Friday, April 17, 2009

It just keeps getting better for Connecticut readers

There are few enough places where Connecticut citizens can get real news about their state government, and now there is one less.

The New York Times this week said it is killing two weekly sections to save money. One is the Escapes section, which is no great loss.

The other is the Connecticut section, which is.

In truth, there hasn't been a Connecticut section for quite some time. The Times combined the metropolitan areas into one section -- Westchester, New Jersey and Connecticut, then zoned it. That means that there are local pages that change for each locality.

I can live without the restaurant reviews and features, the ads for overpriced houses and even the lonely hearts ads. 

But one thing I don't want to live without is the political coverage, especially in this vitally important year when there are election for the state and national legislatures next year and local elections this year. 

With local papers as weak as they are, one counts on the perspectives of the two guys that the financially weak local papers laid off: Mark Paziokas, formerly of the Hartford Courant, and Gregory Hladky, formerly of the New Haven Register. 

Last week's Connecticut section had both these guys on one page, and that's the kind of coverage we need. It's not that the reporters left at the local papers are lousy -- many of them are good. It's that there are so few of them that they don't have time to do an adequate job of covering the state scene.

So, with the Connecticut section going away, and the announcement that freelancers, like Hladky and Paziokas, are being cut back, it does not auger well for the coverage of the state political and legislative scene.

Page 2

Speaking of bankruptcy, it seems the New Haven Register's parent company's bankruptcy case has been put off yet again, this time until next month. The hearing of state Attorney General Dick Blumenthal's objection to the Journal-Register Co.'s plan to pay bonuses to some executives if they lay off enough people, has been put off indefinitely. 

The AG's office says that's not unusual. 

What that does mean is that the workers at the Register and other JRC papers will hang twisting in the wind a little longer. 

Speaking of bankruptcies, even shopping malls are feeling it. The GGP, General Growth Properties, has filed for bankruptcy protection. Along with dozens of others in the nation, GGP owns two huge malls in Connecticut, the Mall at Buckland Hills in Manchester, and the Brass City mall in Waterbury. Small world time: Judge Allan L. Gropper of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan is handling both cases. Just a little trivia.

Page 3

Well, Passover is over. The holiday was wonderful for our family. My wife and I got to spend a couple of days with all the kids and all the grandkids at my daughter's New York apartment. It was wonderful, tiring, uplifting, challenging and all in all, great. And, by the way, it reaffirms why young people have kids, or should. No way we could do this full-time. 

By the way, I haven't written recently, like in the past couple of weeks, because between Passover preparations and work at the New Haven Independent, time has flown. I'll say it again: Since I retired, I've never been so busy.

Page 4

This is supposed to be a glorious weather weekend, at least for Saturday. So get out and enjoy. For our friends in Christianity's Orthodox Rite, have a wonderful Easter. And for those in the Tribe, have a bagel and a wonderful Shabbos.

Until next time...

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