Archive for May, 2008

Trinity College: World Series Champs!!
May 28, 2008

  Congratulations to the Trinity College Bantams!      They beat Johns Hopkins to win the Division III Baseball National Championship.   Looks like the DOT is going to have to put up another highway sign!

Denise, love ya! Bobby Sherman
May 27, 2008

That’s what it says on the autographed picture on Denise’s desk.   One casual mention of Bobby Sherman (if you don’t know who that is,  read my previous blog entry below) a month ago and we got dozens of responses including autographed pictures and books about the 70s teen idol.   Thank you for all of your responses and I’m glad Denise and I made you smile.  

As Denise learned, Bobby Sherman is now training EMTs in southern California.   We don’t know of any plans for him to perform again, but the Bushnell in downtown Hartford would be a perfect place to belt out “Julie, Julie, Julie do you love me” and Denise could introduce him.   

 Here is the story on Bobby Sherman:

Taxpayers Picking up the tab for Porn?
May 23, 2008

This week on Face the State the chief librarian of the Hartford Public Library talks about why people should be allowed to view pornographic websites on city owned computers.  Watch the interview Sunday at 11AM and let us know what you think.

Here’s what you missed….
May 16, 2008

…if you weren’t watching Channel 3 this week. 

Eyewitness News brought you some compelling investigations, including Eric Parker’s look at a scam on the elderly.      Len Besthoff broke the story about how a dangerous suspect was set free….accidentally.   We had some crime stories that were hardly garden variety.   At the state’s toughest prison a convicted murderer on death row stabbed another of Connecticut’s worst with a pen, a day after another convict was stomped to death in a revenge killing.   The moral there is “stay out of trouble so you don’t go to prison.”   We also had a story that made  every man cringe:  a woman accused of stabbing her boyfriend in the genitals with not just one knife, but two.  

On a lighter note, Leon Collins had an amusing look at how West Haven is trying to become the “friendliest city,”  and Kevin Hogan interviewed Dan Akroyd.   Best thing about that was we got to hear Denise say “Beldar Conehead.”    On Better Connecticut,  Scot Haney and Kara Sundlun told you about a new test all pregnant women must take and they took you to a new attraction in northwestern Connecticut.   On Face the State,  a state representative explained what many consider to be inexplicable:   why he voted against a new law that would have banned open containers of alcohol while driving.    We also brought you the story about the man who got a free flight but had to sit on the toilet for two hours during turbulence.   Now he is suing.   Al Terzi also revealed he graduated from high school in 1655.   He looks great for 371 doesn’t he? 

Elsewhere on your favorite channel,  Oprah showed us some polygamist “sister-wives” in a creepy  eyeopening interview.  Sergio Garcia won big at Sawgrass,  and Hillary Clinton won in West Virginia, but in both cases no one really cared.   On Bold and the Beautiful, Eric married his ex-wife’s sister after she was dumped by both of his sons, both of whom are older than their new stepmother.   Got that?   On Without a Trace, the season finale had free-spirited FBI agent Samantha Spade (Poppy Montgomery) having her baby, but you’ll have to wait until next season for the name and the daddy.  Is it her boss, her co-worker,  the one night stand, or someone else?    

More good TV coming up next week on WFSB.    Don’t miss a minute.

This week on Face the State
May 16, 2008

Obama versus McCain.       The race is set, now what role will Connecticut play?     Can the GOP win a state last won by then Vice-President George Bush 20 years ago?    Which politicians from our state would go to Washington to work for a President Obama or President McCain?   We get predictions from Duby McDowell and Brian Flaherty.  

Also, we meet the Republican running for congress in the 1st district, Joe Visconti.   Plus, Hartford Courant photographer Michael Kodas talks about his new book about Mount Everest, “High Crimes.” 

Our blast from the past is Mika Brzezinski talking about high gas prices in 1995.  This you have to see!  

