Kicked By A SHU, Plus: State Of Kids, And There’s A Lobster Loose!

Paging Anthony Cernera!

Mr. SHU president, where are you? It’s great that Sacred Heart University is busting at the arteries, but not so great when the artery splatters the residents of the North End victimized by beered-up students from local rentals and dorms.

SHU campus proper is located in Fairfield. Decades ago, following formation by the Diocese of Bridgeport, SHU had identified itself as a Bridgeport school. But then someone said our front door is technically located in Fairfield. And gee we can put the dorms in Bridgeport!

While the kids attend school in Fairfield, right across the street is a towering SHU dormitory located in Bridgeport and beyond the dorm, on the streets of the North End, a boatload more SHU kids living in rentals and some creating havoc.

North End City Council members AmyMarie Vizzo-Paniccia and Michelle Lyons are doing their best trying to get SHU to reel in the kids. More neighborhood meetings on the issue are forthcoming. Hey, here’s an idea: let’s have an OIB party at SHU’s main gate. Who wants to bring the keg? Better yet, let’s make it bottled beer. How about the wrappers for hotdogs and hamburgers? How about a Port-O-John? Ah forget that, the SHU plants need watering.

North End residents are fuming about the kids and on Sunday one of them who did not want to be identified filed this report with OIB:

I live in the North End by SHU – each weekend (during the week as well) certain streets are littered with trash – I have written the President, his assistant as well as copied other University departments asking them to look into the issue. Mainly the “college” trash along Geduldig – by the SHU off-campus housing, the beer cans and cups that line Park Avenue and finally the corner of Eckart Street. These areas are littered with trash – snack wrappers, beer cans, red cups, alcohol bottles. I have personally picked up this trash and have asked the City of Bridgeport to come and pick it up, which they have.

What I find interesting is that 1) the University grounds are spotless 2) There are trash cans in the area 3) they have workers picking up trash from the corner of Jefferson, south to just shy of the corner of Eckart Street. This basically keeps up the appearance of a pristine college campus. However, the areas that are out of sight appear to be out of mind.

I have noted the same mess across the street from the Park Ridge for a week now. This mess consists of beer cans and empty beverage bottles.

The University does not seem to think this is a priority but I beg to differ – The students – the ones littering, since they have no stake in the community, treat it like their own personal dumping ground.

This problem is also on top of the housing issue. That is, neighborhoods having to deal with college students crowding into houses which is in violation of zoning laws.

The heart of it is, as the University grows, do they have a plan to take care of the surrounding community or just ignore it with the “Out of sight, out of mind” attitude? In addition, during school recesses and during the summer, the problem goes away – although there is litter it is greatly reduced and does not consist of beer cases, cans, red cups, McDonald’s bags etc.

News release from Bridgeport Child Advocacy Coalition

Bridgeport Children Feel Recession’s Impact

Juvenile arrests in Bridgeport decreased, but juvenile arrests for violent crimes increased. Infant mortality declined, but births to teens under the age of 18 increased.

These positive and negative changes affecting Bridgeport’s children are in the 2009 State of the Child in Bridgeport report, released today by the Bridgeport Child Advocacy Coalition. This thoroughly researched and well-documented report looks at key indicators of child well-being. The report compares Bridgeport’s children to children statewide. It also shows progress or its lack from one year to the next.

This year’s report shows that Bridgeport still lags far behind the state in childhood well-being. The rate of child poverty, at 28%, is more than twice the statewide rate of 11%.

The report earns an “F” on 16 of 21 indicators of child well-being, a slight improvement over last year’s 17 F’s. This year six indicators received an A for effort, compared to just four last year.

Though unemployment due to the recession has increased hardship for children and families nationally and statewide, Bridgeport has felt the pain more than most. With an unemployment rate of nearly 12%, Bridgeport’s unemployment is 50% higher than the statewide rate of 8%.

Bridgeport Child Advocacy Coalition conducted its own surveys of 2,000 Bridgeport families in the spring of 2009. The results showed devastating numbers of parents without work and without health insurance. Every month more families are at risk of utility shut downs, health crises, or foreclosure. The consequences for children are grim.

