. Ages 5 and under are free. All proceeds will benefit the Gloria Dei "Caring for Kids" Fund which is raising money for the families of two children suffering from serious medical issues: Anna Melendez, age 7, who was hit by a car on Jan. 26th, and 4-year-old Zia Sirianni who is suffering from leukemia.

The Strawberry Festival and tag sale on June 19th, from 9-3 pm, will be held rain or shine at Gloria Dei Church. Tag sale and vendor spaces are available for $20. Tables can be rented for $5. All proceeds will benefit the Gloria Dei "Caring for Kids" Fund which is raising money for the families of two children suffering from serious medical issues: Anna Melendez, age 7, who was hit by a car on Jan. 26th, and 4 year old Zia Sirianni who is suffering from Leukemia. For more information call Deb McAuliffe Johnson at 860-583-1932 or Tracy Carlson 860-583-4389 or email: . Monetary donations are also being accepted and are tax deductible; made payable to “Caring for Kids” c/o Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, 355 Camp St, Bristol, Ct 06010.

Hear the Best Young Pianists Saturday

This in from Gloria Dei Lutheran Church:

On May 1st at 6 pm, Gloria Dei Lutheran Church at 355 Camp St, Bristol will hold a Pasta Dinner and Piano Recital as the fourth event in their 2009-2010 concert series. The concert will be performed by one of the winners of the Young Artists Piano Competition held annually by the CT State Music Teacher's Association. Some of the proceeds will be donated to the scholarships given out by this associaton. Tickets are $15 for adults, $5 for students, ages 6 and under are free. For tickets, please contact Todd Helming at 860 582-0629 or email:

Clock Museum Offers Tips on Clock Care

This in from the American Clock and Watch Museum:

On Saturday, May 22nd, the American Clock & Watch Museum, 100 Maple Street, Bristol, CT, will be conducting a demonstration about the care and maintenance of clocks. Beginning at 11 a.m., this hour-long class will address the important aspects of keeping a treasured timepiece in working order. A member of the museum will talk about the proper care of timepieces and demonstrate what must be done in order keep them running properly. This program is included in the price of admission. Please call the museum to register 860-583-6070.

Oz Coming to the Mum City

Oz Griebel, a Republican hoping to snag his party's nomination for governor, will be the guest of honor at the Central Connecticut Chambers of Commerce coffee chat on Thursday morning, at the rise-and-shine hour of 8 a.m.
The chamber coffee chats are open to anyone and they've been pretty interesting, if you care at all about the people who are or will be running the state, and what their plans are.
It's great that the chamber is hosting these events and making them open to all. It would be nice to see a few more people there.
I would post a picture of Oz but there isn't one on his website I can use, so I'll have to wait until tomorrow and ask him for one. Hint to candidates: make it easy for people to get your photo off your site!
The chamber shares office space with the United Way and the Main Street Community Foundation at 200 Main Street, just a couple doors up the hill from the Press.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Peek Behind the Curtain

