Monday, April 30, 2007

Energy Comm 4/30

The Energy Commission meeting was unusually brief tonight. It was adjourned in under two hours.

Items discussed included:
1) Pool - but it was decided that any further substantive discussion should occur after receiving the pool consultant report.
2) Town hall ventilation project

3) Town energy guidelines
4) retrofit of the electric heating system at CHS (currently with the PBC)
5) library window replacement
6) Norton school improvements - these are in process
7) Energy Star - while the Energy Commission endorsed this program a year ago, the Town Manager has not yet forwarded the recommendation to the Council... despite my continued urging. Regardless, I've been told again that this will happen soon. We'll see. I'm not holding my breath.

8) We continue to make progress on updating the web-based energy benchmarking tool. The idea with this is to benchmark the energy consumption of each of our buildings against other government buildings, nationwide. From there, we can get a better idea of what we do right and what we do wrong.
9) Since the town has earned one photovoltaic (PV), we need to organize a "solar workshop" to help educate people on solar energy.
10) On the 20% by 2010 campaign, the Energy Commission recently received a $5,000 grant to be used to increase the use of, and educate the public about, clean energy. Tonight, the EC voted to begin spending that money. First up... $500 to be spent on flourescent light bulbs. The idea is to offer free bulbs to people who are willing to sign up for clean energy. And the sales pitch is... even though you would pay a premium ($0.011/kWh), the efficiency of the flourescents will reduce your consumption (kWh)... offsetting the premium you pay. I'm the lucky one who volunteered to pickup the bulbs and give them out... I'm hoping Carol Wilson or Ira Kushner will find it in their hearts to spend a few hours with me while I try to convince people to sign up. lol.

Tim White
Town Council, Energy Commission liaison

Inflow & infiltration (INI)

Here's a guest post from Steve Carroll on the sewers:

Early in 2005, after an exceptionally rainy spring, the volume of waste waster flowing through Cheshire’s sewer treatment plant far exceeded the 3.5 million gallon capacity of that plant. During some particularly heavy downpours, the volume of waste water flowing through the plant exceeded 7 million gallons a day. The result was that the 6-month rolling average for daily flow through the plant broke the 90% barrier for the first time, automatically triggering the process to begin planning for an eventual expansion of the plant. By most estimates, the eventual expansion of the plant will likely cost in excess of $20,000,000 and possibly much higher.

Two years later, in April 2007, another exceptionally rainy period of 2 or 3 days caused the volume of waster water to spike again, this time spilling untreated effluent onto Riverside Drive.

So what’s wrong with this picture? Well, a couple of things. First is the fact that rainwater is supposed to be handled by our storm water system, not our sewer system. Second is the undeniable fact that, the harder it rains, the higher the flow of waste water through the sewage treatment plant. And third, here we are two years later with no real answers or substantial progress. Looking at past plant figures, one would have to conclude that Cheshire has a significant I & I (inflow and infiltration) problem, much more so than a capacity problem. It also seems apparent that the I & I problem is so serious - allowing millions of gallons of water into the sewer system in a matter of a few hours - that even if the plant were upgraded, the I & I problems would likely continue to overwhelm the facility during heavy periods of rainfall.

In 2005, as details were first emerging about the capacity issues at the plant, there was an immediate reaction from all sides to determine the underlying causes for the spike and an ensuing discussion regarding the possible remedies for each of the contributing factors. We discovered that the prison was exceeding their capacity. We stiffened penalties for homeowners with illegal hookups to the sewer system. And we hired inspectors to inspect a number of homes for illegal hookups. All the while, the WPCA, as it is required to do, advanced its plan for an eventual upgrade to the sewer treatment plant, and for increasing the overall capacity of the plant. The problem here is that despite all of these efforts, we have yet to identify a single, significant factor responsible for the spikes in volume, never mind the primary cause.

What the town has failed to do for the past two years is to initiate and undergo a thorough assessment of the sewer system infrastructure – beyond the plant - to determine if, and where, there are major structural breaches in the system, and to develop a plan to immediately address those problems that are uncovered. The fact that millions of gallons of rainwater can infiltrate the sewer system in a matter of hours and days is a strong indication that there are major breaks, and likely numerous ones, within the underground pipes that control the flow of wastewater to the treatment plant. This is an urgent problem, and probably the most pressing issue facing the town at this point in time, with long-term implications for the community and future development.

Unfortunately, this delay now may cost the town in terms of new development opportunities. Identifying and fixing major infrastructure problems will not be cheap and will likely cost in the millions of dollars to repair – but it will pale in comparison with the price tag of a new sewer treatment plant. Inspecting and assessing the sewer system infrastructure is well within the abilities of the WPCA and our Public Works department to perform. But it is way overdue. We need to encourage our elected and appointed officials to take action – now, not later. I wholeheartedly endorse the development of a plan to eventually upgrade the sewer treatment plant. It has been about 15 years since the plant was last upgraded (for capacity) and it is time to plan for the next 15 years. But the town should simultaneously – and aggressively – be making efforts to identify and correct major flaws in the existing sewer system infrastructure.

Steve Carroll

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Completion of impact study

Here's the latest I've seen on the ND grassroots front:
I do have a question on my mind about this proposal... I seem to recall comments made at the last public hearing about the impact study not yet having been completed (has it even been commissioned yet?) and that there is a direct conflict (arising from state imposed deadlines) that makes it impossible for the impact study to be completed before PZC votes on this.

Is that a fair assessment? Is it more complicated than that? As well, does anyone have any guess as to whether PZC will be voting on this next Monday? I'm guessing they have the option, but will defer to a later date. I'm really looking for someone to shed some light on the process.

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Irregularities rattle Governor

Perhaps the people who created the I-84 mess will someday be held accountable.

"The I-84 failure was, unfortunately, the latest in a series of irregularities and problems at DOT that point to the need for cultural and organizational change," Rell is quoted as saying in a press release issued by her office.

Last year, several DOT personnel were arrested on corruption charges related to a scheme to steer road-sealing contracts. (WRA, by Michael Puffer)
I'm glad the Governor is talking about this. With repair estimates (on this job alone) running as high as $27million, people need to be held accountable. And then there are all the other issues of "irregularities and problems" of which she spoke.

Probably related to the "irregularities," the Courant ran this article in which Senate Majority Leader Donald E. Williams Jr., D-Brooklyn said the "FBI is nosing around." (by Edmund H. Mahony) Ouch! This whole thing just continues to get worse. I wonder how far reaching this investigation will become.

Btw, I looked for the actual press release on the state website, but couldn't find it.

Tim White

Church vote on gay marriage

With the gay marriage bill finding its way through the legislature (Reps. Adinolfi & Fritz opposed in Judiciary Committee), the debate over gay marriage has found its way into The Best Small Town in CT.

