Nurse practitioner joins Sharon primary care office
Sharon, Conn. — July 27, 2021 — New to the primary care team, Karen Arel will see patients at Nuvance Health Medical Practice in Sharon, Conn.
The family nurse practitioner has more than three decades of healthcare experience, most recently as a registered nurse at Nuvance Health’s Sharon Hospital Emergency Department. She has since graduated with her primary care nurse practitioner certification from Perdue University Global and is excited to care for patients seeking family medicine in the community.
Throughout her nursing career, Arel cared for patients at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford, Sharon Hospital, Charlotte Hungerford Hospital in Torrington and Baptist Hospital in Tennessee. She has worked with medical, surgical, intensive care, oncology and critically ill patients of all ages.
Rising to leadership positions, she was director of intensive care at Sharon Hospital from 2006-08 and director or inpatient services there from 2008-11. Arel received a master’s degree in health administration in 2011 and worked in healthcare technologies management, as well as patient quality and safety improvement.
Lamont: State will follow any new CDC rules on masks
HARTFORD — Connecticut can be expected to follow new federal masking guidelines based on Gov. Ned Lamont’s comments Tuesday before the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Preventions released updated recommendations.
The CDC is now recommending that even vaccinated people return to wearing masks indoors in parts of the U.S. with 50 or more new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people in the previous seven days.
Also, the nation’s health protection agency is recommending indoor masks for all teachers, staff, students and visitors at schools nationwide, regardless of vaccination status.
The governor’s office, state Department of Public Health and state Department of Education will have updates on state policy in the coming days after the updated CDC guidance is reviewed, said Max Reiss, Lamont’s communications director.
In Connecticut, the governor’s office observed that only Hartford and New London counties have weekly case counts that come close to the CDC threshold. Lamont’s latest emergency order requires people who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to wear face coverings in most indoor public settings.
Sanders partners with Ridgway in Cornwall election
CORNWALL — Democrats tapped First Selectman Gordon M. Ridgway to run for his 16th term during a virtual nomination meeting Sunday.
Janet Carlson Sanders will be his running mate, replacing Marina Kotchoubey, who served as selectman for two years and decided not to seek re-election.
Ridgway said the last two years have been the most challenging of his tenure. He said he will continue the successful response to COVID-19, noting the community effort “was like few other towns in dealing with it.”
Ridgway spoke of the importance of the Northwest Hills Council of Governments, strongly denouncing the idea it makes decisions for the town.
Sharon names new social services director
SHARON — Mary O’Reilly is impressed with how many people are out in the community helping others.
Since taking over as social services director in town this spring, she sees that firsthand.
O’Reilly comes to the job from a career in teaching. Both she and her husband, Philip O’Reilly, are educators, “so I guess I have a passion to be of service to others,” she said.
She finds her past experiences helpful in this new position.
COVID rates jump in the Lower Hudson Valley as Delta variant spreads, new vaccinations wane
COVID-19 cases in the Lower Hudson Valley have steadily climbed over the last month as the more-contagious Delta variant spreads statewide.
Following national trends, cases have spiked in counties across the region, though hospitalizations and deaths have not followed at the same pace.
“97% of those hospitalizations are in unvaccinated individuals,” Rockland County Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert said. “Prevention with the vaccine is working,” she said.
Connecticut will follow any new CDC rules on masks
HARTFORD — Gov. Ned Lamont says he is inclined to follow any change the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention makes in its masking guidelines.
Lamont responded Tuesday morning to news reports that the CDC is expected to issue an updated policy later in the afternoon that recommends vaccinated people wear masks indoors in parts of the U.S. where the coronavirus is surging. When the CDC recommends universal masking for indoor settings, he said he will likely adopt the revised federal recommendations during a news conference following ceremonial bill signings at the headquarters of Hartford Communities That Care. He also said he is likely to adhere to CDC masking guidelines for school settings, but he is leaning against a mask mandate. At this time, only youths age 12 and older are eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
CDC recommends masking indoors for some. Will New York follow suit?
New York will have to decide whether to adopt new mask-wearing guidelines after the federal government reversed its position Tuesday, recommending that even vaccinated people wear them indoors, including in schools, in areas of high COVID-19 transmission. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced the change as the spread of the delta variant, a particularly transmissible strain of COVID-19, picked up speed across the nation. Now, it will be up to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration — or perhaps local governments — to decide whether to adopt the federal guidance in New York. As of Tuesday afternoon, the state’s mask-wearing policy largely applied only to those in public spaces who are unvaccinated. The state Department of Health did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday afternoon.
NY advocates join multi-state push for high-speed rail, improvements from NYC to Chicago
Advocates for boosting passenger-rail service in New York are joining forces with similarly minded groups from states in the Midwest and Northeast to push for improvements, including the possibility of high-speed rail.
On Tuesday, seven passenger rail associations announced they would form the Lakeshore Rail Alliance, a multi-state coalition of organizations that will use their collective voice to push for better mobility along the Lake Shore Corridor between Chicago and New York City. All Aboard Erie, a group dedicated to the development of high-speed rail and improvements to public transportation in Erie, Pennsylvania, was chosen to host the coalition because of its central location between the Midwest and East Coast, according to a news release from the group.
50 RVs, maybe; not 300-plus, Hinsdale neighbors say. ‘It’s going to be an invasion’
HINSDALE — In Hinsdale, planners will gather Wednesday to take their first close look at one of the largest development projects the town has seen. On Longview Avenue, residents are way ahead of them. Lawn signs sprouted this month along the twisting and undulating rural road. “Preserve Plunkett Lake. Say NO to Northgate RV,” they say. Some carry little notes above: “Protect Our Neighborhood.” The signs, in black and blue, reveal a street that already is smarting from a national company’s pitch to transform Camp Emerson into a recreational vehicle park with more than 300 parking places. Northgate Resort Ventures LLC filed an application in June for the special permit it needs to move forward. The Planning Board meets at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday to take it up for the first time. Northgate is expected to present its plan and then field questions from town officials. The Planning Board will issue a recommendation to the Select Board, after taking public comment at a second meeting, on Aug. 16.
Connecticut reports 900 breakthrough cases among over 2 million vaccinated
BY PAUL HUGHES REPUBLICAN-AMERICANJuly 26, 20211326
NEW HAVEN — State health officials are reporting 900 breakthrough cases of COVID-19 among the more than 2.1 million people who are fully vaccinated against the viral disease, including 21 deaths.
Heather Aaron, a deputy commission of public health, shared the latest numbers during a news conference Monday on the New Haven Green with Gov. Ned Lamont concerning the state vaccination effort.
She said state health officials are still analyzing the 21 deaths so she had no information concerning how many of the dead also had other diseases or medical conditions. In addition to the lack of data on comorbidities, she was unable to say how many breakthrough infections resulted in hospitalizations.
Aaron said the state Department of Public Health will be releasing more detailed analysis on breakthrough cases later this week, including comorbidity and hospitalization data.
COVID cases surge 51% in NY
ALBANY – New York’s COVID-19 positivity rate continues to rise as the virus’ spread stubbornly persists across the state and the nation, jumping from a mere 0.4% a month ago to 2.2% on Sunday.
It’s meant that COVID cases in New York, still relatively small compared to last winter, are heading in the wrong direction as health officials raise growing concerns that coronavirus is far from being eradicated.
In New York, new COVID cases leaped 51% in the week ending Sunday, rising to 9,352 cases. In fact, New York had nearly 2,000 new COVID cases on Sunday for the first time since mid-May, state records show, in part as the Delta variant continues to grow. And while New York’s virus cases jumped 51% over the past week, the national average was a 61% increase.
Hudson Valley named one of Time Magazine’s 100 greatest places in the world 2021
What do the Hudson Valley, Costa Rica, and Dubai have in common?
They’ve all made it on Time Magazine’s list of “The World’s 100 Greatest Places of 2021.” In Time’s third annual World’s Greatest Places list, the magazine wanted to pay tribute to the hospitality, travel and tourism industries, all of which were deeply impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
n order to compose the list of 100 greatest places across the world, Time asked its contributors to submit their thoughts on the world’s countries as well as specific regions and towns or villages or cities.
Also on the list are New York City; Cannes, France; Big Sky, Montana; Arouca, Portugal; Seattle, Washington; Desaru Coast, Malaysia; and KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. To check out the full list, go to time.com/collection/worlds-greatest-places-202
Kent Republicans tap Matson for first selectman nomination
Kent Republicans endorsed Edward Matson as their candidate for first selectman on the ballot in November during the caucus Thursday evening.
The caucus was a hybrid meeting with 10 people in Town Hall and about four online in a Zoom meeting. The Republican Town Committee opened its meeting, asking anyone who was not a registered Republican to leave the room, and then paused the meeting to hold the caucus, opening it up to the public again. There was little discussion of the slate of candidates. In fact, the names of the candidates were not even read aloud. Anthony DiPentima encouraged the Republicans attending to allow secretary Maureen Brady to ask for any nominations from the floor for candidates three times, which she did. As no one responded, those in attendance then approved the entire slate as presented. There were no candidates for selectman offered in the GOP slate. Matson has served as selectman for the past two years, after being defeated in 2019 in his run for first selectman by Democrat Jean Speck, 661-431. Speck has not officially announced whether she will run again. Selectman Christopher Garrity has publicly said he’s not seeking re-election.
Woodstock Film Festival returns to in-person theaters this fall.
The Woodstock Film Festival is headed back indoors.
