Saturday, December 02, 2006

i told ya so

it's been going on since well BEFORE blue back. the rents in the center are going up and up and up. many businesses have left and i'm sure many will leave in the future. i've been on the soapbox for years. it's NOT the center i know and USED to like. the cool little shops are going to be taken over by big old chains. nothing wrong with that, just NOT all over MY TOWN. it's full of suv driving designer clothes wearing super duper pedigree dog walking see and be seen it-jits (i'm not saying i'm better, i'm just NOT them). now osaka is gone. i loved that joint

Thriving Center Feeling Pressure Business Rents Jump In West Hartford

By DANIEL P. JONES Courant Staff Writer December 2 2006 WEST HARTFORD -- Osaka, a popular Japanese restaurant, is already gone from West Hartford Center, a casualty of rising rents.Now Max's Oyster Bar, one of the center's premier restaurants and part of the reason for downtown's recent renaissance, is facing the possibility of a significant rent increase - because of what owner Rich Rosenthal says was an innocent mistake in missing a June 30 deadline for extending the lease.No matter how the fight over Max's rent gets settled, the issue magnifies the fact that West Hartford Center is becoming an increasingly pricey place to do business, even before Blue Back Square opens its doors."A customer said it best. The town of West Hartford is going through growing pains. It's becoming a city," said Rich Zacher, who recently relocated his camera and photography store in the center partly because of rising rents."I'm an optimist, but I would say they'll get through the growing pains," he said. "Whether it's good or bad, that's to be seen."Zacher, whose father moved the business from Hartford to West Hartford in 1955, left his South Main Street location in September and relocated to a Dale Street store with a Farmington Avenue address. He acknowledged he moved to a more reasonably priced space not only because of the rent sought by a local landlord when his lease expired but also because of competition from big box stores and the change from film to digital cameras.Still, the rising rents mean the center and West Hartford as a whole are changing, he said.When Osaka's lease expired in September, the building's management firm, Midwood Management Corp. of Manhattan, wanted to nearly double Osaka's rent, according to Paul Lewis, one of Osaka's partners who is also a partner in Szechuan Tokyo, an Elmwood restaurant. Osaka balked at negotiating a new lease - Midwood's starting point for negotiations was $15,000 a month - and left a few weeks ago, Lewis said.............

a memorial service is planned

for captain jason hamill december 16th at st matthias in east lyme.

i'm sorry he had to come home this way. we all appreciate his service to his country and it's people

Memorial Service For Soldier

Courant Staff Report December 2 2006
A memorial service will be held Dec. 16 to honor the life of Army Capt. Jason Hamill, 31, of the 4th Infantry Division, who was killed Sunday while on duty in Iraq. The memorial service will be at St. Matthias Church in East Lyme at 11 a.m.Hamill's wake and funeral will be this Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, in Texas, where Hamill lived with his wife. He will be buried at Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery.......

yet ANOTHER avon mountain accident

as i've said SO many times, i drove over route 44 for YEARS. had a million close calls myself as well as seeing another million and witnessing MANY accidents. one with a fatality. forget when it snows..................

they did put up more signs. they did add a police-pull-over area. they did try but it's STILL not enough.

if you go over the mountain, please be careful and DON'T BE A DOPE

Another accident on Avon Mountain closes road for hours

(West Hartford-WTNH/AP, Dec. 1, 2006 Updated 10:20 PM) _ Route 44 on Avon Mountain was closed for several hours Friday after a multi-vehicle crash that left a 26-year-old woman hospitalized with serious injuries and sent two others to the hospital.
by News Channel 8's Darren Duarte
The crash happened around 11:00 am between Mountain Road and Deercliff. Police say an eastbound car spun out of control into the westbound lanes and smashed into an oncoming car. A third car went off the side of the road and avoided the accident.
Construction workers nearby heard the crash and called 911.
"I saw a lady sitting in the car, she was bleeding from her head. There was another lady in the bush. There was another who was driving the black car sitting on the ground," Rick Alexander said.
Police shut down Route 44 for hours. Officers have seen too many people hurt or killed on Avon Mountain.........

the white swan

i thought i was dreaming this but in the back of my mind i knew it existed.

from time to time i think about the white swan. this time i checked the net!

i knew i went into the white swan a few times in my younger days. i knew it was wicked cool. i knew i didn't remember a sign out front and i thought that was rather odd. i knew i didn't remember too much about the inside except i liked it.

now i have proof it existed (of course the article isn't exactly about the white swan, it's about park street, BUT it's a start)

