July 30, 2010

Many Bristol charities may lose nonprofit status

These Bristol charities are about to lose their nonprofit status from the IRS. If you are involved in any of them or know anyone who is, tell them before it's too late!
AMERICAN GUILD OF ORGANISTS
BELL CITY CITIZENS BAND RADIO CLUB
BRISTOL BRASS FOUNDATION INC
BRISTOL FISH & GAME ASSOCIATION
BRISTOL KIWANIS SCHOLARSHIP FUND
BRISTOL VIE & NAM MEMORIAL ASSOC INC BRISTOL VIC & MAN MEMORIAL
CELTIC ATHLETIC CLUB
CLINTON S ROBERTS 1987 CHARITABLE REMAINDER UNITRUST
CLINTON S ROBERTS 1988 CHARITABLE ANNUITY
CLINTON S ROBERTS 1990 CHARITABLE REMAINDER UNITRUST
DEMOLAY INTERNATIONAL
DIETARY MANAGERS ASSOCIATION
EMPLOYEES HEALTH PROTECTIVE LEAGUE OF BRISTOL CONNECTICUT INCORPORATE
FEDERAL HILL CO-OPPORTUNITIES INC
FISH OF BRISTOL INC
HILDRETH PRESS CHAPEL OF THE NEW BRITAIN TYPOGRAPHICAL UNION NO 679
HOUSE OF REFUGE MINISTRIES
INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF HOSPITALITY ACCOUNTANTS
L UNION DES FRANCO-AMERICAN DU CONNECTICUT INC
LIVING WATERS CHRISTIAN SINGERS
MY FATHER S HOUSE INCORPORATED
NATIONAL SECRETARIES ASSN
ROUTE 72 NOW COMMITTEE INC
SKYWINDS CORPORATION
SPORTSMANS BOWLING LEAGUE
VISION STAR INCWEST END ATHLETIC CLUB INC
WITCHES DUNGEON INC
WOMENS COLLEGE CLUB OF BRISTOL INC
WOMENS SERVICE ORGANIZATION OF BRISTOL INC
CONNECTICUT INDEPENDENT PODIATRIST PRACTICE ASSOCIATION INC
BRISTOL WOMANS CLUB INC
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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Crocodile Club has a new president

Ray Dunaway, the morning drive-time host on WTIC-AM, is going to emcee this year's Crocodile Club, making him president of the organization.
Aside from making the mistake of puting me on the air once to talk about our efforts to save The Bristol Press, he's done a pretty fair job. He knows everyone, too, and that helps.
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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Zydanowicz makes case for primary victory


Press release from Mark Zydanowicz, a Republican contender for the 1st District congressional seat:
INFORMAL POLL SHOWS OVERWHELMING SUPPORT FOR ZYDANOWICZ IN REPUBLICAN PRIMARY 

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (July 29, 2010) -- In a recent state district online poll for Republican voters, First Congressional candidate Mark Zydanowicz was the overwhelming favorite, far surpassing opponent Ann Brickley whom he will face in an Aug. 10 primary.
Based on the results of the informal July 25 poll by the Friends of Rocky Hill GOP, 63 percent of those polled backed Zydanowicz, while only 13 percent supported Brickley. Twenty-three percent remained undecided. 
“All across the district I’m hearing voters say the same thing,” said Zydanowicz. “They want someone with strong business and leadership skills to unseat John Larson. They’ve made it clear -- they’re tired of the ‘business as usual’ style that we’re seeing from the Democrats in Washington, D.C.”
Zydanowicz’s message is simple: significant steps must be taken to improve the economy. Connecticut’s unemployment rate must be addressed and small business, the true economic engine of the country, need to be in position where they can hire and thrive.
“Unemployment in the state has continually risen since John Larson took office in 1999,” said Zydanowicz. “The Democrats, especially Larson, turned their backs on Main Street, but pumped bailout money into Wall Street. Small businesses suffered and continue to suffer. This must be changed.”
Zydanowicz’s leadership ability, not only in the business world, is what sets him apart from his rivals.
An officer with the Connecticut National Guard who has served in Iraq and on the Mexican border, Zydanowicz is dedicated to upholding the United States Constitution, especially when it comes to protecting U.S. citizens.
He is a third-generation owner of New Britain-based Guida’s Milk & Ice Cream, which employs 270 people and continues to expand, despite the economy.
“We’re pleased and excited by the poll numbers,” he said, “but there are many voters to still talk to and much work that remains ahead of the primary. The people have had it with John Larson and I’m looking forward to bringing real leadership to Washington and truly representing the people of Connecticut.” 

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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Three state candidates from Bristol qualify for state campaign dollars

So far, three contenders for the state General Assembly whose districts include at least part of Bristol have qualified for public financing of their campaigns: Republican state Senate hopeful Jason Welch in the 31st District, GOP state House candidate Whit Betts in the 78th District and state Rep. Frank Nicastro, a Democrat from the 79th District.
State Rep. Betty Boukus, a Plainville Democrat from the 22nd District, said she has raised the requisite funds and should qualify soon.
Here is the complete list.

Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Del Mastro calls for 10% state tax cut

Open letter from Peter Del Mastro, the Republican state House candidate in the 79th District:
Chris Powell’s opinion piece in Sunday’s Herald Press was right on the money as it relates to areas of state spending that are on the radar screen for cost cutting.
However, one very important ingredient that is needed to get Connecticut’s economy humming again was neither mentioned in the article, nor have I heard it mentioned publicly by any candidates for state office. That ingredient is tax cuts.
With unemployment at nearly 9 percent and, by all accounts, a tepid economic recovery in our future, the new governor and a newly elected Legislature must take bold action to stimulate Connecticut’s economy and get its citizens back to work. Two things must be done quickly.
First, cut the state income tax by 10 percent or more to immediately put more money into people’s pockets.
This will have a stimulative effect on the economy because if people have more money to spend, by and large they will spend it.
Second, cut state business taxes by a similar amount. More money in the hands of Connecticut businesses, coupled with the increased demand for goods and services created by cuts in the state income tax, will enable them to expand, thus creating demand for more employees.
The stimulative effect of these two actions combined with spending cuts in the areas addressed in Powell’s article will have Connecticut’s economy growing vigorously in short order.

What was proven to work on a national scale during the Reagan presidency will work at the state level. All that is needed is to elect leaders with the courage to act.
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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Jonas Brothers vs. ESPN

The Jonas Brothers, some sort of teeny bopper band, are going to play ESPN commentators soon, which is something different. Check it out on reporter Jackie Majerus' blog.
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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

July 29, 2010

Republican debate - watch it live! (Archived version)




Below is video of a Q&A conducted with Oz Griebel. Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele had confirmed for Thursday's debate but was unable to attend.



******* Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Have storm damage? The city wants to know

If you suffered any losses in last week's tornado and the accompanying storm, the city wants to know more.
There is a form to fill out -- click here for the PDF -- and print. Send a copy to the mayor's office at 111 North Main St./ Bristol, CT 06010.
It's possible you might be able to get some financial help if the city succeeds in getting federal disaster relief. Part of getting that designation is showing how much damage occurred so send 'em in.
Click here for the full story.
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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Renaissance is kicking off its outreach

The company picked to redevelop the former mall site downtown is kicking off its effort to reach out to the community.
The Long Island-based Renaissance Downtowns has begun seeking input from city officials, business leaders and others as it begins narrowing its options for how best to revitalize the 17-acre site purchased by the city five years ago.
“It’s going to get hard, fast and exciting,” said Tim Furey, a Bristol attorney who represents Renaissance.
Click here for the full story.
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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Busway has "no value" for Bristol, downtown chief says

The proposed busway between Hartford and New Britain would block the development of commuter rail in Bristol and create “absolutely no value” for the Mum City’s revitalization efforts downtown, according to the head of the Bristol Downtown Development Corp.
Frank Johnson, Bristol’s downtown chief, said he would like to see a transportation center that includes commuter rail as part of the plan to remake the former mall site.
Though state transportation officials insist that it’s too late to stop the busway, a number of Bristol officials are still pushing to kill the $573 million scheme to build a new 9-mile roadway for the exclusive use of buses.
“I don’t want to let this railway go,” said Mary Alford, a member of the city’s Transportation Commission. “I don’t want to throw in the towel.”
Construction on the busway is slated to begin as early as next year with the federal government picking up 80 percent of its cost.
I'll post a link to the rest of the story when it's available.

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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Vendors will need to get insurance

City councilors who are trying to figure out what to do about food sold from trucks and carts downtown have come to one conclusion: the vendors need insurance.
At a minimum, city Councilor Cliff Block said Wednesday, the vendors should have as much insurance as the city requires for vendors operating out of its parks.
 Read the whole story.

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 Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Watch GOP state debates tonight right here at BristolToday.com

Notice from CT News Junkie, one of Connecticut's great online sites:

LIVE STREAM DEBATE TONIGHT (7/29)
Back-to-back Republican debates
Peter Schiff and Rob SimmonsTune in tonight at 7 p.m. to watch back-to-back debates between Republican candidates in an event sponsored by theEnfield Grassroots Alliance at Asnuntuck Community College. Confirmed participants include Former Congressman Rob Simmons, Weston businessman Peter Schiff, Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele, and Hartford economic development executive Oz Griebel. Linda McMahon and Tom Foley also were invited but neither has confirmed their attendance.

OUR SECOND LIVE STREAM DEBATE

Michael Fedele and Oz GriebelA few months ago we partnered with LocalOnlineNews.TV to produce our first live broadcast featuring a debate between the Democratic gubernatorial candidates in New Haven. The broadcast was shared across a number of independent media sites, and we plan to do the same tonight but on a larger scale as we broadcast two Republican debates at 7 p.m. 

LocalOnlineNews.TV alum George Colli will moderate the debate with the help of panelists Christine Stuart of CTNewsJunkie and Ed Jacovino of the Journal Inquirer. Jacovino has covered Enfield for the JI and is now one of the paper's two capitol reporters.
We will be using new technology to provide multiple camera angles and a more professional looking presentation.

To watch the debate, visit any one of the following sites:http://CTNewsJunkie.com
http://www.LocalOnlineNews.TV/live/
http://www.journalinquirer.com
http://jiblogs.com/discovery/
http://bristolnews.blogspot.com/.

Other Connecticut web publishers - including bloggers, newspapers, radio, and TV stations - are invited to embed both the live stream and accompanying chat room to take part in Thursday's debate. Questions can be directed to Doug Hardy. The embed codes should be available no later than 6 p.m.
Questions can be submitted in advance by emailing2010EnfieldDebate@gmail.com.