The Prospect Congregational Church, a United Church of Christ parish with 350 members, voted last Sunday to allow civil unions to be performed under its roof. And while members in favor of the change say the church will be more welcoming and Christian-like, it was a decision that prompted hushed conversations, canceled donations and even resignations from the church

"It's hard. It's really hard, and I'm really saddened," said Gwenn Fischer, a 42-year member of the church who pulled her membership and her annual donation to the church following the 17-15 vote. (WRA, by Jodie Mozdzer)
No doubt this debate will soon find its way into CTs other 168 towns.

Tim White

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Trash hauler update

"A Middletown trash company owner pleaded guilty Friday for his role in a federal racketeering case with alleged ties to organized crime... He was one of nearly 30 people arrested last year in a federal crackdown on organized crime's influence in the trash hauling industry in Connecticut and eastern New York (AP)."

I think that's the first thing I've heard on this since last summer.

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Friday, April 27, 2007

Blue Back suits done

I had been wondering about the status of the Blue Back project. According to this Courant editorial, Blue Back will now move forward as "the last legal challenge to the Blue Back Square development has been tossed out of court."

Tim White

Council at large poll

Council at large
Matt Altieri
Mike Ecke
Patti Flynn Harris
Matt Hall
Dave Orsini
Dave Schrumm
unnamed Democrat
unnamed Republican
none of the above free polls

So let's try this one again... this time with multiple votes for at-large candidates. Any other people who you think should be included?

Tim White

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Open forum 4/26

The Human Services Committee held the Alcohol Awareness Forum tonight. I attended the beginning of the event before having to leave. Anybody watch it on TV? I'm sure it will be rebroadcast.... I found the comments of the first participant (a girl from CHS, but didn't catch her name) to be surprisingly honest, if disappointing... finally, here's an image of the front and back of a business card that was being handed out:

As you can probably surmise, the Sam Spady Foundation has a mission of stopping underage drinking.

This Sunday, Chris Murphy will participate in an Earth Day hike in Cheshire with members of the Connecticut chapter of the Sierra Club... no word on where.

And the '08 Congressional races are already heating up. State Senator Dave Cappiello, 38, is planning to challenge Murphy, 33, for the CT-5 (Danbury News Times). My take right now is that I have yet to notice Murphy doing anything of particular concern to me... good or bad, although he is getting around the district. As for Sen. Cappiello, I don't know much about him at all... although coincidentally, I saw him on CT-N recently speaking about CTs financial woes (as an accountant, I'll say our state is not forthcoming with the serious nature of our financial troubles) and felt he made the case very well. I think we need more of that in both Washington and Hartford.

I got a letter from Gov. Rell today. She was advocating her 3% property tax proposal... I found it a bit ironic that she was asking me to support it... but appreciated the request nonetheless.

Back to Presidential blogging... I haven't heard back from any Dem candidates yet. And for Rs, it's been Newt, Gilmore, Tommy (not Fred) Thompson and my man, Congressman Ron Paul, M.D.! Seriously, whether you're a D or R, if you watch the upcoming Republican debate, give him a chance. I've never seen him debate, but if you've never really heard much about him, then I'm certain that he'll surprise you.

Here's the Herald's take on the fund balance meeting (by Leslie Hutchison) from Tuesday night.

Another person asked me about the pool consultant report today... nothing yet.

With Seymour's turf having been rejected at referendum, the town has an alternative. $33,000 to buy an "aerator" machine and $5,000/yr in annual operating supplies. Together, they'll be used to improve all town fields.

Hopefully, telecommuting will begin to pick up some steam.

This Sunday morning there will be a pancake breakfast fundraiser at the Masonic Temple. Proceeds will go to a variety of charitable causes.

As always, if you're interested in writing something, I'd be happy to publish guest posts here... coming up with user-generated content can be time-consuming. So I appreciate it when others offer well-written, thoughtful posts. And I think others appreciate it, as well.

With Memorial Day fast approaching, don't forget you have the opportunity to help bring the Vietnam Memorial Wall to Cheshire. Email Ralph Zingarella at

What else is happening?

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

BAE bought

BAE Systems, located on Knotter Drive and employing 460, was acquired yesterday (NHR, by Luther Turmelle) for $140million. It's not yet certain if this will have any impact on the staffing levels of BAE.

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Problems heating up for DOT

As the Courant is reporting, the problems for all involved in the I-84 debacle continue to worsen as lawsuits are beginning to fly (by Edmund H. Mahony)...

A contractor hired to inspect improvements to I-84 ignored a report that the work was being done improperly and with substandard material, according to a suit the state filed Tuesday to recover the millions of dollars it expects to lose on the disastrous highway project. In the suit, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal named the state Department of Transportation's two primary contractors on the I-84 job - the now-defunct L.G. DeFelice Inc. and the Maguire Group Inc. - as well as several of their officers and employees.
And along with the fact that this debacle happened in Cheshire, there appears to be a Washington connection, as well as another Cheshire twist...

Blumenthal claims that a Maguire supervisory inspector, William Fritz, was told by a DeFelice worker that DeFelice was doing "substandard work," some of which involved unacceptable materials, such as unapproved drainage pipe."

Defendant Fritz, aware of the defects and aware of the use of substandard materials, told the worker to go away and not to advise him any further of any deficient work," according to the suit.

Fritz, who has resigned from Maguire and is now Clinton's first selectman, denied participating in such a conversation.

"I don't remember ever saying that and I wouldn't," Fritz said. "Come on, that's bizarre." Fritz said he cannot explain how so many construction lapses - lapses his team of inspectors were paid to catch - went undetected.

"I don't know. I've been asked that question many times," he said.

Do you see the Washington connection? Repeat after me... Al-ber-to Gon-za-lez!

As for the Cheshire twist, according to the Clinton DTC (click here and scroll down), their website includes a photo with the description "Democratic First Selectman Candidate William "Willie" Fritz, his wife, Sondra, mother, State Rep Mary Fritz." And never to be left out of a photo, AG Blumenthal is forever captured in a photograph with, apparently, the man who he is now suing! Oh boy... our politics do get juicy!

No, no, no... in all seriousness, the alleged poor performance of William Fritz is not meant to reflect on Rep. Fritz or AG Blumenthal in any way. I just thought it would be worth doing a little fact-finding as, a few months ago, someone anonymously mentioned here that the I-84 inspector was Mary Fritz' son. And, apparently, that statement was true. However, while this shouldn't reflect on them, if I were a Clinton resident, I'd certainly be asking lots of questions of my 1st Selectman.

And while that covers the article in today's Courant, they also ran an editorial in which they state
Not only will the installation of about 300 defective storm drains go down as one of the worst highway construction failures in state history, it followed other contracting irregularities at the DOT that have raised concerns at the Federal Highway Administration. The federal agency largely funds those projects. The misdeeds include an alleged scheme to rig contracts for repairing highway cracks and another plot to rig contracts for the renovation of the New Haven train station.
And I thought that Rte 42 was a messed up job!

