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3rd Annual Pooch Plunge

The Bristol Parks and Recreation Department held their 3rd Annual Pooch Plunge at Rockwell Park Monday evening. About 30 dogs, and their owners, came out to cool off and take the plunge as a good way to end the summer season.

 

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Eagles Fall To Hornets 4-3

East Hartford jumped out to a 4-0 lead after two innings but East Catholic’s rally fell short in a 4-3 loss at home in Manchester Thursday afternoon.

Christian Caballero of East Hartford puts the tag on Josh Zbierski of East Catholic at the plate as he tried to score from second base during their baseball game Thursday afternoon. East Hartford held on for a 4-3 victory.

Christian Caballero of East Hartford puts the tag on Josh Zbierski of East Catholic at the plate as he tried to score from second base during their baseball game Thursday afternoon. East Hartford held on for a 4-3 victory.

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Battle Of The Undefeated

On Monday afternoon UConn head coach Geno Auriemma said “There’s no matchup for Kayla McBride and Jewell Loyd. I don’t think anybody in the country has figured out how to guard those two. And I’m not sure we’re going to be able to guard them either.” Maryland thought they had a plan but Notre Dame dispatched them easily with an 87-61 victory. Now two undefeated teams will compete for the national championship Tuesday night. For Lori Riley’s story on the rivalry click here:

Notre Dame Fighting Irish guard Kayla McBride (21) drives up court as Maryland Terrapins guard Laurin Mincy (1) reaches in for the ball during the first half of the 2014 NCAA Women's Final Four in Nashville, TN., Sunday night. McBride scored 28 points and Notre Dame easily advanced with an 87-61 victory.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish guard Kayla McBride (21) drives up court as Maryland Terrapins guard Laurin Mincy (1) reaches in for the ball during the first half of the 2014 NCAA Women’s Final Four in Nashville, TN., Sunday night. McBride scored 28 points and Notre Dame easily advanced with an 87-61 victory.

Notre Dame and UConn did not play each other this year and the rivalry has become more intense over the years so Tuesday nights game should be a beauty. For more photos of how the two teams reached the final click here:

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Dirt Floor Recording Studio

The hills are alive, with the sound of music…. Alright, I mean the woods are alive, in Chester anyway where Eric Lichter has made quite a name for himself producing music at his Dirt Floor Studio. For the whole story by Jason Simms click here:

James Maple and Eric Lichter goof around in the studio while cutting a new single for Maple's upcoming recording. Lichter is the owner and operator of Dirt Floor recording studio in Chester. Eric Lichter grew up in CT and after living in NYC for much of his 20s returned to open a recording studio, now located in a historic home in downtown Chester. This operation is different because he records to tape using vintage equipment, he coaches artists and he'll play whatever instrument needed.

James Maple and Eric Lichter goof around in the studio while cutting a new single for Maple’s upcoming recording. Lichter is the owner and operator of Dirt Floor recording studio in Chester. Eric Lichter grew up in CT and after living in NYC for much of his 20s returned to open a recording studio, now located in a historic home in downtown Chester. This operation is different because he records to tape using vintage equipment, he coaches artists and he’ll play whatever instrument needed.

The place is set back from the road on a shared driveway that splits halfway up. I walked into the house and Springsteen was playing on the turntable, a man with a ‘fro from the 70’s stepped up and greeted me with a smile, hi, I’m Eric Lichter. It was like a flashback to the seventies, he reminded me of a young Bob Dylan with the hair and sunglasses, or was it Sly Stone or, Jimi. Wasn’t sure but I could tell there was a good vibe going on as I was introduced to James Maple, Dustin Meadows and Studio Manager Scott “Skip” Lyons. Maple was there to cut a new song and I had the privilege to spend the next couple hours emersed in the artistry as they weaved a song from bare acoustic guitar, raw vocals and a variety of instruments that both Lichter and Maple would play for background harmony. For more photos click here:

Here’s a short video I put together of my time spent with the crew at Dirt Floor:

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Bill Covitz – Ice Sculptor

Bill Covitz didn’t know where he would wind up after graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in 1991 with the desire to be a chef but for the past 14 years he has mastered the art of carving ice.

Bill Covitz uses a hand grinder to clean and smooth the face of a "Martini Luge" for an upcoming engagement party. Two blocks with the initial of each person is engraved into the front, a plastic martini glass is fitted into the top by carving out the ice then a large dremel is used to carve a flowing groove for the tube that will carry the martini mixture through block to a waiting glass for the consumer of the drink.

