A 21-year old Danbury man who was convicted of running a Ponzi Scheme when he was a teenager has been sentenced. Ian Bick was ordered Wednesday to serve three years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. The first 12 months of probation must be served in home confinement. Bick was also ordered to pay more than $480,000 in restitution.
Bond was revoked for the Tuxedo Junction owner earlier this month after prosecutors claimed he continued to engage in the same type of conduct that underlies his conviction by raising money for his so-called business ventures under false pretenses.
In a sentencing memo, prosecutors said this may be one of the rare white collar cases where a significant prison term is necessary as a deterrence based on post-conviction conduct. The filing claims that Bick has shown no remorse for his conduct. Prosecutors claim this crime was neither a minor financial crime nor a one-time mistake of judgment. They said Bick engaged in a carefully calculated fraud scheme over the course of more than a year, which required actively lying to investors.
Bick was a principal and/or managing member of various Danbury-based entities, including This Is Where It’s At Entertainment, LLC, Planet Youth Entertainment, W&B Wholesale, LLC, and W&B Investments, LLC. Using these entities, Bick solicited investment funds from his friends, former classmates, acquaintances, and their parents by promising high investment returns over relatively short periods of time. Bick falsely represented to victim-investors that he could generate the high investment returns by using their funds to purchase electronics and electronic devices, such as iPhones, tablets and head phones, and by reselling the items for a substantial profit via the Internet. However, the electronic resale business never actually began in earnest and did not return any meaningful profit. Bick also falsely represented to certain victim-investors that he could generate high investment returns by using their funds to organize and promote concerts at various venues in Connecticut and Rhode Island. Bick falsely represented that he had made significant profits organizing and promoting concerts in the past.
Bick failed to invest the funds he received as he had represented and instead used invested funds for unrelated and unsuccessful businesses, and to pay personal expenses, including hotel stays and to purchase jet skis. Bick also used invested funds to issue payments, purportedly as “interest payments” and as “return of principal,” to certain victim-investors.
The Government also alleged a significant level of contempt for fire safety laws at his club, Tuxedo Junction. According to a report that Federal Agents received from the Danbury Fire Marshall, the fire suppression system at Bick's club was disabled for months, which created substantial risk of injury to the patrons some of who are minors. According to the report Bick was aware it was off for months. Additionally, Bick did not pay the fees associated with the inspection as businesses are required to do. The Government says while this incident is not directly related to the financial crimes for which Bick faces sentencing now, this demonstrates Bick’s poor character, his incorrigible behavior since conviction, and his disrespect for the law.
A public hearing is being held on Tuesday in Bethel about a proposed lease. The Bethel Board of Selectmen is holding a public hearing on November 1st to receive public comments on a proposed lease with BSGB LLC for a portion of the land and the building located at 5 Depot Place, commonly referred to as the “Old Train Station”.
The hearing is at 7pm in Meeting Room A of the Municipal Center.
The space was last occupied by Bethel Cycle.
BSGB LLC is owned by three local entrepreneurs who are looking to open a brew pub at the site, which is owned by the town. There are 3 principal owners of the business. Lisa Tassone owns nearby La Zingara restaurant, Chris Sanzeni of Bethel is an experienced brewer, and Paul Mannion owns the Green Grunion food truck in Danbury.
Danbury's free Fall Leaf Pick-up Program started this week. The leaf collection program will run for six weeks, through December 2nd. Only leaves bagged in paper leaf bags with no tape should be left at curbside for the city’s Highway Department to pick-up. No plastic bags, large debris like tree stumps or grass clippings will be collected.
Branches will be picked up separately. Limbs must be cut into lengths no longer than 4 feet, no limb may be larger than 4 inches in diameter. Branches must be bundled with twine in bundles no heavier than 35 pounds.
The Leaf Pickup Program is divided by I-84; Section A is to the south with zip code 06810 and Section B is to the north with zip code 06811. Section A pick up continues tomorrow before switching to Section B. This cycle will be repeated through December 2nd.
Pick-up dates are subject to change throughout the program depending on weather and the Highway Department’s work schedule.
Ferris Mulch Products at 6 Plumtrees Road is open for Danbury residents who wish to drop off their own bags or tree and yard debris throughout the year for free. The hours are Monday through Friday 7:00 am through 3:30 pm. Saturday from 7:30 am to 12noon. Closed on Sundays.
