Arrival: The Sci-fi We’ve Been Waiting For

Monday, November 28, 2016 (Issue #3)
by Victoria Arbour, Staff Writer

.   .   .

1 hr 58 mins
Science Fiction/Mystery

In the movie Arrival, Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner whose mission is to make contact with one of 12 alien objects that have touched down on Earth.

Arrival, directed by Denis Villeneuve and written by Eric Heisserer, is told from the point of view of Louise Banks, a linguistics professor who must race against time to communicate with the aliens before tensions across the globe reach breaking point.

The movie meaningfully delves into the concepts of communication and time. “Language is the first weapon drawn in a conflict,” is one of the quotes from the movie and is featured on its Twitter page. The film also daringly plays with time and perception in a way that leaves the audience pondering their own lives and decisions.

The film, based on a short story by Ted Chiang called “Story of Your Life”, is a transformative experience. The image of an oblong-shaped spacecraft levitating in the middle of an open field is haunting. Arrival is so expertly crafted and realistic that one feels as if he or she is getting to peak into a real-life alien invasion. Suiting up in radiation-proof suits, terror and fear in the eyes of the crew, and fingers brushing against the unfamiliar material of the spacecraft send shivers down your spine. The foreboding atmosphere is misty and overcast.

When a character asks what the aliens look like, “You’ll see soon enough” is the enigmatic reply. When the aliens are revealed, they are shrouded in a white smoke that lends a welcome aura of mystery.

“Language is the first weapon drawn in a conflict.”

The music by two-time Oscar nominee and Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson is other-worldly and eerie and the question throughout the movie, “what is your purpose here?”, echoes in the mind of the audience.

The biggest complaint regarding the film seems to stem from the insecurity of the audience itself. With movies like Interstellar setting the precedent for confusing endings and complex—sometimes even pretentious—intellectual speech, moviegoers seem less assured as to whether they grasped the concepts conveyed. Perhaps this is a reflection on the scientific community failing to keep the changing genre of science fiction accessible.

Some movies are meant to take up just an hour or two of your time and very little mental energy; Arrival is not that; Arrival will occupy your thoughts long after your departure.


Huskies Having a Ruff Season

Monday, November 28, 2016 (Issue #3)
by Octavias Mckoy, Sports Writer

.   .   .

It has been a tumultuous season for the University of Connecticut Huskies football team. What started off as promise in the spring has evolved into a living nightmare for Husky Nation. The current season has showcased its fair share of ups and downs.

For starters the Huskies hold a (3-7) overall record. Eliminating them for any bowl game consideration. They are currently sixth in the American Athletic Conference standings with a 1-6 East Division record.

This past weekend, the Huskies had a well needed bye week; in order to stop the bleeding while they currently ride a four game losing streak. For the season, the Husky offense is only scoring 16.5 points per game while allowing opponents to tally up on average 26.9 points per game. An old coach of mine used to say, “If you can’t score, you can’t win!” and the UConn Huskies aren’t outscoring opponents, so the negative results are inevitable.

Despite not being able to put points on the board, the Husky offense is moving the ball, on average, 341.1 yards per game on offense. UConn has a 78% success rate in the red zone, but only 37% of these successes resulted in touchdowns meaning they’re settling for field goals. Field goals will not win games at the college level. UConn has to do a better job punching it in for six when they’re inside the 20-yard line. On a positive note, the Huskies are perfect on point after attempts (PAT), going 18 for 18.

“An old coach of mine used to say, “If you can’t score, you can’t win!” and the UConn Huskies aren’t outscoring opponents…”

One thing that sticks out about the Husky football team is that they have only scored a total of nine points in the first quarter this season. That’s a horrifying statistic when you take into consideration that they’ve played a total of 10 games thus far this season. The Huskies need to have a better effort early in games in order to turn this season around.

