Archive for February, 2012

WFSB to Host Two Senate Debates
February 26, 2012

WFSB will host two televised U.S. Senate debates this spring.   A debate of the Democrats will be held on Sunday, April 15th, from 11AM to 12PM, as part of a special one hour edition of Face the State.  

The Republicans will debate the following week, Sunday, April 22.    Same time.    The debates will be held in the WFSB studios.

We have commitments to participate from Susan Bysiewicz, Chris Murphy, William Tong, Linda McMahon, Chris Shays and Brian K. Hill.  We also expect other candidates to partake.

We will have more information later this week.

Whitnum Blasts Bysiewicz, Murphy and Malloy
February 24, 2012

In her first television interview of the campaign,  Lee Whitnum came out swinging against two of her fellow Democrats seeking the nomination for the seat currently held by Joe Lieberman.   During a taping of Face the State, the lawyer and author from Greenwich was highly critical of Susan Bysiewicz and Chris Murphy.

On Bysiewicz, here is an excerpt of what Whitnum had to say:  “I don’t like her at all.  I think she is a card-carrying Israelist.”      Is she running to make sure this Congress remains pro-Israel?”   

As for Murphy:

“Chris Murphy pledged $30M to Israel over the next ten years……..We elected a young maverick kid and he just hasn’t done very much.  He needs to be taken out of office.” 

Whitnum hasn’t made many friends in the Connecticut Democratic Party.   She is currently suing Governor Malloy, alleging he called her an anti-semite.   In the interview, Whitnum said the governor (who has publicly talked about his dyslexia) can’t read.  In the past she has called Senator Lieberman a traitor, and demanded  Senator Richard Blumenthal  resign.

Whitnum’s opposition to the United States  policy on its ally Israel, has led to those anti-semitism charges.      On Face the State Sunday, you’ll hear Whitnum talk about what she believes needs to be done when it comes to Israel.

Whitnum ran for Chris Dodd’s senate seat in 2010, and against Jim Himes in the 4th district in 2008.    She is also remembered as the one time girlfriend of Massachusetts Senator John Kerry.

You can watch the entire interview with Lee Whitnum, this Sunday morning at 11 on Face the State, only on Channel 3.

UPDATE: Here is the interview  http://www.wfsb.com/video?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=6784939

ESPN’s Buccigross on NHL Return to Hartford
February 24, 2012

The John Buccigross interview and all the Whalers stories have moved here: http://dennishouse.tv/2012/02/24/espns-buccigross-on-nhl-return-to-hartford/

Goodbye Big Al
February 23, 2012

This week marks the end of an era in local television:  Al Terzi is leaving Channel 3.    

“Big Al,” as we call him, first came to Channel 3 in the summer of 1968.    A decade or so later, he left for a job in Florida, where he survived a devastating plane crash.    When Al returned to Connecticut, he worked at WTNH, then re-joined Channel 3 in 1993. 

Al is good friend and heckuva lot of fun.    In a business where we often have to report on the worst in human behavior,  it is nice to have a little levity now and then and Al would gladly partake in the silliness Denise and I so enjoy.   When Al would forget to sign off his computer, I would jump in send a preposterous e-mail to certain staff members, something like this:   “Can you recommend a good place to get a brazilian wax?”   Younger, newer,  staff members would murmur in twisted shock at this e-mail from Al, actually believing this military veteran  would undergo such a procedure!   

Al always played along and was a good sport.   He wore a grass skit, and footie pajamas  for Scot Haney’s Joy for Kids concert,  went along with good natured teasing about his age, and even tried a green jello shot at a St. Patrick’s Day party.

One of Al’s roles here at Channel 3 that the viewers may be unaware of,  was that of teacher.     His memos and notes on grammar, history and journalism are legendary.   I saved them for about a month or so and put them in a handmade book, called the “Terzipedia of JournALism.”  Here is one of my favorites from 2004:

In today’s Noon news, we referred to a “strip joint” as a “gentleman’s club”   “Gentleman’s club” is what the OWNER calls his business, so we should not use that term, because it’s misleading.    Viewers may be confused and think it’s a social club,” membership in which is something to be DESIRED.  Why not just call it a NIGHTCLUB FOR MEN?”   That’s not passing judgement.  That’s what it is.  By calling it a “gentleman’s club, we ARE passing judgment.     Thanks, Al

It was not uncommon to get an e-mail  from Al sent from home calling to our attention a mistake or an offer of new information about a story.   Some people might not have welcomed that missive, but they certainly learned from it.