One of only two open State Senate seats is for the 30th District, which includes New Milford.
Republican Craig Miner is currently serving his 8th term as state Representative for Bethlehem, Litchfield, Morris, Warren and Woodbury. In the legislature, he is a member of the Appropriations, Environment, Labor & Public Employees, and Public Safety committee.
Democrat David Lawson teaches in Dover Plains, New York. He lives in New Milford with his wife, and that's where they raised their children. He is serving his fourth term on the Board of Education and is currently the chairman. His priorities would be economic growth and development, education, health, and the environment. He decided to run for the legislature because of the partisan bickering in Hartford. He wants to help end that and start the General Assembly working as a team.
During the last term, Miner says he worked with the outgoing Senator from the 30th District, Clark Chapin, to secure statewide municipal grants to deal with invasive species in Connecticut waterways. He supported legislation to give financial assistance to firefighters who suffer from certain diseases as a result of performing their jobs. The funding comes from the Firefighter Cancer Relief Program.
Lawson wants to protect and preserve wildlife, waterways, and air quality. When it comes to preserving open space, he says the state is not currently transparent in land transfers, and would like to change that.
Miner says he's concerned about the lack of job growth. He thinks Connecticut has a lot to offer and he'd like to turn the state's economy around. He believes the legislature should get into budget issues earlier. He says there is some wasteful spending that needs to be addressed. Miner says post employment benefits, wages and benefits for state employees should all be on the table. He says once the state gets a hand on expenses and bonding, corporations and residents will feel more secure and will stay.
Lawson agrees that the Education Cost Sharing formula needs to be reworked and more equitable. He was pleased when he first heard the judge rule that the state is not constitutionally fulfilling its role in funding education. But he says the ruling went far beyond the scope of the initial lawsuit. He says the idea of one-size fits all needs to be looked at, as do teacher evaluations.
He would advocate for the Northwest corner to expand vocational and technical opportunities. Lawson wants the state to be proactive and not reactive. He would work to keep the hospitals in the district open. He says they cover a wide area and are a big asset to the region.
Miner served on a subcommittee of the Task Force dealing with guns and ammunition. He voted in opposition to the Gun Safety Bill passed in the wake of the shootings at Sandy Hook School, but voted in favor of some fixes to the bill. He says he voted against the large bill because of questions that came up, including what happens if someone leaves their gun to a relative in their estate. Miner said another issue dealt with antiques and curios, a group covered under a federal license for selling high value firearms. One fix Miner introduced was allowing people to get their firearms back that were in a gun shop on consignment with a magazine larger than a certain size. The original bill didn't allow for those guns to return to their owners. Another provision gave equality to constables as to police.
The opiate, drug and alcohol issues are also a priority for Lawson. He says the state has learned that Connecticut can't arrest its way out of it. He called for more education and opportunities for people with addiction to get the help they need.
The development of the Century Brass property in New Milford is a contentious topic. A proposal has been made to enter into an Option Agreement with Panda Power. Texas-based Panda Power Company has proposed a twin turbine, air cooled, natural gas electricity generation plant. Two informational sessions have already been held and three more are scheduled.
New Milford Mayor David Gronbach says preliminary estimated tax revenue from the tax assessor when the plant is running is between $7.5 million and $11 million. The old Century Brass Mill property is 72 acres and designed as a brownfield site. It was acquired by the town through a foreclosure process.
The informational session with Panda Power Plant representatives are scheduled for November 9th and 10th at 7pm at Sarah Noble School and November 10th at 1pm at Town Hall.
A Danbury man making an appearance in Danbury Superior Court was wanted for illegal drug sales, and arrested. Resident concerns about 29-year old Timothy Joyner selling drugs led to an investigation weeks ago and police were issued search warrants.
When Joyner went to court on unrelated charges yesterday, police were waiting. A search of his vehicle, parked in the Superior Court parking lot, turned up illegal narcotics packaged for sale. SWAT team members went to his Padanaram Road home and a search resulted in the seizure of drug paraphernalia.
Joyner was charged with possession of narcotics, possession with intent to sell, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a controlled substance and operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license.
He was held for arraignment.
A 21-year old Danbury man who was convicted of running a Ponzi Scheme when he was a teenager has been sentenced.
Ian Bick was ordered this morning to serve 36 months in prison. That will be followed by three years of supervised release, the first 12 months in home confinement. Bick was also ordered to pay more than $480,000 in restitution.