Exclusively for Extra B.S. readers... here's a bit of insight into the vendor stories.
First of all, it's interesting how many people are commenting on them on the Bristol Press website. My eyeballs are sore just trying to read them.
Though I always wish I had a few more comments on this blog so I'd know people were in fact reading it, I'm even more grateful that I don't get that kind of volume -- or venom.
I'm kind of staggered by it sometimes. The other day I posted why I love readers, because so many people had stepped forward to help Carolyn Norton find the Lake Compounce drawing she wanted to help her design the etching for a gravestone for her husband, Stretch Norton.
By the way, waaay back in 1993 when I first started at the Press and first met Stretch, I asked him how he wanted me to identify him in the newspaper. That, to me, seems the fairest and kindest thing to do for anyone I am quoting. There's not much in life that is so central to someone's identity as their name and I really try hard to respect that.
When I asked all those years ago, he said he wanted to be known as Stretch. Not J. Harwood "Stretch" Norton, like the Courant does with his name. And so I called him Stretch in my stories, out of respect for his wishes. It's the way he was identified for all those years in many stories that I wrote and my husband Steve Collins wrote for almost two decades in the pages of The Bristol Press.
Then, starting about a year ago when we wrote about Stretch after he died, someone editing the stories changed his name to the style used in the Courant without any explanation, comment, or notice to either of us. I say this to let you know that not all the words under our names is decided by us anymore, so if you're wondering about something that was written, ask.
On Extra B.S. and in The Bristol Blog, which is written by Steve, he's Strech Norton.
But I digress. That ramble all started when I was writing about why I love readers. On the other hand... the vendor comments are enlightening (some of them) but also disturbing in their meanness. I won't respond to the meanness, since I haven't got all day and my fingers would fall off, but I will respond to some of the rest.
Some posters griped that I was only writing about the inspection reports on the vendors and not the restaurants, too. Some thought that the health district just recently did the inspections on the vendors. Some demanded to know the inspection reports on all the restaurants in town.
The health inspections were the most recent available for the vendors. Some were done this spring and others last fall. I asked the health district for the reports and they provided them to me.
I only asked for reports on the vendors because people were questioning their cleanliness and sanitation. Until today, no one was questioning any of the restaurants in that way, only insulting the food quality, which is another issue.
Given that this has become such a hot button issue, it seemed important and fair to present the basic facts -- that the vendors have to play by the same rules as the restaurants and that they do pretty well on health inspections.
Compared to the number of restaurants in town, there are not very many vendors. I could manage to sift through those reports in time to write that story, but going through all the restaurant inspections would take much longer.
As a reporter, I have to work under the constraints of time and space. I can't put everything in the story and I can't look at inspection reports for the whole town and write about them all in a couple days, assuming the health district would provide them that fast.
In case you didn't realize it, the number of reporters covering Bristol at the Press anymore is 2.5. One person works half time in Bristol covering the police and the schools and the other half of her time covering Plymouth.
Steve and I write about everything else in Bristol -- government, politics, business (that includes ESPN and Lake Compounce), non-profits, social and human services, land use, public works, sewers, roads, bridges, health, the hospital, museums, veterans, parks, downtown development, blight, housing and the occasional quirky thing that doesn't fit a category. And plenty more that are not coming to mind right now.
The choices that are made as to what to cover and how to spend our limited time are crucial. Sometimes, we make those decisions. Other times, it is an editor who decides. They get the final say, after all.
If you ever want to know why something was covered, please ask me! If it was my idea, I will certainly tell you why I thought that story was worth not only my time, but yours.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Vendors Operate Under the Same Rules; Health Inspection Reports for Downtown Vendors

Today I wrote a couple stories to help inform people as the city heads into what could be an ugly meeting of the ordinance committee on Wednesday. They should both be in Tuesday's edition of The Bristol Press ( The first deals with how the vendors have to obey the same rules as restaurants when it comes to health inspections. Here's the first bit of it:

The food vendors that sell hot dogs and other items in town must meet the same criteria as restaurants do, according to health officials.
“The things that you would need to meet the public health code in a restaurant, you need the same equipment in these temporary units,” said Chief Sanitarian Phyllis Amodio of the Bristol-Burlington Health District. “They are regulated by us.”

Here's part of a second story I wrote for Tuesday's Press about health inspections at the vendor carts. It's the beginning, then it jumps to what you really want to know -- how did the carts score on their health inspections:

In unannounced health inspections, the city’s itinerant food vendors have a pretty clean record, said Chief Sanitarian Phyllis Amodio of the Bristol-Burlington Health District.
“In the 20 years that I’ve been here, we’ve never had one that’s failed,” said Amodio. “They do a good job.”

The district supplied about 30 inspection reports for vendors that Amodio said were the most recent available.
Of those, 16 showed no deductions for any violations, or perfect scores of 100.
The lowest score was a 91, for Thai Grill that the inspection report said was parked on North Main Street near the courthouse.
“Truck is pretty clean throughout, surfaces are smooth and easily cleanable,” the inspector wrote. Points were deducted for thawing food at room temperature, failing to label all condiments and storing scoops for rice in stagnant water as well as lack of hot water for washing.
El Sabor Latino, also located near the courthouse, scored a 95, with points off for failing to have pump soap at the hand sink and for using one of the bays in the three bay sink for handwashing instead. “Truck is very clean throughout,” wrote the inspector, “good food handling seen.”
Mike’s North Carolina BBQ, another North Main Street vendor, also scored a 95, with points off for failing to label and keep food in original containers, for failing to keep wiping cloths in a sanitizer and for storing utensils in stagnant water. The inspector noted that while food temperatures were okay and the operator had good food handling techniques, he needed to clean surfaces and the sink.
Ken’s Grille, also across from the courthouse on North Main, scored a 97, with points off because shelving, the steamtable and the inside of the refrigerators needed cleaning.
“Operator has been practicing proper handwashing as opposed to glove use,” the inspector wrote of the popular cart. “Proper food handling techniques seen this date. Trailer is a lot cleaner than last inspection.”

