Category Archives: New Britain News

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Recorder Backs Recent CCSU Alumna

The mayoral election for the city of  New Britain is coming up on Nov. 5  and the students of CCSU need to pay attention. The two candidates for this upcoming mayoral race are current New Britain Mayor, Tim O’Brien, and Former CCSU Graduate, Erin Stewart.

Our editorial staff feels that a fresh, new perspective on local issues is just what the student body needs, and that Erin Stewart fits the bill.

This time last year, the New Britain City Council passed some ordinances that have had a direct effect on students living on and around campus. The ordinances focused on the landlords that own properties in the Belvedere neighborhood near campus, which is home to many CCSU students. One ordinance placed an annual fee of $150 to landlords that live outside of the area, which could potentially put an increase on residents’ rent. The second ordinance, called the “hot-spot” ordinance, states that individuals who call 911 10 or more times a year will be fined $500. 

Many of the nuisance calls made in New Britain are made in concern to off-campus students who are considered too loud to some permanent New Britain residents. The ordinances brought much attention to the students who live around the Central, however the attention was very one sided. Only about a handful of students showed up to the council to protest or voice their opinions about the then proposed ordinances, even though their presence in the community was a catalyst to the making and passing of the laws.

Being informed and educated about what goes on in our local New Britain community is key to making the most out of your time residing in New Britain. It would be foolish to think that these policies and decisions do not affect us. 

What many students seem to be unaware of is that they can have a say in the government of our city. If students live on campus or off campus in New Britain, they have the ability to register to vote in the mayoral elections.

Erin Stewart is looking to make students more involved in the local community with opportunities including internships, co-ops and partnering with businesses. This is a stark difference from incumbent Tim O’Brien, who seems to make the issue of off-campus students a way to increase city revenue without turning too many heads.

In an interview with a Recorder staff member, O’Brien stated he hopes to encourage more residential CCSU students to live in the downtown New Britain area. But with a multi-million dollar plan for Centrals campus to receive a brand new dorm, library extensions, fitness building, magnet school, arts building and upgrades to old facilities, O’Brien’s plan doesn’t seem to play into the grand scheme of things.

 

26-year-old Stewart is fresh out of college, so fresh that she could still be paying off college loans. She is exactly the kind of candidate that CCSU students need to support because she has their best interests in mind. If students at Central want to have more control in what the city of New Britain has to offer them then they need to start paying more attention to who wants to represent them and vote them into office.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Competition For A Cause

By Rachael Bentley

Students on campus may have noticed a new addition to the Student Center circle this past week: an empty storage pod covered in posters that promote a new campus initiative called Competition For A Cause.

The project is only in its second year and was started by SGA Senator Simms Sonet last fall. Last year, the group of volunteers were able to raise enough donations to keep the Spanish Speaking Center in New Britain from having empty shelves during Thanksgiving.

The first time winners of Competition For A Cause were the Bimolecular Science Department, the CFO office and the Psychology Club.

Unlike last year, the competition is not focused on pitting the different departments and groups on campus against each other.

“We aren’t doing the inter-university competition like we did last year where it’s administration vs. faculty vs. students,” Sonet explained. “We’re just doing CCSU on a whole versus New Britain.  We’re competing against each other, using that rivalry and tension that has grown around the Belvedere neighborhood, hoping to put all of that energy into doing something good for the community.” 

“The city’s fire departments, police departments, the mayoral office, YMCA, Community Central, local businesses, they all participate,” Sonet added. 

The massive pod placed in the middle of campus is Sonets’ way of making sure that students can’t push the idea of hunger out of their minds during this holiday season. With posters covering the pod from top-t0-bottom and decorated recycle bins placed all over campus, Sonet believes it will be impossible for students to ignore. 

Various groups on campus are getting involved with the competition, including the CFO office, the math department, the nursing department and many other clubs on campus.

“There are a lot of other drives going on on-campus for things like clothing and toiletries, so we are letting them use our pod and bins to store the donations as well. Everything is welcome,” Sonet said.

The volunteers had a rough start to their campaign last year when a blizzard pushed back their schedule, leaving them with only six or seven days to physically collect all of the donations. However, despite the bad weather, the group was able to raise almost 1,500 on campus and 2,000 in the city of New Britain, which was much more than Sonet and his group had ever wished for.

With more time and more publicity, those involved believe they will be able to raise over 4,000 donation for this year to be distributed to local New Britain shelters and donation centers. According to Sonet, the food will be given to the local shelters most in need, as decided by city officials.

Sonet hopes that these efforts will send a direct message to the neighboring community. “We want to show that it is a very small percentage of students that knock over trashcans, piss on lawns, and that the majority of CCSU students are actually very giving,” he said. “That’s why we called this called ‘Competition for a Cause’. We may lose, we may win, but in the end we’re benefiting a good cause.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Credit: Google Images

Mayor O’Brien Hopes To Integrate University With Downtown Area

By Jacqueline Stoughton

New Britain mayor Tim O’Brien presented a vision of an integrated university and city as part of his campaign to be re-elected.