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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

July 28, 2010

Del Mastro: Nicastro, Dems 'sticking it to the people'

Press release from Peter Del Mastro, Republican state House candidate in the 79th District:
Nicastro Threatens More Of Same If Reelected
Bristol, Connecticut - July 28, 2010 - Peter J. Del Mastro, Republican candidate for the 79th District seat in the Connecticut General Assembly, responded as follows, to comments by Frank Nicastro (D) in a recent Bristol Press article written by Steve Collins.
“Frank claims he will not lose the General Assembly seat he has occupied for four years because people know Democrats stick up for middle class and working people. Stick up for them how? By raising State taxes and fees of all kinds? By accumulating a mountain of debt that will take generations to repay? By dumping unfunded mandates on the City of Bristol that must be paid for by local property tax increases? By catering to lobbyists and special interest groups that ply the halls of the Capital building? This is not sticking up for people, it is sticking it to people”
Del Mastro concluded, “Nicastro and his fellow Democrat incumbents have shown the people of Bristol what they can do when they are in power, and the people of Bristol are saying loud and clear ... Enough is Enough!!!"
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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Barnes: GOP can do better than Democrats

Open letter from Thomas Barnes, Jr, the head of the city's Republican Party:
The Democrats have said to the local GOP don’t count on any change in Hartford because they are doing such a great job running our great state. This is from the article in the Bristol Press 07/27/2010 headlined Dems to GOP “Don’t Count On It.”
I first would like to say that the local GOP is not counting on anything and from the sounds of the article the only politicians that are counting on winning are the Democrats. We understand that we are the minority party in Connecticut and in Bristol. We also understand our victory is anything but assured. That being said, I think voters are starting to wake up to the fact that the state is on a fast track to fiscal doom if something doesn’t change. Let’s take a quick look at the legacy that this current legislature is leaving for the incoming legislature.
The last 2 budgets have been balanced by borrowing close to a billion dollars for each year and using numerous one-time income sources such as federal “stimulus” money. All this has done is push the deficit higher and higher so that next fiscal year the TAXPAYERS face a 3.5 billion dollar budget deficit.
Let’s put that number in perspective. The total state budget for 2011 is 19 billion and the deficit, as projected, is about 18 percent of that budget. The Democrats think this is a job well done?
We have unfunded liabilities in the 50 to 60 billion dollar range. Has the legislature done one thing to address those problems? Do they view TAXPAYERS as a money tree?
The Democrats have also said that they are the ones who are “for” middle class, but they continue not to fund the state pension. They continue to borrow money and put the burden on future generations. These are the very voters who claim to serve and whose votes they are counting on in November.
Our property taxes continue to go up and municipal leaders have been calling for a repeal or suspension of the unfunded mandates that burden our local municipalities. Has anything been done about that? They set up a commission to review this burden chaired by our very own Frank Nicastro. Did anything come of that? No. Instead, this Legislature continues to pass on more and more of these unfunded mandates that are crushing our cities and towns. 
We CANNOT continue down this path forever. At some point, we have to rein in our ever growing state budget and begin to get serious about funding the promises that have been made to our state work force. We are the most taxed state in the United States and it still isn’t enough for the current state legislature.
While the local GOP knows nothing is guaranteed, what we do know and understand is that every seat at the Legislature belongs to no political party or candidate. Those seats belong to the people of Bristol, Plymouth, Plainville, and Harwinton.
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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Brickley, Zydanowicz clash on debate

Press release from congressional hopeful Ann Brickley of Wethersfield, the GOP's endorsed candidate in the 1st District:
Brickley Expresses Disappointment With Zydanowicz’s Rejection of Invitation to Participate in First Congressional Primary Debate
Zydanowicz cites “scheduling conflicts” as reason for declining 30 to 40-minute debate hosted by the League of Women Voters of Greater Hartford
WETHERSFIELD, CT (July 26, 2010) – Ann Brickley, the Republican-endorsed candidate for the First Congressional District, expressed disappointment that her Republican primary challenger has declined to participate in a 30 to 40-minute debate sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Greater Hartford that would have been held in the Legislative Chambers of the West Hartford Town Hall on Tuesday, July 27th at 12:30 p.m. Mr. Zydanowicz states that he was unable to change his schedule to accommodate the debate and declined the invitation.
“While both Mark and I are currently campaigning throughout the First District and our schedules can be incredibly hectic, I believe that we owe it to the voters of the First Congressional District to have an open and extensive exchange of ideas on the key issues,” Brickley said. With so many competitive and well-publicized political campaigns taking place this year, it has been challenging for both of our campaigns to receive a great deal of media coverage. This situation makes it more difficult for voters to learn a great deal about our views and backgrounds.
The Greater Hartford League had made arrangements to have the debate taped by West Hartford Cable Television and the Connecticut Television Network had also planned on sending a television crew to tape the event so it could be aired in various communities throughout the First Congressional District. The Brickley campaign is attempting to see if another more convenient date and location can be found prior to the August 10th primary.
Here is the response that Zydanowicz, who is challenging Brickley for the right to take on U.S. Rep. John Larson in November, posted on Facebook: Apparently my opponent put out a press release that I would not debate her. This is not true; we debated on live for 12 minuets on NBC at the 5:30 news last week. Regarding the League of Women Voters debate; I received “5 business hours” notice. They contacted me late Friday and wanted an answer 1st thing Monday morning. I previously scheduled a commercial shoot and could not accommodate a re-shoot. If my opponent can not plan properly for something as simple as a debate how can we send her to congress?
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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Zydanowicz ad plugs his military, business experience

Republican congressional contender Mark Zydanowicz has an advertisement on his Facebook fan page that I think everyone can see. Watch it here.
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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

