The Roundup: Courting Amazon, Hartford Marathon, warm weather and controversies in Connecticut

Welcome to the Friday the 13th edition of The Roundup, your guide to the best news stories produced by Connecticut journalists from October 6–12, 2017, as spotted 👀 by our team of UConn Journalism students. Today’s newsletter was written by UConn Senior Eliza Kanner, who is patiently waiting to bring out her fall sweaters…it won’t be this weekend.

— What Megan K. Weeks of Princeton, Mass. told the Hartford Courant in response to the opinion section asking “Why We Run” in preparation for Saturday’s Hartford Marathon.

Everybody wants Amazon

State officials picked the Hartford and Stamford areas to represent Connecticut in a bid to land Amazon’s second headquarters. “The Stamford and Hartford area proposals, while quite different, offer Amazon great opportunities for growth,” said DECD Commissioner Catherine Smith in a statement released by the governor’s office.

But Bridgeport and New Haven are still planning a bid of their own, according to the Hartford Business Journal’s Patricia Dadonna.

New Haven Mayor Toni Harp is not discouraged by the state officially backing other locations. She told NBC Connecticut’s Justin Schecker that the New Haven area is better suited for Amazon because of location and transportation infrastructure like I-95, ports and the rail line. “We’d be a great place for Amazon,” Harp said on Tuesday. “But we’re among at least 200 other cities in America that think that.”

Danbury isn’t giving up on a bid either. Rob Ryser of The News-Times reported that Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton and his team are confident that Danbury’s close proximity to New York and close-knit community will drive the online giant to them. He also isn’t worried the state passed over them. “I don’t think the state government has a good track record of keeping or attracting business to Connecticut, so its recommendation could be the kiss of death,” Boughton said Wednesday.

What if you were stuck in an elevator with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos? How would you pitch Connecticut’s bid? See 🎥 what residents around Connecticut told The Hartford Courant.


Former Connecticut Gov. John G. Rowland is set to leave jail early. Meanwhile, a local radio station is trying to get Governor Malloy out of office early, too. Neil Vigdor of CT Post reported that Rowland’s release date was moved up to May 27, 2018, meaning he would only serve two-thirds of his sentence for campaign fraud.

It has not been confirmed if Rowland has been accepted into a drug or alcohol rehabilitation program that could reduce his sentence. The Hartford Courant’s Edmund H. Mahony writes that a lawyer involved in the Rowland prosecution said the former governor has participated in an in-prison substance abuse treatment program that qualified him for a six-month sentence reduction. According to Mahony, prosecutors complain that program has been manipulated in the past by inmates who don’t have substance abuse problems but are just trying to shave time off their sentences.

Brideport Mayor ➡️ Connecticut Governor

Six years after he was given a nine-year sentence for a variety of corruption-related crimes, Bridgeport Mayor Joseph P. Ganim was admitted to the same program. Ganim now wants to become Connecticut’s next governor, according to the CT Post. Ganim said he’s not the perfect candidate, but there are parallels between the Bridgeport he was mayor of in 1991 and the current condition of Connecticut, including the deadlock in the budget and corporate headquarters heading out of town. Ganim said he he isn’t afraid to challenge the status quo, and said, “If you’re a Democrat, I think the party has been better, let’s just say.”

Radio show says 👋🏼 👋🏼 👋🏼 to Malloy

Ganim isn’t the only one making snubs at Gov. Malloy. 99.1 PLR’s The Chaz and AJ Show started a GoFundMe page titled “Gov’s Gotta Go.” With a goal set at one billion dollars, according to Bobby Martinez of FOX 61, the radio personalities claim “the governor has really screwed this place up.” Chaz and AJ are asking for the state’s help, Democrats and Republicans alike, to raise the money to give to Malloy as a severance package if he leaves “right now.”

More drama ahead of bipartisan compromise for state budget

State Democrats and Republicans have continued talks on the budget with a new twist: Gov. Malloy’s staff is no longer part of the negotiations. It is expected that leadership from both sides will present a budget compromise to Malloy as time is running out.

  • Both sides were only $100 million away from reaching a middle ground this week, according to CT Post’s Ken Dixon.
  • Malloy warned legislators to expect a second veto from him if a new budget includes the same, “gimmicks” as the previous one, according to a story by CT Mirror’s Keith M. Phaneuf and Mark Pazniokas.
  • And the Connecticut Education Association, the state’s largest teachers union, is suing over the budget battle, seeking an injunction over Malloy’s cuts of $557 million in state education funding, explained WTNH’S Brian Spyros.

