When A Store Was King

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
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.

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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

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  1. Update:
    Although we have already covered the 138th district, Andy and I continue to walk the district and talk with the residents of the 138th. We are getting a very warm reception and are already helping residents resolve issues. For more info on what we have been doing and the issues we have been working on please check out our website at: fardy-barney.tripod.com

  2. Good news about the stimulus money for Brownfields, but who’s going to manage the projects? Another one of Alanna’s employees quit yesterday. What’s this, #11? Couldn’t take her bullshit any longer. There’s a lot of grant money out there but no one to write the grants nor do we have the employees to manage the projects. This is the fault of one person (maybe two because her Deputy Diane is just as bad) and the sooner this administration takes notice, the better off we’ll all be.

  3. Does anybody think that Sotomayor is nominated simply because she is hispanic? Or do we feel that her pristine academic credentials qualify her for the bench? Is McCain right when he says that Phi Beta Kappa, Summa Cum Laude. Editor of the Law Review is not enough? McCain thinks that Sotomayor will legislate from the bench with liberal inclinations. I didn’t vote for McCain because I think he is full of shit. I still do!

  4. Who the phuck is Alanna? Sounds like she should be the Philistine of the Week simply because she is a prick to work for. Why is someone like her even working for the city? If she is a bad as everyone says, then the efficiency of her department must be near zero which costs all of us a lot of cash. Is she a Calamarian?

    1. You know what? 11 people resign in a single department; then it’s time to take a look at the efficacy of the manager. Turnover is one of the most expensive costs of doing business. Any manager who causes that many people to leave should leave herself.

      1. It’s a safe bet that this Alanna is related to a member of the Bridgeport Democratic Town Committee, or engaging in conjugal relations with a member. How else to explain the sort of grossly inflated ego and/or gross incompetence that would result in eleven staff members taking a collective powder?

      2. Yes she should do us all a favor and leave because she is a poison spreading throughout the Annex. Every time she takes over a dept., good employees resign. This happened in the CDBG Office and then Finch gave her Central Grants when Rina resigned and the grant writers starting quitting. Everything she touches turns to shit.

  5. Judge Sotomayor was nominated for her credentials as a legal scholar. But let’s face facts: she was raised in one of the toughest housing projects in the Metropolitan New York area, graduated from college and law school at the top of her class, and she’s a Latina. Affirmative action was NOT necessary in her case. She worked her way up from welfare to the heights of her chosen profession.

    1. There’s a lesson to be learned from Judge Sotomayor’s ascendancy to the highest court in the land. There’s a lesson to be learned in the career of the recently retired Judge Alan H. Nevas of the U.S. District Court here in Bridgeport. His Honor was an elected official before becoming a federal judge. Sitting on the federal bench is not the same as hearing traffic cases and bail motions at Golden Hill Street.

  6. Donj,

    Marty McCarthy, a glad-hander, will garner the votes necessary to win a seat on the Bridgeport City Council. Look at the facts of the situation: he is not being challenged for the Democratic nomination; the local GOP hasn’t produced a competitive candidate; and Mr. McCarthy is dialed into the Black Rock branch of the Bridgeport Democratic Town Committee. I see no difficulties for him if he is choosing a career in Bridgeport politics. I am saddened, however.

  7. A bit of trivia … Did you know that Old King Cole was an actual medieval King in Britain? His history is found with the Kings who ruled the territory of South Rheged. He is often tied in with King Arthur’s Legends.

    I only know this because I just read three books on Merlin and Arthurian Legend.

    1. I’m reading “All The Pretty Horses” by Cormac McCarthy. I will not, however, be sharing any facts or trivia on the Southern Gothic literary tradition (wink-wink).

  8. The Bridgeport Kid

    You and I are not the best of friends here but that statement is true and I agree with it. Well if Curran decides to run I think it will be another story and I would have to go from being a solid McCarthy supporter to undecided. Only 2 Republicans I would vote for and they are all local and that is Russo and Curran. Are you serious that he is dialed into the dtc? Wow that is news to me. So what are you saying you won’t vote for him then? You really have gotten me thinking this over again.

