Friday, July 30, 2010

Larson: Club "Richly Deserved" Federal Help

U.S. Rep. John Larson
The Bristol Boys and Girls Club "richly deserves" the $1 million in federal aid that Congressman John Larson secured in a housing and transportation appropriations bill Friday, he said.
"They do great work," Larson said.
The East Hartford Democrat pushed for funding for the club, which aims to build a new facility in downtown Bristol in 2013.
Michael Suchopar, who leads the club, said he was honored that Larson chose their project to get behind. He said it's like Larson signed on to the club's "back a kid" fundraiser in a big way.
Suchopar also praised Larson's staff for their diligence. They followed through every time, he said, and once they were on board, didn't let up.
Larson deferred credit to the club. He said the competition for the money is tough and that projects are scrutinized before they get approved.
"We're certainly happy to push it," said Larson, saying the club is "a much needed and well used facility."
Before the club can get the cash, the bill still has to be approved by the U.S. Senate and signed into law by President Obama.

What Wheezy Windbag May Appear at the Croc

I'm not sure why the story I wrote yesterday for The Bristol Press about Ray Dunaway hosting this year's Crococile Club didn't make it into today's paper.
I think it's pretty interesting news.
It's not on the Press website yet, either, and I'm not supposed to reproduce stories on the blog, so I'll just give you a little bit of it.
Ray Dunaway plays the accordian. He might, and I say MIGHT, mind you, bring his up out of the basement, dust it off and bring it to Lake Compounce for the big event.
That would be sooo cool!
There are places an accordian really fits in, and the Crocodile Club is one of them.
I hope this year's Crocodile Club president (that's you, Ray!) brings his squeezebox to the Starlite Ballroom and favors us all with a tune.
In case you didn't hear, the revived club will meet again this year on Tuesday, Aug. 31. It's a benefit for the New England Carousel Museum and tickets are $50, available through the museum.

Larson Bringing Home $1 Million for Bristol Boys and Girls Club

Tucked in a federal transportation and housing bill passed last night is $1 million for the Bristol Boys and Girls Club's new building.
The club has veteran Congressman John Larson, an East Hartford Democrat who represents Bristol, to thank for that.
Now headquartered in a rundown building on Laurel Street, the club has plans to move to a brand new facility on West Street and is in the middle of raising funds for the project. ESPN already kicked in a sizeable chunk to help buy the land.
Looks like the club, which serves a lot of Bristol kids, many of them from poor families, has some pretty valuable support. That's gratifying to see.
I'll be working on a story about this today for The Bristol Press.

Jonas Brothers vs. ESPN Ticket Info

In case you're interested but still didn't know: tickets to see the Jonas Brothers play softball against ESPN commentators are free. They're available at the Rock Cats stadium box office in New Britain. There's a limit of six and there are about 6,000 available. I have no idea how many they gave out on the first day, which was Thursday, but if you want them, I suggest you make a beeline for the beehive.
While the tickets are free, if you are going and you can, make a donation. The money goes to the Connecticut Children's Medical Center, and as I understand it, it's designated for caring for patients with cancer and blood disorders -- a pretty worthy cause.
This straight from ESPN: the box office is at 230 John Karbonic Way, New Britain. You can also call (860) 224-8383. Additional event information is available at and

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Ray Dunaway is Top Crocodilian

WTIC's morning host, Ray Dunaway, will be the emcee for this year's Crocodile Club on August 31 at Lake Compounce. The Crocodile Club, which is being revived by the New England Carousel Museum as a fundraiser for the museum, is the nation's oldest eating club. The museum is lucky to get Ray, a well-known talk show host with a good following. He's also a fan of the Crocodile Club, having attended for many years before the late Stretch Norton ended the tradition in 2003 with the sad announcement that he could no longer handle the workload of pulling off the party for hundreds.
So Ray knows the history of the event, which helps a lot. He sounded happy and excited about doing it when I talked with him today. He wants it to be a success and so do I.

