Archive for September, 2011

2012 Senate Race: Keeping Journalists Busy
September 30, 2011

Will Connecticut make history with an all female senate matchup?

Will Chris Murphy hold onto his lead into polls?

Is Chris Shays making a mistake by slowly rolling out his campaign?

There are so many questions surrounding this year’s senate race, and that is why we invite pundits, politicos, and reporters to come on Face the State to analyze, discuss and maybe predict.    This week we are joined by Brian Lockhart of Hearst Newspapers and Rick Green of the Hartford Courant.  Tune in this Sunday at 11 to watch them.

Last year we were joined by the expertise of Christine Stuart of ctnewsjunkie.com and Greg Hladky of the Hartford Advocate.  You can watch them here:

http://www.wfsb.com/category/213663/face-the-state

CT Won’t Return to “Retro” License Plates
September 30, 2011

License plate fanatics hoping for a return to the retro dark blue and white tags that adorned Connecticut registered cars for more than 40 years are in for a disappointment.    There are no plans to do what New York has done, and bring back a plate design that many considered “traditional.”

During an appearance on Face the State, DMV Commissioner Melody Currey told me the current design is due for a change (it was introduced in 2000)  but it won’t be a return to the old blue and white, and will maintain the current color scheme.

Currey did say because of the growing number of cars, the state is now figuring out a design that will contain seven or eight characters.    The maximum right now is six.

Currey admits license plates are funny things, that people really care about something, that seems so unimportant.  A decade ago, there was a man who looked into legal avenues to stop the state from changing the plate colors.  Each eyar, thousands of people pay extra money for vanity plates and low digit plates, and the controversy over getting a low digit status symbol has been thoroughly reported.    It’s not unusual to see people still driving with a new plate on the back of their car, and the traditional blue and white on the front.  By the way, that is illegal.  Those retro plates can put on a nail in the garage.

Currey also talked about the new driver’s license requirements to make it easier to get into federal buildings and the like.  You can watch the interview right here:

http://www.wfsb.com/category/213663/face-the-state

In October Commish Conceded Scammers May Have Received Federal Storm Assistance
September 29, 2011

The findings that some state workers may have committed fraud related to federal assistance intended for the victims of Tropical Storm Irene, may not have surprised DSS Commissioner Roderick Bremby.  On Face the State on October 5th, Bremby conceded scammers may have received federal aid.

The long lines that snaked outside Department of Social Services offices the last week of September and first week of October  made headlines around the nation, even emblazoned across the Drudge Report.    When reports surfaced that some people were suspicious that some in line didn’t belong there, the program to reimburse low income people for storm damage became fodder for columnists and radio commentators.   

During the taping of the program, Bremby told me that most of the people who received aid from the government, were entitled to it.  However, he admitted there were some people who could have exploited the program and got money, but referred to those as ” a few people.”  

Bremby, an Army brat who grew up everywhere, and came to Connecticut from Kansas, is hoping to modernize the DSS, which he says is stuck in 1989.    

You can watch the entire interview with Bremby right here: 

http://www.wfsb.com/video?clipId=6312234&flvUri=&partnerclipid=&topVideoCatNo=221670&c=&autoStart=true&activePane=info&LaunchPageAdTag=homepage&clipFormat=flv

My Involvement in a Recent News Story
September 27, 2011

John Howell, an astute reporter for the West Hartford Patch, called to say he discovered my name in a police report filed in West Hartford.   I was considered a witness in a story about a father accused of leaving his child unattended in a car.

It happened last week outside Old Navy and Eastern Mountain Sports. I was getting out of my car to take my son into Old Navy to buy socks when a woman with a child approached me, with a concerned look on her face. She said something along the lines of “can you help me? There is a baby all alone in the car and I’m not sure what to do.” She noted that it was getting hot outside.

I peeked in the car and sure enough, there was a child sleeping in a car seat. We looked around, didn’t see anyone, so we decided we should call 9-1-1. My instincts as a parent were to make sure the baby was OK, and the best way to do that was to contact police. It was really a no-brainer to call. Stories of children being left in cars are all over the news, and as the responding West Hartford police sergeant told me,  they have even had a few cases right in that very parking lot.    I called 9-1-1 only because looking up the main police switchboard number on my cell phone with my son tugging at my other hand to get moving would have been difficult.

As an parent can tell you, it can be a pain in the neck to go into a store with your kids. They are not always on their best behavior when tempted by food, toys, and other items dangling in their view.    It would be so much easier to leave them in the car, but you just can’t do that. It is illegal and for good reason. So many things could happen: the car could be broken into, stolen, or crashed into.

