What’s Happening In Watertown?
At a rigorous and competitive institution like Taft, students are always busy with academics, athletics, and extra-curriculars. With labs to complete and tennis matches to play, students can get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of Taft that they tend to blind themselves from the comings and goings of the town. Even with programs such as the Global Leadership Institute that seek to immerse students in the greater Waterbury area, the many community-based opportunities that Taft provides still do not give a realistic picture of the place that so many call home for nine months of the year. This segment, entitled What’s Happening In Watertown, strives to pop the Taft bubble and immerse our student body in stories about the local area.
Watertown High School Stunned by Racist Comments
March 19, 2019 – Watertown High School administrators discovered a racially-insensitive video posted on social media by one of their students on Tuesday, March 19th. Brought to their attention by distraught parents and students, the teenager in the video says, “All n——- should be slaves” in a very slurred voice. Dr. Rydell Harrison, the Watertown Public Schools Superintendent, vented his frustration: “It’s always a disappoint when you have a student who engages in something or does something that doesn’t really reflect who we are or what we do as a community.” In the aftermath of the incident, Principal of Watertown High School Daniel P. Carroll released a letter to parents of students, stating that the student will be punished accordingly and urged parents to sit down with their child and have a frank discussion on “respect and appreciation”. Carroll writes that, “Watertown High School will use this unfortunate incident as an opportunity to reinforce our position regarding equity, respect, and acceptance of all individuals in our school and community”. Additional resources will be brought in to help affected students cope with the trauma. These resources will include school counselors and educational programs from the Capital Region Education Council and the Anti-Defamation League that will foster “respect, appreciation and acceptance of differences” within the school.
Waterbury Cops Bust Massive Drug Ring
March 21, 2019 – A large group of twenty-nine individuals were arrested in connection to an immense drug ring circulating the Waterbury area. What led to the eventual arrests of these individuals was an investigation headed by the DEA New Haven Task Force, accompanied by Waterbury and Naugatuck police departments. The first person revealed to be involved in this drug ring was fifty year-old Waterbury resident Keith “Knowledge” Jordan, known as “Knowledge” within the ring. He reportedly received vast amounts of heroin and cocaine and then distributed said narcotics throughout Waterbury. Police were also able to uncover 3,000 bags of heroin, 400 grams of cocaine, twenty pounds of marijuana, four hand-guns, and an estimated $120,000 in cash bills, amongst other findings. All twenty-nine have been charged with conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute of the various narcotics. The ages of said people range from twenty-three to sixty years of age.
Angry Workers Strike in front of Waterbury Stop & Shop
April 14, 2019 – A worker’s strike of Stop & Shop across Connecticut has continued into its fourth day, as of April 14. The strikes are over a contractual dispute between Stop & Shop and its employees. The company ended its contract with all employees on February 23rd and planned on cutting take-home pay and benefits of the workers, such as pension benefits, planned raises for long-term employees, and healthcare. Five local Connecticut chapters of the United Food & Commercial Workers Union are negotiating with the company on behalf of the employees, and have been since February 14. Many employees have voiced their concerns on local news outlets. Mary Polcari, an employee at the Milford Stop & Shop, said, “We’ve worked so hard for all these years. We’re the ones that have built up this company and they need to recognize that we are important and we deserve more.” Charles Fritz, a Stop & Shop employee of more than 60 years said that the workers deserve a “real good pay raise”, further noting that with current salaries, “you couldn’t buy a candy bar.” The company’s spokeswoman, Jennifer Brogan, released a statement, expressing disappointment that “the UFCW chose to order a work stoppage in an attempt to disrupt service at our stores.” She mentioned that “Stop & Shop has contingency plans in place to minimize disruption.”
Local Events in Waterbury
May 2, 2019 – “An Evening Out” – Christine Faressa of the Sun, Moon, and Stars, Inc. will be hosting a night out in support of the Greater Watertown Autism Community. The tickets will include “dinner [and] dessert, shopping, silent auction, chance drawings and a swag bag”. Tickets cost $45, and it is for a lovely cause. The night out will be hosted at the beautiful Grand Oak Villa between six to nine o’clock that evening. Make sure to buy your tickets at eventbrite.com.
May 7, 2019 – “Heartbeat: A Native Musical Experience” – The Bristol Public Library will be hosting a free concert at their location for an hour and a half starting at 6:30 that evening. The music will be performed by the very talented Craig Harris. Head out and enjoy some fine music.