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September 19th, 2014

Rowland Convicted on All Seven Counts – Now a Two-Time Loser to Be Sentenced in December

from John

During my drive home from work during the years that John G. Rowland conducted his political talk show on WTIC between 3PM and 6PM (July 2010 to early April 2014), I would tune in to hear his biased rant against all things Malloy and Obama. I was often disgusted by his twisted point of view. So when President Obama won re-election in November 2012, I made a special point of tuning in to hear him whine. In his commentary about state Republican campaigns – who was good and who was not so good – Rowland never disclosed that he was a paid consultant for one of those campaigns. A second Republican candidate, MG (Mark Greenberg), wisely brushed off his solicitations.

Brian Foley and Lisa Wilson Foley pled guilty in a plea deal which imposed one-year in jail for each and substantial fines. Their acceptance of these sentences speaks strongly to the guilt of John G. Rowland in his political fraud. His trial starts in September down in New Haven. As a two-time loser, he will get jail time for sure.

Election Law
The Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 limited financial influence in the election of candidates for federal office, including the office of United States Representative. The Election Act is enforced by the Federal Election Commission and the United States Department of Justice. It provides for public disclosure of certain contributions to and expenditures by federal election campaigns:

The Election Act limits the amount and source of money that may be contributed to a federal candidate or the candidate’s campaign committee; and In 2011 and 2012, the Election Act limited convention, primary and general election campaign contributions to $2,500 each for a total of $7,500, from any individual to any one candidate.

The Federal Election Commission (“FEC”) is an agency and department of the United States with jurisdiction to enforce the limits and prohibitions of the Election Act, and to compile and publicly report accurate information about the source and amount of contributions to federal campaigns. Federal candidates were required to file periodic reports with the FEC detailing, among other things, contributions made to their campaigns and expenditures made on the campaign’s behalf. In these reports, the campaign committees are required to identify each person who, during the relevant reporting period, contributed more than $200 to the committee, together with the date and the amount of any such contribution. These reports are made available to the public.

The Campaign Committee is required to and did file these periodic reports with the FEC.

COUNT ONE (Falsification of Records in a Federal Investigation)
Beginning in approximately October 2009, ROWLAND devised a scheme to work for the Congressional campaign of MG (referred to as “Candidate 2” in the indictment; identified in many media releases), and to conceal from the FEC and the public the fact that he would be paid to perform that work. To conceal the payments to ROWLAND, which MG’s campaign would otherwise be required to report to the FEC, ROWLAND proposed to be paid through a separate corporate entity, that is, the Animal Center. Further, to make the illegal arrangement appear legitimate, ROWLAND drafted and proposed to enter into a sham consulting contract with MG, pursuant to which ROWLAND would purportedly perform work for the Animal Center. By proposing to run the campaign related payments to ROWLAND through the Animal Center, ROWLAND sought to prevent actual campaign contributions and expenditures from being reported to the FEC and the public.

MG “Candidate 2” was a candidate for election to the U.S. House of Representatives from Connecticut’s Fifth Congressional District during the 2009-2010 and 2011-2012 election cycles, and competed in a primary campaign for the nomination of the Repubiican Party during each of those cycles. Candidate 2 was also the owner of an animal rescue and adoption center, located in Bloomfield, Corurecticut (the “Animal Center”).

On or about October 18, 2009, ROWLAND emailed an attomey: “attached is a contract that I have put together I hope you will be impressed, then I thought I better run it by you.” Attached to the email was a document titled, “MG contract.docx.” The attached document was a contract to be signed by ROWLAND and MG that outlined fictitious duties that ROWLAND would perform for the Animal Center.

On or around October 23, 2009, ROWLAND met with MG at the Animal Center. At the meeting, ROWLAND provided MG with the fictitious contract, purporting to establish a paid consulting relationship between ROWLAND and the Animal Center. In fact, ROWLAND was proposing to perform paid campaign work for MG’s Congressional campaign.

On or about October 23, 2009, ROWLAND emailed MG with the subject line “working together.” ROWLAND wrote: “Let me know if you want to put your own proposal together. Unfortunately, it was very diffrcult to get into a long discussion this week in Bloomfield. Your wife was very patient with us and I didn’t want to push it. Let me know. Have a great weekend. Love, the Gov.”

On or about November 2, 2009, in furtherance of his scheme. ROWLAND emailed MG: “Do you want to meet again?”

On or about November 3,2009, Greenberg responded via email: “I always enjoy your company.” ROWLAND replied: “I appreciate that you enjoy my company, but do you want to negotiate a contract? By the way, there will be another Republican candidate or two after today’s election. Let me know, thanks.”