The Crocodile Club dinner used to be the place to be each summer, drawing politicians of all stripes from all over the state and sometimes beyond. It was a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to its revival.
I wrote about the selection of Ray for Friday's edition of The Bristol Press, so you can see the whole story at

Jonas Brothers vs. ESPN

The Jonas Brothers, the Walt Disney boy band shown above, are coming to the Rock Cats stadium in New Britain for a face-off softball game against ESPN.
The game is set for noon on August 13 and tickets are free, said Rosa Gatti, who heads corporate outreach for ESPN.
She said the hope is that people will give donations to the Connecticut Children's Medical Center.
The Jonas Brothers apparently love to play softball and have a team called the Road Dogs, said Gatti. She said they appeared on an ESPN fantasy podcast and when they talked about the Road Dogs, they were challenged to a softball game by ESPN's team, which is called the Goats.
This is definitely going to be something to see.
I will update more on Extra B.S. when I learn how to get tickets and all that. I'll also be writing a story about this today for The Bristol Press, so it should be in Friday's paper.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Count: 31 Unsheltered Homeless in Bristol

Searchers that went out early this morning found some homeless people and even more evidence that they're sleeping and living outdoors in the Mum City.
The final tally was 31, which is an educated guess, based on the people they spoke with and the stuff they saw -- tents, bins of belongings, even a doghouse. They found that people were living in Rockwell Park, on the railroad tracks, in the woods, in cars and more.
Marge Rivera, a caseworker at The Salvation Army who helped organize the count, guessed they'd find 13-15 people by looking in all the usual places. She said she was a little surprised to find twice that many. She said they were able to interview eight people. That's a lot compared to the three or four people they spoke with over the winter count in 2009.
The local effort searches typical places where homeless people are known to stay. The statewide point in time count, which tries to count all the unsheltered homeless in a single couple of hours, uses a formula that to me, doesn't make much sense, at least in Bristol.
Anyway, that's not what happened today. They looked in all the usual places and found more than they expected.
For the record, the 31 were men and women, no children. At least one veteran. Ages 20 to mid-50s. Three of them will be in the Bristol Emergency Shelter this evening. Others wanted no part of the place.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Gina Newman is the New Zoning Czar

Gina Newman, a Bristol hairdresser and salon manager, is the new chairman of the Bristol Zoning Commission. She's 39, a graduate of St. Paul Catholic High School and a hairdressing academy. She's been on city land use boards as a commissioner or alternate for the better part of a decade and is really excited about taking the reins.
She's taking the job vacated by Frank Johnson, who gave it 20 years before he came to his senses. I hear he's no longer dwelling on dwelling units or muttering phrases like "you need to get a special permit" in his sleep.

Searching for Bristol's Homeless At the Crack of Dawn

A dedicated bunch of people are getting up early Wednesday and going out searching for people who live on the streets, in the parks, behind the shopping centers and other places homeless people sleep in Bristol.
Marge Rivera, a Salvation Army caseworker who is helping to lead the count, expects to find 13-15 people on the streets.
They're going out from 5-7 a.m., which is even earlier than most chamber of commerce functions.
Unlike the statewide "point in time" count typically done on a cold winter night, this is a local count only, and one done in the early morning, in warm weather.
Besides places where they think people might be sleeping, including under the bridge by Tinty's, inside Rockwell Park and behind several Bristol grocery stores, they'll also be scoping out the coffee and donut places like Dunkin' Donuts and McDonald's to see if they can find anyone there.
I wrote a story about this for Wednesday's edition of The Bristol Press ( and plan to follow up with another story after the count to let you all know what they learned.

Best Wishes to Jennifer Janelle

Jennifer Janelle, a board member of the Bristol Downtown Development Corp., an environmental attorney and a devotedBristol mother of two, was married over the weekend to her beau Don Arasimowicz.

He was her high school sweetheart (collective "awwww....)
I found out about it from looking at my husband Steve Collin's facebook page. He's facebook friends with Jennifer and that's why I got to see the happy couple posing for the photographer. She was looking stunning and he was looking ... right at her, of course!

I am not on facebook and wouldn't post her photo here if I was, unless she said it was okay.

“He and I dated in high school and after painful divorces, ended up back together” about two years ago, she told me in February for a profile I wrote of her published back then in The Bristol Press. “We’re happy. Things are good.”

It seems that things are even better now.
Congratulations, best wishes and a rose to the happy couple.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Gearing Up For Rockwell and Ride

Last week, I wrote a story for The Bristol Press about the Rockwell and Ride biking fundraiser for the city's homeless shelters.
The second annual Rockwell & Ride event is set for Sunday, August 29, starting at Rockwell Park.