Stephan's Quintet

Here's a shot from NASA's Hubble telescope of Galaxy Group Stephan’s Quintet and this is what it says about it on Google's tribute to space photography: "Galaxies are poised in a cosmic dance in galaxy group Stephan’s Quintet. Four of the galaxies tug at each other gravitationally. "
It's the 20th anniversary of the Hubble telescope and Google has a gorgeous tribute up with lots of stunning pictures and information, if you'd like to see more.
It's way cool and kind of puts the whole Bristol hot dog vendor thing in perspective.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Why I Love Readers

I wrote a story for the Bristol Press, which I also put on this blog, about how Carolyn Norton was looking for an old Lake Compounce logo to use as the basis for an etching on the gravestone of her late husband, Stretch Norton, a former mayor of Bristol and a lifelong lover of Lake Compounce, which was founded, owned and operated by his family for generations.
Anyway, not long after my story appeared, a couple of readers -- I believe both are from out of state -- produced this logo.
I'm not sure if this is what Mrs. Norton is looking for, but I suspect it may well be. If anyone out there has anything else, please send it to me. She thought the logo had the outline of Compounce Mountain on it, and three rides -- the carousel, roller coaster and Ferris wheel, but she could be mistaken. It's also possible that there's another old logo out there.
In any case, if you have anything different, send it along to me at and I will make sure she gets it.
Thanks so much to those who found this one. Even if it's not what she was looking for, I know Mrs. Norton will be grateful for the effort expended on her behalf.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Does Anyone Have Old Compounce Logo?

Carolyn Norton is looking for some help.
She's trying to design a gravestone for her late husband, the former Mayor Stretch Norton, whose family owned and operated Lake Compounce for generations.
Stretch died last spring, and Carrie wants to have a nice design on the gravestone that shows Compounce Mountain, the Wild Cat roller coaster, the carousel and the Ferris wheel. She said the park's old logo from the Norton days showed a nice view of all of it.
If anyone has a piece of paper with that letterhead, a business card or anything else, please let me know and I'll pass the word to her. You can email me at or call me at 860-523-9632. She doesn't need to have the item, only take a picture of it.
She's a very nice woman and if you can help her, I'd be grateful.

Earth Day Events

Barnes Nature Center's was today. Could they have even special-ordered a nicer day? Doubtful.
My family and I took a hike in the woods, visiting Wadsworth Falls, a state park we'd never explored before. It was lovely.
The Earth Day walk is still on at the Hoppers on Sunday at 1:30 unless it's pouring down rain.
Mother Nature's rainy forecast KO'd the plans for Earthstock at Tunxis this weekend... the festival will be next Sunday instead.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Sierra Club's Earth Day Advocacy for Rail

Here's a photo from the Sierra Club's Earth Day press conference with the Central Connecticut Chambers of Commerce, taken at the Legislative Office Building today.

The Sierra Club, a national environmental organization, came out today in support of commuter rail in the region rather than a busway betweeen Hartford and New Britain.

In the photo, that's Molly McKay, the transportation chair of the Connecticut Sierra Club, Rep. Frank Nicastro of Bristol and Rep. Bill Hamzy of Plymouth.

I wrote about it for Friday's edition of The Bristol Press (

Interestingly, there were people from the DOT at the press conference, taking notes. Afterward, even though I interviewed them and New Britain Rep. Tim O'Brien, who was also there listening, they held another press conference later in the day with New Britain's mayor, O'Brien and others touting the busway.

They didn't invite me to that one, so I don't know what they said. Reporter James Craven at the New Britain Herald wrote about it, though. You could probably see it in tomorrow's Herald or online at It might also run in the Press.

Guess Who Else Is From New Britain?

Mary Glassman came to town early Thursday to chat it up with chamber types over some coffee. She's a Democrat and is Simsbury's first selectman and hopes to win the party's nomination for governor.
A UConn grad who put herself through college and law school, Glassman focused on education, and noted that her kids are students at three prestigious schools: Yale, Tufts and soon, Johns Hopkins. She said none of her children or their friends has any interest in living in Connecticut, which she said is losing its best and brightest minds for lack of opportunity.
Along with education, Glassman cited regionalization of town services, affordable housing, transportation and fiscal discipline as important to Connecticut’s future.
As for the rail vs. busway issue, she said she's been a big proponent of rail going back to 1991. After some years of pushing and not getting the rail projet they wanted, she and others from the Capitol Region Council of Governments heard from the DOT that if they ever wanted any project to go forward, they better give up on rail and get on board the busway. The rail project they wanted at the time was a line from the Hartford-Springfield airport to downtown Hartford. It was a fascinating tale. She said she still would rather see rail than a busway and if elected, would move the funds if it is possible.