We all learned from Al.  As anchors, I can say Denise and I are better at our jobs because of Al’s guidance.     He once told us he had two contracts; one with the station, the other with the viewers.   The dean of Connecticut television always made time for the people who watch us.  

I’ll tell you a story that sums up what kind of guy Al is.   There used to be a mentally challenged man who waited outside Broadcast House nearly every day to greet us as we came and went into the television station.   He would take the bus downtown and sit outside our studios.   He knew our names and the stories that appeared on Eyewitness News.    Al would buy him lunch, and gave him comfort when his mother died.    That was Al. 

For Denise and me, Al’s departure is a big loss.   Our desks have been at the same pod since 1999, when Gayle broke up our foursome when she left.    At the old Broadcast House, Denise, Al, and I used to take a daily “coffee walk,” either outside to Constitution Plaza or in the station lunchroom.    We’ve been there for each other at weddings, funerals, family dramas, and newsroom management upheavals. 

On his final day here, Al got a standing ovation in the newsroom as he walked into the studio.   Well deserved.

Here is the video of our goodbye to Al:

Al’s career:  http://www.wfsb.com/video?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=6779768

Al’s goodbye: http://www.wfsb.com/story/17011468/friday-marks-last-day-for-al-terzi?ABC=123

Here are some sights of Al’s final day:

Reason #742 to own a Buick Roadmaster
February 20, 2012

We had my daughter’s 5th birthday party over the weekend and thanks to our family workhorse Buick Roadmaster Estate Wagon, I was able to pick up two dozen balloons.   The 24 helium spheres fit quite nicely in the third row cargo hold, and I easily could have fit more in the back seat.

I think if Scot tried that in his Subaru, most of the balloons wouldn’t have fit, and those inside might have be enough to carry that bantam weight car up, up and away to the sun.

Also read:  http://dennishouse.wordpress.com/2011/02/22/reason-733-to-own-a-buick-roadmaster/

see also:  http://dennishouse.wordpress.com/2009/03/21/yes-i-really-drive-a-buick/

and:  http://dennishouse.wordpress.com/2010/10/04/reason-727-to-own-a-buick-roadmaster/

and: http://dennishouse.wordpress.com/2010/07/02/nothing-like-that-new-car-smell/

plus:   http://dennishouse.wordpress.com/2010/07/26/reason-726-to-own-a-buick-roadmaster/

also:  http://dennishouse.wordpress.com/2010/06/23/scot-haneys-one-shining-moment/

one more: http://dennishouse.wordpress.com/2010/12/06/reason-728-to-own-a-buick-roadmaster/

Obsitnik Hopes to Challenge Himes in CT-4
February 17, 2012

The National Republican Congressional Committee is focused on U.S. Representative Jim Himes (D) CT-4.    The NRCC issues regular press releases about the man they want to defeat in November, virtually ignoring Rosa DeLauro, John Larson and Joe Courtney, who are also up for re-election this fall.     

This Sunday on Face the State, you’ll meet one of the two Republicans seeking the nomination in the Fourth congressional district.    He is Steve Obsitnik of Westport, a Navy veteran and MBA.   He faces Chris Meek, who was on Face the State last fall.   David Orner dropped out of the race last month.

During our taping, Obsitnik rattled off a list of reasons as to why folks in Fairfield County should vote Himes out of office, and he talked about his plans if elected.    First he needs to get past a primary with Meek.

You can watch the entire interview this Sunday morning at 11, only on Channel 3.

UPDATE:  Here is the link to the interview: http://www.wfsb.com/video?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=6754750

Newton Seeks Redemption and His Old Job Back
February 17, 2012

Disgraced former State Senator Ernest Newton is seeking his old job back two years after finishing a prison term for corruption. In his first extended television interview since announcing his candidacy, the Bridgeport Democrat laid the foundation of his political comeback.

“I made a mistake, but my mistakes do not outweigh the good I’ve done. I’ve paid my debt to society.”

During a taping for Sunday’s Face the State, Newton talked about his time in prison, his drug past, and how he has actually been encouraged to run by his former constituents, despite the fact he’s a convicted felon. He said he hasn’t yet spoken with party chairwoman Nancy DiNardo, who has been publicly silent on Newton’s attempted political comeback. Newton told me has talked with Senate President Donald Williams, who “didn’t tell me not to run.” In fact, Newton said no one has tried to talk him out of running against current State Senator Edwin Gomes.     Newton added that he has the blessing of the Bridgeport party chairman, Mario Testa, whom Newton says told him he will win.