Bill Covitz uses a hand grinder to clean and smooth the face of a “Martini Luge” for an upcoming engagement party. Two blocks with the initial of each person is engraved into the front, a plastic martini glass is fitted into the top by carving out the ice then a large dremel is used to carve a flowing groove for the tube that will carry the martini mixture through block to a waiting glass for the consumer of the drink.

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Super Bowl XLVIII

The Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks will play for the NFL Championship at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, February, 2, 2014. The week leading up to big game turns into a media circus and for the football fan the NFL has created the largest “Fan Festival” by blocking off over a dozen city blocks in Times Square with a variety of events. I will try give a glimpse of the things I encounter along the way with a series of Instagram photos.

Hope you enjoy…

Gearing up for the "Big Game", I went out and purchased a new hat for Super Bowl XLVIII, MAD BOMBER meet @AngryJohnnie. It's supposed to be a cold night, but hey it is New England after all.

Gearing up for the “Big Game”, I went out and purchased a new hat for Super Bowl XLVIII, MAD BOMBER meet @AngryJohnnie. It’s supposed to be a cold night, but hey it is New England after all.

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Shuttered School Decision

The Bristol Planning Commission held a public walk-through of the Memorial Boulevard School Monday afternoon and will hold two public hearings later this month to get ideas on what to next with the property.

01.13.14 Bristol, CT  -  A padlock keeps a rusty gate secured at the original high school in Bristol which later became Memorial Boulevard. The Planning Commission held a public walk-through of Memorial Boulevard School Monday afternoon, public hearings on what to do with the property will be held later this month at City Hall and the Bristol Public Library.   Photo by JOHN WOIKE | woike@courant.com

01.13.14 Bristol, CT – A padlock keeps a rusty gate secured at the original high school in Bristol which later became Memorial Boulevard. The Planning Commission held a public walk-through of Memorial Boulevard School Monday afternoon, public hearings on what to do with the property will be held later this month at City Hall and the Bristol Public Library. Photo by JOHN WOIKE | woike@courant.com

What should the city do with the historic school building near downtown that it closed in 2012? Political leaders have debated selling or renovating it, but no plan has won enough support to proceed. Now the city’s planning commission has scheduled two “listening sessions” this month to hear public opinion. For the rest of Don Stacom’s story click here:

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New Yale Management Campus

On Thursday Yale University opened the new Edward P. Evans Hall – School of Management Campus.

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New Haven, CT 01/09/14 – Final preparations were being done as Yale University opened its new School of Management campus, the Edward P. Evans Hall, on Thursday with a three-day conference in advance of students’ return next week. The school is very proud of this new, modern building, ” With its striking modern design, glass façade, and large courtyard, Evans Hall will take its place among the architectural landmarks that distinguish the Yale campus.”. Photo by JOHN WOIKE | woike@courant.com

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State Police Graduation

Connecticut State Police Trooper Trainees Alexander Cintron, Adam List and Gregory Sawicki sing the National Anthem at the start of the State Police 123rd Training Troop graduation at the University of Connecticut in Storrs Thursday. Eighty three graduated and will be patrolling the state.

Connecticut State Police Trooper Trainees Alexander Cintron, Adam List and Gregory Sawicki sing the National Anthem at the start of the State Police 123rd Training Troop graduation at the University of Connecticut in Storrs Thursday. Eighty three graduated and will be patrolling the state.

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“Everything you need for a year-round business, all lost in a day,”

Hartford – Louis Sanzaro IV looked around his wrecked office Tuesday morning in a warehouse destroyed by fire the night before. It reminded him of his seven months in Iraq. “It was just like Fallujah or something” he said later. “That’s what it looks like.”
2014.01.07  Louis Sanzaro IV stood amongst the ruins of heavy equipment that was once his landscaping and construction company. He suspects the fire started in a new truck that had some electrical problems, he said. Fire officials continue to investigate the cause.

2014.01.07 2014.01.07 Louis Sanzaro IV stood amid the ruins of heavy equipment that was once his landscaping and construction company. He suspects the fire started in a new truck that had some electrical problems, he said. Fire officials continue to investigate the cause. Photo by JOHN WOIKE | woike@courant.com

Sanzaro got a call about the fire about 11:40 p.m. Monday from an acquaintace who saw that the back of the building was burning. Sanzaro raced to the scene from his Wethersfield home and watched his livelihood go up in flames. For the rest of Christine Dempsey’s click here:

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The Grandeur of Autumn

Autumn
by: © Julie L. O’Connor
There’s a crispness in the air that greets the morning sun, a feeling of anticipation, a new day has begun.
Harvest days are ending, winter is drawing near, yet in between is surely the most special time of year.
They call it Indian Summer, and it seems to fit the bill, for it’s as if the Lord took a feathered brush and painted all the hills.
For the whole poem click here:
 The first hard frost of the season hit most of central Connecticut on Saturday morning as a maple leaf is outlined with the icy remnants as the sun turns it to dew.

