Author Archives: CT Buzz News

CLA Removes New Fairfield Dock That Played Host To Invasive Zebra Mussels

NEW FAIRFIELD, CT—The shoreline of Candlewood Lake in New Fairfield is one dock less after the Candlewood Lake Authority (CLA) removed it due to a harmful invader—zebra mussels.

These pesky creatures may look cool, but they can damage ecosystems by harming native species, according to Professor Pierce of the University of Wisconsin who stated, “In order for a zebra mussel to live, it must attach itself to a hard object. Not only do zebra mussels attach themselves to things like rocks, logs, and the hulls of ships, they also attach themselves to native species. Many native mollusk species are at risk of becoming extinct or endangered because of zebra mussels.” In addition, they can lower water quality and clarity.

The dock that was removed on Thursday, November 12 by the CLA, had about 6-12 live zebra mussels attached to it and were solitary mussels that were not yet forming colonies.

“This is the first time in over 8 years that this dock has been removed from the lake so we are unsure how long these mussels have been in the water, and when they attached to the dock,” a representative from the CLA said.

No other zebra mussels were found on neighboring docks and the CLA will continue to monitor the situation by combing the shoreline during the deep drawdown this winter.

The CLA is asking the public to clean, drain and dry their boats, kayaks and other nautical equipment before dropping them into the lake to help stop any potential invaders.

If you see any mussels that look similar to the one pictured, report the finding with a photo to science@candlewoodlakeauthority.org. Fore more information, visit the Candlewood Lake Authority online at candlewoodlakeauthority.org/invasivespecies.

Photo credit: Candlewood Lake Authority

JJ Stacks is Building Taste in Brookfield One Double-Decker at a Time

BROOKFIELD, CT—If you need an excuse to eat a hearty and delicious double-decker burger or sandwich today, JJ Stack’s got you covered! The newly opened Brookfield eatery boasts mouthwatering burgers, hot dogs, hand cut fries and much more. Owners Joe Attonito and Joe Acocella opened the unique eatery in late August and have been going full steam ahead ever since.

Attonito was the owner/operator of the former Tiger’s Den Sports Bar in Ridgefield, and has over 28 years of experience in the industry, started our as a bus boy and working his way up through the ranks.

“Currently I work in sales, selling food to restaurants, but was itching to get back in. This to me is like sort of some unfinished business when my previous restaurant closed abruptly after years of struggle,” Attonito said.

Acocella, on the other hand, is a restaurant newbie, but is dedicated to learning the business and becoming a bigger part of the day-to-day operations he said.

The dynamic duo said they were originally going to open a food truck but then came across this opportunity and they couldn’t refuse the chance to make something uniquely theirs and thus JJ Stacks was born. The restaurant got its name when Joe Acocella combined their first initials and the restaurant concept of their triple decker sandwiches.

Attonito said he chose to open in Broofield becasuse he loves the feel of a charming small town.

“I grew up working in restaurants with heavy “local” and “regular” business and that’s how I want to grow,” Attonito said. “We are a very community-oriented team as far as supporting local business and teaming up for fun and often charitable events, and Brookfield seems like a town that would greatly appreciate that.:

At his previous restaurant, Attonito was well-known in the Ridgefield community and helped dozens of non-profits, educational organizations, sports teams and more. He has already begun doing the same in Brookfield by hosting a few charitable events.

While opening during a global pandemic has been a challenge, Attonito said that the large patio and outdoor section offers plenty of room for safe social distancing and a great view of the mini golf course which is perfect for outdoor family fun.

“The fact that the whole feel of the place is that of an old take-out burger and ice cream joint which made us feel more comfortable considering COVID precautions. We love the idea of a unique way to spend time outdoors and something fun for kids and families to do together after being cooped up inside for so long. Obviously, we have our share of challenges, but we’re hoping the community takes to us quickly and we’re able to overcome what is sure to be a very tricky winter,” Attonito said.

