Archive for December, 2013

December 31st, 2013

Town Lawmakers Push for Delay in Gun Registry

by Christopher O'Brien

By Hugh McQuaid and Christine Stuart | CT NewsJunkie

Line outside State Police HQ in Middletown

Line outside State Police HQ in Middletown

Several Republican lawmakers including Wolcott State Rep. Rob Sampson and 16th District Senator Joe Markley for extending the Tuesday deadline to register assault weapons in response to long lines of gun owners waiting at state police locations to comply with new firearm regulations.The long lines have been caused by a deadline set in April when the state adopted new gun control restrictions after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. The statute expanded the number of guns prohibited under Connecticut’s assault weapons ban. It gave gun owners who bought the banned guns before the change until Jan. 1 to register to keep the weapons.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said Monday that about 25,000 Connecticut residents had registered assault weapons as of Dec. 25.

Continue Reading…

December 31st, 2013

Stolen Debit Cards in Target Breach Used in Black Market

by Christopher O'Brien

Credit and debit card accounts stolen during a security breach involving retailer Target have reportedly flooded underground black markets, going on sale in batches of one million cards.

The cards are being sold from around $20 to more than $100 each, KrebsOnSecurity reports.

The security news site said it spoke to a fraud analyst at a major bank who said his team was able to buy a portion of the bank’s accounts from an online store advertised in cybercrime forums as a place where thieves can buy stolen cards.

Continue Reading…

December 28th, 2013

Artist Exhibits Her Work

by Christopher O'Brien

Lisa Corson - January Art Exhibit (The Watermark at East Hill) (2)SOUTHBURY – On Saturday, January 4, The Watermark at East Hill will host an opening reception for Wolcott mixed-media fiber artist Lisa Corson, who will be exhibiting her work at the retirement community throughout the month of January. The reception will be held from 3:00-4:00 p.m. at the retirement community, located at 611 East Hill Road in Southbury.

 

Corson’s exhibit, entitled “Shadows of the Soul: The Duality of Personality” consists of photographs printed on fabric, hand-dyed cotton, oil pastel,pastel pencil, foil, thread, other miscellaneous findings. Each piece is one-of-a-kind, and is designed to tell a story about different sides of the human personality.

read more »

December 28th, 2013

OP-ED: Healthcare Law an Iceberg

by State Rep. Rob Sampson
Rep. Rob Sampson

Rep. Rob Sampson

I don’t know about you but personally, I am not a fan of the cold weather.  Still, this is my favorite time each year.  It is a chance to regroup with family and friends at home and for some to travel and catch up with loved ones.  I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and will use this chance to offer my wishes for a very Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah and of course a Happy New Year too.

It should not be a time where some of us are receiving health insurance cancellations and having increased concerns about how we will manage our healthcare in the future.

The past couple of months I have used the majority of this column to talk about the Affordable Care Act (AKA Obamacare).  I didn’t intend on a third month on the same topic but it’s important to me to get the facts, and the truth, to my constituents.  I believe this legislation represents the most major structural change to our society and culture in most of our lifetimes and its impact will fundamentally change our country.

As the Ranking Member of the legislature’s Insurance and Real Estate Committee, I have the notable position of being on the front lines of the battle over Obamacare in our state.  Recently, I participated in a public hearing where officials from the Malloy administration and the state’s Health Care Exchange program came to update us on how the state has handled the implementation of the new law thus far.  While not widely reported, what we found out was shocking and disappointing.

The point of Obamacare was simply to reduce the number of uninsured individuals.  Amazingly however, despite claims of Connecticut being the example of “where it’s working,” we may have more people uninsured now than before the rollout. We learned straight from Kevin Counihan, the executive director of Connecticut’s exchange that we have had 16,480 new enrollees to date.  Meanwhile across town at an event at the Convention Center, Governor Malloy was simultaneously stating that so far we have had roughly 38,000 policy cancelations (affecting more than 70,000 individuals) since the rollout.  There is also the concern that of those applying there is also an extremely low enrollment of young people.

Simply put, fewer people are covered today due to the number of policy cancellations exceeding the number of new enrollees. We were told that it would be less expensive, but even the most rosy projections no longer bear that out.  In fact, as the number of current enrollees skews to the older side of the spectrum, there will be a smaller pool of younger, healthier consumers in the exchanges, and that will result in higher costs for everyone and likely more and more taxes to pay for it.

