It’s hard for me not to think about King Cole when I’m at the corner of North and Park.
That was the spot my parents set us up for the Barnum Festival Parade in the late 1960s, five, six and seven rows deep, and one year I recall the cameras from WPIX in New York beaming the parade to the tri-state area. My mom, raised in Bridgeport, my dad a Sicilian immigrant, lived on Barnum Avenue before they built a home in Monroe in the mid 1950s. But Bridgeport was still the place for action: stores, shops, restaurants, nightclubs, parks, doctors. All in Bridgeport. No dried codfish hanging from the store rafters in Monroe. King Cole and its groceries were a community institution.
A&P, the former location for King Cole, has announced it will be closing in a few weeks, victim of an underperforming store. Maybe it comes back in a different configuration? Hope so.
News release from Mayor Finch
City to Receive $900,000 in Brownfields Redevelopment Funds
Governor Announces Allocation During Event at Housatonic Community College
BRIDGEPORT, CT (August 5, 2009) – Governor M. Jodi Rell announced today, during a bill signing ceremony at Housatonic Community College, that the City of Bridgeport would receive $900,000 in stimulus and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency funds to be used for redeveloping contaminated properties – known as “brownfields” – to attract and retain businesses and create jobs.
The City is sharing a $2.5 million pool of funds, both federal stimulus money and regular funding, with the state and the Valley Council of Governments.
“We are pleased to be among the municipalities chosen to benefit from these funds,” said Mayor Finch. “This funding will be a great boost to our efforts to clean up brownfields and turn them in to useful, tax-paying properties – to restore them to “greenfields.”
In all, the U.S. EPA is awarding $55 million nationwide – $42 million from the stimulus program and $13 million from its general brownfields program. The City applied for two federal grants and is receiving $400,000 from the stimulus and $500,000 from regular funding. Stimulus funds will be used to replenish the Revolving Loan Fund (RLF), from which the City provides loans and subgrants to support cleanup activities at as many as six shovel-ready petroleum-related cleanup projects. In addition, general brownfields funds will be used to provide loans and subgrants to support cleanup activities at up to 10 hazardous substances-related projects.
“Now our team will determine what will be the most advantageous use of the funds to generate taxes and create jobs,” said Finch. Under review for possible funding allocations are Automatic Plating Company at 80 Hastings St. and the Chrome/Pacelli/Trashmore site, just two examples of the many properties in the City that are listed as brownfields and are in need of remediation.
And a release from Gov. Rell
Governor Rell: New Laws Expand Mortgage Help For Connecticut Homeowners Facing Foreclosure
More Families Eligible for Governor’s Mortgage Assistance Programs
Governor M. Jodi Rell today announced that more Connecticut families facing foreclosure will be able to get the financial help they need to stay in their homes thanks to new legislation she has signed into law.
“The national recession has threatened to shred the American dream,” Governor Rell said during a bill signing ceremony at Housatonic Community College in Bridgeport. “At this point we have moved beyond the fallout of shaky subprime mortgages and predatory lending. Now, people risk losing their homes because they are losing their jobs. Our goal is to provide a safety net for hard-working people who are coping with the loss of a paycheck.”
The Governor said one bill makes the state’s foreclosure mediation process mandatory – rather than optional – for all foreclosures that began after July 1. A second bill expands eligibility for two state-run programs that provide temporary hardship assistance and more affordable mortgage rates for responsible homeowners.
The Governor signed Senate Bill 948, An Act Concerning Implementation of the S.A.F.E. Mortgage Licensing Act, which mandates foreclosure mediation.
“It’s been proven that mediation is an effective tool homeowners can use to ward off foreclosure. That is exactly what our goal is and what this law is intended to bring about – fewer foreclosure and more happy endings,” the Governor said.
A second measure is House Bill 6481, An Act Concerning the Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program, which will make it easier for more borrowers to get hardship assistance, counseling and refinancing into more affordable 30-year fixed-rate mortgages from the Governor’s two foreclosure prevention programs.