On or about December 16,2009, ROWLAND emailed a political consultant: “I have talked with MG about helping him, his little non-political friends tell him I would hurt him [maybe in the htfd. courant readership] but I don’t think in the 5th (district), and actually no one knows MG. I told his people that most political types would be more curious that I was helping MG and would be a help to his fledging campaign …. if MG is willing to spend his own $$ and raise some he could win.”

On or about May 23, 2010, ROWLAND emailed MG : “I’m unpopular as your campaign manager would lead you to believe !! especiaily , [sic] in the 5th district. I can get you elected …. If you are interested.”

On or about June 1, 2010, ROWLAND wrote to GM that other political consultants “can not get [sic] you elected .. none of them will want me involved for obvious financial self interests [sic] . .. I give you the only chance of winning and that is still going to be hard. [by the way what you don't understand is .. if I go with you I am going against alot [sic] of friends from 25 yrs ,, [sic] not easy for me to do[.]] Sorry about today , [sic] I thought I was coming over , for you to give me a pitch , not that I was supposed to sell myself to you, I tried that already.”

In July 2010, Rowland started hosting his political talk show in the WTIC 3PM to 6PM time slot. WTIC is the major radio station in CT but the show quickly became strictly focused on promoting right-wing Republicanism and trashing everything Malloy and Obama to an extreme and often citing opinions of “Rush” (Limbaugh).

On or about October 18, 2009, in the District of Connecticut, ROWLAND, in relation to and in contemplation of a matter within the jurisdiction of the FEC and the United States Department of Justice, did knowingly falsify and make material false entries in a document with the intent to impede, obstruct, and influence the investigation and proper administration of that matter, that is, ROWLAND falsified and made material false entries in a
contract for services between ROWLAND and MG inorder to conceal from the FEC and the United States Department of Justice that payments made pursuant to the fictitious contract would, in fact, be in consideration for work performed by ROWLAND on behalf of MG’s campaign for election to the U.S. House of Representatives.

All in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1519.

COUNT TWO – (Conspiracy)
Brian Foley (“Foley”), a co-conspirator who has been charged and sentenced separately, is the owner of a Connecticut nursing home company (the “Nursing Home Company”). Foley also owns a number of other related companies, including a real estate company (the “Real Estate Company”). Foley is the husband of Lisa Wilson-Foley.

Lisa Wilson-Foley (“Wilson-Foley”), a co-conspirator who has been charged and sentenced separately, was a candidate for election to the U.S. House of Representatives from Connecticut’s Fifth Congressional District in 2011 and 2012, and competed in a primary campaign for the nomination of the Republican Party.

Background of the Conspiracy
On or about September 5, 2011, ROWLAND (while hosting his 3-6PM political radio talk show) emailed (Brian) Foley and Wilson-Foley: “I have an idea to run by you, what days are good?”

On or about September 12, 2011, ROWLAND, Foley and Wilson-Foley met to discuss ROWLAND’s idea. At the meeting, ROWLAND recommended to Foley and Wilson-Foley that they hire him to work on Wilson-Foley’s campaign. ROWLAND suggested that he could replace Wilson-Foley’s campaign consultant, who was based in Washington, D.C., and perform a variety of services for the campaign.

On or about September 14, 2011, ROWLAND emailed Foley: “I had a brief chat with Lisa” I get it, Let’s you and I meet.”

On or about September 16, 2011, ROWLAND met with Foley. At the beginning of the meeting, ROWLAND falsely stated that MG (Candidate 2) had offered ROWLAND a position on his Congressional campaign, but that ROWLAND would prefer to work for Wilson-Foley. In fact, MG had made no such offer.

The Conspiracy
From on or about September 16, 2011 to in or about April 2012 – the exact dates being unknown to the Grand Jury, in the District of Connecticut and elsewhere – ROWLAND, together with Foley and Wilson-Foley, who have been charged separately, and others known and unknown to the Grand Jury, did unlawfully, knowingly and intentionally conspire, combine, confederate and agree with each other to:

a. knowingly falsify and make false entries in a document in relation to and in contemplation of a matter within the jurisdiction of the FEC (Federal Election Commission) and the United States Department of Justice with the intent to impede, obstruct, and influence the investigation and proper administration of that matter, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1519;

b. falsify, conceal, and cover up by trick, scheme, and device a material fact in a matter within the jurisdiction of the executive branch of the United States Govemment by, among other things, causing the campaign Committee to create and file false and misleading campaign finance reports with the FEC, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections I 001(aX1) and 2;

c. make contributions and cause contributions to be made by Foley through the Real Estate Company to the Campaign Committee, which aggregated $2,000 or more (but less than $25,000) during a calendar year, in excess of the limits of the Election Act, in violation of Title 2, United States Code, Sections a41a(a)(1)(A), 44ra(f) md 437g(dxlxA)(ii), and title 18, United States Code, Section 2;

d. defraud the united States by impairing, impeding, obstructing, and defeating, through deceitful and dishonest means, the lawful govemment functions of the FEC, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 37.

