Peyton & Cam Beat Tom & Eli in Super Bowl Ratings

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Connecticut is hardly Denver Broncos or Carolina Panthers country but people here tuned in record numbers to Super Bowl 50.   According to Nielsen ratings, the game was the most watched Super Bowl in the Hartford/New Haven market ever.

Super Bowl 50 drew a 52.7 rating 70 share which is more than half a million households.   The Hartford/New Haven market consists of the entire state of Connecticut with the exception of Fairfield County, which is assigned to the New York market.

The ratings for the Denver Carolina championship in Connecticut were higher than the Patriots and Giants Super Bowls featuring Tom Brady and Eli Manning.   Don’t bother trying to figure out why, the real mystery from the Nielsens is who were the 7 thousand households watching a repeat of Elementary on another channel while the Super Bowl was on.

 

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That Day When All Eyes in the Sports World Were on Hartford

The Hartfordite

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The loss of the Hartford Whalers in 1997 was not only a blow to fans, but to businesses, charities and the image of the city and state. 30 years ago Hartford hockey was at its peak. The capital city hosted the NHL All Star game, and a few months later the Whalers made the Stanley Cup playoffs and were thrown a big parade.

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In February 1986, WFSB put together a half hour special on the All Star Game, hosted by Dave Smith and consisting of several reports.  One in particular was filed by Jim Vicevich, now host of Sound Off Connecticut on WTIC AM 1080.

Jim looked at the economic impact the Whalers and the All Star game would have on Connecticut, by visiting some now defunct restaurants and the old Hartford Civic Center mall. He also interviewed the manager of the Whalers store. Wouldn’t you love to be able…

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Vintage Hartford Whalers Freebie

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WFSB, like many television stations, sometimes gives out free stuff at various events.  Sometimes it is a cup, a hat, or a foam football to promote Friday Night Football.   T-shirts, pencils, and mugs bearing our logo have also been handed out over the years.

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One of my favorite Channel 3 freebies is a Hartford Whalers puck with a WFSB logo on the flip side.  I don’t remember the exact circumstances behind the giveaway, only that it happened sometime between 1993 to 1996.

Stoothbrush3.jpgSpeaking of Whalers stuff, check out these toothbrushes on Ebay.

 

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Local Mayors Call for Change

 
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When Scott Slifka became mayor of West Hartford Senators Chris Dodd and Joe Lieberman represented Connecticut, Jodi Rell was governor and Outkast was rocking the charts with Hey Ya.

It’s been a busy dozen years for the mayor, who is stepping down in the spring to become general counsel for the LEGO corporation.    He was our guest this Sunday on Face the State to talk about his decision, his accomplishments, and about a potential return to politics down the road.

Slifka has been a guest several times on Face the State over the years, but is well known to statewide voters as a candidate for lieutenant governor in 2006.

During our discussion, Slifka also talked about the uniqueness of West Hartford town government:  the council and the mayor aren’t paid a dime for their work.   They are elected volunteers.  It’s been a good system, but the mayor told me it might be time to change it.   Here’s a preview of that part of our chat:

http://www.wfsb.com/story/31095002/west-hartford-mayor-slifka-stepping-down

Watch the entire interview with Mayor Slifka right here: http://www.wfsb.com/clip/12173633/west-hartford-is-losing-its-longest-serving-mayor

Also on Face the State Sunday, we were joined by two other local leaders:  Ansonia Mayor David Cassetti and New Canaan First Selectman Robert Mallozzi.

 

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Cassetti and Mallozzi each represent roughly 19,000 people in two totally different places.   Ansonia is largely blue collar and middle class that depends on local business and industry for its tax base.   New Canaan is one of the wealthiest towns in the country, which depends on property taxes from multi million dollar homes.  The most expensive home on the market in Ansonia is $699,000.  In New Canaan it is $15 million.

We talked about the challenges each of these elected officials face in keeping their communities afloat, and what needs to be done in the future.  They are both Republicans, and are focused on getting a governor elected from their party in 2018.  Their top choice was the same person, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, and they suggested a few others as well:  State Senators Toni Boucher and Scott Frantz and Trumbull First Selectman Tim Herbst.

Watch the segment right here:  http://www.wfsb.com/clip/12173646/ansonia-new-canaan-officials-weigh-in-on-states-economy

Our flashback takes us back 25 years this month to the crisis that changed our state forever.  Watch that here:  http://www.wfsb.com/clip/12173651/connecticuts-banking-crisis-25-years-ago

 

 

 

 

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Face the State Flashback: Olympian Oksana in Connecticut

Sport. 1994 Winter Olympic Games. Lillehammer, Norway. Ice Skating. Ladies Figure Skating Singles. The medal ceremony, Oksana Baiul, Ukraine (Gold).

