Dan Malloy discusses missed opportunities at Bradley Airport with the Windsor Locks Democratic Town Committee, and shares a story from “The City That Works”.
Dan Malloy discusses missed opportunities at Bradley Airport with the Windsor Locks Democratic Town Committee, and shares a story from “The City That Works”.
The News-Times’ staff writer Dirk Perrefort reports that a portion of Connecticut’s chunk of the stimulus is on its way to Danbury. But there is a whiff of intrigue, if not faint early rumblings of dischord.
The money can be used for “efforts to acquire, rehabilitate, or overhaul buses or trains, or to bring online new technology into an existing transit system,” Murphy said. It could also be used for railroad station renovations or upgrades.
While much of the criteria for the stimulus money is still uncertain, Murphy said 50 percent of the transit dollars must be “designated” to certain projects within 180 days. The remainder of the money must be obligated within a year.
Boughton said he’s already had discussions with the congressman about how to use the funds.
“Murphy and myself will work together to create a list of projects … to enhance mass transit in the district,” Boughton said. “We will also work closely with my counterparts in the other towns in the region to develop the plan.”
Ridgefield First Selectman Rudy Marconi said there has been a lot of confusion about how the stimulus money will be funneled to local towns and where it is coming from.
Marconi said he was originally told Ridgefield would receive $1.5 million in education funding, and was then told the town would receive a little more than $1 million, spread out over two years.
“It’s literally a moving target and a work in progress,” he said. “We haven’t received any official notifications yet. We hear that these funds are coming and that’s great, but show us the money.”
Judd Everhart, a spokesman for the state Department of Transportation, said that office has yet to be notified of specific allocations. Much of the federal money for transportation projects will be funneled down to the local level through the DOT.
“We have not been formally notified of specific allocations for specific municipalities and are eagerly awaiting the details,” he said. “We will be ready to go with state-level projects when the details are finalized.”
So the early maneuvers have CT-05 Murphy (D), and Danbury Mayor Boughton (R) – according to this account – setting up shop as the arbiters of who gets what, with neighboring suburbs understandably worried about getting a seat at the table. Meanwhile, the Rell Administration has its marker down as the exchequer, asserting its title as the agent of the Feds from the sounds of it.
I particularly enjoyed Boughton’s stuffed-shirted Murphy and I will decide who gets what. And we’ll be talking to other people too, of course. I don’t know if Boughton is a smart guy or what, but we may have just witnessed Rep. Murphy deftly cutting some kind of deal with Boughton, and getting Boughton to do the political dirty work.
Let’s hope that the press can enforce a transparency to this process, who gets to participate, and where the money goes. We’ll be watching.
Source: Dirk Perrefort, “Danbury area to get $9.8 million in stimulus money for mass transit projects.” The News-Times 06 March 2009 Continue reading
As if to validate Turfgrrl’s post below, in which she asserts “there’s a real need for local news to be covered”; and to confirm that ownership of local media by absentee corporate interests is only about siphoning money out of the communities that hyperlocal publications serve, Hartford Courant writer Lynn Doan delivers a terrific run down of what is going on at the “grass tops” of publishing.
“We didn’t really, when I first started, understand how much the communities were really tied into weeklies,” [Michael Schroeder, who recently acquired three of them, along with the struggling New Britain Herald and Bristol Press] said.
After realizing their advertising value, Schroeder hired an executive editor to manage the weeklies. Then he dedicated a sports reporter, a production editor and an advertising executive to them.
“These weeklies still have substantial circulation,” he said. “We think there’s growth.”
Newspaper analysts say these community weeklies, unlike dailies, can survive and be profitable on local advertising alone. But there’s no promise of anything panning out in a brutal advertising recession.
So it may not grow back into the forest it was before the wildfire, but it looks like the roots are still alive and well enough to sprout. It still remains to be seen if and how we will recover from the losses we’re seeing at The Courant itself, and other publications that have provided professional coverage at the regional and state level.
And 13th in the entire nation, according to a rating compiled by bizjournals, a national website devoted to coverage of business in metropolitan areas. Small businesses drive job creation.
For all of New England and all metropolitan New York (no New Jersey or Long Island communities were to be found on the list) only Portland, Maine (ranked 10th overall) came in ahead of southern Fairfield County. New York City ranked 35th, and Boston 36th.