The 22nd annual collection of movies, documentaries and expert panels will be held Sept. 30-Oct. 3 at several mid-Hudson Valley venues.
Amid pandemic restrictions a year ago the festival shifted gears with in-person screenings held at drive-in theaters — allowing Poughkeepsie, for the first time, to be a host at Overlook Drive-In — and streaming films and panels online. While the drive-in aspect has been removed this year, some streaming options will still be in the mix, according to an announcement from festival organizers this week. Films will be screened at several venues within Bearsville Center in Woodstock, and the Orpheum Theatre in Saugerties; Panels with actors and others will be at White Feather Farm in Saugerties; and the festival’s Maverick Awards ceremony will be at the Ulster County Performing Arts Center in Kingston.
Great Barrington Fire District lifts boil order for water users
GREAT BARRINGTON — Great Barrington Fire District customers can stop boiling their water. Officials with the town’s chief water supplier said Sunday afternoon that the boil order issued Friday has been lifted, two days after one water sample, collected Thursday, at the source tested positive for E. coli, a fecal matter indicator. But, the results of five test samples of untreated water taken Friday came back negative, according to Fire District Superintendent Peter Marks. The district draws its drinking water from an underground aquifer near the Green River, and it’s possible that the test result was a false positive.
Masks in Connecticut schools in limbo as Lamont waits on guidance before handing down decision
HARTFORD – Gov. Ned Lamont is taking his time deciding if face masks are going to be required for the upcoming school year. The Democrat is constantly being asked when he plans to make a decision on a mask mandate, and his answer for weeks has been not yet, and he has been circumspect about when he will make that call. “I think as late as I can,” Lamont told reporters Friday. With schools reopening in late August and early September, this is not what school officials, educators and parents eager for a definitive answer want to hear. Meanwhile, Lamont continues to say he is waiting for firmer federal guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Number of local dairy farms plummet
BY BRIGITTE RUTHMAN REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN
Challenged by years of economic hardship, declining milk prices, changing consumer trends and now a pandemic, conventional dairies that depend only on the value of milk shipped for processing are all but gone in Connecticut.
Once a familiar sight on hillside pastures near iconic New England barns, dairy cows that once drank from streams and made milk on grass now tend to be housed in large freestall barns where they receive custom rations mixed by nutritionists, drink from bowls with demand valves and are milked by robots.
Genetically bred for production, they are producing more milk than producers can handle and consumers want. There are more cows, about 20,000, chewing their cud on fewer farms. In Connecticut, the Department of Agriculture’s recently updated list of 98 dairy farms includes about 60 that ship milk to a processor and are paid federal milk marketing prices, according to an analysis by The Sunday Republican. The other 38 include four that are inactive, a number of goat farms, about a dozen that produce raw milk and several that keep their milk to market their own brand of cheese or pasteurized milk for local sales. In 1975, the state had 817 dairy farms.
COVID positivity surging in Dutchess, vaccinations increase lag in July
Three weeks into July, COVID-19 appears to be regaining a foothold in the mid-Hudson Valley, and vaccination rates appear to be further slowing.
As of Wednesday, the most recent day for which the county shared data on COVID-19, there were 122 active cases among county residents, the highest total since June 2, with a seven-day average positivity rate of 1.32%, the highest since May 20. Through the first three weeks of the month, there were 161 positive cases confirmed among county residents, already surpassing the total for all of May, 120, although still far off the pace of 650 seen in April.
Ancram funds food thru ANHNA
The Ancram Town Board has is providing annual financial assistance to a local not-for-profit group of volunteers who help feed hungry people in this area. The board approved a resolution to support the Ancramdale Neighbors Helping Neighbors Association’s (ANHNA) weekly food delivery program with $11,000 annually and the purchase of a vehicle costing about $40,000 that the group can use to pick up and deliver food. The food feeds about 90 people in 16 Ancram families per week. Any excess food is given to the food pantries in neighboring Pine Plains and Hillsdale.
Weekend in Norfolk July 30, 31 and August 1
Summer brings family road trips, ice cream sundaes, and playing water tag. One of the best warm-weather activities for families that want to bond and have fun at the same time is to attend a festival like Weekend in Norfolk (WIN). This town-wide celebration was created to offer something for everyone, with activities that won’t break the bank, because all are free! From an exciting water soccer event, and chalk painting sidewalks with professional artists, to visiting real-life New England farms, and live music galore, there is something to please every member of your family. This year WIN is being held throughout the timeless town of Norfolk on Friday, July 30, Saturday, July 31, and Sunday, August 1. If you plan on getting out with your kids this weekend, here is a link to find f some of the activities WIN is offering to help you plan your visit https://weekendinnorfolk.org/
More than 700 People’s United Bank employees in CT to be laid off
More than 700 People’s Bank employees are expected to be laid off this Fall.
The CT Department of Labor was informed of the decision on Thursday.
A total of 747 employees across sixteen locations in the state will be let go beginning on or around October.
The majority of those layoffs, 661, will occur in Bridgeport.
According to a WARN notice, these terminations will be completed by May 20 of next year. The decision comes following the merger between People’s United Bank and M&T Corporation.
Justice Department drops investigation into New York nursing homes
ALBANY – The Justice Department said late Friday it will not open a civil rights investigation into New York’s handling of COVID-19 deaths at state-run nursing homes. The decision ends nearly a year of inquiry by the department started under then-President Donald Trump into how COVID deaths and infections swept through the vulnerable populations in nursing homes.
In a letter to some Republican members of Congress, the Justice Department said it has decided against opening a civil rights investigation into public nursing homes in New York, Pennsylvania and Michigan, but it still has a probe in two nursing homes in New Jersey.
In Dutchess, police ‘use force’ disproportionately against people of color.
In Dutchess County, there were 88 incidents within a 12-month period ending October 2020 in which a police officer used force against an individual.
That’s according to state data, which defines use of force as ranging from “brandishing” a weapon to using that weapon. About half of the Dutchess incidents involved a person of color, in a county in which roughly 70% of residents are white. What the data does not do is show when force becomes excessive, other than when it resulted in death or serious injury. The data from the state’s Division of Criminal Justice Services was released roughly a year after the repeal of Section 50-a of the state Civil Rights Law, which had allowed police departments to shield complaints and disciplinary proceedings, and after Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order aimed at reforming police departments. The data showed that none of Dutchess’ municipalities had an exceptionally high number of use-of-force cases and there were no recorded deaths or serious injuries.
In Sandisfield, the books are a hot mess. Officials are scrambling to find out why.
SANDISFIELD — For the past few years, some of what the town’s treasurer and accountant has recorded in their books doesn’t match and receivables are high, and this has officials feverishly working to understand why and fix it.
They also want to understand why there is a separate, unreported bank account used for payments made in cash to the treasurer, who also is the tax collector, and why the total amount of real estate tax delinquencies also does not match and why some back taxes date to 2013.
And they want to make sure that, in the future, tax receipt stubs always are stamped with the date paid, whether the payment was made in cash or by check, and who took the payment. In Sandisfield, this hasn’t always been the case.
Local project get funding as state approves $665 million in bonding
With interest rates going down and state’s credit ratings going up, Gov. Ned Lamont is easing back on his self-imposed “debt diet” on state borrowing.
The State Bond Commission on Friday approved $665.2 million in general obligation bonds for a variety of government projects and programs, and another $512.4 million in special tax obligation bonds for transportation spending.
Localy: Commission members also approve a grant of more than $2.7 million for the city of Torrington for the Five Points Center for the Visual Arts to finance renovations to the former Torrington campus of the University of Connecticut. The commission approved $300 million for school construction projects, d $30 million for Town Aid Road grants, $20 million to help property owners repair and replace residential homes with foundations that are crumbling due to the presence of pyrrhotite, and $14 million for energy efficient in state buildings.
Kent Park & Rec looking for program boss
The Park and Recreation Commission is accepting applications for an after-school program director to coordinate and supervise the program during the 2021-22 school year, following the Kent Center School calendar. The first day of school is Aug. 30. The program meets Monday through Friday from 3 to 5:30 p.m. at Kent Center School. The director is expected to be present on all days that the program meets, starting at 2:45 p.m., and reports to the Park and Recreation director. Details regarding qualifications and how to apply are available at hrrps://townofkentct.org
A co-ed sleepaway camp in Copake New York is reporting 31 campers between 7 and 11 years old have tested positive for Covid-19
A co-ed sleepaway camp in Copake New York is reporting 31 campers between 7 and 11 years old have tested positive for Covid-19 but none of their vaccinated 12-and-up campers did. Camp Pontiac, located in Copake, sent a letter to parents the first positive test result was received on July 16. The virus then spread further. “The initial outbreak was on the girls side but the latest new cases are on the boys side,” Jack Mabb, Columbia County Department of Health Director, said Thursday. “The bulk of the cases came as a result of testing that was done with symptomatic campers this past weekend.” All but a few of the positive cases were sent home from the camp along with 88 contacts. The few that weren’t sent home “live too far away to go home easily.
Sharon Road Work Today
The Low Road drainage pipe that crosses at Grandview Lane will be replaced Friday. Expect delays and detours. We’ll update when we’re done.
Woman says ex-state police captain abused her as Rhinebeck teen
Henry de Vries, when he was a state trooper, would handcuff her or his children to the staircase as a joke or turn the sirens on in his police car to scare someone, she said. Weichsel described herself as a “nerdy” teenager who attended Rhinebeck High School two decades ago. Her family didn’t have a lot of money, so she wasn’t used to having someone spend money on her.