Speaking of which, the restaurant offers take-out and curbside to go in addition to catering for corporate and community functions. The restaurant will be open all year round offering their full menu as well as homemade soup and donut specials for curbside and take-out, as well as limited dine-in options. JJ Stacks also participates with @deliverydotcom @ubereats @doordash and @grubhub.

The roadside restaurant is conveniently located at 537 Federal Road in Brookfield. For more information, visit JJ Stacks on Facebook, Instagram @JJStacks203 or online at JJStacks.com.

Photos: Joe Attonito, JJ Stacks

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Are you interested in marketing your small business on CT Buzz News? Email ctbuzznews@gmail.com or call or text (203) 501-7424.

5 Tips To Get Your Home ‘Buyer Ready’ From Connecticut Plumbing, LLC

Screen Shot 2020-07-20 at 7.23.20 PMDANBURY, CT —With thousands of New Yorkers heading for the hills of Connecticut due to the COVID-19 pandemic, one local plumber says now is the time to think about putting your home on the market. But is your humble abode ready for the potential buyer? Check out these tips from New Fairfield resident and business owner David LaCava, owner of Connecticut Plumbing, LLC.

“I’m seeing a lot of my customers thinking about getting their house ready to sell and there are a lot of quick and easy tips to make your home buyer ready,” said LaCava. Here are five ways you can get your home ready for this seller’s market.

1.     Pay Attention to Details: Sellers will obviously make sure the bathrooms and kitchen is clean before showings but make sure to pay extra attention to the little details. Do your kitchen or bathroom faucets or showerheads have caked up grime or lime? Now is the time to clean, make sure the toilet bowl is sparkling white, and clean out the inside of the dishwasher.

2.    Check Your Water Pressure: If you’ve been experiencing low water pressure, now is the time to fix it. Consider replacing the showerheads, cleaning out the faucet aerators, and checking pipes for leaks.

3.    Make Your Bathroom Feel New: Simple fixes like changing the toilet seat to a self-closing lid, upgrading faucets in the sink, changing the showerheads, adding storage/shelving, and/or installing a dimmer switch can make a world of difference and set you apart from another seller’s house.

4.    Check Exterior Plumbing Issues: Home inspectors look at the plumbing inside your house as well as the plumbing in your garden and on the outside your property. This includes pipes that transport city water into your house, as well as grey or black water removal pipes. A professional home inspector will also check your water meter to see if it is functioning properly. If you have city water, you may not have known you overspending on your water bill.

5.     Hire a Professional: If you have plumbing has issues, hire a pro. For a few hundred or a few thousand-dollar investment now can save you tens of thousands when you sell at or above your asking price on your move-in ready home.

LaCava said that many will try to go the DIY route but he advises them to hire a professional to avoid costly home repair projects gone wrong.

“Remember that maintenance is much easier and cheaper than a repair,” LaCava stated.

“Instead of panicking about a home inspection when you decide to sell, contact a licensed professional to schedule a plumbing check-up today.”

If a homeowner is nervous about letting someone into their home during the pandemic, LaCava assures them, “I use safety gloves, masks and goggles and use disinfecting products to make sure that I am keeping my customers and their families safe.”

LaCava, who operates out of his New Fairfield, CT shop, has been in the industry for more than 30 years, is fully licensed in CT and NY, and has a AAA rating with the Better Business Bureau.

For questions or more information, visit his Facebook page, email CTPlumbing7473@gmail.com, or call (203) 312-0182.

Photo by Jon Gorey of House and Hammer.com.

13th Annual #NewFairfieldCT Relay for Life Goes Virtual on Saturday, June 6th

Screen Shot 2020-06-05 at 10.12.13 PMNEW FAIRFIELD, CT—For the first time ever in its thirteen-year history, the New Fairfield Relay for Life will be held online due to social distancing guidelines set by the State of Connecticut in response to the coronavirus. Teams from New Fairfield, New Milford, Sherman, Danbury, Bethel, and surrounding towns will participate in the annual fundraiser to help find a cure for cancer.