This bipartisan ❤️ story may inspire some compromise

With budget decisions looming and debates between parties continuing to stew, one couple has even more on their mind. Art Linares, a Republican legislator, and Caroline Simmons, a Democratic legislator, have planned their wedding for this weekend because as part-time state lawmakers, they expected to have been done with most of their work by the end of June, reported The Hartford Courant’s Daniela Altimari.

However, if a budget vote is called, it could postpone the couple’s honeymoon plans, or cancel them completely. Legislators say they hope to reach an agreement that draws support across party lines, and according to House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz, the best wedding gift they could give Linares and Simmons would be…a bipartisan budget.

Trump & the pill; Giving away Weinstein’s 💰

Connecticut Sens. Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal condemned President Donald Trump’s Oct. 6 decision regarding coverage of birth control in health care policies. Trump removed the Affordable Care Act policy that required businesses to include birth control benefits in their health care policies. Connecticut was a key player in the Griswold v. Connecticut case in which the Supreme Court ultimately decided that states cannot make contraceptives illegal and established a right to privacy, reported Ana Radelat of The CT Mirror.

The Hartford Courant’s Russell Blair has the story of Connecticut politicians giving back or donating Harvey Weinstein’s campaign contributions following various allegations of sexual harassment and assault from women at the hands of the Hollywood mogul. Despite reluctance among some Democrats to publicly condemn Weinstein as this story broke last week, Blumenthal and Murphy were among those who lead the charge in repudiating Weinstein’s alleged behavior and taking steps to part ways with his campaign contributions in a very public way.

Anti-Vaxx Protests in Norwich

A drive-through flu-shot clinic is facing controversy in Norwich. The unique clinic allows people to get their flu shots without getting out of their cars in an attempt to “distribute antibiotics and other injectables in a timely manner,” as reported by John Penney of the Norwich Bulletin. But the event held by the Uncas Health District recently in Plainfield drew the attention of a handful of anti-vaccine protesters, who handed out pamphlets to waiting cars that listed the supposed risks related to vaccines. More protests are expected for the upcoming Oct. 15 flu-shot clinic in Norwich.

Three pairs of 👟, two pairs of 👖 and three 👚…

That was all 15-year old Marie Degro brought when she came to Connecticut from Puerto Rico this week following Hurricane Maria. She is the first student seeking refuge after the hurricane who enrolled at Crosby Hill School in Waterbury. Listen 👂 to the story by Frankie Graziano of WNPR.

Sandy Hook Families Want To Be Heard By Entire CT Supreme Court

Robert Storace of the CT Law Tribune reported that the attorney for the Sandy Hook families in their lawsuit against gun manufacturers is requesting to have the entire Connecticut Supreme Court hear their case. The request comes as the Connecticut Supreme Court is currently short two justices, as Gov. Malloy’s two nominees from last week are awaiting confirmation. Josh Koskoff is representing several families who were affected by the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School which killed 26 people, including 20 children. The families’ lawsuit says the gun makers should be held responsible because the AR-15 rifle used in the shooting should be restricted to the military and law enforcement, Storace reported.

Turning Las Vegas shooting into a lesson: Preparing for the next mass casualty

In this video📺 by The Day, medical professionals at Hartford Hospital’s Center for Education and Simulation and Innovation conduct a clinic on emergency bleeding control measures as part of a nationwide awareness campaign to make bleeding control kits more widely available in the aftermath of another mass casualty incident in Las Vegas.

Who’ll Run Orthopedic Surgery? GIRLS. 🙋

The Perry Initiative seeks to inspire young women across the country to be leaders in orthopedic surgery and engineering, and allows them to perform mock surgical exercises. UConn Health Center will host the Perry Initiative for high school girls for the first time this October, reported Sujata Srinivasan of Crain’s Connecticut. The female students also get the chance to hear directly from women surgeons and engineers.

A Controversial Columbus Day in Connecticut

Columbus Day on Monday spurred debate and controversy in Connecticut and across the nation. While some believe the holiday should continue to be called “Columbus Day,” others want it changed to “Indigenous People’s Day.” Several Columbus statues in Connecticut were vandalized.