Near the end, the editorial just about says it all when discussing the reluctance on the part of the DOT to comply with the Feds' new requirements for a formal plan to remediate the problems:
it is shocking to hear DOT nabobs - their credibility in tatters - respond that a formal plan isn't necessary because they have already measured the harm.What makes the DOT's reluctance to cooperate with the Federal Highway Administration all the more shocking is that DOT officials have yet to offer a plausible explanation for their own failure to conduct the oversight that might have prevented the disaster.
Unfortunately, the editorial left out one small piece: DOT Commissioner Ralph Carpenter needs to go, then the real house cleaning needs to start.

Tim White

Meeting on sewers

This evening, there was a joint meeting of the Water Pollution Control Authority (WPCA) and the Council's Budget Committee. (No further meetings were scheduled, but I'm guessing there will be more to come.)

I'd break the meeting (and the related issues) down into two questions:

1) Should the WPCA implement a "user" fee, in lieu of a "flat" fee?
2) Should the WPCA be self-sustaining?

With respect to this joint meeting, the answer to #1 seemed fairly simple.

That's a decision to be made by the WPCA, independent of Council input. Well... that's definitely not what was said, but that was the impression I got.

The answer to #2 was more complicated and clearly more contentious. So all I did was explain my viewpoint...

Whether the WPCA is self-sustaining (or not) is a philosophical debate.

One school of thought is the liberal viewpoint that asks the community to pay for the sewers as there is a primary benefit to the community (and secondary benefit to each resident) via protecting the environment (rivers and such), that we all share. In this camp, stands David Schrumm.

The other school of thought is the conservative viewpoint that asks the individual to pay for the sewers as there is a primary benefit to the individual using the sewers (and secondary benefit to the community). This is where I lean, but by no means am I solidly in favor of this approach. (I really am hoping to see where this dialogue goes... and I truly hope this becomes a community dialogue. Because I think this issue is that big.)

Why do I think this issue is so big? Well, one small anecdote that I mentioned tonight...

I believe that for years, people have consistently voted for sewers because they always felt that "at some point I'll get connected to the sewers." In turn, many people were willing to financially support the sewers because they felt that someday they would be direct beneficiaries of the sewers. But with the treatment plant nearing capacity, would that theory still hold true? I don't think so. Or at least the fairly widespread support would diminish to some extent.

Therefore, in terms of that one anecdote (and there are many more), it makes sense to me that we at least have a discussion about this.

And if you're looking for real news on this meeting, the NHR reporter (Luther Turmelle) was at the meeting tonight. So you could probably expect an article on the meeting in tomorrow's paper.

Tim White
Town Council, Budget Committee

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Council mtg 4/24

In case you missed it, we had a Council meeting tonight. Sorry I didn't post the agenda ahead of time. I know I've been getting into the habit of posting it before meetings, but... between the full weekend wedding and me coming down with a cold on Sunday... I've been behind and simply forgot. Anyway...

First up was Kathy Nankin of the Human Services Committee, discussing their Alcohol Awareness forum (scheduled for this Thursday evening in Town Hall). She gave an update on current happenings outside the forum and gave all Council members this pin (see inset image) that's intended to symbolize the campaign to stop underage drinking. For more info, visit the Cheshire Cares website.

Second came Nina Vianese, representing the Kids in Motion group. They made a request for the town to provide funding for their project. Their budget calls for $350,000. And they've raised $208,000, including the $100,000 from the state that was recently announced by Sen. Gaffey.

Third was Rich Kaplan, representing CYB. Basically, he just gave us an update on the legal status of the proposed ballfield complex being considered by CYB and the Town.

And lastly came the Library and some info on their "One Book, One Town" program. This year the chosen book is When the Emperor Was Divine.

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

DOT troubles get serious

I didn't finish reading this Courant article, but what I read seemed to be a scathing indictment of the wretched performance of the state DOT on I-84 (by Edmund H. Mahony).

The Federal Highway Administration is concerned that what experts call "stunning" failures in the highway drainage system may be creating underground washouts that could lead to road collapses.
And now the feds are threatening to holdup money until their concerns are addressed.
For its part, the state Department of Transportation has been largely mute on the subject of the more than $60 million reconfiguration project along a 3-mile stretch of I-84 on the east side of Waterbury and in adjacent Cheshire. Carpenter has said he can't discuss the matter because it is being investigated by the FBI.
But the story only gets more interesting
Some industry experts say Keazer's letter may be a sign of growing federal impatience over contracting irregularities at the state Department of Transportation, an agency that receives $400 million a year in federal subsidies for highway projects.Last year, state prosecutors accused a half-dozen state transportation employees in connection with an alleged scheme to rig contracts to repair highway cracks. So far, one employee has been acquitted, one returned to his $135,000-a-year job after getting a special form of probation on reduced charges, another was convicted and three more are awaiting trial.
As I mentioned a few days ago, Tom Gaffey was right about the DOT Commissioner. To fix the DOT though, we may need to really clean house... and go beyond the Commissioner.

Tim White

Mine bill progressing

State Rep. Al Adinolfi's (barite) mine bill

"proposes to establish a state fund to help owners of properties damaged through the collapse of abandoned mines." (WRA, by Lauresha Xhihani)
The article continues
legislation to set up the abandoned mines fund has cleared the Environment and Appropriations committees. It is now before the House of Representatives. Adinolfi said the two committee approvals are encouraging, but he remains cautious. "The bill has a way to go yet," he said.
Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Monday, April 23, 2007

"Social networking" bill

CTNewsJunkie has a post of great interest to me and to CTs blogosphere(by Christine Stuart). It's about AG Blumenthal's proposed "social networking" legislation. It reads:

While the bill proposed by Attorney General Richard Blumenthal is well-intentioned, it may have some unintended consequences.

The bill would force social networking sites, defined broadly in the legislation, to verify the ages of users that comment or post their profiles on a site. The legislation is aimed at sites like MySpace and Facebook, but could include sites like Connecticut Local Politics, My Left Nutmeg, and perhaps

The goal of the bill is worthwhile, but if this bill doesn't undergo major revisions, CT-based blogs (including this one) may get effectively banned.

Here's the text of the social networking bill (scroll to the bottom to see the summary).

Anyway... as the legislature tries to rewrite this bill, I'm wondering if they could apply the same principles that apply to bartenders who are "supposed to know if someone is too drunk." (Although I'm not a lawyer, so that may be more urban legend than law.) Or the principles of copyright law, which are vague in nature... I think.

Tim White

Pool consultant report

No report yet. And while I know people have asked me about it, I'm just going to wait until we receive the report before I mention it again.

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

No heroes in Hartford

The WRA ran this editorial on how a state legislator could achieve "hero status".