Bond was revoked for the Tuxedo Junction owner earlier this month after prosecutors claimed that Bick continued to engage in the same type of conduct that underlies his conviction by raising money for his so-called business ventures under false pretenses.
In a sentencing memo, prosecutors said this may be one of the rare white collar cases where a significant prison term is necessary as a deterrence based on post-conviction conduct. The filing claims that Bick has shown no remorse for his conduct.
The chairman of the Fairfield Board of Education is looking to unseat the incumbent Republican state Senator in the 28th District, which includes Newtown. State Senator Tony Hwang faces a challenge from Democrat Philip Dwyer, who served the community through the YMCA and three different elected offices.
Hwang says he wants to bring greater transparency, sustainability and predictability to the state budgeting process. He says the way tax revenue and resources are managed, and how spending is allocated impacts every facet of every community. He says the current budgetary process is broken because all parties involved aren't brought to the table. Hwang says cutting school budgets, impacting municipalities and those most at risk is flawed. He says the most vulnerable; the developmentally disabled, seniors and hospitals need to be protected. He says the state is in a crisis and lawmakers need to send a message that they are working together to create an environment where businesses and people can sustain themselves in Connecticut. He says government needs to be accountable to the people they represent.
Dwyer says community engagement is important to quality of life in the state. He wants to help the legislature have a better understanding of local school districts. Job development is also a focus for Dwyer. His top priorities are improvements in public schools, job growth, transportation and services for those most in need.
There is a court ruling making its way to the state Supreme Court about education funding fairness and other reforms to the education system in Connecticut. Dwyer says the judge made it seem like it's a question of rearranging allocations between rural, suburban and urban. But he says it goes much deeper than that, it's about closing the achievement gap in all districts. He says there are achievement gaps across the state. Dwyer says that's where the focus of the state should be when it comes to educating all children.
Hwang agrees with a state judge who ruled recently that Connecticut's education funding formula needs to be reformed. He says it's become a political doling out of favors without true application. Hwang says there's a lack of equity in the current system. But he was critical of the school construction funding part of the ruling should be allocated based upon the wealth of each community. He says schools are built for every future child who may use that school. Hwang also disagreed about special education funding reforms. He says every child deserves a quality education and should have an opportunity to live a fulfilled life. Hwang says America's greatness is predicated on the quality of educational foundations, and that shouldn't be allowed to lapse into mediocrity.
Dwyer says government works best when it takes care of those most in need. He called for better services to those who need mental health services and those who are not as financially well off as others. He says the state can't grow jobs without a strong transportation system.
Hwang says mental health is a critical component to everyone's well being. He says mental illness is no different than physical ailments, and efforts should be made to eliminate the stigma. He called for education, supportive services and counseling. He says the Be Kind Program and initiatives started by Sandy Hook parents in the wake of tremendous tragedy are making people's lives better.
Dwyer says Connecticut has a big budget problem. His career has been spent balancing budgets while preserving services for those most in need. He says there are tough decisions and prioritizations that have to be made.
Hwang says the state taxes far too much and spends too much. He believes the state has to balance needs against wants. Before tolls or a mileage tax can be taken seriously, Hwang says the Special Transportation Fund needs to be used solely for transportation infrastructure projects.
Having affordable health care costs is a concern. Dwyer says the Board of Education has found a way, working with employee groups, to make changes to health insurance plans that saves them money, saves the town money while preserving the basic services they want. He touted the state for passing Partnership 2.0 for making it possible for the Fairfield school district to $3.5 million on health insurance costs. Employees saved $800,000.
Hwang says some bills he's proud of working in a bipartisan manner include protecting the state's waterways. He says the Long Island Sound Plan maps out the topography and the shipping routes that can boost the state's commerce while protecting the waterway. He also touted legislation to give financial assistance to firefighters who suffer from certain diseases as a result of performing their jobs. He also praised the School Safety Zero Tolerance bill. He says there's been a rash of threats of violence against schools. He says the financial trauma to first responder resources and the emotional trauma to students, faculty and parents causes havoc and is not a laughing matter.
Dwyer says Connecticut's gun safety law isn't about gun control, it's about gun violence prevention. He says Connecticut is number 2 in terms of responsible actions taken. He says there are more steps that can be taken to change the gun culture in the country, and to put laws on the books that help communities be safer. He notes that a majority of those in the gun sale industry are responsible make sure people have background checks. He wants bad actors in the gun sales industry to be held accountable to higher standards.