Neil Vigdor, Cedar Attanasio and Esteban L. Hernandez of Connecticut Post reported that a group known as the Revolutionary Abolitionist Movement is thought to be behind the spray-painting of Christopher Columbus statues in Bridgeport, New Haven, Middletown and Norwalk. The group sprayed red paint and phrases on the statues.

Meanwhile, in Southington Jesse Buchanan of the Record-Journal reported that a bust of Christopher Columbus was dedicated in front of the town offices this week while the founder of Southington Women for Progress staged a protest. Though the protests were silent, the protesters held signs and stood around the statue as it was unveiled.

Jemele Hill & ESPN controversy in Bristol

ESPN anchor Jemele Hill was suspended from ESPN on Monday for criticizing the Dallas Cowboys on Twitter according to AP Connecticut’s Patrick Eaton-Robb. “Cowboys have a huge national following,” Hill wrote in one of a series of tweets. “Lot of black & brown folks are Cowboys fans. What if they turned their backs on them?” Hill had made headlines a few weeks ago for calling President Donald Trump a “white supremacist” on Twitter.

Six people blocked the driveway to ESPN headquarters near the Southington/Bristol line just before midnight in protest of the sports network’s decision to suspend Hill, reported Joseph Wenzel of WFSB. The Connecticut ACLU also condemned ESPN for their actions, stressing that state laws protect Hill’s right to express her personal views outside of the workplace, according to Ann Lopez of WHSU. For a breakdown of the Hill situation from a Connecticut legal standpoint, check out Michael McCann’s report for Sports Illustrated.

At least one person was happy about Hill’s suspension. President Trump made his feelings known toward Hill in a tweet on Tuesday.

Watch out for 🐻🐻🐻, especially in Avon

Connecticut’s population of about 700 black bears is growing at a rate of about 10 percent each year, according to wildlife experts, an increase that could more than double the current number of bears in this state over the next decade. How many black bear sightings have been reported in your town? Find out with this interactive graphic by Tim Reck of Hartford Courant.

Electric car sales rising, but will it be enough?

The Hartford Business Journal’s Matt Pilon has the story on electric car sales accelerating in Connecticut, but experts worry it won’t be enough to reach the state’s environmental goals. In a 2013 pledge with seven other states, Connecticut committed to putting 150,000 electric vehicles on the road by 2025, a number it is not on pace to hit.

Safety and Shut Down at Millstone

Tensions have been rising between North Korea and the United States as the North Korean president has been testing weapons. As Gary Stoller of Connecticut Magazine reported in his story, “Is safety at Millstone Getting Enough Attention” if a bomb exploded above North America, “it could create an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) that could shut down the electric grid which powers the pumps used to cool spent-fuel pools” at the Millstone nuclear power plant in Waterford. If this happened, a fire could start and release that radiation into the environment, which would have tragic effects.

It’s no secret that safety is one of the biggest concerns associated with power plants and this week, Kimberely Drelich of The Day reported there was a small hydrogen leak in Millstone’s Unit 3 turbine building. It was deemed an “unusual event” and was resolved within 2 hours.

If Millstone is shut down, Connecticut would need a backup plan. But as Jan Ellen Spiegel of The CT Mirror reports, the state doesn’t have one. Millstone is the largest power source in New England and produces nearly ⅓ of Connecticut’s power and is critical to helping the state reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

Racing for Charity 🏁

Jacob Perry of Pawcatuck,is a 15-year-old who’s already an accomplished auto racer. He won his first race at the Waterford Speedbowl last year and now uses racing to honor his grandfather who died of throat cancer in 2015, reported Joe Wojtas of The Day. Jacob’s car, named the Cancer Warrior, has become a way to inspire others to donate to charities. When families donate to a charity of their choice, Perry puts the name of their cancer survivor or victim on his car. The car now has more than 100 names on it, and families are making a point to take pictures with the car when they see Perry at races.

“This is home and this is where he’s going to stay.”

An undocumented immigrant from West Hartford was supposed to be deported Tuesday, but he’s taken sanctuary in the Unitarian Universalist Church in Meriden. WFSB reports that Sujitno Sajuti, 68, was ordered by a federal immigration judge to leave the country by October 10. Sajuti’s supporters say he is well known across Connecticut as a cultural ambassador and activist who participates in multicultural and interfaith services, educating people about the Qu’ran and Indonesian culture. He also helps with mentoring students and preparing them for their GED exams.

“He was supposed to leave on a flight from JFK to Indonesia this morning and that’s not going to happen. This is home and this is where he’s going to stay,” said Alok Bhatt with Connecticut Immigrants Rights Alliance.