1994 Winter Olympic Games, Lillehammer, Norway (Photo by Bob Thomas/Getty Images)

In the mid-90s, suburban Hartford was on the international figure skating scene. Russian stars Sergei Grinkov and Ekaterina Gordeeva had moved here to train at a new skating center in Simsbury, along with one of the most famous figure skaters in the world: Olympic gold medalist Oksana Baiul.

Baiul became a fan favorite in Simsbury and appeared on Channel 3 from time to time in skating specials and interviews. Before long she was a local celebrity, and a familiar face on the Hartford social scene. Problem was she was only 19, too young to legally go to city nightclubs and bars, but some starstruck bouncers and doormen were all too eager to let her in.  That led to some trouble.

In Sunday’s Face the State flashback, we will take you back to January 1997, when Baiul was making national headlines in the newspapers and television newscasts for issues off the ice in Connecticut. From our archives, I’ve cued up a report I filed for Eyewitness News Nightbeat.

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You can watch the flashback this Sunday morning at 11 AM on Face the State on WFSB.

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U.S. Attorney on Corruption, Drugs, and Selling Children

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From corruption to child trafficking to cocaine to classified information, the U.S. Attorney’s office has been a busy place. This Sunday on Face the State, we are joined by the top federal law enforcement official in Connecticut, U.S. Attorney Deidre Daly.

Daly was in the headlines in 2015 for the Rowland case, the Wesleyan drug investigation, and some stories we haven’t heard about. She’ll talk about them this Sunday. I also asked her about terrorists here in Connecticut, the Clinton e-mail investigation (there is a Connecticut company involved,) and much more.

Also, Sunday we will talk about the General Electric fallout and how it impacts small towns in our state. We are joined by the leaders of Ellington and Rocky Hill, First Selectman Lori Spielman and Mayor Claudia Baio.

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Our flashback is our top story from 19 years ago this month. Tune in to Face the State this Sunday morning at 11 on WFSB.

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Connecticut Winter Storms of 2016

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Channel 3 is now in its fifth decade of naming winter storms, a Connecticut tradition that began back in 1971.   This season’s storms are named after First Ladies, an appropriate choice for this presidential election year.

The first winter storm is named for a First Lady who actually never lived in the White House.     Here are WFSB meteorologists Bruce DePrest and Mark Dixon with the rundown of this year’s winter storms:

http://www.wfsb.com/clip/12032887/list-of-this-seasons-channel-3-winter-storm-names

 

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GE is Leaving, Now What?

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The announcement that General Electric is leaving Connecticut has dominated the headlines and newscasts across our state as people try to gauge the impact and try to figure out how to keep other companies from leaving.

This Sunday on Face the State we will discuss the GE  departure  with the Fairfield First Selectman Michael Tetreau, the president of the Connecticut Business and Industry Association Joe Brennan, state representatives Brenda Kupchick (R-Fairfield,) Matt Lesser (D-Middletown,) and urban planner Francisco Gomes.

Tetreau,  Brennan, Lesser and Kupchick will discuss the economic fallout and ripple effect from the move of hundreds of General Electric employees out of Fairfield, along with what the state needs to do to keep other companies from deciding the grass is greener outside Connecticut.  Kupchick and Lesser also  disagreed on why GE is leaving.

Gomes is an urban planner who sees GE’s departure as a wake up call and an opportunity for cities across Connecticut, and we talk about Hartford as a potential example.  One of the factors in the company’s decision to choose Boston was the urban environment because millenials prefer that over working in a suburban office park.

Tune in this Sunday morning at 11 on WFSB.    You’re probably wondering why David Bowie is in the Brady Bunch box above.  His concert at the Hartford Civic Center in 1990 is our Face the State Flashback.

 

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A Memorable Moment in WFSB History

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Thirty years ago this week, long time WFSB weatherman Hilton Kaderli delivered a report that it is still etched into the memories of many Channel 3 viewers.

Hilton was atop Mount Washington in New Hampshire working at the observatory on a special report for Eyewitness News.  Winds were gusting at 100 miles per hour and the temperature was well below zero, so he decided to file a report on the fierce weather.   He recorded some lines on camera, then decided to shoot a second version.

Hilton recounted to  Deborah Petersen Swift of the Hartford Courant  what happened next

His head and face covered by a hood, a mask and goggles, Kaderli redid the take and began to sign off.

“Hilton Kaderli reporting for Channel 3 Eyewitness News — ” he began before the wind sent him teetering on one foot, then toppling onto his backside. From the ground, microphone in hand, sliding across the platform, Kaderli finished his report, “arghhhhhhhhh — from atop Mount Washington.”

He grabbed a table attached to the platform to stop himself. The last words viewers heard, after a series of grunts, was Kaderli shouting, “I got it.”