“Growing up in poverty has long-lasting effects on children,” says Barbara Edinberg, Acting Director at BCAC. Living in poverty puts children at great risk for poor health, poor school performance, homelessness, and community and family violence. “Parents need good jobs that move them out of poverty and enable them to be financially self-sufficient.”

The six “A”s in this year’s report reflect the decrease in juvenile arrests and a few other notable gains:

§ A drop of nearly 20% in the number of abused and neglected children, to its lowest level in five years

§ A decline of 20% in the number of days with high ozone levels

§ A decline of 17% in infant mortality

§ An 11% increase in the number of children entering school with pre-school experience

§ A rise of 11% in the number of children benefiting from after-school programs

“We’re pleased to see these improvements, but worried that last year’s gains were not sustained,” says Frances Newby, BCAC’s new Board Chair. “Despite the six “A”s, other trends are cause for great concern. Last year, for example, there were fewer arrests for juvenile violent crimes, but this year the number increased by more than 30%. The number of families on the waiting list for public housing jumped more than 30% compared to last year. We are concerned about the impact of the recession on children.”

“Bridgeport’s children need BCAC more than ever,” she continued. “We will continue to be strong advocates for Bridgeport’s children. We will continue to keep the needs of children high on the radar screen so they can get a good education, be healthy and safe, and have a roof over their heads.”

The Bridgeport Child Advocacy Coalition (BCAC) is a coalition of nearly 80 local agencies and community organizations committed to improving the well-being of local children. For 25 years BCAC has combined research, advocacy, community education and mobilization to ensure health, safety, and education for all of Bridgeport’s children.

This Was The Small One


I couldn’t help myself. At $3.99 per pound, what gives with lobster prices so accessible to common folk? I’ve been in good spirits. The Yankees heading to the playoffs, sweeping the BoSox over the weekend. Ms. Mo and I had to celebrate. But she gets squeamish when crunchy claws is croaked in the steamer. I held a funeral for this friend, a three pounder, before she arrived home from work. I can hear my vegan friends, “Lennie, you idiot! I’ll never read your blog again!” But at these prices, who knows, maybe we change the menu at the next OIB party.



  1. What a disgusting story about these spoiled brats of SHU. As a college student myself I can say not all colleges are like SHU. My college will kick out any student who is caught with any type of illegal substance, no ifs ands or buts. It would be a shame if my school was in the news for this. At least schools in New York know how to act when it is proper. For way too long we have had these spoiled brats that come from Long Island and mess up the North End. I actually witnessed a year ago some SHU brat drunk behind the wheel. Shame on SHU’s president!!! Hey North End residents where is Anthony Musto on this issue? In Black Rock we have to deal with the really spoiled brats of Fairfield U that come and buy beer … Black Rock package I know for sure is their favorite spot! You see a older person buy beer meanwhile the 2 younger girls sit in the BMW outside.

  2. Bishop Lori dedicates Sacred Heart University Chapel
    By Michael P. Mayko
    Updated: 09/27/2009 11:33:15 PM EDT

    FAIRFIELD — It wasn’t the largest Mass celebrated by the Most Rev. William E. Lori, bishop of the Diocese of Bridgeport.

    But it may have been one of his most inspiring.

    On Sunday morning, the bishop dedicated the new 500-seat Chapel of the Holy Spirit and smaller 50-seat Blessed Sacrament chapel for daily Mass and prayer service at Sacred Heart University.

    A near-capacity crowd of 500, which included Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch, Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele and Sacred Heart University President Anthony J. Cernera, attended the nearly two-hour dedication rite and ceremony.

    “This was a very big and important event in the life of this Catholic university,” Lori said afterward. “I tried to weave the scripture readings and dedication rite into what the mosaic says about the relationship of Christ and the church to one another.”

    So, he tailored his homily to the beautiful hand-crafted mosaic behind him–showing Jesus, surrounded by 10 of his disciples, pull Adam and Eve to salvation from the depths of Hell.

