DR. PETIT CONTINUES WORK FOR HIS CAUSE

Dr. William Petit is a man of incredible courage and strength. But you knew that. The sole survivor of what is now commonly known as “The Cheshire Home Invasion” keeps busy beyond his medical work by running the Petit Family Foundation.

Not one to seek the spotlight yet having to deal with the circumstances under which it has been cast upon him, Dr. Petit appeared on WFSB’s public affairs show Face the State last Sunday to talk about the foundation’s work against domestic violence. He made it a point to say “justice” is not accomplished when a perpetrator is apprehended, convicted and punished. It doesn’t occur until the victims are taken care of whether that be through housing, counseling or any other needed service.

To watch Dr. Petit on Channel 3 Sunday morning was to see a man who is a combination of an indomitable spirit and what appeared to be incredible strength to hold back on several answers to questions about his murdered wife and two daughters. There seemed to be a certain rage or resignation just under the surface—it was hard to tell which nor can be be blamed for either. But to harness those emotions for good causes such as the fight against domestic violence shows a man with a purpose. In answering questions about whether he has had any type of “closure,” Dr. Petit answered honestly, saying he didn’t think that closure was possible.

It should be noted that the interview was conducted with poise and dignity by host Dennis House. That shouldn’t surprise anyone as House is among the very best at his craft.

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The state legislature and Gov. Rell have apparently reached an agreement on a $19 billion state budget. Make no mistake: It’s an election year/lame duck budget that relies on revenue that won’t be there in future years. In other words, they are simply putting off making any difficult decision until future years.

As with any budget, there are things to like and things that are regrettable. There is no tax increase, no gutting of services and no more slapping around of agencies and commissions that provide direct services to people who need them. The spending plan also relies on $365 million in federal stimulus money—funds that won’t be there in the future. But I guess we’ll worry about that then.

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Who would have thought Connecticut would be the focal point of a terrorist investigation? Anytime Connecticut is featured in national news reports, it’s a bit chilling. Watching Brian Williams introduce a story showing the backyards of a Bridgeport neighborhood is strange. Also strange is the fact that Faisal Shahzad was able to lead a pretty typical life in Connecticut getting a degree at the University of Bridgeport, marrying, raising a family in Bridgeport while he and his wife became American citizens.

He also spent time learning about explosives in Pakistan and has admitted his role in the botched car-bombing in Times Square. He apparently missed a few classes because like Jack Bauer, federal officials pulled Shahzad off a flight making its way toward the runway at JFK airport, headed for Dubai.

Law enforcement is certainly to be congratulated on its fine work although we could do without the attorney general and the director of homeland security falling all over each other, praising one another like it’s Oscars night.

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Can we now agree that UConn’s Spring Weekend is a waste of time, state resources and now, a waste of a life? 20-year old Jafar Karzoun died Saturday from injuries sustained from a punch allegedly thrown by 19-year old Edi Rapo of East Hartford during a fight outside a restaurant during Spring Weekend. While not fully played out, it seems to be a case of one young life lost and another young life ruined.

There is no hard evidence that the fight wouldn’t have occurred anyway, Spring Weekend or not. But other factors make the supposed celebratory weekend something that should fade into memory—in many cases a bad one.

Before Karzoun died, the Hartford Courant printed and article with the headline, “UConn’s Spring Weekend Calmer Than Most.” The story then went on to report Karzoun was in the hospital and that 80 arrests were made. And that’s an improvement? Yikes.

And then there is the question of how much money taxpayers, students and parents who pay tuition actually pay for this sanctioned madness. The Courant’s Rick Green wrote on his blog, CT Confidential, “Last year, state police officers put in for $133,264 in overtime. The town of Mansfield incurred another $41,842. Figures for what the University of Connecticut spent on overtime for as many as 300 public safety personnel each night of the long weekend were not listed in the  Spring Weekend Report prepared for UConn trustees…More than 12,000 students and partiers clogged campus each evening during the weekend, which dates back decades and is not sanctioned by UConn.”

The fact that the school doesn’t sanction the weekend doesn’t mean it can’t stop the nonsense. Spend a fraction of the money spent now and close it down.

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It’ll cost you if you are among the intelligence-challenged people who text message or even read text messages while driving if a bill passed by the state Senate becomes law. Texting would join non-hands-free cell phone use as a violation of law. And all the fines would be increased. The Shad commuted to Hartford from the Danbury area for several years and a week didn’t go by when there wasn’t a near-miss on I-84 due to someone talking on a cell phone. Now, with the increased use of other personal electronic devices, the threat is even greater.