Update: Check out the photos Local Eyes posted from Mayor Finch’s Shanghai!
What’s going on around here? No one’s mad? No yelling. No screaming. No finger-pointing. No hissing. No booing.
There were days at Board of Education public hearings before the City Council bets were placed to guess the number of placards in City Hall followed by the number of cops to keep the peace. What happened? Did BOE Finance Chair Pat Crossin slip everyone a sedative? (Pat, I want what you’re dealing!) BOE President Barbara Bellinger addressed the council Thursday night and said all the right things on behalf of the school system and kids. Just a handful of people showed. And this is a flatline budget. No increase.
Doesn’t mean things will not get intense for both the BOE and General Fund budgets. BOE leaders want major concessions from city teachers. Mayor Bill Finch wants more than $4 million in union concessions. And there does not appear to be a resolution on those issues anytime soon. So that means the City Council passes a budget and sets a mil rate within the next five weeks with a multi-million dollar gap.
Zoo It To It
What a weekend. May begins, an OIB party on May 11, 5:30, Bridgeport Holiday Inn, plus I’ve got zoo tickets for a family of four at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo. So if you want to take the kids, the grandkids, your babe, whatever, send me an email at email@example.com and I’ll get you a complimentary guest pass for four while they last. The passes are valid until the end of the year.
An amazing, eclectic turnout at the wake for State Rep. Chris Caruso’s mom Tere on Thursday.
Tough to lose a mother, but Caruso appeared in good spirits greeting folks who comforted his loss. His mom was 85 years young.
As I walked in, developer Sal DiNardo, brother of Dem State Party Chair Nancy DiNardo, was walking out. So too former Republican State Senator Rob Russo who just hours earlier had dropped his bid for Congress. In front of me former Board of Education President Max Medina, behind me State Comptroller Nancy Wyman, Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa, former Mayor John Fabrizi. It was nice to catch up with Nancy, first-rate pol with a dynamic personality.
The genial Sly Salcedo, former Library Board member, paid his respects. Hey Sly, how’s life in Woodbridge? It’s not like the East Side, Lennie. With departure there is birth. Sly is enduring sleep deprivation with a newborn son.
When I walked out former Republican Mayor Lenny Paoletta, who served 1981-85, was walking in. Lenny at 75 looks fantastic. Talk about mentally tough and physically tough, Lenny fits both. When Lenny was mayor and Caruso was a young city councilman, they had remarkable verbal battles. In 1994, when gun battles were frustratingly common in the city, a drive-by maniac fired upon the front of Holy Rosary Church School on the East Side on a summer Friday night, in what police said was directed at another group. Lenny had been cooking dinner for a group of church volunteers who were out front having coffee. Among them were Lenny and Caruso. Lenny was hit by a bullet; the main artery to Lenny’s leg was almost completely divided according to the doctor in charge at Bridgeport Hospital. The doctor said he came as close to dying as you could. Even near death Lenny had a sense of humor. I hope you’re a Republican, he stated to the doctor.
Lenny recovered fully, and just about every day he’s at the gym.
Food Bazaar news release
Food Bazaar to Open in Bridgeport, Connecticut
May 6th Ribbon Cutting Ceremony to Celebrate New Supermarket
Food Bazaar will celebrate the grand opening of its newest store in Bridgeport, CT on Thursday, May 6th. A ribbon-cutting ceremony will mark the opening of this brand-new, 61,000 square foot store at 10:30 AM. Scheduled to attend are Mayor Bill Finch and several other community leaders.
The new Food Bazaar brings more than 175 jobs to the local community and will offer the area a broad selection of products and services, specializing in ethnic foods at Food Bazaar’s traditional low prices. Located at 500 Sylvan Avenue, the store will be the first in Connecticut and will provide customers with a wide array of groceries and fresh produce, as well as a full-service deli with prepared foods, an in-store bakery providing fresh baked goods daily, a tortilleria for freshly made tortillas, fresh meats with free custom cutting, the largest variety of fresh seafood in the area, an extensive variety of international and specialty foods and products, a broad selection of natural and packaged products, and a department filled with party supplies.
“We are pleased to welcome Food Bazaar to Bridgeport, its first location in Connecticut,” said Mayor Bill Finch. “This new store will be a welcome addition to this part of the North End/Upper East Side. The An family is known for its clean, bright and ethnically diverse supermarkets that bring the freshest food at reasonable prices to city residents. Our planning and economic development office worked very hard to bring this store to Bridgeport, and I know it will be a great success.”
The Food Bazaar of Bridgeport is owned by the An Family, who has been in the supermarket business since 1988. The 22-year-old chain, whose 16 stores are located in NY, NJ and now in CT, specializes in running inner-city supermarkets that cater to a variety of ethnic tastes, from Caribbean to West Indian to African to Asian. “We pride ourselves on going to great lengths in order to provide each of the communities that we serve with the flavors that they love and recall from ‘back home’ as well as providing a culinary adventure for those seeking something new and exciting,” said company spokesperson Suzanne Kuczun.
Francis An, owner of Food Bazaar, said the store will specialize in fresh produce, fish, meat and dairy for a variety of ethnic backgrounds. “We are very proud to come into this community,” he said. “Our family-owned Food Bazaars have long-served the people of New York and New Jersey, and we are now happy to extend our supermarkets into Connecticut.”
The store is conveniently located at 500 Sylvan Avenue, Bridgeport, CT, (203) 683-3740. Store hours are: Monday through Sunday, 7 AM to 10:30 PM.