Friday, August 31, 2012

Teetering on Corruption Middletown

 Red Rosa's opponent  , Wayne Winsley
AME Zion Church in Middletown seems to be the new stomping grounds for Rep. Rosa Delauro to spin her web of deceit and try to reach out to minority voters. Coincidentally, a mere two months before his  election to office, Democrat & now City Treasurer Quentin Phipps joined the congregation. Phipps, a supporter and volunteer for the Delauro campaign has helped bring Red Rosa to speak before the congregation on now two occasions. The first a Women's Health Conference held at the church this past spring, where Delauro was a featured speaker, ironically,  neither have been labeled fundraisers, but one can surmise that these events being held to coincide when Delauro has been campaigning to defend her seat is no coincidence.  The last event held at  AME Zion featuring Delauro, Democratic Candidate Chris Murphy, and Community Health Center representatives focused on Obamacare. Unfortunately for attendees, the opposite side of the Obamacare argument was not represented and no Republican or Independent  or speakers whom might have had  an alternative viewpoints were asked to speak. While private non-profits such as churches have the right to retain any speakers they wish, it is ironic still that no women of GOP or Independent  backgrounds who are politically connected or elected officials were invited to speak before the congregation at the Women's conference. Events such as these teeter on the line of corruption as well; any 501-3c organizations participating in political fundraising or politicking whatsoever can loose their non-taxable status with the IRS. A politician can speak at an event meant to be a fundraiser for a non profit, but they cannot profit from it themselves, nor can the organization hold a fundraiser for them; the issue is the lines can be blurred very easily- say for instance if the candidate accepts donations at the event. If a true service (not a PAC) organization supports a candidate what is to stop that candidate for offering political favors once elected? Delauro is scheduled to "speak" at another non profit organization, the YES program that is part of the Partnership for Strong Communities in Hartford in September. Red Rosa's opponent Candidate Wayne Winsley probably wasn't invited...

Interview with Candidate Wayne Winsley

Wayne Winsley, candidate for the U.S. Congress representing all of the citizens of the 3rd Congressional District, today released the following statement:
On Monday August 27th Wayne Winsley engaged in a discussion with members of the Hartford Courant editorial board. The topics included taxes, education, and individual rights.
The full interview is available at
“I look forward to every opportunity to engage with members of the media, and more importantly the citizens of the third district and others. As your new representative, I will continue to engage in an ongoing dialogue with, and be an effective representative for, all citizens of Connecticut.”

Help Middletown Youth Services

Help Middletown Youth Services
BIGGER THAN YOU THINK is a short play with a huge purpose--helping Middletown’s children grow up well. This is a time for committed action. Be a part of the action in a community performance created by the Middletown Youth Services BureauThe Center for the Advancement of Youth, Family and Community Services, and Community Performance International.  From the stories of Middletown youth and adults, our play uses the 40 Developmental Assets, or building blocks of healthy youth development, to tell the story of how Middletown is doing with the most important job a town can have--raising the children. Participate in shaping the next generation of Middletown's leaders as we also share our latest set of data from the largest survey we’ve ever conducted of Middletown youth. 
To sign up for any of these volunteer opportunities or for more information please contact us by phone at 860-854-6030 or via email at (please include your name and contact information). You can also keep up to date on this project via Facebook at:
Cast –Roles for everyone from elementary school age, middle school, high school, young adults and grandparents, from all walks of life. The play looks to include over 50+ actors/participants so there is room for everyone regardless of perceived skill and experience (WE NEED YOU!!!). Auditions will be held at the Middletown Youth Services Bureau (372 Hunting Hill Ave, Middletown – former MHS VOAG site) and are scheduled for:
Friday, September 7th from 6-9pm
Saturday, September 8th from 10-12pm and from 1-4pm
Sunday, September 9th from 2-5pm
Justin Carbonella, MPA
Youth Services Coordinator
372 Hunting Hill Ave, Middletown, CT 06457

Thursday, August 30, 2012

FEULNER: Teacher unions' pressure is failing

 School choice is passing the test
from The Washington Times

Hearing teachers unions complain about extending school choice to American families is nothing new. They have been spreading misinformation about efforts to break up their monopoly on education for years. With millions of students going back to school, we can, unfortunately, expect them to turn up the volume.
Yet every year, the unions’ grip on power loosens. Scholarships, education savings accounts, vouchers and other reform efforts keep proliferating. Worse, from the unions’ point of view, school choice keeps growing in popularity among parents and students. Forty-four percent of Americans now favor allowing students the option of attending private schools at public expense. That is up 10 percentage points from last year.
Small wonder that the Louisiana Association of Educators threatened last month to sue private parochial schools in the state that plan to accept voucher students this fall, or that the union-supported Obama administration has supported a plan to give federally issued paychecks directly to local teachers. Desperation must be setting in.
The calls for more taxpayer money persist despite the huge increases in federal education spending over the past decade. President Obama’s fiscal 2013 budget request included another major increase for the Department of Education — 2.5 percent more than last year — to nearly $70 billion.
We’re now spending an average of $11,400 per student, a record amount. Yet test scores and other measurements of academic achievement continue to lag.
Given this state of affairs, we should be glad school choice is on the rise. Among the promising signs we see:
New Hampshire is one of 11 states to offer scholarships for underprivileged students to attend private schools. Parents unhappy with their local public schools have a choice. They can do something to get their children into schools they feel would better meet their needs. Businesses and individuals who donate to private-school scholarship funds receive sizable tax credits. The scholarships average $2,500 for students whose families earn up to 300 percent of the federal poverty level.
South Carolina has a tuition tax-credit program that lets children attend schools that are right for them. Who is eligible for the tax credit? Anyone who donates to the privately funded scholarships that have been set up for low-income and special-needs students. The program gives tax deductions of up to $4,000 to families to help cover the cost of sending their children to private schools, $2,000 for home schooling and $1,000 to help with expenses related to sending their children to out-of-district public schools.
North Carolina is home to an elementary school that has used online learning to move from the middle of the pack on student achievement into a tie for second place on state tests. In an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, Juan Williams explains how:
“All of their textbooks, notes, learning materials and assignments are computerized, allowing teachers and parents to track their progress in real time. If a student is struggling, their computer-learning program can be adjusted to meet their needs and get them back up to speed. And the best students no longer wait on slow students to catch up. Top students are constantly pushed to their limits by new curricular material on their laptops.”
Home schooling. Heritage Foundation education analyst Lindsey Burke says it may be the fastest-growing form of education in the United States, rivaled only by charter schools. Data from the U.S. Department of Education show a 74 percent increase in home schooling since 1999 alone, with approximately 1.5 million children (2.9 percent of school-age children) being home-schooled in 2007. The numbers have only grown since then. Some analysts place the number of home-schooled children at more than 2 million.
These and other encouraging trends suggest that the status quo in education won’t necessarily remain the status quo much longer. The trend is flowing away from government control — and toward parental control.
“Parents are the first and the most important educators of their own children,” Pope John Paul II once said. “They also possess a fundamental competence in this area; they are educators because they are parents.” They, not Washington, are the ones who should be directing education. The more our education policy reflects this truth, the better off our children will be.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Wave the Flag Event Middletown!