Phil Lysiak, the executive director of the St. Vincent DePaul Mission of Bristol, said the money raised from the ride will help support the programs at the 25-bed Bristol Emergency Shelter; The Elms, a 13-bed long-term transitional shelter for single men and a 10-unit transitional living center for women with children.
He said fundraisers and donations must make up about 20 percent of the organization’s $1 million annual operating budget.
Last year, 200 riders netted about $8,500 for St. Vincent DePaul. This time, they want to double the ridership with an even better event, hoping to raise $15,000.
This year there will be a post-ride lunch and a DJ playing music and a new road bike raffled off.
Riders will choose from a 25-mile ride, a 50-mile ride and a 75-mile ride that stretches far into Litchfield County near People’s State Forest, said Lysiak. The event isn’t designed to be a competition, but rather a way for people to get out, meet people, have fun and raise money for the shelters.
A “sag wagon” will travel each route to pick up anyone who's too pooped to pedal anymore, or has a busted bike.
Registration has started and can be done online at or Entry fees are $30 for ages 16 and older and $15 for ages six through 15.
The story is on the Press website under "business." (

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Trapped In a Frightened Crowd With No Escape

One of my fine students at Youth Journalism International (, Katie Grosser, who lives in Germany, jumped on the story about the tragic death of 19 young people at the Love Parade music festival in her country this weekend.

On deadline, she interviewed two other Germans who were at the festival, translated their words into English and wrote a compelling news story for the world to see. It's online now at, so check it out.

A new issue of The Tattoo, an independent international teen newspaper that is separate from but very supportive of the 501(c)(3) educational non-profit, Youth Journalism International, showcases Katie Grosser's work and more. It's not completely finished, but it will be on Monday. Don't miss it.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

ESPN Baby Helps With Daycare Groundbreaking

Is this cute or what? Ani, Harper and Steve Levy all helped with the groundbreaking for ESPN's new childcare center on Thursday.
The massive new center, which will open in about a year, is under construction now on Enterprise Drive in 229 Industrial Park.
Steve Levy is an anchor on SportsCenter and Ani, his wife, is an attorney in the healthcare industry. Their sweet baby girl, Harper, is only two months old.
The groundbreaking drew all the big names -- Steve Levy and ESPN President George Bodenheimer being among them -- but little Harper, who never uttered a word, stole the whole show. She was more fun than the kiddie music or the fruit kabobs, that's for sure. She even upstaged Mayor Art Ward, and well, that's saying something.
So who put the baby in the hard hat? That was the brainstorm of ESPN public relations man Josh Krulewitz. It kind of looks to me like she's rapidly outgrowing it.
I wrote about this for Friday's edition of The Bristol Press so more details should be there, at

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

YJI Delivers on Acadia, Bastille Day and Brisbane

Another stellar package from my students at Youth Journalism International is online now at, an independent, online teen newspaper that wholeheartedly supports YJI.
This time, it's a travel issue, with photos from Bastille Day in Paris from Caroline Nelissen of the Netherlands that are really something and a hometown article about Brisbane, Australia from a local girl, Nancy Hsu, with some photos showing life in that city Down Under. Finally, there's a lot of photos and an article about Acadia, where the Obamas went on vacation last weekend. That one was penned by my son Kiernan. Photos are by him and my daughter, Mary. Apparently wherever my family goes for a getaway becomes so cool that the First Family also wants to check it out the following weekend.
Incidently, my husband Steve Collins and I have been working with young reporters since 1994, long before we had kids. Now that our children are adolescents and taller than we are, to say we've been doing this work since before they were born kind of makes my head spin.
Of course, watching our former students graduate, marry and have children of their own has the same effect.
Check out for more information on YJI. If you're on facebook, please become a fan of YJI and then you can read all the clever things Steve posts!

Civil War Monument Fund Growing

The ad-hoc Civil War Monument Committee is still working to raise money to put up a new Civil War monument on Memorial Boulevard. Today I spoke with Tom LaPorte and Peter Imperator, two guys who are dedicating a lot of time to this cause.
They told me that while they still need more donations to complete the project, that things are going really well. Both of them said they're impressed with the generosity of the people of Bristol.
It looks like they might be able to get an even more impressive monument than they'd hoped when they started this effort. They hope to find some donors who can give labor or materials to landscape the area around the monument and maybe put in brick, stone or cement around it.
There is already a Civil War monument in Bristol, in West Cemetery, but committee members say its days are numbered because it is so old and made of brownstone. In any case, the names on the stone are fading and they feel it is important to keep those for all to see.
Look for committee members at the Mum Festival and hand them a few bucks if you can.
I wrote about this in a story for Thursday's edition of The Bristol Press, so look for it at if you want to read more.

