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Farewell Landon

The most decorated American international footballer has hung up his boots for the US national team. There has long been debate (voiced by yours truly) about what Landon Donovan could be, or could have been as a player. His club football cameos in Europe were largely disappointing (loans at Everton aside). His eagerness to return to Major League Soccer (a third tier domestic league, here in the US) was questioned. He did after all, unlike so many of his countrymen before him, possess the technique and the speed to compete at a high level in Europe. What is not up for debate however, is the fact that no other player has matched the impact on the national team that Donovan has. Skill, heart and leadership were up for display when Landon donned the US jersey.  And he was clutch. He scored goals on the biggest stages. I remember the bars in which I celebrated his goal against Portugal at Japan/South Korea 2002…his goal against Algeria at South Africa 2010. Not in good form at the time, Donovan was controversially left off the 2014 World Cup roster. Still, he finishes with an incredibly productive 57 goals in 157 international appearances for the starts and stripes. Landon made his final appearance for the US in a friendly against Ecuador Friday night in East Hartford. Following the game, Landon made a lap around the field applauding those who applauded him for so many years. Finally he made his way to the American Outlaws (a supporters club for the US national team) section of Rentschler Field and emotionally greeted them.  It was evident that he savored the moment and hated to head to the locker room. Landon Donovan, you will be missed. LD BLog

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Moving Pictures

On a recent Friday, two murals by the late Harlem Renaissance artist Romare Bearden were moved into their new home at the Hartford Public Library in a carefully executed feat of logistics and engineering carried out by Mariano Brothers Specialty Moving.  The works were commissioned by the city for the Hartford Civic Center in 1980 for $100,000. They hung in relative obscurity for three decades above concourse-level entrances to the arena. Originally visible through windows at the Civic Center, later construction of interior walls blocked their view from the general public. Buying a ticket to an event at the arena was the only way to view the murals.  Current renovations at the now XL Center necessitated that the murals be removed, cleaned and stored, until a new home was found.  Local arts activists worked to secure a home for the murals – now worth a combined $4.2 million – at the library  thereby fulfilling their intended purpose as public art.  Today the colorful and abstract works, measuring about 10X16 feet and weighing about 500 pounds each, are can now be easily viewed by the public in bright well-used rooms at the library.  To learn more about Romare Bearden and his work, click here.

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Godzilla Comes Home

 

West Hartford rescued Godzilla, the iguana missing since July 28, who was high in a tree on Lemay Street Wednesday morning. Godzilla, owned by Andrew Frazer of Riggs Avenue, was spotted in the road by neighbor Gregg Gabinelle before he scurried up a tree, Frazer said. West Hartford firefighters Matthew Lyons and Lt. Jarrad Smith worked together to get Godzilla in a cage and then reunited him with Frazer, who "couldn't be more happy." Frazer noted that the rescue was just in time as the days are turning colder -- not a good thing for an iquana.

Godzilla, the iguana missing since July 28.

West Hartford firefighters rescued Godzilla, the iguana missing since July 28, who was high in a tree on Lemay Street Wednesday morning. Godzilla, owned by Andrew Frazer of Riggs Avenue, was spotted in the road by neighbor Gregg Gabinelle before he scurried up a tree, Frazer said. West Hartford firefighters Matthew Lyons and Lt. Jarrad Smith worked together to get Godzilla in a cage and then reunited him with Frazer, who “couldn’t be more happy.” Frazer noted that the rescue was just in time as the days are turning colder — not a good thing for an iquana.

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Bringing Blimp Back

Obsessed. That’s what Russ Magnuson and his small group of volunteers are when it comes to the Goodyear ZNPK-28 Blimp Control Car at the New England Air Museum. His crew has logged 21 years and close to 24,000 hours to date working on the rare airship.  And they still are not done! This is the only WWII configured K28  blimp car in the world.

The Goodyear ZNPK-28 Blimp Control Car that has been undergoing complete restoration for the past 21 years at the New England Air Museum.

The Goodyear ZNPK-28 Blimp Control Car that has been undergoing complete restoration for the past 21 years at the New England Air Museum.

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Resurrection

The resurrection of Holy Land U.S.A. in Waterbury began last December with the installation of a new 52-foot high cross overlooking I-84. Two weeks ago Holy Land opened its arms again by welcoming the public to an informal open house… a one-day glimpse of the former religious theme park. Both the devout and the curious flocked to the iconic hilltop on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross.  Photographs by Patrick Raycraft | praycraft@courant.com

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