Author Archives: CT Buzz News
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.
Photos: Joe Attonito, JJ Stacks
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DANBURY, 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.
Photo by Jon Gorey of House and Hammer.com.
DANBURY, 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
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.
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.
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—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, 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.”
Photo: William Coghlan, Owner, Powerstone Landscaping
Photo Credit: Wendy Ann Mitchell
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.”
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.
WESTPORT, CT— The coronavirus pandemic isn’t only impacting the way we live, it’s also changing the way we learn. Millions of students are currently attending school and learning via online distance learning programs and the Westport Writers Workshop is following suit. During this time of social distancing, the Westport Writers Workshop has never been more unified in their commitment to togetherness during the crisis by offering all of their spring classes online via Zoom video conferencing.
Located in a town with one of the highest numbers of coronavirus cases in the state is what led to their swift decision in the move to online classes, said Liz Matthews, Executive Director. She added that rolling with the changes is something they have to do for the sake of everyone’s health and sanity.
Matthews, a writer, and editor, began her professional career in publishing at a literary agency and as an Editorial Assistant at Random House before teaching middle and high school English at Poly Prep Country Day School in Brooklyn. A mom of two school-aged children, Matthews herself has had to adapt as a now work-from-home mom and a homeschool mom, as so many are doing across the country. Writing, like many, provides a creative escape in the crazy times we’re living in, she said.
Since its inception in 2003, the Westport Writers Workshop has developed into one of the most highly respected programs in the area for writers of fiction, memoir, romance, playwriting, children’s literature and much more. Through leadership and training from a stellar team of published, award-winning authors, students gain a deep understanding of the elements of writing and many go on to be published authors as well.
Offering workshops for every level of writer, from novice to published, Westport Writers Workshop is designed to encourage, inspire, and spark established and aspiring writers’ imaginations and help them to discover and develop their own unique writing talent and voice.
This spring, the Westport Writers Workshop is offering over two dozen online classes from romance and prose to screenwriting, memoir and travel writing. Jessica Speart is leading a class for writers who have a true story they feel compelled to tell called “Writing About Your Life.”
“It takes courage to share one’s life story,” Speart said. “Many times it deals with what was lost, what was broken, what was said, what was mended. We’ll provide a safe atmosphere in which to write about your experience in either the personal essay or memoir form.”
There is an alternative for those who find themselves reluctant to tell their story – the fictionalized memoir. This hybrid genre allows the writer to relay their experience, or life story, as a fictional account. The author is free to play with timelines and create a searing emotional journey that can be just as powerful and truthful as any memoir.
Another featured class they’re offering is Romance Writing which is being taught by Libby Waterford. Romance is a billion-dollar industry and is one of the most diverse genres in publishing.
“In this course, we’ll talk about the hallmarks of the romance genre and how to develop your central love story from meet-cute to happily ever after,” Waterford said. “We’ll discuss popular tropes, conflict, the black moment, character archetypes, sex scenes, and how to reach that emotionally satisfying ending. Prompts will be provided, or bring your in-progress romance manuscript to share and discuss via supportive feedback.”
Additional class offerings this spring are as follows:
Spring 2020 Creative Writing Workshops on Zoom:
7 Mondays, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. | April 13, 20, 27, May 4, 11, 18, June 1
7 Mondays, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. | April 13, 20, 27, May 4, 11, 18, June 1
7 Mondays, 10am-1pm | April 13, 20, 27, May 4, 11, 18, June 1
7 Mondays, 1:30-4:00pm | March 30, April 13, 20, 27, May 4, 11, 18
7 Mondays, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. | April 13, 20, 27, May 4, 11, 18, June 1
7 Mondays, 7 to 9 p.m. | April 13, 20, 27, May 4, 11, 18, June 1
8 Tuesdays, 10am-12:30pm | April 14, 21, 28, May 5, 12, 19, 26, June 2
7 Tuesdays, 7 to 9 p.m. | April 21, May 5, 12, 19, 26, June 2, 9
8 Tuesdays, 7 to 9 p.m. | April 14, 21, 28, May 5, 12, 19, 26, June 2
8 Wednesdays, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. | April 15, 22, 29, May 6, 13, 20, 27, June 3
4 Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. | April 15, 22, 29, May 6
- NEW – Everyday Inspirations II: More Prompts Guaranteed to Get Your Pen Moving – B203S20Allison Dickens
4 Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. | May 13, 20, 27, June 3
8 Wednesdays, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. | April 15, 22, 29, May 6, 13, 20, 27, June 3
8 Wednesdays, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. | April 15, 22, 29, May 6, 13, 20, 27, June 3
8 Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. | April 16, 23, 30, May 7, 14, 21, 28, June 4
8 Thursdays, 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. | April 16, 23, 30, May 7, 14, 21, 28, June 4
8 Thursdays, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. | April 16, 23, 30, May 7, 14, 21, 28, June 4
8 Fridays, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. | April 17, 24, May 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, June 5
8 Fridays, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. | April 17, 24, May 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, June 5
10 a.m. to 1 p.m. | Monday thru Friday, June 22-26
Register for a class by clicking here. To check if a class is full, call (203) 227-3250 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. All of the Westport Writers Workshop spring workshops offered on ZOOM are open to writers of all skill levels. Visit their Zoom tutorial pages to learn more about how to use the platform or contact them at email@example.com with any questions.