For My Readers and Friends, the Lurkers

Okay, so I get that you aren't commenting on the posts in Extra B.S. Most of the time, I don't even sulk about it. I do know that there are more readers of Extra B.S. than I realize, because every now and then someone tells me they read it and I think, "Really?"
So as a service to my beloved readers (you), I have added a new feature. You can click on a button below a post to indicate that you find the content funny, interesting, cool or deathly boring. I can change those choices, but it's a start.
I don't think you have to register or reveal your secret identity in any way, so hopefully this is a way for me to get some feedback and you to participate while safely continuing to lurk in privacy.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Filmmaker Documents a Bristol Stop on Route 6

While I've always tried to get my kicks on Route 66, Route 6 has some nice views, too.
The coast-to-coast interstate highway is the second longest in the nation. The longest one is Route 20.
I learned all this from Rachel Carey, a filmmaker with plenty of credentials (Yale and NYU for starters) who is making a documentary about Route 6.
Maybe she just wants an excuse to make a cool road trip, but what the heck. She's going to show us all some sights and sounds along the way.
One of them will be the tick, tock, tick, tock at the American Clock and Watch Museum, one of my favorite spots in Bristol. I bet after she finishes her documentary, this charming little clock museum might become more popular than ESPN.
ESPN, incidently, while not exactly camera shy, is not even close to Route 6 and so they lost out on this one. I hope they can cope with defeat. They're really not used to it.
The filmmaker promised to send me the trailer for the movie when she gets that far along in the project. When I get it, I promise to share. She's being supported, at least morally, if not financially, by the non-profit Route 6 Tourist Association. That's their logo at the top of this post. The clock is, of course, on Maple Avenue in front of the museum. It's also on the museum's website,
Carey was filming today in the clock museum, interviewing Don Muller, the executive director, who was definitely looking his best for the camera. If he ever gets tired of the museum, he might consider going on camera for ESPN, since he can lord it over them that he's in the Route 6 documentary and they're not. The Mark Twain House in Hartford (another awesome Connecticut jewel) also made the director's cut.
This might be a good time to suggest that if you haven't ever visited the clock museum, don't wait to be lured by the Route 6 documentary. Go now. Same deal for the Twain house.
I wrote about all this, of course, for The Bristol Press. I think it might be in Wednesday's paper, but I don't really know. The story has more details about the film and the highway, but none of the 'tude here. When they use it, you can see it at

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Moonshine at Indian Rock

This is Moonshine, a lovely mustang.
These less-than-awesome photos show her in the new barn at Indian Rock nature preserve. They don't do her justice, of course. She's very pretty, and she's kinda nice. I met her today. She let me say hello and only sort of tried to eat my notebook.
She's the new horse at the preserve and is proudly owned by Lola Boss, the daughter of director Jon Guglietta. He bought the horse for her as a birthday present (wow, thanks, Dad!) and they're using at the Environmental Learning Centers to teach kids about farm animals and driving a horse pulling a wagon.
Lola, who has been helping run the Environmental Learning Centers for quite some time now, is Moonshine's primary trainer.
Moonshine, who is four and arrived in town last fall, isn't any ordinary horse.
First of all, she's a mustang, which isn't that common in Connecticut.
She hails from Nevada and is one of those round-up horses that the government collects and sells at auction. A brand on her neck shows that. A UConn student bought her in 2007 and started the training process and now she's got a happy home in Bristol.
She's living off the largess of the community -- in a barn built with materials donated by the Roberts Foundation, built by Team ESPN. She wears tack provided by a fund at the Main Street Community Foundation.
In return, she's a good natured, smart horse who will no doubt offer a lot of children a rare chance to get to know her and learn about horses.
By the way, she's barefoot, since mustangs have strong legs and hooves and have no need of horseshoes.
I wrote about Moonshine and her escapades for Friday's edition of The Bristol Press, so hopefully you can see the story at

Pastor at Church St. Matthew Dies in Bermuda

The Rev. Brian Monnerat, pastor of the Church of St. Matthew, died last night in Bermuda, church members told me. He was on a cruise with family and friends.
Parishioners described a dedicated priest and overall great guy who loved people and the church.
My heart goes out to everyone at St. Matthew. It isn't the first time the parish has lost a young pastor before his time.
Last month, the congregation marked the 11th anniversary of the brutal killing of the Rev. Robert Lysz in the church sanctuary by Michael Ouellette, a mentally troubled man.
Fr. Monnerat was the pastor named to take Fr. Lysz' place after his death in 1999.
I'm working on a story for tomorrow's edition of The Bristol Press about Fr. Monnerat.
My sympathies to St. Matthew's staff and congregation.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Croc Is Back!