All they'd have to do is obey an obscure 28-year-old law requiring them to review state spending practices. Presto, spending needs would decline, and the impact of the expected 2007-09 income-tax bomb would diminish, too.
But could this be done? Why wouldn't someone do it?
The obvious answer is they're afraid of goring someone's ox, lest their own become vulnerable. Every agency, every program, has friends in the legislature. Moreover, reducing state government jobs is always problematical, especially for Democrats who have a deep, codependent relationship with the public-employee unions.
So I'm sure nothing will happen. However, there is at least one legislator who is willing to speak the truth about why this law continues to go unenforced via a series of "postponement votes."
Deputy House Speaker Robert Godfrey, D-Danbury, an opponent of postponement bills dating to the early 1990s, summed it up in two words: "We're lazy."
I appreciate Rep. Godfrey's candor.

Tim White

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Raising taxes

"Who will raise taxes the most this year?" was the title of a recent NHR editorial.

It notes "Although the politicians pay homage to the constitution’s cap on state spending, they have regularly broken it since it was approved by an 81 percent vote in 1992."

I can't help but wonder if any members of the CT legislature will take perhaps the only action available to enforce the Constitutional spending cap. I doubt it.

Tim White

Continued emergency funding

While the state is projecting an annual operating budget surplus that near $700million, the legislature is busy finding ways to spend it before the fiscal year has even ended. Here's one bill that provides "continued emergency funding":


It reads:

The sum of four million dollars is appropriated to the Department of Agriculture, from the General Fund, for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2007, for continued emergency funding for dairy farms. Such funding shall be disbursed as grants to distressed dairy farms by the Commissioner of Agriculture based on the amount of milk production by such farms during calendar year 2006.
I'm still trying to understand what is meant by a "continued emergency."

And here's an article on the use of another $4.6million of state tax dollars (NHR, by Michael Gannon) that's been approved by the Environment Committee and is intended for the district of state Senator Ed Meyer in Guilford. The article details the intended use of the tax dollars as
$3 million for open space acquisition in Guilford; $665,000 for the Shoreline Trail, a greenway planned to run from New Haven Harbor to Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison; and $500,000 apiece for the Blackstone Library and for work to establish a park on the Swatchuk property in North Branford.
Tim White

Elim Park donations

As described in this WRA article (by Lauresha Xhihani), Elim Park donates annually to the Town:

The nonprofit faith-based retirement home has property at 140 Cook Hill Road assessed at $25 million but is exempt from the $701,234 in taxes it would ordinarily pay. Yet each year like clockwork, Elim Park gives its thanks. Unlike other nonprofits in town that make token donations, Elim Park's donations are significant.
Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Friday, April 20, 2007

Open forum 4/20

I won't be around, but don't forget about Earth Day. I wish I had details of the events in Cheshire, but I don't... other than what I saw in the Herald (by Leslie Hutchison, DeDominicus hike begins at noon from Old Lane trailhead)... CRRA composters are being sold tomorrow from 9:30am to noon. As well, I'm sure the Environment Commission has organized a hike or two on the town's open space.

If you're learning about hybrid cars, you may want to head over to Bethany Town Hall (40 Peck Road) tomorrow between 1-4pm (Orange Bulletin). Their Earth Day events will include a hybrid car show. And since Bethany doesn't have any Civic Hybrids on their grand list, they asked me to attend. However, since I'm busy, I got them in touch with the one other Civic Hybrid owner (lives in Prospect) I happen to know. So the Bethany show should have (at minimum) Prius', a Civic Hybrid, CRVs and a Civic GX (natural gas) on display.

Next Thursday night will be a forum (mentioned in the Herald, by Leslie Hutchison) on the problems of underage drinking. For more info, check out the Cheshire Cares website.

Two Budget Committee meetings next week... Tuesday we'll discuss guidelines for the town's "general fund" (a.k.a "rainy day fund"). Wednesday will be a meeting with the WPCA. Remember the next PZC public hearing on the ND is scheduled for Monday, May 7.

What else is happening?

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Thursday, April 19, 2007

ND & PZC ballot

Will the ND votes weigh heavily when you vote for PZC next fall?
not sure
huh? what's happening? free polls
Today, my PZC votes would be:
Patti Flynn Harris
Rich Levy
Paul Ranando
unnamed Republican
unnamed Democrat
none of the above

I've been playing around with the polls and am pretty sure that you should be able to vote for more than one P&Z candidate option. And if you're curious why I selected those three P&Z members, I'm pretty sure they are the only P&Z candidates up for election this fall... I have no idea who among them will be running for reelection... although there has been talk of Patti Flynn Harris running for Council... but that's purely speculation.

Back to development though... here's an article on the firestorm that is brewing in Madison over a proposed zoning change (NHR, Abbe Smith) to allow commercial development along I-95.

And on a different topic, I've got a wedding to go to this weekend (no... not my own). So I'm not sure if I'll be blogging at all.

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

WPCA Increases Operating Costs

Quinnipiac University student Chris Pierpont attended the April 10 Council meeting. From that meeting and elsewhere, Chris compiled this short clip (1:39) on some of the issues facing the WPCA.

Tim White

Stop! Thief!

I forgot one particular Judiciary bill that's been reported out of committee. And I just had to mention it... thanks to the hard work of the good folks in Hartford... we may soon have:


Tim White

Pool consultant report

No report today. Maybe tomorrow?

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

$100k for Kids in Motion

"State Senator Thomas P. Gaffey (D-Meriden) today announced final action on a $100,000 award toward installation of a 'boundless' playground in Cheshire" (SenateDems website).

And in another press release from Tom Gaffey, he was "hoping to send a message about the lack of vision and direction in the state Department of Transportation--and to draw attention to the myriad, ongoing problems in Connecticut's transportation system." In other words, he publicly tattooed DOT Commissioner Ralph Carpenter. And respectfully requested that Gov. Rell begin a nationwide search for the most qualified candidate.

Reasons cited for rejecting Mr. Carpenter as DOT Chief included "how the DOT has handled issues regarding the Q-Bridge in New Haven, drainage work along a stretch of Interstate 84, the lack of adequate parking at some train stations, truck weigh stations, incomplete work on the Merritt Parkway, the slow pace of renovations to some Virginia rail cars, and a reluctance to release certain bid documents." And of course we've seen the dollars being flushed down the toilet on the Rte 42 reconstruction project.

I wholeheartedly agree with Senator Gaffey on this.

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Technical difficulties

I'm not in a particularly good mood... I just spent the past hour trying to overcome "technical difficulties" in posting photos... not happy right now.... Anyway, I've got an update on Rte 42, but I'm really tired at this point. So I'm gonna put out the garbage and hit the sack. Maybe I'll try again tomorrow night... and I still want to post the sewer video piece from QU student, Chris Pierpont.

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Office hours

This evening, Avon Blvd posted the following...

I see that our state rep, Vickie Nardello, held public office hours in Prospect four weeks ago on March 24. But she hasn't held any office hours in Cheshire or Bethany.