Hwang called on his fellow lawmakers to be models of cooperation and compassion to make positive contributions to the state. In walking the district, he's learned that people don't begrudge paying their fair share of taxes. But he says they don't believe their tax dollars are being spent properly, efficiently and respectfully. He says government has a role in ensuring the most vulnerable are protected, that public safety is upheld and the infrastructure is safe. Hwang says government has a responsibility to stay out of people's lives and empower businesses, but not be the solution to growing jobs. He's also heard that the unrelenting burden of taxes and regulations are driving people from the state. He wants the state to reign in spending and treat each tax dollar coming in as any other household does.
A jury has found a Danbury teen guilty on a manslaughter charge. 20-year old Emanuel Harris was tried as an adult even though he was 17 when he was accused of stabbing 17-year old Luan Pitol in 2013.
The two groups of friends got into an argument after a soda can hit the ground near one another after a dance at the Harambee Youth Center. Each group went on their way, but they came together on Wooster Street.
Harris allegedly stabbed Pitol and another teen in the backs. He was also found guilty of assault for slashing another teen. Harris will be sentenced on December 13th.
A Danbury nanny charged with dozens of counts of risk of injury to a minor will have the case decided by a judge rather than a jury. During a court appearance Tuesday, 32-year old Lidia Quilligana opted to have a Danbury Superior Court Judge decided the case. She was arrested last March after being allegedly recorded on a nanny camera beating and burning a 3-year old girl in her care.
At the time, she said the child accidentally touched the hot stove while she was tending to the other children.
Quilligana gave birth in December while being held in custody on $1 million bond. She faces up to 10 years in prison on each of the 23 risk of injury charges filed against her, and up to 20 years in prison on the assault charge. She rejected a plea deal in April.
The next court appearance is set for December 6th.
Twin brothers wanted in connection with a September bank robbery in Connecticut have been arrested in New York.
Connecticut State Police announced on Twitter that Vince Rollins and Vance Coffin were arrested in New York on Tuesday and are awaiting extradition.
The two 50-year old Norwich residents were wanted for a bank robbery in Canterbury on Sept. 23. They had last been seen driving in a black SUV in the southeastern part of the state. State police issued an announcement Monday that said the brothers were "considered armed and dangerous" and advised anyone spotting them not to confront them but to call police instead.
(Vance Coffin, Vincent Rollins)
The Putnam County Sheriff says the pair was captured the town of Southeast Tuesday after they were found sleeping in a stolen car. Connecticut State Police notified the Sheriff’s Office at about 11:30am that the men were believed to be somewhere in the area of Brewster.
The Sheriff’s Office dispatched about a dozen investigators and plainclothes deputy sheriffs. They located the fugitives about an hour later in a 2010 Toyota Corolla parked off the side of Old Milltown Road in Southeast, near the East Branch Reservoir.
The men were taken into custody without resistance.
The car had been reported stolen from Colchester, Connecticut on October 17th. A North Carolina license plate on the car belonged on another vehicle stolen from a car in Newton, North Carolina around October 21st.
Coffin and Rollins were both charged with felony criminal possession of stolen property and misdemeanor criminal possession of stolen property.
A 30-day public water supply emergency has been declared by the state for the City of Danbury. This follows an order locally for residents to conserve water. At that time reservoir levels were at 66% of full capacity, which is approximately 11% below normal for this time of year.
The City's Public Utilities Department says water supply reservoirs are approaching critically low levels.
The state Department of Public Health declaration is valid for 30 days, but the City can apply for additional 30 day extensions, up to a maximum of 150 days. The order means that Danbury can tap Lake Kenosia to bolster the water supply.
Danbury also provides water to certain portions of Bethel and Ridgefield.
The current drought conditions are taxing many of the state’s reservoirs and forcing public water systems to ask for an emergency declaration to protect their supplies. This is the third such order.
A New York woman wanted in Bethel has been arrested as a Fugitive from Justice. New York State Police arrested 58-year old Rosemarie Castillo of Pawling on Wednesday after an investigation revealed that Bethel Police had a warrant for her arrest.
The warrant was for a 6th degree larceny charge.
Castillo was arraigned and ordered held at Dutchess County Jail on $50,000 bond while awaiting extradition to Connecticut.
