Evening Update: Statement from Mayor Finch regarding recent homicides:
“I am very concerned about the recent tragic incidents in our City. I am in constant communication with Police Chief Joe Gaudett and I have directed him to utilize every asset available to confront this problem head-on.
“I am proud of our police department’s swift response leading to several arrests over the past week. I have every confidence that additional arrests will be forthcoming in the most recent incidents.
“Nonetheless we need to redouble our efforts to stop the flow of illegal firearms and other dangerous weapons in to our city. By working together with state and federal agencies, we’ve done much to stem the tide of illegal guns on our streets. A little over two weeks ago, our police department, working together with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, made over 20 weapons-related arrests.
“I’ve contacted Assistant U.S. Attorney Felice Duffy, who administers the Safe Streets task force, in which our department is an active participant, to request additional resources. But, we need everyone’s help – if you see something going on in your neighborhood, I urge residents to call the Strategic Enforcement Team at 203.449.0488. They are working in our neighborhoods, but they need your help.
“I want to be clear: Our city is safer today than it has been in decades, and, through the hard work of our men and women in blue we will continue to make our city safer.”
Were you one of the 700 or so applicants who took the city police exam on Saturday?
Yup, hundreds and hundreds of cop job seekers at Central High School took the written test for 20 openings, courtesy of a stimulus grant secured by Congressman Jim Himes. Strings are attached to the stimulus hires. The city cannot use the money to maintain its existing police force. I gotta think Acting Civil Service Personnel Director David Dunn loved soaking those suburbanites for extra testing fees after he jacked the fees for out-of-towners. Hey, it’s additional revenue!
Meanwhile, labor negotiations to close an $8 million city budget gap should begin in earnest this week, or layoffs in lieu of that, with Mayor Bill Finch and city labor negotiator Tom McCarthy, the City Council president, returning from their respective vacations. When Big Mac’s away layoff notices remain on hold.
I checked out the Bridgeport Arts Fest at McLevy Green on Saturday. Our friends at www.doingitlocal.com provided the intro video. Kudos to City Planner Ben Henson who headed up organizational efforts on behalf of the city. Good stuff going on downtown. Thursday night concert series, sweet places to eat, Phil Kuchma’s Bijou Square project on Fairfield Avenue back on track with new housing scheduled for completion this year. In chatting with folks on Saturday, downtown has emerged as a nice housing market for young professionals. Dozens of them live at 881 The Lofts across from Housatonic Community College. They’re from Boston and New York and lower Fairfield County who’ve discovered trendy housing without the prices that accompany those areas. And a number of them such as Eli Newsom are active with the downtown arts.
Eli, a financial planner, commutes to Manhattan from Bridgeport. In his spare time he’s a huge advocate of the Playhouse on the Green across from McLevy Green, and is a driving force behind the newly created Bridgeport Theatre Company www.BridgeportTheatre.org.
Hey, maybe these young professionals downtown represent the future of the Republican Party in the city. Get out those voter registration cards. Tsunami Tuesday just three weeks away. Who’s your pony?
Joe’s out, here’s what he has to say:
From Jim Himes:
With many people out of town during the summer, food pantries have been struggling to keep supplied. This has been particularly problematic for Bridgeport’s food pantries, especially after the tornado. I recently received an email from the Bridgeport Rescue Mission asking for help. I turn to you, as involved and concerned supporters, to help our neighbors in need. We will be holding food drives at our Campaign Headquarters in Bridgeport (350 Fairfield Avenue) and the Democratic Headquarters in Stamford (123 High Ridge Road) for the next two weeks. You can drop off cans on your way to or from work or when you come in to volunteer. The contact for Bridgeport is Aaron Turner firstname.lastname@example.org, and the contact for Stamford is Cara Pavlock email@example.com.
Below is the list of items that the Bridgeport Rescue Mission said they needed most:
• large boxes of cold and hot cereal
• pasta and jarred spaghetti sauce
• boxed macaroni and cheese
• large bags of rice or beans
• Ramen noodles
• instant mashed potatoes or canned potatoes (28-ounce and larger)
• canned vegetables (14-ounce and larger)
• canned fruits
• canned meats such as: beef stew, canned tuna fish, canned hams and/or SPAM
• instant Jell-O mixes
• granola bars
• iced tea and lemonade mixes
Thank you for your commitment to our community. I hope you’ll join me in helping our neighbors who need us most.