The first hard frost of the season hit most of central Connecticut on Saturday morning as a maple leaf is outlined with the icy remnants as the sun turns it to dew.

I’m often asked this time of year what can I do to improve my foliage photos. I’m not really sure how to answer that since i do not take many “foliage” photos per se but what I try to do is incorporate them into my everyday photojournalism.

I also try to use the sun to my advantage and keep it at 90 degrees or more to my subject so that the color look more vibrant. Fortunately this time of year the sun never really gets high in the sky so almost anytime of day is good for photos. One of my favorite times to shoot foliage is after a light rain which seems to saturate the colors of the leaves and causes the shadow areas of the forest to go darker adding more contrast.

Two other useful tools that I would recommend are a polarizing filter and a graduated neutral density filter. I do not own or use either one but if you want better landscape photos I would highly recommend looking into them. The polarizer will cut down on the glare that can be caused by the sun reflecting off the leaves and will also add a richness to your sky. The neutral density will allow you to balance the overexposure of the sky similar to what a polarizing filter would accomplish.

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Greenpeace Captain Peter Willcox

More than a month after Norwalk native Peter Willcox was arrested by Russian authorities on a piracy charge during a Greenpeace protest in the Arctic, his wife, Maggy Willcox, talked to him on Monday for the first time since the ordeal began.

“He sounded strong and positive,” she said of her husband, the 60-year-old captain of the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise, which was towed to shore by the Russians. Dubbed the Arctic 30, 28 members of Greenpeace, plus a photographer and a videographer, have been in custody since two activists tried to hang a banner on an oil rig to protest drilling on Sept. 18. For the rest of Christine Dempsey’s story click here:

Maggy Willcox has a photocopy of her husband, Capt. Peter Willcox of Greenpeace, who is being held in Russia on piracy charges, taped to the back window of her car. Willcox, his crew and his ship - The Arctic Sunrise, were remanded in the Barents Sea and towed to shore by the Russian government. Willcox put the charges this way: "The whole charge of piracy is ludicrous."

Maggy Willcox has a photocopy of her husband, Capt. Peter Willcox of Greenpeace, who is being held in Russia on piracy charges, taped to the back window of her car. Willcox, his crew and his ship – The Arctic Sunrise, were remanded in the Barents Sea and towed to shore by the Russian government. Willcox put the charges this way: “The whole charge of piracy is ludicrous.”

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A Yellow Ribbon Welcome

Ann R. McLaughlin started the “Yellow Ribbon” ceremony a few years back when her grandson left for a tour in the middle east and then eventually when he came home, and now she does it for all of the East Hampton kids that are serving in the military. They put yellow ribbons on a small tree on Main Street when they leave and then cut them off when they come home. On Sunday the town honored three veterans that recently returned from Afghanistan – U.S. Army Specialist Matthew Kelly, his brother U.S. Army Master Sgt. Paul Valvo and U. S. Army Staff Sgt. Alicia Valli.

Patriot Guard Riders hold onto American Flags as they encircle the tree on Main Street that holds the names of all the veterans from East Hampton that are currently serving in the military overseas.

Patriot Guard Riders hold onto American Flags as they encircle the tree on Main Street that holds the names of all the veterans from East Hampton that are currently serving in the military overseas.

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Cross Country Championship at Wickham Park

Wickham Park in Manchester was the setting for the CCC Cross Country championships Wednesday afternoon. Hall’s Ari Klau helped the boy’s team to the title and Tolland took home the girls. “We came here to have fun today and not worry too much about winning,” said Tolland coach Judi Lafontaine. “My girls are fighters and they don’t know how to do anything else but win right now.”

With the Hartford skyline and the fall foliage as a backdrop the varsity girls make their way across a field near the start of the race. — John Woike / Hartford Courant, Oct. 16, 2013

With the Hartford skyline and the fall foliage as a backdrop the varsity girls make their way across a field near the start of the race. — John Woike / Hartford Courant, Oct. 16, 2013

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Slackline 101

Slacklining is a practice in balance that typically uses nylon or polyester webbing tensioned between two anchor points. Many people suggest slacklining is distinct from tightrope walking in that the line is not held rigidly taut (although it is still under some tension); it is instead dynamic, stretching and bouncing like a long and narrow trampoline. The line’s tension can be adjusted to suit the user and different types of webbing can be used to achieve a variety of feats. The line itself is usually flat, due to the nature of webbing, thus keeping one’s footing from rolling as would be the case with an ordinary rope. The dynamic nature of the line allows for tricks and stunts. Slacklining has quickly become popular due to its simplicity and versatility and its ability to be practiced in a variety of environments. Those who participate in slacklining are often called “slackers”.[1] -Credit Wikipedia

Caroline Smith, of Lexington, Ky, practices her slacklining between two trees in the Davenport College courtyard at Yale as a sliver of the moon rises Tuesday evening. Smith is a senior majoring in psychology and finds this form of exercise is very relaxing, similar to yoga requiring balance and calmness.