You can watch it right here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KgkZjOMTAMM

 

 

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Dad, What Kind of Car is That?

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That’s a question I got from my daughter the other day when I made mention of one parked near us.  For generations, everyone knew what an Olds was, but now that we’re going on 12 years since the brand went defunct, we see fewer and fewer of them on the roads.

Here at WFSB, an Oldsmobile is actually a new addition to the employee parking lot.  Our Creative Services Director Greg Thomas just picked up this 1988 Delta 88 with about 50,000 miles on it.

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He parks it away from the crowd so as to reduce the number of dings, nicks and scratches, and I feel privileged because Greg let me drive it.

And I spotted this beauty in Wethersfield, a very rare Olds Custom Cruiser, a General Motors cousin to my Roadmaster.  GM only made 12,000 of this version of the Olds wagon over two years, and I’m not sure if this was a 1991 or 1992, but it was in mint condition.   Florida plates might indicate it has never seen winter.

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Read more about Oldsmobile here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oldsmobile

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I Saw the Tooth Fairy

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It was a momentous occasion in our house this past weekend.  The tooth fairy came to visit our son for the first time, the night after he lost his first tooth…..at school.

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Our cat Angelo was sleeping in the bunk bed and apparently got a good look at the dental fairy, a scene captured thanks to an app Kara found called “I saw the tooth fairy.”

First tooth got a ten dollar bill and a copy of “Walter the Farting Dog,” a favorite read of Denise D’Ascenzo.    As my daughter can attest to, the income made on future teeth declines!

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Here’s a story about another momentous family event…ouch!  http://dennishouse.tv/2015/05/26/ouch-that-first-childhood-injury/

 

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Guns in Connecticut

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It’s been the topic of the week: President Obama’s announcement that he plans to  take executive action as part of his strategy to reduce gun violence.  The president fought back tears as he stood alongside some Newtown families.

Will it work?  This Sunday on Face the State, we asked a local police chief, Paul Fitzgerald of Berlin.   Fitzpatrick doesn’t think the president’s actions will have much impact in Connecticut because of the laws our state already have on the books.

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There has been an increased number of people in Connecticut trying to buy guns, and this week we reported some local pistol shooting classes were filling up.   So what’s happening in our state?

The chief told me “a gun is good for self defense within your home,”  but he added having guns can be dangerous on the street.   “Having a gun in your home is a good idea…..but you have to make sure it is safe.”  

Watch Chief Fitzgerald’s take on this right here: http://www.wfsb.com/clip/12123950/ct-police-chief-discusses-obamas-gun-control-announcement

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The Cruise Ship Mystery of 2005

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It is an unsolved mystery that is still talked about more than a decade later: the disappearance of George Smith.

Smith, of Greenwich, and his new bride, Jennifer Hagel of Cromwell, were honeymooning on a cruise ship in the Mediterranean when he vanished.  Did he fall from balcony in his quarters, or was he pushed?  Was he murdered and tossed overboard?   We don’t know.

Ten years ago this month, the story was in the headlines again because Connecticut’s famous forensic scientist was brought in to help solve the mystery.   Doctor Henry Lee was dispatched the ship docked in Miami, and Channel 3 sent Kara Sundlun to cover the new developments.

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You can see one of Kara’s reports from January 2006 in our Face the State flashback, right here:
http://www.wfsb.com/clip/12123968/unsolved-case-of-george-schmidts-death

Learn more about the case here:  http://www.cbsnews.com/news/fbi-closes-probe-into-vanished-cruise-ship-honeymooner/

 

Also on Face the State: what do you think of owning a gun? http://dennishouse.tv/2016/01/08/13728/

and the race for the U.S. senate: http://dennishouse.tv/2016/01/08/13649/

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Death Penalty Debate is Back

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Eleven convicted killers sit on Connecticut’s death row at the maximum security prison in Somers, but their lives were spared by the Connecticut Supreme Court ruling this past summer, or were they?

This week the high court heard arguments from prosecutors that the death penalty should be reinstated for those convicted before the death penalty was repealed.

It’s a complicated case, which is why we brought in attorney Proloy Das to Face the State to explain it.  Das has argued before the state supreme court, and is extremely knowledgeable about the death penalty debate and the justices who will rule on this latest argument.

Tune in this Sunday at 11AM on WFSB for Face the State.

 

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Visconti Exploring Senate Race with Attacks on Blumenthal & Malloy

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The holidays are over and campaign 2016 is now starting to rev up across the state.  With Connecticut on the sidelines until late April for the presidential primary season, focus is now on the state’s big race this year, the senate seat held by Senator Richard Blumenthal.