The organizers of this year’s New Fairfield Relay For Life of New Fairfield are hoping that this year will be their “Lucky 13″ and that they will raise more money than ever to help cancer patients. Co-Chair Amber St. Hilaire has been participating in the New Fairfield Relay for Life for 10 years with her team “The Heavenly Hippies” which was born out of the New Fairfield Congregational Church.

“Normally, we walk for 15 hours at the New Fairfield High School Track from 3 p.m. on Saturday until 5 a.m. on Sunday morning,” St. Hilaire said, continuing, “Unfortunately, Covid-19 has changed a lot of things for us but we are determined to do our best to fight despite it!”

The American Cancer Society Relay For Life event is held in over 20 countries worldwide. The event gives people a chance to fight back against cancer and honor those who are fighting or have lost their lives to the disease through a moving silent Luminaria ceremony.

This year’s event is entirely virtual and their theme is “Small Town, Big Heart” which she said represents her community and their fight. St. Hilaire said participants will be relaying (walking) from home from 1:00 p.m. until 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 6th, and then they will “light the night” at 9 p.m. with a Luminaria/porch light-up event in honor of their loved ones who are fighting or who have passed away. Details can be found on their Facebook page:  Relay for Life New Fairfield, Twitter @relayforlifenf, and Instagram @relay4lifenf . They are also on Youtube as “ACS Lower Hudson Valley.”

The opening ceremony begins with a video of guest speaker Wendy Mitchell, a survivor of a rare and aggressive type of breast cancer called Triple Negative Metaplastic Carcinoma, who shares her survivor story. Mitchell began an advocacy campaign for breast cancer awareness from day one of her diagnosis in 2015 under the hashtag #MyLeftBoob for early detection. Her blog, Wendipoprock’s Wild Ride, serves as a guide to help newly diagnosed cancer patients. Her story/video can be viewed here.

The Knights of Columbus 12968 will be leading their virtual survivor lap to kick off the opening ceremony. There will be online games, a telethon, a music jam hour, stories of hope, opportunities to donate and win prizes, a touching luminaria ceremony, a senior spotlight, Zumba with Tim, and a touching closing ceremony.

“We tried to be as close to our true Relay event as we could by encouraging walking, socially distanced, of course, scavenger hunts, Zumba, and more,” St. Hilaire said.

While she admits this year is a challenge by being completely online, St. Hilaire said “nothing can stop Relay For Life because our volunteers’ hearts are just too darn big and stubborn! “

She shared her motivation for why she relays on her fundraising website:

“Every year I walk for two specific people; a survivor and one who has passed. This year those two are my dearest cousin Michelle Gonzalez who is suffering for the second time in a year with cancer and for Sarah, a young woman who passed away last year from brain cancer. These women are prime examples of the reasons I am so passionate about fundraising. This year, for every donation I receive, I will walk one lap in honor of a loved one. Your donations matter and I want each and every person to be remembered and brought up at the event.”

For more information about New Fairfield Relay for Life 2020, or to donate, click the link below:

http://main.acsevents.org/goto/seeacure

Photo credit: New Fairfield Relay for Life

Severe Weather Alert Issued for #DanburyCT #RidgefieldCT & Surrounding Towns: #CTWeather

Screen Shot 2020-06-03 at 8.36.49 PMDANBURY, CT—The National Weather Service has issued a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for the Greater Danbury area.

Severe Weather Statement National Weather Service New York NY 817 PM EDT Wed Jun 3 2020 Fairfield CT-New Haven CT-Bergen NJ-Westchester NY-Orange NY- Putnam NY-Rockland NY- 817 PM EDT Wed Jun 3 2020

…A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 845 PM EDT FOR CENTRAL FAIRFIELD…WEST CENTRAL NEW HAVEN…NORTHEASTERN BERGEN…WESTCHESTER…SOUTHEASTERN ORANGE…PUTNAM AND ROCKLAND COUNTIES…

At 817 PM EDT, severe thunderstorms were located along a line extending from Brewster to New City, moving east at 70 mph. HAZARD…60 mph wind gusts. SOURCE…Radar indicated.