That’s outstanding, but what is really telling is the performance adjusted for population growth. Of the top 35 cities in this study, only Stamford/Bridgeport had flat population growth for the period measured (four tenths of one percent), while private sector employment increased by over four percent – a ratio more than three times the performance of runner-up New York City. The rankings are dominated by areas characterized by rapid population growth, principally in southern and western cities of the US.
Employment growth in southern Fairfield County has offset the employment contraction in the state of Connecticut as a whole, which has been experiencing a jobs depression.
The growth is due principally to Stamford’s strong performance, and shows improvement over the 2007 ranking, when it posted at number 17. The bizjournal 2007 review also recognized the area for having the second highest concentration of small businesses per capita in the country, placing it in the enviable company of the highest growth areas of the nation.
Journal-Inquirer Managing Editor Chris Powell weighs in this weekend with an editorial critical of plans under consideration by the Hartford City Council to adopt a sanctuary policy like the one in place in New Haven.
Forbidding police from inquiring about citizenship when it has no relevance to the investigation of crime is one thing. Giving identification documents to people who are in the country illegally, precisely to facilitate their remaining in the country illegally, and refusing to cooperate with the national government’s enforcement of immigration law are something else — subversive and treasonable.
Is there a failure of immigration policy in this country?
Should it be strengthened and better enforced, or should it be liberalized?
How much of an impact does illegal immigration have in Fairfield County?
Should local law enforcement be deputized or trained for immigration enforcement?
Are you more in tune with Danbury; or New Haven?
The Connecticut Post announced that it is being acquired by Hearst Corporation as part of a package of Fairfield County publications that MediaNews Group has been accumulating over the last several years. The MNG announcement describes it as an expansion of its Connecticut joint venture with Hearst.
The other properties named in the linked piece include:
* The Stamford Advocate
* The Greenwich Time
* The Danbury News-Times.
* The Darien News-Review
* Greenwich Citizen
* Fairfield Citizen-News
* New Canaan News-Review
* New Milford Spectrum
* Norwalk Citizen-News
* Westport News
Much has been made in the Connecticut blogosphere (principally from the left side of the political spectrum) about this trend, from the sale of and recent round of layoffs at the Courant to the firing of blogger and erstwhile Greenwich Advocate columnist Sarah Littman. Do you see evidence of editorial control being exercised by the media companies that own these or other publications?
Nice to see the low level dealers being targeted but where’s the linkage to the guys who import?
The U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut, Kevin J. O’Connor, announced Wednesday that 22 people — 16 from Norwalk and Stamford — have been indicted on federal charges for allegedly distributing cocaine and crack in southwestern Connecticut.
In a news release, O’Connor said the 30-count indictment was returned on Feb. 14 by a federal grand jury sitting in Bridgeport, and accuses the people named with various federal drug trafficking, firearm and witness tampering offenses.
Twenty of the people indicted are named in the news release, including 12 from Norwalk and four from Stamford.
O’Connor said the indictment was unsealed Wednesday “following the arrest and presentment of several of the defendants.”
The investigation resulting in the indictments was conducted by the FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force, which comprises members of federal and local law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, the IRS, and the Norwalk, Bridgeport, Trumbull and Fairfield police departments. The FBI also received assistance from the Stamford Police Department and the Connecticut State Police, O’Connor said.
Norwalk’s member of the task force is Detective Terrence Blake. During a meeting of the city’s Police Commission Wednesday afternoon, Deputy Chief Rosemary Arway praised Blake’s participation in the investigation, saying, “He developed the whole thing.”
The defendants named in the news release by town are:
Norwalk: Richard Davis, 31, a.k.a. “Buck,” “Poo Poo” and “Shooter”; Jerryle Snider, 20, a.k.a. “Broadway” and “Leroy”; Trayson Stevens, 22, a.k.a. “Tray 8,” “Jay” and “Mitch”; Stacey Goss, 30, a.k.a. “Binky”; Sasha Koppel, 21; Dondon Fletcher, 32, a.k.a. “Yellow”; Brent Menskey, 21; Travis Simms, 19, a.k.a. “Trav Lo” and “Love”; Bill Bollman, 62; John Godwin, 36; Luis Serrano, 27; and David Walsh, 52, a.k.a. “Caddy.”