Monroe firefighters are reminding people of the importance of having carbon monoxide detectors in their homes after an oil burner in a Moose Hill Road home experienced an internal catastrophic failure Saturday night and led to a sudden release of highly elevated carbon monoxide.
Monroe fire officials say the family wasn't home at the time, but their alarm company reported an activated carbon monoxide alarm. Using gas detection meters, firefighters detected carbon monoxide levels of 450 parts per million; a level that can cause severe illness after one to two hours of exposure.
Firefighters, wearing breathing apparatus, shut off the furnace and ventilated the home for over an hour.
Fire officials say homeowners should have working carbon monoxide detectors on each level of the house, including outside of the bedroom areas. Carbon monoxide is an invisible, colorless, and odorless gas generated when fossil fuels burn incompletely. Carbon monoxide can begin to cause nausea, headache, dizziness, and difficulty breathing that can lead to unconsciousness and death.
A Brewster man has been arrested as part of an ongoing investigation into prescription drug sales in the Town of Southeast and the surrounding area. A Putnam County Sheriff's Deputy with the Narcotics Enforcement Unit learned that a man was selling pills in June,
The deputy was able to arrange a purchase of Zanax pills on Thursday after gathering evidence.
20-year old John Power was charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance and possession with intent to distribute. Both are felony counts. Power was arraigned and released without bail for a future court appearance.
Wilton Police have arrested a Bridgeport woman on a larceny charge. Police determined that 36-year old Hannah Henry stole money and checks from her elderly patient while she was working as a home healthcare aide. Henry was also charged with Identity Theft, and Forgery. She was arraigned in Norwalk Superior Court yesterday after failing to post a $10,000 cash bail.
The League of Women Voters of Fairfield County hosted a debate on Sunday night between 4th District Congressman Jim Himes, the Democratic incumbent, and his Republican challenger John Shaban. Shaban is a state Representative from Redding. Himes is seeking a 5th term in office. Himes repeatedly cited remarks made by Republican Donald Trump and the Republican majority in the House as being problematic. Shaban fought back each time saying that in his opponent's first term there was a Democratic President and majority in both chambers.
The candidates were asked about specific action to update Social Security so that it is financially sound and beneficial for recipients.
Himes says solvency is one of the essential things, and something that the Presidential candidates haven't talked about. He says if nothing is done, some 25 years from now, benefits will have to be scaled back so about 70-percent of what people are expecting. Himes says now is the moment to deal with it by making relatively small adjustments. He would raise the cap on which income is no longer subject to payroll withholding tax. He would support measures that would have the wealthiest Americans pay an increased tax rate on Social Security earnings or scale back their Social Security benefits. He said he wants to be careful when talking about the retirement age, but would raise it when in combination with a progressive change in contributions. Himes opposes privatization of Social Security.
Shaban says means testing makes sense on the receiving end or the cap end. He called it a math problem, not a political problem. He says changes for people who are getting ready to retire in the next 10 or 15 years would not happen. But he would like to see a discussion about raising the retirement age, linked with a scaled pay out system. He says the rate of benefit could change depending on how early a recipient takes pay outs. Shaban opposes privatization of Social Security because that flies in the face of why the system was set up in the first place.
Several questions about immigration were posed. One was about how to balance reforms to the system with needs of constituents.
Shaban says people who are here are constituents, part of the fabric of the community and citizens. He says almost everyone comes from a family of immigrants. He called immigration a political football that's been kicked around for some 25 years. Shaban would like to take what he called a "stand up and stand out" approach. He wants to make it easier and more efficient for people who have come to this country legally to gain citizenship, noting that it shouldn't take a decade to get through the process. He says the millions of people here illegally will not be deported en mass, that's not the first step. He says there may be a small fine, but those residents should then go to the back of the line and go through the citizenship process. If people here illegally don't pay their taxes or commit a crime, then Shaban says they should be deported.
Himes says one of the first things that has to happen is a change in the way people talk about immigrants. He says building a wall is not a constructive policy. Himes also said there shouldn't be a religious test to keep Muslims out of the country. He says he would have voted in favor of a bill approved by the U.S. Senate, but never came up fro a vote in the House. The bill would have done three things including provide more money for border security. But he says a majority of the undocumented aliens didn't cross the border, they overstayed their visas. Himes says as long as employers continue to pay the undocumented, they will come. The bill would have provided technology and systems that would allow employers to know if employees were entitled to work, and penalties for those who break the law. The bill would have also included an earned path to citizenship.