Arkeel Newsome and Noel Thomas account for 2,262 of the Huskies all-purpose yardage with Newsome averaging 113.2 YPG and Thomas averaging an even 113.0 YPG. On defense Obi Melifonwe leads the Husky defense with 83 total tackles for the season.

“What started off as promise in the spring, has evolved into a living nightmare for Husky Nation.”

All UConn can do with the remainder of this year is build towards the future. They look to get back on track and end their four game losing strike when they take on Boston College this Saturday 11/19 at 1: 00 p.m. EST in Massachusetts.

Pirates Sink Huskies

Monday, November 28, 2016 (Issue #3)
by Octavias Mckoy, Sports Writer

.   .   .

The UConn Huskies (3-6) may have suffered their worst loss of the season this past Saturday. The East Carolina Pirates (3-5) looked like the Alabama Crimson Tide against the Huskie defense, as what started off with preseason promise has now turned to midseason blues for UConn.

The Huskies have now suffered their third consecutive loss of the season bring that total to six for the year. It was all East Carolina from the start, as they jumped out to an early 7-0 lead and did not look back, cruising to an easy 41-4 thumping of the Huskies in front of 41,000 fans at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. UConn struggled early and often piling up only 295 yards of offense. Third downs are a critical down in football, and the Huskies were 5-15 on 3rd downs (33%) for the game.

Struggles continued for Huskies quarterback Bryant Shirreffs, completing 16-30 passes for 180 yards and two interceptions; bringing his total to six on the season to just seven touchdown passes. Noel Thomas snagged seven receptions for 135 yards. Arkeel Newsome finished the game with 15 yards rushing on 10 carries with 5 receptions for 46 yards and 5 returns for 128 yards bringing his all-purpose totals to 189 yards for the day. Three players on the UConn defense finished with 10 tackles a piece; Obi Melifonwu, Mikal Myers and Foley Fatukasi.

UConn looks to get things going in the right direction when they take on The Temple Owls this Friday night at 7:00 p.m. EST at Rentschler Field

‘Horses for Heroes’ Offers Rides for Vets

Monday, November 28, 2016 (Issue #3)
by Alana Branch, Veterans Affairs Editor

.   .   .

Among the many remedies for a down-and-out veteran—music, travelling, reading—horses appear to be the next big thing.

A program at Newberry Farm in Columbia, Conn. called “Horses for Heroes” welcomes veterans every week for a ride.

C.K. Bellone is the owner and lead instructor, and has been involved with therapeutic riding since the 80s.

“It helps them [veterans] gain control of themselves physically, socially and emotionally,” Bellone tells FOX 61 news. “They gain control of something bigger than themselves.”

Among the current 18 veterans involved in the program is Carlita Cotton, retired from the Air Force, who says that riding horses has helped her injured back. According to Newberry Farm’s website, “Physically, the gait of the horse stimulates the rider’s pelvis and trunk,” and can correct muscle tone, balance, and posture. Its affordable services also satisfy the mind and the heart, gaining one’s confidence and developing relationships all while learning the ins and outs of the horse.

Families of veterans are also welcome! There are enough horses to go around.

Waterbury Vet Required to Pay Back Enlistment Bonus

Monday, November 28, 2016 (Issue #3)
by Alana Branch, Veterans Affairs Editor

.   .   .

News broke recently via that the California National Guard had asked thousands of soldiers and veterans to pay back large portions of their enlistment bonuses that were wrongfully obtained. Either some were not entitled to these portions, or hidden errors were just found in their paperwork.

Because greedy recruiters struggled to meet their enlistment quotas as the Iraq and Afghanistan wars went on, the hefty bonuses often made for enticing tools to get anyone in the door. And for the most part, most people walking in were unqualified.

“”I was confused. It’s annoying and depressing,” the veteran said. “I’m having to pay back because I was given too much?””
—Waterbury veteran

Yet, they were trained well and served their country; some lost limbs, others their minds. And what do they get in return? A letter or phone call asking for that hard-earned money back.