City tallying tornado toll


City officials are scrambling to figure out how much last week’s tornado cost the community.
“We’re putting everything together,” Mayor Art Ward said Tuesday, but have no idea how much it cost to deal with the damage caused by the July 21 storm.
As a first step, officials are trying to compile an account of how much the cleanup cost in terms of overtime, equipment and damage.
But City Hall is also angling to find out how badly the tornado socked residents and businesses.
Ward said the city website will soon have a form for residents to give a preliminary accounting of how much the tornado socked them for. He said the city needs to gather names, addresses, damage estimates and how much insurance reimbursement residents are to receive. Read the full story.
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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

GOP, Dems clash on who's got the upper hand

Two stories from recent days that I didn't put on the blog:
Republicans:
As the fall election season draws near, Republicans say they still see hope for a historic victory in November that would sweep away Democratic politicians who have held sway in city politics for a generation or more.
“Now’s the time,” said Jason Welch, an attorney who’s taking aim at state Sen. Tom Colapietro, a Bristol Democrat who has represented the 31st District for 18 years.
“People are finally waking up” to the state’s out-of-control spending and anti-business policies, Welch said. “Enough’s enough.”
What’s driving the GOP’s hope, however, is a sense in Republican circles that Democrats are on the defensive across the country, pinned down by an electorate that’s sick of the sour economy, disgusted by the politics in the Democratic-controlled Congress and wary of some of President Barack Obama’s legislative triumphs. Read the rest of the story.


Democrats:
The insurgent wave that Republicans hope will sweep the GOP to power in this year’s election is imaginary, city Democrats said Monday.
“The Republicans think this is their year,” said state Rep. Chris Wright, a first-term Bristol Democrat in the 77th District. “I have news for them: Don’t count on it.”
Wright said the Democrats would hang on to every legislative seat they possess in the area and pick up an open seat in the 78th District that Republicans have held for two generations.
“We’re not going to lose those seats,” said state Rep. Frank Nicastro, whose 79th District spans the southern third of the city. Read the rest of the story.

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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Bristol gets a nice plug on Boston.com

Don't miss this little writeup of things to do in Bristol that appeared on Boston.com today.
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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

July 27, 2010

Ward says Bristol deserves top rating

Open letter from Mayor Art Ward:
Greetings.
The City of Bristol was recently rated at the 84th Best Place to Live in the country for a multitude of good reasons, but probably one of the greatest reasons was the people of our great community and their resilience during times of distress.
Last Wednesday afternoon, July 21, 2010, Bristol became the victim of a tornado which left major destruction in its wake. Homes were damaged, businesses suffered interruption and devastation was evident throughout the tornado’s 1.5 mile path.
Within minutes of the appearance of this tornado, emergency services were initiated; Public Safety and City personnel were on site to address the needs of the populace and will remain dedicated to this objective until the situation is completely back to normal.
Citizens responded to the call by assisting neighbors and others adversely affected by this sudden disruption in life. We are most fortunate that no reports of personal injuries or fatalities resulted from this tornado. Property damage was extensive in some areas, but community spirit will continue to bring our City back to normal.
The National weather service responded on Thursday and after an extensive tour of our most ravaged areas, determined that we did indeed experience a tornado.
This determination will entitle us to request that Governor Rell apply for Federal funding to ease the financial impact of the disaster.
We are being assisted, with our contact from FEMA, through the efforts of Senator Lieberman, Senator Dodd and Congressman Larson with the hope of expediting relief as soon as possible.
I will always remain proud of the City, our citizens, our businesses, our City employees and those other organizations that rallied together in the face of this hardship.
Being ranked 84th out of 100 is quite flattering, but Bristol has truly earned a #1 rating for their community support.
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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Wright casts every possible vote

Press release from state Rep. Chris Wright, a Bristol Democrat:

REP. WRIGHT CASTS A VOTE ON ALL 271 VOTES TAKEN IN THE STATE HOUSE
State Representative Christopher Wright (D-Bristol ) did not miss a vote taken in the state House of Representative this year and voted on the 271 votes taken during the session.
According to the Clerk of the House, the 2010 individual records reflect a total number of 271 votes were taken for the 2010 Regular Session, The June 21, 2010 Veto Session and the June 21, 2010 Special Session.
“I was pleased to learn that I was present and voted on the 271 votes taken in the House,” Rep. Wright said. “While, I strive to be on hand for all debates and votes, sometimes there are circumstances beyond any legislator’s control that prevents a vote, like an illness or a serious family matter.”
“I will continue to strive to be able to vote on all issues and hope no unforeseen events prevent me from doing just that,” Rep. Wright said.
“Rep. Wright’s 100 percent voting record is evidence of the seriousness with which he takes his job as a state representative,” said House Speaker Christopher G. Donovan (D-Meriden). “I congratulate Chris on his dedication to representing his constituents on the many important issues they care about.”
Rep. Wright is in his first term in the General Assembly and serves on the Insurance, Housing and Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committees.
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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Busway an afterthought on high speed rail push

Press release from Gov. Jodi Rell's office:

Governor Rell Announces $260 Million in Bonding for New Haven-Hartford-Springfield Rail Line

            Governor M. Jodi Rell today announced that $260 million in state funding for a dramatic upgrade of the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield rail corridor is expected to gain approval when the state Bond Commission meets August 11 in Hartford.

            The ultimate goal is high-speed intercity rail service on the 62-mile line within five years. The $260 million in state funding would be matched against an application being filed for $220 million in federal funding. Connecticut is working jointly with Massachusetts and Vermont to expand service through the heart ofNew England.

            “Just a few months ago, we were proud to host U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood for a tour of the tracks right next to us,” Governor Rell said during a news conference at the historic Wallingford train station, built in 1871. “We rode from New Haven to Hartford on an Amtrak conference car because we wanted Secretary LaHood to see the same thing we do – the promise and the potential of this rail line.