Himes says "The Dreamers", children who were brought to this country by their parents and know no other home, should be taken care of. He says his opponent was wrong to oppose a bill in the General Assembly giving in-state tuition rates to children living in Connecticut who were brought to this country illegally by their parents.
Shaban says the blame can't be placed on the Republican majority, because Himes had a Democratic majority during his first term. He says it's against federal law to provide different benefits to a federally funded institution. Shaban says the state Attorney General agreed. He called for an expedited path for The Dreamers to gain citizenship.
Climate change was also addressed.
Himes says climate change is real and human caused. He says scientific consensus is behind that belief. Himes says the bizarre weather is proof of climate change. He called it a profound problem that's been too long in addressing because so many people have denied it exists. He says increased standards for automobiles has helped reduce the effects of climate change. He also touted a bill he helped get passed which would increase home and office efficiencies. Savings would be shared with properties that increased their energy savings. He says battery technology was improved for cars, which has started to bend the curve. Himes wants to reduce carbon-based energy sources and nuclear energy and move toward renewable energies.
Shaban is an environmental lawyer and sits on the Environment Committee in Hartford. He says it doesn't matter if climate change is man-made or not, it's happening and needs to be addressed. Shaban says carbon in the atmosphere is a problem and needs to be addressed. He says there are things that can be done to move toward to renewable energy. Shaban says a carbon tax doesn't really work because carbon is being emitted by everything that burns and everything that breathes. He called for long term production tax credits. Shaban says companies don't know if tax credits will stay in place so they're not sure if they'll be able to invest. He noted that the General Assembly passed the Long Island Blue Plan to protect the shoreline and figure out what's changing in the water of Long Island Sound.
The candidates were asked if they support gun control legislation, and if so, what type of restrictions.
Shaban says he's already supported gun control legislation. Shaban worked on the 2013 gun bill approved by the General Assembly. He says what makes a device dangerous is the person holding the device, but he does believe some controls are needed. He touted legislation for better background checks, safe storage and better security at schools. Shaban also touted better mental health screenings. But he says if the laws can't be funded, they won't do anyone any good. He says people lose focus of what needs to be done to deter a majority of gun violence, stemming the illegal flow of guns across the state lines. Shaban called the walk out by Himes on a 'moment of silence' an inappropriate reaction. He says Himes should have instead pitched a bill. Shaban says if he is elected he would push for a bill to stop the illegal trafficking of guns across state lines.
Himes agreed with Shaban that nothing is getting done in Congress, and there will be more 'moments of silence' as a response to non-stop violence. He says now is not the time to stop talking. Himes said he made the 'symbolic gesture' to protest an abdication of duty. He says those so-called stunts didn't accomplish a lot, but if enough of them occur eventually the chambers will act. He says the walk out, sit in and filibuster mattered. If reelected, Himes says he will continue to sponsor every bill he can that will end gun violence and continue to raise symbolic hell. He says the majority of gun violence is not illegally trafficked guns citing suicide, San Bernardino, Orlando and Columbine.
Himes did commend Shaban for voting for the Connecticut gun safety bill. He said it was a courageous vote for a Republican. Shaban says they’re saying the same thing, but there’s a difference between talk and action. He said it wasn’t a tough for him as a Republican, it was a tough vote for him because a lot of kids got killed and he had to look at their parents each day when they came to Hartford. Shaban says if the bill was just about device restrictions, they missed the point. He noted that it was also about mental health, school security and funding. He called it groundbreaking legislation, which is almost meaningless because of a lack of funds.
The next question was about the Supreme Court ruling known as Citizens United. The ruling holds that political spending is a form of protected speech under the First Amendment, and the government may not keep corporations or unions from spending money to support or denounce individual candidates in elections.
Himes says he opposes the ruling and would like to see it reversed. He says money is not the same as speech. He called for similar controls to the Connecticut public campaign financing system.
Shaban says there is still room under the decision to make things more transparent. He says it takes a long time to reverse a case and would prefer to see a campaign financing system. He also called for term limits. Shaban says there’s nothing illegal about large campaign war chests, but the optics are funny.
The Affordable Care Act was the next topic.