I am not sure how this can continually be framed as a success.

President Obama’s flagship law promises much, and it is beginning to be clear that much of what he promised was either exaggerated, or completely false.  It began with the “failure to launch” of the national web site and has hardly done much since to shore up the confidence of the American people.

It is not secret that I and others have vehemently opposed the entire concept of a nationalized healthcare system run by the government all along and it appears that our warnings are sadly being realized.

We have absolutely had ongoing problems in the cost and availability of healthcare and insurance for all of our citizens in the past.  The question has always been – what is the best course of action to improve that situation.

I have advocated for true solutions starting with attacking the real problem which is the cost of healthcare itself.   Working towards reducing malpractice insurance premiums and nuisance claims as well as relieving doctors from feeling the pressure to practice “defensive” medicine at great financial cost would be a key starting point in reducing the cost of healthcare.  From there, we could encourage real competition among insurance companies by allowing the sale of insurance across state lines.  Finally, we could and should allow insurers and consumers to make their own choices about what types of coverage could be sold and purchased, instead of mandating all policies contain protections unneeded or unwanted by consumers.

These are common sense free market ideas that have been proposed repeatedly and ignored as we have gone farther down the road to where we are now, with a government takeover of a huge portion of our economy.  It’s not too late.  Polls show Americans overwhelmingly opposed to the continued implementation of this bad policy.  Hopefully, the 2014 elections will see significant changes in the makeup of our state and federal governments and the opportunity to change direction.  You can count on me to continue this fight.

My hope for the New Year is to share more positive news with you in this column.  2013 has been a tough year for those who believe in traditional American values and our Constitutional principles.  Aside from Obamacare, our state and federal governments continue to spend and tax more and more and have done little to jumpstart our economy.   As always, I will do my part to fight bad laws and advocate for policies that improve our economy and protect our freedoms.

November was a busy month for me in the district as well as in Hartford.  The month started with the Miss Wolcott Pageant on Nov 2nd.   Congratulations to our New Miss Wolcott – Alyssa Taglia and Miss Wolcott’s Outstanding Teen – Cynthia Dias.  I know they will do a fabulous job representing us.  I also attended the Lion’s Pancake breakfast the following morning and had the privilege of thanking our Veterans personally on the Wolcott Green on the 11th.  Thanks to the American Legion for putting on this event again this year.  Congratulations also to our own Alcott Elementary School for receiving an award as Connecticut’s Outstanding Elementary School of the Year.  Finally, I had the privilege of participating in the Christmas tree lighting event on the green again this year.  That is one of my favorite events each year and thanks to all who make it possible, especially the Junior Women’s Club of Wolcott and the town crew.

December 28th, 2013

Hobby Gallery Leaves The Station

by Christopher O'Brien
CIMG0766

A working train diorama welcomes visitors in the front window

Customers to a local store are bidding farewell not only to friendly service, but also to history this weekend.

The Hobby Gallery store on Meriden road began with history over three decades ago when owner Steve Magnani at the time sold two corvettes and an Edsel sportster to begin the model train and airplane store.  “They thought I was nuts back then, but it worked out well,” Magnani says as he prepares for semi-retirement.

Magnoni (r) chats with Rich Foss (l) and another regular

Magnoni (r) chats with Rich Foss (l) and another regular

Yet, come Tuesday his customers-  all of whom have become friends- will say good bye to the tradition. “This place is like a bar without the alcohol. Its kinda like Cheers, where everyone know’s your name,” Magnani tells the Whisper of his customers. Young and old, the mostly male clientelle slowly make their way through the stocked aisles of train cars, F-14s, paints, glues, HO and N scale train cars. In the middle of the store are less obvious details for model builders. One inch longfiber optic -like threads are used to couple taincars together. Small faded yellow decals are steps for passenger rail cars, and there are a dozen different types of oscillating crossing lights and parts for them. You can even purchase minature piles of wood pallets to place on flatbed train cars, or specific train cars for far-away rail lines like the White and Yukon in Canada. Magnini stocks over a half dozen types of glue behind the register.

