Pass the espresso. Sleep deprivation dominates Hartford this week.
The Connecticut Legislature has just over a week to finish out the regular session in an assembly already historic with the repeal of the death penalty that Governor Jodi Rell vows to veto when it reaches her desk.
Lots of work still to complete like, yeah, a little thing called the budget. How far and wide will the tax bite hurt? And, speaking of new revenues, will Hartford pols enact electronic tolls? The long holiday weekend was a reminder of Connecticut’s toll-free status.
Toll or no toll? And if so, how about sticking one each next to Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods? We can call them drive-by slots.
When I was a teen reporter at The Telegram, predecessor to the Connecticut Post, the process to deliver the news was in an entirely different place.
No computers, no email, no web sites. Underwood typewriters, copy paper sandwiching carbon, long-hand edits fed to conveyor belt that transported the morning stories to composing room operators that set printing plates in lead type.
And back then the morning Tele and afternoon Post had correspondents in just about every town in Fairfield County. They even had a Litchfield County reporter based in New Milford. Those days correspondents called in stories to the newsroom and guys like me took dictation per order of the county editor.
“Grimaldi, take dictation from Joel Thompson.” In the late 1970s Joel covered Newtown. My how times have changed. The paper no longer has a Newtown correspondent, although arguably it can claim one with Hearst’s ownership of both the Post and Danbury News-Times. Taking dictation from Joel was as much journey as jawing. Dateline Newtown, first take (opening page) first graph. “The Board of Education Monday night …” the phone stuck between neck and shoulder, banging as fast as I could in my lame hunt-and-peck mode trying to keep pace with Joel.
Genial Joel had a way of breaking free from dictation to explain how things worked in Newtown just in case I had to pinch-hit one night, and sure enough I did every now and then. Dictation could be a real pain in the butt when I was more interested in catching up with the night-shift gang throwing a few down at a downtown or South End pub, but those nights of pounding keys taught me how to craft a story and learn about the players that ran their respective communities.
Back then if you asked a newsroom scribe for help you could get your head ripped off showing ignorance. “Grimaldi, how many times do I have to tell you … it’s Mandanici not Mandacini. You go to school, stupid?”
Joel Thompson was never that way. He always managed a positive side to everything, even for a young scribe like me who hadn’t a clue. Joel is a throwback scribe with a quirky sense of humor that cares about the people he covers and the people around him.
After more than 35 years covering the suburbs, covering the city, Joel will end his tenure at the Connecticut Post at the end of next week. That’s a heckuva run in an industry trying to reinvent itself in a barrage of layoffs. There will be a party for Joel and I look forward to being there to celebrate his retirement (and new opportunities) rather than layoff.
By the way, shameless self promoter that I am, my article in the June issue of Connecticut Magazine focuses on law enforcement efforts hurt by newspaper cutbacks.
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Hey, what’s going on this week? Any good stuff to report in City Hall? It’s always a trick getting back in the groove after a long weekend. Ms. Mo and I spent Monday in Manhattan tooling around the island, meeting with a client. (Yeah, I worked on Monday, but so it goes.)
On Sunday I checked out Chris Dodd opponent Merrick Alpert’s interview on Channel’s 3’s Face The State. I’ve not met him yet but from what I saw Alpert comes across composed, doesn’t have the Bambi-in-headlights look so common to unknown challengers. Dodd doesn’t have the same problem with some serial Democratic voters that Joe Lieberman experienced in his primary loss to Ned Lamont (Joe ran as an independent and won the general election in 2006) so Alpert must connect with moderate Dem voters turned off by Dodd’s problems and make the case why Dodd should be fired. Can Alpert raise the money? Will Dodd’s troubles fade away?
News release from Mayor Bill Finch
World War II Monument to be unveiled on the 65th anniversary of D-Day
Mayor reminds residents and businesses it’s not too late to donate to effort
Bill Finch will unveil Bridgeport’s World War II monument on the 65th anniversary of the D-Day invasion of Normandy Saturday June 6th at 11a.m. Five black panels representing the city’s industrial output that supplied U.S. armed forces during World War II will list the names of more than 500 Bridgeport veterans killed in action during the war.
The monument will be placed beside the World War I and Vietnam War memorials on the green next to McLevy Hall at Broad and State streets. Mayor Finch reminded city residents, businesses and any potential supporters today at the beginning of Memorial Day weekend that it’s not too late to donate to the effort. Finch stated, “This monument is hugely important to honor Bridgeport’s 500 veterans killed in action during World War II. Bricks are still available and contributions can still be made in advance of our June 6 unveiling.”
Commemorative bricks will be sold before and after the unveiling. Each brick can be dedicated to any person, event or group associated with World War II. A 4-by-8-inch brick containing 12 characters in three lines costs $50, while an 8-by-8-inch brick containing 12 characters in six lines costs $100.
Mayor Finch will be accompanied at the unveiling by his father, Bill Finch, who served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. At the age of 19 the senior Finch was among many brave sailors on board the USS Corry, one of the destroyers at the front of our fleet at Normandy.
Along with the monument unveiling, World War II veterans from the area are encouraged to come participate in an oral history program being conducted by Dr. Evelyn M. Cherpak, curator of the Naval Historical Collection at the Naval War College in Newport R.I. Dr. Cherpak will be interviewing World War II Veterans beginning at 10a.m. Saturday June 6th at Mayor’s office at 999 Broad Street City Hall Annex.
To schedule an appointment to be interviewed, or for more information about the event, or to purchase a commemorative brick, call Lisa Iodice at 576-3964.