IMPACT…Expect damage to trees and power lines. These severe storms will be near… Danbury and Bethel around 825 PM EDT. Newtown and Redding around 830 PM EDT. Bedford around 835 PM EDT. Greenwich around 840 PM EDT.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS… For your protection move to an interior room on the lowest floor of a building.

Photo credit: steffen l via Flickr Creative Commons

#DanburyCT #JusticeforGeorge Peaceful Protest Ends in Group Split, Shutdown of Highway: #CTTraffic

All information in this article was due to the incredible live coverage from Al Robinson, owner/editor of My Left Nutmeg. To watch his entire live stream, please click here.

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DANBURY, CT—Danbury’s peaceful protest began with a crowd gathered in front of the Danbury Police Department (DPD) shouting the names of victims of police brutality and soon turned into chants of “F**k the police.” After about five minutes of chanting, one of the leaders invited the crowd to take a knee out of respect for the death of George Floyd.

“Let me speak, I’ve earned that. I don’t need to prove [inaudible], I wear it every day,” one of the speakers said. “Let the Chief speak.”

Danbury Police Chief Patrick Ridenhour addressed the crowd by saying he has been doing everything he can to address racial tensions because “it’s not right,” and “maybe this time will be different.”

While speaking, someone in the crowd interrupted the Police Chief yelling, “I am the victim of police brutality.” Another asked the question about what sort of diversity training the police does which was answered as “eight hours, every couple of years.”

Chief Ridenhour acknowledged that the diversity training protocols that are in place are not enough and they need to be changed.

As tensions grew, the shouts from the crowd made it difficult to hear the police chief. Mayor Mark Boughton also attempted to address the crowd, however, someone grabbed his microphone, according to Al Robinson of My Left Nutmeg, and the crowd and viewers were unable to hear what he had to say.

After about 20 minutes, the protesters split into two groups—one walking to the Danbury Public Library, and the other going to the highway.

The protesters who shouted, “Black Lives Matter” and “No justice, no peace” assembled on the highway, causing it to be temporarily shut down on I-84 at Exit 5.  Police from Newtown, Danbury, and State Police kept control of the crowd and no one was hurt.

Reporter Al Robinson of My Left Nutmeg said he had “mad respect” for the police who “did a good job keeping everyone safe.

 

Danbury Police Sgt. John Krupinsky said, “Working together can always get things done.”

Robinson said for the most part people were peacefully demonstrating and expressing their frustration on the lives lost due to past incidents of police brutality.  He ended his live stream by saying:

“We shouldn’t be here are looking for anything to pop off or anything violent. We should be here honoring why people are here in the first place—because a black man was murdered in broad daylight by the police again and enough is enough. Enough has been enough for a long time.”

The protest was organized by Solomon James and the Western CT Democratic Socialists.

Photo credit: Screenshot from Al Robinson’s Live video posted on My Left Nutmeg

To watch his entire live stream, please click here.

Fairfield County, CT Residents Can Stay Safe From COVID-19 By Using VanGo Grocery Delivery Service

assorted-vegetable-lot-2733918 (2)FAIRFIELD COUNTY, CT—While many businesses are closed and millions are unable to go to work or school due to the coronavirus pandemic, one local company is helping residents stay safe at home by providing grocery shopping and delivery. VanGo, a ride service for pre-teens and teens, is offering the shopping service now that they’re temporarily no longer booking rides to school and activities due to the COVID-19 shutdown.

Jamrozik created the company in 2018 specifically to support working moms to get help from trusted members of their community by providing children’s transportation to and from school, sports, and other activities. Now that the kids are no longer in school, Jamrozik, is adapting to the change.