Join me Sunday at 11AM and then come back here and leave your comments along with your name and town.

Ways to save gas
May 15, 2008

 Yesterday, I paid $4.05 a gallon in West Hartford to fill up the tank.   That same gallon of gas was selling for $3.99 in Manhattan!     Like all of you, the Houses are looking for ways to make the most of our fuel.

First of all, Kara and I love to walk, and leave the car at home as often as we can.   When we lived and worked in downtown Hartford, it was easy.  We walked to work, walked to the park, restaurants, the gym, the post office, the drug store and the list goes on.   There were days when one of our two cars would actually sit unused for a whole week.   

The new WFSB studios require us to drive about 24 miles round trip.  48 miles for the two of us.   We work different hours so commuting together is not an option.   24 miles is not a huge journey, but it adds up, so Kara and I have looked at ways to get better mileage.  I have found that driving the speed limit and using cruise control helps.  Check out the picture above from our crossover.   With careful driving,  at times on the highway the MPG soars.  On average both of our cars get about 28 MPG on the highway, which is the bulk of our driving.    

In the meantime, we focus on driving less and driving better.   We walk whenever we can.  We often use Peapod for our groceries, which saves our gas, and presumably for the neighbors, too since we see the Peapod truck around the neighborhood.  

There is still much more that can be done.   We need more light rail service in our state.  The bus system needs some work.   There aren’t enough direct routes and too many transfers.   Also, there should be big, simple maps posted like you see in New York and Boston with the MTA and MBTA.   

The state should encourage developers and companies to locate near mass transit centers and in locations where people can walk to work.      I was talking to an employee of MetLife recently, who told me he was not looking forward to the company’s move to Bloomfield.     He told me he and others live downtown so they can walk to work, walk to lunch and leave the car at home.    There needs to be more smart development in our state.      A move to a place where everybody has to drive may make business sense for many reasons,  and it is great for the oil companies, but it is hardly good for the environment. 

There is also a move to build more bike paths, and there seem to be more bike racks nowadays.   Check out the racks in West Hartford Center at Blue Back Square.    A new greenway just opened in Hartford and more are planned.  There is also a new push by Vespa to get more people to use their motorized bikes     You see them on display throughout downtown Hartford at Stackpole, Moore & Tryon/Tuesdays and at Spris Restaurant.

In California there is a proposal to save gas by going to a four day (ten hours a day) work week.   Employees would save thousands of dollars in gasoline by driving to work one fewer day.    It’s not possible for all businesses, but it is something to think about. 

Here is a link to some more info about hybrids and fuel technology.


Why is our gas tax so high?
May 14, 2008

My mother drove down from Massachusetts this past weekend and said something that is becoming a real problem for our state.   “I had to get gas before I crossed the state line because it is so expensive here,”  she said.   This coming from a woman who lives in a state that used be called “Taxachusetts.”  

Connecticut now has higher taxes than Massachusetts on gas, wine, beer, cigarettes, sales, and the list goes on.

The Connecticut gas tax stands at $.44 a gallon.  In Massachusetts,  it is only $.24 cents.   For thousands of Connecticut taxpayers it makes sense to go north of the border and save some cash.  A few of our employees live in  border towns and gas up in the Bay State.   FIlling up a 20 gallon tank saves you $4.00!   A few tankfuls a week and you really rack up the savings.

For those of you who live along the Rhode Island state line, go into the Ocean State to fill up.  The tax there is $.32 a gallon.  New York’s gas tax is slightly less than ours at $.41 a gallon.

We have the second highest gas tax in the nation.   California is a penny higher, but when our tax climbs later this year,  Connecticut will be king of the gas tax nation.  Lucky us.