Doesn't she want to hear our concerns too? Or does she only talk to Cheshire and Bethany voters when she's running for re-election?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007 7:12:00 PM

Actually, I knew about it and was going to ignore it, but since it was mentioned... here's an excerpt of the text taken directly from her press release "Hartford – Senator Joan Hartley (D-Waterbury) and Representative Vickie Nardello (D-Prospect) have announced plans to hold office hours this Saturday to provide constituents in Prospect with an opportunity to meet with them to discuss various state and local issues." I have no idea why "office hours" haven't also been held in Bethany and Cheshire... seems appropriate to me.

Tim White

Judiciary Committee bills

As the General Assembly's session is progressing, the various committees are passing on certain bills with "favorable recommendations" to the full General Assembly. Here's a few of the bills I found interesting coming from the Judiciary Committee (full list here):


Click here to see the roll call. I was in disbelief when I saw Representative Pat "DWI" Dillon supporting this bill.


This bill's stated purpose is "to allow residents of this state to bring civil actions in Connecticut courts for tortious violations of the law of nations or a treaty of the United States." Huh? I'm no lawyer, but I could've sworn that our Representatives take an oath to uphold the constitutions of both America and Connecticut. And since the US Constitution notes "All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States... to define and punish... Offenses against the Law of Nations..." I can't help but wonder where the CT legislature gets the "legislative Powers" to try "violations of the law of nations." I mean, is this constitutional?


I've never heard the word "palliative" in my life. But I'm pretty sure it's just a fancy way of saying "medical marijuana." Again, here's the roll call. Interestingly, while this passed overwhelmingly (32-8), Cheshire's two legislators (Adinolfi & Fritz) on the Judiciary Committee voted against this. Here's the actual text of the bill. I'm surprised that this bill hasn't gotten more attention.


And here's the gay marriage bill, as well as the roll call which passed 27-15 (Adinolfi & Fritz opposed).

Tim White

Murphy on the wars

Chris Murphy recently returned from a trip to both Afghanistan and Iraq. According to both the WRA (by Paul Hughes) and AP (by Andrew Miga), he's more supportive of what we're doing in Afghanistan, than what we're doing in Iraq. According to the WRA, Murphy "said he would support shifting funding from Iraq to Afghanistan, but he didn't specify how much."

Tim White

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Leadership titles

Today's Courant had a good editorial on legislative compensation. Their truth-telling is what I found most refreshing. When discussing the possibility of legislators being given payraises, they wrote:

members of the General Assembly shouldn't get another raise until they retire the phony leadership titles - such as "assistant deputy minority leader" or some such - that qualify a member for a hidden bonus of no less than $4,241 even if no duties come with the title (emphasis mine).
I couldn't agree more.

In a related topic, I still haven't heard any calls for stripping Reps. Clemons (witnessed a shakedown and remained silent) or Dillon (admitted to DWI) of their titles (and related perks) for their actions as legislators.

Tim White

Pool consultant update

During the Council meeting last week I asked when we could expect to see the pool consultant's report. I was told to expect an update by Friday. Unfortunately, I hadn't heard anything by Friday, so I asked again today.

We're now being told to expect a draft report on Thursday.

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

New Civic Center

At this point, I think there's little doubt that state taxes and spending will both increase significantly this year. So if you're wondering where your tax dollars are going besides the Catastrophe Fund... here's one place:


It's estimated that the consultant will charge between $150,000-250,000 for the study "of replacing the Hartford Civic Center coliseum with a new arena."

And if you wonder why I'm so concerned about CTs long-term liabilities, this study is a perfect example. It's going to be funded with "the proceeds of bonds issued for the project."

You can thank the Commerce Committee for this bill (passed 14-5).

Tim White

Electric reform II

Although it may seem as though nothing is happening on electric reform, it's not yet on the back burner....

“Advocates of placing a windfall profits tax on energy companies (are)… pressuring a reluctant General Assembly into adopting their proposal.” (NHR, by Gregory B. Hladky)

Speaker Jim Amann doesn’t agree with the windfall profits tax. He says, While sounding attractive in the short term, this approach could have a disastrous impact on our costs and energy supply in the future.” (CGA website)

On the other hand, State Rep. Vickie Nardello is a leading advocate for a “windfall profits tax” on Connecticut electric utilities. She says it’s "the only thing you could do immediately to help consumers." (WRA, Dec 7, 2006)

But is it? After all, in April 2006 she seemed to suggest that cutting the electric tax made sense. When the General Assembly deliberated an amendment (LCO 3769) to cut the electric tax, she said "… I will have to vote against this because I do believe that further on in this particular Session (2006), we are going to get the opportunity to address this issue, other issues that will turn the ship around, as I would put it, going forward and change things for our businesses and for our residential customers" (, April 11, 2006).

It seems to me as though she opposed cutting the electric tax out of a desire for comprehensive reform… something I can understand. Apparently though, she doesn't believe that cutting electric taxes would provide immediate relief to you and me.

I disagree. I believe doing this could still give some immediate relief to consumers.

Regardless, by the time this session is done in June, I just hope we aren’t sitting in the same boat we were sitting in last year… more empty promises of reform from another do-nothing legislature.

Tim White

Council update

Here's an update on Council business, currently happening at the committee level:

Budget Committee
Fund balance policy (Apr 24) - this relates to the motion made by David Schrumm during the budget deliberations on April 10.
WPCA Fiscal impact analysis (Apr 25 w/ WPCA)

Planning Committee
Strathmore dam (May 2 w/ Budget Committee)
Boulder Knoll (May 2)
Naming of park (May 2)

Public Safety Comm. sign waiver request (May 2)
Strategic Plan (TBD)

Ordinance Review Committee (week of 4/29)
police commission
volunteer firefighters’ pension
maintenance of Code of Ordinances & tracking amendments
ordinance book fee increase (awaiting info from Town Clerk) status and

future administration of elderly tax freeze (June)

Personnel Committee (week of 4/29)
volunteer firefighters’ pension
Town Manager’s goals & objectives and performance review

Personnel changes in 07-08 budget

And unrelated to any of these meetings, but in another email I got from town hall today... I bought a sump pump for $135 to dry out my basement that literally had water two inches deep by this morning. Then I read this from Town Hall... "from 4:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. there have been 50 calls into the Fire Department due to water in basements. They have had 15 crews out servicing those calls." Do any of you ever call the FD to drain your basements?

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Monday, April 16, 2007

Catastrophe fund

The flooding in my basement is turning out to be a real catastrophe! Lucky for me, I have the Insurance and Real Estate Committee in Hartford. Filled with extremely thoughtful people (such as one of Cheshire's Representative's, Vickie Nardello), the committee recently voted 18-0 in favor of:


And they don't expect to have to spend more than $40,000 of our tax dollars on a consultant to study the creation of the catastrophe fund.

Tim White

Sunday, April 15, 2007


Was hoping to do some posts tonight, but as many of you are probably currently experiencing... my basement is flooding... and faster than I can wet-vac it. So doubt I'll have any time to post much of anything tonight. Sorry. Later this week though, I do have an interesting video post on the sewers (compliments Chris Pierpont of Quinnipiac University).

