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Thursday, September 21, 2006

Jack Lautier, friend of The Tattoo, dies at 53

Among the friends who lent us moral and practical support for The Tattoo over the years is Jack Lautier, a Bristol Press sportswriter. He never hesitated to help us out in a jam, offer encouraging words or speak with young reporters.

Today, we are mourning after Jack's death.

Though he never smoked and always took care of himself, Jack died of lung cancer Wednesday after fighting the awful disease since last winter. He leaves behind two teenage sons and a wife, all of them terrific people.

This isn't the place to tell about Jack's life, but we want to note for everyone that we lost a friend of The Tattoo and are feeling sad.

If you want to read about Jack's life, please see Jackie Majerus' two stories in today's Bristol Press. Here are the relevant links:

BRISTOL – Facing what he called the fight of his life, sportswriter Jack Lautier stood strong and battled with everything he had. cont'd at:

BRISTOL - Sportscasters and fellow journalists who still rely on his definitive books on the Hartford Whalers paid tribute to Jack Lautier, the award-winning sportswriter and author who died Wednesday. cont'd at:

And here is the obituary from today's newspapers:

John “Jack” Victor Lautier, 53, died Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2006, at his home in Southington after a valiant battle with lung cancer. He was a non-smoker.
Born December 12, 1952 in Torrington, Jack was the son of Rose and John Lautier.
He married Janice Sierchio on April 20, 1985 at the Avon Old Farms Inn in Avon, and with her, proudly raised two sons, Jackson Patrick and Jarrett Nolan, both currently students at Southington High School.
Growing up in Torrington, Jack developed an incredible, lifelong passion for sports that culminated in a career as an author and award-winning sports journalist.
He was an amazing statistician, learning baseball scorekeeping at the age of five.
A New York Yankees fan, he often enjoyed attending Old Timer’s Day at Yankee Stadium with his wife in their early years of marriage.
His love for hockey eclipsed all other sports. He began playing it as a youth, when he and his friends skated on the pond in Torrington.
He was a devoted fan of the Hartford Whalers and believed the team never should have left Connecticut.
Jack covered hockey as a reporter and author, but continued to enjoy playing the sport himself, last taking to the ice in mid-December.
He wrote seven books, most of them about the Whalers, but his first book was a collection of Red Sox stories. His interest in history was reflected in his books.
He wrote Fenway Voices; Baseball’s Hometown Heroes of New England; Whalers Trivia Compendium; Fifteen years of Whaler hockey: The history of the Hartford Whalers; Off Broadway, a Season with the Hartford Wolfpack; Forever Whalers: From Abrahamsson to Zuke and, with co-author Frank Polnaszek, Same Game, Different Name: The History of the World Hockey Association.
More than playing hockey or covering games, Jack was a devoted husband and father. He loved nothing more than watching his sons in their own games on the baseball field and on the ice, sometimes traveling to out of state venues just to see them play.
Jack attended St. Peter’s School in Torrington and graduated from Torrington High School and the University of Connecticut with degrees in English and business.
He began working as a sportswriter for the Hartford Times in 1975 after graduating from UConn and then took a sportswriting job at The Bristol Press when the Hartford paper closed the next year. He worked at the Press for the rest of his life.
He spent his working life covering local, state and national athletes and sports with compassion and respect for the game and its players and coaches.
He was an avid member of the Southington YMCA, where he enjoyed sharing stories with friends while working out.
Besides his wife and sons, Jack leaves his mother, Rose Lautier and a brother Dennis, both of Torrington; a brother and sister-in-law, James and Diane Lautier of Windsor; his mother-in-law, Violet Sierchio, of Southington; a sister and brother-in-law, Ellen and Robert Messina of Windsor, two nieces, Holly Messina of Boston and Heather and Marc Dlugolenski of Windsor Locks; and an aunt, Jean DaRoss of Litchfield.
Calling hours will be today from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Della Vecchia Funeral Home at 211 N. Main St., Southington. The public is invited to attend a Mass of Christian Burial on Friday at 10 a.m. at St. Thomas Church, 99 Bristol St., Southington. Visit for more information. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the American Cancer Society, 583 Preston Ave P.O. Box 1004 Meriden, CT 06450-1004.

Our official policy: We hate blogs.
Copyright 2006 by The Tattoo. All rights reserved.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Our favorite action hero: Joe Killian

One of the great things about the web is that it makes indulging your interests so much easier than in days gone by. Have a thing for Frank Sinatra? There are a thousand websites devoted to him. Want to know more about raising llamas? Just Google it. And even better, for those who like to share their hobbies and loves, you can always start your own website.
Joe Killian, Tattoo alum, has just begun yet another new website - - to share his affection for high quality comic books.
While our own fascination with comics extends only to the ever-shrinking Sunday comics -- and childhoods spent reading about Archie, Betty, Veronica and Jughead -- we'll admit that Joe's new site is sort of cool. Oh, OK, it's way cool. If you're into comics or just want to see what Joe's doing when he's not searching the blotter for an interesting cop case to write about, go check it out.

Our official policy: We hate blogs.
Copyright 2006 by The Tattoo. All rights reserved.