She would babysit for the de Vries family, and she said Henry de Vries would buy her ice cream or take her out to eat. Weichsel also said Henry de Vries always had his gun with him when he sexually abused her. Weichsel, 36, filed a complaint against Henry and Christine de Vries in Dutchess County Supreme Court on July 14, accusing him of abusing her as a teenager from 1999 to 2003 and his now ex-wife of knowing about the abuse, according to the complaint.
Henry de Vries has denied the allegations through his lawyer. A family member of Christine de Vries’ said she won’t be commenting. She also filed a claim against New York state in the state Court of Claims stating the alleged sexual abuse, sometimes forced, took place while he was working as a state trooper and in a police vehicle; that the abuse was “open and obvious” so the state “should have known” it was going on; and that the state failed to investigate and “remedy” the problem.
Great Barrington man accused of arson, insurance fraud
GREAT BARRINGTON — Police arrested an East Street man Wednesday night for allegedly setting fire to his building to reap an insurance payoff for a property that has been cited for a slew of health violations over the years.
Harry Sano, 85, was released on bail and will be arraigned Monday in Southern Berkshire District Court for arson and related charges that include insurance fraud. The building at 232 Stockbridge Road used to house the shop, Wonderful Things, and has four apartments upstairs that have been under correction orders from the Health Department due to unsafe living conditions. Firefighters arrived at the multilevel apartment building just before 8 p.m. and found several fires burning on three of the floors, then spread into the walls and voids throughout the house. After crews knocked it down, they worked for several hours checking for hot spots. Fire and police officials warned that arson can damage more than just the property intended. “Though the building was vacant, the act of setting fire to any structure poses a life and safety hazard to civilians and firefighters alike,” said Great Barrington Police Chief Paul Storti in a statement. And State Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey said that, “Fire doesn’t do what it’s told — it can burn faster and spread further than expected, claiming life and property without warning.” He urges the reporting of arson fires to investigators or to contact the Arson Watch Reward Program at 800-682-9229.
BCC might sell its Great Barrington satellite. College officials say school still committed to South County.
GREAT BARRINGTON — It was an email that set off rumors through town that Berkshire Community College’s South County Center satellite here on Main Street was a goner, having first been shuttered by COVID-19.
The rumors are only partly true, according to BCC officials, who said the college, which owns the building at 343 Main St., had been approached by someone who wants to buy it. Even so, the satellite campus might lease the space from the new owner and, regardless, BCC is committed to continuing its presence in South County, said Christina Wynn, BCC’s interim dean of business and outreach. Wynn noted that the college is considering the sale. She says that, right now, the college has no plans to leave Great Barrington, and that it is planning a slow rollout in the fall of a post-coronavirus pandemic full reopening of its campus on West Street in Pittsfield, and fully closed satellite. Students, she said, have grown accustomed to remote learning, so, this isn’t an issue and is convenient, given the renovation project at West Street that is due for completion in early 2022.
Railroad Days: Parade, carnival and fireworks extended to this weekend
North Canaan will get a second chance this weekend to celebrate community and history at Railroad Days, with an extended run for the carnival and a new date for the parade and fireworks. But the inclement weather peaked with a thunderstorm Saturday July 17. To be safe, the fireworks and parade were postponed and will now be held on Saturday. The parade, featuring firefighters from three states as well as many community members, will start at 6 p.m. The group will step off on Pease Street, continue along Railroad Street, take a left onto Route 44 at the traffic light and then pass the Doughboy monument and Lawrence Field, ending up at the firehouse. Any groups that want to sign up to march can contact Maribeth Marchi at 860-601-3130 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Line-up will begin at 5 p.m. The fireworks usually begin at 9:15 p.m. Carnival rides, provided by R.W. Commerford & Sons from Goshen, will be offered for an additional weekend. The decision to remain was partly based on the spongy wetness of the ground at Lawrence Field, and concerns that trying to move the large carnival machines would damage the field. “They will be open on Friday, July 23, and Saturday, July 24, from 6 to 10 p.m.” Poetry Is Music at Collin’s Diner will be held on Saturday from 6 to 11 p.m. Details are being constantly updated; for the most up to date information, go to the Canaan Railroad Days Facebook page.
Cricket Valley partners with GE to convert to green hydrogen fuel
DOVER PLAINS — Several months since the controversial Cricket Valley Energy Center (CVEC) last made headlines, the Dover Plains natural gas power plant announced on Thursday, July 15, that it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with General Electric (GE), to help reduce carbon emissions at CVEC’s combined cycle power plant by converting it to a green hydrogen-fueled power plant. Included in their agreement, CVEC and GE outlined their intent to “develop a green hydrogen technology roadmap” and “advance a demonstration project to reduce carbon emissions at CVEC’s combined cycle power plant… initiating the first step toward the conversion to a 100% hydrogen fuel capable plant,” according to a press release issued by CVEC on the 15th. Also included in the agreement, the project will have consultation from both New York State and federal agencies to develop policy guidance related to the production, transport, delivery and storage of hydrogen, as well as guidance from leading hydrogen providers.
Scheduled to start in late 2022, the project is touted as being able to demonstrate the feasibility of converting CVEC’s natural gas-fueled facility to utilize hydrogen. This step is to support New York State’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, which Governor Andrew Cuomo signed in July 2019 with the goal of reducing the state’s greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030.
Travel restrictions could return as COVID infections spiral upward
Gov. Ned Lamont is considering reimposing restrictions for travelers arriving from states with high rates of COVID-19. Lamont told reporters Wednesday he is at least a week away from making a decision, and said he is consulting the governors of Connecticut’s three neighboring states about possibly setting a regional policy. The Democratic governor lifted a travel advisory March 19 that had required all travelers and returning Connecticut residents to quarantine for 10 days or until they tested negative for COVID-19.
Lamont said he is thinking of reinstituting travel restrictions because of spiking infection rates in some states. “We haven’t made up our mind on that. We’re thinking about it,” he said following an appearance at Capitol Community College in Hartford. “We’ve got states like Arkansas, Missouri and Florida where the infection rate is 10 times ours. So, it is something we ought to be looking at and we will be.” The delta variant is now the predominant strain of coronavirus circulating in Connecticut, a little more than two months after first being detected in the state. Dr. Deidre S. Gifford, the acting public health commissioner, reported Wednesday the highly transmissible delta variant accounts for more than 80% of sequenced COVID-19 cases. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Tuesday the delta variant represents 83% of U.S. COVID-19 cases., up from 50% of genetically sequenced cases for the week of July 3. Gifford, an epidemiologist, said Connecticut also recently experienced a delta variant spike. “Actually, it has gone from about 42% of our variants to over 80%,” she said.
As COVID cases disrupt Red Hook activities, Dutchess asks for vigilance in fighting illness
A small outbreak of COVID-19 cases tied to a private party that caused a disruption for Red Hook’s summer programming is a reminder precautions are still needed during the pandemic, Dutchess County officials said.
The county announced outbreak, which is said includes eight confirmed cases as of Tuesday afternoon, after operations at Red Hook’s pool and recreation camp were disrupted, the county said. Red Hook schools’ summer school program was also a part of contact tracing efforts, but impact on its operations were “limited.”
Metro-North decides not to raise fares this year
Metro-North will not raise fares this year.
An infusion of federal funding, coupled with better-than-anticipated revenue on MTA’s subways, buses and commuter rails prompted the decision to put off a planned fare increase this year, MTA officials said today.
The MTA expects to be financially stable through the first half of 2024 thanks in part to a promise of $10.5 billion in COVID-19 relief funding from the federal government. “The $10.5 billion in expected Federal dollars gives us a bridge towards the future, which now allows us to see how ridership further recovers and avoids some of the drastic cost-saving measures we outlined in February’s plan,” the MTA’s Chief Financial Officer Robert Foran.
Shared fire chief trial pact between Richmond, West Stockbridge gets green light for two more years
A trial agreement between the Richmond and West Stockbridge select boards to share the services of Richmond Fire Chief Steven Traver will be extended for two years. At a recent joint meeting, the board members of both towns offered high praise for Traver, based on the first year of a trial run that began last summer. The combined department of both towns have responded to a half-dozen emergencies this year, including two house fires, a brush fire that was extinguished quickly, a minor electrical fire at The Tap House at Shaker Mill restaurant in West Stockbridge and a blaze at a West Stockbridge mobile home.
No one was injured in any of the fires, although three dogs died in a Richmond house fire on Dublin Road in April. Voters in both towns have approved extension of the mandatory retirement age of 65 for Traver, subject to the Legislature’s permission.
The best local site for a solar power installation is Sharon Center School
This according to a proposal presented to the Board of Selectmen at their regular meeting on Tuesday, July 13. The meeting was held in person at Town
Hall and remotely on Zoom. A few other sites were looked at, but only the school property was found to be workable, said Emily Basham, representing Connecticut Green Bank, which she described as a quasi-public state agency created by the state Legislature. A final proposal for an installation at the school should be ready by October or November, Basham said. The proposed
project can then move forward to town meeting for approval.
Wanda Houston concert July 23
Wanda Houston and the HBH trio will offer an outdoor concert
on Friday, July 23, at 7 p.m. at Noble Horizons. She will
be joined by percussionist Jay Bradley and keyboardist Scott
Heth. Guests can bring their own chairs/blankets. Grounds will
open at 6:30 p.m. rain or shine. Only vaccinated guests may attend indoors, per the Department of Public Health. In addition, guests must be screened
with a temperature check if the event is indoors.