A Vision TAKES SHAPE In Park Street Revival

Tom Condon
October 1 2006
The day I moved to Hartford I went to Park Street, to a bar called The White Swan. I loved it - the Swan was no dive -but I also liked the feel and scale of the street and its compact group of businesses. That was more than 30 years ago, and I've been sold on Park Street ever since.Not everyone has shared my enthusiasm; decay and neglect over the years threatened the milelong thoroughfare. In the much-publicized gang troubles of the early 1990s, the term "Park Street" became shorthand for urban pathology (even though there was no gang violence on the street itself, and people kept going to the stores and shops).At the same time, not splashed on the 6 o'clock news, there were people who saw the potential. Pedro de Pedro, head of the Spanish American Merchants Association, believed the street could be the northern equivalent of Miami's Calle Ocho, a cultural and mercantile center for Latinos from several states.Though de Pedro died, way too young, his vision eventually held sway. By the late 1990s, the city and a number of strong nonprofit groups were poised to rebuild the neighborhood. But damage had been done, infrastructure was decaying, housing was being abandoned. Ill-advised demolition had punched holes in the streetscape. It was going to take an enormous amount of work to remake Park Street. It would take a leader who was both practical and visionary. The merchants found such a person when they brought Julio Mendoza over from La Casa de Puerto Rico to head the Spanish American Merchants Association a decade ago.......

there IS a coyote in west hartford

i saw it a while back, VERY early one morning a few streets east of trout brook drive. i saw it the day after another coyote sighting in connecticut made the news. i didn't post it because i didn't think anyone would believe me. now i feel vindicated. and yes i knew it was a coyote. it was about 2:30 am. it was on a side street. she (or he) was in the middle of the road. i knew it wasn't a cat or a fox or a dog. i KNEW it was a coyote. she ran in back of some houses and i drove around but i couldn't find her again.

Coyote On Prowl In West Hartford

Tech Tags:

Friday, December 01, 2006

ok whoever stole the toilet


(yes, this is an ACTUAL news story)

Toilet By Trail Stolen

By LYNN DOAN Courant Staff Writer November 30 2006 WINDSOR LOCKS -- A portable toilet for bikers and hikers along the Windsor Locks canal has gone missing and folks in town are, to say the least, bummed. Town officials, trying to get to the bottom of the $700 toilet's disappearance, have gone to the old Montgomery Co. mill site, where the toilet was stationed. But the culprit, or culprits, didn't leave any clues, said First Selectman Steve Wawruck, who was alerted to the lavatory's disappearance a few weeks ago by its owner, Kevin Carney, who planned to report the theft by today.Wawruck recently went in search of the cream-colored can, which was trimmed with green, but found nothing."There were no marks on the ground indicating it being dragged," Wawruck said Wednesday. "But I'll tell you what, I had to [go to the restroom] while I was there, and I couldn't."The toilet had been inaccessible to hikers since July, when a large fire destroyed part of the mill complex and the town erected a barbed-wire fence around it and the portable toilet to keep folks out of danger............

an inconvenient truth

a screening TONIGHT with al gore

if you're in the area stop on by

Screening of "An Inconvenient Truth," featuring Al Gore, Dec. 1

Connecticut College hosts screening of "An Inconvenient Truth," featuring Al Gore, on Dec. 1 NEW LONDON, Conn. - Connecticut College will host a screening of "An Inconvenient Truth," featuring former Vice President Al Gore, at 7:30 p.m. in Oliva Hall, Cummings Arts Center, on Dec. 1."An Inconvenient Truth," directed by David Guggenheim, offers a passionate and inspirational look at Gore´s fervent crusade to halt global warming´s deadly progress by exposing the myths and misconceptions that surround it. A brief moderated discussion will follow the documentary.This event is sponsored by the Connecticut College Renewable Energy Club, the Coast Guard Sustainability Club and the Coast Guard Film Club. For more information, visit

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

hey sony

or whoever the hell makes playstations why don't you do the RIGHT thing and give michael penkala a playstation 3. he was SHOT waiting in line for one. he was SHOT because he refused to give up his money. i believe i read (somewhere else) he was going to sell the playstations to make some extra money to help his MOTHER out.

sony, give him a playstation or two or three!

the (alleged-since they've not been convicted YET) perps have been caught. they're young. one is 17 years old. they should be taken off of the streets FOR LIFE. 17 years old with a gun. 17 years old and VERY close to KILLING someone. someone innocent

Arrests made in Putnam PlayStation 3 shooting

Putnam-AP, Nov. 28, 2006 Updated 3:50 PM) _ State police today arrested two men who are accused of shooting a Massachusetts man waiting to buy PlayStation 3 videogame consoles in Putnam earlier this month.
William J. Robertson of Woodstock and Andrew Patnaude of Putnam were charged with attempted murder, robbery, assault and other crimes.
The 20-year-old Robertson was arraigned today in Danielson Superior Court. His bond was set at one million dollars and he was ordered to return to court on December 15th.
The 17-year-old Patnaude is scheduled to appear in the same court tomorrow. He also was held on one million dollars bond.