Support America, support our veterans......WAVE THE FLAG EVENT
When:  September 1, 2012
Where: Corner of Main and Washington Street, Middletown CT
Time:  Noon-1pm

See you there-bring a flag and a sign:   Thank you veterans!   We love America!
Event is organized by Gail Whitright   
  "Taking back America"
Middletown Republican Town Committee will be in attendance,  anyone & everyone & all groups welcome & invited!

Fact:  Every 80 minutes a veteran commits suicide.   Over 200,000 homeless veterans.
Support the vets, Support America!
See you on September 1!

Below is a patriotic poem written by local teacher Gail Whitright and featured on the website for Proposition USA, a blog and group of Teachers who believe in helping veterans.
Author, Teacher, and Veteran
Supporter, Gail Whitright

Poem by Gail Whitright

This country is made of immigrants who came through Ellis Island - our front door
They were tired, they were hungry and all of them were poor.

The English had a work ethic that did not call for rest
The Pilgrims were gutsy and set the foundation for our country to be the best

With the Irish, America too was their destiny and a new life too their fate
They were determined to survive according to history and the famine of 1848.

The Germans had covered wagons and log cabins on the lands.
They had nothing and survived with their bare hands

The Italians, with courage and hard work they would not accept defeat
I grew up with Italian farmers who stopped working just long enough to eat

The Portuguese - their piece of the pie they can redeem
They made it with their families working as a team

If you’re hungry at night, you’ll be served right away
Because in Connecticut we’ve got the Greeks who are working 24 hours a day!

The Asians work hard to fill their needs
It is their honor and discipline is the reason they succeed

With the Scandinavians their goodness never wanes
They’re a hearty lot - The Finns, Norwegians, Swedes and Danes

The Jews have initiative and showed us something which is this
They showed how important love of learning and education is

The Czechs, Bosnians and Hungarians want the same as you and me
They were fleeing opppression all's they ever wanted was to be free

For excellent neighbors, who made great citizens too
If you want self-reliance French Canadians will always come through

Haitians are determined and make A+ friends I find
I like West Indians because they are industrious and kind

Tle Poles worked hard and did what they should
They succeeded because they are honest and good

Blacks have tremendous talent, they do it all in stride
It's easy for black children to have something called Black Pride

The Vietnamese, Laotians and Cambodians wanted more then just to pass
They rolled up their sleeves and are graduating at the top of their class

Latinos with their families to their goals they will stride
Their successes and accomplishments is what gives them pride

Indians are very special with values they hold so dear
They are very special friends because they have so much to share

Yankee ingenuity and hard work was Connecticut’s fate
400 years of self-reliance made Connecticut the wealthiest state

How did Connecticut become so wealthy - where do I begin?
In 1633 the founders of our state - believed not working was a sin

Hard work and self reliance is how this country grew
Plus WE'RE AMERICANS and there's nothing we can't do!

The fact is red, yellow, brown, black and white
Take is from a school marm - Education is half the fight

Through faith  - WE WILL RALLY - do not fret
D-Day, A man on the moon - Those were AMERICANS - Don’t forget!

Won’t you join us - PROPOSITIONUSA - We won’t go down in defeat!
Because through hard work and helping one another...





Local Vo-Ag Students Win Awards

Middletown Agriculture Students Qualify for National Competition
    MIDDLETOWN – The National FFA Association recently announced that ten area students enrolled in the Agriculture Science & Technology program at Middletown High School qualified to compete at the upcoming National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Members of the Mattabeset FFA 2012 State Champion Livestock Judging Team.  Pictured from left to right: Amanda Thomson, Teacher; Casey Nielsen, Middletown; Jaimie Simmons, Middletown; Kacey Reinholtz, East Hampton; Nathaniel Trojanoski, East Hampton.
Students were invited to represent the state of Connecticut in the Livestock Evaluation Career Development Event, which requires students to analyze and evaluate livestock animals and management scenarios.  Team members include junior Jaimie Simmons from Middletown, senior Nathaniel Trojanoski from East Hampton, and 2012 graduates Casey Nielsen from Middletown and Kacey Reinholtz from East Hampton, both currently freshmen at Delaware Valley College.  
Five students were also named National Finalists in the Agriscience Fair competition, and are invited to defend their thesis and conclusions in an interview and poster session at the convention.  Finalists included junior Morgan O’Sullivan from Killingworth for her project comparing the relationship of a horse’s shoulder angle and stride length; senior Liam Mellaly from Clinton for his analysis of the energy availability of certain fuels; senior Alyssa Annino from Middletown, who investigated outdoor recreation preferences of youth; and 2012 graduates Anna Pettengill and Lydia Brodeur for their research concerning agricultural literacy.  
The students, along with junior Bailey Basiel of Durham, winner of the 2012 Melzmuff-Varratto Leadership Scholarship Award, will travel to the National FFA Convention this October in Indianapolis, Indiana along with an anticipated 60,000 youth from across the country. There, not only will the students compete in their respective areas but engage in the many other opportunities offered at the convention, including a career show, leadership workshops, and agricultural industry tours.  
All students are members of the Mattabeset FFA Chapter, the youth leadership organization associated with the Middletown Agriculture Science and Technology program based at Middletown High School. The Middletown Regional Agriculture Science & Technology Program is available to high school students from Chester, Clinton, Clinton, Deep River, Durham, East Hampton, Essex, Guilford, Haddam, Killingworth, Madison, Middlefield, Middletown, Portland, Rocky Hill, Old Saybrook and Westbrook.  The National FFA Organization is the nation’s leading agricultural youth leadership organization with over 7,000 FFA chapters in the United States, serving 540,379 FFA members.  For further information about the program, please call (860) 704-4599 or on the web at

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Letter to the Editor: Lessons for the Future About Route 9 Traffic Lights

 A letter to the Editors of the Insider brings to light an old but once again relevant issue. With decommissioning of the Middletown's Sewage Treatment plant  and the subsequent joining of the Mattabassett Sewage District scheduled for referendum this fall, new opportunities open up Middletown's river front for development. One reader cautions citizens and begs the question: Is an increase in patronage to businesses downtown worth the tragedies that have resulted from traffic lights put in place to direct people to Main Street? With new developments on the horizon, what will the new traffic patterns needed to be to satisfy developers look like? What have we learned and what can we do to make this stretch of road safer now that there may be new opportunities?