Truck Damages West Cornwall’s Covered Bridge
Troop B responded to an accident at the Cornwall Covered Bridge this morning involving a pickup truck that was towing a trailer with an excavator on it. The excavators boom struck the top of the bridge causing significant non-structural damage to the bridge. The Connecticut Department of Transportation was contacted and performed a safety inspection insuring the damage did not impact the safety/integrity of the bridge. The CT DOT is currently removing the damaged wood and other debris from the roof and road deck. The bridge should be open within a few hours. Please avoid the area in the meantime. Troop B reminds all motorist to follow all signage placed on the roadway to include vehicle height signs especially before bridges!
Sharon first selectman to seek fifth term
SHARON — Deciding to run for a fifth term wasn’t that difficult for First Selectman Brent M. Colley. The Republican said the bipartisanship that now exists in town allows the governmental agencies to accomplish more for the town and makes his job smoother. “One of the main reasons I chose to run again is because we have a good situation here,” said the 50-year-old. “That’s been a goal of mine – to have people work together regardless of political parties. Everyone is working together in concert, and that’s good.”
He also credits new residents to the town who have reached out and asked how they can help. “We’re blessed with a good group of people,” Colley said. “This is a small town and we have to work together.”
With COVID-19 cases increasing, Gov. Lamont renews some emergency orders
HARTFORD — Gov. Ned Lamont moved Monday to renew a small number of his emergency orders as COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations picked up over the weekend. Lamont signed a new executive order on Monday that extended two of his previous coronavirus-related directives and sections of six others with some modifications through Sept. 30. His new order also renewed unexpired municipal and state agency orders. One of the reauthorized orders requires anyone who is not fully vaccinated to wear masks or cloth face coverings in indoor places where 6 feet of social distancing is not possible. Nearly 60% of the state’s vaccine-eligible population is fully vaccinated.
State health officials reported 409 new cases of COVID-19 between Friday and Sunday out of 26,798 test results for a positive test rate of slightly more than 1.5%. There have been 351,084 cases reported since March 2020.
There were 50 patients hospitalized Monday with confirmed cases of COVID-19. This was the highest number since mid-June. An additional six patients were hospitalized over the weekend. There have been more than 36,500 hospitalizations. Lamont continued an emergency order that authorizes the state Office of Early Child and the state Department of Education to set operational and safety rules for child care settings and schools, including requiring the wearing of masks or other face coverings.
He also renewed a directive for providing housing for homeless and other people at risk of exposure, and another one concerning eviction proceedings, including a requirement that landlords apply for the UniteCT rental assistance program before delivering an eviction notice to tenants for overdue rent. Other extended orders concern the distribution of federal coronavirus relief funds to hospitals and health care providers, out-of-network coverage for COVID-19 immunization, and the use of commuter parking lots for COVID-19 testing and vaccination.
Opioid distributors to pay up to $1.2B in major settlement with NY
ALBANY – Three major drug distributors will pay up to $1.2 billion to settle claims they contributed to the ongoing opioid crisis in New York, state Attorney General Letitia James announced Tuesday. McKesson Corporation, Cardinal Health Inc. and Amerisource Bergen Drug Corporation all agreed to the major settlement in exchange for being released from an ongoing jury trial against opioid distributors and manufacturers, which is currently underway in Suffolk County and expected to take months to complete.
The agreement calls for the three companies to pay a combined $1.2 billion over the next 17 years, with payments beginning in two months, according to the state Attorney General’s Office. Of that, about $1 billion will go toward opioid abatement efforts in New York on the state and local level, thanks in part to a recently signed state law guaranteeing the bulk of settlements with drug manufacturers and distributors go toward that purpose.
Smoke from Western wildfires is creating haze in the Berkshires.
A fog-like haze has descended on the Berkshires and is affecting air quality levels throughout the county. The culprit? The massive wildfires out West and in Canada, which have burned hundreds of thousands of acres and raged for weeks. Some of the smoke from those fires has drifted to New England, and on Tuesday the state Department of Environmental Protection issued an air quality alert for Western Massachusetts. The smoke has led to elevated levels of fine particulate matter in the air, and that could impact people with respiratory problems, according to Michael Main, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Albany, N.Y. An air quality alert has also been issued for most of New York, as well as portions of Vermont and Connecticut. “We can expect hazy skies through most of the day [Tuesday],” Main said.
A cold front is expected to move through the area Tuesday night, and that means the haze could start clearing up as soon as Wednesday, Main added.
Berkshire jobless rate ticks up for first time in six months
For the first time in six months, the Berkshire County unemployment rate has risen slightly. The downward trend accelerated by the waning effects of the COVID-19 pandemic reversed slightly in June, as Berkshire unemployment rose to 6.1 percent, up four-tenths of a point, according to figures released by a state agency Tuesday. The previous increase occurred in January, when the local jobless rate rose seven-tenths of a point, to 8.8 percent.
The Berkshire unemployment rate in June 2020 was 13.8 percent.
Berkshire unemployment still is slightly above the state’s jobless rate, which also rose slightly, to 5.4 percent. The national unemployment rate is 5.9 percent.
Farmers hoping drier weather will save crops
TORRINGTON – On the heels of a hot June and scorching drought across Western states, New Englanders stuck in a tropical weather pattern are looking for a drying trend to salvage crops and gardens. With almost two weeks left in the month, rainfall is already at or near record levels, said John J. Bagioni at Fax Alert Weather in Burlington. “We’re also experiencing one of the highest relative dewpoints for July.” Around eight inches had fallen by Thursday since the beginning of the month, with some areas counting up to 10. It’s within striking distance of the record 11 inches that fell in 1938. Four inches is normal for the entire month. State agriculture Commissioner Bryan Hurlburt said producers were notified last week about reporting crop losses or damages to the USDA. Everything from vegetables to tobacco, hay and corn was affected.
Dutchess Community College expands aviation program; see inside $16M airport headquarters
The new 32,000 square-foot hangar was funded through an $8 million contribution from the county, $1.5 million from the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, $50,000 from JetBlue, and contributions from the state.
The facility is a one stop shop for students of aviation, with an array of nine aircrafts, on which students learn how to build and repair, including Falcon One, a jet previously used by presidents George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan, and Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf. The new building features aircraft system simulators, access to general aviation and corporate aircrafts, engines for students to overhaul, five classrooms and a technical library. In addition, the hangar has a breakroom and a specialized tool and engine room.
The college’s Aviation department started in 2005 when Trosie learned about the lack of programs nearby and a growing shortage in the industry. Trosie started with the pilot program, and then saw the interest and need for aviation management. This year, with the help of program coordinator Geena Suraci, the two worked with the college to develop the aviation maintenance program.
Across Berkshires, kennel cough uptick raises eyebrows, concerns
A highly contagious canine illness has been on the rise locally, according to animal experts, and it’s nothing to sneeze at. ¶ In recent weeks, several area veterinarians and pet day care/boarding facilities have registered a spike in canine infectious tracheobronchitis — better known as kennel cough.
“The last six to eight weeks, we were having two to three dogs a day with upper-respiratory problems, and I think some were kennel cough and some were canine influenza,” said Dr. John Reynolds of Pittsfield Veterinary Hospital.
Dog day care/boarding providers require that canines be vaccinated, but they and veterinarians say that, like the flu shot for humans, the inoculation is not 100 percent effective, as there are various strains of kennel cough.
Other kennel cough symptoms, according to the American Kennel Club:
• Runny nose/sneezing;
• Loss of appetite;
• Low fever.
The kennel club notes that most cases of kennel cough are caused by bordetella, and some are caused by other agents, including the canine respiratory coronavirus.
SHARON, Conn. — July 15, 2021 — Sharon Hospital, part of Nuvance Health, will host its online “Community Update” from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, August 5, via online livestream video.
Members of the surrounding community are invited to join the webinar to hear from hospital President Dr. Mark Hirko. He will discuss the latest hospital developments and updates on the affiliation that created Nuvance Health.
The independent monitor engaged by Nuvance Health will be present to report on its review of compliance with the affiliation agreement issued by Connecticut’s Office of Health Strategy.
A question-and-answer period will follow the presentation. Participants are encouraged to submit questions in advance by emailing email@example.com or calling (845) 554-1734 with their name and phone number.
Questions can also be mailed to: Sharon Hospital, Attn: Community Forum, 50 Hospital Hill Road, Sharon, CT, 06069.
The recorded session and a copy of the digital presentation will be accessible on the website following the event. To request a physical copy by mail, please call (845) 554-1734 (TTY/Accessibility: (800) 842-9710).
Flood Statement National Weather Service Albany NY206 AM EDT Sun Jul 18 2021
The Flood Warning continues for the Housatonic River At Gaylordsville.* From this morning until further notice.* At 1:00 AM EDT Sunday the stage was 7.0 feet.* Flood stage is 8.0 feet.* Minor flooding is forecast.* Forecast…The river is expected to rise above flood stage this morning and continue rising to a crest of 8.8 feet just after midnight tonight.* Impact…At 9.5 feet, the water reaches businesses on the low side of Spring Street.* Flood History…This crest compares to a previous crest of 8.8feet on 04/11/2001.
Due to the weather
Update on RR Days: 7/17The Annual Firemans Parade, Fireworks and Carnival will be next Saturday the 24th. The parade still starts at 6pm.The carnival will be on Friday the 23rd and Saturday the 24th 6pm-10pm, bracelets $30.