Yesterday I wrote a story for today's edition of The Bristol Press about how the New England Carousel Museum is bringing back the wonderful tradition of the Crocodile Club to Lake Compounce.
The "club meetings" were one of the most interesting, fun and charming events I discovered after moving to Connecticut in 1993 to work for the Press. I loved going to the Crocodile Club and attended every year. I even went while on maternity leave, bringing my infant son. I think he should be on record in Stretch Norton's book as the youngest Crocodilian!
Anyway, it's a great tradition. I will miss the late, great Stretch Norton, because he and the club were interchangeable in my mind. But Stretch had a lot of support to pull off the party every year, so I've no doubt some of them will lend a hand to make it happen this year. It's hard to imagine it going on without him, but then again, it's a very cool legacy for Stretch to have. I'm sure the museum will do everything it can to make sure his presence is felt.
The photo above is an old one of the Casino at Lake Compounce, where the Crocodile Club always meets. Jerry Brick, the general manager of the park, is donating the Starlite Ballroom and furnishings and Dave and Mike Pasqualicchio at Nuchie's are handling the traditional meal of barbecued lamb, potatoes, sweet potatoes, sliced tomatoes, watermelon and a beer.
Louise DeMars at the museum tells me that Tom Barnes has the secret corn recipe (how did he get that???) and that Jack Driscoll is in charge of cigars, so it seems they're on track for a wonderful time.
So mark your calendars for August 31. Tickets are $50 and are available from the museum, or on its website:

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Rain Postpones Reunion Jazz Band Concert

The concert in Brackett Park set for tonight -- a performance by the Bristol Reunion Jazz Band -- is postponed because of the rain.
The band, playing jazz and swing favorites, will instead take the stage on Thursday at 7 p.m. in Brackett Park.
This band never disappoints, so get there early and bring a lawn chair!

Monday, July 12, 2010

For Peace of Mind, ESPN Wants a Piece of Road

ESPN is asking the city for a portion of Ronzo Road. It's the part that starts after the Locknetics driveway and runs only to ESPN buildings and parking lots.
The company owns the land on both sides of the road and wants the piece of public road to improve employee safety and security on its sprawling campus.
ESPN first raised the issue with Mayor Art Ward in early June, Mike Soltys, an ESPN executive told me.
City councilors will consider the request at their meeting Tuesday night.
The diagram at the top of this post is part of the paperwork ESPN filed with the city in hopes of getting the piece of the road.
I wrote about this for Tuesday's edition of The Bristol Press, so if you want more info, check it out at

Thursday, July 8, 2010

More New Jobs at ESPN's Bristol Headquarters

ESPN is moving its publication ESPN The Magazine to Bristol, the company said today.
The move will take place next year, according to ESPN Vice President Mike Soltys.
That's means 125 jobs moving to the Mum City. It's likely that there will be openings for at least some of them.
That's excellent news for Bristol and for Connecticut.
I didn't write about this today for The Bristol Press. I'm off for a couple of days and I have to draw the line somewhere. But for my loyal Extra B.S. readers, well, I had to offer a little bit.
I'll be sure to return to the story when I'm back at work next week.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Really? Seth Meyers? Really!

Seth Meyers, probably my favorite TV journalist since we lost Uncle Walter, is hosting the ESPY awards next week.
Meyers, host of Saturday Night Live's "Weekend Update," and a key writer for SNL, is shown in this recent ESPN photo checking out the sports media giant's 3D programming.
Today I had a chance to chat ever so briefly with Meyers, who completely turned on the charm when he learned I worked at the Press.
I asked if he would visit Bristol and he told me, much to my chagrin, that he was here recently to do what ESPN types call the "Bristol car wash," or taping appearances on about 10 shows in rapid succession.
Of course, he loved the Mum City.
"It was amazing," Meyers told me. "It really is the Manhattan of Connecticut."
While in town, he did "everything," Meyers said. "I was there for two hours."
Given his brief window in Bristol, I could tell he'd missed the highlights, though, so I made him promise to let me know the next time he comes to town so I could properly show him around.
He said that was a good idea, since ESPN had clearly given him a "bum tour."