    Lori said the mosaic’s depiction “comes to life … and is made real when the Eucharist is celebrated in this chapel and every other chapel everywhere else.”

    During the ceremony he blessed the altar using his hands to rub the holy liquid into it.

    “This was a beautiful ceremony and was a joy to celebrate,” the bishop said.

    A mosaic celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ adorns a wall in the smaller day chapel.

    All the mosaics were designed and hand-pieced together by a team of 16 artists, representing five different branches of Christianity and headed by Father Marko Ivan Rupnik, a Jesuit from Slovenia who founded the Centro Aletti, a Christian center for scholars and artists in Rome.

    The artists arrived Aug. 17 at the university and for two weeks attended daily Mass and then worked late into the evening piecing 200,000 tiny bits of glass and chunks of granite, marble, quartz and terra cotta, as well as slices of Connecticut shale gathered from roadside construction sites, into their artistic creations.

    Rupnik was chosen by Pope John Paul II to design his personal chapel at the Vatican.

    The chapel, located in the middle of the campus, took nearly two years to build at a cost of nearly $17 million.

    Chiseled into the chapel’s outside wall facing the library are the Corporal Works of Mercy including, “Clothe the Naked; Feed the Hungry; Visit the Sick; and Give Drink to the Thirsty.”

    Lori said those words provide “a living reminder” of “Christian virtues and values to shape a just and humane world and illuminate the course of our lives.”

    Cernera said he hopes students take those reminders and work them into their daily lives.

    Mass will be celebrated daily in the smaller chapel and on Sundays in the larger one.

    Finch Finds Jesus at Sacred Heartless University!

    I’m more of a “Doubting Thomas” than a “Holy Roller'”, but “Holy Shit”, $17 million for a chapel! You could feed, clothe and nourish a lot of poor souls for $17 million.

    If you really want to be moved by the Gospel Truth, please go to www Send a friend in need one of the video messages, and you will be a friend indeed.

  3. Give them the boot …
    From the Connecticut Post the other day about a SHU party that attracted several hundred party goers, “It was fair punishment,” said Atkinson, who admitted the party got out of control. “We won’t have another until we’re 21.”
    So they simply don’t get it. Although underage drinking is an issue, the bigger problem is several hundred participants in a single-family home.
    But it seems that the Bridgeport Police do not feel the problem is underage drinking, “The officers found four beer kegs in the basement and numerous underage students drinking alcoholic beverages. The officers cleared the house, but arranged rides for those under the influence. No arrests were made.”
    Obviously this is not a decision being made by the SET team but is coming from the chief and/or the mayor. If you want adherence you need to make arrests.
    If you want cooperation from absentee landlords, you need to make sure that they understand that they can be held responsible for abetting underage drinking.
    Send the message that these parties must stop and the right people will hear.
    Send the message that Bridgeport Police will arrange for taxis to come pick them up, then the parties will continue unabated.

  4. The city and Sacred Heart are dancing around this housing problem as are the absentee owners of these dwellings. I will bet that none or almost none of the dwelling owners have told their insurance companies that they are renting to groups of college students. They may be surprised that when they file a claim it is denied because of the lack of truthfulness on the part of the owner.
    I believe that the city is looking at a liability issue with all these students sharing houses. God forbid there is a fire and they do occur in these types of occupancies around the country and students die. Who will be held liable?
    It’s time to get a grip on this situation and check these dwellings using housing code fire and other city agencies.
    My question to the mayor and the police chief if this party were in another part of the city with a bunch of underage kids would the PD be arresting these kids or would they be getting them taxis? Would the occupants of the house be arrested for serving booze to underage kids? Is there going to be follow-up as it relates to where the booze was purchased and who purchased it?
    It’s time to enforce the law and stop making exceptions for Sacred Heart.

  5. I wish this dreadful situation in the North End could be resolved, but it cannot. SHU need not consider the impact on neighborhoods when implementing their vast and aggressive plans for expansion of their student body. The university is top drawer and attracts students from all over the world. More and more classrooms will be added necessitating logistical support requirements for the students which includes housing.