The Hartford Courant published an article about the  CT Department of Transportation's conclusion that this stretch in Middletown is the most dangerous stretch of roadway in the state. Read the article  here. In the Courant's article, manager of Amato's on Main Street Diane Gervais describes the delicate relationship between Route 9 Traffic and Main Street patronage, she is said: "Our customers need access to Route 9, and we need access to our customers from Route 9."

Below is one readers opinion, in his own words. All letters to the editor do no necessarily  reflect views of the Insider and are posted for information purposes only.
When Route 9 was proposed to pass along the river front in Middletown, the leaders of another generation agreed to it on one condition. That being there be traffic lights on a four lane highway to stop passing motorists for the sole purpose of patronizing Middletown businesses.

The lives lost at that dangerous bottleneck will be forever on their heads. Take the traffic lights off RT 9 and end the bottleneck to the flow of traffic. There are plenty of on- and off-ramps and the traffic lights are not needed and are deadly.

Tom Salafia,  Resident  of Middletown, CT

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

It's ok to Hate & Persecute Conservatives

We can all agree racial and religious discrimination is wrong,
but how are we taught to treat others with differing political views?
A few months ago, the Insider published some right wing  and left wing propaganda that had been circulating around facebook to generate discussion. As a result- one of our anti-fans published a essay in the local Patch blog telling the world the Insider advocated hate  in an exaggerated essay titled "Local Blog Advocates Ignorance & Hate". At the Insider, we are in fact fans of the Middletown Patch and Editor Cassandra Day. Day does a fairly good job of covering both sides of the local political spectrum; a lesson the local print papers won't ever seem to learn. The fore mentioned piece pretty much didn't phase us one bit- after all its free speech (albeit nonsensical); in fact it helped spike our readership! The issue continues in the media. When right-leaning folks offer a critical view point of opposing views in a analytical comparison or comical way, as done on this blog for example, it's almost always considered mean spirited & mud slinging. On the contrary,  a piece slamming a GOP politician or believe system it is accepted as fact so much so that readers rarely raise an eye brow- a double standard clearly exists that most readers aren't even aware of.  Read the piece below. After you are done substitute in the names of President Obama and VP Biden. Now what is the tone and your general reaction? If doing this exercise you are disturbed you may be prejudice towards conservatives and not even be aware. 

After the primary the Insider made a joke (ok, not a great joke) about losing Democratic candidate Susan Bysiewicz's platform  which was based on the "every woman" tactic to liken herself to the middle class. The reaction to this comment on our facebook page from friends was astounding.From the reaction one would think  we attacked a patron saint or tripped Mother Teresa, clubbed a baby seal or something. In actuality, a intelligent discussion thread resulted. The above article makes a MASS generalization about conservative citizens as inferior HUMAN beings. Most comments thus far listed below it condone this. Cue the crickets. In grade school, American students are all taught racial, religious, gender, cultural etc etc discrimination is wrong. But what about discrimination based on how one perceives authority and government - how one believes society should function- ie political beliefs. What does this say about what we are teaching our children about tolerance of others with different thought processes? Should we all behave and not be critical?  Or, should be all grow a thicker skin? Many conclusions can be drawn.

On August 17, 2012 cartoonist Bob Englehart of Middletown published a cartoon in the Hartford Courant calling  GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan "Mitt & Twitt." He also writes: "The great thing about moderates and liberals is that they can change their minds after learning new information, or understanding justice and fairness.Conservatives cannot, under any circumstance, change their minds. The old way is the best way, every man for himself, I got mine and nobody helped me, now you get yours the same way;  you failed, it's your own damn fault. What a wonderful world it would be."

Englehart  is a talented, clever guy and we would never deny him his right to free speech. Maybe he will do a guest cartoon for the Insider some day? Doubtful . But there is a point: Englehart basically eludes to, and says with out saying that the reader should conclude Conservative minded people are stupid and inferior-  conservatives  cannot process simple thoughts such as drawing different conclusions- ie changing of ones mind. If the Insider say, said this about liberals would there be no reaction? Would a cartoon of a parody of the Obama name with a certain like sounding middle-eastern name be as funny and acceptable?

Though D's and R's have different view points as far as government structure- and really when you get down to it the driving force behind this is how money should be spent-( it is what makes the world go round) are we that different to be so divided? The Insider concludes that both groups love their families, value community, and are charitable- just in different ways. We checked to find research done by a credible academic group on whether 'mud slinging' campaign tactics used by candidates has produced any relevant general conclusions  The only conclusion we could find was that  it is a case by case situation without any general rules being discovered. There is a phrase "mud slinging is as American as apple pie." There is also the phrase "two wrongs don't make a right." Most voters have said they do not like candidates who mud slinging, however, the average person, we think can't tell the difference when facts are skewed in subtle ways by the main stream media; especially when in local media a clear practice of prejudice against conservatives in Middletown has been a common practice for years.
The question is - should we all behave or is there room for the mud to fly?

Tax free Week for Clothing!

Sales Tax Free Week in Connecticut runs from Sunday, Aug.19 through Saturday, Aug. 25.

Throughout the week, clothing and footwear priced under $300 is exempt from the sales tax.

Those who have done their back-to-school shopping during this week in the past know that it is a golden opportunity to save some money. Sales Tax Free Week is also the perfect time for shoppers to make some of those higher-priced purchases, like much-needed winter coats or boots.
Please remember that the sales tax is applied to merchandise after the use of any coupons or discounts. Any coupons or discounts that bring the final price of an item under $300 benefit from the exemption.
For answers to questions about the Connecticut Sales Tax Holiday Week, visit

Letter to the Editor: Kleckowski is an Asset

 City Of Middletown Connecticut  

On behalf of:

Deborah Kleckowski


To  Whom  It  May Concern:

My name is Billy Prevatte  I am 16 years old  I'm writing this letter of recommendation  because   Councilwoman   Deborah Kleckowski named above is being recommended by  myself  to be the next     State Representative   for  the 100th district     in the  State of  Connecticut.  In  addition to being  a  state Representative candidate.   She  is also a  Councilwoman  with the   City of   Middletown  Connecticut.  Here  are my reasons why she is a good candidate.

·                     Councilwoman Kleckowski has experience   as  a politician and has good leadership skills.

·                     She  goes door to door for her campaign and  she talks to  people.

·                     She is  really nice to people when she goes  to  people's houses during  her  campaign

·                     She  asks good questions to people while she is working during her  campaign.

Councilwoman Kleckowski  is   really great at getting a long  with people. Thats why I'm  signing this letter . So that people know who the real candidate should be.

Vote Deb Kleckowski   For state Representative..