    1. Mr. McCarthy is supported by the DTC district leader for Black Rock, Danny Roach, a man that knows how to get out the vote in his precinct.

      I cannot say I’d vote for Mr. McCarthy, or not. I am saddened by McCarthy’s decision to enter the Bridgeport political arena. This town is run by a Tammany Hall-like party machine; to succeed in that environment one must make some rather unsavory ethical compromises.

  9. It is confirmed, employee #11 has resigned from the Central Grants/CDBG Office. This is a significant loss to that dept and the COB. This guy was a real gentleman, smart, educated and professional. Alanna and her deputy micro-managed him to death, questioning every move he made even though he was 10X smarter than either of them. Rather than argue or ruin his reputation getting written up, he resigned.

    Alanna is the one who should be written up. She should be forced to attend management training and anger management and then put on probation until she learns to treat her employees with some respect. Or soon she’ll be running that dept by herself.

    She is the cousin of Council President Tom McCarthy so I guess that does make her a Calamarian.

    1. From city hall smoker: “She should be forced to attend management training and anger management and then put on probation until she learns to treat her employees with some respect.”

      Maybe the library director could attend with her.

  10. city hall smoker

    I’m at the point where on the local level I might just start voting Republican. This Democratic leadership is so corrupt in Bpt. On a national level it’s the other way around, the Republicans are the corrupt leaders. I have not seen one current Bridgeport Democrat that I like. Well I will admit I’m really starting to like Auden but other than her none! I like Russo but I didn’t vote for him in 2008, the stakes were just too high. Jim Himes is doing good, Obama is doing great. But Bridgeport Democrats are just awful. And now that I think about it McCarthy might not be good either; thanks for cluing me in Bridgeport Kid and hell to the yeah Dan Roach can get out the vote … but you have to admit this he is not getting out the Crack heads and drunks we all know that he gets out regular people so that comment about dtc leaders is not true about him.

    Does anyone know any potential Republicans in the 130th for the Job. As much as I hate Republicans I always give a fair shot at either side to get my vote.

  11. “This Democratic leadership is so corrupt in Bpt.”
    Then why do you keep voting for them?

    “I have not seen one current Bridgeport democrat that I like …” Vote for a Republican, give him or her a chance to prove they are better.

    “I Like Russo but I didn’t vote for him in 2008, the stakes were just too high.”

    You think the stakes were high? I got news for you! The stakes just got higher–No pun intended Lisa Parziale–Rob Russo is withdrawing from the BOE race and has decided to enter the 4th Congressional race to challenge Jim Himes. Remember what you wrote: “This Democratic leadership is so corrupt in Bpt.” Why would you vote for a candidate backed by the corrupt democratic leadership?

    “But Bridgeport Democrats are just awful.”
    The “awful” Bridgeport Democrats are the ones who used Obama’s popularity to help Jim Himes beat Chris Shays. Are you going to let “awful” people take advantage of you again?

    Now this doesn’t mean that Russo is in. There were a total of 5 Republicans from the 4th Congressional district “Local Eying” the seat. From what I understand, Senator Debicella is also very interested in the position and there is no word yet as to whether or not there will be a Republican primary for the 4th Congressional seat.

    I got 87 petition signatures for the BOE race. Lennie Grimaldi is a pro when it comes to local political analysis. Lennie knows plenty of people who have gone out petitioning for a spot on the ballot. Finding Republicans is like finding a contact lens in Long Island Sound. I’m giving up on the petition drive and allowing Sauda Baraka to continue on her journey. Mojo may be right when he wrote that I have burned all my bridges; my friends have abandoned me–Not even Sauda Baraka called me to join her; my family no longer supports me and the Republican party doesn’t need me. I’m sure he is right when he writes “Time will tell.”


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