            “For as long as I have been Governor, I have had two major goals: To keep and grow jobs in our state and to improve Connecticut’s transportation network,” the Governor said. “In the case of this project, the first goal blends seamlessly into the second, because our roads, our airports and our rail lines are the arteries that carry our economic lifeblood. Moving people and products ensures the health of our economy.

            “After visiting us last April and hearing our plans, Secretary LaHood was impressed,” Governor Rell said. “The phrase he used was, ‘Connecticut has its act together.’ Well, he’s right – we do have our act together. And working with our regional partners and putting this money in place now shows Washingtonthat we are serious about moving this project forward. It’s fair to say that high-speed rail is the most important transportation initiative since the creation of the interstate highway system more than 50 years ago. In the short term, this will improve service, provide better mobility and decrease traffic congestion. In the long term, travel times will decrease, jobs will be created and our environment and overall economy will benefit.”

            It is expected that the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield line will:

  • Reduce the number of vehicles on roads by approximately 4,000 cars each day
  • Increase the connectivity of rail and bus systems at all train stations, including the proposed Hartford-New Britain Busway
  • Foster better linkages between Bradley International Airport and the region
  • Generate close to 4,000 jobs
  • Create opportunities for transit-oriented development at rail stations along the line
  • Save 1 billion gallons of fossil fuel annually
  • Reduce carbon emissions by over 10,000 tons a year
             “The improvements in this corridor will include modifications to existing stations, construction of new stations and improved rail and freight service – both in efficiency and frequency,” said Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner Jeffrey A. Parker. “Multi-state collaboration amongConnecticutMassachusetts and Vermont continues to be the driving force behind competing for and receiving additional federal funding.”

            The Governor thanked House Speaker Chris Donovan for his staunch advocacy of the project.

“The high speed rail project will remove one of the great impediments to economic growth in Connecticut – traffic congestion along the corridor. With high speed rail, our economic future improves exponentially and we can move forward with renewed confidence on a project that can create jobs and position Connecticut for sustained future growth,” House Speaker Christopher G. Donovan said. "I am grateful for the Governor's leadership on this project. Approval by the Bond Commission of these funds tells the federal government that we are committed to moving a project with enormous economic ramifications for Connecticut and the Northeast forward.”

Earlier this year, Connecticut received $40 million in federal funding for the construction of double-tracking on a 10-mile stretch of the corridor betweenNewington and Berlin.
            There will be a public meeting on the environmental aspects of the project on Thursday, July 29, at 6 p.m. at Union Station in Hartford. The draft Environmental Review Document can be found online at www.nhhsrail.com.


The 124-page environmental review document contains exactly one mention of the proposed busway between Hartford and New Britain:


Transit ‐ Local transit services are provided by various transit agencies throughout the
study area, and regional bus service is provided by private services including Greyhound/Peter Pan, DATTCO and Arrow bus companies. To integrate local transit into the rail service plan will necessitate inclusion of two and four bus stalls at each station, with two additional stalls at Windsor Locks to provide an express shuttle to Bradley International Airport. Bus stalls for private services at the current rail stations will be maintained. New Britain – Hartford Busway buses will be integrated into station planning through that project planning and design.

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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

July 25, 2010

Congressional hopeful Mark Zydanowicz on "The Real Story"


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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

How low can you go?

The Democratic primary fight for state comptroller has dissolved into one of the sleaziest, most vile political brawls that I've seen in decades of watching candidates claw for public office.
Let's start with this classic hit piece, put together by Waterbury Mayor Mike Jarjura's campaign that's challenged Lembo for the office:

For more, you can just go to Jarjura's "LemboLies" website. Click here.
I'll leave it to Democratic voters to decide whether that's so vicious that the man who put it out there should be sent packing or not.
Lembo, the endorsed candidate, has a website here where you can learn more about him.
And here is a statement Lembo's campaign put out last night after seeing a mailer that Jarjura must have sent to every Democrat in the state:
Statement of Democratic Party-endorsed candidate for state Comptroller Kevin Lembo on negative direct mail and internet website launched by his opponent today.
“I am shocked, and frankly, appalled by the distortions and lies, and the juvenile nature of the direct mail and website that the Mayor of Waterbury launched today against my campaign.
“Connecticut is facing an almost $4 billion budget deficit. We are competing here to be the Comptroller of the State of Connecticut, and to administer a $19 billion budget. The Mayor’s campaign strategy is to use copyrighted music for a cartoon campaign hit? What kind of debate on the issues is this?
“Some of my opponents’ claims are just bizarre. But let me be clear – I have never lied to the people of Connecticut or distorted my record.
“I was given the title of Assistant Comptroller by Nancy Wyman, and she can verify it. My work in the Comptroller’s office focused, in part, on convincing the legislature to increase contributions to the Rainy Day Fund, and I am proud of that effort.
“I have never proposed a $3 billion increase in state spending, ever. Having been a home owner in three states, I am unaware of any personal credit issues or unpaid bills.
“And yes, I did work for the former Republican Lieutenant Governor of New York in the late-90s. But my opponent fails to reveal that the Lt. Governor also became a Democrat in very short order, and ran against her former running mate: Republican George Pataki. I didn’t (and still don’t) agree with every policy position Betsy takes. But for the record, she is probably less conservative than the Mayor of Waterbury; she actually supports a woman’s right to choose.
“If it has been a secret to the Mayor of Waterbury that the Office of the Healthcare Advocate is funded through the insurance fund (I know he was absent for that vote as a member of the General Assembly), then he is woefully uninformed. The OHA, like the Banking and Insurance Departments, is funded by an assessment on the regulated industry. I make no apologies for helping consumers save $20 million dollars since taking office. My record of accomplishment is pretty clear.
“I am enormously proud of the work I’ve done in Connecticut and New York advocating for health care and better budget practices. It is truly unfortunate that the Mayor of Waterbury and his cronies think that singing songs and distorting my record is more important than talking about their own.”
I may have missed something -- probably have, in fact -- but the worst thing I can find that Lembo has done to Jarjura is to point out the Waterbury mayor helped hire former Gov. John Rowland to do economic development in his hometown. He has also said that Jarjura is anti-choice on abortion and was involved with the group that led the fight against gay marriage in Connecticut. As far as I know, those claims are true.
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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