Relive the biggest controversy The Tattoo created

Eight years ago, two Tattoo writers -- Amanda Lehmert and Joe Wilbur (now known as Joe Killian) -- headed out to report on the annual Miss Mum pageant in Bristol. They returned with a scathing report on the event.
We published it, of course, along with a pro-pageant piece by another fine Tattoo writer, Hila Yosafi.
The phones started ringing immediately and angry letters to the editor followed quickly.
Carmel Waldron of Bristol, for example, denounced Lehmert, Wilbur and the paper for printing "despicable trash" about the pageant, the city, the mayor, the emcee, a former Miss Bristol, a fomer Miss Mum "and all of the contestants."
"Where do these two teenaged reporters get off disrespecting our Mayor?" asked another reader, Stacie Roberge, who also wrote, "Where did they learn to disrespect young women by negatively referring to the color of ones hair or size and shape of their bodies? These kinds of negative comments only perpetuate these stereotypes. Did they learn this at home? From their peers?... from their teachers and mentors? Giving an opinion is one thing, trashing respected officials and people you don't even know, is totally uncalled for and downright rude. Do these two reporters have any idea how much courage and hard work it takes to get up on a stage, in front of an auditorium full of people and still remain calm and poised? As they sit behind their computers, I suppose they don't."
Yes, the fireworks were going off everywhere, with almost nobody bothering to note that Yosafi's piece, running right alongside the one that had the pageant people all upset, was generally positive about Miss Mum and the pageant.
Personally, we always found it particularly ironic that Ms. Roberge would take aim at two high school reporters who published a tough piece for thousands upon thousands of people to read -- with their names attached to it for all time -- while griping that Lehmert and Wilbur had no idea how much courage it took to stand on the stage and answer questions.
Journalists, of course, are on a much bigger stage, and they have to pretty damn good at maintaining their poise when critics such as Ms. Roberge take aim. Thick skin is mandatory in the news business, because you can never please everyone.
It might surprise Ms. Roberge and her fellow critics to know that Lehmert is now a full-time reporter for the Cape Cod Times and that Killian is a full-time reporter for the Greensboro (N.C.) News and Record. They're both doing bang-up work.
It turns out the work they were doing that night at the pageant helped each of them find a worthwhile, if not lucrative, career.
We don't suppose those Miss Mum pageant winners are still on the stage anywhere, but rest assured that Killian and Lehmert are, and probably will be for decades to come, doing their bit to shape a nation.
In any case, take a few minutes and check out the story that started it all, along with Yosafi's piece and the letters to the editor about it. It's good reading even eight years later.

Our official policy: We hate blogs.
Copyright 2006 by The Tattoo. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Flying on 9-11

Don't miss Tattoo alum Amanda Lehmert's sterling story for the Cape Cod Times on the fifth anniversay of the 9-11 attack. It's a terrific piece:

Our official policy: We hate blogs.
Copyright 2006 by The Tattoo. All rights reserved.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Louisiana State Senate honors Samantha Perez

To those who say politicians never do anything worthwhile, read this...

Regular Session, 2006 ENROLLED

To commend Samantha Perez on her numerous achievements and accomplishments and on receiving the prestigious "The Professor Mel Williams Award " for writing.

WHEREAS, it is with great pride that the citizens of Louisiana have learned of the honor bestowed upon Samantha Perez for her written accounts of Hurricane Katrina; and

WHEREAS, Samantha Perez, the seventeen year-old Louisianian who is both a victim and a survivor, and an eternal optimist living amid disaster; and

WHEREAS, she recently became a celebrated high school journalist when she was honored at the International College Scholastic Press Forum for her first-hand accounts of the storm's aftermath for Tattoo, an independent teen-written newspaper based in Connecticut; and

WHEREAS, she was honored with "The Professor Mel Williams Award" at the forum which showcased the work of high school newspapers from Vermont to Ohio; and

WHEREAS, Samantha Perez stated that "Katrina" has opened a lot of doors for her, such as flying on a plane for the first time on her way to receive her award and staying in a hotel with "endless" hot water, amenities that are not included with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)-provided trailer she and her family live in while they try to re-build a home on the same lot where their original home once stood; and

WHEREAS, Miss Perez recalls first hearing about Hurricane Katrina after her high school's first football game of the season; and

WHEREAS, her family then temporarily left their home in St. Bernard Parish before the worst of the hurricane hit, and as the storm made landfall, the busy plans of this teenager in the throes of her senior year quickly took a detour; and

WHEREAS, in her columns for the Tattoo she expresses her emotions on paper during and after the hurricane, "Our home is gone. We have nothing now . . . They won't allow news crews to film or to show footage of my parish because of all the bodies floating in the rivers that used to be our streets."; and

WHEREAS, her horrific written accounts of how Hurricane Katrina catapulted her somewhat ordinary teenage life into a surreal reality touched many readers; and

WHEREAS, she knows her life changed forever with Hurricane Katrina as she continues to forge forward graduating from high school and making plans to attend college; and

WHEREAS, she now knows what it means when it is said "what doesn't kill you will make you stronger"; and

WHEREAS, the success of the state of Louisiana, the strength of our communities and the overall vitality of American Society depend, in great measure, upon young people like Samantha Perez who continue to make the best out of seemingly insurmountable situations.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Senate of the Legislature of Louisiana does hereby commend Samantha Perez on her numerous accomplishments and wishes her much success in all her future endeavors.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a copy of this Resolution be presented to Samantha Perez.

Direct link to the resolution

Our official policy: We hate blogs.
Copyright 2006 by The Tattoo. All rights reserved.

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