However, California is not the only state on the list. Pentagon spokesperson Laura Ochoa even admitted that the inconvenience hits hard way outside the golden state.

A 29-year-old Army veteran and native of Waterbury, Conn., who opted for anonymity, recalled feeling like she was the only veteran going through this, then news broke. She was honorably discharged in 2014 due to PTSD, stemming from her yearlong stint in Afghanistan back in 2012. Shortly after starting her sophomore year at the University of Connecticut was when she received that letter.

“I was confused. It’s annoying and depressing,” the veteran said. “I’m having to pay back because I was given too much?”

Like most veterans, this one thought $20,000 [or more] was well deserved.

“Easily someone suffering from PTSD and having to pay up can kill him or herself. Again, it’s depressing.” She made sure to add that suicide wasn’t a thought in her head.

“It’s like a cancer patient asking for donations, then once he or she is cured, they’re asked to pay those donations back. It’s ridiculous.” The veteran is single and works for a telemarketing agency in Cheshire part-time.

“I get by. I also use the GI Bill. I send about $200 a month,” she said.

When asked if she thought that anything would be done about the situation from either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, she simply rolled her eyes and chuckled.

“Nothing but words,” she muttered. “I don’t know what’s worse. Trump’s asinine comments about PTSD or having to send this $200.”

In reference to the west coast, guard officials can’t do anything about it. Rather than wait around and linger on it, this veteran continues to live life and attend school.

“I did enough fighting. It’s about time someone fought for us [veterans] for once.”

Waterbury Felon Sentenced to 37 Months for Possession of Firearm

Monday, November 28, 2016 (Issue #3)
by Brendan Dyer, Crime Editor

.   .   .

A Waterbury man was sentenced Nov. 9 to 37 months of imprisonment for illegally possessing a firearm.

Stephen Goins, 36, a convicted felon, was driving a vehicle that had a firearm in the glove compartment. According to documents presented in court on June 26, 2014 a Bridgeport police officer stopped Goins off of an exit off I-95 in Bridgeport.

Following a search of Goins’ vehicle, the officer placed the Waterbury resident under arrest when he found a loaded Ruger LCR Revolver .38 caliber special handgun.

Goins has a history of felony convictions for robbery, larceny and trafficking marijuana. It is against federal law for convicted felons to possess a firearm or ammunition in interstate or foreign commerce.

Goins had been detained since his arrest and pleaded guilty on May 6, 2016 to one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. He will serve 37 months and follow up that sentence with three years of supervised release.

East Hartford Heroin Distributor Sentenced, Six Others Charged as a Result

Monday, November 28, 2016 (Issue #3)
by Brendan Dyer, Crime Editor

.   .   .

An East Harford man was sentenced to seven years in federal prison Nov. 9 for distribution of heroin.

According to U.S. Attorney Deirdre Daly, Orlando Tirado, 30, of East Hartford investigators searched Tirado’s vehicle on June 4, 2014. After the East Hartford resident consented to the search, law enforcement discovered $5,200 in cash.

Months later, on November 27, 2014, Tirado fled from Hartford Police who were investigating a domestic assault. Tirado began to throw six bricksized packages which law enforcement seized. The packages contained 3,003 bags of heroin. Tirado was arrested and charged with state narcotics offenses.

The arrest stems from a drug enforcement initiative in place in the Hartford Task Force administration due to large of amounts of heroin the Hartford area.

While on pre-trial release in May 2015, Tirado and several associates were revealed to be working together in the selling of narcotics. Court authorized wiretaps aided in the arrest of one of Tirado’s associates who traveled from Hartford to New York City. Law enforcement officials conducted a search of the associate’s vehicle and seized approximately $125,000 in cash.

Tirado has a criminal history including multiple felonies convictions for narcotics trafficking, assault and battery of a police officer.

Six of Tirado’s associates were charged stemming from this investigation.

Tirado will serve 84 months in federal prison and five years of supervised release.