Purpose of the Conspiracy
The purpose of the conspiracy was to conceal from the FEC and the public that ROWLAND was paid money in exchange for services he provided to Wilson-Foley’s campaign for election to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Manner and Means of the Conspiracy
The manner and means by which ROWLAND, Foley, Wilson-Foley and others, both known and unknown to the Grand Jury, sought to accomplish the objects of the conspiracy included the following:

a. It was part of the conspiracy that ROWLAND, Foley and others created and executed a fictitious contract outlining an agreement purportedly for
consulting services between ROWLAND at the law offces of Attomey 1. It was part of the conspiracy that Foley made payments to ROWLAND for
his work on behalf of Wilson-Foley’s campaign in excess of the legal contribution iimits, and routed those payments from the Real Estate Company through the law offices of Attomey 1 and on to ROWLAND.

b. It was part of the conspiracy that ROWLAND provided nominal services to the Nursing Home company in order to create a “cover” or pretext that
he was being paid for providing consulting services to the Nursing Home Company, when, in fact, he was being paid for his work on behalf of
Wilson-Foley’s campaign.

c. It was part of the conspiracy that Wilson-Foley, ROWLAND and others concealed from the FEC and the public Folev’s unlawfull contributions to the Campaign Committee and the payments to ROWLAND, by causing the Campaign Committee to file with the FEC false and misleading campaign finance reports that failed to disclose these illegal contributions.

Overt Acts
In furtherance of the conspiracy and to accomplish its purpose and objects, ROWLAND, Foley, Wilson-Foley and others, both known and unknown to the Grand Jury, committed and caused others to commit at least one of the following overt acts, among others, in the District of Connecticut and elsewhere:

On or about September 27, 2011, ROWLAND emailed Wilson-Foley: “Does [campaign staffer] know I am ‘helping’ … should I work with him on delegate ideas/strategyl”

In or about October 2011, ROWLAND began working regularly on Wilson-Foley’s campaign.

On or about October 11, 2011, Attorney 1 emailed Foley: “[Executive 1] asked me to construct a consulting agreement between [the Nursing Home
Companyl and John Rowland. I would recommend that due to me [sic] Rowland’s background and the compliance issue that creates and links to
Lisa’s campaign that the contract be between my Law office and Mr [sic] Rowland – that way there is no connections.”

On or about October 12, 2011, Attorney 1 emailed Foley and attached a document titled, “Rowlandconsult.doc.” The email stated, “Attached is a
draft agreement b/t Rowland and my law firm. I have discussed with [Executive I and Executive 2] – please let me know if you have any revisions.” The attached draft contract referred to ROWLAND as ..the consultant.” ln a section titled “Duties,” the draft contract stated, “The consultant shall provide the following services (‘services’): a) provide education, opinions and information on the State of Connecticut and federal government’s election process; b) Assistance with the campaign of any candidate that the Nursing Home Company or its member(s) become engaged with.” A section titled “Restricted Activities” provided that, “During the Term and for a period of one (1) year after termination of this Agreement, consultant will not directly or indirectly: (i) Assist, become employed, consult or contract with any other candidate for federal or State of Connecticut office in which the [Nursing Home company] or its Managing Member is not engaged in.”

In or about the week beginning October 9, 2011, Wilson-Foley advised Campaign Worker 1 that paying ROWLAND through Foley was
advantageous to Wilson-Foley’ s campaign.

On or about October 13, 2011, Attorney 1 emailed Foley: “I spoke with [Executive 1] on the Rowland [sic] and your VM (voicemail). I’ll make the
Changes.” Read the rest of this entry »

September 19th, 2014

More on the Meeting Between the Academy and Residents

From Marylou

I don’t share the same perspective as Steve on the meeting. The following isn’t intended as notes but the meeting was recorded. There were Hill residents present but also residents from other areas of Woodstock. There were no Booster parents present. That was appreciated and it allowed for questions and comments.

Academy representatives listened to many comments and questions. They also took notes.

Sandford explained at the beginning that two PA systems have been in place and used, maybe since the field was built. I commented that three different reps having authority at the Academy stated (at PZC held public hearings) the school would NOT use a PA system at the new field except for Homecoming Football game. I’m not good at remembering what year w/o looking it up but the application process went on about 5 years ago. Obviously, this was only said to gain approval for the construction of the complex. They didn’t really mean it. As soon as the field was built, not one but two PA systems were turned on. I commented that Joe Campbell was at each of the meetings so should remember this promise well. Campbell, clearing throat, didn’t answer the question so said he’d discuss this at their next meeting.