Caroline Smith, of Lexington, Ky, practices her slacklining between two trees in the Davenport College courtyard at Yale as a sliver of the moon rises Tuesday evening. Smith is a senior majoring in psychology and finds this form of exercise is very relaxing, similar to yoga requiring balance and calmness.

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Going To The Dog Show German Style

Beardsley Park in Bridgeport was the site for the 2013 North American Sieger Show where more than 200 World Class German Shepherds from all over the U.S. and foreign countries competed in a European-Style Ring Show. The three day event was held rain or shine.

Thomas Schoder walks Nando Av Locathelli around the ring during the 18-24 month male dog class during the North American WUSV Sieger Show Sunday afternoon. Nando took third place for the class.

Thomas Schoder walks Nando Av Locathelli around the ring during the 18-24 month male dog class during the North American WUSV Sieger Show Sunday afternoon. Nando took third place for the class. Schoder, originally from Germany, now lives in Indiana and is a national training director for the GSDCA, German Shepherd Dog Club of America.

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Weist Takes Helm At UConn Football

T.J. Weist, who was introduced at a 4 p.m. news conference Monday, was named the interim coach for the rest of the season after UConn athletic director Warde Manuel decided to fire head coach Paul Pasqualoni, who was 10-18 in two-plus season and whose team sits at the bottom nationally in just about every offensive category. Manuel said Weist has a passion for the game and coaching, but for Weist to be a permanent candidate, Manuel said he needs to win. For the rest of the story click here:

T.J. Weist held his first official practice Tuesday afternoon as the new UConn football head coach. "This is my job now and this team is my focus, nothing else, and I agree with him when he said the bottom line is to win. There's nothing to disagree with him about. It's the truth. If I want to be the next head coach and we want to lead this program, then we have to win; we have to win in a style and manner, with character and class, and the things he wants from us. I understand what he wants."

T.J. Weist held his first official practice Tuesday afternoon as the new UConn football head coach. “This is my job now and this team is my focus, nothing else, and I agree with him when he said the bottom line is to win. There’s nothing to disagree with him about. It’s the truth. If I want to be the next head coach and we want to lead this program, then we have to win; we have to win in a style and manner, with character and class, and the things he wants from us. I understand what he wants.”

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Fresh Beer Is Fragile!

Connecticut craft breweries have been popping up all over the state, to the delight of local beer lovers. Beermakers are exhibiting their brews at facilities around the Nutmeg State, offering tastings and tours and filling growlers for eager drinkers, Two Roads Brewery in Stratford is just one of them.

James Proulx is not just a tour guide/bartender at Two Roads Brewery in Stratford, he's also a quality control analysts so he can deliver a comprehensive explanation to anyone that takes the one hour tour. Proulx is holding up a glass of finished beer in his left had and a glass of unfiltered beer straight out of the vat to show the brew in its different stages.

James Proulx is not just a tour guide/bartender at Two Roads Brewery in Stratford, he’s also a quality control analysts so he can deliver a comprehensive explanation to anyone that takes the one hour tour. Proulx is holding up a glass of finished beer in his left had and a glass of unfiltered beer straight out of the vat to show the brew in its different stages.

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Bike-Shop Rides

Nearly every day of the week, cyclists meet at bike shops around the state for a quick, or sometimes long, jaunt onto Connecticut’s well-worn paths and roadways.

Most are simple loops that stick to good biking roads. They have hills, though not too many, and some quirks: When biking in a group and approaching a new town, for example, it’s fair game to race to the town line.

“It’s all for bragging rights, and who has to buy the beer later,” said Matt Lawley, who manages Pedal Power in Vernon, which holds a evening ride on Mondays. “Everyone rides — that’s a big requirement for working here. And every chance we get to ride and share that with customers, it’s awesome.” For the rest of Brian’s story go here:

Matt Lawley, manager at Pedal Power in Vernon, led a group of about 20 riders on a 20 mile trip through rural and suburban areas then finished back at the shop for a little cookout as a reward on the last ride of the season. Rides like these leave almost every night from shops around the state.