My second call was to a West Hartford police detective whom I know, but that call went to voicemail. My instincts as a journalist then kicked in and my next call was to Channel 3. I knew that other stations probably heard the police dispatcher on the scanners, and would head to the scene. Channel 30 is right across the street from this shopping plaza and figured they would arrive before police and I wanted to make sure we had the story.

Police pulled in and moments later the father came out of the store. I did not know what would happen to him, whether he would be arrested or given a warning. I later learned he is a doctor and he was charged.

 

We’ll let you say this one, Dr. Oz!
September 27, 2011

Every day the news anchors here have to record an “Oz” tease promoting the next edition of “Doctor Oz.”   For a quarter a century it was the “Oprah” tease.   The producers of the program routinely send a suggested preview of what is coming up.    Denise usually reads it, but sometimes I get the duty.

Here is the one we received today, for tomorrow’s “Doctor Oz.”

On tomorrow’s Doctor Oz, find out the real age of your vagina and your husband’s penis. Dr. Oz reveals three secrets to achieving the best orgasm ever.    Followed by Eyewitness News at 5!

How do we follow that?

Management wisely nixed today’s tease.    That tease might sound better coming from Oz.

That’ll be quite a show.

Friday Night Dump, Sunday Morning Chat
September 16, 2011

The Hartford Police Department released its official report on the case of Denise Nappier today (Friday) at 5:40PM.    That’s what we in the media call,  the “Friday night dump.”   Savvy media and public relations folks know that television news on Friday nights is among the least watched, and the Saturday newspapers are the least read.    Releasing a story, or statement after business hours also means there is usually no one around to talk about it until Monday morning.    It’s pretty common, from the White House to companies, to celebrities.   If you want your story, or your news to be forgotten or lightly covered, then do what HPD did and release it at the onset of a weekend.   

Anyway, this week on Face the State we will talk about the Nappier case.    Treasurer Nappier declined my invitation to appear on the program, citing an out of state commitment, but was told by her spokesperson she may want to come after the report was issued.   We hope to have the state’s longest serving constitutional officer on Face the State next week.  I’ve known Denise Nappier for many years,  and have enjoyed the times she has come to Channel 3 for a taping.  

You can read the report right here:  http://police.hartford.gov/PR%202011/September/2011_09_16_SIR_HPD.pdf

We are joined this Sunday by Channel 3′s Len Besthoff, our chief reporter on the Nappier case; Kevin Brookman, the city blogger who first broke the story, and Kevin Rennie, the Hartford Courant columnist, and former state senator, who provides a political perspective to the story.

Tune in this Sunday morning at 11 on Face the State, only on Channel 3.

51 Years Ago: JFK Visits CT During Cuban Missile Crisis
September 16, 2011

It was October 17, 1962 when President John Kennedy flew to Connecticut for a day of campaigning on behalf of his fellow Democrats.   White House records show the president was in the state for roughly four hours.    Kennedy flew into the Bridgeport Municipal Airport and spoke there, then traveled by motorcade to Waterbury, and then onto New Haven.   We recently found some rare, old film in the Channel 3 archives of Kennedy’s historic visit, and we have donated a copy of this historic visit to the Kennedy Library in Boston.    A library spokeswoman told me they had never seen film of Kennedy’s trip here, and they are thrilled to have it now.

Tens of thousands turned out to see the President, an estimated 55,000 people in the Brass City, and 70,000 on the New Haven Green.    The three speeches he gave that day were quintessential JFK; charismatic and humorous, yet filled with a sense of purpose.   Kennedy spoke of his political allies here in Connecticut, the space program, national defense, and unemployment.

Unbeknownst to the crowd was that President Kennedy was managing one of the most serious crises ever faced by this country; the Cuban Missile Crisis.     Just three days earlier, the President learned with certainty the Soviet Union was secretly setting up missile launches on the Communist island nation of Cuba, just 90 miles from American soil.

Kennedy was shown the photographic evidence on October 15th, and that day and the next he met steadily with advisors about the crisis.   On the 17th, he broke away from the extremely tense situation in Washington, to travel to Connecticut, to honor a commitment to campaign for his long time friend Abe Ribicoff, who was running for the Senate seat held by the retiring Prescott Bush.    Kennedy also campaigned for Governor John Dempsey and Congressmen John Monagan and Bob Giaimo, but Ribicoff was the focus.   Kennedy was also accompanied on the trip by Senator Tom Dodd, father of now former Senator Chris Dodd.

Later that night, a U-2 flight over Cuba would discover nuclear missiles, capable of striking most of the continental United States.   Americans would learn of the crisis five days after the Connecticut visit,  when President Kennedy addressed the nation on October 22, 1962.

