Archive for May, 2012

Brian K. Hill May Call it Quits
May 30, 2012

Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate Brian K. Hill may end his campaign Friday, unless there is a surge of support for a petition drive.  A campaign spokeswoman told me the Windsor attorney has not received the interest needed to launch a massive drive for signatures.  Hill would need more than 8,300 signatures by June 12th to qualify for the August primary.

The spokeswoman also told me Hill will likely hold off on an endorsement until after the primary, then work hard for the nominee.  Since the convention, both Linda McMahon and Chris Shays have reached out the former military JAG, according to the Hill campaign.    

Several Republicans have told me they regard Hill as a promising figure in the Connecticut GOP, and are already looking at him for other races in 2014.    Hill could run for one of the consitutional offices,  lieutenant governor, or for the 1st congressional district.     A move to Hartford could also give Republicans a viable candidate in the race for mayor in 2015.

Did She Say Battle Creek, Michigan?
May 29, 2012

Yes, that’s exactly what Kara Sundlun said.    During last week’s Capital Catwalk, Kara introduced ESPN anchor and Catwalk model Steve Bunin by saying  “we both used to work at the same TV station in Battle Creek, Michigan.”    People in the audience at the Hartford Stage might have been saying “huh?”

The world of television news is a small one, an industry more like three degrees of separation than six.    Both Kara and Steve worked at different times at the now defunct news operation at WOTV, the ABC station in Battle Creek.      Many people have heard of this city because of its big employer there:  Kellogg’s.    Post Cereals was also founded there, which led to Battle Creek’s nickname, “Cereal City.”    

Every reporter who does a story at Kellogg’s usually gets this perk:  a personalized box of Corn Flakes.     This box sits on a shelf in our family room, still filled with hermetically sealed cereal from the 1990s.    At least I know I’ll never go hungry if I’m ever too lazy to get off the couch.

Battle Creek is part of the Grand Rapids Kalamazoo television market, where yours truly toiled for the Channel 3 there before I joined this Channel 3.  Even though Kara worked in that market too, we didn’t meet until she was hired at WFSB.    I covered my fair share of Battle Creek stories, including the murder of a news anchor (more on that another time) and lighter assignments like the  annual Battle Creek Balloon Festival featuring a hot air Tony the Tiger.

 Another hard-hitting assignment was the annual “world’s biggest breakfast table,” that snakes through downtown Battle Creek.

The year I covered the event one of my college roommates,  Bill Doyle, was in town, and I dragged him along first thing in the morning and he sat next to me as I covered the story.    At least he got a free breakfast out of the deal and he may even have hooked up with Miss Cereal City.

When I left the Great Lakes State,   I was replaced by a guy named Brendan Keefe, who later replaced me on the morning news at WFSB, and curiously,  also followed me at WREX in Rockford, Illinois.   Can you say stalker?    


Channel 3′s Robert Goulston also came out of the Grand Rapids market.      See what I mean?  The television news business is pretty small.     By the way, Brendan is now an anchor in Cincinnati and still one of the best in the biz.    

Make Sure to Carry Cash to Sonic
May 29, 2012

We finally checked out the drive in fast-food chain that came to Connecticut last year with great fanfare.    Kara and I took out the old Buick Electra for a spin and brought the kids to Sonic.

The kids loved it, especially the carhops who bring your food to your car while wearing roller blades.   It’s cheap, and the food is pretty good and the service is ridiculously quick.   

Make sure you bring cash.  For some strange reason, you can pay with a debit/credit card, but can’t tip with one.    In this increasingly cashless society we live in, our waiter-on-wheels told us that means quite often the carhop gets stiffed.   I’m not sure why Sonic has this policy.   I was a waiter in the 1980s in college and we got tips on cards back  then.  I rarely carry cash, but fortunately did have some on me to leave our carhop a generous tip for the great service.

By the way, my daughter thought going someplace where we would eat in the car was such a big deal, she insisted on wearing a tiara.

also read:

Hill Faces Uphill Battle to the Ballot
May 24, 2012

Republican candidate for the U.S. senate Brian K. Hill certainly  caught the attention of journalists and politicos during the campaign, but not the attention of enough delegates to qualify for the primary on August 14th.    The attorney from Windsor now faces the daunting  task of collecting 8,315 signatures to get on the ballot.   During a taping of Face the State, Hill said his plan is to collect 10,000 signatures.