“Since schools have shut down, we have been looking for other ways to continue supporting families within our community, and provide work for our drivers. One big pain point we noticed was getting access to groceries, especially with delivery dates and times booked up with current providers. We saw a path forward that would help both families and drivers within our community,” Jamrozik said.

While other grocery service providers have a week wait or longer, VanGo Grocery provides consistent next-day delivery as long as customers place their order by 3PM EST. In addition, many families can have the same 3-4 shoppers working with them on a regular basis so there’s a level of familiarity as well.

Customers can log onto VanGo Grocery and navigate the user-friendly website to place their order. Shoppers text families when and if an item is out of stock to ensure families are getting the right type of substitutions. Deliveries are contact-free and drivers wear masks and gloves when shopping for and dropping off the grocery order to customers.

Rates are similar to other grocery delivery services. VanGo Grocery is making sure shoppers are being paid fairly for time spent picking, packing, and delivering to consumers.

“Ultimately, our goal as a company was always to support families in a variety of ways. We started off with transportation, with the long-term aim to expand to other services. That time has come sooner than expected! When schools reopen in the future, we plan to continue offering grocery delivery, ride-sharing, and other family services in the future,” Jamrozik said.

Jamrozik said that while the change to her new business has been challenging, what helps to keep her and the VanGo team going during this crisis is the support they’ve received from the community.

“We are a small team, and this societal change has challenged us to think creatively. We’ve been working hard to launch grocery delivery in Fairfield County, and are really grateful for the support we’ve received from the community to date. That’s what keeps us going.”

VanGo Grocery is available in Ridgefield, as well as all of Fairfield County. For more information or to download the app, visit VanGo: ridevango.com/grocery.

Photo: VanGo Grocery

Photo Credit: Marta Jamrozik, Owner, VanGo​

Ridgefield Landscaper Helps Elderly, Homebound Clean Up & Stay Safe During COVID-19 Pandemic

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RIDGEFIELD, CT—With so many home during the coronavirus pandemic digging through garages and basements and doing home DIY remodeling projects, one local business owner has seen an uptick in calls for service. William Coghlan, owner of Powerstone Landscaping, said he is getting more new customers now because people taking advantage of staying at home to clean out their house which has created lots of business for local junk haulers.

While his crews typically work closely with both commercial and residential property owners, they’ve now seen a shift to residential clean-ups since the social distancing orders have been put in place.

“More people are home now noticing all their junk,” Coghlan said, “and they don’t want to have to go out and deal with going to the dump and risk possible exposure during this crisis.”

Crews that pick up the trash are taking more precautions during the coronavirus pandemic to ensure their customers and crews stay safe—especially with elderly and homebound with weakened immune systems.

“We’re wearing masks and gloves and following social distancing guidelines. We are also offering contact-free payment through Venmo and Cashapp,” Coghlan said.

In addition to junk removal and scrap metal pickup, Powerstone Landscaping also offers brush removal, yard cleanups, leaf blowing, mulching, cutting and splitting of fallen trees, power washing, fence installation, moving and hauling services and much more.

In addition to offering more services, Coghlan said that since the pandemic, his company has extended its service area and added additional crew members to keep up with the extensive services they offer.

“We have also made it easier for customers that do not want direct contact by offering estimates over Facetime or by them sending us pictures of jobs they need to be done,” he stated.

“People are doing spring cleaning now more than ever and cleaning out basements and other stuff in their homes,” explained Coghlan. “We’re here to help make that process safe and painless.”

For more information, visit Powerstone Landscaping on Facebook, call (203) 731-9140 or email powerstone.landscaping@gmail.com.

Photo: William Coghlan, Owner, Powerstone Landscaping

Photo Credit: Wendy Ann Mitchell

2 Small Business Owners Help Others ‘Roll With It’ During Coronavirus Pandemic

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The following press release was written and submitted by Roll with It.