July 23, 2010

City facing big cleanup after tornado

Crews are still trying to cope with the damage left by a tornado that tore a path Wednesday afternoon from Rockwell Park to Middle Street.
The National Weather Service said the twister ripped off tree tops and plucked other trees right out of the ground as it cut for a mile and a half through the heart of Bristol, leaving a swath of debris but no injuries or deaths.
With a maximum wind speed of 90 miles an hour, the weather service rated the tornado a relatively mild one with a 25-yard wide path that began near the city’s historic West End park.
The worst-hit section, along Blakeslee Street, saw trees snapped and broken for much of its length.
City public works crews said they had a tough time cutting their way through a sea of fallen trees left by the tornado along the road that cuts between Federal Hill and Riverside Avenue, including the Huntington Woods complex.
The “shearing off and twisting of tree tops,” some flung in opposite directions, is characteristic of a small tornado, weather service experts said in a statement released late Thursday.
At Rockwell Park, trees were knocked to the ground along the outfield fence of Muzzy Field, the basketball court and elsewhere, but despite the widespread damage, none of the park’s buildings or major facilities got hit.
As the storm rolled into town, the sky turned ominously dark, the wind howled and rain fell with Biblical fervor, drenching low-lying areas and turning many Federal Hill streets into raging torrents.
On Riverside Avenue, the wind shoved a Dumpster several feet, according to T.J. Barnes, and on Main Street the waters gushing downhill were strong enough to carry off a Press vending box. Click here for full story.

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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

July 22, 2010

Tornado started near Rockwell Park, weather service says

National Weather Service release:
855 PM EDT THU JUL 22 2010
...TORNADO CONFIRMED IN BRISTOL IN HARTFORD COUNTY CT...
LOCATION...BRISTOL IN HARTFORD COUNTY CT
DATE...JULY 21 2010
ESTIMATED TIME...415 PM EDT
MAXIMUM EF-SCALE RATING...EF1
ESTIMATED MAXIMUM WIND SPEED...90 MPH
MAXIMUM PATH WIDTH...25 YARDS
PATH LENGTH...1.5 MILES
BEGINNING LAT/LON...41.67N / 72.96W
ENDING LAT/LON...41.67N / 72.93W
* FATALITIES...0
* INJURIES...0

* THE INFORMATION IN THIS STATEMENT IS PRELIMINARY AND SUBJECT TO CHANGE PENDING FINAL REVIEW OF THE EVENT(S) AND PUBLICATION IN NWS STORM DATA.

...SUMMARY...
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN TAUNTON MA HAS CONFIRMED A TORNADO IN BRISTOL IN HARTFORD COUNTY CT ON JULY 21 2010.

A BRIEF TORNADO TOUCHDOWN OCCURRED ON THE EAST SIDE OF ROCKWELL PARK AND HAD AN INTERMITTENT DAMAGE PATH /MOSTLY AT TREE TOP LEVEL/ TO THE END OF HIGH STREET. STRAIGHT LINE WINDS APPEARED TO BE THE MAIN CAUSE OF DAMAGE IN THIS AREA...HOWEVER...DAMAGE FROM A SMALL AND BRIEF TORNADO WAS ALSO EVIDENT...MAINLY DUE TO THE NATURE OF THE TREE DAMAGE ON BLAKESLEE AND HIGH STREETS WHERE TREE
TOPS WERE TWISTED OFF AND OTHER TREES WERE FELLED IN DIFFERENT DIRECTIONS. THE SHEARING OFF AND TWISTING OF TREE TOPS WAS CONSISTENT WITH LOW END EF1 TORNADO DAMAGE.

THE DAMAGE PATH WAS 1.5 MILES LONG /INTERMITTENT/ AND ABOUT 25 YARDS WIDE. DAMAGE WAS CONSISTENT WITH MAXIMUM WINDS OF AROUND 90 MPH WHICH IS CLASSIFIED AS EF-1 ON THE ENHANCED FUJITA SCALE.

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE WOULD LIKE TO THANK THE CONNECTICUT DEPARTMENT OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AND HOMELAND SECURITY FOR THEIR ASSISTANCE WITH THIS STORM SURVEY...AS WELL AS THE MAYOR OF BRISTOL AND CITY EMPLOYEES. WE ALSO THANK THE CITY EMPLOYEES OF PLAINVILLE.

AFTER VISITING BRISTOL...NWS EMPLOYEES SURVEYED THE DAMAGE IN PLAINVILLE...WHICH WAS CONSISTENT WITH 60-70 MPH STRAIGHT LINE WINDS...MAINLY ON THE NORTH SIDE OF PADEREWSKI LAKE IN THE VICINITY OF BIRCHTREE ROAD. THERE WAS NO SOLID EVIDENCE OF
TORNADIC ACTIVITY IN PLAINVILLE.

THIS INFORMATION CAN ALSO BE FOUND ON OUR WEBSITE AT WEATHER.GOV/BOX.