Respectfully Submitted

Billy M.Prevatte
Local Journalist/ Blogger                                              

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Middletown Republicans Host Wayne Winsley for Congress

                                Third Congressional District Candidate Wayne Winsley

A gathering of some 20 Middletown Republicans and others were on hand Saturday August 18th for a "Meet and Greet" with Wayne Winsley, 3rd Congressional District candidate for U.S. Congress. The event was hosted through the courtesy of the newly opened Michael's Deli at 83 Broad Street and was sponsored by Middletown Republican Town Committee. Mr. Winsley is planning to defeat the long entrenched Rosa DeLauro.

                           Wayne Winsley Thanks Hosts Chris and Helena of Michael's Deli

The group was also pleased to welcome Deborah Klekowski, Republican candidate for CT 100th District, which embraces most of Middletown. The two term Republican member of the city council hopes to win the seat currently held by Matt Lesser.

                               Deb Klekowski with town Republican Chair Ken McClellan

Middletown Republicans wish to extend a vote of thanks to the folks at Michael's Deli and wish them great success with their new addition to the city's culinary delights.

                                Michael's Deli-William Wilson Presiding at the Door

Video from the event:

Read more from Middletown Patch

Friday, August 17, 2012

As seen on Patch: Our Children Deserve more than a Food stamp Future

An essay reposted from Middletown Patch blog as seen here
Candidate Wayne Winsley will hold a meet and greet at  Saturday August 18th10:00am till Noon At Michael’s Gourmet Deli 83 Broad Street Middletown, CT 06457 Meet the future Congressman for CT’s 3rd District. 
In his own words Winsley writes:
Incumbent DeLauro often repeats the phrase, “One in seven families in the third district are food challenged, which means they are often unsure where their next meal is coming from.”
Her answer to this dilemma after having over two decades to work on it is to offer more food stamps.
My solution is to create an environment where small and medium-sized businesses can grow in Connecticut and where more large businesses want to move into and not out of Connecticut so that more citizens can get off the dole and onto a full-time payroll. Then they can buy their own food and everything else they need want and desire.  
As someone who has used the safety net personally, including food stamps, I can tell from first-hand knowledge that while the safety is good and necessary to help those in need of help, there is not a single government program that has ever made a single person financially independent or entirely self-sufficient.
Our children can see this and even they have figured out that, “while the government can help you get by, you have to do something else if you want to rise up.”
Our children deserve the opportunity to rise up and embrace the promise of America.
Our children deserve more than the dead-end career paths of the social welfare system of the criminal justice system.
I will work hard to change the current attitude in Washington and in Hartford that talks about loving jobs while showing hate for job creators. 
Incumbent DeLauro, after more than two decades of ineffective occupation of the people’s seat in the third district, continues to offer nothing but empty rhetoric about free diapers a promise of more food stamps.
My vision is to help more of our citizens from food stamps to full-time jobs.
My goal is a strong America rebuilt on independence and productivity.
I believe our children deserve more than a food stamp future.
As your next representative, I - Wayne Winsley - will work hard to serve the citizens of the Third Congressional with forthrightness, honor, and integrity.

Republican Candidate for the 100th District Deborah Kleckowski endorsed by Middletown Independent Party

Candidate for the 100th District Deborah Kleckowski
Republican Common Councilwoman Deborah Kleckowski has won the endorsement of Middletown's Independent Party for the 100th state House District. Kleckowski will face off against incumbent Matt Lesser (D). Read more on Patch

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Congressional Nominee comes to Middletown Saturday!

For Immediate Release
Coffee & Danish Meet & Greet with Congressional Nominee
Wayne Winsley
NAUGATUCK, CONN – August 14: Wayne Winsley, Republican candidate to represent all of the citizens of CT’s 3rd Congressional District, will hold a Coffee and Danish meet and greet event.

Saturday August 18th
10:00am till Noon
Michael’s Gourmet Deli
83 Broad Street Middletown, CT 06457

Meet the future Congressman for CT’s 3rd District, ask you questions, find out where he stands on the issues important to Connecticut families. 

Invest in the campaign to Restore the Promise of America

All citizens are urged to attend. No minimum donation required but all contributions will be gratefully accepted.

To speak directly with Wayne Winsley, schedule a media interview, or to schedule a visit with your group, organization or association, contact him directly by phone at 860-248-0324 or via email .

Thursday, August 09, 2012

A Day in the Life of a Middletown Mayor

While Mayor Drew missed  NEAT's  discussion with concerned citizens about policing of the North End last week, he did not miss this week's opportunity to have his picture appear in a local paper. Does Mayoral Aide Joe Samolis know your are using those big boy scissors by yourself Danno? The McDonald's on Washington Street presented Oddfellows Playhouse with a $500 donation at the ribbon cutting after the restaurant's recent remodel.  This post is making us hungry; speaking of which...
  • Treat yourself right with this Health-O-Meter personal massager
  • Egg-shaped massager is water resistant, use in the shower
  • Electric massager features Gentle Touch Massage Head, and more..
Drew was quoted by the Press last month as saying "“Healthy choices save money... Eating refined or processed food causes health rates to go down.” If anyone out there can translate this grammatical abomination of a quote and explain what the heck a "health rate" is, the folks at the Insider are having some difficulty. The Insider did however, find a website selling "Health-O-Meters." We finally had our "ah ha" - so that's what the Mayor was talking about - moment, how unsophisticated of us! That's how one measures one's health rate. We heard the Mayor's Office is giving them out for free to the first 100 callers, so get yours today!

Guest Blog : Loitering Wars of Middletown!

Fred Carroll, photo credit Middletown Eye article from July 2012
Last week NEAT held it's monthly meeting and the prominent topic of discussion was the on going problem of people being ticketed for loitering in North End of Main Street. Various businesses had spurred this as a result of their complaints to the Middletown Police Department. Among complaintants were the Community Health Center, The Buttonwood Tree, Wharfside Commons Apartments, & 8 Liberty. Citizens at the meeting accused police of targeting the poor and giving them $90 tickets for loitering, a fine those who spoke felt was unjust when the definition of loitering has never been clearly defined to the community. Nor was it defined at this meeting. Community activists and employees of St. Vincent DePaul Place and NEAT spoke on behalf of citizens and expressed concerns over perceived targeting to those receiving social services at the soup kitchen, health center, and various other North End enterprises providing them. Liberty Commons is owned and operated by St. Vincent DePaul, and many residents utilize use the soup kitchen. NEAR (North End Arts Rising) operates the Buttonwood Tree. The Community Health Center provides low and no cost health care on a sliding scale based on income and or lack of insurance and has a variety of programs offered to the at-risk neighborhoods of the North End. Observers of the meeting soon realized that branches of the same agencies were complaining about behavior of each other's patrons, yet these patrons were likely the same people. Izzi Greenberg, director of NEAT, and Ron Krom is Executive Director of St. Vincent DePaul gave charged testimony summarizing complaints they had received from people receiving loitering tickets. Krom said that patrons of the soup kitchen had received tickets. Mayor Dan Drew and Chief William McKenna were invited to the public meeting at the Green Streets Arts Center on August 2, 2012 but did not attend. Lt. Paul Maturo was present and defended the police actions.