Penkala was shot by two gunmen who tried to steal his cash as he waited outside Wal-Mart in Putnam. He said he dialed 9-1-1 on his cell phone when he saw the gunmen wearing bandanas over their faces and carrying guns.

a big loud shout out to:

the hartford courant

a series of articles they published (i believe it was a few months back) led to changes in the military. a step in the RIGHT direction i must say.

Mentally Unfit, Forced To FightMilitary Revamps Policy

By LISA CHEDEKEL And MATTHEW KAUFFMAN Courant Staff Writers November 28 2006
The U.S. military has issued sweeping new mental-health guidelines that expand screening for troops being sent to war and set limits on when service members with psychiatric problems can be kept in combat.The changes include a directive that troops who develop mental health problems during deployments should be sent home if their conditions do not improve significantly within two weeks of treatment.Also, service members who are prescribed psychiatric medications less than three months before deploying will be disqualified from being sent to war unless there is evidence the drugs are working and have no significant side effects.The changes - issued by Dr. William Winkenwerder Jr., the assistant secretary of defense for health affairs - are aimed at meeting a congressional mandate prompted by a May series in The Courant that exposed gaps in the military's mental health care system. The series reported that mentally troubled troops were being sent to Iraq and kept there, in some cases with fatal consequences.Winkenwerder had told The Courant last spring that he believed existing mental-health practices were adequate to meet the needs of deploying troops. But in an interview Monday, he said the new policy was an important improvement."The intent is to provide improved and more precise guidance to our clinicians, so that they can make the best possible medical decisions with respect to individuals who might have deployment-limiting psychiatric conditions," Winkenwerder said.............

............The Courant had obtained Defense Department records indicating that service members' mental illnesses were being missed or ignored during pre-deployment screenings. Some of the troops who were deployed with psychological problems later committed suicide in Iraq.The Courant also had reported that some deployed troops were being prescribed potent antidepressants without close monitoring or counseling, and that others who had exhibited clear signs of mental illness were retained in combat.Some family members of soldiers who had psychiatric problems before or during tours in Iraq said they were pleased that the military was changing the way it deals with mental illness...................

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

army captain jason hamill

my thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of captain jason hamill. i am so very sorry for your loss and OUR loss as a country

Former state resident killed in service in Iraq

(Salem-WTNH, Nov. 27, 2006 10:35 PM) _ A Salem native serving in Iraq has been killed in a road side bombing.
Army Captain Jason Hamill was winding down his tour of duty and getting ready to go home in less than one week.
by News Channel 8's Annie Rourke
Hamill had survived a year in Baghdad and was killed with one week left before returning home.
His father said his unit had already packed up their things and was ready to go.
Friends and family in Salem are now trying to cope with the enormous loss.
"He died a hero, but I would rather have my friend back," says Sean O'Brien, friend.
Sean O'Brien and Hamill have been life long friends.
O'Brien says there is no one better than 31-year-old Army Captain Jason Hamill..........

Monday, November 27, 2006

i can personally attest to a bunch o' id-jits

playing on deercliff road. years ago, it was not regularly traveled. now it is. it is a short cut between route 44 in avon to farmington avenue (route 4 i think it is but i'm not sure) in farmington (by the health center at any rate). i used to love driving down those roads, deercliff and mountain spring and the others. the houses are HUGE and there are still a lot of woodsy areas. it used to be quiet and nice. when i worked in avon, i would take that drive every once in a while if my head needed clearing. now, i'm almost afraid to go down those twisty roads. afraid of OTHER cars that is

Cars `Fly' A Bump In Avon Tricky Road Is Site Of 3 Crashes In 3 Years

By DANIEL P. JONES Courant Staff Writer November 26 2006 AVON -- For decades, so the local legend goes, teens have driven their cars along Deercliff Road at breakneck speed to get a thrill going airborne over a dip in the roadway.Whether they drove too fast intentionally or were just unprepared for what the combination of speed and the bump might do, young drivers have had spectacular crashes at that spot three times in the past three years.Just ask Iain Sorrell, a Deercliff Road homeowner whose driveway is steps away from the drop-off. He's seen the results of the wrecks, which severely damaged the cars and resulted in motor vehicle charges against the drivers, who walked away with minor injuries.Sorrell and other residents want the town to level that spot in the roadway, and want speeders on Deercliff to slow down."I think people definitely travel too fast on that road," said Dr. Joseph Pavano, another Deercliff Road resident.Avon police say their observations don't show a consistent problem on Deercliff, which runs from Route 44 near the top of Avon Mountain south to the Farmington line."It's not a consistent thing where we can target a specific time, specific day or specific location," said Lt. Rob Whitty, who heads the division that monitors traffic. "It's a road that's not traveled that much.".............