WOODBURY, CT – In this challenging time of uncertainty, while many small businesses have been mandated to close to the public in order to slow the spread of COVID-19, two small business owners have teamed up in an effort to help their fellow small business owners and their employees.

Steve Hochmuth of LivinCountryUSA.com and Dennis Leahy of BrenLandscaping.com launched “Roll WithIt Clothing” to spark a little smile of hope and lend a hand during this time of crisis.  They’re also inviting other small businesses to share in their success.

Roll WithIt Clothing’s first offering is a tee-shirt with an iconic view of the times:  a toilet paper roll over the slogan, “Roll WithIt 2020.”  The idea is to help calm fears of shortages, hoarding, and isolation by lending a helping hand, sharing what you have, and helping those in need.  Some people are fighting over any and everything, even toilet paper. The view of the two men is to share.

“As the bad news come crashing in, we want to help each other ‘roll with it,'” Hochmuth said.

“Don’t discount the bad news,” Leahy said, “but, also, do not let it crash us down to the ground.  Do not let it divide us.”

T-shirts are available to purchase online at www.RollWithIt2020.com.  Small businesses are encouraged to apply to be part of their Affiliate Tribe (details are on the website).  Twenty-five percent of sales made through their Affiliate Tribe goes right back to the Affiliate as a way to help, even a bit, keep hope afloat.

Hochmuth said, “As two small business owners whose friends are shuttering their businesses, we knew we had to do something during these tough times.  We want to make Roll Withit Clothing a source of smiles and a shared income stream.”

 

Livin’ Country is a screen printing company that creates country apparel that celebrates “a simple and fun lifestyle.” Livin’ Country prides itself on its grassroots startup. For more information, visit their website.
Bren Landscaping specializes in landscaping design, building, and maintenance of uniquely beautiful homes in Fairfield, Westport, Weston, and surrounding towns. For more information, visit their Facebook page.

Quarantine Home Projects: CT Plumbing Says ‘Don’t Do It Yourself’

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NEW FAIRFIELD, CT—New Fairfield-based heating and plumbing professional David LaCava, owner of CT Plumbing LLC, has seen his business slightly decrease on the commercial end during this time of quarantine due to the novel coronavirus. But on the residential side, he has been getting a steady stream of calls from his regular customers as well as those seeking advice on how to “do it yourself” for home remodeling or improvement.

In today’s world of YouTube videos, it’s getting easier to access information on “how to” do projects yourself (DIY) without hiring a professional. There are some projects that require professional training and expertise to complete, such as plumbing and heating work. Many believe they can save money by doing their own home projects but unlike other DIY projects, mistakes are not cheap and can be dangerous.

“The best advice I can give is don’t (do it yourself). I’m a licensed and trained professional in plumbing and HVAC and there are some very dangerous situations a homeowner can get themselves into like possibly tapping into a gas line,” LaCava said.

LaCava urges special caution with installing a water heater—a project some think they can install on their own. Water leaks could be a problem when it comes to any installation but the main danger, LaCava said, is because many water heaters are heated through gas. Hooking up a gas line is always a job that should only be done by a professional. Gas leaks can turn into a very dangerous situation.

Even if the water heater is electric, a professional should still install it because improper installation could lead to water and steam escaping the heater which will cause mold to grow in the enclosed space.

“All that money saved by the DIY homeowner will disappear once the mold removal costs are factored in,” LaCava said. “Many times a homeowner will attempt a home improvement project and then call me after they run into problems to complete the job, which can be costly,” he continued, “so the best advice I can give them is to call a professional first.”

LaCava, who operates out of his New Fairfield, CT shop, has been in the industry for more than 30 years, is fully licensed in CT and NY, and has a AAA rating with the Better Business Bureau. For questions or more information, visit his Facebook page, email CTPlumbing7473@gmail.com, or call (203) 312-0182.

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