FOR REFERENCE...THE ENHANCED FUJITA SCALE CLASSIFIES TORNADOES INTO THE FOLLOWING CATEGORIES:

EF0...WIND SPEEDS 65 TO 85 MPH.
EF1...WIND SPEEDS 86 TO 110 MPH.
EF2...WIND SPEEDS 111 TO 135 MPH.
EF3...WIND SPEEDS 136 TO 165 MPH.
EF4...WIND SPEEDS 166 TO 200 MPH.
EF5...WIND SPEEDS GREATER THAN 200 MPH.

$$

EKSTER/GOULD
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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Bristol's last tornado? 1984

Wednesday's tornado was the first one confirmed in Bristol since July 5, 1984, when a slightly more serious one did $500,000 worth of damage in Bristol and Farmington. It left one person injured slightly, a woman who hit her head on the windshield of her car as she swerved to avoid a falling tree.
That storm cut a 3-mile path through northeastern Bristol, ripping off some roofs and flattening above-ground swimming pools.
Woodybrook Road got the worst beating, just north of Route 6.
City-Data.com says Bristol's historic tornado activity is 15 percent higher than the national average and slightly higher than the state average.
If it makes you feel any safer, Bristol's earthquake activity is 91 percent below the national average.
Update on Friday morning: The only other tornadoes in Bristol that I can find records for were in 1937 and 1942.
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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Tornado touched down near downtown yesterday

A powerful storm that ripped through the center of Bristol Wednesday included a tornado that tore a path down Blakeslee Street, the hardest hit section of town.
With a maximum wind speed of 90 miles an hour, weather experts said, the damage path was 1.5 miles long and 25 yards wide.
City public works crews said they had a tough time cutting their way through a sea of fallen trees left by the tornado along the road that cuts between Federal Hill and Riverside Avenue, including the Huntington Woods complex.
In the wake a powerful punch from Mother Nature shortly after 4 p.m. Wednesday that tossed trees to the ground, ripped off roofs and flooded streets, the city is seeking disaster relief to help cover the cost of dealing with the mess left behind.
Mayor Art Ward said Thursday the city was “very, very, very fortunate” that nobody was injured or killed as the storm swept across Bristol.
The mayor said the American Red Cross sheltered about 10 people last night at a hotel in Terryville after the roofs were torn off their homes on North Main Street.
Ward said the designation of the tornado should help the city get disaster relief from the state and federal government.
Surveying the damage across town this morning, Ward said he was surprised how concentrated most of the destruction was. It mostly followed a corridor across the central part of the city that included Rockwell Park, Federal Hill, Memorial Boulevard and Frederick Street, the mayor said.
But several public works employees who have been cleaning up across town said that none of the damage elsewhere compared with the devastation on Blakeslee Street.
On the enhanced Fujita scale used to rate tornados, the twister that struck the area was classified as Ef-1, the weather service said.
Ward said the storm was “definitely different” from anything he’s seen before.
“It definitely has to be classified as something other than a storm,” the mayor said. “When you look at the trees and how they remained after being impacted, literally trees were twisted. Some were just uprooted” while others were “cut off at the bottom, almost like a chainsaw” and still others cut off near their crests.
Ward said the “real darkness” at the height of the storm as well as the stunning amount of rain and hail was unique, too.
City Councilor Ken Cockayne said it seemed like someone flipped a switch and everything got dark on Middle Street shortly before hail and heavy rains started falling.
Given all the trees that came down, Ward said, the city is lucky that nobody got hurt or killed. Trees hit more than a few homes and vehicles, but didn’t clobber anyone in the process.
The mayor said he had no idea something so unusual was coming.
Ward said he was talking to a woman in his office shortly after 4 p.m. Wednesday when he noticed that that it was growing dark outside his window. Then the rain began falling with growing intensity.
The mayor said it kept coming down harder and getting darker. When the hail began falling, too, he said, “I think we’re in trouble here.”
In no time, Ward said, the phones began ringing and sirens filled the air outside. Power went off at City Hall.
Ward said he soon declared a state of emergency and opened the emergency operations center about 5 p.m. to coordinate the city’s response.
About 5:30 p.m., Richard Ladisky, the city’s emergency management director, rushed into the police station. He said he’d been called in to help with the crisis, which he didn’t yet know much about.
Ward said he stayed until 11 p.m. and then returned this morning at 6 a.m. One officer on hand at the command center this morning had been working since 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, the mayor said.
“I really want to express my appreciation to all of the city workers and the citizens. Everybody was absolutely superb. I did not hear one single complaint,” Ward said.
He said he has been especially impressed that the first question from almost everyone to him has been to inquire whether anyone got hurt. That says something about the community’s character, Ward said.
Cockayne said that all over town, people came together to help each other.
“It’s amazing to see the type of community we live in,” he said. “City workers did a tremendous job and when they weren’t around, people took care of business themselves” to clear roads and remove dangerous limbs.
Ward said that towing companies pulled cars out of danger for free, a tree company offered to help homeowners’ who can’t afford to pay for tree removals and many people rose to the challenge to lend a hand to neighbors.
“People have answered the call,” the mayor said. “They showed a can-do attitude and a caring for others.”
In the first real test of the city’s emergency preparedness since he took office in 2007, Ward said, “Everything went off without any hitches.”
Ward said he called for state and federal assistance Wednesday to get the wheels in motion for financial and other assistance for anyone seeking help. The city will have overtime costs and its own repair tab, the mayor said.
“It’ll cost us some time and money and labor to get back to normal. But Bristol has always responded well in times of emergency,” Ward said.
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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Lake Compounce will try to open on time