Question is, how did we get to this high gas tax?    Two key events led to the steady growth of the gas tax.   In 1983 The Mianus River Bridge collapse in Greenwich necessitated millions of dollars in badly needed (and overdue) highway improvements.   The gas tax helped pay for the work.      That same year a truck driver named Kluttz (I’m not kidding) crashed into a toll plaza on I-95 in Stratford, killing seven people.   The tolls were banished and the gas tax was raised to make up for the lost revenue.

So here we are a quarter century later with a gas tax that is sending local gas prices above the $4.00 mark.   What can be done?

Call your state lawmaker and tell him or her to work on getting the tax on a par with the rest of New England.    Personally, I think they ought to consider putting tolls at the border and dropping the tax.  Think of all the money outsiders would be pouring into the state coffers.      If you want an idea go to the Mass Pike on a Sunday when tens of thousands of drivers are paying the state of Massachusetts moments before driving into Connecticut.   What do we get from that?   Nada, Nothing, Zippo.   With EZ-Pass, it is easy money….easy money to which  Connecticut is saying “no thank you.”  

In theory those drivers passing through could gas up in Connecticut and pay that tax, but…naaaah.  The word is out.  Don’t buy your gas in Connecticut.

 Would you buy a gallon of milk from a store that sold it for $4.39 or from the store across the street where the price is $4.19?    

Farewell to our Friend
May 13, 2008

This week we say farewell to a guy whose work you see on Channel 3 everyday.    Jim Gorham, our Creative Services Director,  is leaving after being part of the WFSB family for a good part of the past two decades.

Jim oversees our on air “look.”   From the graphics, the music, the promotions, the camera angles…he is in charge of it all.   He is the architect of the “Everywhere” campaign you see.    His pet peeve?   When Denise and I change “kids” to “children” in scripts.  (It stems back to complaints from teachers)  Anyway,   Jim’s career all began in his internship back in 1995 when he was just a “kid.”   Denise recalls she always thought he “was going places.”  He is.  Now he’s off to New York.   

New York is the # 1 market in the country, and is often considered the ultimate market in broadcasting.    To put it in perspective, Hartford is market # 29, and Rockford, Illinois is # 139.    To make it in Manhattan is a tremendous accomplishment, and Jim’s hiring there is a reflection of the broadcast journalism you watch here on Channel 3.   Every day at his new station will be exciting.   Jim will be bumping into Regis Philbin in the elevator and Diane Sawyer in the cafeteria. Jim will be working with a host of Channel 3 alumni at WABC-TV, including NJ Burkett,  Jamie Roth,  and others.  

   We wish him the very best and thank him for his many contributions.



Mother’s Day
May 9, 2008

Kara once told me “you can never go wrong with flowers or jewelry.”    If you need some flowers today for Mom or your wife check out my pal Karl Robinson at the Old State House.   You may recognize him from “Better Connecticut.” 

One Fewer Uncommitted CT Superdelegate
May 1, 2008

Eyewitness News has learned Senator Hillary Clinton has picked up one of Connecticut’s uncommitted superdelegates.   He is John Olsen, president of the Connecticut chapter of the AFL-CIO.

Olsen called me this morning to tell me he is finally off the fence, but it wasn’t an easy decision.  On Monday at the Jefferson Jackson Bailey dinner he told me “we have two great candidates.”  His union has endorsed Clinton, but his state went for Senator Barack Obama.   I’m also told he was under tremendous pressure from the union to commit.

That leaves our state with two uncommitted superdelegates.   Party chairwoman Nancy DiNardo, and Congressman Joe Courtney.  My take is that both will go for Obama….eventually.   Courtney has to be neutral now.    Clinton is on the armed services committee, which he needs to play nice with because of the submarines!  The navy base and the keeping Electric Boat busy are crucial to Courtney’s re-election.  But let’s face it, if Courtney was really secretly enthusiastic about Clinton, he would have committed to her already.

The lion’s share of the Connecticut superdelegation has gone for Obama, including Senator Chris Dodd, Congressmen John Larson and Chris Murphy, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro and Senate President Donald WIlliams.


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