The mayor’s opponent, Erin Stewart, is campaigning to help CCSU students to be more involved with the New Britain community, in the form of creating more internships and co-ops.  O’Brien says he wants to do this as well, but in the form of a more advanced plan.

“CCSU could really take advantage of the busway going in right now to grow into downtown New Britain like it never has before,” says O’Brien.  “There is already a CCSU presence in downtown New Britain, but it’s now going to be practical with the bus way.”

“What the city’s ambition for that future is seeing increased classroom space in the downtown, and to have entire academic departments located downtown,” says O’Brien.  “We’re also very interested in bringing student residences downtown.  This would be a really good opportunity for CCSU students and for our cities economic growth.”

With CCSU being so isolated from most of the city, O’Brien says moving a part of the campus footprint downtown, including residences, will allow students to be able to have the full college experience, something that is somewhat limited to them now.

“A lot of what we’ve been talking about doing have been very serious topics, but we’ve also spent a lot of time and energy in making our community life fun.  That’s a serious part of our work,” says O’Brien.  He wants to create new festivals and improve the existing in the downtown area, and making all the fun aspects of the city available and more accessible to CCSU students.  “There are a lot of things to do, a lot of things to see, a lot of things to be apart of.  I would like CCSU students now and in the future to be apart of that,” said O’Brien.

A primary concern to O’Brien, as a state legislator, has been that Connecticut’s state money is unfairly distributed between the state universities.

“UConn is a great source of pride for the state, so politically it tends to get the emphasis when funding time comes,” said O’Brien.  “I’m right there in agreement that CCSU and the other state universities and community colleges are sometimes not given the emphasis that they should be.”

These institutions are about the education of average people, explained O’Brien. He believes that they should be supported as an important part of our states future.

Along with improving opportunities for CCSU students, one of the main points Stewart has campaigned for is lowering the city’s taxes.  This is a task O’Brien has already been consistently working on throughout his first term as city mayor.

“The truth is I have not increased city taxes,” said O’Brien.  “The best way to moderate the city’s taxes is to find ways to grow our economy.”  O’Brien explained that citizens as voters need to clarify with politicians what services will be cut when they decrease the city’s revenue.

“I have been supporting quality education, paving city roads, hiring police officers, fixing our city parks and doing investments such as street scape improvements, all of which have been enabling our cities economy to grow into the future,” said O’Brien.

Another issue the mayor will continue to address are the city ordinances that he enacted last year.

“People need to understand there are residential neighborhoods in many areas of the city,” said O’Brien.  “I think that we need to realize that there’s a sense of respectfulness about your fellow human beings that shouldn’t require city ordinances, but sometimes do.”

O’Brien explained that there needs to be opportunities where students can live that are more conducive to the lifestyle they prefer.  “This is why having student residences downtown is a much better idea,” said O’Brien

“A certain amount of a party environment is bad in a single family neighborhood but would make an urban city very vibrant and a pleasant place to be,” said O’Brien.  “This is about good city planning, and is something we can work to accomplish together.”

Having grown up in New Britain, and graduated from Central Connecticut State University, O’Brien is hoping to continue the efforts he has made in the past two years to assist in the growth and advancements of New Britain.

“Mayor O’Brien has met the challenges of being left with a large deficit and a city in disrepair,” said Rick Melita, the O’Brien Campaign Spokesman.  “He’s met those challenges with strong leadership, and deserves a second term.”

Beginning as a city alderman in 1997, O’Brien later won a seat on the City Council, where he advocated for various workers rights and representing neighborhoods.  By 2002, the Connecticut state reapportionment merged two New Britain districts together, leaving an open seat in the House of Representatives, which O’Brien successfully won.

As a state legislature, O’Brien worked for nine years on issues such as property tax return and health care reform.  He also continued his efforts for workers rights, fixing equity issues at the state level, and gaining state aid for the city.

“Even though I was very excited about my work as a state legislature, there were a lot of things back home in New Britain that I felt were important to address,” said O’Brien.  “Such as having a strong organized economic development policy so we could move New Britain into a strong economy; which the people of New Britain really deserve.”

If reelected as the Mayor of New Britain, O’Brien says the first things on his to-do list include building the economy and creating jobs for the future, focusing on the cities industrial development and building up the city’s downtown area, and continuing to invest in education.

“We need to have an organized, coherent plan to make New Britain a great place to live for everyone,” said O’Brien.

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Local Apartment Gets New Lease On Life

By Rachael Bentley

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Residents and visitors of  local New Britain apartment complex Campus View will soon be noticing some major changes to the property in the upcoming year, if they haven’t started to notice them already.

Property Manager Susan Rumill is determined to make sure that Campus View is seen in a new light. “We are under completely new ownership as of July this year,” she explained, “and the new owners are fabulous. They are so committed to making this a good place to live and they are very concerned about their residents.”

The new owners, a company called Trinity Properties, has commercial real estate in Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and now Connecticut.

Rumill has been the property manager for Campus View for over a little over a year, and was also the manager for the previous owners.

Campus View has two apartment building locations in New Britain. One is located on the corner of Paul Manafort Drive and East Street, the other is located half a mile further down East Street.

Rumill explained that with the shift in ownership there will be a lot of changes  for the residents of Campus View–changes that she says were desperately needed.