Another interesting moment this morning came right away, when Glassman, who is originally from New Britain, introduced herself and asked the small crowd at the chamber if anyone else hailed from her hometown.
Only former Mayor Bill Stortz raised his hand.
“Nobody usually admits that,” said Glassman.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Banish Cart Vendors, Pasqualicchio Says

The unofficial mayor of Forestville, Dave Pasqualicchio, jumped into the fight that's heating up over food vendors that sell out of vans and carts downtown, mostly across from City Hall.
Pasqualicchio, who co-owns Nuchie's banquet facility on Central Street in Forestville, says these temporary vendors don't pay property taxes and their fees aren't enough. They hurt permanent restaurants that provide jobs and pay property taxes, he said.
"They should be run out of town," said Pasqualicchio. I wrote about this for Thursday's edition of The Bristol Press. (

Mary Glassman Coffee Chat Thursday Morning

This just in: Mary Glassman, a Democrat who is running for governor, will be on Main Street in Bristol tomorrow morning.
She'll be at the Central Connecticut Chambers of Commerce at 8 a.m. Thursday for coffee and conversation.
She's the one in the red dress in the family photo at the left.
I don't know too much about her personally, other than that she used to be a reporter and she has a nice looking family and a dog, so she can't be all bad.
The chat is open to the public, but if you see this too late, check back because I'll do my best to deliver a full account.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

City Provides Free Shopping Cart Return

City public works crews are collecting shopping carts that people have taken off the property of a grocery or retail store and, free of charge, are returning them to the stores.
This isn't supposed to be the way it goes.
The city adopted an ordinance in 2008 that gives stores the responsibility to not only label all their carts with identifying information, but also to post signs that say it is illegal to take the carts off the premises.
On top of that, the stores are obligated to pay $50 to get a cart back if the city picks it up. That might seem like a lot, but these carts cost $250 each to begin with, according to city Building Official Guy Morin. So, it's kind of a bargain.
But the stores aren't paying and the city is doing all the work.
Walter Veselka, the diretor of public works, says the ordinance isn't working. He and Morin, who both serve on the blight-fighting code enforcement committee, are going to come up with some suggested revisions to the ordinance.
Stay tuned. It might get interesting.

Hospital Honors Volunteers

What's a volunteer worth?
A bunch to Bristol Hospital.
According to Patricia Fournier, the hospital's director of volunteers, the 400 people who donate their time to the hospital together give 36,000 hours each year -- adding up to a half a million dollar in savings for the hospital annually.
The hospital held a lunch at Nuchies on Tuesday to say thanks. About 50 volunteers were there, mostly seniors. I stopped by and wrote about it for Wednesday's edition of The Bristol Press (
The hospital isn't the only place in town where volunteers make a difference. Hardly any non-profit organization can survive without its dedicated volunteers. City Hall is also filled with volunteers who serve on city boards and commissions for no pay and sometimes lots of grief.
Thanks, volunteers, for all you do, and keep up the good work!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Earth Day is April 22

The biggest Earth Day event in Bristol is the annual walk through the Hoppers-Birge Pond Nature Preserve and this year is no different. If you're free on Sunday afternoon and it's not raining (rain cancels the event) head over to the Hoppers for a nice hike through the city's special preserve and check out the kettles formed during the last Ice Age. Bring the kids, bring your dog (on a leash!). It's a rigorous route, but Jean Letourneau, who leads the hike, will have some mercy if you ask him to slow down. This committee, made up of the same good people, has been doing this annual hike for more than 20 years -- 20 YEARS -- so they know what they're doing. You'll be in good hands.
Come Sunday night, you'll all have a wonderful night's rest.
This isn't a hike for pretty shoes, by the way. Wear something sturdy and get out there and enjoy one of the loveliest spots and views in town. The improvements are all finished there, and Patrica White, who co-chairs the city's Hoppers-Birge Pond Committee along with Letourneau, says it's pretty nice. The last time I was there, I was struck by the new sign but I don't think all the work was finished. I've taken this hike many times, and I can tell you it is an afternoon well spent.
I wrote about the hike and the improvements to the nature preserve for Tuesday's edition of The Bristol Press. Read the whole story at

Where A Cellphone Can Take Your Place in Line

Lake Compounce is the first American park to try new cellphone text messaging technology for people who hate to stand in line.
The nation's oldest amusement park is teaming up with Lo-Q, a British company, to offer Text2Ride, which will, for a fee, allow your cellphone to virtually stand in line for you.
I wrote about this for Tuesday's edition of The Bristol Press ( It seems like it might be worth it if you're especially fond of a particular ride and are there on a busy day.
The cost is going to be about $1 extra for each time your phone takes your place in line.
For some people, it's sure to be worth it. For others? Maybe not so much.

Boomer Stickin' Around

ESPN viewers, in case you've been holding your breath, you can relax. ESPN and Chris Berman inked a deal that keeps Berman on the air for ESPN for "years to come." ESPN's release is below, but no details on the number of years or what he's getting paid. On a personal note, I have spoken with Chris several times in my more than 16 years at the Press. He's always been approachable and pleasant and, most important to me, was gracious and kind to my students from Youth Journalism International whenever he met them over the years.