North Canaan Selectmen talk pot possibilities
The Board of Selectmen last week briefly touched on the topic of the town permitting the sale of recreational marijuana now that it’s been legalized in the state. Selectman Craig Whiting said he’s never smoked the drug and has no desire to, “but Canaan is the poorest town in Region 1.” Selectman Christian Allyn said if a dispensary is permitted, it should be in a secluded part of town and would need to be highly regulated. Whiting said this is an issue that should be brought before the public.
North Canaan Town looking to get tighter leash on its leases
First Selectman Charles P. Perotti reported last week there are two leases for the historic Beckley Furnace site — one between the town and state, and the other between the state and the Friends of Beckley Furnace, a volunteer group that oversees the property. When there was a recent incident involving one dog biting another there, Perotti checked about liability insurance and learned the lease had expired. “We were supposed to insure it for liability, but it was not on our policy, so we didn’t know anything about it,” said Missy Ohler, the selectmen’s administrative assistant. Perotti also learned the lease with the state Department of Transportation for the greenway property expired in 2008. That area is now being used for disc golf. Its original intent was to provide walking and bike trails for passive recreational use. Perotti said he’d like to set up a meeting with representatives of both DOT and the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.
Senator Hinchey & Assembly member Barrett Announce Bill to Revitalize NY Barns
LIVINGSTON, NY (Thursday, July 15, 2021) – Today, State Senator Michelle Hinchey (SD-46) and Assemblymember Didi Barrett (AD-106) announced the passage of their bill, S.6042/A.06947, to resurrect the Historic Barn Rehabilitation Tax Credit, a program designed to help communities across New York State maintain their character through the refurbishment of historic barns. The bill, which received unanimous support from both houses of the State Legislature, establishes a 25% tax credit for the rehabilitation of barns constructed before 1945. Hinchey and Barrett joined forces today, alongside representatives of the New York State Barn Coalition and the Preservation League of New York State, to call on the Governor to sign the bill into law.
The Historic Barn Rehabilitation Tax Credit has contributed to the successful restoration of close to 50 barns across New York State. Returning these buildings to productive use will allow New York to preserve its agricultural heritage while creating new spaces for community enjoyment that promote the economic vitality of New York’s rural areas.
Explore “Hidden Hamlets” of Columbia County on New CCHS Road Trip
Beginning in Cheviot in the town of Germantown, the “Hidden Hamlets” tour visits many settlements that were established as part of Livingston Manor, the 160,000-acre parcel that was granted to Robert Livingston in 1715 by the British Crown. Today, the former manor encompasses the towns of Livingston, Germantown, Clermont, Taghkanic, Gallatin, Copake and Ancram. Other stops on the “Hidden Hamlets” tour include Viewmont, Blue Stores, Bingham’s Mills, Livingston, Glenco Mills, Snyderville, Boston Corner, Martindale, Hollowville and Buckleyville. These self-guided itineraries are free to use and can be viewed or downloaded on the CCHS website: http://www.cchsny.org/drive-through-history
Flash Flood Watch
National Weather Service Albany NY
411 AM EDT Sat Jul 17 2021
FLASH FLOOD WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM NOON EDT TODAY THROUGH
The Flash Flood Watch continues for
Portions of northwestern Connecticut, western Massachusetts, and eastern New York
From Noon EDT today through Sunday morning.
Scattered showers and thunderstorms will spread through the area
this afternoon before evolving into a widespread soaking rainfall
late this afternoon into tonight. Rainfall rates will be capable
of exceeding 1 inch per hour at times, especially during
thunderstorms. Total rainfall amounts should range between 1 and 3
inches with locally higher amounts possible. Lingering scattered
showers and isolated thunderstorms continue into Sunday which may
produce additional flooding. Areas that have received heavy
rainfall recently will be more vulnerable to flooding.
Heavy rainfall may result in localized flash flooding, especially
in poor drainage and urban areas. Some smaller streams may
quickly rise out of their banks.
Camp Shane closed in Kent, under investigation
BY BRUNO MATARAZZO JR. REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN
KENT — The state is investigating a summer weight loss camp in Kent but won’t say why. The Office of Early Childhood and Department of Children and Families released a statement Thursday saying they are conducting a joint investigation of Camp Shane “due to concerns about the health, safety and well-being of children enrolled at the summer youth camp.” The director of Camp Shane in Kent shut down the camp Tuesday, according to the statement. The camp operated out of South Kent School for the summer. “Because this is a pending investigation involving minors, no further details will be provided at this time,” the statement says. A phone message left at Camp Shane, which is headquartered in New York, was not returned Friday. The co-ed residential camp has locations in five states, including Connecticut. The camp in Kent is the only Camp Shane in the state. This is not the first time Camp Shane has been under state scrutiny. In 2019, the camp was forced to file corrective action plans with the Office of Early Childhood following an unannounced inspection in July 2019. The corrective action addressed violations of supervision, staff training, first aid kits and other measures, according to the state licensing website.
Canaan, state at odds over Masonic Lodge property
BY RUTH EPSTEIN Republican-American
CANAAN — The state purchased the former Masonic Lodge property at 310 Canaan Road (Rout 44) last December, but the Board of Selectmen just recently learned the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection had hoped for a partnership with the town for its maintenance and some oversight. That proposal met with some pushback. The state bought the 1.92-acre parcel that houses the lodge for $140,000. During Monday’s board meeting, Selectman Christian Allyn, a Housatonic River Commission member who backed the idea and helped cement the purchase, acknowledged he wasn’t aware the state expected the town to take a role. First Selectman Charles P. Perotti said the issue arose recently when someone called about the kitchen equipment in the lodge. That led Perotti to have a discussion with DEEP Deputy Commissioner Mason Trumble, who asked about the sale and its connection to the town. “He thought we leased the property,” Perotti said. “They were shocked that I didn’t know anything about it. I only knew they’d talked about our resident trooper locking the gates.” Allyn cited the benefits of the state owning the property, which would allow access to the Housatonic River because Canaan is the only one of the seven towns in the Housatonic River Commission lacking entry. He suggested a volunteer group could be established to oversee the area. Tim Abbott of Housatonic Valley Association said he was the reason the state bought the property. As a land conservationist, he thought the property would provide good river access. “I, with encouragement from the river commission and my boss at HVA, helped to figure out how to do it,” he said.
HVA put up the money for the option to buy. Abbott added that Trumble told him sometime last year he is insistent the municipality be involved.
“Up to that time, the town was not involved,” Abbott said. He acknowledged the purchase was made without all the issues being resolved. He told the selectmen the future of the parcel is up to them.
Rep. Hayes includes local projects in 2022 bill
Funding toward a new animal control facility, a new waste treatment plant and a new emergency communications system are among the $9.65 million in projects U.S. Rep. Jahana Hayes has included in her 5th Congressional District appropriations bills for 2022. The projects have yet to be approved by the House of Representatives. Local projects include:
$3 million for a wastewater facility in West Cornwall.
First Selectman Gordon M. Ridgway praised Hayes for her hard work and persistence in attempting to secure the funds.
$400,000 for Sharon Hospital telehealth improvements.
How has the NY economy recovered? Tax revenue jumped $5 billion more than expected
ALBANY – A consumer spending spree as COVID-19 waned fueled a remarkable growth in New York tax revenue, giving the state a rosy fiscal picture.
State tax receipts exceeded the anticipated revenue by a whopping $4.8 billion from April through June, helping the state recover its losses from the pandemic that shuttered most businesses for months in mid 2020, Comptroller Tom DiNapoli said Friday. “The state is rebounding from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” DiNapoli said. “Strong tax collections, coupled with an unprecedented infusion of federal aid, give the state an opportunity to improve its long-term fiscal stability and better prepare for future uncertainties.” The tax windfall comes after the state closed a $15 billion deficit for the fiscal year that started April 1 through a combination of higher taxes on the wealthy, better than expected revenue and $12.6 billion in federal stimulus aid. The extra money allowed New York to make a record investment in school aid and provide relief to businesses, homeowners and renters who were hurt by the pandemic.
Berkshire County first responders awarded $28K in grants
Three Berkshire County communities have been awarded thousands of dollars in state grants to support police and fire departments.
The Pittsfield Police Department received $7,816 for equipment and training; the North Adams Police Department got $7,450 to buy bodily protection equipment and medical bags; and the Cheshire Fire Department received $13,600 to purchase protection equipment. The grants are part of more than $345,000 in funding financed by the Commonwealth Security Trust Fund grant program and disbursed by the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security’s Office of Grants and Research. The main purpose of the Commonwealth Security Trust Fund is to provide grants that enhance local police and fire departments’ emergency response capabilities, including responses to acts of terrorism, according to a news release.
Perotti to seek third term in Canaan
BY RUTH EPSTEIN Republican-American
CANAAN — First Selectman Charles P. Perotti said he will pursue a third term when the Republican caucus convenes July 26. Sitting in his office this week surrounded by mounds of paperwork, Perotti spoke of his administration’s accomplishments over the past four years and the projects he envisions going forward. “There are issues I’d like to see resolved so it’s not left up to the next person,” he said. A schedule for blacktopping town roads has begun and he hopes to see more of that in the coming year. An additional $100,000 for that purpose was put into this fiscal year’s budget. That money, along with Local Capital Improvement Program funds, should allow the upgrade of more miles of roadways.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has $18.5M in campaign coffers for potential fourth term
ALBANY – Gov. Andrew Cuomo raised $2.5 million over the first half of the year as he considers a run for a fourth term in 2022 amid scandals that have threatened his political future. The campaign haul is less than what Cuomo had raised in at this point four years ago when he was gearing up to run for a third term and had brought in $5 million and had $25.6 million in the bank.