Hill’s petition drive is not a done deal yet.  He’ll talk with advisors, friends, and family and see if such an effort is feasible.      If not, he may have to take the path of another rising star, and the only other minority in the senate race,  Democrat William Tong.    Tong’s campaign wasn’t getting traction, so he endorsed Chris Murphy.    Party loyalty could help Tong in 2014, when he could seek another higher office.        

Some Republicans have told me Hill is what the party needs, and he, too has a bright future. 

Also this Sunday, we had analysis on the senate race from  Christine Stuart from CT News Junkie, Chris Powell from the Journal Inquirer,  and Ray Hackett from the Norwich Bulletin.

You can watch the Brian K. Hill interview right here:

Analysis from Stuart, Powell and Hackett right here: 

Marking 20 Years at WFSB
May 22, 2012

For much of May, my good friend and longtime co-anchor Denise D’Ascenzo worked tirelessly  on a special report:  a celebration of my 20th anniversary here at WFSB.   At times, I can’t even believe 2012 will mark  two decades since my first report as a 20-something at Channel 3 after leaving WWMT, the CBS station in Grand Rapids/Kalamazoo, Michigan.     Even though I’ve covered countless stories and anchored hundreds, perhaps thousands of newscasts since 1992, I was impressed by how Denise managed to pull so many classic clips, including from a period when it appears I had a mullet!

Truth be told, my actual anniversary falls on August 31st, but with summer vacations, primaries, etc.,   we figured it was best to mark the milestone now.    I should note, we’d be lying if we said it was just a coincidence the flashback aired during May sweeps!   

It has been a great twenty years here at WFSB and I truly feel blessed to have been in a job this long, and still love what I do:  broadcast journalism.      I’ve have the fortune of being assigned to cover national political conventions, the O.J. Simpson trial in 1995,  UConn’s historic Final Four win in 1999,  a visit of a Pope, and the Pope’s funeral.   I immediately went to lower Manhattan on September 11, 2001 and stayed there for a few weeks.   Eight and half years earlier I stood in front of the Twin Towers after a truck bomb exploded in a garage.    I’ve been on the field at a World Series,  sat across from Oprah, and been in inner city neighborhoods as gunfire went off.     I once even ran through a snake infested field while covering wildfires in Florida with a young field producer named Dana Luby, who is now my boss!

Most importantly, I met my wife Kara here at Channel 3, and became a father two times.     Both of my children began their entrance into this world after the 6PM news.  When I wasn’t on the air at 11 those nights, viewers knew something was up.      It truly has been quite a ride. 

To our devoted and loyal viewers, thank you for watching and commenting over the years.  Without your support,  my bosses wouldn’t have kept me this long!    I should also thank my many co-workers and co-anchors, who always made me look good.   

 I first anchored with Denise in 1994, and then off and on over the next five years.   We became permanent co-anchors in 1999, and have been together ever since, making us the longest current anchor team in Connecticut.       Gayle King and I co-anchored Eyewitness News at 5:30 for four years before she left for O Magazine.    I also shared the desk with Virginia Cha, Mika Brzezinski and Janet Peckinpaugh, and with Kara numerous times in the past decade.     

You can watch Denise’s well-researched, and heartfelt report here:

  Also read:

Here are some other pictures from the past 20! 

Behind the Scenes at the 2012 Capital Catwalk
May 22, 2012

280 Trumbull Street – 2nd Floor (Prudential Building)
Hartford, CT 06103
Phone: (860) 525-5015
Fax: (860) 525-5025

Read all about the Catwalk right here:

PHOTOS COURTESY:  Brian Ambrose Photography   more pics here:

Here is last year’s Catwalk:

Former Mayor Ann Uccello Turns the big 9-0
May 19, 2012

Former Hartford Mayor Antonina “Ann” Uccello is celebrating her 90th birthday today.   Uccello is known to the younger generations for the I-84 highway signs that direct people to the downtown street in her honor, but many remember her trailblazing tenure at city hall nearly a half century ago.    Her name is frequently mentioned when anyone talks city politics, because she was the last Republican elected mayor of Hartford.    That is an electoral drought that has become a source of great frustration for the GOP.