Chris Berman Signs Extension to Remain with ESPN Six-time National Sportscaster of the Year Chris Berman, who joined ESPN in October 1979 – less than a month after the network launched – has signed an extension to remain with ESPN.
One of the preeminent sports commentators of his generation, Berman will continue as the leading voice and face of ESPN’s National Football League studio coverage as host of Sunday NFL Countdown, Monday Night Countdown and Monday Night Football halftime, and NFL highlight segments on SportsCenter. He will also continue his play-by-play duties for the Major League Baseball Home Run Derby and his familiar host role for ESPN’s U.S. Open golf coverage, among other responsibilities.
Berman’s extension ensures that he will remain a fixture on ESPN’s NFL Sundays. His 25 years as host of Sunday NFL Countdown (formerly NFL Gameday) – which pre-dates ESPN’s first NFL television contract – is by far the longest streak ever among all weekly pro football studio show hosts. Berman is also a fan favorite for his signature calls on NFL highlights, for which he earned widespread acclaim as host of the classic NFL PrimeTime from 1987-2005.
"Chris has contributed so much to our company’s success in reaching sports fans for more than three decades, and we are thrilled that one of the most important figures in our history will remain a vital part of ESPN’s future,” said ESPN President George Bodenheimer.‪‪ Added ESPN Executive Vice President, Content John Skipper:‪‪ “Chris will continue to be the face and voice of ESPN, delivering sports news, expert storytelling and, of course, his signature highlights with the same passion, energy and enthusiasm that has resonated with fans since he first arrived in Bristol in 1979.”
Said Berman: “Home is where the heart is, and I am thrilled to be staying home at ESPN for years to come. It’s been a privilege to work alongside my colleagues and an honor to be welcomed into the homes of sports fans for over 30 years. In fact, since this all began in 1979, that means we’ve been together for parts of five decades. I can’t wait to continue the journey.”
This week Berman will also occupy his familiar host position on ESPN’s main set at the 2010 NFL Draft – Thursday, April 22 (7:30-11 p.m. ET) and Friday, April 23 (6-10:30 p.m., ESPN/ESPN2). Berman has covered the Draft for 30 years and hosted ESPN’s annual telecast since 1987.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Daring Duo of Zoning Stepping Down

Frank Johnson and John Lodovico, who together have served nearly 50 years on the Bristol Zoning Commission, are stepping down from the board after their terms end in June.
Each of them has plenty of other volunteer commitments in the community, from serving Bristol Hospital to the Tunxis Community College Foundation and more.
They've made some people mad along the way, but if they hadn't, well, they wouldn't have been doing their unpaid jobs for the city. It's kind of like my job that way.
I know both of these men pretty well and while I haven't always agreed with the decisions they've made (but most of the time they seem right to me) I have never believed they had any interest other than that of their community at heart.
Let me put it another way: they have Bristol's long term good in heart and mind when they make decisions. The town ought to say thanks to John and Frank for their diligence.
They've taken the time to learn about land use and have spent countless hours at meetings that have gone into the wee hours. They've gone out on their own to look at properties and the sites of proposed projects, checking out claims of developers and opponents for themselves.
They helped rewrite the zoning regulations, and for that alone, any volunteer ought to get a medal.
I wrote a story that ran in today's edition of The Bristol Press about their long tenure on the zoning board. Check it out at
And thanks, guys. You've made zoning meetings more interesting (and that's a tall order, too) for me for the last 16+ years. It won't be the same when you're gone.

Friday, April 16, 2010

A New Civil War Monument

These guys pictured above were Bristol's last four surviving Civil War veterans, according to my friend Tom LaPorte, who spends enough time in the Bristol Room at the main library to know such things.
Tom tells me the photo was taken on May 30, 1926 in front of the West Cemetery Civil War monument. From left to right are: George H. Bates, George B. Chapin, Walter H. Hutchinson, and Edward H. Allen.
I talked with Tom and other members of a special committee earlier this week about plans to raise money for a new Civil War memorial, to be placed on the Boulevard and dedicated Memoria Day, 2011.
This dedicated committee, led by Peter Imperator, is starting to raise money for the monument. They told me the beautiful brownstone monument pictured above, and dedicated in 1866, less than a year after the end of the Civil War, is in danger. The stone rots from the inside out, they said, and the crumbling of the memorial is not a matter of if, but when.
They figure they need about $15,000 for a nice monument, with a brass plate for the names, which are eroding from the brownstone. If you can spare a donation, it's a noble idea.
I wrote a story about it for The Bristol Press and think it might be running in Saturday's edition. (

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

ESPN Combines Soweto Gospel Choir and U2

This is just in from my pals at ESPN. I'll likely write something about it, but you saw it here first, folks. It's very hot news for any fan of U2:

ESPN Launches 2010 FIFA World Cup “One Game Changes Everything”

Network’s presentation to include U2 and Soweto Gospel Choir

ESPN’s unprecedented coverage of the 2010 FIFA World Cup will include U2 and South Africa’s own Soweto Gospel Choir. These Grammy Award-winning groups will be featured in a series of spots which will be woven into the network’s comprehensive coverage of this month-long event.