North End Citizen & social activist Fred Carroll has written a guest blog detailing his thoughts on what he calls "Loitering Wars" and also appeared last week on the Comcast Channel 15 cable access show "The Variety Hour" hosted by William Wilson and Jon Pulino to discuss his thoughts and express his desire to get art back on the community-at- large's agenda. 
Carrol's essay below alludes  (the Insider's interpretation we could be wrong) to the fact that perhaps the issue with loitering has a wider impact and is in itself a commentary on the socioeconomic paradigm being the current state of the economy the country is facing. Is class warfare happening around us? Are we witnessing a shift in who uses social services and the identity of the "new" poor? What happens to the "old" poor, where do they fit in and what is it to be considered "poor" anyway? 
Carrol is a Middletown  intellectual icon (we at the Insider certainly think so!), a humanitarian, artist, chess player, founder of the Bums with Brooms social movement to clean up the streets of the city,  secretary of the Realist Balance Party of Middletown, and by traditional definition a practitioner of the "nomadic" lifestyle and  has been at times what most would consider, and by his own definition as well homeless.

How To Know If You Are "Loitering" In Middletown's North End...If you can afford a five dollar cupcake, then you're probably not loitering....okay? Is that simple enough for all you confused, cop dissing, bum loving, "Liberal" minded, ACLU types, is that "clear" enough for you?

"But Fred"; I can almost hear you saying; "What if I can afford a five dollar cupcake but don't like cupcakes, or, for one reason or another have simply never bought one in Middletown, how about me, am I loitering?"

 And to respond to such a query as this in one word or less I would say simply "Well....", and then continue by saying that I personally have known people who never smoked pot, never voted, never married, never drove, never had children.....but someone who doesn't like cupcakes?! ...I'm not at all sure that such a person would be welcomed anywhere in Middletown, never mind the newly ever so groovy North End!

But seriously folks, speaking as one of Middletown's most loved and hated Bums I would like to offer my own ultra- simple "formula" for making a "loitering/not loitering" determination and it's this: If the area where you are standing, sitting, leaning, lurching, pimping, dealing, begging, stealing, WHATEVER is....wait for it.....dirty? Then you are loitering, period. If it was filthy is how you found it when you got's not "your mess" in other words, then just very simply "get it clean" before you "get comfortable", or else don't park it there, period.

"BUT FRED!" I can surely hear you thinking, "That would never translate into a legally enforceable code, statute, or "ordinance" "....Right.
 The "Cupcake Rule" it is, then.

Fred Carroll

Middletown Kiwanis’ 9th Annual Scholarship Golf Tournament

Middletown Kiwanis’
9th Annual Scholarship Golf Tournament
Tuesday, August 21st - 9 am shotgun start
Lyman Orchards Golf Club
Routes 146 & 157
Middlefield, Connecticut
On August 21st the Middletown Kiwanis Foundation is holding its 9th Annual Golf
Tournament at the Lyman Orchard Golf Club. Registration is at 8:00 am with a
9:00 am shotgun start – scramble format.
All tournament proceeds benefit the Middletown Kiwanis’ scholarship fund.
Last year $9,000 in scholarship money was awarded to graduating seniors at
Middletown High School, Vinal Technical High School, Mercy High School and
Xavier High School.
The entrance fee of $125 per player includes:
8am till tee time - Assorted Pastry Basket, NY Style Bagels with Cream Cheese
& Butter, Chilled Fruit Juice and Brewed Coffee & Decaffeinated Coffee.
18 Holes of Championship Golf on the Robert Trent Jones Course with cart.
Use of the Driving Range and Putting Green Available 1 ½ Hours Prior to the
Start Time
Lunch at conclusion of golf.
Lyman Orchards “Best in CT” Six Inch Apple Pie for Each Guest
Become a tee sponsor, for $50 a sign with your name/business name will be
placed on a tee box.
Come and enjoy a day of good golf and support your local Kiwanis service
To register or for more information contact us at or call 860-538-1216.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Suzio Takes a Stand Against Crime

Sen. Len Suzio & Fapyo Ghazil

As Sen. Len Suzio was holding his second press conference in opposition to an inmate early release program, the Malloy administration was blasting him as a hypocrite for advocating the early release of a white collar criminal who’d served only 10 percent of his sentence.
Suzio was in Meriden Friday outside the EZ Mart, where 70-year-old shop owner Ibrahim Ghazal was murdered during a robbery in June. Police have charged Frankie Resto with his murder.
Resto was recently released from prison and earned 199 days risk reduction credits, according to the Department of Corrections. However, not all of the credits were applied, and unlike most inmates, Resto served 91 percent of his sentence. Typically prisoners serve 85 percent of their sentence before they are released on probation.
Suzio was collecting signatures for a petition to suspend the program with Ghazal’s son. But just weeks before Ghazal’s murder, Suzio was recommending the program be used to release John Papandrea, a Meriden resident sentenced to prison on embezzlement charges.
On June 12 Suzio wrote this letter on behalf of Papandrea, whom he said would still be a productive member of society when he gets out of prison.
“I believe that it makes more sense for the residents of Connecticut to have nonviolent prisoners released early versus those with a violent record,” Suzio wrote.
Michael P. Lawlor, Gov. Dannel Malloy’s criminal justice adviser, released a statement calling the Meriden Republican a hypocrite and saying that Papandrea’s crimes impacted many people.
“The hypocrisy of Sen. Suzio’s actions is that much more outrageous when you consider he recently requested that a convicted felon be reìeased after serving only 10 percent of his sentence. Inmate John Papandrea was convicted for a Bernie Madoff-like crime of embezzling over $1 million from his employer in order to buy artwork for his home,” Lawlor said.
The company Papandrea had been working for was forced to lay off 18 employees because of the embezzlement, he said.
“Does he not think anyone was hurt by Mr. Papandrea’s actions? Maybe he can tell that to the innocent employees who lost their jobs,” Lawlor said.