The Governor’s Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (EMAP) and CT FAMLIES (Connecticut Fair Alternative Mortgage Lending Initiative and Education Services) are administered by the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority (CHFA).
The EMAP program is available to eligible homeowners who have fallen behind because of a temporary hardship. It provides a loan to bring delinquent mortgages up to date and monthly assistance if necessary. The new law allows CHFA to determine what constitutes a significant drop in the borrower’s income and to broaden the definition of circumstances outside the homeowner’s control. It also allows homeowners to apply for the Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program even before receiving a notice of foreclosure if they are 60 days or more delinquent on their mortgage.
The law also expands eligibility for CT FAMLIES from homeowners with adjustable-rate mortgages to homeowners with all types of mortgages. The program provides counseling, financial education and allows eligible borrowers to convert their loans into 30-year fixed-rate mortgages.
“This program helps get homeowners back into a stable mortgage with rates they can afford,” Governor Rell said. “A stable housing market is one of the elements essential for economic recovery. It will help bring neighborhoods back to life and the keep the goal of home ownership within reach for anyone with a dream – the American dream.”
For more information: www.chfa.org
Just one reason I don’t like the death penalty. From AP:
DNA clears convicted murderer after 20 years
By JOHN CHRISTOFFERSEN
Associated Press Writer
NEW HAVEN (AP) — A central Connecticut man convicted of a 1986 rape and murder has been freed from prison after DNA testing showed he could not have committed the crime.
Kenneth Ireland of Wallingford was released Wednesday after Judge Richard Damiani granted him a new trial. Prosecutors are expected to drop the charges.
“It’s really exhilarating,” said Karen Goodrow, director of the Connecticut Innocence Project, which represented him. “He’s just doing really well.”
Goodrow said she expects the charges to be dismissed on Aug. 19. She said Ireland, who is with his family at an undisclosed location, does not want to discuss the case before then.
Ireland already has a job lined up, Goodrow said. She said his family and attorneys ate lunch with him after his release from prison, watching him laugh and smile.
“He’s a very very bright guy,” Goodrow said. “He will not allow this to define his life.”
Ireland was 20-years-old when he was sentenced to 50 years in prison after being found guilty in November 1989 of killing Barbara Pelkey of Wallingford, a New Haven suburb.
The body of the mother of four had been found nude at the former R.S. Moulding and Manufacturing Co. in Wallingford where she worked alone at night.
Witnesses testified at his trial that Ireland had admitted committing the crime. Ireland, whose claimed those witnesses had lied to receive a $20,000 reward.
…This is yet another Connecticut example of an innocent person having spent two decades in prison for a very serious crime while an actual rapist and murderer has been roaming free since 1986,” said Michael Lawlor, D-East Haven, the co-chairman of the legislature’s Judiciary Committee. “This is not acceptable.”
Lawlor said the legislature and the state’s Advisory Commission on Wrongful Convictions must look at whether laws need to be changed and “whether the law enforcement community is using best practices in the investigation of cases in order to avoid wrongful arrests and convictions.”
Lawlor said Ireland also is eligible to apply for compensation from the state for his wrongful convictions, and hopes that can be taken up by the legislature in the 2010 legislative session, which convenes in February.
FANFARE 2009 The Connecticut Hurricanes and the Bridgeport P.A.L. present …
Kennedy Stadium, Bridgeport, CT Reserved Seats $22/$19 -call 203-735-5659-
General Admission $14/$8 (kids) Saturday August 29, 2009 7:00 pm Drum & Bugle Corps Competition.
In Competition: the Connecticut Hurricanes, the Empire Statemen, the Brigadiers and the Bushwackers. In Exhibition: Norwalk H.S. and Trumbull H.S. Bands, The Bayonne Bridgemen, The Connecticut Alumni and The Park City Pride Alumni Corps
Purchase ALL TICKETS ON-LINE and view seating chart by visiting www.CTHURRICANES.org and click on FanfareEvent. Runs Rain or Shine