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

BCO Not Hosting Free Breakfast, Lunch After All

Kids, don't head to BCO for your free summer breakfast or lunch this year. The non-profit organization, which does a lot for local elderly, poor and handicapped residents, had been named as an open site for the summer lunch program.

But Tom Morrow, the director of BCO, said today that for some reason BCO wasn't site certified so it won't be a place to get breakfast or lunch. Instead, kids can go to Rockwell Park or Cambridge Park for their summertime meals.

No registration or proof of income is required. Any child or teenager 18 and under can go and get a meal.

This Is The Surface of the Sun

And you thought it was just outside your door....
For anyone who is having trouble with the heat, head over to the senior center on Stafford Avenue, which is open from 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. through Friday to offer a free, cool spot to chill.
You can also hit one of the city's two outdoor public pools -- in Rockwell and Page parks -- or one of the city's three spray/splash pools, which are really like big, fun, colorful sprinkers. They're in Rockwell and Page parks, closing at and at Stocks Playground.
Swimming pools close at 7 at Rockwell, 8 at Page. Sprinkers are off at 6 p.m. at Stocks and at 6:45 at the other two parks.
Don't forget your friendly local libraries. They're nice places to beat the heat as well.

Senior Center is City's Cool Down Spot

The Beals Senior and Community Center on Stafford Avenue will be the city's official public place to cool down in the heat this week.
Hours will be 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Stay tuned for more details.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Independence Day!

Happy Fourth of July to all! I hope all the readers of Extra B.S. will enjoy this day with those they love. I also hope you pause a moment to appreciate our wonderful country, its rich history and its promising future.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Plaza Wants Farmers to Have Massive Insurance Policy to Sell Veggies

The city's farmers' market is moving out of downtown to Route 6 in the Bristol Commons, the plaza with Price Chopper as the anchor.
At least that's the verbal agreement the farmers have with the plaza owners, but it's only for one date -- next Wednesday, July 7.
The plaza owners, who operate out of New York, told the farmers they weren't satisfied with the $2 million insurance policy the farmers had. They wanted ANOTHER $5 million on top of that.
Farmer Ray Lemaire said that's ridiculous -- they're not shooting rockets, they're selling tomatoes, he told me.
So without the extra insurance, the farmers are set for one day. We'll probably learn next week whether the move is for the season or just for one day.
I wrote about this today for The Bristol Press ( It will probably run sometime over the weekend, so if you want to read more, check out the newspaper or its website.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Fireworks For the City's 225th Anniversary

I'm happy to report that the city will have fireworks as part of its birthday celebration this year after all.
The display will be Sunday, August 15, with a rain date set for Sunday, Aug. 22
Fireworks will be set off from Perkins Street property owned by Jarre and Whit Betts. High on Chippens Hill, the display will be seen for miles.
I wrote about this for Friday's edition of The Bristol Press (, so if you'd like more details, check it out there.
p.s. If you want to see fireworks for the Fourth of July, the closest ones to Bristol are at Lake Compounce.

Locknetics Workers Will Get Federal Help

Federal stimulus money will be available to the more than 100 displaced Locknetics workers who will be losing their jobs this year.
The company, bought in 2000 by Ingersoll Rand, is closing the Bristol factory, leaving about 110 people out of work.
Pink slips were supposed to start as early as this month. The place is set to be closed by the end of the year.
Nothing can really make being unemployed a good experience, but hopefully the federal aid will make it at least a little less painful and help people more quickly get back on their feet.
I wrote about this for Friday's edition of The Bristol Press (

In the Wake of DOT Commissioner Joe Marie

State Transportation Commissioner Joe Marie, a staunch proponent of the nine-mile, $600 million, New Britian-Hartford busway, is gone.
An interesting story on the front page of today's Hartford Courant ( tells the tale with a few juicy details, but I'm sure there is much more to it than that. Marie leaving now is especially intriguing given that Marie would certainly have been a goner anyway when Gov. Jodi Rell departs early next year and a new governor takes her place. What was the rush to dump him now?
Of more interest locally, I'm wondering what it means for mass transit in Connecticut, especially in our little corner.