Hugh McQuaid photo
Hugh McQuaid photo
EZ Mart in Meriden
Asked about Papandrea, Suzio said he was a non-violent criminal who received an unusually severe sentence. He accused the administration of trying to confuse the media on the issue, which he said has nothing to do with non-violent criminals. “Don’t let them play rope-a-dope with you. That’s what they want to do. They want to shuck and jive and get you off the issue because they know they’ve got problems,” Suzio said. “... We’re not talking about non-violent offenders and to confuse that and let the administration get away with that confusion is a disservice to the public.”
In issuing the statement, Lawlor said he was just “pointing out the obvious inconsistencies” in Suzio’s position on the early release program. But he said Suzio’s decision to hold a press event with a family member of a man who’s been recently murdered was “outrageous” and “sort of a last straw.”
“Sen. Suzio ought to be ashamed of himself. His insistence on spreading inaccurate information about this case does nothing but exploit a tragedy, its victim, and its victim’s family. It should be beneath the office he holds,” Lawlor said.
But Ghazal’s son Fapyo said he agreed with Suzio’s position on the early release law.
“What Mr. Senator said about how he left the prison—he left the prison to kill my dad. That’s what I believe and I agree with what he said about it,” Fapyo Ghazal said. “If this guy, he were sitting in prison now, he not kill my dad.”
Suzio said, as far as he was concerned, the program allowed Ghazal to be killed.
“I would say, without the early release law, Mr. Ghazal would be alive today. And I think that’s what the media ought to focus on,” Suzio said.
Following the press conference some of the onlookers gathered at the gas station signed Suzio’s petition. One of them was 69-year-old Meriden resident Dusty Beaty, who knew the late Ghazal.
Beaty said he would frequently stop by Ghazal’s shop after the bars closed and chat with the shopkeeper. For simplicity’s sake he said he referred to Ibrahim Ghazal as “Joe.”
“Nicest guy in the world. Everybody liked him,” Beaty said.
Though he signed the early release petition, the risk reduction credit program was not Beaty’s most pressing criminal justice concern.
“The only thing I don’t agree with is the fricken state abolishing the death penalty. I don’t agree with that,” he said.
Beaty said he thought Resto deserved the death penalty if he’s convicted of killing Ghazal.
“Dig a hole, kill him, and put him in there,” he said.

Local Journalist: Councilman Pessina an Asset to City

As post in the Middletown Patch blog this week featured here:
Local journalist/blogger Billy Prevatte writes of Pessina's many accomplishments and why he feels Pessina is an asset to Middletown

Meet Candidate for the 100th Deborah Kleckowski : Come to an Evening of Family Fun & Conversation

Deb Kleckowski starts her door to door campaign in Middletown
Deborah Kleckowski is running for election to represent the 100th District which includes Middletown!
Find out more about Deb on the Insider here
Join Deb's Supporters for a Fun Evening of Light Refreshments & Great Conversations!

Bring your children – plenty of games and activities!

Friday August 10, 2012 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
25 Cranberry Lane, Middletown, CT

Hosted by Kevin Kelly and Robin Goss

Qualifying donations $5 to $100 – Suggested donation $20

Please RSVP to Kevin Kelly @ 860-930-2584 or

If you are not able to attend and would like to contribute, please contact Deb Kleckowski @

All welcome!!

Paid for by Elect Deb Kleckowski-Dante Aiudi, Treasurer

Ryan Woods Autism Foundation of Middletown Needs Help

 Earlier this summer, the Ryan Woods Autism Foundation of Middletown was denied state funding for its development of an after school program. Please take a look at the event below and help out this home grown charitable foundation. Message from RWAF:

As you may have already heard the Ryan Woods Autism Foundation will be going to the Rock cats game August 11, 2012, at  New Britian stadium, New Britian Ct.
You are invited to help support this effort.  Tickets are $10 each.  The proceeds will go to the Ryan Woods Autism foundation after school and summer school programs. 
If you are interested in attending please give us a call at  the center 860-788-7277 or 860-539-6079.  Or just email us  at
Check us out on line >>>>  http://www.
Thank you,
Jennifer Cherry-Woods

Sunday, August 05, 2012

New Rumors Arise about Drew Bi-Passing Public Bid Process

Rumor has it Dan Drew has authorized the replacement of the present telephone system for a top end telephone system to be installed at the Town Hall, Fire Departments and Police Station. The cost is rumored to be around $500,000.00. This project is not out for bid and the supplier has already been selected. It is rumored that the owner of the company is a member of a private club that our Mayor was trying to get into, and the company owner got him in.  The present company that maintains their telephone system was given a list of equipment to give them a price on, but the specifications required for the installing company are only supported by the company already selected. The project is already well under way, ignoring the bid process, which would bring a lower price. This would have violate  purchasing rules that states that anything over $7,500.00 must go out to a formal bid. Dan Drew at his best, Tax and Spend! 

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Ain't it funny Mr. Phipps : Lessons in Tolerance

 Facebook Message from  Treasurer and DBD Chair Quentin Phipps, click to enlarge
Here at the Insider, we get some pretty interesting mail. We always welcome tips, story ideas, and the chance to make new friends. We try out best to investigate tips we get, and if asked, keep those sending us messages about topics they want investigated anonymous if possible. We love the arts, we love volunteerism,  we love community, we love people keeping their jobs to make money to do with what they wish. The Insider supports local businesses and believes in capitalism; but ain't it funny that the new chair of the Downtown Business District and City Treasurer Quentin Phipps would ask us for help via facebook advertising and spreading the word about the latest DBD organized Cash Mob Events, but does NOT want to  be our friend on facebook? At first, we said sure, after all we love local businesses and are eager to  help, but then we thought about it- isn't this message like asking for a favor similar to  asking a girl to a prom and then asking her to wear a bag over her head because you are afraid to be seen with her??? Ain't it odd that a Mr. Phipps, would pledge bi-partisan cooperation and a bridging of the divide between tho those who lean a little left and those who might lean a little right in Middletown, and certainly want to promote ALL businesses, groups, organizations etc. but then NOT want to publicly associate with the Insider after soliciting this blog's help and support for his group's endeavor? DBD Chairman & City Treasurer Phipps campaigned as an open-minded progressive thinking Democrat but only will acknowledge the help given by those who share his political beliefs apparently- Hey Mr. Phipps! You give "Big Ups" on your Twitter account to various local groups and businesses who do good- here is a BIG DOWNS from us at the Insider for not practicing what you preach- TOLERANCE. And we just wanted to be friends.