The Democratic governor’s campaign reported late Thursday that it had nearly $18.5 million in its war chest as Cuomo weighs whether to run for a fourth term — which has not been successfully achieved in New York since Nelson Rockefeller did so in 1970.
In Sandisfield, people keep leaving Town Hall. Meanwhile, ledgers don’t add up.
SANDISFIELD — When people arrived at Town Hall for Monday night’s Select Board meeting, they found an envelope on the table with board member Mark Newman’s resignation letter inside. It is the fourth departure from a town office in two months, and Newman resigned on what was the last day of Dolores Harasyko’s 26 years as town clerk here. His resignation is the latest controversy to roil the town after a spring of discontent over a commercial pot cultivator’s plans, disagreements turned caustic, and followed by the sudden announcement that Town Administrator Joanne Grybosh would resign and Harasyko would retire. It didn’t take long before Assistant Town Clerk Pauline Bakunis also said she was quitting. Then came the mini audit revealing that the town’s books are askew. The Sandisfield Times published a draft copy of an accounting consultant’s report that found a $7,712.52 difference between what the town’s accountant recorded in the general ledger and what the town’s treasurer had written in its book. The report, the final draft of which will be posted to the town website this week, also showed other financial gaps and problems. The board had planned to discuss the problem at its Monday meeting, which was canceled because of a quorum issue since Bowman was joining the meeting remotely. In hindsight, members learned that COVID-19 rules still allow boards to bypass traditional quorum regulations.
Jobs recovery continues for Connecticut workers
HARTFORD — The Connecticut economy has now recovered nearly two-thirds of the record 294,400 positions lost during the partial economic shutdown in March and April 2020 during the outset of state’s COVID-19 outbreak.
State labor officials on Thursday reported 189,000 jobs have been regained based on the preliminary estimate of June job gains and the revised estimate of the previously reported May gains.
Private and public employers added 3,500 jobs in June according to the latest monthly jobs report, and the initially reported May gains of 7,800 jobs was increased to 8,100 positions. The estimated June gains raised total employment to 1,592,900. Payroll jobs are now 102,000 positions above June 2020 levels, a year-over-year increase of 6.8%. The state’s unemployment rate was 7.9% in June, down from 8.1% in May and 11.4% in June 2020.
Millions start to receive child tax credit payments
Millions of Americans who struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic will have more money in the bank.
New child tax credit payments start this week. Here’s how the IRS is trying to make sure the neediest families don’t miss out
The Internal Revenue Service is hoping to reach millions more low-income families as it starts to roll out the massive expansion of the child tax credit this week. The first payments from the expanded child tax credit began being distributed on Thursday. The Internal Revenue Service will be sending out hundreds of millions of dollars and it’s easy to figure out exactly how much a family will receive. Monthly payments include up to $300 per child under the age of 6 and up to $250 per child under age 17. It’s part of the massive COVID relief package signed by President Joe Biden in March.
Households that filed a 2020 or 2019 federal income tax return and claimed the regular child tax credit will automatically get payments. The Internal Revenue Service is hoping to reach millions more low-income families as it starts to roll out the massive expansion of the child tax credit this week.
Families are eligible even if they didn’t meet the income threshold to file.
ConEd, Orange & Rockland to pay $82 million for Tropical Storm failures
on Edison and Orange & Rockland will pay New York more than $82 million to settle claims over their ill-prepared response to Tropical Storm Isaias, whose heavy winds and rain left more than 1.5 million customers without power at some point last August. Frontier Communications and Central Hudson Gas and Electric will also pay $2.7 million and $1.5 million, respectively, pushing the total settlement payments to $86.2 million. The state Public Service Commission approved the settlement agreements Thursday after originally seeking up to $137 million in fines late last year.
Opponents of PCB dump site in Lee fume over town’s removal of signs
LEE — Opponents of a toxic waste landfill in town are irate that a municipal official seized their lawn signs without warning. The No PCB Dumps: Action Group claims that Lee/Lenox Building Commissioner BJ Church illegally removed at least two dozen of its “No PCB Dump” signs from private property without proper notification. “It’s absolutely ludicrous, without written notice, that she can remove something from private property that’s not a danger to others,” said Anne Langlais, a spokeswoman for the group. She noted that most of the 400 lawn signs distributed were up weeks after the federal Environmental Protection Agency announced in February 2020 its Rest of River agreement with General Electric, the town of Lee and other parties. That deal included the landfill. The actions were based on a complaint former Selectman Thomas Wickham made to the Lee Planning Board. Wickham told The Eagle on Wednesday that he questioned whether the signs were political and, if so, is there is a time limit for how long they can be posted.
Eversource, UI hit with millions in fines for storm failures
Connecticut regulators on Wednesday finalized millions of dollars in fines against the state’s two largest electricity distributors for what officials called the companies’ failures in their preparations and responses to Tropical Storm Isaias, which caused hundreds of thousands of power outages last year. The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, or PURA, gave final approval to a $28.6 million civil penalty against Eversource and a $1.2 million civil penalty against United Illuminating. The penalties are in addition to profit reductions ordered by PURA that will cost Eversource about $31 million a year and United Illuminating about $1.3 million a year.
Kent resident wants a bear solution
Resident Suzanne Charity sent a note asking the Board of Selectmen to take steps to deal with bears. Charity asked that a public newsletter address the matter of strewn garbage. She urged the board to encourage residents to keep their kitchen waste secured in locked containers and suggested that new people to town be given a discounted sticker rate for the transfer station.
First Selectman Jean Speck said she wasn’t sure how they could require residents to use the station when carting services are available.
Selectman Christopher Garrity said, “It’s not a bear problem, it’s a people problem.” He noted Connecticut doesn’t allow bear hunting and said he didn’t think it was the selectmen’s duty to research bear-proof containers.
Falls Village Property records to be copied
First Selectman Henry Todd announced the town has received a $55,000 grant from the Connecticut State Library to copy all the property records back to 1739. Next year, the town should get another grant to help make records searchable online. The grant also will cover a new computer for the town clerk’s office.
90 apply for job with town crew
The Board of Selectmen on Tuesday said there are 90 applicants for the vacancy on the town crew. After all the applications are submitted, the selectmen will begin the hiring process.
NY bill would force insurers to pay more to help kids who need Early Intervention
A statewide program that provides key therapies to infants and toddlers who show developmental delays has long been hamstrung by bureaucratic problems.
As a result, many community-based service providers have left the field, which has created an interminable wait for services that are, by definition, needed early in a child’s life. But advocates say recently passed legislation would help families across New York access key Early Intervention for their kids. The program is supposed to guarantee free, quickly available therapies for children up to the age of 3. Connie Derbabian, a physical therapist with Los Ninos Services in Hawthorne, works with 2-year-old Joshua Simpson July 13, 2021. Joshua, who was born prematurely at 24 weeks, weighed 1 lbs., 5 oz. at birth and has been diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. He receives early intervention services three times a week at Los Ninos. The long-awaited legislation would tax private insurance companies, guaranteeing that they pay about half the $80 million in Early Intervention bills submitted during an average year.
Guthrie Center poised to reopen with hootenany led by Arlo’s pal Rick Robbins
GREAT BARRINGTON — After a year-and-a-half without in-person music, The Guthrie Center reopens Thursday with the “Ramblin’ Hoot and Annie’s (Guthrie) Birthday!,” hosted by Rick Robbins. Robbins, who is stepping in for the previously announced concert by Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, is a longtime friend of Arlo Guthrie. Together, Guthrie, 18, and Robbins, 19, illegally dumped trash on the side of the road in Stockbridge on Thanksgiving Day 1965. Elliott was scheduled to kick off a season of performances at the 2 Van Deusenville Road center. Instead, said George Laye, director of the Guthrie Center, Robbins will “tell some [Ramblin’] Jack stories and sing some Jack songs, and we’re having a regular hootenanny.” The ticket price was reduced from $65 to $5. Amy Loveless, head chef of the Dreamaway Lodge, will cook a full menu for the show. She also is the cook for The Guthrie Center this summer. For all the shows this summer, the doors open at 6:30 p.m. for an 8 p.m. performance. For tickets, call 413-528-1955, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Connecticut Lawmakers extend governor’s emergency powers
Democratic legislators voted in special session Wednesday to extend Gov. Ned Lamont’s sweeping emergency powers to manage the state response to COVID-19 pandemic through Sept. 30. Every Republican legislator present and 11 Democrats opposed this fifth extension of the joint declarations of public health and civil preparedness emergencies that the Democratic governor first issued in March 2020. The House voted 73-59 to continue Lamont’s emergency authority, and the Senate voted 19-15 to approve the extension. Nine House Democrats and four Senate Democrats voted against the separate House and Senate resolutions.
Senate marijuana bill: Schumer, Democrats to introduce bill to federally decriminalize cannabis
The Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act would federally decriminalize marijuana. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced the legislation Wednesday. Thirty-seven states have already decriminalized marijuana, including 18 that have completely legalized the substance. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., plans to introduce legislation that would decriminalize marijuana on a federal level. The Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act, a draft bill by Sens. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Schumer would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, allowing pot to be regulated and taxed. Thirty-seven states have already decriminalized the substance, and 18 of those states have fully legalized it. Most Americans support the legalization of marijuana for both medical and recreational use.