We knew the Academy didn’t want our input in developing their policy for PA use even tho we are the ones who suffer it. Five members of the group questioned why they needed it at all? It’s not a mandate of ECC division. There is no reason they have to have it. And then there is a promise made — one, members of Wdstk’s planning and zoning board should remember.

Sandford stated that students/parents want a PA. He said they can’t recruit students unless they have a PA. So, I guess students are setting policy on something that creates noise pollution at unpredictable times and durations for an abutting neighborhood of private homes. Along with that, I guess our Planning and Zoning Commission can deny a permit for dirt bike racing twice a year due to “noise,” but it’s Ok for the Academy to turn on not one but two PA’s as much as they like.

One member of the group recalled former headmaster Troy who stated to neighbors (1980?s?), the Academy would never grow beyond 800 students.
Someone asked Sandford what the school will do with the newly purchased 23 acres they’ve recently bought (our tax payment at work). Sandford replied they “have no plans.”

Sandford is a personable man and he’s been up front with us. For that, I am grateful. It is a vast improvement. But, I’m not trusting changes they’ve made to the PA system. My money is on their plan to keep things low and infrequent for a while . . then slowly jack it up in volume and frequency. When they can say they’ve changed things and tried sooo hard to please the neighbors but they’re STILL complaining! Marginalizing individuals and groups is always a good tactic executed by bullies because it works so well.

Chris Sandford, like all other WA headmasters we’ve known . . , works at a few Trustees’ will and demand. Same place, different headmaster is my take. These few key Trustees prioritize short term gain in pleasing students and their parents over long term gain of having a publicly stated PLAN that just incidentally includes respecting their own neighborhood.

ADDENDUM:

Thank you for attending this meeting.

Background:

Last April 2014, Steve and I asked new Headmaster Chris Sandford to visit with us. Since the construction of the Academy’s Athletic Complex we’ve lived with varying volumes of PA amplified sound including music. This occurred frequently during playing season sometimes reaching four or five events in a week. What was obvious was an un-monitored system allowing students to control, at times, both content and volume of the PA. We visited the field one day when the PA was in use to hear what it sounded like at the practice. We experienced a noise level louder at our property than on the Academy field due to topography.

We expressed our concern to Chris Sandford. Immediately following, we saw relief by the diminishment of frequency of use as well as volume. But, in late May/June of 2014, we were subjected to two events that were sustained and very loud. One was a Powder Puff ball game that included an adult announcer. The other occurred over a Sunday afternoon and was created by an Academy Trustee who rented the facility for the day. The amplified announcing and music went on for over 3 hours on a Sunday afternoon in June.

Following the two events, I called our four local private schools (Hyde. Marianpolis, Pomfret and Rectory) to ask what their policy is on Public Address use. All four schools had similar responses. None have installed PA equipment. All schools but one have a portable unit. These are used infrequently and only for special events and then only for short periods. One school did not own any form of a PA system. All Athletic directors expressed their reason for non-use of PA systems. They talked of “respect” for their surrounding communities. Read the rest of this entry »

September 19th, 2014

Aerial View of the Hill Up the Hill from the Football Field

From John

The first game was two years ago and Becki and I were there and we can attest to the fact that the loudspeaker was blaring. Former Headmaster Foye was there too proud of his accomplishment built on lies (‘this will get college scholarships for football players’). And current Headmaster then Caron was jumping around with facepaint like a cartoon character.

September 19th, 2014

Woodstock Academy Football – September 2012 to September 2014

Woodstock football is 0-22 since two years ago with last weeks loss of 7-48 (typical score) to Stonington, and it hasn’t been pretty. ;-)

This article was published at the end of the football season last year (2013).

“Several years ago the Academy chose to invest in football with a new stadium and other unneeded athletic fields rather than invest in enhanced academic programs that would help students to develop professional careers.”

The poor showing of the Academy football team is a sad reflection of mis-guided leadership at the Academy. I feel sorry for the kids who are no-doubt working hard to fulfill the leaderships’ sports fantasies. I am wondering what the long term impact will be on the members of the team. I hope that the faculty can put the results of this program into a positive perspective. Unfortunately, this activity has distracted many students from important pursuits in their young lives.

The average game score this year is 6 for WA vs 42 for the opponents compared to 4 for WA vs 39 for the opponents last year. The last game will be against Windham High which has won 5 games as of last weekend.


Christopher Sanford will be the Academy’s new headmaster.

Sanford, an East Lyme resident, will assume his new duties after the school’s Thanksgiving recess, according to officials. Sandford has worked as the principal of Wheeler High School in North Stonington since 2010. He previously served as the school’s assistant principal and was a faculty member at East Lyme High School.