Commencing June 11, the network’s coverage will use specially recorded music by Soweto Gospel Choir recorded and filmed in South Africa, with music and live concert footage from U2’s record breaking concert at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., in October 2009. This collaboration will appear in every program throughout ESPN’s presentation of the 2010 FIFA World Cup including soccer highlights, match and studio coverage.

“ESPN is thrilled to bring U2 and Soweto Gospel Choir together to tell our FIFA World Cup stories,” said Seth Ader, ESPN senior director, sports marketing.

“This inspiring creative project with U2 and Soweto Gospel Choir will provide a distinctive, original voice to our coverage of the first FIFA World Cup to take place on the African continent,” said Jed Drake, ESPN’s executive producer, 2010 FIFA World Cup. “By integrating this content throughout both our production and marketing efforts, we will more fully engage fans and enrich their experience of this great event.”

An initial series of four TV spots, set to the music of U2, will run April through June, and underscore the historic importance of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The first of the four, Robben Island, began airing April 7 across ESPN’s networks.

    Robben Island communicates the historic nature and importance of the FIFA World Cup in South Africa, through the prism of soccer. This spot was filmed on location at Robben Island off the coast of Cape Town, South Africa. It is the site where eventual South African President Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for decades, alongside other political prisoners, during the country’s apartheid era. (Set to U2’s “Where the Streets Have No Name” with Soweto Gospel Choir).

    UNITED conveys the passion for the FIFA World Cup that unites disparate cultures (set to U2’s “Magnificent”).

    The Power of 10 celebrates the honor and burden that comes with wearing the most sacred jersey number in soccer (set to U2’s “Out of Control”).

    Passion captures the excitement that the FIFA World Cup invokes—highlighting the documented “baby boom” that occurred nine months after Germany hosted the 2006 event (set to U2’s “Desire”).

* These additional spots will roll out from now throughout the days leading up to the first kick. To learn more about the campaign

ESPN Inc.’s 2010 FIFA World Cup Coverage in the United States

South Africa 2010 will be ESPN’s seventh FIFA World Cup and coverage of the event promises to be the most comprehensive in company history. ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC will air all 64 matches live and in high definition., ESPN’s signature broadband network available in 41 million homes, will feature live English-language simulcasts of matches on ESPN and ESPN2. ESPN Mobile TV will show 46 matches. ESPN Deportes, the Spanish-language all sports network, will air up to 40 matches in Portuguese live in the U.S., and ESPN Radio will broadcast all 64 matches.

Additionally, ESPN will present 2010 FIFA World Cup television studio programming from site in South Africa, offering U.S. sports fans the most comprehensive news and information coverage throughout the month-long soccer showcase. Studio coverage of the quadrennial global event will includeSportsCenter segments, a nightly World Cup Live program, and prematch, halftime and postmatch shows, with additional studio programming and World Cup-branded segments, totaling more than 65 hours of coverage, originating from two sets in and around Johannesburg.

ESPN Coverage of Past FIFA World Cup Events:

Germany 2006 – All 64 matches live and in high definition

Korea/Japan 2002 – 58 ESPN and ESPN2 matches live (6 tape-delayed broadcasts on ABC)

France 1998 – All 64 matches live on ESPN (27), ESPN2 (23) and ABC Sports (14)

USA 1994 – All 52 matches – ESPN (41) and ABC (11)

Mexico 1986 – 15 matches on ESPN (U.S. cable television rights)

Spain 1982 – 7 matches on ESPN

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Racing In The Street

Turns out there will be a soap box derby on Main Street this summer after all. Get set for the races on Sunday, June 13, the 225th anniversary of the founding of Bristol.
It had appeared that the Main Street streetscape project would collide with the plans for the races, but -- I know you'll be shocked to learn this, shocked -- the state approval for the streetscape project isn't in yet and that's why the city can't move forward.
It's the state's money, so I guess they can reserve the right to give the project the thumbs up or not, and in this case, it works out nicely for the Bristol Historical Society, which is leading the charge to celebrate the city's 225th anniversary. So the race gets a green light and the project will start a little later in June.
I wrote about it for Wednesday's edition of The Bristol Press (
If anyone out there in blogville is a former soap box derby racer who wants to reminisce, let me know! Email me at

Monday, April 12, 2010

Hospital Back on Its Feet

I just got back from a visit to Bristol Hospital to find out what was happening after we heard it was temporarily closed due to an emergency.
The bottom line is the hospital is pretty much back to normal after a broken gasket on a steam pipe left it without heat, hot water or steam.
Most patients probably never noticed a thing. The emergency room never closed. No one was hurt or evacuated.
Elective surgeries for today, Monday, and tomorrow, Tuesday, were rescheduled, and the gasket and pipe situation is being fixed.