Lake Compounce hopes to open on time at 11 a.m. this morning.
It still lacks power, but the juice is supposed to be on in time. It may, however, open late if there's a hitch.
I'd call or check its website before heading over.
The nation's oldest amusement park has been without electricity since a powerful storm swept through Wednesday afternoon, forcing its early closure.
Mayor Art Ward said that many trees along the park's access road were down and that crews from Connecticut Light & Power were trying to reestablish power this morning.
It does not appear the park suffered any notable damage from the storm, the mayor said.
Update at 11:30 a.m. -- The park is open. Power is restored. Some rides may be down part of the day, however, because of the weather yesterday.
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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Transfer station to extend hours for storm cleanup

Press release from the Public Works Department:
The City of Bristol Public Works Department is extending the hours of the Transfer Station to assist residents with their storm clean up needs.
The Transfer Station will be open from 7:15 AM to 8:00 PM on Thursday 7/22/10 and Friday 7/23/10, and Monday through Friday next week 7/26/10 to 7/30/10. Saturday hours will also be extended, and the Transfer Station will be open on Saturday 7/24/10 from 7:30 AM to 6:00 PM.
Tree branches may be brought by Bristol residents to the Transfer Station with a residential permit, which is available at City Hall (Monday through Friday 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM). A Bristol driver’s license, vehicle registration, and cash or check (only) for $20.00 is required to purchase a residential Transfer Station permit.
Branches brought to the Transfer Station should be no larger than 4 foot long and 6 inches in diameter. Stumps are not accepted at the Transfer Station.

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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Video of storm damage at Huntington Woods

Here's a video that a woman in Huntington Woods shot after the storm yesterday:


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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

The morning after


In the wake a powerful punch from Mother Nature Wednesday afternoon that tossed trees to the ground, ripped off roofs and flooded streets, the city plans to seek disaster relief to help cover the cost of dealing with the mess left behind.
Mayor Art Ward said this morning the city was “very, very, very fortunate” that nobody was injured or killed as the storm swept across Bristol shortly after 4 p.m. Wednesday.
The mayor said the American Red Cross sheltered about 10 people last night at a hotel in Terryville after the roofs were torn off their homes on North Main Street.
Surveying the damage across town this morning, Ward said he was surprised how concentrated most of the destruction was. It mostly followed a corridor across the central part of the city that included Rockwell Park, Federal Hill, Memorial Boulevard and Frederick Street, the mayor said.
Power remains out in parts of town, including Lake Compounce. Ward said utility crews are trying to get electricity restored to the park in time for it to open normally at 11 a.m. today.
The park’s website – lakecompounce.com – will be updated to inform patrons when the power is restored.
Ward said he doesn’t know if the rampant talk of twisters or tornadoes is on the mark, but the storm was “definitely different” from anything he’s seen before.
“It definitely has to be classified as something other than a storm,” the mayor said. “When you look at the trees and how they remained after being impacted, literally trees were twisted. Some were just uprooted” while others were “cut off at the bottom, almost like a chainsaw” and still others cut off near their crests.
Ward said the “real darkness” at the height of the storm as well as the stunning amount of rain and hail was unique, too.
Given all the trees that came down, Ward said, the city is lucky that nobody got hurt or killed. Trees hit more than a few homes and vehicles, but didn’t clobber anyone in the process.
The mayor said he had no idea something so unusual was coming.
Ward said he was talking to a woman in his office shortly after 4 p.m. Wednesday when he noticed that that it was growing dark outside his window. Then the rain began falling with growing intensity.
The mayor said it kept coming down harder and getting darker. When the hail began falling, too, he said, “I think we’re in trouble here.”
In no time, Ward said, the phones began ringing and sirens filled the air outside. Power went off at City Hall.
Ward said he soon declared a state of emergency and opened the emergency operations center about 5 p.m. to coordinate the city’s response.
About 5:30 p.m., Richard Ladisky, the city’s emergency management director, rushed into the police station. He said he’d been called in to help with the crisis, which he didn’t yet know much about.
Ward said he stayed until 11 p.m. and then returned this morning at 6 a.m. One officer on hand at the command center this morning had been working since 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, the mayor said.
“I really want to express my appreciation to all of the city workers and the citizens. Everybody was absolutely superb. I did not hear one single complaint,” Ward said.
He said he has been especially impressed that the first question from almost everyone to him has been to inquire whether anyone got hurt. That says something about the community’s character, Ward said.
In the first real test of the city’s emergency preparedness since he took office in 2007, Ward said, “Everything went off without any hitches.”
Ward said he called for state and federal assistance Wednesday to get the wheels in motion for financial and other assistance for anyone seeking help. The city will have overtime costs and its own repair tab, the mayor said.
“It’ll cost us some time and money and labor to get back to normal. But Bristol has always responded well in times of emergency,” Ward said.
I'm not sure who emailed the picture above last night, but thank you for sharing it!
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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

July 21, 2010

Two more storm pictures

Here are a couple from Andrew Miller, who also agreed to share them:


That's the basketball court at Rockwell Park. And here's a house in Bristol:


Thank you, Andrew!
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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Storm photos from Muzzy Field area

Here are some photographs generously shared by Breeann Redman that were taken this evening near Muzzy Field:






Thank you for sharing, Breeann!
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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

Pictures from Divinity Street/Peck Lane area

Here are a few pictures that Nina Dubay generously shared of storm damage this afternoon in the area of Divinity Street and Peck Lane:





Thank you for sharing, Nina!
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Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com