Archive for the ‘Connecticut’ Category

The town of Willimantic, Connecticut’s annual Independence Day parade once again will include the traditional Little League teams, floats sponsored by local businesses, fire trucks and politicians. But, for the 30th consecutive year, there will be no marching bands.

In what has become an offbeat tradition, the participants and the spectators will instead be carrying radios tuned to the same local station, which will provide traditional marching music.

More than 5,000 people are expected to attend the town’s annual Boom Box Parade, which kicks off at 11 a.m. Saturday.

“I didn’t think the idea would work,” said Wayne Norman, the WILI-AM radio personality who has served as grand marshal for all 30 parades. “I didn’t think people would get the concept. Boy was I wrong.”

The parade dates to 1986, when the town couldn’t find an available marching band for its Memorial Day parade. Organizer Kathy Clark approached the radio station for help. Station officials said it was too late to organize and publicize for that holiday, but they began planning with Clark for July Fourth, and the tradition was born.

Norman said the staging area was empty two hours before the parade but by the time it was ready to start more than 2,000 people were there, all carrying boom boxes.

Norman said there were some evolutionary pains as the portable radios, ubiquitous in the 1980s, went the way of the cassette tape and were replaced by iPods and other portable electronic devices.

He said any radio or device with a speaker and a way to access the radio station is welcome.

“We ask people to please not wear headphones,” he said. “We don’t outlaw them, but it kind of defeats the purpose.”

The parade, he said, celebrates independence in all its connotations. There is no registration to march. Anyone can participate, and people are free to bring signs, promote causes, even advertise for their businesses.

Norman said that in an ironic twist the Windham High School band, which was not around to march in 1986, this year provided a recorded piece that will be played during the parade.

A lot of groups just have fun with the event. That would include the Traveling Fish Head Club of Northeastern Connecticut, which Norman said walks up from the nearby Hop River to join the parade disguised as a giant fish made from wood, wire and papier-mache.

“We don’t have many rules,” Norman said. “We just ask people to wear red, white and blue and bring a flag and a radio.”

Members of the state legislature and Congress and the governor often march in the parade, though Norman said they usually get a bigger turnout of politicians during an election year.

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal shows up every year. He said he loves the parade because it has a spirit that is quintessentially American.

“It’s good old Connecticut ingenuity,” he said. “Let’s use boom boxes if we can’t have a band. Let’s make do. Let’s invent. Our ingenuity will make it happen.”

http://bigstory.ap.org/urn:publicid:ap.org:b9a26103751f484cafc89015e5518bb3

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Residents of New Haven, Conn., got an eerie Halloween surprise when a famed tree uprooted during Hurricane Sandy, unearthing the bones of a woman who died nearly 200 years ago – and maybe from others who died during the same period.

Around 6 p.m. on Monday the famous tree at New Haven’s Upper Green, named the “Lincoln Oak” after President Abraham Lincoln, was uprooted as Sandy swept through. New Haven resident Katie Carbo was passing by when she saw the back of a skull in the 60- to 70-foot-tall tree’s roots, police said.

Carbo quickly contacted the New Haven police, and soon after detectives were on the scene as a crowd of onlookers formed. Officer David Hartman with the New Haven Police Department told ABCNews.com that the timing of the discovery was particularly striking.

“I found myself standing there, among onlookers saying, ‘Wow this is really cool, the day before Halloween,’” he said.

Detectives from the NHPD’s Bureau of Identification and the state Medical Examiner’s office came to collect the bones, which Hartman said included a spine and rib cage.

New Haven police also contacted staff from Yale University’s anthropology department, Hartman said, and the New Haven Independent shot some images.

The NHPD said that it had not launched a criminal investigation into the discovery, and that the remains were being taken to the medical examiner’s office.

“What we haven’t yet determined is what will happen with the remains,” Hartman said. “This archaeological event that is going on will last for probably about a week, they’re estimating.”

New Haven police said that the bones belonged to a probable victim of yellow fever or smallpox, who likely was buried between 1799 and 1821, when the headstones were removed to New Haven’s Grove Street Cemetery, but the bodies were never relocated.

Later, the New Haven Independent, citing an initial investigation by an anthropologist and a state investigator, reported bones at the scene actually may be from two or more centuries-old skeletons – not just one.

The Lincoln Oak was planted at the town green by Admiral Andrew Hall Foote’s Grand Army of the Republic post, in honor of the 100th anniversary of Lincoln’s birthday in 1909, according to the New Haven police.

Robert S. Greenberg, a local historian, said that the town green is the burial ground for as many as 5,000 to 10,000 bodies.

Hartman said that he learned today that this is actually not the first time this has happened on the historic Upper Green. According to a local historian, the same situation occurred in 1931, when an uprooted tree brought up skeletal remains, he said.

New Haven is not the only place where the dead were unearthed in Sandy’s wake. The Associated Press reported that at a cemetery in Crisfield, Md., two caskets were forced out of their graves, making their sides visible from the grass, after the cement slabs covering the graves became dislodged.

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2012/10/superstorm-sandy-unearths-bones-caskets/

Thanks to Mr. C for bringing this to the attention of the It’s Interesting community.