    I was buying books there this summer for my son who is a graduate student there. The bulletin board outside the housing office is full, completely full, with offers for housing from local residents. Many of these residents are renting to students because they can earn rents sufficient to pay the overwhelming $6 to $8 thousand dollar tax bill brand new Bridgeport commands of them.

    Less than 23% of all resident students at SHU live in university-owned housing. The rest, that do not commute, live in the North End “hood”, a student ghetto.

    Can we control the hoopla associated with college kids? Not likely.

    I think we need to ensure that public safety against drunk students driving should be enforced aggressively. Loud parties should be shut down. There are statutes that can be called upon in that regard. Disorderly conduct on the streets should be dealt with by the police. Again, we have laws that must be enforced.

    So the problem is with the 21 cops who should be on the lookout in the North End but don’t do anything.

    SHU, on the other hand, could squeeze a little from the collection plate to go around the affected neighborhoods picking up the shit their aspirants leave behind while reveling.

    Other than that, a few highly visible campus cop patrols on weekends would be nice maybe even effective.

    The good people of Fairfield Beach suffer the same student invasion maladies. I must admit that I lived at Fairfield Beach as a student and participated in many events that surely tortured the neighbors. Lo and behold I bought a house near that same beach and tried for years unsuccessfully along with countless neighbors to rid the area of “students”.

    The areas around Southern Connecticut and Quinnipiac all have the same issues. At Spring Fling time at UCONN in Storrs, the university and local law enforcement hires 300 extra security forces to minimize student euphoria. Throughout the rest of the year, the neighborhoods surrounding the UCONN campus and nearby Eastern Connecticut are plagued with issues similar to those at SHU.

    There are laws affecting underage drinking, public intoxication, loud parties, zoning laws pertaining to the numbers of unrelated people living in the same residence etc. ENFORCE THEM BRIDGEPORT!!! ENFORCE THEM!!! Then watch the problem lessen, not go away, but lessen.

  6. Finch, an avowed agnostic, breaks bread with SHU and breaks balls on UB. Something is not Kosher.

    If SHU wants to really be part of the Bridgeport housing solution, they should buy out Kuchma’s project and make it into suite student housing.

  7. I hope no one brings up the fact that the mayor just a few years back got involved in a barroom brawl up at UConn with his son.
    That would be a totally low-blow and definitely uncalled for in this debate over underage drinking and misbehavior by students. I believe the people on this blog have too much class to bring this up all over again.

    1. I wonder what that area of the North End would be like if they had the little league complex. I wonder what it would be like if they let the funeral home build on the site now occupied by that high-rise dorm. It’s time to arrest and fine the students causing the problems. Someone has to pay for all the police calls related to SHU.

  8. Speaking of quality of life issues here in BePo, heads up in Black Rock and the West End, where Blue 14 and 15 responded to about 18 residential burglaries this past weekend. This follows the shocking robbery and assault of Selma Miriam at Bloodroot a week earlier. Keep your eyes peeled and the cops posted.

    Hey Len, finally got over to Épernay for a glass of wine this weekend after dinner at Omanel. Nice spot in the same building that once, way back, housed Mooney’s Sporting Goods. Only half a dozen tables filled on a Saturday night; let’s hope it lasts.

  9. How about Vincent Quinto and Virginia Natera, two of the most notorious landlords in Bridgeport? Between the two they are responsible for more than a little of the abandoned houses and buildings (some in shambles after burning) blighting the cityscape.

    Clean up the blight; we can fret over a bunch of spoiled university students at another time. Whatever they’re doing now, eh, the police can deal with it. That’s why we pay cops the big bucks: to live with danger, like a bunch of drunken smart-assed college kids.

    Don’t forget the billy clubs.

  10. BTW,

    Aren’t we at the top of our particular food chain? Lobsters became part of OUR food chain when man discovered the wonders of fishing with nets.

    People sometimes give me grief because I eat rabbit from time to time. I tell ’em to go punt, or something a little more anatomically specific.