“Headmaster Foye said that a successful football program would produce college scholarships for Woodstock Academy senior football players” Cafe, July 28, 2008. HERE

“The misguided priorities of the Academy leadership and its ‘track record’ does not bode well for the long term viability of its students’ futures.” Cafe, May 26th, 2008. HERE

By the way, I enjoy football and faithfully support losing programs like the ones at Norwalk High (late 50s to 1960), Bethany College (1961-1966), the University of Pittsburgh (1966-1972, 16-56)  just before Dan Marino and Tony Dorsett, and currently UConn at 0-10. Coach Pasqueloni should not have be evaluated based on his losses to teams in the Big Ten and ACC - the team should play other New England teams and the fans should be happy with New England football, sobriety, and no football playing felons.  I sat virtually alone in driving rain in 1968 watching the lowly Pitt team come back from a 34-0 halftime deficit to beat West Virginia 35-34, the best game I ever saw.

Several years ago the Academy chose to invest in football with a new stadium and other unneeded athletic fields rather than invest in enhanced academic programs that would help students to develop professional careers. This was due to the low-level visionary thinking of Headmaster Foye and the Academy Board of Trustees.

As I said, I feel sorry for the athletes who are trying to fulfill the childish dreams of athletic supporters who are probably unaware of what it takes to compete professionally in our global scientific and business society of today. It was Headmaster Foye who tried to sell the football program to residents of Woodstock that, by playing football, students could obtain scholarships for college (the Cafe never forgets ;-) ). I don’t think these scholarships will ever materialize but if some fortunate athlete excels to earn a football scholarship to college, it should be obvious that choosing Killingly’s football program (currently 2-0) may be a better route for a college career in football. The rest of the players will only have their concussions to show for their efforts.

The recent extreme failure of the football program may be symptomatic of lack of interest by ambitious students at the Academy. I’m sure that the Academy has its fair share of good athletes. The evidence of this comes from other sports at the Academy. But of course, the Heathers don’t qualify.

September 6th: Headmaster Foye is back but apparently only temporarily as the Academy looks for better leadership which will be difficult to find.

September 18th, 2014

The Academy and Residents Had Dialogue Tuesday Night

From Steve

I thought there was a good dialogue last night between town residents, neighbors of the Academy and representatives of the Academy including Headmaster Chris Sanford, Mr. Blackmer of the B and G committee as well as some trustees. Several changes have been implemented that have reduced the frequency and volume of the PA system for which I am grateful. It appeared that there was a genuine concern among the Academy representatives to understand their neighbor’s complaints and to look for ways to mitigate the problem of excessive noise coming from the fields. I look to Chris Sanford to continue to lead this effort. We’ve been down this path before however. Only Time will tell.

Residents 21 : Academy Reps 7

September 16th, 2014

Good Luck to Marylou and Steve

To Café Readers,

Two friends and trusted advisors urged me to contact as many people we can to get the word out about the meeting tonight (Sep 16th) at the Woodstock Historical Society at 7 pm.

Over this past summer, we’ve collected data regarding the use of PA systems by private secondary schools. Generally, the use is non or scant. The Academy conducted their own polling of public high schools. Their results reveal their use as more frequent than the public schools they polled. They use the system for all games and some practices. In addition they play music at both practices and games. The Academy rents the facility out so renters have access to the system. Although new Headmaster Sandford called for changes to the system, the volume remains higher on our property than on their field due to topography.

While we’ve asked Academy representatives to be at our property while the PA is on so they know what the noise is like — we haven’t received a response. Please note, we do not speak for or represent anyone else but ourselves. We also acknowledge and support the impressive academic life and athletic programming at the school. The sound of young adults competing at games is joyful. The noise of a PA system is obtrusive and stressful.

Our letter to neighbors regarding the meeting tomorrow evening follows.

Dear Friends/Neighbors,

Steve and I extend a personal appeal for your presence at the meeting this coming Tuesday evening at the Woodstock Historical Society’s Palmer Hall at 7 pm. We will meet with the new Academy Headmaster, Chris Sandford, and members of the Buildings and Grounds committee for the purpose of discussing the use, frequency and volume of the school’s public address system. We aren’t certain whether all members of the committee will be present. The committee has jurisdiction over how the Academy’s Public Address system is used. Craig Cheyne will moderate the meeting. This is a public meeting; all are welcome.

Our fear is that a strong group of booster parents strenuously supportive of PA use will attend. We’ve gone through this before and came out with nothing accomplished. There are many sources of unwanted noise in our neighborhood. Some of it controllable – some is not. Noise and Noise Ordinance is increasingly discussed as a zoning issue when it occurs within a residential neighborhood.