Tim White

Friday, April 13, 2007

Sanders on ND

Here's a guest post from Cheshire resident, Al Sanders:

Cheshire has a long term plan of development for the benefit of all Cheshire residents. Certain areas of the town were designated to support the needs of different types of activity; residential, manufacturing, distribution, corporate headquarters, retail and other activities, and not only to support these, but to protect each activity from each other. The plan was carefully crafted with consideration to many factors such as environmental impacts on the water supply, location to transportation and many other carefully thought out considerations so as to meet the varying needs of each segment of our community. A long term plan prevents sprawl and protects residential areas from businesses that might want to locate within them and vice versa. Where good, firm, guaranteed zoning exists, everyone benefits and they know what they can do and where they can do it, and they don’t have to worry that the rules will change. If the zoning is changed for this large tract, it puts all other zoning on a slippery slope. Others may well be tempted to request a zone change for their properties and put Cheshire into a series of court challenges.

The Interchange Zone Change request, if approved, can cause an everlasting change to the character of Cheshire, and because of that, it should not be voted on until detailed and thorough impact studies are completed. Without impact studies, Planning and Zoning does not have enough information to protect the taxpayers of Cheshire. Because of the great impact it can have, it be would wise to have more public hearings so that the public can furnish more input, and they should also hear the concerns of our Police, Fire, Public Works, Education Department and other service departments to give the uninformed residents more time to find out what is happening. Why the citizens of Cheshire are not allowed to vote on such a significant change to their town is a mystery.

It is imperative that this 400 acre zone change not be voted on before a complete and thorough impact study is made and if there is not enough time to do it, the text change should be denied.

The zone change is to permit mixed use, retail and residential. It affects the entire 400 acre zone, whereas W/S Development will occupy approximately 100 acres for a 500,000 sq ft retail mall and 160 residential units, rental or owned - the developer will not tell us. So, for the entire 400 acres there could be over 600 residences and close to 2,000,000 sq ft of retail.

Al Sanders

Rep. Nardello's bill (part IV)

And here are the balance of State Rep. Vickie Nardello's bills:


I believe that covers all the bills that were introduced during this session by the five legislators who represent Cheshire.

Tim White

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Party infighting

Cheshire's senior state Senator, Tom Gaffey, is butting heads within his own party in Meriden (MRJ, by Amanda Falcone). Interesting thing is... Meriden Dems are fighting over turf! Democratic BOE Chairman, Brian Kogut was quoted:

"It's nice to get things, but who pays?" Kogut said. "There's no free money."

In response
Gaffey said that by questioning the state funding, Kogut was "biting the hand that feeds him."
Forget about the turf for a second, does anyone find that comment by Sen. Gaffey troubling?

Tim White

Passing of an inspiration

My all-time favorite novelist, Kurt Vonnegut, passed away today (Courant, by Carole Goldberg).

Regardless of what any of my former English teachers may think, their "required" reading never did much of anything for me (with the notable exception of Huckleberry Finn... which I still remember fondly). Nope. If I am well-read, it has little to do with their choices.

It was my freshman year at CHS... or maybe I was still at Dodd... my brother bought me a copy of Galapagos, Vonnegut's then-most recent novel. And since I was (and still am) fascinated with the archipelago, I decided to do what I rarely ever did... give the book a chance.

From page 1, I was captured. I started going to the Cheshire Public Library on a regular basis. I had to read Everything Vonnegut... (well, all of his novels at least... with the exception of Slaughterhouse-5 which bored me to death every time I tried cracking that book open). He was fantastic and he inspired me to read.

And so, I bid Kurt Vonnegut (and Kilgore Trout!) a fond farewell. He not only inspired me to read, he was the first novelist to capture my imagination.

Tim White

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Caligiuri eyes Murphy

According to Political Insider, Cheshire's newest state Senator, Sam Caligiuri, is considering a 2008 challenge to his predecessor, US Representative Chris Murphy.

I haven't yet formed an opinion on Congressman Chris Murphy. I really haven't heard much of anything about his votes... or about the concerns for which he is advocating... perhaps I've been too busy with the local stuff over his first few months in office? To his credit though, he does seem to be getting back to the district and having events. That's a good thing.

As for Sam... well, I think he's great... knowledgable and an extremely polished speaker. Whenever I hear him speak, it sounds more like he has a common sense, than an ideological, approach. And while either approach can win me over, Sam's style fits him well.

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

CCM notices Cheshire

The CT Conference of Municipalities has noticed the use of biodiesel in Cheshire. I hope leaders in other towns see this article and take advantage of the contact details included therein. Maybe it'll help create more jobs in Cheshire... among other benefits.

Tim White
Town Council, Energy Commission liaison

Turf sacked

Seymour residents rejected the idea of using potential town budget surpluses to build an $825,000 turf field (WRA, by Jodie Mozdzer). With a margin similar to the rejection of Cheshire's linear park, Seymour residents opposed spending property tax dollars on turf, 673 - 317. Statewide, I'm guessing that people are rejecting these projects because taxes are a real concern for people.

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


No. I don't think any of those things actually happened tonight. But in a related event, David Schrumm did, in fact, vote for a democratic budget. I really was surprised. I really didn't think he would.

In other Council business, the WPCD budget passed unanimously. And the pool budget passed 8-1 (White opposed). Then we got to other Council business. I don't recall anything generating much Council discussion. But when the CHS window project came up, I did ask if the state's existing "prevailing wage" law was increasing the cost of the project ($194k) and the PW Director, Joe Michelangelo, confirmed that it was... probably in the 5-10% range. (For those of you who are unaware, I wouldn't call the prevailing wage law an unfunded mandate. But similar to binding arbitration, it is a law which is restrictive in nature.)

And unrelated to the budget meeting tonight, but related to an anonymous comment in another post, if you truly believe that no member of the Council is willing to tell the BOE to "cut the fluff" from the school budget, then please read this February 2006 post of mine... detailing the fluff in the BOE budget by line item. I was glad to see they took action this year.

Tim White
Town Council, Budget Committee

Monday, April 09, 2007

ND public hearing 4/9

I attended part of the P&Z hearing tonight. I found it enlightening. If I understood the exchanges correctly, of most interest to me were the following tidbits:

1) according to the town's attorney, residential is currently allowed in the interchange zone... although, presumably, additional residential would be hard to get permitted;

2) according to the town's attorney, adopting the proposed zone text change would "lower the bar" for other residential developments to be permitted;

3) I got the sense that members on both sides of the aisle were hesitant in making the zone text change to allow for the proposed residential component.

4) W/S reiterated that the viability of this development was not contingent upon the inclusion of the residential.

Well... that was my take. Anyone feel differently? What other important parts did I miss?