Pearlman honored for decades of FOI efforts
Mitchell W. Pearlman, the founding Executive Director of Connecticut’s Freedom of Information Commission and a name synonymous with open
government and press freedom in the state, was honored Wednesday, July 7, when the board of directors of the Connecticut Foundation for Open
Government (CFOG) created an annual award in his name. The Mitchell W. Pearlman Freedom of Information Award will be given to government officials, members of the press and other residents of Connecticut who make significant
efforts to foster transparency in government, disclose information vital to the public and otherwise ensure that citizens can see their government at
work and respond in kind.
Record-breaking sales for Harney Real Estate
SALISBURY — Elyse Harney is humbled by the incredible success of Elyse Harney Real Estate, a family-owned business that she established in 1987. She and her daughter, Elyse Harney Morris, have a team of 30-plus dedicated, local agents who are the core of sharing our beautiful piece of the world
with clients. This year’s sales have soared 65% since last year, including
Juliet Moore representing the buyer of Salisbury’s highest saleat $7,423,000.
Essential Worker Recognition Concert at Boyce Park in Wingdale
WINGDALE — The region’s essential workers will be recognized for their
work over the past year and a half during the coronavirus pandemic with a special recognition concert presented by the towns of Wingdale and Dover Plains on Saturday, July 17. Running from 4 to 7 p.m., the concert will be held at Boyce Park, located at 6420 Route 55 in Wingdale. The band Scarecrow and other special guests will be providing music for the event. Spectators are invited to bring folding chairs or blankets to the concert as they come out to show their appreciation to local Hudson Valley heroes.
Sheffield: ‘Gardens of Sheffield’ gala fundraiser
The Sheffield Historical Society will celebrate the “Gardens of Sheffield” with a gala, lecture and tour of eight gardens the weekend of July 23-25.
The gala at 5 p.m. Friday, July 23, will feature live music by Mary Ann Palermo and the First Take Band, hors d’oeuvres, wine, beer and signature cocktails, a silent auction, and other festivities. Ron Kujawski’s lecture, “Extending the Grow Season,” will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday. The gala and lecture will be under the tents on the Society grounds, 159 Main St. The lecture will also be streamed for free at sheffieldhistory.org
Hillsdale, N.Y.: Mountain resorts slate concerts
Catamount Mountain Resort and Berkshire East are hosting two open-air acoustic concerts in July.
Marc Roberge of O.A.R., Adam Gardner of Guster and Pete Kilpatrick of the Pete Kilpatrick Band will perform from 4:30 to 9:30 p.m. Friday, July 16, at Berkshire East in Charlemont and noon to 6 p.m. Saturday, July 17, at Catamount, 78 Catamount Road. Bring lawn chairs and blankets. For more information and tickets, visit catamountski.com/summerconcerts
Lamont signs mileage tax on heavy trucks
Gov. Ned Lamont says the newly enacted mileage tax on heavy trucks is going to help stabilize the Special Transportation Fund for the immediate future.
Depending on their weight, tractor-trailer trucks will pay from 2.75 cents to 17.5 cents per mile driven in Connecticut when the new tax takes effect Jan. 1, 2023. It is estimated to raise $90 million annually.
Lamont signed legislation that establishes the highway user tax on Monday. It was one of two initiatives that the governor had proposed for funding transportation spending. His other proposal to create a carbon emission fee for large fuel suppliers failed to get through the Democratic Party-controlled legislature.
The new truck tax was approved separately from the two-year, $46.3 budget that the Democratic governor and legislative Democrats negotiated. The exclusion secured Republican votes for the spending and tax package. No GOP legislators voted for the mileage tax.
Kent subdivision is proposed on Route 7 site
KENT – The Planning and Zoning Commission is considering a proposed 13-lot subdivision at 227 North Main St. (Route 7).
The first session of the PZC hearing July 8 was continued until the commission’s next meeting Aug. 12.
Angelica and Andrew Bacon of Long Island City, N.Y., and Erik Tietz of Cornwall, owners of the property, are planning to build and market the houses on 13 acres. Engineer Paul Szymanski gave an overview of the proposal, which is being sought under a special permit. He said this is one of the last open properties in the village residential zone.
The plan calls for 13 single-family homes with associated garages and two community spaces. One will house the existing barn near the front of the land, and another a small community building and pool in the back. The remainder of the rear section will be kept as forest and a hayfield.
Thomaston, Torrington, Winsted, North Canaan to open health clinics
Hartford HealthCare is launching a new initiative that aims to improve access to health services in Northwest Connecticut.
The initiative will start in August, said Brian E. Mattiello, regional vice president for strategy and community development at HHC and Charlotte Hungerford Hospital in Torrington. HHC plans to open four “neighborhood health clinics” for two days each month. The clinics likely will be in Torrington, Winsted, Thomaston and North Canaan, Mattiello said. These four communities have been targeted because of HHC’s familiarity with them and they are the “most in need,” he said. The clinics are meant to supplement whatever health services people residing in this part of the state are receiving now, he said. The clinics will provide information and referrals, health screenings and a range of primary care services. Exact dates and times for when the clinics will be open have not yet been set, but residents in each location will be notified when they are, Mattiello said.
Poor water quality, storm damage closes some Connecticut park swimming areas
A new water quality report on Tuesday showed some state park swimming areas are closed. According to the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, indicator bacteria was detected during a routine water testing at Rocky Neck State Park in Niantic, Gay City State Park in Hebron, and Wharton Brook State Park in Wallingford. The water is being retested at all three locations, with results expected Wednesday or Thursday. DEEP officials said indicator bacteria are not disease-causing pathogens. They are one of the tools it uses to evaluate the potential for contamination. Additionally, Wadsworth Falls State Park is closed due to storm damage. The fourth swimming area, at Mashamoquet Brook State Park in Pomfret, is closed this season for maintenance. DEEP said all of the other features of the state parks are open for business.
XL Center in Hartford in the running for legal sports betting
Connecticut has legalized sports betting, and the XL Center, in downtown Hartford, may be the place to place your bets. The Connecticut Lottery is currently accepting bids, 12 locations will be selected throughout the state.
The arena, which is home to concerts and sporting events, has struggled to stay competitive. If selected, a major investment may spur the aging arena.
“Whatever they have to do they should do it, if it means making money for them who knows ill take a shot and maybe win some money,” said Paul Gadziola.
The XL Center had several event canceled during the pandemic, and businesses near the arena closed. Online sports betting could be up and running by the fall, but the law also allows casinos and other sites to have wagering as well. “It should be a lot of money to the state – so if people want to come and gamble and watch sports and have a good time, why not do it,” said Jose Marrero. It could be several weeks before the locations are known. The XL Center could also be chosen as an E-sports venue.
COVID-19 cases in New York surge 66% as virus still lingers, records show
New coronavirus cases leaped in New York in the week ending Sunday, rising 66% as 3,970 cases were reported, state and national records show.
The rise still represented a small number of new cases compared to the spring and last year, and the state’s overall positivity rates has been under 1% for more than a month, falling to lower than 0.4% in mid June.
On Monday, the state’s positivity rate — which is the percentage of COVID tests that come back positive — had ticked up to 1.1%, and the seven-day average was 0.88%. But New York was still one of 47 states that reported higher case counts in the week ending Monday, records show, as COVID variants has raised the concern of health officials and as the push for vaccinations continue.
Mass. COVID-19 Cases On The Rise
Though the metrics remain near their recorded low points, COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are rising in Massachusetts as the Delta variant continues to spread. The Department of Public Health confirmed 322 cases of COVID-19 across Friday, Saturday and Sunday compared to 269 total new cases confirmed during the four-day July 4 holiday weekend. After counting about 1,000 new cases for the two-week period that ended July 6, DPH has confirmed more than 650 new cases in the last six days. Since falling to a low of 64 on June 25, the average number of daily new cases confirmed by DPH has climbed to 93.1 as of Monday’s update from the public health agency. Over the same period of time, the state’s seven-day average positive test rate has increased from its recorded low of 0.31 percent to 0.55 percent.
Anonymous donor behind scholarship that benefits Housatonic Valley Regional High School comes forward
BY RUTH EPSTEIN REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN
SHEFFIELD, Mass. — As the latest recipients of the Margaret Derwin Blue Sky Scholarship are named, the anonymous donor who started the fund has now come forward. Sara Wardell is the person responsible for making the dream of college a reality for a host of Housatonic Valley Regional High School students. Wardell knew Margaret Derwin when she was a student at Housatonic. A conscientious student with high grades, Derwin had her hopes set on studying social work in Boston. When she graduated, Wardell told her if she was accepted into college, she would pay half her tuition. She put together loans and private donations to equal half the tuition for Wheelock College and Wardell paid the rest. Derwin’s college career was successful, earning dean’s list honors every quarter and qualifying for a full scholarship to graduate school. Sadly, she was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer before beginning those studies and died in November 2010. Wanting Derwin to be remembered, Wardell established the Margaret Derwin Scholarship at Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation in Sheffield, Mass.
Connecticut’s positivity rate remains below 1%
On Monday, Gov. Lamont announced that 350,039 COVID-19 cases have been reported since the beginning of the pandemic, which is up by 70 since Friday. Out of 11,464 tests administered, 70 came back positive, giving the state a positivity rate of 0.61%. Hospitalizations increased by 10, giving the state a total of 35. The number of total tests performed since the pandemic began is now at 9,688,429 an increase of 11,464 since Friday.