Our PZC Commission recently denied a special permit for a dirt bike raceway that included events only twice a year. Their reason stated is nuisance “noise.” We hope for similar courtesy and protection extended by the Academy and supported by our local Planning and Zoning Board.

We don’t hear the bands at the Inn or Roseland unless the wind is blowing in our direction. Much of the motorcycle noise on Rt. 169 is buffered because of our downhill location. We do not think that our noise is the worst noise or the only one that should be addressed.

We are concerned about the growing types and layers of noise in the neighborhood. A shooting range, PA system, three wedding venues, the Woodstock Fair, Roseland Craft Fair — all bring traffic and noise. We are still a mixed use neighborhood rather than a commercial one.

We remember the Academy’s promise (during the public hearing) that they wouldn’t turn on the PA at all except at homecoming football game. Then Headmaster Foye and two key WA Trustees made this promise in public hearings during the application process. Woodstock’s Planning and Zoning Commission did not record these public meetings.

Chris Sandford states that the meeting on Tuesday evening is a start to an on-going dialogue between neighbors and Academy staff in charge of PA use. With Sandford at the helm, we hope for meaningful change. The Academy has educated and coached young adults very well without a public address system for 213 years. The school benefits from its prime location within a state and nationally recognized Historic District therefore shares responsibility for its on-going preservation.

For us, there is no doubt we’ve lost enjoyment of our property when the PA is turned on. Along with it, there is loss of property value. Many of you can’t hear the PA noise but the use of it likely adversely affects all property values within its range.

If you have interest in the topic of nuisance noise in Woodstock — please come out on Tuesday night at 7 pm at the WHS. Please tell others in town who have an interest. We’ve learned that you can’t take your home’s peace and quiet for granted.

Thank you, Marylou Davis and Steve Gottlieb

September 14th, 2014

Woodstock Academy Continues Its Remarkable Streak – Bad Music Leads to Bad Football!

From John

“Bright spots: The Centaurs trailed, 34-0, before Kyle Prouty returned a kickoff 84 yards for a touchdown. They also recovered an onside kick on the second-half kickoff and nearly recovered another.”

Stonington 48 and Woodstock Academy 7

Read the article in the Norwich Bull

September 11th, 2014

Bungay Fire Department Needs to Sell a Lot of Chicken


September 11th, 2014

It’s Aliiiiivvve

from John

We had a jump-up in visitation with posting on Sunday of my concerns about Academy athletic field noise which has been a lingering issue in Woodstock. This establishes that the Cafe still has an audience. The Cafe has been hibernating because frankly I have too many other things on my plate. There’s plenty to talk about though. The Cafe welcomes articles from all sectors. Just submit them as comments. Academy writers are especially encouraged to post articles. We have a rich tradition of student participation – for example the articles of Knowing Smile, Pomfretite, A Student, Recent Graduate, and many more (search the Cafe).

Recent Blogs elsewhere:
The Ice Bucket Challenge (click title to get the full article)
Pauling Blog

September 10th, 2014

Woodstock Academy Was Rated Comparatively Well in 2013 in Eastern CT By ConnCan

From John

ConnCan

September 9th, 2014

The Academy Should Buy the Castle

From John

You may have heard that the Castle on Brickyard in up for sale for $40+ million with a property tax bill of $69,000. My first thought was that the tax bill was lower than it should be; but if a non-profit entity buys the Castle, then there will be no tax bill. We have already accomplished this with the potentially lucrative Hyde School property but no one remembers that. My second thought is that the Academy should buy the Castle.

Imagine what this purchase would do for the Academy marketing campaign. Asian and Europeans alike would flock to the Academy at $40-50,000 a year for the academic experience of living in a Castle. I’ve been to the castle in Turku (Finland) and to the castle in Heidelberg (Germany) and can say that living in a castle would be a thrilling experience with roaring fireplaces and weekly pig roasts. And imagine the atmosphere in History class and Mid Evil Religion class. This setting would probably stimulate creativity in the Academy’s fine Art program as well.

I can also see an expansion of the Academy’s Athletics as well. Archery and Jousting could be added to Academy sports. This would be fitting because we have an Olympic archer in Woodstock. Off on the side we could have a nude section like the one up the road for students who like to run naked in the woods.

One final thought, when students miss-behave we can use the more humane methods of punishment used in olden days like the one shown below. This purchase will be a fundraising bonanza. This is your chance, Academy, to secure the future. Go for it!

