Connecticut’s first family of social media has another feather in its cap. When Norwalk’s Dixie D’Amelio, older sister of Charli D’Amelio, aka TikTok’s most popular user, launched the music video to her single “Be Happy,” it amassed more than 1 billion — yes, you read that right — views on TikTok and was the top-ranked song from Billboard that had yet to break its Hot 100 Chart. The infectiously catchy song got a boost when Charli, 16, helped promote it. Last time we checked, Charli had nearly 100 million followers. However, Dixie, 19, is a TikTok star in her own right: With more than 40 million followers, Dixie has the ninth-most followers on the social media platform. Both sisters outrank movie star Will Smith, who has a mere 37 million followers. But it looks like the D’Amelio clan is not long for Connecticut. In early October, a report emerged that their Norwalk home was listed for sale for $929,900. — EO
Change in frequency
WPKN 89.5 FM, one of Connecticut’s most celebrated independent radio stations, is getting a new home. After broadcasting for 57 years from studios at the University of Bridgeport, the listener-supported, non-commercial station is moving off campus to second-floor offices at Bijou Square on Fairfield Avenue. The downtown building is also home to the Bijou Theater, where the station sponsors movie nights, and two restaurant spaces. WPKN formed in the 1960s as the student station for the University of Bridgeport. It covered the university’s Purple Knights sports team — the station’s call letters stood for “Purple Knights Network.” Over the years, however, the station became known for much more than sports coverage, and in 1992, the station’s license was transferred from the University of Bridgeport to the nonprofit WPKN Inc. The station’s search for a new home was hastened in June when the University of Bridgeport announced it would be sold to Goodwin University and Paier College of Art (Sacred Heart had originally been announced as a buyer as well but backed out). The mostly volunteer-run station operates 24/7, features “an eclectic mix of live and recorded music, news with viewpoints not heard elsewhere, public affairs and spoken word,” and prides itself in being “free-form.” — EO
Cold case podcast
In 2013, Vernon true-crime journalist and author M. William Phelps wrote a feature article for this magazineabout a string of notorious child murders that took place during the 1960s and ’70s. Now he is sharing new details and theories about the crimes in a multi-episode podcast calledPaper Ghoststhat rocketed to No. 1 on Apple Podcasts’ list of most popular shows, surpassing megahits such asThe DailyfromThe New York Times. In the show, Phelps looks at the cases of four girls — Debra Spickler, Janice Pockett, Lisa Joy White, and Susan LaRosa — who disappeared in the same general area over the course of several years. Phelps believes the cases are linked, but you’ll have to listen to find out exactly why, and who he thinks is responsible. — EO
Back on solid ground
A major milestone was recently reached when the Connecticut Foundation Solutions Indemnity Company replaced its 200th crumbling foundation. The state-created CFSIC is the answer to a question we asked in the headline of our 2016 story on pyrrhotite-affected foundations: “Who Will Pay to Fix Northeastern Connecticut’s Crumbling Basements?”
It’s been 20 months since the inception of the program. The cost of the construction so far has been $38.5 million, according to the CFSIC, and it has reimbursed $6.8 million in foundation replacements. It also announced that by the end of October, 91 condo units would have participation agreements covering remediation.
CFSIC says it currently carries 1,639 foundation claimant applicants, but needs more funding before it can accept more. According to the Hartford Courant, within the next 10 years a total of 4,000 to 6,000 additional claims are expected. — MW
Crime rates fall (mostly)
The overall rate of violent and property crimes dropped in Connecticut from 2018 to 2019, according to a recent FBI report. The drop in the violent crime rate is the biggest in the nation behind only New Hampshire, and it follows a 9.5 percent dip from 2017 to 2018. Connecticut saw a drop in all categories except murder and non-negligent manslaughter. — MW
|Murder and non-negligent manslaughter||86||104||+20.9|
|Motor vehicle theft||7,192||5,964||-17.1|
*Includes arson, but sufficient data is not available to estimate totals
That’s the percentage of people who moved into Connecticut between March and August this year who said they relocated due to COVID-19 being an issue in their previous state, according to a report by the moving company United Van Lines. That makes Connecticut the third most popular state in the country (after Vermont and North Dakota) for people to move to during the pandemic. — AY
Four contributors from Connecticut are among the top 100 political donors in the nation in 2020, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. (Totals are through September.)
#91: Thomas E. and Paula G. McInerney, Westport — founder of private equity firm Bluff Point Associates — $2.2 million to Republicans
#79: Mary P. Moran, Greenwich — former investment banker — $2.3 million to Democrats
#34: Vince and Linda McMahon, Stamford — owner of WWE — $5.6 million to Republicans
#20: Stephen Frank Mandel Jr. and Susan Z. Mandel, Greenwich — founder of hedge fund Lone Pine Capital — $9.3 million to Democrats (and $100 to Republicans)
The top contributors on the list are Illinois’ Richard and Elizabeth Uihlein, founder of packing supply company Uline, who donated $58 million to Republicans.
The overall list for 2020 leans slightly toward the Democratic Party with 56 contributors, versus 44 donating to Republicans.
It’s official: John Oliver is full of …
The Danbury City Council voted 18-1, with one abstention, to rename the city’s wastewater treatment facility the John Oliver Memorial Sewer Plant, a gratifying end to a bizarre story that began months ago when Oliver verbally sucker-punched the Hat City on his HBO show Last Week Tonight.
“Congratulations, Mr. Oliver,” Mayor Mark Boughton said following the Oct. 8 vote. “You now have a poop plant named after you.”
But it’s much more than a name change. Oliver will donate $55,000 to Connecticut charities, and a subsequent fundraiser riding the attention wave — donors of $500 can tour the plant — is expected to bring in even more.
John Esposito is the one council member who voted against the resolution. “Sorry to be a party pooper here,” Esposito says. Well, you can’t say he doesn’t have a sense of humor. — MW