Sunday, December 31, 2006

Fund the Corruption in Connecticut with a Party



More and more kids are taken away from good parents in Connecticut to defraud all taxpayers, minorities and the poor are being abused in record numbers in Corruptikut's Corrupticourts, Free Speech is punished with arrest and prison, and let's celebrate a somewhat new gun grabbing initiative called, "Turn in your Neighbor", if you think your neighbor has guns and might be unbalanced, you can turn him or her in and their house is raided and the guns are taken away, and with all false allegations, they are acted upon, "No Questions Asked."

When a couple has an argument the most ruthless and the first to the trigger on a false accusation can exact permanent results. A corrupt state government, courts, and police are all too willing to knowingly take a false accusations to suck in confiscated assets, cash, and get federal tax dollars for arrests, processing, trials, and incarceration. Welcome to the new America, the "Connecticut Way".

Why not actually turn in a psychotic police officer, judge, prosecutor, elected official, or one of their organized crime syndicate friends when you know their address, that they are truly dangerous, and have firearms in their house?


Let's party and celebrate! Happy New Year!!!


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POLITICS
Rell Team Works To Get Ball Rolling
December 31, 2006
By JOANN KLIMKIEWICZ, Hartford Courant Staff Writer

It is cold and cavernous, an 88,000-square-foot space that packed in pro wrestling fans last weekend and next weekend will host thousands of bikers and their rumbling rides.

So standing in the vast Connecticut Expo Center, forgive us if it's a tad difficult to envision just how this yawning space will be transformed into a glittering setting fit for a governor and her nearly 2,000 guests.

"It's a great venue for boxing," says Victor Dellaripa, the expo center's executive director, scanning the floor Thursday morning as workers draped swaths of glossy blue fabric from the ceiling.

But one for the grand affair that is Gov. M. Jodi Rell's first inaugural ball - and the first the state has seen in eight years?

"Well, you've got to decorate it up. It is an old BJ's warehouse," Dellaripa says. And over the next two days in this one-story building amid car dealerships and fast food joints in Hartford's North Meadows, "they'll go all day and night. It's a lot of labor."

About 30,000 square feet of carpeting. Close to 9,000 feet of fabric ceiling swags. Three hundred specially installed fixtures beaming 600 amps of theatrical lighting. And enough roses and French tulips to fleck the vast hall in the shade of sunshine yellow that is Rell's chosen color.

And you thought planning your holiday dinner party was stressful?

Presiding over this organized chaos is Catherine Marx, the director of Rell's eastern Connecticut office. The responsibility of mounting the gala in exactly 30 days fell squarely, if unexpectedly, on Marx's shoulders when the First Company Governor's Foot Guard decided earlier this month it could not. The foot guard has organized the ball since 1791, but this year found that a long-awaited ruling on whether it could host the event, based on new ethics laws, left the group with insufficient time.

Marx stepped up to the task at the request of Rell, who offered only these directives:

Make it fun and festive.

Make it yellow and blue.

Make sure you hire Tirebiter, the Top 40s band from Canton that played her 60th birthday bash.

"There was never a question of whether or not we would have this ball. There was no time to doubt it," Marx says. "We just needed to get it done."

Without so much as a moment to flinch, the vendors were contacted. About 1,000 invitations went out. And up went a website advertising the ball and steering the public to purchase tickets, which will be sold until Tuesday at noon: $4,000 buys a 20-guest private box, $1,750 a 10-person table and $150 a general admission ticket.

The budget to put on such an event: Approaching $300,000, funded solely by ticket purchases.

It's an event of a scale Marx has never encountered. "I don't think my daughter's 12th birthday counts," she says, laughing.

But from a makeshift headquarters in the state armory building in Hartford, in an office just large enough to fit two computers, two phones and a staff of four, Marx is plotting a gala steeped in as much elegance and tradition as she believes the first inaugural ball of the 21st century deserves.

"This is really a moment for Hartford, for Connecticut, to sparkle and to celebrate," Marx says. "It's really important we don't forget or ignore our traditions."

And in some ways, the inaugural committee is breaking tradition to keep that tradition.