September 8th, 2014

The Academy Continues to Offend

From John (my opinion only)

Please consider attending a meeting on Sept. 16 at 7 pm at the Woodstock Historical Society. The meeting is organized by the new WA Headmaster, Chris Sanford, so the neighbors and the Buildings and Grounds Committee can meet to discuss the Academy’s use of PA system. This meeting conjures up meetings held by Headmaster Foye several years ago who complained afterward about having to sip too much tea at such meetings with residents in the process of trying to placate rather than listen to concerns of Woodstock citizenry.

Since the new Athletic Complex was built (described by the WA soccer player below), the school has used the PA for all games and most practices. In addition, they play music at games and practices. Due to the topography of the hill, the PA is louder at houses on the Hill than on the field so the decibel levels are high along with frequent use. Both students and renters of the complex have had ability to turn on and up the system. And they have.

Given the dismal performance of the WA football team that starts up again this coming Saturday, I would like to suggest that the music isn’t helping. And soon we will start to hear from that obnoxious Non-Woodstocker at this site who purports the tremendous success of the WA varsity football team which has not won a game in two years.

The local Athletic Directors were polled last June (after a very loud PA was on all afternoon on a Sunday) to see what Rectory, Hyde, Marianopolis and Pomfret schools’ policy is on use of PA. None of these schools have one. Some of the schools have a small portable type PA system they play during pep rally or parents’ weekend.

Headmaster Sandford has said that he asked the WA athletic director to conduct research over the summer about the use of PA systems at other Eastern CT schools. While Mr. Sandford appears on the surface to be somewhat sympathetic toward residents on the Hill, he has stated that the jurisdiction over PA use comes under Buildings and Grounds Committee (where does the buck stop???). Academy research has found that the school uses the PA system more frequently, especially blasting music, than most of the public schools they questioned. Because this upcoming meeting is a public one, the Buildings and Grounds Committee plus the Academy AD will likely encourage selective attendance of “booster parents” who are very much in favor of indescriminant PA use. We’ve seen it before. Craig Cheyne will moderate the meeting with the Academy’s approval.

Many Hill residents are affected. There is the larger issue also. With PZC’s denial of an application for dirt bike racing twice a year based on nuisance Noise — we hope to see the “creep” of unnecessary noise curtailed with a policy that is well monitored and maintained by the school. There can be no doubt that Hill residents lose enjoyment of their properties whenever the PA is being used. Property values are also affected by this rowdy behavior.

You may remember that the Academy promised NOT to use a PA system at all except for Homecoming Football game during their application process.

When will the Academy shed its narcissist behavior and join with the residents of Woodstock for the betterment of the town and the Academy which has systematically failed in their fundraising efforts?

August 27th, 2014

Soccer Student at WA Describes the Academy Athletic Fields

Interesting little note in today NB: http://www.norwichbulletin.com/article/20140823/NEWS/140829803/1997/NEWS

WA is purchasing another 23 acres to add to their main campus. Wonder where they got the money for this effort?

from Student (who plays soccer)

For anyone looking for an update, the Bentley Athletic Complex is one of the nicest in the state. The turf field is excellent, and while seating at the field is limited and there are no lights due to residents not allowing them, the field is in great condition and is well taken care of. The track and the tennis courts were both redone and look very nice. The grounds crew now takes pride in maintaining the main grass field inside the track. It was voted the second nicest grass field in the state behind UCONNs field. As a member of the soccer team, I can say that we all prefer to play on the grass field than the turf. Even the side field next to the track is nicer than many fields the varsity team plays on during the year. There is also a new baseball field with new parking down behind the turf field. This field drains much better than the old field, and is on its way to being an amazing field. The field was also built large enough to allow a soccer field to be played on during the fall. As a student at WA, I couldn’t be more pleased with the complex, and the town should be incredibly proud.

August 16th, 2014

Leavitt Family Vacation – 1993 – Part 1, Palo Alto to Odessa

While the Griswolds were heading west to Walley World, the California Leavitts were heading to the funny farm in northeastern Connecticut. I will describe this trip in several parts over the next week.

    On November 16 of the year 1993, Mariah, her dog Lickity, and her Mom and Dad left Palo Alto on their extended drive across the nation and back. Mariah had expressed a desire to see Granny June and Grampy Peter, her Great Aunt Kate, her brother and sisters in Odessa Texas, all of her Leavitt aunts, uncles, and cousins, father’s infamous frat brother, Doug, and associated pets not necessarily in that order. She also wanted to drop in on Bill and Hilary and see the White House. Therefore, we embarked on a four week drive which is chronicled below.
    We headed south to southern California and then west across Arizona, New Mexico, and into west Texas. We arrived in Odessa TX on the eve of November 18 in time to see big sister, Elizabeth (16 yrs old) inducted into the National Honor Society. Elizabeth obviously inherited her Dad’s intelligence. Unfortunately she also shares with her Dad the accomplishment of totaling the family car in her first year of driving.