You can watch the entire interview with Ernest Newton, this Sunday morning at 11, only on Channel 3.     UPDATE:  here is the interview http://www.wfsb.com/video?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=6754742

Archbishop of Hartford: Obama Mandate Will Impact November Election
February 16, 2012

President Obama’s controversial mandate on contraception is making headlines across the nation, and the leader of Catholics in Connecticut is calling it a “war on religion.”    Archbishop Henry Mansell is our guest this weekend on Face the State, and during the taping he laid out the church’s case against the federal government’s edict that Catholic organizations provide birth control to their employees.

Mansell explained why the church is against artificial birth control, and what negative impact the mandate would have on Catholic entities here in our state:  Catholic Charities, St. Francis Hospital, Fairfield University, and more.     Census figures show Connecticut to be one of the most Catholic states in America.

Mandell was highly critical of the mandate saying it “shows a terrible lack of feeling and a real knowledge of the issues.”    I also asked him if felt Catholics will make their opinions known in the November election.

“I think it will have an effect, and enormous effect because this is fundamental in our lives our lives as citizens of the United States and as members of the Catholic church and other churches.”   Mansell said the Archdiocese, which oversees the other two dioceses in Connecticut and the Diocese of Providence, has received an outpouring of support from other religious leaders in the state: Baptist,  Jewish, and more.   Mansell said those leaders fear they too could be impacted in the future, suggesting the Obama administration could implement mandates.

“If you are going to go this far to violate religious liberty there is no end to what you will do.”

 During the interview we also talked about the Archbishop’s long conversation with a seemingly sympathetic Congressman John Larson.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I am Catholic, went to Catholic school, and was even married by Archbishop Mansell’s predecessor, Archbishop Daniel Cronin.

You can watch the entire interview with Archbishop Mansell, this Sunday morning at 11 only on Face the State on Channel 3.   

UPDATE:  here is the interview   http://www.wfsb.com/video?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=6754727

also read:  http://dennishouse.wordpress.com/2012/02/03/dueling-sunday-messages-at-church-and-on-face-the-state/

Face the State Flashback: The Hartford & Bridgeport Casinos
February 16, 2012

20 years ago this month, Foxwoods was opening what would eventually become the world’s biggest casino.   News was also breaking that Las Vegas casino magnate Steve Wynn wanted to cash in on Connecticut casino fever by opening lavish gambling resorts  in Hartford and Bridgeport.  

In this week’s Face the State flashback, we’ll hear from  Wynn when he came to the State Capitol on March 11, 1992 to present his proposal. 

There were hearings at the State Capitol and renderings unveiled, but most importantly Wynn was telling lawmakers and citizens that he would sink roughly half a billion dollars into a resort in Hartford, that would feature a hotel, convention center, bowling alley, movie cinema, restaurants, and more.   Thousands of jobs would be created. 

Wynn was eventually turned down, and the state decided to grant a casino monopoly to Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun, meaning no other casino could ever set up shop in our state.     Hartford never again got an  offer like Wynn’s and nothing has ever been built on the land where a glitzy casino would have gone.    Much of the city’s concert business has moved to Foxwoods and Mohegan.  Remember when Billy Joel used to play Hartford?

Donald Trump later pursued Bridgeport for a casino but was also thwarted when the monopoly was finalized.    Wynn is now talking with Massachusetts officials, and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft about building a resort there.   

Site of proposed casino

You can watch the entire flashback, this Sunday morning at 11 on Face the State, only on Channel 3.    UPDATE:  here is the video of the segment  http://www.wfsb.com/video?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=6754756

Lumaj: “McMahon Unelectable; Shays Too Liberal”
February 10, 2012

The two big names in the race for the GOP nomination for the senate seat held by Joe Lieberman are Linda McMahon and Chris Shays , but there are officially five candidates running.   This week on Face the State, we will meet Peter Lumaj, an attorney from Fairfield, who proudly calls himself a conservative Republican.

Lumaj emigrated from Albania as a young adult in search of the American dream.  During our taping, Lumaj talked about how he thinks a conservative can be elected in an increasingly blue state.   He labeled McMahon “unelectable,” and Shays “too liberal.”   He also commented on Democrats Susan Bysiewicz, Chris Murphy and William Tong.   The other two Republicans in the race are Brian K. Hill, and Kie Westby.   Lee Whitnum, Sylvester Salcedo, and Matt Oakes round out the Democrats’ field.

You can watch the entire interview with Peter Lumaj, this Sunday morning at 11 on Face the State, only on Channel 3.

UPDATE:  Here is the interview that aired on Face the State Sunday February 12 2012

http://www.wfsb.com/video?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=6730066

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