Matt Lawley, manager at Pedal Power in Vernon, led a group of about 20 riders on a 20 mile trip through rural and suburban areas then finished back at the shop for a little cookout as a reward on the last ride of the season. Rides like these leave almost every night from shops around the state.

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Emerald Ash Borer In CT

Thursday morning Harris “Bud” Neal led a group of State environmental officials, arborculturists, tree wardens, foresters and other tree service personnel through an area in Naugatuck that is infested with the emerald ash borer, an imported pest that has caused the state to quarantine at least three counties against movement of wood products.

Claire Rutledge, with the Connecticut Agricultural Experimental Station in New Haven, extricates part of an emerald ash borer insect (the tiny spec in her hand) as State environmental officials, arborists, tree wardens, foresters and other tree service personnel look on in an area of Naugatuck that is infested with the insect.

Claire Rutledge, with the Connecticut Agricultural Experimental Station in New Haven, extricates part of an emerald ash borer insect (the tiny spec in her hand) as State environmental officials, arborists, tree wardens, foresters and other tree service personnel look on in an area of Naugatuck that is infested with the imported pest.

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High School Soccer Starts

A few things signal the changing of the seasons for me.

Crisp nights and brisk morning walks with the dog.

Sunsets and the start of the fall high school sports season.

Tuesday evening Conard and Berlin battled under the lights at Sage Park in Berlin where Matheus Souza led Conard with two goals in a 4-2 victory.

Matheus Souza of Conard battles with Kris Langevin of Berlin for a loose ball during the first half of their season opener at Sage Park in Berlin Tuesday evening. Berlin had a tough time keeping Souza in check as he scored 2 of Conard's goals as they defeated Berlin 4-2.

Matheus Souza of Conard battles with Kris Langevin of Berlin for a loose ball during the first half of their season opener at Sage Park in Berlin Tuesday evening. Berlin had a tough time keeping Souza in check as he scored 2 of Conard’s goals as they defeated Berlin 4-2.

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Day 3: The Search Continues For Evidence In Hernandez Case At Bristol Pond

For the third straight day members of the Connecticut State Police dive team have come up empty as they search the murky waters of Pine Lake in Bristol ofr evidence in the Aaron Hernandez murder case.

Investigators received information that they might find the weapon, which prosecutors say is a .45 caliber Glock pistol, used in the June 17 killing of Odin Lloyd in the pond, according to an official familiar with the investigation.

Nicole Tallarico and Frankie Colon of New Britain watch as members of the State Police dive team emerge after searching a perimeter area at Pine Lake in Bristol Wednesday afternoon as authorities continue their search for a weapon that could be linked to the Hernandez murder case. After three days of searching they have come up with no weapon or other evidence. Tallaricon and Colon are football fans but not Patriots fans and said that curiosity brought them out to the scene for a look.

Nicole Tallarico and Frankie Colon of New Britain watch as members of the State Police dive team emerge after searching a perimeter area at Pine Lake in Bristol Wednesday afternoon as authorities continue their search for a weapon that could be linked to the Hernandez murder case. After three days of searching they have come up with no weapon or other evidence. Tallaricon and Colon are football fans but not Patriots fans and said that curiosity brought them out to the scene for a look.

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NBC Sports Group – Grand Opening

The International Broadcast Center — which celebrated its official opening on Wednesday with speeches from state and local officials, catered food and plenty of drink — is one of the original large companies lured to add jobs in Connecticut under Gov. Dannel Malloy‘s First Five program.

Mike Amouyal (R) checks to make sure his pins are on properly as he and Dylan Abruscato are ready with the ribbon and scissors as they wait during grand opening ceremonies of the new NBC Sports Group facility Wednesday afternoon in Stamford. Both are pages from NBC in New York City who came up for the day to work.

Mike Amouyal (R) checks to make sure his pins are on properly as he and Dylan Abruscato are ready with the ribbon and scissors as they wait during grand opening ceremonies of the new NBC Sports Group facility Wednesday afternoon in Stamford. Both are pages from NBC in New York City who came up for the day to work.

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Bark in the Park

For the 3rd consecutive year Rock Cats fans were able to bring their dog along to watch a game.

Bark in the Park

Kelli Wallace of Farmington came home from work and saw on her Facebook page that the “Bark in the Park” event at New Britain Stadium was on for Monday night she quickly decided that she and her beagle Dunkyn would have to attend. For the third consecutive year the Rock Cats have offered a chance for fans to bring their dogs out to a ballgame. The event was originally scheduled for June 28th but due to torrential rain the event was postponed until Monday evening.

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