Emergency! Bristol Hospital Temporarily Closed

I just heard from the mayor's office that Bristol Hospital is closed... no steam, no heat, no water. I'll be trying to find out what I can asap.
The emergency room is closed, for now.
If you know anything, please call me right away at 860-523-9632.

More Little League on ESPN

Here's the latest news on ESPN and its Little League coverage, for those who might be interested:

ESPN to Expand Coverage of Little League Baseball Regional Tournaments
ESPN will add 14 regional semifinal games to its schedule of Little League Baseball Tournaments, beginning this summer. Last year, ESPN televised eight Little League Baseball regional tournament games – the championships of the eight regions. Collectively, ESPN, ESPN2 and will present 22 regional games and up to 56 total games of the Little League Baseball International Tournament.
“We’re delighted to grow our coverage of the Little League regional semis,” said Len DeLuca, ESPN senior vice president, programming and acquisitions. “The Little League World Series merits more national attention as one of the leading sports events in the dog days of summer. We can capture more stories from expanding our coverage of the eight regions in the United States.”
Stephen Keener, president and chief executive officer of Little League Baseball and Softball, said: “We are pleased ESPN has decided to expand its coverage of the Little League Baseball International Tournament. I think this shows ESPN believes the core values of Little League Baseball and Softball are meaningful to its viewers. There also is an increasing fan interest in tournament play in all eight divisions of Little League tournament play. We are thankful to have ESPN as a media partner to help us promote the benefits of the Little League experience.”
Beginning August 10, ESPN will add the Southwest Region semifinals from Waco, Texas; the two semifinals from the Mid-Atlantic Region in Bristol, Conn.; semifinal games in the Great Lakes and Midwest Regions held in Indianapolis; semifinal games in the Northwest and West Regions in San Bernardino, Calif.; and Southeast Region semifinals in Warner Robins, Ga.
Overall, ESPN2 will televise 12 of the regional semifinal games, which will also be available via Two of the regional semifinals will appear exclusively on All games will be carried live.
The entire schedule of Little League Baseball and Softball International Tournament games will be made available in June.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Just Another Day at ESPN

I'm back from another pleasant visit to ESPN. This time, I toured their newest and largest (and greenest) building -- very cool. Then they upstaged their own story, which included a visit by Gov. Jodi Rell, by holding an irresistable event.
They invited several Bristol girls who play high school basketball onto the campus as part of a celebration of the WNBA draft. Top WNBA draft picks were on hand to share their thoughts with the high school girls, who were thrilled to hear what they had to say and really excited to be inside ESPN.
I talked to almost all of the Bristol girls and none of them had set foot inside ESPN, ever.
Hats off to ESPN for opening that door for those hometown girls and offering support for women's basketball over the years.
The future WNBA stars impressed me as thoughtful, appreciative and quite generous in what they shared with the Bristol girls. I walked away impressed with every one of them.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Clock Museum Offers Clock ID

On Saturday, the clock museum will take a peek at your American made timepiece and give you some information about it, for a small fee. Here's what the museum sent about it:

The American Clock & Watch Museum, 100 Maple Street, Bristol, CT, has announced the date for its upcoming clock identification. The clock identification will be held on Saturday, April 10th from 10-12. Patrons will be guided by our staff to discover information about one special American-made clock. A fee of $10.00 will be charged for one clock evaluation. Additional clocks, up to a maximum of three, will be evaluated for a fee of $5 per clock. For more information about this event, contact the museum (860-583-6070) or consult the website

Fuzzy Face at City Hall

What's daring for Democratic Registrar Bob Badal?
Facial hair.
Bob, who is one of my favorite people at City Hall, has grown a face full of hair, a big, fuzzy, salt and pepper beard.
For the typically cleanshaven Bob, it's pretty much a walk on the wild side.
Bearded or shaved, he's still a friendly guy who's willing to help anyone who needs it.
Maybe someone at City Hall can grab a photo and send it to me and I'll post it.

This Is Only a Test

Today I went to listen to emergency responders plan for a drill in June. The drill will be a fake car bomb at the Firestone plant on Chippens Hill and is designed to find out how Bristol Hospital, neighboring hospitals, EMTs and others work together in this type of crisis.
Laura Nagle, who is in charge of emergency planning at Bristol Hospital, ran the meeting. It will be her drill. If I was planning for an emergency, I'd want Laura on my side. She knows her stuff.
I wrote about the plans for the drill for Wednesday's edition of The Bristol Press ( so maybe you can check it out there.