Stamford: Isni Gjuraj, 27, a.k.a. “Ease”; Arbnor Gjini, 25, a.k.a. “Cookie”; Antonio Robinson, 37, a.k.a. “Dave” and “Biggie Smalls”; and Mike Peters, 24.
Bridgeport: Alan Donald, 46, a.k.a. “Bo Donald”; and Lavaughn Brown, 20, a.k.a. “Vaughny.”
Westport: David Karp, 53.
New Canaan: David Peters, 46.
In addition, the news release says three Norwalk residents were taken into custody on state narcotics charges: Carlos Gonzalez, Dahonte Hilliard Roberts, and Jeff Armstrong, all 18 years old.
The indictment, as described in the news release, alleges Gjuraj, Gjini and Davis led an organization that engaged in narcotics trafficking and acts of violence. It says Gjuraj, Gjini and others obtained large, wholesale quantities of cocaine, crack cocaine and heroin from sources of supply in Connecticut and New York, and Gjuraj and others would then convert most of the cocaine into crack and package it for redistribution.
The indictment further alleges that Davis was then responsible for distributing the crack to various members of the organization, including Snider, Stevens, Goss, Koppel, Fletcher and others, who, in turn, redistributed the packaged narcotics to the organization’s street level dealer.
The organization primarily distributed narcotics in Norwalk, Stamford and Bridgeport, the news release says.
The indictment alleges Davis, in conjunction with Robinson, acted as “enforcers” or “muscle” for the organization and, together with associates, acted to protect the organization’s members from detection, apprehension and conviction for their illegal activities by intimidating witnesses and otherwise obstructing justice.
Various members of the organization allegedly carried and used firearms while conducting their affairs, and when members of the organization were arrested or wanted by law enforcement, other members would post bail and retain or pay for counsel in an effort to ensure they didn’t provide information about the organization’s criminal activities or otherwise cooperate with law enforcement.
In a breakdown of the charges brought against each of the defendants, the news release indicates that some face prison terms of 20 years to life and fines of up to $4 million.
update: The advocate reports its 24 arrested. Better story below with more details.
Federal authorities and local police yesterday arrested 24 area residents in connection with a cocaine and heroin distribution ring led by suspects who bought drugs in New York and hid them in secret compartments in their cars.
Confidential informants tipped authorities to three men – two from Stamford and one from Norwalk – who allegedly ran the drug ring.
The men purchased large amounts of cocaine in New York City, converted it into crack and sold it across Fairfield County, according Kevin O’Connor, U.S. attorney for Connecticut.
Norwalk Police Chief Harry Rilling said 11 teams comprised members of the city police emergency services unit and the FBI Safe Streets Task Force began picking up suspects at 6 a.m. yesterday morning.
The majority of the arrests stem from a federal indictment charging 22 people, mostly from Norwalk, with various federal drug trafficking, firearm and witness tampering offenses.
Marybeth Miklos, spokeswoman for the FBI’s field office in New Haven, said late yesterday afternoon that 21 of those people had been apprehended. She would not release the name of the person still at large last night.
Three other Norwalk residents were arrested on state drug charges as part of the long-term investigation, Rilling said.
Those arrested also included an employee of the New Canaan Parks Department, sources close to the case said.
The investigation centered on Isni “Ease” Gjuraj, 27, and Arbnor “Cookie” Gjini, 25, both of Glenbrook Road in Stamford. They were allegedly responsible for buying cocaine, converting it to crack and handing it out to distributors, according to Gjini’s indictment.
Investigators found more than 600 grams of cocaine and 800 grams of crack in a secret compartment built into the center console of Gjini’s 1997 Toyota Camry when they searched it Jan. 20, according to the indictment.
They also seized a loaded handgun, envelopes containing heroin and $3,000, records show.
source:The Hour, 22 indicted on arms, drug-related federal charges, February 21, 2008
source:Advocate, 24 arrested as part of federal drug sting, By Zach Lowe and John Nickerson, February 21 2008
Stratford has plenty of potholes to worry about, but as opted to pursue an ordinance that would require police to issue a fine if someone’s pants were low enough to expose “buttocks.” Clearly, the town of Stratford felt that this issue needed more exposure.
Town Councilman Alvin O’Neal, D-2, has proposed a town ordinance that would make it unlawful for people to wear “pants which fall below the buttocks to expose their undergarments,” with a penalty of $250.