Shaban says it has to be repaired and then replaced. He says repeal and replace doesn’t work because that leaves a coverage gap. He says some people have arguably benefited from it, but vastly more people have been hurt by ACA. Shaban says the premise of the ACA didn’t pan out. He says there needs to be interstate commerce, plan clarity and torte reform. He says there has to be an Exchange, but coupled with a competitive interstate marketplace. Shaban cited studies finding the cost as $1.2 trillion to implement the ACA and insure 20 million people, but if the Medicaid limits had only been increased it would have cost $116 billion. Shaban says a top-down, one-sized fits all federal government doesn’t work.
Himes says it’s profoundly wrong to say that more people have been hurt than helped by the Affordable Care Act. Himes says the uninsured rate is down and millions of people have benefitted from the Affordable Care Act. He says there is no perfect legislation, and noted that there are problems in the small business and individual market. Himes says the donut hole for Medicare beneficiaries is gone because of the Affordable Care Act. He wants to keep the good parts and look for ways to draw more healthy people into the market. Himes says some 30 states haven’t expanded Medicaid as they were invited to do under the ACA.
A question from the audience was about what the one thing that Congress needs to tackle. Himes says too few Americans are feeling the benefit of economic recovery. He’d like to see an investment in national infrastructure to help people more productive. Himes says he’s tried to bring in federal resources to create construction jobs, but he’d like to get ahead of some problems like the Walk Bridge failure. He says rebuilding highways, railroads and laying fiber optic cable, the government is helping to put people back to work. Himes says when the economy tanked in 2008, government missed an opportunity to put people to work and bring the nation’s infrastructure into the 21st century.
Shaban says the question is who would manage the resources to do that. He says the biggest challenge is how to keep the federal government as small as possible. Shaban says he has more trust in Redding’s Democratic First Selectman to manage resources than all the Republicans in Congress. He notes that right now Connecticut residents send dollars to Washington, DC and only get pennies back. He added that the money comes back with strings attached. He says things are managed better from the ground up with a limited government. Shaban says model of the FAST Act is a classic example. He was critical of the Hartford-New Britain busway, which was built with federal money. He says the $600 million project was a waste and a failure because there are no jobs in either city. He says it would have been less of a waste to build the same busway between Stamford and Bridgeport. Shaban says Congressman Larson was in Hartford lobbying to get the busway pushed through, but if he had been in Congress he would have been fighting to get the busway in Fairfield County. He called the 4th District a cash machine for the state and for the country. Shaban also said the federal Department of Education should be phased out and the money returned to the states.
Himes countered that it’s easy to criticize how politicians spend money. He also said it’s not true that Connecticut only gets pennies back on the dollar. He says people don’t like politicians because they play fast and loose with the facts. Himes says a lot of the federal money that gets sent back is for Medicaid and food stamps for people. He says getting more of that back would not bode well for the state’s wellbeing.
A question was posed about hacking and cyber security. Shaban says intellectual property laws need to be beefed up. Himes says everything will be networked soon and he’s been pushing for an international agreement like the Geneva Accords, which he’s dubbed E-neva Accords. He says there needs to be agreement on the rules of cyber warfare, which includes agreeing not to attack critical infrastructure anymore than it is permissible to bomb a hospital. He says an agreement to go after the rogue hackers needs to be reached. Himes has a new cell phone, because his old cell number got posted during the DNC hack. He called cyber security a huge economic and job opportunity.
A political newcomer and a former Selectman are vying to fill an empty legislative seat in Bethel. The 2nd State House District seat is being vacated by Dan Carter. Democrat Raghib Allie-Brennan and Republican Will Duff are each seeking to be the area's next legislator.
Allie-Brennan grew up in Bethel, went to St. Mary's Church and did mission trips across the country. During his senior year at Mary Mount Manhattan College, he took a course on natural disasters, with a focus on Hurricane Katrina. He became passionate about protecting cities below the sea level, Homeland Security and government oversight. Allie-Brennan served on the Bethel Inland Wetlands Committee. He also worked as a legislative aide in Washington, DC.
Duff is a former member of the Boards of Education, Selectmen and Tax Review. He says the state has been taking advantage of residents, and notes that area towns aren't getting their moneys worth out of Hartford.
Allie-Brennan says millennials, seniors, middle class families and businesses are all being pushed out. He wants to go to Hartford to shake things up because the majority incumbents have dropped the ball. Allie-Brennan says the welfare of the state is at stake.
Duff says Connecticut is one of only four states that tax social security income and pension revenue. He called it immoral and says he wants to eliminate that tax. He also wants to look at affordable housing laws to strengthen municipal sovereignty over zoning decisions.