Kleen Energy's Fatal Deal- From CNNMONEY.COM

Add caption

FORTUNE -- When the natural gas ignited, it caused a blast so powerful that people 30 miles away thought there had been an earthquake. Inside the almost finished power plant in Middletown, Conn., around 11:15 a.m. on Feb. 7, the explosion blew the siding off the structure, crumpled construction trailers, and sparked a conflagration that sent a dense plume of black smoke hundreds of feet in the air. Six men died. Another 50 were injured, some of them gravely.
They had all been laboring at the Kleen Energy plant that Super Bowl Sunday, pushing to wrap up construction ahead of schedule so that the lead contractor could collect a $14 million bonus for early completion. The cause of the disaster was identified almost instantly: a "gas blow" gone awry. In theory, it's a simple procedure -- highly pressurized nitrogen, steam, air, or natural gas is propelled through pipes to clean out debris. Natural gas is the most dangerous choice; safety depends on dispersing the gas effectively and avoiding even the slightest spark. At the Kleen plant large quantities of gas were vented into a partially enclosed area that had a door that opened into a space where pipefitters were using blowtorches and open-flame industrial heaters warmed the men on a frigid winter day.
In retrospect, it wasn't surprising that something went wrong. There was no safety meeting that morning. Workers complained about the strong smell of gas, according to their affidavits, but were told to keep working. "This is a gas plant -- what do you expect to smell?" a supervisor said, according to the affidavits, only moments before losing his life in the explosion.
The federal authorities rendered harsh judgments. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration concluded in August that the construction firms "blatantly disregarded well-known and accepted industry procedures." OSHA cited 370 violations and imposed a $16.6 million fine, its second largest ever (exceeded only by the penalties for BP's (BP) Texas City refinery explosion). The Chemical Safety Board deemed the Kleen accident "preventable." Criminal investigations are ongoing, and the inevitable wave of civil litigation has begun.
There will be endless squabbling about who had what responsibility in the calamity. But that ignores the bigger mystery: How did this power plant, the sort of heavily regulated, billion-dollar engineering challenge usually developed and built by a handful of multinational construction behemoths, end up in the hands of a homegrown trio -- a Connecticut construction firm, a former city councilman, and a garbage hauler in his seventies? That's not just a historical question either, since the same firm has repaired the plant, restarted construction, and expects to open it next year. This is a tale of a trio who smoothly navigated local politics, sweet-talked the legislature, and outmaneuvered a Fortune 500 corporation to win a giant prize. But ultimately their understanding of power (the political kind) would far exceed their understanding of power (the electric kind).
No Kleen without Armetta
If you own the joint, you can enter any way you like. Phil Armetta is driving me to visit the outer reaches of the Kleen Energy site. He sees no need to use the main entrance. Instead Armetta steers his Lexus off the town road, through a gate with a no trespassing sign, and into a dusty, unpaved expanse with rocks the size of baseballs, before sailing slowly and majestically down the side of a steep embankment and landing on a rough construction road. "I used to drive a cab in New York City," he assures me as I flinch. "We're fine."
There would be no Kleen Energy without Phil Armetta, who bought the land and hatched the idea for the power plant. He's an institution in these parts -- owner of the memorably named Dainty Rubbish and sometimes referred to as a "trash magnate" in the local press. At 79, the Brooklyn native is bursting with energy, charm, and affability. "I used to dream of girls, and now I dream of projects," he croons, though you get the feeling he hasn't completely forgotten the charms of the opposite sex.
Armetta presents me with a three-ring binder filled with details of a half-dozen past and current business ventures, a biography, newspaper clippings, and a collection of his maxims. The biography cites "my first visit to an incinerator" as helping inspire his career in garbage. "You make your money when you buy, not when you sell," he tells me. "That's in the book."
As Armetta sees it, Kleen is a story of renewal. Its site was ravaged by decades of feldspar mining. Hoodlums used to congregate there, and it was used as an illegal dumping ground. But Armetta saw potential, and in 2000 he scooped up the 137 acres on the Connecticut River for a mere $300,000.
Beyond professions of regret for the lives lost in the explosion -- " Deaths like these are always tragic" -- Armetta deflects questions about sensitive topics by repeatedly saying, "I'm just a high school dropout," and suggesting that I talk to his partners. Despite the tragedy, Armetta maintains the plant will be a boon. Connecticut depends on outdated coal-fired plants, and Kleen will boast gas turbines that provide electricity to power one-fifth of the state's homes while emitting dramatically less pollution than coal. He claims the plant will save consumers $1.25 billion over 15 years. "Everybody makes out," he says. "We lower prices, it helps consumers. We make hundreds of jobs. And since it's a cleaner plant, it should be easier to sell."
A tight-knit community
Electricity was a politically charged issue in the first years of the new millennium. Deregulation in the 1990s separated the selling of electricity (still handled by utilities) from the production of electricity (now handled by independent power companies). Once expected to reduce energy bills, deregulation led to outlandish rate increases and turmoil in California (aided by Enron), terminating the career of Gov. Gray Davis. Meanwhile, electricity use was rising, and states needed to find new sources.
In 2004, New England's power authority proposed a plan to divide the region, which till then had shared capacity, into four separate markets. Connecticut lawmakers feared this would raise rates for its residents because parts of the state consumed more power than it could produce or import economically. The state, it appeared, needed new power sources.
It's in that context that Phil Armetta and his partners, O&G Industries, a $613 million firm best known for constructing roads and buildings, and local political broker William Corvo, launched their plans for the Kleen plant. Armetta and Corvo are prominent figures in tight-knit Middletown, home not only to a long-standing community of Sicilians but also to many descendants of a single town there, Melilli. Armetta, who regularly visits family and associates in Sicily, has developed several ventures that required municipal government cooperation, including two waste-to-energy plants.
Corvo, 59, is the son of Biagio Max Corvo, a local hero who was born in the village next to Melilli and worked with Sicilians and their émigré families to gather intelligence for the Office of Strategic Services during World War II. Max published the Middletown Bulletin, the source for local political scuttlebutt, and though he never held office, he was a political adviser and revered civic figure. William Corvo is a smoother, but less venerated, version of his dad. Known to all as Billy, Corvo is short, stout, and well-connected. He served in Middletown's city council from 1991 to 1993 and is often described as brilliant, less often as too clever by half. The Kleen project would make him a formidable local presence. (Corvo declined to be interviewed for this article.)
As for O&G, the majority of its contracts are within the state of Connecticut and with its universities.* Its name figured in the controversy that led to Gov. John Rowland's 2004 resignation. O&G was benefiting from large state contracts for roads and office buildings even as it renovated Rowland's weekend home.
When it came to Kleen, the trio of partners had a clear division of labor, Armetta says: "I bought the property, Billy did the permits, and O&G brought the know-how and a lot of money. One of those three legs goes, and the stool is broken. No project."
Kleen faced some local opposition, particularly from a man named Earle Roberts, who wanted the site made into a nature conservation area. But Kleen knew how to play politics. It promised residents they'd benefit from taxes paid by the plant. And when the town approved a proposal for Kleen to draw water from the aquifers beneath the site (water is essential for a power plant), the company spent about $13 million on an extra pump for the town so that it, too, could draw water for residents.