Hope on Main Street

Today I popped in on my old pal, Mark Policki, who owns Bristol Cleaners and Custom
Tailors on Main Street, a few doors down from our new office at the Press.
Regular readers may remember Policki's plight - that he was having such a tough go of it in the lousy economy that he gave up the apartment he'd had for many years and moved in with family to keep expenses down and hang on to the shop.
Mark's usually smiling, so I wasn't surprised to see him grinning today, but he told me business was up a little bit. He said he had hope.
I was mighty happy to hear that. He's still there, has some new customers and figures things will improve a lot when the former mall site across the street is developed. He's guessing that will be about five years from now.
So if you have dry cleaning, bring it over to Mark. He'll learn your name and you'll feel welcome there. And we'll keep one more Main Street business from falling victim to the woes of downtown and the recession.
Those doors between my office and Mark's shop? Vacant.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Busway Banter

Mike Nicastro at the Central Connecticut Chambers of Commerce has an interesting post about the New Britain/Hartford busway on the chamber's blog late Monday. You can see it at:

I still find the busway price tag of nearly $600 million -- that's more than half a billion of our clams, folks -- simply staggering for nine miles of road. That's the same price the state was talking about spending for an entire replacement hospital for the UConn Health Center in Farmington before a bunch of people got upset around here and put the kibosh on it before it killed community hospitals like Bristol Hospital.

Remember that fight?

Contract Talks With Renaissance Continue

Negotiators for the city and Renaissance Downtowns are still working to hammer out their agreement so work can begin on the former mall property. Let's hope things come together for the good of Bristol. I wrote about this for Tuesday's Press (

Sign of The Times? Nope. Sign of The Press

Guess who's getting a new sign for our new digs at 188 Main St.? Yup, The Bristol Press.
Guess who's paying for it?
Give up?
And me.
Taxpayers, all of us.
The Bristol Development Authority approved spruce-up grants to the Press for almost $5,000 to cover 80 percent of the cost of the new sign and another grant for $73,000 to Tom Zipp, the landlord at the new Press building, for more improvements.
New tenants at the former Jake's restaurant who plan to open a new eatery are getting more than $60,000 to fix that building.
The fix-up cash is for downtown buildings only and it comes from money the state gave the city for downtown. There isn't much left, and time is running out to apply.
Read my story, which will probably be in Tuesday's edition of The Bristol Press (, for more info.

Youth Vernacular

I recently took the time to visit the Bristol Historical Society and look at artist Joe Keo's show, Youth Vernacular. Wow. It's really good!
I like all kinds of art, but sometimes I am really puzzled by some contemporary work. Joe's work appears simple from looking at it, but it's really quite deep. I was lucky to be there when Joe was there and he gave a little artist tour of the work. His explanations made the work make sense to me and I thought it was great. I'm not sure I would have had the same level of appreciation if I didn't have the benefit of hearing him talk about it.

I'm going to go back to read the little cards on the walls that he wrote for each work. I didn't have the time to do that then, and after all, I had the real deal giving me the explanation, so maybe they would help quite a bit.

A lot of his show is quite clever and all of it involves playing with words, except for the portraits of Joe's beautiful family. Those are just portrait paintings, and they're well done.
Joe was born and raised in Bristol and still lives here. He's a graduate of Bristol Eastern High School and the University of Hartford art school, where he earned top honors in sculpture. He's a smart, talented and funny guy. He's also a very nice young man. The photo is from his first year at art school.

The historical society is worth your support, too, by the way, and the Young Artist series there is really terrific. I hope you take the time to check it out.

The Bristol Historical Society Museum, at 98 Summer St., is open from 10-2 on Wednesdays and noon to 4 on Saturdays. It's free, but give them a few bucks to keep the lights on, never mind keep up the building. It's the only historical society Bristol has, so give a hand if you can.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Blog Boredom

Hey readers,
Bristol Blogging King Steve Collins says the chamber's new blog is boring.
I didn't even mention the chamber's blog to all of you because I'm bored with blogging.
I don't like the kind of comments Steve gets on his blog (some are intelligent, but... well, if you read them, you'll know what I mean), so I'm not exactly jealous, but then, without hardly any comments at all on Extra B.S., it's hard to believe that anyone is reading. At least Steve knows he has readers, sort of.
I run out of steam because this blogging stuff feels like a lot of Extra B.S. to me when there's no response from the blogosphere.
Steve said the chamber's blog is boring because it hadn't been updated in a week. Extra B.S. is worse -- no posts since March 23 -- but maybe Steve has more compassion for me, given that he knows how hard concentration has been in recent weeks with my stuffy head, or maybe he wrote off Extra B.S. a long time ago.
I'll give it another go, though. I'm not quitting.