She estimates that within a year, every apartment in both buildings will have new carpets and laminate flooring. There will be updates and renovations to all of the bathrooms and every kitchen will also come with an above-stove microwave.

“We want to make sure that these kids aren’t living in squalor,” she explained.

Current resident of Campus View are also seeing some other changes in the way the property is run, including the employment of a security officer. New security entrances are also on Rumills’ to-do list for the upcoming year, hoping that it will help deter non-residents from getting in the buildings.  People interested in living at Campus View will also have to pass a criminal background check, which is standard procedure for properties owned by Trinity Properties.

CCSU student and Campus View tenant Ling Tang has lived in his apartment for a little over a month and a half, and has noticed a difference in how the property is run. “The first week I lived here, there was a huge party here with a lot of people outside, and the cops showed up and everything. After that she (Rumill) hired a security guard and ever since then it’s gotten a lot better living here.”

Sitting next to a table stacked with coloring pens and velvet art posters in her office, Rumill explained that it’s the little things that really add up for the residents and make their experience with Campus View a good one.

Pointing to a Zebra-themed velvet art, Rumill said, “Whenever kids come in and I’m busy, I tell them to color in these while they wait. I never expected it to become such a big success, but now we have them all over the office walls. I love my tenants; great people live here.”

 

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Taxes, Education Focal Points At First Mayoral Debate

By Taylor Skirvin and Eric Stadalnik

New Britain- Republican Mayoral candidate and CCSU graduate Erin Stewart continued to sell her youth as the right answer for the city during the first debate at Trinity on Main Saturday afternoon.

 

Stressing that the current administration’s tax hikes and wasteful spending was not sustainable for the future, the twenty-six year old GOP nominee asserted that the city needs change and deserves better than incumbent Tim O’Brien.

 

I’m different, I’m not a politician, but I’m sick of seeing our city leaders mismanage our future,” said Stewart. “With Mayor Erin Stewart, you’ll always get straight talk; I’m a New Britain girl.”

 

Stewart, a lifelong New Britain resident, believes that the city government has not been working for the people over the past two years while showing fiscal irresponsibility leading to debt growth.

 

In contrast, Mayor O’Brien feels that the future is bright for New Britain. According to the Democratic nominee, the deficits and social shortcomings left for him when he took office two years ago have been fixed under his administration.

 

There is so much possibility that New Britain has for a better tomorrow. We have accomplished, in my administration, so much in such a short period of time and we have such great possibilities to build in the future,” said O’Brien.

 

A surplus of $2.9 million in the general fund was announced this past week which O’Brien restated at the debate. The extra money was said to come from payroll reductions and department reconfiguration while not raising taxes, although many audience members jeered the Mayor when he made the statement and Stewart brought her car taxes to refute his claim. Along with the surplus, O’Brien proclaimed that he continues to create jobs in the city as well as supporting local businesses.

 

A city partnership with CCSU was also discussed in regards to helping the development of downtown New Britain, from moving programs to the Technology and Business Development facility to being a major stop on the CT Fastrak when it is operational.

 

I have made a very strong effort to make sure that our city’s arts are properly funded, turning around years of underfunding to be able to make sure that our city is going to be able to have the quality education that our kids deserve and that our city economy will need,” said O’Brien.

 

Stewart agreed with her opponent in regards to the importance of education as she has been serving on the New Britain Board of Education shortly after finishing school. She believes that she and her fellow B.O.E. members have made substantial changes to quality of life of students.

 

Although young, Stewart has been around politics much of her life, having been a legislative aide at the Capitol, and growing up with a father in politics. The eight years prior to O’Brien’s term as Mayor, Stewart’s father Tim Stewart was mayor of New Britain.

 

A second Mayoral debate is scheduled for Tuesday, October 1st at 7:00 P.M. at New Britain High School but O’Brien has turned down a third debate sponsored by the Citizen Property Owners Association, a group that has been highly critical of the Mayor’s policies over the last two years.

 

An additional debate is being discussed though, according to the Hartford Courant, which would take place at CCSU, jointly sponsored by campus Republicans and Democrats.

 

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Arrest/Citation Log

Weekly Arrest and Citation Log from the CCSU Police Department

Alyssa S. Marin, 24, of Bridgepot, Conn., was charged with failure to obey control signal on Sept. 12 shortly after 8am. Her court date is scheduled for Sept. 26.

Carolyn A. Reid, 30, of Manchester, Conn., was charged with the unauthorized display/ misuse of a handicap plate on Sept. 12 just before 6:30pm. Her court date is scheduled for Sept. 27.

Mayra Rodriguez, 54, of New Britain, Conn., was charged with operating an unregistered motor vehicle on Sept. 8 at 12:57pm.

May Smith, 22, of Vernon, Conn., was charged with the unauthorized display/ misuse of a handicap plate on Sept. 12 at 6:37pm. She is scheduled to appear in court on Sept. 27.

Eizbleta Zmljewska, 50, of New Britain, Conn., was charged with the unauthorized display/ misuse of a handicap plate on Sept. 12 at 6:14pm. Her court date is Sept. 27.