Back in 1967, Uccello was not only the first woman elected mayor of Hartford or in Connecticut for that matter, but also the first woman elected mayor of a major American city.     The news was so significant, it made headlines around the world, even in Moscow.

Today at a party with 100 of her friends and family, Uccello was presented a key to the city by current mayor Pedro Segarra.   Segarra told the crowd this pioneer broke down barriers in place for more than 200 years, paving the way not only for other women, but also for blacks and latinos like him.     Countless women entered politics because of her.   Nancy Johnson once said she was inspired by Mayor Uccello to run for congress.  

By the way, that pin that I am wearing in the picture?    That was a campaign button from Uccello’s successful re-election race in 1969.    She gave it to me when I first interviewed her back in 2006.

Among Uccello’s accomplishments:   going into the north end to talk personally with rioters in 1968,  thwarting developers who wanted to raze the Old State House for a parking lot (can you even fathom someone proposed that?) and encouraging planners designing the Hartford Civic Center to make it larger to perhaps one day house a professional team.   The Whalers showed up in the mid 70s.

ann uccello

In 1970, Uccello was the favorite in the race for the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate seat held by a then unpopular Thomas Dodd.   On the urging of President Nixon, Uccello passed on the senate dream, and decided not to challenge Lowell Weicker, and instead run for congress.  She lost that heavily Democratic first district race.     Nixon promptly  gave her a job in the Consumer Affairs Division of the Department of Transportation,  a job she remained in through the Ford administration.  


As the father of a daughter, I found a story Mayor Uccello told to the crowd today to be very touching.   Her father was disappointed he had all daughters because he was afraid the name Uccello would be forgotten.   When she was inducted into the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame the mayor said the former mayor shed a tear, and said “my Dad would be very proud.”

By the way, the party today at the retirement village where Mayor Uccello lives is apparently just part of her 90th birthday celebration.   She told me she wants to go out to celebrate….at the Russian Lady,  right on Ann Uccello Street.

GOP Senate Primary Preview on Face the State
May 18, 2012

This Sunday morning we brought you a special live edition of Face the State for this weekend’s Republican State Convention.   Linda McMahon and Christopher Shays appeared in a preview of the GOP primary in August.    The link to the broadcast is below.  Last week, we had a preview of the Democratic primary with guests Chris Murphy and Susan Bysiewicz. 

We also had expert analysts from Duby McDowell and Brian Flaherty, and our flashback to us back to the 1998 GOP state convention when the Republican party made history

Here are the links:



McDowell and Flaherty:

Mets Slugger Showing Whalers Love
May 17, 2012

Does New York Mets outfielder Jason Bay harbor some secret love for Connecticut’s beloved and lost major league sports team?     Bay was photographed wearing a vintage Hartford Whalers shirt during this week’s trip to Toronto, and the Mets promptly tweeted it to the world.   Other Mets players are reportedly wearing various hockey jerseys while traveling.   Thanks to Channel 3′s Eric Parker for bringing this to my attention.

Bay is the second New York baseball guy caught proudly wearing the Whale.    Yankees GM Brian Cashman was photographed in Stamford wearing a Whalers shirt.   Read about that here:

Maybe the Mets could move their Triple A team to Hartford?

Check out this, too:

Also read:




Malloy & Murphy Won’t Help Donovan in CT-5
May 14, 2012

Channel 3′s Susan Raff reports Governor Malloy won’t endorse House Speaker Chris Donovan in the race for CT-5, even he wins the party endorsement.   The question of an endorsement was raised, because of the governor’s recent involvement in the U.S. senate race.  The governor endorsed Chris Murphy, and suggested Susan Bysiewicz drop out for the good of the party. 

The Governor told Susan Raff he won’t get involved in the CT-5 race, and said it had nothing to with the fact that Donovan’s opponent Elizabeth Esty is married to Malloy appointee Daniel Esty, DEEP Commissioner.   

Murphy also seems to feel a primary is the best way to choose a nominee in the race for his district.  Yesterday on Face the State, he said he would not endorse Donovan, even he wins the convention tonight.


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