Summer Temperatures to Rise Drastically by 2100

Monday, November 28, 2016 (Issue #3)
by Ryan V. Stewart, Staff Writer/Website Editor

.   .   .

NOTICE: Corrections to this article have been made, namely: (1) The years of temperature predictions for various areas have been clarified, (2) the fact that Scott Pruit has been chosen to head the EPA under Trump, not Myron Ebell (the latter was merely appointed as the EPA’s transition team leader under Trump), has been noted, and (3) a hyperlink to the webpage associated with the “1,001 Blistering Future Summers” interactive has been placed at the bottom of the article.

These corrections are not reflected in the print version (Issue #3) of The Foothills Reporter.

.   .   .

If carbon emissions are not quickly and dramatically scaled down worldwide, average daily summer temperatures around the country—indeed, around the world—will be very different by the end of the century. This according to Climate Central, an independent scientific organization devoted to promulgating information about climate change.

According to an interactive chart developed by Climate Central’s researchers, Danbury, the average daily summer temperature of which, as of 2014, hovered around 80.65 degrees Fahrenheit, will feel more like Sunrise, FL, which stood at a balmy 90.41 F the same year, in 2100.

The chart, entitled “1001 Blistering Future Summers”, allows a user to punch in one of about a thousand cities from around the country and track the difference in average summer temperatures between 2014 (when the chart and its associated article were released online) and 2100. The chart compares the end-of-century temperature forecast for a given city with its closest approximation elsewhere in the country, as of 2014, and, for the currently-hottest cities in the U.S., with municipalities in today’s Middle East. Boulder, CO, for example, will feel more like Pharr, TX, whereas Phoenix, AZ, in 2014 an already-hot 103.96 degrees, will feel more like Kuwait City, at a broiling 114.08 F.

It should be noted that the chart’s predictions are based on a “business-as-usual” emissions scenario out to 2100, meaning that the projected temperatures result from the assumption that humans continue burning fossil fuels at the current rate (or faster) until the end of the 21st century. That means that, if humans reverse course, things won’t be quite so hot. “Quite” because, as many scientists have pointed out, there is a certain amount of global warming already “baked into” the climate system, so even if the world stopped emitting carbon today, global temperatures would continue to rise at a fast pace for a couple decades at least.

Unfortunately, there’s little indication that humans are prepared to scale down carbon emissions from electricity production, transport, and agriculture at the scale needed: The IPCC’s (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) Paris Climate Accord (also called the “Paris Agreement”), which came into force on November 4, and which 195 countries (including the United States) signed, is a good first step, but by itself is woefully inadequate to keep global warming below the levels scientists have determined to be very dangerous. (Variously defined as 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-Industrial times.)

Add to this the election of Donald Trump—who has vowed to scrap President Obama’s Clean Power Plan and pull the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement; plans to appoint Myron Ebell, a climate change denier, as head of the Environmental Protection Agency’s transition team; and intends to appoint Scott Pruitt, another climate change denier, as that agency’s Administrator—as president of the United States, and the future of Earth’s climate, and the global civilization it has sustained, becomes bleak indeed.

So, Danbury may very well be unrecognizable by the end of the century, compared to today’s standards, and cities like Pharr, TX and Phoenix, AZ may be as hot as some Middle Eastern municipalities are today. Perhaps we in America are relatively lucky, then, as, given the data, one has to wonder how the people in Kuwait City will fare, if at all, come 2100.

Visit the 1,001 Blistering Future Summers interactive {} to learn more.

New Milford Power Plant Plans Halted

Monday, November 28, 2016 (Issue #3)
by Ian Boisvert, Managing Editor

.   .   .

Demolition of the deserted Century Brass mill in New Milford is well underway, but there will not be a new tenant for the time being. Mayor David Gronbach stated earlier this month that he had withdrawn the proposal from Panda Power Funds amidst strong community backlash.

In a letter posted on his Facebook page, Gronbach said, “The Panda Proposal to build a gas-fired electric generation plant was a serious one and warranted serious consideration.”