An event The Courant once described as "a tailgating party in black tie," the ball was long held at the armory, with attendees either carting in their own food and booze or hiring an outside caterer.

But post-9/11 restrictions no longer allow the armory to be used for such an event. Enter the expo center, site of Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez's last two inaugural balls. The expo center contractually caters with Boston Culinary Group, which has locations in Connecticut, and uses Demers Exposition Services, of Middletown, for decorating and setup.

"They really know how to snazz up the place and make it special," says Jackie Mandyck, who organized both of Perez's inaugural galas and has lent Marx some guidance.

The lighting and fabric, the flowers and carpeting, the music and nibbles will all pull together to give the drafty space a warmth and a glow, she says.

Ah, but pulling it all together.

"It'll be crazy. And a week beforehand, I'm sure it's a bit of a whirlwind for Catherine," Mandyck says. "But the adrenaline she'll feel when she walks into that room, when the governor walks into that room - it's going to be an amazing moment for her. It's why I went back for a second time."

It's hectic buildup to a frenzied day, says Boston Culinary's Dave Sugrue. But the payoff is worth it on what he calls "Execution Day."

"It's a tremendous amount of coordination. It's a huge undertaking. But this is what our company is really good at," Sugrue says. The company was just tapped to do food services at the Super Bowl in Miami and cater multiple events taking place down there.

For Rell's inaugural ball, Sugrue estimates it will take about 170 employees to prepare and serve more than 9,000 individual hors d'oeuvres, 2,000 pieces of desserts, 600 pounds of roasted rib eye beef, 400 pounds of pork loin and 300 pounds of pasta.

To make it all happen, the catering company has to haul in 12 holding ovens, eight convection ovens and a large tractor-trailer refrigeration system to supplement the expo center's kitchen facilities.

"We'll start preparing Monday and build up from there ... all the way through the day of," Sugrue says. As in any large-scale event, there may be a few glitches. "But I like to say I have a backup plan. And a backup to the backup plan."

All told, it will probably take about 300 people to put on Wednesday's affair. That's the estimate of Scott Ling, president of Demers.

Like a sergeant reviewing a strategic map of his mission, Ling stands in the expo center before a large-scale drawing of the event's floor plan and translates its web of colored circles and squares: Access paths for workers to scurry, unseen and unobstructed, around the perimeter of the floor. Two large video screens to project the red-carpet entrance and military escort. Nine food stations. Five drink stations. Thirty people to staff coat check alone.

This is not some ticket-and-stub operation. We're talking bar codes, headsets and lockdown storage - all just to handle coats.

"That's actually one of the hardest jobs of the night," Ling says. "Think about it: Coming in is a piece of cake. Coming out you have 2,000 people who usually leave within the same half-hour. That's where it gets difficult."

This is not the largest-scale event Ling's company has ever put on. But it is the most high-profile. Which adds to the adrenaline of the day, he says.

"We've done functions in here with more people and bigger budgets. But nobody from the paper ever came to interview us about the Lego event or the IBM event. There's more of a magnifying glass on this, you know?"

If anyone knows, it's Marx.

On Thursday afternoon she's back at her inaugural base in the armory, standing over a seating chart, tacking company names such as Dominion Resources and Northeast Utilities onto sections for box-seating. Staff members Haley McConaghy and Eric Ducey, recent college graduates who helped on the Rell campaign, answer the ever-ringing phones and tackle to-do lists.

And then begins a wave of people picking up their admission tickets.

Holding the 10 for herself and her fellow revelers from Yale-New Haven Hospital, Ann Hogan says she's looking forward to the ball. It has been too long since the last one. And she's intrigued by the new venue and catering style.

"I think this will feel like one celebration, like one party, whereas before it was like a lot of little parties," says Hogan, the hospital's coordinator for government and community relations. "Before it was almost like tailgating."

A few moments later, another guest stops in for his tickets.

"So, how's it going?" he asks Marx.

"We're getting there," she says. "We're getting there."

For more information about Gov. Rell's inaugural ball, or to purchase tickets, visit www.ct.gov/inauguralball or call 860-524-4967.

Contact Joann Klimkiewicz at jklimkiewicz@courant.com.

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