Finally, I caught the very end on the tube. And while I left a bit confused from all the "counting of days" by Anthony Fazzone and Patti Flynn Harris, I'm pretty sure they said that there will be more meetings on this... probably in May. Can anyone clarify that?

Also click here to see this article in the WRA (by Lauresha Xhihani) about the proposed Cheshire development. And here to see the WRA editorial on the end to the Watertown proposal from Konover.

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

UPDATE: This anonymous update sounds correct, so felt it belonged on the front page... The public hearing was continued to 5/7. The applicant will use this meeting to answer questions raised 4/9 by the public and the commission. The commission will also likely have more questions. Up to and including 5/7 will be the last time the public can ask questions or submit anything to the commission via planning office or at the PH. After the PH is closed the commission will have 65 days to act on the application with no legal recourse to extend beyond this time frame.

Budget workshop 4/9

We had the final budget workshop tonight at 6pm. Unfortunately, I got caught in traffic and arrived a few minutes late.

Tom Ruocco was speaking when I arrived. He was voicing his desire (and that of others) for the budget committee to investigate the possibility of designing guidelines regarding the "8%" rule general fund equity... also known as the "rainy day fund." (The "8%" is a number driven by requests from the various ratings agencies, including Moody's and... Fitch, I think. It means that our general fund balance should be 8% of the annual operating budget.) I believe the goal of these guidelines would be address concerns raised about the town's use of an annual surplus... a surplus which often leaves some people with a sense that they were overtaxed. I think the idea has merit. And I believe Elizabeth Esty and Mike Ecke also felt that way.

Then I spoke. I had two main points to make. First, I don't expect to support the pool budget tomorrow... my reasons are the same as last year. (And in a related topic... the Town Manager mentioned that he hopes to have a pool consultant update at the meeting tomorrow.)

Second, I had some questions about proposed personnel changes. However, I was assured that while those proposed changes had a budgetary impact... the changes themselves would be further reviewed. So I didn't even have many questions on this as I felt there would be a more appropriate time, at a later date, to ask those questions.

Bottom line to me... unless some unforeseen and compelling argument is made during the budget deliberations tomorrow (which is possible, but highly unlikely), I'm guessing that I'll be voting in favor of the budget. As I've said... it's not perfect... but you need five votes.

Finally, for those who have never followed our budget process before... for administrative reasons, the Town Manager asks that the Council give him 24 hours to prepare a motion for the budget. Therefore, as of tonight, the budget was unofficially adopted. From a technical standpoint, this makes a lot of sense. The Town Manager simply doesn't want to risk performing calculations on the fly... in turn, offering the Council a budget with incorrect numbers.

So while the budget has not yet been adopted, I'll venture a guess and say that you can expect your taxes to increase 1.66% this year.

Tim White
Town Council, Budget Committee

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Council agenda 4/10

It's Easter Sunday and I'm in a bit of a rush today... lots of things to do and people to see... so despite the fact that this meeting includes the budget vote and I'd really like to opine a bit... I just don't have the time right now. I don't even have the time to type in the agenda. So I'm just scanning in the old business and new business parts of the agenda. And here it is...

Any questions/concerns about the agenda? Btw, about the budget vote... I was out knocking on doors on Saturday and there still doesn't seem to be too much concern about the budget. I think people are ok with what is currently being proposed.

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

The Resurrection

Here's another guest post from dear ole dad...

“The Jesus Family Tomb” TV documentary and book attack the central doctrine of Christianity: the death of Jesus on the cross on Good Friday and his resurrection in the tomb on Easter. The writer and producer invoke science to suggest that Jesus did not die on the cross and did not rise from the tomb in his glorified body. To that, most Christians reply, “I’ll continue to believe in the resurrection on faith.”

Here’s good news for the faithful. Thanks to dedicated researchers who have examined the Shroud of Turin, the resurrection is now confirmed on a scientific basis. To their faith, they can now—as St. Peter suggested his Second Epistle (1:5)—add knowledge.

According to tradition, the Shroud of Turin is the burial cloth of Jesus. It resides in the Cathedral at Turin, Italy (and can be viewed on line at its official web site
). The provenance of the Shroud has now been established well enough to say with great certainty that it did indeed cover Jesus in the tomb.

Prior to its placement in the cathedral, the Knights Templars had possession of the Shroud and kept it folded in a wooden container with a viewing window, so that the face of the Man in the Shroud was visible as an object of worship for them. (They were, after all, the Poor Knights of Christ and the Temple of Solomon.) The viewing window was framed with wooden latticework. We know this thanks to the scholarship of Frank Tribbe, whose 2003 book The Holy Grail Mystery Solved builds on the work of Noel Currer-Briggs’ The Holy Grail and the Shroud of Christ.

Tribbe explains that the term “Holy Grail” originated with the Templars and that the Old French word greille, which referred to the lattice frame or grillwork on the Shroud’s container, was transliterated over time into the English “grail.” (The transliterated word’s meaning was corrupted, however, because “grail” etymologically means cup or bowl, and the various Grail-story authors wrongly told the public that the Holy Grail is the cup of the Last Supper or a bowl which caught Jesus’s blood while he was on the cross.) The wooden frame itself was not holy, of course. Naming it “the holy greille” was simply a shorthand way of referring to the tangible evidence of holiness which it displayed—the cloth imprinted with the image of the risen Christ formed at the moment of resurrection. So the true Holy Grail is the Shroud of Turin. (Sorry, Dan Brown—you got it wrong.)

The Shroud itself is now the most important religious relic in the world because it has been subjected to such rigorous scientific testing and its authenticity has been established. Although a carbon-14 test in the late 1980s apparently showed that the Shroud was no older than the 13th century—and therefore was a hoax—it has now been shown that those test results were badly flawed due to several factors. First, the piece of Shroud used for testing was taken from what is now recognized as a 14th century “patch” or repair of the Shroud, woven “invisibly”—i.e., not immediately visible to the naked eye. Second is the presence of biological material—mold or microorganisms—growing on the fibers of the piece of fabric tested. These materials skewed the C-14 data toward a more modern date.

New chemical tests move the age of the Shroud back in time to the first century A.D. Furthermore, the weaving of the linen Shroud is now recognized as consistent with the weaving of first century Palestine but not 14th century Europe. Moreover, new research has identified pollen grains on the Shroud which could only have come from the vicinity of Jerusalem during the months of March and April—Passover time—when such vegetation is in bloom. For these and other research-based reasons, the Shroud is now clearly established as an authentic first-century relic from the Near East, precisely as legend holds.

The Man in the Shroud

As for the image of the Man in the Shroud, research likewise indicates it is no hoax. The blood stains are real (type AB) and contain human male DNA. Tribbe notes in his just-published book Portrait of Jesus? that the closest science can come to explaining how the image of the Man in the Shroud got there is by comparing the situation to a controlled burst of high-intensity radiation similar to the Hiroshima bomb explosion which "printed" images of incinerated people on building walls. Shroud researcher Ray Rogers, a physical chemist from Los Alamos Laboratory, said, "I am forced to conclude that the image was formed by a burst of radiant energy—light if you like." In other words, the image is recorded on the cloth as if by a photoflash of brilliant light radiating from the body of the Man in the Shroud. Another researcher, Prof. Alan Adler of Western Connecticut State College, concluded that the Shroud image could have been created only by a form of energy which science cannot name.