Is It finally Fall in Connecticut? 🍁

Catalina Trivino of NBC Connecticut reports that our unseasonably warm fall has affected some fall activities, with last weekend’s apple pickers in tank-tops and flip-flops who would usually be in jeans and flannels at this time of year.

But have no fear, NBC Connecticut’s Bob Maxon said we will be moving into cooler, more fall-like weather next week, after a slightly warm and sometimes rainy weekend.

Sam Kantrow of WTNH also says this weather may actually be good for your pumpkins because they’ve had longer growing season. Kantrow also gives some pro-tips to keep your pumpkin lasting as long as possible.

For Congressman Jim Himes, Columbus Day felt more like summer, so he tweeted a picture of himself swimming in a local river.

Remembering Willie Doberson of East Hartford: The Story Behind The Story

After living outside on the bank of the Connecticut River for decades, Willie Doberson passed away from stomach cancer on September 29 at the age of 80. The Hartford Courant’s Christine Dempsey first met Willie in 2007, when she covered the fire that destroyed the shack Willie built to live in with his partner, Nancy. Over the course of his life, Willie survived several accidents that should have rendered him unable to walk, he battled and beat various addictions, and he was a friend to all who knew him.
The whole community on the west side of East Hartford is coming together in the wake of his passing to honor his memory with everything from fundraising to street-side memorials.
Dempsey said that Willie “may have been homeless, but he was never needy,” and that she hopes this article helps people realize that every homeless person has a story, and to think more about their own humanity as they go about their lives.

That’s quite a Halloween display 👀

If you’re looking for an interesting Halloween activity, look no further than the massive pirate ship on display in front of Matt Warshauer’s home in West Hartford.

As a professor at Central Connecticut State University and political historian, Warshauer has created a town ritual of his “message-laden Halloween displays,” said a story in by Ronni Newton. Warshauer’s decorating last year garnered national attention when his front yard included “Trump’s Wall.” This year, Trump plays the role of the “mad pirate king,” Warshauer told Many other elements of the pirate ship are commentary on the current political climate and Connecticut’s budget woes.

The Best of the Rest

UConn study finds 30% of parasite species may be extinct by 2070. Good news for those with tick phobia, but parasites play key role in ecosystem — Charlotte Weber of WSHU
Fitch High School grad achieves dream of joining the Rockettes 👯👯 — Erica Moser of The Day
Recently publicized warrants in the patient abuse case at Whiting Forensic division of Connecticut Valley Hospital show repeated abuse — Doug Stewart and Kaitlin Goslee of Fox61
Studies show women have a much harder time falling asleep 😴 than men — Cara Rosner of C-HIT
Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy dismisses idea of presidential run — Russell Blair of Hartford Courant
Connecticut seen as prime candidate for legalizing sports betting — Brian Hallenbeck for The Day
Alzheimer’s Treatment Based on Connecticut Research Goes Into Clinical Trials -Harriet Jones of WNPR
OPINION: Chris Powell at the Journal Inquirer wrote a story on the downfall of Connecticut education in relation to a current state Supreme Court case.

You made it to the weekend 🎉

Time to eat good pizza 🍕: 8 Connecticut pizzerias made it onto the The Daily Meal’s ‘101 Best’ list — Leeanne Griffin for CTNOW

“Pipescreams” 😱 — Halloween themed organ concert in Stratford — Ryan Kristafer for WTNH

Check out these 5 new restaurants in Connecticut this weekend — Erik Ofgang of Connecticut Magazine

Four days of music 🎵, dance💃 & theater 🎭 at Guilford Performing Arts Festival -Marissa Nobile for WTNH

Play vintage video games 🎮 at the RetroWorld Expo at CT Convention Center -Susan Dunne for CTNOW

Where to go pumpkin picking in Fairfield County 🎃 — Jeanne Muchnick for The Daily Voice

40 Bands, food and film featured at Glastonbury’s Apple Harvest Festival 🍎 — Peter Marteka for Hartford Courant

Do you 👍 The Roundup? If your answer is yes, then how about telling your friends to subscribe? We could also use your help. If you come across an excellent Connecticut news story that could be included in next week’s The Roundup, send us a recommendation. Connecticut journalists: Let us know what you’re working on.

Have a great weekend. -Eliza Kanner and The Roundup Team

Originally published by UConn Journalism on October 13, 2017 at