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Pedalling Politics

I have butterflies in my stomach,? Charlie Pillsbury tells us, smiling hopefully as he guides his bicycle into the street. In spite of his silver beard, khaki shorts, and bike helmet, he speaks to the cluster of reporters and carries himself in a way that reminds me of Gregory Peck playing Atticus Finch in To… Keep Reading

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A Separate Peace

A few weeks ago, I watched from a distance as an eclectic group of New Haven residents bearing homemade signs and banners gathered on the courthouse steps to file a war crimes indictment. Their list of alleged war criminals included George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Colin Powell, and they were pressing for… Keep Reading

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Black and Blue

Today?s sermon is on the burden of hopelessness. To begin, the Reverend Dr. W. David Lee?pastor of New Haven?s most distinguished and most ancient black congregation, Varick Memorial ame Zion Church; graduate of Syracuse University, Yale Divinity School, and Union Theological Seminary; and most recently a candidate for a seat on the Yale Corporation?quotes not… Keep Reading

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The Fat Trap

Juan Mendoza, a seventh grader at Fair Haven Middle School, used to be fat. Like most overweight kids in middle school, he endured his share of taunting. But as much as it bothered him, he didn?t know how to change his situation. ?I used to just eat and not really care. I didn?t know why… Keep Reading

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Old Man River

Sporting a faded blue sweater, worn jeans, and scuffed white tennis shoes, Peter Davis could almost pass for the average New Havener. That is, until I spot the half-filled eight-gallon oil can in his hand, its contents clearly visible through the plastic. His brow furrowing, he tells me, "I just picked this up ten minutes… Keep Reading

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It Takes Two

On a bright Saturday afternoon, I find my way to the Educational Center for the Arts and stand in the doorway ready to watch the free tango session offered as a part of its quiet reopening celebration. Several people mill around, but no one makes eye contact. The only person in the room, a man… Keep Reading

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Blunder Bus

"I’ve never been on a bus before!" said the red-haired toddler seated across from me. He got up and sat down again on the wooden bench in excitement. "It’s your first trolley ride," corrected his companion, a stout black woman. She dabbed her forehead with a handkerchief. But the toddler was right. Though the machine… Keep Reading

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The Long Road Home

Poppo is standing barefoot in the tiny kitchen, flipping mealy Bisquik pancakes. He is used to cooking for his family; his mother Mary Anne is blind in one eye and reeling from respiratory disease. Poppo drenches three half-cooked pancakes in syrup for Mary Anne, who is sitting on a sunken couch, the only item of… Keep Reading

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Pinheads

The night I met Bobby Speers at the Circle Lanes in East Haven, he was holding a bowler’s cocktail: lukewarm beer in a large plastic cup. I could see why he needed it. The windowless building reeked of stale cigar and pipe smoke, and the neon ceiling lights bathed the alley in a harsh, sterile… Keep Reading

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We Built This City

He cannot help himself: In the small Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (lmdc) office, Alexander Garvin is ever the professor. In the conference room, Garvin, Vice President for Planning, Design, and Development at the lmdc, gestures out the glass window overlooking Ground Zero. He could be pointing at a chalkboard as he traces his finger in… Keep Reading

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