The benefits flowed in both directions. Then-mayor Domenique Thornton inked a generous tax deal with Kleen in 2003. The electric plant's tax bill was based on the facility's proposed $260 million cost in 2002. Over the decade, construction and land prices soared. The plant and property are now worth $760 million, but Kleen will pay taxes on the original assessment. "So much for that great source of tax revenue," says Roberts.
Just how close was Kleen to Middletown? For several years Kleen actually paid the lawyers representing the town on the power plant issue. Mayor Sebastian Giuliano (who took office in November 2005) put an end to the practice in 2006. Corvo shrugged it off. The law firm, he told the Hartford Courant, "would send the bills to the city, the city would review them and send them to us, and we'd pay them. I didn't have control or direction" of the law firm.
The hands-down winner
For all its progress, by 2004, Kleen was stymied. It had won key permits, but nobody wanted to lend hundreds of millions of dollars for merchant power plants, especially one proposed by a trio of neophytes. So Corvo hired a prominent former assemblyman, Richard Balducci (still known as "Mr. Speaker"), to lobby the state legislature. Balducci delivered: The 2005 Energy Independence Act contained a provision tailored specifically for Kleen. It mandated a handful of new power plants and required that Connecticut utilities guarantee predictable, steady revenue for those facilities. That would be a game-changer for Kleen: Lenders would undoubtedly fund a project with state-assured revenues. "Corvo was actually a visionary here," says Don Downes, who headed the state's Department of Public Utility Control (DPUC) at the time. "The legislature wrote the bill, but they were not necessarily the intellectual authors."
The law also required competitive bids for the new plants. The only serious threat to Kleen came from NRG Energy (NRG, Fortune 500), a $9 billion public corporation that has operated plants in Connecticut, including one in Middletown, for years. NRG proposed transforming one of its coal facilities into a bigger gas-fired plant, a low-cost way to add energy to Connecticut's grid.
NRG expected to prevail, but it blundered. The giant corporation didn't realize that the most important selection criterion was new generation capacity. The company's proposal to refurbish a plant didn't add as many megawatts as building something from scratch.
On May 3, 2007, the DPUC named Kleen the winner. The good news was tempered only by the fact that Armetta had experienced an unfortunate brush with the law. Well, a bit more than a brush: He was indicted by federal prosecutors as part of a case alleging a conspiracy among a large group (including two alleged members of the Genovese crime family) to control the state's garbage contracts. Armetta was charged with one count of extortion "induced by the wrongful use of actual and threatened force, violence and fear" and ultimately pleaded guilty on April 27, 2007, to concealing his knowledge of racketeering in the industry. Armetta says he took the plea to save Kleen's chances at financing. He placed his stake in a trust, with his children and long-time secretary as beneficiaries, and relinquished any control of the partnership.
Once Kleen had regulatory approvals and a guaranteed contract with Connecticut Light & Power, financing quickly followed. In May 2008, Energy Investors Fund, a $2.4 billion private equity firm that specializes in power projects, took an 80% stake in Kleen in exchange for about $350 million and an agreement to raise additional money. Goldman Sachs (GS, Fortune 500) and BNP Paribas financed the project, along with a consortium of banks. In total, EIF helped Kleen raise $985 million in loans and credit facilities. Project Finance magazine named it the North American Single Asset Power Deal of the Year.
We're not just the contractor...
There was one more oddity to come in the Kleen saga. O&G, one of the three developers, had made its name building roads and office buildings. But it also harbored ambitions for power plants. It had worked on four small to midsize operations but had been the lead contractor on only one of the jobs, a 116-megawatt electrical engineering station.
Plants of Kleen's magnitude -- 620 megawatts -- are almost always built by a handful of giant construction firms, such as Bechtel or Fluor (FLR, Fortune 500). "The larger the plant, the greater the complexity," notes Jeff Merrifield, a senior vice president in the power group of Shaw, the construction giant. Merrifield argues that to handle jobs of this magnitude, a firm needs a division that does nothing but lead and oversee mammoth projects. O&G has no such division. Moreover, five power construction experts interviewed by Fortune say they've never even heard of O&G.
But when it came time to select a contractor for Kleen's plant, the developers -- which included O&G -- picked ... O&G. Kleen agreed to pay O&G $760 million to deliver a plant by Nov. 30, 2010. O&G was entitled to a $14 million bonus if it completed the plant early, according to Fitch's rating report on Kleen's bonds. "It's the first time I have known [a lead] contractor that was also the owner and developer," O&G project manager Rick Audette told Business Excellence magazine in September 2009. O&G insists in a statement that "without question" it had "the experience and resources necessary to deliver a project like Kleen Energy."
Allegations that O&G placed speed above all else are at the heart of the many lawsuits filed against Kleen, O&G, and its subcontractors. Kleen had a nearly flawless safety record before the blast, but workers say management never made safety a priority. Small violations, like not wearing protective gear, were ignored by O&G, whereas on other sites workers would be issued warnings or even escorted off the job. OSHA's report portrayed a site where safety was the last consideration. In a statement, O&G, which is contesting OSHA's findings, asserts that it "requires strict compliance with safety rules, regulations, and procedures from all those working on its sites. O&G routinely disciplines employees and censures contractors for noncompliance."
But eyebrow-raising choices were made at Kleen. Natural gas is so explosive that before a gas blow, contractors usually turn off electricity to avoid the chance of a spark, and clear a site of all but those involved in the blow. O&G left the electricity on. And the contractor not only told other workers to show up, but also directed them to perform tasks that produce open flames.
The companies that were in charge on the day of the blast are still in charge today. And there are signs the commitment to safety has not improved. According to multiple sources, O&G's safety director recently told workers that to avoid scrutiny, they should drive one another to the hospital rather than call 911 if they are injured. (O&G asserts that the director denies making the statement and adds that it is company policy and practice to call 911 when appropriate.)
The building goes on
These days Kleen is attempting a resurrection. The project faces a deadline it can't beat: Its permit from the Siting Council, the state regulator that oversees environmental reviews of power plants, expires Nov. 21. Kleen appears likely to win an extension, putting the plant on track to open in April, according to Corvo's testimony. But O&G is also contractually obligated to pay damages for any delay, which could well put the interests of O&G the contractor directly at odds with those of O&G the developer/owner.
Among the bitter ironies is that electricity use hasn't soared, and the 2004 plan to break up the New England market was dropped. The state that believed it needed new supply now faces a glut, and prices are hovering at$2.50 per kilowatt/month, well below the $13.40 Kleen is guaranteed.
Armetta isn't worried. "I can guarantee you it's going to get done," he says. "Everybody makes out when this plant is done." Especially Armetta. His guilty plea turned out to be a boon for him: Because he turned his Kleen stake over to a blind trust and was uninvolved in the project at the time of the accident, he is not a defendant in the explosion litigation. He sold the plant site to Kleen, has been paid developer's fees, and he and the beneficiaries of his trust will receive payments that he says could amount to tens of millions of dollars over the next two decades.
In the end the Kleen plant will be far more lucrative for Armetta and Corvo than their other joint power plant foray. The two entered a bid to construct one in Melilli but lost. "Our connections were in Sicily," Armetta says. Alas, the decision was made in Rome.
*Editor's note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the majority of O&G's contracts are with the state of Connecticut and its universities. The majority of O&G's contracts are within the state of Connecticut and with its universities.

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