The following night Elizabeth, Mariah, Becki, and Dad attended an off-Broadway production of “Gloweena” starring Christina Leavitt (13 yrs old) as a budding hollyhock actress. The musical ended dramatically with Mariah entering stage left to join her sister on stage. At that point Mariah’s parents adopted anonimity until the entire audience had left the theater and Mariah joined the cast in their dressing room.

    That night we stole Elizabeth and Christina for a late night dinner after the theater. In case you are wondering Christina’s dimples and smile were permanently frozen in place at birth. In spite of this handicap, Christina managed straight A’s and a 98 average too confirming the dominance of the trait passed down from her father. A few years later Christina graduated as salutatorian of her graduating clase of >500 at Odessa High. Meanwhile Elizabeth was exhibiting the “how am I going to get dad to buy me a Mazda Miata” look.

Preceding the night at the theater, we picked up Drew (12 yrs old that day) at school and went off to buy him a hand-sewn soccer ball. His Dad was also gloating over his report card received that day that indicated that Drew had also inherited his Dad’s intelligence. Drew received all A’s and an astronomical 98 average. You can also see that Drew inherited his Dad’s good looks.

    The next day, a Saturday, Mariah and her Mom and Dad drove to San Angelo TX to see Drew and his soccer team play the arch rival Purple Gang in a tournament. After the game which ended tragically, we took Drew and his teammate and the teammates mother to lunch. After lunch we sadly said goodbye to Drew and drove on to Irving TX just north of Dallas.
July 25th, 2014

What About What’s Going on in Iraq? – July 2005

from John

This piece was written in July 2005 out of frustration due to the invasion of Iraq and published by “Thought Mechanics” then a vigorous national blog. After 9 years, have any of the issues changed?

This is what White House press secretary Scott McClellan said very recently when asked about the results of a new poll taken by the Pew Research Center “I think the American people understand the importance of completing the mission”…”Success in Iraq will help transform a dangerous region.” No doubt McClellan is speaking for President Bush and his entire administration. The PEW poll found that 43% said that the US would “win the war” while 32% said the US “can’t win the war.” A more important question to address might be – “Is the region more dangerous today than before the war?” If the region is more dangerous today then one has to wonder what “win” means. The statements by the Bush administration and the opinions of the polled public do little to reveal the severity of the situation in Iraq. It really doesn’t matter anymore if Bush lied about reasons for going to war, or whether or not we should back our troops. The real issue surrounding our presence in Iraq can be stated quite simply – what can we do to prevent Iran from taking over Iraq or, at least, the Shi’ite dominated, oil-rich provinces south of Baghdad?

I am not an expert on the Middle East. Perhaps naively, at this juncture I see Iran’s dominance of Iraq as the only issue of importance from here on. It seems unimaginable that our pre-war intelligence and the White House would not have considered this outcome as a risk to going to war. Yet I have not heard any commentary about this scenario in talk shows or by politicians on either side of the issue of the invasion of Iraq. Could it be that we invaded Iraq because intelligence indicated Iran’s intent to take over Iraq? In deed, it is commonly known that the US supported Iraq in its 8-year war with Iran (1980-88) because it became wary of the Tehran regime after the Iranian revolution. Then Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, the US intervention, and subsequent sanctions against Iraq leading up to the US war in Iraq all but destroyed Iraq’s role in preserving military balance in the Middle East.

Now we have a situation where if we leave Iraq militarily, we face the real possibility that Iran will take a weakened Iraq by subversive force and/or military force. It could be that this is the reason we did not invade Iraq in the first US gulf war – that is, to maintain Iraq as a balance for Iran. Critics have suggested that the decision NOT to “finish the job” in the first Iraq war was an historic failure of the first Bush administration. I am just guessing, but the decision NOT to ‘finish the job’ was possibly strategic out of concern about Iran. Now that we are trying to “finish the job” in Iraq at great expense to the American taxpayer, what monster will we create? Will it be a unified Muslim state of Iran-Iraq? It’s not difficult to envision the economic and military potential of a combined Iran-Iraq. Will this unified state of Iran-Iraq dominate the Middle East and absorb the rest of the surrounding Arabic countries? Will we then be forced to defend other Middle Eastern countries like Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, and perhaps even Israel? Or go to war simply on the principle of our need for oil? The answers to these questions could be “YES”. This is why the Bush Administration’s policy in Iraq is a resounding failure. If our intelligence had discovered intent by Iran to take over Iraq before the war, I am sure that this would have been revealed by now. So our policy in Iraq has made no sense and we are faced with the possibility a remarkable turn of events in the Middle East combined with a significant weakening of US economic power, military strength, and worldwide respect.

John Leavitt

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