I welcome your thoughts on this old film.   As you watch it, keep in mind the heavy burden Kennedy carried as he delivered these campaign speeches.

http://www.wfsb.com/video?clipId=6265920&topVideoCatNo=213439&autoStart=true

Suburban Mayor Jumps Into Senate Race
September 15, 2011

The Republicans are starting to stir in the race for the U.S. Senate seat held by Senator Joe Lieberman.   Tonight during a taping of “Face the State with Dennis House” on WFSB-TV in Hartford,  Vernon Mayor Jason McCoy announced he is throwing his hat in the ring.    

The two-term mayor of this Hartford suburb is regarded as a rising star in the Connecticut Republican Party, a close ally of former Governor Jodi Rell and 2010 GOP gubernatorial nominee Tom Foley.  McCoy briefly considered running for Attorney General last year, and also rebuffed overtures to challenge Congressman Joe Courtney in CT-2.      

McCoy made headlines in November, when he exposed irregularities at a Bridgeport polling place on election night.   Ballot problems in Connecticut’s largest city delayed the official results in the governor’s race by two weeks.   McCoy was working as a poll monitor when he used his cell phone to record some questionable behavior by a poll worker.  

During the taping of “Face the State,” McCoy said he decided to run for the U.S. Senate after watching what he calls the lack of action by Congress, particularly on budget issues.    He criticized the three Democratic candidates, Susan Bysiewicz, Chris Murphy and William Tong as big spending Democrats.

McCoy’s entrance into the race comes a week before the expected announcement of 2010 nominee Linda McMahon that she is running again.  Former CT-4 Congressman Chris Shays told me he plans to announce his candidacy for the Senate on October 5th.

I asked McCoy how he plans to beat two political heavyweights.    McCoy, who just turned 40, said the state needs “someone a little younger and more enthusiastic.”  Shays turns 66 next month, McMahon, 63.   He also pointed out that he has more political experience than McMahon, and he suggested that Shays’ experience was not “Republican enough.”   Hartford Attorney Brian K. Hill is also seeking the GOP nomination.

The last time a Republican won a U.S. Senate seat in Connecticut was 1982, when then Senator Lowell Weicker was re-elected.  The last time Republicans won an open seat was in 1952, when Prescott Bush, the father and grandfather of the Presidents Bush, was elected. 

Here is the interview:   http://www.wfsb.com/video?clipId=6265896&topVideoCatNo=213439&autoStart=true

Face the State Remembers 9/11
September 11, 2011

On this solemn anniversary, we were joined by Senators Joe Lieberman in Washington, and Richard Blumenthal in Manhattan.

Channel 3′s Robert Goulston reported live from the site of the World Trade Center to talk about the new memorial and when it will be open to the public.

We also heard from a local man who survived the attacks on the World Trade Center, investment banker Mel Esdaile, of North Haven.  We first met him on September 11th, 2001, and he appeared today on Face the State to tell his story from the perspective of a decade passing.

Also on the Face the State lineup:  former Governor John Rowland, who guided the state during those tense days in September.

 

You can watch the entire Face the State right here:

http://www.wfsb.com/video?clipId=6241827&topVideoCatNo=213439&autoStart=true (Lieberman)

 http://www.wfsb.com/video?clipId=6241829&topVideoCatNo=213439&autoStart=true (Goulston)

 http://www.wfsb.com/video?clipId=6241832&topVideoCatNo=213439&autoStart=true (Blumenthal)

 http://www.wfsb.com/video?clipId=6241835&topVideoCatNo=213439&autoStart=true (Esdaile)

 http://www.wfsb.com/video?clipId=6241838&topVideoCatNo=213439&autoStart=true (Rowland)

The Raccoon and the Regal
September 9, 2011

Sounds like a children’s book, doesn’t it?   Certainly wasn’t a fairy tale ending for the raccoon which crossed in front of Kara’s car on Interstate 91.    Kara told me she accidentally hit the animal, and that she was OK, but the raccoon was, well, roadkill.

When I got home, as any guy would, I did a walk around and noticed the front end was pretty banged up and asked Kara about it.   “What damage” she asked!

Ironically, Kara’s late father, former Rhode Island Governor  Bruce Sundlun, had a highly publicized incident with raccoons many years ago that is now part of Ocean State lore.    He as 91 when he died in July, and Kara’s raccoon encounter was on I-91.   Hmmm.

also read:  http://dennishouse.wordpress.com/2011/07/28/remembering-my-father-in-law-bruce-sundlun/

and:  http://dennishouse.wordpress.com/2009/05/01/a-tough-decision/

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 146 other followers