  11. Sorry to blog off topic but I just read the WPCA article on the front page of the CT Post. Funny that they covered this so quickly but took a week to write about civil service. Anyway, Andy Abate is appealing his termination to the civil service commission and is asking that the entire WPCA board, Feeney, Adam Wood and Finch be called to testify. I’m sure his attorney (Bucci again, right?) advised him to do this since he has to exhaust all internal remedies before going to court.

    I wonder what David Dunn as new CS director will do? Will he put Abate on the agenda and will he subpoena the others? And what about commission chair Guedes? She has to be a bit gunshy after her non-residence was exposed. How will she handle yet another termination?

  12. I really enjoyed the quote from Feeney regarding the city becoming proactive rather than reactive. This smug little prick wouldn’t know the first thing about being proactive. He is in way over his head and has been a major disappointment since coming over from Bridgeport east. His father-in-law must have some kind of juice in order to keep this jackass employed. Proactive … lol … proactive … stop it already … that’s hilarious.

    1. “Juice” as in large campaign contribution. He’s a leftover from the last administration along with Big Charlie and Sherwood. Fabrizi convinced Finch to keep them. Fabs wanted to keep his people in key positions while he planned a comeback. Stupid move on Finch’s part.

      As head of the WPCA board, doesn’t some of the responsibility for the WPCA problems rest with Feeney?

  13. Slow news night … how about we poll the audience … in your opinion … what are the top three city departments in terms of being well managed and having a capable and competent staff delivering a quality service to the public. Anyone care to give it a whirl? … go ahead name three …

    1. How about the three worst: Public Facilities, Finance/Comptrollers and Central Grants/Community Development (CDBG). I would venture to say that the management and employee morale is the absolute worst in these depts.

  14. C’mon that’s taking the easy way out. Anyone can name three of the worst … the real challenge is finding the three best. The three best departments in the city … kind of like being named the three tallest midgets … no offense to the midgets.

      1. OK I got one Annex–Planning Dept led by Mike Nidoh. All professional, educated, competent staff who get along, do their jobs and have the best interest of the City in mind. WHEW that was tough.

        1. OK–Mike Nohdose and Company are all nice people. They have spent too many years sniffing Testor’s glue from building their models. Not much has been accomplished under their watch. WHEW that was easy.

  15. First: Irrelevant Lobster Lore …

    In Maine there used to be so many lobsters washing up all over the place they used to be ground up for fertilizer. Also, they fed so many lobsters to prisoners, that a complaint was lodged that it was cruel and inhuman punishment to be fed lobster every day!

    Second: City Folk

    When I worked for the City I worked with some great people. People who have been mentioned, but many others. Of course there are my friends, Phil and Patty, Janet Finch and some wonderful people in the City Attorney’s office. As an attorney (especially a government attorney) I will say that it is not the Attorney’s job to argue a case from his/her beliefs, but to present the absolute best case for his client. (Remember we had this discussion over Auden Grogins representing the Cheshire murderer.) There are many others; these are the people who answered the phone at 4:55 on a Friday, who took the time to help me learn my job so I could do it better, people who came in on Saturday to get the job done, answer e-mails at 10:00 at night and answer their cell phones at midnight during the session, so I could verify any deal that might have changed or would have affected Bridgeport, and the ones who returned calls or took calls during meetings at those same crucial times. I won’t name them, they know who they are and I miss them very much. Further, as I am finally recovering from back surgery I don’t need to take any more shots. (Thanks TK for visiting me; it was really nice of you.)

    Last: BRBC breakfast

    My first outing was going to the breakfast with the Mayors and First Selectman from seven area towns. I thought the questions were great, the answers respectful and thoughtful (although I disagreed with some). But the best reason I enjoyed it, is that hearing and discussing issues made me realize how really happy I am that I am running for Town Council. At age 43 I found out what I loved and I am glad I am not giving it up. (Even if I am in a back brace, and have no money) I missed blogging with you all while I couldn’t sit up, but now I am back. 🙂


Leave a Reply