Education reforms will be a big topic in the coming session. Allie-Brennan says good schools attract more families. He says Bethel has a great special education program, but there's a lack of funds. He says fighting for funding fairness will be one of his top priorities.
Duff says there is no concrete formula to the Education Cost Sharing money. He says the ECS is robbing towns like Danbury and Bethel. He says every child is equal and deserves the same amount of funding.
When it comes to transportation infrastructure improvements, Duff says the big problem is that there is no more money. He says bridges and road aren't the only infrastructure in need of upgrading. He wants to the full Danbury branch line of Metro North to be electrified. Duff says the idea of a mileage tax is insane. He doesn't want to raise the gasoline tax anymore.
In order to attract business to Connecticut, Allie-Brennan wants to have more walkable communities and better rail service. He says the Bethel Train Station is very crowded and would like to make the most of the current resources. He called for Metro North to double track, electrify and move people in and out as quickly as possible. He notes that traffic congestion is a deterrence to business growth. He wants to study how to fund infrastructure improvements. Allie-Brennan also called for the Transportation Fund to be used only for transportation projects.
Duff says the experiment over the last six years of the state taxing itself into prosperity has been a failure. He wants to look at why Connecticut is so expensive to do business. He says there are layers of taxes that are prohibitive. Duff says simplifying the tax code is a major part of it. But he also called for severe cuts to stop the cycle of deficits year after year.
Allie-Brennan says it's unfortunate that Connecticut is in a place where the state has to aggressively incentivize businesses. But he says through energy grants, tax incentives or equipment grants can be incentives for businesses.
Opioid addiction needs to be addressed as well, according to Duff. He called it an epidemic that affects entire families. He says there are programs that need better funding to help end the opioid addiction.
Allie-Brennan says he's been going door to door in the district to see what the priorities of the constituents are, because he wants to represent their agenda and not impose his own priorities. A topic he sees a place for bipartisanship work is on Transit Oriented Development. He says good families are attracted to Bethel and more jobs need to be attracted to help keep families in town.
Duff says the race is one of experience. He says that's the key to being a good legislator in Hartford.
When it comes to the recently enacted gun laws, Allie-Brennan says he doesn't want to turn the clock backwards. He says people he's talked to want to move forward. He says that includes talking about mental health care.
A Danbury man who allegedly robbed an acquaintance has been arrested. Danbury Police received a report of a robbery Friday at a shopping plaza on Mill Ridge Road. The victim said that 23-year old Tyrice Mouning told him to go to the back of the store, that he had a gun, and demanded money. The man reportedly pushed Mouning, but then gave him more than $100.
Police were called Saturday after people spotted Mouning back at the plaza. He fled when officer arrived, and tried to go out a back door of a deli.
Officers were able to handcuff him, but he ran away. Mouning was caught and transported to the police station where he was charged with robbery, larceny, assault, threatening, interfering with officers and possession of a controlled substance.
He was held on bond.
The Danbury Dog Park is now open on Miry Brook Road.
The City Council approved the use of the land off Miry Brook for the dog park in April 2015. Construction began in June of this year. Council President Joseph Cavo says the off-leash dog park will be a great addition to the diverse recreational inventory in Danbury.
Mayor Mark Boughton says he's excited to provide a place for Danbury dog lovers to exercise their companions. He says dog parks are one of the fastest growing recreational spaces that a community can provide for its residents. Danbury saw a 6.5% increase last year in the number of licensed dogs in the city. Boughton says this is the largest completely fenced in off leash dog park in Western Connecticut. The Southbury dog park is larger, but bordered on one side by a river.
Part of the advocacy for the dog park came from an 8-year old boy. Jacob Saadi, son of Councilman Tom Saadi, had a class assignment to write about a problem in Danbury or something the City was missing. Jacob wrote about the need for a dog park, and after turning in the assignment to his teacher, sent the letter to the Mayor.
The dog park contains two fenced in areas; 0.82 acres for small dogs and 1.1 acres for large dogs (20lbs and over). Water is provided on site and the park is open from sunrise to sunset. The project cost about $150,000. Most of the cost was for fencing. The funding came from left over money in an old recreational bond.
An environmentally sensitive area is protected with fencing.
Residents will not be allowed to park on the side street due to airport restrictions. The FAA did sign off on use of the land for a dog park.