————————————————-

CIMG0756Hobby Gallery final hours:

Saturday – 9 am – 5 pm

Sunday – closed

Monday – closed

Tuesday – 10 am- 2:30 pm

It will not open at all in 2014.

————————————————-

The store will close its doors on

read more »

December 21st, 2013

Holy Land Cross Installed Above City

by Christopher O'Brien
Photo

A crane operated by Industrial Riggers hoists the cross onto rocky Pine Hill Friday afternoon. View from East Mountain. | Photo: Leslie Wolfgang

 

By Chris O’Brien | The Wolcott Whisper

WATERBURY  –  Steelworkers and welders worked past sunset to ready the unveiling of a 16 ton Christmas gift to the Brass City Friday evening. The landmark Holy Land cross will be formally lit on Sunday evening at 6 pm, although thousands of area residents got a sneak preview as builders briefly tested the LED lights on the cross.

Welders from Pisani Steel work weld a supporting frame onto the cross late Friday

Welders from Pisani Steel work weld a supporting frame onto the cross late Friday

The cross – 16 tons with 5,000 LED’s and made entirely through donated time and money – was welded together on Thursday and hoisted onto an 8 foot thick cement base Friday afternoon. Pisani Steel of Naugatuck donated the steel and welding for the project, estimated at $300,000. This is the fourth cross to stand at the site originally built by John Greco, an attorney who’s dream was to transform Pine Hill into a diorama of the real Bethlehem and Jerusalem to embody the life of Jesus Christ from 2,000 years ago. Hundreds of buildings dotted the hill, made largely from donated and recycled steel and cardboard. Chicken wire, used heaters, cement and former appliances from friends contributed to other areas of the site. Statues from a Worlds Fair, as well as one blessed by the Pope were installed at the site. Despite the humble beginnings and dream of one man, HolyLand became a popular attraction for over 40,000 pilgrims every year. A devout Catholic, Greco enlisted his family in building the religious attraction as an act of devotion. A sign placed on the site read:

“A group of dedicated men present a pictorial story of the life of Christ from the cradle to the Cross—it is our prayerful wish that the project will provide a pleasant way to increase your knowledge of God’s Own Book and bring you closer to Him.”

read more »

December 20th, 2013

Small Businesses Offer Big Gifts

by Christopher O'Brien
Karen Zaleski stands in front of a refinished box she painted at Deja Vu

Karen Zaleski stands in front of a refinished box she painted at Deja Vu

Still looking for that perfect gift?

It could be just around the corner and away from the chains and box stores.

Deja Vu, a Munson Road store that refurbishes and repurposes a variety of items, Karen Zaleski reports that business has been very brisk. “We actually sell alot online than in the store – but there’s alot here. Their variety store has a little bit of everything ranging from knick nacks to snowboards; guitars to signs. Wherever you look, there’s often something new or different- and perhaps that pefect gift. In the back room are complete dining room sets, in the front, vases turned into birdbaths, artwork, and walking canes. 

read more »

December 17th, 2013

Cross Lighting in HolyLand Sunday

by Christopher O'Brien

HolylandCrossThe day has fianlly arrived.

Waterbury’s landmark beacon of hope to thousands in the region will finally be installed this week and its new LED lights will be turned on Sunday evening. Everyone is welcome to attend a dedication mass at Our Lady of Lourdes Church on South Main Street on Sunday, December 22nd at 4:30 pm. Following the mass, crowds will gather behind the church on South Elm Street at 6:00 pm for the lighting. Afterwards, the public is invited for food and refreshiments at the Maloney Magnet School which is also on South Elm Street.

The organization restoring the Holy Land site is also selling ornaments online and at retail locations around the area.

Online orders for the pewter and  brass ornaments can be placed here.

Vendors selling the ornaments can be found here.

December 17th, 2013

Pastor Provides Rome Talk

by Christopher O'Brien

Fr. William Sokoloski will give a presentation Wednesday night about living in Rome for several months earlier this year. The Catholic pastor of St. Maria Goretti will share his experiences from his sabbatical last winter.

The presentation of pictures, stories and reflections will be on Wednesday, December 18th at 7 pm in the Father Mullin’s Hall at the Woodtick Road church. High School aged religious students will receive credit for attending.