stop by and say hello to

hannah and maureen at

their travel blog

don't know where hannah is but maureen is in connecticut.

a shout out to my two new friends

daniel and sean.

i was mindin' my own bid-nez (as i am KNOWN for doing) sitting at the bar at
the half door yesterday. i stopped by to get brunch, i was STARVING. they whip me up some spuds and sauteed vegetables along with rye toast. anyway, i bring my knitting with me wherever i go (especially since i have to knit at LEAST 30 hats for my department members by christmas). the bar was crowded due to some soccer game (manchester united vs chelsea i think) and i usually take up two seats. one for me and one for my 'stuff'. anyway, i moved my stuff so someone could sit down. turns out it was daniel and his brother sean sat to his right. daniel started to talk to me about my knitting and then he told me HE knit too. at first i didn't believe him, but he mentioned the words 'steeks' and 'rowan' so i KNEW he wasn't lying. as a matter of fact, he ended up showing me a hat he had finished and one he was working on. they were both amazing works. he designs and finishes for a living.

oh and i found out sean is my neighbor, lives just a few houses from me. small world, no?

Sunday, November 26, 2006

'that dude from spinal tap'

outsmarted our secretary of education

the first letter to the editor mentions our fair state so i posted this in my connecticut blog as well as my alternate blog

She lost to (in the words of outraged Wonkette emailers) either “David St. Hubbins of Spinal Tap” or “Lenny from Laverne and Shirley”

............Dear Editor,
Last night, I was shocked to discovery that US Secretary of Education, Margaret Spellings, is a moron. A right-wing zealot who rallies against gays for, well, being gay, and the state of Connecticut for failing to embrace No Child Left Behind (because we all know that when it comes to public education in this country Connecticut is where the problem lies), sure. But an incompetent tart incapable of working a signaling button, unable to divine from a fairly simple clue what is actually being asked, and failing to apply simple logic when wagering on a Daily Double? Again, I was shocked!....................

historic connecticut

do you know how silver lane in east hartford got it's name?

ON THE WAY to join Washington's forces in 1781, The French Main Army under General Rochambeau marched in four divisions through Voluntown, Plainfield, Canterbury and Windham before settling down for an extended period in the town of East Hartford. The elegant French soldiery was followed day after day by sturdy baggage wagons and carts, bearing chests of silver heavily guarded by special elite forces. When the troops reached their main quarters in East Hartford, the silver was stored in the James Forbes House, where the army paymaster drew on the hoard, so tradition says, to pay the soldiers..........

the letter is back

unfortunately not only did i never know it was gone, i never knew it existed

oh, and the alice books are two of my absolute favorites of all time

Yale's Lewis Carroll Letter Ends Up On eBay

By KIM MARTINEAU Courant Staff Writer November 26 2006 NEW HAVEN -- A letter Lewis Carroll wrote to a friend in 1890 has taken police down a rabbit hole into the world of eBay, a marketplace overflowing with treasures, from Mad Hatter pins to Cheshire Cat mugs. But let the buyer beware: On eBay, as in Wonderland, things are often not as they seem.The letter Carroll penned to his friend Winifred MacDonald from his summer house on the coast of England surfaced on eBay earlier this year. "Hand written and beautifully signed," the vendor enthused. "Guaranteed authentic." The letter was genuine, all right, as the collector who bought it came to discover. Trouble was, someone else owned it: Yale University.After a friend spotted the letter on the Internet, a librarian at Yale's Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library checked the stacks. Sure enough, Carroll's letter, addressed to "My Dear Winnie," was missing. Through eBay, police tracked the letter to a collector in Utah who had purchased it for several thousand dollars. When the collector learned the item belonged to Yale, he graciously handed it over. The letter is now safe at the Beinecke once more and police are trying to re-create its journey in a pursuit that could prove as maddening as the hunt for Carroll's elusive Snark."Tracing it back all the hands it has gone through since it left Yale - that's going to be the difficult part," said Lt. Mike Patten, a spokesman for the Yale University Police Department.Charles Dodgson, better known by his pen name, Lewis Carroll, was a math teacher and ordained minister who dreamed up the children's classic "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and such mythical creatures as the Jabberwock and Snark.Before Carroll came along, tales for kids were dull and humorless, with moralistic story lines, said Mark Burstein, vice president of the Lewis Carroll Society of North America and a book editor in Petaluma, Calif. Carroll injected joy and playfulness...............