The image of the Man in the Shroud was venerated by the Templars because it visibly demonstrated the central fact of Jesus’s teaching: the conquest of death. The face-image was created by a mysterious—call it miraculous—process which science does not understand but nevertheless can recognize. The Templars understood it, however. At least, they understood that the Shroud was mute testimony to the fact that Jesus transubstantiated himself in the grave through an act equivalent to a self-controlled nuclear explosion which transformed his flesh, blood and bone into a body of light—the resurrection body—and thereby conquered death. He attained enlightenment to the ultimate degree; he actually became light and is now known as the Light of the World. That was the object of Templar worship.

The Shroud of Turin Web site
was created in 1996 by Barry M. Schwortz, the Official Documenting Photographer for the Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP) since 1978. An Orthodox Jew, Schwortz says he is still involved with the Shroud of Turin because “knowing the unbiased facts continues to convince me of its authenticity.”

The Sudarium of Oviedo

Aadditional confirmation of the Shroud’s authenticity is the recent research on the Sudarium of Oviedo, an ancient bloodstained linen cloth the size of a small towel which is claimed to have covered the head of Jesus after his crucifixion (see John 20:5-7). Sudarium is Latin for “face cloth”. The cloth has been known historically as the Sudarium Domini and has always been associated with Jesus. It has been kept as a holy relic in the cathedral at Oviedo, in northern Spain, since the 8th century and dated back to the 7th century by historical documents. It seems highly probable, from other historical records, that it goes back to first century Jerusalem. Pollen on it comes from Palestine, Egypt and Spain, confirming the oral tradition that the Sudarium was taken from Jerusalem through North Africa to Spain.

The Sudarium is severely soiled and crumpled, with dark flecks which are symmetrically arranged but form no image, unlike the markings on the Shroud of Turin. Only disconnected bloodstains are visible to the naked eye, not a complete image of a face. When the Sudarium was placed on the dead man’s face, it was in a folded-over condition. Counting both sides of the cloth, there is a fourfold stain in a logical order of decreasing intensity. The cloth was draped over the face temporarily, but apparently was removed in the tomb and placed aside. (The Gospels state exactly that.) Thus the Sudarium was not in contact with the face of the man when the resurrection event occurred; perhaps that is why the image of a face is absent. Nevertheless, the bloodstains correspond precisely with those of the Shroud and reveal typically Jewish features, a prominent nose and pronounced cheekbones.

Research since the 1980s shows that the Sudarium’s blood stains are type AB, matching those on the Shroud. One type of pollen found on it is identical to that found on the Shroud; it grows only east of the Mediterranean Sea as far north as Lebanon and as far south as Jerusalem. Scientific studies validate the ancient claim that the cloth had covered the head of a long-haired, bearded man with bleeding scalp wounds who died in an upright position. Residue of what is most likely myrrh and aloe have been discovered in the Sudarium, in accord with the Jewish burial custom of Jesus’s time. The Sudarium and the Shroud have so many bloodstains which match up—70 on the face side and 50 on the rear side—that the only possible conclusion is that the Sudarium of Oviedo covered the same face as the Shroud of Turin.

Both tradition and science indicate the Sudarium was used to cover the head of the dead body of Jesus. No evidence points away from that conclusion except for one radiocarbon dating to the 7th century, and the researcher who obtained that age of the cloth acknowledges that his results are questionable. See various web sites for research data and the 2001 book Sacred Blood, Sacred Image: The Sudarium of Oviedo by Janice Bennett (P.O. Box 2001, Littleton, CO 80127-0005).

John White

Friday, April 06, 2007

ND grassroots

Although I've been focused on the budget lately, I think the biggest concern in town is probably still the proposed northend development. The concern is on both sides of the issue, but my guess is that the opposition has more of a grassroots organization. And here's an example of what I'm saying...

My dad picked this flyer up off the ground on The Green:

On the other side of the equation though is an effort to boycott Westfields' Meriden Square for their public opposition to the W/S proposal.

Regardless of your view, you may want to attend the P&Z meeting that's mentioned in the flyer.

Monday, April 9, 7:30pm
Town Hall

In a related story, the proposed Konover development for Watertown has been deep-sixed (WRA, by Jonathan Shugarts). The developer said it was due to the town mandated $58,000 impact study that Konover deemed as "premature."

Tim White
Town Council, 4th District

Biodiesel jobs

Cheshire's recently proposed biodiesel plant was discussed in the pages of both the WRA (by Lauresha Xhihani) and MRJ (by Tiffany Aron) this week. The Bowmans' proposal includes 24 new jobs within two years.

I'm guessing that most Nutmeggers would prefer to have our money spent on jobs here, rather than in the middle east or Venezuela. So this is great news.

Tim White

Turf warming?

Do you:

oppose turf at the high school


support efforts to end global warming?

If so, you may want to contact attorney Guive Mirfendereski of Newton, Mass. He says

artificial turf contributes to global warming by reflecting heat. Moreover, the materials used to make and clean it pollute drinking water, and the turf itself is not biodegradable (WRA editorial).
I have no idea if it's true. But I thought it's an interesting angle on two topics that both seem to generate discussion here every time they get mentioned.

Tim White

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil

Under a subpoena, State Rep. Don Clemons (D-Bridgeport) told the story of a situation in which he was involved during the summer of 2004 (Courant, by Christopher Keating). Heretofore, he had never told his story publicly, including to “his colleagues in the legislature.”

So what was the story?

It was a story about a meeting of Rep. Clemons, former State Senator Ernest Newton (D-Bridgeport) and one other individual. Rep. Clemons acknowledged that he saw an attempted shakedown.

"I didn't want to be in that position to hear that," Clemons said of the extortion attempt. "I was shocked. I was dismayed. I did not open my mouth in any way, shape, form or fashion."
And now House Republican leaders are appropriately calling for legislative action, but Speaker Amann doesn’t seem too excited. Although he has called for non-legislative bodies to investigate, the Courant quoted him saying:
"I would assume if there was a crime, the FBI probably would have issued an indictment of Don Clemons by now," Amann said. "They've said the Newton case is over."
That attitude is wrong. At minimum, Speaker Amann should immediately remove Rep. Clemons’ title and the commensurate “perks.” And he still ought to do the same thing with Rep. Pat Dillon for her admission of drunk driving in January. But apparently he’s not too concerned about whether his own caucus “leadership” consists of true leaders.

Tim White

Rep. Nardello's bills (part III)

And here are some more of Rep. Nardello's bills:


Tim White