Group demands end to Lamont’s executive powers
Hundreds of people, including members of CT Liberty Rally, demanded an end to the Gov. Ned Lamont’s emergency powers. The rally happened at the state capitol in Hartford around noon on Monday. Lamont said the orders are still needed to protect the public and continue critical measures, but some say it’s time to “stop the king.” Back in March, state Senate Democrats voted in favor of giving Lamont the power to extend executive orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Republicans, however, said that gave Lamont too much power. The rally goers said the emergency is over, and the governor should be stripped of his executive powers.
‘Social security for kids’: Hudson Valley parents to get first federal payments of up to $300 per child Thursday
At a press conference that Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney held last week to tout payments that families will get for the next six months through the $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package enacted in March. Across the U.S., couples earning less than $150,000 a year and single parents making under $75,000 are set to receive $300 per month for each child under 6 and $250 per month for each child ages 6-17. Most families qualify with that income limit, ensuring benefits for 90% of American children. In Maloney’s congressional district, which takes in all of Orange and Putnam counties and parts of Dutchess and Westchester, roughly 37,400 households stand to get payments totaling $2,900 on average from July to December. That takes in 75% of all kids in New York’s 18th District. The first payments are expected to arrive on Thursday, deposited in the bank accounts of families who filed their 2020 income tax returns before May 17. Families that didn’t file returns can claim their payments by applying online to the Internal Revenue Service.
Great Barrington condemns Wonderful Things building after fire; owners say buyer to demolish it.
GREAT BARRINGTON — Health officials Thursday condemned a Stockbridge Road building with a history of unsafe living conditions that were worsened by a fire this week, and the property owners told them they are selling to a buyer who plans to demolish it. At its regular meeting the Board of Health voted unanimously to condemn the multi-unit building that once housed the store, Wonderful Things, on its lower level, and four units upstairs. Town Health Agent Rebecca Jurczyk had recommended the board condemn it after learning from fire officials that damage from a blaze Wednesday night rendered the building even more uninhabitable, and that the cockroach infestation persisted. She said she had confirmed that the previous tenants had been housed somewhere else and that the building hasn’t been occupied, as of three weeks ago. Health officials have monitored the building since 2017, when a busted furnace flooded the building with carbon monoxide gas and sent five of the 14 tenants to the hospital. Firefighters said the building did not have working smoke or CO2 detectors.
First responders rescue injured hiker from Appalachian Trail
EGREMONT — Battling steep terrain and rains from Tropical Storm Elsa, South Berkshire-area first responders needed five hours to rescue an injured hiker from the Appalachian Trail over the weekend. Shortly before 3 p.m. on Friday, the Egremont Police and Fire departments and Southern Berkshire Volunteer Ambulance Squad were the initial respondents to a report of a Connecticut woman in her 60s that got hurt while hiking the trail two miles south of the Jug End reservation. Paramedics eventually stabilized the hiker and rescuers worked quickly to get her to a waiting ambulance at the Jug End Reservation parking lot. The fire chief noted the woman was initially taken to Fairview Hospital and later transported to Hartford Hospital in Connecticut. Her condition was unknown as of Sunday night. Nearly 40 first responders, mostly volunteers, took part in the rescue. Aside from the initial responders, the Egremont and Great Barrington Fire Tech Rescue teams and the Sheffield and Copake, N.Y., Fire departments were also key players in the rescue that ended before nightfall.
Chick-fil-A at Thruway rest stops? Lawmakers want plans scrapped
At least four state lawmakers want Chick-fil-A scrapped as a restaurant option in the soon-to-be-overhauled rest stops on the New York State Thruway, citing the fast-food chain’s history of donations to anti-LGBTQ organizations. Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal, D-Manhattan, penned a letter Thursday to Thruway Authority leaders, telling them she was “outraged” that Chick-fil-A was one of several restaurants slated to occupy the new rest stops as part of a $300 million renovation beginning later this month.
That was followed by a letter Friday from three openly gay lawmakers — Assemblymembers Harry Bronson of Rochester and Deborah Gluck and Daniel O’Donnell of Manhattan — who also urged the authority to step in.
Rosenthal sent her letter Thursday to Thruway Executive Director Matthew Driscoll and Joanne Mahoney, chair of the Thruway’s board of directors. In it, she urged them to reconsider the move.
Stockbridge archaeological dig involves community, aims to correct historical interpretation
STOCKBRIDGE — Volunteers in hiking boots and long pants dig holes marked by little orange flags among the 20th century war memorials on Main Street.
Bending over these rectangular holes, called “units,” archaeologists search the soil for evidence of the 1739 meetinghouse, an essential piece of Stockbridge’s history, which is neither publicly acknowledged in this field — aside from a small plaque on the chime tower — nor anywhere else in town.
“It’s been a longtime goal to document sites important to Stockbridge-Munsee Mohican Nation and raise visibility of our history here, which has largely been erased in the town,” said Bonney Hartley, tribal historic preservation manager for the nation. “The town was founded for our tribe, but you don’t see that anywhere when you’re here.” The archaeological excavation, which began Tuesday and continues this week, aims to prove the existence of the meetinghouse, and ultimately include it in the National Register of Historic Places. As of Thursday, Ann Morton, the primary investigator, said they the team had found promising, but not definitive, evidence of the meetinghouse.
Laughs, smiles take over Goshen Fairgrounds
4-H activities were back at the fairgrounds after being shut down by the pandemic last summer. The field day exhibition served as a warm up for the Litchfield County 4-H Fair at the fairgrounds Aug. 6-8. The fair is traditionally the first agricultural fair of the season in Litchfield County. With the event approaching, Davenport wanted to give 4-H members ages 7-18 a chance to experience what it will be like to parade their cows and goats before judges. The pandemic brought the 4-H in-person program to a standstill and forced all activities into virtual settings. It wasn’t an ideal situation, Davenport said, but it was the only way to hold the program together until pandemic restrictions were loosened.
Connecticut responds to updated CDC guidance about masks in schools
On Friday, the CDC relaxed some of its COVID-19 guidance for schools, saying teachers and students who are vaccinated will not need to wear masks saying teachers and students who have gotten vaccinated against COVID-19 don’t need to wear a mask inside schools buildings. Those who aren’t vaccinated or are too young to be will still need to wear a mask. The CDC says the guidance is meant to supplement and not replace local guidance. The new rules say no one needs to wear masks at recess or in most outdoor situations. The CDC is not advising schools to require shots for teachers or vaccine eligible kids and it’s not offering guidance on how teachers can know which students are vaccinated or how parents will know which teachers are immunized.
Summer show at Wassaic Project: ‘If You Lived Here You’d Be Home By Now’
The exhibition at the Wassaic Project’s Maxon Mills could be the summer adventure you have been craving. The three co-director/curators have invited 36 artists to take over the seven floors of the old grain mill exhibiting artworks on the walls, hung from the ceilings, and installed in entire rooms.
“If You Lived Here You’d Be Home By Now” is an exhibit that provides space for each artist to present a body of work, while inviting visitors to feel at home and enjoy the exhibit. “If You Lived Here You’d Be Home By Now,” 2021 Summer Exhibition at The Wassaic Project through Sept. 18, 2021. Saturdays and Sundays, noon to 5 p.m. The Wassaic Project will feature block parties and extended gallery hours to meet the artists and enjoy an art-immersive experience.
New report on Housatonic water recommends $31 million in fixes
GREAT BARRINGTON — A new report commissioned by the town to address ongoing water system problems in Housatonic recommends a slew of upgrades, replacements and changes — including upgrading more than 66,000 feet of old mains with wider pipes — at an estimated cost of $31 million. The June 29 report by AECOM, an infrastructure consulting firm, also lays out a timeline for the work to Housatonic Water Works Co.’s system that would divide the costs into three increments over a period of 20 years. The Select Board will present these larger findings at its Monday meeting, held on Zoom. The board commissioned the study with state funds amid mounting pressure from residents who suffer with bouts of water issues. Company co-owner James Mercer has previously said that the water works has made improvements over the last decade and has more planned, but the cost and related bill increases for ratepayers have prevented a larger overhaul.
Lamont seeks two more months of emergency powers
HARTFORD — Gov. Ned Lamont is recalling the legislature next Wednesday to vote of extending his emergency powers in the COVID-19 pandemic through Sept. 30. The Democratic governor on Friday issued a formal call for a special session of the General Assembly to approve the two-month renewals of the current declarations of public health and civil preparedness emergencies that are due to expire July 20. The public health and civil preparedness emergency statutes grant a governor the authority to set rules and modify or suspend state laws, regulations and requirements for up to six months.
Lamont had been saying that he was planning to seek a limited extension to retain emergency powers to respond to evolving developments in the state’s outbreak, as well as maintain the state’s eligibility for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Administration.
Todd seeks third term in Falls Village office
FALLS VILLAGE — Striving to finish the things he’s started, First Selectman Henry Todd announced he will be seeking a third term of office.
During a recent interview at the now-open Town Hall, Todd, 74, a Republican, talked about the initiatives on the top of his list.
Economic development has been one of his priorities. He’d like to see a more vibrant downtown in this second-to-the-smallest town in the state behind Union, and is happy to see it happening.
He pointed to the Falls Village Café, which will open shortly at 107 Main St., the building that formerly housed the Town Hall. A septic system problem will be corrected by use of funds from the American Rescue Plan Act.
A new gas station has opened at the intersection of routes 7 and 63, an art gallery will share space with the café and Bunny Williams’ shop, 100 Main St., has been a draw for bringing visitors to town. Todd said encouraging more commercial enterprises to come here will help maintain or reduce taxes.