After acknowledging the residents’ anger with the Panda plant project, Gronbach stated in the letter, “given that neither the majority of the community nor its representatives on the Town Council support the power plant, I will be withdrawing the Panda Proposal to develop the Century Brass site.”

While the plant would have offered an estimated 300-500 jobs during construction, many were concerned about the safety of a gas-fired power plant so close to residential areas. Informational forums with Panda Power Corp. often became heated.

“Some information sessions have involved shouting, accusations of collusion, blatant misinformation and scare tactics, threats and intimidation of people, including Town employees,” Gronbach said in his withdrawal.

In this letter, Gronbach also stated that throughout the power plant debate, certain New Milford residents “behaved without civility and decorum,” which included Gronbach accusing an unnamed citizen of calling him “a Nazi” and the use of gendered slurs towards some of Gronbach’s female staff.

The largest concern of the critics of the Panda project was the implied danger associated with the burning of natural gas. Gronbach shot down the stigma stating, “The process of burning natural gas to generate electricity is already being conducted at the Kimberly-Clark plant next to the Pettibone School and athletic fields.”

The Panda project will not move forward in New Milford, however Gronbach is convinced that natural gas powered plants can exist in Connecticut.

“This Proposal will not proceed here, but they are addressing our current and future energy needs,” said Gronbach. “My hope is that they will continue their work of building modern plants that allow coal and oil-fired plants to be decommissioned.”

Airport Employees Under New Management

Monday, November 28, 2016 (Issue #3)
by Georgia Pimentel, Environment Editor

.   .   .

Danbury Airport has been a home to Ted Tsitiridis for 10 years. As an A&P certified aircraft mechanic, Tsitiridis started off as an employee cutting the grass around the airport. After moving the toolbox in and studying aircraft management with lead technician of Curtis Aero, now known as Eagle Air, he worked his way up over the course of nine years to lead technician.

“I liked being there more than at home,” Tsitiridis said when asked about his overall experience in the hangar. “I made good friends with the guys in the flight school offices, too. I was close with everyone.”

Flight Instructor Gus Gettas taught Tsitiridis everything he knows about flying and for the last five years of working together in separate buildings they created a friendship built to last. “He was in a way my boss and teacher, but he was more of a friend than anything”, says Tsitiridis.

Gettas worked in the main office where the former CEO shared the workplace. Early this year the CEO sold Curtiss Aero to new management. His name was asked to be omitted.

“Since he bought the place, the overall work environment shifted for the worst,” Tsitiridis says, and Gettas along with other mechanics working under Tsitiridis agree. The new CEO “constantly showed up at the hangar before I even punched in for work asking when a plane would be done and if the new kid was making him any money. That would be fine if he didn’t say it in front of him,” Tsitiridis explains referring the newest mechanic at Eagle Air.

Many employees have reported the CEO for stating inappropriate comments in the workplace and withholding paychecks.

“It wasn’t just him we had to worry about. His ex-wife, in charge of the financial aspect, tried breaking in to steal our checks. She was just as crazy,” said Tsitiridis.

When asked about the future of Eagle Air and taking steps forward in his aircraft maintenance career, Gettas and Tsitiridis have similar views. Gettas took his flight training skills to Arizona. Tsitiridis walked out of the Danbury hangar along with his fellow mechanics when a fiery argument broke out between them and the CEO.

“I’ve always wanted to work on jets. Cirrus airplanes are always a passion of mine, but I’m ready to expand my knowledge and challenge myself. I couldn’t do that with [the new CEO] micromanaging everyone,” said Tsitiridis.

As far as the future of Eagle Air goes, the building across the airport is planning to take over. The accountant, second flight instructor and the parts guy in the hangar have all quit, some before their contract was up.

Tsitiridis adds to all of this, “You have nothing as a manager if you don’t know how to treat your employees. This is going to be a huge wake up call.”