The Healthy Bridgeport Alliance, in association with the Bridgeport Health Department, St. Vincent’s Medical Center, Cecarelli Farm and Wholesome Wave, announces the return of two Park City Harvest Farm Stand locations in Bridgeport. Both sites accept food stamp SNAP/EBT benefits, as well as WIC farmers market checks, senior WIC farmers market checks, cash and WIC cash value vouchers. All of these government-subsidized benefits are doubled at both Bridgeport farm stand locations via Wholesome Wave’s Double Value Coupon Program—meaning $10 in benefits gets consumers $20 in fresh produce.
Bridgeport farm stands run every Tuesday at the St. Vincent’s Medical Center on 2800 Main Street from 12:00pm to 5:00pm and every Wednesday at the Bridgeport Health Department on 752 East Main Street from 9:30am to 2:00pm. There is free parking in both locations, and the farm stands will be open rain or shine. Cecarelli Farm will serve as farm stand manager for both sites this year. The 2010 farm stand season marks the second year that Wholesome Wave’s Double Value Coupon Program will be available at these two Bridgeport markets.
“St. Vincent’s is excited to be a partner in bringing fresh, healthy foods at affordable prices to our employees, visitors and public,” said Deb Ventricelli, RD, a registered dietitian and the Director of Food and Nutrition at St Vincent’s. “Good nutrition is central to a healthy lifestyle, cutting the risk of obesity and its consequences including diabetes and cardiac disease.” She added, “The farm stand is another way in which St. Vincent’s demonstrates its mission of caring for the community.”
Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch strongly supports the program, stating that “the farm stand plays a key role in the local economy.” He added, “We are very happy to partner with Wholesome Wave in providing fresh, healthy and delicious fruits and vegetables for Bridgeport residents.”
This year, at the Bridgeport Health Department site, “we wanted to make the space more inviting, acting as a community gathering space, with picnic tables, a big tent, flowers and outdoor artwork,” said Valerie Sorrentino, Deputy Director of Human Services. “We especially appreciate the support of the Bridgeport Parks Department. They worked so hard on getting the site ready, and were very committed to the project. It would not be possible without them.”
For more information call (203)576-8046 or visit www.parkcityharvest.org.
The Healthy Bridgeport Alliance began its planning in 2008 to serve the nutritional needs of Bridgeport neighborhoods, and the Park City Harvest program was born from this endeavor.
Bridgeport Health and Social Services Administration Our mission is to promote and protect the health of the people of Bridgeport through the provision of essential health services, monitoring of programs, enforcement of laws and ordinances, and collection of health information. Our objectives are to provide a stable and trusted vehicle of communication, education, training and collaboration between all Health & Social Service departments, divisions and programs. We endeavor to provide administrative leadership, support, and oversight. We strive to incorporate technology in order to provide more efficient and effective Department, and to support and encourage community health care planning.
St. Vincent’s Medical Center is a subsidiary of St. Vincent’s Health Services, which include St. Vincent’s Behavioral Health Services, Westport Campus, St. Vincent’s College, St. Vincent’s Special Needs Services, St. Vincent’s Medical Center Foundation and St. Vincent’s Immediate Health Care Centers. It is a member of Ascension Health, the nation’s largest Catholic healthcare system. St. Vincent’s is a teaching affiliate of the University of Connecticut School of Medicine and of New York Medical College. The Medical Center is also sponsor of Swim Across the Sound, one of the nation’s largest hospital-based cancer prevention and patient support programs. For referral to a St. Vincent’s physician or about programs and services, call the toll-free Care Line at 1-877-255-SVHS (7847) or visit www.stvincents.org
Wholesome Wave’s mission is to encourage and support increased production, availability and access to fresh, healthy and affordable, locally grown food for the benefit of all. For more information visit www.wholesomewave.org.
Sorry To Hear This, From Tom Foley
The Tom Foley for Governor campaign regrettably announced that Tom’s wife Leslie lost her baby on Friday evening, July 16. Leslie entered Greenwich Hospital on Tuesday, July 6, following an ultrasound showing her at risk for carrying her pregnancy to term. She was transferred to Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital on Sunday, July 11, for a procedure to help extend the pregnancy. The procedure was done on Tuesday, July 13. She returned home the next day. She re-entered Greenwich Hospital at 4 AM Friday morning, July 16, experiencing contractions. The baby was lost Friday evening after a 19.5 week pregnancy. Leslie is in the Intensive Care Unit at Greenwich Hospital. She is expected to return home in several days.