The council will try the proposed law on for size when the Ordinance Committee meets for a public hearing on the matter at 6 p.m. in Town Hall.
“I’ve had a lot of senior citizens complain that they were tired of going to the store and seeing people with their pants down below their buttocks,” O’Neil said Friday. “It’s been done in other states, and it specifically deals with the wearing of trousers below the buttocks â€” you’d have to have your pants almost fully off.”
He added, “We’re not out to get plumbers whose pants creep down while they’re working on your pipes.”
Well, good thing that they are not targeting plumbers, but does this mean they plan to ask what the wearer of saggy pants does for a living? I’m sure the public hearing on this one will be highly entertaining.
source: Connecticut Post, Councilman seeks pants crackdown, JOHN BURGESON, August 26, 2007
What a nifty idea, yesterday local Milford downtown merchants staged a pearl trail to introduce Oyster Festivl attendees to the stores and shops in Milford. Form the Connecticut Post:
Who knew cultured pearls for jewelry would be as wildly popular as oysters are for eating at the Milford Oyster Festival?
More than 2,000 people followed the Pearl Trail on Friday, snapping up a total of 10,000 genuine, freshwater cultured pearls, which they collected two or three at a time from 25 downtown merchants during “Friday Night at the Festival,” a new feature for the Milford Oyster Festival, which is usually only a one-day event.
And there were no strings attached. The pearls â€” valued at about $200 if people collected them from every participating vendor â€” were free to the public. The only charge was $3 for the optional purchase of a jewelry-stringing kit, which included string, a clasp and a needle.
Mackay said he and his family shopped and enjoyed the event at a leisurely pace. And that was the point, Hebert said. “Our idea was to have a good old-fashioned time and meet shopkeepers,” she said.
Joe and Louise Hebert offered a pearl-stringing demonstration and many people were fascinated by David Ethier’s pearl display. Ethier, a representative of Imperial Pearl, the Providence, R.I., company from which the Heberts purchased the pearls â€” with help from the Downtown Milford Business Association, showed four mollusks from around the world and then showed people examples of the pearls they produce. He had a black-lipped oyster that produces a Tahitian pearl â€” the only natural black pearl â€” a South Seas clam, an akoya oyster from Japan and a freshwater mussel from China.
“I love to know how things happen. Even more important than the pearls that come out of the shells is the miracle of life, the process. Part of valuing something is knowing how it was created,” said Celeste Falcone, of Milford.
Performance Schedule on the Main Stage at Fowler Field
(times approximate) for Saturday, August 18, 2007
11:30am – 12:00pm —- Desiree Bassett
12:15pm – 1:00pm —- The Limit
1:30pm – 2:45pm —- Changes In Latitudes
3:15pm – 5:15pm —- The Smithereens
Ah, the Smithereens, great band choices Milford Oyster Festival!
From their site:
source: The Connecticut Post, Pearl giveaway a jewel in Milford, by MEG BARONE, August 18, 2007
For about $200,000 Fairfield DPW workers and an outside construction firm managed to assemble the political will and funds to restore a Revolutionary war era tavern. From the Connecticut Post:
The town is nearly finished restoring a historic structure where George Washington slept in October 1789 during his tour of colonies invaded and torched by the British.The original Sun Tavern on Town Green didn’t survive the British invasion of Fairfield in 1779, but Samuel Penfield, a prominent Revolutionary War-era resident, rebuilt the tavern in 1784.
Washington, inaugurated as the country’s first president in April 1789, stayed overnight in Sun Tavern from Oct. 16 to 17 of that year, according to the Fairfield Historical Society.
“There is pretty sound evidence to support George Washington having stayed here when he came to Fairfield,” said David Parker, a local architect who’s done a lot of research on Sun Tavern. “In that way, this building ties us to the history of the United States.”
Sun Tavern, one of six town-owned historic structures managed by the Fairfield Historical Society, needed a lot of work, Parker said.
Goals of the restoration were to make the tavern structurally sound and return it to the way it looked in the early 19th century, Parker said.
The restoration was done by town Department of Public Works employees and Domus Constructors of Norwalk and is expected to cost nearly $200,000 by the time it’s finished, according to Michael Jehle, executive director of the Fairfield Historical Society, and Chief Fiscal Officer Paul Hiller.
It’s always nice to see how other towns manage to get things done. The restored tavern is part of a six building complex that will also have a new building to house its museum and library.