Three Republicans are eyeing the  Democrat, who’s been a fixture on the state political scene for more than a quarter century.  Former Olympian turned businessman August Wolf of Greenwich is the only announced candidate, and CNBC economist and radio talk show Larry Kudlow of Redding is said to be nearing a decision on a run.  Both men have appeared on Face the State to talk about a senate campaign, and this Sunday we were joined by a third potential candidate, Joe Visconti of West Hartford.

Visconti, a former town councilman and candidate for congress, also ran as an independent for governor in 2014, and was a vocal  critic of the two party system, that left him out of some debates with Governor Malloy and Tom Foley.

During a taping of Face the State set to air Sunday, Visconti criticized Blumenthal, as would be expected from a potential rival:

“He would make a great commissioner of consumer protection…ICBMs may be coming from Iran and he’s worried about training wheels on a bicycle…. he is not acting as a senator,  he is acting as an attorney general.”

Visconti said Blumenthal, Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party have told “lies, lies, lies,” and also had some harsh criticism of Governor Malloy, calling what the governor said during the campaign about not raising taxes “lies.”   I asked him if he really thinks the governor is a liar.

“Yes.  He lied, go look at the tape.  He lied twice, and it is not an easy thing to say.”

You can watch the entire interview this Sunday right here: http://www.wfsb.com/clip/12123963/visconti-discusses-possible-us-senate-run

 

 

 

 

 

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Do You Recall “Trump, the Game?”

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In the television news business stories are filed by what we call a “slug.”  For example a new development announced for Hartford might be slugged “Hartford development,” or perhaps, “new hotel.”  Years later, the slug might be so generic it is hard to determine what the story is about until you watch it.

Such was the case when I was going through tapes in the archives and stumbled across “Trump Game” followed by a JV handwritten on a tape from 1990.   JV referred to a Channel 3 legendary reporter from the 80s and 90s, Jim Vicevich, but I had no clue as to what  Trump Game could possible mean, but I was intrigued.

Turns out, it was just that.  Donald Trump had a new game out that bore his name.  He went to the Milton Bradley factory in Longmeadow, Massachusetts and Vice covered it.

It was our  Face the State flashback Sunday on WFSB and you can watch right here: http://www.wfsb.com/clip/12094276/donald-trump-comes-to-ma-to-show-off-his-trump-game

 

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Reviewing 2015, and Previewing 2016

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2015 was a fascinating year in Connecticut politics.   We saw mayoral changes in Hartford and Bridgeport, two cable television personalities raise their Connecticut political profiles, and our governor raise his national profile.

Our first Face the State of the new year will look back at 2015 and ahead to 2016.   Look for Kevin Rennie, Duby McDowell, and Rick Green on Face the State on January 3, 2016 at 11AM on WFSB Channel 3.

Happy New Year!

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The Segarra Exit Interview

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The Segarra era in Hartford is coming to a close.   After 5 1/2 years at the helm of city hall,  Mayor Pedro Segarra is leaving the office he was thrust into on June 25, 2010, following the departure of Mayor Eddie Perez, who left in shame after being found guilty in a corruption scandal.

This Sunday on Face the State, we’ll ask the mayor about his highs and lows, the transition with Mayor-elect Luke Bronin, and what’s next for the civil servant who helped restore dignity and respect to the mayor’s office.

Tune in this Sunday at 11AM for  Face the State on WFSB.

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Datto CEO on the Clinton Emails

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Datto of Norwalk is an international company that specializes in cloud storage.  It’s a company few had heard of until this summer, when it was mentioned in national stories because it had been hired by Hillary Clinton to back up her e-mails.  Yes, those e-mails, you know, the ones now being investigated  by the FBI.

Sunday on Face the State, we talked with the CEO of Datto, Austin McChord who turned a company he started in his basement into a billion dollar international enterprise.    McChord, a native of Newtown explained his path to success, and also went into detail about how he was helped along the way thanks to loans from the Connecticut Department of Economic Development.

“We didn’t know she (Hillary Clinton) was a customer of ours until it was in the media.”  McChord told me as we discussed how his company was thrust into the national spotlight earlier this year when it was reported Clinton’s e-mails on her controversial private server were backed up by Datto.

“It’s not what I want Datto’s fifteen minutes to be,” McChord said as he shared his reaction to the day Datto made the evening news, the Drudge Report and other websites along with the cable networks.   “That (a secretary of state) was not our typical customer.”

McChord told me Datto is still working with the FBI, and it is unclear what they have found and where it will lead.

As for what’s in the collection of Clinton e-mails, McChord said he and his employees don’t see their customers’ data, but said his job is to preserve things.

McChord also talked about the Connecticut business climate.

You can watch the entire  Face the State interview with Austin McChord right here: http://www.wfsb.com/clip/12094258/ceo-of-datto-talks-about-success-of-his-company

 

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